I recently had reason to look over my achievements, and it’s really interesting, to kinda read my guild’s raiding story via achievement dates. My guild started raiding in Ulduar in June. Every second weekend we would venture into Ulduar, plodding through. In mid-June we had our first bigger success, clearing both Siege and Antechamber for the first time. We moved on to the Keepers and managed to get Hodir for the first time a month after first clearing Antechamber. Another month later, we got both Thorim and Freya. Yet another month later we got Mimiron, killing all Keepers. Vezax we killed the first day we worked on him, and since then we’ve been working on Yogg-Saron. We extended twice, re-cleared to him, extended again.
On November 29, we killed Yogg-Saron for the first time, earning us the Secrets of Ulduar achievement. Five months after starting. It sounds like a long time, but it doesn’t feel like it took us that long, because that’s 20 weeks, meaning 10 raid IDs or less. We used the extension feature (am very grateful to Blizzard for implementing this) for Mimiron and Yogg-Saron to squeeze in an extra raid day to work on them.
From a tank perspective, I feel Ulduar offers a lot of very interesting fights, and it’s still a fresher raid to me than Naxxramas will ever be. Despite the relative urge of ToC I can only urge all up and coming tanks to try and go see this beautiful raid instance.
My personal favorites:
- Hodir – It’s a very dynamic fight that requires a lot of movement, maneuvering him around to benefit from moonlight, while still busting ass to keep a threat lead and use of cooldowns for Frozen Blows.
- Thorim – The gauntlet is fast-paced good fun and I enjoy tanking in there. I have yet to tank the arena, and that’s alright, I think DKs and paladins are universally more suited to excel there.
- Mimiron – Another exciting fight where as a tank I feel I can shine. Use cooldowns properly for Plasma Blast, run out safely for Shock Blast, tank the head in P3, and then bring it all together in P4. Getting that first kill was exhilarating, and our first one-shot of him felt awesome.
I generally prefer fast paced fights that are not tank and spank, require movement and smart use of cooldowns. Where I have to struggle to stay alive and ahead in threat, without having to switch targets like crazy.
Fights I do not like that much:
- Ignis – This is mostly due to personal failure on Ignis. I suck at tanking adds in this fight. By the time I have gotten one add Brittle, another is already eating healers for breakfast. As we have an OT who easily handles all adds himself, it must be me. I still find Ignis tuned stupidly for his placement in the raid. Thumbs down from me.
- Freya – The whole area kinda blows. A little bit too much trash, and the encounter itself is kinda aggravating. I think I finally figured out assignments to make the elemental wave no issue, but the Elementals usually made or broke that encounter for us.
- Auriaya – The difficulty of an encounter should not be based on ‘Can you pull her safely or not?’ Also, too much standing around waiting if you miss the perfect time for pulling.
Love-Hate relationship: Yogg-Saron
This has been the most complex encounter of my raiding ‘career’ and I can now understand why guilds broke up over Vashj and Kael. It took us 66 pulls to get him down. 65 wipes. A little over 12 hours of tries. Out of those 66 tries, we got to P3 around half a dozen times, around that number, so that should tell you everything you need to know about this fight. P1 can go horribly wrong, but it can also be executed perfectly. But oh boy, did I contribute to some horrible moments. With three guardians up, I couldn’t see the clouds around me and spawned lots more. There were a couple Leroy moments where my boss mod just went wild alerting me of guardian spawns. P2 was by far the hardest to learn. When we killed Yogg-Saron, we had perfect brain and tentacle DPS. It was the first time ever that we actually had downtime without a single tentacle up. There were no tentacles going into P3.
P3 itself had me shaking with sweaty hands and I was unable to spare a second of attention to pushing my Push-To-Talk button. Others had to do the talking, I was too busy tanking, trying to pick up Immortal Guardians before they oneshot someone. Unfortunately I failed and so our ret pally and our tree druid bit the dust, and we still pulled it off, in a 12 minute kill.
I really enjoy the complexity of the encounter. I love that it’s so challenging as solo tank, which is what we did, going in with six DPS. On the other hand, I felt more pressure than usual on me, because if you fail in P1 and someone dies, it’s basically a wipe. If you spawn too many guardians, it’s a wipe. If you don’t watch your sanity in P2 or suck at watching Brain Link, it’s a wipe. In P3 you need to be ready to pick up Immortal Guardians in that tiny window of 10 seconds, establish quick aggro and hold it against the DPS who are trying to get the guardians down quickly.
Yogg-Saron rewarded me for our diligence, I suppose, because I got the Royal Seal of King Llane that kill, which is amazing luck. Not sure if it will replace the Black Heart or the Brewmaiden trinket. Probably the Black Heart.
This is the first time that we have ever been at a point that we have beaten all raid encounters currently in the game. We haven’t done any hardmodes, but we have beaten all the normal fights. That’s a great feeling. I am looking forward to new challenges in Icecrown. Right now I need to figure out where we’re going raid-wise in the meantime. Probably that one-room instance that I don’t enjoy so much. Hate Northrend Beasts so much. Or maybe Ulduar hardmodes.
Here’s to hoping Icecrown will be as satisfying as Ulduar was to me.
Thanks for all the support of you friendly readers, I got some great feedback for Yogg-Saron, and all your encouragement to keep at it and not succumb to burnout. Rock on!