Category Archives: Tips & Guides

Pyroarachnophobia? Tips & Tricks for King of the Spider-Hill

I have often wondered if something like arachnophobia extends into more specialized forms.  Like ice spiders, giant mutated alien spiders, clown monsters that look like spiders but are not actually arachnids, or in the far more relevant to today’s post – fire spiders.  So you’ve done your three days of duty on the slopes of Mount Hyjal and gathered up enough Marks of the World Tree to plant the seed of the Sentinel Tree in the Molten Front.  You have access to a whole new zone for epic daily questing (and believe me, I am shocked at how much more epic this place feels than Quel’Danas.  Quel’Danas definitely had the feeling of battle in the early stages, but this feels like an all out war!)  So what do you do first?  Why go and try to grab some achievements first!  Because patch 4.2 is the solo achievement hunters dream!

There’s a couple of achievements that can be easily and quickly done in the Molten Front without touching a single quest.  The first and by far the easiest is Flawless Victory. The Behemoths are wandering around just north of the hub, and all you have to do is run away from them when they cast their stomps and stay out of the shadow of the flying boulder.  Honestly, I would just run in, hit them 2-3 times, and then run behind them to avoid the next stop (which were almost always back to back to back).  I don’t think they hit very hard beyond those two abilities, so keep at it and they’ll eventually go down.

The trickier one that took me a few tries to find a path was King of the Spider-Hill.  This has try to get to the top of the giant rocky hill in the middle of the Widow’s Clutch (NE of the quest hub).  If you’re like me and don’t bother reading online how the heck you’re supposed to do this, you’ll probably find just as I did that the rocks are too big to hop from one to another.  So how do you get up there?  You attack the spiders on the cliffs.  As soon as you start fighting them, they’ll death grip you with their webs up to the ledge their on.  Just like that, you’re much closer to the end goal!  However, there is some tricks to this.  Not every path will lead you to the top.  You can quite often end up in spots where no other spiders are within line of sight to attack.  So what follows is the path I took to get to the top.

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Step 1 is essentially the ground.  This spot is around the south-east corner of the hill. From there you just follow the numbering patterns.  I did this on a paladin using just my Judgement, so making sure I had line of sight was important to getting up the hill.  This pattern successfully got me half way up the hill without a single incident of having to backtrack because I couldn’t find another spider to smack.  However, be warned, if there are a few people doing this at once these spiders take a while to respawn.  Also keep in mind that if someone is chilling in one spot and repeatedly killing a spider to ensure you can’t progress that it is griefing. Report them.

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I would also avoid using AOE or multi-target spells that can grab multiple spiders on different levels.  They’ll start pulling you back and forth and you risk the chance of being left on a lower level than you intended.  Avenger’s Shield was not my friend for this.  That happened to me on the second image (spots 6-7) and I was left down in spot 6 waiting for 7 to respawn again before I could finally get to the top peak.  However, if you can do area spells that can reach places that normally you wouldn’t be able to hit because of LoS, (Blizzard, Rain of Fire, Death & Decay) or even engineering bombs, you can get up this hill much easier. Just drop it on some ledge where there’s a spider and it will yank you up.  For everyone else, this path is a proven and tested one.  Provided you don’t get yanked around or get stuck on respawns, you’ll have your achievement in no time at all.

And when all is said and done, you will have your achievement (if it doesn’t pop as soon as the final spider grips you up to the top, don’t panic.  Just walk around a bit at the top and it’ll come up.)  Take this chance to enjoy the excellent view of the Molten Front from this hill.  Looks kinda like Hellfire Penninsula after I told it to die in a fire, actually.  Good thing it’s way more fun than Hellfire.  I’ll probably come up with some more tips and tricks for different Molten Front achievements if I come across any that look like a helping hand would be appreciated (or someone asks me for one I suppose.)  Enjoy!

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Ice Ice Baby: Tips & Tricks for Glutton for Icy Punishment

As an avid achievement junkie, I loved the fact that Blizzard added additional quest based achievements to the old world in Cataclysm.  While riding the Rocket Rail from the North Terminus to the South Terminus isn’t exactly the most daunting task, it’s nice to see little things like that make it into the game (Besides, the view and erratic behavior of the rockets can’t be beat.) However, in Azshara there’s a trio of achievements that are tied into the three trials that you must complete for the…  um… “eccentric” Archmage Xylem.  Essentially the quests require you to obtain a certain amount of stacks of a buff by doing certain things: standing in safe areas, trapping ghosts, or collecting orbs. If you take damage, you lose a stack.  However, the achievements require you to do this without taking any damage.  Which ramps up the difficulty a little bit.

When I say a ‘little bit’ I mean a little bit. The Trials of Fire and Shadow are exceptionally easy to do the achievements for.  The tasks are easy to see and not standing in the bad is pretty easy to follow, so not getting hit isn’t a grueling task.  However, if you’ve attempted the achievement for the Trial of Ice, you may have been pulling out your hair out how tediously painful that achievement can be.  The waves of ice routinely will hit you when you are no where near them, the orbs aren’t always picked up regardless of how close or how long you touch them, and the runes seem to trigger whenever they want at different ranges.  I spent about 30 minutes trying to figure out exactly how this achievement works and I’m here to happily share some of my tips with you if you are also struggling with this.

TIP #1: DON’T WATCH THE STACKS: To complete the quest, you are required to gain 20 stacks of a buff given by the Icy Orbs that float around.  These stacks will wear off after a minute of not gaining another stack.  This puts a strict time limit on how long you have to navigate the ice to grab your next orb, and can put a lot of stress on you if you’re attempting to not take any damage. The biggest turn in doing this achievement is realizing that the stacking buff has no bearing whatsoever on the achievement.  Go ahead! Track the achievement.  You can grab an orb, sit outside the ice as long as you want, let the buff wear off and you’ll still have 1/20 toward the achievement.  You can take as long as you want to get these just as long as the ice beams don’t hit you!

TIP #2: STAND BEHIND THE BEAMS: The Ice Beams are very tricky.  They will routinely hit you far ahead of where they actually appear to be, and I can only imagine it’s worse if you have sub-optimal latency.  The trick to avoiding being hit is to not attempt to out run the beams, but to walk behind them.  This is easier to do on a mount or with some speed boost (Travel Form, Ghost Wolf, or Aspect of the Cheetah) because the beams move much faster than your characters walk speed, especially when you’re moving around trying to nab the orbs.  Sometimes the beams will catch up to you while you’re grabbing the orbs (because they take a bit to register being picked up sometimes), which brings me to Tip #3…

TIP #3: KNOW THE SAFE ZONES: There are several places around the plateau where the beams will either not reach or just not hit for some reason.  These ‘Safe Zones’ are the best places to hide when a beams heading your way and you’re running about.  I’ve made the following map to show the couple that I used:

The important things to note about these spots, other than the one at the portal, is that they are very temperamental.  In order to avoid being hit, you need to make sure you are either a place where the ground has turned to rock or becomes darker in color.  In terms of the bottom safe zone on the map, it’s actually a small ledge that puts you below the height of the beams. So duck down there to avoid being hit.  I am sure that there are probably a couple more around the island that you can use, these are just the few I figured out while doing the achievement. Using these safe spots, I was able to run around the entire area and gather orbs and still manage to avoid the beams.

TIP #4: AVOID THE RUNES: While Xylem will be quick to inform you that the runes on the ground can either help or hinder you, my experience would suggest that the chance of hindering you far outweighs the chance to help you.  Technically, you could use them to launch yourself up in the air to avoid the beams, but the beams and runes are fickle enough that you land just as likely a chance to fall down right into the beam, or the rune won’t trigger immediately and you’ll get hit by the beam.  It’s best to just avoid the things entirely that deal with the possible headaches they can create.

TIP #5: STAY AWAY FROM THE ICY GROUND: This one really is the simplest and most obvious tip of them all.  The icy ground around the giant beam-emitting balls will slow you down if you step into it.  Just avoid it.  At all costs.  If an orb spawns in the icy ground, just ignore it.  Resist that temptation at all costs.  I was screwed over more than once by grabbing that orb because I figured the beam was no where close, and I only needed two more or something.  BAM! Back to 0/20 on the counter. Regardless of where the beam is, the icy ground is just going to screw you up in the long run.

