Archive for the Strategy Category

Farming Exotic Leather: Dread Wastes

Posted in Gold making, Professions, Strategy with tags , on October 2, 2012 by Aeliel

Busybusybusy gearing up for raiding, getting achievements and so on, but I’ll just leave this here – hopefully before one of the spots I’m mentioning gets nerfed to oblivion.

I was leveling my hunter’s engineering and decided to be stubborn – rather than making 1281627891693 Thermal Anvils, I wanted to at least craft something useful. So I made some guns for when I feel like leveling both her and my other hunter (and the third one I’m planning to create), and then I decided to make the Pandaria Wormhole Generator, because yay for engineering teleporters! Except to make that, I needed two Spirits of Harmony, and I didn’t have any. Bugger.

I was going to just take the hunter to Jade Forest and kill some things, since she’s still lvl85, but the boyfriend was going to do his Klaxxi dailies, so I figured I’d tag along and do the you-kill-I-loot thing in case he got any motes to drop.

I didn’t find very many motes (ended up farming those in Valley of the Four Winds by myself), but the hunter’s a skinner, so here’s what I found…

The yellow and the green locations are places for daily quests. Yellow has Greatback Mushan (and, a bit further off to the side, Dreadspinner Tenders); green has Chillwater Turtles and Horrorscale Scorpids (and, a bit further south, Ik’thik Amberstingers). People kill them for Klaxxi dailies, and they’re skinnable, and since the quest items aren’t a 100% drop, there’s piles and piles and piles of bodies. I seriously couldn’t skin fast enough.

Once we were done with the dailies, I still didn’t have enough motes, so off we went to see if we could find a suitable place for AoE farming, because hey, why not. Going mostly at random, we found the third area on the map.

The red area is special. It has Ruby Venomtails – normal mobs that you can kill and skin – and, more importantly, they have Dread Scarabs. The latter come in packs of 5-6, have around 40k health each, die in 2-3 hits even to my lvl85 hunter… and each of them skins into 1-6 Exotic Leather, with the usual chance at Plump Intestines. In other words, they’re Deepholm Stone Bats v2.0.

Considering how quickly the Deepholm bats got nerfed, I would suggest heading there sooner rather than later if you want to get some farming in. Not that it takes much leather at all to cap leatherworking these days, but still.

PSA: Argent Tournament

Posted in Alts, Mounts and pets, Strategy with tags , , on September 10, 2012 by Aeliel

One of the entries in my Cataclysm bucket list (which I never posted here, and now it’s perhaps a bit too late to do so) was to finish collecting the mounts I was missing from the Argent Tournament. Earlier today, I was staring mournfully at my Champion’s Seals and grumbling that I can’t really acquire them faster, when something occurred to me.

Aside from the paladin pony (for which I need to stop slacking and work on the dailies with, well, my paladin), these mounts can be earned on any character on your account and used by all of them.

This means that if you’ve unlocked the Argent Tournament on more than one character and you’re missing more than one mount, you should do the dailies every day on every single one of those characters, since this will speed up the rate at which you acquire mounts. You don’t even need to unlock Crusader dailies (although if you’ve done that, it’ll help, since it’ll increase the amount of daily Champion’s Seals you earn on that character), since the only requirement for buying the mounts from a specific faction is having championed said faction.

Yes, this is the most obvious thing ever, and I’m kind of boggling at myself that it didn’t occur to me earlier (I’d have been doing the dailies on multiple characters since account-wide mounts were announced if it had). In case I’m not the only person this didn’t occur to, I figured I’d post here.

Transmogrification: building a set

Posted in Strategy, Transmogrification with tags , , , on November 24, 2011 by Aeliel

I was chatting to one of my guildies the other day, and the subject turned to transmogrification. He mentioned he was most likely going to just transmogrify his gear to Tier 2, since he had no idea where to start building a custom outfit.

Now, I’ve built custom outfits for most of my characters – so I figured I might as well write a guide. This is my way of doing this, obviously, not the Only True Way™, and if you prefer doing it some other way or you simply really love a tier set and just want to wear that, more power to you.

Lots of images coming up to illustrate my point, so the rest of the post will be behind a cut.

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Druid talent picks

Posted in Druid, Strategy, Tanking with tags , , , on October 25, 2011 by Aeliel

(I took a screenshot of the full talent screen from the panel stream, then edited it a bit to remove background clutter.)

A lot of people are doing this, and I was certainly going “ooh, I love that one” in my head while I watched the panel, so I figure what the hell.

This is from an almost purely PVE perspective (to say I’m not a great PVPer would be a massive understatement), and I’ll be considering talents based on their usefulness for a feral druid tank and for a feral druid DPS. I’m not going to mention in exact detail what each talent does, just briefly sum them up – if you want more details, MMO-Champion has a ton of screenshots, and Wowhead’s Mists of Pandaria talent calculator has the information as well.

Level 15

Feline Swiftness is a basic flat increase to your movement speed, Tireless Pursuit is an extra Dash, and Displacer Beast is a “ack, getting focused in PVP, must survive” panic button. To me, the choice is very clear-cut.

Feral tank: Feline Swiftness. No contest.
Feral DPS: Feline Swiftness most of the time, although I’ll be swapping in Tireless Pursuit if there are specific fights where you stay mostly still but suddenly have to get from point A to point B as soon as possible.
Leveling: Displacer Beast. I’m on a PVP server and I’m pretty awful at PVP. An extra “ack ack ack get it off get it off” panic button every 3 minutes might not end up saving me more time than the flat movement speed increase, but it’ll certainly save me tons of frustration.

Level 30

Nature’s Swiftness makes specific spells instant and castable in all forms, Renewal is a self-heal, and Cenarion Ward is a reactive HoT that can be cast on any friendly target.

At a first glance, Renewal is the most useful for a tank, since it gives you an extra panic button and 30% of your maximum health can be a decent chunk. However, depending on how much health you have and on how well it scales, Cenarion Ward might end up totaling more self-healing than Renewal when pushed every time it’s up, since its shorter cooldown means you can use it four times as often as Renewal… however, it’s not a panic button. As for Nature’s Swiftness, the only real benefit it offers to a tank is the ability to cast Rebirth instantly and without shifting out – which is only useful if you’re the only person in the raid who can combat res. On the one hand, I am in that situation (10-man raid, no death knight, no warlock, I’m the only druid and I’m a tank)… on the other, more important hand, I don’t see why I should have to sacrifice a cooldown that could very well save my life just so I can rescue some idiot who died from standing in bad and is quite likely to die again from standing in bad after I res him.

For a feral DPS, the choice is simpler. For most fights, panic button heal > instant Rebirth without shifting out > reactive HoT. (The reasoning being that you do no damage when you’re dead, while although you lose some DPS time when shifting out and resurrecting somebody it’s not likely to get you killed. The reactive HoT is unlikely to trigger very frequently if you cast it on cooldown, and if your healers are having issues keeping people up in fights with mild AoE damage you have bigger issues than Cenarion Ward can fix.) In fights with lots of heavy AoE damage, Cenarion Ward might become useful and end up taking some strain off the healers, but if it’s not off the GCD it might negatively impact your damage.

Feral tank: Renewal. Even if Cenarion Ward ends up totaling more self-healing over the course of a fight, I’d rather have a cooldown I can push to save my life when it matters than a consistent trickle of health. As for Nature’s Swiftness, thanks but no thanks.
Feral DPS: Renewal, although I may swap in Cenarion Ward depending on the fight.
Leveling: Cenarion Ward might come in handy here, depending on the scaling. Would certainly reduce downtime. If it doesn’t scale well, Renewal here too.

Level 45

Faerie Swarm adds a movement slow to an ability we already have, Mass Entanglement is a targeted AoE root, and Typhoon is an AoE knockback plus daze.

I’m immediately discounting Mass Entanglement because it very specifically can’t be cast in bear or cat form, and well, screw that. Even if there was a fight that absolutely required adds to be rooted – other classes can do that at less cost to them. The other two are very situational, and which one is the best very much depends on what you’re fighting.

Typhoon is going to be incredible for any fight where there’s something that absolutely must be knocked back, or else. (Hello, Ragnaros adds.) Faerie Swarm is going to be incredible for any fight where there’s something that absolutely must be slowed, or else. We currently have Infected Wounds, but I’m guessing that’s going to go away in 5.0 – and even if it doesn’t, Faerie Swarm is a ranged slow. My only qualm with it is the 6-second cooldown it incurs in bear and cat form. It makes sense – normal Faerie Fire is the same way – but it caps the amount of targets you can efficiently slow to two unless you shift out and just spam it every global cooldown.

(I’m not sure how likely it is that they’ll make it so you can only slow one target at a time. The Slow talent for mages very specifically says it can only be used on one target at a time and it’s a level 90 talents as things currently stand, but it also slows ranged attacks and spell casts, while ours doesn’t. We’ll see.)

Feral tank: Typhoon in most cases, replacing it with Faerie Swarm when a slow is needed.
Feral DPS: Typhoon, except for when a slow is needed.
Leveling: Typhoon. It’s extremely unlikely that I’ll want to slow the movement of something I’m trying to kill, considering er, I’m a melee… and there’s all those lovely cliffs in Pandaria that I can potentially knock people that try to gank me off of.

Level 60

This is where I say “gee Blizzard, would it have killed you to be a bit more specific?” – most of the talents don’t say what they do for one form or the other. All three talents are “does something, based on your form or spec.” Feh.

Wild Charge looks like it will be useless to bears, unless they make haste not suck or take away Feral Charge. Which they very well might, since they specifically said “Wild Charge is a new version of Feral Charge” and that the idea was “Let’s take something cool that different talent trees have and make it available to everyone.”

(Don’t even get me started on how angry I’ll be if they do that. Yeah, let’s force all feral tanks to take a specific talent and sacrifice something that might buff their threat or survivability instead if they want a gap closer, that’ll go very well with the idea of not making any of the choices mandatory and making people “choose between apples to apples.” Warriors have a gap closer by default and get to pick a way to buff it at level 15, paladins get theirs at level 15 and it’s not even a particularly hard choice because the other two talents aren’t nearly as good for a paladin tank, death knights have Death Grip, and druids have to wait until level 60 to get Wild Charge? Screw you. Put it at level 15 with the other movement effects where it belongs or leave Feral Charge as a baseline ability for tank druids, and have Wild Charge replace it with a buffed version – give it 30% extra damage after charging rather than 30% haste and it’ll actually be a choice people can decide to make rather than “oh well, the other two talents look nice but I have to take the gap closer.”)

Uh. I clearly have Strong Opinions. Moving on.

Incarnation “activates a superior shapeshifting form based on your specialization.” Force of Nature, they said during the panel, “works a little bit like Guardian of Ancient Kings.” As far as cat druids are concerned, both of these are likely to be a DPS-increasing talent – for bears, they could go either way, boosting survivability or threat.

All in all, I don’t know enough about this talent tier to make a reasoned choice. All I can do is guess (and get angry based on that guess – ahem).

Level 75

Demoralizing Roar is an AoE disorient, Ursol’s Vortex is a short-range AoE Death Grip, Bear Hug is a stun with a damage component.

(Demoralizing Roar as we know and hate it today will be gone. Hooray. As they put it during the panel, it “was just kinda maintenance-y, the debuff wasn’t that interesting” and I’m glad they decided to get rid of it.)

This is interesting. The new Demoralizing Roar strikes me as more of a PVP thing – I honestly can’t see the usefulness of an AoE disorient in PVE, except maybe in very specialized situations. Ursol’s Vortex sounds pretty amazing – 15 yards might not sound that big, but for instance Skull Bash currently has a 13-yard range. It’s going to be a useful ability to get enemies all nice and clumped, both for bears and for cats. Bear Hug at first glance seems more of a PVP thing, and it’s definitely pretty useless for a tank, but… hmmm.

Does it work on bosses? As in – does the damage still go through if the stun component doesn’t?

In cat gear, cat spec and bear form right now I have 145k health, completely unbuffed. Just smacking around a target dummy, Shred hits for 11.5k non-crit. And just for precision’s sake, let’s count autoattacks as well – 1.4k non-crit, once every 0.93 seconds. (I’m wearing a 300agi flask, but considering it’s got almost the full 2 hours left and I have a raid soon, I’m unwilling to click it off. Bear with me.)

Given the 1sec GCD and assuming I’m starting from a full energy bar (or have either Tiger’s Fury or Berserk available), I could Shred a maximum of three times in a 3-second period, for a total damage of 34.5k. Add in four autoattacks (rounding up for sanity’s sake), you get 40.1k. Bear Hugging something, assuming I was at full health, would do 14.5k damage (10% of my health) per tick, three times, for a total damage of 43.5k. I’d also incur a GCD when switching back to cat form, but if I were to Bear Hug when I’m out of energy anyway, I’d be dealing more damage than I would just autoattacking while waiting for my energy bar to fill back up. At worst it’s damage-neutral (assuming I miss two more autoattacks due to having to switch back to cat form); at best, it’s more damage than just autoattacking when waiting on an empty energy bar with nothing available to fill it back up.

Definitely something I’ll want to try out.

Feral tank: Ursol’s Vortex.
Feral DPS: undecided. Ursol’s Vortex offers good utility, but if Bear Hug works on bosses…
Leveling: Ursol’s Vortex, most likely.

Level 90

Heart of the Wild allows you to cover a role that you normally wouldn’t be able to take on for a short time, Master Shapeshifter buffs your spellpower when you use melee attacks and your attack power when you cast non-instant spells, and Disentanglement allows you to shapeshift out of roots and heals you for 20% of your maximum health every time you shapeshift, with the heal being on a 30-second cooldown.

Ehhhh. Not really interested in Master Shapeshifter. Heart of the Wild might come in handy, depending on the effect it has for bear druids – if it allows you to temporarily do decent cat DPS, I might even take it. Disentanglement has the potential to be insanely powerful. Never mind the shifting out of roots (something I very much want back, thank you very much) and the PVP effect of the talent (shift to bear form to turtle out some damage, get a heal to help you out with that)… I find myself wondering if you could use it to heal yourself while tanking, by shifting out of bear form and back in between the boss’ melee swings. It would need very careful timing but could be quite awesome.

Feral tank: Disentanglement for the root removal and the potential, switching in Heart of the Wild for fights in which I would be able to temporarily switch to cat form and try to do some damage (assuming it buffs my cat damage).
Feral DPS: Disentanglement for the root removal and the additional survivability (low health? shift out of cat form and back in to save your skin). Heart of the Wild looks nice on paper – however, the chance that fights will exist where a cat DPS will be wanted as a sub-par tank for 45 seconds every 6 minutes are very slim, and I’d rather talent for myself rather than pick a talent just in case somebody screws up and I need to step up and save the day.
Leveling: Disentanglement for the root removal and the heal both (kill something hard, shift out, heal yourself to 80% and shift back into cat form). Master Shapeshifter might come in handy here, too – hit stuff, shift out and heal yourself better when it’s dead, shift back in and hit stuff harder – but I’m unsure if it’ll make that big a difference.

Two-manning: Vault of Archavon 10man

Posted in Strategy, Undermanning with tags , on June 27, 2011 by Aeliel

We did this a few days ago, but I only just now got around to posting it. There really isn’t much special about VoA (and if you wonder why bother to do it, the answer is “Grand Black War Mammoth“), although some bosses can be a huge pain to kill due to their mechanics.

Archavon is pretty much a pushover. I started tanking him with my pet and Alieth was DPSing as enhancement. He does pick up pets, so we ended up taunting him with my main.

Koralon is also pretty much a pushover. He does hit hard, and Alieth was spending Maelstrom Weapon procs on healing my pet, but otherwise he’s easy. My main died sometime midfight because well, she wasn’t doing anything so why bother keep her alive?

Emalon wiped us a few times before we settled on a winning strategy. Said winning strategy boiled down to “ignore the adds”. I tanked Emalon with my hunter’s pet, while Alieth was restoration keeping himself and my pet alive; adds would inevitably go on him, and overcharged adds would explode. He healed through the damage, I burned Emalon down.

Toravon was the hardest. The DoT he applies stacks… well, pretty much to infinity and beyond. What we ended up doing was keeping Alieth as restoration, tanking Toravon with my pet, and once my pet had 20+ stacks of the DoT my main taunted Toravon and started taking DoT stacks. Alieth healed my main as much as he could, but eventually my main died (because the pet version of Taunt, for some reason, does not seem to work on the VoA bosses), and at that point the DoT on my pet had fallen off and my pet could pick Toravon back up. Alieth also took care of Frost Orbs (since he’s specced into Telluric Currents, it helped regen his mana).

And of course, no mount dropped. For all the clearing of old content we do, the only thing we’ve had luck with is Thori’dal in Sunwell. No mount from VoA, Malygos or Tempest Keep, and Illidan the bastard still hasn’t coughed up my blindfold. Here’s to better luck in the future.

Further adventures in two-manning Sunwell

Posted in Achievements, Hunter, Miscellanea, Strategy, Undermanning with tags , , , , , on June 23, 2011 by Aeliel

Guess what we did! (Epic Kil'jaeden screenshot courtesy of Alieth.)

(Two-manning? Well, sort of. Some bosses took three characters. There’s still only the two of us, though.)

Last we’d done anything in Sunwell was back in February, when we killed Kalecgos. Then we’d taken a few shots at Brutallus, got stomped into the ground and went back home with our tail between our legs.

Earlier today, we were discussing what else we could go kill when it was occurred to us that we hadn’t tried Sunwell for a while. Having seen the Hunter solos Brutallus YouTube video, we figured that although it was very doubtful that my hunter could pull 30k+ DPS by herself – well, her pet could tank, and Alieth could help DPS as enhancement, so we might be able to kill him.

So I respecced my secondary spec (which is used as “whatever spec we need to kill whatever it is we’re killing”) from Beast Mastery to Marksmanship (largely because of the healing from Chimera Shot; the spec I used was 7/31/3 – I just picked what I hoped would help me and my pet stay alive while outputting decent DPS), and off we went on our merry way.

Kalecgos was uneventful; we knew we could kill him, we killed him fine, nothing to comment on there. He really can be done with any 3 people, as long as all three can stay alive while having their face beaten in by bosses.

Brutallus was… uneventful as well all considered.  We stuck my druid in a corner to just stand there and look pretty (had our hands full controlling one character each and doing decent DPS), got my valiant pet turtle in front of Brutallus with Camouflage and pulled. We had one wipe very early on in the fight, because I’d forgotten to take the turtle’s cooldowns off autocast and I didn’t have an easy indicator of when Brutallus would Stomp the poor thing… so splat went the turtle, and splat went the rest of us.

And then we pulled him again, and the turtle stayed alive, and with our combined 28k+ DPS we were well ahead of the berserk timer, even with Alieth spending Maelstrom Weapon procs to help heal the turtle. No flasks or consumables needed.

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More undermanning: Sartharion 10 with 3 drakes

Posted in Mounts and pets, Strategy, Undermanning with tags , , on June 17, 2011 by Aeliel

This all started because I didn’t have a Black Drake. I’d killed Sartharion 10 with 3 drakes up several times, but never really gotten lucky on the mount. So I went to Alieth and the conversation went more or less like this:

Me: “You know what I was thinking? We could try to two-man Sartharion 10 3 drakes, we haven’t done that and I still need the mount.”
Him: “I know you still need the mount, but I don’t know if it would be possible…”
Me: *puppy eyes*
Him: “Fine, let’s go.”

As usual: I’m a feral druid tank, 355 average ilvl in my tank gear (I have more 359s than 353s at this point, but the two blue 346 trinkets drag my average down). Alieth is a restoration shaman healer for the purposes of this particular fight, wearing mostly 372 gear with a couple of 359 exceptions.

Basic strategy rundown:

  • Keep your camera zoomed out as far as you can, with 3 drakes plus Sartharion plus whelps and fire elementals there’ll be a lot of ground clutter.
  • Move out of lava waves and void zones. (Duh, but I ended up eating the occasional void zone and one lava wave simply because there was so much stuff on the floor that I had nowhere to move.)
  • The tank will be the primary source of damage, but the healer needs to have some way to kill stuff semi-efficiently.
  • The healer needs to have very good mana regen, since there will be periods of very heavy damage on the tank.
  • DPS Sartharion until Tenebron lands, then switch to DPSing Tenebron as soon as she becomes active.
  • Ignore the portal; the tank needs to pick up fire elementals and whelps off the healer without getting the healer hit by flame breaths.
  • Tank picks up Shadron and Vesperon when they land. Ignore the portal for the time being. Once Shadron spawns his acolyte in the portals, Sartharion will go immune to all damage.
  • Once Tenebron is dead, kill Shadron, then kill Vesperon.
  • After Vesperon is dead, the tank should burn survival cooldowns and the healer should go inside the portal and kill Shadron’s acolyte to remove the damage immunity from Sartharion, then get back out and top the tank up.
  • DPS Sartharion. Once it’s safe to do so (but as soon as possible) the healer should go back inside the portal and kill Vesperon’s acolyte. This can be done in multiple passes, if necessary, as the acolyte’s health won’t reset if nobody is inside the twilight realm. The death of this last acolyte will remove Twilight Torment from you, reducing the damage you take; if you feel your healer can deal with the additional damage, you can ignore the acolyte instead and just burn Sartharion down, but we went the safe way.
  • At this point the fight is pretty much won – keep avoiding flame waves, and of course the tank should still pick up all the fire elementals off the healer.

Interestingly, I’m not sure if this can be soloed by anybody. Unless you can burn him down within 75 seconds (which is when Shadron lands), Shadron’s acolyte will need to be killed to remove the immunity shield from Sartharion, and if you’re alone and go into the portal the encounter will most likely reset. The damage you’ll take is also pretty massive. Maybe a hunter with a turtle or beetle and 2T5, if the turtle does not despawn when the hunter goes into the portal. I don’t know, I haven’t tested it.