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For a Paladin the newly acquired rank of Level 20 represents a significant milestone, it is the level that Paladins acquire Exorcism and represents a dramatic change in the way a Paladin advances.
While the Paladin class is often described as defensive, Exorcism brings to the Paladin what is has been lacking up until this level, an extra boost of damage.
When first acquired Exorcism (rank 1), at level 20, it will cause 84 to 96 damage and will improve as you advance until it reaches its potential in the image above.
All that is needed is somewhere utterly infested by abominations from the abyss. Welcome to Duskwood – Population: Lots of undead!
Duskwood is a very dangerous area infested with the Scourge. This may be bad news for the citizens of Darkshire but it is good news for you as Exorcism greatly increases the speed you can dispatch of undead or demons and that means you advance a lot faster. When not questing, I recommend just bashing a lot of boney skulls with your weapon of choice and unleashing some Exorcism on their souls.
As you advance in levels by doing the quests and crushing Scourge skulls, you will get access to the second rank of Exorcism at level 28.
When you first acquire Exorcism (rank 2) it will inflict from 152 to 172 holy damage and will improve as you advance until it reaches its full potential. Even at level 28, when you first acquire this spell, it will deliver on average 162 holy damage. This represents roughly 20% of a creature’s health at that level which is a significant damage boost for the Paladin as he can pull an undead creature with this spell and use it again in the same fight if it is progressing slowly with melee damage.
Armed with the Holy Light, it is now time to venture into Duskwood and help the citizens of Darkshire!
When traveling from place to place it is best to use the roads wherever possible as they are much safer than countryside. You will have to fend off attacks from spiders or wolves that wander close to the road but if you stray too far from the road you could get swarmed by savage beasts.
Darkshire is the only settlement in Duskwood, the various citizens in and around Darkshire have a number of quests for you to do in order to help them against the spread of the Scourge. In general I will not go into detail about quests, I will elaborate on some of the minions you will run into in Duskwood, especially undead mobs or those other types found where you will be hunting undead down.
Warning! When on the road between Darkshire and Raven Hill be aware that from time to time an abomination called Stitches, created by the Embalmer, wanders this road and launches an assault on Darkshire, if you see him avoid him at all costs. He is as dangerous as he is hideous, while you might have pledged to smite the forces of darkness wherever it exists, nobody expects any suicidal acts of heroism, not unless the lives of others are at risk and you are charged with protected them.
There are many areas in Duskwood where there are more mundane creatures, you may decide to help Darkshire with these menaces but ultimately your mission is to protect the Alliance from the undead and demonic hordes, at times the peasants need to learn to handle minor matters themselves.
If you are traveling along the road, listen out for warnings that there is danger on the road, if there is a warning be careful and use Sense Undead to keep a watchful eye out for the abomination that is called Stitches.
Name: Stitches, Gift from the Embalmer
Level: 35 Elite (Approximately 12,000 Health)
Type: Melee (Aura of Rot)
Aura or Rot inflicts 36 to 40 nature damage to all enemies within 5 yards of Stitches (i.e. melee range). This aura pulses every few seconds and it will sap your health if you are stuck in a prolonged fight against him.
Stitches is a one man army, he hits very hard and has a lot of health, even for an elite of his level. Standing up to Stitches at a low level is sheer folly, as courageous as trying to stop a runaway train with your bare hands.
The Night Watch patrols the roads of Duskwood and keeps the aggressive creatures off the road as much as possible. You will have to be careful, however, as the road can be perilous even when the Night Watch are there attempting to protect you.
Other mundane dangers off the road that you might run into include the savage Worgen, these are werewolf-like creatures that are dangerous and often hunt in packs.
The Splinter Fist Ogres occupy a dig site near the mountains to the southwest of Duskwood; they largely keep to themselves but will attack anyone that ventures too close.
In the middle of the Duskwood lies The Twilight Grove which is occasionally visited by dragons of incredible power, it is best to avoid this area.
Elsewhere in Duskwood roam bands of wolves and spiders, eager to find travelers looking for short cuts or the lure of a chest or precious herbs or minerals. Be careful if you leave the road.
The Tranquil Gardens Cemetery:
Located just to the south of Darkshire this is where you will first be sent to deal with the Scourge that has overrun Duskwood. Following the road out of Darkshire, a path on the left leads into the cemetery.
Name: Skeletal Warrior
Level: 21-22 (Approximately 530 to 555 Health)
Type: Melee (Hamstring: 13-15 damage and movement speed reduction)
Name: Skeletal Mage
Level: 22-23 (Approximately 475 to 485 Health)
Type: Mage (Frost, uses Frost Amour and casts Frostbolt)
Skeletal Mages are a little annoying to fight because they stand back and cast frostbolts (which deliver 65-75 damage) so it’s difficult to lure them somewhere safe.
Be careful, the ruined Chapel has an Insane Ghoul inside which is stronger than the others around this cemetery.
Name: Insane Ghoul
Level: 26 (Approximately 750 Health)
Type: Melee (Attack Speed buff)
He will cast a buff which speed up his melee attacks, it doesn’t seem to last very long but he casts it very frequently. While buffed his attack speed improves from 2 seconds to 1 second.
A path from the cemetery leads to the north, there is a cottage with a friendly ghost inside called Blind Mary, and she offers you a quest. Surrounding the cottage are Skeletal Horrors.
Name: Skeletal Horror
Level: 23-24 (Approximately 605 to 640 Health)
Skeletal Horrors can also be found in the Raven Hill Cemetery. To get to the Raven Hill Cemetery you have to take the road south from Darkshire which heads to the west, Raven Hill is just before the entrance to Westfall. Be careful and avoid Stitches!
Raven Hill Cemetery is a huge cemetery; the southern side of the cemetery is dominated by the skeletal varieties while the northern side is dominated by the ghoulish types.
Warning: Mor’Ladim wanders the cemetery, like Stitches, he is also a level 35 Elite and very dangerous at the level range you will be there for killing skeletons and ghouls. It is highly likely that at some stage he will attack you while you are crushing some other Scourge skull; I highly recommend shielding and running.
Level: 35 Elite (Approximately 3,500 Health)
Type: Melee (Enraging Memories)
He will cast Enraging Memories which speed up his attacks from 2 seconds to 1 second. It does not last very long but he casts it very frequently.
He does not drop anything of interest even if you manage to slay him; he is involved in a series of quest which begin at around level 35. If you have the quest he will drop his Skull which is used for the next stage of the quest.
There are three non-undead in the Raven Hill Cemetery, the most common are the Carrion Recluse spiders. There is also a group of Grave Robbers on the western side of the cemetery although they do not wander and can be easily avoided. They stand relatively close to each other and you will often draw two or three of them if you happen to get too close.
The last non-undead is Morbent Fel, he lives in the top floor of the Forlorn Rowe, located in the northwest of the cemetery. He is heavily guarded and is a dangerous opponent; he is also part of a long quest.
Name: Carrion Recluse
Level: 25-26 (Approximately 735 to 770 Health)
Type: Melee (Paralyzing Poison)
The Paralyzing Poison attack stuns for 8 seconds, it has a nasty habit of going off when Mor’Ladim is wandering towards you.
Name: Grave Robber
Level: 24-25 (Approximately 640 to 710 Health)
Grave Robbers can come anywhere from two to three as they all stand relatively close to each other. Like most living humanoids, they run when they are low on health. If you wish to engage them then Judgement of Justice will stop them from running away when low on health.
I will leave Morbent Fel for later on.
The Skeletons of Raven Hill Cemetery:
Other than the common Skeletal Horror, the following is a bestiary of the boney denizens of the Raven Hill Cemetery.
Name: Skeletal Fiend
Level: 24-25 (Approximately 640 to 695 Health)
Name: Skeletal Raider
Level: 27-28 (Approximately 800 to 890 Health)
The Skeletal Raider is found on the western side of the cemetery, standing around the entrance to the Dawning Wood Catacombs (Skeleton-side).
Name: Skeletal Healer
Level: 26-27 (Approximately 675 to 720 Health)
Type: Caster (Shadowbolt and Heal spells)
Healers can be annoying because they are hard to pull somewhere quiet due to chain casting shadowbolts (dealing 100-110 damage) and heal when their health drops low. They will melee when they run out of mana. You will need to save the stun for when they are low on health to stop them healing.
Name: Skeletal Warder
Level: 26-27 (Approximately 735 to 780 Health)
Type: Melee (Unholy Frenzy and Quick Frost Ward spells
Unholy Frenzy increases their melee attack speed but inflicts nature damage on them in the process. Quick Frost Ward makes them immune to frost attacks for 10 seconds, which does not trouble a Paladin.
The Skeletal Warder can only be found inside the Dawning Wood Catacombs (Skeleton-side), the catacombs themselves are split into two sections with a skeleton and ghoul area, both have entrances in the cemetery and also has a tunnel linking the two underground.
There are two rare spawn inside the catacombs, one a skeleton, the other a ghoul. Commander Felstrom is the rare skeleton that will appear in the skeleton-side periodically, if he is not in his room (located at coordinates 18,37) then you will have to kill whatever has spawned there in his place to have a chance to get him to appear. It took me about 30 minutes to get him to make a guest appearance, the mobs inside the catacombs respawn every 6 or 7 minutes.
Name: Commander Felstrom
Level: 32 (Approximately 1,500 Health)
Type: Melee (Revive spell)
When Felstrom’s health drops low, he begins casting his Revive spell, if he is allowed to complete it (i.e., you don’t stun him or kill him first) then he will despawn and will reappear again at full health, this can cause periods of endless joy as he will revive himself over and over unless you are able to stop him from completing the spell.
His room is also fairly densely populated with other skeletal minions, at a lower level you will have issues fighting him alone. I recommend avoiding him without a group until you can safely handle a number of the mobs in the catacombs at the same time.
Felstrom usually drops one of either Bonefist Gauntlets or Trouncing Boots, both are reasonable level 27 mail items with melee stats on them.
In one of the rooms there is a passage that will not show up on your mini-map, this is a root-filled earthen tunnel that connects the skeleton-side of the catacombs to the ghoul-side of the catacombs.
The Ghouls of Raven Hill Cemetery:
Ghouls are the stronger variety of Scourge in the cemetery, they tend to have a variety of unpleasant debuffs, all lasting a fair duration. Thankfully, the Paladin is armed with the tools to deal with these little problems.
Name: Flesh Eater
Level: 24-25 (Approximately 640 to 710 Health)
Name: Rotted One
Level: 25-26 (Approximately 730 to 765 Health)
Type: Melee (Summon Flesh Eating Worms)
When a Rotted One dies one or two Flesh Eating Worms come out from its chest and start to attack you! It is ideal to fight these creatures with Retribution Aura up before they die.
Name: Flesh Eating Worms
Level: 25 (Approximately 1hp)
Thankfully Flesh Eating Worms do not have a lot of health, if you use Retribution Aura they will kill themselves on the Aura after a single hit. They do hit fast (1 second attack speed) so casting a heal will be difficult if several of these are biting your ankles.
Name: Bone Chewer
Level: 26-27 (Approximately 780 to 825 Health)
Type: Melee (Pierce Amour: -565 Amour)
The Pierce Amour attack makes these creatures a little more annoying than the regular undead with no special abilities. It is important to ensure if you are engaging multiple mobs that you get rid of the Bone Chewer first as its Pierce Amour ability will increase the damage you take from all the creatures attacking you.
Name: Plague Spreader
Level: 27-28 (Approximately 800 to 855 Health)
Type: Melee (Wandering Plague)
Wandering Plague is a disease that lasts for 5 minutes, physical damage taken is increased by 5, Stamina is reduced by 3 and there is a 10% chance to spread the disease to an ally on a successful hit. Thankfully, Paladins can easily remove diseases.
Name: Brain Eater
Level: 28-29 (Approximately 860 to 915 Health)
Type: Melee (Plague Mind)
Plague Mind is a disease attack that lasts for 10 minutes, it will drain 10-11 mana every 10 seconds. This would be annoying if it couldn’t be easily removed. While there are some Brain Eaters outside of the catacombs, they are found in large numbers beneath the surface.
Name: Lord Malathrom
Level: 31 (Approximately 1,400 Health)
Type: Melee (Shadow Word: Pain, Summon Sludge, Summon Sloth)
Lord Malathrom is the rare ghoul who spawns at location 21,27 in the catacombs. There will most likely be a Brain Eater standing there if he has not spawned.
Malathrom has a relatively weak damage over time spell, he also summons two little guardian sludges that also hit you, although not very hard. Sludge will debuff you with Sludge Effect (slow your movement speed) and Sloth will debuff you with Sloth Effect (will slow your attack speed of your melee attacks).
You need to kill Lord Malathrom first, if you go for the sludges he will re-summon them when they die. The sludges do not have a lot of health and do not hit very hard, they are counted as level 31 undead but are not as dangerous.
Lord Malathrom will usually drop either Cloak of Rot or the Spiked Collar.
The Cloak or Rot is a level 26 cloak with +7 Intellect and -5 Stamina. The Spiked Collar is consumable with one charge that will summon a Guardian Felhunter (Level 30), it will last for one hour until it vanishes. This item only need level 20 to use and is a bind on pickup item so you can’t give it to anyone else. The Felhunter is aggressive and will attack anything it can, which can be problematic at times.
There are two final areas in and around the Raven Hill Cemetery that are of some interest, in the northwest corner of the cemetery there is a purple haze which is where Forlorn Rowe is located, it is heavily protected by some of the higher level undead creatures.
On the top floor of the house resides Morbent Fel, there is a long series of quest beginning with Sven (west of Raven Hill Cemetery) which eventually results in you having to return to deal with Morbent Fel.
Name: Morbent Fel
Level: 32 Elite (Approximately 3,350 Health)
Type: Caster (Touch of Death, Presence of Death)
He is extremely dangerous and has four or five undead minions to help him, bring friends.
Presence of Death is an area effect spell that stuns everyone in a 5 yard radius around the target. Touch of Death inflicts 65 to 75 shadow damage and heals him for half the damage inflicted.
To the northeast of the Raven Hill Cemetery is a shack which lives a hermit called Abercrombie, there is a quest line that eventually results in a confrontation with Eliza, the Bride of the Embalmer.
Name: Eliza, Bride of the Embalmer
Level: 31 Elite (Approximately 2,275 Health)
Type: Caster (Frostbolt, Frost Nova, Summon Guards)
When Eliza is called from her grave she uses her Summon Guards spell, they do not have a lot of health and not very dangerous by themselves, however, combined with her abilities she can be very dangerous for someone to handle alone. She can re-summon the guards if slain so the best strategy is to get rid of her then eliminate her guards. A random number from 1 to 5 can be summoned and she can continue to summon more as the fight progresses.
To the north of Darkshire there lies Manor Mistmantle, the home of what was once a prominent family in Darkshire but has since fallen into darkness. A very interesting series of quests lead you to unravel the mystery behind the manor and its master, Stalvan Mistmantle.
Name: Fetid Corpse
Level: 29-30 (Approximately 875 to 965 Health)
Type: Melee (Contagious Rot)
Contagious Rot is a disease that lasts for 4 minutes, it slows down your melee attack speed and casting speed, it also has a 5% chance of spreading to an ally on a successful hit.
The Fetid Corpses are spread out around the manor, there is generally plenty of room in this area so you will not find you have to contend with multiple undead. However, be careful if you pull any of the Fetid Corpses that are close to the entrance of Stalvan’s Manor as he has a tendency to become aggravated whenever one of his minions is attacked relatively close to him.
There is a quest involving Stalvan Mistmantle, it requires a fair bit of traveling to other locations around the kingdom, it is rather time consuming but it is an enjoyable quest nonetheless.
Name: Stalvan Mistmantle
Level: 32 (Approximately 1,580 Health)
Type: Melee (Curse of Stalvan)
You will be familiar with the Curse of Stalvan leading up to the encounter with Stalvan if you have followed the quests up to this encounter. It is a curse that has a 10 minute duration and reduces all attributes by 5. It is a rather annoying curse due to its duration, while Purify/Cleanse will not remove curses it can however be removed by activating Divine Protection/Divine Shield.
While Stalvan is not Elite, he does however have a lot of health for his level and he wields two weapons which allow him to attack with a frenzy of blows which makes him a difficult fight for a non-elite.
Stalvan is also relatively unique in that when his health drops low he runs away, most undead do not run as they do not know the concept of fear or self-preservation.. You have to be careful and use Judgement of Justice before he gets too low and starts to run away, he can bring some help if he runs close enough to any of the Fetid Corpses nearby.
Stalvan does not drop anything of note, he will drop a family ring if you are on the appropriate quest.
There is a superior quality (Blue) weapon called Stalvan’s Reaper which is a very nice axe, unfortunately for would be slayers of Stalvan, it is not in his possession.