Since the implementation of escalating badges in Heroic instances many players have found that running a huge number of heroics is a great way to get near end game raid quality gear. This running of chain heroics grants huge quantities of badges that can be used to buy gear only one level removed from the current end game raid drops. For some players this is the best gear they will ever get since they dont raid, for others it is a great way to gear up an alt so that they can get in on raids, and for others it is just for profit by selling off the gems they can purchase.
No matter your reason for running the instances there are several ways to make the most out of them. The most important thing when running chain heroics for badges is to make use of the random heroic tool. Even if you have a preformed group you can still queue for a random heroic and therefore get two frost badges for the first heroic you run that day or two bonus triumph badges if it is the second or later heroic that you run that day. This really adds up since most heroics grant you 3 or 4 triumph badges, so this gives you a little better than 50% extra badges over time.
Before you actually run any heroics though you should make sure you are geared for it. Rather than provide gearscore recommendations since what is effective varies so much between classes here is a list of the basic stats you need based on class type.
- Tanks Be uncrittable at 485 def and at least 26,000 health unbuffed
- Healers - At least 1500 bonus healing
- DPS - At least 1500 sustained damage
Onto actually running chain heroics and how to do it. There are several ways, you can either find a group of friends in guild or on your server to run with or you can use the Looking for Group (LFG) tool to find a group. Once you have a group you can either queue for a random heroic and get the extra badges or queue for / enter specific instances, in which case if youre using the LFG tool you need to specify what you are looking for.
The first way to run chain heroics is with a group of people that you know. When running with a group you know you stand a much better chance of getting through instances quickly and without issue. This is because you have played with these people before, know them, know how they react, and have expectations of each other. In addition if you are friends you are probably chatting online as well, and this extra communication really helps, even if it is just a heroic.
Even with a group you know, it is probably best to queue for random heroics to get the extra badges, however you can queue for specific instances if someone needs some loot, such as an alt that you are helping gear up. If this is the case you should generally just join whatever instance that player, or you if its your alt, needs and speed through it. If there is no specific loot that you need, but just want easy fast heroics without the chance of getting the ultra annoying Occulus or Caverns of Time, then you are probably going to go for the fast popular ones.
[protip] The most popular and fastest Heroics seem to be the following (the numbers in brackets represent the number of badges you can earn): Nexus (4), Violet Hold (3), Utgarde Keep (3), AjulNerub (3), Old Kingdom (3+), Draktharon Keep (4), or Gundrak (4) [/protip]
Lastly if the group is made up entirely of players that you know, and they know that the intention is to run a bunch or heroics then in all likelihood the group will stay together longer. When running chain heroics for badges the less down time the better. As soon as you are finished with one you can immediately queue for another and get teleported there within seconds since you have a full group.
The first thing to note if you are going to do chain heroics using the Looking for Group tool is to be a tank or healer if at all possible. By this I mean that if you play any class that is capable of tanking or healing, get the gear to do it and run heroics as a tank or healer. This is due to queue times and getting into heroics when using the LFG tool. As a tank, the queue times are pretty much instant. As a Healer you will usually wait a minute or two. As a DPS your wait time can be up to 20 minutes. This means that as a DPS you will only get about ½ as many heroics run compared to a tank or healer. Its a pretty big incentive to learn how to be a tank or healer.
If you are a class that can not tank or heal, or if you could but you choose not to, the next best thing is to make friends with a tank quickly. Join as a group with a tank in it and when you queue you get their short queue time as well. This makes getting through heroics all that much faster. Failing that you can queue in the LFG tool and simply go and farm something while waiting for the group to form. I find that I can get a lot of mining, skinning, herbing, etc done on my various characters as I wait for a group.
When using the LFG tool realize ahead of time that you will probably not get a group that is looking for chain instances. Most players join LFG for one fast heroic to get their two frost badges and are then done for the day. To get around this you could try looking in one of your factions major cities and spamming trade with a message that you are looking for a group to do chain heroics. If you do this then it is best once again to either be a tank or healer, or find them early. The worst possible thing to do is find three DPS which are the easiest to find and least meaningful in a group, and then have to spend 30 minutes looking for a tank and healer.
When doing chain heroics do not be afraid to give a player the boot that is not performing. If your goal is to get a lot of heroics done for badges, and there is a DPS doing less than 1500 DPS and they are not the alt you are trying to gear, kick them. There is no reason for it. I have helped several players gear alts, and not a single one has done less than 1800 DPS even in blues and greens. If someone can not do at least 1500, it generally means they have not taken the time to learn their own class, get rid of them and move on.
Entertainment while running Heroics
Lets face it, many of our characters need to run heroics to get the gear to be able to raid or PVP. Many of us have already done more heroics than we care to remember, yet still need to go back and do more. How do we do it and keep our sanity?
Luckily Blizzard has been fairly good about adding in some variety, in the form of TOC, and the three new ICC instances since the initial launch of WotLK. In addition Blizzard has recently worked pretty hard at eliminating a lot of the annoying delays in the heroics either from boss fight mechanics or slow story elements. However sometimes you still need more.
If you and your group significantly out gear the basic requirements of the heroic you are running then you can start to have some real fun. Some of this fun comes at the expense of speed, but can generate some real entertainment.
There are many things that you can do to have some fun, here are just a few:
- Play Pug Bingo for fun (You can find the links here)
- Play Pug Bingo against guildies! We do this every so often, where everyone puts 100 gold into a pool and then we all start queuing for random groups. Whoever can fill a PUG bingo card first to either one line, or two lines, or a blackout (as your group decides) gets the gold collected.
- Play Switched Roled Heroics where you do something other than your main spec. We have seen Beast Master Hunters tank, Pally tanks heal, etc.
- Play Speed heroics, like how fast can you get through Nexus? My personal best is 13 minutes.
- Play Heroics for Shots (assuming you are above the legal drinking age in your area)
- Make up your own game and share it with us in the forums
No matter what you do, remember that World of Warcraft is a game, if its not fun, take a break and come back later. Gear isnt important enough that you burn the fun out of the game over it.
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