Friday, February 1, 2008

Solo Scholo

I was going to do some groups to get more of the gear I need for Kara over the last few days, but I can never get runs to where I need to go.

Although I'm attempting to get back to moving towards Kara again, also in terms of cash grinding/farming, as I mentioned in an earlier post, the idea of farming water primals ad nauseum to pay for a flying mount really doesn't do a lot for me.

So, while thinking about it a bit the other night, an alternative came to me; solo farming the Scholomance. This has a few different points in its' favour.

1) Even at 70, with my current gear anyway, it's still sufficiently challenging that I have to think about what I'm doing a bit. Back in days of yore, Scholo was originally a ten man raid for 60s, and although it's been massively toned down, soloing it will still keep you on your toes in places.

2) The place is a gold mine. Mobs drop anywhere between 5 and 25 silver apiece, and bind on equip blues can often fetch close to the same as a water primal on the AH. (In the neighbourhood of 15 gold)

It's also meant that I've had to go back to my roots a bit, as far as tactics appropriate to solo Survival are concerned. Although I'm still purely ranged, the emphasis on conventional burst damage (Multi, Arcane) is minimised.

I don't think this has ever been talked about before either, at least not by me, so I'll take a moment to go into it a little at length. The two main pillars of solo farming as Survival (for me at least) are Serpent Sting (and yes, Lienna, contrary to my earlier post which I now admit was misguided, I do only cast it once ;)) and Immolation Trap. I lean on these two and Snake Trap very heavily when PvE soloing, and virtually never use Arcane or Multi at all. There are two main reasons for this.

This is the Scholo solo farming spec I'm currently using. You will notice that this is not, comparitively speaking, a high burst damage build, and that is by design. For instance work, I want mana efficiency, talents which boost periodic damage, (Immolation Trap and Serpent Sting) trap augmentation, and low per-hit damage.

1) Mana efficiency. This might initially sound insane, but look closer. By combining Serpent Sting with Immolation Trap, with the talents in the above build, I get a total of 2379 DoT over 15 seconds, for a cost of 397 mana. Four Steady Shots with Autos after that are usually enough to kill a mob, which means a total of 837 mana per kill. With 6k mana, if I go out to max range so I don't need to feign, that means I can kill seven mobs between drinks.

2) Aggro management. This is the single most important reason. With the above DoTs lasting for 15 seconds, I'm getting 158 DPS, which is only around 60 dps above the boar. My current paperdoll DPS is 232, which works out at just under 400. Most of you are going to say that's horribly, disgustingly low...and you'd be right, which is actually why I love it. 400 DPS will kill mobs with Scholo's health range in around 15 seconds, plus what the boar gives me, but it will also do it with entirely regulated aggro the entire time...which means I don't pull from the boar, which means I don't get swamped and die. (And yes, you can die on your own in Scholo if you're not paying attention; I already have a few times)

As for some of the other points with that spec; two of the talents which the cool kids usually take that I didn't in this particular scenario were Mortal Shots and Surefooted. I didn't take MS because I wanted Imp Stings to regulate aggro, and MS actually would have caused more burst aggro due to the higher crits, and I didn't take Surefooted because I wanted the points for Trap Mastery and Imp FD, already have some +hit gear, and don't particularly care in this scenario if I miss an auto every now and then.

In case anyone's asking, yes, I am going to respec back to a more sane 0/20/41 before I again set foot in an Outland 5 man, which will also include the sacrosanct 5/5 Mortal Shots. ;-)

I actually had to respec twice for Scholo tho because of how deeply I've had it drilled into my head that, "If you do NOT take Mortal Shots in EVERY SINGLE SCENARIO, you are a NEWB, with UTTERLY NO WORTH as a human being, inside WoW or outside it!" on the forum. I know that in 99% of cases it's essential, but I consider this case the 1%. Being a slave to the damage meter while doing this so far has actually got me killed.

I took Trap Mastery and Imp Feign Death because both were being resisted. Rattlegore in particular hits like a truck; when you feign while you've got him on you, it really isn't good if he doesn't care.

I also took Readiness for adds. If I'm fighting two mobs, one locked down with freeze trap, and pull another, two accidentally, I can Wyvern one, hit Readiness, drop a Snake Trap on the other, and go back to what I was doing.

With Readiness I can also give Rattlegore a two trap punch. Set Immolation Trap, lure him to it with Serpent, send the boar, smack Readiness, jump forward and drop Snake Trap at his feet, feign to drop trap aggro, jump back and commence Steady fire. The rapid fire of the snakes can keep him from attacking, the venom dot stacks with Serpent and Immolation Trap, and he's dead before he knows what's hit him, without me having again pulled aggro. That is basically the central element of how Survival does damage here; no one source does much, but you put around four different gradual sources together, and use that to regulate aggro. It's the proverbial death by a thousand cuts.

If you want to try this yourself, among other things, you'll also need a pet that can take a beating. With my DoTs and if I keep Mend Pet up, my old pig can withstand Rattlegore, but a cat probably wouldn't be able to.

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