Kurn's Guide to Ruby Sanctum

Welcome to my guide to Ruby Sanctum, the raid instance released in Patch 3.3.5 of World of Warcraft.

This guide will cover the basic abilities that Halion and the minibosses within the instance will use on the normal versions of the encounter. It will also give you some ideas on how to deal with these abilities during these fights. It will also talk a bit about trash and how to get through it relatively unscathed.

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A Look at a Heroic Putricide Strategy

Good news, everyone! I’ve decided to take a minute here and talk about how my guild does Heroic Professor Putricide on 25-man. Seems that there are a lot of people out there struggling with the fight and not a lot of information out there, so I thought I’d drop in my two cents.

Please bear in mind that I really don’t know a lot of the details as to how the DPS works on this fight, but I do know how healing works pretty darn well.

Our raid composition is rarely exactly the same, but our tanks almost always are. We have a warrior tank who is the MT. We have another warrior tank who is in the abomination. We have a bear tank who plays kitty for us until Phase 3.

For raid buffs, we find it essential to drop Nature Resistance Totem and have Prayer of Shadow Protection up, in addition to the regular raid buffs. In lieu of NR Totem, Aspect of the Wild may be used, but this is a serious DPS/healing check, so you don’t really want to gimp your DPS by forcing a hunter out of Aspect of the Dragonhawk.

For paladin auras, we prefer Improved Devotion Aura, if only for the extra armor (and the bonus healing if there’s no tree in the raid), Concentration Aura to help reduce or eliminate spell pushback and either Retribution Aura or Shadow Resistance Aura, though it doesn’t stack with Prayer of Shadow Protection. (A holy paladin can use Aura Mastery + Shadow Resistance Aura to boost everyone’s Shadow Resistance for a short time.)

Phase 1:

Healing: We typically run with six healers. Two holy paladins, one disc priest, one resto shaman and the remaining are a mix of either 2 resto druids or 1 resto/1 holy priest or even 1 resto shammy/1 holy priest. It really depends on who’s around, but we do our best to have at least two holy paladins, the disc and a shammy.

Paladins: Beacon MT, heal raid, focusing on Unbound Plague and Gaseous Bloat targets, helping out on Volatile Ooze Adhesive targets if possible.

1 Resto Shammy: Raid healing + Volatile Ooze Adhesive targets.

Disc Priest: Raid healing by virtue of shielding folks and tossing out Renews, Prayers of Mending and the odd Prayer of Healing. Spot heals with Penance and Flash Heal as well.

Other healers: Focused really on the raid and these are the people who will do the most moving. They’re the ones who stand on the Volatile Ooze Adhesive person, but the pallies and shammy generally won’t, since the melee and 3-4 healers is enough to absorb the damage.

We also find that a minimum of one resto druid with Revitalize is excellent for regenerating the abomination’s energy. If possible, two resto druids with this talent really helps out because it means the slime puddles really don’t have to stay up for long at all in order to regen the abom’s energy. In the comments, ambient reminds us all that Rapture works like Revitalize does. The important thing is having two of these effects on the abomination as often as possible. :) More energy = more slows on adds. Thanks for the reminder, ambient!

DPSing: Uh… moar pew pew? ;) No, seriously, the DPS really just focus on the boss, always prioritizing the adds when they come out. We WILL try to stop DPS at 84% if we’re due for another add. We have discovered, the hard way, that even one extra add up during any transition phase is a bad, bad thing.

Tanking/positioning: The tank is usually moving Putricide around, away from Unbound Plague targets, towards Volatile Ooze Adhesive targets. It’s a very mobile encounter and while we used to stand on various sides based on which add was coming out back on normal mode, we don’t tend to do this any longer and definitely not on heroic mode.

Once the adds are down and we’re not due another one for a bit, we will push Putricide to 80% and start the first transition phase.

