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AoE Grinding: Frost Death Knight Edition

I have covered the greatness of Paladin AoE Guides. I have revealed unto you the incredible power of Frost Mage AoE Grinding. And now I must bring forth, Frost Knight AoE Grinding!

You can't see my sparklies very well in that picture, but that's 12 mobs piled up there.



You can use the general information from this post in conjunction with the Death Knight Tanking Guides for AoE rotations I use for questing. I use pretty well the same exact concepts and rotations when doing AoE Tanking on my Death Knight when the situation calls for me to focus on AoE to grab and maintain agro in an instant so that I can then settle into a tanking rotation.

For the purposes of this article when you see any form of “(BFU)” it is an expression of the ability’s Rune Cost, where “(##)” will show the amount of Runic Power that is required for abilities with RP costs rather than Rune costs. When using our Death Runes they will be noted as “(DD)”.

This guide also contains only information up to level 70, so spells obtained only at higher levels will not appear in this guide.

Death Knight Specs: Quick Overview
Any Death Knight spec can do AoE grinding to at least some degree. Frost and Unholy are much better off than Blood is in the AoE category (though perhaps not so much in the survivability area), but any spec can technically do it. Some just need to branch out a little bit more than others.

All DK’s have access to Death and Decay which is a solid AoE ability though it does come with a heavy Rune cost.

Spending 11 points in the Unholy tree grants you access to Corpse Explosion which serves as a Runic Power version of AoE damage to be used when you are in a Rune Blackout (all runes used and on cooldown). Corpse Explosion does require a non-elemental, non-mechanical corpse in order to be used, but it is another option for AoE damage once you’ve laid down the hate and started piling up the corpses. But any corpse will do, including a fallen comrade.

With 8 points in the Blood tree you can have Scent of Blood 3/3 which gives you a 15% chance after a dodge or parry to have each of your next three auto-attacks generate 10 Runic Power which could be taken in addition to Corpse Explosion to help fuel its repeated use. I don’t know that it’s a great option, but there it is if you happen to be a CE freak (like me).

You can spend 14 points in the Blood tree to get both Rune Tap (B) which will restore 10% of your health when used, as well as Death Rune Mastery which will cause the runes used for Obliterate and Death Strike to regenerate as Death Runes. Having both Death Rune Mastery and Blood of the North maxed will give you four different attacks that will grant Death Runes to help fuel whatever ability you might want to use.

Since I’m focusing on Frost here, I will point out that I suggest you get all the way through the Frost tree (level 60 minimum) before you branch off into the other trees. As for the rest of the spec, I suggest you follow the guide I offer in my DK Tanking: Frost Edition guides.

Frost AoE: General Information
You can use either a single disease or a double disease method for this, though my personal suggestion is that you go with a double disease, dual wielding Frost build.

Howling Blast (FU) is your largest source of AoE damage, and using things like your Killing Machine procs and your Deathchill ability to maximize your damage by providing auto-crits go a long way towards burning down the largest group of mobs in the shortest amount of time. Rime procs will give you free uses of Howling Blast as well as resetting its cooldown, so keep a keen eye out for those as well. You may want to consider using an addon such as PowerAuras Classic to help you keep track of your procs if you have trouble with them.

With Frost you are going to make frequent use of Howling Blast for AoE damage and applying the Frost Fever disease, Obliterate (FU) to generate Rime procs for free Howling Blasts, Blood Boil (B) for DK-centered AoE damage, Pestilence (B) for disease spreading, and potentially Death & Decay (BFU) as well. If you branched out into Unholy for Corpse Explosion (40) then you have a Runic Power AoE as well, which is centered on the corpse that it’s used on.

Pulling



As a Death Knight you have several tools to use for pulling mobs. The most obvious of these is Scorpion’s famous move, Death Grip, which will pull the targeted mob to you and “force” them to attack you for three seconds. Some mobs are immune to the physical pull, but they will still agro you and chase you down after you use it. Death Grip has a pretty big cooldown all things considered, but it does not require any runes or runic power to use.

You also have two sources of ranged AoE pulling, in the form of Howling Blast (FU) and Death and Decay (BFU), which can both be used to pull a group of mobs instead of just one. Howling Blast is a bit better if you are pulling the group and moving on to pull others as well, where Death and Decay is probably better off cast as you near the end of your pull so that you can make use of its DoT (Damage of Time) AoE effect.

You also have two forms of single-target ranged pulls in Icy Touch (F) and Death Coil (40). Death Coil requires RP to cast, so it’s not the greatest spell for pulling, but when you find yourself high on RP and nothing else to spend it on just yet you might as well get some use out of it.

If you don’t have much, or any, Runic Power built up during a pull, feel free to use your melee abilities rather than simply body pulling. Primarily you want to use Plague Strike (B) for this in order to establish a disease, or Blood Strike (B) to get your Blood Runes converted to Death Runes for use in the next round.

There is one other spell I want to mention here for pulling, but it will actually be more useful after the next step happens to help get stray casters to come to your centralized area. The spell is called Strangulate (B) which is a single target, 30 yard ranged Silence spell that lasts for 5 seconds. When you use that on a caster they will rush towards melee range as long as they are silenced, and 5 seconds should be more than enough for you to get them within range of your AoE spells.

And of course you do still have the old fashioned, tried and true body pull which can be done either mounted or on foot, which simply requires that you get within agro range of the mobs. Some locations allow for or maybe even require that you use Line of Sight (LoS) techniques to agro the mobs and then move to a location that they cannot attack you from so that they must run around it to engage you; running to the other side of a wall is a perfect example of this as they will run around the wall as well and then stand there clustered together to help with your AoE.

