Archive for August, 2008»
After an excruciating day of 21 hours of traveling, I made the jump across the Atlantic from Germany to my inlaws’ house in Indiana, USA. While I have a laptop available, I might update a wittle bit less, just as a warning. Maybe. The opposite might also be true, because on the long flight from Düsseldorf to Atlanta I had a lot of inspiring thoughts what to blog about. Finish my heroics guide, get around to posting my boss guides for Karazhan, educate fellow warriors how to multitank, etc.
So don’t all run away, you hear me?
With the pre-Wrath patch right around the corner, sounds like the raiding doom and gloom predictions are starting. Aylii over at World of Matticus has posted a summary why she believes the patch will end raiding as we currently know it.
While I don’t necessarily agree with some of the points, I do of course worry what this will mean for warrior threat, and that is indeed looking dire. With a piddly attack power of under 700 in my tanking gear, which has virtually no strength, I don’t think I’ll be able to keep up with DPS anymore. I guess it’s spotlight for the feral druids until we can get some Northrend gear. Gah. However, I also believe that Blizzard will be aware of this fact. The prot warrior revision isn’t in the beta yet. I shall continue to have faith.
What I am also concerned about is that right as my guild is planning to raid a little bit more often, we might be running out of time. I have bosses left to kill in Zul’Aman still, yo.
My guild’s current progression, if you can call it, is sitting firmly in Zul’Aman. That’s where the real challenges lie for us. On Saturday we started, and I had been hoping to make a serious attempt at the first chest. We chose Bear for that, but sadly we weren’t even close. Nalorakk’s second lookout pull was started when I wasn’t with the group yet, half the raid wiped on it, and then we wiped three or four times on the pull before Nalorakk. We had 3 hunters in the raid that were all struggling with trapping the Medicine Man. The other was chain-feared, which worked nicely. We really need to get a mage in there, sad but true. Nalorakk himself proved no challenge, the only challenge was the rolling for the hunter shoulders that he dropped, as we had three hunters.
Onwards we moved to Eagle. Our warlock died very early in the gauntlet, and so did our holy paladin, but we somehow managed to push through, warlock and paladin ran back and we made it, albeit slowly. Akil’zon himself hated us, people died, it was chaos and it took us five tries to get him down, including a second clearing of the gauntlet. In the final try, everything finally worked very smoothly and he died. He dropped Mojo-mender’s Mask, which our paladin took, and it might be the most ridiculous looking thing I have ever seen.
We didn’t have any problems with the Halazzi trash and soon enough we were standing in front of the Lynx himself. Again, we needed a couple tries to warm up, but on the fourth try he went down. All in all, not bad, we can kill the first three now, in not too much time. We definitely need to work on our execution on Akil’zon and Halazzi though, to reduce the time we need.
As our raid weekends are always two days, we went back in yesterday, with the plan to learn how to kill Dragonhawk without a paladin tank. Our first problem was the trash. No druid, no mage = scout hell. We had super chaotic pulls, and wiped several times on two bigger pulls. The one where they throw a ball at the dragonhawk, and the pull just before Jan’alai. Trapping really doesn’t work so great in that area, it was a mess. In any case, we made it to the boss, painfully, but we made it.
We spent 13 tries on Jan’alai, our best had him at 39%. In that try, we had gone for the slow approach of egg hatching, which left us with one side cleared and the other untouched. He was at 39%, we tried a DPS stop, but then the tank went down and it was over. We always hit the soft enrage, so healers had somewhat of a strain to keep the other warrior up. I saw she got crushed a lot, but given his increased attack speed, that’s probably one of the risks. So we changed our strategy. We needed to hatch the eggs faster, so that we could focus on the man himself. In all attempts from there on, we would clear the first side in two hatchings. Let me tell you how sad-making that is as tank. I didn’t feel I did too great a job, but no one died from the dragonhawks, so that’s good. According to WWS, the shield, shield spike, Stormchops and Darkmoon Card all procd quite a bit.
However, our problems with the second side are immense, I could use some advice there. It usually went to hell in a handbasket once we switched sides. What usually happened was that just when about 10 dragonhawks were hatched, Jan’alai would use fire bombs, the fire wall would go up, and the hatcher happily hatched every single egg and we couldn’t do anything about it. This happened several times in a row. Would you slow down the hatching at this point and hatch the eggs a lot more slowly? I think that’s what we’ll have to do to avoid situations like this. I am not sure.