Transition Phase 1:

Healing: We maintain the same assignments as during phase 1, with the paladins healing the Gaseous Bloats and a resto shammy on the Volatile Ooze Adhesives. Unbound Plague should fall off someone just as the transition is beginning, so we don’t have to worry about that again until Phase 2.

DPSing: What can be said but kill the add that you can attack? Something that helps us immeasurably, though, is a good Gaseous Bloat kiter. They’ll run the ooze away from the raid, initially, and then come running back towards the group, so that the DPS can get a good start on the Ooze and then can ruin the Gas. Go go focused fire!

Phase 2:

I hate Malleable Goo. :P

Healing: Nothing’s changed, everyone’s still doing what they’ve been doing up ’till now.

Tanking: Same thing, MT is on Putricide, OT is in the abomination and the other OT is playing kitty.

DPSing: Again, the same.

In reality, Phase 2 is so similar to Phase 1 that it’s hard to believe that the addition of Malleable Goo is such a problem. But it IS a problem. I believe that Putricide launches THREE Goos (I’m usually too busy to count!) and the only way to really avoid them is to watch for them. DXE, AVR, DBM, BigWigs, none of them will show you all the targets. Trust me, I’ve tried.

So what I do is move my big central warning text from the middle of my screen off to the side and watch my Malleable Goo timer as best I can. When the warning noise (from DXE, I believe) goes off, I stop whatever I’m doing and look up at Putricide and run like the dickens.

This does not mean that I don’t get hit, now and then, because I do. :P But it’s a lot less often now that I’ve trained myself to watch for it. Plus I still have DBM yelling at me if it’s targetting me specifically.

So, same as the end of Phase 1, we hold off DPS at around 38% or so until we’ve killed all the adds and then we push Putricide into transition.

Transition Phase 2:

Same as the first transition phase, with two exceptions:

1) We hit heroism.

2) We also try to pull out summonable pets for the Volatile Ooze Adhesive explosion, to help absorb the damage. We’re talking Army of the Dead, Ghost Wolves, Shadowfiends, hunter pets, warlock pets and shammy elementals. These pets are really key to absorbing damage and helping to finish off the transition adds so we can get on to Putricide ASAP in P3. Adds MUST go down before DPS switches to Putricide.

This is one reason why going into a transition with any kind of extra add up is recipe for disaster. It prevents you from getting back to the boss in a timely fashion.

Phase 3:

Okay, time to switch things up!

Tanking: OT pops out of the abom. OT pops out of kitty into bear form. MT tanks until he has two stacks of Mutated Plague, then Bear Tank taunts and holds the boss for two stacks. Then other OT taunts and holds the boss for two stacks.

Subsequent taunts are quick, just for one stack each, so it goes like this:

Tank 1: 2 stacks

Tank 2: 2 stacks

Tank 3: 2 stacks

Tank 1: 1 additional stack, for 3 stacks

Tank 2: 1 additional stack, for 3 stacks

Tank 3: 1 additional stack, for 3 stacks

Tank 1: 1 additional stack, for 4 stacks

Tank 2: 1 additional stack, for 4 stacks

Tank 3: 1 additional stack, for 4 stacks

If Putricide isn’t dead by now, chances are, the entire raid is.

The important thing for the tanks to do, apart from knowing when to taunt, is to NOT change direction abruptly. Keep moving him slowly, keeping him out of slime puddles and away from the orange vials and such, but you really don’t want to be going one way and then have another tank taunt and go back the way you just came.

Healing: Healers, I hope you’re ready for some insane freaking damage here. It’s just STUPID.

Paladins: Don’t worry about beacon yet. It should still be on your MT, but I encourage you to keep spamming Holy Light directly on your first tank. You MUST be aware of the tank rotation! As soon as you see that the first tank has two stacks (or whatever you stack to), you need to switch targets immediately. With any luck, your beacon is still up on the MT (although I wouldn’t waste the mana to refresh it) and you can pre-emptively heal the second tank a bit.