Centralize
In my other AoE Grinding guides I mentioned a step here that I called “Corral”, which is basically just gathering all the mobs up into a central area so that you can AoE them down from there. You want to do that with a Frost DK as well, but it’s not quite so big a deal as it is with a Mage; instead it’s more like grinding with a Paladin where as long as they are within your AoE range you really don’t care how close they are to one another.

To be technical on the subject, you do want the mobs to be within 10 yard of each other so that you are able to hit them all, but with the exception of casters they should all be ganged up around you to begin with. Again, using the various spells mentioned in the Pulling section above and things like LoS are key to getting the mobs centralized and ready to burn them down.

Reposition
Where a mage wants to put some distance between himself and the mobs, a Death Knight just wants everyone to look straight into his scourgefire eye sockets and see their own deaths rushing forth to meet them. As a DK you need to embrace your tanking habits and be sure to get as many mobs as you possibly can to be in front of you so that you can make use of all of your avoidance on them. You do this by repositioning yourself which usually consists of just backing up while facing them so that they get in front of you.

Some mobs just move in odd patterns and constantly seem to move behind you no matter what you do. In those cases you can either plant your back against a wall, or just ignore that one mob until you’ve taken out the others. Another option that is open to you is to use your Hungering Cold (F) ability to freeze everything in place, reposition yourself where you want to be (with all the mobs in front of you), and then either wait for the spell to wear off or hit them with a ranged AoE like Howling Blast to break them all out again.

Strategic use of Hungering Cold can make the difference between a successful AoE grinder and an exceptional AoE grinder. Use it to freeze the mobs in place, use Pestilence to spread your diseases (which does not break the ice), and then use a bandage on yourself if needed to restore your health and also allow your other runes the time they need to cooldown. Once you’re ready (or the 10 second timer is up) spread your diseases again with Pestilence and then go back into your rotation. If you do not have the Glyph of Disease to refresh your diseases for you then you will need to reapply them via Icy Touch > Plague Strike > Pestilence. If you do have the glyph then as long as the diseases are still on your current target it will refresh them and spread them around once again.

Important Note: Because our survival talent from the Blood tree, Blade Barrier, doesn’t come into effect until our Blood Runes are on cooldown, I suggest you go ahead and use up any remaining Blood Runes during this step. If you haven’t spread your diseases yet or you did spread them but they’re wearing off, then use Pestilence, otherwise go for Blood Boil if there are two or mobs near you or Blood Strike if there is only one.

Death to the Living!
Once you’ve gathered up the mobs and got them in place it’s time to burn those suckers down. Each DK has their own personal play style, so if you have another way you prefer to do this then by all means go with your own if you prefer, and of course feel free to leave any comments, suggestions, or criticisms you might have.

Rotation
1st Rune Set: Icy Touch (F), Plague Strike (U), Pestilence (B), Blood Boil (B), Howling Blast (FU), RP Dump
2nd Rune Set: Obliterate (FU), [Howling Blast (Free)], Howling Blast (DD), Obliterate (FU), [Howling Blast (Free)], RP Dump

Technically our first rune set will actually be a sporadic mishmash of whatever you happened to use to pull all of the mobs to you, but we’re talking about the rotation here.

The first rune set establishes your diseases, spreads them around, and then hits with two AoE spells. Your Runic Power Dump for the first set is probably going to be Frost Strike (40). If you have enough points in Unholy then it can be used for Corpse Explosion (40) instead if you want more AoE.

Frost Strike hits hard and it’s great for chopping down your groups faster which will lead to better survivability overall, but CE will help bring down the group as a whole so use whichever serves best in your situation. If you’re taking quite a bit of damage then it’s better to increase your single target DPS with FS to kill some of them off, unless the mobs are already low enough on health that CE might finish one or more of them off for you. If you’re doing fine on your health then stick to AoE spells as much as you can so that you get the most damage on the most targets for the resources you spend.

In the second rune set we focus more on AoE damage to bring down the mobs as one. With the initial Obliterate we are hoping for a Rime proc to use Howling Blast, but if we don’t get one then we’re moving right along to a regular Howling Blast and getting those Blood Runes (Death Runes in this case) back on cooldown to proc our Parry buff again. Whenever Rime procs go ahead and use your Howling Blast; if that screws up your rotation because HB is on cooldown then simply replace the HB with Obliterate instead and try for another Rime proc.

Remember though that we aren’t trying to tank an instance with this, so we aren’t so much worried about maintaining threat as we are simply killing everything around us. If Howling Blast is available and you still have multiple mobs on you it’s perfectly acceptable to use HB instead of Obliterate for the AoE damage. Rime is more likely to proc when using two weapons instead of one, so it’s especially acceptable for a 2H build to use HB over Obliterate since the chance to proc Rime is lower.

I’M GONNA DIIIIEEEEE!!!
Settle down now, you’re a DK…you’re already dead. Before we get on into the next section, let us take a break and talk about what to do when things go wrong and suddenly you’re in trouble.

The first choice you have is something I already mentioned up above, which is using Hungering Cold to freeze everything within 10 yards of you for 10 seconds. This gives you time to either use a bandage or put your running shoes on and get the heck out of there (only a coward runs from combat, but only a “moron” throws his gold away on unnecessary repair bills).

Another option that we have open to us is Death Pact (40 RP, requires level 66) which requires you to sacrifice your ghoul in exchange for 40% of your health to instantly be healed. It’s a big heal and it comes in very handy. For this reason I save my ghoul for when I need heals rather than using him for extra dps, pulling, or whatever. The one thing you need to watch out for is the runic cost of Death Pact. If you are taking a beating, be sure to build up your RP but try not to use it unless you have more than 30-40% so that you can DP when needed.

You also have the use of Icebound Fortitude (20) after level 62 which will give you 12 seconds of damage reduction to lessen those blows.

You can also make an adjustment to your attack rotations, replacing Obliterates and/or Howling Blasts with Death Strike (FU) instead, to heal yourself for 5% of your maximum health for each disease you have on the target.

If things are really getting hot, you’ve already used everything available to you that we’ve talked about here, then the only other option you have left to you (besides potions and such which you should already be well aware of) is to make an emergency switch over to Blood Presence (B) which increases your damage by 15% and heals you for 4% of the damage you deal. By default you should be grinding in Frost Presence (F) which increases your Stamina by 6%, your armor from gear by 60% and reduces damage you take by 8%. Losing Frost Presence can be a very dangerous thing when you’re already getting beat on hard enough to be worried, but if you can dish out enough damage in a short enough amount of time then Blood Presence can potentially save your life by switching to it, landing a big attack for the heal (Death Strike is optimal for this), and then switching back to Frost Presence for your damage reduction.

All Your Sparklies Are Belong To Me
And now that they’re all dead it’s just a matter of collecting loot and moving right along to the next group. A lot of your damage is going to be dealt over time rather than in bursts. So when you do get procs like Rime and Killing Machine, it’s a good idea to move right into your next pull to take advantage of those if you aren’t in need of healing. Timing your Rime/KM procs so that they’re used together is an excellent way to bring down a lot of mobs in a short amount of time.

What Spells Do I Use Again?

Howling Blast Blood Boil
Corpse Explosion Death and Decay
 
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Posted by on March 3, 2010 in Death Knight, Guide, Leveling

 

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Instance Loot: Ragefire Chasm and Wailing Caverns

Looking through the search terms that bring people to my blog, I like to keep track of trends to find out what kind of information people are looking for. During the last two months most of the searches have revolved around 1) Paladin Leveling (always my highest search), 2) New Druid Skins 3) New BoA Chest pieces and whether or not they stack with the shoulders, 4) what items drop from a particular instance (usually SM and Ulda), and then there’s an ongoing list of various other topics.

I have already covered Paladin Leveling quite a bit, I have two or three posts discussing the new druid skins and how to change them, and I have at least three posts mentioning that the new BoA chests do stack with the shoulders for a total of +20% experience. That leaves me then with the task of covering what items drop from which instances.

But, I don’t want to just jump right over to Scarlet Monastery, so instead I am going to start a series that covers each of the various instances from the lowest up to the highest. I do not plan on covering any raids with this list due to the massive amount of items that can be found in them, but I will cover the regular 5-man instances. If I notice a lot of people showing interest in them then I will keep it up, if not then I will probably go ahead and stop wherever I happen to be at the time.

Scope
The scope of this series of posts is to cover what rare (Blue) and epic (Purple) loot drops from the bosses and rare spawns. There are rare and epic world drops that can be found in most instances, but for the most part I’m not going to bother covering those in this series either. In some instances I will list this sort of information, or I might list rare spawns that are located very close to the instance like I do here with Wailing Caverns. For the most part though, I will be sticking strictly to the blue items that are dropped by the bosses.

Ragefire Chasm

Generally the loot in RFC is not going to be all that great. Some of the boss drops are pretty good for early levels, but most of the items you find will be trash, white, or low quality greens. There’s a reasonable amount of Linen Cloth to be found there, as well as a few Tigerseye and Malachite from time to time, but this is not the place to farm them.

The green items that you find here will all disenchant into either Strange Dust or Lesser Magic Essence, while the Blue items dropped by the bosses will give you Small Glowing Shards. Small Glowing Shards are only used for about four to six total enchantments, and all of those are low level. So farming them to some extent is good for selling on the Auction House to help new enchanters “power level” their enchanting early on, but I wouldn’t particularly suggest doing it.

There are technically five bosses in RFC, but one of them is for a paladin-only quest (and drops nothing of value), and two others are called bosses but do not drop binding gear nor are they much harder than the trash mobs to take down. So, while technically there are 5 bosses, I’m only going to bother listing the two that actually drop blue, binding gear. RFC is one of the few old world instances in the game that does not have a Rare Spawn.

Jargosh the Invoker
Cavedweller Bracers
[Mail Wrist, 78 Armor, +3 Str, +4 stam]
A nice set of starting bracers for any Paladin or Warrior. Pretty commonly used by level 19 twinks as well.

Chanting Blade
[1H Dagger, 1.5 Speed, 12.0 DPS, +3 Agi, +2 Stam]
A pretty strong dagger given it’s minimum level, also has great stats for Rogues and Hunters in this level range.

Robe of Evocation
[Cloth Chest, 35 Armor, +4 Stam, +5 Int, +5 Crit]
One of the best low level robes you can get without having to have the help of higher level characters. There are certainly better robes available prior to level 20, but this is a great start especially for a Mage, Priest, or Shaman who will see more benefit from crit than other casters at this level.

Taragaman the Hungerer [Instance Boss]
Crystalline Cuffs
[Cloth Wrist, 15 Armor, +2 Int, +2 Spirit, +4 Spell Power]
Easily the best caster bracers you can get for early on in the game. Any class and spec that is going to be using spells can pick this up and use it for a good while. Most caster twinks use this for their wrist slot.

Cursed Felblade
[1H Sword, 2.6 Speed, 12.3 DPS, Chance on Hit: Reduce target's Attack Power by 25 for 30 seconds]
A pretty decent sword used for flushing your opponent’s attack power down the drain for a time. Low level tanks tend to pick this up more than anyone else though Rogues frequently use it as well to make up for their lack of armor.

Subteranean Cloak
[Back, 17 Armor, +4 Str, +4 Agi]
This cloak is one of the best you can get for low level melee characters. Depending on what mix of stats you prefer it can rank anywhere in the top 4 cloaks obtained from bosses and rare spawns within instances.

Wailing Caverns

Much of the regular loot drops here will be the same as RFC, only in much larger quantity. You will find Linen Cloth here as well as a small amount of Wool Cloth. There are tons of trash items, white items, and food in WC, and there is a rather large supply of green items as well. You can add Shadowgems to the list of “gems” that you find in WC, and some of the mobs drop herbs in here as well. This is also the first instance you come across that allows you to gather mats for your professions as you can use Skinning, Mining, and Herbalism all in here as their are nodes for each and the instance is overrun with beasts that can be skinned.

WC has a total of eight bosses, one of which is triggered only by an event, and one Rare Spawn as well. One of the eight bosses, Kresh, is not technically a boss but instead is neutral to everyone so he is entirely optional and is not any harder to kill than most of the other elite trash mobs in the instance. Even so, he does drop rare bind on pickup items like other bosses so he makes it onto the list.

Lady Anacondra
Belt of the Fang
[Waist, Leather, 49 Armor, +5 Agility, +6 Stamina]
This is one of the better belts you can get for this level if you happen to wear leather. It is also a part of the Fang Set, so you will receive extra bonuses for each item you are able to find and equip at once.

Snakeskin Bag
[12 slot bag]
Not a bad little bag for this low level, especially if you do not already have a higher level character providing you with bags. Out of all of the many runs I have made in WC though I have only seen this drop three times.

Serpent’s Shoulders
[Shoulder, Leather, 68 Armor, +9 Agility]
These are one of the best leather shoulder items you can get before level 20, especially if you are a Rogue, Hunter, or Feral Druid. With the exception of the BoA shoulders that you purchase with a level 80 character, these are the best shoulders you will find for a leather melee dps class prior to level 20.

Lord Serpentis
Footpads of the Fang
[Feet, Leather, 62 Armor, +6 Agility, +6 Stamina]
The best set of low level leather boots for a melee dps class. Twinks will use it until they can be replaced by Arathi Basin PvP boots.

Venomstrike
[Ranged, Bow, Speed 2.40, 15.8 dps, Equip: Chance to strike your ranged target with a Venom Shot for 31 to 45 Nature damage.]
Considered to be the best bow for the level range and the preferred ranged weapon of every bow-wielding class in the level 19 twink bracket.

Savage Trodders
[Feet, Mail, 134 Armor, +9 Stamina]
A strong set of mail boots with a high boost to stamina. Great for tanks or any mail wearing class.

Serpent Gloves
[Hands, Cloth, 25 Armor, +6 Intellect, Increases spell power by 7.]
Very strong caster gloves, one of the favorites among twinks. There are three sets of gloves in the game that have these exact stats now that earlier patches have changed +Healing and +Damage into the same stat. These are the second best caster gloves you can find for a twink, beaten only by a very rare world drop.

Lord Pythas
Stinging Viper
[One-Hand, Mace, Speed 2.80, 15.5 dps, Chance on hit: Poisons target for 7 Nature damage every 3 sec for 15 sec.]
A decent mace weapon. Often used in PvP battles to keep rogues from using their stealth abilities.

Armor of the Fang
[Chest, Leather, 91 Armor, +8 Strength, +8 Stamina]
The third best leather chest armor for the level, second best for Horde. The Tunic of Westfall (Alliance only) is the best piece, followed by the Blackened Defias Armor found in Deadmines (which will be covered in the Deadmines post in this series). Twinks (leather dps classes) who cannot manage to obtain either of the other pieces mentioned go for this one instead.

Lord Cobrahn
Cobrahn’s Grasp
[Waist, Mail, 111 Armor, +8 Strength, +3 Agility]
A great mail belt for any class that can wear it. It’s not the best but it’s certainly far from the worst.

Leggings of the Fang
[Legs, Leather, 79 Armor, +5 Strength, +9 Agility, +4 Stamina]
The best leather pants for any melee dps class below level 20 and favored by twinks.

Robe of the Moccasin
[Chest, Cloth, 40 Armor,+6 Stamina, +6 Spirit, Increases spell power by 7.]
One of the better cloth chest pieces for low level casters. Priests and Warlocks tend to want it more than other casters as the stats are more aligned to their classes, but it is a great piece for any low level caster.

Verdan the Everliving [Instance Boss]
Living Root
[Two-Hand, Staff, Speed 2.90, 21.2 dps, , +2 Stamina, +12 Spirit, Increases spell power by 6.]
A decent staff used primarily to help with mana regen between battles if you have access to something better. If not, the staff still serves as a solid choice for casters with its spell power bonus. Enhancement shamans can make good use of this weapon during low levels as well with good stats and a high dps for its level as well.

Seedcloud Buckler
[Off Hand, Shield, 566 Armor, 11 Block, +6 Intellect, +3 Spirit]
One of the best shields for low level shamans due to the bonus Intellect, and a decent shield for any other class that can use it as well. Low level shields that are better than this come only in the form of rare world drops.

Skum
Glowing Lizardscale Cloak
[Back, 20 Armor, +6 Agility, +2 Stamina]
A great low level cloak for rogues and hunters due to the high agility bonus. It’s not the best cloak you can find at this level, but it has a good drop rate and will serve you well until you can get your hands on a better one.

Tailspike
[One-Hand, Dagger, Speed 1.80, 14.4 dps, +4 Strength, +3 Agility]
A decent dagger with a great stats, rogues and hunters may both go for this one. Rogues will find better blades overall in Deadmines, but the Tailspike can certainly serve you well until you manage to get a hold of those.

Special Note: This boss can be skinned, and he drops an exceptional amount of leather, usual 1-6 each of up to three different types of leather. Leather types include Light Leather, Medium Leather, Light Hides, and Medium hides.

Kresh [Neutral Boss, Optional]
Kresh’s Back
[Off Hand, Shield, 471 Armor, 9 Block, Equip: Increases defense rating by 6 (8 @ L15).]
One of the best tanking shields you can get for low level, despite it having a lower Armor rating than both of the other shields found inside Wailing caverns. The bonus to defense rating is almost unheard of on low level gear.

Worn Turtle Shell Shield
Worn Turtle Shell Shield
[Off Hand, Shield, 513 Armor, 9 Block]
A strong armor rating and a decent block rate, it’s a decent shield for those that can use it.

Special Note: This boss can be skinned, for Light Leather, Medium Leather, Light Hides, and Medium Hides

Deviate Faerie Dragon [Rare Spawn]
Firebelcher
[Wand, Speed 1.70, 20.3 dps]
A strong choice of a wand for its level. The lack of bonus stats makes it worth a bit less than other wand options at your level.

Feyscale Cloak
[Back, 19 Armor, +4 Stamina, Equip: Increases spell power by 5]
A great low level caster cloak that can be found pretty easy if you ever manage to find the rare spawn itself. Cloaks such as the Spidersilk Drape made from the Tailoring profession can outshine it, but it’s a good cloak regardless.

Special Note: When I say “Rare” spawn, I mean to say RARE!!! spawn. After literally hundreds of runs through this instance I have only ever seen this spawn twice. Other people claim to have found it several times but that’s certainly not my experience.

Noteworthy Trash Mob Drops
All of the druids inside WC have a chance to drop the Gloves of the Fang, which are easy to sell and good to equip as well if you are a leather wearing dps class. They are also the only piece of the “Fang Set” that are not BoP and can be sold on the AH. Many people run this instance so they are sometimes in large supply on the AH, but they do usually sell for 25-60g depending on the server. The most I have ever found in a single run through the instance is three Gloves of the Fang in one run through.

There are also two rare spawns located right outside of the entrance to the instance, both of which can drop blue items, though they aren’t guarenteed drops.

Trigor the Lasher (wowhead listing)
Runescale Girdle
[Waist, Mail, 104 Armor, +8 Strength]
A decent choice for a mail belt with a large strength bonus.

Serpent’s Kiss
[One-Hand, Axe, Speed 2.50, 13.4 dps, Chance on hit: Poisons target for 7 Nature damage every 3 sec for 15 sec.]
A decent axe that is used much like the Stinging Viper up above. It’s a good weapon for PvE and used occasionally in PvP for the sake of keeping rogues from using their stealth.

Boahn (wowhead listing)
Boahn’s Fang
[Two-Hand, Axe, Speed 2.50, 17.6 dps, +9 Strength, Improves critical strike rating by 4 (2.12% @ L15).]
This axe usually sells for anywhere from 25-150g on the auction house because it is BoE, and it is one of the strongest weapons you can get at low level for any class that can wield it. At low level the extra crit from this item shows through far more frequently than it does at higher levels.

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2009 in Guide, World of Warcraft

 

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Instances By Level

Here is a list of all of the dungeons (instances, not raids) that exist in the game. You can follow the links to each dungeon to find the wowhead.com information related to them, including a list of loot from bosses and rare spawns found within, the names and locations of each boss, quests related to the instance, and other information as well.

This is to be used as a reference for information on the instances

“Vanilla” WoW
Name Level Min. Level Notebook Links
Ragefire Chasm 13 – 16 8 RFC
The Deadmines 15 – 20 10 VC
Wailing Caverns 15 – 21 10 WC
Shadowfang Keep 18 – 25 10 SFK
Blackfathom Deeps 20 – 27 10 BFD
The Stockade 24 – 32 15 Stocks
Gnomeregan 24 – 33 15 Gnomer
Razorfen Kraul 25 – 30 15 RFK
Razorfen Downs 33 – 40 25 RFD
Scarlet Monastery 34 – 45 20 SM
Uldaman 39 – 47 30 Ulda
Zul’Farrak 43 – 47 35 ZF
Maraudon 43 – 49 30 Mara
Sunken Temple 49 – 55 35 ST
Blackrock Depths 55 – 60 40 BFD
Blackrock Spire 58 – 60 45 BRS
Dire Maul 58 – 60 45 DM
Scholomance 58 – 60 45 Scholo
Stratholme 58 – 60 45 Strath



The Burning Crusade
Name Level Min. Level Notebook Links
Hellfire Citadel: Hellfire Ramparts 60 – 62 55 Ramps
Hellfire Citadel: The Blood Furnace 61 – 63 55 BF
Coilfang Reservoir: The Slave Pens 62 – 64 55 SP
Coilfang Reservoir: The Underbog 63 – 65 55 UB
Auchindoun: Mana-Tombs 64 – 66 55 MT
Auchindoun: Auchenai Crypts 65 – 67 55 AC
Caverns of Time: Old Hillsbrad Foothills 66 – 68 66 CoT
Auchindoun: Sethekk Halls 67 – 69 55 SH
Auchindoun: Shadow Labyrinth 70 65 SL
Caverns of Time: The Black Morass 70 66 BM
Coilfang Reservoir: The Steamvault 70 55 SV
Hellfire Citadel: The Shattered Halls 70 55 SH
Magisters’ Terrace 70 70 MT
Tempest Keep: The Arcatraz 70 68 ARC
Tempest Keep: The Botanica 70 68 BOT
Tempest Keep: The Mechanar 70 68 TC



Wrath of the Lich King
Name Level Min. Level Notebook Links
Utgarde Keep: Utgarde Keep 70 – 72 70 UK
The Nexus: The Nexus 71 – 73 70 Nexx
Azjol-Nerub: Azjol-Nerub 72 – 74 70 AN
Azjol-Nerub: Ahn’kahet: The Old Kingdom 73 – 75 70 OK
Drak’Tharon Keep 74 – 76 70 DTK
The Violet Hold 75 – 77 70 VH
Gundrak 76 – 78 70 Gundrak
Ulduar: Halls of Stone 77 – 79 70 HoS
Caverns of Time: The Culling of Stratholme 80 ?? CoS
The Nexus: The Oculus 80 ?? Occ
Trial of the Champion 80 ?? ToC
Ulduar: Halls of Lightning 80 ?? HoL
Utgarde Keep: Utgarde Pinnacle 80 ?? UP



 
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Posted by on August 20, 2009 in Guide, World of Warcraft

 

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Balance Druid Gear: Gnomeregan and Scarlet Monastery

This weekend our Twitter-inspired guild, My Other Tweet is Epic, is going to do a low level instance run through Gnomeregan and Scarlet Monastery. Since we are a new guild and consisting mostly of people who rolled new characters to come join us, we are going to stick with low level instances for now.

In preparation for this, I did a quick check on the loot tables for Gnomer and SM for gear on my Balance Druid, Belgawrath. The items I am going list here are strictly going to be drops that come from bosses, and for the most part only “blues” and “purples” as the vast majority of green items can be found all over the world.

The items I discuss down below are specific to me, meaning to say that these are items that I am going to be looking for myself. You might want the same items, or you might want different items. Some items that are not upgrades for me (and as such were left off of the lists) may be upgrades for you. If you want to run these instances yourself, then it doesn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with the loot that can drop. Always keep in mind that gear does not make your character, and you can certainly play the game with poor gear. I like to upgrade my gear on a near-constant basis because that’s something that I just like to do. I don’t mind spending time or resources on items that I know full well will be replaced in two levels. But that’s just me.

I leveled Belgawrath through his 20’s as Feral and had an excellent time doing it. When I got to 29 though I went ahead and twinked him to some degree for battlegrounds and found that I actually enjoyed healing and balance dps more than I did feral face clawing (hard to imagine, even for me). So when I hit 29 I went ahead and respecced back into Balance because I, personally, found it more enjoyable. Feral has less downtime and is overall perhaps a bit stronger or faster. But, Balance has more survivability, is a bit less gear dependent, and just fits me a bit better overall.

So, enough rambling from me, let’s look at some loot!

Gnomeregan (Levels 24-33, Min. Entry Level 15)
In looking through the loot tables in Gnomer, there really was not a whole lot of caster gear that drops. Some of it that does really doesn’t compare with some lower level tailoring or leatherworking items and so forth, so I left a few items off.

When I finished checking all of the bosses, as well as giving a quick look at the overall loot drops, I came down to a sad little list of only three particular items that I want.

Item Name Type Level Req. Drop Location Drop Rate
Charged Gear Ring 28 Mekgineer Thurmaplugg (Boss) 33%
Electromagnetic Gigaflux Reactivator Helm 28 Mekgineer Thurmaplugg (Boss) 9%
Schematic: Craftsman’s Monocle Eng Schematic Eng 185 Mekgineer Thurmaplugg (Boss) 0.5%




Sadly, all of the items that I want drop from the very same boss. And two of the three items are Bind on Pick Up (BoP) so I have no chance to farm them with my higher level characters.

The Charged Gear has potential to be a good ring for me, but the enchantment that goes on it is chosen randomly, so while it has the highest drop rate at 33%, it is entirely likely that the ring will do me little good. For myself, I am looking for “of the Eagle” (+6-7 Int and Stam), “of the Falcon” (+6-7 Int and Agi), or “of Intellect” (+10 Int).

The reason for including “of the Falcon” in that list is because the bonus to Agility would allow me to use the ring effectively in both my caster and my feral cat gear sets. Even though I am too low for dual spec, I do carry two full sets of gear to change in and out of as needed for the situation. If I ever run out of mana, I switch my gear and go into Cat Form instead and use my mana only for healing until it is safe for me to drink.

The Electromagnetic Gigaflux Reactivator is a very interesting item that could be useful for several different classes. My first thought was that it would be excellent for a Protection Paladin with it’s extra AoE damage that it can deal. But with +15 Intelligence, +12 Spirit, and the fact that it’s made out of Cloth suggest that it is geared more towards a caster. Its “Use” ability deals 147-167 damage in a large cone to the mobs standing in front of you, and it puts up an effect similar to the Shaman’s Lightning Shield spell for 10 minutes.

The Craftsman’s Monocle is a cloth head piece that provides 40 Armor, and +15 Intellect. I want this one first off because it looks cool. I’m not afraid to admit that I am willing to wear slightly worse gear simply because it looks cool, though +15 Int is certainly not bad. At the same time, I also don’t mind wearing powerful gear that looks stupid (like the EGR head piece up above). Luckily, if this does not drop, which is likely considering its low drop rate, then at least I can come back and farm it with a higher level character if I really want to get it. Don’t forget though, that you do have to be an Engineer with at least 185 skill in the profession to even wear it.

Scarlet Monastery (Levels 34-45, Min. Entry Level 20)

Item Name Type Level Req. Drop Location Drop Rate
Bloodmage Mantle Shoulders 30 Bloodmage Thalnos (Boss) 49%
Deadman’s Hand Ring 29 Arcanist Doan (Boss) 2%
Illusionary Rod Staff 34 Arcanist Doan (Boss) 44%
Mantle of Doan Shoulders 33 Arcanist Doan (Boss) 46%
Triune Amulet Neck 39 High Inquisitor Whitemane (Boss) 37%
Whitemane’s Chapeau Head 39 High Inquisitor Whitemane (Boss) 39%
Embalmed Shroud Head 30 Fallen Champion (Rare) 37%
Blighted Leggings Legs 30 Azshir the Sleepless (Rare) 32%
Ghostshard Talisman Neck 30 Azshir the Sleepless (Rare) 30%




With bonuses to Intellect, Spirit, and Crit chance Bloodmage Mantle is a solid choice for shoulders. These shoulders are not a huge upgrade over my current shoulders, but the extra boost to crit appeals to me.

Deadman’s Hand is an excellent “purple” item from SM:Library. With +10 Stamina you get a strong boost to hit points, which is twice what my Heart Ring gives me right now. It also has an excellent proc that gives you a chance to freeze any enemy that hits you. Since I am playing a Balance spec right now this means that I can occasionally root the mob in place long enough to get my spells off without having to cast Entangling Roots myself.

The Illusionary Rod is a huge upgrade to my current staff, and is one of the best staves for its level that can also last for quite a long time. It offers 15 Int, 7 Stam, and 10 Crit instead of the 7 Int and 7 Spirit that my current staff gives.

Mantle of Doan is about equal to what I am wearing right now, with slightly more spirit and 9 Hit in place of the +2 Spell Power I have right now. Not a huge difference, but if you don’t hit then it doesn’t matter how much damage you might have done with the spell in the first place.

Triune Amulet is one of the most solid neck pieces you can get around this level. With +7 to Int, Stam, and Spirit, it can be used by pretty well every class in the game. It leans more towards casters, or at least classes that use mana than to ones that do not, but anyone could use it. My current neck piece gives 3 Int, 5 Crit, and 9 Spell Power.

Whitemane’s Chapeau is a definite upgrade to what I am currently wearing. 9 Stam, 10 Int, and 14 Spirit kicks my 10 Int, 6 Spirit to the curb. This is one of the biggest upgrades I am looking forward to, even if I can’t wear it for another 7 levels.

The other items drop off of rare spawns that truly are rare. I have literally ran through SM well over 1,000 times across my different characters, and in all of those times I could count the number of times that I have seen these rare spawns one hand. Embalmed Shroud is a good backup head piece in case the Chapeau doesn’t drop. 7 Stam, 11 Int, and 14 Spell Power is quite a bit better than my current setup.

The Blighted Leggings also drop from a rare spawn, and are a fair upgrade. Sadly, I would trade 8 Int for 7 Stam which while it would help me live longer in combat, it would slow me down a bit from the mana loss. But, it does provide more than double the amount of spell power that I get from my current legs.

About These Items
You will notice from looking at those lists that many of the items that I am interested in fit in the same slot. So I do not need to find all of the items on the list, but all of them would be helpful to me in some way.

When I looked at the list for what items I needed, I looked for specific stats. Since the druid has such good survivability I focus more on Intellect with my druid than I do Stamina. It certainly does not hurt to have more hit points, which is why many of the items you see there also include stamina buffs.

After Intellect, I looked for either Spell Power or Spirit as both of these help as well. Spell power increases the damage I deal so that I don’t have to cast as many spells, thus conserving my mana. Spirit helps to regenerate my mana while I am between fights or while I have a mob stuck in Entangling Roots, which also helps with my mana. At level 34 I had over twice the amount of mana as the best “water” I could buy was able to restore. Now at level 36 I have 160% more mana than the new “water” that opened up at 35.

After Int, Stam, SP, and Spirit, I look for the other two stats that can really help me: Critical Hit and Hit. The more you crit, the fewer spells you have to cast, and the same can be said for the more often you hit rather than miss. With Starfall currently scoring crits for over 800 damage, which is about 75-80% of the total health of most mobs my level, a solid crit can go a long way towards reducing downtime.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2009 in Druid

 

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Shaman: Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better

I focused a lot of my game time this weekend on leveling my Orc Shaman, Belgawrath. Over half of his quest log was filled with quests that are done in instances ranging from Wailing Caverns to Scarlet Monastery. Since I was already level 31, I decided that Wailing Caverns was not worth my time and just dropped them instead.

Just as I prepared to delete the quests for Razorfen Kraul as well, I saw an LFG message asking for a healer for RFK. I don’t have a single point in the Restoration tree, and I haven’t done any real healing other than my own, but since I had the quest and they were ready to go I went ahead and offered my services. They quickly grabbed me up as apparently they had been looking for a healer for quite a while, so off I went to RFK.

Razorfen Kraul
The rest of the group was made of characters in their low 20’s except for the 29 Warrior who was tanking for us. The warrior was the only one high enough to be summoned by the stone. Since a lot of warrior gear looks pretty cool I like to inspect warriors and have a look at what gear they are actually using. The tank was wearing BoA shoulders and a BoA weapon though I do not remember which one it was now. The rest was mostly green drops but he did have a couple of enchants on there so I assumed he knew what he was doing.

After the third pull I gave up on just sitting in the background to heal and proceeded to show the rest of the group how a real dps class does damage and then threw the heals around when needed. Healing wasn’t hard, but everyone was pulling agro all over the place so I had to heal pretty much everyone but myself. It went in little spurts though where healing was needed everywhere one second and then nobody needed it the next.

After the fifth pull I noticed a dangerous trend and started asking questions. We’ll just call this tank Cuddlebear.
“Cuddlebear, how many instances have you tanked before?” (Answer: 8 or 9)
“Cuddlebear, why do you keep losing agro? Do you know what taunts are?” (Answers: I don’t know. No?)
“Cuddlebear, why aren’t you using Thunder Clap?” (Answer: )
“Cuddlebear, why are you doing nothing by auto-attacks?” (Answer: )
“Cuddlebear, why do you keep moving all over the place for no reason?” (Answer: )

So, after figuring out that this tank has no idea what he’s doing, I explained to him how a warrior tank works at his level. And to my surprise, he still can’t hold agro on anything at all. And I’m not talking about holding it against me and my comparatively epic dps, I’m talking about the mage who cast a single Frostbolt and pulled the tank’s main target. To give the guy some bit of credit, there was another dps warrior in there that was using Thunder Clap and pulling some of the mobs off of him.

Since he stopped replying to my questions, which I can understand if he felt like I was attacking him with the questioning, I decided I would go ahead and tank the instance in addition to the healing and dps I was already doing. I was already the strongest dps, obviously, and I was the only one in the instance that even had the option of healing, but I was pretty sure I could tank better than the warrior, so that’s what I did.

I just went ahead and beat the snot out of everything that came at us, threw down some Stoneclaw, Healing Stream, and Magma Totems and went to town owning face with my mace. When people got low on hit points I stopped what I was doing to heal them instead. When someone pulled agro away and started taking too much damage I went ahead and switched targets to get agro or kill the mob.

So, for RFK I did my usual job of dps, while filling the necessary role of healing, and also tanking 80% of the instance as well. Sorry Mr. Cuddlebear, but you just got out-tanked by a leather wearing class that has the lowest hit points in the game. Cuddlebear (Orc Warrior), I can do anything better than you.

Scarlet Monastery
It took quite a while for some reason, but I did eventually find a group that was willing to run through SM: Library and Armory. We had a 38 Warlock who actually managed to out-dps me a few times, and a 38 Paladin who came to tank for us but bailed after the first boss in Library. The rest of the group were low 30’s, with me at 33.

After the paladin bailed the 29 Warrior (not Cuddlebear from RFK) offered to tank for us and since he used the Equipment Manager to switch to his tanking gear I was actually a little impressed that he might have an idea of what he was doing. Luckily, he actually did a great job even though he was a bit low level. We had a druid doing the healing and though I was strictly dps I did jump in several times to help him heal when the…less than intelligent, rogue wanted to “peek into the next room” and by so doing pulled way more mobs than we wanted.

I have to assume that the rogue was otherwise occupied with something else because (s)he constantly went into the wrong room or pulled mobs from who knows where, or just whatever could possibly be done to screw things up. Luckily the rest of us actually melded surprisingly well and easily made up for the rogue’s mistakes.

The tank was good at what he did, but he was also having connection issues, so when the rogue came running in with another group of mobs chomping at her heals, I had to switch over to being an off-tank and steal the mobs from her. Luckily she was smart enough to not build up any agro when she pulled the groups, so my totems, shocks, and attacks were enough to gather them all to me and chew them down. We didn’t want to lose the tank while he was dc’ed, so we kept the druid healing him and I just healed myself when I needed it.

The druid was pretty good on heals for the most part, but I think he was pretty new to it. When things got hairy, I dropped the dps gig and went pseudo-resto instead. When things were cool the druid worked just fine, but when extra mobs were pulled he fell apart. When it comes to healing in a pinch, Mr. Resto Druid, I can do anything better than you.

The warlock’s blueberry was supposed to be our off-tank, but he couldn’t match me for holding agro so we sent him back to the void for the Felhound instead. Yes Mr. Voidwalker, I can do anything better than you. The Felhound’s Fel Intellect buff is my new best friend though. With Mental Dexterity I get attack power from my Intellect, and the boost this little guy was giving me sent my windfury crits up another 200 damage.

After clearing Library the tank got dc’ed and never came back, so I had a DK in the guild come and run us through the rest of it instead. Got a few decent gear upgrades, but mostly mail armor I can’t wear until 40 anyway.

Useful Tools
Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem
One thing I want to share that really helped me out in my “tanking” as a shaman, was the Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem. When you use the totem the glyph makes a protective bubble pop up around you that absorbs damage. This was critical at times when I had 4 or more mobs on me and really needed to heal. I dropped the totem for the sake of getting the bubble. The threat generation is nice if you haven’t built up threat on the mobs around you, but the main thing was that bubble.

When the bubble is up I have time to let my Healing Wave cast, and that’s usually enough by itself to heal about 50-60% of my overall health in one cast. I usually cast my healing spells on myself in a reactive manner, only using them when I drop below 40% in health. I don’t cast them when things just start to look a little bad, I wait until I get to the point death is soon to follow if something doesn’t happen pretty fast.

Since my Shaman is an Inscriptionist (no, I don’t like calling myself a “scribe”), I went ahead and just made the glyph myself to try it out, knowing that I could just as easily make a different glyph to replace it in all of 3 seconds if I needed to. As it turns out, it’s extremely useful in leveling and questing as well as in instances where you have to pick up the slack for the other players.

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2009 in Shaman

 

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