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Posts with tag heroic-instance

Cataclysm Dungeon Guide: Vortex Pinnacle

Ahh, the Vortex Pinnacle, for whenever I want to go hit up an instance that involves jumping in cyclones (or tornadoes) that toss you from platform to platform.

This 5-man instance is the ... pinnacle of the Skywall complex in the Uldum zone. You can find it just southeast of the shores. Make sure you go the right direction or else you might end up in the Throne of the Four Winds raid instance. Oh, and you're going to need a flying mount. The forces of Al'Akir are waiting to storm Uldum and the rest of Azeroth. Our mission, if we choose to accept it, is to clear out the place and prevent them from really establishing a foothold on our lands.

At a glance, here's the gist of the instance.
  • three boss encounters
  • levels 82-84
  • average item level 272 recommended (according to dungeon finder)

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Arcane Brilliance: Things I've learned while dying in Cataclysm heroics, mage edition

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, weekly mage column of choice for dress-wearing, warlock-hating Frostbolt slingers the world over. Also, fans of the short musical films of Journey, Short Imagined Monologues, and the sublime, video game-based synth and fretwork amalgams of Sixto Sounds. Seriously, listen to this one. Holy crap.

So over the past few days, I've found myself a broken corpse lying in a spreading puddle of my own bodily fluids a bit more frequently than I'm used to. The reason for this is simple: heroics. No, not the ones on the live servers -- where you can throw together a random group consisting of a ret pally tank, a six-year-old playing a hunter his mom bought him on eBay the day before, a feral druid healer who for some reason came into the instance suffering from nine more minutes of resurrection sickness, a mouth-breathing rogue who may or may not be a serial killer, and an AFK shaman farming badges while auto-following the healer -- and still blast through the place. I'm talking about heroics in the Cataclysm beta.

They're absolutely brutal, guys. Now, granted -- it's still early. The testing process for these beauties is still in its infancy. We're tackling them using premade characters with talent builds we threw together by looking at the talents and thinking, "This looks nice." We're wearing gear that's barely entry-level for heroics (if we're lucky) and using spell rotations that we're basically making up on the fly. We're going into instances we've never seen before, doing boss fights nobody knows the mechanics for, and dealing with crippling, often game-breaking bugs. These places simply aren't finished, not by a long shot.

But then again, that's why we have a beta. We go in, throw our soft, cloth-clad bodies against the long claws of some horrifying beast or another, use the final droplets of our blood to scrawl feedback for the developers ("Landmines ... everywhere ... can't feel ... legs ... fading to black ... tell warlocks ... hate them ... so ... much ... "), and then come back for another round. Blizzard takes the data it gathers from our gruesome deaths and uses it to construct a better game.

Still, there is much we can learn -- even in this unfinished state -- from the first incarnations of these heroics. Join me after the jump, won't you?

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Cataclysm

Heroic speed runs


Most of us have been running heroics since the daily random quest was first introduced with TotC, and since then we've been running them every day, on every one of our 80s, for what seems an eternity. Even over-gearing them and short dungeon finder queues can no longer keep the heroic grind from being mind-numbingly dull.

Enter speed runs.

By speed runs, I'm not talking about just going fast. Even PUGs these days move pretty quickly through heroics. I'm talking about going as fast as you possibly can. Racing through the heroics, pulling crazy numbers of mobs, skipping everything skippable. Not only will your heroic run be much shorter, but it will suddenly be much more dangerous too. When you're pushing line of how much you can do, even slight positioning errors or DPS pulling aggro can result in wipes.

Speed runs have the potential to put the challenge back in heroics, and today we're going to talk about how to pull of the best time that you can.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Arcane Brilliance: Gearing up after the glorious patch 3.3


It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that loves nothing more than to gaze down upon the whole of Northrend from one of the floating chunks of stone around Dalaran and realize that at some point, a mage has probably killed every living thing down there. At least the targetable ones, anyway. And the ones you can't target? I'm sure more than one mage has certainly tried.

So I'm officially nominating patch 3.3 for "best patch ever" status. Here's a short list of the highlights of this patch:
  • Three highly challenging, fun, lore-filled 5-man instances, full of sweet loot
  • A massive new raid, with four gated sections, 12 bosses, and the promise of eventually being able to shove a Fireball up the Lich King's tailpipe
  • The incredible, game-changing Dungeon Finder Tool, which is responsible for peace in the Middle East, has brought an end to the recession, and has cured cancer
  • A few choice mage buffs, including a PvE viable Frost spec
  • Quest Tracking without the need for an addon
  • Quel'delar and Shadowmourne
  • A swiftly approaching new Arena Season
  • Weekly raid quests
  • The Kalu'ak Fishing Derby
  • Perky the Pug
  • A host of little changes for low level characters
  • Rocket bare
Not shabby, right? And best of all, Blizzard has managed to deploy the majority of this new content without also deploying a host of bugs, glitches, and instability, or otherwise making the game unplayable for awhile as we've come to expect from patches this large. There were some log-in issues and bugginess on day one, but by day two, everything was running relatively smoothly by day two. I'm being relatively conservative when I say that Blizzard, in my personal opinion, has hit this one out of the park.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Instances, Features, Guides, Classes, Alts, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Forum post of the day: Raid timers (poll)

Today's forum post of the day serves a dual purpose: it brings up issues with raid timers and it demonstrates how not to make friends and influence people on the forums. Our hot-headed friend Phearing of Silver Hand is a mighty bit miffed that he zoned into a 10-man Vault run only to find that there were no mobs there. He was saved to the instance, and thus does not get another shot at it until the raid timer resets.

Nubbyzor of Whisperwind quickly pointed out that if the raid leader is saved to the instance you join their raid ID. This has happened since the dawn of raid timers. People have been mislead into joining raids in progress and cannot get a second shot at a heroic if their group is under par. Heroics aren't really a big deal, if your group fails, you can try again tomorrow. It's lame, but it's only one day. The week-long timer on raids makes this a little bit harder to swallow.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

Forum post of the day: No really, you are not prepared

Khanagi of Maelstrom sent out a plea in the official forums for players to be prepared when they group up for a heroic instance. His main complains is that as a Warrior Tank, he is often out DPSing the DPS. He feels that everyone in the group has a job to do, and many are falling short of their appointed task. His sentiment was met with considerable agreement from responders, who pointed out that AOE tanks will often have high DPS. This does not excuse the DPS from their responsibilities.

Back in the day, when Burning Crusade was launched, one had to be revered to get their heroic instance keys. This meant you had to grind out reputation with a particular faction to get the heroic key, usually through the highest level instance. This changed in Patch 2.3.0, which lowered the requirement to honored. At that time, there was much rejoicing. Honored reputation with a faction can easily be achieved with leveling quests. You no longer have to cross the threshold of a dungeon to meet this requirement.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Guides, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

Swift White Hawkstrider debuts in Patch 2.4


The good news just keeps on coming as Patch 2.4 is shaping up to be one incredibly sweet patch. Following the news of what might just be the coolest non-combat pet -- aside from the Pet Bombling, imho -- the Phoenix Hatchling, it appears that Kael'thas drops even more amazing stuff like the new Swift White Chocobo Hawkstrider. The model for the Swift White Hawkstrider has been in the files for quite some time now, and former speculation was that it was the PvP reward mount similar to Red Skeletal Warhorses or Black War Kodos. However, according to MMO Champion -- which has been on a massive roll uncovering the sweet loot hidden in Patch 2.4 -- the mount drops off Kael'thas in Heroic Magister's Terrace.

The new patch is shaping up to be very casual-friendly, as the vanity items such as the phoenix pet and this bragging-rights mount both drop from the 5-man instance (albeit in different modes), something that all players can reasonably aspire towards. Mount aficionados can now add this to their wish list along with (if they don't already have it) Zul'Aman's Amani War Bear or the Druid epic quest boss bonus drop Reins of the Raven Lord. The bad news is that these Hawkstriders can't support the heft of Tauren or Draenei, so players dreaming of cows on chickens will have to keep on dreaming.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items, Mounts

Likely no 71+ champions of the Naaru

Yesterday a player on the official WoW forums asked if they'd still be able to attain the title "Champion of the Naaru" once patch 2.3 goes live. Eyonix answered that, yes, the title will be rewarded to any players that complete the necessary quest line, whether or not those quests are finished before or after the patch's release. He did warn that the title will probably not be given to characters that complete the quests after level 70. If you've been waiting for the next expansion to breeze through the requirements and easily pick up your title, you'll likely need to rethink your strategy.

If you're unfamiliar with this epic quest line which was once required to enter the Tempest Keep raid instance, it all begins in Shadowmoon Valley. The very first quest is called "The Hand of Gul'dan" and can be picked up in your faction's main town of the zone (Shadowmoon Village for Horde and Wildhammer Stronghold for Alliance). About 25 steps into the chain (I told you it was epic) you'll unlock new quests from A'dal in the center of Shattrath. For many players this is where the challenge truly begins as you must venture into four of the more difficult heroic instances to complete these quests. The final step involves killing Magtheridon in a 25-player raid, after which you'll finally be deemed a "Champion of the Naaru". Good luck!

Filed under: Patches, Quests, Expansions, Forums

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