First Impressions – Roots of Fangorn

In addition to everything else coming with Update 6, Turbine plans to release a six-person instance tied to the new region, Roots of Fangorn, adding to its growing library of end-game instances. It was available on Bullroarer to preview, so I joined an eager group of adventurers on an expedition to the newly discovered cavern underneath the vast Fangorn Forest. Here I will recount what we experienced and give you a taste of what we’ll see at the release of Update 6, but remember:

This is Bullroarer – as with everything else on the beta preview server, this is subject to change before it is uploaded to the live servers.

Spoilers abound – if you’d rather be surprised the first time around, play through it a few times, then come back and read this.

As has been the case with previous instance clusters, one must discover the location of the instance before joining their comrades on this mission. The entrance to Roots of Fangorn is tucked away behind Limlight Falls just below the Ent-grove where some Elves converse with Ents from the edge of Fangorn Forest in the southwest corner of Limlight Gorge.

Long ago a powerful and evil spider-queen was driven out of Fangorn by the Ents. For many years she has brooded beneath the Misty Mountains – but now she seeks revenge at last.

“She has enslaved a band of orcs to tunnel into the natural caverns beneath the Forest of Fangorn, where she plans to set her venomous brood upon the roots of the forest, poisoning the trees far above.”

Upon entering the instance, you find yourself in a cavern and the first enemies you encounter are Orcs. They seem rather out of place if you’ve just fought through Elite Master huorns, spiders and trolls in Limlight Gorge to get here.

After a few trash pulls, you encounter the first boss, Frûshkul who calls adds as your burn him down. This is a fairly straightforward fight – attack the boss, kill the adds, repeat until satisfied. However, he will also call a Panicked Goblin to run off and gather even more troops. If you don’t catch that goblin in time, you’ll have even more enemies to deal with which could spell disaster for your fellowship. As it was on Bullroarer, completing this first boss fight awarded 54 Medallions.

The segue between this fight and the final fight consists of a series of three rooms, each with spider fights more deadly than the last: the first, a single Web-tender that calls three adds halfway through the fight; the second, a Web-tender and two Hunter Spiders with three more adds halfway through; and the third and most dangerous, starts off with two Web-tenders, each of which call adds when their morale is about halfway depleted.

As with most instances, these encounters expose you to some of the boss mechanics before you reach that final fight, so you should take notice of some debuffs stacking up on your tank. Similar to Filikul, these poisons keep stacking as the fight goes on, however, unlike Filikul, dropping aggro will not remove these debuffs. They will only disappear once the target is out of combat. The fights are basically DPS races and you can either try to heal through the poisons or swap tanks mid-fight.

Keeping that in mind, you now reach the boss, Gurthûl, a spider-queen of the most devious sorts. This fight takes a lot of communication and coordination throughout since, in addition to a more potent version of the cumulative poisons seen in the previous encounters, you’ll also have to keep six forest roots from getting poisoned by adds which come from behind.

Thankfully, sensing kindred spirits, the forest roots will offer to purge your poisons throughout the fight so you don’t have to worry about killing the boss as quickly as possible. While these heals come at fairly regular intervals (about every 30 seconds), only one root can cure at a time, so you have to watch for the green ring around the healing root.

So it now becomes a juggling act of (1) killing adds and keeping roots alive, (2) curing poisons and (3) killing the boss. All this, coupled with the fact that the spider boss hits like a double-decker bus, makes for a very challenging fight.

The fight will end if (1) everyone is dead, (2) the boss is dead or (3) all the forest roots are poisoned. Our fellowship only did this on tier 1, but apparently the tier 2 challenge requires you to keep all the forest roots from being poisoned.

Not having completed the instance, I can only speculate on the rewards, but I suspect it to at least award Marks and Medallions as well as Unhatched Spider Eggs which can be turned in with the barter vendors in Stangard for jewellery, seals and even a Worn Symbol of Celebrimbor.

Overall, this instance feels pretty solid. It’s all stuff we’ve seen before, and if you’ve done instances before and you’re paying attention, you should be able to cope with the fights after a few tries. However, that’s not to say it’s boring. I really enjoyed the three spider fights before the boss; it was a smooth progression through the ranks of the spider-queen’s brood before finally facing the leader herself. The instance provides an exciting challenge for end-level fellowships to supplement The Foundry and other scaled instances and is sure to give some of you a huge sigh of relief when you finally topple that boss. (And then you can work on soloing it with your Warden.)


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