Archive for the ‘Frozen Halls’ Category

19: Runs of the heroic instances where the Battered Hilt drops.

152: Number of boss encounters during those 19 runs.

3: Times the 2.6-speed, ArP-featuring abomination to Enhancement Shamans, Nighttime, has dropped.

25: Random players I’ve grouped with.

0: Battered Hilts I’ve seen so far.

battered hilt, drop please!
you are so damn elusive
both my weapons suck

LFG tool is sweet
Blizzard made a ninja’s dream
who needs a name change?

sylvanas is pissed
the lich king laid the smack down
now run for your lives!

Related posts from Stormstrike:

Patch 3.3: Enhancement Shaman Talent Specs, Now With More Fire Nova

Lord Marrowgar down! The fight, from a melee perspective

The Frozen Halls: Enhancement Shaman Gear

More than just Gear(Score): An interview with Gear Score’s developer

After two in-depth posts on talent spec options for Enhancement Shamans in Patch 3.3, it’s time to take a look at rotations.

Six days into Patch 3.3, I’ve had the chance to run a wide-ranging number of encounters, giving me an opportunity to test Fire Nova — the most significant change for Enhancement — in circumstances you simply can’t replicate with a target dummy. Forays into the Frozen Halls, Icecrown Citadel, Trial of the Crusader, Ulduar and OS 3D have given better insight into the situational value of Fire Nova and its priority in an Enhancement rotation.

With talents and current high-end gear, Fire Nova can crit for 5k or more on each target it hits. The spell really shines because we can stack it with any fire totem we want — including Magma Totem — while simultaneously using our melee attacks. The result is a dramatic improvement in DPS on fights involving lots of adds, as well as a solid boost to single-target DPS.

Of course, calling an Enhancement Shaman’s ability range a “rotation” is a bit misleading, because ever since Patch 3.0, we’ve had a priority system. Patch 3.3 doesn’t change that — the first priority in any situation is using a Maelstrom Weapon five-stack.

Enhancement Shaman Rotations in Patch 3.3 (World of Warcraft)

This rotation's kinda trippy.

An Enhancement Shaman’s second priority also remains the same with Stormstrike. With its built-in debuff and Glyph of Stormstrike, not only does the attack do decent damage on its own, it also makes our Earth Shocks, Lightning Bolts and Lightning Shield hit harder.

From there, things get a bit tricky. On a single-target fight, Earth Shock is usually a better bet than Fire Nova. Against one target, it simply hits harder.

But on boss fights with adds, or AoE pulls, Fire Nova surpasses Earth Shock and should be used first.

On boss fights, I like to use Lava Lash early as well — the 400 AP proc from Totem of Quaking Earth almost always activates on the First Lava lash. The high proc rate makes it possible to achieve near-100% uptime, which is well worth at least one global cooldown every 18 seconds, the duration of the buff.

Of course, Fire Nova doesn’t work without an active fire totem in play, so re-dropping Magma, Searing or Flametongue should always be a priority after Maelstrom Weapon five-stacks and Stormstrike.

Unsurprisingly, the TL;DR version is this: We don’t have a rotation. If you’re an Enhancement Shaman and you’re using a rotation, you’re doing it wrong and gimping your own DPS in the process. I’ve seen posts from some players who claim they use sequence macros, and I just don’t see how that’s possible given the range of options available to us and the varying effectiveness of those options.

In Patch 3.3 more than ever, the best Enhancement Shaman “rotation” involves paying attention and selecting the most effective ability for each encounter and each moment. Some people see that as too much “work.” If you’re one of those people, perhaps you might be interested in a Hunter or Warlock alt?

Related posts from Stormstrike:

Patch 3.3: Enhancement Shaman Talent Specs, Now With More Fire Nova

Lord Marrowgar down! The fight, from a melee perspective

The Frozen Halls: Enhancement Shaman Gear

More than just Gear(Score): An interview with Gear Score’s developer

In my guild, one guy got a Battered Hilt on patch night, and that’s been it. No more hilts for anyone so far, and most of us (me included) have never actually seen one drop.

As I wrote earlier in the week, my group called it on patch night after we’d spent almost an hour zoning in to Forge of Souls, another 20 minutes or so zoning into Pit of Saron, and even more time trying to zone in to Halls of Reflection. So I ran two dungeons and logged off because there simply wasn’t time to do a third, especially if it was going to take us up to an hour just to get in.

