Sep 192014
 

After finishing up all the Brawler’s Guild achievements last night, I’d like to type up a quick guide for those looking to get this done before 6.0 drops and they are no longer obtainable. It’s very doable if you’ve got some decent LFR/Timeless Burden gear, so let’s get to it!

Getting Started and General Tips

To get in, you need a Brawler’s Pass or a Blood-Soaked Invitation. Easiest way is AH, but if you’re unlucky, they’re always on the BMAH, and have a chance to drop from the PvP rares in Krasarang Wilds. (It also has a 100% chance to drop from Willy Wilder, if you’re willing to camp for a while.)

The format is simple. After queueing, you’ll be dropped into the ring, and have to fight a boss enemy (or enemies) and defeat him within 2 minutes. The main ladder has 36 bosses that must be defeated in order; after every 4 you defeat, you go up one Rank. There are also 16 “special” bosses that can be fought at any time; however, 12 of them require you do various things to unlock the card needed to battle them.

You will want to buff up. A vendor at the Guild sells cheap DPS potions, which are essential, but you’ll want a flask as well. Heroism drums are also nice, as are buffs from any other players around. If you want to completely trivialize some of the fights, you can also go farm some Faintly-Glowing Herbs from the Timeless Isle, which will work in Brawler’s Guild and have no cooldown.

Ranks 1-6

None of these bosses should be difficult, a few just have some tricks. Dippy (Rank 2) has a one-shot attack, but every attack from you knocks him back; you’re fine as long as you don’t corner him. Ixx (Rank 3)’s attack is best avoided by sitting directly on top of him while DPS’ing, but with good gear you may be able to burst him down without ever seeing it. Deeken (Rank 4) is your first “avoid tons of stuff” boss, and is a good sample of what awaits you at higher ranks.   You might have to try them once in order to see all the things you need to avoid, but that’s it. There’s a decent guide here.

Rank 7

Now is when things start to get interesting. GG Engineering is likely your first challenge. There’s a gnome who shoots you and a goblin you launches rockets at you; stay on top of the gnome so that he takes damage from the rocket blasts.

Dark Summoner is simple in theory. The Summoner brings in ghosts, which have an instakill melee attack, but you get a “flashlight” (cone attack) that stuns them. Killing a ghost drops Summoner’s shield for 20 sec. With good gear, you should be able to burn Summoner in 1 ghost sequence; just keep away from other ghosts that spawn. Turn on nameplates (V key).

Battletron will test your ability to DPS while moving. The boss summons 8 bombs that orbit him constantly and blow up when touched. You’ll want to run into 2 of them with a damage-reduction cooldown up (like Survival Instincts) to give you a window. After that, stay in that window circle-strafing around him until he dies. Beat him, enjoy the next joke boss, and get ready for the hardest fight of them all.

Rank 8

YOU FACE HEXOS, ROTATION LORD OF THE GEOMETRY LEGION!

If you’re not prepared for him, Hexos will make you rage-quit. The mechanic is brutally simple: You’re stuck in the middle of the arena, Hexos is stuck to your face, and waves of laser beams come at you. All you have to do is quickly and accurately rotate the camera to “steer” through the lasers while executing a DPS rotation at the same time.

There’s no way to make this easy, and you can’t really outgear the fight to the extent needed to avoid the mechanic. In lieu of a walkthrough explanation, then, here’s a list of tips that helped me, which may or may not help you.

  • Enable Mouselook. This will let you rotate without the mouse without having to hold-down right click the whole time. (Make a macro with the command below, and bind it to a key; the key will toggle it on and off.)
    /run if IsMouselooking() then MouselookStop() else MouselookStart() end
  • Put a raid mark on yourself. I found it much easier to steer the mark through the maze, ignoring Hexos.
  • Untalent Faerie Swarm; slowing Hexos before he attaches to you can occasionally bug out the fight.
  • As soon as you zone into the arena, turn on Mouselook, pop a damage potion, then Savage Roar. From that point, focus purely on survival. Simplify the rotation as much as possible; use Soul of the Forest and Heart of the Wild, don’t worry about Thrashing, etc. Heck, spamming Rake as a combo point builder and alternating between Rip and Savage Roar is probably enough.
  • Consider tweaking your mouse sensitivity in the WoW options menu. I found myself frequently over-rotating for the rapid 180 spins until I turned it down a bit.
  • If you have a flaky network connection or mouse, you’ll definitely find out about it now. I moved my computer to a different room in my house recently, and my previously-fine wireless started dropping out and giving me little lag-blips. (It’s darkly funny when you see the lasers hit the center and then start heading back *out.*) I bought a powerline networking kit and killed Hexos on the next few attempts after switching to it.

Compared to Hexos, the rest of the Rank 8 bosses are a breeze. For Tyson Sanders, just play hit-and-run, keeping him dotted as you evade chickens. For the T440, run out of melee at 15 stacks of the debuff, let it drop, reengage and repeat. Finally, Anthracite is similar to Dark Summoner; use your special action (water spray) to make the boss vulnerable, DPS him, then kill one of the adds to recharge your spray and repeat. Note the spray points rearward (insert joke here) so face away from Anthracite when firing.

Rank 9

Big Badda Boom is your first fight, and a good appetizer for the much harder boss to follow. When you kill him, he explodes and spawns 2 smaller versions of him. Those likewise split and spawn 2 versions, etc, until you suddenly have 20+ hitting you. Not too tough as long as you take the fight slow and don’t kill too many adds at once; use Ysera‘s Gift and Predatory Swiftness procs to keep up your health, and pop SI + Barkskin + Berserk for the final burst.

Next is Nibbleh, who’s the next “ugh dammit” boss.

The video encapsulates the fight strategy pretty well. Nibbleh leaves a trail that will buff him to a level where he will one-shot you, so you have to keep him moving around a rapidly-closing spiral. He also occasionally spits a bit of trail to a random sport in the arena. This is the frustrating part, not for the spit, but because he’ll sometimes stand still long enough from spitting to gain his buff, and there’s nothing you can do.

You can try the strat in the vid (turn on walk and constantly backpedal) but it didn’t work for me, perhaps due to Cat Form’s built-in speed increase. He constantly enraged in the corners. After that, I switched to running and constantly tapping back, and that worked well enough.

Doctor FIST, after Nibbleh, is essentially a joke boss; just stay close to him to evade his clearly marked attacks, and use Bash/Typhoon to interrupt his fifth attack, Hammer Fist.

Ahoo’ru is the final fight between you and Rank 10, and a worthy challenge.

It’s a two-phase fight. In P1, Ahoo’ru will walk to the middle, put up a shield, and fill the room with sparks that move randomly and hit for about 200k. He’ll also send out three larger flashes (1 at a time), which will be extra sparkly. Touching these will spawn an Angel; DPSing the Angel to 50% will cause him to start casting a Charge. Run to the other side of Ahoo’ru, let the Charge hit him, and repeat twice more to trigger P2, which is mostly a straight burn phase. Ahoo’ru’s only abilities here are summoning a ring of circles around you (run out, you’ll take about 200k damage as long as you only touch 1 circle) and casting one full-heal, which must be interrupted.

Phase 1 is the key; the better gear you have, the more time you can afford to take there. Well-geared players can use the strategy depicted in the video, touching each spark and killing each Angel in turn. Lesser-geared players will need to trigger all 3 Angels together, then AoE them to trigger 3 charges at once. Either way, push hard in P2 (don’t forget to pot) and collect your mount + achievement!

Optional Bosses

Aside from the ranking bosses, there are the original Rank 8 bosses (now called “special bosses” that can be fought. They were all quite difficult back in 5.0/5.1, but gear has trivialized them all to Battletron level, with the strategy for each being summarized as “stay out of bad, and AoE to start (Zen’shar)/jump a lot (Disruptron)/interrupt Blue Crush (Epicus).” Milhouse is a bit different; he summons energy sources that charge him via beam; you’ll want to stand in the beam and charge yourself instead. Let the first set of beams charge both you and him, and them start killing one source and standing in the other.

There are also 12 “challenge” bosses, that are found by doing various tasks to unlock hidden quests. Instead of reciting everything here, I’ll just link you to a guide by Pwuebear on wowhead that excellently covers how to unlock them and strategies for the fight. None are especially difficult as long as you follow the strat. Best of luck, enjoy your achievement, and stay tuned for my Proving Grounds guide to come soon!TM

 Posted by at 12:49 pm
May 052013
 
firecat

Hey, ferals! Want to ignite, but never had the opportunity to obtain Fandral’s Flamescythe, and don’t have a pocket raid to obtain one? Never fear, the CM’s are here! A few days ago, Crithto let slip on the forums that Burning Seed, previously thought to be unavailable, was actually in-game, like, for reals (whether it’s been in-game since 5.2 or just hotfixed in recently is unclear). After a search, several players located them in the Firelands. After grabbing some myself last night, I figured I’d whip up a quick guide.

Prerequisites

A druid (duh). Any spec will work, though Guardian or Restoration will be the easiest. That’s it; you don’t need any other players to pull this off.

Getting There

Take the portal from your home city to Mount Hyjal, and fly to the area marked Sulfuron Spire. The portal to Firelands is at the bottom; make sure you’ve set it to 10-man before entering. Once inside, follow this route, using stealth as appropriate to bypass the trash:

firecat map

Taking out the Trash

The hardest part of this (and really, it’s not that hard, though you might die a couple times figuring it out) is getting through the initial trash event. See map:

alysrazor trash

The key here is the Blazing Monstrosities: these BigBirds(tm) will start spewing what appears to be explosive shells about 10 seconds into pulling anything in here. These hurt. However, they 1) track you, but very slowly, meaning it’s kitable and 2) the explosions damage enemies. As such, you just need to keep yourself alive and let the Monstrosities kill everything. The caster NPC’s need to die first, since they can stun you; you’ll want to use your cooldowns right off the pull to help stay alive. Once those are dead, move back to the Egg Piles and run circles around them until they die from the fire. All this time, the Egg Piles will be spawning little trash mobs; these aren’t much of a threat at 90. Once the Egg Piles are gone, finish off any little adds and then go circle around the Monstrosities until they blow themselves up.

The next part’s easy. Smack Staghelm (or grab a feather, on subsequent pulls) to activate Alysrazor; she’ll rush out, drop a bunch of feathers, and head into the air. Grab three feathers to get flight, and take off, following this route:

firecat map 2Once you get there, hopefully the boss resets, or you’re a Night Elf and can Shadowmeld to reset. If not, you’re not going to have a ton of time before the nest Alysrazor phase starts and kills you. You’re looking for little seeds, which are floating in the lava flow next to the portal. They’re extremely small, so you may need to zoom in. Here’s a few pics so you can see what you’re looking for:

WoWScrnShot_050413_230013

WoWScrnShot_050413_230003


That’s it! There’s typically 3-5 seeds scattered around; they are Unique(5), which means you can only carry 5 at any point.  However, they are also Bind to Account, so feel free to mail some to alts if you want to stockpile. (There’s also no level requirement, so feel free to use it on a low-level druid, too; however, you have to be a druid to loot them in the first place.) As for the Seed itself, when used, it grants the buff Burning Essence for 60 minutes. This persists through death, shapeshifting, basically anything, unlike the buff from the original weapon. Have fun igniting!

firecat in pandaria

Exlipse on wowhead

 Posted by at 10:07 am
Dec 212012
 

So, I was preparing some sparse notes, when…

Patch 5.2’s on the PTR! Changes! Discussion! Yay!

(Below is my quick parse and analysis of the changes, with the standard disclaimer that dataminers gonna datamine; don’t make it real.)

Talents

  • Displacer Beast no longer activates Prowl; instead increases the Druid’s movement speed for 4 seconds. (Well, THAT’s a little more useful. It’s now basically a monk roll, and the movement speed makes it useful as a PvP getaway tool for the caster druids.)
  • Cenarion Ward’s healing increased by 100%. (That just got tossed back into the discussion as a viable talent. Could be interesting if combined with DoC.)
  • Soul of the Forest‘s effect increased for Balance (post-Eclipse energy increased to 40 from 20), Guardian (3 rage from Mangle, instead of 2) and Restoration (haste buff after Swiftmend increased to 75%). (Now, I’m not as up on theorycraft for the non-feral specs, but the balance one seems pretty strong at first glance, especially because Incarnation is losing a bit of value due to the NV change. The rage buff for Guardians is still pretty crap, since most rage comes from autoattacks/crits. Resto…meh, depending on how much it boosts WG throughput.)
  • Mass Entanglement cooldown reduced from 2 minutes to 30 seconds. (RBG options just got a bit more interesting.)
  • Typhoon cooldown increased from 20 seconds to 30 seconds. (See above.)
  • Nature’s Vigil now increases damage/healing by 10% (was 20%) but has a 90s CD (was 180s). 25% off-healing/off-damage buff is unchanged.(This is interesting. DPS/PvP druids will dislike this because the value of the Incarnation+NV combo is diminished. From a off-healing (or off-damage) POV, though, you now get 33% uptime on the 25% buff, instead of 16.66%. That has a few potential applications.)

Bears (Ask @riftmaker, not me)

  • Thrash removed from Balance/Restoration Druids in Bear Form. (Shrug.)
  • Initial mastery bonus (+armor) increased from 10% to 12%. (No clue if they’re increasing scaling as well. If not, it’s just a small armor buff. If they are, mastery probably jumps to the front of the pack for hard-mode bears.)
  • The heal from Frenzied Regeneration increased by 20%. (I’ll let Arielle handle this one, since I know nothing about how well bears are scaling right now.)

Last but not least: MOTW and Revive got their mana costs slashed. Hurray for rebuffing in combat (and being able to rez two people back-to-back for non-resto!) Anything I missed?

(Oh, and one of these days I’m going to go update the Feral guide on the site/WoW forums. May proceed faster if cookies are submitted, just an FYI.)

UPDATE: Official (draft) notes posted. Things the datamine missed/got wrong:

  • Cyclone now has a 30 second cooldown and shares DR with a lot of stuff. (Have to think about this one; more later.)
  • Symbiosis Shattering Blow now has a cast time.
  • Mastery does now scale better, which does make mastery the god stat for bears.
  • Rejuv gets a 9% mana cost reduction, which should help Resto out.
  • Faerie Swarm now can be placed on multiple targets.
  • Force of Nature treants buffed (to an unknown degree, will have to look at this more closely).
Nov 282012
 

The only significant Druid change in patch 5.1 is the addition of Empowered Maul for Guardians, which Arielle over at TIB has already covered extensively, and Symbiosis buffs coming back for tanks. (All the ability “changes” are just tooltip fixes.)

So, instead of blathering, check this out (h/t Sunfyre for finding this). Treant Form + Fire = TOASTY! (someone needs to check if this works, that’d take this past awesome to hell yeah)

 Posted by at 1:44 am
Oct 142012
 

My column discussing the Heart of the Wild and Symbiosis hotfixes is live over at WoW Insider. Personally, I was hoping for more discussion about HoTW, but everyone still wants to complain about Symbiosis. :) If you haven’t had a chance to try super-saiyan-Wrath-spam (or the inverse, for your normal spell-flingers) you’ve got until maintenance on Tuesday to try it. After that, you can still do it, but it won’t be a DPS increase over your standard rotation (assuming the numbers work out). There’s a huge discussion about it going in the forums too.

Speaking of Symbiosis, I’d like to compile a list of good uses for Symbiosis per encounter (thinking a list for Challenge Modes and raids). Also, some generalized recommendations for PvP would be helpful. I’ve started up a thread in the forums to discuss it, so post your thoughts here or there.

 Posted by at 11:53 pm
Sep 282012
 

(xposted on TFD and WoM)

So, the good news is I got two weeks off of work. The bad news is that it wasn’t to play WoW, it was because my wife is in the hospital again. :( Thankfully, since I have no plans to raid at the moment, I’m not under any social pressure, but man. Talk about your funsuckers.

Some quick-hit thoughts from the limited time I did have to play (RAF’d the monk to 80, working through Cataclysm content now):

  • I made a last-minute decision to play my Monk as my “questing” toon, and my Druid as my “dungeon” toon. So, Alamonk (creative, no?) will knock down all the story segments, and Alaron will relearn how to play all the non-feral specs in a group setting again. :)
  • So far, the monk’s been as fun as I expected from the beta, though windwalker remains kinda eh. It works, don’t get me wrong, but it’s still missing something. I’ll have to think on it a bit more. In contrast, Brewmaster is crazy good. I did a couple of Stonecore runs just for kicks, and the whole “manuever to pick up Gift of the Ox” orbs thing is pretty entertaining, especially when you’re AoEing so you get 10-12 lying everywhere. I wish picking them up would be a little more responsive, though.
  • Feral’s pretty fun, but I still don’t like having to SR “before” every questing pull. I’m still going Ravage/Rake/dammitSR.

Once I get to 90, I’ll likely be working on some Ovale scripts for monks, and tweaking all my guides. Anyway, what are your impressions so far?

 Posted by at 4:28 pm
Aug 312012
 
AKA 5.0.5. It may go to live realms or they may go a few more builds/weeks before updating the live client, not sure which.
MMO-C changes:
  • Hurricane base damage increased by 27% and SP scaling increased by 7%.
  • Swipe now does 400% weapon damage, up from 375%.
  • Thrash damage increased by 7%.

Talents

These are the same changes GC said he was making in his blue post (which I didn’t cover on here), so go read that for a bit more analysis. They’re trying to differentiate Solar and Lunar a bit more, and Feral just needed a straight up AoE buff. DoC was too strong for balance at 65% compared to the alternatives; 50% should be about right.

 Posted by at 5:43 am
Aug 272012
 

Patch 5.0 is coming! Of course, you’ve got my 5.0 survival guide if you’re just looking for the highlights, but several other druid bloggers have posted more detailed spec-specific stuff, which I’d like to highlight today.

  • Balance: The indomitable Lissanna has her 5.0 guide at Restokin. Team Waffle also had a Balance roundtable podcast; haven’t listened yet, but I’m pretty sure they covered everything you’d need to know.
  • Guardian: Arielle wrote a book (aka 7 forum posts) on prepping for 5.0 over at TIB.
  • Feral: *crickets* (Go read my forums or the official forums…if any other feral discussion is going on anywhere, I’d love to know.)
  • Resto: Beru’s got a 5.0 Resto FAQ at Falling Leaves and Wings.
 Posted by at 10:51 am
Aug 072012
 

I’m continuing work on my druid guide for Mists of Pandaria. I’ve completed the introduction; here’s an excerpt. (The full page is here.) I’d love to hear any feedback you have!


If you’re here, you’re thinking about starting up a druid in World of Warcraft. That’s an excellent choice! (Admittedly, I’m biased.) On this page, I’ve got a brief introduction into, well, playing a druid. If you’re looking for more detail on a certain druid specialization, I’ve got separate guides for those, which will follow shortly.

What’s a Druid, anyway?

Well, in real life, druids were a religious group that existed in Britain over 2000 years ago. In WoW, though, druids are those who seek to preserve and protect natural life; from their studies, they learn how to draw on nature’s power to perform many great feats. Druids are most iconic for their shapeshifting abilities, which are unmatched. (See this excellent wowpedia  article for more about druid lore and story; the rest of this page will focus on gameplay elements.)

So, what’s this shapeshifting thing?

Druids have several animal forms they can assume at will in order to accomplish their goals. There are six forms that are open to all specializations: BearCatStag/CheetahSeal/OrcaBird, and Treant. (Two of those have options via glyphs, hence the slash.) Two more are open to certain specializations (Tree of LifeMoonkin/Astral), which gives us over 10 different options for “Poof! Now I’m a …”

Whoa, wait. Specializations?

At level 10, each character class must pick a specialization, or subclass. This choice determines what role your character will play in group combat (healing, tanking, ranged damage or melee damage) as well as what abilities are available to you. Druids have four specialization options:

  • Balance: Uses a mix of Arcane and Nature magic to destroy foes from a distance. Also known as “moonkin,” which is their iconic form. Ranged damage spellcaster.
  • Feral: Becomes a panther or lion (depending on race) to destroy foes at close range. Often called simply “cat spec.” Melee damage dealer.
  • Guardian: Becomes a large bear to absorb enemy attacks and protect others. New in Mists of Pandaria (previously, both roles were integrated into Feral). Melee tank.
  • Restoration: Uses Nature spells to heal friends. Focuses primarily on heal-over-time spells. Can temporarily assume the form of an ancient (large tree-like being) for increased healing potential. Prior to Cataclysm, healed permanently from a treant form.

Druids are the only class in the game to have four specialization options, and are thus the only class that can perform any of the game’s four roles. (All other classes have three specializations, and vary in which roles they can perform.)

Reminder, this is an excerpt. See the full page on my blog here!

 

 Posted by at 9:00 am
Jul 012012
 

My latest column is up over at WoWI on the latest changes for balance druids: Fae Empowerment and more Starsurge  procs. TLDR version: FE is decent, but it’s complicating the rotation for little benefit. (Kinda like FB for ferals back in early Wrath…you stood to gain a little or lose a lot, depending on how you timed it, and this is the same.) I like the extra Starsurge procs though, and I think both changes help smooth out the “turret” feel moonkin have.

I’ve also gone back and updated the Symbiosis page, which is now complete (yay!) though it may not be 100% accurate (boo!). If you see any mistakes, please let me know and I’ll correct them.

 Posted by at 9:06 pm