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Cataclysm Beta: Testing Halfus Wyrmbreaker in Bastion of Twilight

Matt Low

Sunday afternoon, a couple of raid encounters in the Cataclysm beta were activated so they could be tested. I managed to get in on both of them, and I'll cover my experience and initial thoughts regarding Halfus Wyrmbreaker. He is the first boss that can be found in the Bastion of Twlight. The entrance can be found in the southwest corner of Twilight Highlands at the top of an extremely high pillar.

I don't have much in regards to the lore and stuff, but something about this boss tells me that he controls and restrains drakes (or wyrms).

Unfortunately, I didn't do much in the way of healing. The group I was with already had capable healers. When it comes to DPS, I can either play a retribution paladin or an elemental shaman. I haven't had a whole ton of experience experimenting with paladins and the new holy power mechanics yet, so I played it safe and offered up an elemental shaman instead.

If you're curious about my gear level, I copied over an elemental shaman loaded with heroic level blue items. I reforged, cut and enchanted as much of my gear as I could, once I got my UI to a somewhat playable level before the gates were opened up.

There's a quick overview of my stats and stuff. I think I went slightly too far on the reforging side of things. Missed the hit cap by a hair (It is supposed to be 17 percent). I figure those will be the rough stats most spellcasters will have before they're raid-ready. I'm not sure what the floor (minimum stats) will be for raids, but it would be around this area.

Just another face in the crowd

You guys wanted crowd control back during raids, right? Check out the amount of trash in this area.

This is just the first chamber, and there are a ton of guys walking around. Traditional Sheeps and Hexes work. I didn't get a chance to witness other crowd-controlling alternatives, but I'm sure some of them will be effective.

All I know is that there is a dude back there who casts Dark Mending (and heals one of these bigger dudes). The trash got a whole lot more interesting. Seems the big dude with the spinning swords around him has a buff whereby damage that does not exceed 10,000 is automatically reduced to 1. I suppose that that is a form of DPS check, in place just to make sure everyone meets the minimum standard in order to get in.

The rest of the trash was fairly decent and didn't present itself as too large of a headache. You just have to watch out for those orbs when they target players, and get the dispels ready for any silence effects that happen to come up. As always, watch out for those pesky black void zones on the ground. They won't immediately kill you (or expand in size). Your healers will be annoyed.

Breaking the Wyrmbreaker

Once we cleared the trash, it was on to the Wyrmbreaker himself!

We squared off against him for several seconds before he popped open that cage behind him and unleashed some whelps. Normally, it wouldn't have been a problem and we'd just shrug them off. But when these whelps were active, damage done by players was reduced by 20 percent. We brought them on top of Halfus and started DPSing them down with multi-target and AoE spells. They went down without a fuss.

Halfus also has an annoying flying wyrm that hovers just out of reach behind the raid and periodically breathes fire on the raid. The healers handled that admirably. I can't remember, but he did shoot fireballs at individuals. It wasn't even noticeable.
Once he reached low health, he started spinning around and Whirlwinding the entire group. The tanks commented that there might have been a threat issue going on. It appears that even though they had full threat, he would randomly go after different players. We wiped on that attempt. On the shot after, the tank placed Vigilance on the off tank and continued to chain taunt during the Whirlwind phase, since it refreshes. That's probably a bug, though. I don't think it is intentional for tanks to be able to continuously chain taunt. It just negated the effects of Whirlwind.

Something new every week

Supposedly, every week there will be a different wyrm (or wyrms) for the off tank to take on. I don't know if that's true or not, but it is an interesting way to add variety to an encounter. Every week, the fundamentals of the boss mechanics will stay the same, but there will be a different wyrm for your off tank to pick up, thereby forcing the raid to react differently. Good way to keep things fresh longer, that's for sure.
All in all, this was a fairly basic encounter. It took us around five attempts or so to take him down. I think Bastion of Twilight is supposed to be one of the initial raiding tiers that groups will be heading into. It isn't overtly difficult to the point where you feel like you're beating against a wall, but it isn't exactly the way Naxxramas was, when the bosses were easily steamrolled.

As for what it was like to raid as an elemental shaman, it is rather a satisfying feeling to drop 40k+ Lava Burst crits. I know I missed a few crucial spells or procs here and there -- but c'mon, let's give ol' Matty some credit. I spent my entire raiding career as a healer and stepped in to dish out damage! Almost enough to make me consider re-rolling for the expansion.


Special thanks to Blacksen and his crew from <Imperative> for allowing me the opportunity to see beta test the raiding content with them.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it; nothing will be the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion (available Dec. 7, 2010), from brand new races to revamped quests and zones. Visit our Cataclysm news category for the most recent posts having to do with the Cataclysm expansion.

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