So how is Ulduar working out for you?

I have an admission to make. I love the heck out of Ulduar. I’ve had a fantastic time raiding there, I think it’s an amazingly designed raid instance and even when it drives me nuts, I think Blizzard did a bang-up job in showing off why the raiders stick with them.

It isn’t just that the encounters are interesting and varied, or even that the instance itself is stunningly beautiful – there’s a lot of extra details that are simply there for pure entertainment value. This is what we in the trade call polish.

For example: had you noticed how much of the Ulduar trash bounces out at you? Last week I counted:

  • One of the trash robots at XT
  • Titan/giant trash before Kologarn
  • Kologarn himself, kind of
  • Auriaya’s cats
  • Snakes in a snowdrift (these won our vote for most amusing trash in the instance)
  • Mimiron’s spider tank trash

I know it’s silly but it’s the kind of silly that makes me giggle. The pounce animation is just funny.  Jumping robots! Argh, snake jumped out of a snowdrift! Hee hee! See what I mean?

I also had a chance to drive a chopper on the Flame Leviathan fight last week and that was extremely fun. I no longer know which vehicle I like best! But again, I’m way impressed with the designers – it’s a very fun and very different type of fight.

After a couple of slow weeks where we struggled with signups, or when we got the signups we struggled with raid balance, we’re moving again. I know there have also been nerfs but we also were able to recruit a couple of extra dps and it has helped a lot.

So last week in 25 man, we one-shotted Freya and got a long awaited first kill on Thorim too. Raid balance has now tilted to having a shortage of melee (never thought that would happen) so I’m getting slotted in as Fury more often these days.

In 10-man, we cleared the keepers for the first time a week ago. This week we did it again and one-shotted Mimiron so I guess he’s on farm now. This meant we had the dubious pleasure of working on General Vezax which is a fascinating encounter, and I suspect is next up on the nerf list. It doesn’t need much of a nerf, just something to make kiting less painful – I think it’d be enough if he didn’t cast shadow crash on the tank and didn’t do the searing flames while being kited in 10 man (because your only interrupter may also be tanking it and hence trying to kite at the same time, and that really isn’t good.)

All of our tanks have embraced the dual spec ethos and have either a dps or healing offspec. This gives us a vast amount of extra flexibility which is part of the reason that the 10-man team has been getting its act together. I would discourage any raid tank from going with two tanking specs unless you are absolutely bang up sure that your class will always be the best choice to tank every fight (or unless you know that you’ll be doing it anyway).

We frequently have 3 tanks in a 10 man raid and swap roles from fight to fight. This is also partly because the tanks tend to be super-keen and sign up a lot 😉

Tanking Ulduar

I have thoroughly enjoyed tanking in Ulduar. I feel as though it’s made me raise my game on my warrior, and that’s been very fun for me. It’s been a great challenge so far and I can see myself improving with practice.

I know I’m much better at strafing to move mobs around than I used to be. I’ve also had a lot more practice at weaving interrupts and stuns into my tanking rotation and at really working the trademark warrior mobility with intervenes, charges, intercepts, and the old traditional standby ‘RUN AWAY’.

It is a strong contrast with playing as melee dps which I find relaxing, but massively less engaging. Admittedly Fury is not a complex spec to play (which is one of the reasons I like it, since it’s just a part time spec for me) and does excel at letting you move around during a fight (this is the other reason I like it … and the whole dual wielding deal) so I suspect others would see more of a challenge.

Stepping aside from the whole issue of nerfs and the philosophy of hard modes, are you enjoying Ulduar?