The good thing is that we went home feeling better about not having a paladin tank and that we think we will be able to do this eventually. Despite the countless wipes/resets that we did, no one was in a bad mood, and we all felt we learned something from it. Next time we’re gonna get you, Jan’alai, even without a paladin. Once we can get the second side hatched as well, we’re gonna rock this.
And still, all night I dreamt of dragonhawks, chasing after them in my dreams.
I’ll continue just where I left off last time, presenting you the medium to tough heroics. I am listing the ones that are a pleasant challenge to those who already have a few pieces of badge or Karazhan gear and are confident of their skills at tanking.
Update: Thanks to ARA’s suggestion, I have added Black Morass, it was an oversight not to include it.
5. The Botanica (3/5 for most, even if it will feel 1/5 for the really geared ones): Nowhere else will you get as much bang for your buck as in Heroic Bot, my heroic of choice. If it’s the daily, you’ll walk out with seven badges of justice, for about 90 minutes of work, not a bad deal whatsoever. And even when it’s not the daily, five badges is a top-deal. Trash mobs are almost all humanoids, but there are a bunch of AoE pulls plus satyrs. Bring a hunter or a warlock for the satyr pulls, or as alternative have an off-tank, because the two four satyr pulls can be tricky. For the third boss, less melee is more here. Note that everything I describe makes the instance sound really easy, but you need a top healer, and your DPS really must be on top of their game. Lacking in one department, and Heroic Botanica turns out to be excruciating.
Most difficult pull: There are several contenders. The highest death quota I usually find on all the pulls involving Bloodwarder Stewards. They do a whirlwind that’s called Arcane Flurry and hits random party members for much ouch. Your best bet here is a rogue’s kidney shot or your very own Concussion Blow if you’re a protection warrior. Stuns are the only way to interrupt the Flurry. There are about four pulls with Stewards in them. Strong contender for most difficult pull are the four satyrs by Thorngrim the Tender.
Other notable pulls: Ah, so many tricky ones here. Be careful with Greenkeepers, try to CC one of them. They use a spell that’s like druid Wrath on crack. Low cast-time, it’s like a green machine gun to the face. Spell-reflecting is a pleasure and a must here. Make sure not to lose aggro on them if multi-tanking, they kill healers for breakfast. For the dragonhawk pulls, CC the falconer, use Intimidating Shout for the birds, and focus fire them down, kill the falconer last. The Sunseeker Chemists use poison vials, move out immediately and tell everyone to move out, because that’s a lot of poison damage to absorb. The Sunseeker Channelers use an ability called Soul Channel, Shield Bash it, because it’s ouch for whoever is targetted by it. Last but not least, make sure to never stand in the Death&Decay of the Sunseeker Gene-Splicers. Last Bot run I did, it killed three party members who were careless, but not me, hee.
Bosses: Commander Sarannis is as unremarkable on heroic as she is on normal. If you burn her in under 60 seconds, she doesn’t even summon adds. And even if she does, no sweat, just kill the healer. High Botanist Freywin is equally trivial. He has no added perks whatsoever. Just be careful, as he’s a pansy, I end up completely rage-starved on him, and you must save up some rage for Thunderclap when he changes to tree-form. Thorngrim the Tender is by far the hardest boss in there. Same strategy as on normal, but he hits a lot harder, his fire burns more, his sacrifice is annoying. Big super-important trick to make this fight a lot easier and less frustrating for everyone: the moment you see him switch targets for his Sacrifice, use Taunt/Growl/Paladin taunt right then. It lasts six seconds, so by the time he’s done Sacrificing, you’ll be number one on his aggro list after the threat reset and can then build more threat. Rinse and repeat. This only fails when he sacrifices while you’re running back to him from a Hellfire. If you have problems with losing him at the threat reset, ask your healer to please heal you through hellfires. Laj, Warp Splinter, both are the same as on normal, tank and spank. If you have any decent DPS, this should not prove to be a problem.
6. The Steamvault (4/5 until the first boss, 2.5/5 after the first boss): I am very torn on this one. Like all Coilfang heroics, I want to love it, but the difficulty of the trash and the first boss make me not run it much. You will definitely want at least one warlock for the first boss, and some other solid form of CCing casters. The sirens and their fear cause quite a few wipes.
Most difficult pull: Anything with a siren in it, so basically the whole part to the first boss can be a wipe on every pull if you’re really unlucky. I normally always suggest the shortcut through the bushes, with the two Bog Lords, but not on heroic. On heroic it is safer if a lot more slow to take the long way around. Pull far back, keep casters CCd or kill them first, and pray that no one will be feared in an elemental pat or into a Bog Lord. Or the next group standing over there. Stunning the casters is very helpful.
Other notable pulls: Nada. Once you have survived the area of doom after the first boss, trash pulls are significantly easier. They’re not as tightly packed anymore, so the danger of adds is minimal.
Bosses: Hydromancer Thespia is a wicked witch and significantly more difficult on heroic. You really want to have one elemental banished here. Warn all your group members that there will be many storm clouds and make sure to always move out the moment you get the first tick from one above you. Mekgineer Steamrigger has no real perks, other than his continuous stream of leper gnomes trying to repair him. This is a veeeeeery long fight, dependant on your DPS, the faster the gnomes go down, the more DPS can actually be dedicated to the boss himself. Warlord Kalithresh is just the same as on normal, but his fish tanks have a lot more health. Burst them down, if he manages to enrage, you get to try again. It’s just a DPS race. Nothing special to look out for as tank.
7. Caverns of Time: The Dark Portal (3/5 to 4/5) More commonly known as Black Morass, this heroic can either be fairly easy on the group, or really hard. It all depends on a) the quality of your healer and b) more importantly on the quality of your DPS. The faster the Rift Lords go down, the less adds you will have to deal with. The better the DPS of the person who takes care of the adds, the easier that will go. As for who does adds, I have seen the best results from frost mages, destruction warlocks and BM hunters, but also fury warriors. In fact, I have specifically respecd to fury just to handle adds. The adds pack a punch on heroic, especially the executioners that will start coming out of the rifts after Chrono-Lord Deja is down.
As far as tanking goes, this is really easy. Single-mob tanking, nice and easy. If any of the caster rift lords want to cast at you, simply spell-reflect, as they are immune to interrupts. Save a Thunderclap for the annoying whelplings, whoever is doing adds will appreciate help with them. However, if you do try to bind adds on you, make sure you keep threat on them up until the adds-person takes care of them. If you just do one Thunderclap, you can rest assured that the adds will wander off towards the healer and will bite their face off.
The bosses have no special tricks either, everything just hits harder, and Temporus is just as dangerous as he is in the normal version. Really, as tank you have the easiest job here, tanking in BM is really pretty easy. Your healer and the DPS might scream in terror. Where you really place BM in terms of difficulty stands and falls with your group. If everything goes well, you will walk out with three badges in about 30 minutes.
8. Blood Furnace (3.5-4/5): One of the three Hellfire instances, this one is a step up in difficulty for two reasons. The trash in there hits incredibly hard. Remember Slave Pens when you thought Defenders were all evil? All the trash in there hits like that. Magtheridon’s blood is potent stuff, yo. Bring CC for humanoids, and you really do want a warlock along to make the last part of the instance a lot easier.
Most difficult pull: The felguards in the last part of the instance are extremely annoying and hit like trucks. They also pretty randomly charget at people, reset aggro, so if you have a rogue along, stunlock the crap out of them. Here’s where having a warlock along will really help you, because tanking two of those is painful.
Other notable pulls:: watch for stealthed rogues. There’s always two in the area with the stairs, one either on the left or the right hand side in the hall leading to Broggok, two in the room right after Broggok. Nothing is more fun than corpse-runs and then the ‘Oh shit, rogue, dead again’ effect after that really long corpse run. In the pulls with technicians watch for mines, make people aware of it that if you move the mob away, there’s mine danger, and to be careful. In the long hallway of doom towards Broggok, it is very easy to get adds. Line of sight is your friend here to pull the casters, I pull them into The Maker’s room a lot, or the niches in the hall. As always, warn your group that this is going to be a line of sight pull, so that people play along.
Bosses: The Maker is as simple as he’s on normal, though he does have a habit of MCing the tank, which usually means someone dies. Broggok however represents the nastiest, most unforgiving part of the instance that makes Blood Furnace fairly difficult. The prison cell event. You pull that lever and you get waves of mobs rushing at you. Everyone has to pull out all the stops here. CC is a great help, so is a rogue that knows how to stun and blind. Fear is awesome, but beware, some of those mobs are immune. This is one part where CC will really shine in making this encounter more trivial. Solid multi-tanking skills are a must. If you survive the four waves, you’re all set for Broggok who is really easy compared to the waves. Lead him around in a nice circle, don’t stand in the poison and only loot him once the poison is gone. Last but least we have Keli’dan the Breaker, and when he yells ‘Closer, come closer!’ you really want to run. As he does an Aran-like magnetic pull, this means everyone, and no backing up. I have had fights where the healer and I were the only ones up and it took forever to kill him. If you make it past Broggok and then later the felguards, you won’t have any problems though.
9. Sethekk Halls (3.5/5): If Botanica offers you the biggest bang for your buck, Sethekk Halls offers the lowest, with a piddly two badges to earn, unless you know a druid who can summon Anzu. It’s also filled with some of the most annoying trash, so it’s not one of the more popular heroics for me. CC you want to bring is someone for humanoids (I count off-tanks as CC), ideally a priest for shackles, and if you bring a druid for Anzu, Hibernate for the birdies are awesome.
Most difficult pull: The Ravenguards bring us back to the Defender pulls you might remember from Slave Pens. Two mobs that cannot be CCd at all and that hit very hard. To top it off, once you kill the first one, the other one enrages and hits even harder. Good times. Be on top of your game building threat on two mobs, if healer aggro peels one off, you have a problem. Stunlocking helps a lot, also make sure to use stuff like Concussion Blow and Disarm, they really help in minimizing damage.
Other notable pulls: Time-Lost Controllers will put down MC totems, kill that totem as quickly as possible. When tanking Sethekk Oracles, always have them with their back to the rest of the group so they will not be hit by the silence effect. Gnash your teeth once you reach the second floor of the instance, here’s where the pain begins. Sethekk Prophets are incredibly annoying. Always pull very far back, if you can get Fear Ward or Tremor Totem that’d be perfect, and run away from that annoying ghost that’s spawned when the prophets die that takes me right back in time to that annoying Prophet boss in Sunken Temple. Pulling far back until you end up with Ikiss is the key to success.
Bosses: Darkweaver Syth comes with elemental adds. TC and hold them as long as you can before your DPS burns them. Ignore the last wave. Win. It really helps if you can get initial aggro on the elementals to make life easier for everyone. Spell reflect all chain lightning. I am assuming you have no druid along. Anzu is crazy and annoying, but also sorta fun, especially if killing him means epic birdy for some happy druid. Tank him, in phase 2 try your best to bind the birds before you give up in frustration, pick up aggro when Anzu comes back, rinse and repeat. Long, crazy fight. Talon-King Ikiss is still much the same from normal, however, to make his Arcane Explosion even more fun, he puts a slow on everyone when he blinks. Stay close to the pillar, remind people to let you pick up Ikiss after every Explosion, and hope for the best. He drops fantastic tank shoulders, really good stuff, yet so fugly: Spaulders of Dementia
10. The Arcatraz (3.5/5): The jump in difficulty between normal and heroic Arcatraz is not huge. It’s one of the heroics you think is really extremely hardcore, but it’s actually not bad. If it wasn’t for the really aggravating first boss, I would have placed it at Botanica level. As tank, you get to tank a lot of single mobs, so it’s really quite easy to tank, and you need next to no CC. There are three pulls where CC helps (the three blood elves at the entrance plus the two Ethereal pulls at the end). The boss event at the end is challenging and requires people to be on their a-game, but I find it easier than the Blood Furnace Broggok event. H Arc is one of the trials of the Naaru, and pretty much the easiest one of the three.
Most difficult pull: If you don’t have a warlock along for Detect Invisibility, entering the room with bosses 2 and 3 can be tricky. There are stealthed succubi that have nasty abilities, if you pull more than one mob, it’s often a wipe. The felguard lookalikes silence and disarm. While you’re disarmed, Shield Slam and Thunderclap to continue building some threat, and block to minimize damage. The two different kinds of succubi have tricks up their sleave too. Gouge, Mind Control and a lovely debuff called Spiteful Fury that increases threat by 500%. Too bad they never put it on the tank.
Other notable trash: The Abyssals just before the end I thought would be more frustrating than they really are. If everyone stands on top of each other, right behind the tank (outside of fireshield range), then your healer should be fine healing through that. Other than the above-mentioned, none of the trash is any more difficult than on normal, they just hit harder.
Bosses: Zereketh the Unbound is nasty, frustrating, and most healers I know burst into tears when talking about him. He’s not particularly hard to tank, you just die a lot, because your healer will be overwhelmed by the massive damage everyone in the group is tanking. Prayer of Shadow Protection or Shadow Protection Aura are a must, and it actually helps if you have an offhealer for this fight who takes care of the group while the main healer keeps you up. Really unpleasant boss. Dalliah the Doomsayer is just about the same as on normal, with one very important difference: the cast time of her heal after the whirlwind is significantly shorter. Prepare to run back to her early enough so that you can interrupt her. Having additional interrupts along helps. Wrath-Scryer Soccothrates does more fire damage, but that’s the only difference from normal. As long as the group stays spread out and mobile, to avoid the flamewake, things will be fine. Last but not least, we have Harbinger Skyriss. He is not much harder than on normal, it’s the three mobs before him that can be rough. Watch out for the curse that you can get from the elemental, you want to be decursed when the drakonids show up.
This concludes part II of this guide, watch out for the terrifying heroics in the next part.
The first thought I had when I read about this program was ‘Damn, Blizzard is so smart!’ With this move, they bind the hardcore WoW fan to be even more devoted to them, while Warhammer Online looms on the horizon. Like many others, I think a more correct version of the name of the program would be ‘Refer-yourself-to-multibox’. Even people who never considered a second account are now going for it and multibox their way to glory. In my guild we had people come back from quitting, just so they could have a zhevra mount. It’s a bit amusing to see that people get the most excited about things as mounts or non-combat pets. (As an aside, this is also true for the Spirit of Competition event, or have you ever seen so many Battlegrounds up before?)
I frequent a lot of blogs and LJ communities and left and right you see people describing their exciting multibox adventures. Heck, I considered (and am still considering) a second account for myself, as I have 10 characters on my main realm, and my better half loves the fluff part so much that I could get her a zhevra that way.
Does this actually garner completely new players joining WoW at this point of the game’s lifecycle? I don’t think so. All the friends I have that are interested in MMOs already play WoW, and everyone else is really not interested. I actually did the whole PR spiel on one friend I used to MUSH with, and I thought I had reeled her in, but so far, nothing.
There’s a lot of debate about the leveling speed-up process this whole program brings, how leveling becomes trivial, and how some people feel shafted by it. I don’t actually care that much. I have leveled five characters to 70 and my future number 6 just hit 48 today. It’s plenty easy to level these days, it’s not for everyone though. Let’s be honest, if you actually manage to recruit friends to join, they want to play with you at top level, and if you’re one of the legion of new multiboxers, the leveling changes are right down your alley to make it smoother. It doesn’t bother me, though there are plenty of people who call multiboxing cheating.
To get back on course, I believe the R-A-F program is a smart move. WAR goes live in mid-September and a lot of frustrated endgame raiders and PvPers will jump ship, for fresh content, new classes, RvR. But the dedicated hardcore will remain hooked, because they just shelved out the money for a new WoW Battle Chest for a key, possibly a 2 month game card for the zhevra, which gives Blizzard the buffer of 3 months on WAR. If they release WotLK in that timespan, the impact of WAR on the WoW playerbase will be as minimal as it gets, as even WAR enthusiasts like Tobold predict that the release of WotLK will bring the masses back.
Hats off, Blizzard. Me, I am going to the US next week, and might just pick up that WoW Battle Chest myself. I am weak. I will however not multibox, that’s just not how I roll.
Guess what, I now have successfully been main tank for all of the T4 content. Hooray! That would well fit into the category ‘Never thought that was gonna happen’.
My guild doesn’t have enough raiders to fill a 25-man so we have a guild alliance with Straw Hat Pirates, a bunch of casual, great guys. A lot of spouses of the girls are actually guild members there. They’ve been dabbling in SSC and TK, and maybe 5 of our girls regularly join them. Their raid times don’t match what I can make at all, so all hopes of getting the Champion title died a while back.
Still, DotH has managed to consistently get more raiders who are running Karazhan, so I decided just to check if maybe we could shoot for a raid time I can make and raid the two T4 25-mans under our lead. Sure enough, about 18 people expressed interest. A few people had to cancel, but we still managed to bring in 15 of our girls, and fill the rest with people from SHP.
Once we got it all underway, clearing trash didn’t take too long and we ended up facing High King Maulgar and his buddies. Misdirects and tank targets were assigned, everyone was positioned, I was just about to do a ready check and bam, our mage tank already started the countdown. Hats off to everyone that the pull went well even with the sudden start, and HKM and buddies went down on the first try. That was the point where I stopped being anxious, because everyone was relaxed, had fun, it was cool.
HKM dropped two Defender tokens and I actually won the roll, but seeing as the other prot warrior in my guild who was still wearing Warchief’s Mantle for tanking rolled a 6, I gave her my token instead. I still really want those shoulders, but I’d rather see the token go to someone with dire need than me who doesn’t need them that badly.
On we moved to Gruul, and oh boy, is he fun when you have never done him before. The first try was over at 52%, the off-tank died relatively early and so Gruul took out all the melee with Hurtful Strikes. The second try was similar, only it was me dying to a Shatter fairly early before I learned that I can already switch to berserker stance while flying through the air, to Intercept back on Gruul immediately after landing. Still, it was a 45% wipe, an improvement. On the third try, I went down at 30ish% for lack of heals and the raid got him to 5%. How frustrating is that? Pretty frustrating. But it was pretty obvious we were getting a lot better at this. Considering that almost half the raid hadn’t been here yet, I thought that was pretty awesome. And thus came try number four, tanking-wise everything went perfectly for me, and at 12 growths he was down. Huzzah! Of course, he was lame and didn’t drop my shield, but I got Gauntlets of Martial Perfection as consolation prize.
Three people from my guild left, but everyone else was eager for more, so we brought in replacements and decided to give Magtheridon a shot as well. That was more than I had dreamed of, and I was really woefully unprepared to lead such a fight. Hats off to Farashin from SHP, husband of one of our girls, who was wonderful at explaining the fight, who helped with assigning the cube clickers, and who was totally on top of Blast Wave warnings.
On our first try, I went down like immediately, because I tried to position Magtheridon properly once he was released, and got hit with an 11k Cleave. The second try went well, I really thought we had it in the bag, and then him reaching 30% and a Blast Wave happened at the same time. Very bad, haha. On try number three we had a DPS stop at 35%, waited for the Blast Wave and then burned him down. The raid really executed this so well, it was pretty amazing. As for the tanking, Mag crushes are really painful (10k+, oh my), I had too many of them, but I think my threat output was really pretty good. I did not quite find the ‘sweet spot’ Farashin tried to show me and got flung around a bit too much, but overall, it went well.
I got another drop for my DPS set, Thundering Greathelm, which is pretty nice. I was still using the Overlord’s Helmet of Second Sight. Sadly I had only the second-highest roll on the gems, so the shiny Empyrean Sapphire went to someone else and I got a Shadowsong Amethyst. Now I have to look through the Gem Finder to find a good cut for that.
Then afterwards we did a very quick clear to Skar’this the Heretic in Heroic Slave Pens. I was a bit on auto-pilot there, as it was going on 3 am for me. Turned in the quest, blinked as nothing happened, but with a bit of delay, there it was, the message I had wanted to hear. Aaaaah.
More screenshots tomorrow once I am not as exhausted as I currently am. Short version. HKM one-shot, Gruul in fourth try, Mags in third try, and then cleared to quest giver in H SP. I had a blast, but it was very draining.
Today, I’ll be MTing Gruul’s Lair for the first time. Not only that, but I’ll be raid leader, and I don’t know most of the people from our partner guild that are helping us out. I am still trying to balance healers with DPS in the sign-up. I am beyond nervous.
Ooooommmmm, it will all be good, we will rock the house, I will get the Aldori Legacy Defender and another step to Champion of the Naaru will be completed.
Think that mantra will work? That’d be cool.
Yesterday, as I was leveling my shaman, I listed to one of Veneretio’s podcasts, and one of the questions he received was which instances make good starter heroics. Which took me right back in time. There I was, with every possible blue out of a normal instance, looking for a new challenge. With me I had my trusty sidekicks, a warlock and a priest, with the same predicament. We so got our asses handed to us, repeatedly. Wipe after wipe after wipe. That was back when you needed to be Revered with factions to run heroics, and when you actually were able to PUG because people had run instances a lot. At the time my most burning question was what instance to tackle first. There are various different opinions out there. By now I have run almost all heroics, with two exceptions so I’ll just add my opinion to the masses.
Before I start listing heroics, here’s my warning. If you’ve never been to Karazhan and you just want to start heroics, and your fellow group members have the same gear level, be prepared that heroics are hard. They are! Sure, ask in any forum and people will be ‘roflmao, noob, l2p, heroics r caek’. When you’re all clad in purples, they are significantly less challenging. But when you start out, prepare to wipe until you can wipe no more. As comparison, our first full heroic Slave Pens run had about six wipes. Basically, after second boss, we wiped from pull to pull. 3 hours after heading in, we finally killed Quagmirran. Yesterday, I ran heroic Slave Pens again (though I was on my rogue) and we completed with zero wipes, in about 55 minutes.
