As with its Wrath of the Lich King counterpart, the Glory of the Cataclysm Hero meta rewards a nifty drake and bragging rights for defeating the toughest 5-man content in the game. Roughly a month after Cataclysm went live, this is a pretty challenging meta to tackle, and I thought it might be nice to break the achievements down by which dungeons they're in and their general level of difficulty. More involved strategy'll have to wait for more specific articles, but if you're looking for a general sense of per-achievement difficulty and whether you can do them without depending on the oft-fickle gamesmanship of pugged groups, I hope this will help.
I've organized the meta according to dungeon and boss for quick reference past the cut. This week, we'll tackle Blackrock Caverns through Halls of Origination.
BRC isn't one of the tougher heroics, although Ghostcrawler (lead systems designer) singled out Beauty as being an unusually deadly heroic boss. That surprised me, but maybe it shouldn't have; any add up adds to the damage substantially, and not every group will have appropriate crowd control. We got news the other day that one of her pups has been removed on heroic, so that should help a bit.
- Crushing Bones and Cracking Skulls Not too tough overall, but potentially easier with a paladin or warrior tank, as they can stun the elementals within range of The Skullcracker attack before running away. Failing that, any tank with a big cooldown up can simply stay in range of The Skullcracker to make sure all the adds stay there. Difficulty: Easy to medium.
- Arrested Development This one isn't too difficult as long as your group's well-organized (i.e., don't trust a PUG) and your tank has some decent gear (or, failing that, an array of cooldowns between himself and the healer). We're at the gear level that there's little danger of Corla dying while you're allowing Zealots to evolve; you just can't let more than one be active at a time. Difficulty: Medium, mostly because there's such a severe penalty for someone zoning out and letting themselves get mind-controlled or allowing a Zealot to evolve early.
- Too Hot to Handle A mind-boggling pain in the ass to do if your tank isn't very good at spacing the Overheated stacks. However, this has become much simpler since Blizzard nerfed the speed at which the stacks fall off. Everyone concerned should be prepared to blow survivability cooldowns/health potions, because the AoE past 10 stacks is kind of ridiculous. Also, with good DPS, you might actually have to be careful that you don't kill him too early, as Karsh will be taking an awful lot of damage as stacks build. Difficulty: High with bad/inexperienced/uncaring tank; low with a good/experienced one and great DPS.
Ascendant Lord Obsidius
- Ascendant Descending Bring a frost mage, don't let anybody else hit the adds, and you may not even realize this achievement was supposed to be a challenge. Difficulty: Virtually nonexistent with a good frost mage; low to high depending on whatever your other options are.
Everyone's been asking for heroic classic dungeons, and Blizzard finally caved. I was surprised to see how much trash was removed in the recent hotfix (not that I'm really complaining about having to make fewer Camouflaged pulls, because seriously, screw those).
- Ready for Raiding Matt Rossi: "WoW has made me terrified that my floor is going to kill me." This achievement shouldn't be an issue at all provided you're paying attention to your feet, and it is only made difficult if you're a tank trying to pick adds off a healer who isn't on top of you. Difficulty: High if you're someone who probably shouldn't be doing heroics at all; low if you're anybody else.
- Rat Pack Interestingly, this doesn't have to be done all at once. Rats spawn each time the Lumbering Oaf charges and smashes a lumber pile, and any of them that you kill will just be added to the achievement total until you reach 20. Difficulty: Medium to high if you're trying to do it all at once -- it'll get tough to avoid all of the bombs on the ground while you're waiting for enough rats to spawn -- but low if you just make sure to kill a few rats on each Helix kill whenever you find yourself in Deadmines.
- Prototype Prodigy Easy. Don't use the Prototype Reaper on trash, tank the Foereaper 5000 at the top of the ramp, and keep the Reaper at the bottom to deal with the adds. Once you've removed all potential sources of damage, keeping the Reaper above 90% should be simple. Difficulty: Very easy if whoever's handling the Reaper knows what he/she is doing and your tank has the sense to pull the boss up the ramp.
