Oct 142014
 

WoD logoServers have just came up and 6.0 is live! Go play, but when you have a minute, come back here and read up. :P

All Druids

Feral Druids

 Posted by at 3:17 pm
Oct 142014
 

WoD logoIf you’re like me and just want to hop in-game without reading a wall of text, here’s a VERY brief summary of the changes you need to know for each spec in 6.0. I’ll include a link for each spec to read more for those that want to.

Changes for All Druids

  • Character stats squished. Smaller numbers across the board, don’t freak out. Everything is about 10% of what it used to be, so don’t freak if you’re suddenly doing only 10k DPS/HPS instead of 150k.
  • Reforging is gone. Luckily, there’s much less need to reforge anymore.
  • Hit, Expertise, Parry, and Dodge are gone. No more caps to worry about.
  • Multistrike and Versatility added. Multistrike gives a chance to proc additional hits/abilities/spells at 30% strength, while Versatility gives a small across-the-board buff which increases damage/healing and reduces damage taken.
  • Snapshotting is gone. For those that don’t know, this was the strategy where you attempted to get as many procs stacked up as possible (potion, trinket, etc.) and get DoTs up while the procs were up. Procs dropped, but the DoTs continued to tick for massive damage. (Especially if you were Feral and the boss was below 25%, letting you roll super-Rip for the rest of the fight.)
  • Symbiosis is gone. That wave you’re feeling is the massive shrug from every druid who touched it once.
  • Professions no longer increase combat performance. In the name of making things easier; no more profession buffs. Similarly, enchanting and gemming are much reduced at level 100.
  • Travel Form is now smart-cast. Auto-Stag in non-flight zones, Auto-Bird(Bat) in flight-zones. Definitely seek out the new Glyph of Travel.

Balance Changes

  • Eclipse system totally revamped. Eclipse now auto-cycles between Lunar and Solar, with mastery bonus highest at the peak of each end. Cast the appropriate spell at the appropriate time. Takes a bit of getting used to, but pretty easy to pick up.
  • Starsurge now works on a charge system, shares charges with Starfall, and buffs your next Starfire/Wrath casts. Managing Starsurge charges is now key; you want to use Starsurge near the peak of each cycle. Starsurge is also your cast-while-moving spell.
  • Starfall is awesome/deadly. It hits EVERYTHING and does disgustingly good AoE damage, just watch for accidental pulls.
  • No more haste caps. All DoTs/HoTs add an additional ending tick that takes your Haste into account.

Basic Balance Rotation

  • Lunar: Cast Moonfire once to put it up, cast Starsurge once to proc Lunar Empowerment, else cast Starfire.
  • Solar: Cast Sunfire twice (entering and leaving) to keep it up, cast Starsurge once to proc Solar Empowerment, else cast Wrath.
  • Use Astral Communion on cooldown.
  • For AoE situations, swap Starfall for Starsurge, and multi-DoT with whatever Eclipse you’re currently in.

For a full guide, see Hamlet’s Balance guide on Wowhead.


Feral Changes

  • Combo Points are on the player now, instead of the target. Just let that sink in for a while. 3 adds and a boss? Rake all 3 and Rip the boss, if you feel inclined.
  • Cat Mangle is gone. Shred no longer requires you to be behind the target. But you’re a good little kitty, so you will stay behind the target to avoid parries.
  • Ravage/Pounce are gone. Shred from Stealth is basically Ravage, and Rake from Stealth is basically Pounce.
  • New Savage Roar glyph. You can now choose from one that makes Savage Roar permanent at 75% effectiveness, or one that give you a free 5 CP Roar when you leave Stealth.

Basic Feral Rotation

  • Keep Savage Roar and Rip up as much as possible.
  • Keep Rake up.
  • Use extra energy to Shred and Ferocious Bite.
  • Use Tiger’s Fury and Berserk on cooldown.

For a full guide, see my full 6.0 Feral guide, or the 6.0 Feral Changes post, or Tinderhoof’s Feral guide on Wowhead.


Guardian Changes

  • Vengeance has been replaced with Resolve. Similar, except it only increases your self-healing and shields, not damage.
  • New Guardian Mastery. Now generates a shield when hit.
  • Bonus Armor has been re-added as a secondary stat. It’s the best secondary stat, so snap it up when you can.
  • Lots of ability tweaks. Swipe has been removed, but Thrash and Lacerate no longer have cooldowns. Tooth and Claw can store 2 charges. Might of Ursoc is gone.

Guardian Basic Rotation

  • Mangle on cooldown.
  • Keep Thrash up.
  • Spam Lacerate. For AoE, skip the Lacerates and spam Thrash.
  • Use Savage Defense when you can, and use Frenzied Regen when you can’t SD or are low on health.

For a full guide, see Arielle’s guide at The Inconspicuous Bear (or his Wowhead guide whenever he gets around to updating it).


Restoration Changes

  • Spirit is now only found on jewelry. It’s still precious, just harder to find.
  • No more haste caps. All DoTs/HoTs add an additional ending tick that takes your Haste into account.
  • Some ability tweaks. Wild Growth is no longer instant. Efflorescence is now permanently attached to Wild Mushroom. Lifebloom only stacks once.

Restoration Basic Rotation

  • Single-Target: Lifebloom, Rejuvenation, Healing Touch. Swiftmend when it’s available.
    • ST Cooldowns: Ironbark, Nature’s Swiftness.
  • AoE: Wild Growth, Wild Mushroom.
    • AoE Cooldowns: Tranquility.

