Farming on the ole’ Sunwell Plateau with an Ei, Ei Oh
So, you want to make a little gold? You’d like to get some epic gems at bargain prices? You need sunmotes to have a pattern made or to trade in an item, or you are after some of the most epic items currently available within World of Warcraft, items that just happen to be available to any half organized pug? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ll definitely want to start farmin’ the Sunwell Plateau, McDonald.
You see the spam throughout the day and evening in Trade chat: SWP LFM, or even more likely SWP LF 2 mages. But what are these Sunwell Plateau pick-up groups all about and would you want to join one?
Sunwell farming is about loot and gold. Some of the best items in the game drop from the trash mobs near the entrance to the Sunwell Plateau. While the Sunwell Plateau is currently the most advanced instance within the game, designed for raiders decked out in T6, the trash near the entrance to this instance is farmable by almost any decently equipped and halfway-organized pick-up group. Drops are typically auctioned off and at the end of the raid the proceeds are divided among the participants. Everyone walks away with something: an epic item, some sunmotes or a nice bit of jingle in the pocket. All this for two hour of time devoted to the farming process.
But what kind of loot are we talking about? Well first, there is a lot of it. There are thirty-nine different items that drop from SWP trash mobs. If you want to find a good loot table, with links to descriptions of the items, I recommend the Sunwell Plateau Loot Table which can be found at Wowwiki:
http://www.wowwiki.com/Sunwell_Plateau_loot#Loot - Trash drops are found at the top of the table.
The items that drop are generally considered to be among the top three caliber of their type for the varying classes. While some weapons and armor drop, the bulk of the trash drops are patterns, which make exceptional items. Patterns fall into two categories: Bind on pick-up patterns (BoP), which make bind on equip (BoE) items and Bind on equip patterns that make bind on pick-up items. Patterns for chest pieces are all BoE and make a BoP item. Patterns for Gloves are all BoP, but make BoE items, which can be crafted for or sold to others.
When a pattern makes a BoP item, one must have the appropriate crafting ability to wear the item. For example, if a priest with the tailoring profession makes a Robe of Eternal Life and then drops tailoring to pick up another profession, he or she would no longer be able to equip this item.
In addition to armor, weapons and patterns; epic gems and sunmotes drop from Sunwell trash mobs. Sunmotes are used to craft many high end items. They are also needed to trade in certain types of armor with Yrma, a vendor on the Isle of Que’Danas for more desirable armor. For example, the Gauntlets of the Ancient Moon drop from SWP trash and are designed for elemental shamans. You can trade these gauntlets plus one sunmote to Yrma for the Gauntlets of the Ancient Frostwolf, which are appropriate for a resto shaman.
Different SWP trash pick-up groups (PUGs) have different rules. It is very important to understand those rules right from the start. Most who lead SWP PUGs on a regular basis will spam the loot/bidding rules prior to the start of the raid.
Almost all PUGs will have open bidding within the raid for the BoP items that drop. Plan to spend 2-3k on such items, though I have seen wonderful items go for as little as 500 gold. It all depends on your group’s make-up and who is bidding.
The BoE patterns are where trouble arises. Some groups will go beyond the PUG to sell the BoE recipes, sending a member out to spam in Shattrath or contacting outside parties they know are interested. This can cause a great deal of consternation. Some believe only those farming the trash should be able to bid, which holds down the price. However, allowing outside bidding raises the take for the entire group. These PUG runs usually split all proceeds at the end of the run among the participants.
Usually buying certain items takes you out of the split of the final pool. Understand what the rules are. I was on a SWP PUG recently where the leader repeatedly spammed the loot rules, which included the fact that buying a sunmote took you out of the final pool. A pattern had dropped on that run that went for 6k. Outsiders were welcomed to bid. At the end of the run one of the participants in the PUG bid on and won a sunmote. Then he was disgruntled and accused the PUG’s leader of cheating when he was not included in the final split, despite the fact that buying an item, including sunmotes, took you out of the final pool was spammed often, right from the beginning and before bidding began on the sunmotes. Gems and other low value items generally do not remove one from a cut in the final pool, but the rules vary from group to group. It is your responsibility to know the rules.
These Sunwell PUGs are run on a Master Looter system. I find it a bit disconcerting that everyone does not see what drops. Only those grouped with the Master Looter apparently get to see what items have dropped. The World of Warcraft forums are rife with accusations of cheating by Sunwell PUG leaders. Many of the accusations are groundless, caused by a misunderstanding of loot rules. Some are justified. I have certain PUG leaders I've come to know and trust and I prefer grouping with these folks or with guilds that have a good reputation to protect. You could be giving 2 hours of your time to enrich a dishonest PUG leader.
Sunwell PUGs last two hours. They begin when the Sunblade Protector is killed at the entrance and end just before his respawn. Be sure you can stay the entire two hours or be prepared to say goodbye to your share of the split. Generally proceeds are split among those present at the end of the run, with those who have purchased items of significance left out of the final cut.
I farm the SWP whenever I get a chance and find it a lucrative farming method. I occasionally walk away with some phat loot at a fair or I end the session with some jingle in my pocket. Two hours of SWP farming typically garners far more gold than two hours of doing dailies. Most Sunwell PUGs utilize Ventrillo and many require participants use it. While some SWP group Ventrillo can be annoyingly juvenile, it is generally mildly amusing and distracting giving it another leg up over solo farming in my book. On the other hand, a PUG SWP trash run can take over an hour to get set up, making a farming run a 3+hour proposition.
The fight itself is fairly simple. The first room where you enter is safe. Your group will go to the doorway to the next room and everyone will pile up on the tank. A hunter will misdirect the Sunblade Protector that roams the next room to the tank. This mob hits hard so healers will need to be on the ball to keep the tank up. He also casts chain lightning that hits 8 targets for 4k each. It is important to have healers with Circle of Healing and Chain Heal to keep the group up through this fight.
Once the Protector is down, you move to the Sunblade group closest to the doorway. This consists of a Sunblade Arch Mage, Cabalitst, Dusk Priest, Dawn Priest and Slayer. These are all sheepable, which is why the most important factor for a successful Sunwell farm group is to have enough competent mages. There is a Sunwell Dragonhawk which is sheepable or can be hibernated by a druid. This leaves a Sunblade Vindicator (MS Warrior) and a Scout who must be tanked and off-tanked. The Vindicator cleaves for 10k so he needs to die first. He can be disarmed.
When this group is down, you move to the Sunblade group farthest from the doorway. They are the same assortment of Sunblade types. You kill them all, except one. You leave one mage in the room to keep this mob sheeped while the rest of the raid runs out of the instance. Once the raid is out of the instance, the mage goes invisible and informs the rest of the raid when this second group of mobs has reset. The raid reenters the instance and it is rinse and repeat. You kill this second Sunblade group over and over and over, until it is approximately 15 minutes before the Sunwell Protector respawns. At this time, all the mobs in the group are killed.
Many groups will then kill the Sunwell Protector and the patrol that is in the next room for that last chance for a loot drop. The group then typically retires to the first room for auctioning off sunmotes, epic gems and Marks of the Illidari. Bind on pick-up items have been auctioned off during the course of the raid. Bind on equip patterns are usually auctioned off at this time, though the raid leader may have been working throughout the raid to auction off these items, having someone in Shattrath who works the trade channel to get the highest price for the item. Most groups will give preference to member of the raid group for these items, allowing raid members to buy items for a minimum price, but going outside the raid if sufficient funds are not in line with the value of the item. The pattern for the Sunwell Robes usually goes for 13-15k+ on my server and the high value of this item may alter the bidding rules.
After all items are sold, those who are still eligible members of the raid split the gold that has accrued. I’ve had SWPs where few items of value dropped and I’ve walked away with 150 gold for my two hours. Generally, however, I find I take home anywhere from 500 to 1000 gold, depending on what drops occurred and what prices they garnered.
Sunwell Plateau farming is not for everyone. If you don’t have gold, you’ll have the frustration of seeing the item of your dreams go to someone who has more gold to bid. However, it is a great way to get the gold you’ll need to bid the next time that item drops for your group. Don’t go in expecting drops will be allocated by random roll.
Know the loot rules, know how bidding works and if buying certain items takes you out of the final split. If possible, go with known, recommended PUG leaders. Once you understand what you’re getting into, you may well want to take advantage of one of the most lucrative ways to get cash and ultra epic items in World of Warcraft.