As much as I enjoyed the new Dragonborn DLC, I did encounter a glitch during the final part of the main quest that is game-breaking. Searching for a solution, I found that a lot of people have been having this problem. And of course there are workarounds if you get this for your PC, but console users may be stuck until it gets patched. And considering I don’t know if you can leave the Apocrypha once you start the last quest, this could ruin a lot of people’s games.
The glitch occurs during the final battle with Miraak atop the summit in Apocrypha. What’s supposed to happen is that, after landing with the dragon, Miraak will say a few things before the battle actually starts. Once you damage Miraak enough, he’ll use Spectral Form so that you can’t hurt him & he’ll kill one of the dragons flying overhead, absorbing their soul & healing himself back to full health. This will repeat twice more (for a total of three times). After he absorbs the third dragon you can actually kill him, completing the quest.
However, in this glitch, the first time Miraak goes into Spectral Form he’ll kill the dragon, absorb his soul, heal… but remain in Spectral Form. He won’t do anything else but just stand there. He doesn’t attack. Nothing. Unfortunately, this means you can’t damage him either, sticking players in limbo.
I tried to attack him using weapons, magic & shouts, but nothing worked. Periodically during the fight the dragons will swoop down & use Frost Breath, but that doesn’t have any affect either. I tried to kill the other two dragons, thinking their deaths would snap him out of the glitch, but I couldn’t damage them either. Trying to command the dragons to attack him didn’t work either. I also tried to do enough damage in the first round that he wouldn’t be able to go Spectral, but I couldn’t find a way to do enough damage fast enough. It’s pretty instantaneous once he goes below a certain amount.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found a fix for this glitch once it happens, but I do know how to prevent it:
Hold back with your attacks during the first three rounds of the battle.
From what I observed, it seems that absorbing the dragon souls is supposed to fully heal Miraak. However, it looks like there’s a set amount of health they’ll actually restore. So if you drain Miraak’s health to almost nothing, he won’t absorb enough health back to trigger his AI to come out of Spectral Form.
The easiest way to prevent this glitch, then, is to not go all out until after he’s absorbed the third dragon soul. Back off after a few attacks to see if he’ll go Spectral. I accomplished this by using my second best weapon & backing off after a few hits. When I was careful about how much damage I gave him, I didn’t have any trouble finishing the fight.
I hope this helps anyone who’s stuck or wants to make sure they don’t get stuck.