Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Warmaster Blackhorn

Now that I've written a somewhat scathing review of Madness of Deathwing, I think that Dragon Soul overall is not without its merits. Some of the bosses are enjoyable and challenging, even creative and unexpected. I think Warmaster Blackhorn is definitely the high point of the raid for me.

I give the fight 9/10 - an intense but fun multi-phase, multi-add battle in the sky. And damn challenging too.

You start off the fight on top of a gunship (ICC anyone?) where adds land and must be killed before the next set drops (3 sets of 2 each). There are also drakes in the sky that shoot bomb-like projectiles at the ship and must be killed by the range DPS. There is also a sneaky little sapper that gets dropped every once in a while and must be killed quickly or he blows up the boat, kamikaze style. And once this is all done, the boss himself finally lands on the boat and it's a tank and spank from there on.

What makes the fight interesting are the variety of adds and their abilities during phase 1. First of all, the 2 big adds cleave like a truck so positioning is important for tanks. On top of that they randomly charge at a player and anyone in the path gets mowed down as well. So you constantly have to be watching to make sure you're not in the way or targeted.

The fire bombs the drakes spit at the ship are dangerous too. What's really fun is that you DON'T want to move out of it - if no one takes the damage, then the ship takes the full brunt of it instead, and if your ship takes too much damage it blows up (there is a HP bar for the ship).

So unlike every other instinct in your fingertips telling you to move the hell out of the swirling purple fire, you actually want to be standing in it. Sometimes there are extra large bombs that everyone in the raid must stand in, or else it does a lot of damage to the ship.

Then there are the sappers, clever and quick little bastards that sneak their way to the back of the ship and blow it up. Their HP is low but they move fast, and drop smoke bombs to make them untargettable until they're halfway across the ship. This is where rogue stuns (and any other insta-stuns) come in real handy. There have been many a time where I wished I was subtlety spec so I could shadowstep over to that sucker and knock him out.

Besides that, the boss, once he lands, is pretty much a tank and spank. He does a massive frontal cone AoE towards a random raid member which can be tricky for ranged DPS to move out of, but for melee you can just run through the boss. He also does a "shout" attack which has a funny audio effect (basically he cackles like a maniac and everyone takes damage???).

All in all a great fight that took my guild many wipes until we could execute it. I give it 9/10 for creativity, 8/10 for difficulty and 10/10 for awareness level required. You really need to be watching everything at all times!

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