The other night, I dipped into Molten Core with a 90 Pandaren Monk, having a great time soloing the place given the utterly laughable amount of health those Classic raid bosses have in comparison to today’s. However, Molten Core was the only raid instance in the game before 5.1 that you could get into without a raid group (by teleporting directly into it via the NPC outside).
In 5.1, this changed – all pre-Pandaria raids now no longer require raid groups, which means you can go in as a party, or, more importantly, by yourself. This is a huge change, and it means that if you don’t want to be part of a raiding guild but still want to see some of the best content WoW can provide, you can now just head on in by yourself and crush it all (within reason).
However, once you hit Vashj, the end boss of Burning Crusade’s Serpentshrine Cavern, you’ll swiftly realise that not only do you have to think like a DPS nut, but you’ve also got to think like a tank, and a healer. It’s a tough job, especially if you’re a monk, as you’ll swiftly end up being chain-feared all over the place if you’re not killing off the right mobs from extreme range (which is not very easy in that class).
Even if you’re a mage, you’ll find yourself doing a little tanking, and it’s amusing because you’re probably not that used to it, at least when using that class. The only notable time a mage has tanked anything was in the Maulgar fight in Gruul’s Lair, so to think of yourself crunching through Onyxia or Ragnaros as they wail on you in fury is quite a surreal thought.
But if you’re used to firing off spells, arrows and what-not from range, or healing, then you’re going to need to start thinking like a tank – being the focus of a raid boss is a lot of work, and a high amount of stress, even if you’re very powerful. While you may know how to play your class extremely well, if you’ve never had to tank with it or heal yourself solo as you do so, then you’re going to be in for a wipe-filled learning experience.
Your best bet is, as you level, to always challenge yourself while soloing content. Killing ten undead? Take four or five at once, and see how you do. By putting yourself in a position where it’s you with the aggro and the damage, you’ll teach yourself quickly how to manage fights where the odds aren’t always in your favour. You’ll also start to think about positioning, pace, taking risks, maintaining battles on multiple fronts – all good tanking skills.
The best part is you don’t have to worry about the most important part of tanking – keeping aggro. Why? Well, because you’re the only one there! So with that taken care of, things are actually pretty simple as long as you read up on some of the harder fights and ensure that certain mechanics won’t take you out. A great part of soloing raid content is that boss abilities quite frequently avoid the person at the top of the aggro list, so many of the really dangerous boss abilities (like X’s “HP down to 1” nightmare in Karazhan) are a non-issue unless you’ve got a pet.
So your best bet is to grab some potions (just in case), buff yourself up, ensure your iLVL is a reasonable way past 400, and go for it. To comfort you, let me put it this way – you’ll have, on average, more health than most of the trash you’ll run into in Classic and BC, and Magtheridon on a 90 Pandaren Monk takes five minutes and doesn’t require any desperate measures. Have fun!
David Thompson is a fresh and upcoming technology and entertainment blogger who enjoys the challenges of creativity and attention to detail. His specific areas of interest include film, gaming and the mobile industry, encompassing everything from manufacturer-specific news from Apple to industry announcements from the likes of O2.