- For non-quest related information for the zone, see Old Hillsbrad Foothills.
Escape from Durnholde Keep, aka The Escape from Durnholde Keep or simply The Escape from Durnholde, is the first instance within the Caverns of Time. This zone sends players back seven years in time to the Old Hillsbrad Foothills to preserve the flow of time. In the original timeline, Taretha Foxton set off a diversion that allowed the young Thrall to escape Durnholde and start his journey. Meddling agents of the mysterious infinite dragonflight, however, have kidnapped Taretha. Since she is unable to create a diversion, the Bronze Dragonflight asks players to do it themselves.
In order to be able to access this first instance in the Caverns of Time, the player must be level 66 and complete the quest from Steward of Time, and then the other quest from Andormu. is a quest where you should follow a time steward around the cave for about ten minutes and listen to his story. It might be hard to do on a PvP realm, depending on alliance/horde activity in the cave. It is time-consuming, however, so ensure that you do it before the rest of your party arrives, so as not to make them wait!
- Bronze dragon (one, Erozion)
- Bronze drake (one, Brazen)
- Dwarf (one, Bilger the Straight-laced)
- Frogs (critters)
- Goblin (one, Zixil)
- Harvest golem (one, Overwatch Mark 0)
- Horses (critters)
- Infinite dragonspawn
- Infinite drake (one, Epoch Hunter)
- Rats (critters)
- Roaches (critters)
Note: Only mobs unique to the instance are listed here.
- Lieutenant Drake - Humanoid Elite level 68 - ("optional" - see "Stealth Tactics" below)
- Captain Skarloc - Humanoid Elite level 68
- The Epoch Hunter - Dragonkin Elite level 68
-  : Tanaris; Speak to Don Carlos, at the graveyard just east of Gadgetzan.
-  : Tanaris; speak to Andormu inside the cavern.
-  : Old Hillsbrad Foothills; speak to Erozion inside Old Hillsbrad at the entrance of the cave mouth. Taking the quest gives you a .
Warning: The escort request requires that each person obtain the quest from Thrall before starting it. Unlike many other escort quests where one party member starting the quest prompts a dialog to all other party members, those on this quest chain who turn in Taretha's Diversion must individually pick up Escape from Durnholde first. Thrall does not step out from behind his prison cell and begin the escort quest when you merely accept the quest; a member of the party must speak to him a second time and confirm that the group is ready. If you do not pick up this quest, it is nonshareable and you will have to redo the instance in order to qualify for the following Black Morass dungeon. Letting Thrall die does reset this part of the event, in case some party members did not take the quest before one started the run.
Players are asked to set incendiary devices in the various buildings of the Durnholde Internment Camp. The Durnholde Internment Camp has five buildings. Each building has 4 guards (usually two melee, one hunter, and one Warden (Priest)). When pulling this area, be sure to keep an eye out for patrols. It is also possible to skip fighting many of the mobs, as well as the first mini-boss, if you have a Rogue or Druid (see "Stealth Tactics" below). Once all the explosives are set, Lieutenant Drake spawns at the top of the stairs leading to the lower area and slowly walks to the back. Fighting him is not required, although it is not a terribly long or difficult fight. When the buildings catch fire, any mobs that you did not kill will run out into the courtyards and stand there -- you will probably have to fight through them to get back to the keep unless your whole party can stealth, or you selectively kill some of them first.
To continue, the party must then free Thrall from his cell in the basement of the keep and escort him out (Thrall agrees to come because you tell him you are friends of Taretha and have come in her stead). The escort is broken into three phases. First, you must fight your way out of the castle keep itself and back to the gates of Durnholde, where you will confront Captain Skarloc. Second, you must search through Tarren Mill (fighting a number of town guards) to search for Taretha. Finally, you must face off against the Epoch Hunter and his minions to free Taretha and restore the timeline.
If you wipe during the first portion of the escort (prior to or while fighting Captain Skarloc), Thrall will reappear in the basement of the keep. If you wipe after defeating Skarloc and proceeding to Tarren Mill (but before reaching the Epoch Hunter fight), Thrall will be standing behind the barn (where you speak with him to start the event in and around Tarren Mill). Once you have cleared Tarren Mill up to the point where you can speak with Taretha to start the fight with the Epoch Hunter, Thrall will respawn in the Inn (standing next to Taretha).
During the escort, when you are in the Inn, if you wait too long before talking to Thrall or Taretha, she disappears and you have to restart the quest from the beginning.
Escort Phase One
The first part is possibly the most difficult part of the whole instance -- Thrall runs quickly from one fight to another, with essentially no rest in between (although he does heal back to 100% after each fight). Each group in the first section contains four elites; the groups are semi-random, but always seem to contain a Mage, and about 50% of them contain a Warden, which are exceedingly dangerous (they heal, dispel, and AoE fear). This stretch can be difficult if you do not have substantial in-combat CC.
