Thursday, 9 December 2010

Barely tanking Blackrock Caverns normal

Last night, on the first day of the Cataclysm expansion, I went off into Blackrock Caverns and Throne of the Tides normal modes for some Bear Druid tanking action.

Known as BRC, Blackrock Caverns is right inside Blackrock Mountain on the front way into Blackrock Spire. However, there is a cunning quest in Mount Hyjal called This Can Mean Only One Thing which the Finkle Einhorn (from UBRS fame) gives. This will give you a handy transport to BRC, so you can discover the entrance and then use the LFD tool from then on.

The instance itself is quite linear and has pulls of 5-6, so we actually used crowd control on some of them, just to be safe (and for practice really). The trash wasn't too bad, with some notable exceptions. Twilight Sadists will do a channeled effect which immobilizes the tank, the big Defiled Earth Ragers drop a Meteor on you which does loads of damage, but if the party is stacked the damage is split (like in The Arcatraz).

There was also some craziness given my single AOE move, Swipe, is on a 6 second cooldown and I have no Thrash until level 81. Onto the bosses.

Rom'ogg Bonecrusher
We cleared the room before engaging, as we read there was a lot of moving about. This guy was quite straightforward, he will pull the group in and put them all in Chains of Woe, at this point one targettable thing will appear, which is very easy to spot if you have nameplates turned on. DPS it down and the chains will release. Of course while you are in chains, he is doing the Skullcracker move, so you need to get out then get to around 20 yards out otherwise it will totally one shot the unattentive.

Notable Druid loot is Skullcracker Ring, but he didn't drop that.

Corla, Herald of Twilight
Corla has two adds in the normal mode instance, which she sends beams toward. The beams can be broken by putting someone in the way, much like Netherspite in good old Karazhan. They will stack a buff on whoever is in the way and if it reaches 100, they turn drakonid and become hostile, party members included. Now I have read a strategy where you get one add to turn, kill it, then the other, then her. But we didn't do that.

We had two groups of 2 party members per beam, each group would alternate who stood in the way so each person didn't get 100 stacks. I just tanked her, she didn't do anything special really. We did have a fear ward on me and the healer, so this likely helped a lot. The strat sortof worked, she was at 10% when our shadow priest turned dragonlike, but I just tanked him as well and we killed her off.

For a tank, this is like tank and spank, with being ready on the Berserk should you get feared. Notable loot is Grace of the Herald for Kitties, and some strength ring but I believe Bears no longer want strength items. Of course none of this dropped.

Karsh Steelbender
This big drakonid guy stands in a room with a massive grate in the middle, through which lava is falling. The outside of the room is lined with non elite mobs. We didn't kill these mobs, but got 3 during the fight, so I would say they must die first!

He initially has a buff which reduces all damage by 99%, but if the tank puts him in the grate, the lava will melt his armor for a while so he can take damage. Unfortunately, the lava also stacks another buff on him which increases his damage, and he does an AOE fire damage too! So the game here is to drag him into the grate area just long enough for the buff on him to get to 4-5 stacks, any more and the AOE and subsequent tank damage will kill you all. When the buff drops off, repeat.

Now with Shadowed Unit Frames, the buff is very small so the first time it got to 8 stacks, I used Survival Instincts at this point! You only need him in the fire for like 2-3 seconds maximum, those stacks build up quickly.

Notable loot is nothing really, there is a strength cloak, which may be an upgrade if you still have a strength cloak. After getting some non-elite adds and killing the guy, he sadly didn't drop any useful loot.

Going further with the Finklestein and UBRS references, Beauty is a giant corehound and is probably the counterpart to The Beast. She has 3 pups in front of her and another at the back.

First job is the unpleasant murder of corehound puppies to attend to. These can be pulled individually, they will do a flame spit so turn them from the group. They also drop a puddle of lava under you, so you need to get out of that asap.

Then onto Beauty herself. This for the tank is tank and spank, except for a fear she will do. We tanked her right at the back of her cave so we didn't get feared into the next room and the (uncleared) mobs. A Berserk is handy for breaking out of the fear.

She will also randomly charge party members but she will come running back to the tank after that, like a good doggie. Who wants to eat you. Bad doggie! She does a flame spit as well, so turn her from the group.

After some running around Beauty died, notable loot is Beauty's Chew Toy which did drop, but it looked much equivalent to my gemmed and patched ICC legs, so I passed.

Ascendant Lord Obsidius
This is a fun one. Obsidius has two mobs with him and they put a stacking healing debuff on their target, so you don't want them targetting the tank. Luckily they can be kited.

So the tank just tanks Obsidius and the rest of the party run around like mad being chased by Shadows. After a while, he will emote and swap places with one of his shadows and all aggro is reset, so the tank just needs to pick him up again. The running around madly is certainly fun while tanking this one.

Notable loot is Twitching Shadows, Sandshift Relic, and a strength necklace. I was lucky enough to win the Sandshift Relic, so he will need to die again so I can get the cloak.

Blackrock Caverns is a fun instance and didn't seem too difficult if you had been grinding Emblems of Triumph in Wrath and have a set of item level 232 gear. Some of the boss encounters require a bit from the tank, and some are quite straightforward, so a good mixture. There is a tanking cheat sheet posted at the Sword and Board blog.

I also did Throne of the Tides, I'll do a post on that soon.

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