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The best fight from Wrath of the Lich King

Mimiron
Last week there were a lot of calls in my "Best fight from Burning Crusade" article for Mimiron, Yogg-Saron, or Arthas himself to be the subject of this article. I had to smile at them because, well, they guessed it. I'll admit that, as a healer, I was tempted to pick Valythria, but I don't think I could really do that in good conscience. Valythria might have been one of my favorite fights, but the best? No, not really. My choice for the best fight from Wrath of the Lich King? Mimiron.

Mimiron is a four-phase tier eight fight with some complex mechanics and a good deal of entertaining humor to it. In my opinion, the Ulduar raid was the crown jewel of Wrath of the Lich King, and Mimiron was one of the most fun and challenging bosses in it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King

The best fight from Burning Crusade

Tempest Keep: The Eye
Last week I wrote about what I considered to be the best fight from classic WoW, so this week we're moving into The Burning Crusade. Though I stated that I try to stay away from obvious choices, this boss is so infamous that I really couldn't choose anything else, despite considering several others. The picture at the top of the article has already given my answer away: Kael'thas Sunstrider, the final boss of Tempest Keep: The Eye.

This could be the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia speaking, but looking back, I really do believe that The Burning Crusade had some of the most interesting, fun, and infuriating boss mechanics of any expansion so far. Mage and/or warlock tanks? Check. Necessary item usage? Check. Guaranteed aggro resets? Check!

And Kael'thas had all of those.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade

My most memorable experience in-game

hyppogriff flight
You know, I thought this question would be a lot easier to answer than it turned out. After six years of playing this game, I thought surely there would be an obvious stand-out moment, but as I sat down to write this post, I realized that wasn't exactly true. Lest you think I'm implying that I've experienced nothing memorable in WoW, rest assured, that isn't the case. It's more that I have the opposite problem: I've experienced too much that is memorable. I've had some really great times in this game, and it's turned out to be nigh impossible to point to one and say, "That's it, that was my most memorable moment." Instead, I've come up with a list of things that keep coming to mind whenever I think about the topic. They are in no particular order:

1. Killing Nathanos Blightcaller

Nathanos Blightcaller was, in ye olden days, a (potentially) 40-person outdoor raid boss for the Alliance. He was also a quest giver NPC for Horde, so attacking him flagged you for PvP. Considering both of these things, you can imagine how difficult it could be for Alliance raids to actually down him, especially on high-population servers.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

The beauty of classic WoW's Molten Core

Ragnaros
Back in the days of WoW's original release, Molten Core was, in many ways, the raid. It wasn't the only raid, and it certainly wasn't the only raid that left a lasting impression on the consciousness of WoW players. Nonetheless, if you were raiding in classic WoW, you started with Molten Core, and that experience inevitably shaped the way raiding has been perceived ever since. What was it exactly about Molten Core? Was it the sprawling, maze-like dungeon (which didn't have a map at the time)? Was it the memorable boss fights and quotes? Was it the iconic gear drops? Was it dealing with the reality of trying to organize 40 players into their different roles and individual responsibilities?

I'd say all of the above, to an extent. The first time you do anything new, be it visiting a city or raiding in a video game, there is a certain significance to the occasion that can never truly be replicated. As the first big raid most classic WoW players experienced, Molten Core has had a special place in our collective hearts for a long time now. Let's take a trip down memory lane with a look at some of the unique and fun aspects of Molten Core, many of which I miss but honestly would not want to have to deal with again.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Patch 5.2 guide to the Throne of Thunder

Horridon picture
The Thunder King is risen! Today, hordes (and alliances) of characters are flocking to the Isle of Thunder to take part in the hotly-anticipated new content. Many of you will be jumping straight into the new raid as well, and in the spirit of being prepared, WoW Insider has got you covered. Check out our Throne of Thunder write-ups and go in swinging!
The ultimate last boss of 5.2, Ra-den, is locked behind a heroic-mode defeat of Lei Shen and that encounter remains a closely-guarded secret -- for now. Happy patch 5.2 everyone, and happy raiding!