For a full guide, see Lissanna’s posts at Restokin, or Hamlet’s Resto guide on Wowhead.

 Posted by at 3:05 pm
Sep 262014
 

Proven Assailant AlaronIf you’ve been following me on Twitter, you’ve heard my lamentations and exultations with the Proving Grounds’ endless mode. Having completed it successfully after a few nights of attempts, I’ll share my advice and notes for those wanting that “Proven Assailant” title prior to it’s removal in 6.0, and also briefly discuss getting Gold for your off-specs and the “You’re Doing it Wrong” achievement.

WARNING: This is much more challenging to complete than Brawler’s Guild. Those fights, excepting Hexos, are made much easier by gear.  Proving Grounds, by contrast, scale all your gear to ilvl 463, There’s a few exceptions to this (which I’ll discuss below), but largely, your skill at planning a strategy and executing it will be what carry the day.

An Introduction to Proving Grounds

For those that are completely new to Proving Grounds, it’s a new set of solo challenges that were added in Patch 5.4, and can be reached by speaking to your class trainer or Trial Master Rotun. There’s a challenge for each group role, namely tank, healer, and damage, and four levels of difficulty for each challenge: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Endless.

Each challenge features waves of enemies that you must defeat by following your role. In the Damage challenge, waves of enemies spawn that must be killed within that wave’s time limit. In the Tank challenge, a friendly NPC heals and DPS’s for you, and you must keep both of you alive. Finally, in the Healer challenge, a full NPC party spawns, and you must keep all of them alive.

The Bronze and Silver challenges are relatively simple, and are designed to familiarize you with the different enemy types you’ll be facing. (Completing a Silver Proving Grounds challenge will be required to queue for heroic dungeons in WoD.) The Gold challenge is a “final exam” of sorts, roughly equivalent to a raid in terms of difficulty.

Endless mode starts out similar to a remixed version of Gold, but instead repeats itself after completing 10 waves. Each wave increases the damage output or HP of the mobs by 1%, so Wave 11 will be identical to Wave 1, but with 10% more damage or HP. You keep going until you fail; the title and highest achievement require completion through Wave 30. Endless mode scores are also part of your armory profile, so if you desire, you can compete with others for high scores. (As of writing this, I’m the US-8th/World-29th druid, which mostly proves that people do it once and quit. :P)

Gearing for Greatness

Let’s start with the bad news. All gear is scaled down to ilvl 463. (Anything below is not scaled up.) All set bonuses are disabled, as are items from the legendary questline: Sha-Touched gems, legendary metagems, or legendary procs do not work. No consumables are allowed.

The good – all stats from food, flasks, enchants, gems, and profession bonuses work and are not scaled in any way. All raid buffs are provided.

What does this mean? First, it’s incredibly important that you maximize these unscaled stats. Eat 300-level food, drink a MoP flask, get your professions caught up if you’ve neglected them, etc. At 463, your gear is only providing around ~13k agility, unlike the 25-30k agility it normally does, so a food/flask has far more effect.

deadeye badge tooltipSecond, consider building an exclusive challenge mode set. Basically, an item’s worth can be measured in the number of sockets it has and its socket bonus. This leads to some non-conventional items being cosnidered good; for example, Dashing Strike Treads, an ilvl 463 set of boots, is one of the best choices available, due to the yellow socket + agility socket bonuses. This guide lists some of the best items for each slot. Once you have your items, you’ll want to reforge them for the level 92 expertise/hit cap of 6%, then mastery. I highly recommend the JP trinket Deadeye Badge of the Shieldwall (or the Horde equivalent). It’s easy to obtain (what the hell else are you doing with your JP currently?) and the cooldown lines up perfectly with the waves. I macroed mine in with Tiger’s Fury.

(Do you “need” to farm a PG set, spend money on enchants/gems for blues, etc. to do this? Well, it’s up to you. I screwed up and had a Cataclysm flask instead of a MoP flask on my last night of attempts; that night, I also had several wipes with enemies at <5% HP. That 700 agility would’ve saved me several hours of attempts. I’d rather spend a bit of time and money optimizing than a lot of time wiping. Note that you don’t die if you wipe on an attempt, which means food will last its full duration. Also, if you decide you want to do any Challenge Modes, the same gear scaling rules apply there.)

PG talentsI Am Talented

  • L15: Feline Swiftness. Makes it easier to kite globs and just generally get around. Wild Charge is also an option.
  • L30: Irrelevant.
  • L45: Faerie Swarm. Only used to slow/stop Banana-Tossers that get away, not that critical. You’ll have Rake or Thrash on everything, so Entanglement breaks too fast. Typhoon does not affect most enemies here.
  • L60: Soul of the Forest. Feel free to play around with this if you’re comfortable with Incarnation or Force of Nature.
  • L75: Ursol’s Vortex. Very nice for dealing with Banana-Tossers, especially on Wave 3. Bash works as well but takes a GCD.
  • L90: Heart of the Wild. The key to Wave 8. You will want 2 macros; 1 to /cancelform, /cast Heart of the Wild, /equip intellect weapon (if you have one). Macro 2 will /cast Cat Form /equip agility weapon. Dream of Cenarius rotations are not workable here. Nature’s Vigil isn’t bad but isn’t worth the tradeoff.
  • Glyphs: Savagery, Dash, Shred.

