In our efforts to bring you the latest content from the recent 2.3 patch, tonight I'm reporting live from Zul'Aman. For those of you who aren't in the know, Zul'Aman is a new 10-player raid dungeon added in patch 2.3 and intended as a continuation, in difficulty, from Karazhan. In order to give you an early glance at the zone on the live realms (for those of you who haven't had time to make it out there yourselves), I'm going through with a guild group tonight and reporting to you live with screenshots and first-hand information on the zone. My guild hasn't tried Zul'Aman on the PTRs and we don't know all of the details on the bosses we're about to encounter... and though we may not have much success, we're eager to dive head first into new content and we're bringing you along for the ride.
Raid time starts at 8:45 EST, so check back with us throughout the evening for new screenshots and notes on what we're running into! Keep reading after the jump for full run details.
8:30 -- Our raid group is just starting to log on and hop on to Teamspeak for the evening's festivities. A few of us are in front of Silvermoon City, waiting for the rest of the raid to group up.
8:45 -- We're riding through the Ghostlands to Zul'Aman now. The raid group is two priests (healers both), one shaman (healer), one shaman (DPS), one paladin (tank), one warrior (tank), two warlocks, one rogue, and one hunter. I'll be healing the off-tank while our healy shaman keeps the main tank up and the second priest is on holy DPS duty until we need the extra healing. My healing target complains that his life, once again, is in my hands. (Bwahaha.)
8:55 -- We zone in and everyone gets buffed. The warlocks hand out candy (aka healthstones) to everyone. We have a little pre-raid dance party around the Soulwell with "The Natives Are Restless" by The Cramps playing over Teamspeak.
8:58 -- We meet up with NPC Harrison Jones who says to open the gates of Zul'Aman we must bang a gong together. (There was some confusion before we realized that you only had to click the gong once to start banging it, where we were initially clicking repeatedly as to manually bang the gong.) As we bang the gong... the ground shakes! (It's very obvious in-game, but poorly represented in these screenshots.) We follow Harrison to the huge gates of Zul'Aman which slowly swing open for us.
9:05 -- Inside... Trolls! Harrison tragically loses his life to the first group. (And, yes, that does look like our DPS priest casting Holy Nova in there. Don't ask me to explain my guild-mates -- I can't!)
9:07 -- The trash seems relatively profitable, dropping about a gold a piece.
9:09 -- When you first zone in, a timer appears at the top of your screen reading "Time Until Sacrifice," counting down from 20 minutes and a friendly-sounding fellow named Nalorakk starts yelling at you. We search around for Nalorakk, and after running into a couple of locked doors, our raid leader spots him.
9:12 -- There's some discussion on Teamspeak of the instance being "intense" and "not smoke break friendly." (Unless you're trying to quit!) The timed run to Nalorakk requires moving quickly and the trash you run into is no slouch.
9:15 -- We reach Nalorakk and he sends his guards after us. We have some trouble fighting with them until we realize they can be feared/CC'd. We lose a couple of raid members in the attempt, and as soon as the guards are down Nalorakk flees from us. We have three minutes left to take him down (by our understanding, if you miss the timer, the loot you gain isn't as good, but you can still continue).
9:20 -- We get our first Amani Hex Stick, which allows you to uncurse frogs in the instance who may turn into vendors which give you profession items or NPCs who will offer you gifts.
9:23 -- We have our first wipe on trash chasing Nalorakk to his (perhaps) final destination, and instead of fighting us himself, he sends two bear-mounted Aman'ishi Warbringers at us. The Warbringers do an AOE shout debuff that increases the tanks' damage taken by 25% (and stacks), which lead to the quick death of both tanks, followed by the rest of the raid. We decide that the best way to deal with them is to tank them far enough apart for the debuffs not to stack. Though they still do a lot of damage, we had a lot more success when we started pulling them apart.
9:26 -- Our second wipe follows quickly. The Nalorakk event is apparently triggered by walking into a certain area, so one of our raid members accidentally triggered the event before we were healed, buffed, and ready to go.
9:28 -- We heal up and re-buff for another attempt. Our second priest is put into healing rotation to try to deal with the amount of damage the Aman'ishi Warbringers can dish out. We work on positioning tweaks to keep the Warbringers further apart.
9:32 -- At least the graveyard is close to the instance entrance! (Nearly right at the bottom of the stairs.) Another wipe as our tanks aren't able to keep the two Warbringers apart. We're wondering if threat works oddly on them because the tanks are having trouble pulling aggro of the second Warbringer off the initial tank, despite the fact that neither of them are using AOE threat abilities.
