Impressions of Ulduar-10

So, first of all I moved my shaman over to another guild that was a bit more active. The casual guild run by our friend had been quite inactive recently, due to boredom and real life issues. As I was logging in most nights with nothing really interesting to do except dailies and pugging heroics, it was getting boring for me as well. This new guild was founded by players from our casual guild who were more interested in raiding, but still on a more casual basis. So it was worth a try.

Note to other guild leaders: When “interviewing” a candidate, its best not to ask questions like “Are you comfortable with complicated fights?” because no one in their right mind would say “No, I can only spam heal on my focus target using my healing macro”. Even if it’s the truth for most people apparently…

So I actually joined them in Ulduar-10 on Sunday night and participated in guild first kills of XT-002 and Kologarn. Wednesday night saw us back in there again with a fresh instance, so here are my impressions of the fights.

Flame Leviathan

This encounter is quite entertaining. I personally don’t see why people are annoyed with it, it’s a refreshing change from the usual gather-everything-up-and-aoe trash clearing. I was assigned a motorbike since I wasn’t able to connect to ventrilo (the 3.04 client throws a wonderful Fatal Error and then closes itself when installing, without any explanation about said error… good job, whoever coded that…).

I don’t think its actually possible to fail on the trash, and we just zoomed around with me honking my horn at everything. Eventually we reached the repair portal and we got ready for the last pull. Even if you die along the way, you can just zone in and hop in a vehicle and drive back.

Once the last pull is down, Flame Leviathan busts through the door and starts attacking. Ok, granted that we did it without any towers up, but again it seems almost impossible to NOT down him. We did not launch any passengers onto him to stun him, and just “kited” him around with siege engines and demolishers. “Kited” because most of the time he caught up and hit them a few times anyway. I just honked him and spread tar in front whenever the cooldown was available, and other siege engines/demolishers interrupted his flame jet ability whenever he used it.

He went down quickly and we got an achievement for killing him without causing shutdown. Yay?

Razorscale

Next stop was Razorscale. I was a bit worried here as the description of the fight seemed to involve a lot of movement, with avoiding fireballs and fire on the ground.

We spread out around the harpoons and started the encounter. It was quite a chaotic fight, with adds spawning all over, but our tanks did a fairly good job picking them up.

However, I can see why people are saying that 10-man Ulduar is much easier than 25-man. In the 10-man version, the fireballs and blue fire on the ground, while not insignificant, are not damaging enough to make immediate healing critical. Even with the movement required, it wasn’t difficult to toss a riptide or a lesser healing wave here and there. Furthermore, non-tanks can actually survive a couple of hits from the adds that randomly spawn, giving the tanks some leeway in picking them up. The room layout is also the same in terms of size, whereas the raid is much smaller with 10 people instead of 25, leaving much more space for people to spread out and lessening the raid damage.

We killed adds until Razorscale was brought down, popped heroism and burned him to about 70%. I helped dps as well with puny lightning bolts and lava bursts since there wasn’t anything to heal. I was actually standing right in front of him dpsing, but after a while I realised there was no one standing with me and it might not be a good idea so I moved to his side, which turned out to be fortunate as he unleashes a big breath before flying up again.

Repeat killing adds, and after pulling him down and dpsing him to 50% he stays grounded for good. The tanks kited him around the room to avoid the blue fire and swapped to let the slowing debuff run out. I just ran along behind plopping riptides and lesser healing waves and refreshed earth shield when tanks switched, and Razorscale dropped soon thereafter.

XT-002

Everyone loves this whiny boss. We had quite a few wipes on him on Sunday but 1-shot him easily this time. Again, 10-man seems much easier than 25-man as there is much more room to spread out. Not only that, gravity bomb essentially does nothing in 10-man unless it happens to pull people who also have light bomb together, which is trivially easy to avoid. Light bomb just means tossing the announced target a riptide or a couple of lesser healing waves. Only tympanic tantrum, where he does a aoe and everyone needs heals, poses a slight challenge, but we collapsed together and plopped some aoe heals (chain heal + riptide) and went back to dpsing. I popped heroism at the first heart phase and helped dps to try to bring his health down quickly past 50%. The adds in 10-man aren’t much of an issue again and were quickly picked up by an off-tank. The bombbots were killed by ranged dps and the scrapbots aoe’d before they could reach XT-002 so that he doesn’t heal, while pummelers are simply tanked until the XT-002 is deconstructed. Got another achievement for not letting him consume any scrapbots as well.

Kologarn

The trash to him consists of huge bouncing giants, which were interesting until we figured out to spread the healers out so not everyone got stunned at the same time.

Kologarn himself took us a few attempts last week, but we 1-shot him this time round. The mechanics again favour small raid groups, which makes it easier to avoid his eye-beam. We focused dps on his right arm every time it was up, which meant his grab ability was used very rarely and the person grabbed was freed quickly. An off-tank picked up the earth elementals every time the arm was destroyed, and they were aoe’d down fast. The left arm sweep ability is pretty trivial in 10-man and easily taken care of by a couple of aoe heals.

Iron Council

With about 30 minutes left to midnight, we put in quite a few attempts in on Iron Council. This is the first fight where my mana was actually tested, as there is a massive amount of damage on the Steelbreaker tank due to Fusion Punch as well as a lot of raid damage. We were facing problems with people running out of the big green rune of death fast enough, and the late hour meant people were starting to do stupid stuff like unload on a boss during the pull before the tank is even in range. So we called it, with our best effort being 1.5 mobs down. Tonight we’ll probably be trying them again.

So far, Ulduar-10, while certainly more challenging and interesting than Naxx, isn’t really all that difficult compared to TBC raids. It seems to centre around avoiding bad stuff on the ground, which is easier to do on 10-man due to more space and the abilities generally hurting less such that a few seconds of inattentiveness isn’t fatal.

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