Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our feral cat edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. This week, the editors refuse to let me write the column in Elcor.
Let's face it: Mists of Pandaria isn't going to be released any time soon, and Dragon Soul is starting to become Draggin' Soul, for those of who you starting raiding it on the release of patch 4.3. Of course, many of us are off saving the galaxy from annihilation, but if you're staying in Azeroth, you need something to do -- a new challenge. This week, I'm resurrecting my old series on druid soloing. A new tier of gear has made possible many feats that were not before, so pack your bags. We're heading back to Northrend to fight the undead ... since they cannot die. (/sunglasses)
Before we start, however, a quick refresher for those who missed the earlier series. Druids are one of the best raid soloing classes in the game for one simple reason: Prowl. While we don't have the solo survivability of a blood DK or the DPS of a hunter, we can skip the annoying trash most of the time. If you're doing a full clear, that isn't much help -- but in most cases, you can get in, kill the boss, and get out without ever having to wait to kill a trash mob.
In terms of strategy, I use this bearcat talent spec and glyphs. The primary source of your survivability will come from Leader of the Pack heals and Savage Defense shields, using Barkskin and Survival Instincts on cooldown, and popping Frenzied Regeneration as your oh-crap full heal. For some fights, you'll also be mixing in Rejuvenation, Lifebloom, and Predator's Swiftness-procced Healing Touches. For your rotation, you'll be using the default bear priority list (FF once, Demo Roar, Mangle, Thrash, Lacerate to three, Pulverize). For trivial bosses, feel free to go Cat part-time or full-time to speed things up. Finally, note that my ilevel was about 390 when I did these bosses, so this may be a bit easier or harder depending on what you're packing. (Also, credit where it's due to Reesi for helping me nail down bear details and Braindwen for his soloing guide.)
Northrend 5-man heroics These are good as a tune-up; the vast majority of them are quite easy. There's a rare mount that drops off Skadi in Utgarde Pinnacle, and many of the achievements for Glory of the Hero are doable. The two exceptions here are Trial of the Champion (first boss) and Oculus (last boss). Both are vehicle fights, and while both are doable solo, they take a large amount of time. For Trial, you'll have to keep switching mounts every 5 seconds. For Oculus, use a Ruby Drake and keep strafing to outrange Eregos' spellcasts.
Ah, here's where the real fun begins -- 15 raid bosses to test your mettle on, and all of them presenting a different challenge (and a good bit of gold -- 120-200 per boss, plus drops.) I'll discuss the four quarters from easiest to hardest, rate the difficulty of each individual boss, and finish up with Frostwyrm Lair, where Sapphiron and Kel'Thuzad lurk.
The Plague Quarter This quarter of Naxx is mostly tedious. The Stoneskin Gargoyles in the initial area can see through stealth, so you'll need to burn them down one at a time. At 35% health, they start channeling a spell to heal themselves to full, so keep a bit of energy in reserve to finish them off. The other trash areas can be stealthed through or cleared, as you choose.
Noth the Plaguebringer Noth isn't much of a threat. He'll spawn adds to assist him; I typically ignore them until there are at least four up, then pop Berserk and use that to work him down. He'll also periodically curse you, which turns into Wrath of the Plaguebringer if not dispelled. It's not that threatening, but you'll probably take less damage by shifting out to decurse vs. not decursing. Easy.
Heigan the Unclean I hope you know the dance! For phase 1, just DPS him up on the platform. Once he teleports and the dance phase begins, simply move through the safe zones, keeping Rejuvenation and three Lifebloom on yourself. You'll heal to full before the dance ends. Repeat. Easy.
Loatheb Ugh, this fight is boring. You can't heal, but he hits so weakly that he'll never penetrate your Savage Defense shield. Just slowly grind him down. Very easy.
The Arachnid Quarter Feel free to stealth by everything here, unless you like getting yanked around by spiders.
Anub'Rekhan Anub has three main threats. First, he'll periodically knock you up in the air, which will cause you to take a good chunk of fall damage. You can avoid this by Feral Charging him at the height of the knockback (preferable, and cool) or switching to cat before you land.
The second threat is the Crypt Guards that he summons periodically. These can do a lot of damage to you via the stacking Acid Spit debuff, so you'll want to make these your priority target when up. Use Berserk if available; if not, pop SI when they're close to death to mitigate the hardest-hitting ticks.
Finally, every 90 seconds or so, Anub will cast Locust Swarm. The debuff from this is pretty nasty, so shift to cat and Dash away from Anub, kiting around the edge of the area. Moderate.
Grand Widow Faerlina Overall, she's not too difficult, as the Frenzy effect is fairly weak. Just try to keep kiting away from the rain of fire spells she casts. Easy.
Maexxna Maex is another grind-it-out boss like Loatheb, though it doesn't last nearly as long. Save CDs for sub-25%, when the enrage happens. Very easy.
The Military Quarter There's a few stealth-detecting mobs scattered around the entryway, so take care of them first.
Gothik the Harvester Another yawn-inducing boss, though you might freak out a little bit when the gate opens and you get all the dead side adds at once. Kill all the adds in Bear, then switch to cat for burning Gothik when he becomes attackable.
The Four Horsemen Going in, I figured this group to be impossible, but the spell cast by Lady Blaumeux when nobody is in range (Unyielding Pain) is very survivable. You do have to be fast, however, since the Mark damage will get very painful very quickly. Start in Cat, dash up to Zeliek, and use Berserk to burn him to 60% HP or so while he gets to his spot. Once the melee horsemen get to you, go bear and continue to burn him with the remainder of your Berserk, chaining Mangles to the other two.
As soon as Zeliek dies, drag Korth'azz and Rivendare in range of Blaumeux to stop the Unyielding Pain casts, and kill them individually. Finish off Blaumeux last. Feel free to run out of range to drop her Mark stacks; Rejuv/LB will mitigate the majority of the Unyielding Pain damage. Moderate to hard.
The Construct Quarter All of the trash in the initial section will aggro when you pull Patchwerk, so kill it first. Other than that, watch out for the pipe, which is still very easy to fall off of.
Patchwerk The prototypical tank and spank. A simple gear check like Razuvious, but not as difficult. Moderate.
Grobbulus Quite simple, since he won't cast Mutating Injection if you're solo. Just move him periodically to stay out of the Poison Clouds, and kill the adds when they spawn. Very easy.
Gluth The big dog is now the most difficult fight in Naxx and the only one I have yet to clear. While he doesn't hit all that hard, you have no way of dealing with the zombie adds, which heal him for 5% every few seconds, so you have to have high enough DPS to burn through that. Sadly, he does hit hard enough to make long periods in Cat a non-starter, and he also locks out your healing as well. I'd recommend at least a normal-mode Dragon Soul weapon before attempting him seriously. Very hard.
Thaddius The trickiest part of Thaddius is his minibosses (well, and killing Gluth); you'll be taking a ton of damage from the Tesla Coil, and you have to kill each one no more than 6 seconds apart. Once they're dead, though, Thaddius himself is simple. Hard.
Frostwyrm Lair The endgame. Thankfully, you can now teleport here directly, so you can still get here even if another boss is problematic.
Kel'Thuzad Happily, KT doesn't use Frost Blast when you're solo, making this much simpler. During phase 1, just kill everything, focusing on the Soul Weavers. They do a knockback to those in melee range, so be prepared to eat at least one per mob. Once KT activates, finish off anything left, then just grind him down. You'll need to interrupt as many Frostbolts as you can and move around to avoid the Shadow Fissures. Two adds will spawn at 45% HP, but just ignore them and continue working down KT. Moderate.
Looking for the latest and greatest in feral cat druid guides? Shifting Perspectives has the answers! Check out our guide to soloing instances and raids, as well as our top gear recommendations and feral guides to the Siege of Wyrmrest Temple and the Fall of Deathwing.