Mages, ten-man raiding, and other things that are awesome.

Archive for January, 2011

Pugging Pally Tries To Be Bossy Pally

“Gogogogo,” the druid chanted. “We ready let’s go!”

Having just respecced and refilled my mana, I threw out buffs as the DK tank hurled himself headlong at the first group of trash in Stonecore. With a sinking feeling I quickly put Beacon on him and sprinted after. Fifteen seconds later, we all lay dead.

“Rez me,” the same druid said in party chat as the rest of us gathered up again at the entrance. “Rez!”

I’m reminded me of something Redbeard said to me last week, that throughout the course of pugging to level 80 he saw me change. I asked him if he meant it made me jaded. “No,” he’d replied. “Experienced.” He’s right. This pugging pally doesn’t take crap.

“No,” I said to the druid. “You can run back like the rest of us did.”

“Come on, rez me,” he said again.

“Or we could just kick you,” one of the three DKs responded. Obligingly, I pulled up the vote to kick window. Reason: “Won’t run back like everyone else,” I typed.

The vote passed and we stared down the same trash again.

The previous night I had felt like I might lose my supper just at the prospect of pugging. I carefully read through all the paladin changes I’d missed, set up my keybinds (Vuhdo seemed to have forgotten them) and made sure I knew what to cast when, and why. Then, telling myself that I needed to discover the instance entrances – I promptly went Retribution and didn’t even glance at the LFD window. When I finally went to pug, I first asked Voss if he would tank a few normals for me. Rusty, new-to-Cataclysm healing paladin did not want to inflict herself on pugs just yet.

Vid's return coincided with some painting experiments I've been doing. It's not super but it was good practice.

Now I had a few instances under my belt, including Stonecore – but Voss had been tanking it. This tank had the same HP I have as a holy paladin. And as Redbeard had observed, I was not the same paladin I had been. I started putting up raid icons.

“We attack him first, and these guys need to have whatever CC is available. Even a Cyclone would help.” The obliging moonkin that had pugged in to replace the other moonkin agreed. We managed to limp through that trash pack and proceeded at a more cautious pace.

“Which are the ones that do the exploding thing?” the tank asked.

I marked one for him and told him,”It’s the Earthshapers.” Each pull was a bit easier, but they were still intense and mana-draining. It was all going well until the last pull before the boss – the tank, feeling confident, no doubt – ran ahead and pulled the last group while I was still drinking. He died a horrible death but we managed to finish the trash regardless. Old Vid might have just said nothing or apologized. This Vid said, “Those pulls are really tough on my mana, so please make sure I’m with you before you pull again because I’ll probably be drinking.” The tank didn’t do that again.

I don’t know if it’s a question of design or what, but it seems inherently wrong to me that a boss fight should feel like a relief after trash pulls. The crystally worm guy went down without any problems and we moved on to the fun Quake-trash. Here there were some more lessons to be had. “Try not to stand in front of them while they’re flaying,” I told the melee with a smiley. We dodged Slabhide’s stalactite gauntlet without any problems and killed Slabhide himself similarly. (Note to self: Next time throw a raid marker up on the tank. One worgen looks much like another).

The next hallway of trash was impressively orderly. The only misstep we had was when we accidentally pulled a pack of mobs prematurely by way of a Stonecore Sentry. Again, I think firestanding inclinations were not helping my mana situation and I was drinking heavily after each pull. I feel like I really have to re-learn how to be a paladin – how to manage my mana and get it back when I have to. I guess this is something that will come with time, research, and some more experience. Soon we reached Ozruk, and I began to brace myself. The heroic version of this boss is often a complete nightmare for a number of reasons. How would his normal version stack up with my much lesser-geared tank?

It was pretty intense. I think it would have been entirely manageable if 1) the tank had managed to avoid Shatter, or 2) the two melee DPS had managed to avoid Shatter, or 3) both of the above. As it was, my mana was not a happy camper, the tank damage began to be more than I could heal through. It was like with each successive Shatter I could feel things slipping more and more out of my control until finally they went splat. If you want a better metaphor, imagine someone juggling and they throw one ball just a bit too far forward, so they unconsciously move forward to compensate, and all of the balls move just a bit more forward, and in a matter of seconds they’re falling to the floor. It was like that. Astoundingly a last gasp of emergency healing on myself and the remaining DK managed to finish Ozruk off and I was able to rez the rest of the party.

“Without so much Shatter damage on everyone I think that might have been okay,” I told them, and apologized to the tank. One DK said that lag had made it hard for him. I don’t know how hard it is since I’m not dodging Shatters, so he gets a benefit of the doubt pass. I know they’re adding more time to dodge these on heroic, I’m not sure how that applies to normal, but the boss was down and we were that much closer to victory.

We killed the large packs of cultists as we headed towards High Priestess Azil without much happening of note – except that one of the DPS death knights pulled aggro on the second to last pack and died. I tried to make light of it, “Haha tanking didn’t work out for you so well that time,” but the DK didn’t say anything. Apparently there were rising tensions here that I hadn’t been aware of. I knew the aggro situation had been a bit sketchy, but I assume it was because – well, much of the trash is tricky.

Our first attempt on Azil we wiped horribly, spectacularly. The adds were all over the place, many of them were on me, and the ones that weren’t were on the DKs. DPS overall on Azil was slow – probably because we’d all been scrambling around like chickens with our heads cut off. As we all started to run back (nobody was about to drop group just at the end of the instance, not after the time we’d put in) the tank spoke up in party chat. “DPS really needs to pick it up.”

“Tanking needs to seriously pick it up,” one of the DKs retorted, “And get some tank gear and learn how to get aggro.”

I began to reply when the moonkin beat me to it, “Guys, let’s stop the blame game,” he said. I erased what I’d been about to say and retyped.

“I agree, we just need to manage adds a bit better and I know I can do better too,” I added. I asked Voss (who was sitting nearby) what he thought. Maybe he’d have some insights, obviously I’ve never tanked it myself. He told me that getting aggro on all the adds can be tough, and that I could help out by always situating myself so that the adds go into the void zones. I know that having someone looking over your shoulder might not work for everyone, but it definitely helped me to have him there as we initiated the next pull. If this is a question of not just getting out of void zones but also positioning yourself strategically near them – then clearly I had to learn to do better.

“Now go on the other side of that one,” Voss said, “OK great, now move back towards the other.” Since I was the one drawing them towards me with passive aggro, carefully watching my position (while keeping the rest of the party in range) helped tremendously. Perhaps the DPS gave the tank more time to pick up the adds, too, I’m not sure. The end result was that we got a few Justice points, we killed a boss, and then went our separate ways. Success!

