We’ve been asking and waiting for a while now and Turbine has released two different diaries one focused on the instance cluster and the other on the 12-man raid Ost Dunhoth.

TsiengLiu starts off with walking through the new cluster which includes 2 3-mans, 2 6-mans, and the 12 man raid which JWBarry focusses on.

A few main concepts are brought up here:

  • Instances are now Tier 1 (easier then Mirkwood cluster) and Tier 2 (quite hard comparably)
  • New “surprising” reward for the cluster meta-deed
  • Wanted to spread rewards around instances so barter currency only available via instance quest rewards that are only available twice per week.
    • avoid the current Sword Halls vs Dungeons disparity

With this new currency (barter tokens) they’re providing a number of armor sets to choose from.  You essentially have 4 sets to choose from, 2 rare (purple) and 2 incomparable (teal) that mainly differ with the set bonuses.  With these sets, they’re also providing options for obtaining them:

  • Rare set can be purchased with just barter currency
  • Rare set can be purchased with less barter currency in conjunction with a barter token from Tier 1 Raid
  • You can upgrade to the Incomparable piece but trading in your Rare piece, the right tier 2 token, and barter currency
  • Or finally you can straight purchase the Incomparable piece with the Tier 2 token and additional barter currency.

And finally, he does tease us with promises of other cool drops including off-hand weapons, shields, pocket items, and cloaks.  All of which are quite welcome as many are looking for those kinds of rewards for running the instances.

JWBarry talks specifically about the Ost Dunhoth raid and starts off with his focus:

  • Challenging content
  • Remove the arbitrary mechanics

He also sets up the back story behind this instance with us challenging the fifth and final Gaunt-Lord Gortheron who is an expert in all forms of pain including poison, disease, fear, and wound.

Some intriguing stats about the raid:

  • 6 bosses
  • 15 trash fights
  • 2 tiers
  • 6 challenge quests
  • 17 deeds
  • 46 different trash and boss monsters
  • and much more

The instance is broken up into 3 wings with only 2 open at first and requiring the clearance of both of them before proceeding to the third.  The goal of the trash isn’t a time sink but to create challenges and help train for the boss fights.

With regards to the tiers, it sounds similar to the way skirmishes work in that not only is there a difference in mob health, but everything gets harder in Tier 2 including mechanics when you wipe.  Wiping on Tier 1 doesn’t allow any dead mobs to respawn, but if you wipe on Tier 2, unless you kill the entire pull you’ll have to re-fight everything.

Automatic raid markings are also being introduced and from what I’ve seen this is a nice speed addition that just allows you to do things faster yet still maintain the flexibility to do what you wish.

The other big change inside the raid is with regards to class skill cool-downs as they’re going to be reset each time you fight a boss.  Again this will help speed things up for groups as you’ll no longer have to wait 30 minutes in-between attempts.

Finally two new defenses are in place for mobs – anger and bloodlust.  Anger essentially means you need to CC a mob twice as the first time he’ll wipe it.  Also, this anger effect will periodically reset and you’ll see the red-floating shields back up meaning you’ll have to CC him twice again.  Bloodlust is an anti-kiting mechanism such that is a mob can’t attack anyone for a period of time they will get a huge bonus to run speed, attack speed, and damage making it quite painful.

To wrap it up, some interesting stuff for sure and the lure of some very cool looking shinies: