Tank like a girl
Dec 13 2010

Cataclysm Dungeons: Blackrock Caverns

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This is part 1 of my series of ‘How to’ for the new Cataclysm dungeons. This will be about the normal versions only. I might post an updated version once we get to Heroic, depending on different things are. I hope they will be!

Instance: Blackrock Caverns, level 80-81, average ilevel required 226.

How to get there: Breadcrumb quest from Mount Hyjal, at 43, 28. Quest giver is Finkle Einhorn, and he gets you a ride on a mole machine. Otherwise, travel to Searing Gorge or Burning Steppes, head towards the meeting stone and run downwards to discover the instance entrance.

Notable trash:
Mobs here do not hit that hard, so BRC is actually a very gentle introduction to Cataclysm pulls. Crowd Control can make pulls a lot easier, so it’s a great opportunity to actually get used to CC again. Most useful will be forms of humanoid CC, and in the latter parts of the instance a warlock’s Banish can be very useful. Most trash pulls contain casters, so make sure to utilize Heroic Throw, Spell Reflect and even line of sight pulls to cluster the mobs towards you.

Bosses:

Rom'ogg Bonecrusher
Rom’ogg Bonecrusher – This ogre is a quite fun start towards seeing interesting boss mechanics in Cataclysm.

Abilities:

  • Quake, an AoE ability that will cause damage to everyone in the party. To avoid it, move out of the dust cloud underneath your feet immediately.
  • Wounding Strike, a Mortal Strike ability that will reduce healing on the tank
  • The Skullcracker, which he will cast after he has done a magnetic pull of all group members, and chained them in Chains of Woe. The chains can and must be targeted immediately and burst down before the cast finishes. Run out and live! If you don’t manage to kill the chains, it is a wipe.

When pulling him, make sure you have pulled back all of the trash groups in the front half of the room. There are a couple patrolling mobs that wander from group to group. As soon as you pull the boss, he will call for help, and any trash left alive to hear the call will add to the fight.

Notable tank loot:
Shield of the Iron Maiden – Oh yeah. Let the mastery items roll in. I like the shield model too.

Corla, Herald of Twilight – Netherspite mechanics strike back! Oh golden memories of Karazhan.

Abilities:

  • Dark Command, a fear effect. If this hits someone who is standing in one of the beams, make sure that someone else blocks the beam in their turn.
  • Death Grip, same thing applies as above. Apparently she pulls people randomly with it.
  • Drain Essence. This is the main mechanic of this fight and involves blocking beams. I am getting pleasant Netherspite flashbacks.

Corla will cast two beams, and there will be two cultists alive who want to stand in the beam to get the Evolution debuff. After 100 stacks, the person in the beam will turn into an Evolved Twilight Zealot, a nasty drakonoid that packs quite a punch. The key to this fight is to control the evolution. As tank, pick up Corla and pull her to one of two beams. The other beam will be blocked by ranged DPS or a healer. As the stacks pile up fast, people will need to take turns. They simply need to stand in the beam. As soon as someone moves out, someone else moves in. People must make sure they do not get 100 stacks either, as that will mean they will be mind-controlled for the rest of the fight. It won’t take long until the non-blocked beam turns the cultist into a zealot, which you then immediately pick up to tank. The zealot gets killed first. After the zealot is down, head to the other beam, have it unblocked, kill the second zealot after he has evolved. Kill Corla. Win! What also works is that you block both beams and simply kill Corla without zealots, but that won’t be an option on heroic, so you can already practice the proper strategy in this normal dungeon.

Notable tank loot:
absolutely nothing to see here. Boo!

Karsh Steelbender – Here’s where you control if this is a wipe or success!

Abilities:

  • Quicksilver Armor. Reduces all damage by 99%. If this stays on, this could be a loooong fight.
  • Superheated Quicksilver Armor. Stacks, increasing damage on him by 5% per stack. Melee attacks on him cause fire damage.
  • Cleave. Your average Cleave, do not want anyone but the tank in front of him.

