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Filed under: Raid Guides

Raid Rx: Healing Majordomo Staghelm

Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poohbah of World of Matticus and a founder of Plus Heal, a discussion community for healers of all experience levels and interests. Catch his weekly podcast on healing, raiding and leading, the Matticast.

Anyone else excited about transmogrification? I'll be shooting for tier 2, tier 5 and tier 6 looks. I'd rank those three as the greatest-looking priest sets of all time. But we're not here to talk about things like cosmetic looks, because no one cares about that stuff, right?!

This week, we duck back into Firelands and take a look at Majordomo Staghelm. Among encounters that emphasize the use of cooldowns, the heroic phase of Halfus would be the Superbowl of all healing cooldown encounters. But the 25-man version of Majordomo, I would classify as the Olympics. There is a ton of preparation that needs to happen before throwing the entire raid in there. Before we devise a strategy that's going to work for you, there are a few questions you'll want to ask.
  • How many healers do you want to take in?
  • How many overall defensive raid cooldowns are available?
  • Is your DPS amazingly high?

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Filed under: Raid Rx (Raid Healing), Raid Guides

Ready Check: WoW Insider's guide to Ragnaros

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop.

This is it, folks, the end of the the line. We have already faced down the rest of his minions: Shannox, Beth'tilac, Lord Rhyolith, Alysrazor, Baleroc the Gatekeeper, and Majordomo Staghelm. All that remains is to challenge Ragnaros himself. The battle to reach the Sulfuron Keep has been long. Each encounter offers a new challenge for players to overcome, but none of those fights holds a candle to what remains. Ragnaros is no pushover; any player seeking to bring down the Lord of Fire should be amply prepared.

One thing worth mentioning about the Ragnaros encounter is that very little of it is gear-dependent. If you are capable of reaching him, then you are more than capable of taking him down. More of the fight relies upon flawless execution of the mechanics than it does the raw output of your raid group. Should your group struggle to down him, don't fret. This is an encounter that takes time -- time to learn the ins and outs, how to move, what to do, and how to deal. Keep at it; things will click eventually, and suddenly he becomes cake.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding), Raid Guides

Raid Rx: The value of the all-purpose healer

Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poohbah of World of Matticus and a founder of Plus Heal, a discussion community for healers of all experience levels and interests. Catch his weekly podcast on healing, raiding and leading, the Matticast.

When it comes to setting up healing in raids, we like to lump healers into different specializations. We have players who strictly tank heal or raid heal. In some cases, there is a specific role they need to play within the encounter (like kite healing). Blizzard has done a great job of trying to equalize the healing classes to the point that they can do everything competently. Even then, we continue to instinctively place the different classes into specific healing roles. If you are a healer who has traditionally done only one type of healing, then it is time to diversify.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raid Rx (Raid Healing), Raid Guides

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: DPS in the Firelands

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

Now that we've covered gearing up in detail, it's time to talk about what to do with that gear. Now that the Firelands have been out for a while, we've all had a chance to get in there and kill some mobs. That includes me; I have also had a chance to do that. So what have I experienced in my excursions to the hell of upside-down fire elementals? (Okay, they're not upside-down.)
  • For starters, all three DPS warrior specs are really close together right now. In my experience, arms and fury DPS is neck-and-neck, with arms performing better on some fights and fury better on others. Also, SMF and TG fury are both pretty viable, with TG seeming to move ahead once you're using a pair of Firelands 2H weapons.
  • Once again, gearing up takes you past the nerfs in a few weeks. I basically raid with a fury spec and an arms spec, and some nights I respec from TG to SMF and/or the other way around. (Now that my axes have dropped, I usually stay TG.) My DPS was much poorer going into Firelands than it is now. The difference was pretty dramatic, and while I'm hardly blowing ahead to the top of the charts, DPS is solid again. Basically, what's controlling my DPS (again) is encounter design (again).
  • Be prepared to use your utility abilities. Rallying Cry. Remember it? You'd better, because it's a raid-wide cooldown that you're definitely going to be using on Majordomo Staghelm. Speaking of Majordomo, if you have Seeds on you and you blow up the raid, it's because you forgot you have one of the best abilities in the game to get out to range in time and then some of the best abilities in the game to get back in.
  • Blizzard needs to very quickly create and implement a set of non-tier DPS plate shoulders. Look at me -- I'm still wearing ZA shoulders. I am knee-deep in Firelands every week. I've killed Domo several times now. Why won't you give me shoulders? There is absolutely no option for plate DPS save tier, although there are several pairs of tanking shoulders. This is bloody insane, and it needs to be addressed. Firelands or the valor point vendors need more loot, guys.
So let's discuss the Firelands from a DPS warrior perspective.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Raid Guides

Raid Rx: Guide to healing Alysrazor

Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poohbah of World of Matticus and a founder of Plus Heal, a discussion community for healers of all experience levels and interests. Catch his weekly podcast on healing, raiding and leading, the Matticast.

