This a post I wrote on my guild forum to try to help people in my raid team do this quest: Trial of the Naaru: Mercy. (In 2007).
It’s not just me who thinks of Shattered Halls as the “original” Challenge Mode. It’s a comparison that comes up time and time again, to pretty much anyone who’s been WoW seriously for long enough to remember that zone (up to and including the designers who made Challenge Modes, who have cited Shattered Halls as an inspiration). My recollection is that a SH clear with the best time (saving all three prisoners) was distinctly harder than a Bronze at a typical Challenge Mode. It was probably more akin to Silver, when you take into account that mechanics were somewhat meaner back then, but the timing didn’t emphasize the “race” aspect as much; you mostly just wanted to clear without wiping.
Talking about this just now I remembered that, since I was the raid leader of a somewhat serious progression guild in those days, I had strategy posts on the guild forum about everything, including the Trial of Mercy (which was needed to attune to Tempest Keep until they did away with that in later patches). I thought people might find it interesting to see a description of what that zone contained. For now it’s a straight copy of the notes I made to try to get guild groups through the zone, no edits at all. When I have more time I might elaborate further (also, skimming my long strategy posts for each boss in original Naxxramas gave a burst of nostalgia; it might be interesting to make a post out of those somehow).
Without further ado:
[Originally posted by me, on sigilguild.net, 4/16/2007]
Firstly, the way the zone works. The first segment of the zone, up through the first boss, is untimed. When you run out of Grand Warlock Nethekurse’s room towards the archer hallway, Kargath yells, and the timer starts. The Executioner (standing in that little alcove behind Kargath) kills the first prisoner after 55 minutes, the second after 65 minutes, and the third after 80 minutes.
To complete the Trial of the Naaru, you have to get a 100% quest drop off of the Executioner, who despawns after killing the third prisoner. To complete Imprisoned in the Citadel (a quest you’ll pick up along the way), you have to save the second prisoner.
So, for the Trial, you have 80 minutes get to the end. Actually, you have slightly longer–as long as you pull Kargath before he yells (and kill him), the Executioner won’t proceed.
Also, if you die, you’ll lose the timer debuff. It doesn’t matter; things still proceed as normal.
Legionnaire packs. A Legionnaire and up to 6 other orcs (all the others are fully CC’able). Requires very careful CC and setup. The Legionnare must be killed first, or he will call in replacements for any other mob you kill.
Reaver–strong Cleave. Good candidate to CC every pull.
Darkcaster–surprisingly tame for a caster mob. Casts a Rain of Fire that shouldn’t cause trouble if you’re paying attention.
Acolyte–we always CC’ed them, but I don’t think I ever actually saw one heal. They Mind Blast and PW:S, at least.
Sharpshooter. Hit weakly in melee range. On Heroic, they no longer Scattershot, but they Viper Sting.
Brawlers and Savages–melee mobs. Can hit kind of hard, and think one knocks back, so be careful.
Houndmaster packs. The two Hound adds now hit extremely hard. Every 10 seconds or so, the Houndmaster yells, and breaks all CC’s on the Hounds. You can sheep the Hounds, but it requires really solid re-sheeping, and there’s still a chance of a Mage getting one-shotted. You can try to tank all three, but the tank will get spiked quite a bit. The best option might be to try to tank two and kite one (they have low HP), or to tank all three for just a few seconds so the tank has aggro on them, and then start CC’ing.
Basically, you have to break out the solid Heroic trash skills if you’re going to get through this. Have a careful CC plan that you use every pull.
–Pull the Legionnaire at the closest point and you’ll only get one add. Then clear the hallway one by one.
–2x Sentry, watch for charges.
–Pull the Lego at the extreme end (left or right) of his path, and you’ll only get two adds. Then clear the room.
–Lego + 4. Start warming up your trash skills before the timed portion.
–Lego + 4.
–Lego + 5. This can be a tricky pull: Lego, 2 Reavers, and 3 Sharpshooter. Might want to have your healer LOS the Sharpshooters and CC the Reavers. Tank should try to engage Sharpshooters in melee.
–Lego + 6 (yes, a 7-pull). 2 are non-elite Fel Orc Converts. CC the Reaver, kill the Lego, and kill the two non-elites quickly to get things under control.
–Kill the sleeping mobs in the room, one by one, to avoid mistakes later on.
