The big who
Perhaps the biggest issue that always surrounds any new legendary item is the most basic question for any guild. Who should get it? While I am sure that out there, somewhere, someone has proven exactly which class/spec gains the absolute most benefit from the staff, that is perhaps the least important factor in choosing who should receive it. When it comes to items such as this, they are honestly good for everyone, and whoever might be "the best" with it is never a margin that should sway the minds of a guild.
Instead, I advocate that you choose based on what is best for the guild overall, and that boils down to attendance. Who cares if another spec does better with the staff if that player isn't going to be there? The player who shows up the most wins, in my book. If you have a tie, well, that can be tough. There, you can draw lots, hold an event for it, whatever. Just don't buy into the argument that a player "deserves" it purely because some guy on the internet said he would get the most out of it.
That's my two copper on the matter. Make of it what you will, but that is that. Now, on to actually getting the staff.
The first step
The starter quest to begin crafting the first stage of the staff is very easy to pick up. If you have killed any of the prior end tier bosses -- Al'Akir, Nefarian, or Cho'gall -- then you are able to pick up the quest from your respective faction's primary city. For Horde players, the NPC is located in Garrosh's Hold. Alliance can find their NPC hanging around the Mage Tower. If you have not yet killed any of those bosses, then you automatically get the quest upon killing a Molten Lord in Firelands.
The quest itself is rather simple. You will be ported to the Caverns of Time, watch a cutscene, and there you have it. At that point, it becomes a matter of collecting.
The first stage requires two different sets of items. The first are three Sands of Time
, which any player can buy from Yasmin
in Uldum for a pretty hefty price. It doesn't come cheap, but who says that a legendary should be? The second item that you need isn't quite as simple to gather. You will need to collect 25 Eternal Embers
. These items only drop from the bosses in Firelands.
Originally, the Eternal Embers were a non-bound item that could be traded or sold to any player. This was a pretty good deal, particularly for the more hardcore guilds. You could run the instance using alts, get some drops, and then transfer them over to your primary staff player. That has been hotfixed already. The Eternal Embers are now a BOP item. These items also only appear on the boss if any player in the raid is on the quest to collect them.
In respective design fashion, each boss does not have a 100% chance to drop an Eternal Ember. Further, each boss has a higher chance of dropping one in a 25-man raid than a 10-man raid and an even higher chance in heroic versions of the encounters. Although not every boss will drop one, a boss is capable of dropping more than one Eternal Ember. As of right now, the highest number dropped per boss that has been seen is three. This can be from any Firelands boss, as well. It is unknown if Ragnaros is capable of dropping more than three, though there have been no documented accounts of it as of yet.
These items are blue and they are BOP. You cannot trade them to other people via normal means should they be accidentally looted by the wrong person. In those circumstances, you need to open a GM ticket and hope the GM will transfer the item(s) for you. They can be master looted to a player, but you must have the threshold set to the superior item level.
Once you have gathered all of your Eternal Embers and bought your Sands of Time, you will put on another quest to obtain a Branch of Nordrassil
. From the quest text, this is done by completing an event with the Firelands raid itself, presumably at the currently unused Anvil of Conflagration.
A key note about this is that it similarly locked to a specific raid ID. While it is possible that you may be able to start the event multiple times per raid ID, it may also not be possible given that you will have to kill a unique boss in order to get it. Just keep this in mind, should you ever randomly need two of them within a short time span and have extended a lockout.
Once you get this branch, though, you will be granted the first stage of the staff for your personal use. Congrats! Now you get to move on to yet another part. Oh, the joys of farming.
The next portion of the quest chain has you collecting a massive 1,000 Seething Cinders
. Since no one is currently on this portion of the quest, all we can use is datamined information with a bit of speculation.
According to the WoW Armory, Seething Embers only drop from Firelands bosses as well, yet this seems to be a highly impractical system. Even if each boss in Firelands granted 10 Embers per kill at a 100% chance, it would still take 15 weeks of full clears in order to complete this step. While certainly legendary, it isn't practical by any stretch of the imagination. Not to mention that it would be highly arbitrary -- why have the requirement be 1,000 and have each boss drop 10 when you could just as easily have it be 100 and each boss drop 1?
Given that it is listed as requiring 1,000 Embers, it is far more likely that they come from sources other than merely bosses. Like the soul collecting for Shadowmourne, it will probably come from trash just as well. Even at a 1:1 ratio, 1,000 trash kills is still fairly steep and time-consuming. While guilds can and probably will just use non-raid time to trash farm this step, should that be the case, it is still a heavy time investment -- a reasonable time investment that you would expect for a legendary.
Then again, maybe not. This stage of the quest does reward the second stage of the staff, so perhaps it will take weeks' worth of boss kill investment to reach. Time will tell.
The final task
After turning in your Seething Embers, you will be tasked with one final mission. Although the quest text states that you need to collect the heart of Ragnaros, the quest objectives actually list two different requirements. You need to collect 250 Smoldering Essences and the Heart of Flame
. The Essences are currently an unknown factor. What they are and where you get them isn't listed anywhere. They aren't a drop and the quest text itself doesn't mention them, so it is anyone's guess where they actually show up.
The Heart of Flame, however, is a bit more clear. We know that it comes from Ragnaros! From what Blizzard has said on the matter so far, getting it will not require you kill him on heroic, just to kill him in general. That doesn't mean that it is going to easy, though. There is a spell effect called Rage of Ragnaros that has the following effect:
Ragnaros senses the essence of Tarecgosa and imbues you with the Rage of Ragnaros. Inflicting 58,500 to 61,500 damage to all allies within 8 yards, knocking them back.
Suffice to say, Ragnaros won't be particularly happy that you are coming after his heart and is going to try and prevent you from ripping it out of his ... chest? Where does Ragnaros keep his heart? Does he even have organs? I don't think this dragon is sending us on a real quest here. Either way, getting the heart and these 250 Smoldering Essences is the last of the chain in getting the final stage of the staff.
How long the whole process will end up taking is still anyone's guess. While stage one currently seems to have the longest amount of requirements, the collection quest and getting the branch, stage two could go either way. Stage three seems to be the shortest -- but then again, we don't know how to get Smoldering Essences yet. That could be a rather significant barrier. Right now, it doesn't seem as though the Eternal Embers will be that huge of a delay for most guilds, many getting around 10 in their first full clear. If the first stage only takes three weeks to complete, how long will the others take? Time will tell.
Ready Check shares all the strategies and inside information you need to take your raiding to the next level. Be sure to look up our strategy guides to Cataclysm's 5-man instances, and for more healer-centric advice, visit Raid Rx.