Healing Ulduar: Hodir

Healing Ulduar: Hodir

creature_hodir

For other bosses in Ulduar, check the Ulduar Healing Strategy Page

Hodir is a fight that requires a lot of movement. This boss is a big cuddly snowman who likes to spread the love, and the iceblocks. This fight will keep you on your toes. 

Notes about the fight:

  • Lots of movement
  • Raid wide damage

Abilities

Biting Cold – This is an aura like affect that pulses through the entire raid. This is much like the ability from Keristrasza in the nexus, you need to keep moving to keep it from stacking up on you. Each stack increases the periodic damage it deals. 

Freeze – This deals about 5k frost damage to all players within 10 yards of the target, it also roots the targets in place.

Flash Freeze – This encases the entire raid in blocks of ice. This is prevented by standing on snowdrifts. 

Icicle – Occasionally giant blocks of ice will fall from the ceiling. These deal 12,000 damage to anyone hit and have a knock back component. You can see which areas will be hit by a small circular glyph on the ground. If you are having trouble seeing the glyphs, go into your video settings and turn on Projected Textures. Before a flash freeze, a larger glyph will show on the ground before the ice falls and will leave behind Snowdrifts which must be used to avoid flash freeze. 

Frozen Blows – Reduces Hodir’s physical damage but adds a frost damage component to his attacks. This also has a raid wide frost damage effect. 

Enrage – Hodir has a 9 minute Enrage Timer 

Ability Examples:

ice      

 Icicle

 snowdrift

 Snowdrift

 freeze

 Freeze

NPCs

Hodir also comes with a selections of NPC’s that must be broken out of their icy prisons. There will be four on normal and 8 on heroic. The npc’s consists of the following. 

2x Druids: The druids are hard to miss, they’re in boomkin form. When you break them out they DPS Hodir but also cast Starlight which increases the attack speed of anyone standing in it by 100%

2x Shaman: The shamans DPS Hodir elemental style and will occasionally cast Storm Cloud on a raid member. This ability lets you buff several raid members with Storm Power which increases their critical strike damage by 135%

2x Mages: The mages will help try to break fellow NPCs out of ice blocks and will cast a Toasty Fire. The fire is literally a camp fire on the ground, but it fights off the effects of biting cold. Falling ice and Flash Freeze will wipe out the fire. 

2x Priests: The priests will smite and occasionally throw out a heal, but most importantly they will cast Dispel Magic to free players from the effects of Freeze

Execution

Your raid will head in following the Main Tank. The tank will take Hodir back towards the rear of the room. DPS will begin by breaking out the NPCs. After all the NPCs have been broken out, DPS can start in on Hodir. When DPS first engages Hodir it is a good time to blow Heroism / Bloodlust. Healers should move into position to be near the Main Tank while everyone else needs to move into position around the raid. DPS continues on Hodir until he is about to cast Flash Freeze. Everyone needs to move to the Snowdrifts to avoid being frozen. After the Flash Freeze any raiders who were frozen should be broken free ASAP. DPS will then begin on the NPCs again until all are free, and then will resume DPS on Hodir. Rinse and repeat until the big guy is done. 

Healing Hodir

Healing Hodir has two major components, 

Main Tank – Three healers should be assigned to the main tank. They should be in close proximity at all times and moving with the tank as needed. Grace from a Disc Priest helps even out the damage from Hodir. 

Raid – The rest of the healers should be spread out along the outside of the raid to cover as many raiders as possible. 

All healers will be moving quite a bit during this fight, dodging falling ice and shaking off the effect of bitting cold until the NPC’s are broken loose. Shamans will be using a lot of Riptide and Lesser Healing Wave, Druids will be right at home rolling HoTs, Paladins will be using quick Flash Heals, as well as priests utilizing renews and quick heals. It is possible to toss out a longer cast heal such as Greater Heal or Chain Heal and move before biting cold stacks, as long as you can find yourself a rhythm for move and cast. Your main goal as healers should be to find a Toasty Fire close enough to the raid to sit on. If you have the Toasty Fire buff, you can spam heals without worry of stacking Biting Cold. Since the rest of the raid will be moving around though, be prepared to move to keep people in range. Once you learn to balance the movement and the heals the fight is pretty straight forward.

Until next time, Happy Healing. 

Healing Ulduar: Ignis the Furnace Master

Healing Ulduar: Ignis the Furnace Master

header

For other bosses in Ulduar, check the Ulduar Healing strategy page.

