Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ulduar First Impressions

Naxx is pretty fun, but getting to see new raid content with guildies takes the cake. The rumors are true: Ulduar is not easymode, coordination matters, and folks need to stay on their toes. I'm sure over time these encoutners will become more trivial, but for the moment, it's great to have a little challenge in front of us.

Flame Leviathan

The Occulus is my least favorite instance. The Aces High daily bores me to tears. Quests with horses and dangling carrots make me nuts. Sensing a pattern? Yep, I'm not a huge fan of fights where you have to assume the abilities of some other thing.

So I admit I went into Ulduar annoyed that the very first thing to do was climb into a vehicle. Luckily, the vehiclular combat turned out to be surprisingly fun! Ex got to ride shotgun in a Demolisher, blowing stuff up on the ground and shooting stuff out of the sky.

Nothing really Shaman-specific to go over here - but becoming familiar with the various driver/passenger abilities beforehand is recommended so you can cover whatever duties your raid leader assigns you to. Also keep your highest item-level gear equipped here, as your vehicle's stats increase with ilevel rather than your personal stats.

When picking through FL's wreckage we found the Firestrider Chestguard, not a bad piece but unfortunately a downgrade from my T7.5, especially considering the loss of set bonuses and sockets.

This brat was our second boss tonight, and we chose to employ the "spread-out" strategy rather than the "clump-up and run-out" one, which seemed best for sustained DPS. Pro tip: use DBMs /range feature to make sure you're 15 yards away from the others (right-click the range window to change radius), and you can stay still to ranged-DPS or heal when infected with the debuffs. Melee enhancers will still need to run away from others, of course.

Add control is one of the keys to this encounter, and since they conveniently make a beeline for the boss, it's easy to lay down Earthbind and Magma totems in their path. One thing to take care with are the robot bomb adds - I'm pretty sure I killed one of our priests by downing one too close to him. Doh!

Even as a DPS shaman, throwing a few spot heals during Tympanic Tantrum can help take some pressure off your healers, as the fight is a little less of a DPS race now that the enrage timer has been nerfed.

There's something especially cool about dragon fights, and Razorscale is no exception. The first half of the fight alternates between taking down waves of adds and working on Razorscale when he's brought down to the ground, and then a kite-n-dps strategy for the second half.

Things can get a little chaotic between multiple adds, fire spots on the ground, fireballs hitting, and Razorscale being close enough to DPS - but keep your focus, stay out of the nasty stuff, and epics shall be yours!

It's been a while since I've had a "whoa" moment in WoW, and the appearance of Kologarn was one of those moments. (I purposely haven't done a lot of previewing fights in Ulduar.) This dude is BIG. So BIG you can target his arms! Craziness.

Lots of nature damage in this fight, so if you don't have a hunter handy consider Nature Resist totem. Avoiding the beams is pretty important, but also don't drag the beams into others. Sometimes I'd find myself boxed into a corner, so some self-healing was useful here, as well as backing-up on raid heals whenever a healer gets gripped.

Was finally able to replace some lame reputation boots with the Greaves of the Earthbinder from Kologarn, which I made into DPS boots using a Glowing Twilight Opal and the Icewalker enchant. The boots do seem to favor Resto, though, with the blue socket and all. Still, a little Mp5 doesn't hurt us Elementals:

Mana Regen
I had noticed the effects of the Great Mana Regen Nerf of 2009 in our recent Naxx runs, but it was especially noticeable in Ulduar. I was finding that liberal use of Thunderstorm was necessary to produce steady DPS over long periods. Also adjusted my rotation on some longer fights, going with FS > LvB > LB spam > repeat, rather than incorporating too many Chain Lightnings and Earth Shocks.

Overall, had a great time, and am looking forward to seeing more of this raid in the coming weeks/months!


thedoctor said...

"Also adjusted my rotation on some longer fights, going with FS > LvB > LB spam > repeat, rather than incorporating too many Chain Lightnings and Earth Shocks"I am usually resto, but I have a good elemental set and I have been dpsing more and more in our guild runs.

I have definetely notice the great mana nerf of 2009 as well lol.

Taking Chain Lighting and earthshock out of your rotation helps alot. I haven't been having too many mana issues with just taking earth shock out of the rotation and continuing to push out Chain Lightings. One thing that helps alot is bringing your high dps into the raid. I know it helped my dps alot because fights weren't lasting as long. Although, I'm sure you knew that already lol

Cool blog btw. Well written.

Anonymous said...

i did notice two things, well three, while running ulduar so far as an elemental shammy.

1. i hardly ever run out of mana still. but then again, i am only throwing in CL when i need it to make my rotation solid -- but it seems i am hardly ever standing still long enough to get multiple rotations in!!!

2. i think thedoctor is absolutely right, i have noticed a big difference between how much mana i have at the end of a fight and who is in my party that night. sometimes you have to bring the wrecking crew!

3. the eye beams love me... and only me...

keep it up!