THE STRATEGY

There’s really two strategies currently available, but I’m sure that a third will emerge once you can fly in Azeroth.  The first is simply find a good safe spot, run in and grab one or two orbs, then go back to the safe spot and wait for the orbs to respawn.  It’s certainly a valid strategy, probably the easiest one as well, but a bit on the time consuming side (Hey, if you’re bothering with these achievements, you don’t mind time consuming, do you?)

The other strategy is the one I used, simply make your way around the island counter-clockwise (all the beams go counter-clockwise, so you can follow behind them this way) and duck into the safe zones when you reach them.  You’ll get the achievement done quicker, but you risk resetting the counter by getting hit a bit more than say standing by the portal and running out to grab one orb over and over.

Hopefully, this will help all of you achievement hunters out there have a bit less of a hair-pulling experience attempting to be a glutton for icy punishment!

Arrr You Ready? (for Partial Insanity?!)

Well, my little pet project of grinding out the Bloodsail Buccaneers rep to Honored this weekend took less time than expected.  The whole thing actually took me only about four to four and a half hours to get it all done.  Which to be honest, was much shorter than I was expecting based on the last time I did the grind (which was with a level 70 Death Knight, back when the guards were level 67.)  I suppose it may have had something to do with actually having tier 10 dps gear on as I mowed down guard after guard, but the point is it was a pretty easy grind and a welcome one after grinding Outland dungeon rep for weeks.  So in the end I got one of the most coveted prizes in all of Warcraft: A hat!

Honestly, I think that has more to do with this being associated with the Insane in the Membrane achievement than anything else.  Because if you were to explain to someone, not just someone who doesn’t play World of Warcraft, but someone who hasn’t heard of the Bloodsail Buccaneers grind (They exist.  There are a lot of them.  No, seriously, I’ve met these people) that you are killing any chances of stepping into any goblin city on Azeroth and spent hours upon hours killing guards just so you can get a hat, they’d think that you were completely nuts.  Granted, nowadays there’s a title to go along with it, but when it comes down to it what do you want more – the title or the hat?  That’s right.  The hat.

I suppose it would be worth it to toot my own horn and say I did make this grind a bit harder than it needed to be. You see there are two ways to get Booty Bay Bruisers to spawn, one is to just walk around until they show up and the other is to kill the other NPCs around the city have the guards spawn in response to stopping the innocent bloodshed.  The latter is the route most people (at least on my server) choose to go, they plot through Booty Bay killing everyone and everything they can to gather up guards to slaughter en masse.  As someone who has just finished grinding a bunch of alts and leveled quite a bit in Stranglethorn Vale, this method sucks for people who just want to turn in their quests.  I’ve seen upwards of 5-6 people sitting around in a room just waiting for a single quest giver to spawn so they can turn it in and get their XP and a couple of silver pieces. So as a policy, I refused to kill Quest NPCs for this achievement.  None.  At all.  Once I reached hostile with Booty Bay and the guard would spawn simply as a response to me being there, I also stopped killing any non-guard NPCs in the city.  I would just walk around and kill the guards, and no one else.  This meant restrictive use of AoE attacks, or cleaves (one of the reasons I switched to Frost DPS over my Blood Tank spec after the first hour.)

In general, people seemed quite happy with this technique.  Amongst the questions of “Why are you killing the guards?”  I had some people who sat and watched me, seemed to take notice that I was avoiding the other NPCs and then offered up buffs and even heals in some situations (Low level versions, but the gesture was very much appreciated).  Over the four hours, I got buffs from paladins, druids, and priests, and I’d like to think that I was making a good impression by not just wholesale slaughtering the entire city (I want to see that in a political campaign someday: “Vote Jim Horferson. At least he didn’t wholesale slaughter the city.”)  But the grind was not without incident, I give you exhibit A:

Honestly, I couldn’t figure out why they were so ticked off. They saw me standing in a corner and killing the guards that spawned.  I didn’t even glance at the 5 or so other NPCs that were next to me, only the guards.  They watched me do this for about 5 minutes.  Then they got mad about it.  To be fair my response could be construed as a bit rude, but I was trying to explain that unlike the 2 other people that were currently killing everything in sight at the other end of town (poor poor tavern) I was just killing the guards, and was promptly given the cold shoulder via automated message.  Can’t please everyone I guess, and while I must confess that for a moment I harbored bitterness about this, since I took such care to do it, that I even wavered on the thought of showing the young paladin what I COULD have been doing instead and followed her around killing any NPC she interacted with.  This would have been mean.  Very mean.  I refused to let myself sink to the level of a common troll (not the darkspear kind, I like them. The trade chat kind.) and resisted the urge and continued with my plan.

But I suppose after reading all of that, you’re rolling your eyes and saying “Get on with it Vrykerion.  What about the experiment?” Ah yes, I did mention wanting to test that little question about whether you still needed to have Honored with the Bloodsail and Exalted with the goblins at the same time, didn’t I?  Well, I did continue with my experiment.  I grabbed a couple of stacks of silk cloth, grabbed a sack of red dye and hitched it down to outside of booty bay to pay a visit to the Bloodsail Traitor and after a couple of trade ins, I can see with upmost certainty, that NO. YOU DO NOT NEED TO MEET BOTH REQUIREMENTS AT THE SAME TIME. Full stop.  After hitting Friendly with the Bloodsail, the requirement to be honored with them did not reappear in its place on my tracker. I can only assume that this has been changed at some point, and going into Cataclysm especially (since I heard somewhere that Knot may also be disappearing from the Dire Maul) that you don’t need to satisfy all the requirements at the same time.

Despite the fact that this achievement has been this way for some unknown amount of time (anecdotally at least), I’m sure this will continue the out pour of anger about how “completely trivial and easy” this achievement has become.  I’m just going to state my opinion on this once, and then let it rest, unless you are completing this achievement at level 60 (via stopped XP or not installing Burning Crusade), then it is easy.  Granted, it is also time consuming and potentially exceptionally expensive, but it’s not Alone in the Darkness or A Tribute to Immortality.  I personally do not subscribe to the idea of taking more time means an in increase in difficulty.  As for trivial?  The entire achievement is based around getting exalted with a bunch of groups that there is no point in being exalted with.  It is and always has been the definition of trivial! (As for it becoming commonplace, no I don’t think that even with these changes you’re going to see every Jefferson, Nixon and Truman with this achievement. It’s still a big time and money sink, and I think that will put off a number of people from doing this even without the bloody Shendralar or freeing knot.)

So what now? Well, I’m not going to get my goblin rep back yet for one.  I won’t be able to finish Ravenholdt or the Darkmoon Fair nearly in time for Cataclysm, and if they so happen to just change the Bloodsail rep requirement to exalted instead of honored, I want a bit of a head start (I don’t they will, but fortune favors the prepared).  Besides, I have no need to deal with goblins.  I have my robo chicken already, I have alts that can still peruse the neutral auction house, I’m a fully trained gnomish engineer.  What could I possibly need to be in good graces with the goblins for yet?

…OH TITANS! MY TRANSPORTER!  %#@&!!!!!

I’ll Maly Your Gos…

So I recently finished up my Champion of the Frozen Wastes by killing the hardest boss to do in the game: Malygos.  Harder than Heroic Lich King you ask?  Yes.  Why?  Because at least people are trying to do Heroic Lich King.  The only time any one ever bothers with Eye of Eternity is when it’s the weekly, which on my realm has happened a record TWICE.  So it became an imperative that I go and kill Maly this week, or else possibly lose my chance at Champion of the Frozen Wastes forever.  But during my arduous journey to find a pug that can actually down Malygos on not one but two seperate characters, I learned some things that may help you when it comes to downing the big blue meanie.

#1: HAVE A KEY

This is apparently a fact that somehow got lost in the shuffle when tier 7 was swept under the carpet for quick dungeon runs for massive amounts of triumph badges. Yes, Virginia,  this expansion did have one raid that required an attunement.  It wasn’t a brutal one either.  Just kill Sapphiron in Naxx and have someone loot the stupid thing.  And yet, since having a key for something was such an abstract and distant thought in Wrath of the Lich King, I ran into a good deal of pugs that simply did not have and didn’t even ask if anyone did have a key to the Eye of Eternity.  Which tended to lead to half the raid dropping out and the remnants scavenging trade for a few loose bodies to go kill Sapph for the key before trying to reinforce the raid again to go back after Malygos.  Fortunately, at least my shaman actually has the key, so it wasn’t an issue and even a boon towards getting a group.  Which leads me to point 2…

#2: IF YOU HAVE A KEY, DON’T HEAD TO NAXX

You put a raid together under the banner of ‘LFM Weekly [Malygos Must Die!]’ and then summon me to Naxxramas? I guess by Friday, a week of pugs not having a key has generated the assumption  that absolutely no one had the key, and that a Naxx run was the default precursor to the actual raid you signed on to.  But when someone, in this case ME, announces they have the key and we can just skip straight to Malygos, the proper response from the raid leader should not be: “Well, I still want the key.”  Which immediately raises all kinds of paranoid thoughts about how dubious the looting of Sapphiron could actually go and if it would risk the structure of the 10 impatient people that are jumping through hoops for 10 emblems.  If someone has the key, just go the Malygos and save everyone the headache.

#3: PHASE THE THIRD

For some reason, there seemed to be a lot of issues with the third phase of the fight.  That’s the part where the floor shatters for no reason and then the red dragons come and help you while Malygos acts like he’s Sherlock Holmes cracking the case when all he’s really done is put 2 and 2 together.  You know those people who will just drop out of the Oculus as soon as they see the loading screen and spend all their time in trade yaking about how vehicles are the worst things ever to happen to WoW (Which makes them the 3,472nd ‘worst thing to happen to WoW’ right behind ‘Death Knights’ and just before ‘Casuals’) , well this is the fight they hate and don’t want to bother learning how to do.  Chances are, you’re raiding with at least 3 of them (7 of them if you are in the 25 man).  So to make things a bit smoother, from my observations I’ve found that there are 2 ways to go about phase 3:

Method A: Stay grouped up tight around a single target. Probably the tank.  Healers can then use their bursts to keep everyone solid while the dps burns down Maly.  When the big spark shows up, move as a group either left or right (predetermined, not on the spot) and continue the cycle of killing and healing.  The downside of this technique is that requires that everyone be on board with it – if one healer goes left and the other goes right, well that’s no good – and it requires a bit of fore thought.  The person to group up on must be recognized as such, there are decisions to be made, and it requires everyone to keep their cool and stick to the plan.  While it does leave a wide margin of error, when properly executed phase 3 will but sliced through like a hot bastard sword in a tub of margarine.

Method B: I affectionately dubbed this technique the ‘Screw it, watch your own butt’ method.  Mostly because it requires you to ignore everyone else and just watch your ass for the whole of phase 3. This is especially good for the people who are familiar with the Aces High daily quest, because it’s essentially doing the same thing.  Keep stacking combo points and DoTs on Maly, heal yourself when necessary, and throw the shield up when you are about the get blasted.  This technique surprisingly works and requires zero coordination or group effort.  The onus is on the individuals to act accordingly and bring the blue meanie down.  It can take a little longer than Method A, so you’ll want to burn through the first two phases at a brisk pace for it, but the fun comes when you see people die and no that it’s no ones fault but their own.  Which is a rare feeling to get in a raid.  Which makes it twice as satisfying.

So there are my tips for having a semi-stress free Malygos pug.  Will this guarantee you victory?  Heck no.  Especially if you’re in a pug that is in T9/T10 armor and still hitting phase 3 with only a minute or two left for the enrage.  Then you’re probably just boned.  However, with these not so handy but very dandy (so I think it balances out) tips, you’ll be able to generate the appearance of competence all on your own.  Oh, and one last thing: Mages,  the raid is one fight, and as much as I appreciate the thought, a mage table is completely pointless here.  Don’t summon one.  It makes you look silly.

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