Here’s a rather unconventional approach to killing Ignis which utilizes the side of the instance. Using this method does appear to be rather cheesy, but it takes a lot of pressure off many players. Credit this to Kimbo for figuring this out. Ignis is one of the early optional bosses you’ll encounter first in Ulduar. I recommend working on Razorscale first before doubling back to the Furnace Master.

Quick notes

  • Standard tank and spank
  • Periodic Constructs will activate

Abilities

Scorch – All enemies in front of Ignis will take quick dot damage for 3 seconds (ticks every half-a-second). Constructs within the area will start to heat up and become Molten.

Flame Jets – Geysers of flame shoot up from the ground and throw raid members up into the air. If the Flame Jets connect while a player is casting, they’ll be interrupted for 8 seconds. Targets take fire damage over 8 seconds.

Slag Pot – Ignis will charge a player and grab them tossing them into his Slag Pot (the pot hanging around his waist).

Activate Construct – Activates a Construct with 3.8 million health.

Strength of the Creator – When a Construct is active, damage done by Ignis is increased by 15%. It’s a stacking buff. When a Construct is taken out, the stack is removed.

Ability examples

ignis-flame-patch

Scorch on the ground

ignis-constructs

Construct

flame-jet 

Here’s a shot of some of the melee players in the air after a Flame Jet.

Setup

Here’s our non-conventional setup. If you look to your left and right, you’ll see two pools of water that are surrounded by a ledge. Start heading for the one on the left (facing Ignis) that’s nearest the entrance ramp. All ranged DPS and healers should stand on the ledge.

The reason you want to set up in this position is to think back to the days of Starcraft where players set up choke points for enemies to go through. Constructs that spawn, if their aggro is gained by a ranged player, will have to run all the way into the pool and then up the ramp in order to take out a player (green path). The extra distance the Construct has to run should be more than enough time for your off tank to attract the Construct’s attention.

healer-pos-choke

Main tank

ignis-kite-path

Your tank’s going to be running laps along the red path. The ranged group should not be affected by Scorches. Your healers are going to have to strafe along the blue arrow to maintain range with the tank. The upper line is a little under 40 yards.

Execution

Once Ignis is engaged, your main tank will pick him up and start keeping him moving in a roundabout fashion pictured above. After a period of time has passed, Ignis will begin to activate Constructs. Off tanks need to snatch them up and bring them into Scorched areas and hold them in there until they turn Molten. When it hits 20 stacks, it becomes Brittle.

What do you get when you combine something incredibly hot with something incredibly cold? The object becomes extremely brittle. Same thing applies here. The chance to crit the Construct increases. Damage done over 5000 will effectively kill it. Be sure to target Brittle’d Constructs with your ranged players as they explode dealing damage to players in close proximity.

Have players keep an eye on Flame Jets. If spellcasters are caught casting when Flame Jet connects, they’re locked out of casting for 8 seconds. Not good if you’re a healer.

Healing

There are four healing areas to cover in this fight:

Main tank – One healer should be enough but other healers will need to keep HoTs as active as possible especially with numerous Constructs.

Off tank – If there are Constructs up, your off tank is going to need heals as well.

Slag Pot – Ignis is going to charge and pick up a player and toss them into his sack. While in his sack, they will take 5000 damage every second for 10 seconds. Keep a dedicated raid healer on Slag Pot duty. If there’s no one in there, that healer then returns back to healing the raid.

Healers won’t be able to cast too many spells in there. But healers with instant spells should be able to cast them as much as they can. Priests, for example, can Holy Nova while inside the pot.

Raid – Flame Jet and Scorched melee players are going to involve the bulk of the healing here. Chain Healing Shamans will be at their finest especially since ranged players will be strafing along the ledge. After getting hit by a Flame Jet, I will personally light up a few Holy Novas while I’m in the air.

Healing loot

Flamewrought Cinch – Leather

Lifeforge Breastplate – Plate

Pyrelight Circle – Ring

Scepter of Creation – Wand

10 v. 25-Person Content Revisited

10 v. 25-Person Content Revisited

green-vortex

Well, darn. I figured out something last night that should have me eating my hat, or humble pie, or maybe a boiled crow, or else four-and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie. One of my biggest predictions about Wrath of the Lich King turns out to have been dead wrong.
some-very-humble-pie

When I first heard about the 10 v. 25 raid size split in Wrath, I made a logical assumption. To be entirely fair, the conclusion I drew was well-supported by blue comments. I believed that since the rewards would be demonstrably better in 25-person content, as a consequence the difficulty level would also be higher. Either that, or the difficulty level would be exactly the same, the only reason for a reward difference being the Organization Boss that all larger guilds have to face every week.

However, last night I ran two “normal difficulty” raids that took my breath away: Sartharion with two drakes and Malygos. Without a stacked raid, our group–which took out Sartharion 25 with 2 drakes earlier this week after only an hour and a half of tries–just could not make any headway in the 10-man version. We had to settle for just one drake, and since we picked the baby dragon-spawner by accident, that was no cake walk either. And as for the rewards at the end? Nothing anyone wanted, since we had been doing so much Sartharion 25 and Naxx 25. We were pretty psyched to get the achievement, though.

As for Malygos, we took him down with two healers, and boy, was I sweating. Tank healing was tight, and raid healing was even dodgier. Meanwhile, my mana pool dipped to absolutely scary levels–which became an emergency when I made a mistake on one attempt and blew my innervate in the gap between phase 1 and phase 2. In my panic I hadn’t even been checking Mal’s health bar. Malygos is a fight I love on 25s, but I have to say that the 10-man was breathtaking. It’s exactly the kind of challenge I want–one that I know I can meet, or that gives me a chance to make improvements between attempts. It has me tempted to go back again. However, once again the rewards aren’t in proportion to the difficulty. I’d say the loot is about on par with Kel’Thuzad’s from Naxx 25–pretty darn good, but not nearly as nice as the stuff that comes out of the easier 25-person version of the same instance.

Has Blizzard Made A Big Mistake?

Clearly, I think they have, or I wouldn’t have written this post. Knowing what I know now, there’s no reason to separate Emblem loot by normal/heroic raid tier. I think I definitely earned an Emblem of Valor or two for that Malygos kill. I had heard before that Sartharion with 3 drakes was absolutely monstrous on 10s, and I thought that was just a freak thing. But based on my personal experience, I’ve come to think that the phenomenon is more widespread. Nothing in Naxx–either version–is all that difficult for my guild, but I do remember that Kel’Thuzad is harder on both healers and melee-heavy groups in the smaller size. Like it or not, I’ve come to the conclusion that raids who run 10-person content only deserve the same compensation as 25-person raiders.

What Can the Developers Do About It?

A lot of people in this game min/max, and it looks like right now, the biggest rewards for a person’s time and effort come out of 25-person content. This is a disappointment to me, because I want the game design to lead me–and my fellow raiders–to the hardest possible content. The game needs to lure us there with rewards and encourage us not to be lazy. I also want everyone to get fair compensation for what they do. I just feel bad about getting better gear for less work than a smaller guild might do. A 10-man guild who clears Sarth with 3 drakes has absolutely played better than I’m capable of right now–and they get a Heroes’ glove token, while I’m wearing a Valorous one? Ludicrous. Moreover, assuming that Ulduar-10 is harder than Ulduar-25, could that mean that a raid really needs i-level 213 gear to do it? The gear gap between 10-person raiders and 25-person raiders is pretty noticeable. As promised, it is very nearly a whole tier of difference. I think I had smaller upgrades, say, between T4 and T5 than I did between Heroes and Valorous.

For Ulduar and all future raids, I urge Blizzard to do one of two things.

1. Eliminate the i-level gap for 10 v. 25 person gear along with the Emblem difference. Put either equivalent or exactly the same items in each tier. The dichotomy was a nice idea, but the dungeon difficulty doesn’t actually support it. Clearly, I never favor lazy solutions, so I’d rather have totally unique sets in each dungeon size tailored towards the attributes that tend to be more important in that particular raid size. For small raids, survivability and mana regeneration/total mana might be key, whereas you might want higher damage output for the larger raids.

2. For the love of Pete, make the 25-person content different from the 10-person content. It’s not enough to adjust the health and damage values. Make the encounter feel different. Add lots of chaos for the 25s so it feels more on the difficulty level of the 10s. Give every one of those 25 raiders something to do, as in the Lady Vashj fight. I would even go so far as to give the bosses different mechanics–think about, say, the difference between Mechano-Lord Capacitator from Mechanar on Normal v. Heroic. Make the 25-person raiders earn their higher i-level sets.

Don’t Be Lazy

The solution to most of the problems I’ve seen in Wrath so far can be summarized with this adage. Wherever the developers have cut corners, things didn’t come out so well. No one’s complaining about the design of the leveling content or 5-person dungeons. That’s because they clearly show that Blizzard lavished time and attention on them. The same is, unfortunately, not true of the dual-tier raid system. I think it’s time to bring it in line.