After everyone has two stacks is an ideal time to do three things:

1) Find a better place to stand. You want to stand somewhere far enough away from the tanks that you won’t have to move again for the encounter, barring environmental crap, but close enough that they’re still in range. You want to be near the area where they will be kiting the boss towards. But don’t just run over immediately when people have two stacks…

2) This is a great time for one paladin to hit Divine Shield/Divine Sacrifice. The 20% damage reduction for six seconds is enough of a buffer, usually, for you to run to a new place to be before you resume casting and the Divine Shield aspect allows you to run through slime if you need to in order to get to your new location. Any other paladins should chain DS/DS at this point, so when one finishes, the next begins.

3) As soon as you’ve done your DS/DS and moved to a better location, beacon YOURSELF and heal the active tank. This is pretty much the only way you’re going to be able to stay alive on the encounter because you’re taking 18k+ damage every time Mutated Plague ticks on the three tanks when it’s getting to 3 stacks. It’s actually really easy to keep up one tank (and yourself, via beacon) just by spamming the crap out of Holy Light and using all your cooldowns available to you — wings, Divine Illumination, Lay on Hands, anything you’ve got.

Priests: Derevka suggests chaining Divine Hymns at the end of P3, so probably at about the time the first stack of 3 appears and the raid damage gets significantly harder. Chaining them will allow subsequent Divine Hymns to benefit from the buff of the initial heal, with disc priests going first, then holy priests for maximum output. Thanks for the tip! :)

Raid healers: You are probably going to die unless your DPS is seriously on top of things. I honestly recommend priests use the occasional Binding Heal. Don’t worry about the paladins because they’ve beaconed themselves. Don’t worry about the tanks. Worry about yourselves and the DPS.

DPSing: Apart from killing the boss, your biggest responsibility is containing the Unbound Plague. I really haven’t spoken a lot about the plague, because it’s easy enough to hand off/avoid in the first two phases with just a little practice, but since everyone is basically bunched up for Phase 3, this is where it’s YOUR responsibility to get it the hell out of the raid. You do not want this ticking on your tanks or healers and you especially do not want anyone to have the plague ticking on them after they’ve already had the plague. Plague Sickness is bad, okay? The loss of your DPS (if you’re melee) or the slowdown of your DPS (if you’re ranged and have to move) is really minor compared to the havoc that the Unbound Plague can cause in melee range. So if you get it, RUN IT OUT. If you die with it, it’s not the end of the world, because at least you won’t spread the plague. But try to hand it off after about 10 seconds.

And that is, more or less, how my guild does Professor Putricide on 25-man heroic mode.

Comments or questions are welcome. :)


Soon, I shall have a post with two video guides in it.

1) Strat Live, minus Cannonmaster Willy

2) How to get the Key to the City from Strat UD without having it to begin with (ie: from Strat Live)

Freaking video files are huge. WTB larger hard drive, PST.

Hell, a non-fail computer would be nice. ;)

Holy How-To #6

Welcome to my Holy How-To for PVE Paladins. This is the sixth of what I hope to be a great many posts aimed at helping holy paladins succeed at PVE content. I will focus primarily on max-level talent specs, glyphs, enchants, gems and the like, including tools, tips and tricks that I use, but I hope to touch on levelling content and advice as well.

Today, we’re going to talk about haste and why, exactly, it is your number two stat if you’re a Holy Light paladin and why ALL paladins need as close to a 1.0 second global cooldown as possible. I was originally going to talk about healing meters and parses and the like, but once again, I had a couple of conversations (hi Saunder!) that abruptly changed my mind about this Holy How-To’s topic. So today, folks, Haste and Why to Stack It.
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Kurn's Guide to Lower Blackrock Spire

Okay, after much hemming and hawing and many false starts and far too long spent in the editing stage, I think I’ve pieced together an okay two-part guide to Lower Blackrock Spire. It’s done the way we used to do LBRS back in the day and is still a really efficient way to clear out the instance. Included are Warmaster Voone, Shadow Hunter Vosh’gajin, Mother Smolderweb, Urok Doomhowl, Halycon, Gizrul the Slavener, Overlord Wyrmthalak, High Lord Omokk and how to obtain and complete the quests Bijou’s Belongings, Urok Doomhowl and how to get you started on the Seal of Ascension questline. Note that there are other quests in here, including the one for the Worg Pup and Mother’s Milk, neither of which are covered here.

