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I was looking through some old posts on my guild’s site, and I came across the influx of threads we made to help each other navigate the first days and weeks of Cataclysm. Posted below are some (amusingly extensive) dungeon guides I wrote to help out members.

It’s weird and surreal to run those same dungeons now with the luck of the draw buffs and incredibly higher quality gear. Not only is the difference in difficulty a vast expanse, the player attitudes about dungeons seem to have slid, bit by bit, with each new tier of content. Remember those first weeks, where getting through a dungeon with a random group in under an hour (or two) with only a “few” wipes was something worth breathing a sigh of relief about and deserved highfives all around? Nowadays, players will quit the group at a single wipe NEAR wipe. Players will quit the group if the tank or healer or even a dps is “undergeared” (even though they may be in all 358s or higher). The dungeons themselves have not changed, except to get easier, but our expectations and demands on the players in them have increased as our patience has waned.

I’ll probably return to this topic at another date. I am very VERY curious about how these attitudes will fare at the start of Mists, especially with the upcoming dungeon challenge system (which I am SO SO SO excited about!).

In any case, here are the old “strategy guides” I wrote. I got a giggle out of reading them at the twilight of the expansion…nearly all of these mechanics are ignored for the most part these days, with damage overwhelming the adds and bosses before it matters or geared healers just healing through it. But once…ONCE! Once, these simple little dungeons were a BITCH. Ah, memories…


In Cata, you now have to travel to the Cata dungeon entrance to be able to use LFD for them. Here’s my little breakdown. I will add more as I get to them all.

Blackrock Caverns (eastern Kingdoms: Searing Gorge/Burning Steppes)

Situated in Blackroom Mountain, nearby to Blackrock Depths, Molten Core, all that jazz, travel there the usual way. There are two new flightpaths in the areas: Iron Summit, south of Thorium Point, in Searing Gorge and Chiselgrip, near to Flame Crest.

Run into the mountain and you’ll notice a new summoning stone on the circular walkway that rings around above the central lava pit (the pathway you traverse to just walk through the mountain to the next area). Next to the new summon stone, there is a hallway. Follow that up and turn right when you hit a bunch of rubble. There’s a small corridor and at the end the entrance.

Basic fights breakdown

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There are four major things to watch for in this dungeon.

First, right off the bat, you get a nasty big dude (Bonecrusher) who will pull you in with a chain. You can interrupt this cast (in general, interrupts are going to be key in Cata it looks like), but if you do get chained up, once you are free, run away or you’ll be essentially one shotted.

Your second big boss fight is against Coria. The boss has two adds who are both being shot with a purple beam. Split the team up into 2 groups of 2 and the tank. Tank….umm, tanks the boss. Other two duos take turns intercepting the beams going to the adds by standing in front of them as they do their DPS. The beams stack on you, so watch your debuffs – once you get 70 stacks, call for a switch out and let your partner take the beam. If you get more than 100 stacks, you get mind controlled…and if the adds get stacks built up they turn nasty. Beyond that, just DPS away!

Third fight is at the forge (Karsh Steelbender). First clear out adds. The little lava quicksilver guys freeze when the elementals die, so nuke those down. Next, the boss itself is a tank and spank – but remember to stand INSIDE the circle the grate makes. Don’t stand on the grate itself or you’ll get some rough AoE.

Trash for a bit, then some cute little puppies. Don’t stand in fire circles and make sure to kill Runty when he starts to run or he’ll heal himself. Beyond that, nothing extraordinary.

Last fight is Lord Obsidius. He has two adds who need to be kept OFF the tank, as they give nasty healing debuffs when they physically touch you. Easiest way to manage this is to have a ranged DPS kite them around the group and keep them aggro on themselves. Like Blood Princes from LK, the boss will switch identity, so keep the kiting down to a central area so the tank can easily switch targets when this change happens.

Throne of the Tides (Eastern Kingdoms: Vashj’ir)

Found in the center of the new underwater area, getting here is a two-step process. First, you need to secure yourself some transport to Vashj’ir. If you weren’t automatically offered a quest upon entry to Orgrimmar, head to Undercity and check the bulletin board there. Both options should give you a quest to head to eastern Durotar to board a boat at the new docks (you can optionally just skip the quest bit altogether and just head there on your own). Take the boat and watch out for monsters!

…oops! One kraken attack and some swimming later and you’re under the sea (da de da de). If you do the very first quest here you will get a perma-buff during the duration of your time in Vash called “sea legs” that gives you free underwater breathing and increased movement speed. If you are really in a hurry to get to the dungeon, however, my advice is just to swim to the surface and use your flying mount.

Vash est omnis divisa in partes tre or, for you non-classics fans – Vashj’ir’s got 3 parts to it: Kelp’thar forest, Shimmering Expanse below it, and Abyssal Depths to the west of both. To get to the dungeon entrance, travel south until you’re in the ShimmeringExpanse and then head west by southwest. As soon as you enter the Abyssal Depths, you’ll notice a nice whirly dark splotch on your map, named THE ABYSSAL MAW. Ominous, no? Swim down into it. Trust me, it’ll be fun.

The whirlpool should suck you down, but if it doesn’t, swim to the white “walls” of the swirling water until you get caught up in it. From there, entrance is right in front of you. To get OUT, talk to the space goat and she’ll teleport you to the front of Vash. Also, one note about Vash: if ever your fingers get pruney and you want to return to dry land, swim UP and use your flying mounts. There are boats and sandbars with flightpoints back to EK. Trying to fly or swim back to the mainland will not go well.

Basic Fights Breakdown

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This dungeon has two phases (I’ll explain that in a sec).

First thing you want to do is just head straight on and clear trash (nagas). Some lower equipped groups may have trouble with this; if so, focus on the healers (Spiritmenders), either by CCing or interrupting them, or by nuking them down first. Also, melee, watch out for the DoT the melee naga stack. Too many stacks of that DoT makes for pain.

Go up some stairs and face the giant bubble. An elevator will come down to take you to the next level. You can stand on the bubble itself for the awesome view, but just remember to jump to board the elevator when it arrives, or it’ll leave without you.

First boss! Lady Naz’jar is the first Cata boss many groups encounter and, subsequently, wipe on. This is your first wake up call that we aren’t overgeared 80s in LK dungeons anymore! Fighting her isn’t very hard, as long as everyone pays attention. First, don’t stand in the green clouds. That goes for everywhere else in this dungeon. Second, watch out for Whirlpools. You can interrupt this cast, but if you don’t, move away from where they are cast on the ground. They look like, oddly enough, white whirlpools. If you get hit, you’ll get tossed up into the air, which means you get direct damage AND falling damage. Heals/shields/levitate asap on these people or they are goners. Third, the Lady will cast a whirlpool about herself, making her immune to attacks, and adds will come in. You have 20 seconds to kill them before she starts hitting again – i advise getting the casters first, as their chain lightning is a biatch. Rinse and repeat, and that’s her down.

From here, you need to click the control panel in the adjacent room and that’ll start a cinematic. When that’s done, you have yourself a new boss (Commander Ulthok). He’s fairly easy, just remember to run away from him before he does his hulk smash (he’ll raise his arm in the air quite menacingly) – you can also interrupt it, so watch for “Dark Fissure.” It leaves a big black circle of pain behind, so don’t step in it either. His other special trick is “squeeze” which is a ticklish version of Ulduar’s Ignis’s hug. Just bubble or pop a hot on whoever’s about to get it and they should be fine.

After him, head to the antechamber and you’ll see a teleport beacon. Click on that to go to the front of the instance. Now comes phase two – you see, that cinematic’s angry octopus flailed about and you can now access two other arms of the area. So, run back down the first hallway and head right.

More trash, this time with murlocs 2.0. These can be AoEd down and I advise hitting them as the tank holds the aggro of the big old faceless ones, just to make it easy on the healer. The faceless ones have this nice grab/dropkick/pound-you-into-jelly combo that can really suck, so run away from him asap if you get pulled in (and you WILL get pulled in).

Next boss! Erunak Stonespeaker, of seahorse-bequeathing fame. Only, kinda evil and kinda badass (Spoiler: there’s a face-hugger involved). Shrug at fate and start nuking him. He does a few attacks that can be interrupted (lava bolt, magma splash), watch out for stone spikes rising from the ground, don’t step in the green. Cake. Once you get him to 50%, the parasite pops off and will start AoE mindflaying (I really hope this is my level 85 spell >_<). You can LoS this by ducking behind the pillars. Watch your damage, as it will periodically pop on a buff to itself that converts damage into healing, so you’ll have to stop ranged casting every now and then. Once it gets pissed off enough, it transitions: your top DPS becomes the new “host” and will be mind-controlled. Get him below 50% for it to pop off.

Last wing! Head back down the hallway, left wing now, and run through the elementals. Really, just keep moving here, as the little dudes endlessly respawn. Neat trick – mass dispel cancels the enrage on the big one that summons more, so that can speed up things a bit.

Final battle! Neptulon the Tidehunter is waiting for you; talk to him to start things up. This fight has 3 distinct phases. First phase is easy AoEd murlocs, some weak casters, and a behemoth. When he flies in the air, avoid being where he lands. Second phase, 3 mobs will pop who are channeling bad juju into your aqueous friend, so DPS need to get on those. Blight beasts will spawn, which the tank just needs to kite around, as the third phase starts when the 3 casters drop.

Phase three can be a bit confusing. First, it’s a bit dark. I’m not talking emo kids with eyeliner…the ground literally becomes inky black – not surprising, really, since a giant octopus is…err…excreting all over yall. In response, Neptulon makes you all HUGE and buff. The goal of this fight is to kill the giant cephalopod, with the minor difficulty of him being outside of the room and all the windows being impossible to see out of because of the ink. Tab targetting and /target won’t work to pick him up, and the more you stand in the ink, the more it hurts you.  He’ll be on the right-hand side of the room outside of the glass, so you have to click at the top part of the wall at random until you get him. My advice for this stage is to have someone like your healer watching the area outside of the room before the phase starts – Ozumat will float around outside of the domed ceiling, and you can target him before he splurts ooze. From here, just target the healer’s target. Final note for this fight – if you die during this last stage, don’t run back in from GY until it ends. The ooze stacks don’t clear on death, and you don’t have the huge health buff anymore, so you’ll basically just instantly die again.

Happy hunting!

Stonecore (Maelstrom/Deepholm)

Getting to the Stonecore requires that you follow a breadcrumb quest to get transported to the Maelstrom (that swirly thing on the center of the world map) to see Thrall. You can get this quest through several ways – in Vashj’ir and Hyjal, you’ll be given the quest after following the area’s quest chains. Alternatively, once you hit level 82 you can pick up the quest from the Earthen Ring in the portal areas they have in Orgrimmar (Stormwind for Alliance), northeast from the Valley of Wisdom.

Once you enter the portal you’ll find yourself swept up into another cinematic and you’ll be funneled down a whirlpool (I am noticing a trend here in Cata…) until you land smack dab in the physics-defying center of the world. Despite a distinct lack of dinosaurs, Jules Verne seems pretty spot on in his description, as the first thing you’ll notice is that you’re in the middle of a vast cavern…perfect for flying mounts. Hop on yours and hang a right heading out of the temple. Fly upwards and there’s the instance entrance, about 90 degrees to the west and 500 feet up.

Basic Fights
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The first guy you encounter in here is the unfortunately-named Millhouse Manastorm. He’s AoE heavy, fears, and stuns; spreading out will mitigate the effects and make it easier on healers. He has a bunch of friends with him, most notably the Force of Earth, which has a nasty AoE, so my advice is to nuke that guy first. As for the poindexter gnome, he gets swept away by a – yes – giant worm, which is probably for the best, given that he’s casting something called “Impending Doooooom” at the time.

You’ll then encounter the first boss, Corborus. He’s fairly easy, although there a few things to watch for. First, healers will want to watch for a debuff which soaks up healing done – you can either heal through this or dispel it away. Second, he…err…for lack of a better term…spews out pink crystals. Surprise, surprise, standing in them is not a buff. Same with phase three, when the rocks begin to rumble beneath you. If you stay put, you’ll soon find yourself forcibly on the move…and in pain. At the same time as these are popping up beneath you, little spidery thingies will chase you around. They are cake and can easily be AoEd down, so just hit em on the move.

After him, you’ll get to the bit that usually is the cause of the first death in the dungeon: crystalspawn giants. These guys hit fairly hard and can one-shot (or nearly so) anyone without mega health, through a nasty little spell called “Quake.” However, through the magic of WoW physics, you can avoid the damage by jumping so you are in the air at the end of the cast. It should be noted that if someone does die at this part, you might need a druid to b-rez them as you’ll get endless waves of the little stone spiders. Please be understanding and don’t yell at us priests if you are the unfortunate dead person. It almost certainly isn’t us being mean because holy paladins can’t jump. Really.

Little bit more trash, then my favorite part of this place – temple of doom style, you have to run along a rocky pathway, dodging falling stalactites. As fun as it would be to see teammates skewered, Blizz kindly foreshadows where they will land with little black circles on the ground, making this more fun than challenging.

Next comes Slabhide, a rather easy dragon with another unfortunate name. His fight boils down to avoiding more stalactites and staying out of lava. The only tricky bit about this fight are the LoS issues the falling rocks create.

Things get a bit harder from here. Lots of trash, but it can easily take down a group if you don’t focus fire. First, take out the sentries. They can be one-shotted, but if you don’t kill em, they’ll run and alert their friends…and they have some nasty friends. Second, toss either some CCs on the conjurers or nuke them down, or else you’ll end up ankle deep in imps. Third, the big fat guys toss you in the air with a not-so-pleasant landing. Stacking as a group will mitigate the damage and even save some of you from being launched. I advise to take this stretch in a few groups, as this is buff trash.

Third boss of this dungeon is Ozruk, a pretty kick-ass looking giant. Ranged DPS have it easy here, with most of the work on the melee. If you’re ranged, just stand as far back as possible and nuke away. If you’re up close, have fun – this guy hits HARD. His first little trick is called “Ground Slam” which will…uhh…slam anyone within 8 yards. This also interrupts casting, but the good little casters are all far enough away to ignore that side effect, surely? His other ace in the hole is rough and will one-shot pretty much anyone with tank level health, however the damage is based on how close you are to him. So, if he starts to cast “Shatter” move out if you are melee DPS, unless you have a penchant for repair bills.

Next bit is a ton of mobs easily AoEd down and then the final boss High Priestess Azil. If you’ve got the quest here, you’ll notice that you’ve only killed 100 of the cultists, yet you need to kill 101 for the quests…spoiler alert! You’ll be seeing more than enough more in the next few minutes to get that quest requirement complete. In fact, the priestess summons half an army of mobs, as well as flying boulders to sidestep, and void zones (ominous blue rings in the air that explode into black circles) that damage anyone inside them. At first run, this fight seemed overwhelming, but we figured out that there’s a really easy trick to it – the void zones turn into gravity wells on the ground and they’re pretty lasseiz faire in who they hit. Kite the swarms of minions to the edge of the black well and step onto the circle. It will slingshot you to the other side and the adds will follow…to their own quick demise. Alternatively, if you are casting, just keep the black circle between you and the adds.

Fairly straightforward, once you know what to look for!

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