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Shifting Perspectives: Soloing as a feral druid, part 1

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat , bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our feral cat edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. Let the face clawing begin!

After my deployment, the time I had for organized raiding shrank dramatically. I searched for something else to do but found few answers. The new solo content in 3.2 quickly grew stale and repetitive (as did trollroics), and high latency made feral PVP a daunting challenge. I could've hung it up; instead, I rediscovered an old love -- instance soloing.

Soloing through old content may seem pointless to those who simply chase item levels, but it has several benefits. I was one of those who never got to see The Burning Crusade raids past Karazhan; now I can, enjoying the scenery and fights at my own pace. The fights will challenge you, requiring you to learn every aspect of your class and how core game mechanics operate. Finally, it's pretty profitable and a hell of a lot less boring then doing dailies. We might not be able to solo certain bosses like DKs do, but we can get through trash much faster and easier due to stealth.

Getting started

To get into anything above a 5-man, you need to be in a raid group. If you play at on-peak times with a large guild, it's pretty easy to simply invite someone's alt and make a raid group that way. (The other player can log off/switch characters once the raid group is formed.)

If you play off-peak like me, you'll need a second account. Thankfully, WoW Starter Edition accounts are now free. Create a second account, level a character to 10, and use that as your group starter. As before, once the raid group is created, feel free to log the other character off. I use an auto-accept invite addon on the alt to minimize the initial alt-tabbing.

Spec/Glyphs Here are my recommended specs and glyphs. If you want to use this in cat form, simply switch Lacerate+Mangle for Rip+Shred and you're golden.

Gear Since feral DPS and tank sets are mostly interchangeable, feel free to use your regular DPS kit as a base, which will get you though most things. The better gear you have, the easier things get; however, most fights are quite doable in 359 gear. For difficult fights, you'll want a second helm and pants (to swap metas/leg armors) and tanking trinkets, as well as consumables (flask, food, and runescroll). Stat-wise, you're looking for agility/crit (to proc SD as often as possible).

Basic strategy For trash, simply stealth through or kitty swipe, as desired. Go bear if HP gets low. For bosses, Savage Defense keeps you very protected from physical damage in bear form, but hard-hitting bosses or magical damage are challenging. You'll have to reduce the incoming damage with your cooldowns and outheal it via LOTP and Frenzied Regeneration. Typically, the bosses have spots where they're casting or otherwise occupied; you'll want to shift out of bear and quickly throw HOTs. This is a gamble, though; if you take a hit in caster/cat, then you've wasted the HOT. For certain bosses who do primarily magical damage or adds with stacking debuff-type damage, you'll want to go cat to kill them quickly.

For this column, we'll start with the game's easier level 60 raids, Molten Core and AQ-10/AQ-40. (Sadly, the first boss in Blackwing Lair is unsoloable, so I won't cover that instance here.)

Molten Core

Getting there The entrance to MC is located in BRD, a 5-man instance. If you complete this quest, you'll be able to teleport directly to the instance Blackrock Mountain.

Nothing in here is very threatening; the hardest part is getting around, since you can't mount. (At least you have a map now.) All of the trash can be rounded up and AOEed or skipped, though be cautious of the packs of Core Hounds; they will revive each other if not killed together. I would definitely recommend killing the Molten Destroyers, at least; they have a small chance to drop Blood of the Mountain, which is worth 500+ gold.

The path is fairly linear. Zone in, take a quick detour over the bridge to kill Lucifron and Magmadar, then come back and loop through the rest of the bosses. All can be safely burned down in Cat Form. (Don't try to AOE the healers with the Sulfuron Harbinger; just kill them individually.) Ragnaros is the only boss that still presents a bit of a challenge, and that mostly comes down to positioning; place your back to the tall rock outcropping, so that when he does the large knockback, you land safely on the cliff and take no fall damage.

Rewards Plenty of transmog loot, if you're interested in preparing for that. Each boss drops between 50 and 150 gold. If you're interested in making Sulfuras, the components drop here; if not, they sell very well to those who are. This is also the only place to get Hydraxian Warlord rep.

Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj (AQ-10)

Getting there For level 85 players, the easiest route is to take the teleporter to Uldum and fly west to Silithus. AQ-10 is at the southern edge of the zone.

Strategy This previously 20-man instance doesn't offer much in the way of challenge, but it's a good warmup for AQ-40. Every boss in here can be killed in cat, with one exception, Ayamiss. Ayamiss can only attacked by ranged attacks for phase 1 (100-70%), which limits you to Bear Form Faerie Fire or your laughably weak nature spells. Either way, it's going to take a few minutes. While this is going on, she'll summon adds and stack a nature debuff on you; neither are truly threatening, but you can outrange her spells if you need to drop the debuff stacks and heal up.

Rewards Not much, really -- 25-50 gold per boss, and a tiny bit of Brood of Nozdormu rep. If you skip Ayamiss, though, you can clear this in about 15-20 minutes; it's not much bigger than a 5-man instance.

Temple of Ahn'Qiraj (AQ-40)

Getting there To the west of AQ-10.

Strategy Now, that's more like it. The trash here loves knockbacks; Cat Form will protect you from the majority of the falling damage, however. Skeram and Sartura are easy kills; simply swipe for adds and otherwise use your standard rotation. Fankriss is a bit trickier; he'll stack a mortal wound debuff on you (-% healing), summon two types of adds, and periodically teleport and root you. Still fairly easy; just swipe adds whenever you can, and watch your MW debuff. It will stack to 10 (no healing at all), then fall off; that's your cue to use Frenzied Regen, if you need it.

Princess Huhuran hits pretty hard and has an enrage at 30%. If you're well-geared, you can simply burn her down faster then she burns you. If not, the safest strategy is to stop DPS at 40%, pop Frenzied Regen to recover a bit, then kill her the rest of the way (saving Berserk and SI for sub-30%). You'll have to stop here, as the Twin Emperors are not soloable.

If you'd like, head back and face the Bug Trio. This optional boss is arguably the most fun/most annoying boss you'll ever face, as you'll have to deal with fears, stuns, and knockbacks. Start in cat, stealth in, and pop all CDs on nuking down Yauj. Interrupt her heals as you can. A PVP trinket will get you out of the first fear, which makes this much easier. If you don't have a trinket, you'll just have to whittle down her health in Bear, interrupting when you can. (If you get knocked high in the air, shift to Cat before you land to reduce the fall damage. You can't stay in Cat too long, though, as the damage adds up quickly.) Once you manage to kill Yauj, Vem and Kri are simple.

Rewards A bit more gold (50-100g per boss), a lot more Brood rep, four exclusive mounts (that sadly can only be used here) and one super-spiffy trinket. If you're going after Brood rep, make sure to save the Insignias until you no longer get rep from trash. I'm also a fan of this staff model.

Next week, we'll move on to level 70 content. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments!

Looking for the latest and greatest in feral cat druid guides? Shifting Perspectives has the answers! Check out our cat 101 for Cataclysm. Also don't miss gearing your cat for Firelands raiding, addons for cat druids and raiding strats for feral cats, as well as our feral cat Firelands boss strats.

Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

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