Archive for February, 2010

Oh Shadowmeld, How I Love You!

This post is strictly for Night Elf brothers and sisters out there, so for all your moo moo cows out there, go War Stomp some critters.

This post is my tribute to Shadowmeld, for all of its amazing utility and usefulness in every aspect of wow. I’m sure most of you out there have already been able to decipher many of the situations that Shadowmeld is useful but perhaps you’ve missed one (or perhaps I’ve missed one?). Here’s a summary of the different things I use Shadowmeld for:

  1. Avoid Being Ganked: Now I’m not one to run away fro a fight, but if someone decides to have some fun I’m more than happy to play oblige and play along. However that doesn’t mean that I won’t let my enemy get the upper hand. Hit SM, fly away, heal yourself and go back and get the jump on those would-be gankers!
  2. Dropping Target: Similar to getting ganked, if a ranged npc or hordie is on your ass, and they’re casting, you can SM and stop their cast. Naturally the most applicable use of this is in Arenas.
  3. Dropping Combat: If you’re like me and have an addiction to doing dailies, I’m sure there have been times where you’re trying to pick an object, or apply a buff to a mob etc when you aggro something. Prime example would be the Argent Tournament dailies where you’re bound to aggro something that you didn’t want to while doing your quest. Not a problem, just hit SM and Flight Form away!
  4. Farming Resources: A long time ago, Rarren used to be a herbalist (bad pve druid), but when he was, SM was key to getting at some of those more tricky herbs. I’m talking about those nodes that were surrounded by mobs or even being picked by a member of the opposing faction. Entangling Roots, Nature’s Grasp & Cyclone are all effective ways of keeping them busy while you gather your materials before you SM and fly away.
  5. Dropping Threat: Kitty paws tend to be very scurry, and they do pull aggro sometimes. Whether it be on trash or on a boss, SM is a lovely little trick to temporarily drop you from the threat table. Note that SM does not actually drop your threat, but it does remove you from the aggro table until you break SM. Make sure that before you cancel SM and reappear that your tank has had the time to get ahead of you.
  6. Saving Repair Bills: By far the most useful trick for SM is to save yourself a repair bill. Rogues can vanish, Hunters can Feign Death, Mages can Invis away, well you can SM. The trick is to wait until you’re the last person alive/last person on the aggro table (during a wipe) and when everything is chasing after you, hit your SM. As this temporarily drops you off the aggro table and since there is nothing left on the aggro table (everyone is dead) then the encounter will reset. Its very important that you be the last one alive as if someone else is alive and you are taken out of your SM, youll still get your face smashed in. *NOTE*: This tends to piss off a lot of ppl that are trying to zone back in (they will resurrect alive outside of the instance) so in places like Ulduar where you’re flying up high and you fall to your death again.. well ya that pisses people off. Use @ your own risk 🙂

So you want to kill the Lich King

A few weeks ago I promised a few posts that would address some topics that I thought would be beneficial to all kitties out there but with so much going on in game its been hard to sit down and write, let alone write about those topics. So for now they are still in the works but not ready to be posted. Instead I decided I’d write about something else that is probably a bit more relevant and probably more useful right now. Specifically, lets talk about some tips and strategies on how to tackle Arthas in 10 man. Although I am a kitty kat in 25 mans, I tend to heal in 10 mans mostly so I did this fight as a resto druid.

For our kill we used 2 tanks, 3 healers, 5 dps (3 melee, 2 ranged)

I’ll keep the “how to” piece to a minimum as I’m not a big fan of those, but there are many phases to this fight each with its own unique abilities. They are:

  1. Phase 1: Infest, Necrotic Plague, Shambling Horrors, Drudge Ghouls
  2. Phase Transition #1: Ice Spheres, Raging Spirits
  3. Phase 2: Infestt, Defile, Val’kyrs, Soul Reaper
  4. Phase Transition #2: Ice Spheres, Raging Spirits
  5. Phase 3: Infest, Defile, Soul Reaper, Harvest Soul, Vile Spirits
  6. Phase 4: You Win!

Phase 1: 100-70%

The simplest phase in the fight, there isn’t too much difficulty aside from ensuring your dps is quick and fast. We setup in a triangle fashion with Arthas/Tank/Melee/Drudge Ghouls in one corner, Casters/Ranged in another corner and Shambling Horrors/OT in the last corner. This way, no matter who gets Necrotic Plague, it is easily transferable to the Shambling Horrors by shifting a slight distance. If you are targeted with Necrotic Plague, make sure you stay behind the Shambling Horrors to avoid getting cleaved by their Shockwave.  As a 3rd healer in the fight, there isn’t too much healing necessary. As such most of this fight was spent dropping Hurricane on Arthas and Drudge Ghouls. This helps significantly to clear adds so that you enter the 1st phase transition clean and can get onto Raging Spirits as soon as possible. If you pull aggro (while using Hurricane) make sure to Shadowmeld to ensure no Drudge Ghouls are pulled out.

Phase Transition #1

SPREAD OUT This is by far one of the most important aspects of this phase. Grouping leads to added damage from Pain and Suffering which is completely unnecessary. Also, it helps if people decide on an area to stand and stick to that spot, that way no matter what happens people will always go back to the same spot and avoid clumping by accident. This transition phase is really a place for healers to regen mana and as such there isn’t much healing required. To help dps with Raging Spirits, I killed Ice Spheres so that ranged dps could focus on Raging Spirits.

Phase 2: 70-40%

This phase is probably going to cause the most problems for majority of groups out there. Specifically, the Defile and Val’kyrs cause a lot of confusion the first time you encounter this portion of the fight.

Val’kyrs pickup your raid members and toss them off the platform, as such you want to maximize your distance by grouping up in the middle of the platform and by using stuns to increase your time to kill them. Defile on the other hand, grows depending on how many people are in it so you want to spread out as much as possible, the less people and faster you are in it, the smaller it will be. Since these two abilities are polar opposites (grouping and spreading) it can seem very difficult to manage, however once you understand the timers it is actually quite simple. Here is a breakdown:

  1. Val’kyrs first, Defile second (10s gap)
  2. Val’kyr first, Defile second (2-5s gap)
  3. Defile first, Val’kyr second (2-5s gap)
  4. Val’kyr first, Defile second (10s gap)
  5. Defile

Each time Arthas uses these abilities it is always in this order so it is actually very clockwork in what you need to do. For grouping you want to group dead center in the middle of the platform, for spreading you want to spread around the ring that is on the platform which will ensure that no Defile hits in the middle of the room. The danger of a Defile in the middle of the room is that means your raid will have to be off to the side of the middle which shortens your distance for the Val’kyr to travel. Shorter the distance, the less time you have before your raid member is tossed off.

  1. Group then Spread
  2. Group than Spread
  3. Spread than Group
  4. Group than Spread
  5. Spread

By the time you hit the 5th Defile you should be very close to 40% so you can then bring him in and avoid the 5th Val’kyr.

Something I haven’t mentioned yet is the Infest, which happens throughout each phase of the fight. Essentially it is a dot that will increase over time if your raid is not topped off ASAP. As the raid healer it is your responsibility to ensure the raid is pre hotted prior to each Infest no matter what else is happening during the fight. One such extremely tricky section is when Defile is cast and Infest is cast shortly after. Since the raid is spreading it is difficult to reach everyone in time and can potentially lead to deaths. To mitigate this risk, when spreading everyone should spread towards the same direction as the Val’kyr so that you remain in range of your healers. In other words, if the Val’kyr is moving left everyone spread to the left side of the room. It really helps your healers and trust me, they will greatly appreciate it.

The other important factor that needs to be monitored is melee attacking Val’kyrs when Defile is about to spawn. If one of your melee is targeted with a Defile while they are all under the Val’kyr you are bound to explode the Defile to a size that is not ideal. The safer thing to do is once the Val’kyr spawns, stun it immediately and spread out and wait for the Defile to spawn. Once it has then get back on the Val’kyr and kill it. This will ensure that your defile will not explode in size and you can still kill the Val’kyr in time.

Phase Transition #2

Similar to the first transition, go back to your original area to avoid clumping by accident. This is essentially the same as the first transition except the difference is a Raging Spirit will spawn just as Arthas begins to case Quake. That means you need to deal with the Raging Spirit in Phase 3. I’ve seen some videos where guilds just offtank the Raging throughout all of phase 3 but with it’s AOE cone of silence it’s a factor we decided to eliminate by killing it ASAP. Again, as the 3rd healer being able to deal with Ice Spheres allow your dps to bring Spirits down a lot quicker and we were able to kill the Raging within 10s of entering Phase 3, leaving us free and able to deal with the new phase.

Phase 3: 40-10%

Depending on your raid composition this could be extremely simple or could be extremely hard. The main difference between Phase 3 and Phase 2 is you lose the Val’kyrs but gain Vile Spirits and Harvest Soul (Shadowmorne). Vile Spirits being extremely dangerous as they dive bomb into your raid and explode for massive amounts of damage. Personally for us this was the most challenging phase as we carry a 2 ranged/3 melee dps composition which means we have less dps on Vile Spirits. If Arthas decides to cast Harvest Soul on one of your ranged (which he did), you’re down to 1 ranged.

Essentially, the way Vile Spirits work, Arthas will cast and create many of them and they will float above your raid and after a certain amount of time, they will dive down and explode on your raid. There are a few ways to mitigate this damage/risk. Firstly we used a kiting path starting from 1 edge of the platform to the far edge of the platform. Secondly ranged are assigned to Vile Spirits to kill or lower their health. Finally, the tank that is not on Arthas is assigned to sit in the middle of the platform in-between the raid + Vile Spirits to intercept them as they come down. These 3 actions do the following:

  1. By kiting from one extreme edge to the other, it maximizes the distance that vile spirits need to travel which will increase time to kill the spirits
  2. By assigning ranged to the Vile Spirits, they can either kill them or lower their health reducing the amount of dmg they do
  3. By assigning your free tank to be in the middle, they will essentially soak majority if not all of the dmg that the remaining spirits do

Phase 4: 10-0%

Similar to Archimonde, once you hit 10% on Arthas, he decides he’s had enough and he’s going to instagib the whole raid. DO NOT RELEASE! At this point the RP takes over and Tirion is freed, rezzes everyone and you get to burn down Arthas down. Regardless of how many people were dead when you hit 10%, you’ll all get rezzed so if you’re down to the last few % everyone should just burn Arthas to ensure you hit that mark. Nothing else to say but enjoy the RP!

For those of you still out there working on Arthas, hopefully these suggestions will help you along your way. If anyone has any specific questions feel free to shoot me a comment and Ill try and help.

Fresh Instance = Dead Arthas

Yesterday I posted about our attempts into Arthas 10 and the troubles we encountered from making the choice to extend our lockout. Well today we made the decision to reclear the instance and see if that fixed our issues. After 3 hours of reclearing ICC10 we got back to Arthas and as we suspected none of the problems we had from the day before happened again. Phase 4 was still somewhat of a clusterfuck but using some new tactics left it more manageable and we grabbed a Server First.

Looking for to a nice long break for the rest of the week before we go back in next week to start tackling some hard modes.

Freaking Arthas

I’ll preface this with this is not a qq post nor is it a post to bitch and whine about the encounter and this is strictly a 10 man conversation.

My 10 man group has been pushing Arthas hard this week. We extended our lockout (since theres nothing worth getting in 10 man normal) and we’ve been bashing our faces into Arthas since Tuesday. Our best attempt is 14.5% which is about 4-5% away from the automatic “I Win” phase 5 so I would say we are very close. Our execution is getting better and better but it didn’t start like this. Any possible way you can wipe, we’ve done it. Just to name a few:

  1. Getting cleaved by Shambling Horrors
  2. Necrotic Plague not getting cleansed fast enough
  3. Raging Spirits 1 shotting ppl on spawn
  4. Defile spreading across the whole platform
  5. Val’kyr Shadowgaurd dropping people into the abyss
  6. Getting punted off the platform by Ice Spheres
  7. Tank bunny hopping off the edge while Arthas is RP’ing

I would say that we’ve wiped to almost every mechanic in the fight, and through this we’ve learned, progressed and improved. My take on progression is you learn the mechanics of the fight, you don’t die to the mechanics, and then you kill the boss. However that is not happening, the problem is we are getting hit with bugs and this is what is preventing us from making that final push. Yesterday, Blizzard announced that the following changes/fixes were implemented:

Quote from: Bornakk (Source)

  • In all difficulties of the Lich King encounter, players who are tanking raging spirits are no longer valid Harvest Soul targets during phase 3, Vile Spirits in phase 3 now spawn at a greater height, and Vile Spirits in phase 3 will not be spawned as often.
  • In the 10 player Lich King encounter, Raging Spirits have had their health decreased in both normal and heroic versions and then fewer Vile Spirirts will be summoned in just the 10 player normal mode.
  • Specifically, the point of note is that the person tanking Raging Spirits are no longer a valid target for Harvest Soul. Well, hate to break it to Blizzard but it’s still happening. Proof you ask? Take a look at these logs (Note that Bearissan is our Raging Spirit Tank)

    1. Log #1
    2. Log #2

    Pretty cool huh? Another fun bug we found (which I can’t prove but Ill share nontheless) is during Quake, if a Raging Spirit falls off the platform when it collapses, it can potentially return invisible! This happened to us last night where it disappeared and proceeded to 1 shot 3 people with Soul Shriek.

    Now that I’ve done my rant, I will say this fight is very highly tuned and rightfully so. This is Arthas after all (FREAKIN ARTHAS) and is extremely challenging and quite frankly I love it. It really has pushed all of us quite hard and through all the wipes, we are still eager to go back and bash our heads in a little more. That being said, it would be a lot less frustrating if we didn’t have to deal with these kind of bugs that are supposedly fixed. The only two reasons I can think of that would explain why this is still happening is because we extended the lockout or because the server wasn’t restarted yet. I really hope that they don’t nerf this anymore or anytime soon because I know my group is capable of doing this and I’d like to do it in its current form.

    For any readers out there that might have killed him, we are struggling with Vile Spirits. It might be because our group only has 2 ranged dps so the spirits are coming down pretty high health but if anyone has any suggestions on how to manage them better please drop me a comment as that would be greatly appreciated.

    Attempts Removed from Normal ICC

    In an interesting turn of events, Blizzard has made an announcement in preparation for this week’s raid lockouts.

    Quote from: Daelo (Source)

    After each region’s maintenance this week, raids will no longer lose attempts on wipes in Normal mode for Professor Putricide, Blood-Queen Lana’thel, Sindragosa, and the Lich King. There will still be limited attempts in Heroic mode.

    We will continue to monitor developments in Icecrown Citadel in the future, especially since the Heroic difficulty has been unlocked by a significant number of raids.

    I would call this shocking for a few reasons (As of Tuesday, February 9th):

    1. Only 32 Guilds worldwide have killed the Lich King in 25 Player
    2. Only 60 Guilds worldwide have killed the Lich King in 10 Player
    3. It’s only been 1 week since the release of Frozen Halls + Arthas were released
    4. Blizzard has already stated that there would be zone wide buffs to help guilds struggling on content

    To further elaborate on point #4:

    Quote from: Daelo (Source)

    In the weeks and months after all twelve encounters are unlocked, additional attempts against the final four boss encounters become available. This represents the Ashen Verdict growing more powerful and gaining a stronger foothold in Icecrown Citadel. To further help raids, Varian Wrynn and Garrosh Hellscream will begin to provide assistance by inspiring the armies attacking Icecrown Citadel. This is represented as an additional zone wide spell effect applied to all players that will increase their hit points, damage dealt, and healing done. This effect will also increase in effectiveness over time. Players may opt out of the spell’s effect if they so wish.

    Blizzard already had plans in place to assist guilds struggling with ICC content while at the same time providing an environment for more hardcore guilds to prove their skill via the attempt system. I’ve always been a fan of the attempt system as it proves quality > quantity. In fact, I would say that this system has truly shown that there is no #1 guild in the world, as we’ve seen the #1 kills being snagged by a multitude of guilds from various regions. So if the attempt system is working and things are in place to assist guilds struggling in the near future, why eliminate this system in normal mode?

    After I calmed my e-rage over this I tried to think logically. Currently we (Daybreak) are probably on the bubble or slightly ahead of the bubble, we’ve killed Sindragosa in 10 man and probably will kill her in 25 man this week as well. But what if we weren’t so progressed? What if we were a guild that was struggling to kill Putricide and getting to Blood Queen with only a few attempts a week. I could see this being frustrating.

    My concerns with a move like this are reverting back to a quantity > quality mantra again. Where being able to afford to raid 5-6 days a week means suddenly you’re the best guild on the server or even the world. Not only does it not reward efficiency it also tends to promote a more lackadaisical attitude to progression where “oops we wiped, oh well lets try again”. Having attempts helps to drive focus and intensity knowing that you only have X more attempts left. A prime example from the good ol days was Loatheb in Naxx60, it was so difficult that we would world buff (ZG, DM, Onyxia, Nefarian, Flasks, Potions etc) just to max out our dps/health/survivability. The fear of being the person to screw up alone drove everyone to play their best and we never once wiped as a result.

    I will say that I am glad that there are still attempts on Heroic mode bosses and I truly hope that they don’t remove these restrictions too quickly because I am very interested in seeing who gets the world firsts. While the attempts are now gone, I’m still going to keep track and see how we are progressing. Best of luck to everyone in the new week.

    Understanding Hit, Exp & The Attack Table

    This started off as me working on the gear weight post that I had promised. I first started by pulling critical feral numbers and how they convert into our statistics. Through this I decided to make a reference page (look above in the header) for Kitty Numbers so that it would be readily available as a resource for everyone including myself. This turned into me delving deeper into how attack mechanics in general work in wow which turned into this post. First and foremost, this is essentially an extension of what Kalon did with his post [Druid] Cat in the Cap, so in no way am I taking credit for all of this. Reading his post again just lead to some more questions which I found through some other resources.

    When people talk about the hit/exp caps, everyone knows it’s 8% and 6.5% respectively (at level 80). Through this information, people make gear/gem/enchant choices so that they will reach a threshold to ensure they maximize their dps. There are many posts out there in the blogosphere that tell you this is what you need so make sure you get it, but very few actually elaborate and explain in detail why this is the case.

    Attack Table

    Starting from the basics, for regular (white) hits  there are 7 different options that can happen when you attack something. I have not listed Crushing Blows (which would be between Critical/Regular hit) as this is something only a Boss can do to you which is not relevant as a kitty kat dpsing. There are specific attributes or tactics that you can use reduce or eliminate specific options from the table. Specifically, Hit removes Miss, Expertise removes Dodge, Position to enemy removes Parry/Block, Glancing Blows cannot be removed, Critical Strike Rating removes regular hits.

    The priority system of auto (white) attacks are:

    1. Miss
    2. Dodge
    3. Parry
    4. Glancing Blows
    5. Block
    6. Critical Hit
    7. Regular Hit

    Reference: WoWWiki – Attack Table

    Hit and Expertise

    At level 80, as I mentioned earlier, it is common knowledge that the hit cap is 8% and the exp cap is 6.5%. What this means is, to remove the option of miss off possible options in the attack table, you need 8% (263) hit and to remove dodge off the possible options in the attack table, you need 6.5% (214).

    You’ll notice that a lot of druids don’t have themselves capped on hit or exp, partially because the gear available makes it challenging to reach the caps w/o specifically gemming/enchanting into hit/expertise. While it’s always best to reach these caps, druids have a little trick up their sleeve in Primal Precision. Not only does this provide 10 Expertise Skill (which reduces your expertise requirement down to 132), it also refunds 80% of energy spent on missed finishing moves. Or in other words, even if you miss, you get your energy back to redo the ability.

    Parry and Block

    Parry can be removed via expertise, but to remove Parry off the attack table you need 14% Expertise. This naturally is very difficult for a kitty kat and there is a much simpler way. Instead if you are behind your target Parry and Block are completely wiped off the table. Since you need to be behind your target to Shred this essentially ensures that both options are not longer available.

    Glancing Blows and Critrical Strike

    With the above information, if we have taken the necessary steps to remove these abilities off the table, we are left with:

    1. Miss
    2. Dodge
    3. Parry
    4. Glancing Blows
    5. Block
    6. Critical Hit
    7. Regular Hit

    Now, we only have Glancing Blows, Critical Hit and Regular Hit left on the table. Glancing Blows are non-adjustable number and are a flat 24%. If we were to attempt to remove regular hits off the attack table, we would need to increase our critical strike rating. Or in other words: 100% – 24% (Glancing Blows) = 76% Critical Strike Percentage

    Special (Yellow) attacks are a completely different beast and do not use the same table as auto (white) attacks. At this time its still not completely understood how it works but the going theory is that a two-roll system is used:

    1. This roll determines if the attack connects (Using your Hit/Expertise Rating)
    2. If the first roll is successful (attack hits), your Critical Strike Rating is used to determine if the hit was a Critical

    This means that there are no Glancing Blows for specials.That would imply that to ensure that your specials are crits always you would need 100% critical strike rating. However, in addition it has been determined that a yellow crit reduction (4.8%) is in place which further increases the amount of Critical Strike Rating required. So, to ensure that you will always have critical strikes: 100% + 4.8% (Crit Reduction) = 104.8% Critical Strike Rating.

    So there you have it, a complete explanation of each ability on the attack table and what you can do to reduce or eliminate those possibilities to maximize your dps. Remember, as a kitty kat it’s not completely vital that you reach these caps as it will hinder you more than it will help you. Try and balance your statitics to ensure you have a fair amount of hit/exp but don’t kill yourself trying to cap yourself.

    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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