Cataclysm: Heroic Dungeons 101

It's a TRAP!

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has been out for a while now. Some of us are already raiding, some of us are running heroics, but I’m sure we are all having a great time.

I joined Executus during Wrath of the Lich King. Kershocker, my dwarf paladin, hit 80, completed 5-6 heroics and got his first epic on the same day. As soon as I entered a dungeon, I only had to wait 4 seconds for the tank to establish some aggro, and then I could start facerolling spamming Divine Storm and Consecration. Sure, I was quite happy back then, but now that I have tried the new dungeons and have tested how a true heroic should be like, I can confirm that Wrath of the Lich King was quite a weak expansion, PvE-wise.

Here at LoreHound we have a few guides about different aspects of the game, so why shouldn’t we post some about the new 5-Man Heroics? Some of you may have already reached the iLvL required to queue for Random Heroics, but, where to start? Well, let us help you! We’re going to write the guides in order of difficulty, starting by the easiest one. Actually, let’s start by the basics of heroics, things you should know unless you feel like wiping a lot.

In this expansion, I’ve leveled a DPS and a healer to 85. I haven’t leveled my tank yet, but I do know the new mechanics required to be a successful tank.

Damage Dealer [DPS] :

In Heroics, DPS’s job is basically the same as in Wrath. Huh, let me rephrase that. In Cataclysm, DPS’ sjob is basically how it was supposed to be in Wrath:

  • Don’t stand in Fire/Poison/Ice/Etc: Healers no longer have an infinite mana pool, help them out by avoiding any type of incoming damage. Really, if you are the guy/gal who likes to attack the boss while standing in that big green circle, then you won’t receive many heals. On the other hand, if you’re the one who knows how to DPS correctly, but you find yourself in a position where you can’t really move without standing in bad stuff, I’ll use Leap of Faith, heal you and make you a sandwich.
  • Don’t break the Crowd Control: We’ll talk about CC later (I think it deserves an entire article), but just an FYI, you should never, under any circumstances, attack a sheep. Same rule applies to turtles, monkeys, frogs shackled undead and pretty much anything that is not attacking someone.


Everyone says healing is hard. I say healing is EXTREMELY HARD challenging. I’m not going to lie, it can be tricky at first to get used to the new healing mechanics, but once you do, it’s a pretty amazing role. Whenever my guild downs a new heroic boss, everyone in vent celebrates. I don’t, I’m usually quiet, trying to get some breath back and /whisper-ing to myself  “Carlos, you’re awesome”.

  • Mana Conservation: This is probably the biggest change when it comes to a PvE mechanic. As you may have heard, healers no longer have infinite mana pools. Now, you should never see a healer spamming a fast heal such as Flash Heal [Priest] or Healing Surge [Shaman]. Instead of that, now you will (or should) see healers casting Heal or Healing Wave. How do I get mana back? How do I keep up 5 targets that are been constantly hit by an AoE? To answer your first question, learn your class! Check your talent tree, most healers have an ability to get some mana back, Rapture comes to mind. Let’s tackle the second question now…
  • 50-60% is the new 100%: When I’m asked to heal a heroic, I pretty much know exactly what I’m going to do. During trash pulls it is easy: Keep the group alive. I don’t care if they all end up with 1% hp, they can and should eat/drink between pulls if they consider it necessary. Once we face a boss, I try to keep the tank between 80-100% hp, DPS between 50-60% and myself at 70-90%. Well, if I have some extra mana or a free cast, I’ll probably heal some of the DPS, but remember that the tank is your main priority. If he/she dies, you’re next and then it’s a wipe. If a DPS dies, sure, it does get harder, but it’s still possible to defeat the boss.


Tanking is probably the role that has changed the least between Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm. Still, tanking can be a very frustrating job if you’re under-geared and/or your group is not collaborating with you. Well, that’s what I’ve heard from a certain protection warrior who keeps complaining about PuGs!

  • Click enemy’s portrait, click Raid Target Icon, choose an icon and win: I don’t know about you, but I’ve always considered the tank as the leader of the group, no matter what the LFD tool says. As the leader, it’s your job to mark. What do you want to kill first? What do you want to CC? Moon=Sheep? Square=Ice Trap? You are the one who is supposed to make all those decisions, because you’ll be pulling the mobs. You should also have some basic knowledge of the specific dungeon you’re running. If one of those monsters heals, you probably want to CC it first. If you see that a monster is a caster, don’t ask the druid to root it!

These are some advices that I can offer you. It is not comprehensive, but that’s why we’re still on the 101 level. What would you suggest to someone who is running a Heroic for the first time?


  1. Haha, thanks for referencing me!

    Really, if your tank is your main spec / what you do all the time, there’s little reason to have F1-F8 keybound (for PC users) to select party members / self.

    Keybind them to raid icons because it makes pulls go quicker by you marking faster, and easily able to remark mid-pull.

    And, above all:


    If you don’t know it on heroic, ask the group. Don’t wipe them because you don’t know it. People are nice.

    Unless it’s me >:)
    Just kidding =D

  2. hey got a good suggestion for yall. why dont yall make some vids on the new 5 man instances, either heroic or non. seems that i can seem to find a good guide on the higher end 5mans, such as Vortex Pinnicle.

  3. @Vayder

    I’m currently in the process of doing it right now. If that’s something everyone wants, I’ll put it higher on my To-Do list.

  4. your a tank as well so seeing it from a tanks point would be best, since my main is a tank. thanks Mordil

  5. i agree WE NEED VIDS ON HEROICS. im tired of watching outdated cata beta heroic vids… back when the bosses had 2.5 – 4 million hp…

  6. Okay, I agree with the majority of your post however I cannot say that it is the tanks responsibility to mark every mob and direct every other member where to attack. Yes tanks set the pace of the run, but that is about it, ready checks. There is a reason Blizzard implemented the ‘leader’ option. They wanted to relieve the tanks from having the majority of the responsibility for every corner of a dungeon. It is hard enough to get people to tank dungeons let alone heroics in Cata. If learning every classes’ CC vs every mob for every dungeon is a requirement for tanks in this expansion, why the hell would anyone want to invest half their life to learn to tank each mob of each run? It is much easier to play a dps class, wait 10 seconds after a pull and nuke.
    This expansion has turned me away from tanking, not because of Blizzard, but because of the communities’ expectations for us tanks. The person who clicks dungeon leader MUST be prepared to mark targets, no ifs ands or buts. That was the intension and that is my opinion.

  7. @Matt

    On the requirements for tanks: I’m sorry. You must have not tanked in Burning Crusade. Marking, knowing the adds and what they do, what CC you have, and every corner of the dungeon was a requirement in addition to doing your role.

    I find that the lust of being the tank. You are the go-to guy for knowing what to do.

    I agree somewhat that it’s a turn off to some – but I find that that is because many have either been desensitized from Wrath, or are simply Wrath Babies.

    I also agree, that as the party leader (Dungeon Guide) you selected it and should only do so if willing to mark, explain fights, etc. Though, I don’t agree that they should do it. I still stand that the Tank is the leader, no matter what.

  8. Thanks for the 101 Lesson, good to read up on . .

    I am a WOTLK teen, well cata is out now guys *shrugs* . . .I love my tanking, but since cata has come out, I have been kinda shy towards moving from norms up to Heroics, have done a few with a healer mate of mine (completed), but joined a new guild and have had some probs with stam/gear and yeah other prob associated situations. (ie Karsh Steelbender on his time of month)

    I am a Dk tank, and really would like to see the fruits of your endeavours Mordil, and also if you can email me with some tips for maybe taking a stronger step towards Heroic tanking. I dont go and pull everything, I am aware of not breaking CC’s and also communicate with my group at all times. But I think I am missing something when I step into the dungeon.
    I am on Caetestrasz server, Noobtard. Happy for you to inspect and maybe get back to me.

    Or anyone for that matter,
    either way . .
    Tanks hit hard and play hard . .FTW

  9. More than a year after this guide and still very handy! Thanks for the heroics 101 any other feedback you want to share before MoP?


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