Looking back at cata raids

I seem to be pulling my inspiration from WoWInsider lately. They had a post that looked back at what were, in the writers opinion the best raid encounters in Cataclysm. As Cataclysm was the first expansion I saw from beginning to end, and properly began raiding in, it’s the first one that I can look back at from a raiding perspective. There are two ways to look at it, from an encounter perspective or from a sentimental perspective. Encounters that are awesome in their own right, might not necessarily have the personal memories, that make an encounter truly special.

Awesome Encounters
– Nefarian
An awesome encounter doesn’t have to mean difficult, however awesome is different and different can be hard. I’ve cleared the first 5 bosses of Blackwing Descent a lot more than I ever killed Nefarian. I’ve healed and tanked this encounter though I don’t think I was ever dps. It’s a very tricky encounter with the tanks having to be very precise about positioning and movement. There is also parts, particularly if the encounter doesn’t go as planned, where a lot of healing is required. It’s a hard encounter and perhaps because of the difficulty one I never really enjoyed as I should have. Maybe that means it shouldn’t be on the list? I don’t know, I know it was memorable and that is the first criteria for an awesome encounter for me.

– Valiona and Theralion
Maybe this has got upgraded to legendary status in my mind for how much I’ve wiped on this attempting it at heroic. Never killed it but have wiped an awful lot, it’s an encounter that has wipefest designation in my mind. Therefore, it’s certainly a memorable one. I think I’ve only ever healed this and it is hard, hard hard and more hard. I hope that I’ll be able to return and get the heroic achievement in Mists, maybe with the gear and levels from a new expansion will do what two tiers on gear couldn’t. How people did this when it was current defies my comprehension.

– Alysrazor
The whole of Firelands is memorable for me, in no small part because of the number of times I’ve been there. It was also the first tier of raiding that I did while it was current. The first time I did this I died to the tornadoes, they killed me the second time too, by the third time I had them figured out. It’s a rare fight now that I even take any damage from them. This encounter is different from the norm in that it splits the group and not in conventional ways. Dps go upstairs and fly and do most of the work (something I’ve never had a chance to try) and those of us downstairs get a few mechanics thrown at us to keep us busy. I’ve tanked and healed this but don’t think I’ve ever gone dps, truth be told I haven’t been dps on most encounters.

– Ragnaros
My friend who introduced me to warcraft took me to Molten Core when I hit level 60. I died a lot as you can imagine, but he told me that you “never forgot the first time you saw Ragnaros”  and I guess I never have. Raggy is one of the iconic bosses that makes up what warcraft means to me. I used to solo him ever week in Molten Core which once I’d killed him in Firelands always amused me. The Firelands encounter was hard, it required coordination and reaction from everyone in the group, qualities which come to some easier than others. I’ve never attempted him on heroic, it’ll be an encounter I try in Mists should I manage to get a group together. I still remember the first time I saw him and killed him in Firelands. He’s a memorable boss and I hope that Firelands isn’t the last time we see him (can you kill the lord of fire? I mean fire still exists after all so maybe he’s just banished or something). Whether we see him again or not Raggy is special.

– Ultraxion
I once described this encounter as a paladin healers wet dream. A little crude perhaps but accurate in a way. The first couple of times I killed him as a holy paladin I felt like a god. Holy pally’s are horribly overpowered on this fight and that did feel pretty awesome. Up to the point where it got progressively easier, where the collective gear level rose and being horribly overpowered meant there was absolutely no challenge. I’ve tried to convince my group to let me solo heal this or normal or heroic (which is possible) but so far no dice. This started out as my favourite encounter in Dragon Soul (I mean who doesn’t like feeling like a god) but as it got too easy it became such a disappointment that I no longer look forward to it. I liked feeling overpowered but there’s a fine line between overpowered and much much too easy.

Sentimental encounters
– Magmaw
This boss was the first one I killed in quasi current content in an organized group. Firelands had just come out and my friend invited me to join this raid group on Mondays. His dad’s guild had tried and failed to kill Magmaw throughout T11 and the guild had predictably broken up. There were still a few around so plus my friend, me and a couple of other friends of my friend we had a group. Monday night raids were awesome, it’s what gave me the raiding bug, and I was disappointed when they eventually stopped. I’d been in raids before this of course, the same friend had run an achievement raid in ICC10 (the Lich King would definitely make this list if it wasn’t just cata bosses), but this was the first quasi current raiding. To some people it was old content but it was close enough to new to count in my eyes.

– Argaloth
No I’m not kidding. My friend invited me to tank a BH run. This was the first raid boss I ever tanked. I was so scared I’d mess up as I don’t think I’d even done this boss before. My friend talked to me on skype reminding me when to taunt. It was a simple boss and therefore probably the best first raid boss to try tanking on. I later went on to tank all of Blackwing Descent with the Monday night raid group but I tend to think of Argaloth as giving me my start in raid tanking.

– Chimaeron
The was a healing challenge fight . While I’ve always maintained both a healing and tank spec on my paladin, for one reason or another, I went healing for raids and tanked 5mans. So healing was my role of choice in a raid and this encounter tested my capabilities. I’ll never know whether the initial wipes were my fault or not, however when we killed it I really felt like I’d had to work for it. That I’d contributed to the group and that I’d been a necessary part of the process. Sure they could have got another healer if I wasn’t there but I was there and I’d pulled my weight. It gave me a bit of confidence in my healing capabilities which is probably what meant I continued raiding. Of course this boss doesn’t just have it’s good points. First time I tanked Blackwing Descent I was very nervous, and my finger twitched, pulling this boss without the debuff thing.

– Morchok
The first boss I killed without joining an already established and experienced group, the first boss that hadn’t been nerfed and was as intended. This actually also has the distinction of being the first boss I killed while leading a group. I’d wanted to raid, and there was no room with my friend, so just before Dragon Soul was released I tried my hand at starting my own raiding guild. That’s a simplistic look at what happened anyway and this guild didn’t last but I did learn a lot from it. Morchok was a boss of firsts and while part of me was concerned that he’d gone down too easily, I was also pleased as punch about it. Morchok heroic also deserves a mention as healing it was a challenge, given that we went with two healers rather than the recommended four. I felt like I pulled my weight in the group with that. I’ve also tanked heroic, and while it’s probably egotistical, we’d had some trouble with pug tanks for a few weeks before that heroic kill. We’d gone from being able to one shot him on heroic to not being able to kill him at all. Killing him second attempt when I was tanking was a bit of a pat on the back for me, and also made me realise that while tanking was my off spec it was a role that I no longer minded performing in a raid setting. I could tank raids and they could be current content, another needed confidence boost I guess.

– Warmaster Blackhorn
This boss deserves a mention in my mind because I credit (probably incorrectly) our initial kill to a strategy I’d thought up. Before Dragon Soul got heavily nerfed the little swirlies on this encounter caused a fair bit of damage and therefore failure to block them led to a wipe. On our first few tries we were all over the place with some swirlies getting blocked by lots of people, and other parts of the ship left unattended. I noticed that I’d run towards a swirl to just miss being able to block it as it was too far to move in time. Therefore I suggested splitting the boat up into four sections and therefore people only had to worry about blocking the swirls in their section. Using that strategy we got to phase two quite quickly after that and the kill came soon after. Now I don’t know for sure whether that strategy helped or not (I certainly wouldn’t recommend it now as swirlies aren’t so important) but I like to think to myself that I contributed to the group there.

Those are the bosses that I thought were worth mentioned from Cataclysm, in no particular order of course. There was nothing wrong with the other encounters, these were just the ones that were special or memorable for a reason. What are the encounters that you think the most of?