Up for a really big bird? Maybe a little BBQ bird? Although more of dragon than anything, Alysrazor does sort of look like a bird. This fight isn't really as challenging as Baleroc, but it does have a fair share of obstacles. You'd better be able to heal on the move, as this encounter will throw a ton of stuff your way when you least expect it. Know where your tanks are at all times, because if the monsters they're tanking become really angry and throw a tantrum, you'll need to step up and keep them alive.

If you have a basic understanding of the encounter, keep reading. You may wish to refer to the encounter journal or other resources to get the whole picture of what is going on and what the different roles are.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Raid Rx (Raid Healing), Raid Guides

Totem Talk: An enhancement guide to Shannox and Baleroc

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once only tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all shaman DPS specs. (And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.)

Every fight in Firelands has its positives and negatives for enhancement shaman. Rhyolith takes reduced damage for 60% of the fight, but he goes molten at 25%, and you need to burn him before he burns you. Beth'tilac spends the first 3 minutes making you run around like a confused wildebeest while you try to avoid scary fire on the ground, but then he gives you a nice, long burn phase at the end.

This seems to be the Firelands model, at least in the first four fights. Every fight has periods of low damage to the boss followed by intense DPS phases. Shannox, the Hagrid of Firelands, is no different. His first phase will either make you want to rip your movement keys off your keyboard or make you want to reroll an arcane mage, while his second will just make you want to roll arcane.

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Filed under: Shaman, Raiding, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Cataclysm, Raid Guides

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: How to spend your valor points

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

Patch 4.2 is in full swing by now, with most players having unlocked either the Shadow Wardens or the Druids of the Talon for the various vendors. Many guilds are already working on heroic modes, and even more are fighting their way through the raid to one degree or another.

And what does this all mean to us warriors? Well, it means new gear, for one thing. The past couple of weeks, we've discussed gear you could pick up in the Firelands raid itself as well as via reputation rewards and unlockable vendors (and a quest chain). Now, it's time to discuss what you can buy for valor points, since we're getting close to the third week and you should have been able to pick up some points as well as had a shot at Occu'thar.

Before we go into the big list o' loot, I wanted to say that a couple of weeks in, I'm feeling like I'm getting a handle on how warriors perform in the Firelands raid. It's like I figured: Once again, warriors need to get geared up to equal other DPSers. I feel that for right now, arms DPS is the easiest to sustain, then SMF fury, and finally TG fury. I expect TG will pull ahead once I'm using a couple of Firelands weapons. On a fight like Rhyolith or Staghelm, I can sustain more DPS than on an Alysrazor or Shannox, where I have to target switch more, move around to chase down mobs or avoid damage and even interrupt. I think perhaps the nerfs to fury were more than was needed, but we'll see once a couple more weeks are gone and we're talking about set bonuses and Firelands level weapons.

Speaking of set bonuses, let's start talking about valor point rewards.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Raid Guides

WoW Insider's Guide to Occu'thar

Occu'thar is a deranged demon found within the western wing of the Baradin Hold raid instance. Released in patch 4.2, he offers a chance for both hardcore raiders and casual PUG players to get their tier 12 gloves and pants, as well as an assortment of Season 10 PVP gear. This is WoW Insider's Guide to Occu'thar.

When you zone into the post-4.2 Baradin Hold, the first thing you'll notice that last patch's Demon Containment Unit trash have been deactivated. The now defunct Destroyed Containment Unit stand silent in the hallways, leaving room for you to engage this patch's new trash, the Eyes of Occu'thar. If you've learned anything from Cataclysm raiding, it should be that trash mobs will do everything in their power to kill you, and it's in your raid's best interest to be prepared. These optical oddities are no different.

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Filed under: Raiding, Cataclysm, Raid Guides

Raid Rx: Lord Rhyolith and Beth'tilac healing impressions

Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of Plus Heal, a discussion community for healers of all experience levels and interests. Catch his weekly podcast on healing, raiding and leading on the Matticast.

Firelands is here! Yay! The other night, my raid took down entry bosses Beth'tilac and Lord Rhyolith. Both have their share of intensive healing phases. This week, I'll walk you through a little bit of the threats involved and approach the two encounters from the mindset of both a healing leader and a healer. I'll let you know when to save and when to use your cooldowns.

How much have the encounters changed since the last time I faced them on the PTR? I have to say not much, since the mechanics and damage are about the same. To be fair, when I tried them out on the PTR, it was done with a 10-player group. I found the live version 25-man to be much more forgiving at times, despite the high output of damage.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raid Rx (Raid Healing), Raid Guides

Firelands: WoW Insider's first impressions

Pssst. Hey you. Yeah, you. Come here. Do you like clearing trash? Is clearing trash, like, the best? Do you love trash respawns on tight timers? Well, have I got the raid for you!

Patch 4.2 has been live on servers for a little over 24 hours now, which means that the Firelands raid is just as new. Hardcore raiders that we are (well, some of us), a team of WoW Insider writers headed into the raid instance on its inaugural night with the intent of offering our first impressions.

How would the new encounters test healers? What kind of issues would tanks face? Would crowd control efforts would be necessary? Matt Low of Raid RX, warrior tank Mat McCurley, and enhancement shaman Josh Myers all headed into the Firelands to find out. What follows are their insights and opinions from the point of view of a healer, a tank, and a DPSer, respectively.

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Filed under: Raiding, Cataclysm, Raid Guides

WoW Rookie: A raid rookie's lexicon of raiding language

New around here? WoW Rookie has your back! Get all our collected tips, tricks and tactics for new players in the WoW Rookie Guide. WoW Rookie is about more than just being new to the game; it's about checking out new classes, new playstyles, and new zones.

Breaking into the raid scene can be intimidating for a new player, especially one who's not done anything like 10-man or 25-man raiding. We can hope that 5-man dungeons provide a basic idea of the general dynamics: healers heal, tanks tank, and damagers damage.

Most experienced raiders use language that a new player won't find in the game interface. Words like "tank" have a relatively obvious meaning, but phrases like "void zone" can be a little tougher to interpret when a new player first encounters them. This raider's lexicon has been built through 6 years of WoW raiding, and decades of MMO playing before Azeroth become an MMO.

This guide is intended to help new raiders get an idea what the heck everyone else is talking about. Be warned that most raids also have their own internal lexicon, too; we can't tell you what everyone is saying, but hopefully we'll get you caught up on the most basic stuff.

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Filed under: Raiding, WoW Rookie, Raid Guides

Totem Talk: Cataclysm raiding as a restoration shaman, part 1

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement and restoration shaman. Want to be a sultan of swing healing? A champion of Chain Heal? Totem Talk: Restoration, brought to you by Joe Perez (otherwise known as Lodur from World of Matticus and co-host of the Raid Warning podcast), shows you how.

You've done all your prep work, and the time has come to step into a raid. You've got your gear shined up and ready to go. You've got your gems and enchants in place, and you have chosen your raiding spec and glyphs. You're here to chew bubblegum and down raid bosses ... and you're all out of bubblegum.

Now, while you may be prepared to step into the ring and take on Ivan Drago, preparing yourself with some boss knowledge is always good. We're going to start by taking a look at all the bosses in this tier's raiding content in order of what is largely considered to be the standard progression path. I'll talk about them them roughly in order of easiest to hardest difficulty, with emphasis on what you should know as a raiding restoration shaman for these fights.

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Filed under: Shaman, Raiding, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Raid Guides

Patch 4.1: Guide to the new Zul'Aman

Of the two "new" troll dungeons introduced in patch 4.1, Zul'Aman was the more difficult on the PTR, to the point that it actually felt a little overtuned for folks trying to do it solely in heroic blues. I'd compare it to heroic Magisters' Terrace of The Burning Crusade or heroic Halls of Reflection in Wrath of the Lich King, at least in the sense that it can be a pretty unforgiving place if you're not sitting on any raid-quality gear. I only ever pugged ZA while on the PTR, so estimates of the content's difficulty are necessarily colored by that. If you're going to do this place with a competent set of guildies, you probably won't need to worry as much.

If you're familiar with ZA's pre-4.1 incarnation, you'll recognize a lot of the same mechanics, mobs, and bosses at 85. I used to organize "bear runs" for my guild back in BC and would go so far as to say that, in marked contrast to Zul'Gurub, about 90% of the dungeon's raid mechanics have survived in one form or another.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raid Guides

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