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Epic Education 32: Caught in the Web 3

Caught in the Web pt 3

Hello and welcome to Epic Education – a show of tips and tactics for surviving epic content.  I’m your guide Shamgar and this is Episode 32: “Caught in the Web pt 3” – “Escaping the Web”

Last time we got to the end of the raid, we have only 2 more islands to conquer, but they will be the 2 most challenging islands.  We must again face Lolth and her army of minions, a more powerful batch than the last fight.  Additionally we must break her barrier blocking the way to the portal out of the web.  To break this barrier we must first beat Lolth back again and then we must kill all the portal keepers.  Here’s the catch: when you kill a portal keeper the monsters in its vicinity become portal keepers.  Here’s the second catch: when you kill portal keepers more will spawn with an accompaniment of guards.  To escape we must kill the last 2 or 3 portal keepers in a short time frame.  A uncoordinated party could find themselves indefinitely trapped in the web.

There are three islands on which this final fight will take place.  The island we are currently on is protected from Lolth’s lasers because of its roof and wall structure, but you may have to deal with spell ward traps.  Up the ramp to the west is the largest island. On the south end of the island is a portal keeper necromancer and a host of other mobs.  On the north end of the island is another pile of mobs and Lolth.  In the center are the ramps to the adjoining islands and the 4th and final orb (which is optional).  The last island is rather small and generally has a portal keeper on it.  This is where the portal out is, currently blocked by a barrier and it is to the west of the large island.  When the portal keepers are killed, after about 10 seconds more keepers and mobs will spawn from 1 of 4 locations: the bottom island, the top island, and the north and south ends of the large center island.  Before you take down the last portal keepers, make sure Ana’s babysitter is on the top island ready to run through the barrier as soon as its down.

There are a couple of ways to approach this fight.  The biggest thing that needs to happen is we need to take Lolth down.  Everything gets a lot easier once this happens.  Before we can attack Lolth, Ana needs to get close enough to shoot her.  Unlike the first fight, this can be done before destroying the orb.  It is certainly possible to bum rush Lolth and her minions and kiting is certainly a good option for trash mobs.  There are however, a pile of mobs to deal with and that can become problematic, especially with lag being a concern.

One approach is to assign 2 or 3 players to deal with trash.  This should be a fairly self sufficient team.  They can kill all the trash and prep the last 2 or 3 portal keepers.  If done well this can make for an extremely short Lolth fight.  The biggest problem in this case might be getting Ana up by the barrier (consider having someone from the trash party or a self sufficient range type take Ana here).  The danger here is that this can become an easily overwhelming task.  If you aggro too much at once (especially mistresses) you may find that you have to resort to kiting.  It’s important that those folks dealing with trash don’t pull more than they can handle because if they die all of that trash will head over to the rest of the group.  If your group uses this approach I highly recommend that you encourage them to pull new mobs only when they have only portal keepers left to play with and only if they can take the extra heat.

A different approach is to make an effort to achieve what I call a stable point.  This is where new mobs are not spawning and you have control of the mobs that are left.  Once you get to this point you can go to town on Lolth with far fewer concerns and put more of your groups weight behind beating her down.  To get to this point there’s basically 2 extremes.  The first is to aggro everything and work down to a stable amount of portal keepers.  It can be difficult to do this with Lolth shooting you however.  The other extreme is to aggro as little as possible.  You can of course do some of both, however I recommend aggroing as little as possible.

To elaborate I will go through this fight step by step according to my preferred method which can easily be applied to all difficulties and should make for a fairly simple boss fight.  This should give you at least a starting point and can be easily modified to fit your group preferences. As a reminder, last episode we ended by clearing out the trash on the bottom island so lets pick it up from there.

Start by having the person with Ana run about halfway up the ramp.  Once Ana gets up far enough up the ramp you will get some DM text and dialogue from Lolth. This signals the start of the end fight.  Head back down the ramp and clear out all the trash that has spawned – even the portal keepers.  You should be able to kill everything here and achieve a stable point relatively quickly. I typically have my groups take their second and final shrine here.

Once you are ready to continue send 1 or 2 people up the ramp to collect some more mobs.  The trick here is to only grab the mobs at the center and to the north of the island (that’s to the right as you reach the top.  You don’t need to grab everything all at once but do try to grab any bebiliths and mistresses in this area.  However, do not grab anything from the south part of this island.  Bring what you have aggroed back to the bottom island. You may want to do this more than once and you will probably have to contend with a few respawns before again reaching a stable point.  Hopefully you will get to a point where you have pulled and killed almost everything on the north half of the center island but everything from the south half and the top island is still just hanging out in their locations.  It is possible that you may not be able to reach a stable point here especially if you goofed and pulled the mobs to the south.  If this becomes apparent try to get as close to one as possible, perhaps you should save a couple portal keepers here.

When you get to as stable a point as you can its time to go after Lolth. At this point everyone should go up the ramp and hang an immediate right.  Again we don’t want to aggro either the south center island or the top island. There may be a few mobs here for you to clean up.  Kill anything that isn’t a portal keeper at this point, but as soon as the main party is able they should get on Lolth. Assign 2 or 3 people to handle trash (probably casters and sufficient folks). It’s up to them to either kite or kill whatever comes to the north part of the island. Hopefully you will have achieved a stable point and the only trash you will get will be that which Lolth herself spawns.  Ana’s babysitter can either go get the orb during the Lolth fight (again be careful not to attract unwanted attention) or you can just wait until Lolth is down. 

Melee will need to pay careful attention to where they stand.  The area around Lolth is full of invisible objects and this makes attacking Lolth very difficult. Find a place where you can confirm you are consistently getting your normal attacks to land. You can check this by watching your die rolls or your combat log.  Ranged folks should pull in tight with the melee to stay in mass cure range unless they are on trash.  I find as a caster that dropping a cloud kill on the melee is an effective way of getting spider aggro, though cleaving melee can easily kill these mobs as well.  In any case, dps should throw as much as they can at Lolth.  Unless a wipe or a retreat is imminent try to get Lolth down as fast as possible.  Lolth can sacrifice mobs, so you will need to either kill what is in the area or take it farther away from her out of her sacrifice range, which is fairly small.

Once Lolth is down we need to kill trash and get down to 2 or 3 portal keepers.  If the orb isn’t down yet, get that done now.  At this point go ahead and aggro everything to the south and the top island (you can do this in stages). I recommend that you bring everything to the center big island.  Some groups like to pull everything up to the top.  This does have its advantages, namely that you can buy yourselves a few extra seconds to kill portal keepers before trash gets close enough to become a portal keeper.  However, the top island is rather small and Ana will get dinged up a bit.  If she is borderline this decision could be the difference of getting a well earned chest.  Once the top trash is pulled down to the center island and the orb is destroyed, the babysitter should move to the top island. It is highly likely that you will only have a minimal amount of time to rush through the barrier once it goes down so be ready.

Everyone else should be working on portal keepers.  Keep in mind here that your healers may be very light on spell points.  This is the portion of the raid that most groups will find the greatest difficulty. It requires a concerted effort towards group coordination.  Even 1 person can seriously impede success here.  There is also a little bit of luck involved here. Some of these mobs will prove to be far more difficult than others.  The mistresses are the biggest problem because they can sacrifice any mobs that are not other mistresses – even portal keepers.  If you do have a mistress portal keeper left you may want to try and make the other last keeper or 2 either another mistress or something that’s an undead soul.  Also keep in mind that bebiliths and most of the drow and spiders come back as undead versions.  While it may seem difficult to do, trying to pick good combinations of portal keepers can be the key to success here.  Alternatively, you can separate them and kill them far apart from each other.  This can prevent mistresses from sacrificing the other and will prevent the undead versions from becoming portal keepers when the second keeper is killed.  You can also kite trash mobs around to prevent the same from occurring (the mobs spawning at the bottom platform are particularly good candidates). The most important thing here is communication and coordination, try and take down the keepers together.

It is also worth noting that portal keepers do have map notes.  If you open your map you can see them as red dots.  It is also possible to get one of the demons that teleports to teleport back to the Rez shrine as a portal keeper and turn a mob there into a portal keeper (this of course should be avoided). 

Should you run into trouble you may need to retreat or even regroup by jumping off as ghosts to Rez back at the other end of the demonweb.  If during this process you find that Ana is below 70% don’t be afraid to use another shrine, you’ve already lost your chest.  If Lolth is still up keep in mind that she does regenerate over time so try not to dilly dally.

That will end this week’s Epic Education.  If you have any questions, comments, or corrections you can email me at DDOEpicEducation@gmail.com or visit myDDO blog at shamgar.ddocast.com. Join me next time as I begin discussing “Fall of Truth.”  Thanks for listening.