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  1. #1

    Vanilla Raids did have some strategy - Nefarian

    I do not get why many believe Vanilla raids were so easy, going through it at the time (and with 40 people), it was a challenge. The Nefarian fight still remains one of my favourites of all time. Remember also that people who tired to use the heal threat strat screwed themselves eventually when it was adjusted. Also the respawn timer. Add in the trash pulls in BWL were pretty cool as well ( I thought) Tanks had to really manage their threat and dps classes had to manage it as well, it was a real aspect to fights. As a Horde warrior at the time, stance dancing was a real skill on this fight too. Of course someone will remember it differently, like usual.

    Anyone recall the basic strats to the fight? This still remains one of the best encounters in the game (IMO) and used every class to their fullest, same with teamwork.

    Like this fight? Hated it? Best and worst memories of it? I think it still holds up well.


    The basics below:
    ===================================================

    Phase 1

    To activate the Encounter a person must walk up to Nefarian's throne and talk through what he says. Upon completion of this he says "Let the Games begin." From here, Nefarian is invulnerable, and walks amid the raid randomly shadow bolting, mind controlling people and casting fear on random targets. The room begins to flood with Drakonids at the same time.
    Phase 1 of the fight consists of defeating the drakonids.

    There are 6 types of drakonids that spawn. In every Nefarian encounter you will fight Chromatic Drakonids; the largest and toughest drakonids. Fortunately they spawn in far fewer number than the other colors. In addition to the Chromatic Drakonid, 2 other random colors of Drakonids will spawn as well. One color will spawn from the southern door, and one color will spawn from the northern door. Colors are fixed for each instance: if Nefarian is attempted multiple times before the instance resets, the same color combinations will appear.

    Different colors of Drakonids have different special abilities and are resistant to different schools of magic. Note that, unlike some other Blackwing Lair mobs, these Drakonids are not particularly vulnerable to any magic. Below is a list of their colors and associated abilities / resistances:

    Red Drakonids - Short range cone DoT fire attack, stacks; resistant to Fire
    Blue Drakonids - Attack which drains mana; resistant to Frost; slightly resistant to Arcane; Lowers attack speed
    Green Drakonids - Stun, resistant to Nature
    Black Drakonids - Moderately powerful direct damage fire attack; resistant to Shadow and Fire
    Bronze Drakonids - Reduces Attack and Cast Speed; resistant to Arcane

    The Drakonids can be killed by either AoE attacks or direct damage and aside from Chromatics, they do not hit very hard and do not have a lot of health.

    Doorway Method

    Raid is split up into groups so that DPS is split up as evenly as possible. The easiest way to do this is start with a Physical assist train on one side (Hunter, Rogue, Warrior) with nuker/AoE classes (Mage, Warlock, Paladin, Shaman) on the other, with healers and tanks being split evenly. At least 2 to 3 tanks need to be designated per side to be able handle Chromatic Drakonids. Taunt moves should be enough to hold mobs, but any that leak should be the primary target, followed by a designated assist target.
    Ranged DPS classes (Mage, Warlock, Hunter) and healers should be positioned max range from either door so that they can switch sides quickly. Hunters can be moved between sides to tweak the DPS balance. Hard, steady DPS is crucial so if one side is waiting for spawns, people need to switch over; the non-chromatic drakonids shouldn't live past taunt duration while chromatics have significantly more health and need to be "sunder" tanked.

    ALWAYS AOE the Red Drakonid group. (Warlocks DoT with Corruption/CoA then Shadowbolt.)
    ALWAYS Assist-train the Blue Drakonid group.
    DPS is preferred on Black Drakonid groups, unless you get Black/Blue.
    AOE is preferred on Bronze Drakonid groups, unless you get Red/Bronze.
    Green Drakonid groups are governed by the other color that appears with them.
    For Black combos, Warlocks should be switched off with Hunters so that they can make full use of their moves. Blue doesn't impact +hit/-resistance Mages too badly but it might help to add Hunters to assist train mobs.
    Red and Bronze drakonids should be handled primarily by casters and only melee with called out healers.

    Green drakonids are the least harmful so this side should be composed mainly of dispellers and classes that wouldn't do versus the other color.

    Phase 2

    After killing 42 Drakonids, no more will spawn (you still have to kill all the others that are up), and Nefarian lands on the balcony in Dragon Form. This is the beginning of Phase 2 of the encounter. Before landing he will cast an AoE (ignores LoS) Shadow Flame on the entire raid. This version of the spell does about 1000 shadow damage and is completely resistible. Previously, every member of the raid must have been wearing an Onyxia Scale Cloak to avoid the fatal DoT from the Shadow Flame (frost mages could use their Ice Block ability and paladins could use their Divine Shield ability to avoid the Flame without the cloak.).

    By now most of the drakonids should be dead. Move your raid to this area and start DPSing him down, from here on out its simple damage dealing with a few twists. It should be noted that, if your raid attempts the aoe version of phase one and stays near the throne, you can stand BEHIND the throne and NOT be hit by Shadow Flame. It is the only place in the room that has this property (and is therefore was the only way for someone without a Cloak or immunity shield to live).

    He has all the abilities of normal dragons: Conical breath attack (shadow based), cleave, and bellowing roar. He also does Veil of Shadow on the target nearest to the center of his hitbox. Nefarian casts an AOE fear roughly every 30 seconds. The ground shakes immediately before this occurs, giving the MT time to stance dance and use berserker rage. Alternatively, have any priests cast fear ward on the MT. It's worthy to note that his fear has limited range of about 35 yards, so ranged DPS and healers can completely avoid it by proper positioning. Approximately every 25–35 seconds he will "call out" a specific class

    Phase 3

    When his health reaches 20% he will resurrect all the Drakonids killed in Phase 1 as "Bone Constructs". They hit fairly hard but do not have a lot of health, so they are relatively easily AoE'd to death. It is advisable to move AoE groups into position where the Drakonids were originally killed prior to reaching 20% HP to ensure their swift elimination, and to avoid healers getting swarmed. It is also advisable to wait for an appropriate call, where you don't lose any healing. Since the Bone Constructs are classified as Undead they are vulnerable to Paladins' Holy Wrath, which should be used in conjunction with other AoE sources.

    An effective technique for Paladins is: 1.) BoP a Mage 2.) Divine Shield 3.) Holy Wrath 4.) Use Stratholme water (if you brought some along). This would be an ideal time for the non-MT Warriors to pop Shield Wall and Challenging Shout in a staggered order to ensure adds do not attack healers (assuming these abilities are not on cooldown from Phase 1). Corrupted Shaman Totems from the Shaman class call will affect the adds; it is advisable to have those totems killed before the adds spawn. Note that if your computer isn't top of the line you will have extremely low FPS when the drakonids are resurrected, so make sure you turn your graphics down and do anything else you can to increase performance before the fight.
    After this he continues to cast his class debuffs up till he dies.

    Nefarian encounter can be reattempted any number of times, however, it takes 15 minutes for him to reset after a wipe (as of patch 1.9.3). Prior to this patch, once the battle had progressed to Phase 2, and the remaining Drakonids had all been killed, the gates would never re-open. Therefore, a Soulstone or other wipe prevention must have been in place, or the battle could not be re-attempted until the instance had reset completely. Nefarian would still respawn after 15 minutes.

  2. #2
    Elemental Lord Destil's Avatar
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    I don't understand what posting this accomplishes.

    I haven't seen anyone say Vanilla raids didn't need strategy.

    Every raid needs strategy.

    ..For reals. wat.
    Quote Originally Posted by Imnick View Post
    Mike Morhaine's definitely been using his body to sell copies of WoW.
    Writer and journalist for Adventures In Poor Taste (http://www.adventuresinpoortaste.com/)

  3. #3
    no one ever said that vanilla raids didn't require strategy.

    but the fact is that every new boss has more mechanics than the vast majority of the vanilla and BC bosses. there were many tank and spank fights in vanilla, and many others where there were mechanics to play by, but they were trivial, and the only reason those fights were hard was because the gear and dps requirements were unreasonable.

    you can probably count on your fingers how many vanilla bosses had more than one phase.
    Warlorcs of Draenorc made me quit. You can't have my stuff.

  4. #4
    Nah, I have seen posts a million times on how easy Vanilla raids were. Regardless, people do not put in context of what else were factors on boss fights besides the mechanics itself.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by checking facts View Post
    no one ever said that vanilla raids didn't require strategy.

    but the fact is that every new boss has more mechanics than the vast majority of the vanilla and BC bosses. there were many tank and spank fights in vanilla, and many others where there were mechanics to play by, but they were trivial, and the only reason those fights were hard was because the gear and dps requirements were unreasonable.

    you can probably count on your fingers how many vanilla bosses had more than one phase.
    More mechanics doesn't mean they are harder or more complex.

    Many of the guilds that do heroics today couldn't complete 25 man raids (the upper ones, that is, t5 and above) at the time they were relevant.

  6. #6
    Immortal Granyala's Avatar
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    Peeps need to take into account:
    -how broken & limited classes were ... DPS running oom easily? DPS pulling aggro and having to throttle down?
    -what few knowledge there was back in the day
    -it was A LOT HARDER to get proper gear with the right stats

    All of this made these raids mean back then, but also makes them look trivial from todays PoV.

