Heroic Vortex Pinnacle Review

 Otherwise known as: this isn’t so bad… Hurray! Volatile Air! OMG Stupid Dragon! WHY DO YOU MOCK ME?!?! Oh, it’s not bad again, sweet. I’ll just take my free Chaos Orb, thanks so much.

 I’m not sure why I picked VP to review first, maybe because it’s absolutely beautiful. I would hazard that it is the most beautiful instance in Cataclysm. While I love HoO for the Egyptian theme, VP is the most beautiful in a Renaissance painting kind of a way.  

 The first couple of pulls can be a bit hairy and chaotic even with CC. Muffin likes the Lurking Tempest because he can fill up his rage bar before the next pack. I’m sure my bear would like that, too. Usually there are critters running around in dungeons to use to get some rage but I haven’t seen any in VP so that may be the true purpose of the Lurking Tempest. Or it could be Blizzard trolling us – either way.

 While on that first hallway, try to DPS/tank with your backs to the wall. There are a few knockbacks here that won’t kill you but will be a bitch to run back to the group.

 VP is home to some of the most evil trash in the expansion. There are two “Cloud Princes” right before the first boss. They hit the tank like a freight train and spawn all sorts of little adds that usually get aggro’d to a DPS. That person usually goes splat because it can be very difficult to keep the tank up with two Cloud Princes beating on him. Once one of them goes down it gets a lot more manageable and DPS can get some heals. It’s always good to keep PoM bouncing around to try to get some free heals to the DPS as they are getting hit by the adds.

 Grand Vizier Ertan is the first boss and a total a push over. It really doesn’t matter if you stand inside of the lightening shield or outside it. In my experience, the damage on the group has been about the same. The only thing to really watch out for is the chain lightening – don’t stack on one another of the damage will be much greater. Avoid hitting the cyclones as he retracts and expands the shield and you should be golden. After the loot drops we get a fun little ride in a cyclone up to the next platform.

 There’s more trash to kill up here. They do a Hurricane AOE that is easily avoidable. Up the ramp to the right is a big stone dragon in a healing rune. He’s pretty easy – just pull him out of the rune and he goes down quickly.

 Then there’s a corridor of saloon door like trash mobs. You have to hit them until friendly so you can pass but they only stay friendly for a few seconds so you really have to hoof it through there. There’s some more trash and another stone drake before Altarius, the second boss.

 Altarius is an interesting name to me. I am a huge SciFi/Fantasy nerd and one my favorite movies is called “Forbidden Planet”. “Forbidden Planet” stared Leslie Neilson and is based loosely on William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”. Neilson’s character has been sent on a mission to the planet Altair IV where they meet a scientist named Dr. Morbius and his daughter, Altaira. So is our annoying dragon boss named after Altair IV? That was honestly the first thing I thought of when I saw his name. I like to think there is a nerdy Blizzard Dev that loves “Forbidden Planet” as much as I do.

 Anyways… Altairus is annoying to say the least. He does his little wind mechanic like in normal but now he gets tornadoes flying around that will knock your ass off of his platform. He doesn’t like when you get knocked out and will punish you for being “cowardly” by killing you instantly. You can avoid this by making your way back up to the platform in 5 seconds but people seldom, if ever, make it back in time. The 5 second thing is misleading because it takes a few seconds for your feet to touch the ground before you can start running. Tanks can avoid getting tossed out by putting their backs against one of the walls.

 I can never tell by the animation if I am up or down wind of Altairus. I have to run around until I get the little green foot on my debuff. We healers need to be careful about not blowing through mana during this fight. It is incredibly easy to drain your whole bar in a short time with the massive haste buff the little green foot gives. Altairus has over 6 million health and we cannot burn through all the mana at the start of the fight.

 Altairus doesn’t seem to have a tail swipe like other dragons but he does have a nasty frost breath. He will pick a random party member and turn to them – unleashing a devastating frost breath. You can try to get out of the way but it’s better to stay in it if there are lots of tornadoes around. It’s better to be almost dead from frost breath than to be completely dead from a boss smiting you for your cowardice. Yes, I just advocated standing in a bad thing. Don’t get used to it.

 Altairus will ever so slowly die if everyone can stay on his platform and the healer doesn’t run out of mana. I am not sure why he’s so freaking hard compared to the rest of dungeon. The rest of the dungeon can be artfully CC’d and the bosses have really easy mechanics (don’t stand in bad, hide in pyramid). This dragon is one of the most difficult bosses in any heroic and he’s smack in the middle of the easiest heroic. Blizzard has said that all heroics have been tuned to be pretty much equal but there is no comparison between heroic Grim Batol and heroic Vortex Pinnacle. Grim Batol is far longer, has more bosses with trickier mechanics and takes far more skill. Even if you look at the other “starter” dungeons, Blackrock Caverns and Throne of Tides, it’s not comparable.

 Now, I’m not complaining that it’s not difficult enough. I am complaining that the entire dungeon needs to maintain a certain level of difficulty and challenge to players. The whole thing should have a cohesiveness that is lacking in VP. The Skyfall trash packs alone are 10 times more difficult to heal through than the first and last boss of the instance. I don’t think that trash should be more challenging than a boss. Shouldn’t a boss have a higher level of difficulty than a trash pack? Isn’t this why it is called a boss and not trash?

 Another problem is the last bits of trash – the evil Tol’Vir cat people. They pat in and out of a lightening pyramid. They cannot be tanked inside the pyramid because of a buff that makes them immune. Players run through the pyramid and nothing happens.

 After a few packs of evil cat people and another Skyfall trash pack of doom, we get to the third and final boss, Asaad. He’s a big ass genie that likes to static cling people to the floor.

 Asaad’s thing is a massive AOE that is completely avoidable with the cunning use of a lightening pyramid, called a Grounding Field, just like we saw with the evil cat people. The boss, himself, will create this pyramid for you. There’s no little trick to make him do this – he just does it on his own. There are no switches to flip, no spooky light beams to stand in or even anything to click on besides the boss. You just do your best to kill him and he rewards your valiant efforts with a lightening pyramid that saves your life so you can keep killing him. The word “counterintuitive” comes to mind. If I was an “all powerful” giant genie guy and there were 5 people trying to kill me, I would damn sure try to kill them right back – Malcolm Reynolds style.

 Overall, I like the dungeon because of the visuals. I like the inventive use of the cyclone teleporters to move us around the place – that is a nice touch and makes you really feel like you are in the Sky(wall). There’s not an over abundance of useless trash mobs – always nice when trying to grind out JP and guild XP with minimal fuss. The bosses are imbalanced and run the gamut of “was that it” to “fucking impossible”. Altairus feels out of place. He would be better suited for Stonecore in difficulty. I know he has a “wind” ability but his difficulty is light years beyond the rest of the dung


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: