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Filed under: 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

Patch 4.1: Guide to the new Zul'Gurub

Of the two "new" troll-themed 5-mans going live in patch 4.1, Zul'Gurub seemed by far the easier with the groups I had on the public test realm (PTR), though both it and Zul'Aman require an average ilevel of 346 in order to queue through the dungeon finder. However, if you're going to pug this content, be advised that there are a number of different mechanics that can wipe groups quickly.

Shifting Perspectives readers will be familiar with elements of this article, as I wrote a guide to Zul'Gurub for druid tanks and healers in late March. I've expanded that here and have also tried to include a sense of the instance from a less class-specific viewpoint. Because the instance's mini-bosses have fairly simple mechanics (and regrettably, I never landed a group that did all of them), I've ignored them here in favor of the instance's five "real" bosses.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raid Guides

Raid Rx: Blackwing Descent healing playbook

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 No Stock UI, a WoW blog for all things UI-, macro- and addon-related.

No, this isn't the playbook that will help you secure your dreams and fantasies. This playbook is designed to act as a quick reference guide for normal mode bosses on 25-man. It can be nerve-wracking to organize six to eight healers in a 25-player setting. Sometimes you forget things. Sometimes you're not sure which player or which class is optimal for a given role.

If you don't know where to start, then start here. (Note: The playbook assumes that the raid group has a basic understanding of encounter abilities and assorted phases.)

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

Raid Rx: Heroic Halfus healing case study

Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand pooh-bah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a WoW blog for all things UI-, macro- and addon-related. If you're looking for more healing advice, check out the Plus Heal community and Matticast, the new healing, raiding, and guild management podcast.

If there ever was an encounter in which Atonement-specced priests really stood out, this would be it. Aside from that, Halfus on heroic mode is a great test for healing leaders and raid leaders on the art of syncing defensive cooldowns.

Objective: Can your healing team help the raid survive the first minute of the encounter?

Once you get past that first minute, the hardest part is over, and your raid will get there. In this post, I'll show you a textbook case of cooldown planning from start to finish.

On the the matter of cooldowns, it looks like shaman will be getting their own fairly soon.

Spirit Link Totem: Reduces damage taken by all party and raid members within 10 yards by 10%. This lasts 6 seconds, and every second it is active the health of all affected players is redistributed among them, such tha teach player end sup with the same percentage of their maximum health. This counts as an Air totem and has a 3 minute cooldown.

For restoration druids, Malfurion's Gift appears to reduce Tranquility by 2.5/5 minutes. The actual effect of Tranquility has not changed. If I were to guess, I'd say it would get modified further for reduced incoming damage while the spell is being channeled. No confirmation yet either way.

So how does one survive Halfus in the 25-player raid?

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

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