Saturday, April 18, 2009

3.1 Impressions - Ulduar, Argent Tournament, and More

The patch has been out for a few days now and I've finally gotten a bit of a feel for how things have changed… or not… and how the new content works.

I finally got to step into Ulduar and my guild downed Razorscale, but wiped hardcore on Ignis. Our best effort was 75%. Even if it wasn't for the fact that Ignis occasionally melees the person stuck in his slag pot (which was a bug, now fixed) he would still be a rough boss due to the adds that pop up every 30 seconds that need to be kited, superheated, dunked in water, and then killed while they're brittle.

As a moonkin, it was my job to root the Iron Constructs in the fire pillars created by Ignis's Scorch ability so they could get 20 stacks of the Heat debuff, and to nuke them when they become Brittle because they'll only shatter on a hit of 5k or more. Since my Starfire hits 7-8k even without a crit I made a natural choice as a designated construct nuker. Unfortunately, trying to be both rooter and nuker when constructs are popping up every 30 seconds is an exercise in extreme multitasking, as the water is generally located a complete 180 from wherever the Scorch happens to be.

Upshot, you can't reasonably expect one person to do all of that. The time it takes for a golem to get Molten is about 20 seconds, which is an eternity when all you want to do it get that construct heated and killed, and you still need to watch out for a second construct and be ready to nuke a third construct that's being dragged over to the water.

We tried a couple variant tactics with other people helping me and switching around the tanks, but it seems the tank who was best at controlling the adds (a DK) was also our best MT, so we eventually called it without making much progress. Blizzard has since hotfixed Ignis to make the construct spawn more slowly and I think that will help a lot.

We'll return to Ulduar 25-man on Tuesday, though a group of us are thinking of trying 10-man this weekend.

I've also started doing the Argent Tournament material on my druid. A tauren on a hawkstrider still makes me laugh, and it's even funnier when she's holding a lance preparing to charge. I've only done the Aspirant level dailies so far and I'm not sure I'll enjoy the combat once I actually get to fight someone. The practice quests with the dummies don't feel very dynamic, which is something I think mounted combat should be. I'm also wondering what the Sunreaver faction will do for me since there's nothing in game that uses it, but I'm already earning rep for it.

Each day there's also a daily that sends you off to some godforsaken corner of Northrend kissing frogs, thawing frozen maidens and the like. Thematically they're kind of cool, but as a daily they're rather annoying because Northrend is pretty big even with epic flight speed and they're not necessarily easy to combine with other dailies.

I wish there had been a breadcrumb quest leading me to the tournament grounds in Icecrown, because it seems kind of strange from an in-game standpoint that my character would just know that there was something new up there, but the tournament is just there and you have to run around a bit to find the tent that everything starts in.

Lastly, for some Friday night fun a bunch of us actually went back to Naxx 10. I'm not entirely sure why my guildies wanted to go, but I was asked if I was interested and I agreed. I healed it on my holy paladin, who is currently 52/19/0 in expectation of upcoming Season 6 arena action, but that was fine. There are really only marginal upgrades left for me in Naxx 10. I have four piece T7 and I passed on so much healing plate last night it made me sad.

A couple things that came out of healing last night though…

1) Since Sacred Shield can now only be used on one target I would often Beacon one tank and then shield the other. That way the tank I'm actively healing gets the FoL crit bonus which can then be copied over to the second tank via the Beacon. Obviously this was for trash pulls and fights involving two or more tanks. For fights where there is only one tank then I would Beacon and shield the same tank.

2) The new Divine Guardian is still good, but in a different way. On a maintenance level, it's nice that my Sacred Shield now lasts the same amount of time as my Beacon. Time to refresh one means time to refresh the other. But it also gives me more flexibility in reducing incoming damage aside from Hand of Sacrifice. If one is on cooldown I still have the other, and I can use both at the same time. While using a bubble for either of those abilities is desirable, now that DG is uncoupled from Divine Shield it is possible to use it while HoSac and bubble are on cooldown if you really have to. (Yes, we were a bit sloppy last night.)

I could see the new DG being fantastic in arena, where I could redirect damage to myself like a second Hand of Sacrifice while still saving my bubble for emergencies or interrupt prevention.

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