Guide to LotRO's Update 5 Instances: Dargnakh Unleashed

Dargnakh Unleashed is the second of three small-fellowship instances that came with the Armies of Isengard instance cluster. Use your wit and guile to sabotage Saruman's war efforts by turning his own weapons against him!

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Dargnakh Unleashed is the second of three
small-fellowship instances that came with the instance cluster in the

href="">Lord of the Rings Online's
latest content update, Update 5: Armies of Isengard.
Now that you've uncovered part of Saruman's plans by discovering the
dark secrets in the instance, Fangorn's
, it's time to investigate further... and to use your wit and
guile to sabotage his war efforts by turning his own weapons against

"A brave band of adventurersÂ…think you that this drain is
long-abandoned? You cannot imagine what lies ahead." - Saruman

Deep down in Isengard's training areas, where juvenile orcs are
fortified into agents of chaos and destruction, the Many-Coloured One
has captured a big, strong troll. This troll was found sleeping in a
cave in Fangorn Forest, and it slew 30 orcs while they were trying to
capture and subdue it. Evidently, Saruman hopes to forge the troll into
another war-machine, but he has not yet managed to tame this one, and it
is angrier and stronger than the others. So in the meantime, he keeps it
in a big steel box - like a super-sized Gimp. This is Dargnakh.

During the introduction, a handful of orcs are standing around
discussing the beast when Dargnakh busts out of his box and begins
throwing a truly epic temper tantrum. The orcs attempt to regain
control, but they are young, untrained and severely outmatched. The job
of the infiltrating fellowship is to direct Dargnakh's wrath - to cause
destruction and chaos in the war factories by "steering" the juggernaut
directly into them.


In the first room, this is accomplished by using the ballistae around
the upper walkway, firing down at the rampaging Dargnakh and steering
his fury towards the back door. Dargnakh will move away from the
ballista hits, but the bolts must hit him to have an effect. This is an
exercise in add-management - mobs will pour into the upper walkway and
attack anyone they see, so the group's tank (or designated
crowd-controller) will need to engage them to keep them away from the
guys running bolts and firing the ballistae.

Dargnakh Unleashed - ballista room

This fight requires a bit of coordination - the ballista crew will need
to track the troll's movements, and the orc-wrangler will need to keep
the ballista crew free from attackers. The third man has a flexible
position, but should probably focus on keeping the group informed of
Dargnakh's movements below - call out when he moves and stand at the
ballista that will be able to hit him so the reloader knows exactly
where to run with the bolts.

On Tier 2 difficulty, add management is somewhat more complicated - the
mobs hit like trucks and can easily overwhelm a tank. For Tier 2, only
one person will worry about the ballistae, and the other two will handle
the adds. Groups with more than one heavy-armor class will have an
easier time with Tier 2, but a group with 2 or more light/medium armor
classes will find it hard to keep up with the healing.


Dargnakh Unleashed - barrel room

style="float: right; margin-left: 15px;" />Eventually, Dargnakh will
go berserk and smash through the doorway, leading into the next room.
Again, this room requires add-management - the goal here is to set fire
to the black-powder barrels in the room below and goad the rampaging
troll to the wall at the foot of the stairs. He will always try to move
away from the explosions and fires. The troll's behaviour in this room
can be a little bit harder to predict, and he is no longer confined to
an inaccessible lower level - he may run up the stairs and be difficult
to move. You don't have to "steer" him in any particular direction -
just light the barrels that are nearest to him, and once you get enough
of them he will move on.

This room can get chaotic. Try not to draw the attention of too many of
the orcs - let them fight Dargnakh while your torch-runner focuses on
figuring out which stack of barrels to ignite. If you do pick up too
many adds, run them close to Dargnakh and let him hit them with
area-effect haymakers. Fighting one or two adds is okay, but six at once
can be overwhelming.

After the group lights enough barrels near Dargnakh to drive him
berserk, he will break out and head into the ring of Isengard, and
that's where things get really dangerous.


Out in the ring, you will discover that he has been subdued by a group
of priestly-types holding him in place with some kind of magic. The
leader of this group, Huva, steps forward and announces your doom in
typical boss-villain fashion, and then the fight starts. The other
kneeling priestly-types will join the fight in pairs.

Dargnakh Unleashed - Huva and the gang

With a typical Tank/DPS/Healer group, the strategy is fairly
straightforward. The tank stays on Huva and the DPS handles both adds.
This is a long fight - the adds are healers, and while they can be
interrupted, the frequency of their healing and the fact that there are
two of them makes it difficult to keep up with reliable interrupts.
Focus on one at a time, interrupting his heals when possible, and they
will eventually go down. Be prepared for a long fight here.

