One of the things about playing enhance that I always loved is that we’re a spec that does really well when it comes to soloing. With Maelstrom healing, defensive cooldowns, guardians, and now multiple offensive cooldowns, enhancement shaman are great for soloing. We may not be as good as a tank spec or a pet class, but we can still handle plenty of content just fine. If you’ve never tried, there’s never been a better time to try soloing!
I’m dividing this very, very long guide into four very, very long parts, one for each expansion released thus far. I imagine that most Mists content will be unsoloable for a while, so I’ll refrain from talking about that until late in the expansion.
So, on to the earliest (and thankfully easiest!) content to solo: Classic WoW!
As a note, I’m going to write these to the level of a person who’s never done these raids before and may not even know where the dungeons are or how to get inside them, and thus doesn’t know what to expect. If you’ve experienced this content before, a good chunk of this may be pretty dull to read! If you just want to know soloing strategies, head for the Bosses section of each raid.
Another note, very important: In the middle of updating this guide, my computer froze. When I told WordPress to restore the autosave, it instead updated the actual page. Only the Molten Core section has been updated, and still needs a bit more work! The rest of the guide will get its update when I get the time to work on it again. Thank you for your patience!
I suppose a good place to start would be to answer the question, why bother soloing? The content’s old and outdated. Doesn’t it make more sense to play current content only?
There are a number of reasons to take up the soloing challenge. First, soloing in general is a challenge, a test of skill. It requires considerably more coordination when you don’t outgear a fight so much you negate its mechanics, and often involves out-of-the-box thinking. Some true greats in soloing have tackled content most wouldn’t think possible, including even raid bosses from one tier back! As gear levels and player levels increase, so do the odds of your success.
Second, loot, and lots of it! Profession mats, random BOE drops, recipes, epic loot, and unique drops that are only available in raids are all up for grabs. Previously, bosses would also drop a large amount of gold; this was due to the fact that bosses were supposed to give about X amount of gold per player, so their gold drops would be 10X, 25X, or 40X. When all given to one player, it made for a pretty good payday! Unfortunately, Blizzard implemented a new system where bosses would always drop X amount of gold per player, by calculating how many players were in the instance and then dropping X gold for each of them. So if you solo a raid, a boss only drops X gold. If you duo, it will drop 2X gold, etc. Still, vendoring epics still makes for a good sum, and AOE looting makes trash a breeze to collect from.
Lastly, transmog! All those epics make for some great transmog gear, and soloing makes sure you have no competitors trying to take an item you crave. In addition, the only way to get tier sets is through raids, so if there’s a particular tier you want, soloing can get it for you with relative ease.
As I mentioned in the original version of this guide, soloing required you to still have a raid group before patch 5.1, which meant either having an alt account you could finagle to join raid groups, or finding someone who didn’t mind doing nothing for a couple hours while you raided. In this post-patch 5.1 world, however, you no longer need a raid group to enter any pre-Mists raid, so soloing has never been easier! You really don’t have an excuse, unless that excuse is “I don’t want to,” in which case why are you still here?
On with the guide!
Note: As a reminder, this guide is written by an enhancement shaman, for enhancement shaman. Tactics will involve anything in the enhance toolkit, and notable loot will involve only what enhancement shaman can wield. If you’re looking for notable drops for elemental or restoration, you’ll have to look those up on your spare time. Wowhead is a hell of a resource.
One last note: This guide is being released in a semi-complete state. What I mean is, the content is pretty much all there, just without a bit of the sparkle to really polish it off. All the information is here for you to read and digest at your leisure, but a lot of things such as links to items/bosses/abilities are missing, as well as pictures of things such as tier gear or specific maps. I’ve now updated it with level 90 information, as well as reformatting it for the better (I believe) part 2 format. That’ll be the way things look going forward!
I’m not really going to spend much time on dungeons because, let’s face it, this stuff was easily soloed one or two expansions ago. However, note that with the dawn of AOE looting, old dungeons can become worthwhile to run, especially with our (finally!) good AOE. Just pull a ton of mobs, use a boss to start your AOE off, and go berserk! Once everything’s dead, loot and repeat. Gathering cloth, BOE greens and blues, world drop recipes, and other items has never been easier. Thanks to transmog, a green that used to sell for a few gold could be worth several hundred, so don’t feel like it won’t be worth your while!
Molten Core is by far one of the easiest raids to solo. How easy? Easy enough for me to solo it back in Wrath. Granted, I needed ICC 25 heroic gear to do so, but still, it wasn’t difficult.
Molten Core comprised the entirety of Tier 1 raiding and was one of WoW’s first two raids (ignoring that some dungeons could be tackled by 10- or 15-man groups back in those days), designed for 40 level 60 players to undertake. The actual portal to Molten Core is located all the way in the back of Blackrock Depths, but a simple attunement quest will allow you to bypass this requirement for subsequent trips. It’s also necessary to complete if you wish to enter without being in a raid group. Start by talking to Lothos Riftwaker, an elf NPC just before the cavern to BRD.
After accepting his quest, continue through the door to your right which leads to BRD. If you’re having trouble finding the portal to the dungeon, open your map; Blackrock Mountain got a nice new one with Mists. When inside, take the mole machine just to your right and select “just past the Grim Guzzler.” Then, follow this map:
At the end of the path, just to the left of the portal, you should see a stalagmite jutting out of the wall. This is the Core Fragment you need to complete the quest, so pick it up before stepping through the portal. Might as well run it once if you came down here, huh? After turning in the quest to Lothos, you can just talk to him and select the option to be transported to the Molten Core, avoiding the long commute through BRD on all subsequent trips.
The mechanics of practically every fight involve tanking and spanking, even back when I was soloing this at 80. Initially, only eight bosses will be spawned; killing all these will spawn Majordomo Executus, and defeating him will allow you to make him summon Ragnaros. Due to how the raid is laid out, you can tackle bosses in any order, and even skip whole fights you just don’t care about. In detail:
- Lucifron: Found in Magmadar Cavern. Tank and spank. His curse will increase your ability costs by 100%, but since it’s a curse, you can easily dispel yourself. If you wish to avoid him, be sure you don’t accidentally aggro the Core Hounds. You can skip these trash packs as well by skirting between them, but make sure that if you do aggro a set, you kill them all quickly. Alive hounds can reignite dead ones until they despawn, bringing them back to full health, which will make killing them all a pain in the ass; even two packs at once can take several minutes to finish off! Just AOE them down quickly, and you shouldn’t run into troubles.
