The video above is a little under 50 minutes long. We would've been able to move quicker if I hadn't been in combat all the time.
Yeesh. Even the Matticus needs a drink from time to time.
Cloudstrike is the first boss your group will challenge. You'll run into Cloudstrike outside on a plateau just as you leave the first chamber. It's a three-phase encounter involving Cloudstrike and a flying serpent.
Stage 1 The first stage is simple to get through. Stay spread out over 5 yards so that you don't get nailed by by Invoke Lightning. The pet serpent will generate a Static Field at the feet of someone at random. Move out of those.
Stage 2 At this point, his pet azure serpent is going to swoop in. Cloudstrike becomes invulnerable, and his cloud serpent's going to attack your party.
Healers, pay attention here.
The Magnetic Shroud is going to absorb healing appied on each player. Players will take damage every second, but the shroud overloads when the healing applied exceeds the limits of Magnetic Shroud (thereby causing it to drop off). When the overload occurs, players within 20 yards get healed for 75,000 split by the number of players in range.
Oh, and don't stand in front of the serpent. Lightning Breath is a 45-degree conical attack in front of the serpent.
Stage 3 That Arc Lightning ability that Cloudstrike does isn't avoidable. It strikes every player in the party, and healers will just have to heal super hard through it (but it's manageable).
Master Snowdrift is in the next wing of the monastery. You'll get a crack at the sensei after you take down his disciples and students.
Important: Don't go near the doors until you're ready. Make sure your entire party is grouped up before going through it at the same time. Otherwise, the doors will immediately seal and anyone who's caught outside won't be able to participate.
Your group will be shelled by oncoming fire arrows as they make their way across a chasm to the next part of the monastery.
Stage 1 Watch out for Fists of Fury, healers! Master Snowdrift will rapidly strike with his fists and deal around 55,000 damage to anyone standing in front of him. He may also use Tornado Kick to strike anyone within range. Use caution, since pillars and stairs may represent line of sight issues.
Stage 2 This is the fun part. Master Snowdrift will split and make mirror images of himself. All forms will shot slow-moving fireballs that deal either arcane damage or fire damage. They're avoidable. The images have much lower health than the master himself.
Stage 3 At the final stage, the boss switches to a reactive stance. As your party initiates attacks, he will respond in kind. Healers need to remain alert for any players who end up being caught by Snowdrift, because they'll be exposed to Tornado Smash. Keep their health above 30%.
When Snowdrift isn't hunting down players, he'll switch to Parry Stance. Anyone in melee range attacking him will be struck first with Quivering Palm and then followed up with Unleash Vibrations. Players at range aren't safe, either, since they'll be responded to with a Flying Kick.
As the party is slowly DPSing down this crazy panda, keep an eye on your own health bars. Stop attacking when your health reaches a critically low level and give your healer the opportunity to heal you.
Sha of Violence
When you come across the Sha of Violence, you'll find that it represents the main cause behind the confusion of the monks within the monastery. It feeds upon the brutality and aggression between Horde and Alliance forces. The chamber that houses the Sha of Violence seems to be a little graphically demanding for those of you on lower-end machines. Be careful.
Tanks will routinely receive a Disorienting Smash. They'll be dazed and wander around for 4 seconds (at most). However, if your tank takes any damage during that state, they'll be knocked out of that state and gain control of their character back.
The Sha will start whirlwind attacks called Smoke Blades. Not only do players close to it take damage, but their critical strike chance gets reduced. Want to reduce the duration of Smoke Blades? Simple! Keep using abilities, since it knocks off 3 seconds from the duration.
Sha Spikes will randomly erupt from the ground, knocking any players back. Damage appears to be minor. They're simple to spot.
Lastly, once the Sha gets low enough, it'll start enraging, and its attack speed increases by 50% for 30 seconds. Kill it fast before it gets your party.
This is the leader of the Shado-Pan. He has been affected by the Sha of Hatred. The encounter introduces a meter that players will need to manage.
The Sha of Hatred is able to influence players. The bar at the bottom of the screen indicates how much Hatred they have. If that bar reaches full, your damage increases by 20%, but your chance to hit and healing done gets reduced by a substantial amount, rendering you ineffective. Lower your hatred by using Meditate!
Don't stand near Tarun Zhul while the Ring of Malice surrounds him. Sha Blast will only be used by him when the Ring is up. Rising Hate deals straight shadow damage to multiple players and increases your Hatred levels. You'll need to do what you can to mitigate and deal with it, although it shouldn't be a problem for any well-equipped healer.
Other than that, the encounter feels like a normal tank and spank. Manage the Hatred levels while while responding to the other abilities appropriately, and you'll have it in the bag for sure.
There's still some tuning that needs to happen. I feel that Taran Zhu could use a few additional buffs or something. It seems too easy and manageable. On the other hand, we did tackle it on normal difficulty, so who knows what heroic will be like?
It's not quite as vibrant as Stormstout Brewery or Temple of the Jade Serpent, but the mood is gloomier. The monastery has been infected, and you have to help the monks there beat back the corrupting Sha influence. Something tells me that you'll want them to owe you a favor down the line.
It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!