Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October, 2009

This page has moved to my new site! Please visit http://fluiddruid.net/2009/10/the-feral-tanking-guide-part-3/.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Bears, whither art thou?

Allison Robert, wow.com’s excellent druid columnist, recently posted an excellent article asking “what has happened to all the feral tanks?” She gives a list of complaints, which I reprint below:

Complaint #1: Bears just aren’t as visually compelling as other tanks.
Complaint #2: Gear consolidation had a more demoralizing effect on druids than other tanks.
Complaint #3: The need to use DPS leather has resulted in an uncomfortable opportunity cost associated with gearing bear tanks.
Complaint #4: Early Wrath weaknesses in 5-mans left a bad impression on players, and this bled through to raid content.
Complaint #5: Bear gameplay is boring. Too much of the bear’s effectiveness is baked into talents rather than being determined by player skill.
Complaint #6: Gear consolidation often results in druids looking insanely stupid in caster form.
Complaint #7: If the raid needs more tanks, it’s easier and faster to gear up a plate class than a druid.
Complaint #8: A druid who’s dual-specced into healing or DPS has more difficulty returning to tanking than other classes.

I think she has some great points, but I also have some criticisms of her article. The way I see it, these complaints can be summarized into five areas: effectiveness, aesthetics, fun, gear, and opportunity costs. I’ll cover each in a little more detail, in what I consider increasing order of importance.

Effectiveness
Bears were not as capable a tank as other classes in early Wrath.

This was certainly true, back when our AoE was a cone attack and before Savage Defense was implemented. We had an HP/armor advantage over other tanks, but it was small; we had no block ability, which led to us taking a good bit of damage from trash; and holding threat was hard. However, those problems have been fixed for quite some time now, so I don’t think that’s still affecting class/role decisions.

Aesthetics
Bears don’t usually get to see gear upgrades because we’re always stuck in form, and our gear looks like crap anyway, being a hybrid of rogue leather and tanking jewelry.

This point is very real; but it really depends on how much concern you have for your appearance. Me, I’ve always been a numbers guy. I get more of a thrill out of seeing 500 more HP, or 200 more DPS, than I do by seeing a new boot upgrade. Plus, I LIKE looking like a bear when raiding; it’s very visually distinctive. I typically have to mark our other tanks with raidmarks for identification purposes, but everyone always understands me on Vent when I say “run to the bear to get cleansed,” etc. It would be very nice to have something on the form that changed as your gear evolved, though. One of the comments recommended having tattoos, or scars, or some other kide of visual representation, and I wholly support that idea. Also, our animations could use some reworks; the forms look great, but the attacks are underwhelming. Overall, while looks are nice, I don’t think post people care too much about looks, if the gear/abilities are good.

Fun
Bears are boring tanks compared to the other classes.

As with aesthetics, this is more a matter of personal opinion and grass-is-greener syndrome than anything else. I still have plenty of fun when tanking. (Psst. Try changing some stuff up if you’re bored. Glyph Berserk and try to top DPS meters. Do a couple NINJABARE pulls. It’s okay. Really.) I think people have a valid argument that ferals have a smaller toolbox than the other tanks do; we have some warrior abilities, but our druid abilities are limited, mainly because of the form restriction mechanic. If Pallies can bubble others while tanking, why can’t I brez or innervate someone? Hell, let me use ALL my druid baseline abilities in feral form, and we’ll have all kinds of tools to use. (moonfire for pulling, hurricane for AOE tanking, Roots/Cyclone for adds, etc.) Kalon mentioned this in his latest post.

Gear
Bears are much harder to gear than plate tanks, due to stat consolidation and poor itemization.

This is a VERY common complaint…common enough that I decided to run the numbers and check. Let’s look at TOC 25 (normal). There are 10 leather drops (of which 5 are caster) and 16 plate drops, of which 5 are tank plate, 4 are caster, and 7 are DPS plate. There’s an equal number of tank plate and melee leather items. While this seems balanced in theory, it’s actually not. Let’s assume a 25m raid with 3 tanks, 6 healers, and 16 DPS (typical comp).

  • Plate tank items: Desired only by three specs, of which you only have 3 (maybe 2, if druid is tanking). Let’s say a bear tanks half of the time, so your roll odds (or people you have to compete with on DKP) are 1 in 2.5, or 40%.
  • Leather melee DPS items: Desired by the rogue, hunter, enhancement shammy, kitty druid, and bear druid. There are 16 DPS slots in the raid. Some quick mental math tells me, assuming random dps class distribution, that roughly 1 in 4 DPS slots goes to one of the above 4 DPS classes; so your chance of winning an item is 1 in 5. This is slightly mitigated by hunters/enh shammies having mail items to pick from as well, so we’ll call it a 1 in 4.5 chance, or 22%.

So, it is almost twice as hard for a bear to get upgrades as a plate tank, unless your guild runs with tank priority for loot drops. Yuck. Combine this with Opportunity Cost (see below) and I think you have the main reason that feral tanks are disappearing.

Opportunity Cost
The raid stands to lose the least by a feral tank switching roles.

I can’t back this up with numbers, but in general, Druids and Paladins are the most flexible tanks, since they can both dualspec dps or heals. Combine this with the fact that spellpower leather and caster plate is very easy to get off-spec, and that heals are much harder to find than dps, and guess who gets to be the one to switch to benefit the raid? Great! Thanks for switching! BTW, for many guilds, you now can’t roll on tank plate/leather, so you get dropped even farther behind the gear curve, and before you know it, you’re a fulltime healer. Druids take this much harder because they’re much more likely to have a resto off-spec. (According to armorydatamine, roughly 60% of ferals are also specced resto, while slightly under 40% of protadins are also specced holy.)

Is this fixable? Sure, but Cataclysm’s going to shake things up anyway (heh), so we’ll have to see how it goes. Until then…learn to be fluid. 😛

Read Full Post »

Haven’t seen a lot of comment on this. The Wickerman Guardians (west of Undercity) are lvl 60 elites that, when killed, drop an ember on the ground that give all who click on it a buff that grants a  +10% exp and rep bonus. (Allies only…Horde can click on the Wickerman itself to get the buff, but only at night when it’s lit, I think.)

The best part?

IT. LASTS. FOR. TWO. WHOLE. HOURS.

That’s freaking awesome. If you’re doing the candy bucket run on your alts, go get this buff first. (Ask an 80 to solo it if you’re low level.) If you’re doing a rep grind (Insane title, maybe?) go get this buff first.

(and save me a Squashling.)

Read Full Post »

This is the continuation of my [Glory of the Hero] achievement guide; see part 1 here. Today, we’ll tackle the harder instance achievements; Oculus, AK/AN, and Gundrak.

The Oculus
Note: It’s generally easier, assuming your healer is decent, for him to heal from the ground rather than on an Emerald Drake. While he’s very vulnerable, as long as the drakes stay at max healing range and kite Arcane Spheres the same way, he should be okay.

  • [Experienced Drake Rider]
    On three different visits to The Oculus, get credit for defeating Ley-Guardian Eregos while riding an Amber, Emerald, and Ruby drake on Heroic Difficulty.
    Challenge: Easy
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    No real strategy to this. Hardest part is finding Oculus PUG’s.
  • [Amber Void]
    Defeat Ley-Guardian Eregos in The Oculus on Heroic Difficulty without anyone in your party using an Amber Drake.
    Challenge: Easy
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    The easiest of the Void achievements. Not complicated, strategy wise, just load up on Ruby Drakes and pick away at Eregos’s health.
  • [Emerald Void]
    Defeat Ley-Guardian Eregos in The Oculus on Heroic Difficulty without anyone in your party using an Emerald Drake.
    Challenge: Moderate
    Special Group Composition Needed: Good healer (or 2 average ones)
    As noted above, this just takes a decent healer. Have the healer dismount on one of the islands surrounding Eregos, pull Eregos to that spot, and kill him there. 1 Ruby + 3 Ambers will do the trick (or 1 + 2 if you want to run 2 healers, to be extra safe). For the Arcane Sphere kiting phases, just have the drakes do a quick, tight loop around the center circle, and come back to the starting platform.  Remember that healers can buff the drakes: the priest Fortitude buff is exceptionally helpful.
  • [Make It Count]
    Defeat Ley-Guardian Eregos in The Oculus on Heroic Difficulty within 20 minutes of Drakos the Interrogator’s death.
    Challenge: Hard
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    Obviously, work out who’s riding which drakes, and the strat for Eregos before you kill Drakos. Don’t stop to loot; it’ll all be there to get later if you want it.
    1. As soon as Drakos dies, everyone grab their assigned drake. I recommend 4 amber/1 ruby (for the heal  from ground strategy) or 3 amber/1 ruby/1 emerald.
    2. Fly straight up, then east, and have the whole group fly directly above  their landing location on the construct platform. Have all the Amber drakes pop their timestop at the same time. (Why? Timestop puts 5 stacks of shock charges on each enemy drake affected by the timestop, which makes the first shock lance from the amber that timestopped hit for about 40% of the enemy drake’s HP. However, these charges are per player: 3 or 4 ambers popping timestop simultaneously, then firing one lance at each drake, will clear the platforms lightning fast.) It’s better to clear more than less; I’ve seen many more achievement runs fail because an extra drake started attacking the dismounted party, then fail because they ran out of time.
    3. Kill the eastern constructs, fly to center ring, clear it all the way around, fly to western platform, kill drakes, kill constructs.
    4. Fly to boss platform, kill drakes (this is the one where most people pull drakes on, so clear this one well), kill boss.
    5. Fly up, fly to third boss spots, kill mobs, kill third boss.
    6. Fly to a base platform, finish off any whelps that aggroed, buff drakes, pull Eregos, kill. (See Ruby Void for tips on fast Eregos DPS.) I did this in a group with Ulduar 10-level gear…the first attempt, we had about 7 individual deaths, miscommunications, everything, and still killed Eregos in about 21:30. The 2nd attempt, everything went smooth, and we downed him in about 16 minutes.
  • [Ruby Void]
    Defeat Ley-Guardian Eregos in The Oculus on Heroic Difficulty without anyone in your party using a Ruby Drake.
    Challenge: Hard
    Special Group Composition Needed: No; Voice chat highly recommended
    The hardest of the voids, simply because Amber Drakes have no effective way to deal with the adds that Eregos spawns. There’s several ways to do this, however.
    1. Fast burn: Go 1 Emerald/4  Amber (or healer on ground/4 Amber, or 5 Amber if you’re feeling cocky). 1 Amber is assigned as “main channeler,” and continuously channels Rift while the other Ambers spam Lance.  This will quickly build the channelers Shock Charge stack. Once the “main channeler” reaches 10 stacks of Shock Charge, he calls for “group channel,” and the rest of the Ambers start channeling Rift. Channel 1 then stops channeling Rift and fires a single lance, which will detonate for huge damage. This will instantly stack 10 stacks of Shock Charge for the other Ambers channeling Rift. He then calls “main channel,” starts channeling Rift; the rest of the group fires one lance, which does mega-huge damage, and stacks the main channeler’s stacks to 10 instantly. Repeat. While all this is going on, have one drake time stop at 8 seconds after pull, and a 2nd and 3rd drake timestop immediately after the first; if done correctly, Eregos will be pushed into 60% HP and phase without ever spawning whelps. Again, repeat with Ambers 4, (5)1, and 2 8 seconds after he phases back in for 60%-20%, and then back to 3 and 4 for kill.
    2. Grind it out: Go 3 Amber, 1 Emerald, 1 ground healer (or 2 Emeralds).  The Ambers will be rotating time stops every 20 seconds (use the in-game stopwatch to time it…/sw). Once an Amber time stops, that will stack 5 charges on each whelp currently up; 1-2 Lance shots will down the whelp. Other than that, DPS as above, or if channel rotating proves difficult, assign 1 drake to permanently channel (except when whelp downing). 1 Emerald keeps the Nightmare debuff up and heals; the other Emerald/healer heals. Note that Eregos will eventually go immune to the time stops, which is fine; the point is dropping whelps.