Enough rambling, here’s the meat! I will be using a scale of 1-5 to delineate difficulty as I see it, with tanking hints. A general hint before I start: trash is much harder than bosses in heroics, that’s why you skip as much trash as you can, unless you like your rep grinding masochist style. For your first attempts, I would generally advise at least two CCers. Once your gear is a bit better, you can start bringing the poor suckers who get left out, like enh shaman, boomkins or fury warriors.
Heroic instances in order of difficulty:
1. Slave Pens (1/5): The ultimate beginner instance for heroics. If you’re a beginner, bring tons of CC. It’s all humanoids, so mages, rogues, warlocks, hunters, shadow priests, they can all CC for you here.
Most difficult trash pull: Defenders. Come in pairs, cannot be CCd at all, spell-reflect, hit like trucks. In blue gear, expect 3-4k per hit. I found it impossible to tank both of them back then, as your healer will produce great amounts of aggro trying to keep you up. If you struggle, hunter kiting or frost mage kiting one of them works, just most of the time results in a death of them. Another helpful trick is to have a rogue stunlock the DPS target. Also, don’t be shy with Concussion Blow and Disarm, which both greatly minimize the damage you take. Once you start having more armor, the pulls become easily tankable.
Other notable pulls: Careful, after the second boss, there are three pulls that just spell ‘wipe-alert’. Especially the pull in the tunnel to Quagmirran has killed us many a time. Pull way down in the tunnel to avoid being feared in stuff you didn’t clear. In Quagmirran’s room, stand right by the tunnel when someone lets Bite out of the cage and fight the 3 mobs right there. Bite won’t aggro that way, and you can get your OP buff for Quagmirran.
Bosses: Mennu is cake, as long as someone takes out his totems quickly. Spell Reflecting the Lightning Bolt is awesome. Rokmar just needs to be burned quickly before the bleed effect kills you. Quagmirran needs to be turned away from the group because of his Cleave, and once he starts using Acid Spray on someone from the group, you taunt him after a second or two, so that you will get the majority of the damage. The Mark of Bite will greatly help here.
2. Underbog (1/5 with a lock, 2/5 without one): The next step up would be that other Coilfang Reservoir instance. Based on your group make-up it’s just about as easy as Slave Pens, but if you don’t have a warlock for banishing, the way to the first boss is somewhat painful. CC options: warlocks for banishing elementals and fearing wasps; mages for polymorphing bats and the humanoids between boss number one and 2; rogues for the humanoids; spriests for the humanoids; hunters for everything. It is a bit on the longish side, early runs will probably take 2 hours or so, nowadays we usually complete it in 90 minutes.
Most difficult pull: similar to the Defenders in SP, you have a two pull without any CC option, right before Hungarfen. They hit hard, they grow, and they like running away to smash a healer to pulp. Use similar tactics as described for the SP Defenders.
Other notable pulls: The two Underbog Lords just before the end of the instance are scaaaaary. They really hit harder than anything. Huge aggro range too, so be careful. Never turn your back on any of the bats, they can backstab for 5k+ on plate. For all pulls towards Swamplord Muse’lek, use line of sight to pull all wasps to you. There’s a corner you can run around that will force them to fly around it. You can bash or reflect the poison spit.
Bosses: Hungarfen means constant movement, hit V to see spawning mushrooms right away. Ghaz’an is kinda boring, as long as your healer can keep you up. Swamplord Muse’lek himself is a PITA. Get the damn bear to 20% first, his charge is like the most aggravating feature ever. Have everyone stand in the bear’s butt to avoid chasing him forever. Black Stalker needs to be burned fast, ignoring the adds works great.
3. Mechanar, Home of the Sun Eater (2/5): If you’re a warrior or paladin tank, this is likely the one heroic you will run over and over and over and then some more. Until you cry. Then The Sun Eater drops and you never set foot in the instance again. True story, for me. Still, it’s the avoidance sword, you’d be strange not to want it, as tank. CC options: mages, rogues, spriests for the humanoids. Warlocks make the demon pulls trivial. Ideally, those little annoying ones are enslaved and then just spam their Arcane Explosion thingy. Fun times. Hunters for trapping everything. For the end-boss, two classes that can fear are ideal.