9:37 -- For try number three, we're going to have the main tank pull with a hunter misdirecting the second target onto the off-tank. Seems to work a lot better.
9:40 -- Oh, did we mention that the Warbringers dismount at low health and their bear mounts attack another target? Yep! However, third time's the charm! We take them out with only two deaths and Nalorakk flees again.
9:42 -- Nalorakk didn't run far, however -- just to the top of the set of stairs we were fighting at. However, there are more guards (2 Warbringers and 2 Axe Throwers) in front of him. We decide to CC the Axe Throwers and fight the Warbringers.
9:44 -- Another wipe after our first tank dies and both Warbringers focus on one tank. Spam heals from two healers weren't quite enough to keep our second tank up. We decide to rez and take a 5 minute break from the carnage.
9:55 -- A second try results in another quick wipe.
10:02 -- Regrouped and rebuffed for another attempt!
10:06 -- Though we lose our main tank in the attempt, we manage to take out all of the spawns this rurn around using our initial strategy (tanking the Warbringers on opposite sides of the platform and keeping the two Axe Throwers CC'd until the Warbringers are down). This time Nalorakk does not run off, but stays. Next step: boss fight!
10:11 -- Our first attempt on Nalorakk is a learning experience, that, unsurprisingly, results in our deaths. Nalorakk is able to do an AOE silence that hits our healers (and the tanks go down quickly with the healers silenced). He also shifts into bear form which allows him to mangle, and the mangle is made worse by a debuff that increases bleed damage. We brought him down to about 75%.
10:18 -- Several run out to repair (fortunately, repairs are convenient to the instance entrance). We regroup for another attempt with a plan to switch tanks as they get hit by the bleed debuff and try to keep casters out of range of the silence.
10:23 -- This attempt takes him down to 69%. Switching tanks seem to work reasonably well, but in the end we're still having issues with the silence. We're getting a good feel for the mechanics of this fight, though -- I have a good feeling about next time.
10:30 -- One of our tanks goes down early, making the third attempt a lost cause. We give it a try and then run out to reset the encounter (you can just run down the stairs and Nalorakk will reset). We have the right strategy, it's just a matter of coordinating it properly.
10:38 -- After this wipe, the encounter seems to have reset completely, sending Nalorakk back to his initial spawn point with a few friends. Fortunately, the quest item we need for the first Zul'Aman quest is in clear view -- so there's at least one thing accomplished!
10:43 -- We decide to continue our adventures by exploring the area trash and seeing if we can reach any other bosses. The first trash mob we encounter runs off to bang a drum... summoning more trash. So far, three trolls, no problems.
10:46 -- Some of these Trolls are immune to sap. How can a Troll be immune to being hit over the head? Others immune to traps. Combined with the drums, this makes for some tricky trash pulls -- the only way to keep some of the Trolls from going for the drums is to keep them CC'd or constantly stunned. (Though no idea if some of these larger pulls are necessary.)
10:54 -- After a couple of large pulls (where the drums summon more and more and more adds), we manage to get ourselves killed, and we're back at the instance entrance.
11:00 -- We decide to take a five minute break. Quite a few of us need to repair. 12g worth of repairs for me so far.
11:18 -- We're purely exploring at this point, seeing if there's a different boss we can get to.
11:21 -- We find a frog to use the hex stick on. The frog turns into a Tauren who says:
Greetings, kind stranger, and thank you for your selfless act. These heathens have robbed me of my belongings, but I can offer you this charm I took from my captors. May it serve you well.
The Tauren leaves a box that, when looted, contains Amani Charm of the Raging Defender, which can't be looted. (In the end, we decide this is some sort of weird master loot problem.)
11:24 -- We can sneak up on Jan'alai, the forth boss in the instance, from behind, but there's not a clear path to him.
11:29 -- The Amani'shi Handlers (Trolls with cat pets) toss out electrified nets which do a good amount of damage over time, resulting in a couple of deaths clearing the trash behind Jan'alai.
11:35 -- We call it a night. It's been fun exploring, but for the most part, we didn't seem quite geared for this level of content. (Our tanks were maxxing out health at 16-17k and getting bursts from Nalorakk as high as 12k.) We're going to need to spend more time getting everyone in top Karazhan gear before we can seriously tackle Zul'Aman.
Update: Added lots of screenshots after the raid was over and fleshed out sections of text with clearer explanation.