The Rude Awakening

I came to a conclusion last week while my group was Raiding.  We’re not ready.  Seeing multiple attempts fail around the same time and in the same way wasn’t pleasant and it was unexpected for the veteran raiders in my group.  I won’t be cliche and repeat the title, but you get the point.  I did some thinking, and had two completely opposite reactions to the issue.

My first reaction was to think, they’ve really overtuned this.  I  honestly thought: hey, I’ve got mainly the same players that I had when we had progressed through Lich King, there’s no way this should be this hard as the first tier of raiding.  My team should be able to handle this easily, and Blizzard has obviously overshot with the difficulty of its encounters.

Then I slept on it and realized that yes, the new raid content is more challenging than anticipated, but my guys should be able to handle it.  That being said, we weren’t.  As such, I began to write a letter to my group for our forums implementing some basic requirements for our raid group.  They are:

  1. Cataclysm Dungeon Hero Achieve
  2. Minimum 346 ilvl equipped
  3. All gear enchanted with Cataclysm (Wrath if appropriate) enchants
  4. All gear gemmed with uncommon quality gems

We’re not raiding again until we’ve got 10 people who can meet this requirement.  I personally have yet to reach these goals.  I have two heroics that I just can’t seem to randomly queue for and will queue manually for them, and I’ve got a belt buckle to obtain.  Other than that though, I’m ready.

To some people these might come off as elitist, but really, are these requirements too much to ask?  We have a large guild with the resources to make obtaining these four things all but trivial.  A time commitment is all that is really necessary.  When you’re talking about encounters where one person has the potential to wipe the raid, you want people with you that have worked hard to earn their spot and will give 100%.

I pose this question:  New content or not, if your group is consistently wiping in the same manner, even after identifying the issues, how would you handle the situation?

– Sam

Double Zombiedrake

Given that I’ve never heard that term outside of my guild, I’m going to assume (probably wrongly) that we invented it (the term, not the accomplishment).  Anyway…

Zombiedrake [zom-bee-dreyk] -noun – A successful run of Heroic KoT: Culling of Stratholme in which the group completes both the Zombiefest and Culling of Time achievements.

We did this the other day, not once, but twice.  If you haven’t tried this before, it’s a good challenge for a dungeon that I’m sure we’ve all seen enough of.  To really understand the challenge, you have to realize that doing Zombiefest will take 5-8 additional minutes of timer for the Culling of Time…

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The New LFG = Win

I like the new LFG.


I LOVE the new LFG.

The Random button is the most fun I’ve had in recent history.  I hated running Heroics in BC for badges; in fact, loathe probably isn’t a strong enough word to describe my hatred for them.  Running for Badges of Justice back in the day as a Rogue wasn’t easy.  It was hard to find a group, and often the groups were terrible.  However, that experience isn’t something I’ve had since last Tuesday.  I always tried to get a guild run for any heroics I would do before 3.3, and while I still do go on those runs, I really enjoy running the random heroics.  They’re usually successful, and I get to interact with new people.

Truth be told, Sam has 220 Emblems of Triumph, and other than converting those into Heroism for a Mammoth or gems, I’ve not a lot of use for them.  Staying current in the raid game (unlike BC) I’ve been able to keep my gear up to par with whatever we’ve been working on.  I run them on my Paladin for gear, but on Sam, I run them for fun.  Sure, I’m working toward a Perky Pug, but even after I get it, I’ll probably keep running them.

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What’s up with my Heroic DPS?

I’ve had a few comments and emails recently about Rogues getting destroyed on heroic bosses by Mages.  I figured I’d do a quick write-up on why.  Before I get into that there are some things you should know:

  • It’s going to happen.
  • It can happen often.
  • It doesn’t matter if you’re better geared.
  • There’s not a whole lot you can do about it.

A well-played Mage will destroy a Rogue on fights that last around 40 seconds every time.  This happens due to our resource, Energy.  Energy is a great mechanic.  Even if we’re completely out of it, Energy will completely regenerate in ten seconds or less.  However, it’s not Mana, and for that reason a good Mage can whip you on those short fights every time.

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We Conquered and Now We Triumph

I’m sure most of us saw this coming, but in 3.3 everything that’s currently dropping Conqueror’s badges will now drop Triumph badges.  Recked has a good analysis of the change, along with his thoughts.  I won’t retool his thoughts here (you should read his post, imo), but I will answer the question he wrote at the end of the post: “What do YOU think?”

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Dehydration and the Missing Gnome

I was never much of an achievement freak (excepting Holiday Events), but a few weeks ago, I decided to start knocking out the 20 or so Heroic achieves that I had left for Glory of the Hero.  You would think that after getting Watch Him Die, Less-Rabi and the full scope of Occulus acheives that I’d probably be done, right?

Of course not.  I need 1 more achievement, and it’s not even difficult, it’s just luck based.  I need Dehydration, and I can’t seem to get Ichiron to spawn in the Violet Hold.  I’m almost positive that I have the acheivement on every other 80 character that I play, but for some reason, the game is flaunting that one grey achievement in the Glory for the Hero list…

Anyway, I’m sure that some of you have noticed that the posts are coming less frequently these days.  It’s mainly RL that’s getting in the way, but don’t worry, it’s nothing exciting or troublesome, just multiple things keeping me busy.  I hope to be back on a regular schedule by the end of the week.  If I can find a second, maybe I can update my guides.  Maybe.

Oh yeah, check out Recked’s Rogue blog.  It’s new, but it’s a good read.  I recently got the pleasure of throwing out the first comment there.  Maybe a few of you can follow that lead.

– Sam

Shadow Shenanigans

The other day I was tanking a Heroic Trial of the Champion, with 4 other members of my guild.  The group came together quickly; I said I wanted to tank, and then the Mrs. joined on her priest.  Then another priest joined, and another, and then one more.  They all had shadow as either their primary or dual spec, and we got to thinking, maybe, just maybe Vampiric Embrace x 4 might just be enough healing to keep a Paladin tank using Seal / Judgement of Light up.


There was a time or two when someone had to drop form to heal me, but surprisingly, it worked, and we made it all the way through.  It was one of those, this plan is crazy it couldn’t possibly work moments.  If you want to read more about this from a more thorough and  shadowy prospective, go check out Javaed’s blog,

Heroic Rogue DPS 101

How do I improve my Heroic DPS?”

This is a question I am asked quite frequently. Since there’s a rise in Heroic activity these days, I figured a brief primer on increasing your DPS in a Heroic might be useful to some of my fellow Rogues out there.

Before I talk specifically about Rogue DPS, I’d like to discuss what I think is the root issue with DPS in general. I see requests by players on this site, other blogs and wow related forums for the *best* DPS rotation. The problem is that your best DPS on trash doesn’t come from your maximum sustained (or Boss) rotation. In fact, there’s a chance that you might have to treat every pull differently.

A smart DPS knows when to use certain abilities to both increase their DPS and contribute utility to the party. Ingorant DPS will continue to use the exact same abilities for every situation. There’s nothing wrong with being ignorant; you could certainly (an accurately) claim that I am ignorant about a great many things. The problem is being satisfied when you know you can do better but you don’t care to learn how. If you’re here, you don’t have that problem, and since you’re here, let’s get to work…

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Wow Shenanigans Support Gnome Roguery


Here’s an interesting screenshot; Anabelle, my Paladin, towering over none other than Samueltempus.  What’s truly sad is that this screenshot could have come from a handful of experiences in this particular room.

If you don’t recognize the floor, it’s from Halls of Stone, more specifically the room where you protect Brann Bronzebeard from many, many, many waves of incoming mobs.  The problem I seem to have with this room is that other tanks (non-Paladin) with the exception of a few individuals I know, have severe struggles with this event.  It’s definitely a TRI (Tank Related Issue).

How do I know that it’s a TRI?  Well, any time I run Halls of Stone on my Rogue to get the Fleshshaper Dagger off of the last boss, it’s a wipe fest on this particular event.  After about 5-8 attempts on this event with tanks that have 32-36k buffed health, I logout, switch to Anabelle, and down it on the first attempt.  I’ve done this several times, and the one-shot happens every time.

I know what you’re thinking.  Consecrate makes it easier.  I did it last night, only dropping Consecrate once.  If I can tank it basically without using Consecrate, I don’t understand why the event is so difficult for non-Paladin tanks (I’ll admit, I’ve never seen a Bear tank it).  The only things I can come up with are lack of Rage, and Runes on cooldown.

Anyway, I don’t want to rant too long about it.  I’ll say that the Fleshshaper finally dropped, so unless someone needs me to tank H HoS, I’ll likely not return.   On a happier note, my DPS went up about a hundred on a combat dummy after equipping the Fleshshaper, and that’s before an enchant.

– Sam

How to: Halls of Lightning – Loken

If you just want the strategy, it’s at the end.  If you’re not currently in the instance wiping on Loken, the extra information is worth the read (and will likely keep you from wiping).

Out of all of the 5 man Wrath bosses, Loken seems to wipe more groups than any of the others.  The problem with Loken isn’t that he’s hard; the problem with him is that most people do not understand the strategy, or how to impliment it, to beat him. 

Loken is a positioning exercise, like Murmur was in Shadow Labyrinth.  It is intended to prepare players by teaching them the skills they will need for later encounters in the raiding game. 

With a geared enough group, it is possible to AoE Heal through all of his abilities and treat him as a tank and spank.

How does Loken kill people?  Let’s look at his abilities.  Other than his melee attack, he has 3 abilities: Pulsing Shockwave, Arc Lightning, and Lightning Nova.

  • The Lightning Nova is an AoE lightning effect that has a circular area of effect.
  • Pulsing Shockwave is an aura that does increasing amounts of damage the farther you are from Loken.
  • Arc Lightning is a Chain Lightning type spell.

Anyone who has fought Loken knows that these abilities need to be avoided, but not everyone knows how.  Today I’m going to teach you how to take as little damage as possible, and how to explain to others to do the same thing. 

There are basically 2 rules to this fight that, if followed, will allow you to down Loken with a minimal amount of stress.

Rule #1

Loken’s Pulsing Shockwave Aura will kill you if you stand at range.  This ability does more damage to you the farther you stand from Loken.  If he is not using his Lightning Nova, you should be in Melee Range (or just barely outside if you are a hunter).  The easiest way to accomplish this is to put a raid mark on the tank and stack on them.  Note that this will make your entire group susceptible to the Arc Lightning, but out of the three abilities, it is the least likely to wipe your group.

Rule #2

When Loken begins to cast Lighting Nova, turn around and run away as a group. But, do not run too far.  This one piece of information is the one thing that is left out of most explanations and wipes your group.  When Loken casts his Lightning Nova, there is a circular pulse on the ground that you can watch for, showing you the range of this attack.  Stand about 5 yards outside of the circle and you’re golden.  If you leave within a second of the spell cast, you should have 2 seconds of time after you stop before the attack actually hits.  After he casts his attack, you can simply wait for him to come to you.  You will want to do this entire manuver as a group, so put a raid mark on a reliable group member, and have the group stay with them.

Note: If someone actually eats the Lightning Nova in your group claiming lag as an excuse, they’re either having 2+ second lag (not likely), or didn’t react fast enough to avoid the attack (more likely).

– Loken Strategy –

Instructions for the fight:

  1. The tank will aggro Loken and tank him where he stands.  All group members should stack on the tank.
  2. DPS the boss as hard as possible, until Loken uses Lightning Nova.  Healers keep everyone alive and as close to full health as possible.
  3. When Loken uses Lightning Nova, all group members should run just beyond its range and wait.  I suggest following the line on the floor.  Loken will come back to you after this ability.  It is not worth finishing a cast (dps or heal) before running; just go.
  4. Repeat from step 2 until the boss dies.

Tank Expectations

  • Mitigate as much damage as possible
  • Hold Threat
  • Don’t eat a Lightning Nova

Healer Expectations

  • Keep yourself and the tank alive
  • Top off the DPS as best you can
  • Don’t eat a Lightning Nova

DPS Expectations

  • Let the tank establish threat
  • After the first Lightning Nova, do the most burst damage you can
  • Don’t eat a Lightning Nova

Basically, if you can keep from eating the Lightning Novas, and move as a group, this fight is actually easier than many other fights in Wrath.  Coordination is the key, though.

– Sam