Updated Thu, Feb 21, 2008 by Messiah
Today I continue our first look at the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion, The Burning Crusade. As has become evident my favorite part of the game is instances. It's taken a while, but I am now 65 and able to run a few more to report on. So far I have covered the 5 man Hellfire Citadel instances and the 5 man Coilfang Reservoir instances. Today I head into Auchindoun, an ancient Dreanei burial ground on the Terokkar Forest. The first instance that I explored is the Auchenai Crypts.
The instances in Auchindoun are as follows:
|Instance||MOB Levels||# of Players|
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The Outlands! A complete map of the world and where everything is in it
Getting to the Auchindoun is fairly easy unless you are too low a level, as the MOBS around it range up to level 65 and 66. It can be found in the large blasted bone waste area of Terokkar forest to the south of Shattrath City. You can also get access to it from the Alliance or Horde towns to the east and north east. They are the Allerian Stronghold and Stonebreaker Hold respectively. Auchindoun is the large ruins in the center of the bone wastes. When you reach there you have to head down through various tunnels to reach the bottom of the ruins, which is a circular plaza area. In the center is a meeting stone to summon other players and the instances can be found in tunnels around the outskirts of the central area.
Once again (as per my previous instance guides) I was able to find a solid group almost immediately using the LFG and LFM system. Again I hope this continues to work as well in the released version. It will take some getting used to not spamming for group though.
|WARNING: What is described below is from the beta, anything described may change before release and / or be completely invalid. Upon release of The Burning Crusade, return to TenTonHammer for a complete guide to Auchenai Crypts.|
Each of the MOBs can summon more...
The group I got for this instance was 2 druids, 2 paladins and a mage. Both druids were casting based (moonkin form), 1 paladin was the healer, the other paladin (me) was the tank. For the boss fights one of the druids assisted with healing, other than that the holy based paladin was able to heal through all of the difficult pulls by himself, usually without going below 1/2 mana.
The Auchenai Crypts is actually meant to be the second instance that you visit in Auchindoun . It is meant for level 64- 66 characters. Just outside the instance are several NPC's, one of which will give you quests if you have completed the prerequisites. I had not done them yet, so will have to go back later to collect the rewards that you can get for the quests. The MOBS range up to level 67 elites so a lot of coordination is required to defeat them.
Many of the MOBs in this instance, including the ones you fight right from the start are able to summon additional MOBS. The summoned MOBs all count as undead. This tends to make seemingly easy pulls of 2 or 3 MOBs somewhat difficult as you will very quickly be dealing with an additional 2 or 3 MOBs. Large pulls of 4 or 5 MOBs can quickly over run an ill prepared group as it turns into a group of 8 or 10!
The most annoying of the summoned MOBs is the phantasmal Possessors. They are capable of mind controlling a player for up to 1 minute regardless of their death! The Mind control can not be dispelled in any way, so you choices are either sheep the person repeatedly to control them, or to attempt to kill them. If you choose the second option they will revert to player control at a bit less that 50% health, however this can be tricky as you will be taking DPS away from the other MOBs and potentially leave a possessor up to grab another victim. No one is sure if the MC lasting past the possessors death is a bug or a design feature yet, so this might change.
On a side not it is fun to watch your character go insane all over your group mates. Of course that may just be my inner sadist speaking... :-)
There are also some MOBs just before the first boss that cause major issues if you are not expecting them. They are the Raging Souls found on a bridge leading to Shirrak. The are essentially traps that spawn in the form of MOBs that blow up and throw you a set distance. As long as you face forward and stay near the middle of the bridge you are ok. If you wander near the outskirts you are just asking to be thrown off and to you death.
One of the hardest 5 man bosses out there
First boss is extremely difficult due to abilities if you are not being very careful. Once you and your group are familiar with the encounter it becomes much easier. Also this fight has already changed MANY times in beta. Initially the fight was almost impossible, and it has been toned down, but is still tricky.
The Boss is a beholder type boss (big floating eye) called Shirrak the Dead Watcher (insert I see dead people joke of your choice here). His main two abilities are a fire blast wave that hits for 3 waves of 2,000+ damage and a stacking debuff that slows casting times by up to 200%! Together these abilities are nasty! I have been at full health with 11k armor and taken 7k damage in less than 3 seconds from the blasts. Luckily he warns you that he is focusing his energy and a portion of the floor will start glowing. You have roughly 5 seconds to clear the area before he sends his fire blasts into it. The blast area is not always around him so you need to look around as soon as he starts focusing, and if it is near you, RUN!
Even the mighty Vassago falls sometimes... :-(
The casting debuff is VERY VERY annoying and makes it almost impossible for a Paladin to heal in this fight. The best healer is a Druid with all the HOT's and the instant casts. A Paladins main heal is 2.5 seconds with +200% means it will take almost 8 seconds to cast a heal! OUCH!
Luckily he doesn't do much in the way of other damage though and as long as you can avoid anyone but the tank needing heals, the fight can become easy. Overall though it is a very fun fight to learn because of the initial difficulty. There is a real sense of accomplishment when you finally defeat him. There have been cheers in every group I have fought him with when we down him, and people describing how badly he has defeated them in the past. He also has some very good loot, in to form of a cloth healers head, Leather healers head, Paladins head, casters trinket and a tanking 1h sword.
The spirit version of Maladaar
After Shirrak you must make your way through 2 rooms full of large groups of Skeleton MOBS. Many of the pulls are of 7 or more MOBs all at least level 66 and mainly elite. The pulls require everyone to be at full health and mana and to coordinate attacks so that aggro is not pulled off the tank in all directions.
The second and last boss is Exarch Maladaar a 67 elite boss. While difficult he almost seems anti-climactic after Shirrak. He is a large humanoid Draenai that must be tanked and defeated. He did not have any exceeding difficult abilities or cause any issues other than at roughly 20% health he summons a spirit avatar which is almost as tough as he is that must be killed as well. The fight was a longer fight that mainly required paced damage and healing to last through both versions of him.
11k+ armor on a Pally!
He again drops some very nice loot in the form of an amazing healing staff (+143 healing and +30ish to int/stam/spirit!), a leather and mail combat helm, a combat trinket and ring, and healing cloth boots.
Once Exarch Maladaar is dead the run is over. There is no shortcut out of the instance, however it is a very short run out. Being only 2 bosses long this instance is quite a shock to many players. It seems that you just start out and its over, it is very fun though.
Having finished the harder of the two early instances in Auchindoun, I am off to run the Mana Tombs. I hope to have another instance preview up by early next week covering it off. After that I will see you all in a few more weeks with the next round of instance and maybe even raid previews!
I took many additional screen shots which are all available in our gallery here: TenTonHammer visits Auchenai Crypts .