Archive for the ‘Tanking’ category

Update; Two more first kills

January 23, 2009

Playtime has been limited lately – a few other things keeping my busy and/or distracted – but what time I’ve had has been constructive.

This week I hit exalted with both Son’s of Hodir and the Kaluak, so I now have my good shoulder enchants and epic fishing pole.  Doing daily quests for these two factions have taken up much of my non-raid playtime, so not having their quests on my list daily is a bit odd.

Tuesday night we did our 10-man Naxx, this was our first one night clear of the zone.  Under 3.5 hours;  certainly not setting any speed records, but a pace that I’ve quite pleased with.  The simple fact that I don’t need to remind anyone how anything works is still amazing to me.  Once people have seen the fights twice, everyone just does their thing.. having spent BC being forced to remind people to get up close to Nightmare, or not to move in Flame Wreath, well, this is pleasantly different.

So, Thursday night we were left with Sartharion and Malygos.  In late December we had tried leaving a drake up in Obsidium Sanctum, but quickly decide that we weren’t ready yet.  Last night, having plently of time, we decided to try it again.

I suggested leaving Tenebron – the drake in the back, who summons whelps – up for the fight, as this seems easiest.  When Tenebron joins Sartharion he only brings his whelp adds, and higher shadow damage for anyone in void zones.  Since the void zone damage can be pretty simply avoided, that just left the whelps to deal with.

The first pull was simply letting the off-tank get a feel for where things are positioned.  Discovered that Tenebron lands in the rear (on Sartharion’s left flank), with his portal being closer to the front (Sartharion’s right flank, on the fire wall boundary).  Since we want the melee stacked on the portal, so they can pick up the Whelps, the drake needed to be pulled back to where the dps normally stays.

For the second try Tenebron was pulled to position, but the drakes and elementals caused havoc – and the fire wall ate a lot of people.  It is funny that something that is so simple on by itself manages to cause problems as soon as another element is added.  It felt like my off-tank had too many things going on (Drake, whelps & firewall) and everything just felt like it was going at light-speed.  Rather than suggest that I give it a try, we had a feral off-tank the all the adds.

The third try did it.  After two hectic attempts, everything slowed back down, and it felt fairly easy.  Adds were (mostly) controlled, within a few minutes Tenebron died, and then it was simply a matter of not screwing up Sartharion.  The progression pull-to-pull was great, and it is a more interesting fight done this way.

Following on from that, Maylgos was the plan.  The past few weeks we’ve spent quite a bit of time throwing ourselves against him – we’ve seen phase three enough that drake control has improved considerably, but we’ve always been behind on the enrage timer when we get to that phase.  So, I swapped to my Malygos spec (basically added Improved Spell Reflect to help in phase two) and off we went.

On the way I explained to 3.0.8 changes – no CoH or WG while in Vortex, and some of the tricks being used to stack sparks are gone.

Buff buff buff, feast, flask and go.

One shot. /gasp

Mostly, it was just that we had higher dps.  Phase one was done with over 7 minutes on the timer, and we were on our drakes with more than 4 minutes left.  We lost three people along the way (while on drakes) – but still got him down with more than a minute to spare.

There was some discussion about exactly what changed – many thought the fight must have been nerfed in the 3.0.8 patch, but from a glance at the WWS numbers it looks like we just had a lot more pew-pew.

A still have a few things to mop up, but I hope to have the time this weekend to get a new title.

Holiday Raiding Update

December 31, 2008

After a short trip to visit family for Christmas, we were back to raiding Sunday night – not a scheduled thing, but we happened to have the right mix of people around. Those folks who were around earlier in the raid-week had cleared OS-10 and Naxx up through Sapphiron, so we went to work on Kel’Thuzad.

As the final boss in Naxx I expected this to be a brutal fight, but it really wasn’t all that bad. We were a bit melee heavy (there were 5 of us), so dealing with his chaining ice-tombs took some work, but otherwise it just took a few attempts to get the feel of the fight before we had him down. Not an easy fight, as there is a lot of damage being thrown around, but somehow not quite what I was expecting.

With Naxx empty, we headed over to visit Malygos in the Eye of Eternity. Now this is an interesting fight. We saw the first two phases, and most of us were going in cold – I feel bad about that, but in my defense, I didn’t think we’d be raiding at all that night, much less working on Malygos.

Phase 1 wasn’t took bad once I got the feel for moving him aruodn the sparks. We never quite got to stacking the sparks properly, but that shouldn’t be a problem next time around.

Phase 2 was an issue for us because we were so melee stacked. With only two ranged dps, we had trouble getting to the point that our melee could even do anything – something we’ll have to work on going forward.

To be honest, I’m glad that that we didn’t get to Phase 3 because I’d likely have be seriously owned by the flying section. I have since gone and done the Aces High daily a few times, and am very comfortable with it now – but it wouldn’t not have gone well going in blind.

Last night was the start of the new raid-week, and it went relatively well. In just over 3 hours we cleared OS-10 and 3 wings of Naxx. Our cable internet connection started acting in the 3rd wing, and the periodic drops did slow us down quite a bit from that point on. Thursday night I’m expecting that we will knock finish off Naxx and then get some more work on Malygos – which I am very much looking forward to.

Four Wings Cleared

December 23, 2008

Sunday night the guild had enough people available to hit up Naxx one final time for the week. Having cleared the Spider, Construct, Plague and most of the Death Knight wing we were heading to the Four Horsemen.

That is an interesting fight, that somehow seems more complicated when preparing for it that when actually doing it. The Tankspot video does do a great job in laying out the fight, but left me expecting it to take several tries to get down. In fact, we needed only two tries – with the first being wiped due to a silly mistake in the back half of the room.

While handing out loot there were more than a few complaints that Naxx may be too easy this time around.

Then we went to Sapphiron.

Running with our highest DPS’er out on holiday, and with only a single ranged DPS – I expected Sapphiron to be tougher. I was certainly not disappointed.

The fight seems doable – we had the dragon below 10% on one attempt – but our dps just wasn’t there. This feels like a fight where we are going to need to end it quickly, and where melee is something of a liability. Sapphiron’s cleave area is far larger than I’m used too, and the constantly ticking frost damage was putting stress on the healers.

I’m certain that we’ll get the boss down soon – like I said, we were missing a lot of dps due to the Holiday, but I think I may pick up some Frost Resist gear all the same. About half of my incoming damage was Frost, and the epic FR gear is really pretty well itemized. If I can make myself easier to heal, then we will likely have a better time all around.

Seeing as how we’ve moved quickly through Naxx so far, I’m was a bit surprising to spend most of an evening wiping to one boss – but kind of nice in a way. In TBC we ‘worked’ for nearly every boss kill, and thus far in WotLK we haven’t seen that yet. I do actually kind of miss it.

Also, I love raiding with my new guild. Great guys (and I do mean guys – my wife is the only female raider) and even on a rough night, the focus is on what was done better on each and every attempt. It is a great environment, and I’ve seen a lot of things that I will try to replicate should I start leading raids again. Managing an upbeat, positive end to a night of wipes is an impressive feat – and something that I’ve not seen executed quite that well before.

Gear List: Tanking upgrades from Heroic/10-mans

December 20, 2008

Here is another of my gear list posts – again, mainly here as a reference for me.

Currently, 10-mans and Heroics are where I’m playing – so this list just includes those. About half my gear could still be replaced in that content, so I certainly have some more work to do.

This list is in order of priority, with the gear slots at the bottom not having substantial upgrades in the currently available content. This is not an exhaustive list of things I’d like to see drop though, as there are certainly other “occasional use” pieces that I’ll take if I come across them.

