Archive for April, 2010


A Rogue in Icecrown Citadel – Rotface

As with all of my guides, this is not intended to be a strategy for the whole raid.  It is only intended for rogues and other melee dps classes.  For a full strategy guide check WoWWiki .

The Rotface fight is basically the opposite of his sibling/friend/whatever Festergut.  Where Festergut is a pure stand-still dps race, Rotface is about situational awareness, mobility, and keeping out of the bad stuff.

The Rotface fight needs two tanks – one for Rotface and another for the slimes.  If you use your Tricks of the Trade to send threat to the tank, then set it to the Rotface tank.  When the fight opens, you’ll settle in behind the boss and start your attack rotation.  Get as much damage done as you can quickly, because you won’t be standing there for long.  Its not a bad idea to pop some cooldowns right off the bat before things start to get hectic.

The easy part – Rotface vomits occasionally in an arbitrary direction, doing damage to anyone in melee range that he faces.  Its easy to avoid.  He turns and faces someone other than the tank and starts to vomit.  You strafe to his other side or run through him and keep attacking.  There are some strategies that organize the raid into two parts (right foot and left foot) and has them move as a group to avoid the vomit.  I’ve never found that to be necessary on 10-man, although it might be more important in 25.  If he turns toward you, move to another side.  He has no cleave so its not a problem if you end up in front of him when he’s done vomiting.

The tricky part is when you get targeted with a Mutated Infection.  It puts a DoT on you and reduces the healing you receive by 50%.  Your Cloak of Shadows will get rid of it but DON’T CLOAK YET. Be patient…

After 12 seconds with the Mutated Infection, or whenever it is dispelled, the infection goes away but a Little Ooze will spawn and aggro on whoever had the infection.  It has essentially infinite aggro, so it can’t be taunted away.  It will chase its target and attack and also do AoE damage.

The way to get rid of it is to get it near another Little Ooze.  When two Little Oozes are close, they merge into a Big Ooze.  Big Oozes can be taunted and kited.

So here’s what a rogue should do.  If you get Mutated Infection, there is no rush.  As long as the healers know you have it, they can HoT you and you won’t die.  You can even keep dpsing the boss for a few more seconds.  After a couple of seconds, drop one last finisher on Rotface and then go out to find the Ooze tank, who will be circling the edge of the room.  Avoid stepping in any green stuff, of course.

You will find the Ooze tank and he will probably be kiting another ooze.  Get in front of his path.  At that time, you can Cloak to get rid of the Mutated Infection (or let a paladin or priest dispel it if you prefer).  The Little Ooze will spawn and start to attack you, but should quickly merge with the other ooze.  Then you want to get out of there quickly, because the big ooze does significant AoE damage.

This is the most crucial part of the fight.  If raiders aren’t managing their infections properly and getting the oozes merged, then the healers will have a hard time with the damage on multiple targets.  You need to find the ooze tank quickly and get the ooze absorbed efficiently.  Sprint is useful here because it will get you to the ooze tank in a hurry, and also gets you out of AoE damage range of the ooze as it follows you.

Note that it is your job to make sure that your Little Ooze merges before you run back to the raid.  If you jump the gun, you’ll drag the Little Ooze back into the raid with you which will do AoE damage to everyone.

Avoid the green puddles which are randomly around the room.  Also, Professor Putricide floods 1/4 of the room at a time with slime, so don’t run in that either.  If the ooze tank is in the slime, meet him on the other side of the pool.

Once your ooze is merged, go back to the boss and get back to doing damage.  Feel free to use your cooldowns whenever they are up.  If you get a Mutated Infection just as you pop a cooldown you can stay on Rotface for a few more seconds and pump out some more dps before running toward the ooze tank.

There’s one more thing to worry about.  When the Big Ooze has absorbed 5 Little Oozes it becomes Unstable.  It does a lot of AoE damage and sprays slime around.  From everything I have read, it seems like the slime is targeted at the time that it becomes Unstable.  So if your raid moves out to the edge of the room, you will avoid it completely.  Let your tank choose what direction to go, and he’ll pull Rotface that way.  You can just follow along and keep doing damage.

Threat won’t be a problem on this fight.  Since you’ll spend a fair amount of time off target as you run around with the Mutated Infection, the tank should be able to build a big threat lead, so you can use your Tricks on another dps.

This fight is not too hard as dps.  Its a big strain on healers and a kiting test for the ooze tank.  Once the ooze tank gets the rhythm down the rest of the fight should fall into place.

There’s not much in the way of rogue drops for you on 10-man.  There is a pretty good thrown weapon – Gluth’s Fetching Knife, or a fist weapon – Abomination Knuckles.

The 25-man fight has a great Mutilate 1.8 speed dagger – Rib Spreader.  A nice iLvL 264 ring called the Seal of Many Mouths drops here as well.  Lastly, there is a nice pair of gloves with some Armor Pen for you combat rogues – Aldriana’s Gloves of SecrecyThat name is a tribute to the EJ theorycrafter well-known for her dps spreadsheets.


Using the LFD to level part 2 – the home stretch

I made an earlier post detailing my project to level using only the LFD system. Its gone well up to this week.  However, I’m now concerned that I won’t have the persistence to finish.

What changed?  Two things, and I’m not sure if they are related.

  1. I hit level 70 and am now queueing in Wrath instances
  2. Queue times have spiked up to 30-40 minutes

Now that I’ve reached current content in Wrath, the amount of XP it takes to level has jumped.  To get from level 69-70 took a little over 700k XP.  To get from level 70-71 takes over 1.5 million.  Twice as much XP means twice as many instance runs needed to level.

Yesterday I did a clear of UK, and it earned me 12% of a level.  At that rate I would need around 8-9 instance runs to gain a level, compared to 3-4 runs per level previously.

This was not unexpected, as the XP needed to level is not a secret.  However, in the past few days I have seen the queue time go from 15-20 minutes up to 30-40 minutes. Why has this happened?  Are there fewer players in the 70-72 range?  Or has this happened across all levels?  I’m hearing from people that queue times are high all over.

If I need 8 instance runs to level, and each run involves waiting 30 minutes in queue, that is four hours of downtime sitting in Stormwind doing nothing just to get one level.  Whew… what a great way to make use of my $15 per month.

The obvious solution is that I should go out and quest during the downtime.  That’s not the point of this project, though.  If I give in and quest to fill the time, then I will consider this project a failure.

For the moment I’m sticking with it.  I’m going to make sure that I only play when I’ve got a lot of rested bonus built up.  That means a couple of days off in between each attempt at running instances.  Also, I’m going to try and latch onto a level 72 tank in my guild and see if I can queue with him for faster times.  Still, at this rate I cannot imagine how long it will take for me to get to 80.  I think it may take as long to get from 70-80 as it took to get from 25-70.


Changes to Raiding in Cataclysm

Blizzard today announced a big, big change to the way that raid lockouts will be managed in the future.  The full link is here, but the TL;DR version is:

  • The 10 and 25 man versions of an instance will share a lockout.  In a given week you can do the 10-man or 25-man raid, but not both.
  • The 10 and 25 man versions of an instance will drop the exact same loot.  The 25 man will drop more of it, and possibly more Emblems as well.  25-man raids will still be the most efficient way to gear people up, if you have the numbers for it.
  • The 10 and 25-man versions of an instance will be tuned to be very comparable to another in difficulty.
  • The first few raid tiers will have multiple smaller raids rather than one huge (Naxx) raid.  You can hit all of them each week, or alternate to vary your raiding experience.

When you read the comments about this, the change is largely applauded by the community.  Sure, there are varying opinions and there are some who think that this is the end of raiding as we know it.  I think the same things were said when we went from 40 to 25 man raids in BC, and then from 25 to 10/25 in Wrath.

Here’s the point of view from me – the GM of a casual raiding guild that struggles to get 25 every week.

On one hand, for our core members, its great.  If we do 10-man raids, we don’t have to fret that we’re a half-tier of gear behind players who are doing 25-man raids.  We’ll all have access to the same loot.  Sure, the guilds that run heroic versions will have better gear, but that’s not a problematic issue.

On the other hand, its going to force me to make a decision.  Currently, we walk the line between 10 and 25 man content.  We run 10-man ICC with our core group on weeknights, and then desperately try to get a 25-man raid together with the whole guild on weekends.  We can do this because 10 and 25 man raids are on separate lockouts.

This change is going to force me to pick a direction.  Either we’ll focus on 10-mans every week or 25-mans every week.  Since we currently have trouble getting 25 regularly, it would seem logical to focus on 10-mans.  Ideally we’ll be able to field two 10-man teams every week.  If not, though, then there are a lot of guildies who will be left out in the cold.

Right now, when we fail to field a 25-man team, and our core group runs 10-man, it excludes a lot of players.  We hate to do it, but its the bind we’re in.  Fortunately, those players can usually PuG ICC 10 or 25 and get some rep and maybe some loot and still be satisifed.  Under this new system, I think PuGs will be harder to come by.

The only people who will PuG will be players who do not run 10 OR 25 man raids with their guild.  Running either one gets you saved to both.  So who will be in PuGs?  Players who are guildless?  Alts?  Players who are not good enough to be included in their guild runs?  That doesn’t sound like a healthy PuG culture.

