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WoW.com's Guide to the Oculus. Yes, really.

Really, WoW.com? A guide to the Oculus of all things? Over a year after the launch of Wrath of the Lich King, you're doing an Oculus walkthrough? Is that necessary? Boy, I wish it weren't. We're all sick of hearing about this place by now, but of all the instances and raids in the game, this is the one where nobody seems to be sure what to do or where to go. I haven't seen players this confused since Sunwell.

All strategy and ability discussion in this guide discuss the heroic version of the Oculus. Beyond the cut below you will find simple strategies for each of the bosses in the Oculus, as well as maps to help you find your way through the environment.

Band of Variance

Drakos the Interrogator is the first boss in the Oculus, coming just after the bridge of many whelps. Despite what the visuals of his encounter suggest, the fight doesn't require a very heavy amount of movement or coordination.

His abilities are as follows:
  • Magic Pull: Teleports all nearby enemy targets to the caster.
  • Thundering Stomp: Stomp the ground, dealing Physical damage to enemies in a large area and knocking them into the air. On heroic, this ability also slows your movement speed for five seconds.
  • Summon explosives: Drakos summons a bunch of bombs that scuttle along the ground and explode after a few seconds.
The tank pulls Drakos, and tanks him wherever he pleases. The healer and DPS do their thing. The bombs that scurry around do not explode upon contact or proximity, they're just on a timer. They also do not do a lot of damage, so don't panic. Just make sure you're not standing near four or five of them at a time. If you're starting to get worried, just move.

When Drakos uses Magic Pull (and he will use it often) the ranged and healer should just go back out to where they were. Thundering Stomp might make this difficult at times, but it just slows you down. It doesn't stop you from moving entirely.

Drakos should die fairly easily, at which point your party gets to choose your drakes for the run by talking to one of the three NPCs that step out of their cages.

To sum up: Don't panic. Tank. Spank.

Band of Acceleration

This is where the instance gets "hard" for many people. Note the quotes there. If I were saying this out loud, I would be making those obnoxious air quotes with my fingers. In reality, it's very easy and the hardest part of it all is getting your party to stick together and move in one direction. As I said in The Queue the other day, most people who have had bad experiences with Oculus had them simply because people split up and got lost. If you think your party will need a visual aid, mark someone with a target marker (not the blue square, for the love of all things righteous) and tell everyone to follow them.

Here are your current drake abilities:

Ruby Drake: Emerald Drake:
Amber Drake: The Ruby Drake is the tank, the Emerald Drake is the healer, and the Amber Drakes are DPS. In this stretch of the instance, when you're just killing trash blue drakes flying around, it would be a good idea to learn how your abilities work together. The Ruby Drake generates a lot of threat, then avoids the damage with the second ability. The Amber Drake stops time, which applies a debuff that boosts the damage of their nuke. The Emerald Drake drains the opponents' life and can use that to debuff the enemy.

My composition recommendation is one red, one green, and three bronze drakes. Your party may decide otherwise (especially if someone is doing achievements) and that's fine. Any combination is workable. My recommendation is simply what I've found to be the easiest.

If you are not at all familiar with how these drakes work, you choose your drake by talking to the appropriate NPC. The drake appears as an item in your inventory, which you can summon and dismiss as you please. You will be using them to fly from platform to platform, kill the flying drake trash, and you will fight the final boss astride them.

Now, You want to fly straight up until you're level with the next tier of platforms. Kill all of the blue drakes in between you and your target, the ten Centrifuge Constructs littering this tier of the Oculus. I've detailed on this map my recommended flight path, which will have the least resistance. You don't need to use it, but if you've never done Oculus before I recommend it. Once you've killed all ten constructs, the next boss will drop his big purple shield and you can go shiv the poor guy.

Varos Cloudstrider is one of those bosses that players die to constantly for no good reason at all. A couple of things tend to go wrong with this guy.
  1. Groups pull Varos before killing the blue drakes above him. The drakes aggro onto someone when you pull Varos, and suddenly you have to deal with a pissed off blue dragon without the help of your own dragons. To avoid this, just kill everything around his platform. If you neglect to kill them all and you do get an add, a death knight can Death Grip the drake down into melee range if you happen to have one in your party.
  2. Players stand right in Varos's only dangerous ability: Energize Cores. It's a cone attack that is displayed in the video you will see in just a moment.
Varos's other abilities:
  • Amplify Magic: Increases magic damage taken by up to 1800 and healing by up to 3600. Can be dispelled.
  • Summon Azure Ring Captain: Varos calls for help, and a drake shoots a laser beam down on your party. Just move out of the way of the laser.
Pull Varos, move out of his cone, move out of the laser, dispel Amplify Magic if you're able. That's the entire fight. To see the cone and the laser in motion, simply watch the video below.

To sum up: Take one red drake, one green drake, three bronze drakes. When you reach Varos, stay out of the laser cone, don't stand in the sky laser.

