Saga’s Trash (Hand)Book: Blackwing Descent

You can always find some good tactics for the various boss fights in the raid instances; there’s youtube videos, guides and tips to be found if you just go looking.

Something I found lacking though was the information on the trash. Sure, the trash may not be all that hard or matter so much – but there are times when you can wipe on a bad trash pack if you pulled it wrong or didn’t realise what they were doing.

So, for myself (since I’m the one in charge of checking how we deal with trash in the guild) if for no one else I’m putting down my notes on the trash here. Maybe they can help some other people if they want a quick reference on how to deal with the packs.

It’s mainly aimed towards people who may be new to the trash packs, and on normal version. (If you’re on heroic I kind of expect that you know the trash since you already did it on normal…)

Trash before Omnotron Defense System

Golem Sentries

These are stationed right outside the boss room. You can tank them right there, but I prefer to have them pulled down the stairs to the area where you enter the instance.

The reason for this is that you want everyone in your raid to spread out (8 yards) to avoid taking extra damage from their abilities.

We use two tanks for this, but it can be done with one. With two we have the mobs tanked on either side of the room and we dps them down one at a time.

Abilities:

Electrical Discharge
This is the main reason for you to spread out, it chains to up to 3 people within 8 yards of each other and does damage to them, as well as make them take increased damage if they take it again.

Flash Bomb
A white, swirly thing on the ground. Make sure to run away from it because it will deal damage and disorient you if you take the hit.

Laser Strike
A red circle on the ground. Don’t stand in it.

Trash before Magmaw

There are three mobs in front of Magmaw; a Drakonid Chainwielder that you can, and should, pull by itself and two Drakonid Drudges that you have to pull together.

Drakonid Chainwielder

The Drakonid Chainwielder should be tanked facing away from the raid since he does a frontal aoe move, Overhead Smash, that knocks people down.

He also puts a debuff (Grievous Wound) on the tank and you have to heal the tank to above 90% health for it to wear off.

Lastly, he seems to target a random person with Constricting Chains which deals damage and stuns them.

Drakonid Drudges

When you pull the two Drakonid Drudges there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First of all; they will automatically charge the person furthest away from them – so this has to be the tanks. Secondly, you don’t want anyone standing in their path they run because they will do a cleave.

What we do is have the tanks on either side of the room (left and right) and pull one Drakonid Drudge each. The raid stands in the middle, but slightly closer to the stairs so that we won’t be caught when they charge across the room. It’s important to make sure that the ranged group isn’t too far away or they might be charged instead.

When either of the two mobs die the other gains a buff (Vengeful Rage) that makes it deal a lot of damage; at which point you may want the tank in question to pop some cooldowns (with short cd since you’re about to do a boss).

To make the time with one mob up as short as possible in my raid we have a rule to always dps the add on the left side. Since they will charge across the room and switch tanks (the tanks should always pick up the add that’s charging to them) it means you will switch who you dps and when the first goes down the second shouldn’t have much health left.

When they charge across they stun the tank they charge into, so be prepared for some extra healing. Their aggro table resets, but as they stun they also give the tank 300k aggro, so unless dps is a little too trigger happy the threat shouldn’t be an issue.

The only other thing to know about them is that they do Thunderclap that melee will take. Normally this is not an issue, but note that when the first one dies the second one’s Thunderclap will also do increased damage so melee will take quite some damage.

Trash in The Vault of the Shadowflame

Once you take the elevator (the biggest, baddest killer of them all in this raid) down to the next level you’re in the circular Vault of the Shadowflame where you have three dragons and some trash walking around.

Drakonid Slayer + 2 Drakeadon Mongrels

There are a few packs of these walking around and you deal with them all the same way. Have one tank taunt the Slayer and another the two Mongrels – keep the Slayer away from the Mongrels.

You can tank them a little bit where ever you want as long as you keep them separate. Do note however that tanking with your back against the lava is a bad idea. The Mongrels do a knock back ability and might actually knock you into the lava.

Face them away from the raid because they spray a Corrosive Acid in front of them dealing damage and healing themselves (so you want the tank to be the only one). Dps the Mongrels down first, one at a time. Do note the buff they currently wear as they are more vulnerable to a certain type of magic (this varies from Mongrel to Mongrel and time to time).

The Slayer applies a Mortal Strike debuff, and does a Cleave. Other than that it just has a Blast Wave and can just be nuked down after the Mongrels are dead.

