Skip to Content

WoW Insider has the latest on the Mists of Pandaria!

Posts with tag ulduar

Breakfast Topic: What characterizes WoW's best raids?

Breakfast Topic What characterizes WoW's best raids
People disagree a lot as to what WoW's best raids have been, not least because it's tough to evaluate how "good" a raid was until after some time has passed. For example, an MMO Champion forum poll a few months ago selected Icecrown Citadel as the game's best "final raid," and yet, I remember lots of players complaining that it hadn't been anywhere near as good as Black Temple a the time. You also have to wonder about the extent to which accessibility plays a role. Most people who saw Sunwell at level 70 loved it, but that wasn't a lot of people.

Anyway, three of the most frequently cited "best raids" of WoW are Karazhan, Black Temple, and Ulduar. I thought it might be worthwhile to ask -- what made them so good?
  • Iconic drops or rewards Many of the drops from these places are instantly recognizable. Everybody wanted the "squid staff" off Illhoof and the Nightbane shield, and you can't swing a dead cat in trade chat without hitting another Black Temple transmog run. Even Ulduar, in the age of gear consolidation, had memorable drops.
  • Atmosphere Karazhan was essentially an overgrown haunted house. Black Temple was a fortress full of Broken that would be hostile until you set Akama's soul free, with the brooding Illidan perched on top. Ulduar was an exceptionally beautiful fortress concealing its true purpose as a prison.
  • At least one unexpected encounter You couldn't beat Kara without besting Medivh's ghost at chess, Illidan was one of WoW's most inventive fights, and, as nightmarishly difficult as it was, I still cherish my guild's first Yogg-0 kill.
What made something WoW's "best raid" for you? What mechanics or features would you most like to see repeated in a future raid?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Raiding

Know Your Lore: Algalon the Observer

Image
The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.
I have seen worlds bathed in the Makers' flames. Their denizens fading without so much as a whimper. Entire planetary systems born and razed in the time that it takes your mortal hearts to beat once.
The Titans are creatures of myth and mystery to the mortals of Azeroth. While some Azerothians (most notably Brann Bronzebeard) seek to unravel their secrets, most remain blissfully unaware and uncaring of the origins of the world. But the mysteries Brann works so hard to uncover more often than not raise far more questions than they answer, and in some cases, create havoc that could reduce our world to ashes in the blink of an eye.

In Ulduar, Brann sought to uncover the further secrets of the origin of the dwarves, something that the Explorer's League has been working on since the early days of WoW and the first player steps into the Titan stronghold of Uldaman. But what Brann uncovered was a massive facility that wasn't just for the storage of information from times long past. The facility of Ulduar and its corrupt Titans weren't anywhere near as much of a threat to the world as what came after Loken's defeat in the Halls of Lightning. For it was the moment of his defeat that the failsafe was tripped and the signal was sent.

And it was Loken's death that heralded the arrival of Algalon the Observer and the end of the world.

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Transmogrify your blood elf into the druid of your dreams

OK, look. We know according to current lore, blood elves cannot be druids. The quel'dorei left behind Nordrassil and any tree-hugging ways they might have had when they were banished after the War of the Ancients, thousands and thousands of years ago. Blood elves are all about the arcane, not about nature magic. But apparently, there's a huge contingent of people out there that would still like to be able to play them in game.

It's doubtful we will ever see that particular race and class combination come into play. However, the magic of transmogrification can at least give you the look you're going for. There's no shape-shifting or nature spells with this look, and you'll need a leather-wearing class to pull it off -- for blood elves, that pretty much means a rogue. But if you're dead set on blood elf druids and you'd still like the look of one, even if you can't play the class ... well, this combination ought to do the trick!

Read more →

Filed under: Transmogrification

Know Your Lore: The haunting legacy of Grom Hellscream

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

I chose Garrosh because he has the strength to lead our people through these trying times. For all my supposed wisdom, there have been moments that I've barely been able to hold the Horde together. The Wrath Gate and Undercity displayed that clearly.

The Horde cries for a hero of old. An orc of true blood that will bow to no human and bear no betrayal. A warrior that will make our people proud again. Garrosh can be that hero. I did not make this decision lightly, Vol'jin.

I know our alliances will suffer for it. I know the Horde will be irreversibly changed. But I made this choice with confidence that Garrosh is exactly what the Horde needs. I'm trusting you and the other leaders to not let this divide our people. You are stronger than that.

