World of Warcraft: Guide to Activating Hard Modes in Ulduar
Since the release of Wrath of The Lich King the old idea of hard modes has been extended to a new level. If your guild has zero problems with the ordinary encounters, I guess it's time for something new, something... hard!
Complete Guide to Ulduar
For more information about this instance dungeon, make sure you read the Complete Guide to Ulduar. You will find boss guides, lore information, maps, and loot information there.
If you are into the World of Warcraft community, then you probably hear daily how certain guilds are achieving a so called hard-mode kill of a boss. To be honest, hard modes exist since the release of Ahn'Qiraj where the rewards and difficulty were determinate by the order of boss killing. Yes, yes, that's the Three Bugs fight in the Temple for those who remember. Later one we've seen the idea being extended in Burning Crusade with the release of Zul'Aman patch - the goal here was getting the Amani War Bear before the timer runs out - certainly not an easy achievement for most players.
In general, the hard mode encounters offer better loot and achievements. This is the only way to get items with Item Level of 239. Have in mind most of the "best-in-slot" items are indeed from the hard modes only.
Obviously the idea of making hard mode encounters was welcomed nicely. This is how Blizzard introduced their "final release" of a hard mode with the Sartharion - Three drakes fight in Obsidian Sanctum.
When the Ulduar patch was released, Blizzard extended the hard modes even further. There fourteen bosses having hard modes in this instance: Flame Leviathan, XT-002, Assembly of Iron, Freya, Thorim, Hodir, Mimiron, Vezax, Yogg-Saron and Agalon the Observer. Speaking of Agalon, it's not a real hard mode because this fight actually has no normal mode.
Flame Leviathan is the first boss in Ulduar but his hard mode is really not that easy as the normal boss is. To start the event you have to speak to Lore Keeper of Norgannon first. The hard mode is determined by the defensive towers you leave undestroyed. For the ultimate and real hard mode leave them all four - Leviathan's health points, damage and movement speed will scale accordingly.
You have probably noticed that XT-002 is often exposing her heart to damage. If you manage to actually kill the heart, which requires extreme amounts of DPS, then you will enter the hard mode. XT heals up fully, gains 50% more health and does 25% more damage.
In adition, the light and gravity bombs are now spawning lightning sparks and void zones.
Similar to the Three Bugs fight - the hard mode is based on the order you kill the mini bosses. While you probably know that leaving the little dwarf last is the easier way to kill him then it's obvious that the exactly opposite way is the hardest. Leaving Stormbreaker - The Giant as last one will trigger the hard mode, he gains several abilities that makes the fight really painful.
The Thorim encounter is divided in two parts - one team fighting at the arena and another clearing up the hallway up to Thorim. If the hallway team reaches Thorim within three minutes it triggers the Hard Mode. It consist into Sif, his wife, helping him in the encounter by shooting frost bolts and dealing massive area of effect damage. It's mostly a survival fight.
There is nothing much to explain in Hodir's hard mode. The boss is holding two rare caches with extra loot, if you kill him within three minutes - you will get both. Accordingly, if you kill him withing six minutes you will only one of them.
Freya is the modern version of Sartharion - Three Drakes encounter. You must leave the three keepers alive and engage Freya. In addition to the nasty skills of the Keepers themself, Freya also gain new abilities to make the encounter even harder.
You have probably already noticed the big Red Button which looks like "don't push me, or else...". Yes, that's the Hard Mode activator - it increases the damage of all the three parts of Mimiron by 25% and also sets an enrage timer of eight minutes.
To be honest, for one of the last encounters General Vezax is too easy. However, if you aim for the hard modes, you will get some trouble. The hard mode consist into not using the Saronite Vapors (the green pools on the ground) to regain mana. When the eight cloud is spawned, considering none is used - a Saronite Animus will spawn. It applies a debuff to the whole raid increasing shadow damage taken. Obviously the goal is to kill both Vezax and his little tool.
For sure the hardest of the hard modes. It took the best guilds quite a while to get the achievement. Yogg Saron is normaly engaged with all the watchers that you defeating helping - Thorim, Freya, Mimiron and Hodir. To activate Hard Mode you must only activate one watcher to help you.