Maimgor

A dragon outside Maloriak’s room.

For once, actually have the dragon face the raid, because he does a Tail Lash (no breathing fire though). He also does Piercing Grip, which should be healed through (should always be done to the highest aggro target=tank) and an Enrage which should be dispelled.

Ivoroc

The dragon outside Atramedes’ room.

Face him away from the raid to avoid everyone taking Shadowflame. Other than that he’s fairly simple. Pay attention to the person getting Curse of Mending; they have to either be dispelled or stop attacking.

Pyrecraw

The third of the dragons, this one is outside Chimaeron’s room.

This one actually used to be quite the raid killer, but he was nerfed in 4.0.6 I believe. He does a stacking debuff Flame Buffet which increases the damage you take as well as of course it keeps coming and doing damage. You should be able to heal through this without problems now.

He also does a Shadowflame, so face him away from the raid since with their debuff it is a lot of unnecessary healing.

Trash before Atramedes

As you enter Atramedes’ room you will find a total of eight named dwarven spirits. There are four on the left and four on the right. Each one of them has a buff that grants them that ability. You have to pull four at a time (you don’t want to pull all eight).

A few things to note about this trash:

– When one of them dies all others are put back at 100% health.

– They also gain the ability of the Spirit who was killed.

– You want to kill them in an order to make the one with the worst ability to die last. You don’t want them all to have the worst stuff. Really, you don’t.

Have two tanks taking two mobs each – have them tank a little away from each other. The rest of the raid should spread out so that they don’t chain the chain lightning.

The groups and their abilities, listed in the order my raid kill them:

Left Group
Spirit of Anvilrage – Stormbolt
Spirit of Moltenfist – Thunderclap
Spirit of Shadowforge – Chain Lightning
Spirit of Corehammer – Burden of the Crown

Right Group
Spirit of Angerforge – Stoneblood
Spirit of Thaurissan – Avatar
Spirit of Burningeye – Whirlwind
Spirit of Ironstar – Execution Sentence and Shield of Light (so you have to dps through the shield so that you can then interrupt/silence the execution.)

Note that depending on your raid setup you may choose to alter the kill order slightly.

Bane of Havoc Usage

Edit: Added Firelands bosses.
In Cataclysm the spell Bane of Havoc was introduced for Destruction Warlocks and it’s a spell that is very situational. However, if you use it right it can help your dps on the fights where it’s viable.

Now that we’re getting further into the raiding content I’m finding which fights the spell can be useful, and I thought I’d put it down in writing (partly for myself so I don’t forget between raids – gold-fish memory and all that..)

How does it work?

First of all we need to understand what Bane of Havoc actually does. It’s a Bane – which means you can’t use it on the same target as your Doom or Agony target. You have to pick one Bane.

You can only have Bane of Havoc active on one target at a time, so you have to pick the correct target.

Because Bane of Havoc causes the target it’s active on to take damage equal to 15% of damage to other targets – you want to put Bane of Havoc on the target you’re currently not dpsing.

So in a fight with two targets, you put Bane of Havoc on target A while you dps target B.

In a fight with a boss and adds that you AoE, put Bane of Havoc on the boss while you dps the adds; he will take 15% of the damage done to each add.

So which fights should we use it on?

Beth’tilac

Put Bane of Havoc on the boss as you run in to start the fight. She will then take damage when you dps the adds downstairs.

Do note though that the window during which you can do this is very small before she retreats, so it’s best if your raid lets you do the pull with BoH. She doesn’t aggro you (though she’s bugged sometimes and hit me for 70k).

Shannox

If you’re assigned to dps Shannox, put BoH on either of the dogs.

If you’re assigned to dps either of the dogs, but BoH on the boss.

Lord Ryolith

Odds are that you will be assigned to dps the adds, so just put Bane of Havoc on one of his legs. If you end up dpsing the legs, put BoH on the leg you’re not dpsing.

Alysrazor

If you’re flying, put BoH on one of the hatchlings.

If you’re not flying, put BoH on Alysrazor.

Conclave of Wind

If you read the tooltip it says 40 yards range on Bane of Havoc, but it actually doesn’t have a limit when applied, so you can put it up on an add you’re not dpsing.

Personally I put it on Nezir (frost guy) for the most part, but I will put it on the add I’m assigned to (usually Rohash; wind guy) when I’m jumping across to dps Nezir during the full energy phase.