Let's just cut to the chase here: It was revealed in the press event information that Garrosh Hellscream, current Warchief of the Horde, will have his reign abruptly ended in Mists of Pandaria. The son of the great Grom Hellscream will no longer be Warchief, and it's not only the Alliance that will be participating in his dethroning -- it's the Horde as well. Though it may seem like a rash course of action, in all honesty, this has been coming for a very, very long time.

After all, he is the son of Hellscream.

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Shifting Perspectives: Feral soloing Ulduar and other dragons in the 4.3 era

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our feral cat edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. This week, we discuss proper defrosting techniques for animal fur.

As you'll recall, last week we decided that we might need something to do while we're waiting to explore Pandaria, so we decided to go kill things solo in Northrend. Soloing Naxxramas, save a few encounters, isn't too much of a challenge. But Onyxia? Malygos? Ulduar, even? Now we're talking ... or dying -- frequently, as the case may be, while testing these strategies. (If you need a quick primer on how to get up to speed with bearcat soloing, check out the Naxxramas article.)

Read more →

Filed under: (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Optional boss modes making a comeback in Mists of Pandaria?

Kaivax hit the forums to answer a player's question about Ulduar and talk about the fondness the dungeon has retained amongst the playerbase and where the optional boss modes have gone. Back during the first half of Wrath of the Lich King, "choose your own difficulty" encounters and in-fight hard mode triggers were staples of the encounters in Ulduar and the Obsidian Sanctum. When Trial of the Crusader launched, Blizzard implemented the UI-based difficulty toggle. Players have expressed desire to return to the old days, feeling that the toggle method is just too robotic when encounters could be designed around cool difficulty-swap mechanics. In his post, Kaivax hints that the design teams are thinking about bringing back these mechanics for some fights in the upcoming expansion, Mists of Pandaria.

Rather than selecting a normal or hard mode toggle before pulling an encounter, Ulduar raid groups were tasked with completing different objectives during the encounter or defeating the boss mechanics in a different order to activate hard mode. Famously, players would press a large red button behind Mimiron labelled "DO NOT PUSH THIS BUTTON," activating the encounter and a rather angry Titanic watcher. Other fights during Wrath of the Lich King such as Freya and Sartharion featured a "choose your own difficulty" mechanic wherein the player's choices before the encounter increased or decreased the boss' overall difficulty. Harder combinations of abilities would yield more impressive items.

Will Mists of Pandaria bring back our beloved "choose your difficulty" encounters and in-fight hard mode triggers? I know I'd like to get another Sartharion-style encounter, especially with mount rewards like the original provided.

Read the full blue post behind the break below.

Read more →

Filed under: Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King, Mists of Pandaria

Big stakes and the end of an expansion

Guys, I don't know if you know this, but we have just pried the elementium plates off of the back of a dragon so big 25 people can stand on him. After that, we killed the mutant kaiju version of him, who was so big his head alone was bigger than us and four other giant dragons.

I'm sorry, but you have to be 50 kinds of jaded to not enjoy this. One of the things I've really enjoyed about patch 4.3 and the Dragon Soul raid is how it unabashedly throws massive, crazy, world-ending doomsday events at you. Between fending off not one but two faceless ones from within bloated abominations, balking an ancient earth elemental giant at the base of Wyrmrest Temple, and defeating Ultraxion and then taking on Deathwing himself, the fights feel enormous. The stakes are huge, and while the supposed saviors of Azeroth spend a lot of time thinking really hard at a McGuffin, we step the heck up.

Whether you are hitting it via Raid Finder, attending your weekly 10-man hardcore raid, or participating as a member of a casual 25-man raid alliance (or anything in between), in terms of pure aesthetics, Dragon Soul is a very satisfying raid in terms of pure scope and sweep.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm

Know Your Lore: The Story of Us -- Quests in WoW, part 2

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Wrath of the Lich King is where the current paradigm for quests in World of Warcraft took full shape. Whether you played Horde or Alliance, you got to experience the events of Wrath from an entirely new perspective than questing had ever managed before. Even though there were still (and always probably will be) quests asking players to gather random amounts of (as an example) meat for stews or cannonballs, these quests were supplementary in nature.

The big-draw quests were elaborate chains that revealed lore about the world and the threat that it was now under. The Lich King's attacks on Orgrimmar and Stormwind during the events leading up to the expansion were bait in a subtle trap aimed at bringing players to Northrend. That's right: The Lich King attacked your cities entirely to get you sent to him. You. The player characters were the front and center reasons for everything. The Lich King desired nothing less than the finest heroes the Horde and Alliance had to offer, and that's exactly who they sent.

