Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Into Hellfire Citadel

As I mentioned previously, I've decided to move on from 60, and start the sprint to 70. I began by cleaning up the quests in Hellfire, only to end up with my first TBC Dungeon quest, Weaken the Ramparts found in Hellfire Citadel.

This quest took me into the first TBC Dungeon, the Hellfire Ramparts. The Ramparts are designed for toons in the 60-62 level range. When TBC first came out, I remember going in there the first night with 3 other 60s, and a level 58 Priest. We steam rolled the place. We didn't know anything about the mobs or the bosses. We just paid attention, and were rewarded with our first Rare TBC gear.

But that first trip was with some excellent DPS, a well geared tank (myself) and a young Priest with a "Devil May Care" attitude, and a heart of gold. We were all seasoned raiders, so success was simply part of life. (As was impressing our friends with our undeniable humility.)

So what chance did I stand in there with 5 DPS Shaman? Well, it didn't hurt that my previous AV aspirations had already lead to a complete set of TBC gear for each Shaman. Let's get in there.

The Ramparts were always a favorite instance of mine. It was our first taste of expansion raiding, and gave us our first truly cool gear. It also gave us a sign of things to come. No longer were we faced with 4-6 hour instances such as the infamous Blackrock Depths. The Ramparts could be tamed in less than an hour even when we didn't know what to do.

I decided it would be safe to sneak the Twenty Totems in at level 62. As I entered the instance, I realized I hadn't be in there for nearly a year at this point. I got excited all over again, but my focus was on the first two mobs I had to pull. They were melee. This is good and bad. It means I can split them up using Stoneclaw Totems, but that also means I'm going to be getting pounded on.

When I'm fighting a caster, I can virtually guarantee I'll never take ANY damage due to Grounding Totems, but with Melee, I can only delay them. Once I do any damage to them, they're going to be beating on one of the boys, until they die. Luckily, thanks to TBC they actually have Mail armor, and fairly nice shields. (Ancient Draenei Crest)

I dropped my totems, and focus fired on the first mob. (raid tip: remember, when you have a melee toon you need to CC, never use Chain Lightning. You need to keep your threat on that target down so your Stoneclaw Totems can grab them.) He died before he got to the group. I freaked. I had no idea how overpowered I already was for this instance.

There are several trash mobs in there that can cause problems in the past. Specifically the Bleeding Hollow Scryer. This jerk would give you x number of seconds to kill him before he yelled for backup. If he got his scream off, his "backup" would come running, and social agro whatever other groups they'd run past. That usually meant death, or at least a short run to the entrance to reset.

But he died in two casts. It was great. Then I turned my attention to his two guards (both melee), keeping one busy with Stoneclaws while I burned the other down.

This ended up being the standard practice for the trip. If I had melee, stoneclaw. If I had casters, grounding totem while I burned the melees down. It was cake.

I got to the first boss in notime. The creepy Watchkeeper Gargolmar. (Didn't this guy used to spend his time torturing innocent tiny blue people with his cat Asreale?) He has two guards, both healers. I knew I couldn't just focus fire the boss down, or his entourage would simply heal him. So I had to hope that even a Boss would be hypnotized by the undeniable lure of truly sexy Stoneclaw totem. He was.

While the boss beat my totems, (why do I cringe and cross my legs when I say that?) I burned down his healers, and finally turned my attention on him. It was all going well until he decided to knock us all back. I've always been a sucker for theatrics, which is why I love the Shaman. But this means I often spread my guys out into formation when I didn't need to, just because it "looks cool". This time being spread out meant my boys all got knocked back in different directions.

While I panicked to get the guys facing the boss, two of my boys fell to his mighty melee awesomeness. I struggled to keep the Lightning Bolts flowing, and only barely finished the jerk off with two of my guys left. Phat lewts for all! Well, for the Paladin in the group anyways. (Light-Touched Breastplate)

After he fell, I worked my way to the second boss... Omor the Unscarred, which is a name that just BEGS for a beating. Hi guys, I'm new to the school. My friends call me "Rob the Unweggied"

Omor is such a cool looking boss. He looks like he could simply "think" my boys to death with is endless supply of awesome magics. But that's actually his only weakness. He's only a caster. Which means everything he throws at my boys, can, and is eaten by Grounding Totems. Horray for caster bosses!

So he fell before even one of my boys took damage. We were rewarded with a belt named after one of my favorite bands... The Tenacious Defender. Ok... still no loot for Shaman, but there's one boss left.

Vazruden, and his Netherdrake Mount, Nazan. Now this fight is a bit more involved, and I knew that going in... but I'm the unstoppable Twenty Totems, so I simply decided to pull.

The pull actually starts with two guards (melee), who stand ready at the end of the ramp to Vazruden's area. Above us, Vaz is circling around on the back of Nazan. As soon as the two guards die, Vaz jumps off the Drake, and comes running towards us. At that point, Nazan flies back up, and randomly sends a fireball at one of my boys.

As Vaz came running at us, I charged up the nuke and sent enough lightning at the man to bake an omelet on an icecube. I kept a steady flow of lightning bolts burning through his face, and he fell rather quick. SUCCESS! We're unstoppable!

Then Nazan landed and started storming towards us.

This is a gigantic dragon. And unlike most dragons you've heard of, for some reason this one breathes fire. Everywhere.

We started burning him down, when he suddenly decided to burn our robes off with a volcanic sneeze. In an instant every one of the boys was at 20% health. Ouch. He sneezed again, and we died. All of us.

I realized I'd have to actually figure out how to tank the thing, and force him to face away from the group, and somehow hold agroo off the other "Identically geared" Shaman. Bah. Too much work. I'm outta here.

Maybe I'll come back later.



David said...

Excellent post, I'm currently leveling 4 shammies which are now 62 (5th is lingering on my main account @ 40) and will be walking in there with a pally friend very soon. Love the blog!

Manifesto said...

Here's a tip for beating Nazan as a caster group... maybe even with no tank.
The drake can be damaged while in the air, while the rider is tanked/beats on your stoneclaws.

So, you can keep the rider on the ground occupied/beating on one of your guys. And then get the Drake down to ~10-20% while still airborne, the drake only lands once his rider is at 25%, or dies.

So by burning him down in the air, you can then quickly kill his rider, the drake lands, and you can kill him before he uses any dangerous abilities.

I find even in normal groups, it works out easier to have ranged dps the agro-less airborne drake, while melee wear the rider down.

Boom said...


I had no idea I could hit him from the ground. that will make the fight infinitely easier.

I did go back, and finally took him down by tanking him. It was a huge pain, and I only BARELY pulled it off.

I plan to go back and try your technique, and of course, will be using it in Heroics.

Thanks for the feedback!


Clint said...

Here's a tip for Omor the Unscarred. Pre-stage each of your shaman in a large semi-circle around him (they can run around the large platform without aggroing him). If you have a key bound to move everyone forward at once, you can then have that large semi-circle converge into lightning bolt range and then begin the fight. I just drop 4x grounding totems every time they're up and he never hits anyone.

The advantage of spreading out is that no one gets hit by treacherous aura-- my team takes absolutely no damage whatsoever while killing this boss.

On Nazan, I leave my 3-pack of shammies in a clump caused by /following my main, and simply burn down the rider first. I "tank" Nazan with the main shammy using a Frost Shock or two interspersed to build aggro. I watch the alts screens carefully to make sure a fire bomb doesn't land on them, but if it does, I use my alternate movement keys to step the whole pack forward or backwards slightly.

Works like magic!

(I have keyclone set to only pass arrow keys and DoNotPass WASD, my main movement keys. This is very helpful in a lot of places, especially Ramparts)

As a final note, if you can run Ramparts, the first part of Blood Furnace is even easier. I highly recommend farming the first boss in BF for his excellent Hammer and Belt, which is what my crew is doing now!

Love the blog, mine's at http://overload.clintandcindi.com

Jon said...

Wow, I got mentioned in a 20totems post! *shuffles feet*

It was quite fun barely getting my priest to 58 the day before TBC came out so I could run with For Horde that night...