“Already?” Was my first thought when I set foot into Uldaman, having just hit Level 30 a few hours prior. Uldaman was among one of the many instances to get a lower level after the Cataclysm. The final boss, Archaedas, was originally level 47 and now he’s just 40. Other bosses have been scaled down as well.
The original instance used to have a pretty big level range. Revelosh, the first boss, was Level 40, making it a big stretch to the last boss. That meant having a group with a good level for the first bosses would result in wipes on the last bosses and a group well equipped for the final boss will be extremely bored during the first half.
Now Revelosh has only been lowered 1 level, making the overall difficulty of the instance much more even.
There’s two NPCs that didn’t survive the Shattering of Patch 4.0: Magregan Deepshadow and Digmaster Shovelphlange. The first one was just outside of the instance, and the second was a rarespawn that got removed.
One more historical side-note: The enchanting NPC in Uldaman still spawns, if you kill the scorpids in the little side room. She also still trains enchanting, but isn’t really relevant for anything anymore. Prior to Patch 2.3, she was the only (!) Artisan Enchanting Trainer in Azeroth and every enchanter who wanted to move their skill forward HAD to go pretty deep into Uldaman with a group to level up their profession. I found this incredibly awesome, but most people hated it. There’s another article planned about that exact topic.
Enough chit-chat, let’s start with the first boss, shall we?
Uldaman Boss 1: Revelosh
Umm, yeah…we pulled him by accident, because I didn’t have line of sight to the boss room, I had to walk up to the trash around him and just pulled everything. Maybe all mobs there are linked and it wouldn’t have mattered anyway.
He hit pretty hard, being 9 levels higher than us and all, but that’s about it. Once the adds were down, he wasn’t a problem anymore and I didn’t notice any abilities from him.
Boss 2: Ironaya
Originally Lvl40, now 39. This was one of the more interesting encounters in the earlier dungeon game, not mechanics-wise, but her whole appearance. You needed two items (Shaft of Tsol and Gni’kiv Medallion, a Lost Vikings reference) before you could even open the room in a Raiders of the Lost Ark like scene, now you can start the sequence without the item.
I don’t remember the exact patch number, but it was at least 1.9 or earlier: She (and the last boss) actually spawned as a ?? “skull” boss enemy, which was terrifying for most groups encountering her for the first time. But that got changed after a while, long before TBC was released.
Her abilities aren’t very spectacular, she has a knockback and that’s about it. But she hits like a truck, just like in the old days. But characters now are much more powerful and without the massive level difference, she wouldn’t have been a challenge. My Level 30 Monk tank, with mostly dungeon gear and some quest items had over 4300HP unbuffed. I looked through a bunch of screenshots and found a shot of an old guild run, where the Level 50 Warrior tank, also in decent dungeon gear, had less than 4200HP.
Boss 3: Obsidian Sentinel
The guardian of the side entrance, which was probably put in there for higher level groups to skip the beginning of the instance. I really like those slightly obscure alternative paths that give you options.
The boss wasn’t very interesting as long as his splintered adds didn’t chew on the healer.
Actually the trash before the boss was much more interesting, as they fled when their HP were low. So they either pulled an additional pack or the boss or both. Fun times. But we didn’t have any problems and killed him on the first try. In classic, he was only two levels higher than now (42).
Boss 4: Ancient Stone Keeper
I remember this boss being a real pain and in classic, bad groups and good groups of players made a ton of difference here. The biggest problem was usually clearing everything without pulling the boss, as the room was a little bit small, there were a couple of trash packs in adjacent corridors and one or two patrols. Having a bad pull here often resulted in a wipe.
He spawns sand storms, that used to be really dangerous as they silenced the casters, especially the healer. With that ability being nerfed, they don’t silence anymore, he’s a hard-hitting pushover. We carefully cleared everything and took him down in one try. A little bit disappointing. He was lowered 4 levels, down to 40 in the updated version of Uldaman.
