Archive for February, 2010

After doing a few pulls on the Dreamwalker encounter last night, I was intrigued enough by the encounter to write up some tips…and yes, my “tips” always turn into walls o’ text. (Don’t tell my RL, but I did some feral healing and snuck into a portal on a pull last night to check out the dreamworld.)


10M: 2 portal/Val healers, 1/2 tank/raid healers, 1/2 tanks, rest DPS. (10M is very flexible, composition wise.)

25M: 4 portal/Val healers, 3 raid healers, 2 tanks, rest DPS. Assign one ranged DPS per side as zombie kiters. Assign one melee per side as archmage interrupter. Rest follow DPS order (below).

Portal healers should be people who are comfortable moving in 3D space. Remember Malygos/Oculus? If you HATED the flying parts there, you may not be the best choice for portal healing. Otherwise, the priority is roughly shaman>druid>paladin>hpriest>dpriest. (Shammies can probably pump out the most HPS (or close to it) due to AA and don’t raid heal overly well here. Druids’ HPS is lower than shaman or paladin, but their extra mobility is quite helpful to get to portals. Paladins work well either in-portal or out, and are probably the best overall healer to have for this fight, due to Beacon (they can dump quite a good bit of healing on Val even unbuffed).Β  Holy Priests are at a HPS disadvantage, though they have a key role in this fight with glyphed Guardian Spirit. Disc priests are advised to switch to Holy for this one. :))


Dreamwalker starts at 50% health and must be healed to full. (12M health in 10M, 36M in 25M, of which you’re healing half.) The healers assigned to this will be alternately healing her and going through portals she spawns to collect a stacking buff which increases their healing done and mana regen. The remainder of the raid will be defending her against a flow of adds that gradually increases in speed, with two tank/dps teams on either side.

Strategy, by role

Tank(s): Tank the Abominations facing away from the raid as much as possible to reduce Gut Spray damage on other raid members. Watch for Abom’s to die and be prepared to pick up theΒ  Be prepared to pick up and get threat on Archmages quickly, as they’ll be a kill priority for melee.

Melee DPS: Priority is Blazing Skeletons/Suppressors/Archmages/Abominations. One melee DPS per side should be assigned to keep Archmages as highest priority to interrupt their Frostbolt Volley (make sure you let the tanks pick up threat first though). Watch Abomination facing to keep out of Gut Spray, and watch for the Archmage’s frost columns. You can help DPS zombies if the kiter has a comfortable threat lead (I frequently dropped a Rake on one while heading to something else), just stay away from them if they’re at low HP; they go boom. Kitties: Don’t use a normal DPS rotation, except for the Aboms, as most stuff is going to die too fast for Rip to be viable. Rake/SR/Mangle/Shred to 5 CP’s/Bite.

Ranged DPS: Priority is Blazing Skeletons (on either side)/Suppressors/Zombies/Abominations/Archmages. Position yourself near the middle and feel free to help on targets on the other side.Β  One ranged kiter per side (generally a Hunter) should kite the Zombies; try not to drag them through the tanks/melee, especially at low HP. (They go boom.) On 10M, it’s a good strategy to have one DPS enter portals to get the stacking buff, preferably an Arcane mage (good burst dps) or Elemental shammy (can do some off-healing)

Raid Healers: Same as normal, though you’ll be healing the tank more than you’re used to. You’ll probably have some mana issues, so ask for Innervates/Mana Tides early; the Valithria healers won’t need them. Almost all of the (non-tank) damage is avoidable until the late phases, so if people are dying early, that’s their fault. If you have spare GCD’s, heal Valithria.

Valithria Healers: Ah, the key to this fight. Here’s how it works. Starting 30s in and every 45s thereafter, Valithria will spawn 6 portals (3 in 10M). These portals will drop you into the “Emerald Dream” for 20s, where lots of green balls will be floating around. Every green ball that’s touched by a player will pop, giving everyone within 10yards a 10% buff to healing and damage done and some MP5. This buff lasts 35s, and stacks (to 100, though you won’t get that far). After leaving the Dream, you’ll have 25s to heal Val before the portals reopen and you start over. Here’s the breakdown (I find timelines helpful):

0:30- First portals spawn.
0:50- Out of dream world. (no, you can’t click off the buff to leave early). Hopefully, you’ll have popped a ball right before you exit. Run to where the portals spawn and start healing Val. An orb will appear a few seconds before the portal opens, so go stand on one to mark it as yours.
1:15- Next portals spawn. If you popped a ball right before you left, you’ll have 10s to quickly find another ball to refresh your stacks (though it’ll probably be closer to 5s).
1:35- Out of dream world.
2:00- Next portals spawn.
~7:00- Adds come too quickly; raidwipe.

There’s two strategies for grabbing balls that have been used successfully. The first and most common assigns each healer an area. This is a less risky strategy, but requires that each healer possess good 3D movement and awareness. The second has the healers group (after they grab one ball individually to refresh their stack) and all follow one person, sharing in the 10y splash. Each strategy is viable, so pick whichever best fits your raid. The most important thing, however, is not getting greedy; watch your debuff timer carefully and make sure you grab a ball right before your debuff wears off, to give yourself maximum time during the next portal phase.

Once you exit the realm, you’ll be dropped back into the raid. Immediately run back to your portal spot while popping any instants you have, then push max HPS into Valithria. Hopefully, one of your holy priests has glyphed Guardian Spirit (10s of +40% healing every minute is AWESOME) and will have that up on the pull and every other portal phase. (Sadly, she has a hidden debuff that prevents chaining GS with multiple priests. One per minute is all you get.) Paladins should beacon Val and HL bomb someone in the raid, probably a tank. Shamans will RT and HW spam on Val; Druids will slow-stack LB, roll RG/RJ, pop SM on CD, and spam Nourish. DON”T WORRY ABOUT THE RAID (though a couple instants as you’re moving into position is fine). Your priority is getting into portals quickly to refresh your buff, proper timing in the portal to give yourself max time in the next, and healing Val as much as you can. In that order. You’ll get about 9-10 portals before the enrage; after the 7th portal phase or so (6m in), pop Hero, pop Guardian Spirit, pop all healer cooldowns, have all hybrids heal as well, and get her the rest of the way. Prot pally LoH is great. πŸ™‚

Random Tips (that I haven’t confirmed)

– Fire and Frost Res auras are great, but I’m not sure if raiders retain the benefit if the providing paladin is in the Dream.

– Totems despawn when a shammy enters the Dream (so drop that Mana Tide when you come OUT).

– Supposedly you’re both “mounted” and “swimming” in the dream realm, so swim speed or mount speed buffs might help.

– Amplify Magic on Val is probably a good idea.

– Mark the portal healers so they don’t try to take the same portals.

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For Part 3 of the guide, we’ll be looking at a build using the gear available from 10M ICC (normal) and Frost Emblems. You do miss out on a few fun toys from 25M ICC (Deathbringer’s Will, for instance), but your gearing will be much simpler. Much depends on the buffs/debuffs you have available. For the purposes of this post, I’ll assume you have Imp. MOTW/Faerie Fire (duh), Might, Kings, Horn of Winter, Trueshot Aura, Sunder Armor, and an Endless Rage flask. I also won’t take any profession bonuses into account.

Note: Most of these calculations were derived using Rawr, so go download it and follow along if you haven’t already.

TLDR Version:

1. You NEED 4pT10. Rake being able to crit, with our absurdly high crit rates, will be a very powerful addition. You’re looking at a 6-8% DPS increase just from that set bonus. It’ll take a while to get there though, so it’s probably best to keep 4pT9 until you get 2 pieces of T10. You can break it early if you’re upgrading from 232’s, but I’d keep ilvl 245 2pT9 as long as you can.

2. Don’t believe the ArPen hype. Agility remains the best stat. Why? Well, as I mentioned earlier, the 4pT10 bonus feeds off agi/crit. ArPen only helps your direct attacks, mainly your white damage and your Shreds. Now, if you have lots of haste or lots of ArPen (from 25-man buffs, 25m ICC gear, or both) than this might change, but in general, things look like this (10m buffs):
Gearing up (4pT9): Agi > Str > Crit > ArPen
Somewhat geared (2pT10ish): ArPen > Agi > Str
4pT10(251): Agi > ArPen > Str

I’ll cover how the picture changes with 25m gear in a later post. It’s up to you if you want to regem for ArPen then back to Agi…that can get pretty expensive, however, and the DPS difference is fairly minimal (-50ish DPS for going full ArPen vs agi/crit, or a -.5% drop).

Gear List

Head: Lasherweave Headguard, 95 EoF’s.
Alternatives: Discarded Bag of Entrails (My, what a lovely name), Prof. Putricide; Hood of Lethal Intent, 75 EoT’s.
Notes: The Bag is an okay piece, but PP is one of the harder bosses, so you may not get it early (and the T10 is superior anyway). The 245 piece is much better than it was in T9, since you’re less likely to be hitcapped.

Neck: Rimetooth Pendant, Sindragosa.
Alternatives: Precious’s Putrid Collar, Festergut; Wodin’s Lucky Necklace, ICC BoE world drop.
Notes: Whichever one you get…you’re likely to get the Collar first, but the hit on it may go to waste. If you’re lucky enough (or rich enough), you might get Wodin’s, which is a 264 and superior to both. (It can drop in 10 or 25.)

Shoulders: Lasherweave Shoulderpads, 60 EoF’s.
Alternatives: Skinned Whelp Shoulders, Valithria; Duskstalker Shoulderpads, 45 EoT’s.
Notes: All of these are pretty close in stats. The Whelp Shoulders are slightly superior, but not enough to make this the preferred off-set.

Back: Recovered Scarlet Onslaught Cape, 50 EoF’s.
Alternatives: Shawl of Nerubian Silk, Marrowgar; Saronite Gargoyle Cloak, Gunship
Notes: The EoF cape is a VERY good piece (arguably BiS until heroic), but it still doesn’t take precedence over your 4pT10. It’s about an 80 dps upgrade over the Shawl, which shouldn’t be hard to come by. The Saronite cloak is meant for plate DPS’ers (str instead of agi), but we do okay with strength, so it’s a good third option.

Chest: Lasherweave Raiment, 95 EoF’s.
Alternatives: Chestguard of the Frigid Noose, Deathwhisper; Ikfirus’s Sack of Wonder, Gunship(25M) BoE.
Notes: The Chestguard and the T10 piece are almost identical, except for an extra gem slot in the Chestguard. It’s pretty easy to get, so I’d use that and hold off from upgrading to the T10 until you need to. The Sack BoE isn’t really all that great for DPS…it’s more of a bear tanky piece.

Wrist: Vambraces of the Frost Wyrm Queen, Sindragosa.
Alternatives: Bracers of Swift Death, crafted.
Notes: The crafted bracers are great (it’s only about a 20 dps upgrade to the Vambraces) so this slot is not a high priority. If you don’t have the crafted bracers, get them. πŸ˜›

Hands: Cat Burglar’s Grips, 60 EoF’s.
Alternatives: Scourge Stranglers, Saurfang; Lasherweave Handgrips, 60 EoF’s.
Notes: The tier piece here is the weakest of the five, so this is where I’d recommend you use your off-set (Grips are +80 dps, Stranglers are +40 dps) However, this will mean your 4pT10 will take slightly longer to get, since you’ll have to use the three expensive pieces (chest/head/legs). I’d hold off unless you manage to snag a 264 in another slot, in which case use that as your off-set and pick up the T10. (Legs are an excellent choice to get a 264, so see below.) These also have a chance to drop off Toravon, so try to hold off if possible.

Waist: Vengeful Noose, 60 EoF’s.
Alternatives: Soulthief’s Braided Belt, Deathwhisper.
Notes: The Braided belt is fairly easy to get, so stick with that until you have the EoF’s to burn to upgrade to the Noose (70 dps upgrade, probably your second purchase after the cloak).

Legs: Lasherweave Legguards, 95 EoF’s.
Alternatives: Bladeborn Leggings, crafted; Plague-Soaked Leather Leggings, Festergut.
Notes: The Bladeborn Leggings are VERY good if you only run 10’s…however, you’re missing out on the expertise from the tier piece, which will become a big problem later for 25’s gear. If you don’t mind shelling out the cash and you don’t mind replacing it later, this is the best off-set. Also, as with the hands, this has a chance to drop off Toravon.

Feet: Footpads of Impending Death, crafted.
Taldaram’s Soft Slippers, Princes.
Notes: The crafted Footpads are good, but they’re only mildly better then the drop from Taldaram, so they’re probably not worth the investment. (I have them because I picked a non-optimal way to get under the server-transfer gold cap.) πŸ™‚

Rings: Ashen Band of Endless Vengeance, repring; Saurfang’s Cold-Forged Band, Saurfang (naturally).
Alternatives: Seal of the Twilight Queen, BQL; Runed Band of the Kirin Tor, ~12000g.
Notes: The rep ring is great, so just grab it and go. If you can’t get any of the others, the Dexterous ring is still very good.

Trinkets:Whispering Fanged Skull, Deathwhisper; Herkuml War Token, 60 EoF’s.
Alternatives: Needle-Encrusted Scorpion, H FoS.
Notes:The Skull is just like the good old Mirror of Truth, except BETTER. Can’t go wrong with that. The 2nd slot is debatable, as the value of the Scorpion fluctuates greatly with the amount of ArPen you have. It’s meh with less than 400 ArPen, becomes good in the 400-722 range (ArPen softcap), then starts getting worse. If you managed to snag a Death’s Verdict (Choice) from TOC25, that beats out both; use that instead. Try to get into an ICC25 pug to land Deathbringer’s Will from Saurfang…it’s almost perfectly itemized for ferals.

Weapon: Hersir’s Greatspear, Princes.
Alternatives: Shaft of Glacial Ice, Rotface; Lightborn Spire, quest reward from Battered Hilt questline.
Notes: Not much to say on weapons, as generally you want the item with the highest ilvl. I haven’t listed the weapon from LK…if you’re one of the lucky few who even have a chance at killing him now, then snap that up. Otherwise, Hersir’s is better itemized, but take either of the two if you still have a non-251 weapon. If you raid with a hunter, discuss this with them; you get more of an upgrade from it then they will, as the DPS on the weapon factors into your stats, whereas the hunter simply uses them as stat sticks.

Idol: Idol of the Crying Moon, 30 EoF’s.
Alternatives: Idol of Mutilation, 25 EoT’s.
Notes: This is probably the last place you want to spend EoF’s, as the Moon idol grants about a 30 dps upgrade.


Again, I’ll be analyzing this gear set from three different buff perspectives.

First, we’ll look at the numbers when selfbuffed, with only Imp. MOTW. Next, we’ll look at the set from a 10-man buff perspective, with my arbitrary list of buffs including Horn of Winter, Blessing of Might/Kings, Trueshot Aura, Sunder Armor, Agility food, and an Endless Rage flask. Finally, we’ll look at a 25-man buff perspective, adding in Imp. BOM, Ret buffs (Sanc. Ret, Swift. Ret, HotC), Savage Combat, Imp. Windfury, Enhancing Totems, Heroism, Trauma from an arms war, and a speed pot. These numbers are assuming full enchants (see part 1 for enchant list), and are optimized with Rawr for the best gems. See below for the relative stat values. (Note: I decided to not go with ungemmed gear this time…it’s really kind of a hassle to do. Also, remember that Rawr’s stats are slightly higher than paperdoll since they add in averaged-out procs over the fight length. I’ve used the default 5min duration.)

Character: Self-Buff 10M-Buff 25M-Buff
Race: NightElf NightElf NightElf
DPS Points: 6918 9003 10984
Attack Power: 10455 13429 13322
Agility: 2129 2562 2251
Strength: 169 371 398
Crit Rating: 958 923 898
Hit Rating: 225 225 225
Expertise Rating: 144 144 80
Haste Rating: 294 286 311
Armor Penetration Rating: 544 597 928
Avoided Attacks: 1.14% 1.14% 2.69%
Crit Chance: 67.41% 72.17% 70.96%
Attack Speed: 0.890s 0.893s 0.715s

10M bumps up DPS considerably by boosting AP, Agi, and Str.Β  25M goes back to ArP. These numbers will mean more in context: let’s look at the calculated relative stat values.

Relative Stat Values:

Optimized Gemming (9 red/7 yellow/3 blue/1 colorless):

Self/10m buffs: +20 agi in red/colorless slots, +10 agi/+10 crit in yellow slots, one +10 stats then +20 agi in blue slots.
25m buffs: +20 ArP in red/colorless slots, +10 agi/+10 crit or +20 ArP in yellow slots, depending on socket bonus, one +10 stats then +20 ArP in blue slots.

Character: Self-Buff 10M-Buff 25M-Buff
Agi: 1.14 1.55 2.00
Str: 1.05 1.39 1.8
ArPen: 1.01 1.43 2.11
Crit: 1.08 1.36 1.68
Haste: 0.79 1.12 1.58
Exp: 0.51 0.00(cap) 1.35
Hit: 0.71 0.95 1.35
AP: 0.49 0.60 0.76

As you can see, agi remains your top stat for 10M content, but the added buffs in 25M push ArPen over the top. Why? See below.

Damage Table:

Character: Self-Buff 10M-Buff 25M-Buff
Melee: 337x (23.7%) 336x (26.1%) 419x (30.8%)
Mangle: 145 DPE (6.1%) 197 DPE (6.4%) 228 DPE (0.0%)
Shred: 174 DPE (17.3%) 236 DPE (17.9%) 273 DPE (25.6%)
Rake: 390 DPE (21.3%) 473 DPE (19.8%) 499 DPE (17.3%)
Rip: 1980 DPE (25.4%) 2342 DPE (23.1%) 2469 DPE (20.0%)
Bite (5cp): 331 DPE (6.2%) 449 DPE (6.7%) 521.4 DPE (6.4%)

Once again, I’ve included a DPE table. What I want to point out specifically here is the increase in % of damage done by direct attacks as you receive more buffs. The extra haste means a lot more melee attacks are landing, which drastically increases the effectiveness of ArPen. This may lead to rotation priority adjustments, especially as you approach the ArPen cap (1400). It remains to be seen if the 4pT10 set bonus will continue to be strong enough for Rake. Looking at the 25m buff example, if the effect of the 4pT10 set bonus is removed, Rake’s DPE drops to 280, which is almost equal to Shred…and that’s only at 928 ArPen.

That’s it for this section; in part 4, I’ll be analyzing the same numbers using a 25M ICC BiS gearset. The wait shouldn’t be as long this time, though. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments.


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I’ve almost finished Part 3 of my cat gear guide, but I’d like to share my preliminary conclusion now, as it runs counter to the conventional wisdom.

Don’t gem ArPen for 10M.


Our 4pT10 set bonus is amazingly good, and will boost your DPS by 4-8%. Before, Rake was one of our lower DPE abilities, enough so that FB surpassed it. Now, we’ll want to maximize our Rake uptime. (After Rip/SR, of course.) Rake does not benefit from ArPen.

Also, the real benefits from ArPen comes from having it close to the cap, due to its scaling nature. The softcap at 722 is nice (with NES), but 10M buffs and gear simply do not provide the supporting stats necessary to support stacking it in most cases, though it’s very close. (BS/JC may swing things…haven’t tested that scenario.)

However, until you get 4pT10, ArPen is relatively stronger, and will be slightly superior in many cases depending on your offset pieces and raidcomp. It’s up to you how much regemming you want to do.

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Unlike my detailed guide for Love is in the Air, I will not be posting a guide for the Lunar Festival, as it boils down to this:

1. Go to area/instance. Most are impossible to find or confusing as hell. (The path INTO Sunken Temple is more complicated then any Northrend instance…I felt like I was playing Zelda and I was stuck in the freaking Water Temple AGAIN, looking for the switch/plate/button that would raise/lower the water level.)
2. Get lost trying to find Elder. (Hi, BRS!)
3. Finally find Elder.
4. Realize you can either hearth out and port from Dal/fly to the next zone you need (takes 15 min) or find your way back out and ride there (takes 15 min).
5. Curse Blizzard.
6. Repeat 8523523461 times. (Ok, Omen is pretty cool.)

Bonus: Apparently, these Elders are mail spammers too! You’d think at least one of them would have the decency to send some gold or something, but I guess they all went broke spamming everyone three years ago. Do the Elders have an opt-out?

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The power of cosmetics

Nothing new on the theorycraft front (various family and weather considerations have prevented me from actually finding the time to sit down and write up a detailed blog post)…but the biggest thing that’s struck me lately is the power of the Love is In the Air perfume/cologne for alts. 75AP perfume + heirloom axe means my new pally is killing on-level mobs with a single judgement/melee swing. Woot. πŸ™‚

Raidwise, mad props (do people say that anymore?) to my new guild for inviting me to their 25m ICC with my failtop. The Crimson Hall trash was horrid (positional DPS requirements and knockbacks with 4 FPS!) I still did tolerably well on the Princes and BQL, though the FPS makes reaction times horrible. Hopefully, next week, I’ll be able to clear some of the Lower Spire on 25 which is less movement-intensive.

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Greetings all, and thanks again to Allison for her link. If you’re looking for more feral druid information, try these posts:

  • The 3.3 Cat Gearing Guide: Part 1 covers the basics, while Part 2 looks specifically at T9 gear. Part 3, coming “soon,” will look at T10 gear. I was *going* to write a kitty 101 post, but Allison’s beat me to it, apparently. πŸ™‚ Maybe I’ll do Kitty 201: Advanced Feline Concepts.
  • Melee Hit Table FAQ: This post covers why agility gets worse and worse as a stat once you reach the T10 levels of gear, plus some more good information.
  • Armor Penetration FAQ: A bit outdated, but still good. Part 1 covers the basics, while Part 2 covers it in a bit more detail.
  • The Feral Tanking Guide: For our bear relatives. Start with the Introduction.

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