Ulduar is by far the best instance in the game. My reasoning is very simple, but takes a bit to explain. Let’s look at the instance and what it contains. You have a large number of bosses for a raid instance that are spread out in an efficient layout. You can skip many of the bosses or farm them for loot if you still need to gear up to progress further into the instance. Bosses start at a laughably easy difficulty setting and move up to frustratingly difficult (or if you include Alaglon “impossible”) and many have difficulty selectors that allow you to alter the difficulty in many different ways.
Flame Leviathan is a great encounter because no matter what, almost anyone can do it. Then you’re given two optional bosses that are great for gearing up or completely skippable should you no longer need their loot. The final boss in the antechamber is Deconstructor who teaches players about positioning, phases, hardmodes, and fight control. In total, the start is a very easy yet rewarding start that still remains challenging (Ignis isn’t a pushover, Deconstructor has “deconstructed” many raiders before, etc.). The latest statistics from wowprogress.com show that over 50% of the current raiding guilds have finished the start to Ulduar in 25-player mode.
Once inside you’re presented with more optional bosses, including Kologarn which is an extension of the educational fights which teach you how to work together as a team and how one person can cause extensive damage to the raid by not paying attention. Once you go deeper you’re given the watchers which are three very challenging and epic boss fights that use everything you’ve learned from the instance earlier. Then there is the march to Yogg’saron which is a very difficult encounter, so difficult that many guilds have yet to attempt his (or her!) harder difficulties.
Then there stands Algalon, which is an excellent example of hardcore content adapted to an instance that ranges from hilariously difficult to overly challenging. It’s a great example of content that I’ve talked about in the past two Overpulls. Something that takes little resources from Blizzard, requires you to go out of your way to unlock, and gives people a challenge that only a few can take on. Only 5,000 guilds have taken down Algalon on the 10-player mode and 2,000 on 25-player mode this far into the game.
That’s before you even start talking about hard modes and how they provide a variable challenge or additional rewards for doing very well in a fight. For instance, Hodir gives you more loot if you defeat him fast enough. Deconstructor gives you additional loot if you enable his hard mode by killing his heart (which requires a bit of DPS to even get that far and is an accomplishment in itself). Thorim requires you to get through the gauntlet fast enough before Sif leaves and should you do it, he becomes incredibly powerful.
Non-Combat Pets, or just plain pets, make me very angry. Every time I think about it I kind of bite my lower lip (figuratively) thinking about why they exist in their current form. See, I have two major problems with the way pets are in the game now. The first is that they trigger the global cooldown (GCD) when you summon them. The second is that they are not automatically summoned without an addon or some kind of macro setup. Combine the first problem into the second problem and you get the fact that any solutions to automatically summon them will trigger the GCD which could cause a premature death in the world of Azeroth.
Honestly, there should be a way for us to choose a pet and have it be out at our sides always until we dismiss it or choose another. I can understand why Blizzard wouldn’t want this. If everyone had a pet out always then we’d have tons of lag. Yet, there is a simple solution that would appease the pet haters out there. Make pet visibility an option and allow people to choose if they want to see pets or not.
Pets add a lot of fun to the game when you’re leveling up or farming materials or just sitting around. I mean, even if they’re not another player, they’re still a companion and something that’s keeping your avatar company. It’s a nice thought, but it’s almost impossible to remember to keep them out.
That’s one of the features I hope that Cataclysm brings to the game. That’s the ability to keep your pet out all the time without additional addons or hitting us with the GCD to summon a pet.