Most difficult pull: Tempest-Forge Destroyers. Single pulls, hit really hard, but their worst part is their ability to use Charged Fist. Here you can really shine as warrior tank, because you have the unique ability to actually spell-reflect that. Reflecting roughly 4k damage is awesome cake! So be aware when you tank them to have spell reflect ready and be thankful that it’s off the global cooldown. As beginning heroics tank, you should always have rage for Spell Reflect, at my gear level I actually have to save the rage to be able to use it, at times.
Other notable pulls: My advice is to leave Nethermancer Serpetrea for last, because she can be very demoralizing. She’s harder than anything else in there. Instead, head towards Pathaleon the Calculator. The gauntlet is tricky and might require some dirty tricks. If you manage to survive the first wave of four, the Destroyer and the wave of three should be manageable. Be ready to Intervene on the Destroyers, they have a habit of heading straight for the healer. For the second part of the gauntlet, I strongly advise to use the elevator method for the last wave of four mobs. By elevator method I mean running out, using the elevator to go back down, wait til you’re out of combat. Once you go back up, the four mobs will be waiting for you and you can CC at your leisure. It sounds cowardly, but it’s better than wiping on the damn bridge. Pay attention to the Netherbinders, once they start summoning their Arcane Servants, you’re in trouble.
Bosses: the gatekeepers aren’t really worth mentioning, just run out of the Jackhammer. The first boss is significantly easier than on normal, go figure. You just have to tank your butt off, because DPS with matching buffs will lay down serious threat. Pathaleon is best done with a fear rotation, try to hold the adds on you as long as you can. Nethermancer Serpetrea aka ‘That fire bitch’ is the hardest nut to crack. Kite her around, Intervene/Feral Charge whenever the Dragon’s Breath wears off, and curse. She sucks that much, and it usually takes us a wipe or two before we get her down.
4. Hellfire Ramparts (2.5/5): This is a very short instance, but surprisingly I haven’t tanked it a lot, despite some interesting drops in there. CC options: mostly humanoids, so the usual options. Druids can hibernate the dogs.
Most difficult pull: there are several contenders here, but the pull with the Beastmaster in the first part of the instance is noteworthy as wipe-central. Don’t pull until the pat has left, pull faaaaar back and don’t be surprised by the dog-pack the Beastmaster summons. If the pat adds, you’re screwed, in most cases.
Notable trash pulls: Raveners hit extremely hard. Be prepared for that. In the pulls with the caster and the one guy in the center, kill the lone guy first, CC as many casters as you can, and generously use spell-reflect.
Bosses: On Omorr, try to tank the felpuppies as long as you can, because they like to eat casters for breakfast, lunch and dinner. On Nazan, don’t forget to move him around the platform, fire resistance of any form is a great help here, as is tremor totem or fear ward. I didn’t mention the first boss, because there’s no real change from when you first killed him at level 60.
This concludes the first part of my heroics blabbering. Part II will describe all medium-level heroics, basically the ones I would run anytime, and part III will cover the ones that you have to really talk myself into running.
On Sunday I acquired the Shattered Sun Pendant of Resolve. As I am Exalted with the Aldor, I was dubious about this necklace which on paper looks great as a threat piece. Would it stand the test in an environment where I want to build threat as fast as possible?
First off, I had to swap gear around. I usually use Shapeshifter’s Signet for the expertise in my threat set, but I needed to swap in a defense ring to be able to still be defense-capped while wearing the necklace. Not ideal.
The test environment was a Heroic Botanica run. I ran with two mages, a feral druid and a paladin. We used little CC (one sheep on all 3+ pulls, two sheep on the one 5-pull in the instance, druid as OT on the satyr pulls at Thorngrim). The run was pretty much flawless with zero wipes and the only deaths were when a Gene-Splicer ran loose long enough to cast Death&Decay on all ranged people. Hooray for battle rez.
Incidentally, said pull was where I threw the towel regarding the necklace. When you dread the sound of a proc, you know the item’s not right for you. Basically whenever I got a proc in the early stages of a pull, I would end up too rage-starved to easily multi-tank mobs. I did not even have the rage to Thunderclap. Mid-instance, I went back to wearing the Barbed Choker of Discipline plus the Shapeshifter’s Signet, and things improved threat-wise. I also did not really notice any big jumps in TPS output even when the necklace didn’t proc, so it was all rather disappointing.
I think I will pick up Shattered Sun Pendant of Might next and will give it a spin. It should work out a bit better, but I will miss the stamina. Strangely enough, I find the Aldor proc superior to the Scryers proc on this piece. Go figure. Why not try balancing the procs so both factions would be fine?