Macro Polo

I wish I had a pool. That way, I could lay out by it soaking up some rays while posting auctions on my Droid and sipping an ice cold Dos Equis. Ahh, the good life.

Actually, my neighbors have a pool and a couple of cute, college-age daughters that are home for the summer. I have yet to work up the courage to strut across the yard and impress them with my dashing dashingness (that’s a word, right?), but it’s on the list of things to do. Eventually. But I digress.

Macros are an integral part of the WoW experience, whether you’re raiding, questing, or gathering herbs. Here are a few that I use or have used in the past:

Ability Consolidation

As you may be able to tell, these macros are mainly for conserving bar space. Screen real estate is at a premier these days, what with the market the way it is and all, so maximizing your interface is quite important.

DS/CS Macro

#showtooltip
/cast [nomodifier] Crusader Strike
/cast [modifier:shift] Divine Storm

I like putting Divine Storm and Crusader Strike together because they share a cooldown and, as such, you’ll never use them successively. Also, they are both HP generators when used appropriately, so they just seem to fit together.

TV/Inq Macro

#showtooltip
/cast [nomodifier] Templar’s Verdict
/cast [modifier:shift] Inquisition

Much like the DS/CS macro, this macro makes sense because both Templar’s Verdict and Inquisition can be seen as HP finishers. I don’t actually use this one, but that’s more out of habit than anything.

Blessings Macro

#showtooltip
/cast [nomodifier] Blessing of Kings
/cast [modifier:shift] Blessing of Might

Seals Macro

#showtooltip
/cast [nomodifier] Seal of Truth
/cast [modifier:shift] Seal of Righteousness

Cooldowns

Hitting multiple buttons in sequence can be a hassle in the best of circumstances, and a loss of DPS in the worst. By binding your trinkets, AW, Zealotry, and GoAK all to their own keybinds, you’re wasting time that could be spent moving out of fire or assaulting your foes with more attacks. Here are a few macros I recommend:

AW/Zeal Macro

#showtooltip
/use [Trinket]
/cast Zealotry
/cast Avenging Wrath

If you want the technically-correct (the best kind of correct) way to use your cooldowns, here it is.

If, however, you are stubborn like I am, here are a couple of macros to utilize those cooldowns separately:

AW/Trinket Macro

#showtooltip
/use [Trinket]
/cast Avenging Wrath

Zeal/TV macro

#showtooltip
/cast Zealotry
/cast Templar’s Verdict

This macro will use up that first 3-stack of HP, since Zealotry is off the GCD and all.

Utility & Miscellaneous

Finally, an assortment of my leftover macros that see their use in various circumstances.

Hand of Sacrifice Target of Target Macro

#showtooltip
/cast [@targettarget] Hand of Sacrifice

I like this one because it doesn’t tie me into one tank (like a “focus” macro would) and it doesn’t require me to change targets from the boss.

Repentance Focus Macro

#showtooltip
/focus target
/cast [@focus] Repentance

I use a variation of this on my mage for Polymorph. Very handy for keeping an eye on CC’ed targets.

Judge Focus Macro

#showtooltip
/cast [@focus] Judgement

To maintain two separate stacks of Censure. You’ll have to set your focus before the fight, or quickly during the fight. This macro could even be rolled into your normal Judgement through, you guessed it, a modifier:

#showtooltip
/cast [nomodifier] Judgement
/cast [modifier:shift,@focus] Judgement

Do you have any useful macros? Share them in the comments below!

Firelands Quick ‘n Dirty: Baleroc

This is the fourth of seven guides for Firelands bosses, designed specifically for melee DPS. Some of this can be used for other roles, but I figure that most of my readership should be either part-time or full-time Rets, so here’s content designed specifically for you!

Baleroc guards the bridge to Sulfuron Keep, meaning that in order to get to Staghelm and Raggie Poo, you have to go through this guy. This fight requires lots, and LOTS, of healer and tank coordination, so expect to hear a lot of muffled screams and trembling sobs over your voice chat.

Abilities

Baleroc consists of one phase. Outside of the mechanics, he literally just stands in one place the whole time, putting out no AoE damage and no Bad Stuff to avoid, with a reasonable five minute enrage timer.

He has a whole slew of tank-related abilities that you don’t have to worry about, but your tanks probably should.

He will regularly cast Shards of Torment which will spawn, you guessed it, Shards of Torment, one of which can be seen in the screenshot above. The closest person to the shard will take a stacking debuff called Torment. When no more stacks are being applied (due to either being out of range or when the shard despawns), Torment will drop and be replaced with Tormented. If no one is within 15 yards of the shard, it will pulse an AoE called Wave of Torment that will most likely wipe your raid if not dealt with.

Related to the shards are some healer-related abilities, but hey, you’re not healing, right? So it’s all gravy.

As a DPS, you have one of two roles to fill, depending on your raid comp and your raid leader’s thought processes:

Meter Whore

(I honestly couldn’t think of a better name.) Basically, if you’re not assigned to a shard, you just stay away from the shards at all times and kill the boss. Of course, be ready and willing to substitute on shards at a moment’s notice.

Shard Tank

If you’re lucky enough to get stuck on a shard (and you really should; I’ll explain why in a moment), you hug a shard (that is, be the closest person to it) until you just can’t take the damage anymore. Usually, anywhere from 9-12 stacks is a reasonable amount to take for Rets, with cheaters like Shadow Priests popping Dispersion and getting as many as 20+.

Immunities, such as Divine Shield, do not work. I know, I was sad too.

100% – Dead

If you’re a Meter Whore for the fight, congrats on sitting generally in one place and tunneling your way to victory. However, I really think Rets are a strong option for shard tanking. Divine Protection, when glyphed, is a powerful CD that will be up every time you go to hug the shard. Also, the ability to toss a 3-HP Word of Glory on yourself will help you withstand an extra tick or two.

To properly cover all of the shards that spawn and give everyone’s defensive cooldowns time to come back up, we set up three groups of 2 DPS for both the melee and ranged, resulting in 12 DPS as part of the rotation. We coordinated the “shard teams” by calling out the shard spawns as A, B, and C (in order to prevent confusion with healing groups 1, 2, and 3).

In essence, if you’re on the first shard A spawn, you will get the first, fourth, seventh, etc. shards. This should give plenty of time for your CDs to come back up and for Tormented to fall off.

Otherwise, just continue the Shard Tank rotation and burn him down. Don’t forget to pop your bubble if he enrages and you need a few extra seconds for DoTs!

 

Chill Gear from the Molten Front

After re-reading my patch 4.2 gear guide posts (parts 1 and 2), I noticed that I neglected to include most of the ilvl 365 gear available through Molten Front dailies! Doh!

For anyone working on these dailies, let me tell you that I’m right there with you. I’ve done them everyday since they appeared on live servers, and oh MY GOD. You need so many tokens to get to “the next stage,” it’s a little ridiculous.

That being said, once you get into the Molten Front and you get access to both Shadow Wardens and Druids of the Talon, you are presented with another choice. Once you accrue another 125 Marks of the World Tree, you have to pick which follow-up quest to do: Additional Armaments, Filling the Moonwell, and Calling the Ancients.

Malfurion’s Breach

Just for getting access to the Molten Front, you can go into the Sentinel Tree and talk to Zen’Vorka, who offers:

  • Fireheart Necklace
  • Other stuff of little importance, like city rep bonuses and a cache that has a chance at containing a pet. Whoo.

Once you get both the Druids and the Wardens on your side, then you get the following options:

Additional Armaments

For turning in your hard-earned marks to Damek Bloombeard you get access to his wares:

Filling the Moonwell

If you opt into turning those marks into Ayla Shadowstorm, she’ll offer the following:

  • Moon Blessed Band
  • Tailoring and Leatherworking bag patterns, though bigger bags won’t help your DPS

Calling the Ancients

Finally, if you decide to go with the Ancients first, Varlan Highbough is your vendor and he sells:

So, which vendor am I going for first? It’s a tough call…

I might go with Calling the Ancients (for the relic and to try out the trinket – throwing trees?! I’m in), followed by Additional Armaments for the ring and the Engi patterns, and finishing with Filling the Moonwell.

 

A Quick Note to Blizzard: Firelands Shoulders

Plate DPS have no offset shoulders in Firelands whatsoever. Normally, this wouldn’t faze me… until I saw that there are TWO different offset tanking shoulders:

Pauldrons of Roaring Flame and Spaulders of Recurring Flame

Blizzard’s lack of naming creativity aside, look at the Spaulders.

Now look at our tier, Immolation Pauldrons.

Now back to the Spaulders.

Now back to our tier.

They have the same amount of Strength! The Pauldrons of Roaring Flame have 59 less Strength on them, and Prot’s tier has even less (Immolation Shoulderguards)! Clearly, Blizzard had a brain fart and intended for these to be DPS shoulders but plumb forgot.

Let’s rectify this, Blizzard. All you have to do is change the Dodge and Parry to Crit and Mastery and I’ll let this little incident slide.

Firelands Quick ‘n Dirty: Beth’tilac

This is the third of seven guides for Firelands bosses, designed specifically for melee DPS. Some of this can be used for other roles, but I figure that most of my readership should be either part-time or full-time Rets, so here’s content designed specifically for you!

Beth’tilac (or Beth, for short) has a ton of trash before her that loops back on itself and is just a general pain in the ass. Expect a long walk back after a wipe, as there are no shortcuts up the cliff from what I’ve seen.

I’m going to explain as much as I can, even though some of these things may be irrelevant for the strat we used.

Abilities

This encounter has two separate areas in which to fight: on the web (above you) and on the ground.

Web

Up on the web, Beth’tilac uses Meteor Burn to try to knock people down. When the meteor hits, it creates a hole in the web, and if you fall through it you won’t have strands to slow your descent.

The other concern up top is Smoldering Devastation, which happens when Beth’s energy goes to zero. When this goes off, it’ll one-shot anything on the same level as her.

Ground

On the ground, there are three different types of adds.

Cinderweb Drones

Drones do a large frontal cone attack called Boiling Spatter that hurts like a mother. Also, if it is in proximity to any Cinderweb Spiderlings it will Consume them, healing itself and increasing its damage done. Finally, if the Drone isn’t dead by the time Beth’tilac casts her Smoldering Devastation, it will run to the middle and join Beth upstairs. Once up there, it will cast Leech Venom and start draining her energy faster.

Cinderweb Spinners

Spinners dangle on threads and toss out Burning Acid. These can either be killed from range or taunted down and killed. Once taunted down, they leave behind their thread, which can be mounted like a vehicle and used to get up to the web.

Cinderweb Spiderlings

Spiderlings spawn from the northwest, northeast, and southwest corners of the room. If a Drone is up, they will make a beeline for it. If they reach their target, the Drone will eat them as mentioned previously. If no Drone is active (such as at the start of the fight), the Spiderlings will cast Seeping Venom on a nearby raid member.

Second phase

After Beth casts her third Smoldering Devastation, she’ll drop down to the ground. If there are any Spiderlings left up, she’ll Consume them and gain 10% of her health per Spiderling. She’ll be casting Ember Flare periodically, which when combined with her increasing stacks of Frenzy, presents a soft enrage that isn’t actually all that soft.

100% – Third Smoldering Devastation

As I mentioned before, some of these mechanics aren’t relevant for the strat I’m about to explain, but in case your raid wants to deviate from it, at least you have all of the pertinent info.

We used a zerg strat. Enveloping Shadows has had unusual luck with unorthodox strats, so when I saw a Youtube video of a 25-man raid doing a zerg, I just knew we had to give it a shot. Here’s what went down:

One tank and two healers up with Beth, everyone else down on the ground. One tank on the ground picking up Drones, melee with taunts got all of the spinners down and killed them, the Spiderling teams killing their adds, and everyone else on the active Drone.

We had so much DPS that after killing spinners, we’d swarm the drone (no pun intended; honest!) and have a few seconds of downtime until the next spinner spawn. So, we switched things up to try to cut down on that downtime as much as we would be comfortable with. What ended up netting us a kill was putting two melee up top with the tank and healers, and keeping everyone else where they were. This way we had Beth down to 85% or so when she finally dropped to ground level.

This, of course, presents three different possible roles for a Ret:

Web

If you’re up on the web, taunt a Cinderweb Spinner (Hand of Reckoning and Righteous Defense both work) and climb up. Make sure your tank and healers go up first, though.

Be very, very mindful of Meteor Burn. The places where they come down look like little lava pools, so it should be fairly easy to avoid. Just don’t do what I did and try to squeeze in between two of them; you’ll fall through the web and not get slowed. Ouch.

When she starts casting Smoldering Devastation, go back down from the center hole.

Ground

We had all melee on the ground taunt and kill Spinners first, and then jump on the Drone. The Spinners’ melee hits decently hard, so make sure you’re in range of your healers and/or taking advantage of ground healing effects.

Remember to stay behind the Drone to avoid the cone attack.

Spiderlings

If you’re on Spiderling duty, slap on Seal of Righteousness and abuse your Divine Storm button. These can be easily AoE’d down, but should also be slowed (Chilblains, Freezing Trap, etc.) so you can kill them before they get to the Drone.

Third Smoldering Devastation – Dead

As I’ve mentioned, after she casts her third Smoldering Devastation she’ll drop to the ground. Make sure to kill any Spiderlings left so that she doesn’t heal and negate all of the damage you may have done up top.

Aside from your two tanks, everyone else should clump up on her ass. Thanks to the stacking Frenzy, the raid damage is going to steadily get out of control. Chain raid cooldowns (Divine Guardian, Aura Mastery, Rallying Cry, etc.) and go to town. Make sure to use Holy Radiance on cooldown during this phase; every little bit helps!

We popped Bloodlust a few seconds after the start of this second phase, but our healers suggested we save it until her health dipped to about 40% or so. I’m sure it would’ve made their jobs easier in terms of healing people up before the next Ember Flare.

Otherwise, it’s just a straight burn phase. Divine Protection is great to use to mitigate the ever-increasing amounts of Fire damage that’s going out, and don’t forget to bubble if you’re getting close to a kill and your healers are running out of juice!

Min-Maxing to the Max

Many of us do some pretty crazy things to squeeze out a few more DPS points, or survive a few seconds longer. Racial traits, while relatively superficial these days, provide extra bonuses in certain situations. Since the Horde paladin races don’t offer much in terms of racial abilities, I decided to take things one step further…

So what exactly do I gain by turning Antigen into a girl?

1. Increased responsiveness

Let’s face it; the heavier an object is, the harder it is to turn that object. The fairly slim physique of my male belf wasn’t quite cutting it for the nimble jumping and turning that the Firelands requires.

2. Increased Dodge

I’ve noticed that Antigen now twirls much more than before. All of these twirls increase your chance to dodge attacks, by the way, so if you’re tanking you should be spamming Space to try to proc a twirl.

3. Increased reputation gains

I’ll be walking around Orgrimmar and have people and critters randomly start following me. I have this aura now; this inescapable allure that just draws things to me.

4. Decreased gold expenditures

I don’t even pay for repairs anymore. I just walk into the shop, take off my armor, and the blacksmiths do the rest. It takes them twice as long because they seem to be unfocused, but I usually just /dance while I wait and it’s all good.

5. Defenestration insurance

Sometimes, amidst all of the jumping and twirling, I overdo it and just straight up fall off of a ledge or out of a window. To my surprise, every time this happens (and it happens a lot – never stop twirling!) a druid in flight form swoops down and picks me up. Thanks little buddy!

6. Increased stealth detection

It seems I now have access to special balloons that pinpoint the exact position of Night Elf hunters. This could come in handy.

Gender may seem like something that is of little consequence, but it’s had a huge impact on my playstyle; I would definitely recommend the switch!

