As 5.4 looms, the Isle of Thunder is yesterday’s news. Been there, done that, got the Saurok shirt, right? Well, that lack of popularity means the old Isle is the new spot for farming up some quick VP, with no muss, fuss, or group members to get in your way. Sure, forming a solid group to knock over heroic scenarios or challenge-mode 5-mans is faster, but not everyone can schedule those kinds of events. Don’t sigh and run dailies for the 100th time (ugh) or queue for LFR AGAIN (double ugh) — go knock out some rares and go home.
Okay, so if there previous paragraph and my mad MS Paint skills haven’t convinced you, here’s why you should give this a try.
- Pretty much, every other method of earning VP requires contributions from other players, either willingly (the groups mentioned above) or self-interestedly (LFR, scenarios, 5-mans). Your success or failure on these minibosses is totally up to you. Kill Ramuk extra-fast because you ran the Bloodlust buff to him? You. Go splat into the ground after you get punted off the mountain by Progenitus? Also you.
- Your speed of completion (and thus, VP earn rate) scales directly with your skill and gear. Get a weapon upgrade, and you can roll through the run a minute or two faster. This feels awesome. LFR, OTOH, is going to take about an hour to finish regardless if your ilevel is 450 or 550, just because so much relies on other players who have little incentive to do their best. This sucks.
- (While gear scaling also applies to dailies, you can feel the difference a lot more here since so much more of the time is combat, compared to dailies where so much is simply travel/clicking times.)
- Each boss drops 2 Lesser Charms, on average. While Battlefield: Barrens is arguably a faster source, that’s going away next patch, making this likely to be the most reliable method.
- Some of the bosses drop other cool stuff. Ra’sha, in particular, drops a very handy suicide dagger, as well as a 30% chance of dropping a supply bag, while the Construct has a 20% chance to drop a pet.
- My estimates are that the VP gain rate from this is equal or slightly higher than the rate received from a scenario or heroic…but only for the first time you do that scen/heroic. After that, the IoT rares pull way ahead. (Heroic scenarios, even multiple, are the best option…but it can be hard to find a good group to knock them out.)
- You need decent gear. It doesn’t have to be full heroic TF-bling, but realize that many of the bosses have some kind of stacking buff or periodic damage mechanic that’ll serve as a soft enrage of sorts. You need to be able to pull about 50k DPS solo, so if you’re not at that level yet, keep working.
- If you haven’t completed all the introductory scenarios for the Isle of Thunder, you’ll have to do that too. It doesn’t take long (especially if you have the gear from the last point), just go knock it out. If you have stealth, you can skip a lot of stuff and just go pull the mob you need to kill.
- Rather obvious, but you need a low-pop server, or just an off-peak time. The rares do spawn quickly (45-60 minute respawn timer), but this strategy loses a lot of value if you’re chasing respawns.
- Not mandatory but helpful: Have completed the Saurok quest to unlock your Saurok disguise; exalted with KT/SR and completed the final KT/SR quest for a 15% damage buff; something to increase your water speed.
- Start at your faction hub. Buff up, repair, make sure you have some inventory slots free, etc.
- On the way out, run by Jaina to get the 30m Thunder’s Boon 15% damage buff. Horde will run by the Anima Golem for Blessing of the Animus. If you haven’t reached exalted with KTO/Sunreavers and finished their final quest, never mind this; you can’t get it yet. Continue.
- Run down the stairs, make a right, and stop. You see those little orbs scattered out with a couple NPC’s nearby? Clicking one of those will give you a 30% haste buff for 1 minute. Grab the buff, and run north up the coast and through the ruined wall to Ramuk. He’s quite easy, just interrupt his Crouch when he starts channeling it, and avoid the Pound.