If you want to make your life a little easier, go ahead and clear any mobs in Durnholde Keep and in Tarren Mill before speaking to Thrall so that you will not have to deal with them later as adds or while Thrall is running around with no regard to mana or health. The ones immediately to the left and right as you enter the keep (including the patrols) should definitely be eliminated, as you can easily be feared into them (or have a fleeing mob run into them), which at that point will almost certainly cause a wipe.
Be sure to have your healers top up on mana after each fight (you will drop out of combat after the last mob of each group dies). Thrall can survive on his own briefly -- he is a 67 elite and can take quite a bit of punishment (as long as you don't leave all four enemies on him!) Thrall can be healed as normal, but cannot be Power Word: Shielded or have a Prayer of Mending placed on him (since he is not in your group). He is quite resilient, and heals back to 100% between each fight. If you drag the last mob away from where the fight started, you will have a few extra seconds, since Thrall will run all the way back to where the previous fight began before moving on. You can also let him beat on the last mob while group members bandage and/or wait for cooldowns.
After clearing the walls of Durnholde, Thrall and the party will encounter Captain Skarloc and two bodyguards. You have 15–20 seconds from the end of the last fight until Skarloc rides up, and then there is a short conversation before he actually aggroes. Skarloc is a fairly straightforward fight; he is a Paladin with two adds (usually one melee and one Warden, which can heal and dispel; Skarloc will heal himself and the adds, and will use Hammer of Justice frequently on the tank). The adds should be burned down, then you can beat down Skarloc (see his page for more details). Once Skarloc is killed, Thrall will wait for you to speak with him to begin the second phase of the escort. When you talk to him, he will get on Skarloc's mount (a +60% one, thankfully) and begin riding to Tarren Mill. You may encounter another group or two of guards on the road, which will aggro on Thrall and must be fought. Once you arrive on the outskirts of town, Thrall will ditch the mount and wait for you to speak with him again.
Escort Phase Two
When you speak to him, he will lead you to several buildings (first the barn, then the church) -- a group of elites will spawn outside each building and attack you. There is a slightly different mix of mobs than the first gauntlet -- in particular, watch out for the Protectors, which are healing/cleansing Paladins. Thrall will then run up into the Inn; there is another group of elites on the upper floor. Once you defeat them, Thrall will run next to Taretha (who is in the back room on the upper floor). Speaking to Taretha will then start the final event. (Warning: waiting too long results in Taretha despawning and the quest breaking. Do not wait much more than 5 minutes before starting the next part of the escort chain.)
Escort Phase Three
Once you talk to Taretha, the Epoch Hunter--a Drake of the Infinite Dragonflight himself--will announce his presence and tell Thrall that Taretha's life hangs in the balance. Naturally, Thrall asks if the party will accompany him in this last battle, though you really don't have a choice.
The Epoch Hunter will fly overhead doing nothing for the first phase of this event. He will spawn three waves of Infinite Dragonkin, which are somewhat spell-resistant and have various abilities like Shadowbolt. Since they are Dragonkin, Druid's Hibernate spell is very helpful here. The waves are on a timer, so you must kill them fast (the next wave will also spawn about 10 seconds after finishing one; Thrall will reset back in the middle of the road where he began the fight). Stand behind him (being on the other side of the little corner fence between the Inn and Church is a good reference); the mobs frequently aggro whoever is closest to them when they spawn -- and Thrall can survive their assault longer than you can. The best tactic during this phase is to burn the Defiler in each wave down ASAP and let Thrall tank all the others, then pull the melee mobs off him one at a time. Thrall heals back to 100% after each wave, though he may require some healing from time to time. Alternatively, if your tank is a pally, you can simply let him multi-tank all the Dragonkins. This way you do not need to risk Thrall's life in the fight.
Once all three waves are down, the Epoch Hunter himself will land. He, like most Dragonkin, has a frontal breath attack (in this case, arcane damage) that reduces movement speed and attack speed significantly, so keep him faced away from the raid. He also will occasionally knock everyone away from him (not sure if this drops aggro as well), and will sporadically dispel any magic-based buffs or HoTs. He can also place an undispellable DoT on one person that ticks for 750 (though not for very many ticks). It is a fairly straightforward fight; he doesn't deal huge amounts of damage, and other than the knockbacks and breath attack it's a straight tank-and-spank.
