This dungeon has been changed a fair bit compared to its original normal version (I’m not sure if the same changes have also been made to the normal level 80 version or just to the unchained level 85 version). Prince Abaddon, the fifth boss, has been replaced by a Demigod of Acheron; the shape of the tunnels has changed a bit, and a door has been added which now forces you to cycle through the dungeon in one particular direction and not in the opposite direction.
Blood for the Blood God
Each of the first four bosses here (Jathred, Medjian, Sethik, Vral), when his health drops to 10%, starts casting a spell called Blood for the Blood God. This does a (weak) aoe on the players, and at the end of the cast the boss kills himself and puts a debuff on all the players. This debuff is called X’s Ritual Mark, where X is the name of the boss. The debuff persists through death but it can be removed by going into the throne room where the Demigod of Acheron will appear later (or where Prince Abaddon used to appear in the original version of the dungeon; but there didn’t use to be a throne there before, IIRC).
If a player has all four debuffs on him, they are replaced by a single debuff (Acheronian Blood Ritual Mark), which has the same properties as all four individual debuffs put together. Having this new combined debuff allows a player to spawn the Demigod of Acheron by clicking the dinosaur head in the throne room.
However, the debuffs can be very annoying for actually fighting the other bosses; for example, Jathred’s Ritual Mark is a -50% received healing modifier, and you don’t really want e.g. your tanks to be tanking the remaining bosses with that. So what you should do is to have just one DPSer collecting these debuffs, while all the other players in your group go to the throne room after each fight to clear their debuffs.
If you kill a boss before he is finished casting Blood for the Blood God, you won’t get his corresponding debuff and thus you won’t be able to spawn the Demigod of Acheron.
Jathred the Life-Drinker
First phase: tank and spank the boss; he does physical damage; occasionally he runs up the slope and to the right, and starts channeling Sanguinary Revival. This heals him up quite quickly. To interrupt this heal, one of the players should run below the three little waterfalls of blood on the right side of the room. Once the player has done this, he can’t do it again in the same fight, so you should set up an order of doing this beforehand. Going below the blood streams also gives you a -20% received healing modifier, so you should put the tanks last in this order.
Note that when he runs up to start Sanguinary Revival for the first time, it’s likely that he is at 100% or nearly 100% health even before he starts casting Sanguinary Revival (because you didn’t have much time to DPS him and some of the adds might have put a heal on him as well). In that case there’s no point in interrupting this heal — better keep all players available to interrupt the heals later in the fight (as each group member can only do it once).
Second phase: starts when the boss reaches 35% health. Now he will spawn two adds every now and then; they are ranged and hit annoyingly hard, so the players should focus on tanking and killing them.
In this phase, you don’t tank or DPS the boss. Instead, the boss occasionally casts Mark of the Life Drinker on a randomly chosen player. He starts chasing this player around the room and if this player gets hit by the boss, the boss will heal up quite massively. So it’s important that the targeted player starts kiting the boss immediately and keeps a distance from him. Meanwhile other players should deal with the adds, especially because the adds can otherwise snare (and DPS) the kiter.
To make kiting easier, you can snare or root (but not stun) the boss during this phase.
A good way of kiting the boss is to run up the ramp and to the left, and then carefully jump down, to avoid taking too much fall damage and getting too long a snare from the fall.
In the second phase, you just have to focus on kiting him correctly (to prevent him healing up) and dealing with the adds; you don’t have to actually tank or DPS him as he’ll lose health automatically anyway.
Medjian the Unholy
This boss does magic damage, so tanks should wear protection gear. In fact it’s useful if everyone wears gear with lots of HP and possibly protection.
Frost Void = aoe attack centered on the boss; move away, out of the circle which you’ll see spawning on the ground.
Forgotten Soul = means that the boss will start spawning skulls. This is followed by one or more Soul Binder casts, each of which is targeted on a different random player.
For each Soul Binder, a skull spawns from one of the four sarcophaguses and starts following the player that was targeted by that Soul Binder cast. This player has to click the sarcophagus from which the skull emerged; this will despawn the skull.
If the player clicks any of the other sarcophaguses, he gets KB’ed. If the skull reaches him (or touches any other player), the boss heals up by about 10%, so it’s very important to avoid this. (Players touched by the skull also take some damage and receive a −100% unholy invulnerability debuff (Bound Soul).
So if you’re the one targeted by Soul Binder, it’s best to walk around the outer edges of the room, behind the sarcophaguses, until you reach the correct sarcophagus and click it. Don’t lead the skulls through the middle of the room (where the other players are tanking and spanking the boss meanwhile). Don’t waste too much time walking around while the skull is following you, as it eventually gets faster and faster and will catch up with you.
Ideally you should move near the entrance of the room when the boss starts casting Forgotten Soul; this way you’ll be a bit farther away from the sarcophaguses, which means you’ll have more time to start kiting the skull if it happens to target you.
Initially there’s just one skull, later the boss will spawn two or even three at a time. To make it easier to figure out which player has to click which sarcophagus, they are color-coded: the sarcophagus has a colored particle effect, and the player has a particle effect of the same color as the sarcophagus which he must click. The problem is that all these colors look like different shades of black, so they aren’t that easy to tell apart. Still, with a little practice, red and green are easy to recognize, and then of the remaining two you can easily tell yellow apart from black because yellow is lighter after all.
If you look from the entrance towards the boss, the sarcophagus colors are as follows: yellow = near right; black = near left; red = far left; green = far right.
The boss stands in the middle of a room, surrounded by about 6 adds (I’ll call them dogs although I suspect they are really hyenas). Don’t charge the boss — that would activate all the dogs as well, and they are group mobs and will wipe you quickly. Instead, stay near the wide pillar at the entrance of the room and fight the boss there; pull him with Irritate.
Incapacitate Foe = frontal cone knockback, you can move out of the cone.
Capture = the boss targets a random player while casting this. The targeted player gets rooted and one of the dogs wakes up and locks its aggro on this player. So if the player is one of the squishies, he’ll have to kite the dog around the pillar. The root lasts 10 seconds, but it’s really a ruin (Capture Ruin) so you can remove with with Steadfast Faith. Various other anti-root abilities also work on it.
Order: Kill = when the boss casts this spell, the dog gets a +250% damage modifier and +50% hinder movement; so it will hit very hard, but on the other hand it will be easier to kite. A squishie gets one- or two-shotted by the dog when it gets buffed like this, so it’s best to just kite the dog all the time.
Order: To the Death = this seems to cause the dog to change its aggro lock to a different player.
So just kite the dogs and DPS them, and also DPS the boss meanwhile. He will wake up new dogs on a regular basis, so you should put enough DPS on the current dog to kill it before the next one is activated. On the other hand the boss also has an enrage timer (5 minutes), so don’t neglect DPS on him either.
Vral the Wrathful
The boss stands on a platform and you should stand on the same platform while fighting him (with one exception, on which more below), or you will take very heavy damage (probably some sort of retributive damage from his Ritualist’s Shield buff).
Invocation = activates some of the candles on the edge of the platform. These candles buff the boss’s DPS, so you should destroy them as quickly as possible. The candles don’t actually take regular damage, but your attacks drain their mana instead; the candle gets deactivated when its mana is down to 0%.
As the fight progresses, the candles get harder and harder to kill (initially each point of damage done by your attacks drains 5 points of the candle’s mana, but later this drops to 4, 3, 2 and finally 1), so make sure to focus enough DPS on them. The way the candles buff the boss is nonlinear (1 candle = 10%; 2 candles = 20%; 3 candles = 40%; 4 candles = 60%; 5 candles = 80%; 6 candles = 150%; 7 candles = 200%); having him buffed by 3 or so candles is tolerable enough, but at 6 candles he gets unsustainable.
Every 25%, he starts casting Reign in Blood. Trails of blood emanate from the players and start making their way towards the boss; when they reach him, he heals up a lot. To prevent him from healing up, everyone should stand near the edge of the platform as the boss comes close to 75, 50 or 25% health; then, when he actually reaches that percentage, everyone should jump off the platform. This way the blood trails will take so long to reach the boss that they won’t actually reach him in time and heal him. It’s a good idea to tank the boss near the edge when he’s close to 75, 50 or 25; he will run to the centre of the platform in preparation for his Reign in Blood Cast, and this will give you a little more time to jump down before he actually starts casting it.
P.S. Curiously, this boss was named Varl, not Vral, before the introduction of this unchained version.
P.P.S. I suspect this dungeon was developed by people with
OCD CDO, because the bosses appear in proper alphabetical order
Demigod of Acheron
I’m still not quite sure what is the best way of killing this boss. I’d be interested to hear how other people are killing him — let us know in the comments.
Note that when you start the fight, everyone in the group gets a Acheronian Blood Ritual Mark debuff (see the Blood for the Blood God section above for more information), and you’ll have to fight the whole fight with this debuff.
In the first phase, the boss has the following abilities:
Withering = frontal cone aoe attack, it puts a poison dot and a debuff on you (-50% damage modifier, -50% received healing modifier), much like the Unknown in the Coils of Ubah Kan. To avoid this, just move out of the frontal cone. Note that this is the first ability he will use immediately after you start the fight. When you pull him for the first time, everyone will get ported in front of the boss, so be prepared to move out of the frontal cone immediately. For later pulls, it makes sense to have everyone stand behind the boss when you start the fight.
Tail Lash = a wide cone attack that hits behind the boss and on his right side. Either move in front of the boss, on his left side, or sufficiently far away from him (the cone doesn’t go very far). My ToS was getting hit by around 10-10.5k by it. In the first phase of the fight, Tail Lash always comes immediately after the fear (see below).
