Well, Naxxramas is big enough that I'll leave a whole article to it. The other raids from the original raiding scene of level 60 can fit into one since they're relatively easy to do. The roadblocks to finishing them are largely mechanical tricks, not damage output or survivability problems.
There's no real difference between the specs in these earliest raids. I run as destruction mostly because it's fast-paced, but any spec and almost any talent setup can do these raids.
The hardest part of Molten Core is not having enough health to Burning Rush all the time. Once you've killed everyone that isn't Majordomo Executus, you can complete the Majordomo's encounter, and then you get the lovely run back almost to the entrance to get to Ragnaros himself.
You can run by trash mobs without attracting attention, and if you need more than two hands to count the number of casts it takes to kill a boss at 90, you're either AFK or doing it wrong. (It could be argued you should only need one hand.)
The only tricks you may need to know about are the corehound trash, Baron Geddon, and Ragnaros's knockback. The corehounds before Lucifron and Magmadar need to be killed all together. It's most satisfying now to go ahead and pull all 4-5 packs between Lucifron and Magmadar and Rain them down together.
Baron Geddon's trick is that he might blow you up in the air if you don't burst him down far enough. It's quite a knock-up, so putting a Demonic Circle underneath you is just a quality-of-life tip. Ragnaros will similarly knock you back a fair distance, so pop a teleport just in case.
Besides nostalgia, Molten Core has some cool loot drops, even without the pets added in patch 5.1. Tier 1 can be found here, as well as the pants to tier 2 (if you're a pants kind of warlock). However, the tier drops will require some trash killing if you want the entire 8-piece set:
- Horns -- Garr
- Shoulders -- Shazzrah
- Robes -- Golemagg
- Bracers -- trash mobs
- Gloves -- Lucifron
- Belt -- trash mobs
- Pants -- Magmadar
- Slippers -- Shazzrah
- Magmadar drops Blazing Rune (Corefire Imp).
- Sulfuron Harbinger drops Mark of Flame (Harbinger of Flame).
- Golemagg drops Core of Hardened Ash (Ashstone Core).
Blackwing Descent is familiar to Cataclysm players. Blackwing Lair has a Nefarian as well, except he's level 60 and the entrance to the place is inside Blackrock Mountain, not outside. The raid still lies behind an attunement, which is basically to run Upper Blackrock Spire after killing a specific mob outside the instance. After that, you can walk into the Lair simply by touching the Orb of Command.
Just in case you do die while inside Blackwing Lair, getting back to your body involves: run up the chain, run behind or underneath the rock dwarf holding the chain, jump onto the balcony with the spirit angel, and run up the hallway to the Orb of Command, which will resurrect you.
For tier 2 (Nemesis Raiment) drops, visit these bosses over and over again:
- Head -- Onyxia, whom I'll visit in a solo guide later.
- Shoulders -- Chromaggus
- Robes -- Nefarian
- Bracers -- Razorgore
- Gloves -- Ebonroc, Firemaw, or Flamegor
- Belt -- Vaelastrasz
- Leggings -- Ragnaros has them in the Molten Core!
- Boots -- Broodlord Lashlayer
- Razorgore drops an Unscathed Egg (Untamed Hatchling).
- Broodlord Lashlayer drops the Blackwing Banner (Death Talon Whelpguard).
- Chromaggus will drop a Whistle of Chromatic Bone (Chrominius).
If you exit the mind control with Razorgore at the opposite end of the room, you have enough time to take care of the adds before he gets back across to smack you. Otherwise, the only thing you need to know is to hit your 4 key (the claw icon ability) to destroy the eggs around the room.
For Vaelastrasz, you'll want to soulstone yourself (unless you like running back), since his Burning Adrenaline debuff will kill you at the end.
The other pain in the rear mechanic is the Suppression Room, which will slow you to an ungodly movement speed so long as you are unable to disarm the pillars in it. There are two tricks to this room. One, you can lay down your Demonic Gateway to skip most of the room's length. You still have to run for some of it, and it takes forever, though not nearly as forever as without.
The other option is to pull the preceding dragonkin trash up to Suppression Room with you. Some of the dragonkin have a knockback that knocks you up in the air, which you can use to jump the levels of the room so you're squarely at the boss instead of running the entire way. Just be careful that you don't get bounced back down, since the knockbacks can happen in quick succession. Kill the boss at the end of the Suppression Room to lift the gate and resume your normal speed.
After the Suppression Room, the bosses are fairly nukeable. The only possible annoyance is the Blackwing Spellbinder trash, which are immune to spells. Pull out a melee pet to chomp on these. Use the hourglass sand if Chromaggus gives you trouble, but you should be able to burst Chromaggus down before two debuffs go out.
If you wait long enough on Nefarian, he'll force you to summon Infernals, but you should be able to kill him within seconds of his landing. loot his head for a spectacular trophy hanging in your faction's capital.
There are the Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj -- named AQ20 for its 20-man size -- but there are no pet drops or other fancy drops. The most interesting things I find in there are looting old grimoires.
In AQ40, however, there's plenty of goodies to be found. There's a whole bunch of scarabs and Husks of the Old God that you can use to craft old weapons and gear through quests, but I usually vendor or delete these items. Throughout the raid, you can mount up, and there are specific AQ-only bug mounts that drop in AQ40. Yellow, blue, and green are the common colors; red is the rarer color, but within a few runs you should find one for yourself.
For battle pet hunters, find these AQ40 bosses:
- The Prophet Skeram will drop a Jewel of Maddening Whispers (Mini Mindslayer).
- Viscidus will drop his own Globule.
- Emperor Vek'lor will drop an Anubisath Idol.
Notable trash mobs include the Vekniss guardian mobs, which can knock you high into the air, and the Anubisath mobs. The Anubisaths will be immune to and reflect back damage of two magic schools. The combinations are Fire and Arcane or Shadow and Frost; either way, Fel Flame is a great workaround solution.
Viscidus might seem impossible at first glance since warlocks have no frost spells. But the damage done from Archimonde's Vengeance counts as all damage schools, including frost, so with this talent Viscidus will seemingly automatically freeze up for you. To shatter him, simply bring along a melee pet and prepare to stab him with your own melee autoattacks.
Twin Emperors used to be a hard DPS check to do entirely solo; now, at 90 in even 480-ish gear, it's pretty easy as a 90 warlock. When the two are near each other, they heal themselves; you must out-damage the heal. As a caster, you can only damage Vek'lor (the caster guy), as Vek'nilash (the melee guy) is immune to magic damage, but they share a health pool. Vek'nilash will do a knockback, and Kil'jaeden's Cunning just makes the Chaos Bolts less painful. If you want to add some spice to the encounter, don't clear any of the Anubisath mobs in the previous hallway, so they'll come party with you when you engage the twins.
C'thun will transport you to his stomach after you kill his eye. Kill the tentacles inside, port out on the platform, and then kill his body. In the room after C'thun are three dragons in humanoid form who will craft you items if you bring certain parts like scarabs of Husks of the Old God.
Blood Pact is a weekly column detailing DOTs, demons and all the dastardly deeds done by warlocks. We'll coach you in the fine art of staying alive, help pick the best target for Dark Intent, and steer you through tier 13 set bonuses.