The Firelands in World of Warcraft is a raiding experience tuned for either 10- or 25-man groups. Featuring seven bosses sprawled across the map, it offers a choice to the group as to which direction to begin. While Shannox may provide a gentler entry, Beth'tilac proves to be more of a gear and skill check for those guilds just beginning the content. Bosses in the Firelands drop iLevel 378 gear, including Tier 12 tokens, and offer Avengers of Hyjal reputation. The AoH vendors sell mainly 378 at Revered and a few pieces of 391 once the player has reached Exalted status.
How to Get There
To quote the old "How do I get to Carnegie Hall," joke: practice, practice, practice. Seriously, finding the instance is the least of your worries, as you will need minimum a minimum iLvl of 353 to get started in there. Running the Z-roics (Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub) should get you most of the way there, and spending your Valor on T11 or equivalent will finish you up.
Now, on the navigation aspect: head to Hyjal, and fly south to Sulfuron Spire. Upon your arrival, you'll notice the flaming spire at the Throne of Flame; the raid portal and summoning stone are on the northeast side.
Taking Out the Trash
The trash mobs in Firelands are no joke; while PuGs can and do often make successful trash runs for the reputation, you should still make the effort to read up on the various abilities you'll be facing. Some of the main things you'll want to be aware of include:
- knock-backs, which can toss you into adds
- spread out to avoid charging mobs
- distribute Hell Hounds among two or even three tanks
- don't AoE down Fire Scorpions, as their dying breath will be to AoE you in return
- focus fire on Smoldering Elementals when they become vulnerable and keep the Unbound Pyrelord up until all Elementals are down
- Druids of the Flame give off constant fire damage while in your proximity; take down those in Human form before the Druids in Cat Form.
In his easiest incarnation, you're facing down over 20 million hit points on this guy. As Ragnaros's kennel master, he is accompanied by his own two hounds: Riplimb and Rageface. Sound friendly, don't they? Riplimb is going to be at the throat of the player with the most threat (hopefully your main tank), while Rageface will be darting about, ignore taunts and all forms of crowd control, and sampling each of you like grocery store cheese and sausage plates. Both hounds will engage if they witness Shannox's health falling below 30%.
As a Hunter-class boss, Shannox will be working the trap thing his to his advantage. Note that his hounds can set off both the fire and frost traps, which can provide some CC and extra dps, if you can pull it off. You'll definitely want to keep all dps and healers away from the 120 degree cone in front of him. Watch out for the spear he and Riplimb are playing "catch" with, and be ready for him to engage at each hound's death.
The mother of a brood of spiders, Beth'tilac intends to force you to engage her on more than one level. Literally. When you enter her area, look up. That webbed ceiling is where Beth will be hanging out for the first phase of her fight. If you've got a Warlock in your raid group, smack her with Bane of Havoc as your first action to start the encounter. She'll immediately retreat up her web and send Cinderweb Spinners, Drones and Spiderlings after you, instead.
The Spinners will need to be killed so some of the players can climb up their abandoned webs and put a little hurting on Beth. Send a tank first, then a dedicated healer, followed by two dps. While you're checking stuff out in here, notice Beth's Fire Energy bar. When it hits zero, as it will three different times during the first phase, those who've followed her up need to bail off the side. Meanwhile, down below, the majority of your raid is attempting to take out the Drones before they use up all their own Fire Energy and prevent all Spiderlings from reaching the Drones while staying out of their 6-yard AoE damaging zone.
Okay, you've survived through Beth's three Smoldering Devastations and she's ready to come down to your level. She'll put her Widow's Kiss on your tank, reducing his incoming healing, and she'll suck up any Spiderlings still available to replenish her health. Pass her off to the off-tank to keep that Kiss from stacking and burn her down, baby.
Like Beth'tilac, Rhyolith also hosts a two-stage encounter for you with the first stage involving a lot of maneuvering and the second part is just basically death. So what can you expect from this most ancient of elementals?
Rhyolith awakens encased in his armor and proceeds to stumble around the room, much like you'll see on Mondays at the office. While he isn't hurting anyone (yet) and he can't really be tanked, he can be guided. Players steer Rhy by dpsing the foot they want him to turn toward. The goal is to steer him into the volcanoes placed around the area without letting him venture to the lava that surrounds you.
Here's the tricky part: Rhy's feet have a combined health (they will average each other out) of half the rest of him. If he's at 80 percent, his feet will average 40 percent. Those volcanoes you're walking him into are disintegrating his armor; once he hits 25 percent of his health bar, the armor will begin to shatter and Rhy is going to be seriously annoyed with you all. Now your goal is to keep him out of the volcanoes while dpsing him down.
This giant, flaming bird is going to put your raid through four stages before giving up his loot. During the first phase, a couple of raid members will get a flight ability. They're be chasing Alys as she flies around the room, while the rest of your party will be dealing with the adds.
For the second phase, you'll have to avoid the Fiery Vortex in the center, the Harsh Winds in the open areas and the Fiery Tornadoes which will appear to be in every square inch of space that the other environmental threats are not. So take off running like fools, aiming for the Fiery Tornadoes to get the speed buff and avoiding everything else.
To open phase three, Alys will crash in the middle and start gaining Molten Power. You'll get infinite mana here, so everyone (even healers) should be burning her down. Once she hits 50 on the ol' Molten Power meter, she'll take flight once more, signaling the beginning of stage four.
The final stage consists of tanks switching off half-way through, the dps dpsing their little hearts out and the healers keeping everyone else in an upright position.
Here's the Gatekeeper, the guy standing between you and the last two bosses in the Firelands raid. He feels a little sorry for you, what with all you've been through, and only subjects you to a single-phase-fight without adds of any kind.
Is it still tricky? Yes, it can be. You're going to need to develop a synergy in your raid between the dps and healers in order to keep your tank alive. Dps players will have to place themselves near a Shard of Torment to gain the Tormented debuff; Healers can gain Vital Spark by healing Tormented players. That Vital Spark will increase your healing done, allowing you to keep up with the generous amounts of health that Bale is giving your tank. Now it's just a matter of the dps taking turns getting Tormented and knowing when to move away from a Shard, and the healers each spending some time on dps and tank healing.
Staghelm is an odd sort of Druid who prefers to react to his enemies rather than setting the tone of the fight. When more than two-thirds of the raid stacks together, he'll assume Scorpion Form. Spread out and he switches to Cat Form. Also, he'll be forced to assume Human form at each third switch. His soft enrage timer will increase the difficulty of this fight until you either win or wipe.
Avoid the void zones, make sure your tank is prepared to pick up the Spirits of Flame adds and time his form-changing as well as you can. Keeping him in one form for as long as possible keeps him from gaining too many of those 8-percent-extra-damage buffs, but also makes his abilities trigger faster.
Finally, right? Imagine coming all this way over years, only to land at the feet of the first raid end boss. So, if Baleroc took pity on you, understand that Rags is planning on dishing out the hurt in as many complicated and confusing ways as possible. You've got roughly 18 minutes to drag him through three separate phases while tanks taunt back and forth and everyone dodges Lava Waves.
You'll want your Priests, Mages and Warlocks to detonate the traps Rags throws around, since each of these classes has a way to avoid incoming fall damage. Make sure you take down the Sons of Flame before they get to the boss, since that can easily wipe you. You'll also have to set a dps priority on these Flames based on their location and speed, since taking damage will slow them.
Unfortunately, you only get to see his demise if you take him on in Heroic mode, but that shouldn't keep you from downing this boss. It's still incredibly satisfying.
- All information and screenshots are taken from the World of Warcraft game client.