Never fear, we'll be doing more leveling posts and more report cards in the future. (I've been messing around with arms again lately on my night elf warrior -- having some fun with it, too.) But this week, we'll be talking about the Ruby Sanctum instance. The storyline of the Ruby Sanctum links Wrath of the Lich King's storylines with those of the upcoming Cataclysm, but the encounter mechanics and loot are still pretty solidly Wrath.
First we'll talk about the minibosses and Halion himself from both a DPS and a tanking perspective. Since much of that work has already been done by Michael Gray, we'll then go on to talk about loot. Then I'm gonna go eat something. I'd invite you, but by the time you read this I will have already eaten. The bane of the internet: I can't share my jalapeno-flavored chips with you. (Nor, to be honest, would I. They're mine. MINE!)
The first thing to talk about in Ruby Sanctum are the trash pulls. As a DPSer, you really just need to know what the kill order is and to stick to it, but I also suggest to be aware. Remember Ulduar on the way to General Vezax? Yeah, it's like that. There most likely will be CC, and it's a bad idea to Whirlwind/Bladestorm in the middle of it. So pay attention and use your abilities responsibly. As a tank, you should likewise watch your AoE threat moves and make sure only to break CC when you need to. Make sure to use Charge to get right back on the Charscale Invoker when it punts you, and in general, use your stuns and silences to keep the casters locked down as much as possible when tanking them. If you're tanking the Charscale Commanders, pull them out; don't let them use Rallying Shout. There's no reason to let a five-or-so-mob trash pull get a 25% DPS increase.
Once you get done with the trash, it's on to the mini-bosses.
Baltharus the Warborn
For DPS, the main concerns are Blade Tempest, Enervating Brand, Repelling Wave and his clone ability. He also does a cleave, but that's fairly simple stuff; you shouldn't be standing next to the tank, anyway. Blade Tempest is a frontal cone, so again, try not to be in front of Baltharus and you should be OK. If you get Enervating Brand, move away from the raid so you don't end up feeding Baltharus enough power to one-shot your tank when your brand ticks in two seconds and leeches half the raid in one go. As DPS, there's not really much you can do about Repelling Wave; it's an instant-cast, so you can't really avoid it, just wait to come out of the stun and hope you didn't get punted into another pack. (I tend to like to clear around Baltharus as much as possible for that reason.) When Baltharus is about to clone himself, make sure you confine your DPS to single target until the clone is picked up. You want to keep your DPS on the original Baltharus, so just let the off tanks pull the clones away; don't concern yourself with them.
For a tank, it depends what you're tanking. If you're going to be tanking the clones, you should probably just hang out and wait for them. It's a bad idea to be stunned by Repelling Wave when the clone spawns. Pick them up as quickly as possible and move them away from the raid while staying in healing range; they still hit pretty hard.
If you're tanking Baltharus himself, remember to use trinkets or small cooldowns like the T10 set bonus for Blade Tempest. There's nothing you can do about Enervating Brand; just hope your raid deals with the debuff so as not to boost him so high he one-shots you. If for whatever reason he doesn't come back to you after Repelling Wave, charge him. It's a pretty straightforward tank and spank.
Your typical drake. She has two phases: a ground phase in which she's tanked like any other dragon and an air phase in which she can't be tanked at all, flying over a lake in the sanctum and casting Conflagration on members of the raid. If you are DPS on this fight, don't stand in her flame breath, and if you get Conflagration, run away from the raid before you spread it to others. It helps if your raid groups up so those who get the Conflagration can run away -- as long as you actually do run away. Do not stand there and chain Conflagration onto your entire raid.
As a tank, turn her away from the raid so they don't eat flame breath, and pick her up when she lands. Easy, peasy.
The only real complication here for DPS are the fears he does recurrently (and since you're a warrior, you'll be breaking those with zerker rage) and the adds he spawns (and since you're DPS, you'll be ignoring those until/unless your raid leader calls for you to DPS them; my raid has ranged burn them and switched back to the boss, but every raid is different).
