I got to go on my first Shattered Halls run last night. I was excited to go – I’d heard it was a good instance and I had a couple quests for completion inside. It was also predominantly a guild run, so I was among friends. I was a little nervous though, as I had also heard that SH was a tough instance, and I was main tank.
I’m happy to say the run went well. We finished just under 2 hours, so pace was on par. We didn’t have any wipes, but did have a few deaths here and there mostly on bosses. I’m also very pleased to report I tanked the entire instance with no issues. It was a lot of fun and a great learning experience.
For as much as I had heard this was a tough instance, we really didn’t encounter too many problems. Could be we had a great group (or maybe just a great tank??!!??). Our group composition was me as tank, a paladin as off-tank, another pallie as healer, a mage and a hunter.
Everyone did a great job – heals were well-timed and I didn’t die once (always a good thing). It was nice having a pallie as an off-tank; not only was he a very capable tank, but he could also heal himself, taking a lot of stress off the main healer. The mage did a good job on crowd control and dps. I’m not sure what spec the hunter was as he was the only non-guildie in the group, but he did a good job of pet control. Everyone was pretty good at watching aggro. There are some big pulls in here and if you start blasting away too quickly, things can get out of hand quickly.
I’m not going to go into instance strategy per se here as the wowwiki link has all of what I would say in the general instance overview. If you read that as prep, and have a good leader, then I don’t think this instance should pose too much of a problem for your group.
This is a great instance for Honor Hold rep – I made Honored during the run. There are a lot of elites and they all seem to give 12 rep, trash is 1 rep and the bosses were a couple hundred. All in all, I’d guess you’d easily get 1,000 – 1,500 rep for a run. The two quests I had, Pride of the Fel Horde and Turning the Tide, gave 250 and 500 rep respectively, along with decent gold. The feral rewards for Turning the Tide weren’t upgrades for me, so I took the Mantle of Vivification, which was a decent upgrade for my healer set.
During the run there were plenty of opportunities to practice my tanking abilities. This instance offers several 5 and 6+ mob pulls so the stakes are high and good execution of strategy is imperative. I had several revelations throughout the run:
- Faerie Fire as a pulling mechanism works quite well. However, it doesn’t do squat if a party member has pulled aggro off one of the mobs you had under control. Therefore, always make sure to keep your eyes open and have plenty of rage saved to have options for getting that mob back under control.
- Swipe is a great way to keep multiple mobs under control, especially if other party members are focus-firing on your main target. On one large pull, the group leader asked me to keep 3-4 mobs under control. With the main target in the middle of that group, I just FF’d the target, hit a Demoralizing Roar when they got close to collect them up, then started spamming Swipe. I was able to keep all 4 mobs under control for the entire fight (obviously, the rest of my party had the discipline to only attack only my main target. Swipe alone won’t keep a non-main target under control if someone else starts bashing on it).
- People always say rage management is key, and I definitely agree. However, I have to say that rage generation has not been an issue for me in most of the 70+ instances; it certainly wasn’t during this run as in most fights I had 70+ rage for the majority of the fight. I think where good rage management comes in is 1) at the start of the fight where you only have leftover rage or Enrage to jump start the fight; make sure you have a plan that correlates with the amount of rage you actually have, and 2) effective use of cooldown abilities. In particular, I’m thinking of Growl (10 second cooldown) and Challenging Roar(10 minute cooldown). These are your safety nets for getting a runaway mob back under control and if they are on cooldown your job is harder.
- Don’t forget about your job. Your job is to keep multiple mobs under control, not do damage and definitely not to keep just this one mob under control. It’s too easy to get fixated on that ugly brute standing right in front of you and let other mobs wander off. Spam some Swipes every once in a while. And if one of your mobs wanders off, go pick him up! You’ve already got good aggro on your main target, hit the tab key to get the wanderer targeted, go after it, hit it a couple times, then re-group.
- Remember Frenzied Regeneration? You can really help your healer out by popping this in a big fight. Two of the boss fights last night, I had no trouble holding aggro and was generating a ton of rage. Due to adds, our main healer was having to heal a couple other party members besides me. Pop a FR, and while it might not keep you alive, it should take some pressure off that healer and help their mana situation. With only a 3 minute cooldown, this ability can be used often throughout a run. Just be sure to communicate to the healer you are firing it off so they factor that into their heals.
So there are my observations tanking last night. It was a very fun run and I felt very satisfied with my performance. I would recommend you read the wowwiki overview and most of it seems right in line with our experience. We didn’t do anything tricky with the final boss – Kargath Bladefist – as far as positioning. We were all in the ring and the one pally was focused on the incoming adds, with help from the hunter. The downside was that Bladefist didn’t burn down real fast so we had to withstand about 4 of his “ping pong” attacks where he hits everyone in the ring for around 1000 damage. At the end I believe we only had one member down.
The best part was Bladefist dropped Wastewalker Gloves, part of a rogue set but a definite upgrade for my kitty (and highly rated on the gear list). Since I was the only leather wearer in the group, it was a no-brainer. Nice loot for me!