We’re back from a short break, and just in time for the launch of patch 4.3, “Hour of Twilight.” New dungeons, new raids, new loot… All the usual goodies. Of course the biggest attraction by far is the raid instance itself, Dragon Soul. Thanks to the addition of the new Raid Finder tool, it should be even easier for non-raiding individuals to step into this tier of content, at a reduced level of difficulty and reward. And, since raiding is now more accessible than ever, we’re going to jump straight into the newest content, and kick off patch week with a look at Dragon Soul’s first boss, Morchok.
Don’t think you’re getting by without trash, though. As with all raids, trash ranges from the trivial to the oddly quirky to the surprisingly destructive. Morchok isn’t without his own cronies, though none of them pose any serious threat when handled properly. There are three in the initial mix which should be noted. Firstly, Earthen Soldiers, smaller earth elementals usually encountered in pairs. They have one noteworthy ability: Twilight Corruption. Stun them or interrupt this as often as possible, lest they blast everyone nearby with some hefty shadow damage, which will gradually increase in power with each successful cast. Typically these soldiers are paired with a larger Earthen Destroyer, whose tricks include throwing boulders at random players, causing damage and a stun within the area, and a short-range Dust Storm which damages and slows anyone nearby. Lastly, Ancient Water Lords, who will Drench their main targets, causing a watery bubble that absorbs incoming heals, and Flood, a focused beam of water aimed at a random player. Have the targeted player stand apart from the rest of the group, lest they blast the rest of the raid in the process. As a bonus, defeated Water Lords leave behind a small puddle, which will remove any persistent Dust Storm effects if a player passes through it.
Don’t hesitate to clear as much of the area as the group wishes – free drops and a larger combat space for Morchok are both valid reasons to take out the trash. Ha.
This stone giant is attempting to knock Wyrmrest Temple right off its foundations. Best not let that happen. Two tanks will be required for this fight, with the usual balance of healers and DPS composing the rest of the raid. Strategies and mechanics listed here are primarily for the normal, 10-man version of this boss, so keep in mind there may be slight changes for different groups (or, in the case of the Raid Finder, some mechanics may be absent altogether).
Right from the start, note that Morchok packs a pretty hefty punch. On top of that, periodically he’ll apply Crush Armor to his current target, decreasing said player’s armor by 10% per stack. This is a pretty routine tank-swap mechanic; simply exchange the boss when one tank’s stacks drop off (the active tank should have around three or four stacks), then repeat as needed. This ability will persist throughout the entire encounter.
Next up, Stomp, a pretty self-explanatory attack that strikes all players within 25 yards, splitting the damage between them. The melee DPS will be vulnerable to this attack, which is intended, so try to keep them looking healthy in between attacks. Now, one different trick with Stomp is that the two closest players to Morchok will take a double share of the damage – ideally these two players will be the pair of tanks, though melee DPS is advised to stand as far away as possible to minimize their chances of receiving an extra helping of damage.
As for healers and anyone standing at range, of course you get things to do too! Periodically Morchok will summon a Resonating Crystal which, after 12 seconds will violently explode and deal shared damage between the closest players to it (three on 10-man, seven on 25-man). On top of that, the explosion damage will increase drastically the farther away a player is from said crystal. Hence the trick here will be to keep a group at range and mobile, moving from one crystal to the next, soaking each explosion and minimizing the total raid damage taken.
One last trick: Morchok will occasionally pull all players to his location, dealing some light damage before summoning an assortment of stone pillars in a spotty ring around him. As soon as these pillars appear, Morchok will instantly begin erupting with Black Blood of the Earth, which covers the battlefield with extremely dangerous ooze. Contact with said ooze results in heavy damage which scales up quickly with prolonged exposure. To avoid it, have each raider quickly move to the outside of the stone pillars, and use them to obstruct line-of-sight with Morchok – the stones will prevent the Black Blood from reaching anyone hiding behind them. For the best guarantee on avoiding damage, relocate behind a small cluster of rocks if possible, as a single stone on its own offers a very small window of protection. There are no other sources of damage during this short phase, so if players are alive and healthy, don’t worry about trying to stack in the same place, just get to safety! When the ooze vanishes, so too will the stones, and the fight resumes as before.
Rinse and repeat, and note that Morchok has a light enrage effect when reaching 20% health, at which points he’ll strike faster and harder. Keep grinding away, though, and he’ll go down in no time, a fitting start to the raid. If the group finds this guy to be a bit of a pushover… well, it might be because he’s pretty simple, as far as raid bosses go. Things only scale up from here, though. Next week we’ll take a look at another boss. Or two…