Once you've killed the Epoch Hunter, Erozion will remove the memory of your interference from Thrall and Taretha. Though Taretha's sad fate is unavoidable, Thrall goes off to meet his destiny--and the flow of time is preserved. Be sure to speak with Erozion to finish the quest and get the next one in the chain; however you can simply turn it back in if you leave the instance without talking to him, although he may not be in his position at the start of the instance if you go back in straight away. Erozion will also teleport you back to the Caverns of Time if you speak with him again after turning in the quest and accepting the next one.
Completing this quest will allow the player to enter the second instance in the Caverns of Time, which is set prior to the events of Warcraft I in the Black Morass: The Opening of the Dark Portal, featuring the Guardian, Medivh.
Note about Druid Crowd Control: In addition to hibernate working, you can also root the dragonkin as you are considered outside. A single druid can basically CC both melee dragonkins and leave the caster to her quick death at the hands of your DPS crew.
If you have a Rogue in the party (and they know what they are doing), it is possible to bypass most of the encounters that occur before freeing Thrall. To do this, your rogue must stealth into the buildings and set the bombs! This will cause 2 things to occur: The patrols will despawn (a lifesaver in Heroic), and Lieutenant Drake will emerge. At this point your party has 2 options. You can clear the area at the bottom of the stairs and take Drake as normal, or, since you have already fulfilled the "mission" (which is just setting the bombs as a distraction) the party can now continue on to Thrall and never take on Drake at all!!
However, the rest of the party might not get quest credit for this if they are too far away from the buildings.
Trash Attacks and Abilities
|Mob||Special Note||Crowd Control|
|Durnholde Lookout|| Patrol consisting of hunter and elite Durnholde Tracking Hound. Respawns every 15 minutes. When engaged "calls for help", spawning 2 Durnholde Reinforcement guys. Patrols despawn at the moment when bombs are detonated. Abilities are very similar to Durnholde Rifleman.
||Immune to all kinds of crowd control and should be tanked.|
|Durnholde Tracking Hound|| Elite beast (dog) accompanying Durnholde Lookout.
||Can be crowd controlled (sleep, fear, stun).|
|Durnholde Reinforcement|| Elite human summoned by Durnholde Lookout. Very similar to Durnholde Sentry but overall hits a bit harder.
||Can't be crowd controlled and should be tanked. Susceptible to stun.|
|Durnholde Warden||A priest-class elite human.||Can be Mind Controlled, and fully crowd controlled. Players need to watch out for Psychic Scream, can cause players to aggro other mobs.|
|Durnholde Sentry||Warrior-class elite human, guarding barracks. Very similar to Durnholde Reinforcement but is a bit weaker.||Can be sheeped and stunned.|
|Durnholde Rifleman|| Hunter-class elite human. Is very similar to Durnholde Lookout hunter patroller.
||Can be crowd controlled (sheep, fear, stun).|
|Durnholde Mage|| Mage-class elite human, that comes in groups after you free Thrall.
||Can be crowd controlled.|
|Durnholde Veteran|| Rogue-class elite human. Can also come in groups after you free Thrall.
||Possibly is immune to crowd control.|
To add: info about Tarren Mill Lookout, Tarren Mill Guardsman, Tarren Mill Protector (paladin style mob dispelling everything), Lordaeron Watchman (neutral, no reputation gains), Lordaeron Sentry (neutral, no reputation gains), Infinite Saboteur (dragonkin. priest class), Infinite Slayer (dragonkin), Infinite Defiler (dragonkin, warlock class)
Starting in Patch 2.4, Durnholde Lookouts no longer spawn in the Heroic version of the instance. The placement of creatures around Durnholde Keep in Heroic mode is now identical to that of Normal mode.
Heroic Mode Walkthrough
You enter the instance and clear the smaller groups up till over the bridge. Thus far, everything should be fairly easy. While you stand on this side, walk along the sides of the large prison pit to spot the patrolling Lookouts and give them marks, so you know where they are at any given time. These patrols are extremely difficult: they have a very large aggro range, and upon aggro will summon two additional mobs, both of which run very fast and hit extremely hard, not to mention being immune to most types of CC. There are five of them in all that you need to worry about: two patrolling the walls around the prison pit, two inside the prison pit, and one patrolling the right side of the pit, with a route that will take it near the stairs into the pit (making the top of the stairs unsafe).
At this point, you must determine whether your party will try to kill the groups in the buildings, or ninja them. In both cases, your major concern will be avoiding the patrols.
The ninja strategy essentially requires one party member or group of party members pulling the mobs while another drops down and sets the firebombs. The person setting the bombs may want to simply remove their armor: if the mobs come back too soon, they will most likely die almost instantly. For the puller, a hunter using eyes of the beast with a beast that can dash and then feign death is ideal. Expect some deaths with this strategy: the bomber is likely to get trapped, and the puller to get ganked: as long as you leave your resurrecting character outside the walls of the castle and away from combat, they can simply res members that have died in open spots.
The killing method is more straightforward, but often quite brutal unless you have enough CC: remove the mobs from each building and set the bombs, working your way through the groups while avoiding the pats.
Once you cleared all the buildings, you are free to run in and set fire to the houses. The best way to do this is leaving one building close to the wooden ramp to trigger as last, so you can set up for the boss fight. Once you set fire to all the buildings, the patrols will despawn.
The first boss : Lieutenant Drake
Drake hits extremely hard: he has a mortal strike that can do upwards of 7k on a tank, and a hamstring that can do up to 4k in addition to his regular attacks, whirlwind, and fear. Fear temporarily lowers tank threat and boss goes for casters and healers.
If you can afford dual tanking him (have two warriors, or have a feral druid, or protection paladin), keeping boss busy and away from group is a joke, and you can skip the rest of this strategy and proceed to looting. Else read on.
If you've killed all the mobs, then position the party on TOP of the ramp, while you stand below the ramp tanking. Avoid his whirlwind and be ready to counter overaggro. When he fears the tank he will reset his aggro and move to a random person on top of the ramp. When Drake reaches the top of the ramp, the one being targeted jumps down before getting hit and the tank can then take over with Taunt and if that fails, Mocking Blow, or even Challenging Shout.
If you haven't killed the mobs, simply pull Drake behind one of the burning buildings when he is away from them on his patrol back and forth.
Getting to Thrall is not as hard. The burning houses despawned the patrols, so the patrol that normally walks in the armory no longer walks there.
After talking to Thrall, immediately run to the entrance of the Armory. Sheep, fear, trap the first group as soon as they spawn and tank the mob(s) that are left. Thrall will regularly hit a random sheep. If this is a bad target ( example : The Warden, which dispels sheep ), quickly get a different target and keep resheeping the one Thrall is hitting. After a couple resheeps, Thrall will hit the one that's not sheeped.
Thrall can take quite a few hits, and will allegedly heal himself to 100% between fights.
This is a mana-battle. Let Thrall run up front from now on, let your healer drink while other players CC the mobs. The one Thrall is hitting first is your main target, to avoid Thrall breaking sheeps.
When you survive this short gauntlet, the second boss will come forward.
Second Boss : Captain Skarloc
Captain Skarloc comes with 2 adds which have the ability to heal themselves and others. His adds hit for around ~800 on leather (and can be very well be "rogue tanked" if the need arises).
The boss himself hits extremely hard (around 3000 on a well-equipped tank every 2 seconds), and also has a stun (which makes it hard for the tank to build up aggro and will also render the tank unable to dodge, parry or block). In addition, he has a 750 per second Consecrate which can and should be moved out of. Skarloc can also heal himself and the adds and will start doing so when a mob reaches 50% health. He can be interrupted.
It is recommended that Thrall tanks the boss while the group takes both adds out of sight and kills them one by one. By the time the adds are dead Thrall should have enough threat build up to last for quite a bit, although it is likely that a DPSer will pull aggro around 20% health.
Alternatively, it is also possible to CC both adds, making absolutely sure that Skarloc himself never gets into sight.
Grabbing the beast by its throat
Thrall next rides behind you on his 60% mount. Prepare for the next series of events.
Once everyone is ready, trigger the event and run into the barn. Have the tank position at the hallway into the barn, where the mobs spawn. Sheep the Protector as fast as possible. This mob heals and dispels sheeps.
The next spawns are repeating this and are easy once you figure it out.
When you are ready, the entire party runs to the entrance of the Church. A series of 2 groups with 3 mobs will spawn and the last group has 4 mobs ( a total of 3 groups after each other ). These mobs can not be sheeped, but they can be Feared or Hibernated and are affected by Hurricane, Frost Nova and slowing/stunning abilities.
Final boss : The Epoch Hunter
The last three waves of dragonkin hit much harder than before, but just as on normal, the real battle is making sure your party has enough mana and health to face the final boss after these waves. Tank the boss away from the group as normal.
Killing creatures in this instance gives reputation with Keepers of Time.
- Elite guards 8 rep (heroic: 15 rep)
- Bosses 150 rep (heroic: 250 rep)
The background music played in the instance when not specifically at the Keep or Tarren Mill is an adaptation of one of the orc music tracks from Warcraft II. It was also featured in the bonus campaign, "The Founding of Durotar", in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.
For information on the fun stuff you can do and visit in the zone, see Old Hillsbrad Foothills.
- Thrall's Destiny (Highlights of the instance)
- Full Run from WarCry.com
- boss fights from farmers-blog.blogspot.com
- Hotfix (2007-03-26): "Fixed an issue where could halt progression by giving incorrect text in the Caverns of Time: Hillsbrad instance."