After the sheer confusion of tier 2.5, players had one more opportunity to get tier pieces in the form of tier 3, available solely from the 40-man version of Naxxramas. As of the launch of Wrath of the Lich King, Naxxramas relocated to Northrend and tier 3 went goodbye, to the disappointment of tier collectors. It's been hinted that the new Darkmoon Faire in patch 4.3 may offer ways to obtain tier sets that are no longer obtainable -- hopefully, this includes the long-lost tier 3.
Tier 4, on the other hand, was a step in a new direction. Players were no longer required to obtain additional materials to pick up their tier pieces; all they needed was their class token, and they were good to go. However, tier 4 wasn't found in just a single raid dungeon; it was spread all over Outland in a series of introductory raids meant to prepare raiders for the rigors of Serpentshrine Cavern, Tempest Keep, and eventually The Battle for Hyjal and Black Temple.
Tier 4 is scattered through three different raid zones, and today we're going to venture into a zone that still stands out as a favorite in many raider's eyes -- the incomprehensible tower of Karazhan. Once the home of Medivh, Karazhan also offers a variety of cool weapons and off-set armor pieces along with the elusive tier 4.
Tier 3 and the progression to tier 4
It's worth briefly mentioning tier 3, simply for what it did to contribute toward the way current tier sets are obtained.
Tier 2.5 was apparently a learning experience, because tier 3 simplified and streamlined everything that was wrong with tier 2.5. Rather than having tokens arbitrarily assigned to classes, with tier 3, each class shared one of three different tokens -- paladin/hunter/shaman/druid, priest/mage/warlock, and warrior/rogue. The classes you competed with for a particular token never changed. But the gathering required from tier 2.5 again reared its ugly head with tier 3.
This time, there was a marked improvement in what was required. Instead of arbitrary scarabs, players needed Cured Rugged Hide, Mooncloth, Arcane Crystals, or Arcanite Bars along with Nexus Crystals to complete their sets. All items were craftable items you picked up outside of the raid zone itself, so master looters didn't have to worry about who got what scarabs which week -- the worst they had to deal with was people asking for Nexus Crystals, which was far easier to handle.
However, tier sets still only favored certain specs for certain classes. Druid, paladin, priest and shaman tier 3 were all clearly for healing specs. After all, nobody in their right mind took any of those classes along on raids for anything other than healing, right? ... not so much. But with the launch of The Burning Crusade, the idea of only using certain specs for raiding went right out the window -- and so did the random item collection. Tier 4 offered sets for every spec with classes that performed double duty, and no additional item collection was required. Simply obtain the token piece and turn it in for your preferred piece of loot.
Each tier 4 set includes five pieces -- no need for bracers, belt or boots. But fashion-conscious collectors didn't have to worry too much, as there were individual items to fill those slots that still matched the tier sets. Tier sets for the different classes are as follows:
- Druid Malorne Raiment (resto) / Malorne Regalia (balance) / Malorne Harness (feral)
- Hunter Demon Stalker Armor
- Mage Aldor Regalia
- Paladin Justicar Raiment (holy) / Justicar Battlegear (ret) / Justicar Armor (prot)
- Priest Incarnate Raiment (healing) / Incarnate Regalia (shadow)
- Rogue Netherblade
- Shaman Cyclone Raiment (resto) / Cyclone Regalia (elemental) / Cyclone Harness (enhancement)
- Warlock Voidheart Raiment
- Warrior Warbringer Armor (prot) / Warbringer Battlegear (DPS)
- Death knight Once again, you are left in the lurch. One of these days, I will do a special article just for you guys, I promise.
Karazhan was easily one of the most challenging intro raids Blizzard had to offer, with endless trash pulls that were nearly as complex as the bosses themselves. Each boss was a memorable experience, whether you were mucking out the stables for Attumen's loot or giving an opera performance that literally stopped the show. Getting attuned to Karazhan used to involve a very long and convoluted quest chain; nowadays, it's as simple as forming a raid group and walking in the front door.
Please note that while Karazhan offers two pieces of tier 4, it also offers some gear that is essentially recolored tier 1 and tier 2 but available to all classes that can wear the appropriate armor class. This is a great way for death knights to pick up some "tier" plate that isn't exactly tier 2, but a recolored version of it! Check out Wowpedia for more excellent information on these and other tier set look-alikes.
