The weekend was filled with forgotten villains, demons, phoenix, and blood elves. The fierce battle against the Scourge was put on hold while I traveled back to the Outlands.
On Friday, I ventured into Tempest Keep with some friends in attempt to defeat Kael’thas. We had 12ish level 80s that gathered together, most who had never seen the inside of the 25-man raid before. On the first attempt, Kael’thas and his advisors kicked our asses. The fight mechanics are still a bit challenging, with multiple phases, lots of AOE damage, and mind-control. The second attempt went much better, although I was killed by a Phoenix. I watched as Kael’thas flew up into the air and the raid DPSed him down.
Imagining how the fight felt at level 70 is breathtaking. It required such coordination, skill and a very specific raid composition. We just fumbled our way through, overpowering the mechanics with our Tier 9 gear and large health pools.
Saturday, I joined the Sidhe Devils in an assault on the Black Temple. I was amazed by the graphic design of the place – it was full of mystery, vastness, and alien beauty.
We had 12-15 guildies, almost all of which were level 80. I had skimmed through the strategies beforehand, and each fight seemed more complex than the last. The reality was that the fight mechanics didn’t matter. In just over three hours we steamrolled through the place, only losing a few people to Mother Shahraz and the Illidari Council.
Illidan himself was an exquisitely designed encounter. The lore implications of this fight made me shiver a little, especially when he uttered those famous words, “you are not prepared!” We blazed through the phases, even managing to skip Phase 4 entirely. The next thing I knew Maiev Shadowsong stormed in, and Illidan’s health trickled away. He fell to the ground, and we burst out laughing. We had just brute-forced our way through the entire Black Temple.
It was a fantastic evening overall. We sent a level 76 Paladin away brimming with purples, cracked jokes about the Sisters of Pain and Pleasure, and even witnessed a Tree staring contest.
I also walked away from the Illidan fight with an unexpected bonus.
I’m glad I finally got to see some of the major content from BC. It did leave me a little wistful though – what would it have been like to see it the way it was intended to be seen?
Then again, it would have required being a part of one of those hard-core raiding guilds, where the game becomes more of a job, and it’s not usually friends you’re surrounded by, but office-mates.
Sometimes I dream of a world where a group of friends could conquer the latest content, while still having a blast. That perfect balance of seriousness, progression, casualness, and fun seems to be an unobtainable nirvana. There are so many internal pressures and drama that arise from raiding. Everyone has their own goals and priorities in the game, and there will always be slight differences that can drive a wedge between friends.
It’s truly amazing how a game can cause such chaos, even among mature adults. Social groups outside the game are rarely put under such pressure. What in the “real world” could cause such problems – perhaps religion, politics, or money?
But I digress… My point was that it was a good weekend, and retro-raids are a lot of fun. I would highly recommend grabbing some friends and heading back to the era of the Burning Crusade.