The Raid Finder calls the first four bosses of the Dragon Soul encounter "The Siege of Wyrmrest Temple," accessible as the first wing of the raid. In normal mode, there is no distinction between the two wings, as the whole place is just one instance. For the sake of understanding and what most people in Raid Finder are accustomed to, we'll split our explanation into two wings as well.
Before we begin, here are a few general points to make about the jump from Raid Finder to normal difficulty.
- There will be more damage. Everything hits harder in normal and heroic mode Dragon Soul. Everything. Every ability will require more healing, and every player will be required to mitigate as much damage as they can to make the healers' jobs easier.
- There will be more healing. With more damage comes more healing. Healers will need to know what cooldowns they have and where they are best used. Tank cooldowns are good for periods of high tank damage. Raid cooldowns are good for periods of high raid damage. Your raid leader will most likely be in charge of letting you know what cooldowns to use where, so listen closely.
- There will be more tanking. Tanks will be swapping much more than they do in Raid Finder and will usually have more targets to tank that hit harder and cause more ruckus. As a tank, don't be discouraged by the amount of stuff you have to look after -- you'll get the hang of it. It's not too bad.
- You'll need to use your raid cooldowns. You most likely have raid cooldowns as a WoW class. If you're a healer, you already know about your raid cooldowns, and you're going to need to use them. Using your raid cooldowns will prevent massive damage to your raid and allow you to survive attacks that would have killed you otherwise. Learn what your class cooldowns are, and ask your raid leader when you should have them available.
- There will usually be more movement and coordination. Don't let this point scare you -- coordination actually isn't too bad. There will be more things for you to DPS, more target switching, more moving with your raid members, etc. Just remember that things will just get more complicated, not necessarily more difficult, if that makes sense.
Morchok, the first fight in Dragon Soul and the Siege of Wyrmrest Temple, is not much different on normal mode than his Raid Finder counterpart. His abilities will stay the same, expect his Black Blood of the Earth to hit for considerably more damage, and the crystals must absolutely be dealt with and their damage soaked by players. You're going to want to assign the required number of players (three in 10-man, seven in 25-man) to detonate his crystals and heal up the damage quickly. Tanks will have to swap aggro once Morchok's armor debuff on the current tank gets too high. Otherwise, it's the same encounter.
Difficulty compared to Raid Finder Not much different. Watch for more damage.
Check out WoW Insider's guide to normal-mode Morchok.
Check out WoW Insider's guide to healing Morchok.
Zon'ozz will be the first fight where Raid Finder veterans will see some spectacular changes. The fight remains the same for the most part, with a twist. The ball that Zon'ozz forms must be bounced between two groups of players until it reaches a high enough stack of bounces that hitting Zon'ozz with the ball will greatly increase the damage he takes during his Maw of Go'rath vulnerability.
Players will stack in two groups and bounce the ball between them. Each time the ball hits a group of players, it will inflict damage that is shared between all of the people near where the ball collided. As the bounces stack up, the damage increases dramatically. Usually, groups bounce the ball between the groups a few times, have the group closest to Zon'ozz move out of the way of the boss, and then let the ball collide with him to send him into phase 2.
Difficulty compared to Raid Finder Phases are the same. Much more healing for ball bounces. Coordinate two groups to deal with bouncing ball mechanics.
Check out WoW Insider's guide to normal-mode Warlord Zon'ozz.
Check out WoW Insider's guide to healing Warlord Zon'ozz.
Raid Finder players will find themselves right at home with Yor'sahj the Unsleeping, their favorite multi-colored slime aficionado. His abilities remain the same, and the number of slimes that spawn remain at three. However, like all fights in normal mode compared to Raid Finder, the effects and abilities that these slimes grant Yor'sahj must be dealt with in a different and more challenging manner.
You will still want to have a priority order for slimes. I think our group kills purple slimes first, then greens, then yellow. Each ability will cause much more raid damage, and the adds spawned will need to be dealt with quickly. One very important thing to remember is that when a green slime hits Yor'sahj in normal mode, players must spread out, as damage jumps to other players within 4 yards. When Yor'sahj gets a red slime, players need to group up close to Yor'sahj to mitigate the damage.
Other than the increased damage and healing required during the slime phases, the fight is fairly similar.
Difficulty compared to Raid Finder Not much different. Much more healing. Remember to group up or spread out depending on the slimes.
Check out WoW Insider's guide to healing Yor'sahj.
While Hagara's phases are similar in normal mode to those of Raid Finder, there are a few new mechanics that players will have to learn if they have only completed the fight on the Raid Finder difficulty. The first new ability is Ice Tomb, where Hagara will trap players (two in 10-man, five in 25-man) in tombs of ice that must be destroyed to free those players. Quickly swap DPS to these tombs and AoE them down to get the boss with some of that damage as well, if they happen to be in melee range. You will be marked with a target arrow if you are going to be Ice Tombed, so group up with your fellow Ice Tombs for easy breakage.
The second new twist that players will have to contend with is Ice Lance. If you've done this fight on Raid Finder, you'll have seen the Ice Lance but not actually had to deal with its consequences. Players who are hit by the Ice Lance have their attack speed reduced by 25%. While the mechanic is fairly trivial, it is something to watch out for, so move away from the person targeted with Ice Lance.
Finally, for you Raid Finder rogues out there who cannot complete the first step in your legendary dagger chain, Proving Your Worth, you'll be able to pickpocket the decoder ring from Hagara in 10- or 25-man normal mode. Get those awesome first stage daggers and watch everyone weep at your new DPS.
Difficulty compared to Raid Finder Again, not much different except for the Ice Tombs and the extra healing. Make sure your tank is strafing away from Focused Assault, and don't get hit by the ice waves.
Check out WoW Insider's guide to healing Hagara.
Up to the next level
Stay tuned for the second half of our guide showing you how to graduate from Raid Finder to normal mode Dragon Soul, coming soon. Hopefully all of the good times and great experiences in Raid Finder can transition themselves over to the wacky, wild world of the normal versions of the Dragon Soul encounters.
Brace yourselves for what could be some of most exciting updates to the game recently with patch 4.3. Review the official patch notes, and then dig into what's ahead: new item storage options, cross-realm raiding, cosmetic armor skinning and your chance to battle the mighty Deathwing -- from astride his back!