- Magmadar: At the end of Magmadar Cavern (of course). Tank and spank. If he fears you, drop Tremor Totem. You’ll probably have the DPS to avoid this entirely.
- Gehennas: Found farther along the main cavern; all boss locations are fairly linear from here on. Tank and spank. His curse will reduce healing effects by 75%, but again, self-dispel.
- Garr: Straight past Gehennas. Tank and spank. Spread Flame Shock to the smaller adds with a Lava Lash, and use Fire Nova to make short work of them and Garr.
- Shazzrah: At the south end of the cave to the east. Tank and spank. His curse doubles the magic damage you take, but his damage is too pitiful to make this a concern.
- Baron Geddon: Patrols the path further to the east, making a loop around Shazzrah’s area. Tank and spank. Living Bomb will launch you in the air if you don’t kill him fast enough, but you’ll just take some fall damage, not enough to be a concern. Ignite Mana can also be ignored, or self-dispelled with glyphed Shamanistic Rage.
- Golemagg the Incinerator: Found at the end of a cave to the northeast of Geddon’s patrol; jump down on top of him from the ledge above. Tank and spank.
- Sulfuron Harbinger: At the far east at the end of another path. Tank and spank. Kill the healers first, as it’ll make the fight go a bit more smoothly. The boss will just do an occasional knockback.
- Majordomo Executus: On top of the hill near Sulfuron Harbinger; go west, north at the first path, and follow the winding path to the east. You don’t fight Executus himself, but the eight adds he has with him. Kill the healers first, then the elites; when they die, Executus will poof away to summon Ragnaros, and leave behind a chest you can loot.
- Ragnaros: Found all the way back in Ragnaros’ Lair, the entrance to which is near Gehennas. Run all the way back there and take the path to the east; you can hop across the lava in a couple of places to reach the center more easily. The fight is still basically a tank and spank, and with only 1 million health, Raggy won’t live long to be a nuisance. He does have a potent knockback, Wrath of Ragnaros, that can be troublesome. To negate the hefty chunk of fall damage, either put yourself between Ragnaros and the big lava pool, or between Ragnaros and the cliff right next to it (if the latter, get as close to Rag as you can). The former will entail a slightly longer swim through the lava, while the latter will make you land on a rock and take some fall damage, but will allow you to get back faster.
One more note: glyphed Shamanistic Rage will help remove magic effects, the worst of which can be cast on you by Core Hounds, which reduces your health substantially for fifteen minutes. It’s annoying, so getting it cleared is a priority.
Soloing is considerably easier since the patch during early Cata (it was either 4.1 or 4.2) that made several bosses lose their fire immunity. Yes, some bosses in MC did have immunity to fire, so clearly there was no such thing as a raiding fire mage back then! Soloing was tricky at the start of Cata since much of our damage was changed to be fire-based, but after that patch, Ragnaros became a quick burn (hahaha).
The reputation faction for Molten Core is the Hydraxian Waterlords, a group of water elementals dedicated to bringing the forces of the Firelord down. The faction is led by Duke Hydraxis, and their base of operations used to be a tiny island off the coast of the mostly unused zone of Azshara. Yes, this is how Classic WoW was designed.
In years past, the Hydraxian Waterlords were a necessary part of raiding Molten Core. Duke Hydraxis would offer a questline that, upon reaching honored with the faction, rewarded players with the ability to obtain Aqual Quintessences from him. These consumable items were used to douse runes on the ground next to seven bosses in MC, which would cause Majordomo Executus to spawn. Defeating him would let raiders access Ragnaros, He Who Speaks in All Caps. With the quintessences being unique, a raid would have to have seven players with the items to progress to the ninth boss. The final quest in the chain offered a choice of a melee or caster ring with a good amount of fire resistance on it, invaluable to raiders at the time. A later patch would grant a new reputation reward at revered, the Eternal Quintessence. This version of the Quintessence was non-consumable, thus negating the need for seven players to run out to out-of-the-way Azshara every week.
Today, post-Cataclysm, all members of the faction have disappeared from the game, but the rep has not. It is one of the most useless reputations in the game today, offering no rewards beyond an achievement for hitting exalted. If you choose to grind rep, here’s what you need to know:
- From neutral to revered, kill all trash mobs in Molten Core as well as bosses. Full clears net about 4500 rep, meaning it will take 4-5 runs to hit 11999/12000 honored, at which point trash stops giving rep.
- From revered to exalted, only MC bosses will award rep. This is the longest stage of the grind, as full boss clears will give 1050 rep, requiring exactly 20 weeks to hit 20999/21000 revered.
- From exalted to 999/1000 exalted, only Golemagg and Ragnaros can give you reputation. You’ll still have to do full clears, and it will take three more weeks to hit max exalted. If you just want to hit exalted, only one.
This is, of course, not including reputation gains through guild perks, human racial, or other effects. All in all, expect to take a bare minimum of six months with proper planning and the guild perk. Good luck, and enjoy your no rewards!
Molten Core is home to a large variety of crafting materials from various sources:
- Sulfuron Ingots drop off of Golemagg; he used to drop one or two, but now he’ll drop only one, if any. These are only used in creating the Sulfuron Hammer (more on that later); due to the fact that anyone can easily solo MC now, the prices of these ingots has plummeted.
- Fiery Cores and Lava Cores drop from fire and lava elementals, respectively, as well as off of Baron Geddon (Fiery), Garr (Lava), and Golemagg (either/or). In addition to being used to indirectly create legendary weapons, they are also used in a variety of high-level Classic crafting recipes, or to grind up Thorium Brotherhood rep with ease by turning them into Lokhtos Darkbargainer in the Grim Guzzler in BRD, netting 2000 rep each. 22 cores in total are needed to get you exalted with the faction (barring reputation boosts), rewarding you with a variety of blacksmithing, leatherworking, tailoring, enchanting, and alchemy recipes.
- Blood of the Mountain is the rarest gem in Classic WoW. Blood of the Mountain is obtained rarely by mining Dark Iron Deposits, which are most common in MC, less common in BRD, and now nonexistent outside of these instances (before the Shattering, deposits could rarely be found in Burning Steppes and Searing Gorge). If you’re not a miner, you can also get these gems rarely off of Molten Destroyers (not Giants), of which you’re guaranteed to have at least four per run. Because of its rarity, BotM can fetch prices in the hundreds of gold, if not over a thousand. Even if you skip all the rest of the trash, put Molten Destroyers on your kill list. Blood of the Mountain is used in a variety of endgame Classic blacksmithing recipes. They can be turned in for 2000 Thorium Brotherhood rep as well, but as there are cheaper and faster ways of doing so (cores!), I would seriously avoid it.
- If you do happen to be a miner, snag the Dark Iron Deposits while you go. The ore is basically only good for turning into bars, but the bars can sell for a healthy amount of gold. This is because Dark Iron can only be smelted at the Dark Forge in BRD, which is rather out of the way. To learn how to smelt Dark Iron, you’ll need 20 Gold Bars, 10 Truesilver Bars, and 2 Star Rubies, as well as 230 mining skill. Head to BRD, teleport just past the Grim Guzzler, and follow the instance until you reach the room of the Seven. Talk to Gloom’rel and step through his dialog. A chalice will spawn next to him, which will give you a quest, The Spectral Chalice, involving offering the bars and rubies you brought with you. Upon doing so, talk to Gloom’rel again and you’ll learn how to smelt Dark Iron. To get to the Forge, follow the map above past the Seven. Just before the bridge to MC, follow the short pathway to the left with the fire elemental, kill it, then smelt away. Eight ores are needed to create one bar. Dark Iron Bars are used in an assortment of high-level Classic blacksmithing, engineering, and jewelcrafting recipes. If you’d like, you can turn in 10 ores to Lokhtos for 300 rep per turnin, but cores remain an easier, faster, and cheaper method.
- Lastly, if you happen to be a skinner, all core hounds in the raid produce at least one Core Leather when skinned, up to six. This leather is used in various Classic leatherworking, tailoring, and blacksmithing recipes, most of which are purchasable through Thorium Brotherhood rep, or as boss drops from MC. In addition, 2 Core Leather can be turned in to Lokhtos for 1400 rep per turnin. Unless there’s a specific recipe you’d like to craft for transmog, I’d advise turning in the leather; it’s practically worthless otherwise.
MC also contains our Tier 1 armor set, the Earthfury. A fiery set with lava shoulders and purple robes, it’s definitely a visually striking set. The locations of each piece are:
- Helm: Garr
- Shoulders: Baron Geddon
- Chest: Golemagg the Incinerator
- Gloves: Gehennas
- Legs: Magmadar
- Bracers: BOE trash drop
- Belt: BOE trash drop
- Boots: Lucifron
For the bracers and belt, check your AH or pull massive amounts of trash and AOE loot them. They’re never expensive to buy if you don’t have luck getting them to drop. In addition to these bosses dropping T1, Ragnaros drops the pants for the second tier, the Ten Storms. More on that in a bit.
The Core contains an assortment of unique weapon models and less-than-unique (and rather bland) armor. For enhance:
- One-handed Maces: Aurastone Hammer from Garr is a simple glowing white mace. If you’re looking for something small but visually noticeable, this would be a good choice.
- Fist Weapons: The Spirit of Eskhandar fist weapon set, off of Magmadar. A set of twin bear paws, though thanks to the new transmog rules involving fist weapons, you can mog both fists with either weapon. Actually wielding both weapons gives the user a 1% chance on a melee crit to summon the Spirit of Eskhandar, a spectral white tiger that fights by your side for two minutes. (Trivia: the set initially contained four pieces, with a cloak dropping off of Lord Kazzak in front of the Dark Portal, and a necklace dropping off of the original Onyxia. When Kazzak was moved to Outland, the cloak could no longer be obtained; the set was lowered to three pieces a bit later. When Onyxia was rereleased as a level 80 raid, the necklace became unobtainable; a subsequent patch lowered the set to just the fist weapons.)
If you have an elemental or resto offspec, the following items might be appealing:
- Off-hands: Fire Runed Grimoire, off of
- Two-handed Axes and Maces: This is only for showing off, as no shaman spec nowadays uses two-handers beyond staffs.
The most noteworthy piece of loot for enhancement shaman is the Eye of Sulfuras, which drops off of Ragnaros himself. It is needed to create the legendary two-handed mace Sulfuras, Hand of Ragnaros. Since shaman can wield this and get the feat of strength, it can be a personal goal of yours to complete.
Creating Sulfuras is a two-stage process. You will need to create a Sulfuron Hammer, and you will need to collect the Eye of Sulfuras. The Eye is the RNG part of the process; Ragnaros has a low chance to drop it, and it could take weeks or months to see one. If you get it, though, creating Sulfuras will become a matter of when, and no longer if.
Forging a Sulfuron Hammer is difficult in terms of gathering the materials. Most of the materials come exclusively from Molten Core itself; for their locations, see the materials section above. The hammer requires:
- 8 Sulfuron Ingots
- 10 Fiery Cores
- 10 Lava Cores
- 10 Blood of the Mountain
- 25 Essences of Fire
- 50 Arcanite Bars
- 20 Dark Iron Bars
Sulfuras isn’t the only legendary with roots in MC, though. Both Baron Geddon and Garr can each drop one of the two Bindings of the Windseeker; collecting one will allow you to start the quest to obtain Thunderfury,
Cursed Bane of Trade Chat Blessed Blade of the Windseeker. Though shaman can’t wield Thunderfury (not yet, anyway; c’mon, Blizz, I want to wield swords!), we can still complete the questline, which culminates in a special boss fight in Silithus! Both legendaries require materials from MC to complete.
Last but not least, every boss in MC has a low chance to drop a BOE or BOP recipe for alchemy (one, BOE), enchanting (two, BOE), leatherworking (one, BOP), tailoring (two, BOE), blacksmithing (one, BOP), and engineering (three, BOP). For the obsessive recipe hunters out there, your books won’t be complete unless you take a trip to the core!
The third major raid opened in Classic, BWL was also a 40-man raid released with patch 1.6, and marked WoW’s official second raid tier. Apart from the first boss, everything is very easy to solo, and practically every boss mechanic can safely be ignored. Similar to MC, it too can be entered without need of a raid group. However, also like MC, you’ll need to be attuned in order to do so. Once again, I’ve got your back!
Start by once again traveling to Blackrock Mountain. This time, you’re looking for a slightly bluish door set up on the wall; if you’re lost, consult your new 5.0.4 Blackrock Mountain map and fly to the portal marked Blackrock Spire.
Go inside, but not through the portal! Instead, follow the hallway to the right, take the first left turn, and go down the hallway until you see the Scarshield Quartermaster. Kill him, loot him, and obtain Blackhand’s Command, which starts the attunement quest.
Now, go back to where you came from and enter Blackrock Spire. You’ll be wanting to take the upper path, which is much more straightforward than the lower one, but if you still get lost easily, here’s another handy map:
Upon defeating General Drakkisath, you can access his brand right behind his spawn, completing the attunement quest. The raid portal is back near the arena; return the direction you came from, turn left at the first fork before the Beast, and go straight until you hit the portal. As before, you’ll need a raid group to go this way. For all future endeavors into BWL, you may use a simpler shortcut on the outside. Starting at the BRS portal, go right down the hallway and all the way straight to the end. Right click on the Orb of Command, and accept its dialog option to be teleported straight to the raid.
Blackwing Lair has a total of eight bosses, and its area is much more compact than Molten Core, making travel time lower. It’s still fairly expansive, though! What to note about each boss:
- Razorgore the Untamed: Unless you glitch out the encounter in a specific way, this boss is unsoloable due to the Mind Control mechanic. Because glitching him as a shaman is very difficult if not impossible (I’ve yet to succeed completely; I almost had it once), it’s just easier to goad a second person into coming to help. One of you handles destroying the eggs (use the orb to control Razorgore, then make him use his Destroy Egg ability whenever you’re close to an egg), the other kills the adds that spawn. If you want to try and glitch the encounter, you’ll need to have engineering, Outland rocket boots, and nitro boosts on your belt. Hunters, warriors, and warlocks with engineering have an easier time with soloing Razorgore; look up “razorgore solo” on Youtube to watch videos of the technique, as it’s a bit too difficult to explain here, especially since it’s unclear if enhance can pull it off.
- Vaelastrasz the Corrupt: A simple fight to solo; all that’s required is you burn through his million-odd health in 45 seconds. This is due to his Burning Adrenaline ability, which he’ll cast on you after 25 seconds as you’re his only target. Burning Adrenaline doubles your damage, makes all spell casts instant, and reduces your maximum health by 5% every second. Obviously, 20 seconds after you get afflicted, you’ll die. Drop Fire Elemental Totem, cast Feral Spirits, and Bloodlust. After you get hit by Burning Adrenaline, drop Stormlash and spam Lightning Bolts whenever you don’t have an ability up. Since you only need about 25k DPS to kill him in 45 seconds, you’ll have more than enough damage to beat the clock if you’re a reasonably-geared 85; at 90, the fight might be trivialized enough to avoid Burning Adrenaline entirely!
- Broodlord Lashlayer: Tank and spank. An example of a boss that the hardest part is getting to him! To make life easier, change out a major glyph for Glyph of Ghost Wolf (I replaced Shamanistic Rage); this will allow you to ignore the slowing effects of the suppression rooms. Just keep running until you get almost to the boss, then turn around and AOE all the adds you aggroed; don’t be afraid to pop wolves or a healing totem if you need it! After that, take down the boss with your back to the wall, as his knockback can get annoying. Run through to the next room, swap glyphs back, and continue.
- Firemaw: Tank and spank. He has a knockback like the Broodlord, but it’s not really much of a problem.
- Ebonroc: Mostly just a tank and spank, but you’ll need to do enough damage to overcome his Shadow of Ebonroc ability. When cast on you, every time Ebonroc hits you, he is healed for 25k. Despite this, it’s still easy enough to whittle him down. If you bring out pets like wolves or your fire elemental, the ability can get cast on them instead, though you shouldn’t rely on them for anything but more damage. If you’re struggling, just kite him until the debuff goes away.
- Flamegor: Tank and spank. The easiest black drake to kill.
- Chromaggus: Be sure to have killed at least some of the trash before and around the drake bosses, as you’ll need the Hourglass Sand they drop. Chromaggus will inflict various Brood Afflictions on you, three of which you can handle. For Bronze, use Hourglass Sand. Black, Cleanse Spirit. Blue, Shamanistic Rage (with glyph). Red and Green you’ll have to live with if you get them. Make sure that you always remove afflictions as they come up, for getting hit by all five will transform you into a Chromatic Drakonid, which I believe will end the encounter. Just manage your debuffs and burn him down. The fight won’t take long, especially if he turns weak to Fire or Nature.
- Nefarian: For the most part, it’s just tank and spank. For the first phase, use AOE on the drakonids if possible, otherwise melee each one in turn. When you’ve killed enough, Nefarian will activate and lumber towards you. Pop damage cooldowns and lust, then throw down the pain. He’ll make you cast corrupted totems (including totems we have no longer, RIP ;_;7) which buff him, but their effects can safely be ignored. At 20%, he’ll resurrect the drakonids as undead; use your typical AOE and burn them down as you finish him off. Loot and you’re done!
With the exception of Razorgore, all bosses are very easy to solo at 85, and will be further trivialized at 90. I wish they’d change Razorgore to make him soloable, or at least toggle the ability to cycle between a classic version of the encounter and a soloable version. Ah well.
Also of note is that, like MC, several bosses in BWL were also fire-immune until a Cata patch, making them much harder to tackle solo until they were changed!
For profession materials, BWL has one notable item: Elementium Ingots. Formerly Elementium Ore, ingots are used to create Enchanted Elementium Bars (formerly Elementium Bars, and briefly Hardened Elementium Bars). Any of the goblins in BWL, Blackwing Technicians, can drop ingots at a fairly low droprate, but their sheer number makes it almost a guarantee you’ll get at least one. The only use for the ingots is to craft bars, and the only use for the bars is for the Thunderfury questline. You’ll need ten ingots total if you’re looking to forge the sword.
How do you learn how to smelt Enchanted Elementium? Simple: learn it from Master Elemental Shaper Krixix! When BWL was released, the process of learning how to smelt elementium was a little convoluted. Assuming you got far enough into BWL to meet Krixix, a priest would have to mind control the goblin. He would then target the miner that needed to learn the technique, and use an ability that would teach him how to do so. A couple months into Wrath, Blizzard changed this requirement, as having to drag a priest down to BWL just to learn a mostly outdated mining spell was a bit silly. Now, all you have to do is kill Krixix and he’ll drop one copy of the Goblin’s Guide to Elementium, which will teach you the technique if you have 300 mining skill.
Tier 2 armor, the Ten Storms, comes almost exclusively from BWL. Remember that the pants drop off of Ragnaros in MC, so don’t get discouraged because you can’t find them in BWL! Drop locations are:
- Helm: Nefarian
- Shoulders: Chromaggus
- Chest: Nefarian
- Gloves: The three drake bosses, Firemaw, Ebonroc, and Flamegor
- Legs: Ragnaros, Molten Core
- Bracers: Razorgore the Untamed
- Belt: Vaelastrasz the Corrupt
- Boots: Broodlord Lashlayer
BWL is famous for having a good variety of weapon models to choose from, and enhance gets a good chunk of those to wield. Noteworthy drops for us:
- Spineshatter, one-handed mace off of Razorgore. Small but brutal, with a soft red glow.
- Claw of the Black Drake, fist weapon off of Firemaw. A brutal black set of claws seemingly ripped from a dragon itself, coming to a fiery orange towards the tip. Can now be mogged to both hands!
- Crul’shorukh, Edge of Chaos, one-handed axe off of Nefarian. Wicked axe with a fiery orange blade and intricate designs. It’s one of my personal transmog favorites.
- Lok’amir il Romathus, main-hand mace off of Nefarian. A red, black, and gold spellcaster’s mace, for a look that’s equal parts simple and ornate.
- Doom’s Edge, trash drop. Similar styling to Crul’shorukh, with a lighter but more jagged blade and similar designs. I currently have it and Crul’shorukh mogged.
Nefarian drops a practical treasure trove of items. In addition to his epic drops, he drops his head, which can be turned in to much celebration in Stormwind or Orgrimmar, a bag of gems, and a couple Classic BOE blues.
Finally, Nef is your best source in the game for various Classic world drop recipes, with a drop rate of anywhere from a couple percent to less than one. Compared to the practically zero drop rate off of any Classic mob, that’s actually quite good. Though it could take you months to get a recipe you desire, downing him once a week doesn’t take long, and could reward you with what you’re looking for.
Ruins of Ahn’Qiraj
Now for a change of scenery, as we leave the fiery Blackrock Mountain behind to travel to the deserts of Silithus. Released in patch 1.9, the Ruins of Ahn’Qiraj is a raid initially designed for 20 level 60 players, but post-Cataclysm was retuned as a 10-player raid. Though locked at the start of the patch, both raids released at that time were unlocked upon the culmination of a two-sided event. One part involved the entire server getting together and collecting a ton of resources for the war effort, while the other involved a single player who, with the support of their guild, worked on completing the Scepter of the Shifting Sands. When the war effort was concluded, the scepter bearer would bang the Scarab Gong, unlocking the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj and starting the finale of the event, the Ten Hour War. Silithid swarmed throughout the zone, and provided they could defeat the monstrous lag, players could kill them for a shot at some epic loot before venturing into the walled citadel. The ultimate reward for the scepter bearer was the Scarab Lord title and the Black Qiraji Resonating Crystal, the only legendary mount in the game, a black Qiraji mount that could be ridden anywhere.
AQ10 was not part of any official raid tier, but was introduced as an alternate path of progression to help raids gear up a bit faster. The drops range in ilvl from better than the worst MC pieces to just about better than the worst BWL pieces, so it overlapped with the two raids rather well. Uniquely, AQ10 is on a three-day lockout, meaning that you can run the raid twice a week for whatever reason you choose. There are a couple compelling reasons to do so, which you’ll find out about in the loot section!
Getting to AQ10 is rather simple. Get to Silithus by any means you choose; at 85, it’s fastest to take the portal to Uldum from Stormwind or Orgrimmar, then fly west. At the southern end of the zone, you’ll find the instance portals for the two Ahn’Qiraj raids; AQ10 is on the left from the entrance, a short distance away. We’ll be covering that other portal in a while.
And don’t worry, there’s no attunement to worry about this time.
AQ10 has six bosses in total, of which none will pose a threat to a level 85. Their health pools are all low enough to be dealt with in a matter of seconds, and most of the mechanics can safely be ignored. Just burn them down and collect your loot. In addition, apart from the first boss, all bosses can be tackled in any order, and even skipped.
- AQ10, being an outdoor raid instance, does allow you to mount up. Take advantage of this, and don’t hoof it on foot!
- Kurinnaxx: Tank and spank. The only mechanic to avoid is Sand Trap. When you notice the sand shifting at your feet, run out of it quickly, else you’ll be silenced for 20 seconds and have your chance to hit reduced by 75%. The fight is still doable with the debuff, but much faster if you get around it.
- General Rajaxx: Tank and spank. If you’re feeling lucky, try pulling him without starting the event. I’ve read reports of his pulling the entire room when you aggro him, as well as reports of not doing so. With our AOE, heals, and pets, it shouldn’t be hard to take care of them all.
- Moam: To the right after Rajaxx. Tank and spank.
- Buru the Gorger: To the left after Rajaxx. Tank and spank. His debuff should be very easy to heal through with Healing Storm, so you can ignore the mechanics of the fight.
- Ayamiss the Hunter: Further on after Buru. A two-stage fight that isn’t difficult. For the first stage, dot her up with a buffed Flame Shock, then cast Lightning Bolts until she hits 70%. From there, tank and spank until she’s dead.
- Ossirian the Unscarred: Tank and spank. The crystal mechanics can be ignored, just pop cooldowns, lust, and burn him down. Position yourself between him and a wall so you don’t get knocked all the way down the stairs.
All in all, AQ10 is the easiest raid in the game to solo. Practically every mechanic can be ignored without serious consequence, and the bosses all die quickly. If you’ve got a reason to run it, AQ10 is a swift clear that won’t take longer than a half hour at most.
Two reputation factions can be worked on in AQ10. The Cenarion Circle, the classic druid organization, is the primary reputation faction for the raid. Every boss grants 300 reputation, and Ossirian grants 600. Trash mobs grant small amounts of rep as well. Rewards include an assortment of crafting recipes. There are more efficient ways to grind Cenarion Circle reputation, but if you choose to do so solely through AQ10, it will take about twenty runs to hit exalted, about two months.
The other reputation faction in AQ10 is the Brood of Nozdormu, members of the Bronze Dragonflight in charge of preventing the horrors of Ahn’Qiraj from being unleashed upon the world. Though they play a bigger role in AQ40, the Brood can be worked on slowly in AQ10. Only bosses grant rep, and it’s a pittance: 50 rep per boss, with 100 for Ossirian. Since you start out as 0/36000 hated with the Brood, it would take 243 runs of AQ10 to max out exalted reputation, taking almost two years to complete. Don’t bother trying to grind rep here; stick with AQ40.
For crafting materials, AQ10 has Small and Large Obsidian Shards. These are obtained from Small and Large Obsidian Chunks, several of which spawn after the death of the big obsidian jackals that wander around the instance. Small chunks will provide small shards and rarely large; large chunks will drop each about half the time. The shards are used in several blacksmithing plans, which can be obtained as boss drops from AQ10 and 40, Lieutenant General Andorov (start the Rajaxx event, keep him alive, and then talk to him after to buy them), and through reputation with the Cenarion Circle.
Bosses have a chance to drop a Scarab Coffer Key; when used on one of the coffers scattered around the instance, you’ll be rewarded with a couple of idols and a Scarab Bag, which contains an assortment of scarabs. These are used in quests in both AQ10 and 40 to complete various item sets. In addition, idols and scarabs can drop off of any trash mob.
There is no specific raid tier that comes from AQ10, but there is still an item set that can be completed: the Gift of the Gathering Storm. This three-piece set includes a main-hand mace, a cloak, and a ring, and can be completed through three quests involving gathering specific items from AQ10:
- Ring of the Gathering Storm: Requires honored reputation with the Cenarion Circle, 1 Qiraji Magisterial Ring (drops most frequently from Ayamiss and Buru), 2 Vermillion Idols, 5 Silver Scarabs, and 5 Bone Scarabs.
- Cloak of the Gathering Storm: Requires revered reputation with the Cenarion Circle, 1 Qiraji Regal Drape (drops most frequently from Kurinaxx and Rajaxx), 2 Obsidian Idols, 5 Clay Scarabs, and 5 Gold Scarabs.
- Hammer of the Gathering Storm: Requires exalted reputation with the Cenarion Circle, 1 Qiraji Spiked Hilt (drops most frequently from Moam and Ossirian), 2 Amber Idols, 5 Bronze Scarabs, and 5 Ivory Scarabs.
As for weapons, two stand out for enhance transmog. The Stinger of Ayamiss from, naturally, Ayamiss is a big purple bug stinger masquerading as a main-hand mace. The Sand Polished Hammer off of Ossirian is clean and elegant, with a unique chain-shaped hilt and a tall but narrow head. The armor, once again, is rather clown-suit, so look into that on your own.
Ossirian drops his head, which can be turned in for a necklace and much less ceremony than Nefarian’s demise.
Lastly, an assortment of Classic enchanting recipes can be obtained through AQ10 or 40 bosses. The formulas are BOP, so there’s no need to bother if you don’t have enchanting on your shaman. The glove enchants are valuable for twinks, and the cloak enchants go really well with heirlooms. Their relative rarity means you can potentially get a good deal of gold by selling scrolls. If you don’t have luck obtaining these enchants in AQ10 or 40, you can grind various Outland dungeon reps to purchase copies of most of them there. Moam also drops the blacksmithing plans for the Black Grasp of the Destroyer, which are BOE. Sell them to recipe completionists, or use them yourself!
Temple of Ahn’Qiraj
The toughest Classic raid that remains in game, the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj was released alongside AQ10 in patch 1.9 as a 40-man raid, a step above BWL. Not fully considered a raiding tier due to its lack of an eight-piece tier set, it’s been dubbed Tier 2.5 by players, being about halfway in difficulty and reward between BWL and Naxxramas.
If you know how to get to AQ10, the directions to AQ40 are just as easy. Go right at the fork instead of left, continue up the stairs, and head through the portal at the top. Just like AQ10, there is no attunement required for access.
AQ40 has a total of nine bosses, three of which are optional. Most are a simple matter of tank and spank, but there are a few that are a bit tricky. Everything in the raid has been soloed, though one boss requires severe DPS to bring down, and another involves “clever use of game mechanics.” Bosses are as follows:
- The Prophet Skeram: Fairly easy to solo. DPS him down, then as he summons images, tab-target to find the real Skeram again (it’s not hard, just look for the one with the most health). Repeat until he dies. Use images to your advantage with Fire Nova AOE.
- The Bug Trio: Optional boss. A good old council fight, consisting of Lord Kri, Princess Vauj, and Vem. Depending on their kill order, you’ll gain access to a different set of loot apart from their shared loot pool. I wouldn’t worry about kill order much, as none of the specific loot is particularly eye-catching. The easiest kill order is Vauj -> Kri -> Vem, but in general I’d recommend killing Vauj first regardless, as her heals make the fight annoying.
- Battleguard Sartura: Tank and spank. The adds do little damage and can be ignored until after you down Sartura.
- Fankriss the Unyielding: Tank and spank.
- Viscidus: Optional boss. Viscidus is a bit tricky, but doable. Bring a pair of daggers, the faster the better. Enchant both weapons with Frostbrand, move Frost Shock to your bars, and be sure to have some haste potions along. When you engage, don’t worry about his health, as you’ll easily drain it while attacking. You’ll need to hit him with 200 frost-based attacks in order to move him into the second phase. Keep auto-attacking, use SS, LL, and Frost Shock off cooldown, and wait. After 100 hits, he’ll turn blue and an emote in chat will tell you he’s slowing down. 50 more hits, he’ll turn a deeper blue and another emote will pop up. Swap back to Windfury on your main hand, and wait. When you feel you’re getting close, pop wolves and Fire Elemental Totem. When the boss gets surrounded by ice, pop your potion and lust, and hit him as fast as you can. You’ll need to hit him 75 times in 15 seconds to take him down, no small feat! Doing so will cause him to shatter. If he’s below 20% health, he’ll die instantly; above, he’ll split into smaller adds that should be burned down quickly. Up to you if you think it’s worth it to try and solo him.
- Princess Huhuran: Tank and spank. She has a sleep effect and a silence, but neither will kill you, just make the fight annoying.
