Guide to LotRO's Ost Dunhoth: Fear Wing
Victory in the Wound Wing of Ost Dunhoth opens up some possibilities. You can backtrack and head on to the Disease and Poison Wings across the way, or you can follow the progression of the story and take an active role in Gortheron's skewed re-imagining of Gandalf's battle with Durin's Bane in the Fear Wing.
Despite the name, the thing to watch out for in this wing is elemental damage: cold, fire and shadow. And the only way to open this wing in the first place is to first beat the Wound Wing.
The wing begins with Gortheron re-telling the story of Gandalf's fight against the balrog known as Durin's Bane, attempting to mind-screw his enemies with a tale of loss and terror. After a brief, mocking soliloquy, he transports everyone to the Endless Stairs in Moria. Echoes of Gandalf's monumental battle against Durin's Bane ring through the air, and the scene takes on a shimmering, dream-like quality. As this can affect gameplay, you may wish to disable post processing effects - the shimmer is neat at first, but the blurry targets can be difficult to accurately select or differentiate during heated battles.
The first group of mobs in the Fear Wing. Post processing makes this a blurry mess, even with the handy target marking.
As you follow Gandalf's path up the Endless Stairs, you will come across groups of mobs barring passage at strategic intervals. There are 3 groups here, and each group has a different makeup. All the mobs in these groups come pre-target-marked, which will make things much easier for raid leaders.
Group 1 consists of 4 merrevail and 2 trolls. The merrevail are susceptible to crowd-control measures - roots, dazes, fears and mezzes - but the trolls are immune. A common strategy is to open the fight with crowd control against the merrevail, and to tank the trolls separately while group DPS focuses on one morroval at a time. The merrevail hit very hard when they get into melee combat, employ a strong fear debuff/damage-over-time attack and have loads of morale, so you will want to limit their activity and focus DPS on one at a time until they are all dead. The trolls have a reactive root, so that any attack against them results in the attacker being rooted in place with a block of ice at his feet. They also do frontal area-effect damage and have strong ranged attacks with hurled ice. Again, focus on one at a time until they're all dead.
Group 2 consists of 5 merrevail and 3 drakelings. In this case, the drakelings (which can also be rooted or mezzed) are priority targets - they have a fairly strong damaging aura, and having more than one loose in the raid can cause a wipe. However, they have less morale than the equally-dangerous merrevail, so you won't be fighting them as long... but you still want to take them out first. Keep as many of the enemies locked down for as long as possible - it will help to have a good number of Burglars, Lore-masters and Hunters with Rain of Thorns traited.
Group 3 consists of a few of each of the mob types. Stay with the priority of drakelings > merrevail > trolls and keep as many of the small-but-dangerous mobs as possible locked down with crowd-control.
Generally, the root from Rain of Thorns is a good option for these fights, provided the Hunter using it has the legacy for Maximum Targets for AoE Skills on his melee weapon, and has upgraded it Rank 3 or higher. The 10-meter area of effect for Rain of Thorns is fairly wide, wider than 8-meter radius of the Lore-master's Herb-lore, and targeting the middle mob will hit everything in the group. Keeping the mobs locked down may be somewhat more problematic, though - the root only lasts 30 seconds, but the skill has a 1-minute cooldown. After the initial root wears off, another player will have to take over crowd-control responsibilities. If the mobs begin moving and group up a bit tighter, a Lore-master can hit them all with Herb-lore.
After the last troll drops, head up to the top of the stairs. You may want to pause about 6 or 7 steps from the top - you'll see a line of boulders and rubble up ahead - to get everyone re-buffed and ready.
TOWER OF DURIN
Taking those last few steps will cause a fade to black. There is no shimmering doorway to pass through - as soon as someone steps on the trigger, the whole raid is teleported to the top of the tower, where everything is black except the falling snowflakes. When Gortheron finishes blowing your mind with his story about Gandalf and the balrog, the darkness fades and you see the mighty Durin's Bane before you in all his flame-wreathed-shadow-y glory.
Your first glimpse of Durin's Bane.
There is only the one mob to fight here, but Durin's Bane is no pushover. He has around 750,000 morale on Tier 1 and over 800,000 on Tier 2, and he works hard to keep every last shred of it. For this fight, you will want two strong tanks - preferrably Guardians with the Guardian's Threat legendary trait equipped - and at least 2 gifted healers, who will be working overtime trying to keep everyone above half-health. Unlike the Wound Wing, this is not a DPS race - if the group is strong enough to endure a prolonged fight against a very powerful boss, they can take their time with this fight and not rush blindly ahead.Communication and coordination are key factors here. The raid leader will need to be quick, clear and concise in his orders, and the rest of the players will need to be attentive and quick to respond.
This is a 3-stage fight, and each stage is marked by the addition of a new special attack. For stage 1, have the two tanks run in and engage him immediately, turning his back to the rest of the group. For the most part, the entire raid (except for the tanks) will want to stay in a relatively tight cluster at his back. Spreading out can cause problems later on. The tanks will need to determine which of them is to pick up aggro first (Main Tank) and which will pick it up second (Backup Tank). Through a clever combination of stance-switching and forced-aggro attacks, the tanks will "bounce" the balrog's aggro between them throughout the fight.
During all stages, Durin's Bane will shout out things in the Black Speech. You'll want to pay attention to these shouts and be prepared to act upon them quickly. When he shouts "Búrzum lázatlat, (name)," this is directed at the main target of his aggression, and he will apply a powerful incoming healing debuff on the named person. This debuff is marked by a red glow around the target's head, and the affected person will want to stop taking damage immediately. Since this is typically one of the two tanks, the process for dealing with it is fairly simple: call it out, turn away from the balrog and have the other guard use Challenge to pick it up.
The balrog will also pick secondary targets for a fear-based damage-over-time debuff. This debuff needs to be removed immediately, either by a potion or a Captain's Muster Courage. If left too long, it can be fatal - not just to the affected character, but to the entire raid.
This buff shows up on Durin's Bane at the start of the fight. As characters die, the number changes. When it reaches 0, prepare for another workout on the Endless Stairmaster.
The group can suffer no more than 5 deaths during the entire fight. If 6 player-deaths occur, Durin's Bane will execute the entire raid. It doesn't matter if it's 6 different characters or one character 6 times - 6 deaths is all it takes, and the raid wipes. This can occur many different ways - a Guardian can mistime the aggro-bounce, a ranged attacker can fail to bring his morale back up over the threshold after being hurled, someone can get punted over the edge of the tower, someone can neglect to remove a fear DOT... Chances are, it will be the deaths of secondary targets that build up enough to cause a wipe. The tanks surely take a savage beating, but since they are also receiving the bulk of the group's healing, it is more likely that a death will occur when a non-tank loses track of his own position, neglects debuffs or gets hurled clean off the tower.
During the second stage, after the balrog loses about 25% of his total morale, he will begin using area-effect whip attacks, calling out" Barazub lat krulkul dushatár!" before he does so. These attacks will hit anyone standing within melee range and do fire damage, which can be completely avoided by Runekeepers using Do Not Fall to Flame. He will also begin throwing people around, either punting them away or pulling them close, depending on where the target is standing when the attack hits. These are also called out in Black Speech, and victims will want to heal themselves up immediately after landing. If a player falls below 30% or so of his morale and fails to get back up over half within a few short seconds, Durin's Bane will execute that character.
Unless you are a tank, most of the fight will look similar to this.
The tanks during this stage are going to need to watch their footing. They will likely get punted a few times, and each time they do, the balrog moves a few steps closer to the edge of the tower while chasing them down. After a few such punts, they may want to rotate the fight a few degrees to put more rooftop behind them. When the tanks need to rotate the balrog, they will need to call it out to the raid, and everyone will need to change their positions accordingly to stay at the back of the giant beast.
At around 35 - 40% morale, roughly the last 250,000, the balrog switches to stage 3, and Gortheron, sure of his impending victory, begins taunting the raid, shouting "Face Durin's Bane and be destroyed!" Should the players choose to ignore this taunt and continue facing Durin's Bane, they will get hit with a very large shadow-damage attack. This is the requirement for the Tier 2 challenge: face him, soak the damage and stay alive. For groups that don't so much care about the challenge, there is a short window of time to turn away from the balrog and take a considerably smaller hit of fire damage. Even if the group has loads of healing and massive shadow damage mitigation, facing Durin's Bane for this assault is a dangerous proposition - remember, there's that pesky morale threshold to maintain, and staying below that amount for more than a second or two results in a one-shot execution. If possible, Minstrels will want to save Fellowship's Heart for this part of the fight, and healing Rune-keepers will want to save their big heals for this also.
Tier 1 and non-challenge runs can turn away during this phase. You will have to act quick as soon as the billboard comes up - the window is really small. But you don't have to stay turned for long, either. A couple of seconds is all it takes, long enough for the small fire-burst to hit, and then continue the assault.
So it turns out, Gandalf is pretty badass. He kited this giant mass of flame and shadow up the Endless Stairs and soloed him at the top. He died in the process, but he did manage to kill the boss by himself and he got himself a new White Wizard Robe for his troubles, and a new title. Should your raid manage to take down Durin's Bane, your reward will be... well, maybe not quite as impressive, but still pretty great: a chance at a 1st age symbol, some nifty jewelry and a barter token for an armour piece. And you'll be ready to head on over to the other side of Ost Dunhoth, to tackle the Disease and Fear wings.