Ahn’Kahet: The Old Kingdom

  • [Respect Your Elders]
    Defeat Elder Nadox in Ahn’kahet on Heroic Difficulty without killing any Ahn’kahar Guardians.
    Challenge: Moderate
    Special Group Composition Needed: 2nd tank or good DPS.
    Easiest way of doing this is to have the MT kite Nadox to the base of the stairs outside his room (the little nook with the small spiders to the right of the stairs) while having an OT/DPS in his room hold the spawning guardians. I’ve done this successfully with an enh shammy as the OT.
  •  [The Party’s Over]
    Defeat Prince Taldaram in Ahn’kahet on Heroic Difficulty with less than 5 people.
    Challenge: Easy
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    Not difficult. Kick the unlucky 5th (one of the DPS) right before the pull; the 5th can DPS for a full minute until he’s yanked out of the instance. Obviously, that person won’t get the achievement, so they’ll have to try again the next day.
  • [Volazj’s Quick Demise]
    Defeat Herald Volazj in Ahn’kahet on Heroic Difficulty in 2 minutes or less.
    Challenge: Hard
    Special Group Composition Needed: High DPS; warrior tank and healer with dps offspec makes things easier
    The challenge for this achievement, obviously, is getting through Insanity. Volazj starts to cast Insanity at 66% and 33% health, which creates 4 “clones” with 14k HP.  Everyone is phased to where they can only see clones of the rest of their party; once a person kills his or her first 4 clones, he is phased into another person’s phase, where he can help them kill their 4, and so on. This achievement can be completed without any adjustments with a good group, but here’s some tips to make it easier:
    1. If the healer has a DPS offspec, have them switch to it. Volazj doesn’t hit too hard (though he can wipe out a tank that’s low from fighting clones) The game looks at your talent spec when deciding the clone’s behavior, so a resto druid can go boomkin, for example, and still wear resto gear to heal. This makes killing clones MUCH easier.
    2.  Warrior tanks can spell reflect Volazj’s Mind Flay’s for good damage.
    3. A high DPS group can go through the first Insanity, then burn Volazj from 33%-0% before he casts it the second time (or have DoTs kill him during second Insanity, etc.) Easier if you have a healer DPS’ing.
    4. You can remove your weapons before cloning, and wield them right after, to gimp your clone.
  •  [Volunteer Work]
    Defeat Jedoga Shadowseeker in Ahn’kahet on Heroic Difficulty without killing any Twilight Volunteers.
    Challenge: Easy-Moderate
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    Jedoga enrages when the Volunteer reaches her; have any melee DPS back off until she loses the enrage, then go back in. Hits hard while enraged; requires a well-geared tank and healer.  

