Zul’Aman

Five of us took a romp through ZA yesterday, so here is my brief, draft version of my experiences healing it as a resto druid. Screenshots and details to follow after another run or two.

I healed/tanked it back at 70, and there aren’t a lot of changes, so if you’re familiar with it from 70, much of that can be reapplied at 85. There are some differences though, so at the same time it pays not to assume too much.

Our party set up was warrior tank, druid healer, and for dps: spriest, warlock, DK. Mostly we were in ilvl 346-359 gear.

Trash groups

When you (finally) get the gong rung, the gates will open and you can head out into the instance. Best hang back here and wait for the tank to go first, as adds spawn the moment you step outside. Once you’ve cleared those, it’s time to mount up and head off to the first boss. You can go either left or right here, but we went left, towards the eagle boss Akil’zon.

There are two gauntlets in the instance, once before Akil’zon and one after Nalorakk, but I’ll discuss those with their specific bosses.

In the main the trash in the instance hits quite hard, so be prepared to heal hard. Our first run was pretty much without CC and we did okay. A reactive CC like sheep/hex would be advantageous. Lots of the trolls drop totems that heal or provide immunities, dps should get those down asap. I tended to also throw a moonfire if I had a spare GCD. The bears can be hibernated.

In the area leading up to the lynx boss, lynx groups will spawn on your party and certain spots, so make sure you’re mana-ed up and the party are topped up before you proceed from pull to pull.

Bosses

Akil’zon (Eagle)

Before Akil’zon you will need to forge through a short gauntlet. A Lookout stands at the start of the gauntlet, so once he emotes and runs away, the gauntlet is engaged. Head steadily up the ramp, staying with your tank. Trolls will spawn behind the party and run up, and occasionally groups of birds will spawn ahead of the group and fly down. If your group is coordinated you can try CCing on add each time on the way up, or you can just trust the tank to grab everything and focus fire the trolls and AOE the birds. At the top is a mini boss, once he’s dead the gauntlet mobs stop spawning and you’re ready to Akil’zon.

Everyone needs to step just inside the gateway otherwise you will be locked out once you engage him.

He has a few abilities to watch for throughout the encounter:
- birds peck the party continually from above, this is simplest just to heal through
- a large white bird will occasionally spawn and pick up a party member. This person needs to be healed while the party dpses down the bird. If you are picked up you can still heal, so don’t panic. Just heal yourself and the tank as usual
- Storm: every now and then he’ll lift someone into the air and cast a lightning storm. The party needs to collapse in the safe place under the stormed person. People slow to move may need an extra heal on the way in, but the storm person doesn’t take damage. Akil’zon channels the storm, so your tank should move as well, he doesn’t need tanking.
- discharge: he casts this on random players throughout the fight. It is a stacking debuff that damages nearby players. If you’re specced into Nature’s cure, you can (and should) dispel this. Spreading the party out can help alleviate the damage from this, but pay extra care to dispelling the tank/melee, and special care when the group collapses for storm.

Nalorakk (Bear)

This took as a few tries to get down, basically we needed to work out how the surge worked, then he was pretty easy.

He starts out in troll form and switches to bear form and back during the fight.

He hits pretty hard on the tank. As a troll he has a brutal strike attack that ignores armor and hits for 80k or so, it pays to (try) to keep the tank topped up.

Also during this phase he will charge the furthest party member and apply a debuff called ‘surge’. Before we realised what was going on, we decided to all stack and have our DK eating the surge every time. This was BAD. The surge debuff means the target will take 500% extra physical damage for 20 seconds, so you don’t want someone surged twice in a row. The win strategy for us was to rotate/alternate through who is the furthest away. This means basically our ranged just shuffled in and out as we had the debuff.

Once Nalorakk changes into bear, he has a couple of different abilities to watch for, both of which our druidy HoTs counter well. Firstly he’ll put a high dps bleed up on the tank, so make sure you’ve got LBx3 and RJ on the tank and keep them as topped up as you possibly can. Secondly he has an AOE roar that silences – so again, if your Hots are ticking away during this phase that will help if you’re locked out.

Jan’alai (Dragonhawk)

After Nalorakk another gauntlet of sorts. This time you’re watching for Scouts as you fight your way through the trash towards Jan’alai. the scouts will run for a drum as soon as they are engaged, and start an alarm calling in reinforcements. In the original ZA, the scouts were on a short respawn timer (which is what made this a gauntlet) but we wiped once and ran back, and the scouts hadn’t repopped, so I’m not sure if that ‘feature’ is still the same.

A couple more troll groups after the Scout gauntlet and you’re at Jan’alai. (Warning, don’t try to skip the last group by sapping/sneaking around them, they will aggro once you engage the boss.)

Jan’alai himself is pretty much an add management fight with a high degree of ‘don’t stand in the fire’.

We spread out around him, to minimize multiple people getting hit by his attacks.

He calls a pair of trolls (hatchers) every so often, and they release dragonhawks from the eggs on either side. We followed the usual strat of letting them release a few, then killing the hatcher. We had a dps on either side to do this. Once the dragons are hatched they will head towards you, so for this encounter we tanked him fairly centrally and I healed from ‘behind’ the tank, so the dragons funneled there as they spawned an the tank picked them up. The dps then AOEed them down.

During all of this, Jan’alai also uses two fire abilities.
Fire bombs: which are little flares he sprays all over the area, just stand in a clear space, they have a fairly small ‘explosion’ radius.
Flame breath: he’ll turn and breathe a line of fire at a random party member, just strafe out of it.

Once Jan’alai is low (25%? 35%?) the hatchers stop coming and he releases all of the remaining dragonhawks himself. This is the phase you need to have all of your cooldowns ready for, as this is when people will take the most damage. The adds can cast flame buffet, meaning people will be taking more and more fire damage as well. this is a dispellable magic debuff, but you’ll need to make a call later in the fight as to whether to dispel it or heal through it.

This is an easy fight to heal if your party is good at avoiding fire, and your tank is good at picking up the adds.

After Jan’alai is dead, mount up and exit on the opposite side of his are, down towards the crocodiles and the Lynx boss. On the right there’s a hut with a small troll trash pull, inside the hut is a repairer should you need one.

Halazzi (Lynx)

The lynx boss is pretty much all about totems.

He is fairly tank-and spank until 66% and 33% at which point he splits into his lynx aspect and heals to 100%. The lynx doesn’t have an aggro table, so be prepared to spam heal whoever it fixates on, especially if it’s a clothie. Have barkskin up your sleeve in case it targets you.

From the DPs point of view, this is a target-switching fight.

He will drop water totems that heal him, dps can switch to those quickly and kill them before they heal him. Or, you can move him out of the healing circle they drop, and keep dpsing him.

He will also drop lightning totems, dps should kill those. Zappy totem is zappy.

Finally, the dps should switch to the lynx as it spawns as well, once the lynx is down it’s back to Halazzi.

Halazzi also enrages quite often, increasing the damage on the tank for short bursts. We can Soothe this off. I found that I got spell misses a couple of times – if I missed once I gave up and went back to healing – the enrage is quite short so it’s not that critical to remove it, it’s just helpful if you can spare the GCD.

This fight is tough in terms of healing output, especially during the lynx phases. Be prepared to use mana/throughput cooldowns as needed.

After Halazzi dies, mount up and head back the way you came (no lynx ambushes this time) and back to the centre of the instance, onwards to Malacrass.

Hex Lord Malacrass

The last two bosses in the instance are an interesting cut down version of the original raid fights, they choose a random two mini bosses from the original suite of mini bosses from each encounter.

Malacrass has two random mini bosses that start the encounter with him. To be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to what they did, but we burned them down first. Healing output will need to be high at the start of the fight.

Malacrass has a lot of crazy things he can do during the fight, mostly to do with stealing abilities from the members of the party. If you have a priest he can aoe fear, and flash heal. If you have a druid he can lifebloom, AOE moonfire. Be ready with dispels and defensive abilities, as things can get pretty crazy.

He randomly throws around party member abilities for the whole fight, as well as spamming his own shadowbolt.

Continually in all of this confusion, he’s stacking a debuff on the party that weakens their damage done and increasing his own. Your dps should pop cooldowns and heroism effects early while their output is highest. The quicker you kill this guy the better.

After he dies, continue on through his room onto the bridge. Again, let the tank go first, lots of trolls will appear. Tank and AOE them down, then onto Daakara.

Daakara

Daakara has four aspects based on the first four bosses. From these four aspects, he will transform into a random two during the fight.

He starts off in troll form, this is pretty tan-and spank, though he does throw an axe at a random party member occasionally, leaving them with a nasty bleed you’ll just need to heal through. He also whirlwinds, so your melee dps need to run out during that – be ready to throw them a heal as they run away.

He then chooses an aspect to transform into. On our run we had Eagle and Bear.

For Eagle he summons cyclones, they zap when they get close so stay away from them. he also drops lighting totems. More zaps – kill those then go back to him. This is a phase where you’ll spend much of the time moving, so be ready to pop tree form if needed to cast on the move.

For Bear, it’s almost the same as the Nalorakk fight. He’ll cast surge at the furthest person away, so make sure you’re swapping around who that is. He also has some sort of AOE slow that’s nasty when you’re trying to shuffle around. And lastly, he has an overpower type attack he can use on the tank, so make sure you keep the tank topped up as much as possible.

General screenshots from last night’s run when I get home from work. More updates for the boss fights when I’ve run through them a few times, but I hope they are helpful for the moment for other druids out there :-)

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