Jasyla, over at Cannot Be Tamed, has a really interesting post up about raid mechanics – namely her favorites, or the ones she finds most interesting. Apparently the conversation came up at BlizzCon, so I get to be super jealous about all of that, since I don’t get to go (mostly due to financial concerns; it’s a long way from here to California).
ANYWAY. I thought it was a neat post, and one that made me really think about things. I’ve had some favorite bosses, but it was hard to pin down if it was mechanics or just that our raid group pulled together and kicked ass after much wiping and learning.
There are also several fights where I wouldn’t say I loved them, but where the mechanics made things difficult, tricky, or interesting in a way that was memorable.
For instance: Killing Mimiron in hard mode was an exhilarating kill, but I wouldn’t call pushing the big red fire button a particularly evocative boss mechanic. And I can see Rhyolith as a memorable fight (he does have a truly unusual fight mechanic) but as an elemental shaman, I blast his foot until I blast his other foot, so while the actual mechanic is interesting, the execution of it isn’t overly entertaining. The Yogg Saron fight is also like that – well tuned, requiring a high level of execution, but without one “defining” mechanic that you have to master in order to succeed. In fact, I’d say with fights like Yoggy or The Lich King (and most raid-end/tier-end bosses), everyone has several mechanics that require mastery before the whole raid can succeed.
It was interesting thinking (as well as chatting in Perfidy about it).
What exactly makes a boss fight memorable, cool, or someone’s favorite? And how is it that some people can just LOVE the Malygos fight while I detested the whole thing because the 3D made me queasy?
I did manage to come up with some of my favorites, though, and realized I’ve been raiding kind of a long time. Some of these boss fights are from way back in Vanilla!
General Vezax, Ulduar: Necrotic Aura - This fight was all about the mana. Healing teams, cooldown rotations (that made sense, unlike OTHER cooldown rotations) and constant communication with ranged DPS to pop bubbles and be able to stand in the ouchie but mana-regenerating slime. Vezax was all about coordination, and I really liked the fight. It also took place in a really cool part of Ulduar, and walking down to Vezax’ room was always a trip. The madness was truly tangible in there.
Kaz’Rogal, Battle for Mount Hyjal: Mark of Kaz’Rogal – This isn’t a fight I nabbed for it’s “fun” element, but for the amount of preparation that went into fighting this dude. Between shadow resistance gear and all the mana regeneration skills, being ready for Kaz’Rogal was really quite a big step on the way through Hyjal. It was also a fight that was both a DPS race and all about mana conservation, even down to timing Heroism, so it was one that made me a little nervous until we got the hang of it. This iteration of the “mana challenge” was one that kept me on my toes a lot, much like Loatheb (and later Vezax), but with a different variation (death when you went OOM).
Four Horsemen, Naxxramas - This fight gets mentioned for RP reasons. Aelflaed always hated this fight, not for any mechanics reasons, but because she came face to face with four fallen members of the Silver Hand – one of whom, Sir Zeliek, was so strong a paladin that even in undeath the Light still answered him, and though his body and his spells followed the command of Kel’Thuzad, he retained his sanity. She found the whole place nauseating, but especially that one room.
Twin Valkyr, Trial of the Crusader: Powering Up/Empowered Darkness/Empowered Light – As a healer, I didn’t always get to do a ton of bubble popping, but I always liked this mechanic. The more bubbles you pop, the more damage/healing you do. It was fun, but positioning was tricky and the fight could also be very frustrating. Still, this was probably the fight in ToC that I hated the least.
Zul’Gurub Raid: Trash - Hakkar’s Poisoned Blood was probably the most memorable mechanic from the Zul’Gurub raid, but it was the trash pulls there that stick with me as some of the most amusing, from the Splodey Bat Men to Priestess Mar’li’s drunken spider pulls. While I like the new 5-man version of Zul’Gurub, I will always have a special place in my little shriveled hunter heart for parts of the original Zul’Gurub raid (even if some of those places are rather bitter, even still. *shifty eyes*)
Kael’thas, Tempest Keep - I HATED this fight while we were learning it. Honestly, there wasn’t much redeeming about Tempest Keep, except maybe that smug feeling after you turned Kael’thas into Elf Paste. Well, and resto shaman haxxing my way through VoidReaver. Still, the Kael’thas fight was one that always felt epic, even while it was face-smashingly frustrating, so it deserves mention here. There was SO much to learn and there was so little room for error, but once the whole raid got it down, executing it was pretty spectacular.
Valithria Dreamwalker, Icecrown Citadel: Nightmare Portal/Dreamstate Orbs – As a holy paladin, I LOVED this fight. I got to pretty much ignore all of the crazy that went on outside, and spend the entire fight swimming around popping green bubbles… followed by spamming heals for increasingly larger and larger numbers. A high Emerald Vigor Lay On Hands crit could count in the hundreds of thousands. It was stressful, especially to learn, but also really was a fight I had a lot of fun doing.
So that’s my not-very short list, compiled without doing too much research. I’ve been raiding for quite some time, I suppose. I didn’t do much in Ahn’Qiraj or the original Naxxramas, and we never got to Sunwell, but that’s only the very top tier of raid content from the very first incarnations of WoW that I’ve not gotten to see when it was current.
What fights stick out in your memories of raids current or gone by? (Feel free to choose from instances as well as raid content!) Are they the ones people usually think of, or do you have some off the wall favorite boss fights?
And, somewhat more interestingly, what makes those fights so memorable?
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