First, you have to pull the two Conflagrations back to the ramp, one by one. If Quicksilver mobs add, pick them up as well. The Conflagrations are no joke and deal a lot of party damage. Once the Conflagrations are down, you can move onto the bad boy. Make sure people are aware to not stand on the circular grate ever, because everytime Karsh gets the Quicksilver Armor buff again, a Wall of Fire will go up. Now, as soon as you Charge in, you have to pull Karsh into the pillar of flame at the center of the room. Every second he stands in that pillar, he gets a stack of Superheated Quicksilver Armor and you can actually do damage to him. However, with every stack, he will cause increasing AoE fire damage to the whole group that cannot be avoided. You will not be able to stand in the pillar indefinitely. I found that 3-5 stacks are ideal, so please do not linger too long in the pillar. Pull him out, and as soon as Superheated Quicksilver Armor runs out, you pull him back in. Rinse and repeat. I will have to admit that we wiped quite a bit here the first time as I had to learn how long is too long. 3-5 seconds are not a long time at all, I tell ya.

Notable tank loot:
nothing in particular, though there are two good upgrades for plate DPS. But for tanking specifically, nada.

Beauty – Not the puppies! They are making me kill puppies! :o

Abilities:

  • Berserker Charge. This angry dog momma will charge a random player and deal a good chunk of damage with it.
  • Flamebreak. Causing fire damage to everyone within 10 yards. Means all ranged should be a good distance away. Does a knockback.
  • Magmaspit. Fire debuff on a random target, with a DoT effect. Do not dispel, it’ll make them explode!
  • Terrifying Roar. Your average fear effect.

Beauty is a corehound momma with four puppies. Three of them are in the front of the room, the last one is far behind her, with the name Runty. If you kill Runty, she will enrage, so we can leave one soon to be orphaned puppy alive. :(. The other puppies can be pulled individually to the entrance of the room. Tank them against a wall, strafe out of the magma puddles. No one but the tank should be in front of the little ones. Once the three front puppies are dead, you can pull her. As Beauty does a knockback, you will want to have your back against something solid. There’s a rock on the left side of the room that I use for that. As warrior, use Berserker Rage to break the fear, and move back to your regular position. Mostly tank and spank.

Notable tank loot:
Beauty’s Plate – A tanking chest with parry and mastery. As Spinks noticed as well, parry is very predominant on early Cataclysm tank drops. Not a bad chest!

Ascendant Lord Obsidius – a boss that requires kiting. Do people remember what that is?

Abilities:

  • Stone Blow. 150% melee damage and a knockdown. I hate knockdowns.
  • Thunderclap. Around 12k damage to people around him, slows movement speed. Why does my Thunderclap not hurt like that?
  • Twilight Corruption. Magic debuff, a dot that does 4k per tick. Dispel!

The major mechanic of this fight are the two Shadows of Obsidius that hang about. You can compare them to the Dark Nuclei in the Blood Prince Council fight of ICC. They have no real aggro table, they will aggro on whoever hit them last. If they are in the vicinity of Obsidius, they will reduce healing on their current target. Worst case: tank pulls Obsidius, Thunderclaps, no one ever touches the Shadows, and eventually the tank dies to the healing debuff. So what should happen is that you assign one DPS, ideally a hunter, to simply tag both Shadows and lead them on a merry chase. Obsidius will randomly switch places with one of the shadows and reset aggro, so when that happens, you as tank need to be fast to pick him up, and the kiter needs to be fast to pick up the Shadow again.

Notable tank loot:
Carrier Wave Pendant – a parry/mastery tanking necklace.

Notable Quest Rewards:
Raz’s Breastplate – for the final quest of killing Ascendant Lord Obsidius. Didn’t replace my Cataclysmic Chestguard, but if you had any other WotLK chest, it just might!