- It's Frost Damage You may actually get this one on your way to an almost-certain wipe. Ignore the Frost Vapor mobs and ... well, there you go. If you want to avoid the knockback, just park yourself in the cabin. Difficulty: Relatively high if you plan on killing Ripsnarl himself, but low if your only real aim is just to get the achievement.
- I'm on a Diet As I'm sure the legion of celebrity chefs and and growing foodie movement could tell you, don't eat bad stuff. Difficulty: Low.
- Vigorous Van Cleef Vindicator Okay, this one's genuinely challenging at present levels of gear, if only because there are so many built-in pauses during the Nightmares and the penalty for mistakes is so high. Definitely not something you want to do in a PUG -- you only get one shot at this per Deadmines run -- but doable with a good group that's seen the encounter and knows what to do. Difficulty: Next to impossible if you're in a PUG or group members are prone to overuse of the word "oops"; I would say mediumish otherwise. Achievement or no achievement, this is still the best and coolest 5-man fight in the game.
One of the more difficult heroics, and with two achievements to match. I'm not sure I'd recommend trying either with a PUG, although if you're fortunate enough to land really good DPS, the Erudax one might be doable.
- Umbrage for Umbriss Because General Umbriss' damage increases by 100% for 20 seconds after a Malignant Trogg is killed, you're best off crowd-controlling one until Umbriss' health is already very low. Kill the Trogg, have your tank/healer blow a giant cooldown, and get Umbriss down as quickly as possible, because he'll already have the additional damage from his enrage. Difficulty: Medium. It's all about your DPS having the coordination to control and then kill the Malignant Trogg at the right time, and your tank and healer not screwing things up from there.
Drahga Shadowburner No achievement.
- Don't Need to Break Eggs to Make an Omelet Definitely easier with some group compositions than others, as the two adds can't be rooted but slowed. If your group doesn't lend itself to that kind of CC, this is other dependent on good DPS who will run for the adds as soon as they spawn. Difficulty: With one or two DPS capable of reliably slowing both mobs, I would still say mediumish -- they've got a respectable amount of health. Still very doable, though not something I'd want to try with folks still rocking a lot of pre-heroic gear.
The Left Eye of Rajh won't drop for me, and until it does, I refuse to say anything nice about this instance.
Temple Guardian Anhuur
- I Hate That Song A sly note: The snake adds on this encounter won't respawn until/unless killed. There are a few sneaky ways to do this achievement, but having the tank run around to collect snakes before aggroing Anhuur is one of the more devious. You can also exploit healing aggro on this fight by keeping your healer on top at all times, having them heal DPS jumping into the pits below and forcing the snakes to travel all the way to the top. Difficulty: Medium.
- Straw That Broke the Camel's Back This achievement can be buggy, so don't sweat it if your camel stays alive for the full fight but you don't get it. Difficulty: High if you can't seem to get a non-buggy camel; low, otherwise. Pet classes will have to deal with the nuisance of not having a pet while on the camel vehicles. Otherwise, all you have to do is stay out of Ptah's quicksand and spikes, both of which you'll see spawning at your feet.
- Faster Than the Speed of Light Step 1: Bring a tank who pulls like a monkey on speed. Step 2: Pull like a monkey on speed. Step 3: Have enough group DPS to kill the elemental bosses with dispatch. Step 4: Enjoy achievement! Difficulty: I would say medium to high on this one, because you actually don't have 5 minutes for this; it's more like 4½, given that 30+ seconds have to be allotted for the roleplay events. Group AoE abilities may also be limited by composition, which won't help much with the troggs.
Ammunae No achievement.
Setesh No achievement.
- Sun of a ... This is the spiritual successor to what Gotta Go! was back when Wrath of the Lich King launched, and it's all about the DPS. As with Anub'arak, there's an element of luck to Rajh's abilities; he will start performing a Recharge phase only when he hits 0 focus. How can you prevent him from using abilities that spend focus? You can't. All you can do is pray for a decent run -- oh, and tank him in a corner of the room or even the stairs to snatch a few more seconds of DPS between the time he reaches 0 focus, travels to the center of the room, and starts Recharging. Difficulty: Medium to high, depending on Rajh's degree of cooperation and the quality of your DPS.
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