Adventures in Azeroth

It’s a Druid’s World (of Warcraft)

Final Notice – We have moved!!!

This blog will be deleted soon.  We have moved to nedruid.com, transferring all old content.  Please update your bookmark.

If you are the admin of a board or guild website, please update your links.  The feral gear posts, Kara guide and Bartender overview are all on the new site, in addition to plans on upgrades to all those posts and more. 

See you there!!!

February 21, 2008 Posted by | 1, Attunements, Burning Crusade, Custom UI, Druid Blogs, Druid Gear, Enchants, Factions, Fun, Instances, Interface Add-ons, Must have addons, Online resources, Raiding, Site Meter, Strategy - Balance, Strategy - Feral, Strategy - General, Strategy - Resto, Way off topic, Wordpress, World of Warcraft | 3 Comments

Black Temple Attunement – Cliff Notes

The good folks over at Wowhead have added sections for The Black Temple and Mount Hyjal.  My reaction?  “I need to pirate that overview onto my blog and make it look like I’m on top of all this stuff”.  😉

Attunement for The Black Temple:

  1. Complete the Tablets of Baa’ri (Aldor / Scryers) quest line which is a fairly lengthly questline in Shadowmoon Valley which also requires you to find an NPC in Tempest Keep: The Arcatraz.
  2. Complete attunement for Serpentshrine Cavern.  Note: As of June 19, 2007 there is no longer an attunement for Serpentshrine Cavern. The quests have been kept in the game for lore and challenge of the quest line.
  3. Venture into Serpentshrine Cavern and speak to Seer Olum who is located in Fathom-Lord Karathress‘s room and accept The Secret Compromised.
  4. Return to Akama in Shadowmoon Valley.
  5. Complete attunement for Tempest Keep: The Eye.  Note: As of June 19, 2007 there is no longer an attunement for The Eye. The quests have been kept in the game for lore and challenge of the quest line.
  6. Complete Ruse of the Ashtongue by killing Al’ar in Tempest Keep: The Eye.
  7. Complete attunement for Hyjal Summit.
  8. Enter Hyjal Summit and kill Rage Winterchill and loot Time-Phased Phylactery for An Artifact From the Past.
  9. Turn in the linking quests to A’dal in Shattrath City and then to Xi’ri outside the Black Temple.
  10. Xi’ri will give you A Distraction for Akama which rewards you with Medallion of Karabor.

You are now attuned for The Black Temple. 

Looking at the epics in the loot table for the raid made me drool so much I had to clean off my desk.  Enjoy.

Forms Bar

June 12, 2007 Posted by | Attunements, Burning Crusade, Druid Gear, Raiding, World of Warcraft | Leave a comment

Epic Flight Form guide

With all the posts on the 2.1 patch, I had yet to see one with a linked mention of the Druid Epic Flight form.  Being the curious sort, and armed with a dangerous case of spring fever, I took a few minutes to google the topic.  I didn’t spend a lot of time going through the results, I was really just looking for a simple walkthrough to get an idea of what will be involved in this.

Here’s a link that has a pretty good walkthrough.  Actually, it doesn’t sound that bad, except for two steps in the process: 5000G for epic mount flying skill and a Heroic run of Sethekk Halls (=grinding rep with Lower City).  Other than that, it appears the majority of this quest series can be soloed.

May 22, 2007 Posted by | Burning Crusade, World of Warcraft | 3 Comments

Good Summary of 2.1 Changes

MMO Champion, a site I haven’t really visited much, has a self-proclaimed Super-big-summary of changes in the coming patch.  I like this summary because it focuses on stuff that matters, like new factions/rewards, armor set, and major changes.  Great job of summarizing what’s changed – just don’t expect them to tell you what changed.  Click the link and check it out.

May 22, 2007 Posted by | Burning Crusade, Druid Gear, World of Warcraft | Leave a comment

Strength of the Clefthoof – Set changes

WoWHead.com had 2.1 patch changes integrated into their item stats already.  I just happened to notice the other day when I was poking around.  Assuming they were correct (which could be a big assumption), I headed over to Leather Armor (second floor, next to the whips), to check out the much-discussed changes to the Strength of the Clefthoof set.  I have this complete set equipped and it was very highly rated tanking equipment on Emmerald’s Bear Tanking gear list.

You can do the research yourself if you want to – follow the link to the set.  WoWHead has the new stats already displayed in the tooltip and a nice set summary.  If you click an individual item, there is a link you can hover over for a tooltip of previous stats.

If you just want to cut to the chase, then here’s the set total changes when 2.1 goes live:

  • -12 to Defense
  • -23 to Stamina
  • +658 to Armor

So, I got to admit, I haven’t looked much into the whole Defense stat so I don’t know if -12 to that stat is a big deal or not.  but gaining 658 Armor and only losing 23 Stamina sounds like a tradeoff I’m willing to make.  That a positive increase of 3,290 armor in Bear form while only losing 230 health.  I think I’ll take that.