Boss 5: Galgann Firehammer
Another dangerous encounter back in the day. He has two adds that melee you and he’s a caster. Before the pull, there was a bunch of trash packs in the very tight room, so impatient groups wiped a lot here.
His abilities increase fire damage you take and reduce fire resistances, so in theory, he should cast harder hitting fire spells as the fight progresses. In our case, the debuffs usually ran out before they stacked too high and he ran out of mana way before the fight ended. Great…
He was originally lvl45, now he’s 40.
Boss 6: Grimlok
This fight used to require a certain amount of coordination because he has 3 adds, some caster and some melee. As we didn’t have any form of CC, we used the tactic from Lord Vyletongue in Maraudon. I pulled the boss back into the previous room with the pillars and there I was able to slow the 4 mob-pack with my Keg Smash, roll over behind another pillar while keeping the aggro. I broke LoS to the mobs, but kept LoS to the healer, could wait for the cooldown on my AoE ability to reset and slowly (and unfortunately for the healer: evenly) burn down the boss and his adds.
In a straight tank&spank setup, I probably wouldn’t have lasted 10 seconds.
Boss 7: Archaedas
He was originally a Level 47 (and before that ?? “skull”) enemy and is now scaled down to Level 40. But the fight is still pretty difficult, at least if you’re 10 levels below him and lack three group members.
The encounter is divided into three phases, where he spawns single adds every 10 seconds, then in addition to that (once) at 66% a pack of six adds and at 33% two more adds. We made it through the first phase and with a little bit of coordination and positioning (the single adds quickly target the healer as they have a bit of walking to do after being summoned), we managed to pass phase two. It only worked because the adds aren’t elite.
But the adds in Phase 3 are elite…and they, together with the boss, tear me to pieces within seconds. Unfortunately I can’t roll around the instance like crazy, because one: The Boss stuns at regular intervals and two: I’ll go out of the healer’s range and if he follows me, he will be in stun range of the boss and still every 10 seconds there are new adds coming.
We gave it a couple of shots and ultimately gave up on phase three. I might have almost 5k HP buffed, but he hits for about 1500+ (crushing) and if that wasn’t bad enough, the elite Vault Warders hit for an additional 900 (crushing) each. So that’s basically all my HP in one round of attacks. And my Stagger also builds up to crazy amounts of 150-200 each tick. And while doing all that I have to watch out for the other adds as well. Great!
But I didn’t feel like we failed the instance. We went there at Level 30, which is actually the lowest level we can possibly enter the dungeon at. We didn’t actually believe to get very far after the first boss, as everything was 10 levels higher than us. It started out as a joke to see how far we would get, but after about two hours we ended up at the last boss and even there we got pretty far. We are going to be back at level 32 with new shiny gear!
Right now I’m afraid that we have to be careful with our gear in future instances. If the balancing goes out of hand, we might not even face a challenge at the minimum level anymore. Or it will be the exact opposite and we’ll get our asses handed to us if we don’t level up much higher. We’ll see.
One thing I’m missing a little bit are all the quests and lore surrounding the instance. Now there’s three quests inside the dungeon and that’s it. I didn’t quest through the Cataclysm Badlands yet, so there might be a number of quests about Uldaman, but the numerous prequests for Uldaman, that even required a group outside of the instance are certainly missed.
The quests inside also seem to be a step down from before. I remember the awesome “The Platinum Discs” quest chain. Now, it just gives you an item at the end of the instance. Back then the journey just began! You were actually traveling the whole world, had to switch continents and eventually return back to Ironforge/Thunder Bluff to finish this quest chain. It was really epic, gave nice Gold&XP rewards and a ton of lore and foreshadowing about a future zone (that didn’t turn out very well in my opinion).
That’s all gone now unfortunately. But we can’t do any quests yet for quite a while, maybe it’ll be somewhat interesting.
Next time I’ll have a victory post for the Archaedas fight and some minor updates about other stuff, I guess.