|Halls of Stone (5)|
|Halls of Lightning (5)|
The Tribunal of Ages encounter consists of protecting dwarf explorer Brann Bronzebeard from waves of mobs as part of the [78D] quest he gives. It is unusual in that it is a boss encounter in difficulty and in loot, but does not involve fighting a boss per se. Rather, you must only survive and protect Brann from the waves. Nevertheless, many people would find this encounter more difficult than the other three boss fights of this instance! Successfully completing this event grants access to the Tribunal Chest.
To begin the escorting event, talk to to start [78D] quest. Escort him through the room with three stone golems. The real fight encounter takes place in a circular room (called the Tribunal of Ages, hence the article title) at the end of Halls of Stone wing of Ulduar. Brann will stop and allow you to rest after clearing this trash, talk to him again to begin the encounter. There are three large faces surrounding your party in the room. If you are facing the exit, they are (clockwise) Kaddrak, Abedneum and Marnak.
Soon after Brann enters the room (~20 seconds after talking to him), Kaddrak, the face directly to the right of the entrance, will activate. This face will shoot Glare of the Tribunal, a bolt that deals roughly 500 Arcane damage to a random party member every ~3 sec for the remainder of the fight. Waves of groups will start to appear. The first waves come slowly, with each group appearing roughly 45 seconds after the last. Groups consist of three elites, two melee (Dark Rune Protector) and one caster (Dark Rune Stormcaller) (3 melee on heroic). Mobs will go directly to Brann, if not picked up. Brann doesn't have so much health, so they must be tanked.
After several waves (~75 seconds after Kaddrak activates), Brann will yell and the face to the left of the entrance, Marnak, will activate. This face fires a shadowy orb, Dark Matter, at the ground where one person is standing (similar to Void Reaver and his orbs). Any player hit by this will be afflicted by a debuff which increases damage taken by 50% on normal and 100% on heroic for a short time. Waves will begin coming faster now, about every 30 seconds, and two non-elite casters are added to every second wave.
After several more waves (~100 seconds after Marnak activates), Brann will yell once again, and the final face opposite of the entrance, Abedneum, will activate. The third face fires a channeled beam, Searing Gaze, at a location on the floor that deals 500 damage per second to anyone within 10 yards of it. On heroic, the damage is about 2000 per second, coupled with the damage debuff from the second face the beam can reduce your health at an astonishing rate. The damage will be ramping up at this point, so avoiding beams by moving out of them is paramount. Mobs will be coming at an increasing pace, ramping up to roughly every 15 seconds by the end of the event. Eventually, the Iron Golem Custodian will be added into the waves also. At this point, killing the mobs is not a priority so much as survival — proper use of CC and various AoE stuns (i.e. Shadowfury, Hungering Cold, etc.) can save lives. Survive for another ~90 seconds and Brann will yell last time, causing faces to turn on mobs, destroying them quickly. A Tribunal Chest containing the event's loot will then appear against the wall to the right of the console. The entire event lasts approximately 5 minutes from when Brann is talked to to when the chest appears.
The positioning of the group can make a big difference in this fight. There are generally two strategies:
On the stair
With a skilled and geared AoE tank (paladin or death knight), this method can reduce damage taken from the beam and bolt. Have the whole group stand on the stair, with the tank in the front. The tank needs to grab the aggro of all incoming mobs. DPS then AoE down the mobs quickly. Note that sometimes the beam can still hit people standing on the stair, so everyone still needs to stay alert. NOTE: this technique is not reliable on heroic.
In the room
If the tank has difficulty AoE tanking, the group may find this method easier. The tank stands close to the bottom of the stair. Other group members scatter in the room. This way the tank will have more time to get the aggro of incoming mobs. DPS should try to focus fire on tank's target to avoid drawing aggro. With this method the group can handle the mobs much more easily. However, everyone will need to move away from the beam and bolt constantly.
Tips for damage dealers
For groups with very good DPS and AoE, it is possible to burn down most of the mobs so that the tank only needs to take care of a few mobs throughout the fight.
For groups with lower DPS, it is still possible to clear the first few waves before the next waves emerge. However, as new mobs emerge faster and faster, more and more mobs will remain when the next waves come. This does not mean low DPS cannot handle this encounter. At the later part of the encounter, the tank should try to hold aggro of as many mobs as he/she can. Healers should focus on healing the tank. At this point, the DPS should use all the available crowd control and snaring abilities to CC/kite any free mobs. (Hunters' Frost Trap and shamans' Earthbind Totem are very helpful here!) As long as the group can keep the mobs tanked/CC'ed/kited, Brann will be unharmed and the defense system of the room will kill all the mobs at the end.
Tips for tanks
This fight can be a real nuisance. Your first priority is to pick up every add, after that you can start building aggro. By the end the adds are coming really fast so try to keep up, and don't let any get through your defenses! For paladins in particular, its not possible to build mana fast here, and if you have no mana between waves you are going to be unable to pick up mobs. No mobs hitting you means no mana. No mana means you wipe. If you ever hit a no mana situation do whatever you can, blow potions, divine plea, tell your dps to not attack while you hit them with your weapon manually for a second. Keep in mind, if you have to do the last thing the waves won't let you dick around, once you have aggro the mobs you have on you have to die faster than usual, otherwise you're going to have 50 guys on you in a minute or two.
- Event begins
- Brann Bronzebeard yells: Take a moment and relish this with me! Soon all will be revealed! Okay then, let’s do this!
- Brann Bronzebeard yells: Now keep an eye out! I'll have this licked in two shakes of a--
- Abedneum yells: Warning! Life form pattern not recognized. Archival processing terminated. Continued interference will result in targeted response.
- Brann Bronzebeard yells: Oh, that doesn't sound good. We might have a complication or two...
- Kaddrak yells: Security breach in progress. Analysis of historical archives transferred to lower priority queue. Countermeasures engaged.
- Brann Bronzebeard yells: Ah, you want to play hardball, eh? That's just my game!
- As the fight progresses
- Brann Bronzebeard yells: Couple more minutes and I'll--
- Marnak yells: Threat index threshold exceeded. Celestial archive aborted. Security level heightened.
- Brann Bronzebeard yells: Heightened? What's the good news?
- Towards the end
- Brann Bronzebeard yells: So that was the problem? Now I'm makin' progress...
- Abedneum yells: Critical threat index. Void analysis diverted. Initiating sanitization protocol.
- Brann Bronzebeard yells: Hang on! Nobody's gonna' be sanitized as long as I have a say in it!
- Event end dialogue
- Brann Bronzebeard yells: Ha! The old magic fingers finally won through! Now let's get down to-
- Abedneum yells: Alert! Security fail safes deactivated. Beginning memory purge...
- Brann Bronzebeard yells: Purge? No no no no no! Where did I-- Aha, this should do the trick...
- Abedneum yells: System online. Life form pattern recognized. Welcome Branbronzan. Query?
- Brann Bronzebeard yells: Query? What do you think I’m here for? Tea and biscuits? Spill the beans already! Tell me how that dwarfs came to be! And start at the beginning!
- Abedneum yells: Accessing prehistoric data. Retrieved. In the beginning Earthen were created to-
- Brann Bronzebeard yells: Right, right! I know that the Earthen were made of stone to shape the deep reaches of the world but what about the anomalies? Matrix non-stabilizing and whatnot.
- Abedneum yells: Accessing. In the early stages of its development cycle Azeroth suffered infection by parasitic, necrophotic symbiotes.
- Brann Bronzebeard yells: Necro-what? Speak bloody common will ya?
- Abedneum yells: Designation: Old Gods. Old Gods rendered all systems, including Earthen defenseless in order to facilitate assimilation. This matrix destabilization has been termed the Curse of Flesh. Effects of destabilization increased over time.
- Brann Bronzebeard yells: Old Gods eh? So they zapped the Earthen with this Curse of Flesh. And then what?
- Kaddrak yells: Accessing. Creators arrived to extirpate symbiotic infection. Assessment revealed that Old God infestation had grown malignant. Excising parasites would result in loss of host.
- Brann Bronzebeard yells: If they killed the Old Gods Azeroth would have been destroyed.
- Kaddrak yells: Correct. Creators neutralized parasitic threat and contained it within the host. Forge of Wills and other systems were instituted to create new Earthen. Safeguards were implemented and protectors were appointed.
- Brann Bronzebeard yells: What protectors?
- Kaddrak yells: Designations: Aesir and Vanir or in common nomenclator Storm and Earth Giants. Sentinel Loken designated supreme. Dragon Aspects appointed to monitor evolution of Azeroth.
- Brann Bronzebeard yells: Aesir and Vanir. Okay. So the Forge of Wills started to make new Earthen. But what happened to the old ones?
- Marnak yells: Additional background is relevant to your query. Following global combat between-
- Brann Bronzebeard yells: Hold everything! The Aesir and Vanir went to war? Why?
- Marnak yells: Unknown. Data suggests that impetus for global combat originated with prime designate Loken who neutralized all remaining Aesir and Vanir affecting termination of conflict. Prime designate Loken then initiated stasis of several seed races including Earthen, Giant and Vrykul at designated holding facilities.
- Brann Bronzebeard yells: This Loken sounds like a nasty character. Glad we don’t have to worry about the likes of him anymore. So if I’m understanding you lads the original Earthen eventually woke up from this stasis. And by that time this destabily-whatever had turned them into our brother dwarfs. Or at least dwarf ancestors. Hm?
- Marnak yells: Essentially that is correct.
- Brann Bronzebeard yells: Well now. That’s a lot to digest. I’m gonna need some time to take all of this in. Thank ye!
- Abedneum yells: Acknowledged Branbronzan. Session terminated.
- Kaddrak, Marnak, and Abedneum are references to the biblical characters: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the Book of Daniel.
- The Tribunal addresses him as "Branbronzan". No reason is given. Possibly this is related to Bran's overcoming the safety precautions and convincing the Tribunal he is a legitimate user.
"Necrophotic" is not a real English word, but it would mean "death light" or "dead light", from the Greek roots "necro", death and "photo", light. This may be a homage to Stephen King's It, and his other novels, where the antagonist was an otherworldly horror called simply "It", with a body composed of "deadlights", the viewing of which would turn any man insane. (It is a famous novel, and draws from the same tradition of Lovecraftian horror as the Old Gods, so such a homage wouldn't be pure coincidence.)
It may also be related to Shadow energy or magic, which the Old Gods appear to represent on some levels.
Alternatively, it could be a typo for "necrophytic", which means "growing on death" or "living off death" (from Greek necros ‘dead' and phyte 'plant'), and which would make more sense in the context: the Old Gods made the Earthen flesh so they would be mortal, and thus easier to kill, so they could consume/live off their deaths.
"Kaddrak, Abedneum and Marnak"
As names of the three bronzed/gold faces of the Tribunal of Ages, these names are very similar to the names of three Hebrew men mentioned in the Book of Daniel: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Their similarities do not end with their names, however, as these three men were cast into a "fiery furnace" and thus passed through a test of fire, similar to the Tribunal encounter event for the players, passing through such a test.