Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Secrets of Ulduar!

Altar of Storms was actually one of the first realms to come up last night. I was greeted by a que of over 7000. We have never had ques on Altar of Storms, so that was quite a shock.

I had intended on logging Honorshammer out in Ironforge, but he was in Dalaran. A quick portal solved that problem. When you portal from Dalaran to Ironforge, you land in the Mystics Ward, which conveniently enough is where you’ll find the Paladin trainer.

It felt like every Paladin I knew on Altar of Storms was in this room. I’m sure the Cathedral of Light was similarly busy.

The first order of business was to purchase my Dual Spec. I plopped down my 1000g and got an achievement, cool.
I really like the way Dual Specs ended up. The interface makes sense and after only a minute or two I was comfortable in my two specs.

The auction house showed most Glyphs were still about the same price as pre-patch, but I had a nearly full set of Glyphs already purchased. The new Glyphs however, like Glyph of Divine Plea were no where to be seem. A couple of other Paladins were spamming trade chat to find someone with the Glyph, but to no avail.

Also missing in action appeared to be the Blade Ward enchant. I couldn’t find anyone capable of doing it.

My UI and mods made the transition mostly intact. There’s a small issue with Sprartan UI that you can see from the screenshots. Not gamebreaking, by any means, just a small annoyance.

Soon enough we had enough of our raid team online to begin forming up for Ulduar.

This was the first time in my WoW experience that I would be facing a new raid zone on the very first night it opened.

We flew up to Ulduar and zoned in.
The first thing I noticed was the Kirin Tor bubble around the Base Camp. What is it with these guys and bubbles? Paladin envy gotta be it.

I decided to see if the bubble was permeable, and sure enough it was. I took only a couple of steps outside the bubble then retreated back inside. A moment later, our very observant Boomkin noticed a large elite Golem striding towards us. He did what any Boomkin would have done in that situation.


And our first death in Ulduar was out of the way. I ran in to tank him, but he nailed me pretty good. So I got my first death of the night out of the way early as well.

Our Raid Leader went over the vehicles and outlined our plan of attack. We were going to take out the 4 towers as we maneuvered down the passageway. I was assigned to drive a Siege Engine and took out the large Golems and Colossi, as well as putting a hurting on the towers and Storm Beacons.

No one was really sure where to go, so we had to double back a couple of times. My gunner, a Shadow Priest, was doing a fantastic job. We lost a couple of vehicles on the trash, but drivers were able to run back into the instance and get a fresh vehicle to rejoin us.

After taking out the towers, we formed up near the repair pads and repaired our vehicles. We faced a final pull of 3 Golems and 2 Colossi. The Colossi came one by one, which made them easier to deal with.

Then the Boss, Flame Leviathan, burst through the wall. The Boomkin, driving the other Siege Engine, was targeted first, so I moved in on Flame Leviathan’s ‘six’ and got ready to interrupt his Flame Jet ability.

As a Paladin, I never get assigned to Interrupt duty and I must say, based on last night, I’ve got plenty of room to improve.

After a couple of transitions, Flame Leviathan announced he was targeting one of the Demolishers. According to everything I had read, he was only supposed to target the Siege Engines unless you lost one. Both of our Siege Engines were up. He actually ended up targeting Demolishers more often than Siege Engines. The Demos had no speed boost so kiting him was going to be difficult. At first we weren’t sure if the Demos had to wait until the Siege Engines engaged. I got on the horn to one of my friends who was leading another Guild (SalVation) through their run. They were experiencing the same odd behavior. The Boss be bugged.

After our wipe, we found the teleporters. That was a really nice touch. I also liked the repair and reagent vendor right inside the instance. Of course, that makes one of the last reasons to have Engineering useless.


We had to modify our strategy. The limited reading we had done wouldn’t help us now. What we eventually came up with involved keeping the Demos at max range and on opposite sides of the room. By the time he reached one, he would be about ready to target something else, usually the other Demo.

Of course we didn’t figure that out immediately, so it took us a couple of attempts, but by the 4th or 5th pull we got him. Our first Boss defeated in Ulduar.

I’m not a huge fan of Malygos Phase 3, but this was FUN. I’m sure the trash clear will get old after a while, but man it was exciting.

We distributed loot. A trinket that went to one of our Priests and a Two Handed Mace that went to our Tank Death Knight. We do a quasi roll/loot council. Basically we just discuss who should get the loot and if a couple of people need it for main spec upgrades they just roll off. No one was really impressed with the Trinket that dropped, and the Death Knight was the only one in our raid group that used two handers in his main spec. That made it pretty easy to distribute.

We walked down the hall, expecting to find a half hour or so trash pull. What we found instead was a ‘t’ type intersection. We could go straight and there was a Boss, XT-0002. We could go left and there was a Boss, Razorscale. We could go right and there were two Molten Colossi and a boss, Ignis.

We decided to try Ignis first. We split the Colossi. I took one, and my Death Knight friend took the other. Apparently these guys silence because both of us were dead in short order. They were meleeing me for around 12k to 14k. Ouch. Our healers tried to our range the silence, but to no avail. There’s got to be a trick to these guys, but we didn’t figure it out.

So we turned around and tried Razorscale. The Death Knight and myself were picking up Iron Dwarves that spawn while some NPC drawves built a cannon to shoot Razorscale out of air. Then he was down, we could dps him before he went back up. The dwarves kept coming, and we did our best to keep them off our healers.

Our best attempt at Razorscale was about 44% or so.

I’m pleased to report that I didn’t feel like I had any threat problems in my 13/52/6 build, but I also didn’t remember to pop Aura Mastery nearly as much as I could have. It’s a new skill so I’ll get used to thinking about it. I felt much more free to pop Lay On Hands whenever I was low, and I know it saved my butt more than once. Just based on one raid, but I’m pretty satisfied with my build. I still feel some pressure because it seems like most of the Paladin Tanks I know are going 0/53/18.

Last night went about as well as I possibly could have imagined. We had a blast with Ulduar, got a boss down, got some loot and started to prepare for new challenges. I would have been a little concerned and frankly disappointed if we had gotten 3 or 4 bosses down on our first night.

I can’t wait to get back in there Thursday night.
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