I can’t exactly say either “It was a horrible pug,” or “What an awesome pug.” Over the past few days I’ve healed quite a few Cataclysm instances. I’ve run BRC a number of times (druid and paladin), Throne of the Tides (once, as a druid) and Stonecore three times (only as a paladin). I’m tempted to say that this pug was typical for a pug right now from what I’ve seen.

Keep in mind, I have barely scraped the surface of Cataclysm pugging before now and I can’t comment on heroic pugs at all. I have been blessedly enjoying the company of my guildies in that regard. So I am late to the party to observe this – but the complete paradigm shift is astounding. The default mode for Wrath pugs – silent, but largely effective – is dead. I spent a BRC run giving a brief explanation of each boss, because someone said they hadn’t been there. Perhaps there will be a point where pugs will know all of a dungeon’s quirks and foibles and can effortlessly, silently clear one – but that’s not the case just yet. A pug that does not communicate is going to fail, even if that communication is just raid markers and an understanding that “Moon” means “Sheep” (you know it does).

Enter the Slightly Bossy Paladin (I’m not the original, and of course I play my paladin for fun as a sideline). I spent most of levels 15-80 generally going along with a group, healing them, asking for time to drink when necessary. I’ve never been “the dungeon guide,” or purveyor of strats. But if it means the difference between success and failure, then by gosh that is what I’m going to do. I don’t know if I leave group and these guys are thinking to themselves, “Man, that paladin just wouldn’t shut up.” I won’t tell people what to do if they seem to know what’s what. But I also won’t stand idly by while repair bills add up simply because a pug doesn’t want to type a few lines into party chat. The days of the quickie runs are over. It’s not as if pugs can’t coordinate their actions just like a guild can when running together. It’s that we’re all unknown quantities, and that didn’t used to matter, but now it really does. Will the mage Polymorph (and maintain) his polymorph reliably? Can the paladin brute force heal through trash packs that pummel the entire party with incredible amounts of damage? Does the tank have enough mitigation and health to do his job – will he use his cool-downs? These are all things that matter.

The end result is that pugs are no longer a really effective way to level, and I’m going to be doing some more questing. It’s good experience, but not good XP, if you know what I mean. I’ll be very interested to see how things proceed as Vid levels. She’s sitting at 83 now and has many more normals ahead of her before I’ll be looking at heroics (and when I do, despite my newfound pug assertiveness, I hope to do it with guildies). It’s not you, pugs, it’s me. Actually I lied, it’s kind of you in a “none of my dear readers” kind of way, because I’m sure all of you would be awesome in a pug. Better than I am, for sure – I kept forgetting to use my magical paladin wings. For shame!

Social Members, Raiding Guilds

Occasionally as a guild leader or “management” member of any group of WoW-folks, you’re faced with some tough decisions. Sometime last year our guild had to grapple with the question of social members – would we have them, and under what circumstances? Should we have them?

Historically, the guild had a few social members. These were invariably people who had once been raiders that were unable to raid for one reason or another. When I first joined there was an assorted group of these, some of them that no one in the guild could remember raiding, but they were still “around.” Some guilds might have almost nothing but social members, or just “members,” but when you’re a focused raiding guild there is usually going to be a necessary division.

Almost all the screenshots I have with guildies are from raids! This one happens to feature our nifty battle standard.

For us, social members have always been a bit of a grey area, sometimes presenting a conundrum. The social members we’ve had have come in three different flavours: 

Social With A Side of Raiding (Someday)

Our first two members like this wanted to join although we had no raiding spots. This is one of the biggest difficulties of being a small, “exclusive” kind of guild. Since we focus on ten mans and don’t want to run two simultaneous groups, we have to be very careful of roster bloat. Too many raiders means people are benched too frequently. Not enough will lead to burn-out. I actually famously (and regrettably) turned down a resto druid and her hunter friend because our roster simply didn’t have the room for them. The druid was so determined that our guild was the best fit for her that she farmed up the copper to send me an in-game message asking me to reconsider and reassuring me that they would be happy to just be social until such time as a need arose for them on the roster. Note – this kind of tenacity does have the potential to make a guild reconsider your application. She impressed me – we let them in.

Less than a week later, in a strange twist of fate, we had roster turnover and suddenly needed a healer and a DPS. Because we’d considered the two of them including the merits of their skills as raiders, this was fine. They stepped in seamlessly and are still valuable members to this day. I’m happy it worked out the way it did.

It’s a rare person that’s going to want to join a guild just to warm the bench, though – most people applying to a raiding guild are going to want to raid. If you admit people as socials with intent to raid, you still have to evaluate their personality, gear, logs, experience and knowledge. Recruiting is work, interviewing takes time, and this could be time wasted if the people don’t actually raid with you – or if you decide not to admit them after all the time spent reviewing their application.

Raiders Gone Social

This is liable to be a common category in most guilds, no matter the size. Life has a way of sneaking up on people and bludgeoning them – life changes like children, a move, or a new job can make a formerly convenient raiding schedule impossible. I’ve never seen any need to not keep and value these people – you usually know them from raiding so they are friends, and having more people in the guild keeps things lively. They can still run five-mans with other guildies when they have time, or just chat.

In some cases, these folks may want to raid again at some later date. Once a raider has “stepped down” from the roster we require that they re-apply to join raids. This is for us the only fair way because roster needs may have completely changed. There may not be room for that person, or they may have a different schedule. Re-applying proves that they are serious about raiding again, it can help to answer scheduling questions, and it acts as a tangible sign of commitment. We might even interview if the situation called for it – say, for example, if many guildies didn’t know the person from previously, or if they intended to play a different character.

Because nothing says "friend" like getting your buddy stuck on a Sandbox Tiger, laughing at his distress, and then posting screenshots for all the people on the internet to see.

Just Social, Please

We’ve had poor luck with purely social members who applied that way. After some discussion about this last summer, we did have a few folks (friends of mine) join briefly, but often alts on other servers are played infrequently, and so although they were awesome people (hey guys!) most of the guildies didn’t know who they were. This is a bit awkward for everyone involved, sort of like giving a friend a key to your shared home but not being home when they drop by and let themselves in. With such a small group of people, it can be jarring to have new folks joining and if personalities don’t gel, someone has to go. (Hint: It can’t be one of the raiding members we depend on, and this leads to awkwardness all around). We did decide that we’d take social members on the good recommendation of a current member – so if your good friend wants to join and you’ll vouch for him, then sure, but again it’s provisional. Just as we have a trial period for all raiders, we consider any new member in the same light.

Another really bizarre example of a “just social” member came after a disgruntled former member created an alias for himself, played a different character, and re-applied to the guild…as if he were a completely different person. Honestly, I can’t make this stuff up. I don’t know if we’re too trusting or just plain gullible, but he put on a convincing enough voice for the vent interview that we actually let him in. It wasn’t an easy decision, as several members rightly asked, “If he doesn’t want to raid, I don’t see what he’s really bringing to the guild?” I argued to give him a chance since he seemed nice enough.

Not everyone is going to have the same point of view on this. Personally, I like people. I like to chat with them, and I like the feeling of having a few folks online with the green chat. Others are more practical: we’re a raiding guild. We’re here for raiding, so why would we take people who aren’t going to be raiding? It’s a fair question, and it worked out tremendously badly in this fellow’s case. Eventually the suspicious things he’d said and done added up, and an officer thought to check his IP address on the forums before coming to the realization that he was the same member who had left. He was the last person to apply as a social that we accepted.

Since then, we’ve all been pretty wary about social applications. I actually got an e-mail from a reader (perhaps a former reader) who was going through some difficult times and looking for a guild to be in. I felt terrible to have to tell him that I really wasn’t certain if we were the place for him. As a blogger, if I were running a different sort of guild – I wouldn’t have hesitated, absolutely. As GL of a raiding guild (taking into consideration all of the above) I had to give him a pretty ambivalent answer. I still feel bad about it on a personal level, but as far as my responsibility to my fellow guildies goes – I did what I had to do. I can only hope that he understood, although I never heard back from him and probably lost a reader because of it.

Let’s All Be Friends (And Kill Internet Dragons)

It’s unfortunate, but social applications and members can present a number of problems for a raiding guild. We’re lucky because the social members we do have are great people, very friendly and affable. I feel an obligation towards all of my guildies and I want them to have fun and feel comfortable in the guild, but our primary focus is raiding. We’re a raiding guild, it’s what we do – so it’s easy for social members to feel a bit on the outskirts, and there isn’t very much I can do about it.

Fortunately, with Cataclysm some fairly drastic changes have led to a much better system in this regard. Prior to release, one of our social members took me aside to tell me that he’d been feeling pretty disconnected with the guild. He still liked the people, just that since he wasn’t raiding he naturally felt as if he wasn’t contributing anything to the guild. Since guild experience and guild leveling were implemented, it doesn’t matter whether you’re raiding with a guild or just questing on an alt – everyone’s contributions are equally visible and valuable! This same member went out of his way to kill specific classes/races in PvP so we could earn an achievement and the right to buy the Guild Page, and he reaps the benefits of our leveling just as everyone does. I think it’s pretty great that we can all share in that, and I’ll be writing in greater length soon about guild leveling, guild XP, and how happy I am about them.

Meantime, I still don’t think these changes to the way that guilds work are compelling enough for us to start entertaining social applications apart from close friends of guildies. I’d still like to make sure that all our guild members are happy and feel valued. What is your guild’s policy about social members (if you have one)? Have you ever been a social member in a raiding guild? Did you regret it, or were you happy with the way it worked out?

Tuesday Art Day: More Mini-Sketches

You might remember on my anniversary post I was giving away freebies, of sorts. Here are some that didn’t make it into the first batch or that I’ve finished since! If you requested one and I’ve missed you, maybe you could call my attention to it? I had folks who wanted one but didn’t share an armory link and I’ve gotten a bit confused keeping the comments all straight.

Anyway, mini-sketches, 5-minutes each, you know the drill.

In somewhat related news, you can see the gentlemanly murloc I did for Zelmaru over at Murloc Parliament and check out her snazzy new layout while you’re at it!

Rades and Beru each wrote posts that were tear-jerkers for different reasons – Beru’s a moving story of success, Rades’ a lament for a lost friend.

Also, my friend Liala featured me in her comic, Disciplinary Action – after I complained that there was a serious lack of draenei representation. She set out to teach me that the cliche is true – you really do have to be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.

There’s no patch tomorrow, unfortunately. I’ve never anticipated a patch quite so eagerly – I really want those new meta gems. How about you, are you looking forward to the patch for any reason or wish it wouldn’t come? Voss observed cheerfully, “Well, that just means I get another week of being OP!” He has a way of looking on the bright side.

Dear Fishing…(A Letter From One Of Your Most Ardent Admirers)

You and I go back a long way, Fishing. If it weren’t for you, it would have taken me much longer to afford my first epic flying. Who knew that so many people needed those lovely Golden Fishsticks, but were too lazy to fish them for themselves? Those fish sticks were “golden” indeed!

We’ve spent so many hours together. You were there when I hung out with friends and talked, giving us something to do at the same time! What better way to pass the time than to hang out with a buddy and do something useful? People always wondered why I spent so much time with you. They didn’t understand us, Fishing. It’s okay, though. We had each other. I devotedly pursued you, through crocolisks, a fishing hat. You helped me meet Mr. Pinchy and my crab pet. Eventually we found a sea turtle together. Remember those hours by the Dalaran fountain? I loved catching all those coins with you. You never did give me a jeweled fishing pole, but that’s okay. A friendship isn’t just about what you stand to gain.

I'm standing next to a crustacean the size of a young dragon, but it's okay. He's on my side.

You helped to bolster us through countless raids. The magical combination of fish – lovingly prepared – helped us all be smarter and faster. I prepared feasts for people in battlegrounds, I carried a stash of fish on me at all times. Magic keeps them from smelling, you know. I was so excited to see how you’d changed after the Cataclysm! I know more people had been paying attention to you. They wanted to make you “more fun.”

Fishing… I don’t understand why you’ve been so cold to me this expansion. I hate to admit it, but I don’t like your new face. I don’t want to pluck crabs from the canal. Your feasts used to be available for everyone who had the tenacity to learn how to make them. Now, I can’t even use your bounty to make them until my friends and I have caught ten thousand other fish from pools. I don’t mind spending that much time with you, Fishing. Really, I don’t. I thought it wouldn’t be so bad. I was consoled by the fact that we could spend time together while I prepared my own food, but Fishing – there seems to be some grave oversight. The fish I need don’t congregate in pools.

You see these salmon? Now THEY knew the value of schooling.

You’ve put me between a rock and a hard place, Fishing. I can’t make your feast until I’ve fished many, many fish – and the fish I need won’t help me to do that. So I’m seeing other fish. I thought I could use that time to build up a stock of the fish I need to make feasts once I’m able to make them. Imagine my dismay when I realized that one of those three fish also can’t be found in pools.

I’m trying to be understanding, Fishing, I really am. I caught three hundred fish last night. I want to love you, but you’re really trying my patience. All of the fish for fish feasts used to be found in various pools in different zones. Anyone could learn to make a fish feast, and then that fish feast could be shared with friends. Now the feasts, once made, are stuck with you – I can’t even stock my guild bank with them – that is, assuming we ever fish up enough fish to learn the recipe in the first place. Do you really think that forcing yourself on people like this is going to make you more popular?

You still have a few things going for you, Fishing. Catching volatiles from you is positively sexy. That appeals to the enterprising crowd, you can use that! All you have to do is consolidate some of your fish into pools – they like to school, don’t they? It shouldn’t be too hard – and once you’ve done that, put some fun things in your fishing bags again. I recognize that the awards have to be applicable to characters of all levels. Still, I miss the days when I felt like you cared about me, Fishing. If we have to spend enough time together for me to catch another four thousand fish from pools, I wish we could both be enjoying it. As it stands, I’m not sure that I will. Can’t we go back to the way things were?
Love,

Vid

p.s. – At the very least, please lose the Murglesnout.

Even my guildies that don't fish have heard about Murglesnout. Here I am, happy, before I knew of its hateful existence. Yes, maybe I just wanted to use a picture of my sea turtle. What of it?!

Some Mini-Sketches To Finish The Week

Make that an Art Friday, I suppose. Here are some mini-sketches I’ve done since yesterday for people. I imposed a strict five-minute time limit on them.

Things I have learned:

  • Five minutes isn’t very much time, and
  • there are many awesome folks who read here.

Thank you for all your kind wishes and words, even if you were one of the folks trying not to seem demanding and so deliberately not leaving an armory link.

In no particular order – if you see a character that looks like yours, it’ll have the name written on it if you need to be sure. Have a great weekend, folks!

One year and One Month: A Blogaversary!

Once a Paladin, not necessarily always a Paladin, but still grateful nonetheless.

December was a big month for blog birthdays! Mine was actually December 11th, but as Rades put it, I felt a bit like the kid whose birthday is on Christmas. Cataclysm had just come out, I don’t think anyone was paying much attention to blog birthdays. Now it’s been one year (and just over a month) since I first made that little paladin and started pugging. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. You might read that and think, “Oh, Vid. Pugging was so hard for you, what an ordeal! Now you are going to complain about how hard it was.”

Nope, that’s not what I mean at all. What I mean is that I had no idea how richly rewarding blogging was going to be for me. I still remember my jaw dropping when I saw that Lath at HoTs & DoTs had linked to me. It was my first link! Later, Tam also linked to me, and I have shared links with many other awesome bloggers in the time since. It would be easy to say that I was frustrated by the actions of puggers as I leveled Vid, and it would probably be true. But it would be more true to say that I have been astounded by the generosity, warmth, and welcome shown by the blogging community. I didn’t know what I was missing. For each person in a pug who did or said something outrageous, there have been many more people who have commiserated with me about it, or gave a kind word.

I’ve made friends, colleagues, and cohorts. I used to enjoy reading blogs, now I truly can’t wait to hear what folks are saying because in many cases I feel I know the people behind them. I have the utmost respect for all of you and I can’t thank you enough for helping make the past year such an enjoyable one.

If you’ve ever left me a comment, or linked to me, or mentioned a post of mine on Twitter, or even just read – thank you.

You probably know that Larisa at Pink Pigtail Inn has been holding her annual awards – for instances, blogs, and noteworthy events alike. She’s honored me by choosing me as the winner for Biggest Blog Facelift. It really means so much to me, because I was incredibly anxious about moving from Pugging Pally. I was afraid I’d become a pariah – that people who only read my blog thinking I was a pally would stop reading it, or that people who only wanted to hear funny pug stories would realize I’d stopped writing those and just stop reading altogether. I wondered if I’d lose all readers and just be talking to myself. I worried about those things, but I tried to press on and hope for the best. I hoped that a few people would still be interested.

I worked really hard to make Manalicious an inviting place and to keep writing here consistently to show that I was serious about keeping my blog and I wasn’t just a “gimmick” writer, good for writing about pugs and that’s it! There’ve been times where I wondered whether I’d succeeded, and made the right decision. I think it was the right decision and again I owe thanks to people who supported me, changed their links, blogrolls, feedreaders, and continued to comment although my subject matter had changed.

Thank you all. Thanks to my guild members, too, who always tell me if I’ve written something they liked, and even for reading and being patient with me when I want to write about them or guild stuff in general. Thanks guys. I can’t say it enough times.

It was Windsoar who started the fine tradition of offering a “muse” to celebrate her blogaversary – I love the musing, but I don’t think I’d do as good a job of it! What I am going to do instead is a quick (literally, I am limiting my time spent on these to a set amount, I think about five to ten minutes each) drawing for folks who comment on this entry. I really do want to do something tangible to thank you for your support.

If you’d like a small black and white character portrait sketch, all you have to do is:

  • Leave a comment on this entry.
  • Include a link to your character’s armory.
  • Have commented before. (I don’t know how many people will comment so I have to put some restriction. I’d like to give these to people who have taken the time to share a bit of themselves. If I have to “confirm” your comment it’s out, unless there aren’t too many).

I have in my head a semi-limit of how many of these I’ll do, but I’ll try to do one for everyone who wants one. It might take a bit of time. But then again, you’ve stuck with me for this long, so I imagine you’re willing to wait a little longer too!

Tuesday Art Day: Wildhammer and Link Love

I feel both guilty and gleeful about the look on the fish's face. The answers to the question, "What does a dwarf feed her gryphon?" were pretty awesome, incidentally, and ranged from "dead orc heads" to...well, fish. You're probably happy I chose the former.

I know that art day posts are a bit boring (what do you say about them?) so I’m combining two time-honored traditions, art day AND link love. I’ve had some links stored away in my file for several weeks now, so it’s time to get caught up! This was a sketch that strong-armed its way into becoming a semi-paint, it’s still a bit rough but for a warm-up sketch, I’m happy with it! (That’s two and a half hours of warming up, by the way).

Without further ado, link love!

Cynwise wrote a great post about warlock CC, if you’re into that kind of thing, but many of the tips and macros could be re purposed easily to apply to mages or most any other class. It’s a good read!

In a similar vein, Ophelie over at The Bossy Pally wrote about all the types of CC there are. I suppose some people feel now that CC is no longer necessary in heroics and everything has become an AoE zerg-fest, but for many of the tougher pulls we’re still CCing. It doesn’t take long and it makes life easier for everyone!

I enjoyed Spinks’ short post about the Women of Cataclysm. I’m always happy to see stronger female characters taking a place in WoW! I would hasten to add there are some great Wildhammer characters there too (have you done the quest with the gryphon rider in Deepholm? I won’t spoil it for you, but suffice to say she is tough as nails).

Perhaps you’re back into raiding again, but do you know how your raiders learn new encounters? Kae wrote about this a few weeks ago and I thought it was an interesting read. I’m visual and tactile myself, which means the videos don’t generally work well for me (and the talking in them mostly annoys me). A good diagram and some hands-on experience helps me more than anything.

Finally, this post is old but I happened across it when the topic came up for us the other night. Anexxia’s post The Changing Face of Spirit talks about how the stat fits into Cataclysm gear. Have you decided what your raid is doing about gear with +spirit? It’s something to consider before you are caught unprepared!

Where Have All The Draenei Gone?

This post was originally written for the Secret Santa exchange for Pix over at Pixelated Executioner, but I’m afraid not many people who read my blog may have actually read it. With his permission I’m reposting it here, if you’ll forgive my gratuitious and continued use of Draenei cookie photos. I know I’ve used them in another post here, but darn it, I can’t help myself.

When I signed up for the Blog Azeroth Secret Santa gift exchange, I was pretty excited. Surprises are fun to exchange and to receive! My name’s Vidyala, and I normally write over at Manalicious – about mages, raiding, guild leading, baking, casters, and other shenanigans.

I found out that I’d be writing for Pix – who I don’t know very well, but through some careful sleuthing have discovered at least two things:

1) We both like food (I’m guessing from involvement with Nourish, here)
2) We both like draenei.

This post begins and ends with one and has plenty of the other in the middle.

Accordingly, here’s a gingerbread Lelissa.

Yes, Christmas at my house included Ginger Draenei, and one of them customized for Pix. I have no regrets!

There was a question asked at Blizzcon for those of us who especially enjoy draenei and their lore, and I’ve been thinking about it since. Basically, the question boiled down to this (I’m paraphrasing, here)

“We haven’t seen or heard much about the draenei since TBC and they were hardly visible in Northrend at all. Is Cataclysm going to remedy this, and can we expect to see more of the draenei?”

When I heard this question, I cheered, because I’ve asked it myself on many occasions. Unfortunately, the answer was essentially: “There isn’t much more about the draenei in Cataclysm, but we’re aware that they’ve been a bit neglected.”

I have been inclined to complain about lack of draenei involvement in the events of Northrend, but since giving it some thought, I’ve been realizing that it actually isn’t all that bad.

The Burning Crusade
For someone making a fresh draenei character in TBC, the opportunities were boundless. In my opinion, draenei have had the best starting zone for years. The quests do an excellent job of laying out the adversity the draenei have faced, establishing their opposition, and culminating in a series of quests that actually pit you against elite enemies. Even though you’re only level twenty, you leave the draenei starting zone with resolve and a very clear goal: you must go to Outland and defeat the Burning Legion. These quests are only available to draenei characters, and they reward you with a unique tabard.

Throughout Azeroth the draenei presence is low – despite the player population, they really aren’t supposed to be a high-population race, but there are subtle nods to them in many places. Ambassadors are working with the kal’dorei in Forest Song to help rebuild. There is a lovely (but tragic) pocket of quests in the Swamp of Sorrows that deals with an Anchorite trying to find a way to rehabilitate the Lost Ones there.

Of course, once you go through the Dark Portal, draenei are the primary focus. The main “hub” city for the expansion was Shattrath. Most of the zones are rich in draenei lore, whether giving an insight into the past (as in Hellfire), getting involved in helping the small community of Telredor (Zangarmarsh), forging an Alliance with the Kurenai in Nagrand, or helping the restless spirits of Auchenai.

Draenei are at the forefront of many initiatives, including the Sha’tari Skyguard, the Shattered Sun Offensive, and of course – The Aldor. They were central to the main conflicts of the expansion. At the risk of repeating myself here, this expansion was an awesome time to be a draenei, whether you were a roleplayer or just had an interest in the game’s lore. It’s natural then that when Wrath came out, we were a bit shell-shocked to suddenly be thrown into the back row.

A draenei in TBC also had many race-appropriate fashion and accessory options for bashing skulls or whatever else suited their purpose.

Wrath of the Lich King
The presence of draenei characters or stories was pretty low in Wrath, it’s true. There’s a small contingent of them at Valiance Keep in Borean Tundra. There’s a shaman in Howling Fjord who charges you with inhaling some pretty powerful incense that lets you walk around outside of your body. There’s good old Modoru at Star’s Rest – the Sentinels there are making fun of his extremely draenic clothing.

Hakmud of Argus can be found cruising around on the Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth (it’s a nice little bonus that you can purchase the robes Modoru is wearing from him for a mere 50 gold. Hand-sewn draenic silk doesn’t come cheap, you know!).

The infamous Jadaar and Asric made an appearance in Dalaran and later at the Argent Tournament grounds. If you haven’t listened to them it’s worth it – they have a history stretching back to Jadaar’s peacekeeping days in Shattrath. The two of them are hilarious.

Vindicator Maraad (from the comic series) is flying around on the Skybreaker, although he doesn’t have much to say, and I’m sure I remember a draenei Death Knight up in Icecrown.

It used to bother me that draenei had such a low-profile in this expansion. After all, they’d thrown their lot in with the Alliance. They came to Northrend to help with a common foe, and they’ve made Azeroth their home. Didn’t they deserve at least a little bit of screen time? The more I’ve thought about it, though, the more I am comfortable with them throughout this expansion. There were many NPCs present in the various Argent factions that were draenei. They didn’t have any major lore characters or major lore moments, but their presence was felt.

A story can’t have all major characters, someone has to play a supporting role. The draenei were playing this role as the native races of Azeroth fought an enemy that had devastated their world and their people – just as the Alliance helped the draenei strike back against those who had devastated their world. It wasn’t really about us this time around, and that’s okay.

While somewhat out of their element in Northrend, draenei could still be equally badass.

Cataclysm
So how is the presence of the draenei shaping up in the latest expansion? Despite the developer’s answer to the question above – that there isn’t much about them in the Cataclysm – I have to admit that I’ve been pleasantly surprised! The Earthen Ring is playing a prominent role in recent events, and there are draenei and Broken representatives among them, many of them high-ranking. That is primarily the extent of draenei involvement so far in Cataclysm. They aren’t central to the story, but they are around, and that’s actually about right. It’s not about the draenei any more, except that they are invested in the world the same way that all of the other races are. They’ve been integrating all this time, a notion that is borne out by the new Draenei cinematic. Here is a transcription for you: (The old draenei starting zone cinematic can be seen on Youtube).

Empowered by the Holy Light and the undying strength of their convictions, the draenei led the charge against the demonic Burning Legion in Outland.

Now, with the Legion’s defeat, they have completed the desperate mission that first brought them to Azeroth. Though some draenei were sent back to Outland to revitalize their former civilization, the majority have vowed to remain and uphold their sacred commitment to the Alliance.

Driven by a powerful vision, the immortal Prophet Velen believes that a great war between the darkness and the light is fast approaching, and that Azeroth will be its principle battleground.

As one of Velen’s chosen you must stand bravely against the shadow and ensure that your people are ready for the war to come.

I like that the starting cinematic was actually updated to reflect the events of the Cataclysm. Unfortunately, the zone itself wasn’t – new draenei are still stuck in a “time capsule” of sorts, where the questgivers are all in awe that you survived the crash and have been in stasis all that time (a really long time at this point, considering the events of the Burning Crusade are concluded and most other draenei helped defeat the Lich King in the meantime.) Can you imagine that conversation?

“Sooo, while you were pulling a Rip Van Winkle, we found a new world, but we crashed on it, then we defeated the Burning Legion on our old world, but then some undead threatened this one…but we killed them, except there’s this dragon, fire, flood thing going on here now…”

Hey, it’s not called World of Settle Down and Open A Bakery-Craft, right? Although at least one of my characters would love to do just that. So the draenei are a small part of the story again; Outland suffers from similar continuity issues but Blizzard has said that it’s not high on their priority list to fix and change it. I can’t really blame them, either – overhauling Outland to make sense with the current story would be no small task, and they’d rather put that effort into developing new content to attempt to appease the insatiable appetite of players.

Speaking of Outland, one very nice addition is the inclusion of draenei artifacts in the archaelogy profession. I won’t spoil them here, but if you have any interest in Archaelogy and/or draenei and orcs you’ll know that once you hit “Outland” levels you can find some interesting lore items. It’s a small thing, but I know I appreciate it greatly. In fact, generally when it comes to draenei lore I’ve been counting my blessings. It’s not as if other races like gnomes and dwarves had an entire expansion more or less dedicated to them. Many races play bit parts in the overall story and have few major lore representatives, so it really isn’t that bad. Meantime, those of us who are draenei fans will continue to play our characters, roleplay our characters (if that’s your thing) and/or make baked goods in their likeness.

The only problem with character-shaped cookies is bringing yourself to actually eat them.

That might just be me though. What do you do to celebrate your love of draenei (if you have one?) What do you think Blizzard could have done differently in Cataclysm? I would’ve actually liked the Stormwind Jewelcrafting contingent to be draenei. It wouldn’t be tough to do, it’s not implausible that some draenei would be living in Stormwind, and we do have a racial bonus to Jewelcrafting, after all!

Cataclysm Heroic Tips and Strategies for Mages (Part 3)

I’m trying to get these out as quickly as I can! I know they are relevant right now, but bear with me. Just one more post after this one will finish them up. Thanks for the feedback and additions on the previous posts, I appreciate them. Remember if you have any tips I’ve forgotten or just haven’t thought of, please leave them in a comment!

This is part three in a series of mage-specific heroic Cataclysm instance guides. This part deals with only Halls of Origination and Lost City of the Tol’Vir.

Part one includes some basic instancing strategies, as well as tips for Blackrock Caverns and Throne of the Tides. You can find it here.

Part two covers The Stonecore, Vortex Pinnacle, and Grim Batol and is located here.

These are not the full strategy guides for each instance – only mage-things that may prove useful. This guide assumes that you are familiar with the basic strategy for each encounter. For instance cheat sheets, you can check out the guides a guildie of mine wrote over at Sword and Board.

See the one waving his hands in the back? You want what he's having.

Halls of Origination

Trash: You can spellsteal Molten Barrier from the Temple Fireshapers – it increases your spell haste by 50% and also randomly shoots fireballs at nearby targets. Try to be careful where you’re standing once you have this – it can and will break CC. It’s still preferable for you to have it, and not the Temple Fireshaper.

Most of the bosses in HoO can be done in any order, with the exception of Ptah who is only available after Anhuur is killed. Keep in mind that your group may be doing them in a different order than you expect, but you can use Time Warp on one of the last four bosses and have it ready to go by the time you reach the last. I like to use it for Setesh, and then Rajh.

There are four elemental “mini-bosses” that primarily do things you don’t want to stand in.

Earth Warden does a frontal earthquake sort of thing, Fire Warden has flame, etc. Water Warden targets someone to put a water bubble on. DPS this bubble to free your party members – if he targets you with it, you can blink out of it, leaving only a confused, empty water bubble behind. (Tell your party so they don’t waste time trying to free you from a bubble you aren’t in.)

Temple Guardian Anhuur

  • You will be handling either the left or right side, with one other person. Depending on who you’re with, decide who is going to attack snakes and who is going to pull the lever. (Snakes and levers?!)
  • You can slowfall yourself, your partner or both – it’s up to you. I slowfall down and drop a Blast Wave as I’m falling.
  • The snakes hit hard. AoE them and keep them from your partner however you can – to give you both some lead time, you can Frost Nova them and run up the stairs at the end of the phase. You can also put RoF on the stairs or the landing to buy you both some time, if you position well it can be pretty useful.
  • Using Time Warp any time before the end of the fight isn’t necessarily very helpful; since he shields at percentages of his health, you’ll only force his next shield phase sooner. I save it for immediately following the second shield phase.

Earthrager Ptah

  • Make sure to find yourself a camel before this fight! Besides being kind of neat looking (with an entirely implausible jump animation) the camel allows you to cast and move simultaneously.
  • I find that sprinting in circles while avoiding dust clouds, spikes and whirlwind all while cackling madly and flinging fireballs is fun – but not strictly necessary for success.

Anraphet

  • Your task here is to simply DPS him before your healer and tank get overwhelmed by AoE and damage. Accordingly, if Time Warp is available it’s a solid choice to use it for this fight.

Isiset

  • Much like Eadric from ToC, use your mouse’s right button to quickly spin and face away right before she finishes casting Supernova.
  • You can and should spellsteal Veil of Sky from her – it protects from all damage but drains mana instead, much like Mana Shield. The purpose here is to take it from her, not that it’ll necessarily do much for you.
  • Blink away from her laser beams and kill adds. Make sure that you know which of her three aspects your party will be focusing on, especially if you don’t have Ventrilo or similar. Burn down the specified targets, and that’s it!

Ammunae

  • Fire/Frostfire Orb is good to save a few seconds into the fight – if it’s up, it can help you to target spawning seed pods. You can also adapt a macro for this purpose: “/target Seedling Pod” will do it.
  • If this is done right, you shouldn’t ever see a Bloodpetal Blossom, but he will spawn Spores regardless. Kill the spores and don’t stand in the gunk they drop. If for some reason a Bloodpetal was able to spawn, they can be killed by kiting/standing them in this residue.
  • Interrupt Wither if you see him casting it.

Setesh

  • This boss is fun, because the tank isn’t really tanking him. Hit it like you mean it!
  • The biggest thing you have to worry about is attacking his Chaos Portals as soon as possible. If you’re familiar with Lord Jarraxus in ToC, it’s the same thing. Burn them down. Your target macro from Ammunae, re-purposed to “/target Chaos Portal” will serve you well here.
  • When he casts Seed of Chaos, it puts little purple bubbles on the ground. Being in them will hurt you, but also increase your damage output. Don’t overdo it if your healer is struggling, but the buff will help end the fight more quickly.
  • As mentioned above, I like to use Time Warp on this fight. Any time is fine.
  • Any time spent killing adds is wasted time, but you can attempt to use slowing abilities to help your tank if he/she is kiting them. By the end of the fight this can get pretty hectic with adds and explosions and void zones all over the place, so just remember to keep attacking portals, attack Setesh when you can and make it all end quickly.

Rajh

  • First of all, Rajh’s trash has a spellstealable ability. I’m going counter to everything else in these guides by saying:  Do not steal it. The tooltip says that it increases fire damage by 75%. It lies. This ability is currently bugged, and will instead do the exact opposite, decreasing your fire damage by 75%. It also stacks, so it’s possible if you steal this to reduce your damage to next to nothing (if you’re a fire mage).
  • This fight is all about interrupts, and you have one! Use it to interrupt his Inferno Leap and Summon Sun Orb.
  • Save your cooldowns for when he’s casting Blessing of the Sun (if he ever gets that far). Your damage is increased by 100% at this time. Use Time Warp at this point as well.
  • Don’t forget to Mage Ward to help absorb any damage if he’s able to cast his Sun Orb. Almost all of the damage in this fight is fire-based.

Lost City of the Tol’vir

Trash: I like this place because it really doesn’t have too much in the way of complicated trash. You will probably be expected to CC, but the trash generally doesn’t do stupendous things. The only great trash in Lost City is the trash that allows you to do this:

Yes, that's a turtle standing on top of an angry pygmy. Such is the power of Polymorph that they never even noticed. These three-stacks of pygmies are a source of endless amusement, as you can imagine. Bring a mage friend! Make a turtle stack!

General Husam

  • You can tell when traps are going to explode by the pulsing animation – use Blink to stay one step ahead of them.
  • You can’t Iceblock out of being thrown up on the pillar, but you can Iceblock or slowfall to avoid any falling damage.

High Prophet Barim

  • Don’t be caught standing in the Giant Sun Beam Of Doom, but be careful not to blink too close to party members. His Plague of Ages spreads via proximity.
  • Use Time Warp on this fight during his Shadow phase to help end it quickly. Burn the phoenix! We just ignore the smaller adds.

Lockmaw and Augh

  • In the first phase (Lockjaw), be ready to Blink to stay out of whirlwinds or avoid crocs if necessary. AoE the crocs down, they’ll come snapping at whoever has the red arrow over their head. Especially if this is your healer, back them up with Blast Wave, Frost Nova, Dragon’s Breath, etc. A healer being gnawed on is a healer that can’t heal you or the tank.
  • Time Warp can be used if available, but shouldn’t make a huge difference to your success. If the adds are kept under control, everything will be fine.
  • You can wait before engaging Augh (and listen to him trash talking! “Who’s bad? Augh bad!”) so make sure to sit and eat to get back your health and mana.
  • Augh himself doesn’t require anything special, just stay out of the way of his whirlwind.

Siamat

  • You’re on add duty for most of this fight, as Siamat himself becomes invulnerable. You’ll be attacking caster adds primarily; you can Counterspell some of their attacks.
  • Be careful of hurricanes that can and will toss you up and even off the platform – if this happens you can try blinking quickly to land on the platform, but this will only work if you haven’t been tossed too far back (I haven’t tested this, and have never been thrown off so I don’t know how helpful slowfall is here).
  • Blink can also help you navigate the platform if necessary.
  • If you have Time Warp, use it once Siamat is vulnerable and burn him down.

That’s it for those instances! Only two remaining – Shadowfang Keep and Heroic Deadmines. I’ll try to publish a post about them in the next day or so.

Cataclysm Heroic Tips and Strategies for Mages (Part 2)

This is part two in a series of mage-specific heroic Cataclysm instance guides. I’ll be covering The Stonecore, Vortex Pinnacle, and Grim Batol.

Part one includes some basic instancing strategies, as well as tips for Blackrock Caverns and Throne of the Tides. You can find it here.

These are not the full strategy guides for each instance – only mage-things that may prove useful. This guide assumes that you are familiar with the basic strategy for each encounter. For instance cheat sheets, you can check out the guides a guildie of mine wrote over at Sword and Board.

This is what my rogue friend was doing in Stonecore. I don't recommend it as a long-term strategy, though.

The Stonecore

Trash: I can’t remember any noteworthy spellstealable buffs off the top of my head, but the trash in general is annoying. The first three pulls in this instance, on Heroic, are some of the toughest pulls in any instance. Your CC will be invaluable here. Keep as many of these guys under control as possible. The trash later is a series of annoying, constant add spawns and that one guy who jumps on everyone. Just take it one pull at a time and you’ll be okay.

Corborus

  • This is pretty self-evident, but Blink is useful to keep yourself out of bad things (dust clouds, adds, pink shards, etc.)
  • Your biggest priority in this fight is to slam the pink shards down as quickly as possible – I find a well-placed Blast Wave + Flamestrike will pretty much handle this. What the initial burst doesn’t kill, the Flamestrike takes care of. Any similar AoE effect will do, though.
  • The adds that spawn when he is burrowed don’t have much HP – don’t waste too much mana on them. I dispatch them with a series of quick scorches or fire blast if mana allows. Substitute your quick abilities according to spec!

Slabhide

  • In terms of DPS this fight is pretty easy. You can continue nuking him for most of the fight, with the exception of the time when you must duck behind a stalactite to LoS his Crystal Storm AoE.
  • Try to find where your healer is and stay within LoS, it will make their life easier (and prolong yours). LoS is hell in this fight for healers, they are struggling to make sure they can heal the tank, so it’s your responsibility to make it easy for them to heal you, too.

Ozruk

  • Fortunately for us, we don’t have to worry about the annoying things this guy is doing to the tank. Our primary concern is making sure we aren’t paralyzed for too long.
  • Use his Spell Reflect ability to place a DoT on yourself – the damage will break you out of Paralyze. I tend to use Living Bomb for this purpose. An added benefit (depending on your perspective) is that LB will explode on you and if you’re standing near group members, damage and break them out of Paralyze, too. This can help out healers who may not have had time to place a DoT of their own. Make sure to ask about this first, though, and if it’s not needed keep yourself far enough away that you aren’t causing unnecessary collateral damage to the folks around you. Use Mage Ward to absorb some of your own fire damage after you’re freed!
  • It’s worth noting that his Elementium Bulwark can be Spellstolen – but be careful with this! If you steal it before all your party members can DoT themselves, you’re going to mess them up. It is nice to steal it so you can keep DPSing him, just be judicious about it. And to my guildies who may or may not have said “Where did his shield go? Crap, I’m paralyzed” – I had nothing to do with it.