As a level 85 rogue, I found Karazhan easy enough to solo, but I also skipped a lot of trash by stealthing around it. This is not possible for all classes, and some trash may hit a lot harder than soloing adventurers are comfortable with. If this is the case, feel free to take a partner along for the ride -- but don't worry, Karazhan doesn't pose too much of a threat these days. However, Karazhan includes 12 different bosses, and you must clear the bottom of the tower before you can proceed to the upper level where you will find your tier. We'll be covering the bottom of the tower this week and the upper levels next week.
To your right as you enter Karazhan are the servant quarters, filled with spiders, dogs and bats. If you kill all the trash, one of three random bosses will appear. These bosses drop random boots, belts and bracers, and none of the models are particularly worth mentioning. You can safely skip the servant quarters without missing anything.
Entering the tower and taking a left will place you in the stables. You'll notice a horse named Midnight, a yellow mob, standing in the middle of the stables. Don't touch it -- not unless you'd like the wrath of the entire stables pulled down upon your head. Instead, start clearing the trash. Stablehands and horses are pretty squishy, and while some of them have an annoying fear they like to cast, it shouldn't take any time at all to knock them over. Clear all the trash; when you pull Midnight, all the stablehands will aggro on you anyway, so best to clear them before saying hello.
After you've cleared, go ahead and walk up to that pony. Pat it; tell it what a pretty vampire pony on fire it is. Then punch that pony square in the face. Attumen the Huntsman will appear when Midnight is at 95% health, or roughly .025 seconds into the fight, and when Midnight reaches 25%, he'll hop aboard and proceed to try and beat you up on horseback. Rest assured this will go nowhere, and loot Attumen once he falls over dead.
Tier drops No tier here!
Other items of interest Attumen drops a really nice collection of gloves in varying styles. For cloth wearers, there are the Gloves of Saintly Blessings and Handwraps of Flowing Thought. Leather wearing classes get Gloves of Dexterous Manipulation, and plate wearers can nab Gauntlets of Renewed Hope.
There is also a selection of bracers to choose from, but those don't really show up when you're wearing a full set, so they aren't worth mentioning here. However, ranged classes will definitely want to check out the Steelhawk Crossbow, a silver ranged weapon that looks like a bird in flight.
A horse is a horse Attumen also has a chance of dropping Fiery Warhorse's Reins, which will give you a Midnight of your very own to ride around. When I say "chance," I mean 0.9% according to Wowhead. I have been killing Midnight regularly since The Burning Crusade, and I've seen the reins drop exactly once, won by another player. Still, it's something easy and fun to farm for on a weekly basis.
Up the main entrance stairs and to your left is Moroes the tower steward. Moroes comes with four random adds, each with different abilities; the adds die so quickly that they aren't even worth mentioning here. Players without stealth will need to clear the trash to get to Moroes. The trash shouldn't be too much of a problem; just don't pull more than you can handle. Also note that the Skeletal Waiters can cast a debuff on you that removes all of your armor for 1 minute -- you'll know if this hits you, because it'll turn you into a skeleton. Wait for that to go away before pulling Moroes.
Kill the four adds, and then kill Moroes. The adds should die within a few seconds; Moroes will take a little longer. Moroes does have an ability called Garrote that he will use after vanishing; the Garrote does 107.5k damage over 5 minutes. The Garrote should disappear after Moroes dies -- but watch your debuffs, because sometimes this does not occur.
Tier drops Moroes is just a steward and not important enough to carry tier.
Other items of interest The Crimson Girdle of the Indomitable is a plate belt that goes nicely with warrior tier 4. Shaman looking for a tier 4 belt will want the Belt of Gale Force, and the Nethershard Girdle complements mage tier 4 perfectly. Leather wearers may like the style of Edgewalker Longboots, and there are two cloaks available to choose from -- the Royal Cloak of Arathi Kings in red and gold, and the Shadow Cloak of Dalaran in burgundy and silver. Lastly is the Emerald Ripper, a dagger in a brilliant shade of green and gold.
But we're not done yet. The tower is vast, and there are oh so many more places to go. Follow along to page two, where we take in a show at the opera house and ponder the curiously absent virtues of the maidens of Karazhan.