For a tank, the major issue here is Zarithrian's Cleave Armor ability. It removes armor by 20% with every application and stacks up to five, so most strategies I've seen call for a tank to swap it off at three stacks. Depending on how many tanks you have, you may have the other tank/tanks picking up Onyx Flamecallers as he spawns them. (We run with three tanks in our 25-man, so we usually have a tank free for this.) Just keep breaking his fears, taunt switching at three stacks of his debuff and picking up adds if/when called for. He goes down easy.
Now we're up to the big boss man, Barney the Purple Dragon himself.
I refer you again to Michael Gray's excellent guide to Halion.
As a DPS warrior, you have no way to run faster or cleanse yourself when you get Fiery Combustion. So the second you get it, run run run away from everyone else, so that when you are cleansed you don't kill anyone and the fire you drop on the ground doesn't swallow up half of the available area. When the meteors are dropped, don't stand in the fire. Simple, and yet it still needs to be said.
Inside the portal, treat Soul Combustion exactly as you did Fiery Combustion. Get away. Do not stand next to someone. When you are cleansed, you will yank any unfortunates close to you right to your location, just like XT-002 hard mode. Don't do that to people. Also, instead of the Meteor Strikes, the Shadow Pulsar orbs are going to shoot Twilight Cutter beams between them as they orbit the portal zone. Don't be between those orbs or hit by that Cutter beam, or you will die.
At phase three (50%), you'll either stay in or port out, depending on what your raid does. My raid keeps the melee in and sends the ranged out. No, Heroic Throw doesn't make you ranged. Whatever the raid call is, just keep doing whatever you're supposed to do in whichever zone you're in, while also listening for calls on Corporeality. You may have to stop DPS to let the other side catch up. Please don't ignore these calls. The more imbalanced Halion's Corporeality is, the more likely he is to absolutely ravage one of the tanks in the completely not fun way. This is not the cover of a romance novel with Halion ripping off a blouse and yelling, "Take me now!" This is Halion ripping off your tank's face and your tank yelling, "My nostrils, my precious nostrils, you've torn them off!"
Your tank needs his or her nostrils to appreciate life and its many savours; please don't help Halion rip them off.
As a tank, you'll most likely want to keep Halion up against the side of the ring of fire in the physical realm to give your raid the maximum chance to move for Fiery Combustion. In the Twilight Realm, you'll probably need to be more central in order to be able to be aware of and avoid Shadow Pulsar. If Corporeality gets really bad, blow your cooldowns to stay alive and give your raid more time to get it balanced. Some raids choose to have everyone go into the portal; my raid has a tank and a healer stay out to pick Halion up for phase 3.
Now, let's talk about loot.
10-man Halion drops the Bracers of the Heir, Scion's Treads and Zarithrian's Offering. They're all well itemized (heroic versions even more so) and will serve you well if you get them. I really like that ring.
25-man Halion drops the Apocalypse's Advance, Penumbra Pendant, Petrified Twilight Scale, Sharpened Twilight Scale and Treads of Impending Resurrection. Both the Treads (with two blue sockets and loads of defense, dodge and parry) and the Petrified Twilight Scale are really nice tanking pieces. The armor on the PTS alone makes it a really solid drop, and while we can argue the relative merit of the proc, it doesn't take away from the solid mitigation this will provide to add some streaky avoidance. The Sharpened Twilight Scale is effectively the last ArP trinket you're ever going to see. And it's a beautiful one. If you don't have DBW, it's absolutely glorious; even if you do have that trinket, you might want to pick this one up too and free up some itemization on gear.
The Penumbra Pendant is almost made for warriors with strength, crit and ArP. Yellow socket's kind of odd, but you can work around it. The Apocalypse's Advance are certainly solid boots, especially if you end up ArP capped from trinkets and rings and such and need to drop some from somewhere else. All the heroic gear is better, of course, but the same arguments apply.
In general, Ruby Sanctum gear seems aimed at providing alternatives to items that often just won't drop or aren't as well itemized. Until Cataclysm drops, ArP is still one of our best DPS stats, and Ruby Sanctum has it in spades.
Next week, well, with the bombshells dropping like they have been lately, it's tough to say.
Check out more strategies, tips and leveling guides for warriors in Matthew Rossi's weekly class column, The Care and Feeding of Warriors.