Firelands Quick ‘n Dirty: Lord Rhyolith

This is the second of seven guides for Firelands bosses, designed specifically for melee DPS. Some of this can be used for other roles, but I figure that most of my readership should be either part-time or full-time Rets, so here’s content designed specifically for you!

Before you get to Rhyolith, there’s an interesting gauntlet with a pretty sad “boss” at the end of it, Kar the Everburning, which was just a pushover when we were clearing through. Sadly it’s not like Sister Svalna in ICC, who was a sort of miniboss right before Valithria Dreamwalker.

I miss you, Sister Svalna. You were an easy Emblem of Frost.

Important note: Rhyolith will pretty much pull when you jump on his island. Do all of your strategery and planning from the shore, and only jump in when everyone’s ready.

Abilities

For the entirety of the fight, you’ll be attacking Rhyolith’s feet, sorta like Kologarn’s arms but not so much. On Kolo, you’d DPS the arms whenever someone would get grabbed, or if you’d want to chip away at his health, and they’d die and regenerate. On Rhyolith, his feet share a health pool with his entire body.

Rhyolith will be walking around and, as melee, it’s your responsibility to turn him. Put heavy DPS on one foot to get him to turn in that direction (left foot to go left, right foot to go right). If he reaches the lava at the edge of the island/platform, he’ll cast Drink Magma and do massive raid damage.

The reason you want to turn him is to get him to step on active volcanoes. When Rhyolith uses Concussive Stomp, two to three new volcanoes will come up from the ground. Once in a while, Rhyolith will feel the need to ignite one, which will start doing damage to a number of players and put up a stacking debuff called Eruption, which sucks big-time.

A quick aside: we were debating Tuesday night about how you avoid the knockback of the stomp, if it’s a jumping mechanic or tied to resists. I’m of the opinion that a full resist will prevent the knockback, but I could be wrong! If you have any insights into how this works, feel free to share!

If you can get Rhyolith to stomp out an active volcano, not only will that damage stop, but he’ll lose some of his Obsidian Armor (10 stacks per volcano). It should take 8 volcanoes to rid him of this damage reduction.

When he does stomp one out, it’ll create a crater from which streams of lava will come bolting out of. These streams hit really hard, so avoid them at all costs.

This screenshot is great for a number of reasons.

First, I died to a lava stream (that thin line of fire), so you can see me fail! That’s always fun.

Second, speaking of fail, your damage output will be total shit when you’re on the feet because of the damage reduction component of Obsidian Armor. It’s supposed to be that way, don’t fret.

Third, you can see the difference between dormant and active volcanoes. The active ones are to the far right and the bottom right (underneath my Skada). They have reddish-orangish lava cracks in them; they’re fairly obvious.

Finally, you can see the adds that the ranged have to deal with for most of the fight. Mock them, mock them endlessly!

100%-25%

We had one melee be the Rhyolith “driver”, directing which foot to DPS to turn him. In order to make hard turns, we found that having a few ranged switch to the necessary foot was pretty clutch when the need arose. We actually got the achievement, Not an Ambi-Turner, because we took him in a clockwise circle the whole time, straightening him out when we had to. Otherwise, as long as your driver steers Rhyolith into active volcanoes at a steady pace, this phase isn’t terribly difficult for melee.

Note: the hitbox for the feet is quite large, so if you get knocked back by the stomp, you shouldn’t have to run too far to get back in range.

When all of his Obsidian Armor stacks are gone, all that remains is to get him to 25% in order to push phase 2.

25%-Dead

At the start of phase 2, Rhyolith will shed his tough exterior to expose a gooey nougat center, and he’ll stop ignoring players. This is a huge burn phase in more than one sense of the word.

Not only will he continue to cast Concussive Stomp, but he’ll also be pulsing out Immolation, a raid-wide AoE. Have your raid pop their cooldowns (Divine Guardian, Rallying Cry, Aura Mastery, etc.) because Blizzard took these out of our reach. Glyphed Divine Protection should help abate some of the damage, Divine Shield more so.

This phase is really fast, so give it all you got!

Taking Off the Training Wheels

I got a request over Twitter for a blog post, from Vidyala of Manalicious (the artist behind that sweet banner up there, by the way)! She’s started playing her Holy paladin again and has picked up a Ret offspec. Anyway, here’s her concern:

Ergh. So unwilling to let CLCRet go. @hazmacewillraid, WTB post about how to take off the training wheels, haha.

I have to commend Vid for a number of reasons here.

First, she’s back to playing a paladin, so kudos is due for that alone! Mages are unclean, Vid :P

Second, she used a learning tool (clcRet) in order to get accustomed to our rotation and, presumably, do competitive DPS. I’m sure her guildmates appreciate the sentiment!

Third, she recognizes that clcRet is just a learning tool, and it’s not meant to be used long term.

Note: This post is going to be heavily-fortified with opinion. You have been warned.

Learning to Walk… All Over Again

Rotation helpers like clcRet operate by having the user respond to an image that’s associated with a keystroke. Knowing which buttons your abilities are on is good, but knowing why you’re hitting those buttons is even better.

These addons don’t encourage this aspect; you see an image of Crusader Strike and you hit your associated keybind for it (mine is 2). Why did you hit Crusader Strike at that moment? Was it because you saw that it just came off cooldown and that you weren’t full up on Holy Power at the time, or was it because the addon told you to do it?

Most of the time, it’s because the image popped up. Let’s face it; the time it takes the brain to process an image and associate it with muscle memory is much less than it takes to evaluate multiple conditional statements and special situations, while also going through muscle memory. This translates into faster response times, but it comes at a price.

My problem with clcRet is that there’s no active learning involved. You’re not using your brain to determine your priorities and rotation; you’re letting the addon do that for you. Therefore, if you find that you want to ween yourself off the addon, it’s very much like re-learning how to play your class. So let’s play through that scenario for Vid, shall we?

Step 1: Learn the rotation

As I said, it’s very easy to let clcRet do all the thinking when it comes to this, so take the time to throw down on some research. Lucky for you I keep a fairly up-to-date Retribution 101 page up top near the banner! However, if you don’t want to dig through all of that, here’s the relevant bit:

Inquisition > Templar’s Verdict (3 HP) > Crusader Strike (0-2 HP) > Templar’s Verdict (DP) > Hammer of Wrath > Exorcism (AoW) > Judgement > Holy Wrath > Consecration

I realize this may look absolutely confusing at first glance, but it’s really not that bad.

Your main concern is near-100% uptime on Inquisition. You can never get total, 100% uptime because of how long it takes you to generate HP initially, even if you get a lucky Divine Purpose proc, so don’t worry about getting triple digits. If you’re in the 90th percentile on a Patchwerk-type fight (or on a target dummy), you’re doing it right.

Going through the rest of the priority list…

If you have 3 Holy Power (abbreviated HP), and Inquisition is still rolling, Templar’s Verdict will be your go-to spell.

(The rest of these if-then statements will assume that Inquisition is still active and rolling.)

If you don’t have 3 HP and Crusader Strike is off-cooldown, use Crusader Strike.

Divine Purpose is a little different. Since it has an 8 second duration, we can hold off on using it until we absolutely have to.

If you have 3 HP and you get a DP proc, the game will use up your DP proc first, which is great because if your DP-TV produces another DP proc, you can keep going and going. My current record is seven DP procs in a row!

If you don’t have 3 HP, CS is off-cooldown, and you get a DP proc, hit CS first, then use your DP proc and 3 HP.

If you don’t have 3 HP, CS is on-cooldown, and you get a DP proc, then hit TV/Inq.

If you don’t have 3 HP and Crusader Strike is on-cooldown, use any of the other “filler” spells in your book, following the priority:

Hammer of Wrath > Exorcism (AoW) > Judgement > Holy Wrath > Consecration

Hammer of Wrath will only be active sub-20%, or while you have Avenging Wrath active.

Exorcism will only be a viable option when you get an Art of War proc; the stock Blizzard aura for this is two swords (Ashbringers, actually) framing your character to the left and right.

With current Haste levels, your rotation should look something like this:

CS > Filler > Filler > CS > Filler > Filler > CS > TV/Inq

Step 2: Replace clcRet

This is going to be difficult. You’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to let Inquisition drop, you’re going to miss procs…

It’s okay.

To ease the transition, might I recommend getting OmniCC if you don’t already have it? It shows ability cooldowns in an extremely simple and helpful way, as you can see below.

Find a way to track Inquisition. My current UI uses IceHUD to track it, but you can use something like Power Auras to set up your own custom graphics, or ForteXorcist that shows a basic bar and timer. I’ve found that clcRet actually has a decent Inquisition tracker built in, so if you can’t stand the thought of uninstalling it completely, you can at least keep it around for this!

Also, just changing the way your UI flows can help you cope with the loss of clcRet. Placing your bars in a semi-prominent location will help you scope out your cooldowns while allowing your peripheral vision to notice Bad Things You Probably Shouldn’t Stand In. You don’t want to be covering too much area, though, so try to maintain a balance.

Speaking of UIs, I just really wanted to share this old screenshot (July 2009) to serve as a comparison of how I’ve changed things over the years as I got more and more comfortable:

Compared to my current UI:

There are so many gems in that old screenshot… Frost, Fire, and Shadow Resist Auras, Divine Guardian, Sacred Shield, Judgements of Light and Wisdom, Sense Undead, Divine Intervention… not to mention Seal of Blood hiding in Pallypower over there!

Ah, that takes me back.

Anyway, I hope you find these tips and tricks useful! Ret has certainly become more involved than it used to be in Wrath, but it’s not so difficult that you need an addon like clcRet to help you sort through the mess. I highly encourage people to try to not use it; not because it’s a terrible addon, but because actually learning Ret and developing those reflexes and reactions is part of the fun of playing the spec! Rotation helpers are just one step closer to being a mindless, one-button class… and no one wants to play an arcane mage, right? :D

Firelands Quick ‘n Dirty: Shannox

This is the first of seven guides for Firelands bosses, designed specifically for melee DPS. Some of this can be used for other roles, but I figure that most of my readership should be either part-time or full-time Rets, so here’s content designed specifically for you!


You’ll have to clear a decent  amount of trash to get Shannox to even spawn, so get to work. Also clear out a little area where you’ll fight Shannox and his puppies.

Abilities

Shannox is a hunter and comes with two pets: Rageface and Riplimb. Rageface doesn’t have an aggro table, whereas Riplimb does. Rageface will regularly leap at a player and cast Face Rage, which hurts… a lot. The only way to get Rageface to stop mauling the player is to land a big crit on him (think Iron Constructs on Ignis), something in the ballpark of 30,000 damage or greater for 10-man and 45,000 damage or greater for 25-man. Divine Shield should wipe this if you’re targeted, but I’ve never had a chance to try; our strat should make this clear.

Riplimb, on the other hand, doesn’t do much you need to be concerned about. Whenever Shannox tosses his spear, Riplimb will play fetch and bring it back to the hunter, so if you’re DPSing Riplimb when this happens, be wary of where the dog is walking!

Shannox has a number of abilities to look out for. First of all, he’ll periodically cast Arcing Slash which does a conical cleave in front of him. If you’re in melee range hitting Shannox, make sure to behind him (this should be second nature by now, but it has to be said).

He’ll also be throwing out traps frequently, which look like standard hunter traps but larger.

Do NOT step on these. If triggered, Immolation Trap (seen here at the top of the screenshot) will do instant, massive fire damage, put a fire DoT on you, and increase your damage taken for a time, burning through healer mana faster than a teenage girl through her father’s credit card.

Crystal Prison Trap (at the bottom of the screenshot), on the other hand, will encase you in a crystal that can create LoS issues for healers and casters and take valuable DPS time to break you out. Do your raid a favor and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

One last ability to look out for: Hurl Spear. He’ll occasionally toss out his spear, the target of which will be a large red target on the ground; you literally can’t miss this. Stay out of this and all of the fire that its impact creates.

100%-30%

The strat that worked for us, on 25-man, was to have Riplimb and Shannox tanked separately, with all DPS burning down Rageface right off the bat. He’ll jump around whilst raging your guildmates’ faces, so do your best to keep up with him (Long Arm of the Law + Pursuit of Justice = WIN). Avoiding traps is paramount.

When Rageface dies, melee DPS jumped on Shannox while ranged switched to Riplimb. We were careful to not put slows on Riplimb as he doing so gives him Dogged Determination, making him immune to slows at just the wrong times. Anyway, DPS was continued on both Riplimb and Shannox until the latter was just above 30%, at which point all DPS were poured onto Riplimb to burn him down quickly.

30%-Dead

For each dog that dies, Shannox gains a stack of Frenzy. We dealt with one stack for most of the fight without issue; when the second one goes out, however, tank survivability turns the remaining 30% into a burn phase; kill Shannox before he kills your tank. He’ll still toss out traps, so watch out for those, but if you can dodge those and your healers can keep up their efforts, you should see him drop in no time!

Patch 4.2 Study Guide

Now that realms are down and we’re definitely getting the patch this time, I thought I’d just consolidate some of the more Ret-relevant notes for your viewing pleasure! (source)

Players are once again free to dance in combat (without causing graphic errors). Other animations, such as attacks, will take precedence over dancing. The dance animation will be suppressed until the higher priority animation is complete. Fun has been unnerfed.

This nerf went on for far too long! I mean, what else do you do when Atramedes goes up in the air?

Many crowd control abilities no longer cause creatures to attack players when they are cast. The creature will not attack the player when the crowd control wears off, and nearby creatures will not become hostile to the player either. However, if a visible player gets too close to the target creature, the creature will remember and attack the player when the crowd control effect wears off. The intent is to make it easier for dungeon groups to manage crowd control assignments and pulling packs of hostile NPCs.

Unless they stealth-buffed the range on Repentance, we won’t experience this great change. Whenever I’m asked to CC something, I inevitably facepull it before I can get in range to cast Repent. I mean, seriously Blizz, is it so much to ask to get 10 more freaking yards?!

Edit: Stealth-buffed indeed: Repentance (PTR)

Guardian of Ancient Kings uses the new Assist pet stance functionality.

Sweet. He still shuffles very awkwardly though; not a complaint, just a chortle-inducing observation!

Rebuke, Divine Shield and Divine Protection have new icons.

I foresee many life-threatening situations being borked simply because many of us click these abilities (not Rebuke, though; you NEED to have that keybound!) and won’t recognize the new spell icons in time to save ourselves. Great hilarity will ensue!

Seal of Righteousness now can be activated by any melee ability, not just single target melee abilities. This adds Hammer of the Righteous (the physical component) and Divine Storm to the list of abilities that can activate this seal. In addition, Seal of Righteousness procs can now be critical effects.

Combine that change with this one:

The Seals of Command talent now makes Seal of Righteousness hit an unlimited number of melee targets, instead of only 2 additional targets.

I’m going to wait to proclaim this as the solution to our shoddy AoE DPS, since a lot of important AoE phases don’t usually have more than 5 or 6 adds anyway.

This does make me wonder, though: if SoR can proc off DS, and DS can hit four things, and each SoR can hit an ‘unlimited number of melee targets,’  does that translate into 4X number of SoR procs, where X is the number of targets? Because then that could have a larger effect than I first thought…

Inquiry of Faith now increases Inquisition duration by 66/133/200%, up from 50/100/150%.

Combine this change with our T11 four-piece bonus and you got yourself an interesting situation in terms of tier piece upgrades (Future blog post? Perhaps!).

Glyph of Seal of Truth expertise bonus now also works when Seal of Righteousness is active.

They really are setting up Seal of Righteousness to be this expansion’s Seal of Command. Oh man, the glory days; how I yearn for them!

Selfless Healer can no longer be dispelled and cannot be stolen via Spellsteal; and, in addition to its current effects, it lowers the cooldown of Word of Glory by 5/10 seconds.

… Still not worth getting in a PvE build. But, ah, there you go PvPers. Enjoy?