Epic Education 19: Tower of Despair pt 2

Hello and welcome to Epic Education a show of tips and tactics for surviving epic content.  Im your guide Shamgar and this is Episode 19: The Tower of Despair pt 2 alternatively titled The Great Devil Prison Break”

Last time we discussed how to prepare for the raid Tower of Despair.  We got flagged, found the tower cave, and got some booties (or other suitable protection).  Once the group is ready to go zone into the raid and let’s begin.

Once you are in feel free to start moving forward.  Not to far ahead is a closed door so you won’t get far.  The only thing between you and that door is an orthon and a bearded devil.  There is a left turn at the closed door that leads to a closed balcony and a lever.  Wait until everyone gets up to the door before you pull this lever.  About a minute after you do so the closed door will open and another door a few meters back will close locking late comers out of the raid.

While we are waiting most groups will do their buffing here and I’ll cover that momentarily.  For now let’s go over the general overview of the raid.  The Tower of Despair is primarily a series of 3 boss fights.  Before the 1st and 2nd fights there will be a small number of trash mobs consisting of bearded devils, orthons, tieflings, and bezekira.  With a full party these guys are more of a warm up and even on elite aren’t too difficult to handle, just watch out for the casters and try not to run ahead.  Also, you can insta-kill anything that doesn’t cast a deathward but banishments won’t work (we are on their home plane).

When the door opens we are on our way. Fight your way through the trash mobs to a bridge leading to a large circular platform.  Try not to fall off here.  It used to be that if you fell there was no way up, but this was changed and now your stone is dropped in the center of the platform and you just lose your buffs.  When someone gets to the center of this platform several orthons will spawn.  Kill them, pull the lever, and continue straight across the next bridge.  You will come to a succubus over a large pit.  Just jump in, it’s safe…mostly.

When you land you will be in a large room a top a center platform that looks like a diamond inscribed with an X.  At the point across from you are the 2 bosses of the first fight: the judge and the jailer.

The Judge is a purple named horned devil, a gray winged monster that has a fondness for inflicting a healing curse on players.  Experienced adventurers would at this point be double checking that their curse pots are loaded on their hotbar. If you have faced Suulomades in the raid Vision of Destruction he is also a horned devil and the Judge is mostly the same.  His melee abilities are potent, he has truesight, and combined with his cursing ability he can easily kill a player who isn’t paying attention.   The Judge is also a capable spell caster using spells like fireball, chain lightning, and enervation.  And just for fun he likes to teleport around and each time he does that he clears out his threat chart.  Finally, the Judge can use the chain special ability that greatly hinders movement, jumping, and attack speed.

His partner the Jailor is a purple named orthon.  Think of him as a beefier than normal orthon.  He’s got the big pike, the sonic damaging repeater strapped to his arm, and he also teleports (although his threat list doesn’t tend to clear like the Judge’s).  He isn’t as strong as the Judge, he doesn’t have any spell casting or special abilities, nor does he have true sight.

Let’s take a look around before we start the fight.  The platform we are on is raised above a shallow pool of lava in which there are some walkways.  On many of the walls are spike traps while all around the walk ways are spinner style traps (without any boxes for disarming).  Just past the Judge and the Jailor is our goal, their prisoner.  To advance we need to free him, but before we can do that we need to dispatch the pair guarding him.

We’ll need some buffs: resistances of fire, sonic, and electric plus a deathward. Anything that increases our dps output is highly desirable, but you won’t need a greater heroism – we are on the plane of Shavarath, here there is a planar effect granting a greater heroism (minus the immunity to fear). Because of all the fire and the fire based trash mobs anything else that reduces fire damage (like cold shield) is desirable, particularly on higher difficulties.

This fight starts with several fire elementals spawning throughout the room, albeit only when someone is close enough to activate them.  They are a one time event provided that the party activates them all.  If you want to make sure of this, just have someone run around all of the walkways.  Once either the Jailor or the Judge are brought down to about 60% 3 doors will open in the north, south and west walls releasing 1 hell hound a piece.  Until the fight is finished these dogs will continue to spawn at periodic intervals.  All of these trash mobs can be insta-killed (though not by banishment).

