As Cataclysm grows closer I find myself, and several of my guildmates, doing a lot of reminiscing about “the good old days”. There are a lot of things that I remember when I start to think back over my almost 6 year affair with WoW, and there are some things that I think I will never forget when all is said and done and I think about the time I spent in the game.
During this period of reflection I started thinking about some of the most memorable boss kills that I have experienced in WoW. Now, I have killed a lot of bosses in this game, but there are certainly some that will always stand out more than others. I suspect that while there will be some bosses that grace a lot of lists, no two lists will be identical. Everyone will have different emotions and feelings that color their memories.
So, while I am being all nostalgic, I thought that I’d share what boss kills I think I will always remember.
Ragnaros – The Eve of all bosses, found in the fiery heart of Molton Core. I was playing my hunter when I first encountered Ragnaros. I remember the first time we had killed Majordomo (and having to have people go out to Azshara to get more water to douse all of the runes) venturing down to see the main man himself. Because nobody gets to a boss like this and doesn’t take a peek! And if you’ve never seen the exchange between Raganros and his MajorDomo – it’s worth the trip down.
I remember the first time I saw him emerge from the lava, just the sheer size of him was enough to take your breath away.
I remember farming the fire resist gear necessary for the encounter, including a nauseating number of trips to BRD. I remember being part of the “hunter” group. I remember everyone “swimming” in the lava before engaging him to learn how to get back out if you got knocked in during the fight. I remember the tanks using the bear bone from Winterspring to tank him – because it couldn’t be melted.
But most of all, I remember the screams on Team Speak as we watched his mace tumble out of his hands and fall still on the ground. This was definitely one of my all time favorite WoW moments.
Vaelstraz – While this was only the second boss in Blackwing Lair, it was the “wall” that you had to get past in order to progress further into the instance. Frequently referred to as the “guild killer”, the fight was innovative and took a very long time to master. But not only that, the story behind how Vaelstraz came to be captured by Nefarion and was now being used against his saviors is fantastic. (Did you know that you can find Vaelstraz in his human form in LBRS?).
I remember when Vael despawned after 60 minutes. (See…that wasn’t a new idea for Algalon!). I remember making everyone wait outside of Veal’s door so that we could “rush” in to kill the goblins with the hopes that they would have elementium in their pockets. I remember the frustrations as people blew the raid up. I remember the melee getting chain cleaved. I remember the pull -> wipe -> run that you did at least 20 times a night while you were learning the fight.
But most of all I remember when everything finally came together and getting to move further into Blackwing Lair.
Nefarion – This encounter was, in my opinion, one of the best designed encounters ever. I absolutely loved it. There was so much going on, and so many innovative things. I remember having to have an add on to count how many of the drakasith that had been killed so that you knew when Nefarion was going to land. I remember having to BoP the casters during the last phase so that they could spam AE. I remember the paladin calls being LAWL – while the shaman calls really sucked. I remember having to carry around three bows incase I didn’t get mine swapped out.
Of course, the thing that trumps all of that is the memory of the first time I saw Nefarion fly down onto the balcony and land. I gotta say, bosses just don’t make an entrance like that anymore!
C’Thun – The eyeball earns a spot on my list because it is probably one of the hardest boss fights I have ever encountered in WoW, and most guilds didn’t finish him out, opting instead to move onto the original Naxxramas. I am damn proud of this kill, and it is probably one of the most memorable things from Vanilla WoW for me.
I remember before the Twin Emps teleporters were put in and it would take almost 30 full minutes to run back – that was twiddled down to 15 after. I remember how the encounter was truly “unbeatable” when it was first introduced. I remember spending almost as much time learning to “run in” and engage the encounter as learning the other aspects of the fight (yea…remember that long run back, imagine having to do it before you even pulled!).
But most of all I remember nuking my little healing heart out that final time the stomach group brought C’thun into his Vulnerable stage again.
I know Naxxramas was the final encounter in this expansion – and we went in and killed a number of bosses there before the guild split occurred. But C’thun, he was the final boss of the expansion for me. And I will say that is something that is a little bittersweet for me, and likely will always be.
Lady Vashj – This was a kill that I can honestly say almost killed me, and that I worked harder for than any other kill. We were struggling rebuilding all through the early parts of TBC – and as we struggled through the T5 content many people came and went. But somehow we managed to get the guild back into order get this fight done. It wasn’t until we achieved this that I truly and honestly felt that we were going to survive.
Lady Vashj was a massive hurdle, and an extremely challenging encounter, but looking back on it, this was the fight that shaped our guild into the guild that we are today. The journey to this encounter was long, it was painful and we said goodbye to a lot of friends on the way. But with a lot of hard work and drive we made it, this naga lady told us so. I will always remember Lady Vashj as a symbol of determination.
Oh, and the actual encounter? Pretty fantastic.
Kael’thas Sunstrider – It wasn’t long after we killed Lady Vashj that the guild felt the same surge that I had felt, and you could see that a new light was breathed into us. It didn’t take us but a few weeks to go in and tell Kael’thas who was boss. However, I will remember this fight not for what it symbolized to me, but for the encounter itself.
I will remember joking that the blood elves love hearing themselves talk. I will remember the first time we got past phase 2 and how everyone struggled to pick up their weapon – only to wipe because the entire raid was going OHHHH SHINY! I will remember the first time we made it to phase 5, and how we became suspended in air.
This was a truly epic encounter, and was fantastically done.
Archimonde – I think what I will always remember about this encounter is the fire. And a resto shaman (since gone elemental) who, no matter what, couldn’t stay out of the fire. But really, I think what makes this fight so memorable was the way that the lore wove into it. Actually, I loved Mount Hyjal as a zone in and of itself.
I remember before we even went down and looked at Arthas, we had everyone pick up their tears of the goddess and they had to successfully survive a jump off of the ledge 10 consecutive times. What? You died? Your count started over. I remember forming a mock up of groups and pretending to be doomfire running through everyone to explain how doomfire worked. I remember starting the fight with a “bounty” intact – and that if you blew the raid up you had to pay money into the pot.
But – I remember Archimonde being another staple. Another “you told us we’d never get here, and yet we did”. I guess, if I’m being honest, a lot of TBC felt like every kill was “proving” that we survived. It seems to be a recurring theme in my memories, and is still something that I find I’m a little emotional looking back on. Archimonde was a big milestone, but nowhere near as big as…
Illidan – Illidan was a truly amazing encounter in just about every way. In my list I think he is probably right there behind Nefarion for being one of my favorite encounters.
I remember farming fire resist gear for our flame tanks, I remember our Illidan tank struggling with shield block and on our kill missing it. I remember calling out for all heals on the tank as we pushed through, I’m pretty sure she died and one of our fire resist tanks picked him up for that last few percent for the kill.. I remember walking into Illidan’s room for the first time and thinking about how amazing he looked.
I remember being exhilarated when he died. I remember how lucky we were to receive a glaive from our very first kill. I remember screaming when I saw the Memento of Tyrande on the corpse, and knowing that I was up for it. An item that is still in my bank, and one that will likely never leave.
But above everything else, I remember feeling “we made it”. For me, Illidan was the end of this expansion for me. Sure, we went into Sunwell and killed some things pre-nerf. But if you were to ask me my pinnacle moment for TBC, I would tell you without a doubt that it was killing Illidan.
I have some thoughts on WotLK memories as well. But I think that I want to stew over them for a bit. While I think I know which ones I will remember 5 years from now, I want to think on them a little more before sharing my thoughts on them. I certainly know which ones from this expansion spring to mind straight away, but I want to stew on them some first!
What are your most memorable boss kills pre-WotLK? Do you have memories of them because of how epic they were? Do your memories take on a more personal nature? So any of the kills that make your list have a more symbolic meaning?