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Ready Check: LF24M Sunwell


I'm back! RL got the best of me just after writing my first post here for my favorite WoW site. There is no better time to return than on a new patch that finally releases a new 25-man raid dungeon. It's been just over 10 months since Blizzard released the last 25-man instance, The Black Temple. Like patch 2.1, patch 2.4 promises to be a major content patch that should keep us busy raiding for the foreseeable future, at least hopefully until WotLK.

"But my guild is no where near Sunwell. Who cares about another raid instance that I will never step foot into?" Unlike patch 2.1, which had a complicated attunement process for The Black Temple, this patch removes all attunement requirements for all TBC raid instances. This change, along with many other changes included in patch 2.4 transforms the current raiding landscape giving the raider more paths to take. Whether you're a guild doing SSC/TK or (un)patiently waiting for Sunwell for the past six months, this patch affects you in some way. Find out how these new changes will affect your raiding experience.

The Sunwell Isle

  • The Sunwell Isle is now available for play. This area includes a new quest hub and 5-player and 25-player instances. Join the Shattered Sun Offensive in shutting down Kael'thas' nefarious operations. This new force is comprised by both the Aldor and Scryers and is led by the Naaru. Players will take part in claiming Sun's Reach and setting up a larger base of operation to stop Kael'thas and the Legion.
Here it is, the big thing for 2.4. The Sunwell raid instance is supposed to be harder than The Black Temple and contains the best loot currently available. However, if your guild can kill the trash packs leading up to Kael in TK, then your guild, with enough practice, can clear the trash in Sunwell up to Kalecgos. Most of the trash is susceptible to CC (sheep, sap, etc) and just make sure to kill the scout first (like the scouts in ZA).

"Wait wait, you want us to goto Sunwell to clear... trash?!" you say. Yes! For the epic loots of course. Let's compare the drops for trash with say Void Reaver (we don't call him loot reaver for nothing). You can now expect to get 2 Badge of Justice (50 badges total for the raid), 3 T5 shoulder tokens, and an extra epic on Void Reaver's loot table. For the trash clear in Sunwell, you will probably get at least 4 epic gems, 2-4 epic patterns, 2-4 sunmotes, and a decent chance at a random epic on the trash loot table. The epic gems are worth 15 badges each, get 4 gems and the raid is already ahead. But what you're really after are the epic patterns. With most specs represented (sorry, no love for tanks, enhancement Shamans, elemental Shamans, and balance Druids) the chest and glove patterns make what's arguably the best items in the game, better than T6. Add a random epic drop here and there as icing on the cake. The Jewel Crafting patterns are also top notch. Not a crafter or a JC? You don't need to be to use the gloves or the ring, they're BoE, just save up those sunmotes. All in all, in about the same time as clearing Void Reaver, you can clear the trash in Sunwell once you learn it. The difference is that you're going to get drops that you won't replace until the next expansion. You can also do the trash more often than you can do Void Reaver. Wait for a soft reset (30 minutes of the instance being empty of raiders) and the trash will respawn. Who's with me when I say LFM Sunwell?!

Combat Log Improvements
  • The combat log has undergone improvements that allow more robust combat text filtering including the ability to define custom colors for enemies and friends, as well as combat text filtering for self and others.
I have high hopes for this change. Many of the raiding addons that we use will need to change to compensate for this change. With a more efficient combat log, I'm hoping that the addons will be more efficient and more accurate. It's always a nice thing when you have a more accurate threat meter or damage meter. Maybe my FPS will finally be more than 10.

  • Spell Haste: Spell haste now reduces the global cooldown on spells, down to a minimum of 1 second. This change does not apply to melee and ranged abilities.
  • Spirit-Based Mana Regeneration: This system has been adjusted so that as your intellect rises, you will regenerate more mana per point of spirit.
These two changes may or may not affect you in a great way, but they will affect the raids. You should refer to your class 2.4 guides here on WoW Insider to see how this will affect your caster/healer. The biggest impact from this is going to be on the healers. Priests and Druids rejoice!

Dungeons and Raids
  • All 25- player raid bosses that drop set tokens will now drop an additional token!
  • Players will no longer require an attunement quest to enter Hyjal.
  • Players will no longer require an attunement quest to enter the Black Temple.
  • You may now fight Prince Kael'thas and Lady Vashj without first killing all the other bosses in their respective dungeons.
  • Gems obtained through Heroic difficulty instances are no longer Unique-equipped.
  • Players will no longer need the Master's Key to enter Karazhan. The gates to Karazhan will still require the Master's Key to be unlocked.
  • Many gameplay elements of the encounters in Magtheridon's Lair have been changed to decrease their overall complexity and difficulty.
No more attunements?! If there was ever a defining characteristic of TBC raiding, I would have to say the attunement process is a standout candidate. And now, in patch 2.4, Blizzard seems to have stopped the great attunement experiment. Is this a portent of what's to come in WotLK? Perhaps one day, you'll be telling the next generation of wow players how they have it so good because 'back in the day' we had to do all sorts of crazy stuff just to have the privilege of entering a raid instance... that and having to go 10 miles in the snow without a mount.

All kidding aside, the buffs to boss drops across the board is a huge change. Your raid should be able to gear up even faster and be ready to take on progression without having to wait as long to gear up some of your members. Also recruitment should be more open now that attunements are gone. Now you can accept people more based on their ability instead of what they're attuned for. Perhaps now, you can let some of your raiders change mains without worrying about having to back attune them.

Mag... Well at least this might mean I can finally finish my Trials of the Naaru quest in my quest log. A nerfed encounter (3 channelers instead of 5 and no more cube rotation needed) and buffed loot drops (yay gems), maybe Hellfire is the place to be! PUG Mag anyone?

New Badge Rewards
  • Badges of Justice have been added to all raid bosses who did not previously have them!
Ahh I can still hear the screaming in the R&D forums. The new badge rewards are of Hyjal and Black Temple quality. Love it or hate it, it's here. Again, please refer to your class 2.4 guides to see which items are worth your badges. This should help physical DPS (melee and Hunters) the most seeing as the new badge weapons can potentially be enormous upgrades over what your current raider has. While they are the most expensive costing the most badges, weapons are the biggest component to physical DPS.

With enough badge rewards and other epics from crafting, a typical raider shouldn't be 'undergeared," if they spend some time on their gear. Now you have many options to gear yourself up so you're not too far behind the curve. You can confidently apply to that raiding guild that you always wanted to join and not worry too much about your gear holding your application back. Raiders should be happy because this should translate to better DPS, better heals, and better tanking for the raid. I'm sure this will cause some guilds to shift some of their focus on raiding to more of progression rather than just gearing up.

Well there you have it, 2.4 raiding changes in a nutshell. If you're 5/6 SSC and 3/4 TK, you might want to give Sunwell a try. Anything that gets you out of SSC and TK is a good thing IMO. As always, happy raiding!

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