Hope you enjoyed! If you have any other special strategies I forgot to share, as always please comment. :)

Dec 09 2010

Cataclysm: First Impressions

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Cataclysm is here, and like millions of people I have set out to level to 85. Current progress: level 82, questing in Deepholm. I started in Mt. Hyjal on day 1, to my frustration. The masses, the camping, the named mobs beleaguered by 30+ people, it just wasn’t any fun. Day 2 was highly improved, people had moved on to other zones. I briefly want to mention that I thought Mt. Hyjal was an absolutely fantastic zone. The final event almost beat Battle of Undercity for me, it was just that awesome. I feel bad for everyone who gets ushered in when it’s almost over. Freaking win.

Weird Shield fashionI have my frustrations with professions. I feel like I won’t be able to level my blacksmithing along as I go. I am in Deepholm now, and there’s only Elementium there. But I need Obsidium. This is sub-optimal. Farming the ore is full of frustration at this point. I should do that today, because the crafted gear is quite awesome. Despite having weird things like the Hardened Obsidium Shield that is worn in new and different ways. >.>

I played around with archaeology for a bit, but felt that it was just a tad bit tedious to level. I will work on it later, for sure, but right now other things are more exciting. Like throwing bear cubs at trampolines. ADORABLE. Nothing can go wrong with this plan.

I am actually leveling as fury, which is something I haven’t done since TBC. Most of the quest rewards are actually for DPS classes. There is very little to no tanking plate as quest rewards, and what is there is inferior to what I already have. The DPS gear is something else entirely though. Within five quests I had replaced both my 2H-weapons from ICC-10. At 82, I have replaced nine of my mostly 245-251 DPS epics. On the tanking front, I have replaced my shield with the above mentioned Hardened Obsidium Shield, and won a tanking necklace in Blackrock Caverns. Two pieces replaced, and my health went from 47.8k unbuffed to 62.6k. Holy crap!

I have only run one instance so far, Blackrock Caverns, and totally loved the hell out of it. I thought the bosses were all using very interesting mechanics. They will be kickass on heroic, I hope they make us weep and wipe us over and over. Only with challenge can I get satisfaction. Please, don’t let them nerf stuff! We used CC, mostly Polymorph on a caster, and later an additional Banish on fire elementals. I felt very good about my threat. It was a guild run, everyone was very good about holding DPS until I had gotten some threat moves in. It was great fun. I haven’t had fun like this in an instance for a long time. All my threat doubts, they are gone. For now.

Watch for my little Blackrock Caverns guide and gear list soon. I will write short guides once I have run an instance, for the latecomers.

What have your impressions been? Have I been the only one who loved the hell out of Hyjal? Most of my guild went to Vash’jr instead. Would love to hear how Cataclysm’s been treating everyone. :)

Oct 19 2010

The week after

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It’s been a week since the patch, so I thought it would be time to talk about my first impressions on the three characters that I have actually spent talent points on.

Protection Warrior:

Kadomi was of course the first character to receive any attention. I chose a 2/2/32 spec, going for Field Dressing in the Arms Tree and Blood Craze in Fury. I then tested the waters in a Zul’Gurub fun run (which got me to Exalted, yay!) and immediately the threat pingpong started. Even the most sensible players in my guild seem to struggle with the concept of having to wait before DPSing, so it’s going to be an interesting ride.

I find that virtually nothing about the playstyle has changed, with the exception that Cleave/HS now have a cooldown. If you knew how to play a protection warrior then, you know it now. The priorities remain the same. SS > Revenge > Devastate. Concussion Blow is back, but I will need to do some research to figure out where it ranks on the priority scale. Spam Thunderclap to get 3 stacks of Thunderfury and deliver whammy Shockwaves. Thunderclap does the AoE threat of a wet noodle now, so in that ZG raid, I had bored priests that smited non-focused mobs and thus drew aggro.

Shield Slam has been boosted by a lot of talents, so it is now more important than ever to not miss any Sword&Board procs. Keep your eyes open for the Blizzard aura thing and hit mobs in the face with your SHIELD. I love Shield Slam.

I ran a couple heroics with guildies and actually went back to marking pulls. If I didn’t mark a skull, things were a bit hairier. But again, if people were waiting just a little bit for the first Shield Slam, then it felt like nothing had changed.

I have been sniping Naithin’s excellent Power Auras setup from his guide, but need to set up an aura for the HS/Cleave cooldown. I find myself having so much rage that it is my reflex to start spamming, and that doesn’t work anymore.

I do know that I am already facing my first respec, because Blood and Thunder sounds fun on paper and in the current game is one of the most pointless abilities ever. As you need to Thunderclap right at the start of a pull and then Shockwave, you can only apply the AoE Rend on the second Thunderclap, and by then, mobs are almost dead already. Rend doesn’t tick for enough that it’s even worth it to keep the talent for a nice Rend refresh via Thunderclap. you can’t feasibly expect any group to wait til you have used that many GCDs to apply that stuff. My horde heart is bleeding with some thunder, but the talent is going away. My points will be much better spent in Incite as you still have plenty of rage to use Heroic Strike regularly. Might as well have it pack a real punch.

While we’re talking about talents that sound good on paper, I skipped Impending Victory completely and have no intention of speccing into it anytime soon. It just doesn’t convince me enough as a talent, despite self-heals being sweet. Has anyone tested and loved this talent? Would be curious to hear.

Short version: the sky is not falling, almost nothing has changed, and we can still put out good threat, if your party is working with you. I do not know how our threat compares to the other tanks, as I have yet to do a raid, but I am not overly worried.

For further insights into the current playstyle of prot warriors, also check out Spinks’ review of how she is playing in protection in 4.0.1 or Baenhoof’s overview of not knowing if she wants 4.0.1.

Resto shaman:

Ah, taste my salty, bitter tears of QQ here. My shaman was always my main alt throughout the expansion, and for a long time it looked like she would be my Kingslayer, not Kadomi. I love my pig-tailed orc girl with the golden chains of healing. But I might have to stow her away in a box for a while, or replace her golden chains with the pew-pew of lightning bolts.

The short of it is that shamans probably aren’t broken, but that I personally cannot handle the changes, or enjoy them. Much like protection warriors, resto shamans didn’t get any really new toys. Sure, I can weave in DPS spells now to boost my healing and regen mana, but I wouldn’t call those breathtaking playstyle changes.

In Wrath of the Lich King, you were predominantly using three healing spells as shaman: Lesser Healing Wave as the ‘flash heal’ style heal, Riptide, and Chain Heal. Healing Wave was in the realms of slow heal that you would use with Nature’s Swiftness or if you had it hasted to top off a tank. But Lesser Healing Wave is gone now, replaced with Healing Surge. Healing Wave is now a medium, slow heal that for me heals piddly amounts of health. 5k health heal in 1.8 seconds unhasted? Piddly. Greater Healing Wave costs almost 4 times the mana, and heals considerably better.

Healing Wave is supposed to be our bread and butter, the spam heal. I only find it sustainable if you can keep it hasted with Tidal Waves, which means you need to keep casting Riptide to keep the buff up. On Saturday, we went to Ulduar, where I 2-healed with a druid. I felt clumsy and useless. I had the druid take care of the tanks for the most part, and tried to play the raid healer, and feel I failed miserably. I tried to heal Cataclysm style, and it didn’t work out. Healing Wave really was not worth my time to top people off. The heal was too small to quickly top them off. I should have used Healing Surge instead, because my mana knew no limits, but instead I tried to conserve mana. After all the new healers are all supposed to do that. In the meantime, the druid rocked it with Rejuvs, Wild Growth, Efflorescence, while I struggled to find the right spell for the right situation. In 10-mans you can’t just spam Chain Heal, and I feel like none of the new tools fit my 10-man hands at all.

Ultimately, the druid did more than 50% of the total healing in the raid, with me at 36%, and that has me all sadface. We are similarly geared, and in the past always came out even, so it’s definitely my issue. The only fight where I shone was Assembly of Iron hard, but only because the druid was focusing on the Steelbreaker tank, and I healed the other tank and the raid.

I am undecided yet what my shaman’s fate will be, but I just know that I had no fun with shaman healing, for the first time since I went resto at level 74 sometime in 2008.