Again – assuming WoWHead has correct data and these are the actual changes, how do you feel about this change?  Good change or bad?

Forms Bar

May 22, 2007 Posted by | Burning Crusade, Druid Gear, World of Warcraft | 9 Comments

Tier 6 on WoWhead.com

I was looking up some stuff today and noticed that wowhead has Tier 6 stats up.  Check it out.

Lazy?  Here’s just the Druid sets.  Amanna is here to help…

April 30, 2007 Posted by | Burning Crusade, Druid Gear, World of Warcraft | 2 Comments

Great end-game gear without raiding: Cat (Sustained DPS)

 *** Please Note: My site has moved to nedruid.com.***   While I will keep this site running for a while, eventually it will be turned off.  Please update your bookmarks to point to the new site.  If you are the admin for a forum, board or website that links to this site or article(s) on this site, please consider updating your link(s).  Simply removing “wordpress” from the domain name should do the trick; i.e. nedruid.wordpress.com/post_url would become nedruid.com/post_url. 

Finally…

In a previous post, I laid out my guidelines for this series of three posts: gear that approaches Tier 4 and 5, but without the effort.  The information in these posts is gleaned from a list of BC Feral Gear put together by a European druid player named Emmerald.  While I’m sure we all dream about wearing a full set of Tier 5 equipment, the reality for me at least is I’m not that hard core of a player to know whether that dream will ever become a reality.  So I’m putting together this series to give you a list of great gear that can be had with considerably less effort.

Emmerald’s list breaks cat form down into two sub-categories: “sustained dps” and “burst dps”.  Sustained appears to be about attack power and burst appears to be about crit potential.  Having not used cat form in groups extensively, I’m not sure I have an in-depth opinion on the differences and why I might choose one over the other.  If you do, then please educate me through a comment.  For the time being, I am going to look at the sustained dps flavor of cat as that feels like a more general purpose orientation.

Be sure to also check out Tanuviel’s list of cat gear for other opinions.  Tanuviel has also included recommended enchantments by slot, which I didn’t, and that’s a great help.

Head
For the head slot, we start out with a crafted item at number five on the list.  It’s going to cost you, but many of the mats can be farmed.  It does require one Primal Nether, so if you have one laying around even better.  If not, buy one off the auction house or up your price to your leatherworker.  The piece is the Cobrascale Hood, offering 271 armor +37 agility and +42 stamina.  Equip bonuses are +18 to hit rating and +74 to attack power.

Right below the Cobrascale Hood is Helm of the Claw, a quest reward from The Warlord’s Hideout.  The quest requires you to kill the final boss in The Steamvaults.  This is a great helm with 237 armor, +25 agility and +21 stamina.  It’s equip bonuses are +14 to hit rating and +66 to attack power.  You get a yellow and a Meta socket, with a socket bonus of +4 to resilience.

Just below the Helm is another great head piece, the Stealther’s Helmet of Second Sight, a quest reward from another long quest chain in Shadowmoon Valley (check the comments here).  The helmet has 226 armor, +26 agility, and +18 stamina.  Equipping it, you get +13 hit rating, +60 attack power, and you can see ghosts!  (You mean I can finally get rid of those stupid Spectracles??!!??)  3 gem sockets round out this piece, a red, a yellow and a blue.  The socket bonus is another +8 to attack power.

Neck
The number one neck piece on the list is available to you.  Haramad’s Bargain, when equipped, will give you +25 strength and +24 agility.  Not bad for a neckpiece.  The catch – you need exalted rep with The Consortium. 

So what’s our alternative if you don’t have that rep or aren’t willing to farm for it?  The nearest quest reward is number nine on the list: Natasha’s Pack Collar.  This piece gives you +25 strength and +15 agility and stamina.

A couple other pieces to be on the lookout for include Mithril Chain of Heroismfrom that infamous dust-covered chest in Karazhan, Necklace of Trophies, which appears to drop all over Outland, Choker of Vile Intent which is yours for 25 Badges of Justice, and lastly Bone Chain Necklace which is around a 11% drop off The Black Stalker in Underbog.  These alternatives are in descending order of ranking, so the Mithril Chain is the best of this list and the Bone Chain is last on the list.  All of them however, rank higher than the Pack Collar.

Shoulders
Number four on the list is Expedition Scout’s Epaulets.  The Epaulets give you 217 armor and +25 agility along with two equip bonuses: +24 to hit rating and +50 to attack power.  This gear is a quest reward from the Fel Embers quest obtainable in Honor Hold once you hit 70.  Completing the quest requires a trip into Hellfire Citadel.

These are great shoulderpads, very comparable to the Wastewalker Shoulderpadsat position two.  All you lose is two gem sockets and the socket bonus, but the Wastewalker gear requires heroic Auchenai Crypt runs.

Back
Well, I did say that I was willing to pay money for good gear and number one on the list for this slot is a crafted item, Vengence Cloak.  Looking at the mats and comments, it seems like this is going to be a pretty expensive cloak to outright but.  The stats are great at 89 armor, +23 to critical strike and +52 to attack power.  Heck, the thing even has a red socket and a socket bonus of +2 hit rating.  If you can find this and afford it, buy it.

You do have options though.

Number five on the list is the Blood Knight War Cloak.  If you’re at end game and you’re starting to collect Badges of Justice, this cloak can be yours for 25 badges.  The cloak has 85 armor, +25 agility and +21 stamina.  The equip bonus is +46 to attack power.

Just below the Blood Knight cloak is Capacitus’ Cloak of Calibration– a mob drop in heroic mode Mechanar.  However, is is also a 20% chance drop in the Cache of the Legionwithin Mechanar (non-heroic I believe).  From looking at wowhead, it appears there are 5 blues in the chest, all with roughly equal chances of being in the chest.  I haven’t been to Mechanar yet, so what I don’t know is how many items are in the chest.  If there are more than one, then your odds obviously go up.

Chest
Tenth on the list here is the Tunic of Assassination.  This tunic is off the last boss in Mechanar, a higher level instance, but not a raid so I’m including it.  The tunic has 292 armor along with +28 agility and +21 stamina.  You get 2 red sockets and a blue socket with a socket bonus of +4 to dodge.  So why is it on the list?  An equip bonus of +54 to attack power.

From reading comments on thotbott and wowhead, if you are going on farming runs in instances looking for any of the Assassination set – you may want to make sure rogues in your group know you are planning on rolling on this gear.  Although it is good gear for us, it is obviously rogue gear based on the set bonuses and rogues in your group may be assuming they would automatically get the drop based on class.  It’s always good to get those conversations out of the way before the run.

Wrists
Number three on the list for this slot is Nightfall Wristguards, a drop off Epoch Hunter in the Old Hillsbrad Foothills instance.  These wristguards offer 139 armor, +23 agility, +21 stamina and an equip bonus of +42 to attack power.  Wowhead lists them as an 12% drop.

Hands
Okay, I told you that I was willing to spend gold or farm mats for great gear, and you’ll definitely be doing one of them for this piece of gear.  Number one on the list in this slot is Windslayer Wraps, requiring 12 Wind Scales, 18 Primal Earth, 8 Primal Air and a Primal Nether.  What do you get for that amount of mat farming?  208 armor, +36 strength, +18 agility, +25 stamina and an equip bonus of +17 to hit rating.

Want gloves from a drop instead of mat farming?  Three positions down the list in position four are the Gloves of the Unbound, a drop in Arcatraz.  These gloves have 183 armor, +27 agility and +20 stamina with an equip bonus of +38 to attack power.  You get a red and a blue socket with a socket bonus of +3 to your resilience rating.

Waist
Number seven on the list is Socrethar’s Girdle.  With 156 armor, +23 agility, +21 stamina and equip bonuses of +20 to hit rating and +48 to attack power, this is a nice piece of gear.  It’s a reward at the end of one of those long quest chains, this time in Netherstorm, and it does require a group to finish.  Here’s the link to the end quest bestowing the gear.  Follow the link to wowhead to get more information on the chain.  This is the Scryer version of the quest – if you’re Aldor, be sure to look at the comments for how you should get started.

Legs
In this slot, we get number three on the list: Clefthoof Hide Leggings.  Be sure to click the link to get info on this gear piece as there are actually two pieces of gear with the same name.  One is a drop and one is a quest reward.  The one we are looking for is a quest reward for Showdown in Blade’s Edge.  (I’ve just linked to the Alliance version – sorry Hordies).

Anyway, with these leggings you get 243 armor, +30 strength, +30 agility, and +24 stamina.  Equip bonuses are +17 to hit rating and +18 to feral combat skill rating.  This is yet another payoff for a long quest chain and a group is suggested for this final quest (although the listed group is only 3).

Feet
Fourth on the list here is a crafted item, Fel Leather Boots.  From looking at the mats, it doesn’t appear they will be too epensive, with the main cost in eight Primal Shadows.  The boots give you 196 and a yellow and red socket.  The socket bonus is +6 attack power.  Equip bonuses are +25 hit rating, +17 critical strike rating and +36 to attack power.

Getting the fourth item on the list is pretty good gear, but 2 of the 3 items ahead of these boots are found within Karazhan.  If you’re headed there, keep your eyes out for the number one item, Edgewalker Longboots, dropped by Moroes, or the number two item, Zierhut’s Lost Treads, a trash mob drop.  Both are excellent pieces of gear for your kitty.

Rings
Number two on the list is Overseer’s Signet, and its ours for Shutting down Manaforge Ara.  Sounds like we should be doing this anyway, so getting a ring out of it is just icing on the cake, no?  The payoff quest of a long quest chain in Netherstorm (theme developing?), this quest has a suggested party size of 3 so it shouldn’t be too hard to complete.  The ring gives you +25 strength and +15 agility, along with an equip bonus of +10 to hit rating.

UPDATE: The Overseer’s Signet is an Aldor questline.  No comparable questline that I can see on the Scryer’s side.  Boo.

If you’re exalted with Sha’tar, then you would fill your second slot with A’Dal’s Command, giving you an impressive +28 to strength, +15 to agility and +16 to stamina.

If you’re not exalted yet, head to Shadowmoon Valley for the Acrobat’s Mark of the Sha’tar and get +29 strength and +12 agility.  This is the payoff for a small 2 quest chain which starts with a dropped journal off Val’zareq the Conqueror.  Follow the links for more information.

Trinkets
At number three on the list is Hourglass of the Unraveller, a drop in The Black Morass.  If you’re attuning for Karazhan, you will be going there, and it’s just an instance – no raid required.  The Hourglass will give you +32 to your critical strike rating along with a chance every time you hit to increase your attack power by 300 for 10 seconds.

Next on the list is something called Essence of the Pure Flame.  Emmerald lists it as giving +91 attack power, but searching for it on both thottbot and wowhead only yields a Molten Core trinket that inflicted a small amount of fire damage when you were struck in combat.  Not sure what’s up with that.

Moving down just two items we find Drake Fang Talisman.  With it’s +56 to attack power, +20 to hit rating and +12 to dodge, this is a very nice, well rounded kitty trinket.  Guess where you’re headed for it? BWL – remember that acronym?  This may or may not be a good thing for you.  I know a lot of guilds are heading back into some of the old raids and instances – both just for fun, and because with their new gear they can now run them where before they couldn’t.  If your guild isn’t running BWL, then you might be able to get on a PUG for this trinket – it’s up to you.

If you don’t want to bother with BWL, then the next trinket on the list is a Nightseye Panther, a jewelcrafted figurine.  This figurine increases your effective stealth by 1, but more importantly adds +54 to your attack power.  It can also be used for a 12 second increase to your attack power of 320.

Two-handed Weapon
Wow, there are some nice weapons out there for kitties.  Lots of PvP will get you the Gladiator’s Maul,the number one rated weapon, Karazhan contains Terestian’s Stranglestaff, and heroic Botanica yields the Feral Staff of Lashing

Number four on the list though is our first choice: Wildfury Greatstaff.  This gem has 630 armor and +42 stamina along with almost 68 dps.  What puts it on the list though is it’s +654 to attack power.  Very nice.  It also drops off trash in Serpentshrine, so no boss fights needed.  The downside?  Wowhead is listing it as only around a 1% drop.  This could be due to not enough data, or it could be a true drop rate – I’m not sure.

If you’re looking for something with a better drop rate then just two positions down is the Dreamer’s Dragonstaff.  There’s no armor on this staff, and the attack power buff is only +423, but you get some nice stats: +46 strength, +27 agility and +28 stamina.  Where do you get this?  Wowhead says it’s around a 15% drop off Thorngrin the Tenderin Botanica.

If you’re looking to conserve bag space, then Earthwarden is a viable option.  Earthwarden is our top choice for bear tanking and isn’t all that far down on the list for dps.  It’s rated at 546 “kitty points”, the Wildfury staff is at 654. 

Gems
For items in the list with sockets, Emmerald lists two rankings for the item: a base ranking and a ranking with gems equipped.  I haven’t researched his approach, but I’m assuming he computes the final ranking with the best gem listed for the slot.  With that in mind, here are the gems you should be trolling for:

Blue: Shifting Tanzanite (+5 strength and +4 agility)
Yellow: Inscribed Fire Opal (+5 strength and +4 critical hit rating)
Red: Shifting Tanzanite, as above
Meta: Swift Skyfire Diamond (+24 attack power and minor run speed)

Whew!  That took a while, but I’m glad I did it.  Just knowing what’s out there helps me put some priorities on what I’m doing and the quests I go on. 

Just for grins I totalled up just the attack power of my first pick for each slot.  You end up with around a +1,000 bonus to attack power (that’s +72 to dps kiddies; and that doesn’t even factor in agility and strength bonuses).  Now we know it’s not just all about attack power, but that’s some pretty darn good stats for just questing and trolling the auction house.

I hope you enjoy this writeup and find it helpful.  Comments and suggestions are always welcome. 

Forms Bar

April 18, 2007 Posted by | Burning Crusade, Druid Gear, World of Warcraft | 23 Comments

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

April 11, 2007 Posted by | Burning Crusade, Druid Gear, Instances, Strategy - Feral, World of Warcraft | 12 Comments

Weekend Update 4/9 – 1 run and 3 gear

For a variety of reasons I only got to play one night over the weekend – Saturday night.  However, it was very fruitful.

I completed all the pre-quests leading up to the Aracatraz run to get those Verdant Gloves.  This is a long quest chain and one of the so-called “phat loot” quest chains in Shadowmoon Valley.  These gloves are the piece of gear I most desire off the Bear tanking gear list I recently compiled.  For an overview of this quest chain, follow this link and look for the green text about half-way down the comments.  I made it through step 6 which means all I have to do now is get a group together for a trip to Arcatraz and then some killing outside the Black Temple and the gloves are mine. 

Being a druid really helped on a few of these quests.  The ability to scout tablets from the air on the first quest helped greatly.  Then, when you need to talk to Oronu the Elder (twice), stealthing helps immensely as the steps leading to him are guarded heavily.  Of course, you could just kill all those mobs for the xp, but it oh so faster just to stealth past them.

In the middle of completing these quests, I dinged 69!  Grats to me.  I promptly logged into my banking alt and bought a pair of Heavy Clefthoof Boots.  For the gems, I got a little overly-excited and bought a Solid Star of Elune for 50G before coming to my senses and realizing I should check with my guild jewelcrafters before I go off buying too many gems.

I didn’t get the boots until later on Amanna, but equipping them made me realize that the +2- strength bonus I mentioned in my writeup is only if you are a Leatherworker 350 or above.  I’ll update my post to reflect that.

After making 69 I was just looking for some xp for the rest of the night, so when a guild member asked for help on a Mechanar run, I offered.  Never been there and sounded like fun.  Well, once I joined the group, he whispers me and says it was a pug so to try to save my sanity.  lol

By the time I flew all the way to Area 52, the group was already falling apart as they often do.  Long story short, we reformed with other guild members (and one alternate) and were on our way to Sethekk Halls.  This was fine with me as this would help me get Mark of the Ravenguard, another highly-rated item on the bear list.  And while I haven’t published the cat dps list yet, I know from working on it that the end boss in Sethekk drops the shoulders I have on the list Shoulderpads of Assassination.

Now let me tell you about Sethekk Halls.  I had never been there, but had read a couple guides in anticipation of getting there.  Most all of them say it’s one of the shortest high-level instances around, and can be run ini 30 minutes or so with a “good solid group”.  Crowd control is critical with several 5 mob pulls.

What was our group composition?  2 warriors (neither protection-specced), 2 rogues, and little ‘ole Amanna (feral spec) as healer.  I do have some decent healing gear, but let’s just say – not my strong suit. 

Needless to say, we did not run Sethekk in 30 minutes and had multiple corpse runs.  We did make it through though and I can see how with the right group it wouldn’t be too hard.

As we neared the end, one of the guild rogues and I started bantering about the Shoulderpads from the end boss and what we were going to do to each other to steal them.  Well as these things go, they actually dropped of the end boss, Talon King Ikiss.  Now I don’t know about you, but getting the drop is one thing, winning the roll is another.  And my luck at rolling isn’t that great.  Plus, I had already won a roll earlier on one of the unlocked chests.  To further complicate matters, the group leader announces that everyone who hadn’t already gotten a blue could roll.  Why I don’t know as our guild rules normally are first rolls only to those who can use, then everyone else.

Well, I ended up rolling an 85 which held up and I now have these bad boys in my inventory just waiting to turn 70.

So while I didn’t get to play a lot, it was a great session for gear.  Two solid bear items and a great kitty item I can’t wait to equip.

Finally, some thoughts on Sethekk Halls – I would agree it isn’t that bad of an instance, we just had the wrong party for it.  I’d definitely bring a Priest; while I was able to effectively heal as a feral-specced druid, a solid priest will do a much better job, and be able to shackle the few undead that are sprinkled throughout the instance especially in a couple of the 5 mob pulls.  Definitely have one other crowd control technique in the mix – either Improved Sap via Rogue or Polymorph.  I was casting Hibernate on the elite Warhawks in some of the mobs – but many times they were breaking early and then they came right for me which as healer wasn’t real good. 

They other thing to be aware of to keep your healer alive is the Sethekk Shamans summon Voidwalkers.  Of course, these guys head right for your healer if you don’t get them under control quickly.  I died quite a few times from these guys.

The bosses aren’t too bad.  The first one summons elementals are various times throughout the fight, but they go down easy if you’re on the lookout for them.

The end boss periodically channels an arcane explosion that can do significant damage, but there are pillars around the room that you can hide behind.  We just tanked the boss right next to a pillar so it was easy to run behind when he began to cast.  Do keep your health up though as following the arcane explosion he shoots out arcane bolts that did not seem to be stopped by line of sight.  If you are down on health (like I was from healing others not myself), one of these might be enough to finish you off.

Herbalists will find Ancient Lichen in this instance.  Not an abundance, but we saw 5 or 6 locations.

Other than that, the instance is really not that bad.  With good crowd control and a little research on the bosses, it is definitely do-able in around an hour.  30 mintues?  Maybe, but only with a very good group used to playing with each other.

Forms Bar

April 9, 2007 Posted by | Burning Crusade, Druid Gear, Instances, World of Warcraft | 8 Comments

Great end-game gear without raiding: Bear

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If you’re a feral druid and you’re here for gear lists, be sure to check out my Cat DPS list too.

In a previous post, I laid out my guidelines for this series of three posts: gear that approaches Tier 4 and 5, but without the effort.  The information in these posts is gleaned from a list of BC Feral Gear put together by a European druid player named Emmerald.  While I’m sure we all dream about wearing a full set of Tier 5 equipment, the reality for me at least is I’m not that hard core of a player to know whether that dream will ever become a reality.  So I’m putting together this series to give you a list of great gear that can be had with considerably less effort.

Bear form is for tanking, and tanking is all about damage mitigation.  Soaking up damage and avoiding damage are essential activities for a tank and the formula Emmerald uses to rate bear gear revolves around armor, stamina, dodge and defense, as expected.  By slot, here’s my list of what I’ll be going after.

Head
We start off with an easy one.  Number 5 on the list is Stylin’ Purple Hat.  This headpiece sports 232 armor, 48 agility and 45 stamina.  The best part is it’s a crafted item, so all you need is some money or a nice guild tailor.  I saw one the other night on my server for just under 100G.  The best part?  This hat is STYLIN’!!!

Neck
Moving on to our necklace, this one also was fairly easy.  The first four pieces on the list require repeated elite raids or multiple Badges of Justice, and the fifth piece is an “…of the x” piece.  Number 6 on the list however, fits our bill perfectly.  Mark of the Ravenguard is a quest reward offering 40 stamina and 17 defense.  This does require a trip into Sethekk Halls – but no farming required.  Just one run to complete the quest and you’ve got your necklace.

Shoulders
After two fairly easy choices, the shoulder slot gets a bit more complicated.  We’re thirteen gear items down the list before we get to Shoulderpads of Assasination.  Don’t get me wrong, this is nice gear at 219 armor and 25 agility and 25 stamina, along with two yellow sockets (socket bonus of 4 stamina) and a +42 increase to attack power.  No, this is the first item where you need to decide how much farming you are willing to do as this shoulder gear is a 11% drop off Talon King Ikiss in Sethekk Halls.  You’ll be heading there anyway most likely to get attuned for Karazhan – the question is if they don’t drop the first time through, or you lose the roll, how many times are you willing to go back?

Your next option?  Not many that are any easier to pick up.  Most of the alternatives the next few pages are drops in heroic modes of other dungeons, so for my money I’m sticking with these.  You’re going to be doing Sethekk anyways so an additional run or two to pick these up won’t hurt. 

Back
Things get a bit easier again when talking about our cloak.  Number four on the list is Bogstrok Scale Cloak, a drop off of Rokmar in The Slave Pens.  Very farmable at level 70 and the cloak can be equipped at level 62, so you can pick up a great item early.  This cloak gives you 223 armor, 22 stamina and increases your defense rating by 16.  The drop rate is listed at only 14%, but given the great stats, the fact you’ll probably be in here anyways, I am definitely planning on farming for this cloak.

There is a crafted cape one position ahead of Bogstrok.  The Resolute Cape offers 289 armor, 30 stamina and improves your resilience rating by 21.  However looking at it’s mats I’m guessing it’s going to sell for quite a bit and it’s not equippable until level 70.  This is one I might keep my eye out for on the auction house for an opportunistic buy at the right price.

As pointed out in a comment by Tanuviel, number one on the list is a fantastic cloak and is a drop off the first Mechanar boss.  The Thoriumweave Cloak give you an incredible 318 armor and +35 stamina.  Go there.  Farm.  Get this cloak.

Chest
Another easy one here.  Number four on the list is Heavy Clefthoof Vest, a crafted item.  This vest gives you 290 armor and 52 stamina along with two yellow sockets and a blue, a socket bonus of +4 dodge rating, and an equip bonus of 28 to your defense rating.  While this vest cannot be equipped until level 70, I have already looked it up at auction and on my server it is not very expensive at all.  Under 30 gold.

The vest is part of a 3 piece set, the Strength of the Clefthoof.  We will be seeing this set again later.

Wrists
Good news for us, the highest rated tanking wrist armor is a quest reward.  Umberhowl’s Collar offers us 281 armor, 17 strength, 10 agility and 22 stamina.  Great stats and comments indicate there are other great rewards along the quest line.  Another no-brainer.

Hands
Another great slot for bears, the second pair of gloves on the list is a quest item: Verdant Gloves.  With 393 armor, 23 strength, 14 agility and 27 stamina, I can’t wait to slip these on.  These gloves are from yet another quest line in Shadowmoon Valley (just like the wrist quest above).  Be sure to read up on these quests and all comments to plan your Shadowmoon Valley questing out to maximum potential.  But again – a no-brainer.

Waist
Your waist slot gives you a choice I think.  Number twelve on the list is Girdle of Treachery.  A very nice belt with 179 armor, 15 agility, 33 stamina and two red sockets.  The socket bonus is 3 agility and you get 52 attack power for equipping.  However, this belt is a 14% find in a chest after the chess event in Karazhan.  Now, comments indicate that the chess event is early in the instance, but Karazhan promises to be a very challenging instance so depending on how you are playing you may not have access to these or want to keep trying for them.  Plus one of my assumptions for this series is no elite raiding required.

The next best belt on the list is Manimal’s Cinch, a quest reward in where?  You guessed it – Shadowmoon Valley.  This belt offers 348 armor, 20 strength, 12 agility and 24 stamina.  The ranking difference between the two belts is insignificant, and you don’t have to buy gems to power this one up.  Since it looks like I’ll be questing a lot in Shadowmoon for other gear, Manimal is my first choice for this slot, but I’ll definitely be on the lookout for the girdle once I get in Karazhan.

Legs
On to leggings and a choice very similar to above.  The Skulker’s Greaves drop off Netherspite in Karazhan and have nice stats: 278 armor, 28 agility, 22 stamina, two red sockets, a blue socket, and a socket bonus of +4 dodge rating.  Equipping these greaves additionally gives you +24 to dodge and +56 attack power.  These are nice leggings, but do require end-game raiding.

However, just two positions down on the list is Heavy Clefthoof Leggings.  These leggings have 251 armor and 42 stamina with three gem positions: two blues and a yellow.  The socket bonus is +4 to dodge and the equip bonus is +34 defense.  This is another piece of the Strength of the Clefthoof set and from my casual perusal of my auction house is not too expensive.  Like above, I’m going with the Clefthoof Leggings for my first choice and keeping my eyes out for the greaves when I get into Karazhan.

Feet
Hey, guess what?  Number six on the list is Heavy Clefthoof Boots and they are my pick for this slot.  the Nimble Foot Treads at position two were considered, but they offer only minimally better rating and take Heroic mode Shattered Halls.  Nope, I’ll buy myself a pair of these bad boys and equip them for 198 armor and 38 stamina.  I’ll have a yellow and a blue socket to use with a socket bonus of +3 dodge.  I’ll also get an equip bonus of +24 defense. 

At this point, I’ll have all three pieces of the Strength of the Clefthoof set equipped and I’ll get the set bonus of +20 strength.  Not much but I’ll take it.

UPDATE:  The +20 to strength is only for Leatherworkers with skill 350 or above.

Rings
Okay, you get two rings, right?  Taking up four of the first six positions on the list is the Violet Signet, which we will definitely be selecting.  This ring is like the dragonflight ring in that it keeps powering up as you gain rep with The Violet Eye.  Be careful too as there are different flavors; you want the “of the Great Protector” flavor.  You start with this ring (210 armor, 27 stamina and +13 to defense) and eventually get the exalted ring (250 armor, 33 stamina and +16 to defense).  Noice!  Okay, this breaks my rule of no elite raiding, but this ring series is just too good to pass up.   Plus even if you do just enough to get the first level of the ring, it’s still one of the best you can get.

So what’s your second ring?  The next highest rated ring would be the Ring of Unyielding Force, and it’s a good one with 200 armor, 27 stamina and +21 to defense.  This is a vendor ring requiring 25 Badges of Justice.  These badges drop off bosses in Heroic mode dungeons, so if you’re not running heroic mode, what’s your next option?

The next couple of rings are drops off bosses in Karazhan and Serpentshrine, so I’m skipping them for now.  No, on to the Iron Band of the Unbreakable.  This ring is a 15% drop off a 68 elite in the Olds Hillsbrad Foothills instance, so it may take a little farming, but it’s a very solid ring.  170 armor, 27 stamina and +17 to defense.

So for rings, I’ve already starting building my rep with The Violet Eye by starting the Karazhan attunement and will be starting with my Violet Signet as soon as I can.  My second ring will be the Iron Band for now, and definitely the Ring of Unyielding Force if I can get 25 Badges of Justice.

Trinkets
Well, the two highest-rated trinkets on the list are both engineered items.  If you’re thinking this is finally your vindication for picking Engineering, this isn’t as lucky a day as you might thing.  One of the trinkets takes goblin engineering and one takes gnomish, so at most you’ll be able to equip one of these.  They both offer 45 stamina along with a great effect:  the Goblin Rocket Launcher lets you, well, launch rockets and the Gnomish Poultryizer let’s you turn mobs into chicken.  Don’t laugh – that’s additional crowd control on top of 45 stamina.  Now that’s a great trinket.

UPDATE: Great comment by slipslappy that the trinkets are not unique, so you can equip two of either of these for 90 stamina. 

So, for the rest of us non-engineers, what do we go with?  Number six on the list is Mark of Tyranny.  Remember that one from the Onyxia attunement series?  180 armor, dodge +12 and +10 arcane resistance.  Hopefully you were smarted than me and hung on to it. 

Right below Mark of Tyranny is Timelapse Shard.  This is a vendor item sold in Tanaris that gives you 25 stamina and +23 to resilience.  You can also use the item to reduce your threat to enemies withing 30 yards.  While it doesn’t seem like it, this can actually be a useful tool for us every once in a while if we need to swap with another tank.  However, this trinket does require Exalted with The Keepers of Time.

If you’re like me and dropped your Mark of Tryanny and don’t have rep with The Keepers of Time, there are a couple of Jewelcrafting figurines right below Timelapse Shard.  The Living Ruby Serpent offers 33 stamina and 23 intellect (and can also increase your magical spells and effects by 150 for 20 seconds).  The Dawnstone Crab increases your defense rating by 32 and can be used to increase your dodge rating by 125 for 20 seconds.  These guys are BoP though so you’ll have to be a Jewelcrafter yourself to use them.

Okay, I’m skipping one-handed weapons and off-hand items.  I just find that I always end up with two-handed weapons.  If you like one-handers and off-hand items, then check out the list on your own. 

Two-handed Weapon
I’m looking at two weapons here.  If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know that I’m definitely headed for Earthwarden sooner or later.  Earthwarden is a great two-handed mace that gives you 500 armor, defense of +24, feral combat skill +24 and +525 to attack power in feral forms.  You need exalted reputation with the Cenarion Expidition which does require repeated runs of The Steamvaults, but for this mace, I’m willing to go.

There is a crafted weapon higher up than Earthwarden though.  Stormherald offers your bear +39 strength, +39 agility, +57 stamina and has a chance on hit to stun your target for 4 seconds (although weapon abilities don’t proc in feral forms).  However, Stormherald is the third in a series of crafted maces, each requiring the one before.  You must also be a Master Hammersmith to use Stormherald.  So if you are one, then definitely go for Stormherald.  If not like me, head for Earthwarden.

Gems
For items in the list with sockets, Emmerald lists two rankings for the item: a base ranking and a ranking with gems equipped.  I haven’t researched his approach, but I’m assuming he computes the final ranking with the best gem listed for the slot.  With that in mind, here are the gems you should be trolling for:

Blue: Solid Star of Elune (+12 Stamina)
Yellow: Enduring Chrysoprase (+6 Stamina and +5 Defense) – This gem is a drop off an elite in the Old Hillsbrad Foothills instance and I have yet to see on on my auction house.  Almost as good is Enduring Talasite; always on the AH and you only lose 1 defense. 
Red: Shifting Nightseye (+4 Agility and +6 Stamina)
Meta: Powerful Earthstorm Diamond (+18 Stamina and +5% stun resist)

Whew!  That took a while, but I’m glad I did it.  Just knowing what’s out there helps me put some priorities on what I’m doing and the quests I go on.  I actually picked up Manimal’s Cinch last night after typing this up since I realized I was already started with the quest.  Just that one piece bumped by bear armor by around 1000.

Just for grins I totalled up just the armor value of my first pick for each slot.  You end up with 3315 armor, or 18,232 in bear form with three points in Thick Hide (you do have three points in Thich Hide, don’t you?).  Now we know it’s not just all about the armor, but that’s some pretty darn good stats for just questing and trolling the auction house.

I hope you enjoy this writeup and find it helpful. 

Forms Bar

April 1, 2007 Posted by | Burning Crusade, Druid Gear, World of Warcraft | 46 Comments