This is Part II, click here for Part I. Remember that these are first impressions, and only reflect the author’s opinions of week one of normal modes – take it for what you will.
Nazgrim does not introduce anything revolutionary to raid encounters, but he provides a solid add control fight to the instance. There are not any DPS or healing checks in this fight, all your team needs to do is lock down various types of adds and avoid tanking as much damage as possible. The adds have simple mechanics, but must be dealt with properly to avoid healing or enraging Nazgrim. A single heal from one of the adds can result in a wipe, so control over brute DPS is essential to success. Fights like this always provide a solid break in the monotony of big DPS and heal checks. Nazgrim is a welcomed encounter right as you hit the halfway point in the Siege of Orgrimmar.
Malkorok is one of my personal favorites. I like to think of this fight as what Tortos should have been. I hated Tortos, but I loved the Crystal Shell mechanic of his heroic mode. This fight takes the crystal shell mechanic, refines it, and gets rid of the bats and turtles. This boss will be a favorite of any HoT based healer, as they excel at filling up the Ancient Barrier shields. This encounter also acts as the true Patchwerk encounter of the tier. You can count the number of mechanics in this fight on one hand, but they work perfectly. The mechanics may be limited, but they are extremely important to deal with correctly. Meanwhile, for most of the encounter, DPS are left to stand still and kill the boss.
Spoils of Pandaria
Spoils of Pandaria is potentially one of the strangest encounters ever designed by Blizzard. Although unusual, Spoils is a worthy addition to the instance. The most rewarding aspect of this encounter is beating the “dual-enrage.” Essentially, your raid is split into two groups, each group needs to finish a quadrant in the first 270 seconds of the fight or you will wipe. Following that, each group needs to finish another quadrant in the following 300 seconds. Finally, it is important to remember that these enrages are not just simply met by killing a boss in each quadrant; your raid needs to open crates and kill their inhabitants. The amount of crates, which sizes, and how quickly are all extremely important aspects of your team’s strategy. This helps to create an atmosphere of urgency that no other encounters in recent history have achieved. If you get too risky and open crates too quickly, you may get overwhelmed. To the contrary, if you play too safe and open crates too slowly, you will most certainly wipe to the tight enrage timer. Finding the perfect pace, and how to adjust that pace when things get hairy, is extraordinarily exhilarating and just plain fun.
Thok the Bloodthirsty
Want a tough heal and DPS check? Look no further than Thok. This dinosaur provides the first real challenge for healer and DPS throughput in normal modes. The amount of damage this encounter throws at you is incredibly high. Success is found in using off spec heals and utility from your DPS. Rogue smoke bombs, warrior rally’s, paladin devotion auras, etc. play an absolutely huge part in killing this boss. His mechanics are simple, but the numbers check makes up for his simplicity. Marking the first major road block for normal mode teams, Thok signifies the entrance to the final wing of Siege of Orgrimmar.
Another absolutely superb encounter in Siege of Orgrimmar. For lack of a more eloquent phrase, Siegecrafter is just fun. His mechanics are interesting and require solid awareness and decision making. Perhaps one of the best elements of this fight is the conveyor belt. I am a tremendous fan of any encounter that provides raid teams with a choice on how to tackle them. This fight has four “major” mechanics. Three of these mechanics will periodically appear, in machine form, on the conveyor belt. There is no specific order and you may get more than one of a mechanic per belt. The raid then needs to make a decision on which of the three mechanics to “kill.” Then the remaining 2 abilities will activate on the raid. This happens frequently, keeping the raid on their toes. It is also worth noting that this boss appears to be extremely difficult on heroic mode. World first guilds, who have been stuck on this boss for multiple days, have commented that this fight feels as difficult as an end-tier heroic encounter.
Paragons of the Klaxxi
Perhaps one of the most intimidating dungeon journals turns out to be a really good fight. Your raid needs to face nine paragons of the klaxxi in this encounter, each with their own set of abilities. Additionally, when each boss i defeated a player can click their corpse to receive a buff. Although not necessary, these buffs can synergize with other mechanics to make the fight a bit easier. This encounter, like other great encounters, is designed to be progressed through gradually. Rather than trying to learn all nine boss’s mechanics immediately, focus on learning one at a time as you move through the fight. Eventually the overwhelming feeling that you entered the fight with is gone, and you realize how great the Paragons of the Klaxxi are.
Garrosh is a truly spectacular fight. Just from normal mode, I predict he will be joining the ranks of Ragnaros, Lich King, Illidan, and Lei Shen. This is a long fight, with many mechanics, a ridiculous number of phases and transitions, and a ton of individual responsibility. Even his normal mode difficultly felt like an early heroic fight, so I have high hopes for his true heroic version. All of his mechanics are well designed and make sense in the encounter. Not only must your raid deal with these abilities precisely, Garrosh is a huge DPS and healer throughput check. Garrosh will test every aspect of your raid and makes an excellent end-of-expansion boss.
It is so exciting to see Blizzard getting back in stride with it’s raid content. Cataclysm was disappointing, especially after an expansion with Ulduar and Icecrown. Mists of Pandaria introduced three solid raid tiers, with two exceptional ones (ToT and SoO). This is some of the best raiding content Blizzard has ever provided, and it makes me ecstatic to still be playing this game.
Note: This is Part II, click here for Part I.