WoWScrnShot_092514_205808Know your Target Dumm…Foe

There are 8 types of enemies you will face, all of which come in small and large versions. Large versions have more HP, but are otherwise identical. You also get 2 power-ups.

  • Slayer. Has no abilities, just sits there until you kill him. You see this guy a lot in the lesser difficulties, but he only shows up once in Endless.
  • Varmint. Just sits there like the Slayer, but spawns as a group instead of one guy. Designed to be AoE’d. Drop a Thrash on them as you run by and they’ll fall over.
  • Guardian. Projects a very visible shield to the front that deflects all attacks from that direction, similar to the Oathshield mobs on the Timeless Isle. You don’t want to attack from the front anyway, so this just helps reinforce that point.
  • Amber-Weaver. These are caster mobs that spit a slow-moving glob (Amber Globule) which chases you until it hits you, hits an enemy, or expires. Amber Globules stun whatever they hit for 6 seconds and increase their damage taken by 50%. Obviously, don’t get hit by them. If possible, kite them into enemies, but don’t lose too much DPS time doing so.
  • Mystic. Healer enemy. Always a priority. Letting them get a heal off is bad, so you’ll usually want to start on them, get up a full set of DoTs, and interrupt their heal.
  • Banshee. Creeper! These guys spawn mid-wave, and go boom (ending your run) if they are not killed quickly. They move about slowly and randomly, which usually isn’t much of a big deal except for making it slightly trickier to kite a globule into them. Small Banshees explode in 10 seconds, Large Banshees take 15.
  • Banana-Tosser aka Damn Monkey. Run away from you, firing bananas at your location that greatly debuff your Hit if they, well, hit. I didn’t get the debuff much, but chasing them all the way to the edge of the arena takes valuable time.
  • Sha. Boss mob. Level 93, so you’ll get a few misses/dodges if you reforge for 6% level (which I still recommend, the other waves are the ones to optimize for). Puts up a shield for 40 seconds that reduces damage taken by 50%, followed by a 20-second period where they take 300% damage. Get SR and Rip up prior to the shield dropping, then pop TF+Zerk and burn hard when it does.
  • Berserking Power-up. Spawns at Wave 4 and 6. When picked up, increases damage by 30% for 30 sec. Does not expire (i.e. you can save it) but you cannot keep it for more than 10 waves; Wave 14’s powerup will overwrite wave 4’s, etc.

General Principles

  • Prep for each wave. Prior to the spawn of the wave, use Savage Roar, Dash or Stampeding Roar, and Ursol’s Vortex (for waves with tossers). This saves vital early GCD’s. If the previous wave allows, try to keep one enemy alive and get off a 5 CP Roar that’ll carry over into the next round.
  • Savage Roar+Rake is your go-to. I’ll go into more detail for each wave, but keeping SR up and keeping Rake up on everything is generally the best option. Only use Rip if there’s 3 or less Large enemies, or you have some CP’s to burn.
  • Use TF early. Even if you cap energy for a bit, you want to use it early in the wave so you can use it again later if needed.

Wave-by-Wave Strategy

PG floorIn the Endless Damage trial, there are 10 waves of enemies. Each wave has a 60 second timer for completion; failing to kill the enemies before time expires, or failing to kill a Banshee before their bomb timer expires, ends the run.

I’ll be writing out the strategy I used for each wave. You’ll notice the floor has two concentric rings; all enemies spawn in and around the inner ring (though Tossers can run anywhere).  To describe where you start each wave, I’ll be using clockface directions to describe where to position yourself in the inner ring, with 12-o’clock pointing towards the door. (Putting a raid mark at 12 and 6 for orientation is a good idea.) Wowhead also has a fantastic diagram of each wave in their guide.

Wave 1: 3 Weavers, 6 Varmints. Start in center. Pre-Dash, SR. Thrash+Swipe Varmints in center.  Run to an Weaver, using TF to regain energy, and Rake + 2-3cp Rip. Leave when he gets globbed, and repeat for the 2nd and 3rd weaver. Re-Thrash Varmints if needed.

Wave 2: 2 Guardians, 1 Weaver, 1 Mystic. Start at 10’o-clock. Pre-Stampeding Roar, SR. Start near the front and quickly Rake the Guardian, Weaver, and 2nd Guardian. Run to the Mystic at 6-o’clock, refreshing Savage Roar on the way. Use TF and Rake/Mangle to a 5cp Rip, interrupting the heal. Glob should be enroute, glob mystic and run to first guardian. Rerake guardian, weaver, and guardian 2, running behind guardian 2 to glob him. Move to center, reraking mystic if it didn’t die for some reason. 3rd glob should hit center just as banshee spawns, globbing banshee. Kill it and finish off everything else.

Wave 3: 18 Varmints, 2 Tossers. Start in center. Pre-Dash, SR, UV. The pack of Varmints is too large for 1 Thrash to get all of them, so I use 3 Thrashes in a Y pattern. Chase down the Tossers; if they’re close, rake both, if they’re far apart, finish them singly. Come back to center and Thrash+Swipe to finish the Varmints.

Wave 4: 4 Guardians, 1 Weaver, 1 Banshee, Berserking Buff. Rake all the things, part 1. Start in center. Pre-Stampeding Roar, SR. Rake weaver and 2 guardians. SR, TF. Rake 2 remaining guardians, rerake weaver, dodging glob. (Try not to glob weaver.) Rerake 4 guardians, dodging second glob. Banshee and 3rd glob will show up in center, hopefully together. Rerake weaver, rake/kill banshee. TF again if needed and finish off what’s left. Avoid the buff.