How did questing reflect this?

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

The OverAchiever: Mountain O' Mounts in raids

Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, we return to flogging the guts out of bosses that might puke up a horse.

Today we're going to look at mounts that drop in (or, in one case, as part of a quest within) raids. I'd initially expected to include mounts like the Ulduar proto-drakes and Icecrown frostwyrms, but they're really more the result of a series of achievements rather than encounters themselves. Otherwise, there are more than enough pure drops to keep us occupied today; Blizzard's always been fond of making unique mounts the potential reward of difficult raid encounters, and you'll get a few extra feats of strength if you nab some of these beauties.

Also read:

Read more →

Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Silence of the Titans


The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Once upon a time, godlike creatures of order called Titans landed on a small, unassuming planet named Azeroth and proceeded to reorganize it. After they left, the planet was invaded by malevolent creatures called Old Gods -- creatures of chaos and destruction. The Titans returned to the little planet, horrified at what had happened, and rose up against the Old Gods and their elemental lieutenants in what was the most horrific war the planet had ever seen. But instead of destroying the Old Gods, the Titans were forced to imprison them deep within the planet.

They set safeguards over the fragile world -- draconic aspects to watch over the various domains of life, the earth, magic, time, and nature. They created new guardians to watch over the prisons of the Old Gods. They created a magical font of energy, tied to the Twisting Nether -- the Well of Eternity. And satisfied with their work, the Titans left. No one on the fragile planet has seen them since; they are spoken of in history and in legend, but they've never returned.

Why? Of all the questions in Azeroth, this is the biggest by far. Why did the Titans imprison the Old Gods, instead of starting over from scratch? Common theory suggests they liked the planet too much to re-originate it, yet they left behind safeguards that would do exactly that, if the Old Gods escaped again. So why not simply do so to begin with? Why leave the world as it stood? More importantly -- why are we here?

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition, meaning the following is a look into what has gone before with pure speculation on why it happened. The events presented are events that happened in Azeroth's history, but the conclusion is simply a theory and shouldn't be taken as fact.

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Taking out the trash

I always thought I would love a no-trash dungeon. I came up in raiding in the days of MC and BWL, raids that were absolutely chock full of trash. AQ40? Oh, so much trash. Trash to the point of absurdity. Going into the original Naxxramas meant dealing with a huge space absolutely stuffed full of rotting, slimy, or arachnid horrors. You spent far more time coordinating pulls on those annoying warlocks in Blackwing Lair and their dynamite-throwing goblin friends than you actually did on bosses.

In The Burning Crusade, the 5-mans had trash galore. Five, even six packs in Shadow Labyrinth, constant streams of adds in Shattered Halls, complicated trash pulls in Karazhan and Serpentshrine. I still remember with dread being the tank standing there using spell reflection to get the attention of Hyjal caster waves. Dealing with trash has always been a part of the game, as it has been part of the genre. In fact, one of the reasons that Naxxramas 10/25 felt so empty to me was that it simply held less trash than it did as a 40-man raid at level 60, so huge stretches of the place were deserted, as if Kel'Thuzad had gone on a staff-cutting binge and pink-slipped half of the Scourge before you even got there.

After we'd gotten Ulduar more or less on farm and moved on to Trial of the Crusader, I was pretty ready for a break from trash. I was very excited about a trashless dungeon where you just fought bosses. Wouldn't that be epic? Wouldn't it be awesome for every fight in a raid to be an epic struggle against a named, powerful adversary?

Turned out, not so much.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Raiding

WoW Moviewatch: Ulduar

Ulduar came up in the comments last week. Since Ulduar is a classic machinima and a strong staff favorite, it's completely worth another visit. Ulduar is performed by Summergale and Cranius, while the video was created by the infinitely amazing Legs.

Ulduar is the story of star-crossed lovers. Cranius portrays the role of a PvP player who feels out of place in raids. Summergale, by comparison, is an experienced raider who is bored with contemporary content. There's just not much to be done until Ulduar is released. Like many star-crossed lovers, the two characters have nothing to do but sing to one another about the predicament.

Like many of the best machinima, Ulduar has stood the test of time, even though the World of Warcraft itself has moved on. The vocal performances and animation quality are so well done that the final work feels just as relevant now as it ever did.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

Know Your Lore: Uldaman, Ulduar, and Uldum, strongholds of the Titans

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

In the beginning, Azeroth existed as a simple planet floating in the midst of space (or the great dark beyond, as it's sometimes called). There is very little out there in terms of the history of Azeroth's creation, but what little we do know is this: Azeroth attracted the attention of creatures called Titans, godlike beings that traveled from world to world, creating order from chaos and leaving planets teeming with life. The Titans did to Azeroth as they did to countless other worlds before: They created seed races to inhabit the little planet, encouraging life to grow. Along with the seed races, they created the earthen -- stone beings that were meant to maintain the order the Titans had cultivated. Satisfied with their work, the Titans left.

It was some time after the Titan's departure that disaster struck. The little planet caught the eye of malevolent creatures known as Old Gods. The Old Gods strive for chaos and destruction, the exact opposite of everything the Titans create. Azeroth, still new to the universe, crumpled under the assault. However, the Titan-created earthen presented a problem that required a creative solution. The Old Gods, seeing that these creatures were made of rock and stone, released a disease called the Curse of Flesh -- the originator of many of the species that roam Azeroth today.

Read more →

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

The OverAchiever: Do them now!


Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, it's time to get a move on.

We've had some recent news concerning achievements in categories we've already covered, and my original intent this week was to play catch-up with that in addition to finishing off the new reputation, world event, and feat of strength achievements in Cataclysm. However, given equally recent news concerning achievements that are set to become feats (and may do so as early as patch 4.0.1), I thought it would be more sensible to cover the stuff that you'd want to do as soon as possible before it disappears.

I've cross-checked the list of known Cataclysm feats of strength against the feats already present in game, and as far as I know, this should be a comprehensive set of current Wrath of the Lich King achievements that will become inaccessible as of patch 4.0.1, patch 4.0.3, or Cataclysm's release (or at least, a comprehensive list as of the current beta and PTR builds).

I've written this list assuming the following:
  • Although it hasn't been officially confirmed that all of these will disappear in patch 4.0.1 or 4.0.3 rather than the expansion itself, for the time being, I'm guessing it's one of the two patches you need to worry about.
  • With the recent announcement of arena Season 8 ending on Oct. 12, 4.0.1 may hit in less than two weeks. Zarhym's post just made it clear that the season could end as early as the 12th, not that it definitely would, and there's still a lot of stuff to fix on the PTR and beta -- but every Tuesday from hereon is a potential patch day.
  • Accepting Oct. 5 or 12 as possible patch dates, I've included an opinion on the feasibility of getting the following achievements done as quickly as possible.

Read more →

Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

Breakfast Topic: I am the lucid dream

Recently, I was talking to Matticus and Kinaesthesia on one of our podcasts about Ruby Sanctum. Toward the end of the discussion, Kina mentioned how much he loved Halion's voice actor, Matthew Mercer (granted, we didn't know that was his name at the time.) We agreed his voice acting was excellent, and Kina suggested Blizzard ought to keep bringing him back for more parts. To date, Mercer also has done the voice of General Vezax in Ulduar and Overthane Balargarde in Icecrown.

Anyway, some days later while we priests were tossing the PoM around, the subject came up again, and Kina quoted the line Halion says when you enter phase 2: "You will find only suffering in the realm of twilight. Enter if you dare." He gushed at the inflection on the word "suffering," while I stated my preference for the way he taunts you with, "Enter if you dare."

Our talk led to other memorable lines from Wrath. I immediately brought up Sara from Ulduar and quoted her haunting, "I am the lucid dream." Plus, who could forget a first visit to Ulduar? I remember my sleepy raid's wandering into the Antechamber around 1 a.m. the first night that patch 3.1 went live. After accidentally completing Crazy Cat Lady and distributing loot, we stood around deciding where to go next. Vent had gone quiet while we all tabbed out to read up on Hodir until a deafening scream cut through the silence of the Observation Ring. Everyone on Vent promptly freaked out: "What the hell was that!?!"

I loved it.

Read more →

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Wrath of the Lich King

WoW Insider Show 

Subscribe via  iTunes for our latest show.

Hot Topics


 

Upcoming Events


Around Azeroth

Around Azeroth

Featured Galleries

It came from the Blog: Pandamonium
The gaming artwork of Jessica Dinh
Mists of Pandaria Raid DPS Analysis
Mists of Pandaria Collector's Edition
Death Knight plague epidemic
Mega Bloks: Goblin Zeppelin Ambush
Mists of Pandaria Beta: Ruins beneath Scarlet Halls
Mists of Pandaria: New warlock pets
Female Pandaren Customization

 

Categories