Filed under: Raiding, Raid Guides, Mists of Pandaria

Interview with Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas

At the Mists of Pandaria launch event in Irvine last week, I had the opportunity to talk to Ion Hazzikostas, lead encounter designer for World of Warcraft, about Mists of Pandaria's raids and dungeons, lessons learned from Cataclysm and beyond, and the road ahead.

WoW Insider: State your name and position!

Ion Hazzikostas: My name is Ion Hazzikostas and I am the lead encounter designer for World of Warcraft.

What does that job entail?

I'm the lead on the encounter team, which is self-explanatory; we make the dungeon and raid content, primarily. We're specialists in multiplayer PVE combat. On top of the dungeons and raids, we also help with outdoor raid bosses, scenario bosses, things like that.

What would you say that your biggest goal going into Mists of Pandaria was?

Particularly on the dungeon and raid front, to provide content for everybody, for all kinds of players. And we recognize that there's a massive spectrum of millions of people who are playing and enjoying World of Warcraft - a huge range of skill, frankly, and time commitment, the whole casual-hardcore spectrum people always talk about. And one of the things that we've been doing over the evolution of the game is to add additional difficulties, additional ways of consuming that content. So, you know, we now have LFR, normal, and heroic raids, and now we've introduced challenge modes, a sort of new tier of actually legitimately difficult five-player content. It's one of the biggest differences from Cataclysm at launch; one of the things we heard from people who were in guilds with friends and they'd say "these dungeons are awesome, we're having a lot of fun" ... but the people who queued up in Dungeon Finder would have a miserable time.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

The 5 best raid encounters in Cataclysm

The 5 best raid encounters in Cataclysm
Remember this guy?

As we prepare for Mists of Pandaria, it's beneficial to look back and capture the good memories of raids past. After some hard thinking, I've compiled a list of the five Cataclysm raid encounters that were, in my opinion, the best and most memorable of the expansion. While it's difficult to get the same experience today, due to gear scaling and difficulty nerfs, these encounters represent examples of things that Blizzard got right and we'd like to see more of.

5. Halfus Wyrmbreaker, Bastion of Twilight

OK, so the trash clear wasn't the most entertaining experience ever, but this opening boss in Bastion of Twilight hit all the right notes. His companions rotated on a weekly basis, forcing your raid to adapt just a little bit every time, but not so much to significantly alter the encounter. The intense healing requirement at the beginning of the fight provided a good challenge for healers, the add swaps kept the tanks busy, and the enrage timer was well-tuned for DPS.

Most importantly, though, all of that stuff happened at an unusual time in the fight -- the beginning. Most typical raid encounters increase in difficulty late in the fight, leading to a tedious learning process where bored raiders sleepwalk through the learned early minutes before reaching a point where they can challenge themselves and learn. Not this encounter; the majority of the time, you were heading for a win or a wipe within the first minute.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Breakfast Topic: What's the most killed boss in the game?

In all of WoW, what's the most killed boss in the game? I think it's got to be a low-level one, sub-60, simply by merit of the fact that those bosses have been around the longest. Furthermore, they get killed by more characters. Those of us who get characters to about level 20 before deleting them will probably have done Ragefire Chasm once, so maybe it's Targaman the Hungerer.

But what counts as a boss in this context? If Hogger could count, he'd take it easily. I mean, he is a boss in his new home in the basement of Stormwind, sure, but he hasn't been for long.

What about raid bosses? Who's the most killed raid boss in the game? It's got to be the first boss of a given instance. Maybe Lord Marrowgar? I reckon, based purely on subscriber numbers, that The Lich King will be the most killed end boss.

What do you think?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Queue: Bubble bubble pop pop

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Mathew McCurley will be your host today.

Oh boy, The Queue! Have I told you guys how much I love writing The Queue? When I'm not YouTubing or twittering, some of my most wonderful memories are sitting at my computer and browsing through your questions and ...

Ooooh, looks like someone just put a link into Mumble ...

...

...

...