Wave 5: 1 Tosser, 1 Mystic, 1 Small Sha. Midboss! Start at 12-o’clock. Pre-Dash, SR, UV. You’ll start on top of the Tosser; quickly rake/mangle/rip, then head south, interrupting the Mystic who should’ve just started casting the heal. TF, SR, and get up a full 5cp Rip on the mystic to make sure it dies. Run back to the Tosser if it’s still alive, finish it, then run back to the Sha. Banshee spawns with 30 seconds remaining; kill it quickly, then kill the Sha, using TF+Berserk when the shield drops.

Wave 6: 2 Mystics, 6 Varmints, Berserking Buff 2. Start at 3-o’clock. Pre-SR. Rake mystic 1, Thrash varmints, Rake Mystic 2. Wait at Mystic 2 for a few seconds for TF to come back up, then SR, TF, Mangle/Rake to a 5cp Rip. Skullbash the heal. Run back to Mystic 1, Thrashing the Varmints again on the way. Mangle/Rake to a 5cp Rip on Mystic 1, then finish off whatever’s left.

Wave 7: 3 Guardians, 2 Weavers, 1 Tosser. Rake all the things, Part 2. Start just north of center. Pre-Dash, SR, UV. I don’t really have a coherent strategy for this wave other than running around and raking everything, starting with the Tosser. The UV will keep him from running too far off. You can Berserk here, just make sure to use it early in the wave.  The globs here are a trap; it’s very tempting to double glob an enemy for the 100% damage taken buff, but you’ve got six enemies to deal with so you need to keep moving and Raking. Feel free to use Stampeding Roar and a second TF as needed.

Wave 8: 1 Mystic, 2 Slayers, 3 Banshees. Bonus round! This one’s fun. Start at 6-o’clock. Pre-SR. Rake the Slayer. Run cross-circle and Rake the second Slayer. Come back to the Mystic and Rake/Mangle to a 5cp Rip. As soon as the first heal starts, interrupt it, then…it’s WILD TIME. (Heart of the Wild, that is.) Pop your HOTW macro and Wrath down the Mystic, the Banshees, and then the Slayers. It usually takes me 3 Wraths (6 seconds) to kill a Banshee, and each lasts 15 sec,  so you don’t need to switch to them immediately if the Mystic needs some more love.

Wave 9: 1 Weaver, 1 Tosser, 1 Guardian, 2 Slayers, 1 Banshee. Rake all the things, final round! This wave is the most difficult of the 10, IMO; luckily, we’ve saved the Berserking buff for it. Start in center. Pre-Dash, SR, UV. Rake the Tosser, run to 12-o’clock and rake the Weaver, then run counter clockwise around the circle raking the Slayer, Guardian, and Slayer. Grab Berserking and use TF as you go. Find the Tosser and repeat the circle-rake. Once you finish the second loop of the circle, the Banshee should be spawning; kill it, then circle-rake one more time and finish off whatever’s at the highest HP.

Wave 10: Large Sha. Final boss! The simplest wave of all, though not at all the easiest. Use a standard DPS rotation, looking to put up a 5cp Roar with ~40 seconds left on the timer. Grab the second Berserking buff with 30 seconds left on the timer, and Rip at ~22 seconds.  You can use TF if it’s up in the first 10 seconds; otherwise save TF + Berserk for the last 20 seconds when the boss’s shield drops.  Finish off the Sha; breathe, enjoy the 15-second break (thanks, guys) and get ready to go again.

Off-Spec Gold

I’m not going to go into a ton of detail here, as I’m definitely not the expert. The wowhead guide is great as an overview, and if you’re looking to get Endless Defender or Healer, you’ll need to look around for other resources. A few tips for Gold, though:

Gold Tank isn’t too challenging, if you’re experienced. Gear wise, I just used my feral PG set. It’s counter-intuitive, but the method to surviving this challenge is frequent kiting. Sure, you can try to face-tank everything, but your only healing is a constant HoT, which burst can overcome quickly. Spec Typhoon, Ursol’s Vortex, and Force of Nature; use Typhoon and UV to keep things off, and Force of Nature treants to pick up/peel off Ambushers and Windguards as needed.

Gold Healer was harder for me, but that was due more to my rusty healing skills than anything else. Spec Ysera’s Gift, Typhoon, Force of Nature, Bash, and NV. Set up your party or raid frames to show the Chomp and Aqua Bomb debuffs. #1 priority is dispelling Aqua Bomb; #2 is Rejuv+Healing Touch on a Chomp target to clear it: #3 is making sure your Efflorescence effect is on Oto the tank (he moves a lot); #4 is standard healing, keeping Lifebloom and Rejuvenation on Oto, Swiftmend + HT on Oto as he needs it, Wild Growth if there’s some raid damage, etc.

I macroed FoN to Swiftmend because I was terrible at remembering it, and used Ironbark on Oto at the start of every wave for the first 5 waves. (Save it for Conqueror enrages after that.) Interrupting the Hive-Singer’s Sonic Blast with Bash/Typhoon helps a lot, but I forgot about it and still did okay. Beru has an exhaustive guide for Endless if you want a full strategy there, or just some more tips.

Alamo PVPYou’re Doing it Wrong

This achievement is granted for completing a Silver challenge in a spec not suitable for it. I had a lot of fun trying all the different combinations of wrongness; for example, doing the Tank challenge as Resto and using a combination of healing aggro and Bear Form to split mobs between you and your healer NPC. That one’s doable with enough effort, but eventually I just went with the easier one: Silver Damage as Guardian, specced into HOTW and Bash.

The key strategy to do here is form twist. Start in cat form, and Rake/Mangle until out of energy; then switch to Bear and Mangle/Thrash + Maul. Repeat. This comment on wowhead has a full breakdown of the Silver enemies, if you want to plan out a strat. My quick list:

  • Wave 1: Easy. Rake both, then standard DPS.
  • Wave 2: Easy. Start in bear; thrash the Varmint pack, and Mangle/Maul the Slayer. Go cat and double Swipe the Varmints, then Rake the Slayer. Repeat.
  • Wave 3: Easy-Medium. Rake both Slayers and Weaver, then Thrash two. Glob a Slayer and kill him with Mangle+Maul. Go back to Cat, rerake both, then go back to Bear and kill whoever got globbed, then kill the other.
  • Wave 4: Easy. Start in cat. Rake/Mangle the Weaver from the front (important). Stop DPS when he starts casting the glob, run behind the Varmint pack, and Bear Thrash/Swipe. Once the glob hits the Varmints, go Cat and double Swipe, which should mostly finish them. Go back to the Weaver (who still has your CP’s), Rake/Mangle him to 5CP’s, force him to glob himself, and kill him with a big Ferocious Bite.
  • Wave 5: Hard. This is the tough one…or at least, I thought it was, until I realized how easy the later waves were so I could use HOTW here. Bear Thrash/Cat Swipe the Varmint pack; this should trigger an immediate heal from the Mystic, so interrupt it. Rake the Mystic, Bear Thrash/Mangle/Maul, than pop HOTW and nuke down the Mystic with Wraths. It CAN be done without HOTW, but you need to get fairly lucky with crits on the Mystic, as the timer is tight.
  • Wave 6: Medium. You have a If you have a good bit of HOTW time left, this phase is pretty easy; just Wrath down the mystic and Bash his heal. Once you run out of HOTW time, the mystic should be dead: go back to the usual Rake 2, form twist DPS strat. You have a lot of time here.
  • Wave 7: Medium-Hard. The Weaver here has two small Varmints flanking him; ideally, you want to use his globs on the Mystic and Guardians, so stay away from the sides. Bear Thrash/Cat Swipe the Weaver + Varmints, which should trigger the Mystic heal. Interrupt it, Dash, and quickly Rake the two Guardians and the Mystic. The first glob should be on the way; glob the Mystic and form-twist DPS on it until dead. Repeat for both Guardians and finish off the Weaver/Varmints with a Thrash/Cat Swipe combo.
  • Wave 8: Easy-Frustrating. You get 2 Weavers here. Weaver globs stack, so globbing something with both will kill it quickly; however, if you mess up and get globbed yourself, the Weavers will chain glob you for the entire 60 seconds. Not fun. Plenty of time; just take the 4 enemies in turn, double globbing the Mystic and killing, double globbing the Slayer and killing, then the usual to finish out. You’ve won!…until WoD comes out and you get to do it all again!

Lastly, if you’re really crazy, there’s a hidden achievement for doing Gold in the wrong spec; You’re Really Doing it Wrong. Per Celestalon, though, that achievement is hidden, and is for tracking purposes only.


That’s it! 3300 words on content that’ll be gone in a month, woo. If you liked this, please leave me a comment or Tweet me (@alarondruid) and let me know!

 Posted by at 1:43 pm
Sep 192014
 

After finishing up all the Brawler’s Guild achievements last night, I’d like to type up a quick guide for those looking to get this done before 6.0 drops and they are no longer obtainable. It’s very doable if you’ve got some decent LFR/Timeless Burden gear, so let’s get to it!

Getting Started and General Tips

To get in, you need a Brawler’s Pass or a Blood-Soaked Invitation. Easiest way is AH, but if you’re unlucky, they’re always on the BMAH, and have a chance to drop from the PvP rares in Krasarang Wilds. (It also has a 100% chance to drop from Willy Wilder, if you’re willing to camp for a while.)

The format is simple. After queueing, you’ll be dropped into the ring, and have to fight a boss enemy (or enemies) and defeat him within 2 minutes. The main ladder has 36 bosses that must be defeated in order; after every 4 you defeat, you go up one Rank. There are also 16 “special” bosses that can be fought at any time; however, 12 of them require you do various things to unlock the card needed to battle them.

You will want to buff up. A vendor at the Guild sells cheap DPS potions, which are essential, but you’ll want a flask as well. Heroism drums are also nice, as are buffs from any other players around. If you want to completely trivialize some of the fights, you can also go farm some Faintly-Glowing Herbs from the Timeless Isle, which will work in Brawler’s Guild and have no cooldown.

Ranks 1-6

None of these bosses should be difficult, a few just have some tricks. Dippy (Rank 2) has a one-shot attack, but every attack from you knocks him back; you’re fine as long as you don’t corner him. Ixx (Rank 3)’s attack is best avoided by sitting directly on top of him while DPS’ing, but with good gear you may be able to burst him down without ever seeing it. Deeken (Rank 4) is your first “avoid tons of stuff” boss, and is a good sample of what awaits you at higher ranks.   You might have to try them once in order to see all the things you need to avoid, but that’s it. There’s a decent guide here.

Rank 7

Now is when things start to get interesting. GG Engineering is likely your first challenge. There’s a gnome who shoots you and a goblin you launches rockets at you; stay on top of the gnome so that he takes damage from the rocket blasts.

Dark Summoner is simple in theory. The Summoner brings in ghosts, which have an instakill melee attack, but you get a “flashlight” (cone attack) that stuns them. Killing a ghost drops Summoner’s shield for 20 sec. With good gear, you should be able to burn Summoner in 1 ghost sequence; just keep away from other ghosts that spawn. Turn on nameplates (V key).

Battletron will test your ability to DPS while moving. The boss summons 8 bombs that orbit him constantly and blow up when touched. You’ll want to run into 2 of them with a damage-reduction cooldown up (like Survival Instincts) to give you a window. After that, stay in that window circle-strafing around him until he dies. Beat him, enjoy the next joke boss, and get ready for the hardest fight of them all.

Rank 8

YOU FACE HEXOS, ROTATION LORD OF THE GEOMETRY LEGION!

If you’re not prepared for him, Hexos will make you rage-quit. The mechanic is brutally simple: You’re stuck in the middle of the arena, Hexos is stuck to your face, and waves of laser beams come at you. All you have to do is quickly and accurately rotate the camera to “steer” through the lasers while executing a DPS rotation at the same time.

There’s no way to make this easy, and you can’t really outgear the fight to the extent needed to avoid the mechanic. In lieu of a walkthrough explanation, then, here’s a list of tips that helped me, which may or may not help you.

  • Enable Mouselook. This will let you rotate without the mouse without having to hold-down right click the whole time. (Make a macro with the command below, and bind it to a key; the key will toggle it on and off.)
    /run if IsMouselooking() then MouselookStop() else MouselookStart() end
  • Put a raid mark on yourself. I found it much easier to steer the mark through the maze, ignoring Hexos.
  • Untalent Faerie Swarm; slowing Hexos before he attaches to you can occasionally bug out the fight.
  • As soon as you zone into the arena, turn on Mouselook, pop a damage potion, then Savage Roar. From that point, focus purely on survival. Simplify the rotation as much as possible; use Soul of the Forest and Heart of the Wild, don’t worry about Thrashing, etc. Heck, spamming Rake as a combo point builder and alternating between Rip and Savage Roar is probably enough.
  • Consider tweaking your mouse sensitivity in the WoW options menu. I found myself frequently over-rotating for the rapid 180 spins until I turned it down a bit.
  • If you have a flaky network connection or mouse, you’ll definitely find out about it now. I moved my computer to a different room in my house recently, and my previously-fine wireless started dropping out and giving me little lag-blips. (It’s darkly funny when you see the lasers hit the center and then start heading back *out.*) I bought a powerline networking kit and killed Hexos on the next few attempts after switching to it.

Compared to Hexos, the rest of the Rank 8 bosses are a breeze. For Tyson Sanders, just play hit-and-run, keeping him dotted as you evade chickens. For the T440, run out of melee at 15 stacks of the debuff, let it drop, reengage and repeat. Finally, Anthracite is similar to Dark Summoner; use your special action (water spray) to make the boss vulnerable, DPS him, then kill one of the adds to recharge your spray and repeat. Note the spray points rearward (insert joke here) so face away from Anthracite when firing.

Rank 9

Big Badda Boom is your first fight, and a good appetizer for the much harder boss to follow. When you kill him, he explodes and spawns 2 smaller versions of him. Those likewise split and spawn 2 versions, etc, until you suddenly have 20+ hitting you. Not too tough as long as you take the fight slow and don’t kill too many adds at once; use Ysera’s Gift and Predatory Swiftness procs to keep up your health, and pop SI + Barkskin + Berserk for the final burst.

Next is Nibbleh, who’s the next “ugh dammit” boss.

The video encapsulates the fight strategy pretty well. Nibbleh leaves a trail that will buff him to a level where he will one-shot you, so you have to keep him moving around a rapidly-closing spiral. He also occasionally spits a bit of trail to a random sport in the arena. This is the frustrating part, not for the spit, but because he’ll sometimes stand still long enough from spitting to gain his buff, and there’s nothing you can do.

You can try the strat in the vid (turn on walk and constantly backpedal) but it didn’t work for me, perhaps due to Cat Form’s built-in speed increase. He constantly enraged in the corners. After that, I switched to running and constantly tapping back, and that worked well enough.

Doctor FIST, after Nibbleh, is essentially a joke boss; just stay close to him to evade his clearly marked attacks, and use Bash/Typhoon to interrupt his fifth attack, Hammer Fist.

Ahoo’ru is the final fight between you and Rank 10, and a worthy challenge.

It’s a two-phase fight. In P1, Ahoo’ru will walk to the middle, put up a shield, and fill the room with sparks that move randomly and hit for about 200k. He’ll also send out three larger flashes (1 at a time), which will be extra sparkly. Touching these will spawn an Angel; DPSing the Angel to 50% will cause him to start casting a Charge. Run to the other side of Ahoo’ru, let the Charge hit him, and repeat twice more to trigger P2, which is mostly a straight burn phase. Ahoo’ru’s only abilities here are summoning a ring of circles around you (run out, you’ll take about 200k damage as long as you only touch 1 circle) and casting one full-heal, which must be interrupted.

