Last weekend we launched ourselves into Uldum and got through The Vortex Pinnacle, the instance in the sky. That still left us two instance to do in Uldum, the Lost City of Tol’vir and The Halls of Origination. Uldum is the instance hot-spot in Cataclysm I guess. Fortunately, we were all online again on Saturday night. Our group was:
- Earlthecat – Level 84 Human Warrior Tank
- Skronk – Level 84 Dwarf Priest Healing
- Bungholio – Level 84 Gnome Warlock DPS
- Alioto – Level 84 Night Elf Druid DPS
- Ula – Level 84 Gnome Mage DPS
We had all managed to hit level 84, either during last week’s run or on Sunday as a catch-up. As we got ourselves situated outside of the Lost City of Tol’vir, Skronk was telling us about a new priest skill he got.
Called Leap of Faith, it apparently allowed him to target a member of the group and pull that person to him.
We were not quite sure when that might come in handy. We speculated on about the healer pulling people not paying attention out of the fire or whatever gunk they were standing in, or maybe grabbing the tank and hauling him back to save the healer. We were not sure when such an ability would come in handy, so it was filed away for later as we went into the instance.
More after the cut.
Into the Lost City of Tol’vir.
Some of us had actually been here before with alts. Myself, Skronk, and Earl all have level 90 alts already and have been out here with them to grind Ramkahen faction by doing the Heroic version of the instance, while Ula has been working on getting an alt to level 90 and was using Dungeon Finder as part of her effort. So only Bung was coming into the instance totally fresh.
And, of course, the difficulty was different. Running behind Earl’s alt, another warrior that he geared up doing Raid Finder/LFR runs, means that most bosses melt pretty fast, even when set to Heroic. On the other hand, normal mode isn’t all that tough when you have your act together, and we seemed to be humming along as a group. We blew through the first boss so quickly that I barely had time to notice that he was a boss. So long General Husam, on to Lockmaw.
Lockmaw was a bit more of a match for us. He has a series of adds that spice up the fight, though in the end he was still reduced to the raw material for so much fancy luggage. Likewise, High Prophet Barim had a couple tricks up his sleeve, like a nice phoenix add and a lot of bad gunk on the ground.
Those tricks did not save him however. We managed to DPS down his adds, and most of us have installed the GTFO addon, which plays an alarm when you are standing in bad stuff. Or it does most of the time.
Which left the final boss, Siamat.
He looks a lot like Asaad, Caliph of Zephyrs, from last week’s run in The Vortext Pinnacle. And, also akin to last week, he is up on a platform… well, a roof… and you have to jump on a whirlwind to get up to him. Once up there, the fight was on and over pretty quickly.
It turns out that High Prophet Barim had the more challenging fight. So it was time for a group shot.
After that we goofed around a bit with the elevator whirlwinds. It turns out that you can jump off the roof and, part way down, click on them and get thrown right back up on the roof. Fun for the easily amused, like me. And then, as we were screwing around with variations of jumping off the roof, Earl managed to jump off into a little area from which there was no exit. He couldn’t jump or climb out. He was stuck and just about to stone out when Skronk said, “Leap of Faith!”
A practical use for his new skill!
So he started trying to get Earl into line of site, which turned out to be something of an issue with him way down the hole. I went over and tried to see if I could find the correct angle, and then promptly fell into the hole myself.
It is actually a bit unusual for Blizzard to leave such a trap. Anyway, we waited for a bit, moving as Skronk asked, and finally he was able to get a line of sight lock on us and do his new magic.
Once freed of the trap, we all headed to the instance exit, turned in the quests, and started pondering what to do next. The night was still young for us, and we had plenty of time left for further adventures. We ended up deciding to hit the Heroic version of The Culling of Stratholme.
This was another instance we had been doing a bit of with our alts as part of our “more mounts for everyone” program. It is a level 80 Wrath of the Lich King dungeon, so you can wear a tabard to get faction updates for related factions, and in heroic mode there is a timer to get to a final, extra boss, the Infinite Corruptor, who drops a bronze drake mount. Everybody in the group had the drake at this point except Bung, so we decided to go get one for him as well. After all, the Caverns of Time are pretty close to Uldum. So off we went.
I was interested to see how this would play out. On the one hand, being level 84 and geared up appropriately, we ought to have more than enough power to muscle through to the Infinite Corruptor in less than 25 minutes. Plus we have been through enough times that we know the routine and, in fact, have a set series of jokes and responses to Prince Arthas whom we must lead/follow through the instance. We laugh at the fight on the carpet and Skronk always goes over to push on the secret door in the bookshelf, as though he is helping to slide it open.
On the other hand, there was something of a danger that, being used to an easy run, we might rush and get in over our head. We were not going to be two-shotting bosses with this group. So we headed on into the instance where, for lore reasons, my night elf had to appear in human guise.
I’m also not wearing the right tabard there. That one won’t help, but I didn’t have a Lich King tabard handy.
As at least one character had not been through this instance before, we had to go through the full story. I guess that was my fault. Everybody else had been through back in 2009. So we got the whole tour including Arthas breaking with his mentor, Jaina Proudmoore being… well… Jaina Proudmoore, and the whole Arthas “Better dead than undead!” plan of attack in Lordaeron. If your whole group has been through the instance already, Chromie will skip you past all of that. But baldy held us all up.
As it turned out, we did pretty well. We stuck together, rather than spreading out, in the initial trial, and had no problems. Then we went with Arthas, ran through all the undead, and confronted Mal’Ganis.
After that, we turned around and ran off toward the Infinite Corruptor with a good dozen minutes left on the clock. He went down, Bung got his mount, and some of us piled up three achievements.
That last one is for getting through in time to get that final boss before he disappears.
And then it was back to Chromie to turn in the quests for the instance and to take our group shot. We are tourists, we have to do that “Holsteins visit the Grand Canyon” shot where ever we go.
At that point we were feeling pretty good about ourselves. It was just 10:30pm for those of us on the west coast, just about half way into our 3 hour time budget. We felt like we could knock out another instance quickly and then maybe head to bed a little early. And there was one instance left in Uldum, the Halls of Origination.
However, nobody in the group knew where it was off-hand, so we decided to break our “no Dungeon Finder” rule in the interest of time and just teleport in.
Cocky after our success so far in the evening, we managed to get in over our head almost immediately. We got into a brawl on the first ramp into the instance, got a couple of adds which got away from Earl and everybody was dead. First wipe of the night.
We ressed up from that and took things a bit more carefully. We managed to get ourselves to the first boss, the Temple Guardian.
His fight involves the need to jump down below his platform and pull one of two levers at a couple of points during the fight. The levers are, of course, guarded by some snakes which you have to kill or you will get interrupted while the level action is in progress. We managed to make it through with Ula and Alioto down with the levers for almost the whole fight. I am not sure that means we were doing well or not. Certainly the time between level pulls did not leave me a big enough gap to finish off snakes and make it back up the stairs to join the fight. Well, we got past him.
Then we made our way around towards the Hall of Lights, running into Brann Bronzebeard along the way. He opened the door for us, only to find he wasn’t in the room he expected.
This lead to a series of fights… in the map above you can see four side platforms, each with a mini-boss that needed to be taken down… to get to Anraphet, the big guy in the room.
We were able to dance around him and bring him down. Brann then pointed us to the big elevator to bring us to the second floor of the instance.
This started off well enough. There were four bosses and we managed to pick the last one first, Rajh, Construct of Sun.
He turned out to be a decent fight, but we managed to get through without loss and got the achievement when we were done with him.
At that point we could have declared ourselves done and called it a night. We lined up for a screen shot of the group, during which I mumbled “OK,” which was taken as “I’ve got the shot” and everybody started running off.
We figured that, for the sake of completion, we ought to knock off the other three bosses. So we chose to go clockwise, bringing us to Setesh, Construct of Destruction.
And there our problems began. It wasn’t so much that we had problems with Setesh himself, we couldn’t even get past the trash mobs guarding his throne. We ended up wiping four times on the trash… though to be fair, we accidentally pulled the boss as well in at least one of those fights… putting ourselves in doubt of our abilities.
One of the initial problems was that GTFO, on which we had already begun to depend, did not recognize that circle of bad in the picture above as a bad thing to be standing in, and it was clearly a very bad thing to be standing in. So there was no audio alarm and we stood there dumbly dying through at least one round.
Then there were the other problems, which were not discovered until after we had finished for the evening.
It turned out that at some point Earl had accidentally changed his warrior stance from one for tanking that helps him hold aggro, to a DPS stance. So, while he was holding mobs like a champ for The Lost City of Tol’vir and the Culling of Stratholme, now mobs were getting away from him all over, which turned out to be quite tough on the DPS. Alioto died a few extra times during the instance due to aggro issues. He was in paper doll before we called it a night.
And then there was the healing issue. It turned out that Skronk’s new multi-state big heal on which he was depending had compatibility problems with the Healium addon he was using to target heals. This was causing heals to hit him rather than the intended target. Add in a lot of burst damage, where I would see my health bar humming along fine at over 90% one moment only to find myself dead the next, and the wheels appeared to be coming off the wagon.
Still, we managed to work though despite not figuring out those last two big problems. We took on the trash in a few runs and managed to clear them before finally defeating Setesh.
We then turned to Isiset, Construct of Magic, who we managed to take down without too much drama. Alioto died again, but at least we got through the trash and then the boss without a wipe. And then it was time for the last boss of the night, Ammunae, Construct of Life.
We managed to wipe on her trash once as well. At least we had a soul stone up. Go us. But we managed to get through the trash on the next run and brought down Isiset on our first try. Upon her death, Alioto hit level 85, joining Ula and Bung who had hit 85 during our adventures on the second floor.
So we wrapped up the night after two hours in the Halls of Origination with one hand effectively tied behind our back. I had a pretty heft repair expense report for the guild bank. Fortunately, the nights errors were discovered, discussed, and worked around on Sunday afternoon, so when we head into the Twilight Highlands in search of Grim Batol we won’t be hobbled.
And after Grim Batol we will have to decide where to head next. The obvious destination is Pandaria. But there are a few heroic instances that we might want to try on for size. There are the Heroic remakes of the Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep. There are the re-imagined raids, brought to five person level 85 heroic scale, Zul’Aman and Zul’Gurub, for all your troll lore needs. Having peeked in on those, they look like a full evening’s adventure each. And then there are the End Time, Well of Eternity, and Hour of Twilight instances, a linked triple set which seem to be the Cataclysm versions of the last three instances added in late in Wrath of the Lich King to wrap up the story line, and which are rated as “level 85++” most places.
So plenty of stuff ahead of us in Azeroth.