Thursday, June 25, 2009

Flame Leviathan Hard Mode Tips and Tricks

I think it's common knowledge that Flame Leviathan, in its purest form, is a pretty simple encounter. However, adding a few towers up can step up the difficulty dramatically. Some nights, when we've been short on healers and are our "off nights" as far as the alliance 25-man push is concerned, we've been just taking a random ten players to do Flame Lev with towers up. We've got one tower down, but struggle with two.

For one tower, we leave the Tower of Storms up. This tower means that the big L will periodically activate some shafts of white light that appear around the boss chamber during the fight. The light does damage if you sit in it, plus has a small area of AOE around it. The goal with these is just to avoid them. It's probably the simplest to leave up.

For two towers, we leave storms and add the Tower of Frost to that. The frost tower up means that Mr. Lev will also have a light blue (hard to discern from white) pillar of light that will move around, eventually settling on top of one player vehicle. Obviously, you can tell the difference between the two, if not by the slight color difference, then by the fact that it's moving around. When this pillar stops on top of you, you need to get the hell away from it. It's going to launch a frost ball that will entomb you if you and anyone near if you don't get away. We leave this one up because the directive "avoid all pillars of light" is a pretty easy one to keep in mind.

The other two towers are fire and life. Fire adds to the boss' damage by 50% as well as creating a shower of fireballs that marches around the room. Life creates four spawn points in the corners of the room for plant adds that will annoy you and do damage. All towers add to the overall health of the boss. Feel free to choose other towers, we just thought the two we chose were the simplest.

With that in mind, I thought I'd relate some tips and tricks we've learned along the way. Feel free to add to my list if you know of any.
  1. Siege drivers must interrupt Flame Vents - Look for the cast bar, get it done. This is a must.
  2. Run in a straight line away - Don't perpetually circle, as he'll catch up faster by cutting off your path. The shortest path between two points is always a straight line, remember this. Don't get yourself caught in a corner, but try to minimize your turning.
  3. Run him over the oil slicks - Duh! Extra damage is good, but don't get yourself rammed or in a shaft of light in the process. Remember he takes the shortest path to you... if you turn immediate after going over a slick, he's not going to hit it! He follows you in a line. If you've ever gone water skiing... think of it like that: he's tethered to you with a line at that point.
  4. The 10 stacks of pyrite from your demolishers are your best source of damage, keep them fueled and up at all costs. There are a couple of tricks to do this, since you'll lose one gunner by launching them up top (on 10 man, and which you should still do!). You can run with one less motorbike (or even less a siege gunner), and have them hop into the demo gunner spot after launch. Or, you can have the driver swap spots in the vehicle after parking it near pyrite to pick it up. Both strategies have their obvious risks. We haven't really tried either of these yet, but there is a handy macro for switch your seat: /script VehicleNextSeat().
  5. If you're leaving the Frost Tower up, recall that a shot from the gunner will break the ice tomb if you mess up and get iced.
  6. Use your speed boosts and shields! Gunners can't be asleep at the wheel here. If you're cornered, remember you CAN go THROUGH him. Hit your speed burst and get to the other side.
  7. Get yourself ready to run BEFORE he chooses you. If you're using a DBM-like addon, you'll know when he's about to change targets. Anticipate he's going to choose you and give yourself a few seconds head start. Get yourself pointed and positioned. If he doesn't end up coming after you, you can always return to what you were doing. This especially important if you're already close to him (Siege Drivers), as he'll flip pretty quick and then you'll take some ram damage... no bueno! This is a bigger tip for 10 man (where it's more likely he'll choose you), but good to keep in mind for everyone.
  8. If you're on a motorbike: don't leave your paratrooper hanging. When he goes "offline" drop some oil under him, then spend your time finding your brave extravehicular group mate. Nothing sucks more than getting cut down by artillery fire as you're hoofing it back towards the demo that's three leagues away.
  9. If you're a demo driver: pause a moment when the bike drops off your brave gunner. If something sucks more that #8, it's when you get dropped off and have your demo driver pull away from you and you get shelled trying to run him down while furiously clicking on your screen. Dying at the wheel of your vehicle is just cruel. (Edit: you should be able to go straight from the bike to the demolisher by clicking the arrow. I supposed I'd just always assumed that wouldn't work...)
  10. If you're a siege gunner, use the shield when he's about to ram you. Don't freak out and use it when he targets you but is still 10 yards away. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a shield wasted because the gunner apparently doesn't watch the screen. The only time this should be right away is if your driver didn't follow tip number 7.
And that's my top ten. I can't think of any more right now, but I'm sure there are plenty. Feel free to add to this in comments. Also, in theory it's great to have a kite path. If you can keep him on one axis (preferably between two corners), you can drop oil a lot easier. However, this is a lot harder to achieve in practice than it is to write on paper. The oil slickers really just need to pay attention to who he's following and keep the tether analogy from tip 3 in mind. Tip 7 is essential if you want to keep him on a kite path.

Have fun with this too. Hard modes have been a great thing for our alliance. We're not achievement chasers, but I have seen marked improvement in players by attempting hard modes. It's amazing how much smoother the "easy" modes go when you spend a few wipes on a hard mode before switching. I think players like the challenge, as long as you don't waste too much time banging your head against a wall. It's been great to switch it up a couple short nights a week with a hard mode try. Then, if you win when you don't expect to, that's a great feeling for everyone.

(Special thanks to our Alliance members Sniffit and Hopbounce who discussed this fight with me at some length last night and unknowingly contributed to my posting material)


  1. Fulguralis, you are brilliant. I am usually (read: always) a demo driver and I end up with no fuel after the first stun. That macro is going to be awesome for reloading on pirite!

  2. Those are some WONDERFUL tips, thank you so much for sharing!

  3. Wonderfully helpful post Ful. Two thumbs up (looks like 3 so far, actually!).

    Also, great idea to focus on mastering flame leviathon if you are healer-short!

  4. I can't claim credit for the macro, Hopbouce of the underwritten credits pointed me in that direction. I did look it up on Wowwiki to make sure I got the syntax right though. :-)

    Thanks for the thumbs up guys!

  5. I never relized how much fail I am at the vehicles.

    My tanking instincts are ruining this for me because I so want to just run up in it's face & smash it with the business end of my Shield.

    Running away just isn't in my Dictionary I guess. I even tried the Motorcycle of fun. I kept getting to close to the front of the big guy when laying the oil that I would get hit.

    Oh well, we can't all be brilliant at everything... *sigh

  6. Yeah you should see me. "hey... what the... WHERE'S MY HEALBOT?!::panic::"

  7. lol. Flame vent interruption is required..

    so, siege engine drivers.. PRESS 2!!1!oneone!!!one


  8. PS:

    You also get to fling someone into the face of the boss...

    What a clever idea for couples therapy *evil grin*

  9. Great tips! I especially like the /script, and am definitely going to make a point of sharing that one with my guild.

    We just downed Flame Leviathan with four towers last week. One thing we found absolutely critical for 2+ towers was maximizing Demolisher DPS by using double launch teams. With two or more towers up, we'd ditch our motorbikes just before pulling Flame Leviathan. A Siege engine would pull, and the Demos would immediately launch their passengers (launch team #1).

    As soon as launch team #1 was airborn, launch team #2 (players who had been on the bikes up until this point) would hop into the Demos' passenger seats to help DPS/stock up on Pyrite. Then, when Flame's turrets were down, the first launch team would jump off (not wait to be ejected, but actually jump!) and run back to their assigned Demos. There'd inevitably be a few seconds in which the first group of launchees were left standing next to their respective Demos, while the Demo drivers and passengers DPS'd like crazy.

    Once Flame started to emote again, the Demo would launch passenger #2, and passenger #1 would hop in to start the cycle anew.

    For FL +4, we took the number of players in each launch team down from four melee DPS to two ranged DPS, with one capable of healing in a pinch (for us, a warlock/elemental shaman and shadow priest/balance druid). This freed up two whole Demos to do nothing but DPS.

    I'd suggest that anyone attempting hardmodes practice with double launch teams. It takes a while to get into the rhythm of it, and the coordination can be a bit tricky to master (especially without bikes to pick up launchees and ferry them to the appropriate Demos).

  10. Yes, great comment and description. I believe you're talking about it more from a 25-man POV, where I was coming more from 10, but the same strategy can be applied... just scaled differently. (For 10-man you'd probably just throw one ranged up, and have a second ranged ready for teams 1 and 2)

  11. #9 really shouldn't be an issue. If you're a passenger, you don't actually have to get out of the motorcycle before you get into the demo: just have the motorcycle driver pull up right next to the demolisher, right-click on it, and you'll jump from one to the other. No chance for accidents.

  12. So I've been told. I didn't know that... I'll update this. Thanks! :-)

  13. We just got 10man 4-Tower this week. I have to say when I started Ulduar, I hated this fight, I just don't enjoy "vehicle" fights.

    But once we started doing 2-Tower (We always left up Lightning and Fire - at the time Hodir's tower slowed you and it sucked), then 3-Tower and finally 4-Tower I look forward to this every week.

    I always drive a tank - interupts are key - always make sure you have enough steam power to get off that interupt.

    Our Tank gunners focus on dropping pyrite barrels, then focus down any of the Plant adds. They only shoot FL, when they have no other option.

    Our 10mans, We run 2 tanks, 2 Demolishers and 1 Motorcycle.

    We drop as much pyrite around the room as we can prior to the pull, as soon as we pull- the first person is launched on to FL (usually a Mage or Ele Shaman) - they drop the turrets as fast as they can. So we get our first stun and do as much damage as we can.

    (If I am not mistaken you can have 3 people in one demolisher - we shoot one, then the other person slides down in to the second chair and starts grabbing pyrite)

    One demolisher does nothing but shoot pyrite at FL, we never launch the second person in that vehicle - so in theory the 10 stack never drops off.


  14. Makes sense... I'll have to look into that three ppl per demo thing too when I get the chance.