This post was written on January 5 2011. With patch 4.2, there’s more attractive options open to the player with the Firelands related quests. I will be shortly posting an updated version of this guide.
In keeping with the heroic theme of the last post I want to answer today a question I get asked more and more. When can I jump into heroics and how do I get ready for them? Since I’m always available to help out my fellow gamer and since I really don’t wish to wipe more than I have to, here’s the quick guide to getting ready for Cataclysm heroics.
This guide is written for those of us who have to this on our own. The casuals, the loners, the trail-blazers for the group of friends, the ones playing catch-up or coming in late. This guide is not intended for those of you who have a guild to always run with. I do seriously envy you and if I could do it that way, I would. It’s my hope that this will shed some light for some people who have no idea of how to go about things.
This guide was written based on my own experiences as a tank through the first few weeks of Cataclysm. As time passes, gear, knowledge and general skill will probably increase and will make the switch between normal and heroics much smoother. Still, it’s clear that it will never be as it was in Wrath so I believe a good part of this guide will remain relevant.
Finally, this guide was written with the idea of reducing wipes as much as possible. It is possible to start heroic sooner and with less gear than what I write below and hope to be carried through and/or wipe enough until you get a few lucky drops. Out of respect for your fellow puggers and to give yourself the best chance I believe that gearing well enough before heroics is the way to go. Now, enough talk and on with the guide!
1. Complete Uldum and Twilight highlands
So simple yet it seems so hard. These two zones will provide you with most of the gear you will need to start out normals and some pieces might follow you all the way into Heroics if you’re not especially lucky with a particular drop (bracers… grumble). Finally, please complete the Crucible of Carnage quests. You will get a nice blue 333 weapon that might last you until raids… so… do it!
2. Run normals until you hit revered with 4 out of 5 factions
That seems awfully specific yet I found being revered with 4 out of 5 factions a good marker. Now that we are doing normals our goal is to replace as many items as we can with ilevel 333 items. If you can have only 333 items all the better but it’s more likely than not that you will have a few lower level items remaining by the time you are done. That’s where the reputation comes in as it allows you to have a few ilevel 346 items wich are the same level as the one found in heroics and will balance out your gear.
3. Research the heroics and don’t hit random!
So there you are, standing proudly in your blues (maybe a green!) 333 and 346 items, ready to make the big jump. Before you do you need to know that at this point you are still poorly geared to jump into heroics but Blizzard made it so that we have to go through a transition phase. You will be awfully undergeared and underperforming for those first few runs and until you get a few pieces of gear don’t expect to start clearing heroics like you were doing back in Wrath.
Think of the new heroics like mini raids. While most bosses can be cleared with a simple “Don’t stand in (insert color) stuff” strategy, all heroics contain one of more bosses that have mechanics worthy of a raid boss. The goal here is obviously to teach you raid mechanics before raiding and it also means you have to give it the same attention. This means that you have to actually research those encounter before actually going to said heroic. It’s not complicated, a simple read through an instance guide or a quick video will often be enough but you have to actually do that minimum effort. If not you’re going to die and most likely cause a wipe.
Does that mean that we have to research every heroic and learn it all by heart? Of course not. Our goal here is to get a few pieces of gear to help us be firmly in Heroic territory. With that in mind here’s my suggestion of starting heroics you can queue up for and that you stand a good chance of killing some bosses in starting heroic gear.
-Halls of origination: If your group can get past the first boss(research that one!), this heroic is not too bad and has a ton of bosses so there’s a good chance something will drop for you in there. Setesh (shadow boss) is usually skipped since he’s a royal pain unless you have massive dps but the rest of the instance can be cleared without too much trouble by a decent group.
-Throne of Tides:Short, sweet, and probably the easiest heroic I’Ve come across. The first boss is a bit hectic but a good tank will see you through.
-Lost city of the Tol’Vir: Simple mechanics, but a mean gear check for your healer and tank on the third and fourth boss. I’m hesitant to put this one here simply because many groups won’t go past the third boss but in a good enough group, this place isn’t too hard.
4. Hit random and hope for the best
At some point, you will either get a few pieces of gear or you will be bored to death of the same heroics and will want to hit the random button. I won’t recommend researching all the fights beforehand here because there’s simply too much to remember and its no fun at all. Rather, I would recommend you pick one or two a day and try to learn those and then build on from there. If you get a heroic you have no idea about, do ask for information.
5. If you get Heroic Grim Batol
Drop group! Seriously, take the 30 minutes deserter debuff and go do something else. This heroic was made for dedicated guild groups and the first boss alone is harder than a lot of raid bosses I have come across.
There’s a lot of learning and wipes ahead of you when doing heroics. Even with all the information in the world, doing beats reading and until you attempt the fights there’s no way around the wipes. Don’t expect to finish heroics and be patient with your fellow puggers who are learning this stuff. This goes double for tanks and healers who are having regular heart attacks during those fights. When you wipe think of it as gaining experience and try to see the funny side of it…