Band of Transmutation

Once Varos is dead, you want to fly straight up until you're level with the next tier, just like last time. Now you're chasing down Mage-Lord Urom. The type of movement you want to use here on your drakes can be seen on this map, though which platform is your starting point doesn't really matter. Approach Urom, he'll chicken out and leave you with some magical constructs, which you can dispatch pretty easily. Repeat this on the next two platforms, and then he'll appear down on the center area of the big sparkly tower.

Mage-Lord Urom is incredibly simple for a group of primarily ranged DPS, and a bit harder for pure melee.

His abilities are:
  • Frostbomb: Launches a Frostbomb that deals Frost damage and freezes the ground, dealing periodic damage and slowing the movement speed of enemies in an area. Urom uses this on the tank.
  • Time Bomb: Deals 4560 to 5040 Arcane damage and plants a time bomb in an enemy target. After 6 seconds the bomb explodes, dealing additional Arcane damage to nearby enemies equal to the amount of health missing from the target.
  • Empowered Arcane Explosion: Sends out a blast wave of magic, inflicting Arcane damage to nearby enemies.
If you have primarily melee DPS, your healer will need to put some effort into keeping them all alive through the stacking Frostbomb debuff. The tank can pull Urom out of the AOE, but he uses it frequently enough that you're probably not going to be out of the first one before he drops another one. Ranged DPS don't even need to worry about it.

Time Bomb is non-threatening if your healer is on the ball. If your healer is falling behind, it gets more and more dangerous as everyone's health gets progressively lower.

Empowered Arcane Explosion (with its 6 second cast time) is the ability that tends to murder people. When Mage-Lord Urom teleports to the very center of the Oculus, your job is to get out of line of sight. If you look around the area before pulling Urom, you'll notice there are a few pillars at regular intervals around the ring. If you try to tank Urom near one of those, you can just scurry behind it when he teleports and you will never be hit by the Arcane Explosion.

If you're not mindful of where he's being tanked, you might get caught with your pants down in the middle of a Frostbomb, totally unable to reach a column before he finishes casting. That's bad, so just pay attention to where you are.

Of course, all of this is completely moot if your group is extremely well geared. Especially if you have a shaman. Pop Bloodlust/Heroism, your group goes crazy on Urom, and you will probably kill him before he even teleports once.

To sum up: If your group is poorly geared, try to move Urom out of the frost on the ground so the DoT doesn't murder your melee. If you're well geared, it doesn't even matter and this is just a tank and spank. When Urom teleports to the middle, stand behind a column to avoid the incoming damage.

Band of Alignment

Once you've killed Urom and looted his bloodied corpse, it's time to learn another ability or two on your drake, as their true potential has completely randomly and arbitrarily unlocked.

Ruby Drake:
  • Martyr: Redirect all harmful spells cast at friendly drakes to yourself for 10 sec. When combined with Evasive Maneuvers, the tank essentially gets to pull damage away from everyone else and then avoid it himself.
Emerald Drake:
  • Dream Funnel: Transfers 5% of the caster's max health to a friendly drake every second for 10 seconds as long as the caster channels. Use this to heal your party members. Since it's draining your health to heal them, you'll want to keep three stacks of your Leeching Poison on the boss at all times.
Amber Drake:
  • Temporal Rift: Channels a temporal rift on an enemy dragon for 10 sec. While trapped in the rift, all damage done to the target is increased by 100%. In addition, for every 15,000 damage done to a target affected by Temporal Rift, 1 Shock Charge is generated. Essentially, you want to channel this spell until you see 10 Shock Charges on the boss. When it hits 10, use your Shock Lance to use it up for a great, big nuke. Repeat until boss is dead.
The next boss, Ley-Guardian Eregos, is directly above you. It is the first and only boss you actually fight astride your drakes. If you need to practice your new abilities you should do so on the whelps in your way up to him before it's too late.

When pulling Eregos, try to do so starting at one of the three platforms rotating around his tier. Wait for him to come around to where you are, and have your Ruby rider start nuking away at him to build threat. Eregos's basic offensive abilities are very straightforward nukes, so I won't go into too much detail there. However, there are two major abilities worth noting.
  • Enraged Assault: Increases damage done by 25% and casting speed by 100% for 12 seconds. When Eregos uses this, his damage output goes way up. However, an Amber Drake can use Stop Time, which will prevent Eregos from taking advantage of this buff.
  • Planar Shift: At set intervals, Eregos will 'phase out' and become immune to damage. At this time, he will summon a few blinky orbs which will slowly move in your direction. After 18 seconds, these orbs will explode for massive damage. This is typically what wipes groups, but like Enraged Assault, completely avoidable. Following the map for this tier, your group needs to simply move to the next platform. Once there, you can just wait for Eregos to phase back in and you can let him come to you to continue the fight.
After the many nerfs to this instance, Eregos will die in no time with three Amber Drakes nuking away. Fly down to the platform that holds your loot, and don't forget to check the chest if you ended up with Oculus via the random dungeon tool. There's prizes waiting for you!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Walkthroughs, Bosses, Guides

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