I had to check it out for myself when WoW Insider reported that Anzu no longer requires a druid to be killed. For those of you who don’t know, Anzu is that raven god that druids used to summon in Heroic Sethekk Halls as part of their Swift Flight Form questline. As of 4.0.1 he no longer needs to be summoned via a druid quest item and instead stands in the middle of his room like any other boss, waiting to be farmed. A Blue post has confirmed that this change was intentional. You might care because in the past Anzu has dropped (and apparently still does drop) one of the more beautfiul and rare ground mounts in the game, the Raven Lord.
Edit: The mount dropped for me 11/4/2010, and so I can personally confirm that it still drops.
So, assuming we want the mount and the challenge, how do we “extreme solo” this new Anzu run? Is extreme soloing any different now after the patch? Continue reading after the break for my take.
Brief Thoughts on Extreme Soloing in 4.0.1
Extreme soloing is still alive and kicking as of 4.0.1. Among other things, our turtles still have Shell Shield and the Tier 5 2-piece bonus is still in the game. If anything, soloing older content where a pet defense cap (0% chance to be crit) is not necessary is easier. The new Glyph of Misdirection ensures two things: you need not wait on MD for the next pull and you need not ever pull off your pet because you can simply MD every four seconds. Chimera Shot’s self-heal is great, putting MM in position as the best extreme soloing spec of the moment (see Frostheim’s arguments on this point). New higher levels of health greatly improve survivability directly and also increase our heals (Mend Pet, Spirit Bond, Silverback and Chimera Shot) because they are percentage-based. The more health we have, the more healing we do, making stam stacking all the more important (and great) for the more intense fights. I think it is fair to say that hunter extreme soloing is better than ever for at least easier extreme content, including Heroic Sethekk Halls.
4.0.1 was not without its blows to hunter extreme soloing, though. Foremost among them, resilience no longer reduces your (and your pet’s) chance to be crit. It merely reduces the damage you take from players and their minions. Pets can now only receive 4% crit chance reduction via Grace of the Mantis. Better than nothing, but it does not make a defense cap. Volley spam as a trash-killing tactic is also gone, and the insane tier-5 healing it gave is gone with it. I do not consider this a major loss considering that Multi-Shot + Trap Launcher Explosive Traps work fine for AoE. The new Misdirection’s threat fading does not help in long fights; yet, constant (and free!) pet MDs can make it so that the hunter hardly holds any threat at any point, ensuring that whatever threat the pet generates on its own is more than enough. Lastly, some of the buffs from consumables that extreme soloers have adopted (Drums of the Wild, Drums of Forgotten Kings) have been changed. Kings drums and Runescrolls of Fortitude are still mandatory for min-maxing, but the Wild drums no longer provide a buff.
Let’s now turn to the task at hand. The following advice assumes that you are a level 80 hunter. It was written from the perspective of a hunter in ICC gear (and so if you are a fresh 80 you may find the fights more difficult than they are described here). If you are curious about the fundamentals of extreme soloing, check out Frostheim’s guides here and my guide here.
Preparations for Anzu
There are some things you should have set in place before you begin your once-a-day farming of Heroic Sethekk Halls. Significantly, you need to be honored with the Lower City faction before you can set foot inside. Clicking on that link to Wowhead will show you options for farming the rep, including running normal instances and questing. Once you reach honored, you have to buy a key from the Lower City Quartermaster and only once you have it can you enter the dungeon that has Anzu.
You should also be ready to do some moderately challenging soloing. As such, I recommend having a level 80 tenacity pet with defensive talents. Consider a Turtle or a Bear because their abilities make them harder to kill, something which is more important than dps in extreme soloing. The new Glyph of Misdirection is mandatory I think. Glyph of Mending helps and so if you have a free glyph slot use it. Level 80 raid gear should suffice for stamina. Two pieces of tier 5 is nice but not necessary for this content. Consumables also help. Of note are the Drums of Forgotten Kings, Runescrolls of Fortitude and the usual food buffs. Remember, your pet’s stamina scales from the buffs you have, so don’t be worried that you are not seeing your pet gaining these buffs from consumables.
Getting to the Dungeon
Sethekk Halls is located on the inner eastern side of the ring at Auchindoun. If you fly south from Shat you should find it with no problem. Remember to set the dungeon difficulty to heroic before entering.
Anzu is a good distance into the dungeon. At level 80 you can run past most of the trash packs. You can even clear trash in such a way that you do not have to fight any of the mobs that fear or mind control. Killing only door guards and appropriate wind serpents and bird packs will forge a path of simple tank and spank fights. Some door guards hit hard, so be prepared to use your pet’s defensive cooldowns. An alternative trash strategy is to dismiss your pet, run through a few unavoidable packs, and then FD in a safe place. This is riskier but it can save some time.
There is one boss on the way, Darkweaver Syth. It is possible to solo him if you MD the adds he spawns to your pet and keep your pet alive. It is also possible to run past him. If you dismiss your pet and hug the outside edge of his room, he should not agro you. I have not tried this tactic since the patch, but it worked before 4.0. I have read some arguments for killing him that say that by killing him you save yourself to the dungeon and thereby prevent trash from respawning prematurely if you happen to die at some later point.
Unlike before, Anzu is now alone in his room (see the purple dot on this map for his location), meaning that once you reach him your work clearing trash is done.
Around this bird god you will see some statues. Not being a druid, you can just ignore them and begin fighting the boss. Much of the possible complexity of the fight is lost on hunters (we aren’t druids or even casters) and so the fight is a tank and spank for us with three minor exceptions.
The first is a stun that Anzu casts called Paralyzing Screech. It stuns the target (you) for six seconds. You cannot interrupt it but you can see it coming. If Anzu’s melee attacks are doing a number on your pet, make sure that you refresh Mend Pet when the cast begins so that your hot continues while you are stunned.
The second mechanic is a six second cyclone that he will cast on you. This can be interrupted. The same rules apply here as for the stun regarding pet healing.
The third mechanic of note is his self-banishing. This is guaranteed to happen twice during the fight because it is triggered by his health percentage and not a timer. At 66% and 33% health (roughly speaking) Anzu will banish himself, making him immune to damage. At this time he will also summon a flock of non-elite birds to attack you. They will fly around in the air for a while, giving you time to MD your pet, set an explosive trap down at your feet (they will come to you) and even heal yourself a bit if necessary. Note that stuns can continue while Anzu is banished, making a preemptive MD+trap helpful for ensuring that your pet takes the birds and not you. They don’t do much damage, though, so it does not matter a whole lot if you eat some pecks while stunned. Anzu will unbanish when the birds are dead or when about a minute has passed, whichever comes first. Multi-Shot spam should be enough to kill all the birds before the 1min mark on the banish is reached, though.
Once the second banish is done, all that is left is a tank and spank until Anzu is dead. The drop rate for the mount is low, so expect to go through this fight a lot if it proves true that the mount still drops and you’re committed to getting it.