New readers and everybody else, click here to check out what this project is all about and see the current status: Dungeon Challenge Overview.
Dire Maul West, as well as East and North, are technically one dungeon. That’s why you can enter all three wings at the same level, even though they vary vastly in difficulty. The East end boss is level 41, West is 44 and Norths is 47 and everything is available from level 31. Well, in theory.
We got to the end boss of East at 31 (+10) but didn’t manage to kill him until 34 (+7). We entered West at 33. Eleven levels below the final boss. Yikes! We didn’t go at 31 because it seemed, well, stupid, even for us and we chose 33 because that was our next Step Up (Scholomance became available) and the level difference to the bosses was still a new record.
Actually we didn’t expect to make progress at this level difference, but as usual, this challenge is full of surprises.
The Trash started out at level 41, to our surprise. It seemed like we could’ve made progress at 31 here, but the unbelievably high damage output taught us otherwise. Our aggro radius was gigantic and we had to carefully pick out mobs and packs and pull them back to a safe location. It was very slow with single battles taking several minutes. Touch of Death was used on cooldown to save at least some time, but it missed very often.
A single additional mob was a certain wipe and even without pulling anything extra we wiped. We could see more abilities like root, knockback, polymorph, silence, mobs targeting the healer, tons of debuffs, patrolling mobs, teleporting mobs, persistent AoE spells, selective interrupting, high enemy density and so on. You can tell that this used to be a high level instance back in the day.
Due to the crystal/shield mechanic we also couldn’t skip a lot of the trash. The first boss also calls a bunch of mobs to him if we don’t kill them first.
Boss 1: Tendris Warpwood
At level 44, even without any interesting abilities, this was a tough fight for us. Moving around is not advised, because he has root, knockdown, stun and teleport abilities to keep you close to him. Basically we had to find out how to position ourselves (not that difficult) to not move around (also not difficult) and not die (difficult). He hits incredibly hard and if the fight would’ve been longer, we’d have a serious mana problem on our hands. But with casting flash heal 24/7 and properly timed defensive cooldowns, we were able to defeat him soon enough in about 3 minutes.
Boss 2: Illyanna Ravenoak
She’s supposed to be a hunter, has a pet and ranged attacks, some of them AoE and traps. She also didn’t read patch notes for quite some time because she easily switches to a melee weapon when getting close to her.
Her pet is quickly killed and doesn’t pose a threat. Her abilities require some lazy movement, but nothing you couldn’t handle with the use of a handful of brain cells. So for the tank this fight is somewhat boring, I just had to be careful not to get too close to other mobs in the area, because she moved around a little bit to shoot me.
The healer had the difficult part here, because (as usual) the damage from her is really really high at our level. The fight was not that long about 3-4 minutes, but had it been more like 7-8 minutes (happened before), we would’ve run into a mana problem. But still there were a number of close calls.
Boss 3: Magister Kalendris
According to the Dungeon Journal, this should’ve been the end of our little excursion through Dire Maul West, at least at this level. He’s got a bunch of damaging abilities, nothing new, at 50% he goes into shadowform (a somewhat novel enrage) but what made us shiver was the Dominate Mind ability he supposedly had. At the damage output these bosses had, it would be a wipe if either of us got mind controlled for 10 seconds.
Well, the fight took slightly more than 2 minutes, clearly enough for him to cast anything he wanted, but the mind control never ever came. 11 levels higher and with more players in the group, this fight can’t last more than 20 seconds and I’m sure he’ll cast Dominate Mind there, so I guess the spell only targets damage dealers? I’ll give it some testing in a random group.
We were relieved but slightly disappointed. He’s also entirely skippable, but there’s still loot we need off of him, so we’ll be back.
Boss 4: Immol’thar
Well, this was it. End of the line. The fight isn’t overly complex, but he’s quite literally a beast. At level 33 he crushed us way before we could reach his enrage. We didn’t have much hope for later levels and we were right.
Let me describe the fight for you.
When we disable the final pylon, the shield around him is disabled. At this point a bunch of Eldre’Thalas Highbornes are going in to fight him. If we don’t interfere, they get him down to about 80%. But it doesn’t matter, a couple of seconds later we were dead. Later on we entered the fight sooner, while the Highborne were still alive, carefully only to aggro the boss. This helped us a lot but unfortunately it’s only available once per fight and if we die (which we did) we would have to reset the instance and clear everything again to respawn the mobs. So we eventually had to do it without any help.