High Priestess Azil

  • You can help Decurse in this fight. You have unit frames and an easy keybind set up so you can see and remove curses, right?
  • Help lead adds into void zones if any aggro onto you, if necessary. If not – just stay out of the void zones, watch out for rocks and burn her down. Don’t expect loot, though – rumours of the cloth boots she drops are greatly exaggerated in my experience.

Encounters aside, Vortex Pinnacle is visually my favourite instance so far in the game. Even running it at different times of day changes the way it looks completely. It's gorgeous!

The Vortex Pinnacle

Trash: You can spellsteal Vapor Form from the Empyrean Assassins. It doesn’t increase your DPS, but it’ll help your group be able to kill them (otherwise it reduces their incoming damage by 75%).

Later in the instance, watch for Hand of Protection on Servants of Asaad. It looks and acts just like the paladin version we all know and love.

Grand Vizier Ertan

  • Standing in the exact center (inside of his hit box) will prevent you from being hit by the tornadoes.
  • If your DPS seems to need it (or if your healer is having trouble with the AoE damage) you may use Time Warp, but I prefer to use it for Altairus.
  • Remember that because you are in melee range, you don’t have the threat buffer you ordinarily would at range, so keep an eye on your threat. If you pull aggro, nothing’s going to save you from being a mage-shaped splatter on the ground.

Altairus

  • Advanced blinking skills come into play here. You can blink to get upwind more readily but be careful not to do it straight into a tornado! They’re always moving around so this is a tall order. You may find it safer to just run. If you’re able to stay upwind of him for any significant length of time, the fight should be fairly short and sweet.
  • Time Warp can be used at any time when your group is situated appropriately. The more folks benefiting from both it and the upwind buff, the better!

Asaad

  • In the heroic version of this, the range for his chain lightning is ridiculously huge. It’s serious business. I was used to blinking to safety to avoid chaining it, but this requires a bit more finesse. Blink is still very useful for getting into his electricity triangles, even if you do get a chain lightning. Don’t use Time Warp during one of his “in the air” cycles because it can be tough to get LoS on him properly (he flies up), but you can keep DPSing him if you back your rear up against one of the points of the triangle. Just don’t go too far. Immediately after an air phase would be a good time, if you don’t have Temporal Displacement from the previous fight.
  • You can jump to avoid his Static Cling spell before it finishes casting. This isn’t mage specific, except you know what Static Cling can do to robes, right? Don’t be a fashion disaster.

I used to feel that Grim Batol's only redeeming factor was the amount of cloth that drops here. Now I think its only redeeming factor is the sword I got here, AND the amount of cloth that drops here.

Grim Batol

Trash: The trash here is unique in that the red dragon flight at the beginning of the instance can make it ridiculously easy. If your party is skilled, you can bring all of the groups along your “path” to very low-health without killing them – so much sweet, sweet rep!

If you have a tank that is a huge fan of CC, remind him gently that while a mob is polymorphed, it regenerates its health. Polymorphing something that is more than half dead is counterproductive when a few solid shots would just kill it outright and get it out of the way.

General Umbriss

  • We have no excuse to ever get hit by a Blitz here, it’s so easy to blink out of the way.
  • Someone (and it may be a mage) is going to be in charge of handling the purple troggs. You have to hit them with enough burst to pull them away from the tank, but not kill them before they’ve come towards you – if they are killed within his range they’ll enrage Umbriss. (This is an achievement, but not to be attempted unless everyone in your party is prepared for it). They don’t have a ton of health so it’s pretty easy to pull and kite them if necessary.
  • Alternately, sheep the purple trogg and just keep an eye on it for the fight, just be sure to have your tank positioned away from their spawn point so you have enough room to work with.
  • Umbriss enrages at 30% of his health and you can’t avoid it. Use Time Warp here to get this burn phase over with as quickly as possible.

Forgemaster Throngus

  • His sword phase doesn’t have much of consequence for you – he’s hitting the tank hard, though.
  • During his mace phase, use blink to relocate strategically and avoid his fire trail. Your biggest concern in this phase is to not pull aggro. Your tank will be kiting him, and he won’t be generating as much threat as usual. I tend to use Invisibility near the end of this phase, just to be on the safe side.
  • His shield phase includes a brutal fire AoE cone that is targeted on a person. Collapse on him and remain behind him as you DPS to avoid fireballing yourself in the face. Use Mage Ward to give yourself a bit of leeway to move out of the cone when you see it coming your way.
  • When/if Time Warp is used will depend on your group and which phase is giving them the most trouble. You want to push him out of his most difficult phases as quickly as possible – Sword (if the healer is having trouble healing massive tank damage), or shield (since it damages the whole group) but not mace since threat is already more likely to be an issue in this phase.

Drahga Shadowburner

  • Your mission, should you choose to accept it (and you really don’t have a choice) is to burn down Invocations of Flame before they reach whoever they are targeting. You can use Blast Wave to slow them, or Slow, or Frostbolt, whatever your flavour of magic. They don’t have a lot of HP, but watch for them and if one is spawning near you, blink to safety before attacking it.
  • That’s the only specific mage thing I can think of, apart from the “don’t stand in fire and dragon breath” caveats that apply to the whole party.

Erudax

  • This fight is fun, as you enjoy separating Good Purple Things on the Ground from Bad Purple Things On The Ground. You don’t stand in the Binding Shadows one, but you do blink to the Shadow Gale safe spot. (If it helps, one of them is the “eye of the storm” and looks like a hurricane on the ground, and the others just spawn on random players and are targeted.)
  • When we run this, it’s the task of all ranged DPS to sprint back towards the door (yes, blink!) and get ready to slow and burn those adds before they hatch any eggs. For frost mages, Cone of Cold is best for this, as a fire mage you can drop a Blast Wave that will hit both of them and slow them significantly. Then hit it like you mean it! This is another easy heroic achievement to snag because it just means doing your task well. If you keep his adds from hatching any eggs, you win!

That’s three more heroics covered. In the next part I’ll be talking about Halls of Origination, Lost City of the Tol’Vir, and possibly Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep, depending on length. As always, if you’ve thought of or know of any tips or tricks I didn’t mention here, please share them in the comments and I will add them! Many mages are better than one.

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