Helm

Current: Tempered Titansteel Helm / Arcane-Shielded Helm / Ground Tremor Helm
Goal: Heroes’ Dreadnaught Greathelm (Naxx10 – Kel’Thuzad)
Goal: Thane’s Tainted Greathelm (Naxx10 – Four Horsemen)

I’ve got three helms that I’m playing with at the moment, and would love to get something solid enough to replace them all.

The Arcane-Shielded Helm (w/ Austere Earthseige Diamond is my general purpose Boss tanking helm.
Ground Tremor Helm (w/ Eternal Earthsiege Diamond) is my threat piece.

However, word is out that this Titansteel Helm is getting a meta socket in the next patch – that would easily make it the best helm this side of Naxx-25, and would help narrow this slot down quite a bit.

Wrist

Current: Bindings of Dark Will
Goal: Minion Bracers (Naxx10 Trash)
Goal: Bracers of the Herald (Heroic Old Kingdom)

The main upgrade here drops in a heroic that I’ve not run very much, guess I need to fix that…

Feet

Current: Sabatons of Draconic Vigor
Goal: Plague-Impervious Boots (Naxx10 Noth)
Alt Goal: Tempered Titansteel Treads (BS BoE)
Alt Goal: Greaves of Ancient Evil (Heroic Old Kingdom)

Still weighing having the Titansteel Treads crafted. They really aren’t all that much of an upgrade, and Noth is dying easily every week – his piece is a serious upgrade. However, at 120 stamina, it may be worth getting the crafted boots anyway.. even if just for a lolhealth set.

Neck

Current: Chained Military Gorget (EoHx25)
Goal: Amulet of Autopsy (Naxx10 – Heigan/Gluth)

Having picked up the badge vendor item, I’m not seeing any major upgrades outside of Naxx.

Hand

Current: Horn-Tipped Gauntlets
Goal: Heroes’ Dreadnaught Handguards (EoHx60 or OS10)
Alt Goal: Gauntlets of the Master (Naxx10 Gluth/Faerlina)

The Tier 7 gloves are very nice, and they are where my next 60 emblems are going.

Cape

Current: Durable Nerubhide Cape (LW BoE)
Goal: Gale-Proof Cloak (OS10 w/ 1 Drake)

The only available upgrade here is in Obsidian Sanctum, and only if at least one drake is left up. Not doing that yet, but hope to give it a try soon.

Legs

Current: Legplates of Inescapable Death
Goal: Heroes’ Dreadnaught Legguards (Naxx10 Gluth/Thaddius)

Just need the T7 token at this point – but even that isn’t a huge upgrade.

Rings

Current: Titanium Earthguard Ring
Current: Deflection Band (Naxx10 Anub’Rekhan)

Goal: Keystone Great-Ring (Heroic Drak’Tharon)

Both of my current rings are solid, but I would like to see the drop from Drak’Tharon. Not a major upgrade, but something to give me some options on a pure physical damage fight.

Shoulder (No Upgrades)

Current: Heroes’ Dreadnaught Pauldrons

Got these this week. No major upgrades available.

Waist
(No Upgrades)

Current: Waistguard of Living Iron

Got nothing else outside of Naxx-25. This was my first emblem purchase, and it finally let me replace my old Girdle of the Fearless.

Chest (No Upgrades)

Current: Heroes’ Dreadnaught Breastplate
Collected enough badges this week to grab the T7 token off the vendor.

Trinkets (No Upgrades)

Current: Figurine – Monarch Crab
Current: Essence of Gossamer

The Monarch Crab and Essence of Gossamer cover me for most fights. There are a few other trinkets I’d like to have to fill out my gear sets, nothing that I’ll miss too much if I don’t get.

Shield (No Upgrades)

Current: Titansteel Shield Wall / Royal Crest of Lordaeron

Sure Crygil’s Discarded Plate Panel is nice, but for EoHx35 I’ll not bother getting it. It amazing similar to the two I already have, and certainly not worth so much as carrying around.

Ranged (No Upgrades)

Current: Armor Plated Combat Shotgun

Another slot where I am done for the time being.

Weapon (No Upgrades)

Current: Red Sword of Courage

I got lucky and picked up the RSoC on my first trip through Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle, and as such am mostly set this slot. The Slayer of the Lifeless (Naxx10 Gothik) is nice, but is effectively a sidegrade to the Red Sword of Courage. If I were to stumble upon it, I could work it into some gear sets – but it certainly isn’t a priority.

Available Tanking Upgrades – Heroics & 10-Man Raids

December 13, 2008

This is another gear post, mostly thrown together as a quick reference for my use.

It is a list of what gear I have, and what items I’m looking for in Heroics and 10-mans. This includes Emblem of Heroism items and crafted BoEs.  I’m using it to give me a quick list of what *is* an obvious upgrade, and what places are best for me to look for drops.  This is not an exhaustive list of things I’d like to see drop though ,as there are certainly other “occasional use” pieces that I’ll take if I come across them.

Helm

Current: Tempered Titansteel Helm / Arcane-Shielded Helm / Ground Tremor Helm
Goal: Heroes’ Dreadnaught Greathelm (Naxx10 – Kel’Thuzad)
Goal: Thane’s Tainted Greathelm (Naxx10 – Four Horsemen)

I’ve got three helms that I’m playing with at the moment, and would love to get something solid enough to replace them all.

The Arcane-Shielded Helm (w/ Austere Earthseige Diamond is my general purpose Boss tanking helm.
Ground Tremor Helm (w/ Eternal Earthsiege Diamond) is my threat piece.

Neck

Current: Chained Military Gorget (EoHx25)
Goal: Amulet of Autopsy (Naxx10 – Heigan/Gluth)

Having picked up the badge vendor item, I’m not seeing any major upgrades outside of Naxx.

Shoulder

Current: Crusader’s Square Pauldrons
Goal: Abomination Shoulderblades (Naxx10 – Patchwork/Gluth)
Goal: Heroes’ Dreadnaught Pauldrons (Naxx10 – Gluth/Loatheb)
Alt: Wapach’s Spaulders of Solidarity (World BoE)
Alt: Pauldrons of the Colossus (Gun’drak)
Alt: Iron Dwarf Smith Pauldrons (Halls of Lightning)

It isn’t that my current shoulders are bad, it is just that there are lots of good options. Aside for hoping for luck in Naxx, need to start pushing Gun’Drak and HoL Heroics.

Cape

Current: Durable Nerubhide Cape (LW BoE)
Goal: Gale-Proof Cloak (OS10 w/ 1 Drake)

The only available upgrade here is in Obsidian Sanctum, and only if at least one drake is left up. No doing that yet, but hope to give it a try soon.

Chest

Current: Breastplate of the Solemn Council
Goal: Heroes’ Dreadnaught Breastplate (EoHx80 or Naxx10 Gluth)
Alt: Massive Skeletal Ribcage (Naxx10 Sapphiron)

My current Rare quality chest piece is holding up very well, but I do hope to get a shot at the T7 piece very soon.

Wrist

Current: Svala’s Bloodied Shackles
Goal: Minion Bracers (Naxx10 Trash)
Goal: Bracers of the Herald (Old Kingdom)
Alt Goal: Bindings of Dark Will (CoT:Strat)

The main upgrades here drop in heroics that I’ve not run very much, guess I need to fix that…

Hand

Current: Horn-Tipped Gauntlets
Goal: Heroes’ Dreadnaught Handguards (EoHx60 or OS10)
Alt Goal: Gauntlets of the Master (Naxx10 Gluth/Faerlina)

The Tier 7 gloves are very nice, but I just picked up the Gauntlets from Gun’Drak. I’ll eventually work of the T7 piece (either using emblems, or raiding) – but for now I’m pretty content here.

Waist (No Upgrades)

Current: Waistguard of Living Iron

Got nothing else outside of Naxx-25. This was my first emblem purchase, and it finally let me replace my old Girdle of the Fearless.

Legs

Current: Bolstered Legplates
Goal: Heroes’ Dreadnaught Legguards (Naxx10 Gluth/Thaddius)
Alt Goal: Legplates of Inescapable Death (Naxx10 Loatheb)

Got lucky finding these on my 2nd Heroic Violet Hold run. There are a few small upgrades in Naxx10, but none of these are huge..

Feet

Current: Sabatons of Draconic Vigor
Goal: Plague-Impervious Boots (Naxx10 Noth)
Alt Goal: Tempered Titansteel Treads (BS BoE)
Alt Goal: Greaves of Ancient Evil (Old Kingdom)

I have the materials for the Titansteel Treads, so I will likely have that crafted soon. Not a major upgrade over what I have, but I think enough to justify the purchase – presuming I can take the hit to defense.

Rings

Current: Titanium Earthguard Ring
Current: Unsmashable Heavy Band

Goal: Keystone Great-Ring (Drak’Tharon)
Alt Goal: Deflection Band (Naxx10 Anub’Rekhan)
Alt Goal: Signet of the Accord (OS10)
Alt Goal: Band of Torture (Nexus)
Alt Goal: Woeful Band (Halls of Stone)

The Titanium ring I made as a JC’er, and will likely keep it for a while. My other ring I just picked up in Heroic Utgarde Keep and would like to find some other pieces to swap it out with.

Trinkets (No Upgrades)

Current: Figurine – Monarch Crab
Current: Essence of Gossamer

The Monarch Crab and Essence of Gossamer cover me for most fights. There are a few other trinkets I’d like to have to fill out my gear sets, nothing that I’ll miss too much if I don’t get.

Shield

Current: Titansteel Shield Wall
Goal: Crygil’s Discarded Plate Panel (EoHx35)
Goal: Royal Crest of Lordaeron (CoT:Strat)

I have the Titansteel Shield, but would like to pick up one or both of these others – not a priority though. It’s not that the other two are upgrades, they are all very close, but they are different – and I can see keeping at least two of the three around for a while.

Ranged (No Upgrades)

Current: Armor Plated Combat Shotgun

Another slot where I am done for the time being.

Weapon

Current: Eternally Folded Blade
Goal: Slayer of the Lifeless (Naxx10 Gothik)
Alt Goal: Red Sword of Courage (Utgarde Pinnacle)
Alt Goal: Infantry Assault Blade (Utgarde Keep)

The Eternally Folded Blade is very nice, but all these others are solid improvements.

WotLK: The Culling of Stratholme

December 12, 2008

This is one in a series of posts covering a WotLK 5-mans – from a Tank’s Point of View

Wrath given us many new instances, many with new mechanics, but you can always count on the Caverns of Time for unique encounters. From the very same Bronze Dragonflight that brought us ‘Jogging between portals in a swamp’ and ‘Slowly following Thrall across half of Azeroth’ we now get ‘The Culling of Strathholme.’

‘Old Strat’ is a level 80 instance located in the Caverns of Time in Taneras. There is a portal straight there in the Violet Hold in Dalaran, which really does cut down on travel time. Like the other level 80 instances, this can be run before hitting the level cap, but you will need to take things more slowly.

Enter the instance, and talk to Chromie to pick up an Arcane Disruptor. After an action packed game of “who is clicking the crates?” settle in for an in-game cutscene straight out of Warcraft 3 – and if you miss a bit of it, don’t worry; you watch all of it every time through. The lore here is great, and it totally fits with the WC3 mission “The Culling”, but seriously, if Halls of Stone can get a ‘fast forward’ button, then I think one is needed here too.

Once you talk to Arthas, follow him slowly (Thrall-style) into the city and talk with him to get things moving.

After another mini-cut scene.

I don’t mean to downplay the creepiness of the instance. The major point is to show Arthas as he once was – a young Paladin doing what he believed to be right. A bit over the top in his decision making – and certainly vengeful – but he was correct in that Stratholme was a lost cause. The issue is that he made his decision without knowing for certain. This isn’t Evil Arthas, but this is him on the precipice. This is showing how far he was willing to go, even before the Litch King had a hold on him. That drive for vengeance, more than anything else, is the story here – just as it was his ultimate undoing.

Once things finally get going, Arthas calls for those with strong arms (that’s you) to venture on into the city while he kills peasants for a while.

The first phase of the instance involves your party tracking down waves of mobs around the city. There will be four trash groups, and then Meathook, four more trash packs and the Salramm. All of these groups spawn randomly throughout the city – just look at your minimap for a flag telling you where the next pack is. The trash packs are made up of a variety of mob types, but are reasonably straight forward. I prefer to take the casters first, simply grouping them up and AoEing should work too.

Aside from the actual ‘waves’, there are ever present undead constantly respawning. These have almost no health, and barely do damage – just kill them as you go to keep them from grouping up too much.

Meathook

The fifth wave is Meathook, a large abomination. He does a fair amount of damage focused on the tank, and may cause problems for healers of a melee heavy group. He frequently uses a low damage melee-range aoe, that interrupts casting for four seconds – due to this healers need to be at range.

However, being out of range opens you up to a Constricting Chains attack that damages and is a five second stun. The Chains are randomly cast on one person not in melee range, so if you have a small group at range, then they will be hit very very often. One way to deal with this is to pull Meathook around a corner, and to position you healer such that they can heal the tank, but not have LOS on the boss. Tricky, but it should be workable.

Slaughterhouse Sabatons may drop, and there are very nice plate boots for Warriors and Tankadins. Block Value is wasted on DKs, but there is enough defense that it may be worth using anyway.

Salramm the Fleshcrafter

Four more trash waves, and you’ll get Salramm the Fleshcrafter. Salramm is a necromancer, who will summons Ghouls and later explode them. Expect reasonably strong melee damage, and hard hitting (reflectable) Shadow Bolts.

He puts up a few debuffs, but there isn’t much you can do other than to heal through them. Tanking this fight comes down to making sure you can pick up the adds as they spawn, and occasionally moving a melee heavy group away from the ghoul corpses.

Flowing Cloak of Command – A very nice high armor tanking cloak may drop here.

Interlude w/ Arthas

With Salramm down, Arthas will run across the city, and patiently wait for you. Meet him, chat him up, and start the next phase of the instance. Here, you will follow young Arthas through the inn and deal with four groups of trash. The first, second and fourth groups are reasonably simple – grab the casters first, and group them up.

The third group shows up (through portals) on both sides of a hallway once Arthas enters. I prefer to wait at the entrance to the hallway, grab the two that appear there, and to then charge to the other end and grab the pair there. Shield Bash and Heroic Throw help to manipulate the casters – you may want to consider using CC if you have trouble getting any of them into position. Also note that Arthas is fairly useful in this phase, and is a reasonably capable off tank.

Chrono-Lord Epoch

With the fourth trash group down, the Chrono-Lord will show up. He is very reminiscent of the final boss in all CoT instances, except that he isn’t a dragon. He has several time stop/slow abilities, a Mortal Strike style hit, and will occasionally charge around the room hitting random members a few times – spread out some to help avoid some of this damage.

This is a reasonably simple fight, but the random element of the Time Warp charges can cause problems if the RNG targets your healer several times. No tank loot here.

Interlude w/ Arthas, again

With Epoch downed, it is time to follow Arthas through the burning streets of Stratholme. This is essentially a gauntlet, with one brief break about 70% of the way through. You may be thinking that Arthas – who has been generally useful to this point – may be of some benefit in this phase. You would be wrong.

Here we are given a sign of the darkness in Arthas’ heart. He is a ret-nub. An absolute menace, apparently actively working against the goals of the group. If an actual player that I brought was half as stupid as Arthas is in the this phase, I’d kick them without a second thought.

Your goal here is to quickly move through the city, taking group of after group of mobs. There are many non-elites, with the occasional stationary elite, and several moving groups of elites. The elites need to be tanked, then non-elites can be dps’d down.

Move through quickly, take a pack of two of elites, burn them down, and move on. This is where Arthas comes in. He often runs ahead – right past a group of mobs you have engaged – and pulls the next group. And the one after that.

Destroying Stratholme, Abandoning his men, Wiping out the high elves, Killing his own father, Laying waste to his kingdom – all that I can forgive…

Screwing up the pulls in my instance? Oh – it is on! We’ll finish this in Icecrown!

Mal’Ganis

Talk to Arthas once more he will make his way towards Mal’Ganis.

Warning: You may see Arthas & Mal’Ganis start their chat, and be tempted to relax for a moment; perhaps to reach for a tasty beverage, having been lulled by the earlier long narrative interruptions in the instance. Don’t. They engage very quickly. If you aren’t ready, Mal’Ganis will run right past Arthas and one-shot your healer.. or so I hear.. I’m just saying..

The major pain in this fight is the sleep spell that Mal’Ganis casts. If he repeatedly targets your healer, things can get messy. Aside from hoping he chooses favorable targets for his sleeps, keep Mal’Ganis turned away from the group so that only that tank gets hit by his Carrion Swarm attack.

Mal’Ganis can be Disarmed, and warriors should consider doing do whenever their healer is incapacitated.

Flowing Cloak of Command is a very nice +defense shield that drops here. DK tanks can double dip here as the Dreadlord’s Blade is a great 2-hander.

With Mal’Ganis down, you can turn in the quest “A Royal Escort” – Druid tanks may like the Handwraps of Preserved History

WotLK: Halls of Lightning

December 9, 2008

This is one in a series of posts covering a WotLK 5-mans – from a Tank’s Point of View

Halls of Lightning is one of the four level 80 instances. All these instances seem to be tuned around a reasonably balanced, reasonably geared group of level 80s. If your group is above that baseline, then you may be able to venture in before hitting the level cap – but you will likely notice a large number of misses late in the instance.

Like all of the level 80 instances, you will get reputation for this run – so be sure to bring the tabard of your preferred faction.

Halls of Lightning is located in northern Storm Peaks. While there you can complete two quests that come from the Storm Peaks spanning Son’s of Hodir storyline: Diametrically Opposedand Whatever it Takes! These are the end of a very long questline, but are worth doing since they are ultimately tied to your Son’s of Hodir reputation.

General Bjarngrin

Upon entering you will quickly make your way to the first of 5 platforms, all interconnected with bridges. From the start you should be able to see the first boss – General Bjarngrin. Bjarngrin patrols 4 of the platforms, and as he moves between them will gain a visible electrical charge. The charge makes him far more difficult to deal with, so you want to pull him when it is down.

I prefer to start clearing around to the left – this way you only need to clear 3 platforms total, as opposed to 4 going right. I generally like to pull him when he is on the bridge connecting the furthest two platforms from the start, but you can pull anytime that he is not carrying the charge.

When engaging him, first take down his adds. They will heal him and really stretch the fight out, so deal with them early. The General will spend the fight swapping between the three warrior stances: Berserker, Battle and Defensive.

  • In Berserker stance he while Whirlwind – this is a killer, so avoid it at all costs.
  • In Battle stance he’ll use Mortal Strike – make sure your healer is ready for this, because they will get behind otherwise. I like to save trinkets/cooldowns for this.
  • In Defensive stance.. well, there isn’t anything dangerous that I’ve noticed.

His burst potential is very high, and if you pull him while he is charged up it is even higher. I can be done either way, but spontaneous tank death is likely a possibility.

He maydrop the Hewn Sparring Quarterstaff a high-stamina staff for Ferals.

Volkhan

Next, you move towards a room filled with Slags. These Elementals respawn very quickly – so quickly that I prefer to simply run through ahead of the group laying down AoE to pick them up. I drag them to the bottom the stairs (on the far side) and then we AoE them down. I suppose you could take them half at a time, if you moved fast, but this method works on normal.

Next, you need to clear up one set of stairs (pick a side), and then clear out the top platform before engaging Volkhan. These groups have an obnoxious knockback, so watch your positioning, and keep an eye on the duo patrolling around the middle of the platform.

Volkhan hangs out on the back of the platform next to his anvil. Once engaged he will ocassionally run back there and create a pair of Molten Golemns. The Golemns will turn to statues once DPS’d down, and I’ve found them to be resistant to being tanked. On normal mode I prefer to have dps nuke them down quickly, and then get back to the boss. Late in the fight Volkhan will shatter the Golemns, doing a lot of damage to anyone near one – so everyone must find a safe place to stand.

He does drop the Eternally Folded Blade – the best pre-heroic tanking sword for Warriors and Paladins. It is so good that Death Knights struggling to get crit immune may want to consider dual wielding this with another +defense weapon.

Ionar

With Volkhan down, you can continue to a hallway filled with statues. Three times as you move through several of them will ‘wake up’ and attack. I suggest gathering them up, and pulling back towards the entrance as they have an AoE fear which may cause someone to run ahead and trigger the next pack. Single groups of these are quite manageable – multiples are quite a lot more trouble.

Once through the hallway, you have a group of elementals to deal with, and then a double pull up a flight of stairs on the right. Behind them stands Ionar.

Ionar is a reasonable simple fight for a mobile group. This is an alternating phase fight. At the start, simply tank him – he will cast Static Overload on players causing them to nuke anyone near them, but this can be easily dealt with by spreading out. There is some other damage to the party, but it is reasonably light.

Three times during the fight he will ‘disperse’ into a number of Sparks. These are slow moving, and immune to damage. They are also easy to avoid, so simply run from them. Make sure that they healer and tank (at a minimum) are quick to get back to Ionar when he ‘reforms’, but otherwise this is an entertaining, but simple fight.

A simple fight with a potentially very nice piece of threat shoulders as a reward: Pauldrons of the Lightning Revenant

Loken

The trash on the clear to Loken are a step up in difficulty – at least until you get used to them. Specifically the Runeshapers have a brutal whirlwind, I prefer to take them out first simply to minimize the trouble they can cause.

After this final trash clear is complete, you will come to Loken. He has a number of abilities that make the fight interesting. If your group gets separated, then you start taking damage – so everyone needs to stay together. However, he casts a high damage Lightning Nova with a 20 yard radius, so you need to run away from that. As a group. Or you die.

It is maddeningly simple: stand on tank, and run with tank when the nova cast starts. Repeat until dead. Bonus points for using the glowing white line as ‘path’.

Loken can be managed quickly and efficiently. However – it often doesn’t work out that way. If your group is a bit slow to react, or are playing with lag, or your healer doesn’t have enough group heals.. well.. this fight can be brutal.

Loken can be taken down efficiently, but he can just as efficiently dismantle your group.

In slow motion. One wipe (and maddening long runback) at a time.

Don’t feel too bad if he takes you out, but do try to evaluate what went wrong. People moving too slow? Not enough healing? Not enough dps? If you cleared through the zone, then you can see Loken down – but some groups will have to experiment a few times to get the feel of the fight.

Got him down? Great! (Don’t ruin the moment by thinking about Heroic Loken.. seriously.. just don’t do it!) Many tanks should be looking for the Seal of the Pantheon to drop. This is the highest plus defense trinket available outside of Naxxramus, along with a very nice +armor on use ability.