For non-traditional groups, this fight can be tough. The Instance
Finder may decide that if the group has a healer, it doesn't need a
tank, or vice versa. A group without a main-healing class (Minstrel or
Rune-keeper) may have a difficult time keeping up with the damage dealt
by three attackers, so if the group is short a Minstrel, keep the mobs
separated as much as possible to spread the damage out across the group,
and heal with all-green Fellowship Manouevers. A heal-traited Captain
can keep up with the healing if the group has a main tank, but the tank
will want to be careful - if he gets all three attackers on him, the
damage can be overwhelming

When the boss is finally defeated, loot the chest and follow Dargnakh
as he charges off in search of food. He has worked up a monstrous
hunger, and you get to help him find it. He will charge into several
small areas and begin munching on dead things lying around. When you get
there, groups of orcs will come charging in. One of these orcs will be a
butcher with slightly more morale than the others - focus DPS on the
butcher. You can pretty much ignore the adds and kite them to the next
area when it opens up, killing them there until another butcher spawns

Dargnakh Unleashed - running the slop bucket

Grab up the slop bucket the butcher drops when slain, carry it over to
the glowing wall section and douse the wall in slop. Like the
archetypical fat-guy party animal in an 80's college comedy, Dargnakh
will drop whatever he is doing and go charging at the food, busting down
the wall. He will always go running after the slop bucket when it is
picked up, so you want to kill the butchers near the next glowing wall.
If you kill the butcher far away from the wall, Dargnakh will chase you
down, which makes these fights much more difficult. Slop the walls a few
times and he'll charge off to a more remote area, which is the scene of
the final battle.


Dargnakh Unleashed - covered arena

There are two ways you can do this fight - the hard way and the harder
way. The hard way is really the proper way to do it, using the mechanics
of the room to beat the angry troll down, and is he requirement for the
Tier 2 challenge. Start the fight at the back right corner (to
Dargnakh's right as you are facing in) and hold him there until he goes
into a rampage. A text banner will flash across the screen, and the
group has exactly zero seconds to get out of his huge area-effect range
as he throws a tantrum. This rampage does massive damage in a large area
over several pulses - anyone with under 10,000 morale or so needs to be
well on the way across the room before he even starts. Healers will want
to heal tanks from maximum range. Dargnakh does not "fire warning shots"
- the banner pops up when he starts the rampage, and anyone near him
will already be taking damage from it when the banner pops up.

His rampages come at timed intervals, and can be predicted by astute
players. The interval between rampages is roughly 60 seconds - watch
carefully for a buff icon to appear on his portrait and move right away,
all the way across the room. With practice, it will be possible to
predict exactly when to move.

The goal for this method is to take him to each of the 4 scaffolds at
the corners of the room and direct his fury at them. When he takes down
all four scaffolds, he will collapse the ceiling, allowing the sun to
shine in, which turns him to stone. He gets more powerful after each
rampage, so the fight gets harder as it progresses, but since you don't
actually need to do any damage to him for this method to work, you can
focus mainly on staying alive and moving when you need to.

This fight can be frustrating for healers. Ideally, the healer wants to
stand at maximum healing range from the tank in order to stay out of the
effect radius of the rampages. Since the goal of the fight is to have
Dargnakh destroy the scaffolding, instinct tells you that you want him
facing the corners. Unfortunately, with the tank tucked in the corner,
the healer has to heal "through" Dargnakh, and the troll takes up a lot
of room. This effectively truncates max healing range - Bolster Courage,
for instance, has a max range of 25 meters, which is approximately the
same range as the rampage AoE. If the Minstrel is healing the tank on
the other side of Dragnakh, he is inside the 25-meter radius when the
rampage starts.

Instead of trying to heal through the beast, the tank will want to face
Dargnakh into the center of the room, putting himself between the troll
and the healer. This will allow healers to heal from farther away from
the rampage radius, and prevent them from getting crushed. Observe how
it works in this Crude Illustration:

Dargnakh Unleashed - tank & healer positioning

One trick for Minstrels is to try to time the use of the Hammerhand
"bubble" just before each rampage. This will help a bit to soak up the
first pulse from a rampage if the Minstrel is a bit too close when it

Because Dargnakh uses a lot of knockbacks and ranged attacks against
secondary targets, the tank will have to do a lot of running around and
jockeying for position to keep the troll in the ideal place. This is
kind of annoying, but since you don't really have to worry too much
about dealing damage, it's not so bad. As long as the tank is able to
keep Dargnakh close enough to the scaffolding, and is able to run away
when the rampage starts, damage-dealing is a non-issue. As long as the
scaffolds are within the radius of the rampage AoE, they will be
destroyed and the corner of the ceiling will fall regardless of which
direction Dargnakh is facing.

Dargnakh Unleashed - collapsed ceiling

The first time I ran this one, we did it the harder way, which relied
on a tank with a truckload of morale, a healer capable of healing
through the rampages, and my Hunter using a power-conservative stance.
The Minstrel and Hunter stayed at one edge of the arena, and the
Guardian tanked Dargnakh in the middle of the room, keeping himself
between the troll and the ranged guys and standing at the very limit of
the Minstrel's healing range.

This is not an easy feat - the Guardian stayed put for the entire fight
(not including the knockbacks) and was hammered down to almost dead
after every rampage, but the Minstrel was able to heal through the
damage (about 10 - 13,000 each time), and neither the Minstrel nor the
Hunter was close enough to the troll to take damage from the rampages...
which was good, because there were a lot of them. He starts the fight
with over 400,000 morale, and that takes a long time for a small
fellowship to burn through. And because the rampages occur every minute
and the fight took about 10 minutes, we buckled through roughly 10
rampages. Our beleaguered Guardian took about the same amount of damage
over the course of the fight as Dargnakh did.

This method takes much more time than using the scaffolds and very much
relies on ranged DPS, solid tanking and outstanding healing, but it is
the requirement for completing the Commanders of Isengard deed.

Once the troll is down, it's loot time. You'll get a few Seals for
completing deeds if this is your first time through it, and the chest
will yield some sealed relics and some decent gear, plus a sigil of
Orthanc which can be broken into fragments at the Ox-clan Merchant Camp.
And while you're there, you can prepare for the next stop - the Pits of

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