Your First Cataclysm Heroic

You’ve run every dungeon on normal, and just gotten your iLvL up sufficiently to run a heroic–Congratulations and Good Luck! Cataclysm heroics are a class above what you have become used to in Lich King heroic encounters, with the tank grabbing everything, the dps AoE’ing the mobs into the ground, and the healer in the back casting a few hots to keep everyone up. In order to make your first Heroic a mite easier, make sure you’re prepared, and ready to take on the challenge!


  • Bring food.
  • Bring bandages.
  • Wear your best possible gear.
  • If you have sockets, gem them. The cheapest option is the +30 cuts, which have been running about 30g on my server. This is a great investment for stats for gear you’re hoping to replace soon.
  • If you have enchanting mats lying around, enchant the pieces that you suspect you’ll be keeping the longest.
  • Reforge. It’s fairly cheap and easy to stack up your stats more to your liking.
  • Check out a gear list for your class so you can continue to upgrade pieces from quests and crafters. Just because it’s heroic, doesn’t mean it’s the best!

In the Dungeon

General Notes

  • If your healer is drinking, and you’re low on health, you should be too.
  • If your healer is low on mana during an encounter use a bandage.
  • If you have stat food or pots, now’s the time to use them, especially if you’re low on a cap, such as hit or expertise.
  • If you have a warlock, get a healthstone and soulstone.
  • Make sure you have all available buffs applied. See the buffs/debuff listto make sure everyone is contributing.
  • If you have a mage, make sure a table is put down. Don’t forget that moving while summoning puts the table on cooldown, so don’t be a goof.
  • Pets are awesome. Uncontrolled pets cause havoc. Better to have your pet on passive than to pull an extra add pack.
  • Do not chain pull.

On Trash

  • Mark targets. From a boomkin/resto druid perspective, tank threat feels solid, but not rock solid. You can lose threat juggling between dps on multiple adds. You’re also more likely to die the longer the fight goes on. Save everyone some work, and mark the kill order.
  • AoE is a situational ability. Plan to single-target dps most groups into fine dust.
  • Use crowd control. Seriously. If you’re not sure what your CC abilities are, or how to mark for the classes in your group, check out the Bossy Pally’s Compendiumon the subject. If you choose to ignore crowd control, in a win-win situation your healer will be OOM every trash pull. In most situations, you wipe.
  • Be prepared to move, even on trash. There’s a lot of fire and ick on the floor, even with trash, so everyone–healer, tank and dps–should be prepared to move out of damage attacks. If you’re not the tank, and you’re taking damage, you’re probablyin something bad and should move.
  • Healers cannot keep you at 100% all the time. Those massive mana pools = health for the tank. You see how big the tank’s health pool is? That means there is little room for error, and extraneous damage on ANY fight from trash to boss = death.

On Bosses

  • Know the boss abilities. If you’re like me, you go into things blind. Expect to wipe. If you don’t want to wipe, and don’t know the strategy, download Deadly Boss Mods–it’s got a 5-man feature that works great. If someone knows a strategy and wants to explain — let them. Sheesh.
  • Kill adds. You are not going to zerg the bosses down. When adds appear, they need to be killed 99.9% of the time. ALL dps will need to stop hitting the boss, trust me, no one cares about the meters when they’re dead.
  • Read the boss’ buffs and your debuffs. Boss encounters are often finangled to give the boss a short or long-term buff, or a party member a short or long-term debuff that can drastically change the scope of the encounter. I’ve found this is especially true for tanks — boss buffs and player debuffs are being used to create “kiting” phases.
  • Healer mana = soft enrage. Your healer can be out of mana for three reasons:
    1. They’re panicking and overhealing
    2. Someone stood in the bad, and was saved
    3. The fight went on too long.

    Generally, the second and third are the case. #2 can easily lead to #3, so it’s very important that all party members avoid “bad” mechanics as much as possible, including the healer!

  • Be prepared to move. Blizzard loves to make us run, and boy are we ever. The days of the stationary boss fight are pretty much over.
    • Tanks: If you don’t use your mouse, at a minimum, know how to strafe. You should never, ever turn your back on the boss.
    • DPS: Know which abilities you can use on the move to keep the DPS rolling as you re-position.
    • Healers: Know which spells you can cast on the move so you don’t lose someone on a rapid retreat. Prioritizing heals is paramount.
    • All: Don’t forget that you can run THROUGH the boss — he’s not solid after all!
  • Use your cooldowns! If you are not using every single cooldown on your bar every boss fight, ask yourself why not?! Some are pretty specific, and you just don’t need them, but anything that reduces damage (and you took it), increases dps (and you dps), or increases healing output (and you heal) should be used. What are you saving ’em for? The apocalypse?

Done correctly, a heroic will run less than an hour, done poorly, and you can be spending the better part of your evening banging your head against the wall, not to mention spending a small fortune repairing gear. While some death is to be expected as people learn new encounters, preparation and common sense can save your group a ton of headaches!

4 thoughts on “Your First Cataclysm Heroic

  1. Getting geared up to run heroics here and this is a very solid post. Healers need to be very careful to choose the right spell for the right job, and that's tricky. Tanks… be aware that bear tanks are having some threat issues right now, apparently what was supposed to be a 20% nerf to Swipe ended up being an 80% nerf so if a boss spawns little adds, give the tank time to get them.

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  4. I still think that you ought to gem every piece and enchant all the possible gear when ever the option arises: there are very affordable and usable enchants around for everything.

    During levelling or gearing the gems/enchants do not have to be the top of the crop: the ones giving that little bit of extra for the least amount of money do the trick nicely.

    Mind you, this comes from someone not even at level cap, undermanning normals (3 man) and having fun doing it. Every bit helps.

    C out

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