Oh, those crazy trolls. They’re like the…uh…trolls of World of Warcraft. Anyway, for as much trouble as the Zalandar tribe have been causing at Zul’Aman, it would’ve been pretty easy to forget about where the rest of the jungle troll loas were buried
Anyway, last time we were here we banished the avatar of Hakkar the Soulflayer (that doesn’t sound like a guy we want running around Azeroth), but as these things tend to happen, the trolls figured out a new way to raise Hakkar, and sure enough they moved back into Zul’Gurub pretty much uncontested to do it. Damn it, you guys, whose job was it to keep them out?
Degree of Difficulty: Hard
Some of the trash packs early in the instance provide a moderate amount of difficulty, but shouldn’t prove much challenge for even the most modestly coherent groups. There are a lot of ritual cauldrons around the zone which provide you with a temporary damage bonus or immunity to special attacks which make clearing much quicker.
The first set of bosses aren’t terribly difficult. Venoxis has a few poison abilities, one an AoE that scatters around and is easy to avoid, an interruptable DoT, in phase one, a chain DoT between two players, a mass AoE and cone (in Phase 2), and a final AoE in Phase 3 before he stuns himself. Mandokir is back along with his trusty mount Oghan, and he still gets more powerful the more kills he gets (and killed players still are automatically rezed). He has one massive attack (Decapitate), can resurrect his mount, an avoidable AoE, and a health drain.
High Priestess Kilnara replaces Arlokk, casting mostly shadow damage in phase one with a hard DoT a few cone attacks and one massive AoE. Phase two is primarily a dance involving taking out the tiger adds and then killing her panther form while avoiding the cave in AoEs. Zanzil leaves a trail of fire and casts a massive AoE that will cause damage unless you use the poison cauldron, as well as summoning troll adds (freeze them with the blue cauldron and DPS them down), and summoning a pack of zombies which can be AoE’d using the red cauldron. Another raidy-style boss fight.
The final boss battle is split into two major phases. In the first, you fight the priest Jin’do by himself. He will occasionally produce anti-magic bubbles on the ground, stack in them to avoid his chain shadow attack. Eventually, he’ll give up on this tactic and attack Hakkar. In this phase you must avoid the ground attacks and DPS down the adds and kite the troll spirits into slamming into the chain ends so that you can destroy them and end the fight. Two DPS should be assigned specifically to keeping the adds away from the rest of the group.
The big ones of course, are the raptor and panther mounts (available from Mandokir and Kilnara respectively). At around 1% drop rate they are more likely to drop than their counterparts from the old Zul’Gurub raid, but not by much.
If a member of the group has 225 or higher Archeology, an optional boss fight can be started inside the instance. The Cache of Madness spawns of four different bosses, Gri’lek (an undead Dire Troll), Renetak (a ghost rogue with Vanish), Hazza’rah (another ghost who summons “nightmares” that will kill players on touch, but move veeeery slowly), and Wushoolay (AoE based lightning attacks). None are very hard.
It, like Zul’Aman, is only available at heroic difficulty to players who have low-raid tier gear scores. Using a Troll Tablet on the voodoo pile at the start of the instance gives the group a small group of raptor hatchlings which occasionally attack your target.
Recommended for Levels: 85 (Heroic)
Again, it’s very large for a standard instance because the design was copied pretty much wholesale from the old raid, making it something of a chore to run through. But there’s definitely a high nostalgia factor for players who ran the Vanilla version of the instance a million times to get their Zalandari shoulder enchants.
As a whole, I think Zul’Aman gets a slight edge over ZG in terms of being a more exciting and engaging instance experience, but Zul’Gurub is slightly easier. They’re both worth doing if even once (probably more due to the presence of the two mounts), but otherwise it won’t do much to prepare you for Mists of Pandaria content, which is what the focus is right now.