Herein, a first look at Hodir, one of the bosses of Ulduar!
I knew I wasn’t going to be able to try this with my guild, as the limited testing times are restricted to American and European prime-time hours, so I had a chat to my esteemed blogging colleague Matt, of World of Matticus, and mentioned that I’d love to help test Ulduar on the PTR with him.
Well, Matt set up <Years Behind> on Broxigar, and – apart from constant world server failures, lag, UI problems and all the other symptoms of a test server – away we went!
Here’s a video of one attempt; sadly we didn’t get much testing time, as we spent an hour or so fighting constant disconnects and insane lag, but it was enough to get an idea of the encounter and what’s involved.
(You can view the video here on YouTube for a higher-quality copy; I’ll replace this with a better link and embed once I’ve sorted out better video hosting.)
I don’t generally watch a lot of machinima, but this one’s just amazing. A professional animator has used the WoW models, textures and scenery to create a very cool little story – and one hell of a fight scene. It’s called ‘The Craft of War: BLIND’ by Percula.
Note: This post contains spoilers for Wrath of the Lich King.
Take a look around two new areas of the game with this video! We show you a tour of the new Stormwind Harbor, and the boat ride to Valiance Keep, the Alliance stronghold in the Northrend starting zone of Borean Tundra.
As linked by Leafshine: James Wallis, a very smart and entertaining fellow (for whom I once had the privilege, briefly, of working) recently gave a presentation on the geophysics of Azeroth.
The video is visible at Leafy’s blog; the results are quite surprising. Did you know, for instance, that Azeroth is about twelve kilometres in diameter and about five hundred times as dense as lead? And you might be surprised at what really causes lag…
I’m racing to hit Exalted with Shattered Sun before my server gets to Phase 4, so I can get the title – I’m on track, being a third of the way through Honoured with SSO while Proudmoore’s somewhere between 25% and 30% through Phase 2.
This means I’m keen to spend a lot of time in Magister’s Terrace, and I’ve developed a few tips to maximise the likelihood of success. Since some others might find it useful, here are some handy strat tips and a video!
Magister’s Terrace: Boss 4, Kael’thas (Normal Mode)
Kael’thas is a caster boss, and the fight revolves around fire- and arcane-oriented attacks. You can read up on him in detail WoWWiki (and he’s basically a trimmed-down version of his 25-man self), but here’s a quick summary of how I explain the fight to groups I run with:
This is a basic tank-and-spank with a couple of things to watch out for.
Kael hits like a kitten, and can be tanked by off-spec people in tank gear. I’ve done it as holy spec in tank gear myself.
If you don’t have anyone in melee range, he just casts spells. He can be tanked by a ranged DPSer with high threat, if they have enough stam – a mage with part or all of a Krosh tanking set is a good example. This seems gimmicky, but can be useful – for instance, having a hybrid tank in healing gear to help keep the party up in phase 2. However, this can be problematic, because:
Periodically throughout Phase 1, Kael will summon a phoenix (heralded by him saying “Vengeance… burns!”). This phoenix will aggro onto a party member and fly slowly towards them, with a pulsing fire AoE as it goes; when it dies, it explodes with AoE Fire damage. The phoenix should be kited while all ranged DPSers burn it down fast; everyone needs to stay out of melee range of it.
When the phoenix dies it leaves an egg. If not killed fast enough, it will spawn a new phoenix. All DPS should burn down the egg as soon as it appears.
(If you have a ranged DPSer tanking Kael, you may not have enough spare DPS to get the phoenix and egg down quick enough.)
Kael will periodically cast a flamestrike with a very showy graphical effect. Move out of its area, because it burnsssss, precious.
At 50% health, Kael’thas enters Phase 2. Here are the salient points:
He stops casting and drops all agro; he no longer attacks anyone directly for the rest of the fight.
Tanks are completely useless here. Pally and druid tanks should heal if needed, otherwise DPS. Warrior tanks should do what DPS they can.
Kael will cast a Gravity Lapse that “turns off” gravity in his room. Players can move freely in three dimensions; it’s just like swimming, but at normal movement speed.
Gravity Lapse does 300+ damage every second to everyone in the party. Ouch. This is very hard for a paladin to solo-heal, and not easy for a shammy either. This is why hybrid tanks need to help heal: one barkskinned Tranquility from a bear tank, for instance, will make the difference between wipe and win.
While Gravity Lapse is up, there are also three large Arcane Orbs that move around the room in three dimensions. They do huge arcane damage if they get into melee range of a player, so everyone needs to keep mobile constantly, panning the camera around to watch for incoming orbs. This is essential.
Periodically Kael will drop the Gravity Lapse (and orbs) and stand there, stunned, while regenerating energy. He does nothing during this period, and reportedly takes extra damage at the same time, so you should absolutely go to town here. If he’s not dead by the time he’s done regenerating, he’ll start the Gravity Lapse again, repeat until he’s dead or you are.
Phase 1: The “tank” (whether melee or ranged) keeps agro, burn down the phoenix as soon as it appears, burn down the egg as soon as the phoenix dies, keep out of the flamestrikes, don’t let Kael go to Phase 2 with a phoenix or egg still up.
Phase 2: Keep as mobile as possible, stay out of range of the Arcane Orbs at all costs, healers need to AoE heal (or spam like mad), let loose during his regen period.
Here’s a video version of the above strategy – a bear tank, a pally healer, two mages and a rogue, all in Tier 4-5 gear. I don’t actually have a video of any of our wins, but the strategy remains the same.
You can also check this video out directly on iMeem for a bigger, better-quality video. Enjoy!
My guild is coming to the end of our Christmas break period — wherein we restricted ourselves to more relaxed 10-mans, rather than full 25-man raids — and we’ve finished up with a bit of progression in Zul’Aman. Halazzi’s now solidly on farm, and we spent Monday night working on Jan’Alai, the Dragonhawk Avatar.
IMO the boss is substantially easier than the trash preceding him — which is a gauntlet with frankly annoying mechanics — and one of the most fun fights I’ve seen in a while.
The WoWwiki page on Jan’Alai covers most of his abilities and strat points, but I thought I’d elaborate a bit. There are two key things to consider when you’re working on Jan’Alai:
He throws firebombs on a random timer, all around him. These explode for a lot of fire damage, but they have a very small AoE and you can fairly easily find a gap in between them all before they blow up. The video below shows this in action.
His area has a platform either side, each with about 20 dragonhawk eggs. Every 90 seconds during the fight, two Amani Hatchers (trolls) spawn on the entry stairs and run to the egg platforms, one to the right and one to the left. They will break eggs and release the dragonhawks therein until they’re killed, and are fairly easy to kill. This affects the fight thusly:
At 35% of Jan’Alai’s health, all remaining eggs break and the dragonhawks swarm you.
Therefore, to avoid dying at this point (which is what you see in the video below), you need to allow the Hatchers to break a certain number of eggs each time they spawn.
The best way to do this is kill one Hatcher as soon as it spawns, and allow the other Hatcher to break the desired number of eggs, then stun and kill it.
You need to strike a balance between getting enough of the dragonhawks down before 35% that you don’t get mobbed and die when they all pop, and keeping the dragonhawk spawns under control so you don’t get mobbed and die before 35%.
Unless you have massive AoE to kill lots of dragonhawks at once, this means you need to slow the fight down, so that there’s a chance to have plenty of Hatcher spawns, letting a few dragonhawks out each time.
See the video below for Jan’alai in action, complete with some notes about what’s happening during the fight. (Apologies for the first bit being a little jerky; I had too many apps running in the background.)