Bubble bubble bubble pop. Happy Monday, ya'll.

jamie9966 asked:

At the start of the Burning Crusade, blood elf paladins got their powers by bending the light to their will, through M'uru who they held captive at the time. Since they no longer have M'uru in captivity, where do they now get their power from?

In the beginning, M'uru was the source of the Blood Knights' powers. It was thought to have been stolen, being ripped from the naaru forcibly. I was always a fan of the ruthless, almost sadistic way the blood elves bent the very light to their will because, well, at the time, it fit the race. After it was revealed that the naaru sort of sent M'uru, who full well knew what he was doing by letting the blood elves take some of his power to create the Blood Knights, that sadism sort of fell to the wayside.

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Filed under: The Queue

Patch 4.2 PTR raid testing continues tonight

The testing for patch 4.2's Firelands raid content has been moving along at a steady clip, save for Friday's testing period, which got derailed due to server issues. But never fear! The 25-player modes for flamewaker hunter Shannox, spider queen Beth'tilac, and cranky (almost Rossi-like) elemental Lord Rhyolith are up for testing tonight to make up for Friday's lost time.

Make sure to check out our impressions of three of the new bosses: Alysrazor, Lord Rhyolith, and Beth'tilac.

We're going to retry Friday's schedule, today!

Monday, June 6
2:30 PM PDT – Shannox (25 Player)
4:00 PM PDT – Beth'tilac (25 Player)
5:30 PM PDT – Lord Rhyolith (25 Player)

As always, the schedule can change at a moment's notice due to issues with the build, server, encounter, or the mercurial nature of designers. The encounters are all a work in progress; there will be bugs and tuning is not final.




The news is rolling out for the upcoming WoW Patch 4.2! Preview the new Firelands raid, marvel at the new legendary staff, and get the inside scoop on new quest hubs -- plus new Tier 12 armor!

Filed under: Raiding

Breakfast Topic: Who's your nemesis?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

For every hero, there is a villain. For every light, there is a shadow. Every rose has its thorn, but if you would just pour some sugar on me ... erm. /cough. The point is that we all have our nemeses, from Hogger and Mor'ladim to Fel Reaver, Illidan, M'uru, and the Lich King himself. Maybe you got stomped too many times by the devilsaurs in Un'Goro Crater, or maybe Mimiron had your raid frustrated for weeks on end. For my guild, it was Sindragosa.

When we got into ICC late in Wrath's life cycle, a new, small guild with a mixture of experienced raiders and players who had never ventured past heroic dungeons, we breezed through the first two wings. Blood Queen gave us a bit of trouble, but we soon swept past her and Dreamwalker and found ourselves facing off against the enemy from our loading screens, the last stop before Arthas himself. We went over the strategy, practiced our tomb placement, set up flares, and gave her a try. And another. And another. And yet another.

Though we were all sick of hearing her voice, for some reason, we just couldn't get Sindragosa down. We had trouble with disconnects, lag, Blistering Cold, multi-tombs, tanks getting tombed, clearing stacks, and pretty much everything else imaginable. The whole guild was aching to slay that dragon, and when at long, long last we managed it, the jubilation was unlike anything we'd had before. I doubt even the Lich King's demise would elicit the kind of cheers I heard on Vent when she went down. Our nemesis was vanquished at last.

Which boss or creature was (or is!) your greatest enemy in WoW? How long did you work on beating it? How did you celebrate when it was finally over?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Who will be the ultimate boss encounter of WoW?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

Illidan. Arthas. Deathwing. Gamon?

In WoW, we kill a lot of things. From x number of boars to 10,000-year-old, demon-juiced night elves, we gear up for and defeat just about everything that comes our way, assuming we can stay out of the fire. But at some point, even WoW, as with all good things, must come to an end.

Both for the game and for players in the game, a last boss will almost certainly arrive. For me, the last boss was simple: Arthas, the Lich King. As players, we've been following his rise, fall, and next rise for years. We watched him succumb to the dark side -- queue evil laugh -- and fall from his perch as a hero of Light into a twisted master of undeath. Then he taunted us throughout the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Finally, we vanquished him, fulfilling years of adventure.

Unfortunately for my ideal ending, I still enjoy and want to continue playing the game. Now we have Deathwing flying around, killing folks. Will he be the fated endgame boss? More Old Gods, maybe? Or perhaps even the Titans themselves will come back to purge the world of our meddling.

Who do you think should be the last boss of WoW? Do you think there will be a last boss?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

BlizzCon 2010: Defense of Orgrimmar live raid

I finished watching the current No. 1 guild in the world <Paragon> tackle a unique live raid event developed just for BlizzCon 2010! It was a big thrill watching them do their stuff. I only wish I could've heard their communications in real time. I've always wondered what is being discussed on unknown encounters.

Except these weren't unknown encounters. We were fighting past foes like Shazzrah, Baron Geddon and the Beast. It wasn't limited to older encounters. Some newer bosses included Ozumat and Rom'ogg Bonecrusher. Apologies for the image quality on some of these folks; I'll need to select a better location and grab a better camera.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Humor, Raiding

Thaddius encounter recreated in StarCraft II


Ever wonder what happens to raid bosses when they get bored? For Thaddius, it seems he has been spending some time moonlighting over in StarCraft II. While he was there, it also seems like he's picked up a few more tricks and upgraded his armor. After all, Naxxramas was only a setback!

IIam4 used Thaddius as an inspiration for his entry into the custom ability contest on SC2Mapster by recreating his Polarity Shift. While he was recreating this ability, he also decided to add a few new features of his own.
  • Shocking Grasp A random target will be paralyzed and take damage over time. If any other unit comes within range of the afflicted unit, Shocking Grasp will jump. This can create a chain reaction.
  • Spawn Volatile Spark Two volatile sparks are spawned, serving as summoned adds that should be DPSed down right away.
These abilities combine to create a very interesting and creative boss battle using the StarCraft II editor. The amount of micromanagement required to keep all of your units alive adds a nice level of complexity to the boss encounter. I personally like that Thaddius is a giant Maruader unit. This video is a nice showcase of the tools that were available even in the beta and exactly what could be done with enough motivation.

StarCraft II is set to release on July 27, 2010. While I'm absolutely certain it will be a fantastic game in its own rights, I can't help but wonder if we will see any more player-created World of Warcraft crossovers with the tools that are shipping with SC2. Can you imagine a campaign where the end boss is casting Defile while you try to micromanage all of your units safely around it? How about navigating your troops into position for a Shatter or managing Burning Adrenaline. Maybe a little Doomfire for good measure! This could bring a whole new level of fun to Tower Defense and Mastermind-style game mods!

So, if you could recreate any one boss or ability from WoW in a StarCraft II fight, what boss would it be?

Two Bosses Enter: Faction champs elude LK, Paletress takes on Tyrannus

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW.com's series of fantasy death matches. Your votes, along with the decisions of our distinguished judges (representing WoW.com staff and readers), determine who makes it out alive.

We're down to the second and last match of the semi-finals in the ICC 5-man/Trial of the Champion season of Two Bosses Enter, One Man Leaves. This week, the Trial of the Champion PvP faction champs handily scampered beyond the reach of the Halls of Reflection version of the Lich King, 58.2% to 38.5%). Their victory earns them a berth in the season finals, throwing down inside the Two Bosses Thunderdome against the winner of this week's matchup: Argent Confessor Paletress versus Scourgelord Tyrannus.

Two Bosses Enter Semi-Finals
The Five-Man Bosses of Icecrown Citadel and Trial of the Champion

Match 1: ToC PvP Champions vs. Lich King (Halls of Reflection version)
Match 2: Scourgelord Tyrannus 60.7% vs. Argent Confessor Paletress 60.7%

As you can see, Paletress and Tyrannus are seeded in identical positions going into this deathmatch. Just as in previous Thunderdome tussles, we'll allow Paletress to front-load her usual supporting cast (after all, Tyrannus has Rimefang to keep him company). Let's see what the judges predict for this matchup, after the break. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls ... Dyin' time's here.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Two Bosses Enter

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