Wednesday, December 23, 2009

How to Occulus like a pro

I’m not the Kungen of tanks, and I don’t do 18k DPS, but I’m fairly comfortable in saying that I’ve led more than my share of successful raids and instances over the years. I also can’t draw, and since I write my blog posts during my lunch hour I don’t have access to WoW screenshots - so text is all you're usually going to get. Finally, I don’t know all the cool tricks for every class in every dungeon. For example until yesterday I had no idea that the little saplings in the Nexus had a buff you could spell-steal for some crazy DPS boost.

What I can do though is give you the knowledge you need to get through Occulus with nary a scratch or worry. After all, it seems to be the most hated heroic short of Shadow Labs in all greens. So, here’s what you need to know in order to successfully survive this horror of dungeons.

The start

First, you have to get past the players who immediately afk out upon seeing the Occulus loading screen. If you can get past this mini-boss, then you probably have a group that’s already comfortable with the run and you won’t need the rest of this post. If however, you’re new to a role (or the instance), or maybe have a new player along who is, then this post should help things out a bit.

General rules

It should go without saying that as DPS you should be using your /assist function to the best of your ability. While it’s true that most tanks will tab target through the mobs, you should be able to catch which one he’s focused on and work from there. It’s also polite to hold off an extra second on that AoE, especially if it’s a tank you’re not familiar with. Don’t stand in the AoE, and please – for the love of all that is holy – if you have a cleanse, use it. A cleanse in the right spot (yes, even from a DPS or a tank) can make a huge difference in the success of a run.

Initial trash

A mix of whelps and dragonkin, these fortunately don’t hit too hard. It’s going to be a challenge for your tank to gather up, since all the whelps are casters that like to sit back and shoot you in the face. Bide your time, assist the tank, and don’t go all WAKKA WAKKA WAKKA on the trash he’s not touching.

Drakos the Interrogator

The first boss you’ll face is a dragonkin named Drakos. Fairly straight-forward, his two main abilities are a Magic Pull (pulls everyone to him), and some bombs that explode for arcane damage. The bombs are a nuisance, but don’t hit for a ton, so don’t spend an inordinate amount of time running from them.

Tanks: Be prepared for everyone in your group to take a jump in threat when they are transported to stand directly on the boss. There will be bombs flying around, but don’t worry about them too much.

DPS: Save your threat CDs for when you get teleported to the boss. If your DPS is high enough, don’t bother moving away from the boss, just sit on him and keep blasting away.

Healers: There will be some party damage from the bombs, and he will also occasionally do a stomp that knocks everyone away from him. The party AoE is easily handled, even with a paladin in blues.

Varos Cloudstrider

The second boss you face takes a bit more work to get to, and is probably the 2nd biggest reason folks hate the Occulus. By now you should have your drakes (color unimportant at this time) and should be flying around the platforms. To make this task as easy as possible, fly directly up and to the right of the platform where you get your drakes. Clear enough of the blue drakes out to safely land on one edge, and begin clearing trash.

When you mount up again, fly directly to the broken part of the ring in the center of the Occulus. You’ll march around this clearing 4 or so trash packs. Once you reach the other end, mount up, fly off to the floating platforms, and dispatch the remaining trash to remove the shield over Varos’s platform.

It is not necessary to clear all the drakes, even around Varos’s platform. Clear enough so you don’t agro them while you’re dismounted, and you’ll be fine.

Varos has two main abilities that will plague your group. The first is an AoE called Energize Cores. This will look like purple lightning connecting him to the pillars around his platform, covering ¼ of the surface (if he’s standing in the middle). Move yourself out of the purple lightning, and keep up what you’re doing. Undergeared players can be one shot by this, so help your healers sanity by not standing in the obvious Giant Big debuff zone.

The second ability that really hurts is when he calls for assistance from one of his Captains. A blue beam will shoot down from a drake and chase someone around. Needless to say, move away from it and don’t kite the beam onto your party members. Standing in the beam is a sure way to cause your healer to develop ulcers, and ultimately to let you die.

Tanks: There’s a couple of different methodologies for doing him. The first is to kite him towards his pillars, reducing the area covered by the lightning. Unfortunately this generally results in you being hit. The second is to try and hold him directly in the center and let your healer and DPS move around you. An blue geared Paladin may have difficulty with this method, especially if the tank is also in lower level gear, but it is still effective.

DPS: Stay out of the lightning and the pillar of fire. Expect to die if you stand in either.

Healers: Damage is fairly steady, with minimal AoE damage if the DPS moves properly. Watch for spikes of frost damage on the tank from Varos’s Ice Lance ability. Don’t be afraid to let someone die if they stand in the pillar of fire.

Mage-Lord Urom

After defeating Varos, mount up again and fly up and counter-clockwise around the Occulus. You’re looking for a broken piece of platform ring that has a mage evocating on it. Land near him, and prepare for the first of three AoE packs (one per broken platform, not three on one platform). Urom will bounce from platform to platform, making you chase him until you finally fly towards the center of the Nexus to face him.

Urom’s two main abilities that will cause you worry are Frostbombs and Empowered Arcane Explosions. Frostbombs will land at his feet, and (with a group in blues/entry epics) he will need to be kited away from them as they apply a fairly significant DoT. Occasionally Urom will blink into the center of the ring, and begin casting his Arcane Explosion. LOS him by ducking behind a pillar, and wait for him to reappear at your feet.

Tanks: Assuming you aren’t steamrolling everything and geared in 226+ gear, kite Urom away from the frost patches. Be ready to move immediately after his Arcane Explosion, as he will drop another Frostbomb on your feet.

DPS: Don’t stand in the frost and LOS the explosion. Losing a few seconds of DPS to skirt a frost patch is worth it.

Healers: Anyone caught in the Arcane Explosion will take a significant chunk of damage (13k or so). Be aware of the Time Bombs that he will drop on random members doing 5k on impact and additional damage “based on the amount of health missing from the target”. So in short, keep everyone topped off as much as possible. It’s ok to let DPS who stand in the Frostbombs die.

Ley Guardian Ereogs

The real reason everyone hates this instance, and one of the easiest bosses once you get the mechanics down. At this time you’ll want to look at your party’s drake composition, and adjust as necessary. For (what I believe) the easiest ‘traditional’ kill, you’ll want two green, two bronze, and one red drake.

Eregos has three main abilities which will cause your party to have problems. Summoned whelps, Enrages, and Arcane Missles/Orbs. Each of these can be easily dealt with, providing you keep your wits about you, and communicate with your group.

At the start, position yourself above the small platform with the loot chest, and way for Eregos to fly close. When he does, let the red drake pull, and start your DPS rotations. The easiest way to avoid the Arcane Missles/Orbs during his phase out is to simply run away from the center for approximately ten seconds. Then stop, and wait for the orbs to disappear before flying back to the platform and repeating your DPS. Repeat this every time he vanishes until he’s dead.

Red Drake: This drake is the tank, make sure he pulls first. The three abilities of the red drake are a fire breath, evasion, and damage absorbtion. Pop your damage absorbtion early, because it will trigger your evasion. Always try and target a whelp with your flame breath, as the flame will jump targets, and increases the amount of damage done every time it jumps.

Bronze Drake: To do it right, this drake requires the most coordination between the two bronze drake riders. Your three abilities are a time-stop (only used when Eregos enrages), a channeled DPS spell, and a cast DPS spell. To maximize your DPS, one drake channels while the other casts, until 10 stacks of a debuff are up. Then they switch roles, alternating each time 10 stacks are up. Odds are, you won’t be able to get your partner to do this, so just take the DPS hit and channel for him until your stacks are up, cast once, and then channel again.

Green Drake: Your three abilities are a poison bolt which places a DOT on Eregos, which also heals your party members (from the damage done). Get a three stack on Eregos, and then hit your second ability which reduces his chance to hit by 25%. This stacks, so make sure the second green drake applies this as well. It does a fair chunk of damage to you, so only apply it every 30 seconds. Keep your DOT up, and use your health funnel to heal up the DPS and tank. Whatever you do, don’t let your DOTs fall off.

Alternate Method

If you’ve got a fairly well geared healer, an alternate method is to have four players get red drakes, and to have your healer stand on the platform with the loot chest. Your healer can keep the drakes up, and since all four drakes are tanks, they will take minimal damage this way. This is a great method to use if some folks ‘just don’t get it’ and are causing problems.


I hope this write-up helps at least one person get through the Occulus in a random PUG. Of course as I mentioned, the odds are good that if everyone stays to do the instance, the odds are good you won’t need this guide.

1 comment:

  1. "Alternate Method" - Good God, this is GENIUS!

    That never occurred to me.


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