Updated Wed, Nov 19, 2008 by Messiah
One of the first instances that you can experience in the Wrath of the Lich King is the Utgarde Keep. This instance is located in the instance hub of the same name and is a level-up dungeon for players level 70-72. It is located just north of the Alliance starting camp in the Howling Fjord. The meeting stone is convieniently located just outside of the instance, and makes it very easy to summon your friends to help. If you are coming from Azeroth and are not already in Northrend, head over to Menethil Harbour and catch the boat across to the town of Valgarde Keep. When you land there it is a simple task of completing a few quests before being sent into the Keep to explore.
The name Utgarde comes from the Norse word Utgård meaning the stronghold of giants. The original meaning is fitting since Utgarde Keep houses the viscous Vrykul which are a giant race of viking like warriors. The Vrykul are intent on proving themselves to the Lich King so that they will raise them from the dead to serve him. They are lead by Ingvar the Plunderer whom is the last boss in the instance.
When you enter the zone you are greeted by a stairwell and long hallway full of Vrykul guards and blacksmiths. You must fight your way forward to the skull shaped forge and then defeat each group around the forge to lower a flame wall to the next section. After that you fight your way through stables full of proto-dragons being trained and then come to the first boss.
The first boss you come to is Prince Keleseth, who is a warlock and the scourge ambassador to the Vrykul. To engage him you first fight his 4 Vrykul bodyguards. Once they die, he engages the group.
Periodically he summons several undead skeleton guards that engage the group. While they die quite easily, as soon as they do, he summons more. They can be feared, stunned and shackled so it may be best to leave on up while you deal with Keleseth. He also has a Ice Tomb attack that targets any non-tanking player and entombs them in ice for 30 seconds doing damage to them the whole time. The tomb is very much like Illhoofs Demonic Chains in Karazhan in that they need to be destroyed to be removed. The tomb has very little health though, and can be taken down very quickly. Also there are several ways for players to get themselves out of it, such as a paladin bubble or a mages ice block.
After defeating Keleseth, you must venture further through tunnels in the zone. There you start meeting undead creatures and even more vrykul. Just a short distance away you come across the second boss, which is Skarvald the Constructor. You will find two bosses though Skarvald and his bodyguard. Skarvald is a caster, while his bodyguard is melee. The fight here is similar to the Romulo and Julianne fight in Karazhan in that you need to kill them both at the same time. It is not quite as unforgiving as R&J though. If you kill one of them early they come back as a ghost form of themselves until the other is defeated. This means you will be fighting both of them the whole time, so it is best to tank both and keep going back and forth between the two for damage, and drop them together. The fight is not hard though.
From Skarvald's room you continue up in the keep and come out onto the ramparts. Here you fight your way around through several groups of Vrykul and even a proto-dragon and mount that descends from the sky. There are only a few pulls though until you reach the final boss.
The last boss in the instance is Ingvar the Plunderer. The fight has two phases. In the first phase has two main abilities an AOE roar that hits everyone for around 2,000 damage and interrupts casting, and a smashing attack that hits everyone in front of him for big damage. Make sure that only your tank is in his front arc or they will get destroyed. After each roar he grows in size and becomes more powerful (by 5% per roar), so the fight is a DPS race to ensure he is taken down before the healer can not keep up.
Once you defeat him, he is returned to unlife by Annhylde the Caller to serve the Lich King. You must defeat him again in his new undead shadow form. In this form his attacks become shadow based and are even more powerful. Again the debuff stacks up quickly so you must deal with him as quickly as possible.
Overall the instance can be run very quickly, taking a well geared group less than 30 minutes to get through it. As an entry level instance to the expansion it is very good. It allows players to enter, get some gear and be back on their way very quickly. The instance is however extremely simple for anyone that has done any raiding in the Burning Crusade. With a group with just Karazhan, Zul'Aman and Badge gear you are able to pull whole rooms at one time and should be able to make it through the instance with no incident. The instance is very well paced with some trash, boss, trash, boss, etc. It has a constant flow to the zone. The scenery does not hurt either, the instance is spectacular with many great scenes to look at.