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#1 - 2014/08/09 01:00:00 AM
Cracking Karazhan

Azeroth’s mightiest protectors have defeated a seemingly endless procession of memorable foes over the years, and while the legions of heroes have since moved on to more pressing threats, those old foes from the past still brood in their lairs. There they sit, lording over their loot, agonizing over their defeats, just waiting for a chance to unleash vengeance. And you can head back into their strongholds to put them back in their place.

We’d like to help those who have never given taking on an older raid a shot to feel more comfortable exploring the older content. Even if visiting and looting these locales is old hat, you might still find something of value within. If you’ve never given it a try at all, there are actually plenty of good reasons to visit older instances:

  • Lore - Running past raids and dungeons is a great way to catch up on lore and have experiences that you might otherwise have missed.
  • Transmogrification - Even if the gear itself doesn’t offer any power to a max-level character, set pieces and random drops from older raids can fill out your wardrobe of Transmogrification items quite nicely.
  • Pets – A number of older bosses now have a chance to drop Battle Pets that you can collect or cage and sell.
  • Mounts - Many players dive into old raids specifically to pick up rare mounts, such as the much sought after Ashes of A’lar.

Tip: Keep in mind that some mounts, such as Mimiron’s head, will only drop from specific versions of an encounter or when certain conditions are fulfilled, so be sure to read up and plan accordingly!

  • Reputations - Some players use old school raids as a way to bolster their list of Exalted reputations for achievement titles such as Exalted and Beloved.
  • Fun - Perhaps most importantly, it can be great fun to explore the environments that are featured in older content, or play up the fantasy of being the lone adventurer exploring an enemy’s fortress, facing down hordes of bad guys, and standing against the odds to defeat a great evil. Often music and environments are exclusive to certain Raids, and there’s nothing quite like experiencing the art in its original context. Going it alone can also allow you to take your time and let you to take in the sights when that isn’t always possible if a group is waiting on you.

Going Solo

As a level 90 character, you should be able to beat most Raid encounters from classic through Wrath of the Lich King without breaking a sweat. If you’re particularly well geared and have the right class tools at your disposal, even Cataclysm encounters might be possible. Gear, class abilities, and individual skill all play a significant role in what you can actually handle. Please keep in mind that World of Warcraft isn’t balanced with soloing past raid content in mind, so some classes might be better suited to the task than others. You might want to bring a friend along if a particular encounter is proving too much for you to handle. That said, it can add to the fun and challenge to see what you can do on your own.

We’ve delved into other raids from the past, like Molten Core and the Black Temple. Now we prepare to make a house call on the early days of the Burning Crusade. That’s right, next stop: Karazhan.

Positioned as the first raid in the newly released Burning Crusade expansion, Karazhan houses mystery upon mystery. Let us unlock the gate, pull open the creaking doors, and explore the Last Guardian’s creepy abode.

Medivh’s Magnificent Mansion of Madness

Medivh, the Last Guardian, made his home in Deadwind Pass, in the bright tower of Karazhan. Though he was the greatest wizard of his day (and humanity's intended custodian) Medivh was secretly possessed by the dark spirit of Sargeras, the Destroyer of Worlds. Through Medivh, Sargeras opened the Dark Portal and allowed the orcs to wage war upon the kingdoms of Azeroth.

As the war progressed, Medivh fought against Sargeras' control. The raging conflict within him finally drove the wizard irrevocably insane, until his childhood friend, Anduin Lothar, aided Medivh's young apprentice, Khadgar in storming Karazhan and slaying their former comrade. Since that day, a terrible curse has pervaded both the tower and the lands around it - casting a dark pall over Deadwind Pass and the region that is now known as Duskwood.

In recent years, nobles of Darkshire ventured into Deadwind Pass to investigate the blight that had settled over the region. None who entered the dark tower ever emerged.

Karazhan finally became accessible to intrepid explorers in Burning Crusade patch 2.0.3., way back in 2007 (yes, it’s been that long). Like the flavor text says, to get to Karazhan, you’ll need to get to the Eastern Kingdoms and then travel to Deadwind Pass. Karazhan is festering in the southern reaches of the zone, and unless you have Atiesh, you’ll have to fly or ride to get there, as there aren’t any flight points in the area.

Items

Here are some of the more notable items you’ll find inside the instance:

Tier 4 Raid Armor

Malorne Raiment – Druid Demon Stalker Armor – Hunter
Aldor Regalia – Mage Justicar Battlegear – Paladin
Incarnate Raiment – Priest Netherblade Armor – Rogue
Cyclone Harness – Shaman Warbringer Armor – Warrior
Voidheart  Raiment – Warlock

Lootable Items of Note


Wolfslayer Sniper Rifle


Wicked Witch's Hat


Blade of the Unrequited


Terestian's Stranglestaff


Light's Justice


Legacy


King's Defender


Gorehowl


Despair

Battle Pets

Fiendish Imp Lil’ Bad Wolf Menagerie Custodian Netherspace Abyssal

Mount
The Fiery Warhorse's Reins is a rare drop from Attumen the Hunstman, and he has fangs.


He has fangs.

Faction

There's a lot of history here.

The Kirin Tor formed the Violet Eye in order to spy on Medivh, and after his death, the Violet Eye stuck around, acting as a resistance to the dark forces that remain in Medivh’s tower. Violet Eye reputation can be gained by killing most everything inside Karazhan and completing associated questlines. Speak with Archmage Alturus to begin with Arcane Disturbances and Restless Activity. Nearby, Archmage Leryda has a quest that rewards both reputation and an epic ring.

Breaking and Entering

Let's not soft-peddle this -- Karazhan is confusing on the inside. But it's easy enough to find and enter: just head to Deadwind Pass between Duskwood and the Swamp of Sorrows. It's pretty much the only thing in the zone.

You can just walk right in the front door.

Haunted House

Your first steps inside are in a foyer with three exits. Facing Berthold the doorman, you'll find that Attumen the Huntsman is to the left, stairs up to the second level and Moroes are straight ahead, and the passageway to the right leads to bats, spiders, and hounds (with an optional, random boss). 

There isn't anything in the whole place that should pose much of a threat to a level 90 character. You can move about the tower at your leisure, easily taking down as many groups of enemies as you care to round up, and steamrolling the bosses. As you work your way around the first couple of areas, Karazhan may even seem to be a pushover, but you'll want to take it in some semblance of order, or you'll spend a lot of time  backtracking.

Attumen the Hunstman - In the stables to the left, you'll find Midnight. Attack that horse to start the encounter, and Attumen will join the fray. Once you've depleted Midnight's health, Attumen saddles up and it's a matter of taking them both down.

As we said above, this boss has been known to drop a ride that is highly sought by mount collectors. 

Go back, then turn left to head upstairs to the Banquet Hall and Moroes.

Moroes - The tower steward will call upon four level 70-elite NPCs to help him, for what it's worth. He is the first of four encounters that you must complete in order if you want to make it to the top of the tower (and the other three are Opera Event, the Curator, and Chess Event).

Slay him and his guests, then head back out toward the opposite end of the hallway, and then exit to the left at the far end, and go upstairs. This leads to another gallery, where you’ll be exiting through the door to the right, then walking down that hall populated by guards and courtesans to the Maiden of Virtue.

Maiden of Virtue - This titan-looking construct can take a little more time than most, as she has a few tricks up her sleeve. Watch out for her interrupts, and you'll be fine.

After she falls, go back down the hallway and turn left to re-enter the gallery you came from, then turn right and stick to the right to move upstairs to the stage and the Opera Event. The skeletal ushers will try to usher you right outta there, but keep to the right until you exit through a door, go down a ramp, then through the orchestra pit to the opposite side of the stage. Follow the backstage area until you come to a closed door and talk to Barnes to start the event.

Opera Event - Sure -- you told Barnes that you’re not an actor, but he put you out on the stage anyway. The curtain will rise on one of three possible plays:

  • Romulo and Julianne
  • The Big Bad Wolf 
  • Oz

Exit stage left, and look for the stairs and ramps to that side of the audience that will lead you up and up. You'll find the Broken Stair, and the first indication of the disrepair that Karazhan has fallen into. As you go up the ramp, exit onto the Master’s Terrace. Keep climbing the broken and twisted stairs until you emerge into the Menagerie.

Tip: If you are in Karazhan on the hour, listen up. You might hear the bells tolling for thee.

Keep heading into the Menagerie, where you'll find the Curator.

Then Things Get Weird

The Curator - This big arcane guardian drops Tier 4 gloves, and sometimes the aforementioned Menagerie Custodian battle pet. After defeating him, take the ramp on the side of the room down into the Library. This is also where you’ll find the researchers for the Nitebane quest line.

Tip: Books can be looted!

Strange forces are at work in the library, and space is becoming stretched and twisted. Fortunately, it’s *mostly* linear. Head upward past the various arcane creatures until you come to a room with Shadow Pillagers and Homunculus. Click on the Perplexing Bookshelf and head down the ramp.

Terestian Illhoof - The Satyr boss starts with an imp servant by his side, and calls more to join him as the fight carries on, so finish him quickly. Thereafter, head back upstairs and up the ramp. You’ll reach a room with Spell Shades in it and two exits. The left exit leads to a closed door and the Shade of Aran.

Shade of Aran - Here we have the spirit of Nielas Aran, father of Medivh, and court advisor to the king of Stormwind. He died in a mysterious exchange of magical energies with his son when Medivh came of age, and now haunts this library.

After the Shade is put to rest, head back into the room you came from and turn left and head up the ramp. Soon enough you’ll find the ethereals that have come to rob Karazhan of its arcane riches. Eventually you’ll come to a room that is populated by Ethereal Thiefs. There’s a ramp that leads upward, to Netherspite.

Netherspite - A powerful nether dragon is before you, and you may not be able to simply burn him down like most bosses in the tower. Once upon a time, raid teams had to coordinate movements in this fight to benefit from buffs or debuffs that made the difference between success and a boss that could not be ended. Nowadays, you'll want to experiment with where to stand (and where to position Netherspite) relative to the beams, and it should be simple enough to find a spot that does the trick.

Return to where you came from and follow the ramp down, and further into the twisted ramps and corridors of the library. Eventually you will come to a chamber that houses an unusually psychedelic Ethereal by the name of Ythyar. You can sell the items you don’t intend to keep here. He was once instrumental in providing raiders with important recipes. Open the doors in his room to reach the Chess Event
 

Chess Event - Medivh has a room-sized chessboard, and if you want to complete Karazhan, you'll have to brave the invisible gnomes, take control of your faction's chess pieces, and defeat Medivh and he controls the opposition. For most players, especially those who are clearing Karazhan solo, this is the challenge of the entire dungeon.

Here is a strategy that often works:

  • Possess the king and pop blood lust.
  • Possess a knight’s pawn and move it forward one space.
  • Move the King’s rook forward diagonally into the now-open space.
  • Possess the King’s pawn and move it forward.
  • Move the King out of fire anytime Medivh cheats.
  • Move the queen’s pawn forward.
  • Move your queen out and attack the opponent king with her.
  • Mobilize other pieces as necessary, using healers to heal your king if he takes damage.
  • Blood lust with king often.

You've got to exit a piece as soon as you've made your move, at which point you'll find yourself to the side of the chessboard. Run back onto the chessboard to control the next piece. It can be hectic, and sometimes, Medivh has your number and you'll have to try again.
After the Chess Event concludes, a chest will spawn near the Echo of Medivh.

Tip: If you came with friends, you can play chess versus them too!

Head through the now-open doors on the far side of the room, and then veer right past the flesh beasts and up the spiral staircase toward Prince Malchezaar’s place.

Top O' the Tower

Prince Malchezaar - The penultimate battle at the top of the tower is with a Man'ari Eredar of the Burning Legion. Strangely, he sometimes drops the Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix and Gorehowl, the axe of Grommash Hellscream. You can also pick up your Tier 4 helm tokens here.

Take a look around, and you'll notice that spacetime is really breaking down here, with all sorts of weirdness to be seen.

But wait! There's more!

Nightbane - A bonus boss that's only available to you if you've completed Archmage Alturus's questline, Nightbane is worth the effort if you're here hunting for Violet Eye rep. 

The fight goes through phases in which he’ll leap into the air and perform smoking blasts and rain of bones. Don’t worry if you kill him while he’s in the air, he’ll courteously land before giving you some sweet loot that sometimes includes the beautiful Dragonheart Flameshield.


Have you visited Karazhan recently, and if so, what were you there to achieve? Do you have any tips or warnings for players who might be attempting Karazhan at lower levels? Do you know a good strategy for the Chess Event? Please tell us all about it in the comments below.