Apologies for how dark the videos seem on YouTube. On my computer, they’re both much, much brighter, so I’m not really sure how to deal with that. I would try re-rendering them and re-uploading them, but I know if I don’t post these now-ish, it’ll be another couple of weeks before I bother trying again.

So, here we go. :)

Classic Instances

Spurred on by thought after Cassandri’s BRD – Prison guide I previously mentioned, I am giving significant thought to explaining to people how classic dungeons actually work.

Probably starting with BRD, actually, then moving up to LBRS, Scholomance, Strat Live, Strat UD, UBRS… and then there’s the Dire Mauls; East, West and North.

It dawned on me, when I was in an LBRS group not that long ago on my priest that a LOT of these LFG people have never, ever, ever, EVER run these old dungeons. This group I was in actually CLEARED down the ramp instead of jumping off to the right side. This other group I was in had NO IDEA there was more to the instance than the troll boss!

As a classic WoW player, this almost offends me. But it’s not their fault, so it’s not quite offensive. It’s more like my jaw dropped out of shock. A lot. Repeatedly.

I’m thinking of doing these sort of guides (not really “guides”, but more like run throughs) in video format, with a running commentary, showing the most efficient way through the dungeons. Or at least, how we all used to run stuff. I’d still have detailed text stuff (like how to get keys!) for most of the instances, but I envision sped-up videos of me running through the later Classic dungeons. (Do not ask me for Sunken Temple. I STILL get lost there.)

Something to ponder…

Holy How-to #5 – To Beacon or not to Beacon

Welcome to my Holy How-To for PVE Paladins. This is the fifth of what I hope to be a great many posts aimed at helping holy paladins succeed at PVE content. I will focus primarily on max-level talent specs, glyphs, enchants, gems and the like, including tools, tips and tricks that I use, but I hope to touch on levelling content and advice as well.

Today, I’ll discuss our 51-point talent, Beacon of Light. Sadly, the spell is also referred to as “bacon”, usually prompting people to discuss the deliciousness of said food item. Anyways. Beacon is a simple spell that is either completely overpowered or entirely useless. It depends on how you use it and the configuration of the encounters in which you use it. Oddly, even over 18 months since its introduction, this spell still causes confusion among raid leaders, healing leads, other healers and even holy paladins themselves. So I thought I’d try to shed some light (ha, ha!) on this subject.

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Holy How-To #4 – Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to my Holy How-To for PVE Paladins. This is the fourth of what I hope to be a great many posts aimed at helping holy paladins succeed at PVE content. I will focus primarily on max-level talent specs, glyphs, enchants, gems and the like, including tools, tips and tricks that I use, but I hope to touch on levelling content and advice as well.

Today, we’ll talk a bit about some of the most frequently asked questions pertaining to healing in current PVE content. This is NOT what I actually wanted to go over for my fourth Holy How-To. I actually have a half-written post sitting in Notepad at the moment about healing meters and why they suck. However, I’ve been looking for a new holy paladin for my guild (to replace the one who ninja-transferred) and I just kind of /facepalm when I see some of their armories. So inside, quick questions and answers for holy PVE paladins!

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Kurn's Dungeon Basics

I’m levelling a priest. (I know, shoot me.) I’m levelling with my brother, who’s levelling a paladin. I’m disc, he’s prot. We’re primarily doing it through the random dungeon finder.

