Tonight I’ve checked off another desire from the expansion… I’ve finally replaced the outfit my Hunter has sported from Cataclysm with something new to take into the Warlords era.
It may not be new, but it’s new to me.
I just never did anything about it, because busy. So, so busy.
I’m really glad I did it though, you know? I’ve learned a lot along the way.
Along the way, I learned a lot of things about Ulduar while romping around in the playground of the Titans.
There is a big difference between soloing something and raiding with a team; time on site.
When you’re with a team, the focus is always on moving your ass as quickly as possible to the next fight, and once AT the fight, in killing the boss as quickly and cleanly as possible. It’s all about time management and efficiency. Nobody wants to be that one person that drags the whole team down.
When you’re by yourself, you have all the time you care to take to get screenshots, drive around, mess with different vehicles, poke your nose into all the nooks and crannies and generally be a pain in the ass to the Titans.
Take Flame Leviathan on ten player mode and the trash on the run up.
It is accurate to say the reason Ulduar wasn’t on my roflstomp list was the trash and Flame Leviathan. The few times I’d gone in solo, without any research, the trash took so long that once I got to FL I wasn’t all that interested in figuring out what’s what. Also, I’d always drive a tank, and when you kill the last defender in front of the gates, Flame Leviathan instantly breaks through, aggros on you, the energy barrier springs up trapping you in with him, and you either kill him RIGHT NOW when you’re already wounded or you die before you ever get started.
It’s annoying, and helped convince me to go do something else the few times I tried.
Well, if you bother to do a little light reading on WoWhead, you find out that Flame Leviathan with the towers crushed is easily soloable. Only problem is wading through a half hour of trash to bloody well GET there.
On ten player, if you talk to Brann first to activate easy mode, then get in a tank and set forth to crush all the trash and topple the towers, it’s a long slog to get to the big bad tank boss. It’s really the only hard part, staying awake while slowly crushing trash.
Ah, how nice it would be if your tank SPEED also scaled with your iLevel the way your health and DPS does.
Anyway, I always took a tank to kill trash and topple towers. In a group, that meant other people in turret, or trying to race to each tower and wave of trash.
Running it solo, I found out that when you’re in the driver seat of a tank, you can click on the turret position on the vehicle icon on your screen, and you will instantly move up there. You don’t have to leave the vehicle first!
My biggest annoyance had always been having to chase all them little dwarves in the tank to crush them under my treads. You wouldn’t think it to look at them, but those little legs can move!
Now I know I can drive the tank up to a tower, smash it, then pop into the turret and rocket the hell out of all the scurrying mobs. Saves time all around.
Bonus points, the turret rockets do MASSIVE damage to all the big wandering giants!
So once I learned that, I had an answer for getting killed by Flame Leviathan at the start of the fight, too. Just drive the tank to extreme range (outside the area the energy barrier springs up) and use the turret rockets to aggro and kill the last gate defenders! Boom, they die, Flame Leviathan breaks through the gate, and I can safely drive my tank away to reset.
Beartrap no go boom. The sheer novelty of it.
So, what else?
To solo Flame Leviathan on ten man mode, all you have to do is get in a Devastator (one of those catapult thingies), drive it just inside the gate area, then hop out and get in the other, drive up and park right next to the first. You get two in 10 man mode, and they have a purple barrle catapult mode that does massive damage to FL. You just start shooting Flame Leviathan with purple barrels from the first Devastator until you run out, then jump out of that Devastator, run over to the second one, hop in and finish him off.
My hunter is only flex geared, and I was able to destroy Flame Leviathan with only one Devastator before running out of purple goo to shoot, so the second one is really just a “I missed a few shots” backup. It’s really that easy.
Suddenly, a whole new world of soloing awesomeness was opened unto me. With the Flame Leviathan barrier become nothing more than tissue beneath my feet, there is a whole raid to wander around in like a lost cub looking for honey.
And all the bosses were easily soloed, right up until Thorim. But more on that in a bit.
