June 5, 2009

WoW Warriors: WoW Patch 3.1.3 and Ulduar Tips

This week has been a heady one for me: I got my four piece Conqueror's Siegebreaker Battlegear on patch day, which was pretty sweet, and then in our second night of raiding this week we finally killed the big brain slug squid monster himself. Combine that with wow patch 3.1.3 dropping (which meant we had fun times like an announced server shutdown just as we were about to pull Thorim, leading to the fastest Thorim kill I've ever been on) and all in all, it's been quite a week. Heck, I even got to go prot and get some prot goodies like pants and a belt.

It was a small patch all in all, so I wasn't expecting huge improvement and I didn't see it. I saw a marginal DPS increase as fury (2 to 300 DPS unbuffed, not too much more fully buffed) and I made sure to compare notes with the arms warrior in our raids, and his DPS was very close to my own. We're still below the other hybrids, but not by as great a margin, so that's nice at least. As for the PvP change to Juggernaut, well, it's painful. Before respeccing prot for my secondary spec for good this week I went out on a Wintergrasp jaunt, and I'll probably never do that again.At least with Heroic Fury I can make a choice about how long I will allow someone to kite me to death. To be fair the Juggernaut change isn't really all that bad, but over the years I've played warriors I've moved from prefering arms as my DPS/PvP spec to being a fury warrior so I'm easier to discourage from arms than I used to be.

The title of today's post mentions patch 3.1.3 Ulduar tips. Since I've started doing some tanking in there when we're short (we lost a few tanks to RL issues) I've gotten to experience some of the fights from the perspective of the guy trying to stay alive and hold aggro. Strangely, I still find tanking to be the most serenely chaotic aspect of playing a warrior and one that's the most enjoyable to keep up with. I'll cover tanking and DPS warrior tips (I'm stealing from Chase here, I admit it, but I realized I hadn't talked about these fights that much.) Today we'll cover the bosses of the Siege of Ulduar.

Obviously I have nothing to say about tanking or DPSing Flame Leviathan. I took a demolisher this week, it was fun, I didn't really think very hard about it. We did a two towers hardmode this weekend on our usual ten man, but I don't know when we'll be trying that on 25 (some of the 25 man hardmode kills seem harder than 10 just due to the complexity of getting 25 people in synch, which is nice, since 25 man hardmodes generally give better loot than 10 man they should be harder) - at any rate, it doesn't matter what your normal role is here, you run away when he targets you and DPS him when he targets someone else, launch casters at him, it's the same for any class.

Ignis the Furnace Master is a pain to DPS, frankly. I hate fights with so much kiting. I find Flame Jets to be more annoying than really painful (although that's due to our good healers I'm sure) and Scorch is pretty easy to avoid as long as you stay behind him, which is where you're supposed to be as DPS anyway. If you have a Shield macro ready (perhaps for spell reflecting in PvP) get ready to use it if you go into the Slag Pot. You can Shield Wall in there and make your healers lives less hectic. As a tank, I find Ignis himself to be boring, since aside from dragging his giant butt around the room to get him fairly close to the water when he scorches (to make it easier for the tank or tanks kiting the adds to get them brittle.

I actually find add tanking on the iron constructs to be more fun and challenging than tanking Ignis himself. This is one of the few fights where Shockwave really feels powerful to me: the ability to cone stun two or three molten iron constructs is worth the price of admission, and it's pretty easy as a warrior tank to pick up new constructs, between being able to throw your weapon, charge to them, or taunt them over. It's a very mobile fight for the add tank, always having to find new adds, drag them through the scorch effect on the ground, then get them to the water so that a ranged can blow them up and remove the stacking Strength of the Creator buff from Ignis. Since that buff is pretty much the tank killer on Ignis, keeping it low is the priority. I've never had to tank more than three of the contructs at once (we have enough tanks that we can keep a tank covering each side of the room) but with Shield Block and a decent block value set (see, a use for Block, if not a particularly glamorous one) you can mitigate a fair amount of the non-fire damage from even three hasted adds and get them into the water. Warrior tanks can do either job in the Ignis fight, but I'd say, if you're asked, you'll have more fun tanking the adds.

Razorscale is an interesting fight for a warrior, tank or DPS. If you're a tank, you'll probably start out tanking adds as they spawn from the borers to left and right of the platform. The main difficulty here is picking them up while avoiding the patches of Devouring Flame that Razorscale drops on the ground. Warrior tanks are a pretty good choice to tank either the Dark Rune Watchers (thanks to our interrupts and spell reflect) and the Dark Rune Sentinels, since we can disarm them and give melee a break from doing it. DPS warriors are probably the better choice to disarm over rogues as well, since the Sentinels hit for 8k or so on plate armor. (Granted, rogues can Feint here and take 50% less AoE, but still.)

Warriors are not a good choice for harpoon duty, as they'd have to run out of melee to do it. Let a hunter or mage or other ranged handle that.

During phase 2, especially once Razorscale is grounded for good, tanks take a solid amount of damage here. In my experience we usually taunt Razorscale between two or more tanks (we usually have at least three in the raid, so we use all three) every time a tank has two stacks of Fuse Armor on him or her. It's very reminiscent of Al'ar tanking if you ran Tempest Keep at all. You have to try and move Razorscale out of the Devouring Flame (definitely use Warbringer to charge back into range if you get buffeted out) and keep taunting her between tanks so as to not have Fuse Armor stack to five and stun a tank.

DPS warriors have to conserve their cooldowns and not blow them on trash. The time to use every trick in the book is when Razorscale is dragged down by the harpoons. Ideally you want to burn Razorscale down to 50% in two harpoon phases or less. (It usually takes us two, I have no doubt there are guilds who can burn her to 50% in one phase) - pop Death Wish, Recklessness, Shattering Throw for arms warriors (fury can do it too, but it requires switching stances so it's a big personal loss of DPS time), potions of speed, whatever you can do to put the most DPS possible on Razorscale. If you don't have a rogue to expose you should be sundering (unless you have a warrior tank who will be using Devastate, then you can just ignore that) - your priority once Razorscale drops is to pour DPS into her, you can safely ignore adds (they will most likely be offtanked) for the entirety of a ground phase. Once she's grounded for good, just avoid Devouring Flames as much as you can and follow her around smashing at her hindquarters while the tanks move her around and juggle taunt.

XT - 002 Deconstructor is a DPS race with some complications. First off, there's the Searing Light and Gravity Bomb debuffs. These really don't matter all that much if you're tanking XT himself, since it's not like you as a tank could move away from the boss even if you got them. (I've not seen a tank take either debuff while tanking XT, but I'm not willing to say it doesn't happen, I can't be at every raid simultaneously.) As DPS, the light debuff is farily easy to deal with for warriors: you group the melee at one of his feet and if you get Searing Light, you move over to the other foot by yourself and minimize the damage you deal to others. For Gravity Bomb, my raid tends to keep the right and left sides of XT -002 as clear as possible, and if melee gets a Gravity Bomb, they just light out to whatever clear side is closer. You need to run as soon as you notice you have the debuff, don't stand there trying to get off one last Bladestorm or what have you. There's not much you can do about Tympanic Tantrum except hope your healers have lots of mana - I tend to use Shield Wall or Last Stand when I hear a Tantrum announced as a tank.

You also may end up tanking pummelers. Try and keep them away from the boombots if possible, but if you can arrange it to shockwave the scrapbots as you pick up the pummelers it's not a bad idea. A reasonably well geared warrior tank can hold three or four pummelers without too much difficulty. Some raids have ranged DPS focus the pummelers down while others simply have one or two tanks offtank them for the duration of the fight and focus all DPS on XT, it really depends on your raid makeup.

The add phase is where the real action is for warriors. First off, the Heart of the Deconstructor drops and that's where most of your focus will be as a melee DPS. You do double damage to the heart and whatever damage you do to it is transferred to XT himself, so this phase is a pretty important one for getting through the fight as quickly as possible. However, if you're not doing a hard mode kill, don't kill the heart. Or to put it another way, if you kill the heart you are about to try hard mode whether you want to or not. This is an especially bad thing to do on your third add phase when he's almost dead and the raid is out of mana, by the way. Not that I know anything about how that is from personal experience.

After the heart goes back up, if there are any scrapbots that the mages, warlocks and other ranged didn't catch that are threatening to reach XT, go kill them. Then get back on XT and make sure not to forget to watch for Searing Light and Gravity Bomb. Rinse and repeat for each phase shift: DPS XT, watch for debuffs and adjust as necessary, switch to the heart and burn it down making sure not to kill it unless you intend to do hard modes, clean up the adds and go back to XT. There's nothing terribly special here for warriors to do: both arms and fury warriors should make use of their mobility to help clean up adds (juggernaut/heroic fury is very helpful here) while prot warriors picking up pummelers should make use of Heroic Throw and Warbringer.

That's the Siege covered. Next week, we'll be handling the bosses of the Antechamber of Ulduar.

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