Lots of people who hit level 90 are stuck wondering what to do next as the game offers a plethora of choices but no clear must-dos once you've finished the leveling grind. One of our favorite options is soloing old content. If you never had a chance to raid or run dungeons earlier in the game, now you can do many old world raids completely solo. It's a fun way to check out content you've never seen, experience new bits of the game's story, gain reputation (useful for that Beloved title), and pick up pets, mounts, and great transmog gear.
Oh, and did we mention money? Even though most of the better loot you'll find in these dungeons is bind on pickup -- meaning you can't toss it on the auction house -- it will sell for gold to vendors. That means if you clear out your inventory so you're prepared to pick up and vendor everything you come across, you can make a pretty decent profit grinding through old dungeons.
It's not the most time-efficient way to make gold, but it can be a lot of fun. So if you want to try your hand at some solo content -- whether you're level 90 or not -- keep reading for the tips you need to succeed with soloing.
I got to do some tanking in Heroic Siege this week - nothing major, just offtanking on Dark Shaman - and it was pretty fun all around. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy tanking in raids. It was fun to get to see the Warrior 2 piece Tier 16 tanking bonus in action in a current raid at the cutting edge of content, instead of in an LFR or using it to solo Cataclysm raids. It's a very solid set bonus, and I'm going to write more about it in the future - basically, I think it should be baked into the baseline Shield Block and Shield Barrier abilities, or perhaps be baked into Shield Slam in some way (so that, for ten seconds after a successful Shield Slam, you heal a percentage of your Shield Barrier absorb or Shield Block damage prevented, as one possible example) - but I'm not quite ready to write about that yet.
Now, as I said, I've been using my tank set and prot spec to solo Cataclysm raids, up to and including the first three bosses in 10 man Dragon Soul. It's not always easy, but it is possible, and the reason I've been doing this is because I freaking love transmogrification, and therefore, I've been pursuing it with a fevered dedication that has completely robbed me of bank, void storage and even bag space. I've wanted to write about transmog and warriors forever, but I felt such deep shame at letting Cable, the mutant son of Cyclops and Madeline Pryor, write about it first. I mean, I'm so in love with transmog that I started a tumblr about it.
So let's talk about transmog and warriors. (If you're not interested in transmog, you should probably come back next week.) Why do I argue that warriors do transmog better than anyone? Well, here's a few reasons.
I read this, and my ears perked up. I really enjoy running around killing things indiscriminately in old raids, and I've wondered as to whether or not that would continue to be possible after the item squish. It's good to hear that Blizzard has no intention of letting older content stay as it is while our characters' ability to pump out damage is drastically reduced.
Of course, this leads to the obvious question -- what approach is Blizzard going to take for keeping older raids and dungeons' mobs and bosses abilities proportional? The obvious answer is that all of it will be squished along with our characters' gear and abilities. I suppose that will include items dropped of of old bosses too. It will be interesting to see the approach that Blizzards' designers take with the new expansion to make this change go as smoothly as possible.
The devs have been very keen to reassure us that the item squish incoming with Warlords will have no impact on our ability to solo old content. And Technical Game Designer Chadd "Celestalon" Nervig has tweeted, reasserting this point. However, in response to well-known death knight soloer Aelobin, he comments that other factors may have an effect.
@Aelobin That is to say; the squish won't affect soloing capabilities, but other changes may. Soloing at low levels isn't a balance focus.
What Chadd doesn't do is expand on just what exactly these "other changes" might be. At a guess, I would imagine that they may relate to ability changes, as there is a planned sweep to address the issue of button bloat, so you may lose some of the skills that you currently use to solo older content. Perhaps it relates to the non-linearity of expansion transition gear, or perhaps it's none of the above. Nonetheless, the message regarding the item squish is being received loud and clear.
Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has taken to the forums to reassure players on post-squish soloing. Despite Blizzard's repeated assertions that the squish will do nothing to affect soloing, the message is going unheard by many, so Ion has provided some clarity on just how the downscaling will work for old raids and the like.
That's great! But I could have sworn solo raiding was frowned upon by Blizzard. Not sure they'll be too worried about keeping it a possibility. Hopefully though.
There's nothing at all wrong with going back and doing legacy raids and other content. The achievement system, cosmetic rewards and titles, and most recently transmogrification all serve to reward that playstyle. There's also a lot to be said for just being able to revisit old locations, for the sake of nostalgia or getting to experience them for the first time, without needing to find a like-minded group. As Rygarius noted, we're committed to making sure that we don't disrupt players' ability to engage in that gameplay.
Without getting into the math, our goal is to make sure that if Kael'thas's Pyroblast does damage equal to 10% of your maximum health today, it will take off no more than 10% of your health post-squish. And if you kill Onyxia in 30 seconds today, you'll be able to kill Onyxia in 30 seconds post-squish.
Maebybabe of Ascendance on Draenor EU-H has taken down ten-man heroic Stone Guard, with an item level of 548. No great surprise, I hear you say? Well Maebybabe did it completely by himself. As you can see from the video, there are definitely moments where his health dips down low, and he even dies thanks to not clearing the stagger after the dogs are down, but this is a remarkable feat.
Overall, Maebybabe manages to put out 210.91m damage, no surprise as that's the total required to kill the boss, but also 37.27m healing. He notes in the description of the YouTube video that he's using Glyph of Guard, allowing him to keep Guard active longer, which increases his healing by 30%. Notably, the dogs actually enrage shortly before the kill, despite Maebybabe's DPS output, but this doesn't seem to phase him
At a lower item level, stated as 522 or 523, he also soloed Lich King 25H, which you can also check out on YouTube.
Certainly at the highest levels, WoW is designed to favor group play in dungeons, raids, and arenas. This can be a big change of pace for the new player since up to level 90, you can get through most of the game solo. But even then, players who would rather be lone wolves in a sea of group content can find new quests to work on and plenty of older content can now be solo'd for fun and challenge. In fact, my schedule means I primarily play on my own, carving out little chunks of game time here and there -- and while it's still plenty of fun, I'm not sure it's exactly the game Blizzard intended... and I definitely miss the fun of grouping with friends when my schedule doesn't match theirs.
So tell us, readers, how do you game? Do you play on your own, rely on a few gaming buddies, or work with even larger groups -- be it a guild or LFR -- to conquer raid-sized content? Is your gameplay style by choice or because of limited time or difficulty scheduling with your friends?
I've already done some Raiding with Leashesvanilla raid posts. The next logical step would be Burning Crusade soloing, but I've tried and failed to make a glorified loot list more interesting to read, since BC content tends to be more "walk in and win" nowadays than an actual soloing contest.
So, while I wrangle out an adventure in tiers four to six, I will talk about killing dragons solo as a warlock in order to grab dragon mounts.
I'm not talking about dragons that require friends by your side to complete: e.g., Deathwing's two dragonmounts, Ultraxion's mount, completing a dragonstick, or Al'Akir's dragon drop. Al'Akir has actually been soloed before by a warlock, but you'll need friends in order to clear his genie council first. I'm talking dragons you can go beat up by yourself.
Evidently, the EU realms are a hotbed of death knight creativity and initiative. While he might be among the best-known players for his crazy soloing accomplishments, Raegwyn is hardly the only DK to crack the code of soloing endgame content. Mionee, a savvy and seasoned death knight from top EU guild Envy, is also making name for herself from soloing a few little things. What kind of things? Everything from Deathwing, Ragnaros, and a challenge mode dungeon down to older content such as Yogg-Saron/0 keepers and the Lich King.
"The only normal mode encounters that cannot be soloed right now as a DK are Kalecgos in Sunwell Plateau, Valithria Dreamwalker in Icecrown Citadel (unless you're a draenei with Gift of the Naaru), Conclave of Wind in Throne of the Four Winds, as well as Hagara the Stormbinder and Spine of Deathwing in Dragon Soul," Mionee muses. "That leaves quite a lot of soloable encounters. On a more general note, what's left to solo are the heroic versions of some encounters, or the 25-man versions of bosses that have only been soloed in 10-man."
"To give a rough estimate," she continues, "by the end of Wrath of the Lich King, I was doing Mount Hyjal; by the end of Cata, I had completed nearly every possible heroic encounter from Wrath (a few exceptions aside); and right now, I have completed everything in Cata aside from the three above-mentioned encounters."
Mionee gives us the inside scoop on soloing some of the game's toughest content and answers the question of whether death knights are really overpowered, after the break.
A great video is making the rounds right now of an exceptional player using some unintended consequences to solo multiple bosses in Mogu'shan Vaults -- and as a protection-specced paladin no less! He apparently downed Stone Guard, Feng, and Elegon before Blizzard caught wind of the escapade. You can see a video of the Elegon kill above.
How he pulled this off was by taking advantage of a series of design choices that Blizzard made, combining them all into a hilarious example of the law of unintended consequences in action.
To reach a decent item level, the paladin equipped various bind on equip rares that drop in Mists zones which all had a required character level of only 80. And because he was only level 80, he was avoiding the combat ratings drop-offs for levels 81 and 86 that a normal character wearing those pieces would be subjected too. This would allow him to get an insane amount of secondary stats like haste (I've seen that he had 95%!) and mastery (88%, apparently).
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill laments being knocked successfully up past the Suppression Room, only to pull the boss and be knocked back down and across the Suppression Room while the original knockback mobs die. UGH.
Well, Naxxramas is big enough that I'll leave a whole article to it. The other raids from the original raiding scene of level 60 can fit into one since they're relatively easy to do. The roadblocks to finishing them are largely mechanical tricks, not damage output or survivability problems.
There's no real difference between the specs in these earliest raids. I run as destruction mostly because it's fast-paced, but any spec and almost any talent setup can do these raids.
Patch 5.1 introduced pets to the vanilla-era raids. Patch 4.3 introduced transmogrification, which brought old raids back. Before that, some players would solo or duo old raids just for the challenge giggles. Every new expansion has raised the level cap and opened another expansion to soloing.
Whether you're soloing for a look, for improved familiarity with your spell toolbox, or for bragging rights, warlock is definitely a great class to jump into soloing old raids. At level 90, even before you're decked out in tier 14, most of the Wrath of the Lich King raids are fairly easy. But let's start with the basics -- speccing and playstyle.
Still waiting on 1h weapons for an SMF build. So I've decided that this week, I'll go and take a look at smaller topics, things that won't fill up a full column by themselves. I'm doing this because the day I write this is my birthday and I want to treat myself.
One of those things is soloing old raids, which I've been doing a lot of since patch 5.1 dropped. Whenever I post to twitter that I've completed another old raid or boss, people ask me what spec I'm using or what talents I'm choosing. Now, none of this is remotely as impressive as soloing Baleroc at level 80, but it's fun and pretty easy to do. I've found that I can solo any boss up to ones that require a certain class ability a warrior doesn't have, up to and including Professor Putricide in ICC-10.
So, since Patch 5.1 dropped, I've been gleefully running old raids with the group of me, myself and I, seeing how far I could get solo. I've found myself able to solo up to Gunship in ICC 10, which has been great for me from a purely transmog perspective as I eagerly love the WoW equivalent of clothes shopping. Now, I know a lot of people are interested in this as well, in part because of the pets that drop from the original four classic WoW raids. So I was interested to see this post on the forums and community manager Brennvin's response on the matter. Are all old bosses intended to be soloable by all classes and specs? The answer seems to be no.
5.1 Thought we could solo old content now?
We believe there was a lot of confusion when we originally announced this change and we're certainly at fault for said confusion. The original patch note was very vague to the point of being misleading. It was never our intent to weaken old raid boss encounters to allow anyone to have a chance to solo them, regardless of class, spec, or skill.
What we did change were encounters that were mechanically impossible for one person to accomplish, solely for the purpose of ensuring players have easier access to the hunt for the new rare companion pets -- the drop rates of which are actually set to account for a group of three players, not one.
Moving forward, though, we do not plan to adjust encounters for tougher raid bosses to be solo'able by all classes and specs.
So while you can zone in to any pre-Mists raid now (and I have been) you still can't solo Vicidus if you have no frost attacks (and I don't). However, the Twin Emps I did solo. It's possible at level 90 to simply overpower the healing they do. What's harder is to get kill credit for both, since I have no attacks that can damage Vek'lor. Every time I kill Vek'nilash, his brother simply despawns. Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.
At this point in WoW's evolution, we've become somewhat accustomed to reports of gutsy solo boss kills. However tricky to pull off, most of those accomplishments involve content from a previous expansion and rely on the particular skill sets of a determined death knight or paladin. But soloing current raid content, let alone current heroic raid content? Not so much.
So when shadow priest Shantál of Al'akir (EU) recently pulled off an eye-popping kill of heroic Alysrazor, the WoW community sat up and took notice. With a painstakingly developed strategy that carried him outside the flame wall and exposed him to increased damage, Shantál picked his way around each road block in the encounter to achieve a uniquely remarkable victory.