Spiritual Guidance: Through a Glass, Darkly: Getting the legendary, part 1

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Spiritual Guidance: Through a Glass, Darkly: Getting the legendary, part 1
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. On Wednesdays, shadow priesting expert Fox Van Allen comes from out of the darkness to bask in your loving adoration (and say really controversial stuff, apparently).

Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest. With patch 4.2, our own legendary came at last.

The power of the weapon is absolutely unmatched. By virtue of the staff's stats, it's the shadow priest's best-in-slot weapon for patch 4.2 and likely for patch 4.3 as well. Beyond that, though, Dragonwrath is worth thousands of extra DPS by virtue of its spell-duplication proc alone. And did I mention that it can also turn you into a giant friggin' blue dragon? Why wouldn't you want this thing?

But like everything worth doing, getting the Dragonwrath doesn't come easy. To score this epic, you need to put in your time in the Firelands, beat down some bosses, and then undergo Through a Glass, Darkly, the hardest solo quest your shadow priest will ever suffer. Are you ready?

Though the buff on Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest is being nerfed in 4.3, the weapon will no doubt remain one of the best possible items for shadow priests until the Mists of Pandaria expansion launches.

Beginning your journey

The path to obtaining Dragonwrath is a long one, indeed -- a path that few shadow priests will ever finish. Starting the journey, however, is easily accomplished by setting foot in the Firelands and defeating your first mob. That will cause you to automatically accept the quest Your Time Has Come, sending you to either Ziradormi in Orgrimmar's Grommash Hold or Coridormi in Stormwind's Mage District.

The next quest in the chain, A Legendary Engagement, will take Alliance and Horde alike to the Caverns of Time. Immediately to follow is A Wrinkle in Time, which is accompanied by a pretty epic cutscene. If you're interested in the lore aspect of the game (and not just the aspect where your screen fills up with the largest possible numbers), this would be a good time to remind you to have the game's audio turned on. If you have sound defaulted off, you won't be able to hear any of what's going on during the many cutscenes present in this chain.

Not able to complete the quest yourself? Had the sound shut off and you're wondering what you missed? YouTube to the rescue:

And now, we play ... the waiting game

Anyone can complete the first few quests in the Dragonrest chain. All that's required for the first few quests is a little bit of travel. Granted, the next quest in the chain, All-Seeing Eye, isn't especially challenging either. All that's required to complete it are 25 Eternal Embers and three Sands of Time. The former can be obtained by killing bosses in the Firelands; each should drop one or two. The latter is simply a matter of visiting Yasmin in Uldum and buying them for a combined 9,000 gold. (Don't have that kind of money? Maybe you should be reading my Gold Capped column. Just sayin'.)

The real challenge here is being patient -- there are going to be a lot of other people in your raid group who are going to want those Eternal Embers, as well. Any 10-man raiding group is bound to have at least two DPS spellcasters, if not more; any 25-man raiding group is likely to have at least five. All of them are guaranteed to want this damn staff, too. And while shadow priests are undeniably awesome, simply being a shadow priest does not guarantee that you'll be first in line to get this epic staff. Possible reasons for this may include:
  • Your raid leader is a caster DPS, and by default, he gets it first.
  • Your raid leader's girlfriend is a caster DPS, and despite her not even being a raider, she's still ahead of you in line to get it.
  • Your raid decided that the first Dragonwrath should go to an elemental shaman so he might finally be able to output competitive DPS.
Collecting the Eternal Embers you need to finish the All-Seeing Eye quest is a matter of downing a month's worth of bosses in Firelands. It's tedious, sure -- but believe me, it's far from the last tedious step in the chain.

Prepping for the epic solo quest

Once you've put in your month's worth of time in the Firelands to collect the 25 Eternal Embers you need, the real fun begins in Coldarra -- fun, here, being synonymous with hard.

The quest here is called Through a Glass, Darkly, and it calls for you to enter the Nexus solo. That doesn't mean you're entirely on your own -- you can enlist your friends to buff you before you enter the instance. Mark of the Wild is great here, as is Arcane Brilliance, Kings ... really, anything you can get. I'd recommend you also bring along a few Fortune Cookies (or other food buff) and one or two Flask of the Draconic Minds. None of these are required, but they do make goings a whole lot easier.

Since you'll be soloing some fairly difficult content here, I'd also suggest taking a look at your talent tree and considering new glyphs. Improved Psychic Scream and Silence are exceptionally useful here, and I got some use out of Psychic Horror as well. Most of my existing glyphs worked well, though I did decide to swap in Glyph of Power Word: Shield. You may want to as well, since you'll be using that spell on yourself a lot.

Phase 1: You and Tarecgosa

Once you talk to Tarecogsa just inside the Nexus, the quest begins. It's largely on rails -- your dragon friend will rush off and battle enemies on her own, occasionally stopping to talk to you or engage in some kind of RP event. It doesn't appear that she can die, but she can get wounded to the point that she Ice Blocks ... and having her out of the game puts you at a slight disadvantage. After all, if she's around, all you have to do is cast Fade and the bad guys will attack her, not you. It's a great technique in case you need a few seconds to PW:S yourself or otherwise drop out of Shadowform to heal.

The first set of battles in the Nexus will have you fighting at Tarecogsa's side. The larger Arcane Sentinels are dealt with easily enough -- just DOT them up, Mind Flay, and Fade when you need to. Just stay on the move, as they have an attack that will target your current location. The dogs that frequently accompany the sentinels can be (and should be) feared via Psychic Scream when they're on you. Use the time the fear buys you to single-target them -- they have a silence that can be very irritating. Don't be afraid to use your Shadowfiend followed by Fade; that too will get rid of your aggro and buy you some valuable, uninterrupted casting time.

This initial phase where you're accompanied by Tarecogsa is a short one. Use your time to get used to your foes' abilities. You'll be facing off against them all again soon, without any help.

Phase 2: The gauntlet

When Tarecogsa runs off after the sentinel after freezing you (just after where you'd normally face your first faction-specific boss if you were running Nexus on 5-man), you really will be on your own for the rest of the instance.

This phase starts with being attacked by three dogs. Psychic Scream is a powerful opener here. It pays to have Shadowfiend off cooldown and to pair that cast with Fade. Single-target them (making gratituitous use of PW:S) and you shouldn't have too much difficulty, even with the occasional silence.

After the first three dogs are down, take a moment to heal yourself, and Disperse if you need to regen the mana. It's a rare break in the action.

After your health and mana are maxed, continue down the corridor to start a gauntlet event. Wraiths will spawn based on your proximity to them. They have low health, so a channel of Mind Flay is more than enough to take them out. Keep rocking your PW:S button when you need to -- not only will it prevent you from taking damage, but it'll prevent you from having to deal with the consequences of spell pushback. You can take your time somewhat, but know that the Wraiths will eventually respawn. You don't want to have to deal with a rear assault when you're trying to push forward.

The gauntlet event ends with another set of dogs, which you should be a pro at taking care of by now. After the dogs, you'll find Tarecgosa sandwiched between two sentinels in the room where you'd normally be fighting Grand Magus Telestra. Take these baddies on one at a time, and you'll make quick work of them.

Phase 3: The big dog and the ice wall

After rescuing Tarecgosa from the sentinel sandwich, she'll proceed through the instance to a solid ice wall, which she'll need to break for you. This starts an event with a dog mini-boss. It's a pretty simple fight, so long as you know not to stand directly in front of it when it starts to cast. Simply put -- if you stay on the move, you can't lose.

Phase 4: Dragons and platform jumping

Once through the ice wall, the fourth phase is relatively simple. You'll hop on a platform that takes you near a dragonkin on another platform. Click one of the orbs present on the dragonkin's platform for a nice damage-reduction buff (there are enough that you can just chain the buff non-stop). Kill the dragonkin; hop on its platform; kill the next dragonkin; hop on its platform; rinse and repeat.

Ultimately, the platform you're on will collapse to the ground (safely!), and you'll be attacked by a pair of dragonkin. Tarecogsa should interrupt that fight eventually by killing all the dragonkin on the ground, but the event has glitched for me before, so play it cautious. ("Cautious" here means using Psychic Scream.)

When all the dragonkin are dead, start making your way up toward the platform where you normally fight Anomalus. Heal and Disperse yourself to full health and mana while you can, because the real test of your strength will begin when you talk to Tarecgosa.

Final Phase: Thyrinar

The final phase of Through a Glass, Darkly is a boss battle against Thyrinar, the dragon who destroyed one of you platforms earlier in phase 4.

Before you go up against him, make sure that you've got Dispel handy on your cast bar. He will periodically give himself the Twilight Restoration buff. This should be Dispelled as soon as possible.

I recommend having access to Silence during this fight, as well. Use it to interrupt casts of Twilight Blast when you can. This gives you a brief period of time that you won't have to worry about taking (much) damage, so utilize it to drop out of Shadowform and heal when needed. (I recommend Renew and any other quick-use heal.) Don't underestimate the usefulness of healing here -- Vampiric Embrace is unlikely to be enough to get you to the finish line.

The attack that Thyrinar does that has the potential to kill you is his Twisting Twilight breath attack, which creates a path of fire on the ground as you run from it. Standing in fire will definitely get you killed here, so be quick on your feet. You'll often have to deal with a lone add during this breath phase; I recommend using Psychic Scream to send the add scattering at first, and then to put Shadow Word: Pain and Devouring Plague on it while running. Since the add is somewhat low health, you may want to cast DP a few times, relying on the damage from Improved Devouring Plague. Try to take care of the adds with expediency, because you don't want to miss a Dispel of Twilight Restoration.

The name of the game during this fight is defense. It may take a little practice -- even I wiped a few times getting the fight down. Self-healing was key to my first victory.

After Thyrinar is dead, you'll have to click the inside of Tarecgosa's cube to finish the quest and get your "Obscured Event Witnessed 1/1." Walk away from Tarecgosa and ... well, you'll have to fight Thyrinar again. And you probably don't want that.

Your reward for beating the quest? Somewhere north of 20 gold, plus the following cinematic:

The rest of the quest chain

The solo quest above is the most epic part of the Dragonwrath chain, but it's far from the last step. It's easily the most enjoyable, however. (Or, perhaps, the most despised -- it all depends on your point of view.)
Are you more interested in watching health bars go down than watching them bounce back up? We've got more for shadow priests, from Shadow Priest 101 to a list of every monster worth mind controlling and strategies for raiding Blackwing Descent.

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