Will of Acheron = targets a random player and charms him. I’m not sure if Unbinding Charm works, but in any case you should just avoid hurting the charmed player with your splash damage.
Hell Barbs = his primary single-target attack; slashing damage.
Wail of the Darkest Dark = an aoe fear; it starts when the cast begins and ends when the cast ends. A Tail Lash will come immediately afterwards, so be ready to move to the correct side of the boss.
At 50% of health, two adds (group mobs) spawn in the boss room, while the boss himself goes out and starts casting Abyssal Revival, a 30-second channeled self-heal which soon heals him back up to 100%. He then comes back and the fight resumes. In this second phase of the fight, he still has the Withering and Tail Lash abilities, but not the charm and fear. Additionally, every 28 sec or so he casts Seasons of the Abyss, which is a huge magical aoe spell that will oneshot everyone (unless they have a bubble or immunity buff). This spell also ignores line of sight. If someone survives this oneshot spell, the boss casts it again not too long afterwards, etc.
To interrupt his self-heal (Abyssal Revival) and later his one-shot ability (Seasons of the Abyss), you will need to drop barrels on him from the bridge upstairs. You might remember that there are black spots on the ground in front of the boss room, and that mobs standing on the bridge upstairs used to throw exploding barrels on you if you stood near those black spots. Actually, you probably reached that bridge yourself at some point in your walk through the dungeon (on your way from Sethik to Vral). It turns out you can click those barrels by yourself to throw them down, and if you throw them down on the boss, you interrupt whatever he’s doing at the moment; including his self-heal or his oneshot spell. The boss doesn’t have to be exactly on the black spot for this to work; a couple meters away from it is still OK. Any players close to the spot will still take damage (and be briefly stunned) when a barrel drops, so they should stay away from the black spot when a barrel is being dropped.
The boss goes to one of the spots near the entrance to the altar room before casting Abyssal Revival; it’s always the same spot, so you know exactly which barrel to drop to interrupt his heal. Then the tanks will need to move him to a new black spot so that a new barrel can be dropped on him there when he casts Seasons of the Abyss; then you move him again and get ready to interrupt the next Seasons with yet another barrel, and so on until he’s dead. Note that you still have to DPS him in the second phase; the amount of damage he takes from the barrels is fairly small.
When moving the boss around in the second phase, there are a few things you should be careful about. If you try to run too far up the walls of the room, you might fall out of his aggro list, which can be pretty bad if you’re the tank. Other people must of course be careful to avoid his tail lash and withering aoe.
When tanking the boss in the second phase, it’s IME a good idea to keep him turned so that the wall is on his right side; that way, there won’t be any players there that could get hit by Tail Lash. The DPSers can be on the boss’s left side, and the tank should be in front of him; during Withering, he can move to the DPSers for a few seconds to avoid the frontal cone of Withering.
How do you get people up on the bridge to click barrels? One possibility is to have someone waiting up there from the very start of the fight. The advantage of this is that this player can drop a barrel as soon as the boss starts casting Abyssal Revival, so he won’t heal up at all; the disadvantage is that this player is not available downstairs in the first phase of the fight. Another way to get people upstairs is to use the pink teleportation circle that appears at 50% next to the dinosaur head with which you spawned the boss. It appears that this circle starts to work only after the two adds which spawned at 50% are dead, so by the time you can port someone up and have him click the barrel, the boss will probably have healed up to 100% already.
The main problem in the second phase of the fight is the fact that increasingly large numbers of adds start spawning on the bridge upstairs and attacking any players who might be standing there, trying to click barrels. There are several possible ways of trying to cope with this:
- Perhaps the most obvious idea is to port about 3 people upstairs and hope that this will suffice to kill the adds. However, in my experience, the adds spawn in such large numbers (and have so much HP) that even 3 people get overwhelmed. And, of course, the more people you port up on the bridge, the fewer you have left downstairs to actually DPS the boss.
- Apparently some people tried leaving 3 people upstairs on the bridge from the start of the fight. The first phase must be extremely slow and hairy with just 3 people downstairs, but the advantage of this idea is that people who were on the bridge at the start of the fight don’t get the Acheronian Blood Ritual Mark debuff, so they will now find it much easier to fight the adds on the bridge. But in my experience, if they go back down at any point, they will get the debuff then and it will be stuck with them for good (until they zone out etc.).
- Another idea is to have a soldier port up about 10-15 seconds before the boss will start casting the next Seasons of the Abyss; he should just ignore the mobs, run to the correct barrel and click it. The problem is that the mobs’ attacks are very likely to interrupt his clicking of the barrel; if this goes on for too long, the boss will finish his Seasons cast and everyone will die. Using a bubble helps to prevent being interrupted, but sooner or later your bubbles will be on cooldown. After he has clicked the barrel, the soldier should jump down (try to land so that the fall is not too deep, and that you won’t drop in the area reached by Withering or Tail Lash), heal up a little, and get ready to port again in time for the next Seasons.
- Another idea is to have a soldier on the bridge all the time, kiting the adds when he isn’t clicking a barrel. This can get a bit tricky because there are so many adds eventually, but often some of them reset while they are being kited. The adds also have an annoying tendency to interrupt you while you’re clicking the barrel; you might have to CC them or use a bubble to prevent that. Note that having one soldier on the bridge all the time typically means that just one solder is available downstairs for tanking the boss; this is doable with one tank and two healers if they are well geared. This seems to be the most common way of killing this boss nowadays.
Occasionally the boss forcibly teleports one of the players from the bridge back downstairs. IIRC someone said this happens if he feels that he can’t reach the current aggro holder. In any case, you should try to avoid this because it can interfere pretty badly with your barrel-clicking efforts.
A small historical note: before 4.1.5, you could also do this fight by leaving the yellow mobs on the bridge alive, which then meant that you could get *them* to drop barrels simply by having any player move close to the black spot where you had positioned the boss. Thus you didn’t have to send players to the bridge at all. However, the yellow mobs no longer drop barrels during the Demigod fight, so you should just kill them along with all the other mobs on the bridge.
Apart from the usual Acheronian Chests, the boss drops one of four possible purple cloaks with very nice stats:
All cloaks look very similar, with small variations in color:
Abyssal Cloak of the Death Master
Abyssal Cape of the Fallen Empire
Abyssal Cloak of the Hell Walker
Abyssal Cloak of Crimson Slaughter
Spirit of Un Nefer
There are four mobs with this name, and although they are labelled as bosses in the game, they are really more like minibosses.
Their primary single-target attack does electrical damage, so the tanks should use protection gear. Apart from this, each of them spawns a different kind of adds:
1. The first Spirit casts Raiseth the Dead, which spawns several solo adds (easy to kill).
2. The second Spirit casts Awakening, which spawns several minions (even easier to kill).
3. The third Spirit also casts Awakening, but this now spawns a group trashmob (Living Statue); it can be cc’ed.
4. The fourth Spirit also casts Awakening, which now spawns a group trashmob named Risen Bloodhunter. This add can’t be cc’ed.
The Risen Bloodhunter will occasionally petrify (i.e. stun) one of the players; anybody can unstun a petrified player by clicking him, as if he was a clickable object.
After you’ve killed all 4 spirits, you should click the sands on the balcony as you’ll need them for the Acheronian Warlord fight later. Every player in the group should pick up the sand.
You should also break the urn on the balcony. This will cause the Soul of Un Nefer to spawn (see below). After this point, some of the statues in the dungeon will start becoming active when you move near them, so be careful when moving through the dungeon again.
Soul of Un Nefer
This boss spawns after you break the urn on the balcony; you’ll find him waiting for you in the first big room just after where you killed the first Spirit.
He doesn’t actually hit you by himself. Instead, he spends all of his time spawning adds, using the four abilities that we saw earlier on the Spirits of Un Nefer. So you’ll be getting some minions, some solo mobs and some group mobs — make sure to tank the group adds so that they won’t kill the squishies. As before, the Bloodhunter adds can petrify people, and you will have to click the petrified player to unstun him.
If the boss activates all the statues in the room before you kill him, everyone gets oneshotted.
- Dealing with the statues and Shatterfield
The boss stands in the middle of the room, and there are 8 statues around him: 4 in the corners and 4 on the sides of the room. Each statue has a Gift of Acheron debuff; at the start of the fight, this debuff has 4:00 minutes left on the corner adds and 2:30 minutes on the side adds. After a statue’s Gift of Acheron debuff expires, it comes alive and has to be tanked and spanked. To avoid having to do this, you should use the Shatterfield mechanic to oneshot the statues (see below).
Occasionally the boss casts a long cast called Shatterfield, during which he targets a random player. This player has to run to a statue and it will get oneshotted; if he isn’t near a statue at the end of the cast, the player himself gets oneshotted instead. Note that this only works on statues that haven’t woken up yet. You can also break line of sight at the end of the cast to avoid being oneshotted.
You should use this mechanic to oneshot the statues before they become alive; make sure to destroy the statues on the sides of the room first, and the ones in the corners later as they have a longer timer before they will wake up.
Other players should avoid being near the player that is being targeted by Shatterfield, or they will take very heavy damage (and likely get oneshotted). Note that this damage already comes during the cast itself, not just at the end!
- Using the sand
The boss has a heal (Acheronian Revival) running on himself all the time (without a corresponding icon above his name and healthbar), which heals him by 1% every 3 sec. To remove this heal, a player has to target the boss and click the sand (which you picked up earlier on the balcony, see above). This will not only block the boss’s heal but even put a dot on him, called Sands of the Ancients, which takes away 1% of his HP every 3 sec. The icon for this dot is easy to recognize, as it looks just like the ToS root (Quicksand).
Eventually this dot will expire, or the boss will remove it from himself by casting Cry of Acheron. At that point another player should click his sand, etc. The sand has a relatively long cooldown so it’s a good idea to set up a rotation beforehand; that way, you can keep the dot on the boss pretty much all the time.
- Other abilities
Flames of Acheron = frontal cone fire aoe attack by the boss, it hits very hard and the cone seems uncomfortably wide (in fact it sometimes feels as if at least a part of this attack is 360-degree aoe rather than any kind of cone), but it isn’t very long, so you might want to run away to be safe. I have the impression that Flames of Acheron always comes immediately after Shatterfield, and that it’s directed towards the most recently shattered statue.
Apart from that, he does physical damage (and crits quite a bit).
Protection is the attribute that enables you to mitigate incoming magical damage. Just as there are five different kinds of magic damage (holy, unholy, cold, electrical, and fire), there are also five corresponding kinds of protection: “protection (holy)”, “protection (unholy)” and so on. When you see generic protection without anything in parentheses after it, as is the case on many pieces of armor, feats, etc., this means that your piece of armor (or feat, etc.) will contribute that amount to each of the five kinds of protection.
Besides protection that you find directly on gear, feats, buffs, etc., you also get some protection from wisdom and intelligence. Each point of wisdom contributes 0.5 points of holy and unholy protection; each point of intelligence contributes 0.5 points of cold, fire, and electrical protection. Wisdom and intelligence come mostly from gear, though some of it is also innate (the exact amount depends on your class and level).
In the above example, we have 1213 holy protection, of which (as it turns out) 450 came from having 5/5 points in Holy Wards (passive AA perk) and the rest came from our having 1527 wisdom (of which 190 was innate and 1337 came from gear). Similarly, we have 510 cold protection, of which 450 comes from 5/5 points in Frost Wards and the rest comes from our having 120 intelligence (all of which is innate — this was taken on a ToS, so my gear didn’t have any intelligence on it). I didn’t have any gear or buffs that would be specific to just one type of protection, so the amount of holy and unholy protection is the same, and the amount of fire, cold and electrical protection is likewise the same.
But what I’m really interested in today is the little floating tooltip next to the mitigation column. We see that our holy mitigation is 17.3%, so a hit that would otherwise (if we didn’t have any mitigation) hit us for 1000 points will now hit us for only 827 points of damage. But how exactly do we get from 1213 to 16.5%, and from there to 17.3%?
As you are no doubt familiar with if you’ve been doing any tinkering with combat-related numbers, the most important magic number in Age of Conan is 36.6. It occurs in all sorts of stat-related conversions and calculations. But when it comes to protection, the magic number turns out to be 73.7. You get the initial percentage of mitigation by dividing your protection by 73.7. Sure enough, 1213 / 73.7 = 16.4586…, which the GUI rounds to one digit after the decimal point and thus shows us 16.5%, as we saw in the above image.
After that, invulnerabilities get applied. Invulnerabilities are yet another set of stats, again one for each type of damage; they were more prominent in the pre-1.05 days than now. In my case above, I just have 1% invulnerability, which, as it turns out, comes from guild city buffs: Temple III and Architect Workshop III give you +0.5% invulnerability each, to all types of magic damage. (Tier I and II versions of these buildings give +0.2% and +0.3%, respectively, but it appears that these buffs do not stack.)
So a hypothetical incoming hit of holy damage that would hit us for 1000 points if we had no mitigation or invulnerability would, in our above example, first get mitigated by our protection, which would reduce it by 16.5%, leaving about 835 points of damage. This would then be further reduced by 1% by our holy invulnerability; now, 1% of 835 is 8.35, so that leaves us with 835 – 8.35 = approx. 827 points of damage. Thus you might say that these two things together, protection and invulnerability, have mitigated 1000 − 827 = 173 points of damage, which is 17.3% of the original 1000 points.
So you might say that our overall holy mitigation is 17.3%, and this is the figure that gets shown in the main part of the GUI (which is reasonable, since when you’re getting hit by an enemy, you probably don’t care very much whether incoming damage gets mitigated by your protection or by your invulnerability, as long as it actually gets mitigated).
Let’s summarize these things with formulas:
• Mitigation from protection, in %, is mp = protection / 73.7.
• Mitigation after applying invulnerabilities, in %, is ma = 100 − (100 – mp) · (1 – invul/100), where invul is the bonus invulnerability in %.
The magic number
But how did we get the magic number 73.7? And how reliable is it? To test this, I was swapping my gear around a bit and observing the numbers in the GUI.
At one particular combination of gear, I had 667 holy protection (most of which came 5/5 points in Holy Wards, and the rest from my 434 wisdom), and the GUI showed my mitigation to be 9.1% before invuls and 10.0% afterwards. Now, we know that these numbers are rounded to one decimal point for the sake of display, so the true mitigation after invuls can be anywhere in the range [9.95, 10.05]. If you plug ma = 9.95 into the above formula for ma (with invul = 1) and solve for mp, you get mp = approx. 9.0404%; if you similarly plug ma = 10.05, you get mp = approx. 9.1414. So from the fact that ma is in the range [9.95, 10.05], we can conclude that mp is in the range [9.0404, 9.1414]. But since the GUI showed mp as 9.1%, this means that mp must be in the range [9.05, 9.15]. Combining these two things tells us that mp must be in the range [9.05, 9.1414]. If we denote the ratio protection / mp by R, we now see that R must be at least protection / 9.1414 and can be at most protection / 9.05. Since in our case, protection was 667, this tells us that R must be in the range [72.9646, 73.7016].
I repeated this experiment with a different combination of gear, where I had 1006 holy protection (some from Holy Wards, some directly on gear, and the rest coming from my 812 wisdom), and the GUI showed my holy mitigation to be 13.6% before invuls and 14.5% afterwards. If we analyze this case in the same way as we did in the previous paragraph, we now see that R must be in the range [73.6996, 74.0476].
Combining both ranges tells us that R must be in the range [73.6996, 73.7016]. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s quite hard to imagine that the correct value of R is anything else than 73.7.
(I also observed the mitigation at numerous other values of protection and any R in the above-mentioned range would be able to explain all my observations.)
Incidentally, the way invulnerabilities work has some curious consequences. For example, the ToS bubble, Serpent Transmutation, is implemented as an invulnerability buff: it gives you +133% invulnerabilty to all normal types of damage (i.e. excluding things like fall damage, drowning damage and untyped damage). If we add 1% invulnerability from guild city buffs, we now have 134% invulnerability. This means that incoming damage is reduced by 134%, so it becomes negative and therefore heals you. You get healed by 34% of the amount that you would have taken as damage if you had no invulnerabilities.
The curious thing comes as a consequence of the fact that invulnerabilities are applied after the initial mitigation from protection. You get healed by 34% of the amount of damage that is left after it has been mitigated by your protection — so the better your protection is, the less healing you will get from your bubble. You can easily verify this by plugging invul = 134 into the above formulas, or by looking at the following screenshots. We had more unholy than electrical protection, but during Serpent Transmutation our electrical mitigation was higher than our unholy mitigation:
Odd wisdom and non-integral protection
We said earlier that 1 point of wisdom contributes 0.5 points of protection. You might ask what happens if your overall amount of wisdom is an odd number. For example, 227 wisdom should theoretically contribute 113.5 protection. But can your protection be a non-integer? Will it get rounded to 114? Or maybe to 113?
That’s easy enough to test. Wearing nothing but Archpriest’s Gloves of the Underworld, my ToS had 227 wisdom (190 innate + 37 from the gloves), plus another 450 protection from Holy Wards. So theoretically my protection should be 227 · 0.5 + 450 = 563.5. The GUI showed my holy protection as 563, but the tooltip next to it says that my mitigation (before invulnerabilities) is mp = 7.6%.
If we trust the 73.7 ratio that we established earlier, we can see that:
- 563 / 73.7 = approx. 7.6391
- 563.5 / 73.7 = approx. 7.6459
- 564 / 73.7 = approx. 7.6526
If the game had rounded our protection up to 564 before further calculations, then the resulting mp would be above 7.65% and would therefore be rounded up to 7.7% when being displayed with one digit after the decimal point.
Walking around wearing nothing but gloves is a bit uncomfortable and makes horny people stare, so let’s put some shoes on as well! Boots of the Unutterable will increase our wisdom by 104, therefore our holy protection will increase by 52 and will now be 615.5. The GUI shows it as 615 and shows the resulting mp to be 8.4%.
Just like before, we can see that:
- 615 / 73.7 = approx. 8.3446
- 615.5 / 73.7 = approx. 8.3514
- 616 / 73.7 = approx. 8.3582
So if the game had rounded our protection down to 615 before further calculations, the resulting mp would be below 8.35% and would therefore be displayed in the GUI as 8.3%, not 8.4%.
So we can see that neither rounding down nor up can explain our observations — the game internally works with the correct protection value even if it isn’t an integer, and this value gets rounded (down, as it happens) only for display purposes (in the “Protection” column on the left).
Some related mechanics
While making a few tests on my guardian (on which more below) I noticed the following:
Bonus Protection: this stat (you see it e.g. on a guardian’s Mental Barrier maneuver or the Juggernaut ability) affects only generic protection, not the damage-specific kinds of it. Thus it also doesn’t affect the protection you get from wisdom, intelligence, or from the Wards AA perks.
Damage Mitigation: this appears as a stat on the tooltips of Defensive Stance and a guardian’s Defense tactic. In terms of how it affects magical mitigation, it seems to be nothing else than a synonym for invulnerability. If you switch to defensive stance, just add 10 to invuls in our above formulas and everything works the same as before.
Tests with the guardian also confirmed that protection is always rounded down for the purposes of display in the first column of the Magical attributes tab. At one point I had 3310 holy protection, of which 35 came from my 70 wisdom, 450 came from Holy Wards, and the rest was in the form of generic protection on gear, Stone Skin, and Chromatic Warding. Thus you would expect that 3310 − 35 − 450 = 2825 of this protection would be affected by Mental Barrier, and switching to it should therefore give us an extra 15% · 2825 = 423.75 protection, so our holy protection should now be 3310 + 423.75 = 3733.75. So you might expect the GUI to show the protection as 3734 if it wanted to round it to an integer, but in fact it displayed 3733.
I’ve made the measurements described so far on my ToS, but fortunately I then decided to do a few tests on my guardian to see if the formulas also work there. It turns out that the formula mp = protection / 73.7 that we’ve seen so far only works as long as the resulting mitigation is no higher than 50% (which happens at 3685 protection). After that point, the mitigation is no longer a linear function of protection; it’s something sublinear, but I didn’t manage to figure out the exact formula.
Each dot on the chart represents one particular combination of gear (and buffs such as Mental Barrier maneuver and the Juggernaut ability, each of which gives you +15% bonus protection). The dots are of two different colors, but this difference isn’t really important. Blue dots represent spiritual protection (i.e. holy and unholy) and purple ones represent elemental protection (i.e. fire, cold, electrical) — they were different partly because my guardian has more wisdom than intelligence (70 wis, 60 int), and partly because I equipped a Quill of Ibis with an elemental protection gem (Sanguine Radiant Sapphire: +156 elemental protection). This was convenient as it allowed me to get two different data points from each combination of armor and accessories; and as we can see, both series of dots lie on the same curve anyway.
We can see how all the dots up to 3685 protection = 50% mitigation lie on a straight line; in fact this line is shown in orange below the dots, but it’s mostly hidden by the dots themselves. From that point onwards, the measurements no longer form a straight line, but a curve which grows more and more slowly. I showed two straight lines of different slopes for comparison, to make it easier to notice how the data is not on a straight line. In between those two is a curved orange line which fits the data a lot better, though not perfectly; it is based on the formula at the end of this section.
I suspect the origins of this nonlinear relationship go back to update 1.07; see the following post by a developer named Ilaliya, replying to people who noticed that their mitigation had been decreased [source]:
I apologize this was not in the patch notes.
In order to support a level-less expansion, we had to recalculate the section of the armor formula where armor values give above 50% mitigation (not including things like defensive stance). Note this change should only really impact soldiers who are in gear greater than T1. And even then, players will only be affected in most cases by less than 1%.
This change was to make armor much more future proof, in order to accommodate the substantial power increases obtainable through the expansion. Due to how %-based mitigation works mathematically, each additional % of mitigation is more valuable than the previous %. To illustrate this, consider that someone with 50% mitigation is taking half damage. 75% mitigation is taking half-damage of that, and 87.5% is taking half damage of that. The closer you get to 100%, the fewer and fewer % mitigation it takes to continually half incoming damage. At the extreme case, someone with 99% mitigation is taking half the incoming damage as someone with 98% mitigation.
When we raised the existing stat caps for the expansion, we found the existing armor formula scaled too quickly for the new values we wanted to give out. The armor formula above the 50% mitigation mark was changed as an outcome of this. Again, we apologize for any confusion or inconvenience this may have caused you guys.
He talks here about armor (and hence physical mitigation), but I suspect that the same thing happened to protection (and magical mitigation).
So perhaps the idea is that (once your mitigation is above 50%), adding a constant amount of extra protection should decrease your incoming damage in the same proportion regardless of what your initial protection was. Or in yet other words, it should cost the same amount of protection to move your mitigation from 50% to 75% as it would cost to move it from 75% to 87.5% or from 98% to 99%.
The proportion of damage that reaches us after mitigation is 1 — mp/100 (where mp is the mitigation in percent). Let’s call this quantity d. So if we had 50% mitigation, we’d have d = 1/2; at 75% mitigation we’d have d = 1/4; at 87.5% we’d have d = 1/8 and so on. If we take the base-2 logarithm of d and multiply it by −1, the result tells us how many times damage had been halved from the initial (unmitigated) amount. This quantity, − log2 d, is what we would expect (based on Ilaliya’s post above) to be a linear function of protection. Let’s explore this idea with a chart:
Here we have protection on the x-axis and − log2 d on the y-axis. Thus y = 1 corresponds to 50% mitigation; y = 1.1 corresponds to approx. 53.3% mitigation; y = 1.2 corresponds to approx. 56.5% mitigation; and y = 1.3 corresponds to approx. 59.4% mitigation. The dots are based on the same measurements as the previous chart, except that they are all the same color and that those with less than 50% mitigation have been discarded. Unfortunately, as we can see, the relationship isn’t quite linear — our dots clearly don’t all lie on a single straight line. (The red trendline is a straight line, given for comparison.)
I tried a few other ways to transform the data in the hopes of finding some sort of elegant linear function somewhere, but without success. One of the best attempts was to use a logarithmic scale on both axes. On the following chart, the x-axis shows log(protection − 50 · 73.7) and the y-axis shows log(mp). The scattering of the dots on the lower left part of the chart might seem a bit odd at first but it’s just due to the fact that our mitigation values (as we see them in the GUI) are rounded to just one digit after the decimal point. The more annoying thing happens at the right end of the chart, where we can again see that the relationship between y and x is sublinear — the dots clearly don’t all lie on a straight line.
So, anyway, I don’t have a nice exact formula for computing mitigation from protection above 50%. The closest one I managed to find is:
mp ≅ 50 + (protection − 50 · 73.7 − 15)0.892 / 78.55.
If you round the result of this formula to one digit after the decimal point, it doesn’t differ by more than 0.1 from the value shown in the GUI for any of my measurements (i.e. the dots in the previous charts). (The extra −15 subtracted from the protection helps with the accuracy, but it does mean that you can’t use this formula for protections below 3701. Between 3685 (= 50 · 73.7) and 3701 you can still use the old formula, mp = protection / 73.7; again the results, rounded to one digit after the decimal point, won’t differ from those in the GUI by more than 0.1.)
This approximate formula might be potentially useful for some rough calculations, but it isn’t really satisfactory if you want to be exact. The whole reason why I started this investigation of protection was because the mitigation rounded to 0.1% as shown in the GUI was too imprecise for some of my subsequent calculations. Now we have a more precise formula for mitigation below 50%, but above 50% our formula doesn’t really have any advantages over just taking the mitigation as it is shown in the GUI.
If we don’t count the three social armor sets from the Sepulcher of the Wyrm, there are ten new sets of armor in the Dragon’s Spine:
- Black Pharaoh (plate, defensive)
- Dark Messenger (plate, DPS)
- Haunter in the Dark (BS)
- Howling Giant (ranger)
- Ubah Kan (barbarian)
- Oxmal (PoM/ToS, DPS)
- Shivering Stars (PoM/ToS, healing)
- Crawling Chaos (assassin)
- Faceless Chaos (HoX)
- Faceless Sphinx (demo/necro)
Each set exists in a blue and a purple version, but the purple versions are currently incomplete — no purple heads, chests, or wrists are currently available.
Unfortunately, the naming of the items is a good deal less transparent than in the case of Khitai faction armor. There, each item name started with a prefix from which you could easily tell whether it was blue or purple: for example, if a Scarlet Circle piece is called “Summoner’s”, it must be purple, whereas if it is “Neophyte’s”, “Thaumaturge’s”, or “Sorcerer’s”, it is one of the three tiers of blues.
Here in the Dragon’s Spine sets, there is no obvious naming convention that would reliably separate blue from purple items; for example, in the medium sets, blue shoulders are called “Arm-straps” and purple shoulders “Armbands”, while in plate sets it’s just the opposite (well, with a hyphen in “Arm-bands”); there is at least one case where the purple and blue piece have the same name (Grips of the Ubah Kan). At best you can hope to find a few heuristics here and there, e.g. all the purple legs seem to be called “Breeches”.
Where to get this stuff?
The situation is somewhat complicated by the fact that Dragon’s Spine is being released by bits and pieces. Initially, in update 4.0, things actually started off very systematically: you could buy purple shoulders and belts for rare trophies from the NPC vendor in the northern excavation camp; the first boss in the Sepulcher of the Wyrm dropped blue feet; the second boss dropped blue wrists; the third boss dropped blue legs and purple hands. Other items weren’t yet available.
Additionally, of the 10 sets mentioned above, only 7 were available at that time; Dark Messenger, Shivering Stars and Howling Giant were introduced in 4.1 only. The purple shoulders and belts for these sets were added to the NPC vendor, but the Sepulcher of the Wyrm loot tables weren’t modified to include suitable parts (blue feet, wrists, legs, and purple hands) of the three new sets; instead, these parts were added to the Coils of Ubah Kan loot tables. Additionally, the Coils loot tables contain purple feet and legs, as well as blue chests, heads, shoulders, belts, and hands, for all 10 sets.
|Color||Part||Original 4.0 sets (Black Pharaoh,
Haunter in the Dark, Ubah Kan, Oxmal, Crawling Chaos, Faceless Chaos, Faceless Sphinx)
|New 4.1 sets (Dark messenger, Howling Giant, Shivering Stars)|
|Feet||Sepulcher 1st boss||Coils|
|Legs||Sepulcher 3rd boss||Coils|
|Wrist||Sepulcher 2nd boss||Coils|
|Hands||Sepulcher 3rd boss||Coils|
The loot tables in the Coils of Ubah Kan are, unfortunately, not nearly as systematical as the ones in the Sepulcher of the Wyrm (although some patterns certainly do exist). It is even possible for the same item to drop from multiple bosses.
A few months ago I was grumbling about how many of the House of Crom armor sets are very similar to each other, distinguished only by slight changes in color. In the Dragon’s Spine, the situation went a step further and many sets of armor look exactly the same. As it turns out, among the Dragon’s Spine sets the appearance of a piece of armor depends only on its weight: both full-plate sets look the same; both medium sets look the same; all three light sets look the same; and all three cloth sets also look the same. Furthermore, although each set is available in a blue and a purple version, both look exactly the same.
(Of course, I haven’t actually tried collecting and swapping around absolutely every piece of each of these sets, but I did try swapping around many of them, and in all those cases the above rule was confirmed: as long as the weight remained the same, the look was also the same, regardless of the set and color.)
I was initially somewhat taken aback at the idea that assassin and mage sets should look the same just because they both happen to be cloth armor, or that barbarian and PoM/ToS sets should look the same just because they both happen to be light armor; but on second thought we have to admit that this is nothing new — the same thing happened with many of the Khitai faction sets more than 3 years ago. (E.g. the Brittle Blade sets for assassins, HoXes, and demos/necros all look the same.)
Anyway, at least this makes it easier to collect a coherent-looking set for vanity purposes; you can mix blue and purple pieces from two or three sets, as long as they match in weight, and the result will be the same as if they had actually all been from the same set. So, as far as the appearance is concerned, we practically have just four sets here.
Two full-plate sets are available: Black Pharaoh, which is more defensive, and Dark Messenger (added only in 4.1), which is more DPS-oriented. (See my recent post for more.)
Two medium sets are available: Haunter in the Dark for bear shamans (rangers) and Howling Giant for bear shamans. Originally, only Haunter in the Dark was released in 4.0 and was thought of as a generic BS/ranger set, with generic combat rating; in fact those parts of it that were available then still have the same stats; but the parts that were added subsequently have more ranger-oriented stats (dexterity instead of generic combat rating). Howling Giant was released in 4.1 and has combat rating (2HB) on all parts, so there is no doubt that it’s a BS set.
Three light sets are available: Ubah Kan is for barbarians, Oxmal is a DPS-oriented set for healers, and Shivering Stars (added only in 4.1) is a healing-oriented set for healers. Oxmal lacks heal rating altogether, except on the purple legs.
Three cloth sets are available: Crawling Chaos for assassins, Faceless Sphinx for demos/necros and Faceless Chaos for HoXes.
Miscellaneous loot from the Coils of Ubah Kan
The following screenshot shows the Blade and Shield of the Black Pharaoh (tank sword and shield), but the devs employed the same level of economy in designing the weapons as they did for the armor, so that the Edge of the Ubah Kan looks exactly the same as the Blade of the Black Pharaoh, and the Shield of the Shivering Stars (healer shield) looks the same as the Shield of the Black Pharoah.
Here’s a screenshot of the Staff of Shivering Stars (healer staff), along with the Oxmal / Shivering Stars armor set. The mage staff, Totem of the Faceless Sphinx, looks the same.
The Omni-Prophet (last boss) in the Coils of Ubah Kan drops several cloaks, which IIRC use the same models that were already made available in the item shop some time ago. The following screenshot shows the Cloak of the Black Pharaoh (153 armor, 556 HP, 101 protection); others aren’t exactly the same, but in a similar style.
And here is the Cloak of the Shivering Stars, which actually has more heal rating than any other cloak in the game (201 heal rtg, 80 wis, 10 hate dec rtg, 200 mana, 4.9 nat mana regen):
Several changes have been made in Xibaluku recently, probably in update 4.1, without any corresponding announcement in the update notes. Presumably these are some work-in-progress type of things that have been unintentionally and prematurely pushed to the live server. Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to summarize the changes in a post. (See also the interesting forum thread.)
Changes in boss HP
Probably the most obvious change is that the amount of hit points for pretty much all the bosses there has been significantly reduced, by around 30–40%. (As usually, the HP measurements are only approximate.)
|Boss||Amount of hit points||Change|
|Warlord Repadis||270 k||202 k||−25 %|
|Master Gaoler Norach||238 k||151 k||−37 %|
|Surberec||315 k||197 k||−38 %|
|Acheronian Reaper||276 k||198 k||−28 %|
|Balko||207 k||120 k||−42 %|
|Martyr of Votantha||1178 k||744 k||−37 %|
|Tia Shar||337 k||223 k||−34 %|
|The Red One||302 k||218 k||−28 %|
|Meskit the Fated||231* k||202 k||—12 %|
|Iziel-Al’zeep||140–180 k||100–120 k||−31 %|
|Jal Kor Bloodbane||355 k||?|
(Some of the data is missing: I haven’t done any non-hardmode runs yet recently, so I haven’t seen Jal Kor yet either. The HP shown for Iziel doesn’t include his huge loss of health when the mirror is purified, and a range of values is reported since purifying the mirror doesn’t seem to always drop his HP to the same percentage. I’m not sure how reliable my pre-4.1 estimate of Meskit is; I couldn’t find a log in which I didn’t die during the fight.)
The latest combat log I can find with the old HP amounts was from April 2013, and it seems I haven’t done Xibaluku between then and this week. Some people in the forums say that the boss HP seemed normal as little as one month ago, which suggests that the changes were most likely introduced in update 4.1.
I’m somewhat disappointed by the nerfs to boss HP; in my opinion, Xibaluku was one of those places that didn’t require nerfing. I find it hard to imagine that the change from e.g. 300 k to 200 k would actually make a significant difference to anyone; even if you go there with a poorly geared group of newly-level-80 characters, anything that they can kill with 200 k HP they could also have killed if it had 300 k HP. And in the case of the Martyr of Votantha, it is now more tempting than ever to just tank and spank him instead of trying to deal with the platform puzzle, which is a bit of a pity (the platform puzzle has been fixed a long time ago so that it doesn’t require any jumping, merely walking, so isn’t unreasonably difficult now).
New epic accessories from Iziel-Al’zeep. Like before, Iziel drops one epic accessory, but the set of possible drops has been expanded. In addition to the Conviction of Will (magic damage ring) and the Fury of Iziel (combat rating ring), there is now a Might of the Wrathful (armor/con ring) and a Necklace of Thousand Souls (protection necklace).
I don’t think the new ring will be particularly popular, but the necklace is very nice; comparable to Scipio’s Necklace of Protection (45 con, 40 immunity rtg, 220 protection), which you get as a quest reward for killing Arbanus, but with a bit more HP and with armor instead of immunity. In fact I like the new necklace better than Scipio’s one.
Bone-Rattle of Gullah items. This is a social armor set that had originally been introduced for the fifth anniversary event a few months ago (May 2013). The five open-world raid bosses in that event would drop bags (called ‘pentasacks’), and opening them would get you various kinds of loot, among them this set. One particularly nice thing was that you would get the whole set (all 8 parts) from one bag.
Now it seems that at least some parts of this set drop in Xibaluku. In our recent runs, Iziel always dropped (in addition to his usual loot) one part (chest, legs, or head), and the Red One has a chance of dropping hands or wrists. I haven’t seen the other parts yet.
Other new social items. The (now separately killable) treasure chest behind Norach and Surberec can now contain (in addition to the usual loot) a social helmet called Mask of the Master Gaoler. It looks the same as the Nescient Helm (full plate protection helmet from Jal Kor / Iziel) and Frostmaw Helm (from the Devourer, Amphitheatre normal mode).
The Acheronian Reaper (rare boss upstairs) has dropped (in addition to the usual loot) a social belt called Reaper’s Loin Girding of Oblivion. This looks exactly the same as the Acheronian Convoker’s Belt (which drops from the Dimensionalist in Amphitheatre unchained). I haven’t seen any other parts of this new Reaper set dropping so far, and we only saw the Acheronian Reaper once in our recent runs, so I don’t know if he always drops a social item or only sometimes.
Killable treasure chests. The treasure chest that becomes reachable after you kill Norach and Surberec is now a separately killable mob (which then drops a treasure chest with the loot), instead of a plain old treasure chest.
Likewise, Iziel-Al’zeep now doesn’t drop a loot box directly, but spawns a separately killable treasure chest (which then drops the loot box). One nice thing about that is that you no longer need to search for the loot box underwater — the killable chest now always spawns outside the pool.
Reduction of money drops. Formerly, each Xibaluku boss used to drop (in addition to the gear) around 3–4 silver per player (on average; if the group was full); this is a fairly standard amount for old-world level 80 group content. (See e.g. my posts about open-world bosses: 1, 2.)
Now, some of the bosses (Balko, Martyr of Votantha, Tia Shar) drop much less money than before — around 70 copper per player on average. Other bosses (Warlord Repadis, The Red One, Protector / Vindicator / Defender of Acheron) drop the same amount as before.
In the case of Iziel, it’s even worse; his new separately killable treasure chest contains almost no money (in our runs it was around 7 copper per player).
Reduction of trash mobs. Two mobs that were patrolling through Repadis’s room have been removed. This makes dealing with the trash at the beginning of the dungeon easier and less dynamic.
Boss levels. Whereas formerly bosses had various levels from 81 to 83, now they are all level 82.
[Update: according to the 4.1.6 patch notes, the changes in boss HP were unintentional and have now been reverted.]
Pole and shield!
Bolts are for weaklings, real men shoot polearms from their crossbow!
Two full plate sets are now available in Dragon’s Spine: Black Pharaoh (which is more defensive) and Dark Messenger (which is more DPS-oriented). As with the other Dragon’s Spine sets, each of them exists in two versions, blue and purple (but purple helmets, chests and wrists aren’t available yet — my guess is that they will be dropping in some dungeon that will be added in the future). So basically there are four full-plate sets here, but as far as I can tell, all four look exactly the same.
For example, I have all four leg armor pieces and tried swapping them around, and couldn’t notice even the slightest difference in my character’s appearance. This will certainly make matters easier for people who just want to get this stuff for vanity So the following screenshots contain a mixture of blue and purple items, some from the Black Pharaoh set and some from the Dark Messenger set:
Congratulations, you are now a fully certified rhino molester!
Front side of the helmet.
A full comparison of the stats will have to wait until later since I don’t know the stats of all the items yet. I tried, however, comparing the total stats of belt + hands + legs + shoulder from various purple sets. It turns out that the Dark Messenger plate set has basically the same DPS as Tiger heavy set, but more armor. The Black Pharaoh purple set seems to be comparable to the Wolves of the Steppes set, but with more hit rating and critical rating.
The Black Pharaoh blue set has a lot of HP for a blue set (6152 HP), but almost no DPS; but on the other hand, it has shitloads of hit rating and a very respectable amount of critical rating and critical damage rating.
Shadow Spider Matriarch
She does poison damage and doesn’t seem to crit much.
The fight consists of 3 phases, each in its own room, but they are mostly similar.
Viscous Filigree = her main single target attack on the aggro holder.
Razor Web Spray = frontal cone, not very strong.
Venomous Condition = she casts it on a random player (see target’s target); from him it spreads a bit like Miasma in T3, so he should move away from others until it expires.
Webbing = puts a random player (see target’s target) in a cocoon; while there, he is stunned and is taking damage; the cocoon must be DPSed asap. This ability only appears in the third phase.
Lacerating Mesh = puts gray circles on the ground (on random positions, unrelated to players), which snare you and damage you — it’s best to doubletap out of them.
Every 25% one of the Nest Sacks (hanging spider nests) around the room becomes active and must be DPSed (it spawns trashmobs — Shadow Spiders — until it’s destroyed). The first nest sack becomes active when the boss is at 100%, the second at 75% and the third at 50%. In phase 1 there’s just one nest, in phase 2 there are two nests and in phase 3 there are all 3 nests.
The order in which the nests become active is fixed; in the third phase, the middle nest becomes active first, then the left one, and finally the right one.
Serpent Man Hierophant
He does physical damage and crits a little. The fire trails, blue smoke etc. do magical damage but you shouldn’t be getting hit by those things anyway.
- First phase:
During this phase he has a 200% deflection buff, so you won’t tank him or fight him.
He opens the left alcove and 2 adds appear; kill them asap (they can’t be CCed, unfortunately). Repeat this for the middle alcove and finally for the right alcove. After that, the first phase is over.
Meanwhile there will be big lines of blue smoke slowly moving around the room — you might have to move as well to avoid coming in touch with them, as they will do heavy damage on you. Ideally you would kill each pair of adds so quickly that the blue smoke doesn’t reach you. (Once the adds are dead, the smoke disappears.)
Likewise avoid the white and red trails that move around on the ground. More and more of these will spawn until you’re finished killing the adds — and these trails will remain active until the end of the fight (which is why you should hurry with the first phase, so that you’ll have as few trails as possible).
- Second phase:
Lots of adds (Rage Vapors) will spawn; these are slowly following the boss and they buff him if they are near him; they also do self-centered aoe damage.
So you should frequently kite the boss around the room to get him away from the Vapors; apart from that, just tank and spank him.</p
The white and red trails on the ground from the first phase are still here, make sure to avoid them. The alcoves are potentially useful as a safe spot, since the trails never go inside them.
This fight has an enrage timer of 8 minutes (for both phases); this shouldn’t be a problem except if most of your group is dead.
Serpent Man Genealogist
- First phase:
During this phase he has a 200% deflection buff, so you won’t tank him or fight him.
He spawns a Serpent Man Unknown Hybrid, which needs to be killed.
Plasma Syphon = the Hybrid occasionally channels this spell while targeting a random player; this player should break line of sight to stop the channelling.
Plasma Charge = the Hybrid gets this stacking buff, we thought it was due to allowing him to channel Plasma Syphon for too long, but sometimes he got stacks of it outside of Plasma Syphon as well.
Bio Plasma = large area aoe hit (poison damage), whose power repends on how many stacks of Plasma Charge the boss had. At 5 stacks (which is the max), my necro was hit for ~8000 points. You can avoid it by breaking line of sight, but it’s a quick-casting spell so you don’t have much time to move. It’s best to tank him near one of the little walls on the side of the room so that people can quickly move behind the wall when they have to break line of sight.
- Second phase:
After the Hybrid is dead, the Genealogist becomes attackable.
This isn’t even a tank and spank fight — it’s just a spank fight. The boss runs around like crazy and doesn’t attack players, he just spawns lots of minions. Kill the minions, follow the boss and DPS him.
- Third phase:
A new mob called Serpent Man Bio-Titan spawns.
He’s mostly just tank and spank. He does physical damage, hits pretty hard and crits quite a bit. He seems to hit harder and harder as the fight progresses, though the GUI doesn’t explicitly show any buff that might indicate this.
Occasionally he casts Defile Evolution, which spawns an Incubating Egg; kill this add as quickly as possible, as the Bio-Titan gets healed while the Egg is up.
If he runs out of eggs before you kill him, he will start targeting players during Defile Evolution; he heals up even more now (even if the targeted player breaks line of sight), and oneshots the targeted player at the end. At this point you’re pretty much guaranteed to wipe.
This is an optional boss, i.e. you don’t have to kill it to progress through the dungeon. If you stand at the bridge which stands near the rez pad and leads deeper into the dungeon, and if you have the rez pad on your right, the way to The Unknown is to your left. Dive into one of the pools and swim underwater to reach the boss. He does physical damage and crits a little.
Exodus = large-area aoe kb; as usually with knockbacks, doubletapping helps.
Withering = frontal cone aoe, move out of the cone (like Frost Whip in the Palace of Yun Rau) or you will get an annoying debuff.
Occasionally the boss walks 1 circle around the room with a buff called Doom Gaze. This gives him +200% damage mitigation, so your attacks would heal him during this phase, so don’t attack him.
But more importantly, any adds (Bats, Vampire Bats) or players that come into his frontal cone during Doom Gaze will give him a stacking buff which is also called Doom Gaze. These stacks remain on him for the rest of the fight and give him +5% damage per stack. Once he reaches 20 stacks, he gets +500% damage instead of +100% damage, and at that point he is going to pretty much two-shot tanks and oneshot anyone else.
So it’s important that you kill the bats before the boss would reach them with its Doom Gaze. The bats are of two kinds: Bats, which are solo mobs, and Vampire Bats, which are group mobs. In the middle of the room there is a walled-off area containing a gaseous particle effect (Suppression Gas). You should lead the Vampire Bats into this gas to DPS them, otherwise they will be healing up and will be impossible to kill. The normal bats can be killed where they are.
You should kill the bats near the entrance to the Suppression Gas area first, since those won’t be respawning. The bats on the opposite side of the room will be respawning frequently (and you have to keep kiling them).
Serpent Man Grand Vizier
Affectionately known as “the Disco boss”.
- General information:
The boss always stands in the middle of the room.
In the corners, there are four circles: Beryl (blue), Pearl (white), Emerald (green), Scarlet (red). Standing in a circle gives you a 20-second buff called X Aptitude, where X = Beryl, Pearl, Emerald, Scarlet. If you keep standing in a circle, the Aptitude buff won’t refresh continuously, but only after it expires. This also applies if you move to a different circle while still having the Aptitude from a previous circle; you will only get the new Aptitude after your old one expires.
Along two of the walls, there are smaller violet circles. Moving into the violet circle removes your current Aptitude buff immediately. This is useful if you need to quickly switch to a different Aptitude.
The Aptitude buff is extremely important if you want to DPS anything in this fight (more on this below). Pets do not currently get the Aptitude buffs. Thus you should absolutely not use pets in this fight. Remember that a DT’s Dread Shadow and Zone of Gluttony etc. are technically also pets. Do not use any of these things. Yes, I know one of your combos spawns the Zone of Gluttony. Do not use this combo.
- First phase:
The boss is invulnerable during this phase (Prismatic Shield; +200% damage mitigation), but there are four adds, called Holder of the X Light, where X = Beryl, Pearl, Emerald, Scarlet; each stands in the corresponding circle.
To attack an add, you need to have the Aptitude buff of the opposite color. The opposite means from the opposite side of the diagonal: red and blue are opposites; and green and white are also opposites.
If you attack an add without having the opposite Aptitude buff, you will take very heavy retributive damage (magic) and the add will heal up massively. To avoid trouble with that when your buff changes or expires, you shouldn’t use dots and retributive damage shields either. That includes Curse of Gwahlur, etc.
Meanwhile, the boss is doing Prismatic Aura (piercing damage aoe, pulsing all the time on the whole room), so everyone should gear up defensively. If you aren’t standing in one of the four colored circles, you will be taking another aoe (Spectrum).
When any of the four adds is dead, Prismatic Aura starts hitting much harder and will wipe the group quickly.
So you need to dps all the adds to a very low percentage first (e.g. 5%), then you need to send 4 players to finish them off all at the same time, each player going to one of the adds (and before that going to the opposite add to pick up the correct Aptitude buff of course).
There are various ways of organizing the group during this phase. It’s best if squishies are accompanied by a healer all the time. You can even have them wait by one of the circles while the tanks move around and DPS all four adds to 5%, then the squishies get involved only at the very end when all four adds are nearly dead and just need to be finished off. When you need to kill the 4 adds, you can send the tanks on one add each, and a squishy + healer on each of the other two adds.
- Second phase:
Once all four adds are down, the boss becomes attackable.
He has one of four possible buffs, called X Shield, where X = Pearl, Emerald, Scarlet, Beryl; you need to have the Aptitude buff of the opposite color to hit him, otherwise you’ll heal him up massively and take heavy retributive damage.
Aura Shift = he casts this every 20 sec and switches randomly to a different buff color.
So when you see him casting Aura Shift, stop hitting immediately. Seriously, just stop hitting. Yes, I know you’re tempted to finish your combo or spell or whatever. Just don’t do it. Stop hitting and move away from the boss. If you don’t know how to cancel your combos, learn how to do it. Otherwise you can keep doing this phase for hours and not get anywhere because you will be healing him up all the time by hitting him without the correct Aptitude buff.
Once you see his new buff color after Aura Shift, go to the circle of the opposite color to pick up the correct Aptitude buff. Remember that you might need to go to a purple circle to clear your old Aptitude first.
In my experience, the color always changes during Aura Shift, it never remains the same. This means that it’s a good idea to go to the other side of the room during Aura Shift because there’s a 2/3 chance that the new color will be on the other side than the old color and just a 1/3 chance that it will be on the same side.
During Aura Shift, the player that is farthest away from the boss gets a ruin called Aptitude Ruin. This ruin prevents him from getting any Aptitude buff (and he and people near him also take some damage when the ruin appears — Aura Burn, ~4k unholy damage). This is dangerous since if he doesn’t notice this and starts attacking the boss anyway, he will take retributive damage and heal the boss up. The ruin should be removed quickly by a healer with Steadfast Faith. One way of dealing it is to have a healer remain the farthest away from the boss during this phase, and other players remain closer to the boss, so that the healer gets the ruin and nobody except him gets hit by the Aura Burn. (A slightly more desperate way would be to have a healer standing in the middle by the boss, not taking any Aptitude buffs and not attacking the boss, just healing and removing ruins. So people with the ruin know where to go to get it removed, and then they can go pick up the correct Aptitude buff and start attacking the boss.)
At 75%, 50% and 25%, the boss temporarily ports upstairs (casts Phase) and starts a channeling aoe spell called X Bombardment, where X = Pearl, Emerald, Green, Scarlet. This aoe hits quite hard and you have to run to the circle of the matching color (not the opposite color!) to avoid it. So if he’s casting Pearl Bombardment, run to the white circle, etc. After he goes through all four bombardments (in random order), he comes back down and the fight resumes.
Note that when the boss comes back down, he has a color shield again, but the first thing he does is cast Aura Shift and switch to a different color. So you should wait to see the new color before picking any Aptitude buffs.
Serpent Man Omni-Prophet
(I don’t understand everything about this fight yet, so I might update this section when I learn more.)
- General information:
The fight takes place in a circular room, with the boss standing in the middle. Along the walls there are 6 murals, numbered clockwise: 1 = far right, 2 = middle right, 3 = near right, 4 = near left, 5 = middle left, 6 = far left. At various points during the fight, these murals become clickable; a player that clicks the mural gets transported into a separate room where he has to kill a few mobs, after which he gets a buff that will be important for the continuation of the fight. In fact you can have several players click (different) murals at the same time, they can fight the mobs together and at the end each of them will get the buff corresponding to the mural he clicked. The buffs are as follows:
1. Annals I: Dispatching the Living: makes you do a big amount of additional damage to the Serpent Men Warriors, just by standing near them.
2. Annals II: Point of Convergence: makes the boss lock aggro on you in the third phase; the aoe from Deliver Prophecy: Discovery will also be centered on you (instead of on the boss).
3. Annals III: Purging the Dead: allows you to destroy the Serpent Man Echo mobs.
4. Annals IV: Vengeance of Yig: if you stand in the floating light (which appears in the 2nd phase) while having this buff, you get a 5-second buff called Wrath of Yig (same icon as Test of Faith in the Leviathus encounter), which allows you to remove the boss’s shield in the second phase by standing near him. I don’t see much use for this buff as we don’t really DPS the boss before the third phase (after all the rifts etc. are removed).
5. Annals V: Reclamation Denied: allows you to remove Cosmic Rifts.
6. Annals VI: Invasion Repelled: allows you to uncharm players.
The boss’s primary attack is a single-target unholy nuke called Bad Omens, so the main tank should have good protection.
- First phase:
The tank aggroes the boss, who will move closer to the center of the room, where he will be tanked. A violet cloud appears on the ground; standing in it gives the tank a very useful buff called Unwelcome (+90% unholy invulnerability, +500% hate). Other players should stand behind the boss, outside of the cloud, so that they don’t get the hate buff. (There’s not much point in DPSing the boss in this phase as he’ll heal up later anyway.)
One of the players should click mural 6 (far left); possibly you can have another player click mural 4 (near left) at the same time. They will be ported to a separate room where they have to kill 6 trash mobs.
The players that are fighting the boss have to watch out for the following two abilities:
Chosen = the boss targets a random player while casting this. Everyone needs to be close to that player to avoid taking some damage. Thus, the tank should run to the other players by the 11 o’clock mural as well.
Forsaken = the boss targets a random player while casting this. The targeted player must move away from other players or they will take aoe damage from him.
This phase ends when the players that clicked the murals are finished fighting the mobs there and emerge back into the boss room.
If the player that clicked mural 6 comes out during the Chosen phase, and the chosen player isn’t standing near him, the mural-clicked might die from the aoe (which hits anyone that isn’t near the chosen one). To avoid this problem, it’s best if everyone stands next to mural 6 during the Chosen phases.
- Second phase:
Gather near the entrance of the room. The boss has a retributive damage shield during this phase, so don’t hit him.
Several players will get charmed; the player that clicked the far left mural (and therefore now has the Annals VI buff) must uncharm them by hitting them.
Murals 1 (far right) and 3 (near right) become clickable during this phase, so (after the first wave of chamrs) have two players to click these murals, one each. They will be ported to a separate room where they have to break some eggs.
After they come out, some trash mobs will start spawning, called Serpent Man Warriors (group mobs, they spawn two at a time); bring them together, CC them and kill them. The player that clicked the far right mural (and therefore now has the Annals I buff) should stand near them because his buff will do huge damage to them, so they die very quickly.
Several stationary mobs called Serpent Man Echos also appear around the edges of the room and heal the boss. The player that clicked the near right mural (and therefore now has the Annals III buff) should go around the room and destroy these mobs (probably by hitting them, or maybe just by being near them).
Eventually, murals 2 (middle right) and 5 (middle left) become clickable. Ideally these should be clicked by tanks. Clicking gets them teleported into a separate room where a group of mobs are slowly moving towards the Messenger, who stands in the middle. You have to either kill the mobs or the Messenger before the mobs reach him. When the clickers come out, the third phase begins.
Clicking mural 5 will give the player a buff with which to remove Cosmic Rifts (see below); in my experience, it’s useful if this is a tank, otherwise he is very likely to die while removing the rifts.
Clicking mural 2 will lock the boss’s aggro on that player in the third phase, so this has to be clicked by a tank. It also causes the AoE from ‘Deliver Prophecy: Discovery’ to be centered on that player.
Now, if you have one tank clicking mural 5 and one clicking mural 2, you will have both tanks inside the wall for a while and meanwhile the boss will aggro some other player in the main room. This can be hard to survive (use bubbles etc. if possible); there are various ways of ameliorating that. For example, you can have just one tank click his mural initially, then after a while, when he’s nearly finished inside, he calls the other tank to also click so that they will in the end both get their curresponding buffs, but there will be just a few seconds without a tank in the main room so the people there are more likely to survive. You could even dispense with clicking mural 2 altogether, though this makes it harder to deal with Deliver Prophecy: Discovery later (see below). Both of these solutions, especially the second one, require that the tank that is inside alone have good DPS so he can kill the Messenger quickly enough. Another possibility, I guess, is to have a non-tank clicking mural 5 so that a tank is available in the main room to have aggro of the boss (while the other tank, having clicked mural 2, is inside the wall).
- Third phase:
Several Cosmic Rifts spawn around the room; standing between them and the boss makes you take damage. The player that clicked the middle left mural (and therefore now has the Annals V buff) can destroy these rifts simply by touching them. It’s safest if this is a tank (but not the one that actually has aggro on the boss).
Infinite Discovery = when the boss casts this, the players should spread away from each other because at the end of the cast, each of them will do a hit of aoe damage. To make this easier, the tanks should run farther away and the squishies should stand relatively near to the entrance, and take care to not come between the boss and one of the rifts. Using the pillars along the walls of the room to break line of sight from other players also helps.
Make sure that the rifts near the entrance of the room are destroyed so that when people are moving around to spread in preparation for Infinite Discovery, they don’t have to run in front of any rift. The rifts occasionally respawn but eventually they stop respawning and the player with the Annals V buff can (and should) eventually destroy all of them.
Vision from the Beyond = puts a ruin on everyone, which needs to be removed quickly or it will give you a dot (Destruction of Humanity) that will kill you. So everyone should run back to the entrance and stand in front of the healer, who will remove the ruin. The ruin (Visions of Ruin) needs to be removed before it expires (it lasts 8 seconds from the start of the cast). (Note: a red crystal appears in front of the boss during this spell, and at the end of the cast there is a big aoe hit around it. So it’s a good idea to huddle up at the entrance of the room to make sure you’re out of the range of this aoe.)
Deliver Prophecy: Discovery = a large-area aoe attack centered around the player who has the buff from mural 2; so this player must run away from others before the cast is finished. If nobody took mural 2, the aoe will be centered on the boss, which means that squishy players should be near the walls at the end of this cast to avoid being hit.
