After taking a two-week detour into guides covering the Love Is In the Air and Lunar Festival holidays, we're going to return to the list of titles available from dungeon and raid achievements. You can find part one here, covering everything from Argent Defender to Grand Crusader. This week, we'll pick up where we left off.
Herald of the Titans (requires an Algalon-10 kill under special circumstances) or Starcaller (requires Observed -- 10 player)
Herald of the Titans, much like its ToGC-10 counterpart Argent Defender, requires you to kill Algalon in Ulduar-10 without padding the difficulty with gear from higher-level raids. The result is arguably the coolest Algalon-related title apart from Celestial Defender, but it won't come without a ton of planning and a lot of skill. Starcaller is the same deal, minus the gear requirement.
Difficulty: Algalon is a lot easier these days if you're rocking ToC or ICC gear, but Herald of the Titans requires you to duplicate the conditions in which he was very difficult indeed. Assuming your raid's already familiar with the Algalon-10 fight (and you should definitely do Starcaller before attempting Herald), you're going to face two big hurdles: a). making sure nobody in the raid's accidentally equipped a forbidden item, and b). keeping your tanks alive without the stamina and avoidance buffer afforded by better gear. Once you shed all that delicious tank gear from tiers 9 and 10, you'll discover what people in tier 8 already knew; Algalon hits like a freight train.
Jenkins (requires Leeeeeeeeeeeeeroy!)
There was a big rush to get this when the achievement system first debuted, and not least because the Jenkins title is one of the game's most famous in-jokes. Leeeeeeeeeeeeeroy! requires you to duplicate (sort of) Pals For Life's rush to glory on behalf of their paladin, Leeroy (yes, the original event was staged). As amused Wowhead commenters point out, for the sake of historical accuracy the achievement should, by all rights, require you to aggro 50 UBRS rookery whelps and subsequently die.
Difficulty: This can be easily solo'd by most classes at 80, but as I'm sure Pals For Life could tell you, it's a lot more fun to do with a group.
Obsidian Slayer (requires Realm First! Obsidian Slayer)
As with other Realm First! titles for tier 7 content, unless your server's really behind the times, this is no longer attainable. Obsidian Slayer is a title held only by those who participated in their server's first Sartharion kill.
Difficulty: Sartharion without drakes up isn't a really tough fight, and -- as with the titles for your realm's first Malygos and Naxxramas clears -- getting the titles was mostly a race to see who could field a working raid at 80 the fastest. However, this title, or any bearing a variant of "Slayer," is highly useful for all those of us dedicated to the extermination of bad vampire RP.
Of the Nightfall (requires The Twilight Zone -- 10 man) or Twilight Vanquisher (requires The Twilight Zone -- 25 man)
In tier 7, both the Nightfall and Twilight Vanquisher titles were fairly difficult to get. Sarth 3D on 25-man was hard enough, but on 10-man it was sheer hell, and most guilds considered it a fool's errand unless all 10 players were packing 25-man gear. Then a group of Russian players figured out that, with enough DPS and a sufficiently suicidal raid, you could simply zerg Sarth down before Shadron (the second drake) landed. They managed the 10-man achievement in 76 seconds, and the strategy (such as it is) spread like wildfire.
To this day, bum-rushing a Sarth-10 3D kill is still the most popular way to do it, and it's way easier than the coordination nightmare that a "proper" kill was in tier 7. Nowadays, the 25-man version could reasonably be considered harder than the 10-man, as you need substantially more raid DPS to pull off a zerg (or alternatively, the patience to learn how to do it the "right" way while organizing 25 players across void zones, flame walls, and add waves).
Difficulty: Sarth 3D is significantly more forgiving to players in better gear, so both titles are fairly accessible these days.
The Celestial Defender (requires Realm First! Celestial Defender) or The Astral Walker (requires Observed -- 25 player)
Algalon is still a tough fight, and although he's definitely easier today, you still need a high level of raid awareness, a huge amount of DPS, and the ability to keep your tanks alive versus a pissed-off demigod. Before you even get to that point, you'll need to defeat an Iron Council hard mode for the Archivum Data Disc, and then Thorim, Hodir, Freya, and Mimiron's hard modes for the sigils needed to gain access to Algalon's planetarium. Hodir and Thorim's hard modes aren't too bad if you outgear them, but your raid still needs to know what it's doing on a 3-tree Freya and Mimiron's Firefighter. To this day, Firefighter is still commonly considered one of the game's most difficult fights.
Got your sigils? Great! Now go kill Algalon. Did I mention you've got an hour to do it, and you'll only snag Celestial Defender for being the first on your server to manage a kill?
Difficulty: For all his damage and punitive encounter mechanics, the greater portion of Algalon's difficulty lies in getting to him in the first place, and then scraping a kill while the clock is ticking and your raid's getting used to the learning curve. As with Grand Crusader and Death's Demise, there are still servers out there that don't have Celestial Defenders/Astral Walkers.
Ask any 25-man raider which achievement they hated most when Wrath shipped, and they're likely to say, "The Immortal." In tier 7, this was very, very hard, and so horrifically RNG-dependent that it was singled out by GuildOx as the game's most difficult raiding achievement. There's a lot of encounters in Naxx where a mistake on one player's part will eighty-six this achievement for you, and a still-greater set of opportunities where you could do everything perfectly and still fail due to a disconnect or lag spike. Combine that with one mother of a lag problem for the legions of raiders on overcrowded instance servers, and there were a lot of players out there in agony over this one achievement standing between themselves and their soon-to-disappear protodrakes.
Raid leaders everywhere nursed growing ulcers over the weeks that went by with single, soul-destroying, stupid losses that you couldn't do anything about: the disconnect on Thaddius, two raiders a yard too close to each other on a Frost Blast, a lag spike on phase 2 Sapphiron, or -- the worst story I heard from my own server -- a warrior letting Commanding Shout drop off half a second after Gluth's Decimate.
Difficulty: With the benefit of tier 9+ gear, my guess is that the stamina buffer is a butt-saver on fights like Heigan and Thaddius, but there's still plenty of stuff that will one-shot an errant player. Even allowing for a raid that plays perfectly, there's no way to avoid or fully compensate for a player lagging or disconnecting at a key moment, so all you can really do is grit your teeth and hope for a better run next week. However, one of the other nice things about tier 9+ gear is that raid DPS should be through the roof, and you'll have the benefit of killing bosses significantly faster than your tier 7 counterparts. With luck, bosses will die quickly enough to minimize the potential impact of RNG.
The Kingslayer (requires The Frozen Throne -- 10 player or The Frozen Throne -- 25 player)
An Arthas kill on normal mode is an ugly affair, and is probably going to stay that way for a while; there ain't that many raiders out there sporting the title for now. To me the fight feels like an unholy hybrid of Kalecgos and Illidan; there are a lot of little things that can go wrong, and they will do so with astonishing rapidity.
Difficulty: At present gear levels, high. I suspect the complexity of the encounter is such that the 25-man version won't necessarily get a lot easier with better gear (although the 10-man version is definitely more forgiving, if for no other reason than a much less crowded platform). The thought of having to whittle Arthas' health down from 103.2 million HP on heroic is already giving me hives.