Checklist of Things to do at Level 100 for Raiders

Checklist of Things to do at Level 100 for Raiders

I could not stop myself. After levelling up my main Priest to 100, I had to level another one to provide additional resources and support. Ended up reaching level 100 on my Paladin on Saturday so I could tank on our alt raids on the weekends. Plus I’ll be maxing out it’s support buildings like the herb garden and the excavation mine.

Apexis Shard Farming

Once you reach level 100, your garrison will offer two sets of dailies for Apexis crystals. These things are currency for gear. Plus you can use them to upgrade the same items that you’ve purchased for later. Right now, it seems like the 630 level blues are available and the raid level ones will be available later on when the actual raids open. Try to knock out the the ones that give 1000 Apexis crystals. I’ve noticed there was a display bug. For example, today’s daily offered the Ring of Blood set of dailies and that one said it would reward 800 crystals but upon turning them in, it awarded 1000.

apexis

Legendary Ring Questline

Khadgar provides this quest at level 98 but you can realistically start it at level 100. His pet an be found at your garrison and will direct you to see his tower out in Talador. The quest is called Call of the Archmage. WoWHead has a great guide on it here to help you get started.

Treasure and Rare farming for garrison resources

I’m addicted to garrison development. After playing years of Heroes of Might and Magic (with the third one being my favourite), I just have a love for base building type games and controlling armies. Treasures are the most lucrative for garrison resources although many rare mobs will drop them as well. When you take them down once, they become ordinary mobs after that and won’t drop any more additional resources. The treasures that are the biggest pain in the rear are the ones in Nagrand as they often involve using those Goblin gliders to get to really hard to reach places.

Heroic dungeon farming

You need to have a 610 ilevel minimum to queue into them. Not only that, you also need to have finished out your Silver level Proving Grounds. However, it’s still possible to stroll into the instance portal and get in that way if you’re running with your guild or with your friends.

Challenge mode dailies

If you complete the challenge mode daily, they offer a random item that’s 640 ilevel which is the level of gear from normal mode raids. For me, today’s was Shadowmoon Burial Grounds which took us a solid 2 hours and 30 minutes. I’ll have a writeup on that later on in the week but boy was it rough. As people get a little more geared up and more familiar, those times should lessen significantly. Not to mention, we walked in there without really knowing much about what to do and there were plenty of trial and errors.

Ashran and PvP

During the opening few days of the expansion, there was virtually no Horde in Ashran. A few of us managed to queue into it repeatedly and take advantage of the situation by farming up as much honor as possible unchallenged. I used the extra honor to buy some 620 pieces to help put myself into position to queue into heroics.

ashran-pvp

Garrison Followers

Now this is the fun part. Everyone loves having more followers! Don’t forget that if you want to upgrade your followers to epic quality, the experience they earn after hitting level 100 goes towards that. So you can turn superior followers into epic followers just by repeatedly sending them out on missions. Here’s a few easy ones you can pick up:

  • Image of Archmage Vargoth: Requires a bit of a trek to Frostfire Ridge
  • Defender Illona: Really easy to snag as well. Complete the single quest in Talador (and yes, Horde players have their equivilent).
  • Pleasure-Bot 8000: Tailors will want this robot.
  • Abu’ghar: Look for 3 items around Nagrand (His fishing lure, his line, and his pole) then look for him within Stonecrag Gorge in the southern most pool of water.
  • Leo’rajh: Just have to find him and free him within Spires of Arak.

Check out this link on WoWhead for a full list of followers that can be earned via quests!

 

Challenge Gold: Scarlet Monastary

Challenge Gold: Scarlet Monastary

We’re down to one.

After several heartbreaking nights, my group managed to get Scarlet Monastary down on gold and went back to help finish out Scarlet Halls for me. The Monastary is arguably the hardest challenge mode in the game!

We’ll see though as we still have Stormstout Brewery to blast through before we collect our full suite of Challenge Mode rewards.

The main issues with Scarlet Monastary isn’t the bosses. It’s actually the insane trash pulls. Cooldown and ability usage must be pinpoint. We actually screwed up slightly on Whitemane and pulled extra trash when we didn’t have to but finished 7 seconds away from the Silver mark.

There’s a few pressure points in Scarlet Monastary, so I’ll walk you through the toughest ones. Make sure you come into Scarlet Monastary prepared with the 18 second Invisibility Potion. You’ll need it. The most frustrating part is that if you wipe shortly in the cathedral area, you’ll have to wait several punishing minutes until your potion cooldowns are available for usage.

Right as the Challenge Mode timer finishes counting down, you can activate your Spirit Shell to grant your party additional shi elds as they get through that first pull. Spirit Shell should be off cooldown around the time you pull the Frenzied Spirits before the boss.

cm-sm-fs

You’ll want to have a Death Knight handy. You can charm one of the Frenzied Spirits as it it gradually builds up a buff (also called Frenzied Spirit). Our Death Knight rounded them all up and applied a slow and gradually kited them around while our Shaman and Monk chained AoE stuns back to back. Now the buff increases the Spirit’s damage and attack speed by 15% and it stacks. Our fastest kill on Thalnos the Soulrender was around 31 seconds. I think the Spirit had around 40+ stacks coupled with Heroism.

In the first pull in the hallway shortly after taking down that first boss, I suggest yanking the two yellow mobs and taking them out. Odds are you’ll pull them and the big pack around the corner. As a healer, try to be the first one in so you can start drinking before the rest of your group initiates. Light off and chain your AoE stuns one after the other. You can use a Barrier here if you’re struggling, but it’s not quite necessary.

cm-sm-hall

Burn the Invisibility Potion and break out into a run across the courtyard. Go up the right stair case and hop onto the fountain walls. Make sure you don’t come out of stealth near the 3 monks sitting on the right part of that fountain. Our tank pulled Brother Korloff when he was in the middle of patrolling between the 6 monks that flank that entrance to the monastary.

Brother Korloff will charge the furthest player and unload Firestorm Kick. Be really wary of where you stand. You want to position yourself just in the area in front of the fountain so that you don’t pull the aforementioned trio of monks. As the healer, don’t be the furthest one away. Shouldn’t have too many problems with this one at all. It’s just a little long.

Once you defeat the Monk, your next task is to try to penetrate the Monastary without pulling the monks on either side. The margin of error here is extremely small. Even a quarter step in either direction is enough to pull the pack and destroy your group. Now if you pay close attention to the positioning of the monks, you’ll notice they’re not exactly lined up perpendicular to the entrance. They’re actually angled inwards. What we ended up doing was using a hard CC (like Hex) on the back right Monk. This helped increase our margin just large enough that we could get through safely.

We tried CCing both the back Monks but the back left Monk managed to aggro on to us while we were inside the Cathedral so we ended up CCing the back right one only.

Anyway, take a hard left when you’re inside the Cathedral and start working on the pulls. There’s three major multi-mob pulls that can annihilate your group. Space out your stun cooldowns and healing cooldowns. For example, our Monk and Shaman used their stuns on the first pack. I used a Barrier and our Death Knight used Army of the Dead on the second. Use the pillars to line of sight pull them. Your interrupters should just pick a Purifier and lock them down while AoEing.

If you can get within striking range of Whitemane and Durand with 4:30 left, you should be in good shape. Stay close to each other so that Durand doesn’t get too far off. Assign specific interrupts for Mass Resurrection and Dominate Mind for Whitemane. You can let Smite go off unchecked as it’s easily healable. We screwed up here and accidentally pulled a Scarlet Zealot in addition to Durand. Use your AoE cleaves and single target abilities to get rid of that Zealot fast. Make sure he doesn’t cast Heal on the boss.

Good luck! I know I made it sound easier than it actually was. Scarlet Monastary will end up being one of the longer ones your group is working on just due to the difficulty of the trash and the potion cooldowns.

Challenge Mode: Part 2  –  Scholomance

Challenge Mode: Part 2 – Scholomance

Last night, we scored two hard mode kills back to back with Feng and Garajal. Once we got the mechanics down in place, it was easy and straight forward. Garajal had hard caps on both healing required and damage needed. We dropped down to four healers and managed to take out Garajal with under half a minute remaining on the enrage. Not a bad play. We’ll be gunning for Elegon and Blade Lord next.

Tonight’s challenge mode is Scholomance. I think this one will take a little long in “getting it” compared to Gate of the Setting Sun. This will be the first time I’ll be healing a challenge mode in some time since we agreed to try switching me over to healing instead of playing Shadow. Although nothing’s wrong with playing Shadow, our new composition will help us long term and help shave precious seconds off the timer as needed. Although for Lilian Voss, we’ll be running 4 DPS on it instead. The logic is if we can take down Lilian in the first phase, we avoid the entire second and third phase of that fight. I hope my Vampiric Embrace and other spells with Dark Binding will be enough to keep us alive long enough.

This is the first time I’ll be running Invisibility Potions. There’s this place called Fungal Rock down in Un’goro Crater that just has these sprouting all over like crazy. We’re expected to use those in order to bypass Professor Snape’s room (the one with all those yellow ads).

One of my guild mates mentioned an item called Restorative Amber. I’ll need to get myself some of this. I don’t think I’ll need it, but it’s nice to have it anyway just in case we’re off by a few seconds. The downside is that stuff is 10 gold each. I normally resort to Pearl Milk Tea to get my mana up but discovered quickly that it resulted in my awesome food buffs getting overwritten by Mastery. There’s an NPC at the shrines that sell something called Golden Carp Consomme and he helps in restoring mana without sacrificing the food buffs.

I’m excited though! Hope to add another gold!

What Priests Bring to Challenge Modes

What Priests Bring to Challenge Modes

Edit: I managed to secure all gold challenge modes as a Discipline Priest. I’ve updated this post to reflect on my experiences. I assume you already know most of the basics about playing a discipline priest like what the spells do and rotations and such.

The first time I signed on for a challenge mode, it took us almost 3 hours to get through Shado-Pan Monastary. We were bored on a Friday night and decided to give the challenge mode daily a shot thinking we’d be able to plow through it.

Yeah, we got a rude awakening.

Seriously, if you plan to go for a podium ranking, treat it with a raid mentality.

What does your class bring to challenge modes?

Imagine this.

Your GM has issued a challenge to your guild. He wants to assemble a Challenge mode roster. He doesn’t want to just challenge for the gold. He wants to be the best time on server. The game has 11 classes and 33 specs combined. Your job is to convince your GM why your class and spec is the right one for that roster slot.

The smart money is to include a Discipline Priest on that roster. You can make cases for the other healers, but a Disc Priest offers a ton of flexibility and power. They can chip in DPS while preventing incoming damage. Power Word: Barrier helps your party gets through the worst situations. Hymn of Hope spares you from having to drink (at the cost of seconds).

Talents

cmode-disc-talent

Previously, I explored talents based on their raid viability and what’s best for encounters. Evaluating them for challenge modes is a little different because now I have to think about aspects I’d normally dismiss in raids like crowd control.

Void Tendrils: Void Tendrils is a great massive crowd control ability. It’ll hold enemies in place while the rest of your party unleashes DPS. If your tank pulls a large amount of mobs and has a sizeable amount of threat, you can wade in and drop roots before withdrawing. The mobs will still want to crush the tank but won’t be able to until the tendrils expire. I’ve used Void Tendrils in key areas of Gate of the Setting Sun and Mogushan Palace to freeze mobs in place while we zipped by them. Diving onto an elevator with mobs frozen in place while the elevator is moving causes them to reset.

Body and Soul: You’ll be using shields often enough. Layering your party with speed boosts during areas with little to no resistance will help you with your time trial.

Mindbender: 5.2 introduced a new talent called Solace and Insanity. I feel that it’s a greater benefit for Shadow instead of Discipline. Mindbender’s the talent of choice in raids for the mana regen and the same is true for challenge mode.

Desperate Prayer: A self-heal on demand! This is your own emergency heal as a last ditch effort.

Divine Insight: You can make strong arguments for Divine Insight or Power Infusion. By default, I recommend Divine Insight because of that Prayer of Mending proc free Shield which has saved me a few times. You can make the case for Power Infusion and Twist of Fate depending on which challenge mode dungeon you’re pursuing. Longer ones like Scarlet Monastary might benefit from Power Infusion and I gave Twist of Fate a try for the extra healing boost (remember it triggers off of damage or healing).

Divine Star: The fact that you’re contemplating challenge modes means that you’re not an idiot and that you know how to aim Divine Star in such a way that you won’t pull. It’ll do some light damage to your enemies and heal your party (provided they’re fairly grouped up). Cascade is your secondary option in the event Divine Star does not work out in your challenge mode instance.

Glyphs

Penance: You’ll absolutely need this while healing on the move.

Power Word: Shield: Signature spells for priests and that extra healing’s going to help when your party members have taken damage.

Prayer of Mending: Most Prayer of Mending bounces will not bounce 5 times. The first one is usually the one that matters.

The above three glyphs are the main ones I used.


Psychic Scream: In the event extra CC is needed, you can fire this off and have your team focus one down fast before the fear effect expires.

Smite: Increases the damage on Smite on Holy Fire’d targets (and conversely the healing from Atonement).  You can substitute this for the Shield glyph once your group has practiced it enough.

Playstyle

Those of you with a progression oriented raiding mentality will excel here. If you put in that level of focus you do in raids towards 5-mans, then golds will easily be within reach. But if you approach challenge modes casually without bothering to look up strategy or practicing certain aspects, then you’ll be lucky if you even complete the instance.

Reforging your stats

I reforged out of Spirit until I had around 8000. I placed the points into haste, but your mileage is going to vary based on your group composition. If you have a Druid in your party, they can feed you Innervate. You should always be using Mindbender and Hymn of Hope whenever you get a chance (and if you’re low). Expect to cast interrupt your own spellcasts often as you react fluidly (or when Penance becomes available). I kept my raid gear as is. I never had to change out gems as reforging gets you most of the way there.

Don’t worry about hit or anything. You’ll automatically have 15% in Discipline.

Consumables

You use consumables for raids. But challenge modes might call for some extra stuff that you normally wouldn’t consider packing.

  • Drums of Forgotten Kings: If no one in the group can cast the buff, at least you’ll have a way to obtain it.
  • Potion of Focus: Comes in handy in case you die in combat and get a combat resurrect. Useful if your group is chain pulling and you need mana but can’t spare the seconds to sit down and drink.
  • Potion of the Jade Serpent: For the early boss encounters where you get a chance to use a pre-pot, use this.
  • Flask of Falling Leaves: You can reforge out of Spirit into other beneficial stats and use this flask to compensate …
  • Flask of the Warm Sun: … Or just get a straight Intellect boost instead. I recommend this.
  • Golden Carp Consomme: Keep multiple stacks in your bag. You’ll be chugging this for mana every moment you get in between pulls.
  • Mogu Fish Stew: As long as you get an Intellect boost, you’ll be okay. I doubt 50 Intellect is going to be the breaking factor between a silver and a gold earning anyway.
  • Invisibility Potion: Certain challenge mode gold runs require this.

Mana regen

If you see an opportunity to chow down on Golden Carps, do it. If more time is needed, tell your party to hold a moment until you drop combat, then start drinking while they pull. Get used to healing with anywhere from 25 to 50% mana. It’s not uncommon to go through 20+ Golden Carps in a run. Boss fights don’t last that long (they can’t, or else you won’t make gold). Your job is to keep your group alive just long enough that they can bring down enemies and you don’t need full mana to do this.

Actual healing

During periods of light damage, you can safely rely on Atonement to maintain the tank’s health. Your group should be adept at avoiding projectiles and assorted spells. In most cases, they shouldn’t take much avoidable damage. Your Smite and Holy Fire spam will be enough on the easier trash to help counteract some of the damage coming in and you’ll be adding your own DPS to help get past them quicker onto the harder stuff. Plus you’re setting yourself up for Archangel’s bost to healing as you dive into the more challenging pulls.

As you’re moving from trash pack to trash pack, remember the spells you can use while moving:

Ideally, you don’t want to use the last two spells. If they’re not being saved for anything, it’ll give you a little breather as you heal through those monster trash pulls that your tank manages to get. Keep your shields up on the tanks at all times. If you’re against AoE packs or anything hitting the DPS, make sure they’re shielded too. Prayer of Mending is always on cooldown. Penance should also be always on cooldown (and it can be used either defensively or offensively).

What they teach you in Discipline school is that Renew is inefficient.

That it is terrible.

That Power Word: Shield is better.

But it is one of the few healing spells you have that is both instant and not on a cooldown timer. You need every ounce of healing even if it means having to be inefficient. Your Golden Carps will help with your mana. Given the choice between being inefficient or restarting a gold run, I’d pick the former.

Group healing is fairly straight forward. Prayer of  Healing is your go to. Use Penance and shields to target specific players who are lower than the rest. Use that Spirit Shell when your group is between half to full. If they’re any lower, they run a risk of being instantly killed (depending on the trash packs or boss, but don’t take chances).

When you square off against bosses, use a pre-pot if you’re allowed to (in some cases, you can’t because of the Invisibility potion cooldown). Load up on Holy Fire and Smite to build up the Archangel stacks before burning it for the incoming tons of damage that bosses eventually ramp up to.

Cooldown use is going to vary. Your Barrier can be used for certain pulls. A skill you and your team needs to learn how to do is chaining cooldowns which can neutralize the incoming damage from an enemy. For example, my group had our Monk open with a Leg Sweep (5 seconds). Our shaman followed up with a Capacitor Totem (5 seconds). Our Death Knight tank used Remorseless Winter (6 seconds). I applied Power Word: Barrier at the end (10 seconds). That’s over 20 seconds of reduced (or zero) incoming damage giving your group free reign to AoE or kill selected mobs. DPS them if you notice stunned mobs!

Final word: Regardless of what group composition you use, practice the run first. There are many videos on Youtube with walkthroughs for each instance. Pick one that your group wants to work on and make sure everyone watches the video. Watch how it flows. Observe which trash packs are skipped or when Invisibility potions are used. Look at things like positioning of where the tank and the rest of the players are. After that, do dry runs of the instance without using feasts or flasks. Keep doing them until you get an idea of which trash to kill and the overall pacing of the instance. Once you’re ready for the gold run, use the consumables to give you that extra edge.

Be like Allen Iverson and practice!

For more, check out my challenge mode walkthroughs!