The Shadow Labyrinth
I went on a run through The Shadow Labyrinth, or Shadow Labs, last night. I had just got on and was looking for something to do. A guild member was looking for dps help and I was looking to get my kitty some combat experience, so it was a fit. The group came together pretty quickly and we were on our way.
This time around, we had a solid group. 2 Pallies, 1 Warrior, 1 Mage and me in feral cat.
I had heard and read a lot of grumbling about this instance so I was very interested to see what it was like. I had heard it was about a 2 hour instance. What I didn’t factor in is that it was my first time in along with one of the other party members. Three+ bleary-eyed hours later (getting to bed at 1 a.m. this morning), we finished up. My opinion – overall, I loved the instance.
While Shadow Labs can be a humbling instance, I think it is thoroughly enjoyable. I loved the scripts for the bosses, the layout flowed well, and gameplay overall was very fun. Unlike Sethekk, in Shadow Labs I found the mobs to be relatively easy and the bosses very hard. The scenery and atmosphere works together very well with the areas where the mobs are “worshipping” the boss just outright fun to watch. I also think the animation effects and wandering patterns are some of the best I’ve seen also.
We started off pretty good and downed the first boss, Ambassador Hellmaw, with no problems. He was nice enough to drop the Idol of the Emerald Queen for me. While I don’t do a lot of healing, this is a very nice idol to compliment the druid Lifebloom, which I used a lot last time I healed. There was nothing particularly special about the boss other than a lot of fears – but then getting feared isn’t exactly a one-time experience in this instance.
Heading around the corner, we got a Purification Staff drop off one of the trash mobs. It was the “of the Beast” flavor if you follow the link. The stats on it were almost identical to my Staff of the Four Golden Coins, but the feral attack power increase was a bump, so it was immediately equipped. It’s always fun to get a drop in an instance that you can use right away.
So I was off to a good start with two good drops. That ended up being the majority of my bounty for the night, but I was very happy with two good drops (also got a few Spirit Shards and some sellable BoE items).
Around the corner was Blackheart the Inciter. This big, two-headed, monster of a mob was the first in an almost church-like setting with various mobs in pews bowing and worshipping him. What a spectacle. It was actually fun to start pulling the different sets of mobs out of the pews and mowing them down. Blackheart himself was a challenge and we did wipe twice on him before downing him. Every 30 seconds or so he casts a full party mind control debuff that makes you all attack each other for around 10 seconds or so. There are some good strategies on wowwiki, so be sure to follow the link to be prepared. We did eventually get him down. Nothing exciting on the drop.
You then come around the corner into another long chamber with mobs marching and paying homage to a boss. In this case it was Grandmaster Vorpil, probably the most fun fight during the run. Once you’ve cleared your way to Vorpil, the strategy we used was for our tank to kite him down the long hallway we had just cleared up. During that time, everyone had DPS on him. Once he gets to the end of the hallway, he teleports the entire group back to his platform. You have to get off the platform immediately, as a Rain of Fire starts coming down that can do some serious damage. Our tank then kited him the other way down a hallway while we were dps’ing all the way. We did get teleported a second time, but was able to down Vorpil shortly after the second teleport. I believe we only wiped once downing this boss.
During the entire fight though, Voidwalkers start to spawn. I didn’t realize this last night, but from reading wowwiki, they heal Vorpil if they make it to him. Strategy suggestions are to down the Voidwalkers as they start to appear. We just ignored them and they never seemed to be an issue.
Vorpil gave us another “meh” drop.
We then made our way to the final boss, Murmur. Murmur has without a doubt the coolest animation I have seen yet in the game and made the experience in his chamber completely immersive. We cleared up to Murmur no problem, but just could not get him down and after three attempts gave up. Nature resistance seems key here which we had not brought. Murmur also has one of those abilities where he powers up then releases damage. Wowwiki suggests getting out of the blast radius (Duh!) and I can tell you this is a very good idea. What I found was that it was very hard to get out of radius in time. Probably just a timing issue that will get better, but it was very frustrating.
With our gear at 0%, we ran back in one last time so everyone could get the First Key Fragment on the Karazhan attunement quest chain. We then bid each other farewell, and (mercifully) called it a night.
So, my thoughts and observations on my first feral cat/dps run in a higher end BC instance?
It was a lot of fun and I did feel like I was contributing. I was main dps assist for the tank so I just always targeted the mob he was on and helped bring them down. Until I got killed in a couple key fights, I was basically tied with our Mage for second on the damage meters. Being level 69 and not having great cat gear yet, I felt pretty good about the experience and my contribution.
What could have gone better? Two things:
- Put simply – I died a lot. It’s important to remember that you don’t have the armor or the hit points that you do in bear form, and you break a lot easier and faster. This wasn’t a huge problem in mob pulls, but in boss fights, the special abilities made me feel much more vulnerable than I do as tank.
- It’s much more important as dps support to be on the correct mob. If you’re on the wrong mob and draw aggro, you’re probably going to die and without the dps support you’re giving the tank, you may cause your group to wipe. This did happen once last night and really drove home the point. I got in the habit of hitting the function key for our tank, then the “F” (assist) key after every kill to make sure I was on the same target as our tank. I don’t do a whole lot of macros, but that sure sounds like one I should create.
So, all in all I had a great time even though I’m a little tired this morning. I would love to hear everyone else experiences – especially how you keep yourself alive in cat form in tough instances.