I was tossing up whether to do a Riders of Rohan wishlist post this week or continue with the update 5 instance guides, but I figure that the longer I take on these guides the less relevant they become so into the Pits of Isengard it is…

Pits of Isengard

Diseases/wounds? First boss has a DoT wound that’s worth removing
Stuns? No
CC required? No
Can a lore-master heal? I’m going to say no. Yes, it’s theoretically possible (there’s someone on the forum who’s done it), but for all practical intents and purposes the first boss is not a fight that a LM can heal without an exceptional group.
Trait setup: 5 Red, 2 blue. This is an instance which requires (at T2) a full tank and a full healer, so your DPS really matters here especially given the fairly tight dps requirements on the first boss.
Recommended pet: Bear or raven. In general, I think bear is more useful on Zaburz and Fushbraf, and raven on Ironam.

Strategy: On T2 this is a three boss instance with the most extensive trash pulls of any of the Isengard 3-person instances. This is also the hardest (and imo most fun) of the three, with some fun boss fights, tricky trash pulls to work out and a chance for us to really shine in our DPS role.

First boss – Zaburz

The opening area involves you navigating around mobs while pulling four levers. You have to kill some of the trash, and there’s a fun little prisoner mechanic where if you kill the guards the prisoners will follow and “help” you (randomly aggro a bunch of mobs you didn’t want to wake up) and then you make your way to the other side of the room to the first boss. The first thing you need to work out with this boss is positioning, which is relatively simple. He’s standing on a railroad track which leads down the middle of the room. Run to the wall at the far end of that track and have the entire group stay there for the whole fight, with your backs to the wall. The boss can yank you and if you’re not standing there you’re at risk of falling down some insta-death pits.

The boss, an orc named Zaburz, is your standard tank and spank with adds, but there’s quite a lot of adds (3 each wave, 10k morale each) and they come regularly enough that you need to be on your A-game to kill them all in time, especially if your tank isn’t contributing much damage. I’m pretty sure these adds are time based not morale-based too, but that’s not toally clear. Luckily lore-master burst AOE DPS is perfectly suited for these waves – keep tar down regularly and then try to setup a good ents/sticky-gourd/cracked earth/lightning storm combo (whichever you have off cooldown) when the adds are grouped up. This is likely to give your tank fits keeping up with the aggro, but you really have to hit them as hard and as quickly as possible so just warn them before the fight and also keep your bear taunt ready if you’re in trouble. Also, it’s definitely possible to root 2 or even all 3 of them at range to let you whittle them down before they come in close, but this of course will give you a big threat lead over your tank so make sure you can kill anything you engage at range before it gets in close. Be prepared to use your WoTC heal and even racial panic button if you pull a bunch of adds, because you will die very quickly. There’s also some wound removal and spot healing to worry about in this fight, so you’ll certainly be kept busy.

After this boss, you have the choice of going left, to the poison wing and the troll boss Ironarm, or right into the fire wing and the fire boss Fushbraf. It’s up to you which way you go; the fire boss is substantially easier but it has much harder trash (the hardest trash of any 3-person instance in the game imo), so there overall isn’t much difficulty difference between the two wings.

Poison wing – Ironarm

The trash in the poison wing isn’t much to worry about, but it does teach you one of the boss mechanics which is that if the trolls are allowed to stand in the poison puddles then they will spawn exploding limrafns. Tell your tank to watch out for this :). The T2 challenge condition also involves you tiering up the wing’s poison debuff to 4, which happens by killing the right kind of mob – just keep pulling and killing stuff until you hit tier 4 (this is the same in the fire wing).

The boss fight is more of an endurance fight than anything, it’s relatively easy provided the tank keeps the boss moving around out of the puddles. It’s almost inevitable that some limrafns will get spawned though, so I highly, highly recommend that you stay at range in this fight. Yes, it will cripple your DPS (taking into account the necessary movement too to keep LOS, I do about 400 which is pathetic), but it’s a vastly safer way of doing the fight because the limrafn explosions will very quickly take you out. If one does spawn, try to hit a root on it ASAP because it will probably run straight towards your healer and then kill it as quickly as possible (appx 700 morale, so one skill should do it). As long as everyone stays alive, this is a relatively easy but long fight.

Fire wing – Fushbraf

As I said before, the trash in the fire wing is hard, brutally so the first time you go in. But it is certainly possible to figure it out and I really quite like it in the end. The biggest problem is that you’re fighting around a lot of insta-death lava and the fire orcs like to do massive yanks and throw you into that lava. So positioning is obviously important. For the first pull, run across two bridges so you end up to the left of the mobs in a relatively safe spot. Pull from a distance and stay as much as you can with your backs to the wall in the alcove (ie run back when you get pulled). Have the whole group bunch up, because if everyone keeps the orcs in melee range then they won’t yank you (the yank does like 1500 damage too, it’s really not fun). The problem then is that the orcs put up a fire ring which does quite heavy AOE damage. So let the mobs come in close, and hit them with as much DPS as you possibly can while your tank frantically tries to keep threat and your healer desperately keeps the group alive – that’s pretty much what you want in a fight isn’t it? :) The pull just before the door to the boss room can be pretty brutal. Root the group in place to start and have everyone run up to the door as quickly as possible. Tell your healer to blow all the cooldowns that they can becuase they’ll probably need it. Once you’ve tiered the fire debuff up to 4 then head on into the boss room.

The final boss, Fushbraf, is stupidly easy. If you’re doing this with a full healer and tank, his mechanic (which is a 4-pronged fire earthquake thingy) can be completely ignored. All you need to do is stand in the middle of the room and do damage. Which is actually quite fun – the rest of this instance is pretty challenging, it’s nice to just be able to sit there and hit a target dummy for a few minutes! And speaking of target dummies, this boss is the best place in the game at the moment to benchmark your DPS. Unless they’ve fixed it recently, the training dummies in Galtrev are completely broken and useless for measuring DPS becuase they boot you out of combat every few seconds, wiping all DoTs. Given that an enormous proportion of LM damage is from DoTs that’s a big problem. This couple of hundred k morale troll though gives you a perfect measuring stick. It will take you about 3mins to kill him, and it’s a pure single target fight, so it’s a very good way to measure your DPS. Personally, I’m able to get just over 900dps as measure by CombatAnalysis, which translates to a bit over 1000dps because CA doesn’t measure the sticky gourd DoT (which hits for ~400 damage every 4 seconds). I’m not fully geared out, I’m sure it’s possible to squeeze another couple of hundred out of the class, but I think that’s a good general benchmark for lore-master sustained single target DPS using a second age L75 staff (tactical mastery was about 27k, with around 5.5k crit rating). Note that this was in a group with a guardian tank and RK healer, so I had no external buffs or mob debuffs of any kind (I hit over 1100 with a captain another time!).

Also, you can once again see the importance of melee to lore-master sustained DPS in the screenshot below. Autoattacks were my second biggest source of damage, accounting for almost 30% of total damage! Throw in staff strike and staff sweep on top of that and melee attacks accounted for over half of the damage I did in that fight. As I’ve said before, if you want to do damage as a lore-master be sure to stand in melee range.

Hope that’s of some help to people, I’ll move onto the pits next week and then the Tower of Orthanc raid some time after that.