T4 Dungeon – Bastion Stair
We return to the wonderful world of dungeons in Warhammer Online. Today we descend/ascend the stairs of Bastion Stair (its not called that for any reason, its got tons of stairs…). This dungeon strikes a particular chord in my heart as I spent probably more hours here farming my Bloodlord gear than the guy who made the dungeon. In many cases Bastion Stair is like Mount Gunbad, but more like its neglected step-sister, which I shall prove in my 8-step analysis.
T4 – RR32-39
Like Mount Gunbad I shall mess around with the order of today’s menu for easier digestion. Unfortunately I’m low on boss pictures because my hard-drive wiped and goodbye screenies =(
Design – Bastion Stair, like Mount Gunbad, is meant to be completed by a warband (24 players) or what I refereed to two days ago as a ‘Realm-Instanced Dungeon’ meaning your whole realm could go cram themselves inside, there is no population cap. The boss fights are still six man instances with lockouts. As with Mount Gunbad, due to its Realm-Instance design instead of mini-bosses, each wing has three Public Quests with loot rolls (so different groups do not have to wait for bosses to respawn.)
Time Commitment – Once again like Mount Gunbad, due to its design it is a time consuming dungeon if attempted by a six man of the required level. Unlike Mount Gunbad which was rescaled to better accomodate a 6-man, Bastion Stair never received the same treatment. Whereas it is rare to see a warband in Mount Gunbad (although it still happens when T3 is dead), for Bastion Stair seeing a warband in there is like reaching the end of a rainbow. That being said/assumed, this dungeon can take a few hours with just a six man since it is intended to be completed by a warband, and by a few hours I mean 2 if you’ve got a few 40s with you, but up to 4 or 5 if you’re attempting it with the levels it was intended to be completed by.
Layout – Bastion Stair is divided into three wings, going from easiest to hardest we have the left, right, and middle wings, or the Trail of Carnage, Path of Fury, and Steps of Ruin. As stated before each wing has three public quests, which you do not need to do (with the exception of the 3rd PQ in the middle wing which is mandatory), and then a wing boss. However, Bastion Stair has a bar of influence and to access the left wing boss you need a bubble of influence, two bubbles for the right wing boss, and full influence for the middle wing boss – you may recall that this system was scrapped for Mount Gunbad to make it more user friendly.
Boss Mechanics –
- Left Wing/Trail of Carnage – Thar’lgnan – Now this wing is full of level 33-34 Beastmen champion mobs. Thus fittingly-so the boss is a level 34 Doombull hero. He is in a room full of flesh hounds and will aggro the instant you touch his pets. He has several tricks but his most effective one which cannot be avoided is that he will grab whoever has aggro (the tank hopefully) and toss his butt across the room to the dogs, thus pulling more dogs! He absolutely loves throwing people around to his hounds. He also cleaves his target for 50% of their health occasionally and more importantly he has an AoE root. Other than that he is an ‘easy tank and spank’ inasmuch as it is easy to be thrown around like a rag doll.
- Right Wing/Path of Fury – Lord Slaurith – This wing is full of Chaos of Khorne, and for this reason I am in love with this dungeon. These guys look fantastic and there is no doubt in my mind if Mythic had made the forces of Chaos fall under Khorne that I would be playing destruction (Tzeentch is so goofy looking). Appropriately the wing boss is a fallen Knight of the Blazing Sun, Lord Slaurith, a level 36. Now he is a monkey, an evil monkey, but I adore him. He have a few tricks up his sleeve but is a pretty easy tank-and-spank. He throws a DoT on the ground which can be avoided if you move, and other than that he will randomly break aggro and charge another target.
- Middle Wing/Steps of Ruin – Kaarn the Vanquisher – This wing is particularly brutal, full of 37-38 mobs and led by Kaarn who is a level 40 Demon Prince hero. He use to be a Grandmaster for the Empire but things went awry. Now hes big and pissed off. He has three main phases which he randomly rotates. Admittedly his mechanic is the most annoying and a step up from Slaurith. Each phase is marked by a blue skull at the top of the stairs of the room (which someone from your party is meant to destroy, but who would sacrifice a player to fulfill this role). While the Icon of Rage is up he will randomly break aggro and getting aggro back is hell (great mechanic right?), during the Icon of Fury he hits pretty hard, during the Icon of Blood he throws a pool of blood on the ground which is a pretty nasty DoT (1.5k-4k). I have done this guy with a party of all 40s (some RR80s) and we have wiped on him.
- Final Boss (also in the middle wing) is Skull Lord Var’lthrok – He is a level 40 Bloodthirster of Khorne. This may sound sad, but he is the easiest boss in the dungeon. Just tank him against a wall, his only two unique abilities are he has a super long punt (think Blackguard x3) and a AoE dot he throws on someone. Kaarn is many many times harder. However, the Skull Lord has the most epic death sequence without a doubt in the game.
Loot Mechanics – As with the Redeye set of Mount Gunbad, the Bloodlord set has 5 pieces. Once again one of the pieces, the Bloodlord Gloves, are obtained by winning a gold bag from any of the 9 PQs. Thar’lgnan drops one class-specific of Bloodlord Boots; Lord Slaurith drops one class-specific piece of Bloodlord Shoulders; Kaarn the Vanquisher drops once class-specific piece of a Bloodlord Helm; and Skull Lord Var’lthrok drops one class-specific piece of the Bloodlord Chest. For most players their biggest grief with this dungeon is that all the bosses only drop one piece of gear, especially since its class specific. If it was two pieces, the odds would be greater, or even if it was one piece that was repairable by archtype. Added with the lockout and the mandatory nature of the third PQ in the middle wing, this set is easily the hardest to obtain. Harder than Sovereign.
Lockouts – Each boss has a 20-hour lockout.
Lore – Bastion Stair is the seat of the hosts of Khorne, and it also has this vile chaos rift which is threatening to consume the world. According to lore it is suppose to be located beyond the Worlds Edge Mountains in the Chaos Wastes and the site of an eternal battle between demons as they endlessly slaughter each other (after all, Khorne is the god of Blood). Both factions killing chaos of Khorne works for me since Tzeentch doesn’t really like his older brother anyway.
Overall Review – In my heart I wish I could give B.S. 5/5 but in truth its more like 3.25/5 (because of my bias I up it .25) Unlike Mount Gunbad, Bastion Stair never got a revamp. It still has influence requirements for each wing boss; it has no healers after PQs so if your party wipes at the end of a wing, back to the beginning for you!; it is pretty brutal for people of its intended rank (I’ve wiped with RR50+s in here on the middle wing); and most damning of all – the 3rd PQ in the middle wing is mandatory so you have to do it each time you want to face off with those two bosses, and trust me it is not short at all. Mythic undeniably has false stats for this dungeon thinking it is well attended since most people go to the 1st PQ in the middle wing for their crit weapon (better than some scenario royal weapons for healers). The sad truth is that this amazingly designed dungeon (artistically) is poorly designed in terms of mechanics. I started my first crusade against Mythic to change this dungeon and my post got dozens of kudos, but after the forum-merger with Bioware, my post was discarded and left to decay with all the other suggestions posts =(.