- The Twin Emperors, Vek’lor and Vek’nilash: This is a fight that was, before Cata, completely unsoloable due to their self-healing mechanics. If Vek’lor and Vek’nilash come within a few yards of each other, they’ll heal each other for 30k a second. In late Cata, DPS had reached a point where it was possible to down the Twin Emps if your damage was purely melee or purely magic. As enhance, with about half our DPS coming from each of these sources, downing the emperors is a little bit hard. As such, I’d advise waiting until level 90 to try soloing them. My idea would be to use SS and LL on Vek’nilash, then tab and use UE, FS, and LB on Vek’lor, tab-targetting between them to maximize your damage. Ascendance would allow you to put out a good chunk of spell damage on Vek’lor, making waiting until 90 an ideal choice. Keep your back to the wall and you should manage a win. When I hit 90, I’ll head down there and see if I can’t pull it off.
- Ouro: Tank and spank. Has a knockback, but otherwise is simple. If you’re going to attempt to solo C’Thun, leave Ouro alive, as you’ll need to kite him to C’Thun’s chamber to help you solo.
- C’Thun: Mechanically impossible to solo without a glitch, though it’s nothing unsavory! Rather, it’s pitting two of Blizzard’s anti-cheating systems against each other and coming out the victor. Here’s how it works, and what to expect. Before you begin, head to Ouro’s room, aggro him, and kite him to C’Thun. DPS the eye down until it despawns, then phase 2 will begin. C’Thun will teleport you to his stomach after a while, and with no one upstairs, this would typically mean a wipe. Blizzard implemented this fallback so that players couldn’t start out the fight in the stomach and weaken him early, thus making killing him easier. However, when you get teleported into the stomach, Ouro will port you back out, allowing you to take advantage of another of Blizzard’s anti-cheating systems. After porting out, the game will still think you’re in the stomach, so stacks of Digestive Acid will continue to rise. To reset, run into the center of C’Thun, and he’ll spit you up, resetting your stacks. He’ll port you back down shortly after, Ouro will port you up, and you can continue. The difficulty arises in enduring the grind of about 1 million health with a 99% damage reduction. Assuming 30k DPS normally, you’ll be doing 300 DPS, meaning the kill will take roughly an hour. One strategy to try is to use a macro to /target the Flesh Tentacles, then use an instant attack like Unleashed Elements to try and one-shot them before Ouro pulls you back up. Keep clearing stacks so he ports you back down again, then repeat until both are dead. This will give you enough time upstairs to burn him quickly before he gets his damage reduction back. Like the Twin Emperors, I’ll come back at 90 and see if it’s a viable strategy. Otherwise, you’ll have to slog for an hour or two to burn C’Thun down, or just grab a couple friends and handle it like that.
Every boss in the raid has been soloed at some point, though to say that the raid is “soloable” would only be telling a half-truth. To be honest, soloing C’Thun isn’t really worth the trouble; it might be something you do once to say you’ve done it, then never again! The rest, however, should be a walk in the park at 90, and most of it is simple at 85.
Just like AQ10, AQ40 has two reputations associated with it. And just like AQ10, they’re the exact same ones!
This time around, you won’t be getting as much Cenarion Circle rep as Brood, but you’ll still come home with more than a run of AQ10 could provide. All bosses except the Bug Trio and Viscidus grant 200 Circle rep; the Twin Emperors give 67 rep each, and C’Thun provides 1000 rep. In addition, every boss in the raid except C’Thun drops a Qiraji Lord’s Insignia, with the Twin Emperors dropping two (one for each, be sure you loot both!). Up to ten can be looted per week, and turning these in to Kandrostrasz in a room just beyond The Prophet Skeram will award 500 rep for each, for a total of 5000 per clear! In all, expect about 2000 rep for the Circle every week, and 7000 for every week after you start turning in insignias, meaning you can finish the rep in about two months or so.
The Brood also has massive amounts of reputation available through AQ40, much more than AQ10. A wide variety of trash mobs award 100 rep per kill, and will continue doing so until 2999/3000 neutral. Recently, bosses were changed to award 500 Brood rep per kill, shortening the grind substantially. In addition, C’Thun grants a massive 2500 rep upon death! The best way to handle Brood rep is to save all Qiraji Lord’s Insignias until you hit max neutral, then turn them all in at once to boost up quickly. A couple more runs and you should hit exalted. Total time should be about six weeks.
Just as in AQ10, AQ40 has Small and Large Obsidian Chunks to mine, which spawn after the defeat of the obsidian jackals that wander around the entrance and the tunnel before the Emperors. Only useful for the aforementioned blacksmithing plans.
Similar to AQ10 (quite a lot of similarities!), AQ40 bosses have a chance of dropping a key, except this time they’re Greater Scarab Coffer Keys. They can be used to open the Greater Scarab Coffers around AQ40, which contain idols and a Scarab Bag as well. The idols are different from the AQ10 idols in that they’re used to create the AQ40 sets.
Speaking of, AQ40 has its own armor set for shaman, the Stormcaller’s Garb, popularly known as our T2.5 set. AQ40 was considered a half-tier given that its set was not a full eight pieces like the previous two raid tiers; funny how things have changed since then, now that five-piece tiers are the norm. The set consists of a helm, shoulders, chest, legs, and boots; in addition, a matching set of gloves and a belt can be obtained as boss drops. To collect the full set, you’ll need the following:
- Helm: Requires friendly rep with the Brood of Nozdormu, Vek’lor’s Diadem (drops, naturally, from Vek’lor), 2 Idols of Rebirth, 5 Stone Scarabs, and 5 Crystal Scarabs.
- Shoulders: Requires neutral rep with the Brood of Nozdormu, Qiraji Bindings of Dominance (drops from Huhuran and Viscidus), 2 Idols of Life, 5 Gold Scarabs, and 5 Crystal Scarabs.
- Chest: Requires honored rep with the Brood of Nozdormu, Carapace of the Old God (drops from C’Thun), 2 Idols of the Sage, 5 Silver Scarabs, and 5 Bone Scarabs.
- Gloves, Gauntlets of Kalimdor: Drops from Viscidus.
- Legs: Requires friendly rep with the Brood of Nozdormu, Skin of the Great Sandworm (drops from Ouro), 2 Idols of Strife, 5 Ivory Scarabs, and 5 Bronze Scarabs.
- Belt, Grasp of the Fallen Emperor: Drops from Emperor Vek’nilash.
- Boots: Requires neutral rep with the Brood of Nozdormu, Qiraji Bindings of Dominance (drops from Huhuran and Viscidus), 2 Idols of the Sage, 5 Bronze Scarabs, and 5 Clay Scarabs.
The set is not popular for transmog because of its odd looks, but it’s certainly not the worst AQ40 set.
AQ40 has rather distinctive weapon drops; if you want something that looks organic or out there, it’s a good place to start. For enhance, there are a couple of options. First, there’s the Silithid Claw, a fist weapon off of Battleguard Sartura. Very similar in appearance to the Claw of the Black Drake, except one big orange claw rather than three smaller ones. Try pairing the two to get a unique look. There’s also the Scepter of the False Prophet, a main-hand mace off of C’Thun. A big scarab-shaped head makes it a truly unique item visually.
AQ40 also has a couple of weapon crafting quests, which start with Imperial Qiraji Regalia or Armaments, which are random drops off of nearly every boss. Bringing these and three Elementium Ingots to Arygos, located in a side room just before C’Thun’s chamber, will allow you to select a weapon reward. For enhance, the Regalia will allow you to obtain the Blessed Qiraji War Hammer, which looks identical to the Sand Polished Hammer from AQ10. Thus, I don’t recommend getting it. The Armaments, meanwhile, will let you get the Blessed Qiraji War Axe, a uniquely-modeled one-handed axe with a purple and gold blade and multiple sharp points.
For mount collectors, AQ40 trash drops not one, but four mounts! The Qiraji Battle Tank mounts (more commonly referred to as the bug mounts) are only mountable in the raid itself, and automatically disappear the second you’re attacked, but look rather cool! Each mount is a different color, with blue, green, and yellow being fairly common drops (you should manage to see at least one fairly quickly, if not more). The red mount drops at a much lower rate, and because of this has its own associated feat of strength.
C’Thun drops his eye (which, you’ll remember, is fairly large!), which can be turned in to obtain a ring, necklace, or cape. I chose the cape when I turned it in because I thought it looked cool, and that came in handy when transmog was released! I found it to be a good and fitting match for T2. The Old God also drops the popular Vanquished Tentacle of C’Thun, a trinket with an on-use ability that summons one of C’Thun’s clawed tentacles for 30 seconds. Always a kick to summon in an auction house!
Finally, just as in AQ10, the bosses in AQ40 can drop various Classic enchanting formulas, exclusive to the Ahn’Qiraj raids. Vek’lor and Vek’nilash each drop a formula exclusive to themselves, and always drop them, making those formulas easy to obtain. The others will be a grind, but as I said, twinks and heirlooms make for good profits.
To someone who joined post-Cata, it might seem odd that Classic only had four raids. This is, of course, not true. Disregarding content which could be seen as raid-like (such as those 15-man Stratholme runs, or LBRS/UBRS), Classic had three more raids released along the way, all of which have been updated and rereleased.
- Onyxia’s Lair: The only other raid at WoW’s launch, Onyxia’s Lair was a 40-man raid with a single boss, Onyxia (duh). The raid was only accessible after a long and arduous attunement chain, rewarding players who actually managed to complete it with a fire-resist amulet that was required to enter. Onyxia dropped the T2 helms, as well as an assortment of epics. She was also instrumental in the finale of the warrior/paladin questline to obtain Quel’Serrar, a truly epic blade. In celebration of WoW’s fifth anniversary, Onyxia’s Lair was rereleased as a level 80 10/25-man raid during patch 3.2, with updated loot tables hearkening back to drops from Classic raiding. I’ll cover the updated Onyxia’s Lair in part 3.
- Zul’Gurub: A 20-man raid released in patch 1.7, Zul’Gurub was the first raid Blizzard released in an attempt to ease the gearing curve, offering an alternate path of progression for those who just couldn’t get their drops in MC or BWL. ZG was a large outdoor dungeon with a total of ten bosses, and like AQ20 was also on a 3-day lockout. It had its own rep, the Zandalar Tribe, who called on players to help them defeat Hakkar the Soulflayer, a terrible troll god summoned by the Gurubashi. Along the way, players could obtain a 5-piece set, consisting of three armor pieces, a trinket, and a necklace, the latter of which would be upgraded at each reputation level. In case you’re wondering, the shaman set was known as the Augur’s Regalia. Two rare mounts were also obtainable from the raid, the Swift Zulian Tiger and the Swift Razzashi Raptor. Horde and Alliance players, respectively, coveted these mounts, as each was the only example of an opposite-faction mount they could ride (Alliance don’t have raptors, Horde don’t have nightsabers). ZG was removed with the Cataclysm, then reintroduced as a 5-man heroic in patch 4.1, offering players then a lot of epic gear that was a slight step above the heroic gear previously attainable, as well as two new mounts! I’ll cover the updated ZG in part 4.
- Naxxramas: The final raid in Classic, Naxxramas was released in patch 1.11 as a 40-man raid, comprising the entirety of Tier 3. Very few players completed this raid when it was current, due to its Argent Dawn reputation requirement for entry (acting as its attunement), highly-tuned bosses, strange composition requirements (the Four Horsemen being a particularly gruesome fight, requiring eight tanks!), and the necessity to grind up yet another resist set, this time for frost resistance. It was also very poorly timed for release, as BC would launch just over six months later, rendering the content obsolete to most players. Still, it was one hell of a raid, with a whopping 15 bosses, some of the most visually striking environments and loot, and a nine-piece tier set (same as the eight-piece sets of before, but with the addition of a ring). The shaman T3 set, the Earthshatterer, was a fiery orange set with glowing orbs in the shoulders, glowing eyes, and a lot of spikes and ornate designs! Partly because it fit with the new expansion, and partly because so few players got to see this content while it was current, Blizzard rereleased Naxxramas as one of the first three raids in Wrath as part of Tier 7, retuned for 10/25 level 80 players, and offering up both old and new item models for players to get their hands on. T7 armor sets hearkened back to the design of their T3 counterparts, with both updated visuals and models. Just like the rereleased Onyxia, I’ll be looking at the updated Naxxramas in part 3.
It’s a no-brainer that Classic WoW is the easiest content to solo, given our current 25-, and soon to be 30-level advantage over it. Even so, there are a couple of encounters that require more than just sheer brute force to overcome. Grab a friend to help you out, or see if you can push yourself to overcome these difficulties, and you’ll be rewarded with some easy gold, a bag full of epics, and maybe some other bonuses!
In part 2, we’ll be venturing beyond the Dark Portal to tackle the dungeons and raids of Outland, where even greater treasures await. I’ll likely postpone writing the bulk of that guide until after Mists launches, to make it more relevant to level 90 players! I hope you enjoyed this, and that you’ll check back!