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Posts with tag SlavePens

For great (Badge of) Justice!

The other night my guild stepped into a heroic instance for the first time. Now this isn't great news for those of you who already spend your weekend nights huggling Gruul, but it's a great accomplishment for us. Since we all have the Coilfang Resevoir key we started with Slave Pens, and I must say it was a joy to have challenge in that instance again.

It felt like I had been given the instance back, as it were. If I were to walk into Slave Pens at the normal level I would feel little interest since it's tuned for 62-64. I finally understand the method behind the heroic dungeon concept, to allow level 70 players to have fun going to those dungeons again. But what I'd really like is heroic dungeon settings for the old instances in Azeroth. Can you imagine what Van Cleef would be like at level 70? It makes me giddy just to think of it.

We only got as far as the first boss, and then the trash beat us to a complete pulp before exhaustion forced us to quit. I really was surprised how the tides shift with heroics. I have a hard time reconciling trash mobs who are impossible to kill and bosses who are manageable. Either way I am excited to have such a novel experience added to our game play. Whoever came up with the concept of heroic dungeons was brilliant. I have my first Badge of Justice, now. Only 112 to go.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances

A few tips for starting Heroics

Most players by now that started rolling to 70 when the expansion hit are probably either just starting or in the middle of running their first few Heroic dungeons. I fall into that group-- my guild has had a few folks running Heroics for a while, but the majority of us are just now starting to pick up the Revered rep needed in the different factions to make running Heroics a regular possibility. So here's a few tips I've picked up just in the past few weeks or so about how to get started running the most challenging 5mans in the game. Please feel free to add your own below.

-Easiest Heroic: in general, you're going to want to start in the Slave Pens. I've heard good things about Underbog and Old Hillsbrad (Ramparts is comparably easy as well, especially if you've got your FR gear on), but really I've found that Slave Pens is a good indicator of whether your group is ready for Heroics or not, and it seems like Cenarion rep is pretty easy to come by, so you've got lots of keyed folks to choose from.

-Best place to get badges: Heroic Mechanar. Even the Gatekeeper minibosses, who don't give good loot in the normal instance, will drop Badges for you in Heroic, which means that if you skate through this place in under an hour, you're earning five badges in that time.

-In Heroics, it's not the bosses you have to worry about, it's the trash. Trash hits hard (really hard), so there's no room for error (read: letting the mobs go after clothies). If you don't have the standard CC you need (and you should-- heroic groups are best when every class type is well-represented), then fear is your friend, because in most heroics two hits are enough to cause a wipe.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Instances

Meet the new endgame, much harder than the old

I don't know if you all have noticed yet, but the 5 man dungeons in Outland are hard. Like they actually require skill, group coordination, and class knowledge hard. Like Coldlight on the forums, I love it.

When you first get in there, things start out fairly easy-- Ramparts and Blood Furnace bosses have their quirks (the last guy in Blood Furnace plays out like a mini-Geddon with the AoE, but he gives you so much warning, it's no real trouble to get away in time), but the good stuff starts coming later. In Slave Pens, there are trash mobs (not bosses) that lay down mind control, and they come with a whole crowd of people. There are 5 man bosses in Auchindoin that do some nasty AoE and bosses that require DPS control (the stuff that Dives yells about). Durnholde and Black Morass in CoT are two tough instances that grab on to you and don't let go until you're all dead or the instance is over. And then, just when you think you've broken everything Blizzard has to offer, you try Heroic mode, and the difficulty ramps right back up again (perhaps in disproportion to the gear offered, but that's another story).

WoW is not a hard game by any means-- that's why so many people like it so much. But especially now, when almost no one has picked up the top endgame gear, more than a few groups are actually finding a serious challenge. I'm having a lot of fun working through it (wiping isn't that fun, but winning after the wipe is), but players who were just messing around in PUGs before are being forced to learn their stuff, or wipe out. It's a whole new endgame out there.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Raiding, The Burning Crusade

Making the most of socketed items

Is it just me, or are socketed pieces a ripoff? Most players were excited when Blizzard announced that in the Burning Crusade, we'd be able to socket various pieces of armor with extra stats-- I have fond memories of pimping out my armor in Diablo II with extra gems, and couldn't wait to do the same in Outland.

But now that I've gotten a few socketed pieces, they, well, suck. At 62, I got this awesome vest for my Shaman from a quest reward-- +44 spell damage and healing, 6mps, 21 stam, and 15 int. Then, at 64, when I took down Mennu the Betrayer in the Slave Pens, I got this baby-- the Vest of Living Lightning, complete with red, yellow, and blue sockets.

And after hunting around for gems a little bit, I am unimpressed. At the gem merchant in Thrallmart (yes, Thrallmart, for all your Outland needs), the best I could find was a little +9 healing and a little int and spirit-- even with those bonuses, the socketed vest doesn't match up to the quest reward. And even at my Aldor vendor, I couldn't find any gems that came close to making me switch away to the new vest. In the end, I vendored the socketed item. Likewise, the pictured item sucks even with three yellow gems in it when compared to what I'm wearing, the Scaled Legs of Rumination.

Now, I'm still in the low levels of socketing, so it's very likely that both the socketed gear and the gems will get better (I didn't check the AH at all for gems, which I probably should have). I've already seen the Tier 4 pieces, and those have amazing stats and sockets, which definitely makes them amazing. But for standard, mid-60s socketed pieces, it just doesn't seem worth it to run around looking for gems, when other non-socketed items are so much better.

Update: Apparently I should have checked the AH-- there are lots of great gems in the game if you're willing to hunt, mix, and match. I'm still not sure it's worth the time to make a lowbie socketed item better (I'll probably wait for the higher stuff), but if you want tips, check the comments.

Filed under: Shaman, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, The Burning Crusade

Finding your way through Outland's first instances

Definitely my favorite part of BC so far has got to be the instances. We haven't seen new 5-man content in such a long time, and it's so much fun to be facing new pulls, new lore, and new bosses, most of them with brand new models, and even audio! Although, while I do like Magtheridon's voice, it seems like yes, those "puny magics" are actually holding him for a long, long time-- we get it.

Most of the new strats aren't too hard to get down with trial and error, but there are a few quirks to figure out. And for that reason, my guild's raidleader, Belacroix of Gothic Bunnies on Thundehorn-H, has punched together a few quickguides of the first few instances-- two wings of Hellfire Citadel, and The Slave Pens and the Underbog in Coifang Reservoir. They're not complete walkthroughs by any means, but if you want a little insight on how to take down certain bosses or what you'll find in there, Bela's guides are a good read.

WoW blogger Relmstein has also been running instances in Outland, and he's got even more complete walkthroughs for Hellfire Ramparts and the Blood Furnace (so far, the Furnace is my favorite). And I have to make a mention of WoW Wiki as well (and everyone that works on it)-- they've got strategy up for almost every boss seen in the instances so far, so if you've got a group stuck on something, they're the place to go.

Filed under: Instances, Expansions, Raiding, The Burning Crusade

Revenge of the pugs

New five-man instances can only mean one thing -- the return of the classic source of amusement and frustration, the pickup group. It's especially interesting when raiders, who are used to perfect coordination and military-like precision, end up running an instance with, say, a priest who they hate from a rival raiding guild, a warrior who forgot his shield in the bank, and a warlock who clearly bought their Tier 3 character on eBay and is having difficulty figuring out that Searing Pain is not the greatest spell to spam. Such people often overestimate the coordination of their teammates -- like my mage friend who got us all a free trip to the graveyard while attempting to master something he called the "Flamestrike Pull" in the Blood Furnace.

Since I've mostly been running with said mage friend, who is in a different guild than me, our instance runs have been semi-pugs -- someone from his guild, someone from my guild, someone we found by spamming general chat all stuffed together. It took the raiders among us some time to get used to the five-mans again. Wait, we can sap and sheep things? A pet can off-tank? We can pull without a hunter? Ooh, a chest -- wait, do we have a rogue to open it? Plus, the bosses usually only drop one item, and someone who's been through Naxx is probably not psychologically prepared to die to a lot of orcs AGAIN.

Nevertheless, most of my pugs have been good. I've met old acquaintances on new characters and made mental notes of people I'd like to group with again. We had a group today that was so good we went straight through Slave Pens and the Underbog, and were preparing to go through the Underbog again when we realized that we were all sick of fighting spore bats and agreed to meet up later. It's also dang satisfying to see gear drop that people can really use, without a giant fight over class priority and DKP, and watching as everyone slowly replaces their epics with blues. Well, except the tank in Dreadnaught. Those shoulders are way too cool to replace.

What's your pug experience been like so far? Do you hate doing instances without strategies and Vent, or are you welcoming the new content?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances, The Burning Crusade

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