–Houndmaster. Learn to do this once, before the timed portion.
–Hop down into the slime hallway.
–Grand Warlock Nethekurse. Not hard at all. Get people at max range to they’re not killed during Death Coil, and top off the party before the 25% enrage.
Do not exit the room after killing Nethekurse. Take a short afk break, have people raider if necessary. Then buff up and advance through the door.
TIMED PORTION BEGINS.
–The archer hallway. Every few seconds (maybe 30?), two new adds run down the hallway, until you engage the mini-boss. Quickly work your way down, chain-pulling two static mobs at a time. When you reach the end, wait for two spawns, kill them, kill the 4-pull of static mobs, wait for another spawn, kill them, and engage the mini-boss.
–Blood Guard Porung. New Heroic mini-boss. Both adds are fully cc’able. Porung’s only trick is a Fear. Long cooldown, but he can use it once early. We had the tank wear a PvP trinket to break it. Have people stand at max range and watch their aggro, and you should be able to just path him around during a Fear anyway.
–In the next hallway, you do not have to pull any of the Gladiator packs at the sides. Just stay carefully in the center at all time.
–There’s a Houndmaster patrol that you can pull before the Lego pack. Be careful with the Hounds in Porung’s small room.
–Lego + 4. Be careful not to pull the extra mob on the right.
–A few single- and double-pulls of the ones training on the dummies.
–Careful pulling the next Lego pack. You have to stay in the middle of the hallway, and might need to back up to avoid a Houndmaster patrol.
–Kill the Houndmaster patrol.
–2x Champion. Easy, but not CC’able.
–Warbringer O’mrogg. Thunderclap, Fear, and Burning Maul (when his Maul burns, he does increased damage for a bit, then he Blast Waves twice). Here’s the current hypothesis on the aggro mechanic: when the heads yell, the current MT has his aggro value switched with that of some random party member.
This fight is always a scramble. Regardless of your group setup, you have to be ready for the boss to be on non-tanks. Have Stam gear on and heal through it. You want to burn him down as quickly as possible.
The only way to get some degree of control over the fight is to remember the aggro mechanic. Ideally, you want to all 5 party members to have their aggro as equal as possible. Sometimes, DPS classes can carefully keep their threat above that of the tank, resulting in a non-switch where the boss simply remains on the tank. Healers should probably have Salv off, to keep their threat up. Tanks might have to hold back a little–if you get too far ahead of everyone, you wont be able to get the boss back after the first swap. If you have two people capable of tanking, you have have both of them keep their threat roughly equal and above everyone else.
Remember that KTM is only reliable until the first swap.
Don’t give up too much DPS in an effort to control the mechanic perfectly, because it won’t happen. Just try to keep track of what’s going on, while you burn him hard and be ready to heal anyone he switches to.
–The Assassin hallway. Expect to find at least 6 Assassins. They will usually open with a stun, but will sometimes Sap. You can have your tank lead, with the party ready to CC if he gets Sapped. You can lead with a Mage walking backwards, ready to mash Blink. There are many safe ways to do it. Perception also works. Clear the Assassins out of the first half, being careful to avoid the Houndmaster patrol.
–Pull the Houndmaster into the area cleared of Assassins.
–Clear the rest of the Assassins.
–2x Champions, with a possible Assassin add.
–Kargath Bladefist. Sweeping Strikes, periodic Orc adds of all types, some kind of charge, and Blade Dance. At every stop during Blade Dance, he swings in a huge 15yd arc, and on Heroic, it can hit cloth for upwards of 2500. If he Blade Dances while Sweeping Strikes is up, he can destroy any cloth-wearer in seconds.
You want to make sure everyone can survive 4, or a least 3, hits of Blade Dance. This means cloth-wearers need to try to find some HP (And remember things like Devotion, Inner Fire, and Ice Armor). Limited Invulnerability Potion can help make this a lot safer for some classes. Be ready to click on one if you take 2 hits within one Dance.
Make sure people are spread out through the room and don’t move much during the fight. Having people within Blade Dance range of each other can lead to hilariously quick deaths. Position the tank at the door to pick up each add that runs in, while the DPS burns down the boss as quickly as possible. You need to kill him before there are too many adds for the tank to handle, and you’d like to endure as few Blade Dances as possible.
–After Kargath is down, you just have to kill the Executioner, who’s basically a simple trash mob, to loot your quest item.