So, if we focus on 10-mans, I worry that our membership will dwindle as the players outside the core group will leave to go to guilds where they are included in raids and are not dependent on PuGs.  That would make me sad.

My hope is that we get a burst of player activity when Cataclysm drops, and we’ll have enough to do 25 mans and it won’t be a problem.  Fingers crossed!


Another blogger from my guild

Despite being very casual, my guild has always enjoyed a measure of stability and success.  No offense meant to the dps and tanks in my guild that read this blog, but a huge part of our guild’s strength is our healing corps.  Since BC, we have reaped the benefits of a very talented group of healers.  (We also have outstanding tanks… see Primal Precision for evidence)

The top dog among the healers in my guild has recently started his own blog about playing as a resto druid.  Its called I Be A Tree.  If you’re a druid, or any healer type, take note.  He knows his stuff.

P.S. – Pretty soon, every time something interesting happens in the guild there is going to be a race of people alt-tabbing out of the game to blog about it.


Back on Track

My guild’s raiding has been stalled for quite a while now.  We’re sooooo close to having 25 for our raids that we refuse to give up on doing ICC 25.  Every week the guild core won’t let ourselves get saved to ICC 25, just in case we get enough for a guild run.  But then we don’t do ICC 10 either, because that’s our backup plan and we don’t want everyone to get saved to that before raid night.

So, every week its been about the same… wait for raid night, don’t have enough for 25, go to ICC 10 instead, get the first 4-5 bosses down.  Repeat next week.

Finally – things changed.  The buff from Varian Wrynn allows us to clear through the farm content very quickly.  We did the first 6 bosses in one 2-hour evening of raiding, and then found ourselves with time available the next night to move on to new content.

Happily, we were able to do Blood Princes and Dreamwalker on our first night of attempts.  We also got Putricide to Phase 3, so we’re close on that fight.  It was a good week.

Yes, we have the 10% buff from Wrynn.

Yes, we’re a couple of months behind the progression wave.

I don’t care.  I’m happy that we’ve moved forward at long last.

We’ve bounced around the idea of switching our guild’s focus to ICC 10 instead of 25, but we gained a few new people recently and we’re still sooooo close to fielding a 25 man team.


It was pointed out to me that I never did my boss guides for all of the ICC fights.  There’s a reason.  I won’t do a guide for a boss I haven’t killed, and my guild was so far behind in progression that I assumed the guides would be pointless now because most of us have already done the first 8-10 fights.  Still, I guess I’ll write them up for the sake of completeness.


Look at all the Horsies

Celestial SteedThose Celestial Steeds are all over the place.

Bloggers everywhere are gushing about their pretty ponies.

Armies of these things are surrounding Dalaran banks and ICC summoning stones.

Am I the only one that thinks that its not worth almost two month’s of subscription fees to get something that you barely use in the game?

I’ll admit that I’ve never been a mount collector.  In BC, once I got my flying I bought a single gryphon, and then when I got epic flying I picked up one Nether Ray, and that was it.  To me, the flying mount was a means of getting from place to place.  The vast majority of my game time is not mounted, so it didn’t seem like a worthwhile pursuit.

At least in BC the epic flying mount got you places faster than the taxis, so there was a purpose.  In Wrath the taxis are generally faster.  The only time I use a flying mount is to go to ICC or fly up to Ulduar.

As an aside, my utter lack of interest in mounts has made for a funny situation in my guild.  We have two hardcore mount collectors – going for the Mountain o’ Mounts achievement.  They are both pretty close, but missing the rarer ones.

So when we are in a group, I invariably jump onto my Black Drake from Sartharion 3D.  Or my Blue Proto-Drake from Skadi in Utgarde Pinnacle.  Or, the worst, my Blue Drake from Oculus.  I have gotten that Blue Drake in my bag six times after finishing random heroics in Oculus.  My two friends have yet to see it.

I don’t go out of my way to get mounts, so I won’t be getting a sparkly pony.  I’m not criticizing those who have the disposable income to get the RMT mounts and pets, but its not for me.  With three WoW accounts in my house, Blizzard already gets enough of my money.


My Next Frost Emblem Purchase

I’m at a crossroads in my Emblem purchases.  Making things worse, the different resources I used are giving me conflicting guidance.  I decided to write out my thought process went, in part to help me organize the information and in part because others might like to see what I do when its time to upgrade my gear.  Caution:  this rambles on for quite a bit.


My first Emblem purchase was the Herkumi War Token trinket.  That was a no-brainer.

After that, I chose to pass on the Recovered Scarlet Onslaught Cape in hopes that I would eventually get the Shawl of Nerubian Silk from Marrowgar 10.  It took a while, but that decision did pay off.

Instead of getting the cloak, I used my 2nd and 3rd Emblem purchases to go straight for my 2-piece T10 bonus.  I bought the Shadowblade Gauntlets and Shadowblade Breastplate because they were the best upgrades based on the gear I had in those slots at the time.

Now I’ve accumulated 125 Frost Emblems and I’m looking for my next purchases.  Here’s how I evaluated my options.

My first resource was to WoWHead’s gear ranking service to see what’s out there.  I used the stat weights given by Elitist Jerks and got these results.  Comparing those results to my current gear, the best options would be either Bladeborn Leggings, the Shadowblade Legplates (if I’m moving toward the T10 4-piece bonus) or Footpads of Impending Death.  The Bladeborn Leggings and Footpads are both crafted, but I’d use my Frost Emblems to buy Primordial Saronites so I include them as Emblem purchases.  Another good option is the Shadow Seekers Tunic, but that would break my T10 set bonus so its out for the time being.

Since I am not running ICC 25 or heroic ICC 10 right now, any of these options would be the top available piece I could expect to get in their respective slots.

Armed with that information, I pulled out Aldriana’s Mutilate spreadsheet.  With my current gear and spec input, I replaced my items one at a time with the various options to see the effect on my optimal dps figures.  Using that tool, the result was very clear… the Bladeborn Leggings were far and away the biggest theoretical impact on my dps.  Nothing else was even close.

In fact, according to the spreadsheet the Bladeborn Leggings by themselves are a bigger upgrade than getting both the Shadowblade Legplates and the Shadowblade Helmet to get my 4-piece T10 bonus.

That surprised me a little.  While the Bladeborn Leggings are certainly nice, they have armor penetration which is not an optimal stat for mutilate rogues.  That doubt has made me a bit hesitant… 8 Primordial Saronite is a big expense and I don’t want to blow that much gold and emblems without being certain.  I know that rogues live and die by the spreadsheet predictions, but should I blindly follow what seems to be against common sense?

Looking for more input for my decision, I went to Mavanas Rogue DPS Simulation Spreadsheet.  This isn’t as user-friendly as Aldriana’s, and the interface is not as intuitive.  After the setup process, I let it run some DPS simulations in my current gear.  Then I switched individual gear items to see the difference.  This spreadsheet doesn’t calculate based on a formula, but rather does many, many iterations of simulated attack sequences to find the expected damage output.  That spreadsheet gave different results that Aldriana’s – saying that the Bladeborn Leggings are still a very good upgrade, but not as good as replacing both Shadowblade head + legs together.  However, I don’t have enough Emblems to buy both pieces of Shadowblade at this time, so that’s not a real option.

Here are the different combinations I tried in both spreadsheets:

  • upgrade to Bladeborn Leggings (cost: 115 Emblems + 4800 gold for the other 3 Saronites)
  • upgrade to Footpads of Impending Death  (cost: 115 Emblems for Saronites)
  • upgrade to both Shadow Seeker’s Tunic AND Shadowblade Pauldrons (to keep my T10 2-pc bonus)  (cost: 155 Emblems, which I will have in about 2 weeks)
  • upgrade to both Shadowblade Legplates AND Shadowblade Helmet, thus getting my 4-pc T10 bonus (cost: 190 Emblems, which I will have in about 5 weeks)

The last option is the best according to Mavanas, and second best according to Aldriana.  However, I don’t feel like waiting 5 weeks to get my next upgrade.  So I’m focusing on the other choices.

Looks like the Bladeborn Leggings will win out here, BUT there is one more thing to consider!  Am I likely to get any drops that are comparable to the Emblem purchases?

My guild right now can clear the first six bosses in ICC 10 in one raid night.  The only drop in there that needs to be considered are the Plague-Soaked Leather Leggings from Festergut.  Not surprisingly, these are not as big an upgrade as the Bladeborn Leggings.  However, they also don’t cost me anything except patience as I wait for the drop.

After including that in my decision, the choice became clear.  I should buy the Footpads of Impending Death now and wait for the Plague-Soaked Leather Leggings to drop from Festergut.  If I go a few weeks without the drop, then I’ll re-evaluate.


Classic WoW:
Dinaer - 11 Assassination Rogue
Cepheid - 13 Prot Warrior
Cartho - 11 Elemental Shaman

Retail WoW:
Dinaer - 120 Assassination Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Cartho - 120 Elemental Shaman (US - Quel-dorei)
Derence - 120 Prot/Ret Paladin (US - Sen'Jin)
Metius - 120 Shadow Priest (US - Sen'Jin)
Liebnitz - 120 Arcane Mage (US - Sen'Jin)
Darishin - 120 Resto/Balance Druid (US - Sen'Jin)
Fastad - 90 Subtlety Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
April 2010
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