Apparently Blizzard slipped in a hotfix sometime after patch night that significantly nerfed drop rates for the Battered Hilt.

There are reports of Hilts dropping like soap in prison showers, netting great weapons for the folks who had inordinate amounts of free time on patch night. I’ve even heard — from some reliable sources — reports of patch-night runs that saw two or three Hilts drop per run.

We’re five days into Patch 3.3, and I’ve run the new five-mans a total of 12 times, so I’m probably on the extreme low-end compared to some players. Maybe the fact that I haven’t seen one drop is attributable to that.

Quel'delar

Quel'delar

But in quite a few QQ threads on this issue, players are saying they expect to see one Hilt drop per week. With a one-in-five chance of winning the role, that means it could take as many as five weeks to get a Hilt. Ouch.

The hotfix seems to have pissed off quite a few players. As one Paladin on the official forums puts it:

What bugs me is all the people that took advantage of this benefit while I was sitting outside the instance trying to get in and failing. And now I get the decreased chance of getting it. Blizzard screwed up and now they should keep the drop rate the same instead of making those that didn’t take advantage of Blizz’s screw up suffer.

But not to worry — Patch 3.3 just continues the fine tradition of rewarding people who have inhuman amounts of free time. So whether you’ve got the time to run four versions of a single raid each week, or dedicate a six-hour block to running five-mans on patch night, rest assured the rewards will be sweet!

On Patch Day, getting a crack at the new five-man dungeons was a privilege enjoyed only by those with inordinate amounts of free time. As I detailed last night, it took me 50 minutes of zoning and re-zoning, just to get into the Forge of Souls for the first time.

Things didn’t go much faster after graduating to the Pit of Saron, and by the time my group had finished that instance, it was so late — and the zoning problems were so persistent — that we ended up calling it.

Because it was Patch Day, and because — like everyone else — I was excited to see the inside of the three new five-man dungeons, I pushed aside some work, neglected a few other things and made the time to run those dungeons. Tonight? Not gonna happen. I have work, and work means deadlines, and missed deadlines mean I don’t make any money.

Of course, for a very large group of players, inventing free time was not an option, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who saw guildies and group members log off in frustration after varying amounts of time seeing nothing but “Instance not found” and “Additional instances cannot be launched.

Word around the WoW blogosphere seems to echo what I wrote last night — while there’s no doubt Blizzard increased the number of available instances, and devoted more server resources to the three new dungeons, it still wasn’t enough. And despite all the best intentions, and the folks working late into the night at Blizz HQ, that does not fare well for our favorite gaming company.

For us — the players — the short-term prognosis is we’ll be bumping into the same problems: Almost everyone who was logged on during peak hours yesterday will be back tonight, banging their heads against the same lag and zone-in issues.

Over at WoW Insider, Adam Holisky details the technical points, but also points out that Blizzard — and its GMs and CMs — could do a much better job of communicating what needs to be done, what they’re doing on their own end, and when playes can expect some relief from these server overload problems. I wholeheartedly agree:

…this is still a mess, and likely will continue during prime playing time for the immediate future. So what does Blizzard need to do to solve this? There are two primary areas focus needs to be put in.

First, the instance capacity needs to be increased. If we’re seeing this now, on a patch day, imagine what it’s going to be like when Cataclysm hits and everyone of every level of gameplay will be running instances. The game will not be enjoyable for large swaths of the player base if they can’t run dungeons, and that’s a risk Blizzard probably shouldn’t take given alternative games on the horizon.

Secondly, Blizzard PR and Community Managers need to start getting the word out about this now. There is something almost psychologically defeating about seeing this error pop up again after we were told for so long that it was going away. PR and Community need to begin an immediate and massive campaign laying out the issue, what’s being done to fix it, and how long the fix might take. They don’t need to give a date, but saying something like “in the coming weeks we’ll begin expanding instance capacity again” would be a very good thing. Just letting the entire playerbase know they’re doing something is exponentially better than what they’re doing now (which is just a few blue posts buried amongst tons of others from the past few days).”

Related posts from Stormstrike:

The Frozen Halls: Enhancement Shaman Gear

Fall of the Lich King Trailer: So how easy will it be to kill Arthas?

Forge of Souls: Finally got in!

The Forge of Additional Instances Cannot Be Launched

Here’s a round-up of Hunter Enhancement Shaman gear from Patch 3.3’s three new five-man dungeons collectively known as the Frozen Halls, as well as all the new Emblem of Frost gear we can put to good use.

Regular-mode items are iLevel 219, while heroic-mode items are iLevel 232. Items purchased with Emblems of Frost are iLevel 264. Many of the iLevel 232 gear is badly itemized — aside from lots of Armor Penetration, these pieces also feature fewer gem slots than their Trial of the Crusader equivalents, and in many cases they don’t have any gem slots.

That’s probably Blizzard’s way of placating those who go into hysterics when they feel their hard-earned gear is too easily replaced. But the gear from the three Frozen Halls wings isn’t for raiders — it’s for casuals and alts, so they can gear up quickly and join the fun in Icecrown Citadel. That said, many raiders have one or two odd pieces they haven’t replaced in a while, and there are some gems among these five-man loot drops that can fill in gaps while players compile their Icecrown wishlists. 


Forge of Souls:

[Accursed Crawling Cape]

[Eyes of Bewilderment]

Heroic:

[Nighttime]

[Essence of Suffering]

[Needle-Encrusted Scorpion]

[Seven-Fingered Claws]

Pit of Saron:

[Ring of Carnelian and Bone]

[Scabrous Zombie Leather Belt]

[Horns of the Spurned Val’kyr]

[Gondria’s Spectral Bracer]

Heroic:

[Spurned Val’kyr Shoulderguards]

[Barbed Ymirheim Choker]

[Belt of Rotted Fingernails]

[Band of Stained Souls]

[Seven-Fingered Claws]

Halls of Reflection:

[Muddied Boots of Brill]

[Frostsworn Bone Leggings]

[Hate-Forged Cleaver]

Heroic:

[Spiked Toestompers]

[Frostsworn Bone Chestpiece]

[Black Icicle]

[Hoarfrost Gauntlets]

Emblem of Frost Emblem of Frost:

Band of the Night Raven

Logsplitters

Longstrider’s Vest

Totem of the Avalanche

Herkuml War Token

Recovered Scarlet Onslaught Cape

Related posts from Stormstrike:

Enhancement Shamans in Patch 3.3: Should we respec?

Lord Marrowgar down! The fight, from a melee perspective

The Frozen Halls: Enhancement Shaman Gear

Fall of the Lich King Trailer: So how easy will it be to kill Arthas?

A short update on my own patch night adventures: I finally got in to Forge of Souls, which we decided to try on heroic.

In all, it took almost 50 minutes of trying to zone in, waiting out two-to-five minute load screens, and getting spat back out of with the error: “Transfer Aborted: Instance not found.”

In the group was a guild tank, a guild mage, a pug warrior, and a pug resto shaman healer. We went in fresh, overpowered the first boss without looking up any strategy, and then made our way to Devourer of Souls. He’s a tougher fight than any of us expected, with a wide-ranging beam-style ability reminiscent of Mimiron and heavy AoE splash damage. He’s also got an ability that functions like a Soul Link, sharing incoming damage with a random player for a short duration — so the whole group has to be on its toes, ready to stop DPS at a second’s notice.

We didn’t have any real strategy for Devourer of Souls, other than to interrupt his Phantom Blast, have everyone — including the tank — stop DPS during Mirrored Soul, and stay clear of Wailing Souls. As our mage pointed out, “It’s not a balls-out DPS fight, it’s a survival fight.”

Devourer of Souls

Devourer of Souls: An angry-lookin' bastard with a shrieking voice and some nasty abilities.

Unfortunately, I nubbed it up and didn’t hand in the initial quest until after we’d killed the first boss, so after 20 minutes of group-building and re-zoning (there’s still a big crowd outside, and it’s late) I’m back in Forge of Souls, this time on regular mode.

Update: I notice some people coming to this blog seem to be having difficulty finding the instance. The Forge of Souls entrance is on the west side of Icecrown Citadel’s upper ramparts. It’s quicker to leave Dalaran from the landing — just fly west, circle around the largest spire at Icecrown, and look for a rampart that leads deep into the citadel: That’s the entrance to the Forge of Souls.

Good luck.

Update: Ran regular, which went much smoother despite having an all-pug run, and finished the quest. Now I’m headed into the Pit of Saron