He summons an Eye of Immol’Thar, that usually targets the healer (in our case) and slows movement, attack and casting speed. It -had- to be killed as soon as possible. Unfortunately we couldn’t just stack up, because he also has a trample ability and if the healer also got damage, we were in trouble. So the healer had to stand slightly behind the tank, which unfortunately was enough for the eyes to get between me and the healer, so I had to reserve AoE cooldowns and react really quickly to dispatch the eyes as soon as they spawned.
So far so bad, but it doesn’t stop here. He does have a disease effect, which is easy enough to dispel, but could still complicate things if the dispel caused the global cooldown at the time an eye spawned (their spawn is kind of random and fast).
The ability that made us rework our positioning multiple times was his Portal of Immol’Thar ability which basically teleports a random member of the group to the center of the arena…high up in the air. That means fall damage and a lot of it! For a number of tries it also meant having to walk back to the tank/healer. We finally settled on me standing in the middle of the arena and the healer standing as close as possible to me, just outside of trample range. That way if either of us got teleported, we didn’t have to walk far, or at all. Oh and the portal also resets his aggro, of course.
So I had to be super fast with the taunting in the teleport phase, because he two shots the healer easily and is right next to him. It was actually easier if I got teleported, because I could taunt back and had more HP. If the healer got teleported, he’d take falling damage he had to heal in addition to my own damage and I was in trouble because there were no heals incoming. And even for a few seconds, that was very very dangerous. When we started I had around 6000 HP and he dealt 2000 with one hit.
But there was that enrage I talked about, right? Well, no big deal. It just starts at 50% and lasts for 3 minutes, increasing his attack speed by 60%. Clearly nothing we can’…*wipe* *wipe* *wipe*
The furthest we got was 50%. Shortly after that we were always ripped to shreds by his enrage and there was nothing we could do. Way too soon for Touch of Death, no additional cooldowns, buffs or potions available and equipped with best-in-slot items. The only thing we could do was come back each time we leveled up. And so we did. At 33 we got destroyed. At 34 we died horrible deaths, at 35 we got stomped into a bloody pulp and at 36 we saw hope.
Still a respectable 8 levels below the boss, we made progress where previously there was none. We improved our tactics and positioning and even almost got him down on the first try…with the help of about a dozen Eldre’Thalas Highborne and Touch of Death. The latter unfortunately didn’t hit, so we had to try the hardmode, without NPC help. From that point forward, we inched closer to victory. Mana was very low in the end and we couldn’t have dragged this fight out much longer. We had a number of wipes at about 20-30% always a few tiny seconds before my shield and/or Touch of Death would be available.
At long last, I had 9% HP left and the healer was at 25% mana, the stars aligned and we defeated Immol’Thar. With the use of Touch of Death and I believe we wouldn’t have been able to do it without that ability. Had I not used it, we would be dead. My HP were at 614 and my next shield was 3-4 seconds away. With him hitting me for 2000+ damage and even the falling damage exceeding 1k, Touch of Death was our only option. But I don’t feel like we cheated, because the fight was incredibly hard and we only used abilities available to us at the time exactly the way they’re intended.
For me this fight wasn’t as complex as, say Alzzin the Wildshaper, but it required much more precision. We had to make this fight as predictable as possible, quite a feat when the first couple of tries were utter chaos. But we did it, even if it took us 3 levels, numerous attempts over several days.
So, Immol’Thar is the official end boss of Dire Maul West so that should be it, right? Weeeeell…not exactly. There still is that one optional boss, hiding away in a side chamber of the instance…
Bonus Fight: Prince Tortheldrin
The leader of the Shen’dralar Highborne, and the Elf responsible for summoning and imprisoning the demon Immol’Thar resides in the former library of the Eldre’Thalas ruins, now known as Dire Maul. And he’s a monster. He’s Level 44 and SO far out of our league that we have no idea how or when we can beat him. Right now I believe that even if we can kill him at 40, it would be quite the achievement. We will continue to come back to him after every level up and once he’s beaten, I’ll be sure to make a separate post about him. He’s by far the toughest and hardest hitting boss we’ve ever encountered. Every hard boss and tough challenge until now is a joke compared to him. We die within mere seconds, no matter what we do. His abilities are extremely deadly and there doesn’t seem to be any reasonable way around them.
Just for comparison: Level 44 Bosses have 21.000 HP. He has over 50.000! That’s more than the Level 60 end boss Overlord Wyrmthalak in Lower Blackrock Spire has (44.000). He deals up to 3400 damage in one melee attack…every SECOND! I have 7500HP, so you can imagine how long that lasts. He also spell locks the healer….for 15(!) seconds. We manage to survive for a maximum of 30 seconds, that’s the cooldown of his spell lock ability. But often it’s even less than that.
I’ll go more into detail once we fight him for more than a few seconds and get him below 90%. See you then!