Resto druid:

I originally had not wanted to level the druid. She was my last character to hit 80. I decided to level my discarded TBC druid as resto, when we hit a snag on Sindragosa. At the time our healing corps was mostly shaman, and having no real HoTs on Sindragosa was horrible. So I leveled my druid, enjoyed playing her, and ultimately had her at 10/12 in ICC, 2-healing everything but BQL and Dreamwalker with her. But my shaman was my healing first-love. Then above happened, and I got jealous of all the interesting abilities of resto druids. The change to tree form never bothered me much, I think my cow is extremely cute, and she can still jump around a lot.

So off I went, went resto with her after spending some time over at Restokin and TreeBarkJacket, and then did a couple quick heroics. I had fun! Admittedly, I SUCK at keeping lifebloom rolling. I was a tree in TBC very briefly, and even then I sucked at keeping lifebloom rolling on multiple people. Now I suck at keeping it up on one, but I mostly need practice. :) Besides, a full 3-stack of Lifebloom seems extremely overkill. I was boggling when that bloomed for 23k. Very powerful. I had to experiment with using Nourish to keep it rolling, but mostly, that was not a good strategy, as Nourish was all overheal for the most part. I like the feel of Regrowth as quick emergency heal. I can still cast Rejuv on people and don’t feel punished by the Wild Growth increased cooldown. I had no reason to use Swiftmend, so no shiny Efflorescence just yet, and I also had no reason to use the Tree of Life cooldown, but I can see how that would be amazing fun and super-powerful. Lifebloom and instant Regrowth for everyone! What an amazing burst healing tool. No wonder our druid owned me so much in Ulduar!

As you can tell, I am much more enamored with the new resto druid than the new resto shaman. Then I did Headless Horseman and she got the reins. It might be fate now. I will now grind heroics a bit to pick up all the frost gear I could possibly want, and think this will be my healer for a while.

This week I will actually spec the DPS offspecs of all those characters, so next week you will be able to read my impressions about the DPS specs: fury, elemental and balance.

Oct 12 2010

4.0.1 links for prot warriors

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I have been remiss in my coverage of 4.0.1, simply because I wasn’t ready for the patch myself. But with the LK dead now, and patch day actually upon us, I will at least offer you links of people who are prepared and who have shared their wisdom. It’s not much, but it’s something for those who don’t know where to start looking for information.

Big thanks to Goreblades, Naithin and Windsoar for their work!

  • Prot Warrioring at 80 in 4.0 – this is Naithin’s detailed guide to all things we need to know. Build suggestions, glyphs, stat changes, playstyle. Including a video to show prot warriors live in action.
  • 4.0.1 Warrior | Protection Tree Overview – Goreblades’ guide describes all talents of the new protection tree in detail, including the likeliest talents you are going to pick up from the fury and arms trees once you have spent sufficient points in protection. Attention, please note, it’s not 100% accurate in the description of some talents, as multiple readers have pointed out! Go with Naithin’s guide first and foremost!
  • Cataclysm warrior glyphs – Zellviren takes a look at all warrior glyphs, for a comprehensive overview
  • 4.0.1 Survival (Class) Guides – Windsoar has done all the work and collected guides like the two above for all classes. If you do not know where to go, don’t flail, check out her guide. :)
  • Inscription in 4.0.1 – the new patch means comprehensive glyph changes, and El’s Inscription is detailing all the changes. I found this invaluable. European readers, stock up on glyphs today, post-patch they will require 3-times the mats.
  • Reforge This – TenTonHammer posted a nice and comprehensive guide to reforging, which is another new mechanic we will encounter post-patch.

Those links are all just scratching the surface as our game gets shaken up real good. I will add more interesting links as I find them.

If you have any additional links, please share. Most importantly, remember to breathe! Nothing much changes for us prot warriors playstyle-wise, so the world is not ending. We are moving on to the next exciting stage of this game of ours. Let’s try to enjoy the ride. :)

Filed under : cataclysm, links, patch | 17 Comments »
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