Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

Cataclysm Dungeon Guide: Vortex Pinnacle

Matt Low

Ahh, the Vortex Pinnacle, for whenever I want to go hit up an instance that involves jumping in cyclones (or tornadoes) that toss you from platform to platform.

This 5-man instance is the ... pinnacle of the Skywall complex in the Uldum zone. You can find it just southeast of the shores. Make sure you go the right direction or else you might end up in the Throne of the Four Winds raid instance. Oh, and you're going to need a flying mount. The forces of Al'Akir are waiting to storm Uldum and the rest of Azeroth. Our mission, if we choose to accept it, is to clear out the place and prevent them from really establishing a foothold on our lands.

At a glance, here's the gist of the instance.
  • three boss encounters
  • levels 82-84
  • average item level 272 recommended (according to dungeon finder)

This instance has a fair share of elementals within it and any kind of crowd control that can assist with that will be a big plus to have in the group. Watch out for knockback effects, and make sure that you are facing a direction that is parallel to the platform you're standing on -- in other words, watch which way you're facing, or else you might get knocked off the ledge.

Trust me, I found out the hard way.

Grand Vizier Ertan

The Grand Vizier is the first boss who will be in your way. Big thing about this windbag is the fact that he has a bunch of mini-cyclones that whirl around him. You can call it the Cyclone Shield. He'll retract and expand it periodically throughout the fight. Don't stand too close to it or else you'll be zapped. Keep the Vizier centered, and make sure the group stays fairly close to each other in the middle.

The way I see it, your party has two ways to handle it. When the Cyclone Shield closes in on the Grand Vizier, the party can drop back to the outside and wait it out until it expands -- not a problem at all, and it certainly is a valid strategy. I don't recommend it, though. If your healer is Matt-like, you'll want to stay in and heal through it. Preserving healer mana and using some survival cooldowns during these stages is ideal. Not to mention it won't matter whether you stand inside or outside of the shield, as you'll still get zapped, regardless. If you're going to get zapped, you may as well DPS the boss anyway.

Once you're done, head up to the platform behind him and look for a tornado you can jump into. They look like this:

Note to Blizzard: Do away with flying mount taxis and just establish a chain of cyclones throughout all of Azeroth. You have not lived until you've traveled by cyclone.

Loot drops

Biting Wind (heroic)
Fallen Snow Shoulderguards (heroic)
Red Sky Pendant (heroic)
Stratosphere Belt (heroic)
Headcover of Fog (heroic)


Altairus is a type of dragon. Specifically, he is a storm dragon. Now what exactly does a storm dragon do? Like all dragons, they breathe. This particular dragon breathes frost damage in lieu of fire damage (Chilling Breath). Ergo, if you are not the tank, do not stand in front of Altairus. On heroic mode, he tosses in Lightning Blast.

As a storm dragon, Altairus has an affinity for the elements and can manipulate the wind around him. Depending on where you stand, you will either gain an Upwind of Altairus buff or a Downwind of Altairus debuff. Picture the room as a circular platform. Half the platform will be upwind or downwind. The group will want to stand in such a way that Altairus is facing away from the group but both the tank and the rest of the group can get that juicy upwind buff. Keep blasting away at the storm dragon and before you know it, you'll be looking for another tornado to whisk you away.

Oh, and before I forget, Altairus has a chance to drop the Reins of the Drake of the North Wind on both normal and heroic mode.

Loot drops

Skyshard Ring (heroic)
Amulet of Tender Breath (heroic)
Axe of the Eclipse (heroic)
Hail-Strung Belt (heroic)
Mantle of Bestilled Winds (heroic)


Asaad is the final boss of the instance. He's a djinn. Watch out for his Chain Lightning. It'll chain onto five targets, so stay spread out.

Now, Asaad has an incredibly damaging ability called Supremacy of the Storm whereby the entire combat area gets struck by massive lightning. How does one survive this storm ability? Before Asaad calls upon the storm, he is going to channel a spell called Unstable Grounding Field. He is going to literally draw and connect three points anywhere in the immediate area. All you need to do is stand within the three points. If your party can do that, they'll be able to withstand the hit.

See the screenshot below for clarity. Notice how the three points have been made. That point on the bottom is going to link up with the point near it completing the triangle, and that's your cue to enjoy the light show about to hit the platform.

Oh yes, and watch out for Grounding Field. It will redirect any spells targeted at anything standing within it. It looks like a dark, purple swirling void zone (the right side of the above screenshot).

On heroic, he has an additional ability called Static Cling, and it can be dispelled. The spell will root targets to the ground for 18 seconds, so be sure to get affected players free.

There is also a quest that involves taking out Asaad. Vengeance for Orsis can be picked up by Itesh right at the entrance.

Loot drops

Shadow of Perfect Bliss (heroic)
Lunar Halo (heroic)
Gloves of Haze (heroic)
Lightningflash (heroic)
Legguards of Winnowing Wind (heroic)
Billowing Cape (heroic)
Heart of Thunder (heroic)
Leggings of Iridescent Clouds (heroic)
Ring of Frozen Rain (heroic)
Captured Lightning (heroic)

That's Vortex Pinnacle, in a nutshell. Good luck!

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it; nothing will be the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion (available Dec. 7, 2010), from brand new races to revamped quests and zones. Visit our Cataclysm news category for the most recent posts having to do with the Cataclysm expansion.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr