Archive for May, 2010

Pimp Your Druid: Soloing Skadi the Ruthless

Hello again, It’s that time again for yet another edition of Pimp Your Druid. This time we will be looking into how to solo Skadi the Ruthless in Utgarde Pinnacle for your very own Reins of the Blue Proto-Drake. This is the 6th installment of the series and definitely by far the most challenging of all and not for your everyday casual druid, there will be some pretty stringent requirements before you should even consider this so lets get to it!

Prerequisite

  • The mount only drops from the  heroic version of Utgarde Pinnacle
  • You must be 80 to attempt this
  • You must have a bear spec to attempt this
  • You must have a good mix of both kitty and bear gear (more on this later)
  • You should try and get as many buffs up as possible (more on this later)

What gear do I need?

Straight up, this is only something that should be attempted if you are well geared through raiding ICC 10/25. If you are not wearing mainly 264 or higher gear, you will most likely find this very challenging if not impossible. The question of whether to wear kitty or bear gear is probably something that needs to be decided by you. The fight is challenging in that you need a certain amount of dps to kill adds fast enough yet at the same time, if you don’t have enough HP, Skadi will smash your face. So balance is really the key and depends on your playstyle. Personally I wore all my dps gear + 2 tanking trinkets for the purpose of this soloing adventure.

What buffs do I need?

Mark of the Wild and Thorns are great, but you should also try and grab Fort, Kings, Might and food buff/flasks as well. You can use the Inscription (Runescroll of Fortitude) or Leatherworking (Drums of Forgotten Kings) versions but if you are cheap you can be like me and get in front of UP, queue for Random Battleground to get some free buffs and /afk out. While you don’t necessary need everything mentioned above everything you can grab only improves your chances at being able to kill Skadi. Personally I try and grab all of the above except for a flask.

What spec do I need?

You definitely need a bear spec 0/60/11 but where you spend your points can differ and vary. Personally I modified the bear spec to be a bit more suitable towards dealing with Skadi. If you’re interested in what my spec looks like you can see it here. The one major different between your cookie cutter bear specs and what I’m using is since the fight does require you to pop out and cast some heals to keep your health at a good amount, I have 2/2 Nurturing Instinct. For Glyphs I’m using Maul, Frenzied Regeneration and Survival Instincts.

Getting There/Clearing Trash

Good news everyone! You can skip everything prior to Skadi and there is even a safe spot prior to Skadi to buff up and get ready to pull.

Safe spot to buff up, get ready etc

How to Skadi the Ruthless

Skadi is a two phase fight, the first being a gauntlet of adds in which you must kill them all and pick up harpoons (3 total) which are then used in harpoon guns to bring Skadi down from his proto drake. The second phase will begin once you bring Skadi down to the ground and becomes a 1v1 fight with no more adds. Both phases of the fight are challenging and require a certain amount of timing.

Phase 1

The keys to this phase are add management. There are three different types of adds and you need to prioritize the order in which they die as it will make a big difference towards your overall survivability.

  1. Ymirjar Witch Doctor: The most dangerous of the bunch, the Shadow Bolt hurts a lot and they should be focused down as a priority, try and Bash/Feral Charge to interrupt as well to minimize damage.
  2. Ymirjar Harpooner: These are the mobs that drop the Harpoon (3 total required), which you’ll need to bring down Skadi. They will drop nets and back away from you so make sure they are in cleave range.
  3. Ymirjar Warrior: The least dangerous of all, just filler mobs that need to die.

As seen in the screenshot above, the gauntlet will start once you get close to Skadi. Your best bet is to drop a Regrowth & Rejuvenation on yourself so you some hots rolling on you as you begin the encounter. As soon as the fight begins, Cat Form and Dash down the tunnel, the reason for this is you want to grab all the adds (minus the last pack) together so that you can take them down at the same time. Having loose adds will only slow down how fast you can kill them and will reduce the amount of time inbetween new spawns.

Notice the box in red where all the mobs are still starting to come down the tunnel. Cat-dashing down to pick them up before they spread is critical. Also note in the green box how I have hots up to heal some of the initial dmg

Green Box illustrates all adds minus last pack. Red Box is the last pack of adds to be taken out afterwards. You must always keep an eye on Skadi to make sure you are not in his breath

After the initial grouping of adds, a pair of two adds will come down the tunnel at set intervals. The first grouping will be Ymirjar Harpooner/Ymirjar Warrior followed by Ymirjar Witch Doctor/Ymirjar Warrior repeating until Skadi is brought down. By the time you finish killing all the initial adds (minus the last pack) you would have already picked up the 1st pack of Harpooner/Warrior. Once that is all dead what I do is jump into the last pack which has a Witch Doctor. At this time the 2nd pack should have come out with has another Witch Doctor as well. Since you have two Witch Doctors which hurt a lot, its best to pop Berserk here and kill them ASAP.

Once the last pack is dead, you should be free to heal yourself a little so pop out and drop a few hots on before getting ready for the next set of adds (3rd set of Harpooner/Warrior). Here is where timing comes into play, you will need to decide this for yourself but essentially you do not want to drop Skadi down unless either all your adds are dead or they are about to die. Having extra adds with Skadi up is bound to cause problems so you may want to wait a little or rush a little, it depends on how fast you can kill the adds. My general strategy is to wait until I get 3 Harpoons, then use 2 of them and wait until the set of adds I have up are Harpooner/Warrior (to avoid shadow bolts) before bringing Skadi down. Throughout the whole time you are killing adds, you must keep your eye on Skadi and watch to see which side he will breath on. If you are caught in the breath you will most assuredly drop to low HP or die.

If you are doing this correctly, you should be able to kill adds fast enough to heal yourself inbetween, you should not have to use any cooldowns and finally and most importantly you will only have Skadi and no adds when he comes down.

Phase 2

Lets quickly review all the abilities that Skadi has (in heroic mode):

Crush: Inflicts 200% melee damage to the target, stunning it for 2 seconds.

Poisoned Spear: Inflicts 9,425 to 10,575 physical damage to a target, and inflicts an additional 3,770 to 4,230 Nature damage every 3 seconds for 12 seconds.

Whirlwind: Inflicts 9,425 to 10,575 physical damage each second to anyone for as long as they stand in melee range. Lasts 10 seconds.

As like Phase 1, timing is absolutely crucial to this. Poisoned Spear does a tonne of damage and needs to be minimized as much as possible. The way to do this is to cast Abolish Poison to remove it asap and quickly shift back into Bear Form. Naturally if you aren’t quick and you are caught in caster form then Skadi will smack you very hard. One way to ensure you have time to shift back is to continuously kite Skadi up and down the tunnel, that will keep Skadi running to you which will give just a little bit of extra time to shift back into Bear Form.

Every so often, Skadi will also cast Whirlwind, this can be handled in one of two ways. First this is where you’ll want to pop your cooldowns (one for each WW). Barkskin, Frenzied Regeneration, Corroded Skeleton Key are all good options. The second is to actually switch to Cat Form, Dash and run away. During this time Skadi will still be casting his Whirlwind (for 10sec) so you can actually pop out and heal yourself as much as you can. At all times, you will naturally want to keep up Faerie Fire and Demoralizing Roar to minimize the damage to you. If you ever get into bad situations, you can use a health pot or Survival Instincts.

This will need to be repeated over and over until Skadi dies. How many times you will have to deal with Poisoned Spear/Whirlwind is dependent on what type of gear you choose to wear. The more dps gear the fewer times you will have to deal with it but the higher the chance you will die with lower HP. The more bear gear, the more times you will have to deal with it but the lower the chance you’ll die with higher HP. This as I mentioned at the beginning of the post is completely dependent on what you have available to you and what works best for you.

In red youll see I have the BG deserter buff bc this time I picked up kings/might! Green arrow points to how I have abolish up, you can try and cast it during a WW since Skadi tends to use poisoned spear after a WW. Orange arrow is me hopping down the tunnel.

Another one bites the dust! I’ve been trying this one for a while and it was quite the challenge, best of luck to all those out there who are giving this a shot. Till next time!

No Mount, Go Figure...

Kitty Gearing & Ruby Sanctum

MMO recently released the normal mode loot table for Ruby Sanctum and while it is essentially underwhelming, there is one specific item of interest that is somewhat of a game changer in terms of gear selections for kitty kats. This post will address folks that are already into Heroic ICC 25 and have access to ilevel 277 gear, while it can apply to those who only have access to normal ICC 25 it is geared more towards a higher level of raiding. For a full summary of the Ruby Sanctum loot table, you can check that out here.

One of the major issues that currently exist is the choice of using ilv 277 non arp gear vs ivl 264 arp gear. Or another way to put it, a significant increase in raw stats vs being arp capped. There are essentially two specific gear slots that end up falling into this debate. Cloak and Weapon.

Cloak Slot

If you are fortunate to be in a guild that is capable of obtaining TOGC insanity cloaks (Vereesa’s Dexterity) or if you’re lucky enough to have your cloak drop, then this may not be as significant of an issue. If you aren’t as lucky, you’re probably using the badge cloak (Recovered Scarlet Onslaught Cape) which is fine and all, the problem is, the raw stats of said cloak are much lower than what is available from the heroic version of Shadowvault Slayer’s Cloak.

Lets do a quick comparison, as you can see the pure raw stats of the 277 cloak far outweigh either cloak, and the only real loss from using this cloak is the arp.

Weapon Slot

Similarly, if you have a need for an arp weapon, there is one item that sticks out as the best available option which is Oathbinder, Charge of the Ranger-General. The natural upgrade would be the Heroic version of the weapon but unfortunately majority of us do not have access to Heroic LK 25 (and probably wont for the near future) so for the purpose of this discussion I will assume this as not a viable option. Instead, the decision becomes do I use a 271 arp weapon or, should I use a 277 non arp weapon in Distant Land.

Lets do a quick comparison, not as clearcut of a decision as with the cloaks and I would say would depend on the gear selection/choices of the specific person. For me, the 115 arp on Oathbinder just can’t be replaced elsewhere and as I am a proponent of arp and hardcapping, outweighs the stat gains from Distant Land.

Solutions via Ruby Sanctum

Whether it be by design or just by chance, there is one item that will essentially resolve some of these hard choices/decisions that need to be made currently.

Sharpened Twilight Scale: Increases your armor penetration rating by 163. When you deal damage you have a chance to gain 1304 attack power for 15 sec.

This is the first time that we will be able to equip double ARP trinkets (STS and DBW). Which immediately resolve any arp issues you may have had previously. For example, lets assume you were using Recovered Scarlet Onslaught Cape and Oathbinder, Charge of the Ranger-General to reach the arp cap (52+115 = 167 arp). Now, through one item you can essentially cover the arp covered by two. This then frees you to use 277 loot w/o arp which will keep you arp capped and increase your raw stats significantly. This isn’t a massive game changer but it can change what items you’ve been looking for. Personally I’ve been ignoring the 277 Distant Land which is now a priority to pickup prior to the start of Ruby Sanctum.

While I am stating that there is nothing else in Ruby Sanctum that is of interest, that only applies to the Normal mode loot table which is the only table currently available. Once the Heroic version loot tables come out (which could be soon since PTR testing is set for tomorrow), the ilv 284 loot will probably look to make some additional gear changes.

Cataclysm Raiding – Two Thumbs Up

This post is definitely much later than most, but as per my last post I have good reason to be behind! Mommy and baby are both doing fantastic and its unreal how fast they grow even in the span of 3 weeks. Even though this is stale news I did want to share my thoughts on the new Cataclysm raiding structure and how I plan on approaching it when the time comes. The full summary & follow-up discussions are located here.

New System Highlights:

  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids will share the same lockout.
  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids difficulty will be as close as possible to each other.
  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids will drop the exact same loot, but 25-man will drop a higher quantity of items (items, badges & gold)
  • Normal versus Heroic mode will be chosen on a per-boss basis in Cataclysm raids, the same way it works in Icecrown Citadel
  • Achievements will be universal to 10 & 25 man, can be obtained from either

Cause and Effect

The question is what is Blizzard trying to achieve with these changes? Lets look at how raiding has evolved in the past 6 years.

  1. Vanilla WOW: 40 man raiding
  2. TBC Raiding: 25 man & 10 man raiding, achievements introduced
  3. WOTLK Raiding: 25 & 10 man raiding, hard modes introduced
  4. Cataclysm Raiding:  25 & 10 man raiding merged

Personally I think Blizzard has done a good job of understanding the age and age limitations of the game. As the game aged, they made the necessary adjustments to reduce the personnel commitments and introduced new ways (achievements & hard modes) to entice people into raiding. The elitist hard core gamers will say this game has been ruined since Vanilla due to the “casualness” of it, but realistically, how many people would still be raiding if we were on 40 man content? I definitely wouldn’t be. Spending 6 nights a week busting your face into content was fun when the game was new but not after 6 years. Top end guilds will always exist (as in any game) but the raiding population would be significantly smaller if it weren’t for the adjustments that Blizzard has made over the years. As Blizzard has stated, whats the point of developing fantastic new content if only 1% of the population will see it? They want as many people as possible to experience it. Finally, there naturally are potential negative side effects that should be considered as well,

  • 10 and 25 man raid sharing same ID will result in a smaller recruiting pool for 25 man raids
  • Same loot/achievements in 10 and 25 mans results in less reason to participate in 25 man raids
  • Similar challenge in 10 and 25 man raids, does this mean further simplification of 25 man content or increased challenge of 10 man content?

Rarren’s Predicted Cataclysm Experiences

Personally, I really would prefer to only participate in 10 man raids. Simply because there is a lot easier to rely on 9 ppl vs 24 ppl. The ability to play with the same people week after week greatly improves the cohesion and skill level of a group, which is significantly easier to accomplish with 9 people. Not only that but the bonds you form with 9 people are a lot tighter than with 24 people. I’ll be the first to admit that I do not chat with all 24 people in our 25 man raid and without those kind of bonds its hard to drive a raid to success.

If content is similar to WOTLK difficulty, we’ll probably be able to finish content within 1-2 days of raiding which is fine by me. In fact, if I really wanted to push our my raid schedule what I foresee happening is actually raiding with two characters in Cataclysm, both in 10 man situations. Healing/Tanking in every raid can become mundane and having an opportunity to flip to dps helps to keep things fresh. Our initial ideas were to have healers/tanks in our 10 man go dps and dps go healing/tank in our alt 10 man group.

While I may be ecstatic about the upcoming changes, there are many out there who probably hate this as well. It really depends on your WOW experience and how successful you have been in 10 vs 25 man content. What are your feelings on the upcoming changes?

Contrary to one negative anonymous poster, no I am not quitting wow or blogging. If I were I would done so by now. Have no fear, I am still here! (Hey, it rhymes!)

Happy Birthday Feral Aggression!

I apologize for the lack of posts for almost a two week period. My readers know I try and keep the content flowing but I have a good excuse for the lack of posts. 13 days ago my wife and I were blessed with our first child and we have been extremely busy since! Its been a real challenge trying to figure out how to take care of a new born and there are no guides or strategies only trial and error most of the time. Things have been going well (aside from the lack of sleep) so I should be getting back to my posting relatively soon.

In the interim I just wanted to mention that 1 year ago Feral Aggression the blog was started and 147,000 hits later here we are today. Thanks to all those out there that appreciate what I have to say and here’s to another year of even more good ol fashion kitty fun.


I’m Retired!

As of 04/04/2011, I have officially retired from WOW. This blog will remain as a archived resource for those who know that CAT DRUID IS 4 FITE!

About Me

A blog for the ramblings and thoughts of Vallen, a full time raiding cat druid from Auchindoun-US with a passion for raiding & achievements. An avid wow player since 2004.

For any questions or concerns contact me via comments or e-mail

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Mimiron's Head
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Amani War Bear
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Master Builder's Shirt
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Commander
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Tabard of the Lightbringer

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