Oh,  two more things before we begin.  Both the Jailor and the Judge will toss players in their immediate vicinity into the air and outwards across the room.  Remember those spikes on the walls?  Yeah, watch out for those.  And finally, this fight employs the penalty box.  If you die you will be sitting out the rest of the battle.

So here’s the basic game plan.  Assign a tank or a kiter to each of the bosses and give them a healer unless they are able to kite self sufficiently.  These people should try and keep their boss on the top of the starting platform as long as possible or until the rest of the party has dispatched the fire elementals.  Once that is done bring one of the bosses over to the main party so they can kill him.  Where you ask?  Well let’s talk about this.

Because of the spikes and tossing we want to choose a strategic place to fight. As much as possible we’d like to avoid hitting the spikes, particularly on higher difficulties where the traps are considerably more painful.  In the northeast is a gate behind which is a shrine.  On lower difficulties the platform here can be a sufficient (and popular) place but you can easily get tossed the length of the room.  However if you fight right up against the gate you will be protected by the overhang and drastically reduce the dangers of being tossed. Even on elite the damage you will take from the lava will be minimal when compared to the potential trap damage.  Another good location is in the south by the dog door.  There are fewer spikes on the walls here.  The west dog door offers a similar advantage.  The northwest is a common place to tank the second boss, but be careful as the walls here are pretty spikey.  I prefer to keep my back to the center platform here.  You can also fight underneath the center platform using it as a protective ceiling, though this can cause your healers a little difficulty with placement as there are few locations from which they can heal and not be in the lava themselves.  A final location is actually inside one of the dog doors.  You will have to wait until they open, but they provide both a small space and a ceiling.  Regardless of your location, watch your positioning.  Try and keep your back to a relatively safe wall.  With a few runs you’ll start to learn which walls these are.  Healers should consider standing away from the party to avoid being tossed into spikes themselves, particularly on higher difficulties.  Losing 1 of 7-8 dps is bad, but worse is losing 1 of 2-3 healers.

So which of the 2 bosses should we kill first, the judge or the Jailor?  This is really up to the party leader.  On the one hand it is beneficial to start by focusing on the judge first while the party is at full strength.  On the other hand, it takes less time to kill the Jailor and bring the entire party to focus on the judge.  Some of this may depend on who is going to occupy the other.  If its a kiter, it probably doesn’t matter too much though the Jailor is easier to control and cannot chain.  If they are going to engage then you must consider that the Jailor does less damage and unless your tank is a warforged there will be curses to deal with if he takes the judge.  Generally speaking if one will be controlled by a tank with one healer (often this is a warforged and reconner) they will take the Jailor while the party takes the judge.

When fighting the judge you can employ a main tank strategy.  His attacks are focused to the front so fighting behind him will protect you from some incoming damage.  Again, don’t be afraid to stand in the lava – it does less damage and doesn’t curse.  Without intimidate however it can be difficult to maintain solid control of the judge with his teleporting and aggro reset, but squishy melee should still take note and attack from behind.  Ranged characters and casters unloading should be ready to jump in towards the melee if they grab aggro – easy to do if you are using DoTs and cloud kill. Definitely don’t stand next to your healers, the judge likes to teleport then toss!  The Jailor does swing behind with a whirlwind attack but a main tank can still be used.  The same ranged rules apply here.

Finally, let’s assign some people to the hell hounds.  Rogues, monks, and casters are all good choices since they have abilities that will assist in quickly killing the dogs.  As a caster I am particularly fond of dancing the dogs inside a cloud kill to reduce their saves versus death effects, or reduce them to a helpless state for nuking.  I find this to be an easy tactic that I can do while still reconning a warforged.  It’s something that’s easy to maintain in short bursts of time.  These people should also keep an eye out for late arriving fire elementals.

Once the party kills whichever of the 2 bosses is first they can go work on killing the other.  When both are dead clean up any remaining trash and break your dead party members and your new friend out of jail.  Shrine up, loot, and onto the second fight.

And your closing tip: don’t forget your curse pots!

That will end this weeks Epic Education.  If you have any questions, comments, or corrections you can email me at or visit myDDO blog at Join me next time as I continue discussing the Tower of Despair.  Thanks for listening.

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  1. […] tips on running Tower of Despair on Epic in his latest Epic Education. Click here for Part 1, and click here for Part […]

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