Updated Wed, May 11, 2011 by Messiah
NOTE: This guide is based on the Vortex Pinnalce instance as seen in the Cataclysm Beta the last week of October 2010. As such is may change significantly before release in both layout and content. However, in all likelihood the version released at Cataclysm’s launch will remain highly similar. This guide will be updated shortly after Cataclysm’s release to reflect the final version of the instance.
The Vortex Pinnacle is an instance set in the Skywall along the southern edge of Uldum. The Skywall is made up of a group of floating spires and buildings high in the clouds that house both this instance and the raid Throne of the Winds. This instance is a bit odd in its placement as it is meant for level 82-84 players, yet Uldam is a level 83-84 instance, meaning that by the time you can in theory start running VP you will not have found it yet. While levelling in the Cataclysm Beta I didn’t even reach the Uldum zone until level 84 meaning that the instance was too easy by the time I got there.
The first boss in the Vortex Pinnacle instance is the air elemental known as the Grand Vizier Ertan. He is a fairly simple boss with only two main mechanics.
Lightning Bolt – Blasts his target with a lightning bolt dealing nature damage.
Whirlwinds – Once Ertan is engaged he will summon several whirlwinds that rotate around him roughly 30 yards away. Anyone standing in their path will be struck for damage. On a timer of roughly 30 seconds the whirlwinds collapse onto Ertan again causing damage to anyone in their path.
This fight is a fairly simple Tank and Spank encounter, similar to many other first instance boss encounters in Cataclysm. The tank simply needs to hold agro in the center of the room while all other players get inside the ring of whirlwinds that appear. Players should do as much damage as quickly as possible and then either collapse onto the tank or run out as the whirlwinds collapse in on Ertan.
If you choose to stay in place, a healer will be able to AOE heal everyone through the damage if players are stacked properly. If you have issues it is possible to have a hybrid healer class help out during this phase. If you chose to have players run out less damage will be done so the fight will last longer. It is my strong recommendation that you just tough it out and AOE health through the whirlwind collapse.
After a few seconds the whirlwinds will once again spread out to their normal 30 yard distances and start circling around. The fight continues alternating between these two phases until you have defeated Ertan.
The fight is exceedingly simple if your group is capable of healing through the damage. Get your loot and move onto the next fight.
In heroic mode his damage is increased and he summons one "Lurking Tempest." This trash mob will no affect your team at all if someone is looking at it.
The second encounter in the Vortex Pinnacle is with the storm dragon Altairus. This encounter brings back an old mechanic with a new twist. Remember the old positive and negative charge from encounters in the Burning Crusade expansion? This encounter brings back something similar.
Chilling Breath – This is a fairly normal dragon breath mechanic, don’t stand in the front cone or you get hit with frost damage.
Upwind of Altairus – When standing upwind of Altairus players gain 75% attack and casting speed and 30% movement speed.
Downwind of Altairus – When standing downwind of Altairus players lose 75% attack and casting speed and 30% movement speed.
This fight revolves around watching where you are standing and ensuring that you shift around when the wind shifts in the room. This happens every 20-30 seconds and just requires players to watch the buff / debuff and shift around as required. While shifting though players need to ensure they do not cross in front of Altairus and the tank, just in case he breathes at that point in time. A poorly timed cross can result in a quick wipe due to players going down to his chilling breath.
In addition, because the damage buff is so big, it is important for the tank to rotate around to make sure they have the upwind buff as well, or DPS will quickly pull threat. This makes the positioning and movement more difficult for the rest of the group but is just part of the fight.
Mini cyclones litter the area where you fight him. Standing in a cyclone will deal a reasonable amount of damage (7k~) and will hurl you in the air. His "Chilling Breath" will also target others than the tank, so spreading out is a good idea.
The third and final boss in the Vortex Pinnacle is the Djinni Asaad. The fight has several interesting mechanics including a “get into the void zone” instead of a get out. I am not sure if this makes the fight harder or easier, since DPS usually stands in the fire by default, so it might be easier!
Chain Lightning – This is a fairly standard chain lightning spell that hits a target and then arcs to up to four additional targets that are within roughly 10 yards of each other.
Unstable Grounding Field – Asaad creates a grounding field or zone to protect himself when he casts his big damage spell. Anyone in the zone will also be protected.
Supremacy of the Storm –This attack deals immense damage to anyone that is not protected from it by being in the grounding field. It deals enough damage to kill anyone, including the tank.
The fight is fairly simple in mechanics, but only confusing since you need everyone to get into the fire instead of getting out of it. The fight is essentially two phases a spread out and collapse phase.
Basically the tank engages Assad and holds threat while the DPS and healer spread out around the room to avoid being close enough to trigger off chain lightning arcs. At set time intervals Asaad will cast a grounding field (fire) that everyone needs to move into, Asaad will move there as well. Once inside the field Asaad casts supremacy of the storm which will quickly wipe anyone that is not in the fire.
Once the cast of supremacy of the storm is over, Asaad will return to casting chain lighting bolts and everyone needs to spread out once again.
As long as players pay attention to the grounding field being cast you will have plenty of time to collapse into it and not take any damage. Since Asaad moves into the field as well, melee DPS can continue while he is channelling supremacy of the storm.
He uses a debuff known as "Static Cling" that snares you and keeps you from running to the grounding field. It's a magic debuff so it's easily dispellable. Otherwise, the fight remains the same.
I really like this instance as it has some of the most stunning visuals in the game. The floating spires in the clouds, the architecture, the colours, all work together. Add in the cool wind tunnel type jumps from one platform to another and it is pure win!
The trash creatures are also pretty interesting in the instance with a few very different types of creatures to fight through. You feel some challenge as you are making your way through the instance, which is what I believe players want. They want more than just difficult bosses, they want interesting and challenging trash fights, just not many of them.
In regards to the bosses there are some very nice mechanics and a lot of potential here. I especially like the upwind/down wind mechanic, which is a subtle variation of the old positive and negative charge fights. I also like the “get in the fire” type mechanic with Asaad, it should make people think for a few seconds each time, do I get in, do I get out, what am I doing in this fight. Overall though, I find the bosses a bit too easy in this instance. I know the instance is not an end game one, but there is potential there, it seems a shame that they are as simple as they are.
Lastly, the placement of the instance seems a little odd, as mentioned above. In Cataclysm, you really need to work your way through the story line of each zone before moving on, and most players in Beta did not get to Uldum until late level 83 or early level 84. This instance however is really tuned for 82-84 level players, meaning that by the time you find it and play it, it is almost too easy. I believe it should almost be retuned to be a level 84/85 instance and it would fit better.