Phase 1 is the key; the better gear you have, the more time you can afford to take there. Well-geared players can use the strategy depicted in the video, touching each spark and killing each Angel in turn. Lesser-geared players will need to trigger all 3 Angels together, then AoE them to trigger 3 charges at once. Either way, push hard in P2 (don’t forget to pot) and collect your mount + achievement!

Optional Bosses

Aside from the ranking bosses, there are the original Rank 8 bosses (now called “special bosses” that can be fought. They were all quite difficult back in 5.0/5.1, but gear has trivialized them all to Battletron level, with the strategy for each being summarized as “stay out of bad, and AoE to start (Zen’shar)/jump a lot (Disruptron)/interrupt Blue Crush (Epicus).” Milhouse is a bit different; he summons energy sources that charge him via beam; you’ll want to stand in the beam and charge yourself instead. Let the first set of beams charge both you and him, and them start killing one source and standing in the other.

There are also 12 “challenge” bosses, that are found by doing various tasks to unlock hidden quests. Instead of reciting everything here, I’ll just link you to a guide by Pwuebear on wowhead that excellently covers how to unlock them and strategies for the fight. None are especially difficult as long as you follow the strat. Best of luck, enjoy your achievement, and stay tuned for my Proving Grounds guide to come soon!TM

 Posted by at 12:49 pm
May 052013
 
firecat

Hey, ferals! Want to ignite, but never had the opportunity to obtain Fandral’s Flamescythe, and don’t have a pocket raid to obtain one? Never fear, the CM’s are here! A few days ago, Crithto let slip on the forums that Burning Seed, previously thought to be unavailable, was actually in-game, like, for reals (whether it’s been in-game since 5.2 or just hotfixed in recently is unclear). After a search, several players located them in the Firelands. After grabbing some myself last night, I figured I’d whip up a quick guide.

Prerequisites

A druid (duh). Any spec will work, though Guardian or Restoration will be the easiest. That’s it; you don’t need any other players to pull this off.

Getting There

Take the portal from your home city to Mount Hyjal, and fly to the area marked Sulfuron Spire. The portal to Firelands is at the bottom; make sure you’ve set it to 10-man before entering. Once inside, follow this route, using stealth as appropriate to bypass the trash:

firecat map

Taking out the Trash

The hardest part of this (and really, it’s not that hard, though you might die a couple times figuring it out) is getting through the initial trash event. See map:

alysrazor trash

The key here is the Blazing Monstrosities: these BigBirds(tm) will start spewing what appears to be explosive shells about 10 seconds into pulling anything in here. These hurt. However, they 1) track you, but very slowly, meaning it’s kitable and 2) the explosions damage enemies. As such, you just need to keep yourself alive and let the Monstrosities kill everything. The caster NPC’s need to die first, since they can stun you; you’ll want to use your cooldowns right off the pull to help stay alive. Once those are dead, move back to the Egg Piles and run circles around them until they die from the fire. All this time, the Egg Piles will be spawning little trash mobs; these aren’t much of a threat at 90. Once the Egg Piles are gone, finish off any little adds and then go circle around the Monstrosities until they blow themselves up.

The next part’s easy. Smack Staghelm (or grab a feather, on subsequent pulls) to activate Alysrazor; she’ll rush out, drop a bunch of feathers, and head into the air. Grab three feathers to get flight, and take off, following this route:

firecat map 2Once you get there, hopefully the boss resets, or you’re a Night Elf and can Shadowmeld to reset. If not, you’re not going to have a ton of time before the nest Alysrazor phase starts and kills you. You’re looking for little seeds, which are floating in the lava flow next to the portal. They’re extremely small, so you may need to zoom in. Here’s a few pics so you can see what you’re looking for:

WoWScrnShot_050413_230013

WoWScrnShot_050413_230003


That’s it! There’s typically 3-5 seeds scattered around; they are Unique(5), which means you can only carry 5 at any point.  However, they are also Bind to Account, so feel free to mail some to alts if you want to stockpile. (There’s also no level requirement, so feel free to use it on a low-level druid, too; however, you have to be a druid to loot them in the first place.) As for the Seed itself, when used, it grants the buff Burning Essence for 60 minutes. This persists through death, shapeshifting, basically anything, unlike the buff from the original weapon. Have fun igniting!

firecat in pandaria

Exlipse on wowhead

 Posted by at 10:07 am
Dec 212012
 

So, I was preparing some sparse notes, when…

Patch 5.2’s on the PTR! Changes! Discussion! Yay!

(Below is my quick parse and analysis of the changes, with the standard disclaimer that dataminers gonna datamine; don’t make it real.)

Talents

  • Displacer Beast no longer activates Prowl; instead increases the Druid’s movement speed for 4 seconds. (Well, THAT’s a little more useful. It’s now basically a monk roll, and the movement speed makes it useful as a PvP getaway tool for the caster druids.)
  • Cenarion Ward’s healing increased by 100%. (That just got tossed back into the discussion as a viable talent. Could be interesting if combined with DoC.)
  • Soul of the Forest’s effect increased for Balance (post-Eclipse energy increased to 40 from 20), Guardian (3 rage from Mangle, instead of 2) and Restoration (haste buff after Swiftmend increased to 75%). (Now, I’m not as up on theorycraft for the non-feral specs, but the balance one seems pretty strong at first glance, especially because Incarnation is losing a bit of value due to the NV change. The rage buff for Guardians is still pretty crap, since most rage comes from autoattacks/crits. Resto…meh, depending on how much it boosts WG throughput.)
  • Mass Entanglement cooldown reduced from 2 minutes to 30 seconds. (RBG options just got a bit more interesting.)
  • Typhoon cooldown increased from 20 seconds to 30 seconds. (See above.)
  • Nature’s Vigil now increases damage/healing by 10% (was 20%) but has a 90s CD (was 180s). 25% off-healing/off-damage buff is unchanged.(This is interesting. DPS/PvP druids will dislike this because the value of the Incarnation+NV combo is diminished. From a off-healing (or off-damage) POV, though, you now get 33% uptime on the 25% buff, instead of 16.66%. That has a few potential applications.)

Bears (Ask @riftmaker, not me)

  • Thrash removed from Balance/Restoration Druids in Bear Form. (Shrug.)
  • Initial mastery bonus (+armor) increased from 10% to 12%. (No clue if they’re increasing scaling as well. If not, it’s just a small armor buff. If they are, mastery probably jumps to the front of the pack for hard-mode bears.)
  • The heal from Frenzied Regeneration increased by 20%. (I’ll let Arielle handle this one, since I know nothing about how well bears are scaling right now.)

Last but not least: MOTW and Revive got their mana costs slashed. Hurray for rebuffing in combat (and being able to rez two people back-to-back for non-resto!) Anything I missed?

(Oh, and one of these days I’m going to go update the Feral guide on the site/WoW forums. May proceed faster if cookies are submitted, just an FYI.)

UPDATE: Official (draft) notes posted. Things the datamine missed/got wrong:

  • Cyclone now has a 30 second cooldown and shares DR with a lot of stuff. (Have to think about this one; more later.)
  • Symbiosis Shattering Blow now has a cast time.
  • Mastery does now scale better, which does make mastery the god stat for bears.
  • Rejuv gets a 9% mana cost reduction, which should help Resto out.
  • Faerie Swarm now can be placed on multiple targets.
  • Force of Nature treants buffed (to an unknown degree, will have to look at this more closely).
Nov 282012
 

The only significant Druid change in patch 5.1 is the addition of Empowered Maul for Guardians, which Arielle over at TIB has already covered extensively, and Symbiosis buffs coming back for tanks. (All the ability “changes” are just tooltip fixes.)

So, instead of blathering, check this out (h/t Sunfyre for finding this). Treant Form + Fire = TOASTY! (someone needs to check if this works, that’d take this past awesome to hell yeah)

 Posted by at 1:44 am
Oct 142012
 

My column discussing the Heart of the Wild and Symbiosis hotfixes is live over at WoW Insider. Personally, I was hoping for more discussion about HoTW, but everyone still wants to complain about Symbiosis. :) If you haven’t had a chance to try super-saiyan-Wrath-spam (or the inverse, for your normal spell-flingers) you’ve got until maintenance on Tuesday to try it. After that, you can still do it, but it won’t be a DPS increase over your standard rotation (assuming the numbers work out). There’s a huge discussion about it going in the forums too.

Speaking of Symbiosis, I’d like to compile a list of good uses for Symbiosis per encounter (thinking a list for Challenge Modes and raids). Also, some generalized recommendations for PvP would be helpful. I’ve started up a thread in the forums to discuss it, so post your thoughts here or there.

 Posted by at 11:53 pm
Sep 282012
 

(xposted on TFD and WoM)

So, the good news is I got two weeks off of work. The bad news is that it wasn’t to play WoW, it was because my wife is in the hospital again. :( Thankfully, since I have no plans to raid at the moment, I’m not under any social pressure, but man. Talk about your funsuckers.

Some quick-hit thoughts from the limited time I did have to play (RAF’d the monk to 80, working through Cataclysm content now):

  • I made a last-minute decision to play my Monk as my “questing” toon, and my Druid as my “dungeon” toon. So, Alamonk (creative, no?) will knock down all the story segments, and Alaron will relearn how to play all the non-feral specs in a group setting again. :)
  • So far, the monk’s been as fun as I expected from the beta, though windwalker remains kinda eh. It works, don’t get me wrong, but it’s still missing something. I’ll have to think on it a bit more. In contrast, Brewmaster is crazy good. I did a couple of Stonecore runs just for kicks, and the whole “manuever to pick up Gift of the Ox” orbs thing is pretty entertaining, especially when you’re AoEing so you get 10-12 lying everywhere. I wish picking them up would be a little more responsive, though.
  • Feral’s pretty fun, but I still don’t like having to SR “before” every questing pull. I’m still going Ravage/Rake/dammitSR.

Once I get to 90, I’ll likely be working on some Ovale scripts for monks, and tweaking all my guides. Anyway, what are your impressions so far?

 Posted by at 4:28 pm
Aug 312012
 
AKA 5.0.5. It may go to live realms or they may go a few more builds/weeks before updating the live client, not sure which.
MMO-C changes:
  • Hurricane base damage increased by 27% and SP scaling increased by 7%.
  • Swipe now does 400% weapon damage, up from 375%.
  • Thrash damage increased by 7%.

Talents

  • Dream of Cenarius now increases the damage done by your next 2 Moonfire or Sunfire casts by 50%, down from 65%.

These are the same changes GC said he was making in his blue post (which I didn’t cover on here), so go read that for a bit more analysis. They’re trying to differentiate Solar and Lunar a bit more, and Feral just needed a straight up AoE buff. DoC was too strong for balance at 65% compared to the alternatives; 50% should be about right.

 Posted by at 5:43 am