Bad Hawley’s Sword Halls of Dol Guldur Casebook

January 20, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Posted in General | 2 Comments
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Wotcha everyone,

The Caveat: Bad Hawley loves the intarnet because it is filled with crunchy information.  This is not one of those places; for finely detailed crunch-based tactics, you are invited to look elsewhere.  Here, there is but opinion formed of direct experience.

First, a brief introduction:  The Sword Halls of Dol Guldur is part of the Tower of Dol Guldur.

Second, a slightly more verbose introduction:  The Sword Halls of Dol Guldur is a single room instance designed for a small fellowship (3 persons).  In concept, the heroes enter the auditorium where a Nazgul orders three of its champions into combat.  This Casebook will look at the non-Challenge form of the instance, where each champion is part of a separate phase.

As a minstrel, it is possible to succeed comfortably in the Sword Halls at level 64, and with what can be considered “average to low” gear and equipment.  Having level 65 companions helps a great deal, especially if one of them is of a tanking persuasion.  Remember, without adequate protection from your enemies, you are only so much jam.

As there will be many references to The Sword Halls of Dol Guldur within this casebook (this being a casebook about The Sword Halls of Dol Guldur) I shall be using a shortened form of the correct name.  Therefore “the Sword Halls” shall be standing in for “The Sword Halls of Dol Guldur”  for the remainder of this casebook.  Cooler kids might use the acronym “SH”, but Bad Hawley hates acronyms.  Hates them!  (Bad Hawley is also not a cool kid.  And that makes him cry.)

There are five phases to the Sword Halls, and each is separate and distinct.  Between each phase there is a short pause during which it is wise to gather one’s breath, check that everything is still where it should be (potions, quickslot icons, nads) and prepare for the next phase.

Phase the First:  The Wait.
Upon entering the Sword Halls you will find a short ramp leading up to the arena.  The arena itself is bare (apart from such requisite furniture as piles of bones and other detritus) and a Nazgul looming over you and your companions.

Now, you might feel that there would be no challenge to a phase named “The Wait”, but there are in fact two challenges to face.  The first challenge is to ignore the Brazier, or “Clicky Thing” at the other side of the arena, for this is a trap.

At first, nothing seems to happen.  To the extent that it might not seem unreasonable to think that clicking on the Clicky Thing will start the instance.  Do Not Do This.  Clicking on the Clicky Thing will engage Hard Mode, which could be A Bad Thing™.  As you might not wish to engage Hard Mode, it is a good idea to ensure no-one steps too close to the Clicky Thing, so as to avoid any inadvertent clicking errors.

The second challenge is to use the time effectively.  You might find that having a sip of tea helps to occupy the time, but remember your role.  You are an Minstrel, and it is your job to ensure that the morale of your companions is never depleted.

Now, the average player might feel that Morale is merely a thin and shallow method used to hide a standard hit points/healing mechanic, but to the true Minstrel, party morale is more than a simple numbers game.  Use Phase the First to not just drink tea, but remind your comrades of how valuable and appreciated they are.  If necessary, lie about their abilities, and their importance to the group.  Remember, high morale is better than low morale.

Phase the Second: Urcheron.

Phase the Second sets the template for all bar one of the remaining phases, and it is well to bear this in mind.

It begins with a group of general underlings, who are similar in nature to the warm-up acts as seen in modern vaudeville theatres.  As such, they have the abilities of the Main Act but are not particularly developed, so they are a minor nuisance so long as you and your companions are aware, and not falling asleep at the keyboard.

After the underlings, Urcheron will arrive.  Urcheron has three noticeable attacks, and all of them are about as much fun as doing star-jumps in hedgehog-skin underpants.

All three are fire attacks, but two of them are simple enough.  One is an AOE instant attack, the second opens a big burny portal under the chosen victim.  As one cannot be avoided (victims are hit or not) and the second relies upon parents to hammer home the vital information; FIRE BAD! to their children, there is no need to go into these attacks further.

The third attack is most annoying, and one that requires special attention.  It is a flame attack that must be seen to be fully understood, but could be likened unto a snake made of fire.  This snake will slither upon the floor, heading towards the object of it’s anger.  And, just like all fire, this fire is BAD.  Do not let it be bad, for you or your comrades.

The best way of dealing with this attack is to move, and keep moving.  Both this attack and the portal of fire are presaged by Urcheron crouching down, and becoming surrounded by an orange icon.  This is not Urcheron suddenly suffering from an irritable bowel, so beware.  If you see this, be prepared to move, and be smart about it.

However, the attack only lasts a number of seconds, and it is easy to outrun.  As a minstrel, there are a number of tactics that will help when dealing with the effects of this attack:

Firstly, try not to stand next to Urcheron.  You might be tempted to help out on the old dps front by whacking him/her/it with your dobber of choice.  This is not necessarily a good thing, as you will have less time with which to vacate the area.  Let the creeping fire take it’s time getting to you,

Secondly, try running in an arc, so as to keep range between you and the fire, but remain within healing range of your tank.  Remember, they may well need healing as soon as it is safe for you to stop running.

Thirdly, try using a Heal-Over-Time ability on your tank such as Soliloquy of Spirit as you set off running.  It will help keep your tank on their feet during the period of the attack.  At the least, it will take the edge off any pain they might take during your jaunt.

Fourthly, there are three of you in the auditorium, so keep checking that the creeping fire is creeping after you, rather than a colleague.  Getting this wrong and accidentally running *into* the fire will make you look like a chump, and your comrades may well call you a “Thicky”.

The key with this fight is to not make your life harder by needing to heal yourself as well as the other members of your fellowship.  Urcheron *will* fall, it might just take a little while.

Phase the Third:  Carchrien.
Carchrien is one of the Morroval, which means that she is a bat-winged screecher that is only happy when ripping out your spleen.

Her warm-up act are morroval, so be prepared for stun attacks, and being buffeted by small numbers of bats.

Whilst I cannot guarantee that each Champion of Shadow enters on a timer (in my experience, Urcheron and Durkar have both appeared a few seconds after their last little henchman has died) Carchrien always seems to arrive with one or two of her henchmen standing.  At this time it is unknown whether Carchrien is a bit of a cheat, a bit unsporting, or is running late for another appointment and was hoping we wouldn’t mind an early entrance.

Whichever it is, the fact remains that you will have to deal with Carchrien at the same time as one or two henchmen.  Usually, as a minstrel you might well be in the grand melee, but it is advisable to not get too carried away.

Firstly, there is no respite to regain used power before the entrance of Carchrien.
Secondly, it is worth keeping some distance between you and she, due to her attacks.

Now there are two attacks that you will need to be aware of, and overcome.  One is a standard stun attack, the other is a timed summon.

The stun attack is simple enough to overcome, and is more of a hindrance than anything else.  The important point is to ensure that your comrades are either topped up enough to survive your momentary inactivity, or to ensure you are in good enough communication to advise them to drink healing potions if they are not.

The timed summon is slightly more of an issue.  In this attack, Carchrien summons a swarm of bats, which will (in my experience) attack you.  This is most probably because, as the healer, you are the member of the fellowship with the most attractive flavour to a recently summoned bat.

The attack will mean that you will not be able to cast anything with an induction time; any attempts will most likely be interrupted.  Instant-cast abilities may also be used.  There is no point attempting Song Of Soothing, neither will engaging the bats in combat; they have too many hit points to kill quickly, and will disappear after a few seconds anyway.

If on good enough morale, it is possible to weather the attacks of the bats.  A tank with a handy taunt can also help, so in this instance it is useful to be relatively close to your tank.  The important thing is not to panic, but to calmly assess the situation, and if necessary use an instant heal or drink a healing potion if the situation seems dire.  Running around shouting “Bats!  BATS!” will only make you appear to be a loon, and make your comrades wonder if the moon is full this evening.

Phase the Fourth:  Durkar.
As usual, you will find that Durkar is presaged by his warm-up act.  However, similar to Urcheron and unlike Carchrien, you should find that the mooks will be dust underfoot by the time Durkar arrives.

Whilst Durkar seems most physically imposing, the poor chap is possibly the easiest to defeat.  With a good enough tank, he isn’t even particularly harsh when it comes to healing requirements or power usage.  This may well be a trap; the temptation to “speed things up a bit” by using war speech is high, but will leave you with very little power all to quickly.

Due to the nature of Durkar’s attack, you will be pleased to note that it is possible to stand next to a pillar for the duration of the combat.  It is a lovely pillar, and nicely patterned.  Try and avoid wearing green, though, as you may find yourself clashing against it.

Durkar appears to throw out some Area Of Effect damage as part of his normal attacks, so should be tanked a short distance away from your pillar.  During his special attack, he will run from wherever he is being tanked to the centre of the auditorium, and perform what can only be called; “a boogie”.  At the culmination of this “boogie”, preset lines of force will shoot along the ground.

You should, however, be safe at your pillar.

As is the way with such fights, patience and professionalism are the key.

Phase the Fifth:  The Divvy.
Should you be victorious, you will find that the Nazgul will fly off in a huff, and your fellowship is left in the auditorium with three chests.

There is no warm-up act per se, but you might wish to initiate some cheering and congratulations to your comrades (even if they do not necessarily deserve it.  This is not the time to be churlish).  After that, looting the chests is your final challenge.  Whichever method of distribution your fellowship settles on, do not forget to loot each chest, as there is a lovely, shiny Medallion in each one for a total of three medallions for each member of the fellowship.


Addendum:


You are not the damage.

In a six person instance, your lack of damaging abilities will not be readily apparent to any other member of the group.  After all, there will most likely be at least two members of the group who are playing high damage output characters.
In a three person instance, your lack of damage will become obvious.  This is not to say that you will be an inhibitor of success, but that your talents lie elsewhere.  Remember this, and that the fights will take a little longer.

Yours is a slower, but surer route.

Conserve your power.
Power is healing.  Healing is power.  It is a simple mantra, but one worth repeating at every opportunity.  The Sword Halls is, at times, about weathering the slings and arrows directed at your power.  There are long fights, with little opportunity to replenish your power, and the chances are slim that there will be a Burglar there for handy power-replenishing conjunctions, or a Lore-master with their power-providing goodness.

Fellowship’s Heart.
It is a good idea to keep Fellowship’s Heart handy, for those moments where you need a large amount of healing to all the members of your fellowship.  I have found it to be of use against Urcheron and Carchrien, but so far have not needed it against Durkar.  So if in doubt, use it earlier rather than later.  It will also make you look big and clever.

Cheers,
Hawley.

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2 Comments »

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  1. Durkar and his ‘wiggle in the middle’. Everytime it makes me laugh. Every single time. I’m starting to find it hard to get a Sword Hall group these days…….

  2. Wotcha Berath,
    I think Durkar may be the least ‘interesting’ of the three fights for a minstrel, as you don’t get the running and screaming of Urcheron, nor the stun and bat frenzy of Carchrien.
    That ‘wiggle in the middle’ definately lightens the mood, so giggle away!
    Cheers,
    Hawley.


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