Initially you can’t afford to have anyone go near the boss because this will put him in line between the boss and the rifts, and he will therefore take lots of damage. (You can still hit the boss from range during this time.) Once all the rifts are removed (and stopped respawning), people can go within melee range of the boss and fight him normally. Now it’s just a tank and spank fight, but you still have to deal with the Infinite Discovery and Vision from the Beyond all the time, as described above — spread to the walls during Infinite Discovery (and during plain Discovery if you’re squishy), and then return back to the boss so you can remove the ruin during Vision from the Beyond.
Some of them are a bit nasty. Most of them can and should be CCed, at which point they aren’t particularly hard to kill. The whining about the amount of trash on the testlive forum seems greatly exaggerated. Besides, they drop items that you have to collect for some of the quests; some of them occasionally even drop purple loot.
Lots of the initial trash mobs (before you get to the spider boss) can be skipped by jumping down on your right side as soon as you enter the dungeon.
Dominated Excavator: very slow mob, has a ranged (?) ability that hits very hard and might even oneshot some people; kite him, DPS him from range and break line of sight if needed.
Serpent Man Toxin Keeper: casts a self-centered red circle on the ground (Flesh-bane Potion); move out of it to avoid a big hit. You can also CC him.
This is a small level 80 dungeon attached to Tarantia Common District. It was added to the game in update 1.5. Like several other dungeons, you can choose between a solo and a group version when entering; but last time I tried, the group version was bugged — each member of the group ended up in a separate instance of the dungeon. In any case, I vaguely remember doing the group version at some earlier point (when it was possible to get everyone into the same intance), but the bosses just dropped world-drop blue gear, so it was hardly worth doing.
Therefore, this post will be just about the solo version of the dungeon. None of the bosses in this dungeon is in any way challenging to kill, nor do they require any special tactics, so the interesting thing here is mainly in the items they drop. Some of the drops here are well known — the pet kitten and a few gemcutter recipes — but the thing that really surprised me is that Funcom also took the trouble to design several green items that are completely uninteresting in terms of stats, but that don’t drop anywhere else in the game; in other words, they designed several useless crappy items specially for this dungeon. Some of them even have unique and interesting 3-d models.
Trash mobs have the chance to drop the following four green bind-on-equip rings:
- Conjurer’s Ring: 40 int, 179 mana
- Preserver’s Ring: 40 wis, 179 mana
- Blade Ring: 40 str, 55 combat rtg
- Shield Ring: 90 armor, 36 con
I find it hard to imagine why anybody would want these rings; you can easily get better blue ones as quest rewards from group quests in Tarantia Commons and Crows’ Nest.
This is a rare boss that might appear on the ground floor, next to the big dinner table. It’s a matter of luck whether you get him or a plain trash mob in his place. He drops green bind-on-equip cloaks:
- Conjurer’s Shroud: 40 int, 179 mana
- Blade Mantle: 40 str, 55 combat rtg
- Shield Mantle: 90 armor, 36 con
- Preserver’s Shawl: 40 wis, 179 mana
Some of these might be potentially interesting as vanity gear. In terms of stats, it’s again hard to see why anybody would want them, as you’ll get a better cloak as a quest reward in Crows’ Nest. The Blade Mantle seems to use the same model as Heavy Jovian Cape (Crows’ Nest quest reward) and Hek’lar’s Cloak (from Hek’lar in the Main System). A number of cloaks in the same style, but in different colors, are sold by one of the NPC vendors in your guild city tradepost (X Swept Cloak, for various values of X).
This is a rare boss on the middle floor. As with Marcus Antonius, it’s a matter of luck whether you get her or a trash mob instead. (Neither of these two bosses is actually terribly rare, IME.) The developers tried to make the fight more interesting by causing her to spawn adds (pumas), but it’s a pretty trivial fight anyway.
She drops a pet kitten:
By the way, several other cat-themed pets are available in the game: if your guild city is in Poitain, one of the NPC vendors in the guild city tradepost sells the Black Cat, Tabby, and Orange Tabby. These pets are tradable between playeres, which can be useful if your city is in some other zone (or your renown level is too low).
AFAIK none of the quests or conversations with NPCs mention anything about Pia or Marcus Antonius. The only lore information I could find about them is in a single sentence in an old forum post by Famine: “ Random bosses include Marcus Antonius, corrupt watchman friend of Attilus [sic], and Pia, his mistress.”
In an early version of Attilius Mansion on testlive (before 1.05 went live), Pia was called Kitty and appeared topless
This is Attilius’ daughter; she stands on the middle floor and you have to talk to her to get the key to Attilius’ room. She hates Attilius and his lotus drug habit, so if you tell her you’ve come to kill him, she’ll cheer you on, but if you tell her that you brought him a new delivery of lotus, she’ll attack you. For some reason, some of my characters don’t get the conversation option to make her attack, but I don’t know what causes this.
She drops four green bind-on-equip handheld items:
- Aisa’s Archive [talisman]: 49 int, 180 mana
- Aisa’s Lifeshield [shield]: 473 armor, 49 wis, 180 mana
- Aisa’s Spellblade [dagger]: 39.1 dps, 21 int, 22 magic dmg, 16 magic life tap rtg
- Aisa’s Trophy Pike [polearm]: 70.5 dps, 65 wis, 380 mana, 31 magic dmg (electrical), 83 crit dmg rtg
I’m particularly intrigued by the shield and talisman, which have a very curious design that is, as far as I know, completely unique in the game. The talisman actually makes you appear to be holding a scroll in your hands:
Aisa’s Archive and Aisa’s Lifeshield.
He stands on the top floor; he’s easy to kill but occasionally he stuns you and runs to the opposite end of the room, which is a bit annoying (you can avoid it by moving away when he’s near 75% and 50% of health).
He drops one of these green bind-on-equip handheld items:
- Attilius’s Bulwark [shield]: 587 armor, 42 con
- Attilius’s Fury [polearm]: 70.5 dps, 90 str, 163 combat rtg (polearm)
- Attilius’s Guile [dagger]: 39.1 dps, 23 con, 31 dex
- Attilius’s Might [2he]: 69.0 dps, 90 str, 163 combat rtg (2he)
Unlike Aisa’s items, I can’t say that any of these looks particularly interesting. Nevertheless, the shield has, AFAIK, a unique model:
He also drops the following blue gemcutter recipes — sometimes even two at the same time. They are tradable and can often be bought very cheaply on the trader.
- Gemcutter: Marquise Jet
- Gemcutter: Marquise Pushparagam
- Gemcutter: Sanguine Radiant Sapphire
They make the following gems:
He can also drop the following architect recipe:
- Architect: Acceptance
This requires renown level 14 to learn and 525 Granite + 75 Adamant to craft it. The resulting decoration looks like this:
Here’s another picture with my barbarian next to it for size comparison:
The bosses have around 12.6k HP each, which is the standard amount for old-world level 80 bosses. The exception to this is Attilius himself, who has 25.3k HP, i.e. twice as much.
The average amount of money dropped by each boss seems to be around 3.20 silver, which is about the same as for level 80 open-world bosses. But I haven’t killed the bosses in Attilius’ Mansion sufficiently many times to get a really good estimate.
I was only recently shown how to find this quest, and since it doesn’t seem to be widely known, I figured a post about it might be useful.
The patch notes for Update 3.2, in January 2012, contained this tantalizing item: ‘There is a new quest available in Ardashir Fort called “Ancient Letters.” ’ Until recently, however, I had no idea how to actually get this quest. I remember that relatively soon after 3.2, I was looking around a cleared instance of Ardashir Fort but didn’t find any way to obtain it; I also saw at least one forum thread in which others were also wondering how to get this quest (and/or giving up after much effort trying to find it), but none that would actually explain how to get it.
To get the quest, jump on the boxes near the wall in the harbor area, where you fight Arman and Sodabeh. You’ll see an Ancient Book; clicking it gives you the quest. (Note: the boxes are blocked by an invisible wall until you kill Sodabeh.)
The quest itself is simple; you have to talk first to Kheradmand in Ardashir City, then to the Stygian Archaeologists near the arena, and finally to Ankh-Ausar in the Dragon’s Spine. In 3.2, when this quest was introduced, Dragon’s Spine of course didn’t yet exist, so I guess the quest text must have been updated at the time when Dragon’s Spine was launched. IIRC Ankh-Ausar stood in Khemi originally,* before the Dragon’s Spine was released, and the quest probably sent you there.
[For some definitions of ‘originally’. I first became aware of him in connection with the scrolls quest in Ai and T'ian'an Districts, so it's possible that he was introduced into the game only in update 2.2, when those two dungeons were released.]
You might wonder why Funcom would bother introducing this quest in 3.2, five months after Ardashir Fort was released. The reason is that 3.2 also introduced the House of Crom, and Ankh-Ausar gives you some hints about the House of Crom when you’re handing in the quest to him:
It [i.e. he book you found in Ardashir Fort] appears to be a history . . . of a sort. By gods, friend, it would seem that a contingent of Atlanteans tried to colonize the mainland after the sea swallowed their civilization . . . perhaps in what is now the Pictish Wilderness or Cimmeria. It would have to be a place of high elevation . . . maybe even Mount Crom. . .
It is a history, but it is written in the form of a tragedy. They built a grand temple and. . .something went amiss. Yes, a tragedy in five acts. But I will tell you what is even more curious.
This book has only four acts. It would seem the author was — hmmhmm — interrupted. The opening of a door . . . the Threshold Lurker . . . curiouser and curiouser. . .
Apart from that, the quest reward is a Phial of Tranquility, which gives you 1 Expertise point.