We are at a point in Wrath where I am reminded that it was really the last hurrah for the idea of leveling dungeons along the way of your adventure. Wrath opened up with a dozen five player dungeons in the tradition of vanilla and TBC, and we get another four as the phases unlock.
Once we get to Cataclysm we get fewer dungeons along the way, more at level cap, and we start getting special ones, like the old Zul’Aman and Zul’Gurub raids re-cast as five person heroics.
There was certainly a reason for this change. Our own travel through Northrend has required very little overland adventuring, even with us all starting at level 68 rather than 70, and we have leveled up into and sometimes beyond the levels of the dungeons. The realities of managing an 80 level xp curve where Blizz wants people to get into the latest stuff and the plan to go to five level expansions for a couple of runs made the situation untenable.
Because, unless you’re going to do heroics at level cap, the instances can become a blur of one and done events.
I have strong memories of several dungeons in Wrath… Utgarde Keep and the Nexus for various reasons, and the Oculus for very specific reasons… but many of the other were things we did once back in 2009 and now, 14 years later, we’re doing once more.
Which brings us to the Halls of Lightning, which I actually bit more vague memories of from back in the day.
Going back in the history of the blog… I am so glad I tagged every dungeon run with the name of the dungeon… so Halls of Lightning will bring up this run and the past two… I was able to see that we had to take two runs at this one. We failed on the final boss and it was late and we had to call it a night on our first run. So we spent a second week there on a return visit to finish it off. By the second round we were all level 80 and managed to finish it off.
Which doesn’t mean I have any strong memories of the instance. It was more a series of vague “we had trouble here” sensations now and then that came up. But that was often guide enough for us, at least until the last boss. We also came in at about the same level as we did in our first run at it back in the day.
The first thing we noticed on arriving was that the first boss was there, wandering around the paths between us and the rest of the instance.
He wanders around between a set of groups, seeming to get charged up with power as he visited each group.
That seemed like a hint that maybe we should take out those groups while the general was elsewhere before engaging with him. We acted on that plan, taking out the nearest two groups while the general was on the far side of his patrol. But after clearing the group in the lower right of the pentagon on the map, we ended up a little too close to the general on his walk back and suddenly it was on.
But we managed to power through it… mostly. Ula got dropped, but on being revived she did win the roll for a new pair of shoulders.
We went around and cleared out the last group, then turned to the Iron Cruicible room, which I remembered as some sort of event. It ends up being a room with non-elites in it that respawn quickly, so if you sit there and try to clear them, which we did for a bit, you’ll never get to the far side of the room. In the end we made a dash for it, cross the room, then made our way up to the second floor, where the remainder of the bosses reside.
The first boss waiting for us was Volkhan, whose name was changed for copyright reasons I am sure, whose location again triggered some deep past memory of trouble.
Still, we took a run at him… and it did not go well. We were not ready for his mechanics and barely disturbed his work.
His gimmick is summoning some golems who, when you burn them down to one hit point, he has explode for lots of damage. Avoid the golems. We read up on a couple of suggested ways to deal with it, but in the end I just pulled him across the room then kited him around in a corner while people steered clear of his helpers and we managed to bring him down.
Then it was around through the Hall of Watchers which, again, I somehow knew was going to be trouble… well, that wasn’t even memory, it was just the certain knowledge that in a room with a bunch of hostile looking guys frozen in place somebody had to become animated and attack us. We made our way past there as quickly as we could and over to Ionar, who was clearly going to be dealing some electric damage.
Bjorid was able to put up a nature resist group effect and, when it came down to it, we were able to get through him on the first run. There is a point where he lets loose with some electrical creepy crawlies that wander around, but they were easy enough to avoid.
With Ionar out of the way, we went through the passage behind him and into the last big area which leads to the final boss, Loken.
Yes, there was some trash to clear along the way, but we managed that and were standing before Loken before too long. Proving I pay some attention to what goes on now and then, I did recall Brann Bronzebeard mentioning Loken the previous week when we were in the Halls of Stone. I don’t remember what he said, but the name definitely came up.
Loken has a couple of tricks up his sleeve. He has an ongoing AOE attack that gets stronger the further away you are from him, and then a sudden AOE attack that you really want to run away from him before it hits. So stay close, until you need to run away, then stay close again.
Also, he attempts to monologue you to death with how tedious it is to have to get up out of his big chair to deal with mortals.
The latter was survivable, but we managed to mis-time the former and ended up with just me standing there, embarrassed, with Loken down to 12% and little chance that I was going to finish him off.
We didn’t even have a soul stone, so we had to release and run back. While we got ready again, I looked Loken up to see if there were any suggestions for the fight. The clearest on I found just said fight him on the glowing line, so everybody knows where to be, then just back up when the big attack is coming, then let him come to you again once that has passed. Rinse, repeat, and finish him off.
And it worked like a champ. The first fight was chaos with us running all over, the second fight was all backing up every time I called out that the big hit was coming, standing just out of range, and picking up the fight again from there. He went down, dungeon complete.
He dropped a nice wand upgrade that went to Beanpole.
After we rolled on that we went to take a final picture in the instance.
We made it through, though we did wipe twice and, somehow, Ula and Bjorid managed to die an additional pair of times.
After this we will likely make our return to Utgarde Pinnacle to finish that off. If nothing else, that will put off us having to face The Oculus. That will be an adventure in and of itself.
Looks like you’re pacing things just right to finish all the normal instances just before the ICC dungeons are released!