This … is … ULDUAR!!!

So, even though this is our off week from raiding, we managed to get over 30 signups for last night’s completely on-the-fly raid.It was just posted as “25 man raid”, no mention of exactly what we would be doing, but the interest was very high.

As expected, a few faces I hadn’t seen in a while came crawling out from the woodwork. I have to confess that I’m a little disappointed in these people. As happy as I am to see them back, and as absolutely thrilled as I am to have full raids and sky-high enthusiasm for them, I can’t help but look at a few of these raiders and say to myself, “but where were you for the last six weeks? Where were you when we were learning Maly? Where were you when we desperately wanted to try Sarth with a drake or two up? Where were you when we were just hanging out in vent, being the friends we are? Did it really take something new and shiny to bring you back to this guild?” I confess it makes me a bad person and a very bad leader on some levels, but I’m saddened by what I percieve to be a lack of work ethic and loyalty in some of these folks.

But, my inner goblin spoke up and said that I was being a little egotistical and perhaps these raiders didn’t actually ‘owe’ the guild anything. And besides, they were here, spirits were running high and everyone was in a party mood. So, we grabbed our dual specs, our glyphs and our buggy, buggy mods and headed into Ulduar.

Our raid leader: “First fight is a vehicle fight, how hard could it be?”

Me (To myself): “Yeah well, so was Malygos.”

The vehicle-based fight against Flame Leviathan is immensely fun. Indescribably so. By the time we got him down, my face ached from smiling so broadly. I am so desperately in love with that first fight I think I may have to quit my job and move across the country just so I can camp on it’s doorstep and serenade it’s bedroom window every night. I loved every blessed minute of it!

The Basics:
There is a Flame Leviathan. He is a big steam tonk sort of mechanical thing. He has four drakes towers. You can destroy one, two, three or all four of his drakes towers to unlock “hard” mode and better loots. With all four drakes towers (!) down, he’s really quite easy once you get your groove down.

There are three types of vehicles – motorbikes, battering rams and catapults (I forget what they’re actually called. That’s what WoW Wiki is for.) The motorbikes are equivalent to melee dps, the battering rams to tanks and the catapults to ranged and healers.

Motorbikes: Have a jackal-style fight tactic. They zip in around the boss/trash and drop an oil slick which slows them. They can also light the oil slick on fire which does an asstonne of damage.

Catapults: These take two riders, one to drive and one to act as a projectile (huge fun!) The driver is of course responsible for manouevering the thing, aiming its gun turret and chosing which attack to use. You have an ammo-less attack that basically chucks a giant rock at your target and an attack that tosses a flaming barrel of pyrite* at your target, but that takes ammo. While you are clearing trash and drakes towers (dammit!) the projectile person should be ranging down these little flying cylindrical blue jars. They can then chain grapple them back to the catapult to replenish the ammo. The ammo shows up as a blue bar on the right of the stock vehicle UI.

Battering Rams: These guys have a huge amount of healt and a charge and batter sort of attack. Pretty basic tanky type stuff. (Yes, that’s a lame explaination. Guess which vehicle I was using last night?)

Trash:
Roam around and take down all four coloured drakes towers (sorry, I’m done). There is one to the right and to the left, up (or down) a ramp, one in the centre area, and one off to the left down a small alley (omg I love you dungeon maps!) There are also smaller towers that continually spawn little iron dwarves. Take these out too. Helicopters will come zooming in part way through, catapults need to range these out of the air. The biggest problem are the spider-like mechanical flame walkers. They do an incredible amount of fire damage and need to be taken down quickly. There are teal glowy discs on the floor, usually around the outside, these heal the vehicle if you drive onto them and wait. They heal pretty quickly, and the vehicles have a pretty large amount of health to start with. Once all the trash is clear, everyone needs to heal up, the projectile passengers on the catapults need to chain grapple in any free pyrite laying around and then head down to the far end of the hall. There is a gate. Behind that gate is the mighty Flame Leviathan!! (duhn, duhn DUHHHHN!)

The Boss:
He has basically no aggro table, he just picks someone and chases them around, while they kite him all over the place. Every 20 seconds (or so) he will randomly decide to chase someone new. Supposedly, he should only be chasing the people in the (tank) battering rams, but occasionally he targetted one of the catapults for us. Catapults should always stay at max range from him, just in case. There should be a warning 5 seconds before he switches targets, so all battering rams should back up and get ready to run. Motorbikes should be tossing and lighting oil slicks everywhere they can. The best strat is to keep the slicks near to the person the boss is aggrod on, and for that person to make sure they are kiting him through as many burning slicks as possible.

Catapults need to have really good comminication during the boss. Periodically, the projectile player needs to laod themslves into the catapult bucket and get fired up onto the boss. This takes some aiming by the driving player. There are 5 catapults, and we had it set up so that three of the projectiles were healers and two were dps. That way we could send a healer and a dps up at the same time, with one healer in reserve. Once a healer and a dps are flung up onto the boss, there are four small turrets up there that need to be dpsd down. He will get a damage taken increase debuff for every turret taken down, and once all four are down, he will be stunned. This is when the catapults should spam their pyrite barrel toss. They also need to save the pyrite barrel toss to interrupt his flame charge attack, which he periodically does.

After the stun is over, the motorbikes need to pick up the people who were on his back and take them back to their catapults. We had each catapult marked with a raid icon, and it was (mostly!) easy enough for the motorbikes to return their passengers. Give the catapults a few moments to recharge their pyrite, then toss the next pair of dps/heals up onto his back. We managed to unload enough dps on him during the first stun phase that we didn’t actually have to take him to another one.

Dead boss. Phat lewts!

Pro Tips:
Communication is key! (As always.) Vent chatter needs to be kept way, way down so that the raid leader can call out who the boss is targeting and so that the catapult drivers and projectiles can talk to each other, and so that the projectiles can talk to the motorbike drivers. We had one issue where there was too much chatter and the motorbike driver just roamed around aimlessly which took his dps and the dps of his projectile passenger out of the equation.

There is no healing during the fight. Catapults and motorbikes need to stay out of the boss’ way and catapults need to make sure they are interrupting. Because the interrupts use up some of the pyrite you need for the stun phase, set up an interrupt order so that not everyone is spending all of their pyrite ammo at once.

If you wipe, you do not need to re-clear trash. All the vehicles will spawn right in front of him and there will be stacks of pyrite there. Once you enter the instance, there is a green portal pad that will take you to the boss. Chose the second option on the portal menu.

There is a repair guy in the instance! Hooray! As soon as you enter, there is a ogre on the right who is a reagent vendor and repair dood!

Catapults move uphill verrrrrryyyy sloooooooooowwwwwwwly.

*Pyrite is a sulphide mineral. It is not generally flammable. You can melt it, but that would take crazy high temperatures and I doubt you could contain it in a wooden barrel. Lrn2geology, Blizz.

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I Lost on Jeopardy

So, it looks like I was wrong.

When I got up this morning, I was able to log into my bank alt and play a little World of MakingMoneyCraft while I had my breakfast. While I’m a little relieved that the patch didn’t come today, I think I’m more disappointed.

I was really looking forward to Noblegarden!

I was also hoping that a new patch, and the new dungeon might be able to counter some of the apathy in the guild lately. It’s not exclusively my problem, it seems to be something going on in several guilds, but that doesn’t make it any more worrysome. We’re regularily running Naxx and OS with less than 25 people, and that number is shrinking every week. I was counting on the patch coming down the pipes today and injecting a little bit of freshness and excitement into raiding again.

I guess that gives me another week to farm up some more artic furs and also a bit of freedom to enjoy my Easter long weekend, but it also gives me another week to watch my guild slowly sag under the atmosphere of boredom.

Patch 3.1, you’d better be something pretty spectacular!

I’ll Take Patch Day For 100, Alex.

So, it’s seems to be the season for betting. NHL playoffs are upon us and the prophesy (and the money) is running freely around my home and work. (I’m laying my pride and my paycheck on the line to bet heavily on my town’s club taking the cup, but I suspect it’s more likely to be Jersey or [ugh] San Jose.)

Timesee Forsees

Short post today, but I’m betting that 3.1 comes down the pipes tomorrow. Just in time for Noblegarden. That’s my bet, any takers? What would that mean to you all if it did? Everyone ready for Ulduar? Got your crafting materials stocked up to make some good money off of patch day? Been reading PTR boss strats? Hoping to revitalize your guild with some new raid content?

Or am I completely wrong and 3.1 won’t be coming for a few more weeks? Lemme know! (And I’d love to hear your picks for the Stanley Cup finals, too!)