The first wing of the Ny’alotha raid opens up for us filthy casuals!
At the end of the Eternal Palace raid, we accidentally unleashed N’Zoth, the final Old God that terrorizes Azeroth. He began an assault on the “Vale of Eternal Blossoms” and “Uldum” ; both locations harboring important Titan facilities. We’ve been fighting the good fight in those zones, and in the “Horrific Visions”, and now we must take the fight to N’zoth on his home turf: Ny’alotha the WAKING City (it used to be sleeping city but….it woke up. lol).
We head to the Lovecraftian entrance (which moves depending on the week) and find ourselves on a platform ORBITING Azeroth! A corrupted Wrathion stands before us as the BLACK EMPEROR!
Wrathion: The Black Emperor
The first fight is the Corrupted Wrathion (spoilers: It’s not really him, it’s a faceless/demon thing masquerading as him and warping our reality. Its your typical WoW Dragon fight. Tanks tank him, DPS stands on his flank to avoid tail swipe, and you burn him down. He periodically casts a Cataclysm spell which covers 95% of the floor with lava. The raid needs to run the hell away or die. The first pull ended this way lol. Then he becomes untouchable and sprouts these columns of crackling shards which we must destroy. Once they are down, it repeats to stage 1 and the hellfire. Not a bad fight, cool mechanics and what I would consider a classic WoW Raid style fight.
Once the illusion of Wrathion is broken, we find ourselves in the guts of the city. There is PLENTY of trash mobs in this area, more than we’ve seen in a while for raids. I am not sure if they drop any goodies. There are a couple of cool Egyptian gargoyle monsters that share a mechanic. They go into stone form and a “Obsidian shatter” spell starts. You must attack the Gargoyles which drains their mana/stone form before the spell timer completes. Failing to do this, on both gargoyles, is insta-wipe. This happened a couple of times. Once you clear some trash, we find ourselves in the western wing where MAUT hangs out. He is a larger version of the Gargoyles we just fought. He even has the same Shatter/manashield mechanic.
This was another fun fight. Maut’s big thing is that he is hungry for MANA! A lot of his mechanics suck it out of you and inhibit your mana regen. As the fight starts, he puts a spell on random party members which drops these pools of purple swirling evil on the ground. They, of course, hurt to stand in. He then summons a big swirly which sucks you towards it, not difficult to avoid. Once the sucking is done he begins an annihilation spell which hurts (insta-wipe on higher difficulties). To avoid it, you need to STAND IN the purple swirly pools of death. Its a quick boom, so you only need to stand in the pool at the very end of the annihilation cast timer. It took a wipe to figure this out as most of the raid jumped in immediately and it killed us before the spell actually executed. All throughout he is summoning these voidwalker adds. Your hits do no damage, but suck away mana. When the mana is gone, they die.
After Annihilation, phase 2 begins. He goes into stone form and our mana regen is tanked. The strategy here is the same as the gargoyles outside – hit him to decrease the mana shield before the spell pops. We wiped a few times getting this part down. As he is in stone form, these big blue balls of mana start spawning. The healers (priority target for mana regen) need to intercept the balls before they hit Maut or he gets the benefit of more mana (slowing progress for us on his shield). Once you get the shield down, we go back to phase one. Rinse and repeat until dead. This was a challenging battle for LFR (newbies at least) and we saw a lot of turnover in the raid. It felt good to down it though.
The Prophet Skitra
We then head to the Eastern wing of the area, fight more trash, and find ourselves before the final boss of the raid wing, The Prophet Skitra, a total pain.
This boss is not hard to fight in traditional terms: damage, dps, healing, etc. No, he (she?) is a test of cooperation between raid members and coordination of attack. These are not the strong suits of LFR runs. Skitra is a master of illusion. When he has lost 20 health, and each 20% increment thereafter, he drops 2 debuffs on the raid. Half the raid gets the orange debuff, the other half purple. Each half sees multiple copies of Skitra around the room. For instance; Orange members see 4 of them: 1 north, 2 east, 1 south. Purple members also see 4: 2 west, 1 center, 1 north. Notice how they both see north, but not the others? The two sides need to talk to each other to figure out which Skitra can be seen by BOTH halves. The two sides see different fake Skitras, but the one we all can see is the real one. Kill the wrong one and the raid wipes.
This does not sound that difficult on paper but, oh boy, it is. What saved us in the end, is me actually. Well, the wife might have contributed too, lol. We both play WoW and raided together for this. For some of the illusion phases, we were the same color: orange or purple. Some of the times, most actually, we were on different sides/colors. This allowed us to see each other’s screens and call out the real one to the raid. The raiders, being stupid and distrustful, did not like this (foolproof) method. After several wipes I suggested an alternative. I asked that they put a raid marker on me. I was designated “The Hopper” (A name no self-respecting New Englander would self apply). I would hop in front of the boss and ask if everyone can see it. Someone says no, it is a fake and I move to the next boss. In reality I, seeing the wife’s screen, knew the real one. I would hop in front of a fake first and then move to the real to make everyone comfortable and trusting. After a few successful IDs, they trusted the Superponte/Wife strategy and we downed the thing. This boss will be rough on LFR until everyone learns some strategies for working together. The wife thinks they will nerf it, but I am not sure.
After a rough launch, 8.3 is actually looking pretty good. Numerous patches have come out in the last couple of weeks that have fixed a lot of the major issues with the game. The dailies now offer more of the “coalescing vision” currency which allows us to do more “Horrific Visions” per week. The rare spawn rate has seemingly increased making those dailies easier. The auction house looks to be working, and the first wing of the raid was a lot of fun!
The fights here were challenging and fun to master. The bosses has excellent design/voice work and the spell effects were cool, especially Wrathion’s Cataclysm fire explosions. If this is a sneak preview of how the other wings will go, and research says “yes”, then this might be one of the better WoW raids. I already know the ending cinematic is leaving people wanting, but I’ll give it a chance when my time comes to finish it when the last wing opens (March 10th I think). I am now actually pretty anxious for February 11th when raid wing two opens, meaning that Blizz did its job. See you in 2 weeks!