I took my time wandering around, and I did no research at all on the bosses. Hard modes? Just do what feels good!
Like killing each of the Iron Council one at a time, and damn that little dwarf I left for last is a baddass little prick, grrr, THERE! Oh, there was an achieve for killing him last, okay.
Or Hodir. You kill him without ever stopping and you’ll get an achievement for not getting all frosty, JUST like when killing the last boss in the Nexus. Plus kill him quick enough and there is bonus loot. Who doesn’t like bonus loot?
The most fun was getting to Mimiron and hitting that gorgeous, big honking red button. OMG that red button, who can resist it’s siren song, it’s sensuous allure. I want to do bad things with that button.
I learned three very, very important things soloing Mimiron after getting up close and dirty with his button.
First, self-healing abilities are awesome. Instead of Iron Hawk, going with Spirit Bond for the constant self-healing is overpowered and makes a huge difference.
Second, you have to spread your DPS on phase four across all three units so they die within 10 seconds of each other. Somehow, over the years I’d forgotten that fact.
Third… don’t kill the little fire extinguisher bot dudes. They’re just trying to help in their little halon way. If you DO go kill-crazy and shoot them as fast as they appear… well, don’t bitch about all the fire covering the floor, it’s your own damn fault.
On the subject of Mimiron… the tram! Oh my, that tram! I’d never actually taken the tram before, I’d just teleported straight to Mimiron’s launching point. That was a place to explore all on it’s own. So cool!
So much of Ulduar is just… well, neat. And pretty.
Thorim is the only real pain in the ass, because while a SKILLED Hunter can apparently solo Thorim, I found it to be too damn tricky to run back and forth from arena to tunnel trash and back, trying to keep from resetting the attack and dying to a ball of bloated boom boom lightning. Also I’m too lazy to buy or make speed pots, apparently.
The thing with him is, someone has to stay in the main arena room while someone else opens the gate and runs the tunnel gauntlet to get up there behind Thorim and push him over the edge. Kinda hard to do that solo. It can be done! Just tricky. That whole skill thing.
So if you really need to kill Thorim, the General and Yogg-Saron in Ulduar, you’re gonna want a buddy. I’ve been really lucky in having friends come join me for that last bit while I was in there, so it was easy to finish it up.
Me, I really needed to kill Yogg each time. I wanted his pants!
Last night, we killed Yogg, I stole his pants and I put them on immediately. They may have been dripping in green ooze, a bit smelly and tinged with crazy evil, but darling they look FABULOUS.
I can see making Ulduar a regular thing. Just gonna need to find a friend so we can always kill Yogg. I’m sure he’s got other goodies we can wear (after wiping away the goo).
I’ve wanted to complete that Hunter set for transmog a long time now, and there is something about it that feels perfectly balanced to me. The Firelands set makes a dramatic statement, but the shoulders are very narrow compared to my big bear belly. I look at it, and I look… fat. Which is a totally acceptable look for a bear, really!
The Scourgestalker set, on the other hand, has imposing shoulders that make the whole thing very… solid. Those padded shoulders, they have such a slimming effect, don’t you think?
Omg I rediscovered 80s fashion! First padded shoulders, what next, a power tie? Big bow for the hair?
Plus, that eyepatch looks really sweet with it, it comes from a quest chain in Blades Edge Mountains, and of course the Wolfslayer’s Sniper Rifle adds authority.
Now I have the hardest decision of all to make.
What pet can I tame that will look awesome with this set? I can’t run around with a big flame-red Devilsaur! That’s like wearing white leather after Noblegarden, it’s just not done.
I suggested finding a big black wolf, and my son said I couldn’t do that. The wolf would keep eyeing my rifle, and feeling sad.
What pet can I find to accessorize with my new black metal armor?
Oh geez, and even worse, I have to figure out new ground and flying mounts to color coordinate!
I need swatches. Someone get me swatches, this is serious!