It seems as though the majority of the people who hang out here a lot are raiders and because Gaffney has stated that a lot of the content designers are currently working on elder game content, I was thinking it would be cool to talk about some of our favorite raid boss mechanics of games past. Right now, I'm waist-deep in Guild Wars 2, and while it's great, I can already feel my focus on the game waning. A lot of this has to do with the lack of true progression-focused PvE engame content. If anything, it's why I'm so excited for Wildstar! Anyway, I will kick this off right. Assembly of Iron (WoW -- Ulduar) Who doesn't like AoI? I love the mechanic of fighting three bosses at once, of doing pointed burns and holding off killing a boss until the last possible second. It was, to me, one of the first moments I remember of leading a raid that really "clicked" and worked with each other. Assembly of Iron -- especially going for the heroic kill -- remains one of the coolest parts of feeling as though everyone was on the same page, solving the puzzle. Algalon (WoW -- Ulduar) As you'll come to see, I have a thing for ridiculously difficult things. Say what you will about WoW raiding, the upper echelons of the game are very difficult. Algalon remains one of the most memorable encounters for me even if we didn't get it until later into WotLK. He's a <REDACTED>, and I simply love the dancing involved in taking him out. One of the things I realized while writing this list was how much I enjoy the dance and people being where they need to be. To me, this is what makes raiding so exhilirating: that constant movement, or at least constant awareness of your surroundings and knowing what you need to do if any of a dozen things were to happen. Infiltrator Johlen (Rift -- Greenscale's Blight) This fight holds a very special place in my heart, and the reason is because I hated it so much. Johlen was only the second raid boss to a brand new MMO and he was as tough as nails. So much so that he was commonly referred to as a guild destroyer. Literally. After weeks and weeks of wipes, guilds would dissolve after never being able to defeat this guy. The reason it was so difficult is because it was both a gear check (to a certain extent), and a dumb check. Johlen really set the bar for Rift raiding going forward and was really Trion saying "you want hard raids? We'll give you hard raids." It involved 3 phases: first, the burn phase where Johlen wasn't actually doing too much; the second was the dodge phase where you would have to dodge (obviously) an intricate braiding pattern of orbs that, if touched, would explode and kill you as well as anyone else in your area (dumb check); and finally, the gear check phase where a bomb would get set in the middle and if your raid didn't "kill" it fast enough, it would wipe your raid. It was, to say the least, a total <REDACTED>... but that's what made it great and why I remember it so vividly. Greenscale (Rift -- Greenscale's Blight) The epitome (to me) of what a good boss raid is supposed to do. It's fast, it's furious, it's loud, it's exhilirating. One of my favorite parts about Rift is the flexibility each class has, and in Greenscale, you simply had to utilize your class's flexibility. Are you a melee-centric dps? Hope you know how to do ranged damage. Casters, are you pretty happy with how good you are at laying down the dips? Well that's great, but you need six or seven healers for this fight, so you better know how to heal, too. And tanks, get ready to use that oft-neglected Void Knight build for like the first or second time you've ever used it. Greenscale, to me, was the perfect encounter for Rift's first raid. It was almost blindingly difficult with the first four or five attempts ending within 30 seconds of the fight starting. But taking him down was one of those moments that I won't ever forget. Matron Zamira (Rift -- Hammerknell Fortress) A three tank fight with so many cool little bits. Zamira highlights important tenants of self-direction, the ability of raid leaders to deal with an intense mix of commands, and really intelligent dps. Basically, the fight boils down to being able to manage both dots on tanks, opportune target switching from offtanks and ranged dps, raid leaders calling out when to "birth" hordes of adds (lot of weird stuff going on here from a story perspective), and then being able to deal with all of this while keeping up a significant amount of dps on the boss. I love this fight because of how everything gravitates towards the middle of the room. It feels very much like a synchronized dance (as do a lot of these other encounters, bu tthis one in particular) as people and adds find their way towards the tanks. When done correctly, it's really quite beautiful to see. Ragnaros Ragnaros (Cataclysm edition) was the last raid boss I have completed in a progression environment. This fight is incredible -- from the insane damage to all of the little things that people need to do to make the fight successful (from air jets to being able to spread out and collapse correctly), the fight is, if anything, a reminder of the great parts of pure raiding. So that's it (this got long). While proprietary action bars, vehicles, and new mechanics are great, I will always prefer straight up movement fights that have unforgiving timing mechanics and intense demands on movement. I want to hear your favorite bosses and mechanics in raids! Let's hear 'em.