Azjol-Nerub

  • [Watch Him Die]
    Defeat Krik’thir the Gatewatcher in Azjol-Nerub on Heroic Difficulty while Watcher Gashra, Watcher Narjil and Watcher Silthik are still alive.
    Challenge: Hard
    Special Group Composition Needed: A good kiter (who is preferably a tank), a well-geared MT
    I’ve attempted this achievement many many times, and the basic strategy most people try (two tanks) is very difficult.  The elites all do random web wraps and stuns, so most two-tank attempts usually fail when the healer, or both tanks, get wrapped. A much better strategy involves kiting.
    1. After clearing the first two pulls, work out the agro strategy. The kiter has to agro one mob out of each of the three groups; a hunter or rogue can MD/TotT a group if needed. For example, on my druid (starting in bear), I hit one group with Faerie Fire, hit the 2nd with a taunt, and had the 3rd MD’d to me. This needs to happen quickly to prevent the kiter from taking too much damage (or a wrap).
    2a. Once the three groups are aggroed, the kiter heads up the tunnel, preferably popping a Swiftness Potion or equivalent to get some speed, and stops before the instance door. If done correctly, it’ll take the add groups a good 25-30 seconds to reach you. Stay alive as long as you can; once you die, the adds will return to attack the rest of the party, but they’ll still have to make it the rest of the way back down the tunnel.
    2b. Meanwhile, the rest of the party charges Krik’thir and nukes him down. Note that no abilities can be used which generate global threat (heals, buffs, etc), as the kiter only has contact agro. Once the kiter is dead and the adds are returning, heals can be used; however, I’ve found it easier to use a well-geared tank and 3 DPS and just burn the boss. If your healer has dualspec, try it and see how it works.
  • [Hadronox Denied]
    Defeat Hadronox in Azjol-Nerub on Heroic Difficulty before he webs the top doors and prevents more creatures from spawning.
    Challenge: Easy
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    Have a character that can drop combat (NE/Rogue/Hunter) pull the first mob and drop…this will despawn everything. Everyone runs down the tunnel, and burns the boss when he pops. It can be done legitimately by fast killing, but it’s harder. This achievement is also buggy as hell, in my experience.
  • [Gotta Go!]
    Defeat Anub’arak in Azjol-Nerub on Heroic Difficulty in 3 minutes or less.
    Challenge: Moderate
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    Not much to say here; just need decent DPS.

Gundrak

  • [Snakes. Why’d It Have To Be Snakes?]
    Defeat Slad’ran in Gundrak on Heroic Difficulty without getting snake wrapped.
    Challenge: Easy
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    Kite the boss up the long spiral ramp, kill at top. Slad is also a good DPS check for [Less-Rabi]; if you can kill Slad in 14-15s then you’ve got a good shot at burning Rabi.
  • [Less-rabi]
    Defeat Moorabi in Gundrak on Heroic Difficulty while preventing him from transforming into a mammoth at any point during the encounter.
    Challenge: Very Hard
    Special Group Composition Needed: Shaman, 4DPS + tank for burn method
    This is easily the hardest 5-man achievement to get for GotH, and as such, I’ll go over Moor-abi’s mechanics in a bit greater detail than usual. Transformation is his key spell, which must be interrupted to prevent him from transforming. It operates under the following rules:
    -First cast 10s into pull; recast every 10s thereafter, or every 5s if below 50% HP. If locked out from spellcasting for over 5s (Shield Bash, Counterspell) while under 50%, will generally recast as soon as able.
    -Has a 4s cast time that speeds up in an inverse relationship with Moorabi’s health; i.e. a 2s cast time at 50% health, a 1s cast time at 25s, etc.
    -Can also randomly cast Quake which will stun the party for 2s (and kill the attempt, generally).With these mechanics in mind, there are two strategies that are commonly used.
    1. Fast burn. With this method, you’re looking to interrupt his first cast and kill him before he gets his second off, so you need to down him in 18s or so. He has 431k HP, so you’re looking at about 24,000 party DPS over that span (if the tank can pull 2k, that’s about 5.5k DPS per person). This is pretty high, so you’ll need a shaman for Hero/BL, as well as speed potions for all DPS’ers (and just plain good gear- 220 level). Have the tank interrupt the first cast, as late into the cast time as possible, and nuke. This was the strat our group used, and we got it on our 2nd attempt in 17s.
    2. Controlled burn. This method revolves around timing the casts (every 5s) and interrupting them, preferably with a shammy specced into Reverberation (whose interrupt is on a 5s CD). This method works in theory, but lag/randomness/other factors seem to pop up regularly to throw off the timing, causing the interrupt to go off right before the cast starts, etc. Still workable, but I recommend the first strategy.
  • [What the Eck?]
    Defeat Gal’darah in Gundrak on Heroic Difficulty while under the effects of Eck Residue.
    Challenge: Easy
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    Kill Eck. Don’t die. Kill Gal’darah.
  • [Share The Love]
    Defeat Gal’darah in Gundrak on Heroic Difficulty and have 5 unique party members get impaled throughout the fight.
    Challenge: Easy
    Special Group Composition Needed: 2nd tank
    Not hard, just requires a 2nd tank. Gal’darah will randomly impale 2 people during every rhino phase, but never the tank, so have the OT taunt Gal’darah once he’s been impaled, and wait until everyone gets it, then kill.   

That’s it! Enjoy your Red Proto-Drake. If you manage to pull off Less-Rabi, consider adding a few more people and having a go at zerging Sarth 3D; the DPS requirements are fairly comparable. Have fun!

Read Full Post »

Interested in bagging a Red Proto-Drake? Want that achievement that everyone’s (ok, not really) talking about? You’re in the right place. This guide will cover all the strategies for those pesky heroic achievements, so you never have to run them again (except for the emblem daily…or guildies…or alts…aggh!) This guide goes roughly in achievement difficulty order, so we’ll cover the easier instances today: UK/UP, VH, HOS/HOL, CoS, DTK, and Nexus. Come back in a couple days for Part 2, where we’ll cover strategies for the harder ones in a bit more detail. (And yes, bear guide part 3 is still coming, got sidetracked by this project.)

Utgarde Keep

  • [On The Rocks]
    Defeat Prince Keleseth in Utgarde Keep on Heroic Difficulty without shattering any Frost Tombs.
    Challenge: Easy
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    You may already have this achievement by accident, it’s that easy. Just burn the boss and let people come out of tombs on their own.

Utgarde Pinnacle

  • [The Incredible Hulk]
    Force Svala Sorrowgrave to kill a Scourge Hulk on Heroic Difficulty in Utgarde Pinnacle.
    Challenge: Easy
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    While Svala is being Chatty Cathy, have the tank grab the Scourge Hulk from the tunnel to her right (there’s a second one in the back of the room if you stuff up) and DPS it down to less than 9k health (make sure not to kill it though). Treat the boss like normal and during the sacrifice portion of the fight, ignore the adds and let your tank drag the Hulk to where he will be hit by the sword.
  • [Lodi Dodi We Loves the Skadi]
    Defeat Skadi the Ruthless in Utgarde Pinnacle on Heroic Difficulty within 3 minutes of starting the gauntlet event.
    Challenge: Easy
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    First, have your group gather 6 harpoons (2 for three people). Start the gauntlet, sit at the entrance, and kill the mobs as they run to you. A harpooner spawns every other wave so you’ll have to kill 12 waves (this is the boring part). Not difficult as long as you don’t fall asleep and stand in the frost breath. Once you have 6 harpoons, have everyone run into the previous room to despawn the gauntlet. Once despawned, have everyone run up to the harpoons, send one person back to trigger the event, and on the first pass, havev the DPS fire all their harpoons to bring Skadi down. Kill as normal. This will also get you the next achievement, [My Girl Loves to Skadi All the Time]. Note: I’m not a fan of using “tricks” or “exploits” for achievements since they usually get fixed quickly…but I don’t see another way to do these two achievements.
  • [My Girl Loves to Skadi All the Time]
    Defeat Skadi the Ruthless in Utgarde Pinnacle on Heroic Difficulty after having killed Grauf from 100% to dead in a single pass.
    Challenge: Easy
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    See above, same strategy.
  • [King’s Bane]
    Defeat King Ymiron in Utgarde Pinnacle on Heroic Difficulty without anyone in the party triggering Bane.
    Challenge: Easy
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    Ymiron will cast Bane every 20s, but the timer resets every time he runs to a boat (which happens at every 20% of his life; 80%, 60%, etc.) He only has 566k HP in heroic, which means you only need about 6k party DPS.  3 halfway-competent DPS should be able to manage that, no problems, so you probably have this one already.

The Violet Hold

  • [Defenseless]
    Defeat Cyanigosa in The Violet Hold without using Defense Control Crystals and with Prison Seal Integrity at 100% while in Heroic Difficulty.
    Challenge: Easy
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    Most people don’t even know about the crystals, so you’ll usually get this on your first or second VH run.
  • [Lockdown!]
    Defeat Xevozz, Lavanthor, Ichoron, Zuramat the Obliterator, Erekem, and Moragg in The Violet Hold on Heroic Difficulty.
    Challenge: RNG
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    Luck and patience…that’s it for this one.
  • [Dehydration]
    Defeat Ichoron in the Violet Hold on Heroic Difficulty without allowing any Ichor Globules to merge.
    Challenge: Easy + RNG
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    If you see Ichoron get selected, tell your DPS to go click a crystal after each knockback. Crystal kills the globules instantly. 
  • [A Void Dance]
    Defeat Zuramat the Obliterator in The Violet Hold without killing any void sentries.
    Challenge: Moderate + RNG
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    Pure DPS race, needs a decent healer and DPS to keep up with the damage.

Halls of Stone

  • [Good Grief]
    Defeat the Maiden of Grief in the Halls of Stone on Heroic Difficulty in 1 minute or less.
    Challenge: Easy
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    Kill boss, collect achievement. A good 3-man group could beat this timer.
  • [Brann Spankin’ New]
    Defeat the Tribunal of Ages encounter in the Halls of Stone on Heroic Difficulty without allowing Brann Bronzebeard to take any damage.
    Challenge: Easy
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    Totally based on your tank’s skill at using their AoE ability every CD to grab every mob. Maybe slightly challenging for warriors.
  • [Abuse the Ooze]
    Defeat Sjonnir the Ironshaper in the Halls of Stone on Heroic Difficulty and kill 5 Iron Sludges during the encounter.
    Challenge: Moderate
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    Ah, an actual strategy is required here! Tank Sjonnir at the door, put the healer behind him in the pathway to the center area, and the DPS in the center area. DPS kills adds and burns Sjonnir to under 50%, then stops DPS. At <50% DPS, Oozes will start spawning every few seconds from the platforms on both sides and moving towards the center. When they reach the center, they’ll look for another Ooze; 2 Oozes will combine to make an Iron Sludge, which does a nasty AOE poison volley. The safer-but-slower strategy is to assign one DPS to kill all oozes coming from one side; this increases Sludge creation time significantly. Kill 5 Sludges, burn the boss down, and you’ve got it.

Halls of Lightning

  • [Lightning Shock]
    Defeat General Bjarngrim in the Halls of Lightning on Heroic Difficulty while he has a Temporary Electrical Charge.
    Challenge: Easy
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    Pull Volkhan while he’s charged (he changes every platform) He just hits a bit harder than usual, still a joke to a reasonably geared group.
  • [Shatter Resistant]
    Defeat Volkhan in the Halls of Lightning on Heroic Difficulty without allowing him to shatter more than 4 Brittle Golems.
    Challenge: Easy
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    Pull boss, have tank off-tank golems, collect achievement.
  • [Timely Death]
    Defeat Loken in the Halls of Lightning on Heroic Difficulty in 2 minutes or less.
    Challenge: Easy
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    Staying alive is the challenge, not DPS. This was probably the boss that caused the most wipes in 3.0, as healers in blues simply got overwhelmed by damage. If the healer can keep everyone alive, you’ll get this easily.

The Culling of Stratholme

  • [The Culling of Time]
    Defeat the Infinite Corruptor in The Culling of Stratholme on Heroic Difficulty.
    Challenge: Moderate
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    The famous “drake run.” Not much in the way of special strategy involved here; the Infinite Corruptor despawns 25 minutes after the first pack of enemies come in, so you have to have an all-around good group which can move quickly.
  • [Zombiefest!]
    Kill 100 Risen Zombies in 1 minute in The Culling of Stratholme on Heroic Difficulty.
    Challenge: Easy
    Special Group Composition Needed: No, but having two tanks makes it easier
    Not difficult, but requires some precise tactics.
    1. Kill the first waves, Meathook, and the second waves as normal.
    2. Have the tank kite the second boss into the inn, with party following.
    3. Hold the second boss(Salramm) in the inn for about two minutes, while all the zombies in the streets outside respawn.
    4. Kill the second boss.
    5. Wait for Arthas to arrive outside the inn; step out and talk to him, taking care to not pull the zombies outside. Follow him and kill boss 3(Chrono-Lord) as normal; talk to Arthas to have him open the bookcase and the path leading to the last street.
    6. Have either a 2nd tank or a good DPS’er run back through the streets to pull  as many zombies as possible(without killing any). Take off damage reflecting abilities, like Thorns, Ret Aura, etc. There are 85 total in the first streets. The rest of the party waits in the back street near Arthas.
    7. Once the puller gets back to the party, kill the 85, then kill 15 more on the back street in a minute (easy). Ding!

Drak’Tharon Keep

  • [Consumption Junction]
    Defeat Trollgore in Drak’Tharon Keep on Heroic Difficulty before Consume reaches ten stacks.
    Challenge: Moderate
    Special Group Composition Needed: No (shammy helps)
    After being pulled, Trollgore casts Consume on himself  every 15s. This buff gains one stack for every target (either player or enemy) in his line-of-sight. This may or may not count for things like pets, treants, etc; it’s best to not use those abilities, just to be safe. There are two possible strategies for this, depending on your party’s DPS.
    1. Quick burn (good DPS group)- Have the tank pick up the boss and position him in such a manner where the healer is in LOS to the tank but not the boss. (The entrance tunnel, the archway to the right of the stairs, or the corners besides the stair are all good places.) One DPS runs up the stairs, out of LOS of Trollgore, and burns down adds as they spawn. This means Trollgore will only have 3 players in LOS (tank and two DPS). This gives you a minute to burn him down, which requires about ~7500 DPS divided between the three characters on the boss.
    2. Coordinated burn- Same as above, but the DPS must run out of LOS when Consume is cast. Since it’s on a regular 15s timer, this isn’t too difficult; just stay out of LOS while you wait for the first cast; once it’s cast, pop in, DPS for 10s, pop out, wait for cast, etc. This gives you plenty of time, but requires good observation skills. Macro:
    /rw Consume cast, in for 10s!
    /in 10 /rw OUT OF LOS NOW!
  • [Oh Novos!]
    Defeat Novos the Summoner in Drak’Tharon Keep on Heroic Difficulty without allowing any undead minions to reach the floor.
    Challenge: Easy
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    Easiest GotH achievement. I’ve run DTK 10+ times with pugs, and I’ve NEVER seen an undead reach the floor, even in a horrible group.
  • [Better Off Dred]
    Engage King Dred in Drak’Tharon Keep on Heroic Difficulty and slay 6 Drakkari Gutrippers or Drakkari Scytheclaw during his defeat.
    Challenge:  Moderate
    Special Group Composition Needed: No, but a 2nd tank or healer helps for undergeared groups
    Wait for Dred to path to the back of his enclosure, pull 2-3 of the small dinos, AOE them down to about 10%, then pull Dred and quickly finish the adds. Then send a DPS to pull the last ones singly (or just wait…Dred will call them in singly every so often). Once six are killed, kill Dred. It’s a bit challenging for undergeared groups since the bleeds from Dred and the adds stack, so having a 2nd healer (or a 2nd tank for the adds) can help.

The Nexus

  • [Split Personality]
    Defeat Grand Magus Telestra in The Nexus on Heroic Difficulty after having killed her images within 5 seconds of each other during both splits.
    Challenge: Moderate/Hard
    Special Group Composition Needed: No
    This achievement just requires good group coordination. Assign each DPS to one image (or better, one mark, and have the tank mark them up when they split). Have the DPS burn each image to 20%, then stop DPS. Once all three are at 20%, the tank calls for AOE, and they are quickly AOE’d down. If they are too spread out for effective AOE, the tank calls out re-engage, and each DPS kills its target as fast as it can, then helps others if needed. It’s best to put a class that can interrupt on the frost image, since due to a bug, the frost image will not die while it is casting blizzard (unless interrupted). Do this 2x.
  • [Chaos Theory]
    Defeat Anomalus in The Nexus on Heroic Difficulty without destroying any Chaotic Rifts.
    Challenge: Moderate/Hard
    Special Group Composition Needed: A full melee DPS group is very difficult; a mage makes this achievement much easier (Dampen Magic)
    This achievement has several things to consider.
    – The rifts spam a low-damage chain lightning on the closest player to them, which chains to other players within 15 yards.
    – At 75%, 50%, and 25%, Anom goes immune to all damage for 30s, stops moving, and charges the rifts he is nearby to do more damage.
    –  The rifts spawn wraiths, which do a low-damage Arcane Missiles on their agro target.
    Essentially, the tank needs to stay 15 yards away from the rest of the party, and closer to the rifts then the party, at almost all times. Here’s the strat (clear all trash first, even the packs you don’t usually clear):
    1. Have the tank grab Anom where he stands(upper round platform), with the healer/ranged dps at the back of the platform. Burn him to 75%.
    2. Once he goes immune, have the tank move to the center of the lower round platform, with the melee/healer/ranged dps moving to the back of the lower platform. Tank picks up wraiths, ranged DPS knocks them down, melee stays put.
    3. Once Anom goes unimmune, he’ll agro on the tank. All DPS quickly burn him to 50%, then repeat part 2, with tank moving to the bottom of the ramp leading to lower platform, and ranged/melee/healer jumping off the back of the lower platform and moving to back edge of that section. Kill wraiths.
    4. Same thing again; once Anom is at 25%, tank moves to spot where healer/ranged group was standing, all others move to keep the same spacing; kill ton of wraiths, finish Anom.
    5. If you’re stuck with a full melee group that really wants the achievement, you can kite Anom pretty much anywhere in the instance, so try the whole thing on the run.
  • [Intense Cold]
    Defeat Keristrasza in The Nexus on Heroic Difficulty without allowing Intense Cold to reach more than two stacks.
    Challenge: Easy/Moderate, depending on class
    Special Group Composition Needed: No, but a dispeller can help out for certain classes.
    (Note: This is an individual achievement.)
    Intense Cold is a debuff that stacks on you once every second; however, moving/jumping clears it. The difficulty is dealing with Crystal Chains, which snares you; use whatever ability you have that breaks snares (mages can blink, locks can port, druids can shapeshift, etc.) If you’re having trouble, grab a PvP trinket/Free Action Potion for additional breaks. If you’re REALLY having trouble, bribe a class with a dispel (pally/priest/shaman) to dispel you first, every time it hits.

Link to part 2 here.

Read Full Post »

PTR updates nerf druid healing again

Well, guess the devs were serious about nerfing Rejuv.

Resto talent: Gift of the Earthmother: Redesigned. This talent now increases spell haste by 2/4/6/8/10% instead of its previous effect. (Previously: Reduces the base global cooldown of your Rejuvenation, Lifebloom and Wild Growth spells by 4/8/12/16/20%.)

Basically, HOT’s lose 10-15ish% haste, direct spells gain 10% haste. My short thoughts:

  • Haste is useful again and is no longer a serious cap for 25-man trees.
  • Rejuv blanketing is dead. Rejuv (combined with new Rejuv glyph) will now be a reactive cast, not proactive. More on this once the new glyph can be tested.
  • Long live Regrowth blanketing! (Seriously…it’s not going to be that much slower now than Rejuv was, and has the long-lasting HOT for Swiftmending. Just think of it as the T8 bonus on steroids).
  • Nourish is fast enough already, it didn’t need a haste buff.  Ah well. Hey, Non-NS+HT might play a small role again! We’re back to classic WoW!
  • Everyone’s going to go back to picking up Celestial Focus, probably.
  • Also, nobody’s talking about it, but Lifebloom got NERFED AGAIN! Let’s check the history (copied from WoWWiki):
    • Patch 3.2.0 (2009-08-04): The final heal that occurs when this spell blooms has been reduced by 20% on the base and on the spell power coefficient.
    • Patch 3.1.0 (2009-04-14): Mana cost of all ranks doubled. When Lifebloom blooms or is dispelled, it now refunds half the base mana cost of the spell per application of Lifebloom, and the heal effect is multiplied by the number of applications.

Lissanna’s done the heavy lifting on analysis as usual, so check her post out. She’s also looked at the new idols (meh…T9+10%, done.). Also see Kae and Keeva for their thoughts.

Hey, at least we got this: Rebirth: The cooldown on this spell has been lowered from 20 minutes down to 10 minutes. Cannot be used in Arenas.

So now that our HPS is down and people die because of it, we can rez them faster! 🙂 (Kidding. I think.) It’d be nice if there was a way to implement this like Bloodlust/Heroism, to where it’s a short CD for wipes but long CD for re-use.

Read Full Post »

Druid set bonus analysis

So, I woke up this morning, saw that the T10 set bonuses had been released (including a VERY puzzling Resto bonus), and hit my usual blogs expecting some informed discussion.

Guess what? Apparently, nobody cares about the bonuses, and what they mean for upcoming fights, etc., etc., they’d rather complain about how hideous the T10 Resto Druid helm looks. Confession time: I have honestly no idea what most of my armor pieces look like…I’ve had my helm turned off ever since I got the gimp mask (better known as the Titan-Forged Leather Helm from WG). Anyway, now that we know what really motivates our beloved resto druid bloggers, let’s take a look at the druid set bonii.

Bear 2P Bonus – Your Swipe (Bear) and Lacerate abilities deal 20% additional damage.

This is a decent bonus. The extra damage on Swipe is nice for AOE tanking, obviously, and since every tank class got an AOE ability buffed with the 2p, I’d imagine that we’ll have a good bit of that in Icecrown. (Not to mention that our AOE range on Swipe was increased.) Lacerate only accounts for about 10% of our damage, so it’s not as good a bonus as it is for, say, the prot warriors, who got their 20% buff on Shockwave and Shield Slam.

Bear 4P Bonus – Your Enrage ability no longer decreases your armor and instead decreases all damage taken by 12%.

This is a VERY nice bonus. (of course, all the tanks got something like this for their 4p). 12% mitigation every 10s works out to an extra 2% mitigation overall; of course, with something like this, you may very well end up chaining it with Barkskin for a 32% mitigation effect every minute. Can’t wait to see the boss that these cooldowns were built for.

Cat 2P Bonus – The cost of your Rip ability is reduced by 10 energy.

This is pretty bad. Let’s do some quick mental math. With the Glyphs of Rip and Shred, a Rip lasts 22 seconds (12s + 4s for Rip glyph + 3*2s for Shred glyph) Assuming you can keep 100% Rip uptime, the set bonus saves you 10 energy every 22s, or roughly 27 energy per minute. That’s about half of one Shred…so you get an extra Shred every minute and a half or so. That puts it around 80 extra dps, assuming an average Shred hits for 7k damage.
However, you’re not going to be able to keep a 100% Rip uptime. It’ll certainly be boss dependent, but I’d probably cut calculated dps values for the set bonus by a third to a half for single-target fights, depending on movement/phases/etc. Add fights are a more interesting case, though, since you’ll be able to Rip a second earlier then usual. For comparison’s sake, I’d say the 2pT9 bonus is worth double this.

Cat 4P Bonus – The periodic damage done by your Rake ability can now be a critical strike.

This sounds great! The theorycrafters are going to have to give the final word on this one, but our crit rates are going to be through the roof, so a 6-7% DPS increase seems about right. We’ll have to see what the stats look like on the Tier gear to know whether this signals the death of ArPen stacking…the crit from agi now benefits an additional ability, but the agi cap’s getting mighty close, as I predicted in my ArPen FAQ.

Restoration 2P Bonus – The healing granted by your Wild Growth spell reduces 0% less over time.

As I mentioned in the comments to my previous post, this is pretty good, but not game-changing. If I remember my WG numbers right, it hits for about 800 to start, then 760, 720, etc., ending at 560. 4760 total per target. If they remove the cost reduction, that’ll jump to 800*7=5600. That’s a very nice increase, about 17%. Unfortunately, due to the mechanics of the spell, the last few ticks (which gain the most from the set bonus) usually get overhealed. Lisanna thinks (and I agree) that the 0% is a placeholder, and that they’ll eventually settle on a partial cost reduction, but not total. 50% sounds about right to me.

Restoration 4P Bonus – Each time your Rejuvenation spell heals a target, it has a 2% chance to jump to a new target at full duration.

Wow. Ok, let’s break this down. There’s several big unknowns here:
1. Does it “jump” (ala PoM) or copy? If it “jumps,” (i.e. Rejuv falls off current target, starts fresh on second target) then I’d call the set bonus harmful, not beneficial. I can’t believe Blizz would do that, so let’s call it a copy (i.e. every Rejuv tick has a 2% chance to create a Rejuv on another player)
2. How is the target picked? Smart targeting makes this more useful; random targeting, not so much. Will it jump to a target that already has Rejuv? If so, will it just refresh the HOT or add a full duration of time? Does it have a range limitation? I’ll assume random targeting/refreshing/all players in range.
3. Is the new HOT affected by Nature’s Splendor (does it get the 3 extra seconds?). Is it Swiftmendable? Let’s say yes/yes.

Basically, it boils down to this. In 3.2, you could roll Rejuv on 15 targets (while keeping WG on CD.) Now, you can keep it up on 12. Each Rejuv has a 10% total to proc another Rejuv, so we’ll end up with slightly over 13 targets having it, if the heal is smart. If not, we’re looking at 12.5, since half those Rejuvs will be wasted on people who already have it. Someone explain to me how this is a good set bonus, as currently written?

Balance 2P Bonus – When you gain Clearcasting from your Omen of Clarity talent, you deal 15% additional Nature and Arcane damage for 6 seconds.

I’m not as familiar with Moonkin as I am with other specs, so I can’t do any math on this, but it sounds fairly weak. OOC generally procs about 2x/min or so for moonkin, so you’re looking at 12 seconds of buff time per minute, for a theoretical 3% damage bonus. Unfortunately, you’re going to lose some of that due to spells not perfectly matching the buff duration. I also have no idea how it stacks with Eclipse or other stuff, which would make it better.

Balance 4P Bonus – Your critical strikes from Starfire and Wrath cause the target languish for an additional 5% of your spell’s damage over 4 seconds.

That’s it? A 5% damage boost, but only on crits, and only on SF and Wrath, drops it to like 2% (assuming the DOT’s don’t overwrite, which would REALLY suck). That’s horrible (considering the Feral DPS 4p)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »