You and fifty thousand people just like you on your server are going to be aiming for the Merrymaker achievement.
Just like them, you have to complete the achievement “‘Tis the Season.”
Just like them, this means you need to get your hands on a hat.
But, of course, you’re a mage. That means you wear red. Capisce? Mages don’t wear green. EVER.
So. You need to get the Red Winter Hat, just like everyone else.
However, unlike everyone else, as long as you are level 80, you can go get it by yourself.
As usual, the special winter items only drop from certain humanoid bosses in certain instances. As usual, all the old school bosses no longer drop them to prevent said bosses from being killed solo. As usual, they can be killed solo anyway.
Here, then, is your guide to getting the Red Winter Hat, all by yourself.
First, it is highly recommended to spec into the frost tree with at least 7 points in the arcane tree. I’m going to go ahead and say you probably have to do it this way. Something like this would do you well, put the final four points basically wherever.
Second, grab some bandages, the Heavy Frostweave variety. You don’t need many (probably) I ended up using four of them all told. Then again, I did use a Health Potion once.
You probably won’t have mana troubles, if you use your mana gem. I used my mana gem around once per trash pull, and twice on the boss. Feel free to bring a few health potions, though you probably don’t need them.
USE MAGE ARMOR. The mobs you are fighting are of a lower level, thus the difference will result in many spells being outright resisted. This is why Magic Absorption is so awesome – whatever resistance you don’t get from level difference, you have a very large amount from talents. And lots of free mana.
Oh yeah, and use Dampen Magic too.
But! You will still be hit by spells, just not very many of them. However, as you are doing this solo, the spells used against you can be outright terrifying.
The bad guys are using mana drains, they can stun you, silence you, freeze you, and polymorph you. Cutting the duration of those effects by half will save your life many times.
Oh. Where are you going?
The Nexus, The Nexus. Not the instance hub, the actual Nexus.
Your target? Grand Magus Telestra.
Remember to make sure your instances are set to Normal. You don’t want to do it on Heroic, that gets you extremely dead. Yes, the hat drops on normal.
The instance portal your aiming for is the one at the very bottom. Just follow the ramp down, you’ll see it.
Upon zoning in, you want to head to the left. There will be a dragonkin patrolling in the hallway there. If it is a melee (male analogue) mob, exit the instance and reset it. You want the patroller to be the caster (female analogue) mob. You can’t solo the melee one, you can easily solo the caster one.
Reset as many times as necessary to get the caster mob.
Then, fight it. It will stay at range and chain cast frostbolts. DON’T COUNTERSPELL. This will only result in pain. Keep Ice Barrier and Frost Ward up to absorb the hits you do take. Use any cooldowns you feel like using.
These dragonkin are immune to snares and roots, that’s why we need to fight the caster.
Head down this hallway. At the very end, there will be a sort of tunnel hallway thing leading down and curving to the right. There is a patrol of three here, a humanoid mage type thing and two dog like things.
The two dogs (called Mage Slayers) are able to see Invisibility and are not sheepable (what with being demons and all). The humanoid (called a Mage Hunter Initiate) can be polymorphed.
I recommend starting the fight with your elemental’s AoE root. Time it so that polymorph lands about the same time as the nova does. At this point, it doesn’t really matter who the hounds aggro on. You will need to keep both of them snared as much as possible. Use Icy Veins, any trinkets, almost everything you have.
Note: The Mage Hunter Initiate is able to cast Renew. Watch for this, and spellsteal it.
I highly recommend not using Mirror Image. MI has a unique mechanic in that you cannot be attacked by any NPC until all your images are dead. This means that anything you are kiting will simply go crush your mirrors, and then resume chasing you once all three are dead.
And they die very, very quickly.
Pick one hound and burn it down as fast as you can while keeping the second one snared and rooted as much as possible. Refresh Polymorph on the humanoid as often as necessary.
If need be, let your elemental tank one of the dogs while you kill the other. Your elemental will die fairly quickly, however, so try to use that as a last resort.
Once one dog is dead, kill the other, then go back to the humanoid.
You do need to kite the third guy. It does use spells (remember the mana drain I was talking about before?), though it is, at heart, a melee mob. Beware, it can hit you for upwards of two thousand damage.