Omnotron Defense System

You can put Bane of Havoc on the omnotron that’s getting deactivated when you switch to a new one. The shield mechanic won’t be activated, except for Magmatron. Never ever BoH Magmatron because you’ll blow up the raid.

Magmaw

You can put Bane of Havoc on Magmaw as you’re AoEing the adds and he will take 15% of the damage done to each add.

It’s also a good idea to put Bane of Havoc on Magmaw just before he’s chained. It means the body will still take damage as you’re dpsing the exposed head. Then put Bane of Havoc on the head just before it disappears again.

However, note that this means you shouldn’t put BoH on the body again for dpsing adds – as it will then remove it from the head. Only use it during the adds before the first phase of the head becoming exposed.

Maloriak

Put Bane of Havoc on the boss when you’re about to dps the adds in the green phase.

Nefarian

In Phase 1; put Bane of Havoc on whichever dragon you’re not dpsing yourself.

In Phase 2; again, just put Bane of Havoc on whichever target you’re not assigned to dps directly.

Halfus Wyrmbreaker

Because in my guild we always dps down the drakes first I always put Bane of Havoc on Halfus as we run in so that he takes 15% of the damage done while we’re on the drakes/whelps.

Obviously remember to switch it to Doom as you switch to Halfus once the drakes/whelps are dead.

Valiona & Theralion

As you run in, put Bane of Havoc on Theralion before he takes off. After that, just put it on the dragon about to go in the air. You want the damage you do to the grounded dragon to transfer to the flying one.

Ascendant Council

Again, just Bane of Havoc the target you’re not dpsing directly. As ranged you’re most likely dpsing Feludius in Phase 1 and Arion in Phase 2. That means you’re putting BoH on Ignacious and then Terrastra. In Phase 3 there’s no one to put it on.

Cho’gall

If you’re assigned to switching to the Adherents put Bane of Havoc on Cho’gall before you switch.

 

A few points

  • It counts as a hostile action even if you’re not dpsing anything yet. (I found this out the hard way by a misclick and pulled a boss.. oops.)
  • Dpsing your Bane of Havoc target is a loss of dps since it does 0 damage to the target if you’re not dpsing something else. Remember to switch back to Agony or Doom.
  • It only transfers damage done by you, your Imp’s damage doesn’t count (except for the Burning Embers effect which is triggered by both you and the pet).
  • You can be the ultimate emo and use Hellfire – the damage you take will be transferred to the Bane of Havoc target. (This also works to take people out of stealth if you’re in PvP and managed to put Bane on a rogue etc. But note that you have to actually take damage, and not absorb it with a shield or ward.)

 

Know your Curses


This is meant as a quick list on the debuffs in our arsenal and knowing when to use them depending on your raid/group setup.

For our own personal dps we would always want to prioritise Curse of the Elements but if someone else in the raid is putting it up why not look at Curse of Weakness or Curse of Tongues if it’s something that could be helpful to your raid?

Curses vs Banes

In the patch before Cataclysm was released the Warlock curses were swapped into two groups instead of one; Banes and Curses, meaning that you can use one of each on a target.

Unless other members of your raid are already automatically applying every debuff you should make sure that you not only use your Bane on the boss, but also the appropriate Curse.

Banes are damaging DoTs. You can only have one on each target.

Curses are debuffs that you can apply, you can have one on each target.

Banes

We have three Banes available to us, and you should always use the Bane that is the best for your spec.

  • Bane of Doom – The preferred spell for every spec at the moment.

 

  • Bane of Agony – While not the preferred spell, you can still use it if you know the target will die before Bane of Doom can be useful (like lower health adds etc.).

 

  • Bane of Havoc – Very situational spell, you’d never use it on a single target fight.

Curses

Curses are our debuffs, and unless your raid setup means that every possible debuff is already applied, you should use one of these on every fight. Curse of the Elements in particular is a personal dps increase, but even if someone is already applying that debuff there is no reason for you to not help out by using one of the other Curses.

I’ve listed them mentioning the debuff they apply, and also the other classes that apply the same debuff to assist you in knowing when to use which one.

 

 

 

  • Curse of Exhaustion – Reduces the target’s movement speed by 30%. Affliction only. This isn’t really something you’d be using in a raid. I’ve not yet had a boss where I have to kite something – but maybe there is one somewhere. Truthfully it’s pretty horrible and glyphed Shadowflame will actually give a better slow. As will pretty much every other class out there with a slow.

Destruction Warlock Goodies (Enchants & Gems)

As we’re gaining more and more gear we may be starting to look at which gems and enchants we should be using. This is just meant as a quick reference guide to what to use.

This is, as always, aimed towards Destruction Warlocks since that’s the spec that I play the most and know the best.

Gems

As mentioned in the guide I made gemming for warlocks is fairly straight forward. You will usually go for the simple, red Intellect gems and ignore socket bonuses unless;
– you need to fill a Meta requirement
– the socket bonus is 20 intellect or 30 of a rating (or more)

So, simply put:

Red Socket: Brilliant Inferno Ruby
Blue Socket: Veiled Demonseye
Yellow Socket: Reckless Ember Topaz (or Potent Ember Topaz)

Meta Gem: Burning Shadowspirit Diamond

Unless you need a socket bonus, never waste a gem by gemming for Hit rating. Remember that it’s always better to get Hit by reforging.

Enchants

There are a lot of enchants out there this expansion, some of them require the very expensive Maelstrom Crystals. Since not everyone can afford them (and quite honestly a lot of gear isn’t worth it unless it’s a BiS that you know you won’t replace for quite some time) I’m listing the cheaper enchants as well.

Head: Arcanum of Hyjal (Exalted with Guardians of Hyjal)
Shoulder: Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone (Exalted with Therazane)
Cloak: Enchant Cloak – Greater Intellect
Wrist: Enchant Bracer – Mighty Intellect / Enchant Bracer – Speed / Enchant Bracer – Critical Strike
Gloves: Enchant Gloves – Haste
Chest: Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats / Enchant Chest – Mighty Stats
Legs: Powerful Enchanted Spellthread
Boots: Enchant Boots – Lavawalker / Enchant Boots – Haste
Weapon: Enchant Weapon – Power Torrent / Enchant Weapon – Hurricane
Off-Hand: Enchant Off-Hand – Superior Intellect

Note: I haven’t included the profession-only enchant. You can be fairly certain that they’re almost always the best one to use. For example, Tailoring’s Lightweave Embroidery is the best you can get for your Cloak.

Consumables

Flask: Flask of the Draconic Mind
Food: Severed Sagefish Head
Potion: Volcanic Potion

Since you can only use one potion per fight, it means that you will not be able to use any health or mana potions if you use the Volcanic Potion. To get the best out of it, use one right before the fight starts (without being in-combat) and then you can use one during combat, best time would be as you pop Heroism/Bloodlust.

Reforging for Warlocks

I saw that some people had found this blog while looking for reforging information for Warlocks. This is something I only just touched on in my Warlock Guide, so I figured I might do a brief post on reforging. Note though that this is mainly aimed towards Destruction Warlocks since that is the spec I personally play the most.

I think that first of all we need to realise that reforging is very different from person to person depending on your gear and gems, but there are some basic rules that you can apply.

The basics of reforging

To reforge your gear you have to visit an Arcane Reforger in a capital city. You can’t reforge anything you want though, there are a few things to keep in mind. For this guide I’m ignoring stats like Strength, Agility and other things not found on caster gear.

– You can only reforge items with an ilevel higher than 200.

– You can only reforge Secondary Stats.

– You can not add a stat that’s already on the gear.

Stats that you can not reforge are: Intellect, Stamina, Resilience.

Stats that you can reforge: Hit, Haste, Spirit, Crit, Mastery.

Get your priorities straight

Remember the stats that are worth more to you. First of all, try to get Hit capped by reforging what you can to Hit.

Once Hit capped, these are your stat priorities. For more information on them, check the Warlock Destruction Guide.

Intellect > Crit ~ = Haste > Mastery

The first stat to always reforge into anything else is Spirit. It’s completely useless to us and needs to go. Preferably you’ll have no gear with Spirit on it, but if you’re hated by Lady RNG like yours truly there may be a piece of two that you can’t seem to get rid of. Reforge it, now!

The second most useless stat for a Destruction Warlock is Mastery.

In simple terms

If you’re not hit capped; reforge other stats into Hit until you reach 1742 Hit rating (choose the worthless stats to reforge first)

If you’re hit capped: reforge into Haste and/or Crit depending on your gear.

Always reforge Mastery and Spirit into something more useful. Always.

So in general, depending on if you’re Hit capped or not:

Gear with Spirit should be reforged to Hit>Haste>Crit.
Gear with Mastery and Crit should have Mastery reforged to Hit or Haste.
Gear with Mastery and Haste should have Mastery reforged to Hit or Crit.
Gear with Mastery and Hit should have Mastery reforged to Haste.
Gear with Crit and Hit should have Crit reforged to Haste.
Gear with Haste and Hit is fine as it is.

Destruction Warlock Guide (4.3)


Updated for patch 4.3.

The guide is not the end all, be all of Warlock information – but hopefully can work as a small guide to let you know what to look for when you want to raid with your Warlock.

So, what are we specing then?

As with most talent trees these days the choices are pretty straight forward, with a few points that you can move about as you want.

3/7/31

Some people like to take one point out of Fel Synergy and putting it in Demonic Embrace, but it’s up to you what you feel work better. The idea behind Fel Synergy is that you want to keep your pet alive throughout the entire fight because he improves your dps, so if you move a point out and notice that your imp is suddenly dying a lot, I’d suggest moving the point right back in there.

And which pet do you use? Well, there is only one answer, and it’s the Imp (even if he’s always annoying you with snarky little comments I suggest not putting him in the fire to kill him) because he does increase your dps substantially thanks to the Empowered Imp talent.

There may be times when you’re asked to use another pet for a specific ability that the raid needs, like an extra CC from the Succubus or an extra Spell Lock from the Felhunter. However, do note that this is a personal dps loss and if there are people who can do it without having to lose dps it’s better that they do it. (Quite honestly, with the amount of classes who can now silence and cc I really don’t see that we should have to bring that ability to raids.)

The Stats

Hit Rating & Percentages

First and foremost we need 17% Hit. There is no easy way to get this now after they removed the possibility to talent for 3% Hit, and no class provide it any longer either. This means that you have to get it from gear alone.

Here’s the thing about Hit. It’s a very important stat, but with the little Hit we gain from talents (ie. none) or buffs (ie. none) and gear not providing all that much reaching it is a lot harder than it was before.

It’s an important stat, and you should reforge your gear for it, however  – we no longer gem or enchant to reach Hit cap. It’s just not worth it. Yes, you will miss a few spells here and there, but gimping ourselves by not using Intellect gems and Haste gems will gimp us even more.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t go for Hit. You do. But do so by picking gear that has it and reforging stats into it. Not gems or enchants.

The only time you should gem for Hit is if you have a Blue socket with a socket bonus of +20 Int or higher.

1742 rating is 17% hit. (Also note that for Heroics – if you’re not raiding – you only need 615 rating.)

Intellect

Another important stat for us is of course Intellect which provides that yummy Spell Power we want and need to melt faces.

There really is no need to gear specifically for Intellect, it’s just one of those stats that kind of come with everything. However, Intellect is your best friend and you want to Enchant and Gem for Intellect. (You can’t reforge for Intellect since it’s a primary stat.)

Haste & Crit

Then there’s the issue of Haste and Crit. Now, this is a bit advanced and I’m definitely not a theorycrafter, but from what I’m reading around the web haste is now the better stat at all gear levels. Earlier it fluctuated a bit depending on your gear, but as it currently stands, Haste>Crit.

The basic idea behind it is that Haste makes you cast things quicker, and your dots tick faster. This is good and we always want more haste. There are times when you will notice a definite increase though, and that’s when you hit the plateaus where your DoTs gain another tick.

To gain an extra tick of Immolate you need to hit the following thresholds; 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, 90%.

For those who want to read more about the exact percentages, and also see the percentages for other DoTs, you can check out this thread.

Quick Recap for Stats

Once you’re Hit capped (and always get Hit capped first if you can);

Intellect > Haste > Crit > Mastery

This, is however most likely going to change at higher gear levels. Always do a SimCraft to check which stats are best for you specifically. But it does look like eventually if you hit a haste cap of 2681 rating, Mastery will be the next stat after that, followed by Crit. However, this won’t be achievable until gear levels of 400+.

Spirit is now absolutely useless. If you have it on your gear (and you only should if you have no better piece without it) reforge it to hit, haste or crit accordingly.

The Glyphs

When it comes to glyphs, the only ones that really matter for your dps are the Prime ones. Anything else is just for show and you can choose what you find suits your own needs and play style.

Prime Glyphs: Conflagrate, Imp, Immolate
Major Glyphs: Life Tap, Glyph of Soul LinkGlyph of Soulstone
Minor Glyphs: Anything you want.

Note on Major Glyphs: If you do a lot of 5 man Heroics Glyph of Fear can be very useful for the CC. On some fights with a lot of adds Glyph of Shadowflame can be used.

The Rotation

As before, Warlocks work on a priority system rather than a rotation. You will use which ever ability is currently not on cooldown/ticking according to a list of priority. When a DoT is about to expire you should renew it around the last tick for the most effective up time. That means that you should renew your dots before they fall off. Preferably between the second to last and last tick.

Priority list:

Soul Fire
Demon Soul
Immolate
Conflagrate
Bane of Doom
Corruption
Shadowburn (below 20% health)
Shadowflame
Chaos Bolt
Incinerate as filler

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you should try to always keep the Improved Soul Fire buff up. Either by hard casting Soul Fire or using the instant cast proc from your Imp. The buff provides you with a yummy 8% extra damage for 20 seconds. You really want to keep this buff up at all times.

I admittedly often use Soulburn: Soul Fire to not have to hard cast it so much, but you can also use Soulburn to get your Imp back up if it dies. Note that once you get T13 2pc bonus you will be able to get your shards back in the fight, so you can Soulburn more.

Demon Soul should be used every cooldown, however note that it does not stack with Heroism/Bloodlust.

Shadowflame is a proven dps gain, but you have to be in melee range to use it. Don’t waste time running around to get to use it, because then you lose the dps by moving and not casting, so only use it if it’s a fight where you’re in melee range anyway.

Shadowburn has shown to be a bigger dps than Incinerate, but of course has a cooldown and can only be used below 20% health.

Fel Flame is for the most part useless since the dps is pitiful. You’re better off refreshing Immolate yourself. However, if you’re running from something and your DoTs are all already ticking you can always fire off a few instant Fel Flames if you have nothing better to do.

Please note that Curse of the Elements is still a curse whereas Agony and Doom are banes. This means that you can have CoE up and still use Agony or Doom. So if no one else in your raid is putting it up, you should.

Other Notes & Tips

For AoE Rain of Fire has finally been buffed and is worthwhile casting. For large packs, use Rain of Fire and Shadowflame. You can also pop Infernal if you won’t need the cooldown for something else.  If it’s only a few mobs, just use Immolate and Corruption on every target and then continue with a single target rotation.

Doomguard is our best single target pet to use on cooldown, and Infernal is the AoE pet.

Dark Intent should be put on someone who can benefit from it and uses HoTs or DoTs. My own preferred targets are Shadow Priest, Boomkin, Resto Druid. Note that you  should not put it on another Warlock after 4.1 because the 1% buff gained by being buffed by it from a Warlock would overwrite the 3% buff you do to yourself.

Bane of Havoc actually can be rather useful on some fights if you have more than one target to dps. For example putting it on Magmaw as you’re dpsing down the adds. Or putting it up on the flying dragon in the Valiona & Theralion fight. It’s a nice little boost to your dps without you having waste more than a global cooldown to put it up. You can read some Bane of Havoc tips here!

Raid Preparation

As we’re all either getting ready to start raiding, or are already progressing through the current content, I’d like to discuss how we prepare for raids. I’m not talking about having the right spec, or bringing your health and mana potions – but rather preparing for the encounter itself.

Each boss have a different set of abilities, and as such a different tactic for us to be able to defeat them.

We, as players, have to know the boss’ abilities and know how to counteract them (as well as of course get enough output on our dps and healing). How we learn about these things is something that interests me (and how we learn things in general).


The Usual Suspects

In a raid guild you can usually find a few different people when it comes to knowing the boss tactics;

The Raid Leader – by distinction he has to know everything the boss does and what the raid needs to do to defeat him. Step by step.

The Slacker – if you’re lucky he’s at least raid specced and brought his own stack of consumables, but you know he’s not read up about the boss and expects the Raid Leader to tell him all about it.

The Prepared – most likely this raider has read through all of the tactics and have a general idea of the boss fight already before the Raid Leader explains it.

The Overly Prepared – this is someone who probably studied the fights as much as the Raid Leader (or at least thinks that they did) and will interrupt them as they have their own input on what the best tactics should be.

Obviously there are grey areas in between these as well. For example, I’m usually overly prepared; I’ll have read up on the encounter and I’ll know tactics – but! – I don’t interrupt our Raid Leader and give my own ideas for tactics (unless we’re wiping repeatedly and I know he got something wrong! *grins*)


Expectations on Raiders

This probably varies between raid leaders, but for me – if I’m leading the raid – I expect my raiders to at least have a rudimentary idea of the fight before we go in.

I have no interest in spending 15 minutes laying out every spell and ability only to then finally get to explain the tactics. If people have a general idea of the boss abilities when you enter the instance – you can go pretty much straight to the tactics that your guild will employ, with only briefly mentioning abilities (as they pertain in the tactics).


Research

There are so many places where you can find out what abilities a boss has that no one really can have any excuse for not having looked it up.

Something to note though; the tactics that you as a guild employ may not be what you read on your site of choice. In the end, the choice of tactics is up to the Raid Leader and he/she will decide what they think is best for your raid.

Wowhead – The go-to place for all things WoW. If you search on a boss you will find all of the abilities they do as well as possibly a tactic. There can also be useful comments from other people who have done the fight.

Wowpedia – Another great website where you can see every boss for every instance with their abilities listed. You can almost always find good tactics as well.

TankSpot – Great website that has a lot of information for raid tactics, not to mention very useful movies with commentary.

YouTube – You can always search for the boss in question and view movies to get a visual idea of what the raid looks like.


Learning

Everyone learns in different ways. Some learns by trial and error, some by visual aids and some by simply reading the information. You probably know yourself best and therefore should have an idea about what you need to do for yourself to know the fight as well as you can before you go into the raid instance.

For me personally, I like to read the tactics and abilities on one or two sites and sometimes (if I feel unclear about some ability) I might go watch a TankSpot video.

That being said though, I am something of a visual person and usually need one attempt at a boss to see the abilities/tactics “in action”. Once this is done I generally feel like I know what I’m doing and am confident in my abilities and knowing what to do when.

So, what about everyone else, how do you prepare for a raid when it comes to tactics? Which sites are your favourites? What kind of “learner” are you; do you need to be in the fight yourself once or a few times before you know it, or is it enough to watch videos and read tactics?

CC? But I’m a Warlock!

In Cataclysm the dungeon design has reverted back to where mana actually matters for healers and this becomes obvious, especially as we step into Heroics. Crowd Control, Silences, Stuns and similar is suddenly a lot more important than it ever was during Wrath. It makes a huge difference if there are 3 mobs beating on your tank or if there are 5.

Strictly speaking you can probably get away with not using CC in the normal dungeons, but practice makes perfect as they say – and why not get into the habit of using it anyway since you’ll be using it in Heroics for sure. Not to mention, there’s nothing wrong with making things a bit easier. Trust me, your healer (and tank) will thank you since the less things are beating on your tank the less the healer’s mana will suffer.

Now, as a Warlock, you may not care so much about others (why would we?) – but think about it like this… With more mana to spare for the healer they might give you a quick HoT or heal when you Life Tap. And we do love our Life Tap! Our self-healing was nerfed considerably and I find it’s not as easy to top myself off with drain life as it used to be (not to mention I rather spend my time dpsing anyway!)

So, this post is about the various kinds of crowd control that you can do as a Warlock to make the dungeon runs go smoother. We actually have quite a few things in our arsenal, even if some is depending on spec and demon. Behind each ability I’ve noted if you need something special to use it.

Crowd Control

Fear – Pretty much your go-to spell. Glyph it and they’ll be rooted in place as well (you really don’t want them running around and pulling extra packs). 20 second duration. (Always)

Banish – You can only use this on Elementals and Demons. 30 second duration. Note that damage won’t break this, the only things that break it is it wearing off or you re-casting it before it wore off. (Always)

Seduction – Only works on Humanoids. 30 second duration. If you want to, you can glyph it.(Succubus)

Enslave Demon – Only works on Demons, and will make your own demon disappear for the duration (5 minutes). It does give you control of the demon in question, but they’re even more gung-ho than your normal demons so you better put it to passive and things off auto-cast. (Always)

Stuns/Roots

Axe Toss – A 4 second single-target stun. (Felguard, Demonology)

Shadowfury – A multi-target stun for 3 seconds. (Destruction)

Silence

Spell Lock – A silence for 3 seconds, but also locks out the magic school for 6 seconds if used on a cast. (Felhunter)

You can also use Axe Toss/Shadowfury since if you can stun a mob doing so will effectively cancel anything they were casting too.

Slows

Hand of Gul’Dan – Targets hit by your Hand of Gul’Dan spell will be slowed by 30%. (Demonology)

Curse of Exhaustion – This is a single target curse that slows the movement speed of the target by 50% for 30 seconds. (Affliction)

Other

Death Coil – A damage spell that also makes the target flee in horror for 3 seconds. As Cynwise said in a comment, this can be a nice quick way to peel nasties off the healer, but it’s also something you need to be careful with because the mobs won’t stand still. When death coiled they will run away, so make sure there’s no trash packs close by that they can pull, or you might soon find yourself with more than you can handle.

Howl of Terror – A multi-target (5) fear that makes the enemies run in fear for 8 seconds. Like death coil this spell makes the mobs run around, so it’s only to be used in emergencies and when you’re certain they won’t pull other packs. Most tanks don’t like it when you send all their targets running about the room, so it’s not something to be used lightly.

Tips

To make CC easier on yourself you really should always make sure that you put your CC target as your Focus. The easiest way to do that is to make a macro. It can be as simple as putting /focus before every CC spell that you use (like Banish and Fear) or you can go for one of the more advanced macros (which I recommend).

I won’t go into details on macros here though, but you can see a useful one in Cynwise’s post, or on wowwiki or even in the helpful comment to this post.

Final Thoughts

Warlocks were never counted on for CC as much as Mages with their sheep, but with glyphed Fear we actually become rather decent, we just have to keep re-fearing since the duration isn’t very long.

When there’s a pack with a mixture of mobs we truly shine since we can fear one and banish an elemental/demon. If your group is really lacking CC other than you, we can seduce a third mob with the Succubus.

However, the more CC targets we have to keep track of (due to the generally low durations) the less dps we can sustain. But in the end – surviving is more important so always make sure you help your group.

Personally I mainly use Banish and Fear (since I often have a rogue in the group with me). But depending on my spec I try to help with silences/stuns as well.

Edit: Added a “Slows” section and “Others” section.

Edit 2: Following discussions and comments I’ve added Enslave Demon and Tips.

Cataclysm Reputation Factions

As we’re reaching 85 we start the big grind of getting the gear needed for raids. I’ve seen people asking about the different factions in the guild, and I decided to make a list of the various factions and how to get reputation with them.

The new factions for Cataclysm are:

Therazane

Guardians of Hyjal

Ramkahen

The Earthen Ring

Wildhammer Clan (A) / Dragonmaw Clan (H)

Tol Barad: Baradin’s Wardens (A) / Hellscream’s Reach (H)

In an attempt to not make one huge, massive post I’ve split each faction up into its own post.

For quick reference (for other mount and pet lovers like myself) there are a total of 4 mounts to be had and 1 companion pet from these factions (not counting Pebble from an achievement that you get after completing one of the random dailies in Deepholm 10 times).

Mounts:

Reins of the Brown Riding Camel (Ramkahen)

Reins of the Tan Riding Camel (Ramkahen)

Reins of the Drake of the West Wind (Tol Barad)

Reins of the Spectral Wolf (Tol Barad, Horde)

Reins of the Spectral Steed (Tol Barad, Alliance)

Pet:

Rustberg Gull (Tol Barad)

Cataclysm Factions: Ramkahen

The Ramkahen are a group of cat-like people who protect the secrets of the Titans. They are the direct descendants of the Tol’vir, guardians of Uldum.

Note that this faction has 2 mounts!

Main Base: Uldum

Quartermaster: Blacksmith Abasi (Ramkahen)

How do we get reputation?

– You get reputation from some quests in Uldum, as well as instance quests in the Lost City of Tol’Vir and the Vortex Pinnacle.

– Wearing the faction’s tabard in 85 dungeons and heroics.

– There are two daily quest for this faction.

Notable for Warlocks:

Robes of Orsis at Revered for lovely Hit.

Desert Walker Sandals at Exalted with lovely Hit and yummy epicness.

Reputation Rewards

Friendly

Tabard of Ramkahen

Honored

Ammunae’s Blessing

Belt of the Stargazer

Drystone Greaves

Shroud of the Dead

Revered

Arcanum of the Ramkahen

Quicksand Belt

Red Rock Band

Robes of Orsis

Sash of Prophecy

Exalted

Desert Walker Sandals

Gift of Nadun

Sandguard Bracers

Sun King’s Girdle

Reins of the Brown Riding Camel

Reins of the Tan Riding Camel

Edit: There are now two daily quests for this faction. Originally there was only Thieving Little Pluckers, but after a fix the daily quest Fire From the Sky now awards reputation with Ramkahen as well (originally it didn’t award any rep at all).