Guide to LotRO's Update 5 Instances: The Pits of Isengard
"Ahhh, you have found the Pits. What lies beneath is but a small taste of what I shall unleash upon Middle-earth. Man cannot stand against my power, and you too will perish." - Saruman
The Pits of Isengard is the last of the trio of small-fellowship instances in the Lord of the Rings Online's Armies of Isengard cluster, following Fangorn's Edge and Dargnakh Unleashed. Saruman the Many-coloured has some plans up his sleeve... or, rather, tucked away in a dank, unpleasant hole somewhere beneath the tower of Orthanc. When he's not busy forging his own rings of power, he's working on building an army of elementally-charged super-soldiers and enslaving those who would stand against him. As you escalate your battle against the would-be Lord of the Rings, you must put an end to these foul plans.
Free the Rohirrim Soldiers
The first room, accessed after pulling a lever to open the first door, is a set of walkways surrounding a sludge pit. The walkways are patrolled by uruk-hai, some of whom are leading pairs of ensorcelled Rohirrim. Kill the uruk-hai, but not the Rohirrim - they will fight at your side when the spell is broken. They are not particularly skilled combatants, and will occasionally (read: often) aggro on mobs you had planned on avoiding, and there is no real way of controlling them, but they are disposable pets for whoever has the aggro of the uruk slave-master when he dies, and will deal good amounts of damage during fights.
The goal in this room is to pull the levers at the back along each side of the room to open the door at the rear of the main chamber. This can be accomplished by fighting the groups of mobs standing near them, or by sending a stealthy Burglar to trigger them without drawing attention. Either way works fine - fighting the mobs here is not mandatory, and skipping past the mobs you don't need to fight means you get to the next objective faster. The Rohirrim soldiers will stick with you throughout the instance for as long as they remain alive.
First Boss: Zaburz
The first boss is a lone orc named Zaburz, standing alone in the middle of a large room. Zaburz is a nasty customer, the Indiana Jones of Saruman's orc army. On Tier 1, this is a fairly straightforward tank'n'spank - drag him to a corner of the room and kill him. You want to fight in a fairly remote corner so his whip attacks don't send you flying into the pit of green sauce in the middle of the room. He will either yank you towards him (saying "Come here!" just like Scorpion of Mortal Kombat fame) or send you flying backwards (saying "Be gone!"). Standing in a corner prevents these whip attacks from spreading the fight out or landing you in toxic goo.
On Tier 2, Zaburz calls in adds during the fight, which can get extremely hectic. The adds have 10k morale and hit much harder than on Tier 1. Best strategy for this is to have a main tank with lots of area-effect attacks - Guardians can trait for Vexing Blow to hit multiple targets, and spam their AoEs. Again, try to contain this fight in one corner of the room so as not to get hurled into the toxic goo.
Once Zaburz is down, you have a choice to make: left to the acid wing,
or right to the fire wing. Loot the chest, pick a side and stand on the
two raised panels on the floor to open the appropriate door.
Left Side: Ironarm
This area looks like one of the subway tunnels in Fallout 3 - strewn with barrels filled with glowing green toxic waste and crawling with abominations. One can almost hear the strains of pre-war jazz as you clear the tunnels of mutated orcs, goblins and trolls.
There are a couple of key differences between Tier 1 and Tier 2 here. On Tier 1, you can largely ignore the stacking debuff from the acidic air. The effect simultaneously increases attack speed (making you slower) and increases your incoming critical rating, plus a second debuff does a pulse of acid damage every 2 seconds. On Tier 2, you need to allow this debuff to stack to tier 4 before you face Ironarm in order to complete the challenge - you will be draggy-slow, and the mobs will score a lot more crits than usual.
Since the debuff tiers up by killing the groups of adds, you need to clear more of the tunnels in Tier 2 to get the debuff stacked higher. On Tier 1, you can take more or less a straight line to the door to Ironarm's room and enter after defeating the pair of trolls. On Tier 2, you need to roam around a bit.
The battle against Ironarm can be a tough one if you're not prepared.
The room itself can be hazardous, and there are a number of moving
pieces to keep track of. Which may prove harder than usual, because your
screen will be all fuzzy from the lousy environment and visibility will
Ironarm stands at the back of the room, in a nook surrounded by thorny brambles. When he gets close to the bramble patches, he does big AoE attacks, so you want to avoid those whenever possible. Another hazard to avoid is the puddles of bright green toxic sludge - these have a strong DoT effect when you stand in them, so the tank will want to avoid standing in them while fighting the troll.
He will also spawn green clouds around him, and when he stands in these
clouds, he summons swarms of "puffballs," which will generally go after
the healer unless the tank can catch them in time. The "puffballs" have
very little morale, but the real hazard they present is their use of
knockback attacks, which will make the healer's job much harder.
If the group has an AoE specialist (Champion, Hunter, etc), the "puffballs" can be handily dispatched before they reach the healers. Keep hitting TAB to switch targets, and ready AoE attacks to eliminate them quickly.
Note that after you complete one of the wings, you will need to start
the instance over from the beginning to reach the other wing. After a
troll boss is downed, the floor plates in Zaburz's room become inactive.
Right Side: Fushbraf
The fire wing is somewhat more aggravating than the acid wing. The same condition is true here - on Tier 2, you need to let the fire debuff stack to tier 4 to complete the challenge, but the trash fights are arguably harder. The bigger orcs have knockback/throw attacks that can toss players into the fire pits, which can lead to a hasty wipe when they hit the healers. Watch your positioning, and try to keep the throw-blocking stalagmites between you and certain defeat.
Fushbraf, on the other hand, is a bit easier than Ironarm. He does generate fire hazards periodically throughout the fight, but it's a simple matter of running to a clear spot and back when the floor starts to burn. A bunch of bright, flame-y patches will show up on the floor, and everyone needs to move quickly to a dark spot to avoid being incinerated. Other than that, it's a straight-up tank'n'spank.
Now that you've conquered the small-fellowship instances, it's time to
take things a step further. The Foundry awaits!