At the end of the tunnel, there will be a room filled with frozen soldiers of the opposing faction. If you are horde, there will be a bunch of alliance types in ice cubes. If you are alliance, a whole bunch of horde guys frozen solid. These guys aggro if you get too close to them. Fortunately, you can Invis past all of them.
Before you do, look across to the other side of the room.
On the other side of the room, there is a another hallway passage thingy. There is another patrol there, identical to the one you just fought. There are two hounds, and one humanoid. Wait for them to start patrolling back up into the hallway before running across the room.
You do not want to walk into a stupid trap once you hit the other side.
Deal with them the same as the first group.
At the top of the hallway, there will be a group of three mobs. All of them are humanoid, so you can sheep any of them.
There are three types of humanoid mobs present between you and the Grand Magus. The Mage Hunter Initiates you just fought, and two new ones.
One is called a Steward. These are melee mobs, and are able to silence you. A strong candidate for polymorphing, but can also be easily kited, provided you never get within ten yards of them. Their silence ability is an AoE, though with Mage Armor up it will only last 2 seconds.
The third type is called a Mage Hunter Ascendant. These are almost pure casters. They can melee, though they will usually stick to casting spells. They also drop Freezing and Immolation traps. As a higher level, you should see them without difficulty. Typically these can be ignored while you kill whichever mob you didn’t polymorph.
The next pull you’re going for is the one right before Grand Magus Telestra. Don’t worry about the other group of three at the end of the hall, you won’t aggro them.
The group of four is made up of some combination of the three mobs you’ve already fought. There seems to be one of each, and two of the Mage Hunter Initiates. At least, that’s what I encountered.
Deal with them as best you can. Keep one polymorphed, kite and burn down the rest. Use all cooldowns you have.
It doesn’t matter too much if you die at any point here, so long as you kill at least one of them. The ones you kill do not respawn. If you only kill one of them, that’s fine, now you only have three of them to deal with when you get back.
And now, for the Grand Magus herself.
Grand Magus Telestra is a much easier fight than the trash pull you had to deal with right before her.
For the first part of the fight, I recommend not using any cooldowns besides trinkets and maybe Icy Veins. Save them for later in the fight.
Keep Ice Barrier and Fire Ward up as much as possible during this fight. Mana gem as needed.
She does not melee you, as long as you stay out of melee range; she is perfectly content to cast spells. She will cast Firebomb, a sort of AoE that you shouldn’t take much damage from. It is ground targeted, so if the damage becomes worrisome, you can just run around and avoid taking any damage.
She also casts an Ice Nova thing, which deals a bunch of frost damage and stuns you for a second. You probably won’t get hit by this much, and even if you do, most of the damage will be resisted.
And there is also this Gravity Well thing she uses. This basically hurls you around the room dealing a pathetically tiny amount of shadow damage. You can Ice Block through this to avoid taking any damage at all, or just spam instant spells while you’re being thrown around.
At 50%, she splits into three separate mobs, one for each of the mage talent trees. Use ALL cooldowns during this stage.
The purple Telestra represents an arcane mage. It casts an AoE stun that you will probably easily resist (otherwise it’s a one second stun) and can also polymorph you. The polymorph, too, will only last one second, assuming you ever get hit by it.
The most worrisome thing the purple Telestra does is melee. Of the three this is the only one that will actively attempt to melee you. The other two will only cast spells, provided you stay out of melee range.
Polymorph this add, and keep it polymorphed the entire fight.
The red Telestra represents a fire mage. Basically, it just casts Scorch. Stay out of melee range and you won’t have any troubles. Burn this one down first.
The blue Telestra represents a frost mage. She casts a room-wide Blizzard (which, again, you will take very little damage from) and also uses frostbolt and ice lance. Have your water elemental tank this one while you kill the fire mage.
Remember, your elemental is immune to frost damage, and as such will take exactly zero damage from tanking the blue Telestra.
Once the fire mage is killed, burn down the frost mage.
At this point, keep the arcane mage polymorphed while you allow your cooldowns to reset, and regenerate health and mana. This is the perfect time to Evocate, Bandaid, whatever. Once you’re back to full health and mana, engage the arcane mage and kill it. Remember, it likes to melee, so you’ll probably need to kite it around a little.
Once it dies, the original Telestra reappears. Use everything this time. Remember, Fire Bomb is an AoE, so stay as far away from your elemental/images as possible to avoid the splash damage.
Loot your hat, and congratulations!