Last week, we started the journey to pick up the first raiding tier of The Burning Crusade. Tier 4 was a bit of a revolution in the way that tier gear was obtained. Players no longer had to wait for their particular piece of gear to drop; instead, they looted tokens that were then turned in for the gear of their choice. We saw the beginnings of this back in tier 2.5, but the organizational element of it was sadly missing. By the time The Burning Crusade launched, players no longer had to obtain secondary items for their tier; the tokens were all that was required. But there were other differences that were unique to Burning Crusade raids -- mainly, the placement of tier loot.
If you wanted to raid in vanilla WoW, doing so required attuning yourself to the various raids available. In the case of Molten Core, Blackwing Lair and Onyxia's Lair, this was done by completing a quest chain and obtaining an item or clicking an object that would allow you passage into the raid zone. When Ahn'Qiraj was launched, raiders had to complete an epic quest chain in order to open the gates to the raid, and non-raiders had to gather resources and supplies for the battle that would happen after. By the time the 40-man version of Naxxramas rolled around, all that was required was reputation, some gold, and a few items to get in.
This all changed with The Burning Crusade, and so did tier sets.
Attunement in The Burning Crusade
With The Burning Crusade, attunement was based on an odd layered mesh of reputation and quest chains. Players had to reach a certain reputation to unlock the new heroic level dungeons and also unlock quests that would eventually allow them entry into the new raids. A good example of this is the quest for the key to Karazhan. Once players reached level 70, they could go to Karazhan and pick up the opening quests to obtain the key to the zone. The chain eventually sent players to the Arcatraz for the last fragment. Arcatraz had its own attunement chain and key required to get into the zone.
Sound marvelously complicated? It totally was. Check out this attunement chart found on Wowpedia, and keep in mind this was only the attunements to ultimately get to Hyjal -- it didn't count Black Temple. Don't worry, your eyes will uncross in due time.
Thankfully, we don't have to deal with any of the attunements in The Burning Crusade anymore or any of the keys -- they were all removed over time. The complex nature of attunements and the associated chains were loved by some raiders and hated by others -- and as time went on in the expansion, and raiding guilds looked for new recruits, they realized these new recruits would have to be dragged through all those old raids just so they could come along to the newer stuff. It was a gigantic pain, even though the quests were incredibly entertaining.
So let's get back to Karazhan, shall we? There's a handful of bosses left to complete, but they all have some pretty amazing gear. Again, I soloed Karazhan from bottom to top at level 85, but it took a while. If you don't want to spend a ton of time carefully pulling trash and murdering it, take a friend along -- you really don't need more than two. If you'd rather bask in the glory of your power, Karazhan is a nice place to spend a few hours by yourself.
When we left off, we'd just smushed Nightbane on the outer balcony. Go back inside, head up the stairs, fight your way through a ton of ghosts and you'll soon stumble upon a round room that opens to a long hallway. Kill the two Arcane Watchmen that are guarding the room and check out the hall -- you'll see it's full of Arcane Anomalies, which are surrounded by Syphoners. AOE the Syphoners -- they don't hurt much -- and knock over the Anomalies after. You'll notice that The Curator patrols the hallway; pull the Anomalies and Syphoners back into the round room before killing them. Once the hallway is clear, it's time to murder a giant robot!
The Curator isn't terribly tough to beat, but rogues beware -- this guy is immune to poisons. Casters, look out -- he spawns flare adds that do a Chain Lightning interrupt. Kill the flares as quickly as you can, then focus on The Curator. As an assassination rogue, my health was a little lower than I was comfortable with after this fight, but it was still soloable without using health pots. Once he's knocked over, grab your first piece of tier!
Tier drops It turns out The Curator is guarding everyone's tier 4 glove tokens. For more information on the different tier sets, check out last week's introductory article to Karazhan.
Other items of interest Cloth wearers may like the teal and silver Pauldrons of the Solace-Giver, and leather-wearing classes should keep an eye out for Forest Wind Shoulderpads that are recolors of the tier 2 rogue set. For mail wearers, check out the Dragon-Quake Shoulderguards for your recolored tier 2. Plate wearers should take a look at the Wrynn Dynasty Greaves, pants in black, grey and deep red. And for casters, the Staff of Infinite Mysteries is a beautiful black and purple staff with light blue, glowing accents.
Head into the library proper and watch out for the trash -- the little clusters of Mana Feeders are immune to magic damage. For casters, this means skirting around them, or in the event that you accidentally pull, whacking them violently about the head with your staff until they fall over dead. Head up the ramp on the other side of the library and begin the upward trek -- it's a long one.
On your way up, you'll notice a room full of books and small imps. Check out the bookshelf on the left side of the room; if you click it, you'll open a secret passage to a hallway that leads to Terestian Illhoof. Illhoof is an optional boss, but he's got some pretty cool gear. Pull the imps in the front of the room back into the hall and AOE them down, then go get Illhoof. He will spawn a minion, Kil'rek. Kill Kil'rek immediately, and then concentrate on Illhoof. It won't take long before you smush him.
Tier drops Terestian doesn't have any tier.
Other items of interest Terestian does have one of the more ... interesting staves available in game. Casters might like Terestian's Stranglestaff, a green and brown staff with a wiggling octopus on the end. Illhoof also drops belts that match tier 4 for several classes: the Cord of Nature's Sustenance for druids, the Malefic Girdle for warlocks, the Cincture of Will for priests, and the Girdle of the Prowler for hunters.
Plate-wearers may want to check out the Breastplate of the Lightbringer, a gorgeous plate chestpiece in silver and gold. The Gilded Thorium Cloak is a black and silver cloak with an intricate braided pattern that should appeal to just about anyone. Illhoof also drops Fool's Bane, a really unique one-handed mace in black, orange and red, and the Xavian Stiletto, a blood-stained glowing dart for those that would like a unique throwing weapon.
Shade of Aran
Head back out to the main library and continue up. You'll notice on your way up that there's a small room with books, ghosts, and a door to your left. Open the door, and you'll see the Shade of Aran, aka the spirit of Nielas Aran, Medivh's father. Aran isn't hard to beat at all, but you do have to remember one important thing -- if he casts Flame Wreath, don't move. No, really. Yes, I know the damage is pretty minimal to a level 85. It doesn't matter. Thou shalt not move when Flame Wreath is cast.
Fight him in the center of the room, ignore any adds he summons, and he should die in quick order. Aran is another one of those optional bosses, but he does contain some good loot.
Tier drops "I'll show you this beaten dog still has some teeth! But tier gear, that I don't have."
Other items of interest Casters looking for an off-hand may like Aran's Soothing Sapphire, which is a giant sparkling blue sapphire, just as advertised. Plate-wearers who liked the chestpiece that Illhoof dropped should check out the Pauldrons of the Justice-Seeker; the two are a perfect match. The Boots of the Incorrupt are cloth boots that match priest tier 4, Boots of the Infernal Crown match warlock tier 4, and Rapscallion Boots match rogue tier 4. Mail wearers should check out the Steelspine Faceguard if they've ever had dreams of wearing warrior tier 1. Casters may also want to take a look at the Tirisfal Wand of Ascendancy, a black and red wand tipped with a giant red crystal.
Oh but we're not done yet! There's a dragon, a demon, and ... a chess game? Yes, chess -- and it's completely soloable. Follow along to page 2 to find out how!