- Mount up, run through the door Ramuk is guarding, and make a hard left to climb the slope here. Once you get to the top, make a U-turn and run along the top of the wall to find Molthor. He has an interruptable fear (Twisted Visage) and a cone attack (Thunder Crash) that hits decently hard. Oh, and some annoying but irrelevant adds. Occasionally, Molthor spawns at the back of the Swollen Vault instead of in the tower; I don’t bother with him if that’s the case.
- Do another U-turn, run back along the wall the way you came, and make a left at the long stairway leading up to Nalak and the entrance to ToT. Go down the stairs and look to your left; in the large hollowed-out tree will be Goda, the giant turtle. All he does is a Shell Spin, which knocks you back; you can stun him out of it for extra DPS time. Probably the most annoying boss, just because he has the largest health pool of all of them.
- Run back up the stairs, and make a left at the place you came in out. Pass by Fleshcrafter Hoku and head for the forge on the far wall, where Lu-Ban will be waiting. He periodically activates Skyforged Hammers; stun him and/or pop defensive cooldowns during this phase, as he hits pretty hard while it’s active.
- Run down the stairs, bypass Mono-han and run into the Lightning Vein Mine. Go straight, follow the S-shaped curve around, and head for the back entrance, where Backbreaker Uru is patrolling. (Until you get a hang of this area, take it slow and kill your way through instead of running, as these mobs are ranged and have stealth detection.) Uru will periodically cast Break Spine, which roots you, and then Massive Stomp, which does roughly 50% HP damage if you don’t jump to avoid it. Either use one of your class abilities to block/escape the root and jump the Stomp, or use defensive CD’s, your choice.
- From Uru, mount up and take a running jump off the back of his platform, aiming for the rocky plateau. If you make the jumps, you can ride the short distance to Al’tabim; if not, just drop into the water and swim around. Either way, once you get there, the only ability you have to worry about it Meteor Shower. These fall randomly so aren’t much of a threat, but pay attention as they do hit hard and 2-3 hits will kill you. This ends the northern leg of the trip.
- Now, you have two choices; you can either beacon back to the start and start with Progenitus, or keep going and start with Mumta. I’ll assume you’re continuing where you left off. Mount up and heard toward the Court of Bones. (Incidentally, if you have any Incantations in your bags, here’s where you can use them.) Run up the stairs of the largest crypt and engage Mumta on the roof. He summons a Wailing Spirit add that moves slow but hits hard (so kite away from it) and channels a nasty damaging spell that either be interrupted or LOS’ed around one of the pillars in the area.
- Once Mumta is down, climb down from the roof of the crypt and head south, through the troll areas, to the beach. (If you’re an awesome engineer like me, pop your Glider and fly most of the way there.) You’ll find Ku’lai and his Tamed Pterrorwing walking around here; kill the Pterrorwing first, then Ku’lai, stunning him out of his whirlwind.
- Run east along the beach, then take a quick swim around the rocks to get to the cave where Ra’sha lives, guarded by two nasty elites. Bypass them however you see fit, and then kill Ra’sha (who’s a pushover).
- From Ra’sha, run north and into the Ihgaluk Crag area. After a few seconds, you’ll transform into a Saurok. Leap through the area heading east, and keep an eye out for the ramp heading up to Progenitus. The big threat here is Unleash Blood, which is an AoE that powerfully knocks back anything within 10 yards. Since you’re fighting on top of a mountain, this likely kills you. Keep an eye our for the red circle, and run out when it shows up.
- Last but not least, head south to face the Haywire Construct, who patrols the beach area of Ihgaluk Crag. His main ability, also called Haywire, is uninterruptable and does a lot of damage over 20 seconds; just use survivability cooldowns, and heal up when it’s over. Also, be careful of adds. Probably the hardest rare to kill, so if you’re undergeared, don’t feel bad about skipping him for a bit.
That’s it! 11 bosses, 165 Valor Points. I find it entertaining to push myself to see how fast I can complete the entire run; my record (starting from Jaina and ending with the 11th boss kill) is 21 minutes. I’ll throw out the challenge: Can anyone pull a sub-20 Isle rare run?