The Best-Laid Plans of Champions

Alas, I missed out on the Epic questing that I had planned for Friday (Yesterday) due to some folks in my kinship asking for a Sword Hall run or three.  I know that I’ve been to the Sword Hall many times – that wasn’t the point.  The simple fact is that the difference between a MMO and a single player CRPG (even an excellent one), is that a MMO allows a little social interaction.  That is, of course, the heart of why we play MMOs, isn’t it?

Anyway, back to the Sword Hall.  I only had time for three runs, but a handful of Dol Guldur medallions can be useful.  As always, the first boss – the sorcerer – is the most dangerous.  I’ve developed a tactic for dealing with him that seems to work, even if it is a bit silly – I call it the Benny Hill offense.  You see, the most dangerous attack that the sorcerer possesses is not any of his burst damage spells.  After all, they do their damage and then they’re gone.  The issue is the “flame snake” spell that he can cast.  If it touches you once, it starts a DOT going for around 125 damage per tick.  If it touches you twice, it upgrades it to 250 or so.  If it touches you three times, it goes to 500 per tick, which is quite enough to outpace even the best healer.  The flame snake effect also follows you – you can’t just step out of the fire and keep pounding away.  It tries to touch each fellowship member.  Use this to your advantage.

The flame snake is not interruptible, except by stunning the sorcerer (only triggering a fellowship maneuver can do that, BTW).  The tank needs to sit on the sorcerer, of course, but the DPS… he needs to get that flame snake out of the rest of the group.  When the sorcerer starts to cast the flame snake (the animation looks like he’s searching for a lost contact lens), the DPS needs to back off a bit, but keep plinking away with whatever ranged attack they have.  The flame snake will doubtless hit the tank once, and it may hit the healer once.  That’s OK – one touch is workable.  When it comes after the DPS, that person should kite that spell effect around the perimeter of the room.  Try to stay out of the Nazgul’s gloom effect, but more importantly, stay out of the fire.  When the effect vanishes, start pounding on the sorcerer again.

It seems like a bizarre way to fight, but if you can nullify the flame snake spell, then you have pulled the sorcerer’s teeth.  There’s no way you will ever wipe on him again, unless everyone decides to go for coffee in the middle of the fight (and it is a long one, since your DPS will be doing the aforementioned Benny Hill chase).  But, a guaranteed win is always better than a quick gamble, isn’t it?

Of course, this tactic is something we cooked up because our groups always seem to consist of a Guardian, a Champion, and a Minstrel.  Come what may, that’s what we have.  One time, I had to tank (not a big deal – go into Glory stance, and you can dual-wield tank just fine.  These bosses hit like a wet noodle), since we had a Hunter.  However, the heart of this tactic would remain the same.  DPS lures the flame snake away, and business continues as normal for the tank and the healer.

Side note: To make things a little more interesting last night, the Guardian who was tanking was only level 64, meaning that they didn’t have level 65 gear.  I found myself grabbing agro while just auto-attacking, so I ended up just going all-out and laying into mobs.  If I was going to get agro anyway, then I might as well make the mobs pay for it, eh?  One other thing that may have been a factor is that this Guardian was weapon-and-shield specced.  Normally, I hang out with a two-handed Guardian, and he keeps up with my pace pretty well.  So, I wonder if a Guardian shouldn’t adopt a two-hander for tanking the Sword Hall.  Just something to ponder.

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