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Posts with tag heroic

Spiritual Guidance: A shadow priest's guide to Cataclysm's heroic nightmares

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Bear is for tank! Spriest is for fite!

It's time for a heartfelt confession. I think I'm done with Cataclysm heroics for a while. Don't get me wrong, they can be fun, but as of late, they've become miserable endeavors.

If you're not running heroics yet, you may not know what I'm talking about. If you are running heroics (through PUGs), you know exactly what I'm talking about. An awful lot of tanks, healers, and DPSers think Cataclysm heroics are the same kind of faceroll instances that Wrath heroics were. Nothing could be further from the case. And as more and more "casual" players reach level 85, a greater percentage of players are just so terribly lost that they don't know what to do.

Wipes on the first pull. Frustrating attempts on bosses with "teammates" who just don't listen. People who AoE when they should nuke. People who use AoE and ... no, no, wait! Don't attack that, it's CCed, and ... well, crud. Now we've got merchants throwing fruit at us now, don't we? Simply put, most people are just not prepared.

It's forgivable, of course -- new, more difficult instances mean a new, gigantic learning curve. Even the best Wrath shadow priest can muck things up in a Cataclysm heroic. But that doesn't need to be the case! The shadow priest spec is an incredibly powerful one. Not only do we do get to churn out the DPS, but we have an incredible number of tools at our disposal to make up for the problems that PUG groups routinely face. From crowd control (yes, tanks, we can CC) to mana regen, there's an awful lot we can do to make heroics run smoother. Even if you're saddled with a group of four 12-year-olds from <Mommy's Little Accidents> trying to make the run as difficult as possible.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance, Cataclysm

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

Countdown to Cataclysm: The Deadmines dungeon guide

This article is part of our Countdown to Cataclysm series, preparing you for Cataclysm launch one day at a time.

The Deadmines has been a classic staple dungeon for any leveling player. In patch 4.0.3, the instance received a complete facelift. Players will no longer be taking down Edwin VanCleef, as the game has progressed forward in time and has been updated to reflect the events that have occurred in the game. The Defias stronghold appears to be housing the next generation of Defias forces. They're being led by Vanessa Vancleef, Edwin's daughter.

At a glance:
  • five boss encounters
  • level 15 - 21
  • Alliance and Horde players both have access to this dungeon via dungeon finder

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Totem Talk: Totems and heroics in Cataclysm

Want to be a sultan of swing healing? A champion of Chain Heal? Totem Talk: Restoration will show you how, brought to you by Joe Perez, otherwise known as Lodur from World of Matticus and host of the BDTU: Lore edition podcast.

Last week, we talked about what to expect in the upcoming patch 4.0.1 and how healing felt in the new pre-Cataclysm patch. After that, we also got news of a very important update for us in the latest PTR build, patch 13033, with Mana Tide Totem's recent change to increase our spirit by 200 percent rather than just give a flat percentage of mana back when used. The cooldown of the ability was reduced to 3 minutes, down from 5 minutes. Last week, heroic dungeons were also made available in the Cataclysm beta for us to test out, including heroic Shadowfang Keep and heroic Deadmines.

This week, I would like to talk a little bit more about the changes to Mana Tide Totem and what to expect using it in the next expansion. I would also like to share with you my experiences healing through the new heroic dungeons as a restoration shaman in a new set of blue ilvl 333 gear.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

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

Shifting Perspectives: Heroic ICC for balance druids -- Plagueworks and Frostwing Halls

Every Friday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting balance druids and those who group with them. This week, we are exploring two of the four wings in Heroic ICC. Be prepared to face some of the most challenging content the game has to offer, folks -- it only gets real from here on out.

Here we are -- it's another week and another great time at the office. Well, the office is merely an internet myth, but my room is comfortable enough as is; it even has a sweet "Life's a Beach" coffee mug and everything. Last week, we talked about the first two wings of heroic ICC, the Lower Spire and the Crimson Hall; this week, we'll continue with the next two wings. Unfortunately, I won't be able to cover heroic Lich King since, well, I haven't yet been able to complete the encounter, and I think it would be remiss of me to try and give out information on an encounter that I'm still working on. If you have any questions on the Lich King encounter, I'd be more than happy to talk shop about it, so just send an email or leave a comment and we can get to it; otherwise, it won't be something that's likely to appear in this article.

Last week, I forgot to issue a fair warning, and for that I do apologize. Everything that I discuss here is my opinion based upon how my guild has completed these encounters and the things that I have experienced while doing them. There are multiple ways to complete every encounter, and your guild may have a completely different strategy depending on group composition that works for you. This doesn't make either you or me any less wrong, just different. That's the beautiful thing about WoW; even in the rigid isolation of PvE encounters, there are always multiple methods to deal with every encounter or boss ability depending on the resources that a guild has available to them. I cannot promise that the methods I describe will work for your guild, but I will try and offer as many different options as I possible can and allow you to make the best choice for yourself.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Heroic ICC for balance druids -- Lower Spire and Crimson Hall

Every Friday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting balance druids and those who group with them. This week, we are exploring two of the four wings in Heroic ICC. Be prepared to face some of the most challenging content the game has to offer, folks -- it only gets real from here on out.

I know, I know: No one cares about ICC any more ... Everything is all about Cataclysm ... So why bother talking about it? That's far from the truth, though. ICC still matters to many people. However, if you happen to be of the more pragmatic sort, then hear me out for a little bit. Most of the server-first and world-first kills may have already been claimed, but there is always loot to be had, gear that can be helpful for either soloing things now or leveling in the expansion. Beyond simple gear, heroic ICC is simply fun. People have argued that hard modes aren't quite the same as a truly difficult raid encounter because they are the same as the standard encounters -- perhaps true to a point, but heroic modes are really fun when they are done correctly. Heroic Putricide feels like a completely different encounter when done on heroic mode and is extremely fun.

Perhaps this issue is a little bit late in coming, and for that I apologize -- but it's better late than never, aye? To start with, the first order of business is to ensure that your guild is prepared to go against heroic encounters. The ICC buff can be very intoxicating to some players, and it may make you feel more prepared than you really are for these encounters. Perhaps, in some cases, you are, and perhaps in others, you are not. Not all heroic encounters are created equal; some are far more difficult than others. Since this issue will deal with the opening Lower Spire and the Blood wing, the three encounters you'd want to start with would be Marrowgar, Gunship and Blood Princes; Deathwhisper, Saurfang and Blood Queen Lana'thel would be the three more difficult encounters in these two sectors.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

The Daily Quest: How-to around the blogosphere

Here at WoW.com, we're on a Daily Quest (which we try to do every day, honest) to bring you interesting, informative and entertaining WoW-related links from around the blogosphere. Is there a story out there we ought to link or a blog we should be following? Just leave us a comment and you may see it here tomorrow! Take a look at the links below, and be sure to check out our WoW Resources Guide for more WoW-related sites.

I love the picture of Velen shown above for a couple of different reasons. It's a gorgeous piece of artwork, but the bigger reason is the expression on Velen's face -- he looks mildly baffled, like he's shrugging his shoulders and saying "Uhhhh, I don't know!" To me, the thought of an alien over 10,000 years making that noncommittal grunt of vague confusion is just endlessly entertaining. It's OK, Velen. Today we've got a few how-to posts from around the blogosphere. Maybe these will clear up a few things:

Filed under: The Daily Quest

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

The great gear explosion

Gear is fairly easy to get at this point in the expansion life cycle of Wrath. That's not a flaw. That's actually how things should be: there shouldn't be too many artificial limitations keeping you from jumping into the newest content and getting a chance to at least see, if not down it. With the rise of 10 and 25 man versions of every raid and heroic modes, however, we are looking at something fairly unique to this expansion, a somewhat drastic power curve to gear scaling.

This isn't a new idea, and it's not one Blizzard themselves haven't commented on. It's one thing to be aware of it in a general way, however, and another to sit back and look at it. That's a comparison of itemization on select 2H weapons from the first crafted epic (equivalent to a Naxx 10 drop) up to hard mode Ulduar 25, which puts it squarely in the middle of the current expansion cycle. What you're looking at is a steady gain that leads to a nearly 60 DPS increase between the starting weapon (Titansteel Destroyer) and the last one compared (Voldrethar).

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm

Clarification on normal mode functionality

Over on the EU forums, Slorkuz has clarified a few questions players may have about the new changes coming to normal mode ICC, namely the removal of limited attempts from the final bosses in each wing. While limited attempts will still be in place on heroic mode, they will no longer be in effect on normal mode as of the end of maintenance this morning. To quote:
Q: If you extend your raid lockout this week, will you still lose attempts on Normal after the hotfix?
A: No.

Q: If you run completely out of attempts on Heroic, will the wing bosses and Lich King no longer respawn, even if the difficulty is switched to Normal?
A: YES. So leave an attempt left if you wish to kill them on Normal. We'll try and correct this in a future update.

Q: Why is the counter still visible in Normal?
A: The hotfix being applied just stops the counter decrementing, and nothing more.

In other words, raiders attempting the final bosses of these wings on normal difficulty will still see the counter, it simply won't count down if they wipe. More importantly however is the news that players wishing to attempt bosses on Heroic difficulty will need to leave one attempt up if they want to clear the boss on normal mode.

Filed under: Raiding

We have our pony: Invincible revealed

Guys? We have our pony!

The Warcraft twitter account just linked to a new page on the official World of Warcraft site regarding Invincible. This stallion served Arthas in life as his mount. Unfortunately, Arthas worked his mount a little too hard and slipped on ice. Arthas had no choice but to give Invincible a merciful death. (You can find more details about the story if you've read Arthas: Rise of the Lich King by Christie Golden.) When Arthas became the Lich King, he visited Invincible's grave and raised him from the dead in order to serve him.

How do you get him?

Oh, it's fairly simple to get. This pony can't get hungry, tired, or feel pain. Great for a Lich King to use when traveling around, right? All you have to do is pry it from Arthas' cold, dead hands. Beat Arthas in Icecrown Citadel on heroic mode, and Invincible will serve you.

But we don't know if everyone in the raid is going to get one (like Ulduar drakes) or if only one mount will drop (akin to killing Sartharion with 3 drakes up or the Mimiron head mount from Yogg-Saron).

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

Upcoming Adjustments announced for Old Kingdom, Nexus, Culling of Stratholme

Zarhym popped into one of the many official forum topics complaining about the seemingly inordinate amount of times Old Kingdom pops on the Dungeon Finder to offer some welcome news for exhausted dungeon runners: Old Kingdom and Nexus alike will be receiving some adjustments meant to bring the dungeons in line with other Wrath heroics.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Instances, Bosses

The Queue: The new standard


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky be your host today.

That's a picture of my hunter above. She can use some better gear, and hopefully this weekend it'll be her turn to get decked out in tier 9. It's just so easy and fun. Plus I really like the idea of all my 80's having their tier 9 shoulders to look at on the loading screen. That's not strange, is it?

Saberix asked...

"Is tier 9 gear the new standard in gear? Am I going to be teased if I don't have it?"

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, The Queue, Cataclysm

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

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