As such, I feel compelled to write up a quick guide to some very basic concepts of running dungeons, particularly at low levels.

1) Understanding Threat.

Threat, also known as aggro, is a good thing to have if you’re the tank and a bad thing to have if you’re anyone else.

What IS threat? What IS aggro?

It’s the attention you get from enemy mobs that makes them want to rip your face off and then stomp on it for good measure. As such, it’s highly recommended that the person in a 5-man group that tries to gain threat from enemy mobs be the “tank”.

A “tank” is named such because they are supposed to be large, intimidating and heavily-armored. Like, you know, a tank. In the World of Warcraft, you have four classes who can perform this role. They are: warriors, druids, paladins and death knights. For the purposes of this guide, I won’t discuss the death knights. I assume (perhaps mistakenly!) that if people can get to level 55 in this game, they have a basic idea of the tank/healer/DPS/aggro dynamic.

Warriors typically drop their talent points into their protection tree if they’re planning to tank and will probably wear a shield. You’ll want to see a druid shift to bear form to tank. A paladin will also be putting points into their protection tree if they want to tank, also putting on a shield.

Your tank is basically a distraction. They’re the ones who are supposed to use their various abilities to make themselves appear to be the largest threat those mobs are facing at any given moment. They wear heavy armor and have abilities that are very dangerous-seeming, plus have special talents and abilities to prevent all that insane damage from splatting them into next Tuesday. In reality, it’s the DPS (damage dealers) who are the largest threat, because they’re the ones dealing all the damage. Meanwhile, the healer is healing the tank so the tank can continue to generate threat. In an ideal situation, only the tank is taking damage so that the healer can heal through the encounter with ease, while the DPS attack the mob or mobs and deal a lot of damage.

So, are we clear on this? Tank grabs mob’s attention -> DPS deals damage on mob while mob is focusing on tank -> Healer heals tank and DPS/themselves if needed.

The trouble with this situation is that, for the game to be a challenge, threat is EASY to produce through damage and a little more difficult to produce for a tank. The tanks need to smack the mobs around a little bit in order to generate enough aggro from them to ensure that the damage dealers can do their jobs and go to town.

Here’s the catch: If the tank runs around near the mobs but DOES NOT hit them, this is called a “facepull”. That means that the tank has gained the attention of the mobs by physically approaching them, but the tank has not used any abilities to generate threat.

If a facepull occurs, ANYTHING the party does to EITHER the tank OR the mobs will result in that individual “pulling aggro”, which means becoming the most hated person by those mobs.


Anything. So long as it’s to the tank or to one of the mobs. Or to each other, if you’re already in combat by virtue of being close enough to the action.

So if I’m the healer of the group and the tank runs up to a mob and just STANDS there, getting beat on, if I heal him, I start looking threatening and the mob will go “HOLY CRAP, look at THAT person!!!” and come charging at me, with the intention of ripping my face off and stomping on it.

Similarly, if I’m a DPS and I start hitting the mob before the tank has had adequate time to generate aggro on it, the mob will go “Who the hell just hit me in the face?!” and then, you guessed it, it will then come charging at me, with the intention of repaying the favour.

Thus, to prevent your face getting smashed in, wait for the tank to establish aggro. This should only take a few seconds, but may take longer if more than one mob has been pulled.

“So what do I do if I pull aggro, even though I’m sure I won’t because I’m reading this awesome guide by you, Kurn!”

Glad you asked! Rather than run away from the mob and trying to hide in a bush, somewhere, you should run TOWARDS the tank. Yes, even if it means running through the mob who is trying to give you a mouthful of Chiclets. This means that the tank will be in range of the mob to hit them and pull them OFF of you. (Hunters, feign death. Rogues, vanish. Night elves can also Shadowmeld temporarily and priests can Fade, but don’t expect miracles.)

Some tanks are better at holding aggro on groups of mobs than others. In particular, paladins dropping Consecrate are amazing at it, although druids can abuse Swipe and that’s also pretty good. Death Knights are moderately better than warriors, but are still unable to generate the same kind of constant area-of-effect (AOE) aggro that paladins and druids do very easily. Warriors, well, they have a few tricks up their sleeves and a good warrior won’t have a problem with holding aggro on several mobs, but do be sure to give them a few seconds before you start in on things.

Related to this concept is the gauntlet mechanic.

There aren’t too many gauntlets in the game and I think the first one we really encounter in dungeons is in Shattered Halls, a level 70 instance in Hellfire Peninsula, but there are a couple of spots in level 80 dungeons/heroics where this mechanic comes into play.

What is a gauntlet?

A gauntlet is a section of an instance where mobs never stop spawning, so the way to get through it is to have the tank barrel down the hall or whatever it is, run all the way to the end, hold aggro on all of them and then AOE everything down.

Notable gauntlets in WOTLK dungeons:

– the trash for Skadi in Utgarde Pinnacle
– the trash towards the Scourgelord in Pit of Saron (the tunnel)

I don’t think this is technically a gauntlet, but you can treat the trash between the first and second bosses in Halls of Lightning (Slags) as such.

The trouble with a gauntlet is that the tank is running through, so they are NOT building threat. That means that a healer should NOT cast a heal, DPS should NOT damage mobs and NO ONE should be ahead of the tank. (Pre-shielding a tank with Power Word: Shield or Sacred Shield or Earth Shield is fine, though. But no hots!)

Ideally, the tank will have either Retribution Aura (from any paladin in the group) or Thorns (from any druid in the group) on them to better build aggro as they’re being beaten on, but those aren’t always available, so, in general, you’re looking at a whole hallway of facepulling. When the tank gets into position, they’ll start generating aggro and then the healer can start healing and the DPS can start damage. It is IMPERATIVE that, unless the tank is literally about to die, a healer not heal the tank. Let them get low. Under 50% is when I begin to worry. The panic sets in at about 30%. But do your best to not cast before they get to that point, or else six mobs are going to peel off the tank and splat you into the wall.

I should also note that if you want to be conservative (and there’s nothing wrong with that), you can agree to stop about midway through the gauntlet, AOE things down there and then move to the end and AOE things down there as well. This is a particularly good plan if the healer is new to the role, the tank is new to the role, if they’re unsure about the instance or if either is undergeared for the content.

Cooldowns like Pain Suppression, Guardian Spirit, Hand of Sacrifice and Lay on Hands are things that healers can cast on the tank as well, right at the end, to help stabilize the tank before they start healing. Tanks can also use their own cooldowns, like Divine Protection, Shield Wall, Last Stand, Enraged Regeneration, Barkskin, Survival Instincts, Frenzied Regeneration, Icebound Fortitude, Anti-magic Shell, Anti-magic Zone and the like.

2) Casters and How to Move Them.

Ever been standing there, halfway down a hallway in Scarlet Monastery or something and had a caster just shooting at you the whole time? But if the group gets too close to that caster, they might pull another group or another patrol? Of course you have. Everyone has.

Ever wonder what to do about it? Wonder no longer.

Long story short: Line of Sight (LOS) around a nearby obstacle or pull as far back as you can so they come to you at least a little bit.

These are the basics that people in my recent low-level pugs have emphatically not mastered. I don’t think most of them are even aware of these concepts. Thus, a post.

(As an aside, I was on my priest and shielded a bear who insisted on collecting the entire room Interrogator Vishas is in and was chided by a rogue or a shaman for doing so because it would prevent rage generation. Hah, WoWWiki says that: “As of Patch 3.1, [Power Word: Shield] will still allow warriors and druids to generate rage from damage absorbed.” Yay me for not being fail! And yes, I will be careful not to shield my brother too much when he gets Spiritual Attunement.)

Whew. Okay, Holy How-To #4 coming this week, I swear. Stupid healing meters…