Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Raid Boss Rundown

Endgame content in World of Warcraft has always been a moving target as Blizzard has made a point of assuring that there is always a new "ultimate" enemy target if not in Azeroth, than at the least on its horizon. With that in mind, I thought it might be interesting to look at the different raid bosses which have tormented adventurers throughout the game's history. For each boss, I will identify the instance they call home, when they were added to the game, a brief explanation on why they deserve slaying, and score their relative theoretical (not mechanical) power on a scale from 1 to 10.

Home: Onyxia's Lair
Added: Available at Launch

Why does Onyxia deserve to die? She is broodmother of the Black Dragonflight, plain and simple. Ever since their descent into madness, the Black Dragonflight has stood for nothing but destruction and evil. Using guile rather than the brute force exhibited by her father, Black Dragonflight leader Deathwing, Onyxia is insidious in the havoc she reeks, even infiltrating Stormwind's political system as her alter-ego Lady Prestor. She wants you and all you love to die, so why not return the favor?

Power Score: 2
Sure, Onyxia is clever and deceptive. She is also an adult dragon and a first generation descendant of a Dragon Aspect. Even though she may have once been a formidable opponent, Azeroth currently faces threats from several different dragons, many of whom put this broodmother to shame.

Ragnaros the Firelord
Home: Molten Core
Added: Available at Launch

Why ought Ragnaros be Destroyed? If Ragnaros had his way, all of Azeroth would be burned to a charred crisp. Sure, in his own embittered way, he is just doing the work of any decent Fire Elemental Lord, but such plots are prime for dramatic stopping. He also does not treat his employees very well. Poor Executus...

Power Score: 4
As an Elemental Lord, he certainly holds some god-like sway with respect to all that is fire. Unfortunately though, he has just seen his but kicked far to many times to warrant any significant street cred. First, he backed the Old Gods and was banished by the Titans. He also cannot even manage to take all of Blackrock Mountain for himself, let alone make any kind of move towards obliterating all life on Azeroth. Sure he one shotted Thunderaan, but let's be honest, who hasn't?

Home: Blackwing Lair
Added: Patch 1.6

Why should Nefarian's wings be clipped? As with his sister Onyixia, Nefarian suffers from an incurable case of being member of the Black Dragonflight. In fact, since his father, Deathwing, is out of the picture, Nefarian is the closest thing to a leader the Black Dragonflight currently has. Combine his evil predispositions, his position of relative power, and his crazy army generating experiments and you have a recipe for disaster ripe for quashing.

Power Score: 4
Sure he has more going for him than his little sister, but he is still nothing more than a well connected and quite evil dragon. He has built himself an impressive power base made up of assorted members of the Black Dragonflight, his own Chromatic dragon creations, and Rend Blackhand's Dark Horde. Perhaps if he weren't so preoccupied by his tiff with Ragnaros he could expand his reach more significantly beyond his lair.

Home: Temple of Ahn'Qiraj
Added: Patch 1.9

Why send C'Thun packing? Well, if you believe Skeram's Prophecy, C'Thun is "a being of unimaginable evil and power." Not only is he one of the chaotic Old Gods who once ravaged Azeroth, but he now has a monstrous chip on his shoulder that only total annihilation can remove. Unless you are one of his insectoid followers, this eyeball has got to go.

Power Score: 9
The Old Gods are arguably the most powerful entities that ever walked Azeroth. The Titans would obviously beg to differ as they won the war, but even so, C'Thun is rumored to have actually felled one of the legendary Titans and lived to tell the tale. Now with a massive Quiraj army to command, C'Thun is a force to recon with and the first true threat to Azeroth's very existence players ever faced.

Home: Naxxramas
Added: Patch 1.11 and Reintroduced in WotLK

Why does Kel'Thuzad deserve to be killed...again? Well, he is a powerful sorceror who serves at the right hand of the Lich King. As far as references on your resume of evil, the Lich Kings name certainly opens doors. He also slaughters the innocent and leads massive scourge armies in a constant effort to destroy the living. Long story short, he is an easy Lich to hate.

Power Score: 3
Sure, Kel'Thuzad is an incredibly powerful Necromancer with and army of the undead serving beneath him, but when it really boils down to it, he is just a decent magic user with a very powerful friend. Time and time again, whenever Kel'Thuzad has found himself without his King, he ultimately gets his but kicked and must run home to daddy with his tail between his legs. Without his super evil benefactor, Kel'Thuzad would be just another face Dalaran's massive bureaucracy.

Gruul the Dragonkiller
Home: Gruul's Lair
Added: BC Release

Why should Gruul be taken down a couple pegs? Really, Gruul is just trying to keep what is his. He wants to maintain his territory and protect his descendants, the Gronn. He is big, ugly, and comes off a little slow, but he is not particularly despicable. He may be violent, but he is not evil per say. Maybe if he did not carry around such appealing loot he could have avoided many unnecessary killings.

Power Score: 2
Gruul's status as a "Dragonkiller" comes from ripping the wings off of many dragons unfortunate enough to find themselves on the business side of the Dark Portal. When confronted with a Dragon Aspect, however, he did not fare so well. He is big, he is strong, and he has a large (in all meanings of the word) family backing him up. Other than that, he is just....big.

Home: Magtheridon's Lair
Added: BC Release

Why should Martheridon be deposed from his position of life? The tyrannical former ruler of Outland is all kinds of evil. I also speculate that he may have had weapons of mass destruction. Since being subjugated, he is now just one more source of power for Illidan. This evil battery has got to go.

Power Score: 2
Owned by Illidan and kept as a pet by a group of Orcs, Magtheridon has lost a lot of credibility in the relatively recent past. Only in glimmers of his former glory behind the reigns of an entire chaotic realm does Magtheridon's power show. He is old news.

Lady Vashj
Home: Serpentshrine Cavern
Added: BC Release

Why should Lady Vashj sleep with the fishes? She is a stalwart ally of Illidan and one of the key reasons behind his rise to power. Currently she enjoys sowing seeds of chaos, commanding the Naga race, and destroying the ecology of the Zangarmarsh.

Power Score: 2
Lady Vashj is to Illidan as Hadji was to Jonny Quest. Sure she has some neat tricks and is exceptionally useful, but really she is not the center of the show. If not for her massive Naga armies and powerful evil allies, she would not have much to brag about. Her fish boobs are spectacular though. Sim, sim, salabim!

Kael'thas Sunstrider
Home: The Eye in Tempest Keep and later in Magisters' Terrace
Added: BC Release

Why should we put out Kael'thas Sunstrider's lights? Swearing allegiance to Kil'jaeden is never a step on the path to goodness. Also, kidnapping a Naru is probably one of the most evil things you could do in Azeroth. In a world that is ripe with "betrayers," Kael'thas still manages to stand out and is ready for a hearty helping of righteous vengeance.

Power Score: 2
Keal'thas is a powerful magic user and one of Azeroth's most capable mercenaries, always ready to sell himself out to the one providing the most magic for him to feast on. Though his frequent side-switching tends to keep him at the top of the power curve, it is generally not through any special capabilities of his own. If not for his allies, his score would plummet like the hopes the Blood Elves once had for him.

Home: Archimonde is dead, but he can be visited in time at The Battle of Mount Hyjal
Added: BC Release

Why has Archimonde already been killed? He was a principal servant of Sargeras, the most powerful source of evil in Azeroth's universe. If any more reason was needed to bring him down, I am certain attempting to obliterate the World Tree would be just cause.

Power Score: 5
Sure he got owned by a bunch of wisps, but even super evil Eredar have bad days. When you take one of the most powerful sorcerers from one of the most powerful races of sorcerers and give him the backing of the most destructive evil force in existence you have one formidable opponent. Thank goodness he is already dead.

Illidan Stormrage
Home: The Black Temple
Added: Patch 2.1

Why should Illidan Stormrage never see another day? While Kael'thas may have been a betrayer, only Illidan has the distinction of being The Betrayer. All in all, his actions could be attributed to a lust for power which seems to run through nearly all elves. Regardless, his motives are, as they have been before, contrary to those of the rest of the mortal races. As long as he lives, a potential ally for any lurking evil remains.

Power Score: 4
Most of Illidan's personal power is drawn both from his own affinities and from magics he has absorbed either by theft (The Skull of Gul'dam) or gift (the flaming eyes from Sargeras). Like many of Azeroth's villains, his might is sharply augmented by the company he keeps.

Home: Sunwell Plateau
Added: Patch 2.4

Why should Kil'Jaeden be stuffed down a magic hole? He is the current supreme commander of the Burning Legion whose goal is to subjugate all mortal races into his demonic army. He is also Sargeras' principal agent. What more reason do you need to melt his face?

Power Score: 6
Kil'jaeden is basically a slightly improved version of Archimonde. He has more power, more responsibility, and more impressive credentials. There is a reason Sargeras favored this particular Eredar turned Demon Lord, he is super beefy.

Sartharion the Onyx Guardian
Home: The Obsidian Sanctum
Added: WotLK Release

Why does Sarharion deserve to burn? He is a massive member of the Black Dragonflight watching over a clutch of Black Dragonfligh eggs. Haven't we been over the whole Black Dragonflight thing before? Oh yeah, I remember, they are evil.

Power Score: 2
He is a big bad black dragon, but unlike Nefarian, he does not even have an army at his command. Sure his mouthy Drake servants Tenebron, Shadron, and Vesperon add to his power base, but really he is nothing exceptional.

Home: The Eye of Eternity
Added: WotLK Release

Why does Malygos deserve a Dragon's death? Malygos has decided that mortals shouldn't use magic. We could all just lay down our wands to avoid his wrath. On the other hand, if we are feeling feisty, we could storm his sanctuary and obliterate him. I know which one I would choose.

Power Score: 5
Malygos, as one of the five Dragon Aspects, is leader of the Blue Dragonflight. Likely the oldest Dragon in existence and imbued with ridiculous magical aptitude by the Titan Norgganon, he is a force to be reckonned with. Unlike the other Dragons sitting amongst Azeroth's top raid targets, Malygos is genuinely something much much more.

Emalon the Stone Watcher
Home: The Vault of Archavon
Added: Patch 3.1

Why should we watch Emalon die? He is big, iron, and full of loot. There is really no reason to kill Emalon except for the fact that he is there and apparently hostile to those who charge into his home in an attempt to murder him.

Power Score: 1
However powerful an Iron Giant manages to be, they are still just an Iron Giant. This guy was not even powerful enough to have the Vault he inhabits named after him. If he were anything special I would imagine he would have won Wintergrasp by now.

Home: Ulduar
Added: Patch 3.1

Why doom Yogg-Saron? Yogg-Saron is the Old God of Death and a beacon of chaos and insanity. The Titans locked this hunk of evil up for a reason and unless death and destruction for all of Azeroth's mortal races sounds appealing, it is best to put this ancient terror down.

Power Score: 8
Yogg-Saron sits beside C'Thun as one of the most powerful entities in the history of Azeroth's universe. The only difference between the two is that Yogg-Saron was able to be captured and imprisoned by the Titans while C'Thun managed to fall off the map. Is Yogg-Saron more evil? Possibly. Is he more powerful? Probably not.

Algalon the Observer

Home: Ulduar
Added: Patch 3.1

Why should Algalon's processes be terminated? Algalon is about to deliver a report on the state of Azeroth and things are not looking good. If that report is submitted to the Titans, all life on Azeroth may very well cease to exist. Algalon is not evil per se, just a disinterested observer who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Power Score: 3
The Titans certainly wouldn't send a slouch on such an important mission, but Algalon is really nothing more than a pencil-pushing gopher. The fact that he has some pretty potent bosses does, however, warrant a few jumps up the power score scale.

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