Archive for the 'Raiding' Category


Ready to raid in three days with no dailies

The topic of “mandatory” dailies has had a lot of legs.  These discussions go on and on and don’t die.

Personally, I’m tired of dailies.  However, I see that in my gaming style they are not mandatory so I simply stopped doing them.  My main is Revered with Golden Lotus and Klaxxi and Exalted with Tillers.  That’s it.  I’ll continue working on rep very gradually on my main over the next few months in between other activities, and that’s good enough for me.  I won’t do the dailies at all on my alts.

My raid team is short a healer.  In order to fill that gap, I took time off from my rogue to level my resto druid.  I hit 90 with him late Monday night.  He needs to be geared and ready to go in short order.  How do I do that without dailies/VP gear?

In the span of three days I got him from quest greens to raid-ready without doing any dailies.  Here’s how:

  1. First, I did quested out the entire Dread Zones area.  That gets me an iLvL 450 shoulder and belt as quest rewards.
  2. Crafted:  Wildblood Vest and Wildblood Gloves (iLvL 476).  Expensive if you have to buy them, but cost is minimal to craft them yourself if you have the 11 Spirits of Harmony, as I did on my rogue leatherworker.  Note that I had previously done the rep grind on that toon to get that recipe.  If I was totally avoiding dailies on all characters, I’d need to find someone else to craft it for me.
  3. Crafted:  Band of Blood x 2 (iLvL 450) and Tiger Opal Pendant.  Also somewhat pricey to buy, but cheap to craft yourself.
  4. Justice Points used to purchase iLvL 458 bracer, cloak, and legs  (4750 JP total, so I bought two then grabbed the third after running a few dungeons for more JP)
  5. Did the Sha of Anger world boss to get iLvL 476 boots
  6. Purchased Ghost Iron Dragonling (iLvL 450) and cogwheels from the AH for just a few hundred gold
  7. Ran the Arena of Annihilation scenario to get an iLvL 450 weapon
  8. My one big ticket purchase was the off-hand Inscribed Red Fan (iLvL 476), which ran me 4500 g.

These items are specific to my healer, but there are equivalent items for every class.  All that got me to an overall item level in the 450′s.  Then I ran a few heroics to fill in what I was missing and get me to the 460 mark where I can run LFR.  I still could get a tier drop from Sha of Anger.  I could also buy the Relic of Chi Ji to get that extra iLvL boost, but that’s about 23k gold on my server.

All of this took three days after hitting the level cap, and didn’t even cost much gold except for the off-hand.  I haven’t done any dailies or worked on any rep.  If I hadn’t been able to craft the Wildblood pieces myself it would have cost a bit more.

Now, if I were aiming to push progression and get into heroic raids quickly, then I might be more concerned about rep rewards and VP gear.  However, for a player who is aiming to start in LFR raids and then move into normal mode raids, what I’ve done shows that dailies and rep grinds are not mandatory.


Crazy Assassination Damage

I suspect there may be some nerfs incoming for assassination rogues.

Why?  Let me show you.

Background… I haven’t played my rogue in months.  We’re short of healers, so I have raided exclusively on my resto druid for the past few months.  When patch 5.0.4 dropped, I read up on the changes to my rogue but didn’t get a chance to try them out in the game.  They weren’t major changes, in any case.

This weekend I finally got to raid DS on my rogue.  I had not spent any time on a target dummy in advance, so I was a little nervous going in that I would mess things up.

This is the parse from heroic Ultraxion…

Its not the damage totals that are important.  Its the percentages.  That rogue below me is combat spec.  (he doesn’t have the legendary daggers yet – he has the stage 2 epics).

The assassination damage was crazy.  The legendary daggers proc all the time.  I got the Fury of the Destroyer buff from the daggers 7 times during the 4:44 fight.

As we start to level, the effect of the legendary dagger procs will go away once we replace them with MoP gear.  Still, my damage output on this fight was 50% higher than anyone else in the raid.  I’m not 50% better than the other players who were there, and I was not this far ahead before the patch.  While not shown, my damage total for the entire raid was similarly unbalanced (30% higher than the next best dps, even including fights that favor ranged).  Something here is out of whack.  When there’s that much disparity this early in the expansion process, experience tells me that it usually leads to some nerfs down the line.

Enjoy it while it lasts, my rogue friends.


Playing a Rogue in Mists of Pandaria

Now that the expansion release is looming before us, we can expect that the way the class is playing currently in beta will be very close to the way it plays when MoP goes live.  That means its a good time to look at what has changed. For the most part, the rogue will play as it has played in the past.  The main combo-building attacks and finishers are mostly unchanged.

Changes to Talents and Abilities

The largest change is the new talent system.  We still have our assassination, combat, and subtlety specs as always, but the choice of spec impacts the baseline abilities, not the talent tree.  In the shared talent trees, the choices are aimed at utility rather than damage increases.  As a result, there will be very few “mandatory” talents and there should not be a cookie-cutter build that everyone uses.  I anticipate that there will be a number of talent choices that will be changed from one raid boss to the next depending on the specific needs of the fight. All rogues will have the same talent trees to select from.

The things that make each spec unique are no longer from talents (like Mutilate and Blade Flurry were talents previously).  These abilities have been rolled into the base abilities for each spec. Here are the base abilities which are unique for each spec (these are not all the rogue abilities – just the ones that distinguish the specs from each other):

Assassination Combat Hemorrhage
Assassin’s Resolve (passive) Ambidexterity (passive) Hemorrhage
Improved Poisons (passive) Blade Flurry Master of Subtlety (passive)
Mutilate Vitality (passive) Sinister Calling (passive)
Envenom Revealing Strike Find Weakness (passive)
Seal Fate (passive) Combat Potency (passive) Premeditation
Dispatch Adrenaline Rush Backstab
Venomous Wounds (passive) Restless Blades (passive) Honor Among Thieves (passive)
Cut to the Chase (passive) Bandit’s Guile (passive) Sanguinary Vein (passive)
Blindside (passive) Killing Spree Energetic Recovery (passive)
Mastery: Potent Poisons (passive) Mastery: Main Gauche Mastery: Executioner
Vendetta Shadow Dance

There are a few changes and a couple of new abilities (detailed below) but most of these should be familiar from the current game. A lot of people have complained that the talent system is “dumbed down” in MoP.  However, when you look at the lists you can see that the talents that everyone would have selected (Mutilate, Blade Flurry, Premeditation, etc…) have been turned into baseline abilities. With the main attacks and distinguishing moves rolled into baseline abilities, the talent system is pared down to a smaller number of interesting choices rather than a huge list of mandatory clicks.

This is the talent tree that is shared by all three specs.  Note that you only select six talents – one every fifteen levels.

The big brouhaha in the rogue community is over the level 60 talent tier, where we have to choose between Preparation and Shadowstep (or Burst of Speed, but I don’t think that will be popular).  These are both abilities that have been the heart of the subtlety spec for a while, and now they are available to all specs (but only one out of the two!).  Shadowstep is great for leveling, but I think that Preparation will be enticing for raiding or pvp.  You can change your talent choices from one fight to the next at any time using a reagent made by scribes.

I think that we will find that there is no “best” spec.  Your choices will depend on your preferences and playstyle and on the mechanics of the fights.  For example, in the level 90 tier, Anticipation is useful to prevent wasted combo points, which is most likely to happen on single-target fights, while Versatility improves your Redirect, and that will be helpful on target-switching fights.

Also – Prime Glyphs are gone.  Prime glyphs that were “mandatory” have had their effects rolled into the base abilities.  Most Major/Minor glyphs are for utility or personalization.

New Abilities

In the lower levels, assassination rogues have been given Dispatch.  This is an execute-phase attack, much like Backstab became in Cataclysm.  Dispatch hits hard when the target is below 35% health.  However, this attack has another role.  The Blindside ability (gained at level 70) gives assassination rogues the chance to proc a Dispatch at any time in the fight (and it costs no energy!).  Thus, the assassination attack sequence will not be a set rotation, but instead will have to be modified on the fly due to Dispatch procs.

While the other specs have been tweaked and had some abilities shuffled, they haven’t gained anything really new at lower levels.

Of course with the new expansion come new abilities for all specs.  They are:

  • Shroud of Concealment (level 76): Extend a cloak that wraps party and raid members within 20 yards in shadows, concealing them from sight for up to 15 sec.
  • Crimson Tempest (level 83): Finishing move that consumes combo points on any nearby target to slash at the flesh of all enemies within 8 yards, dealing Physical damage based on combo points and causing victims to bleed and suffer an additional 30% of the initial damage over 12 sec.
  • Shadow Blades (level 87): Draw upon the surrounding shadows to empower your weapons, causing your autoattacks to deal pure Shadow damage and your combo-point-generating abilities to generate an additional combo point when used.

Those are pretty interesting.  Crimson Tempest is being hailed as a new era for rogue AoE.  No longer must we just spam FoK or start Blade Flurry and watch our combo points and debuffs drop.  Now that FoK generates combo points, we can FoK and then mix in Crimson Tempest for a true AoE rotation.

Shroud of Concelament will be useful for bypassing trash in dungeons with your whole group – especially useful in the Challenge Modes.

Shadow Blades is a dps cooldown.  The shadow damage will allow your autoattacks to bypass armor, which is nice but not awe-inspiring.  Each spec will manage that differently depending on their procs and other cooldowns.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see this buffed a bit before it goes live.

Weapons and Poisons

One thing that rogues will notice right away in MoP is that their thrown weapon slot is gone.  Now rogues have a Throw attack (replaced by Deadly Throw perhaps or Shuriken Toss at level 90) but no dedicated thrown weapon.  FoK uses the equipped melee weapons (and their poisons).

Also, there are no more fast and slow daggers.  All daggers are now 1.8 speed.  This is to smooth the proc rate on poisons and get rid of the advantages to having a slower main hand and faster off hand.

Most surprisingly, the poison system is overhauled.  No longer do you actually apply poison to weapons.  Now, poisons are a buff to the rogue.  You can have two poisons – one lethal and one non-lethal.  Both poisons can proc from either or both weapons since they are a buff to the rogue and not the specific weapon.  Lethal poisons are Instant, Deadly, and Wound.  Non-lethal poisons are Crippling, Mind-Numbing, and – if you spec for them - Leeching and Paralytic.


From my little time spent in beta, gameplay as a MoP rogue is very similar to gameplay as a Cata rogue.

I will say that having Shadowstep in any spec is a big gamechanger, and adds fun to questing and soloing.  Since I’ve never played subtlety for any length of time, I was like a kid with a new toy, popping around Pandaria.

As an assassination rogue, you’ll still use Mutilate as your main combo point generator, and envenom as your  finisher.  You still keep Rupture going for the energy return from Venomous Wounds.  Your Envenoms still refresh SnD.  The big difference is that Blindside procs let you hit Dispatch in between your other attacks, which adds some variation to your rotation.  Cold Blood is gone, but there are two damage cooldowns – Vendetta and Shadow Blades.  In beta, there are a lot of comments about assassination being energy-starved.  We’ll have to hope that problem clears up by the time you reach the level cap.

Combat rogues will play exactly the same way they play now.  Sinster Strike and SnD/Rupture/Eviscerate are still the finishers.  None of the major abilities or cooldowns have been removed.  Rupture damage has been buffed so it is a higher priority finisher than Eviscerate.  Revealing Strike now has a chance to proc an extra combo point, which makes it more attractive to use.  Bandit’s Guile now follows you when you switch targets, which is convenient.  Still, this will be the same cooldown-based spec that we are all familiar with, using Adrenaline Rush and Killing Spree liberally and now including Shadow Blades.

Subtlety rogues are losing exclusive rights to Shadowstep and Preparation.  Other than that, the general style of play is similar to the way they played in Cataclysm, but the rotation is somewhat streamlined.  Backstab/Hemorrhage are still the main attacks.  The most important change is that the energy gain mechanism from Energetic Recovery has been shifted from Recuperate to SnD.  That means you won’t have to keep Recuperate up anymore.  That’s one less finisher to juggle.  Rupture and SnD will have longer duration, making it easier to maintain their uptime.  Hemorrhage now applies a DoT to the target, but no longer increases bleed damage.  Sanguinary Vein has been buffed, so Rupture uptime is vital.  The other cooldowns remain the same – Premeditation, Shadow Dance, and now Shadow Blades.  Sub rogues will be happy to have FoK/Crimson Tempest as viable AoE in Mists.


There are no sweeping changes to the rogue class.  Blizzard has long maintained that rogues are well-designed, and they have not made large-scale changes for a long time.  Despite this, the number of rogues declined during Cataclysm.  Will Shadowstep for all rogues help bring some players back to this class?


The Attunement Debate

There are two big debates going on right now in all of the WoW-related forums.  One is about the merit of attunement quests, and the other is about the pattern of gradually nerfing raids.  Today I’ll give my take on attunements, and my next post will be about raid nerfs.

As someone who has played since vanilla, I’ve lived through the ups and downs of attunements.  I didn’t raid in vanilla, but I did go through the attunement for Molten Core.  In Burning Crusade, I did the attunement quest chain for Karazhan since we actively raided there.  Later, I did the attunment chain for Tempest Keep and Serpentshrine Cavern, but I did them primarily to get the Champion of the Naaru title, not to do the raids.  (In fact, as I remember it I completed the attunements the last week before they removed the ability to get the title pre-WotLK)

Karazhan-style attunements

To get attuned for Karazhan was relatively painless, but time consuming.  It involved running nine instances after you had hit the level cap.  This had good and bad implications.

  • The good: you learned the story behind the raid.  The quest chain told you through the backstory of Karazhan, which made the raid itself more interesting.
  • The bad: it slowed everyone down.  If you leveled a toon, then once you hit the level cap you had to get guildies (pug groups were hard to put together back then) to do nine instance runs with you before you were able to do the first raid tier of the expansion.  It took a week, if you were lucky and put a burden on everyone in the guild to run content that had no reward for them.

I think that the LFG system in place today would make this method much more palatable, however, in the current setup it is someone useless.  Blizzard doesn’t need to force players to run instances.  In Cataclysm, with the LFG system in full force and gear level requirements, everyone will run heroics for JP or VP gear before they start raiding.  There is no need to put an attunement quest chain in place because people are going to run the instances anyway!

TK/SSC/MH/BT-style attunements

This is where the real debate is happening.  To get attuned for Tempest Keep and Serpentshrine Caverns (tier 5), you had to run the raids from the previous tier (Gruul, Magtheridon, and Karazhan).  Then to get attuned for Mount Hyjal and Black Temple (tier 6) you had to run SSC and TK.

That means that a player who just hits the level cap HAD to run all of the tiers (Kara, Gruul, Magtheridon, SSC, and TK) to get to the highest raid tier.  There is no skipping a tier.

One side of this debate says, “That is good!  It gets the players raiding experience before they get to the harder tiers!”  However, its more complicated than that.  Think of your recent guild raids.  While you were running Dragon Soul, how often would your guild go back and run Blackwing Descent?  How about Baradin Hold?  Throne of the Four Winds?  Probably never.  Would you want to?

In reality, here is what happened in Burning Crusade.  Guilds became farm systems.  I know because my guild was on the low-end of the system, and I remember it well.

The high-end guilds would advance to the most current level of raid content.  If you wanted to join one of those guilds, they insisted that you should already be attuned because they didn’t want to run old content.  That meant that you had to join a guild that was still running old content.

Players would join my guild while we were running the Gruul/Magtheridon tier.  Once we were able to clear those raids, some players would leave our guild to jump to a guild that was in the SSC/TK tier.  Once the players had cleared those, they would try to jump to a top guild in BT/MH.

At this point, some would ask, “But why didn’t your guild just keep progressing past that tier so you could get to the higher tiers?”  Its hard to do that when you keep losing players.  And every time we lost players, in order to replace them we had to go back and run old content to attune them.  It was a terrible cycle and actually prohibited progression for all but the top guilds.

And that is why that attunement style cannot be brought back.  It created a nearly unbreakable caste system in the game.  (of course, the elitists want exactly that, which is why they argue so strongly for attunements)


There is probably a middle ground to this, but with the LFG making heroics and JP/VP gear so accessible and all but required prior to raiding, I think its not needed.  The devs should be able to wrap the backstory up in the heroic instances and it would accomplish most of what an attunement chain could do.  I’d suggest to add maybe one or two solo pre-quests before the heroics as a story hook, because once you’re in the heroics the go-go-go crowd can make it hard to stop and read quest text.


Incoming Nerf

Dragon Soul is supposed to be nerfed starting this week.  It will be a 5% reduction in boss damage and health, and that number will gradually increase.  It doesn’t affect our attack power or abilities, so our damage output should stay about the same.

For rogues, this nerf has some small effect.  It means that bosses will die quicker, so you might not get to use your cooldowns as often.  This might have a small negative impact on our damage totals.  Be aggressive using your damage cooldowns.

Here’s something interesting you might try.  On Ultraxion in 10-man normal mode, the Hour of Twilight does 300,000 damage.  Presumably that will be nerfed down to 285,000.  If you hit your Feint, reducing AoE damage by 50%, that should only hit you for 142,500.  If you’re in 378/384/397 gear you probably have enough health to survive that, assuming that your healers are keeping you topped off.  If you’re feeling adventurous, see if you can live through an Hour of Twilight without hitting the Heroic Will.

Of course, if your health is below 142000, or if you time the Feint wrong you’ll die.  If you manage to survive, that’s extra dps time.  You might give your healers and raid leader a heart attack, though.


Rogue drops in Dragon Soul

Am I just incredibly unlucky?

I’ve run Dragon Soul now about 6-8 times in normal difficulty and a handful of times in LFR.  That’s a total of 40-50 boss kills split between 10-man runs and 25-man runs.

So far, I have gotten exactly three drops.  I got my first DS tier piece in LFR yesterday.

I’m not too surprised by that.  What I’m annoyed with is not that I’m being outrolled, but that I almost never even have a drop to roll on.  I’ve gone entire guild runs without ever typing /roll, and entire LFR runs without ever hitting Need or even Greed.  Its become kind of a joke.

Am I just amazingly unlucky?


Is the LFR expected or optional?

I was reading and posting in an online forum on a WoW-related topic.  In the discussion, someone spilled the beans about the ending of the Dragon Soul raid and storyline.  Another person said, “Dude, put SPOILER ALERT on that so we know not to read it if we haven’t done it yet.”

At this point, the person who had asked for the spolier alert was raked over the coals in the way that WoW trolls really know how.  They accused him of being a failure at the game because, at this point, only a total loser has not cleared the Dragon Soul in the LFR.

I stepped in to disagree, saying that I preferred to raid with my guild and so I, also, have not done the LFR raids yet.

Then the tide of opinion turned against me, saying that I should be running LFR to get gear to help with normal mode raiding.  The fact that it is super-easy was the main argument for its necessity.


I feel like I’m part of a dying breed in WoW.  The main joy of raiding for me is playing with my long-time gaming friends.  There is no thrill in loot.  Loot lost its appeal to me back in BC when epic purple gear became more common than rare blue-level gear.  My joy comes from the shared experience of overcoming the obstacle that the devs have set before us.  For that reason, I’d much rather run the raid in normal mode, using gear I got in normal mode Firelands and by running heroics.

Basically, I see the LFR as a nice alternate path for those who want/need it.  I don’t see it as a necessary part of the gearing-up process.

Am I the minority here?


Add-On dependence

Since I’ve had trouble with Curse Client this week, its made me realize what a large number of add-ons I use.

This is not intentional.  Its just “add-on creep” – meaning that over my 6+ years of playing I have gradually added more add-ons while not removing many.

Here’s what I use right now:

  • Dominos for my bars
  • X-Perl for unit frames
  • SexyMap to move and configure my minimap
  • Elkano Buff Bars for my buffs/debuffs
  • ChocolateBar (replacing FuBar) for my indicators across the top of the screen, including
    • Fubar2Broker to make my FuBar add-ons functional
    • MoneyFu to track my income
    • PerformanceFu to monitor my game performance
    • ReputationFu to track my faction reputations
    • GarbageFu to automatically get rid of crap that I loot
    • DurabilityFu to automate my gear repairs
  • OmniCC to put a timer on my cooldowns
  • Outfitter to manage my gear sets
  • Arkinventory to organize my bags
  • GoGoMount to use a different mount each time I mount up
  • Archy for my occasional dabbles in archaeology
  • FishingBuddy and FishermansFriend to make my time fishing go smoothly
  • IronChef to help my cooking go faster
  • SleekFreeBagSlots to show my free space on the toons that don’t use Arkinventory
  • StealYourCarbon to simplify restocking of basic reagents
  • SpamMeNot to block annoying goldsellers

Then there are the add-ons I use to raid.

  • PowerAuras to tell me about important procs
  • SmartBuff to remind me to rebuff or repoison
  • Deadly Boss Mods for raid encounters
  • Omen Threat Meter
  • Nug Combo Bar to show my combo points in my field of view
  • Event Horizon as a timer for my abilities
  • Recount with several plug-ins for damage/healing tracking
  • EnsidiaFails to see who messed up after a wipe
  • BigBrother to make sure that everyone has food/flasks
  • Clique and Grid on my healer characters
  • Decursive on any characters than can decurse or dispel
  • Tauntmaster on my tank toon
  • KAHolyPower for my paladin

Then there are my auction/gold-making add-ons

  • TradeSkillMaster for sheer awesomeness
  • Enchantrix to automate prospecting/milling/disenchanting
  • Postal to quickly send/receive my hundred of mails from the auction house.
  • MillHelp to see what my herbs will mill into

Plus many of these add ons use libraries which also need to be updated.

Very few of my add-ons actually have a direct impact on my game play.  On my rogue, its basically NugComboBar and Event Horizon.  On my priest and druid healers its Grid, Clique, and Decursive.  For my paladin its KAHolyPower, TauntMaster, and EventHorizon.  And DBM, of course, on any characters in a raid.  Other than those, the vast majority of the add-ons are for convenience and to automate everyday tasks or to reorganize my UI.

To keep this up to date manually would be a huge chore.  Now that Curse is uninstalled, I have to decide what to do.  How many of these can/should I remove?  How much frustration will I feel when I have to remember to do things that used to be automated (like rebuff or repair or empty my bags of grey items)?  How annoyed will I be when I start getting goldselling spam or forget to restock my poisons?  How long would it take me to get used to a simpler, more vanilla UI?  I’m so used to these things as part of my game experience.



Tuning the Raids

The Dragon Soul raid has arrived.  Deathwing, the biggest and baddest foe we have fought, was defeated within hours of the patch going live.

Does that mean that Dragon Soul is too easy?  I don’t think so, personally.  It seems pretty on target to me.

In answering that question, I discount the accomplishment of the top guilds.  These guilds spend hours and hours on the PTR perfecting their strategy so that they can make short work of the raids when they go live.  The guilds that are competing for world-firsts are a different breed of player and should not be used to judge the relative difficulty of the content.

However, looking at my server (a medium population PvE server), there are six guilds that did a full clear in the first week, and a total of nineteen guilds that are at least 5/8.  To me, that indicates that the early bosses are probably not much of a challenge for the more accomplished guilds.

I think that some of this is due to the proliferation of heroic-level raid gear.  When Blizzard first offered up heroic raid difficulty as an option, it was meant as a further challenge for the guilds that wanted/needed that kind of challenge.  There was not an expectation, as I recall, that most guilds would do heroic modes.

Nowadays, it seems like the normal modes of the raid are seen as just a speed bump on the way to heroic modes.  They are considered a part of the progression path rather than an extension of the path.  When people say that they have cleared the available content, they don’t mean Ragnaros – they mean heroic Ragnaros.  That’s a big shift in attitude.  I don’t think that there was as much expectation among guilds to kill heroic Lich King back in Wrath.

As a test of this hypothesis, I arbitrarily chose the 15th-place guild on my server (as listed in GuildOx) and found the 15th-best geared person in that guild.  That means this is a character is probably not one of the top raiders in a guild which is not a top guild to begin with.  Upon armory inspection, that person had heroic Firelands gear on.

If a lot of guilds are walking into raids with heroic gear on, then how exactly is Blizzard supposed to tune the raids?  I think that normal-mode raids should be tuned assuming normal-mode gear.  In other words, the difficulty of the early Dragon Soul bosses should be such that it will be a moderate challenge to players in full or almost-full normal-mode Firelands gear.  Normal modes are supposed to be the norm.  That’s why they are called “normal”.

With that in mind, it makes sense that a lot of raiders would burn through the early content if they are sporting some heroic FL gear.  They will also complain that the content is “too easy” and that Blizzard is aiming the bar too low.  In fact, it may just be that heroic modes are too commonplace and they are outgearing the tuning of the raid right from the start.

What this means is that the raid is not too easy, but rather than the players have too much gear.

Its not just heroic mode gear.  There is a player in my guild who hit 85 last week and already he almost outgears me, even though I have full Firelands (normal) gear.  Gear is plentiful and easy to obtain.  Again, this makes it tough to tune the early raid bosses because you have to make it doable by people in regular 378 gear.

I’ve just fought the first three bosses in Dragon Soul and only killed one of them.  Morchok is certainly not complicated, as is appropriate for a first boss.  The next two are a fair challenge – especially on healers in normal mode gear.  I don’t think they feel “too easy”.

My hope is that the Dragon Soul heroic modes are really challenging.  If that is the case, then the heroic-geared players will settle into heroic-mode Dragon Soul and stop complaining that the content is easy.  The rest of the players can then concentrate on working their way through normal mode Dragon Soul, and the whole discussion of “easy or not” will fade away.



No, you can’t stealth to Hagara. A Guide to the Rogue Legendary Dagger questline

One of the questions I have seen from other rogues (and that I asked myself) is… can you stealth through Dragon Soul to finish the first part of the legendary dagger questline?  The answer… no.

Here’s what you have to do to get the legendary daggers.  It won’t be quick.  Even the most hardcore raider will take a couple of months to get through this.  However, Blizzard has given us an easy path to get the first stage of dagger rewards, and that’s going to be the best daggers most of us can get until (if) we get the legendaries.

Step Zero: Find the Dragon Soul raid.

Before you can start the questline, you have to find the questgiver, Lord Afrasastrasz, and he is in the Dragon Soul raid.  You can’t go into the raid solo.  You have to be in a raid group.  If you’re in a raiding guild, this is no problem.  If not you’ll have to group with someone, form a raid group, and then you can go in.  The quest giver is on your right just after you enter.  Get his quest.

Step One: Proving Your Worth

Your first quest, Proving Your Worth, says to pickpocket a Cryptomancer’s Decoder Ring from Hagara, who is the 4th boss in Dragon Soul.  Unfortunately, the path to this boss does not open until the first three bosses have been defeated.

You cannot do this in a LFR raid.  You need to be in a regular group on normal or heroic difficulty.  If you’re in a raiding guild, then you’ll get there soon enough.  If not, then you’re in a jam.

The best thing you can do is either pug the raid at normal difficulty, or buy a pickpocket spot.  If a raid group is at Hagara, they can invite you to the raid, let you stealth to the boss and pickpocket, then you can drop raid.  Arrange with a raiding guild in advance so they can invite you when they get to the 4th boss.  They may ask for several thousand gold for this service.

If there is more than one rogue in the group who wants to pickpocket, here is what you do.  Stealth to the boss and pickpocket.  Then step back and drop stealth and pull the boss.  Vanish.  When the boss resets, the pickpocket timer will also be reset, and the next rogue can take a turn.

Step Two: Pay and Wait

Once you have the Decoder Ring, you get the next quest called A Hidden Message.  You bring the ring to the ethereals who have set up shop in Stomwind or Orgrimmar.  One of them will “charge” the ring for you.  He also demands 10,000 gold for this service.  When you pay, he does his thing it but it takes twelve hours for the ring to charge.  I hope you’re not impatient.

Once the ring is charged take it to Corastrasza at the Vermillion Redoubt in Twilight Highlands.

Step Three: Back to Ravenholdt

This quest is called To Ravenholdt, and its just a travel / story developing quest.  A dragon named Mostrasz will fly you to Ravenholdt.  Why?  Well, I won’t spoil the story line, but they have something the red dragonflight wants.

Step Four: Sneaking

In the quest To Catch a Thief, Mostrasz will guide you as you infiltrate the Ravenholdt compound to find… well, I won’t say.  You have to stealth, avoid guards.  If you fail you get to try again so its not difficult.

Step Five: Gilneas

The next quest, called Our Man in Gilneas,  sends you to the Ruins of Gilneas.  You’re going to meet up with someone in an instanced version of the Ruins of Gilneas.  He’s going to give you a mission…

Step Six: A Man’s Got to Die

We’re rogues, right?  Killin’s what we do.  The next quest is to solo kill a mob in Gilneas City.  First you have to stealth to him through more guards.  I haven’t done it yet, but I hear its pretty tough.  Distract and Sap are key.

Once you get to him you have to solo kill him, and he has a two minute enrage timer with about 1.8 million health.  That means that you need to maintain around 15k dps while also keeping Recuperate up, as well as being quick on your other abilities.  Cloak of Shadows, Evasion/Combat Readiness, Blind, Gouge, Disarm, healing potions and bandages are all going to be useful in this fight.  It might take a few tries, and you’ll need some fairly good gear, but it seems doable.  This is the tough step for the first questline.

You can’t have help because your version of the area is phased.  The only way you can get help is to go with another rogue who is on the same step of the questline.  In that case, it becomes fairly easy with multiple stuns and interrupts on the target.

Step Seven: Profit!

Once he is dead, you return to Ravenholdt and get your reward.  This questline earns you the pair of daggers Fear (main hand) and Vengeance (off hand).  These are great daggers, even if they aren’t the legendaries that we’re after.

The nice thing here is that you don’t have to be a hardcore raider to do that quest chain.  YOu do need access to the 4th boss of Dragon Soul, but that’s it.  After that its just a rogue solo, using rogue abilities.  The next chain, however, requires a LOT of time in raids.  If you’re not in a raiding guild, then you can basically stop reading here because this is as far as you go.  Raiders can continue on to…

Step Eight: Collecting

You’ll get a quest called Cluster Clutch.  This asks you to do the expected gathering (just like the legendaries from Ulduar, ICC, and Firelands).  You have to collect 333 Shadowy Gems.  It seems that you can get 5-6 from each boss in Dragon Soul (not on LFR difficulty), so that means you’ll need 60-70 boss kills to complete this step.  For top guilds that is about eight weeks.  For most of us its several months.

Steps Nine through Thirteen

No one has done these yet so mot much is known.  You will have to kill a dragon in Karazhan and then you get the next level of epic daggers - The Sleeper and The Dreamer.  You’ll need to collect more stuff from bosses in Dragon Soul.  For the last step you will need to defeat Deathwing, and then you’ll get your legendaries – Golad, Twilight of the Aspects and Tiriosh, Nightmare of Ages.

Then, you’re Batman.  Not the hero Azeroth wants, but the one they deserve.

Good luck!


Dinaer - 90 Assassination Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Derence - 90 Prot/Ret Paladin (US - Sen'Jin)
Metius - 90 Shadow Priest (US - Sen'Jin)
Liebnitz - 90 Arcane Mage (US - Sen'Jin)
Fastad - 90 Subtlety Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Darishin - 90 Resto/Balance Druid (US - Sen'Jin)
July 2014
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