    Ifalna Sha'yoko on Twitter and Armory - Occasionally unfaithful to WoW with my Adorable Miqo'te - (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━ ┻

  7. #7

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Archangel Tyrael View Post
    More mechanics doesn't mean they are harder or more complex.

    Many of the guilds that do heroics today couldn't complete 25 man raids (the upper ones, that is, t5 and above) at the time they were relevant.
    it doesn't mean the fight is harder, but it definitely means the fight is more complex. a complex thing is one that combines lots of simple things. each mechanic is a simple thing. if a fight has lots of mechanics, it's a complex fight. that doesn't mean it's hard, by any means.

    but the majority of the difficulty from vanilla and BC hailed from:

    1 - unreasonable gear check to meet the requirement for the fight to be mathematically doable;
    2 - necessity of special gear sets for certain fights (resistance gear, for instance);
    3 - tight enrage timers, so the entire raid had to play very well with 0 lag to beat the encounter;
    4 - unreasonable but simple mechanics, such as Azgalor's Doom, that kills one person after 20 seconds (can't be avoided by any means) and spawns a doomguard;
    5 - some people would give up and to find replacements was a tough deal. guilds had to either steal players from other guilds, or spend months preparing a new guy, running him through raids they were already finished with, because of attunements and linear gear progression. it was easy to see raid groups getting crippled by the some core member quitting.
    6 - classes and specs were broken and there were lots of "wrong choices" a member of your raid could make and cripple the group.

    it was rare to see a vanilla or BC fight that was actually complex. they were mostly straightforward fights with unreasonable requirements for the players.
    Warlorcs of Draenorc made me quit. You can't have my stuff.

  9. #9
    You just barely mentioned the most important aspect of the fight, which is the class "call-outs" as you call it.
    THAT was the main mechanic of the fight. Every class gave him a special ability or was affected by some effect, like paladins BoP'ing him, mages being polymorphed, warriors getting forced into berserker stance, druids forced into cat form, shamans would drop totems that buffed him, priests would damage instead of healing, hunters would have their weapon durability completely removed, rogues being shadowstapped to under him, warlocks summoning uncontrollable demons...

    it was complete chaos
    Dear developers,

    please nerf Rock, it's too overpowered. Paper is fine, however.
    Signed, Scissors.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Kalx View Post
    You just barely mentioned the most important aspect of the fight, which is the class "call-outs" as you call it.
    THAT was the main mechanic of the fight. Every class gave him a special ability or was affected by some effect, like paladins BoP'ing him, mages being polymorphed, warriors getting forced into berserker stance, druids forced into cat form, shamans would drop totems that buffed him, priests would damage instead of healing, hunters would have their weapon durability completely removed, rogues being shadowstapped to under him, warlocks summoning uncontrollable demons...

    it was complete chaos
    You fought through all of that and nef lands and things got hairy in that people were excited, hope the tanks danced properly and that no one got agro so he turned and killed 20 people in 2 secs...lol it was chaos and soo much fun

    ---------- Post added 2013-06-19 at 04:33 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by checking facts View Post
    it doesn't mean the fight is harder, but it definitely means the fight is more complex. a complex thing is one that combines lots of simple things. each mechanic is a simple thing. if a fight has lots of mechanics, it's a complex fight. that doesn't mean it's hard, by any means.

    but the majority of the difficulty from vanilla and BC hailed from:

    1 - unreasonable gear check to meet the requirement for the fight to be mathematically doable;
    2 - necessity of special gear sets for certain fights (resistance gear, for instance);
    3 - tight enrage timers, so the entire raid had to play very well with 0 lag to beat the encounter;
    4 - unreasonable but simple mechanics, such as Azgalor's Doom, that kills one person after 20 seconds (can't be avoided by any means) and spawns a doomguard;
    5 - some people would give up and to find replacements was a tough deal. guilds had to either steal players from other guilds, or spend months preparing a new guy, running him through raids they were already finished with, because of attunements and linear gear progression. it was easy to see raid groups getting crippled by the some core member quitting.
    6 - classes and specs were broken and there were lots of "wrong choices" a member of your raid could make and cripple the group.

    it was rare to see a vanilla or BC fight that was actually complex. they were mostly straightforward fights with unreasonable requirements for the players.
    I do not think any of that was unreasonable and it did not takes months to replace anyone. Most guilds had ongoing recruitment & training, swapping out of people who did not need gear off a particular boss etc

  11. #11
    The combat in WoW was a lot clunkier and dumber back then which contributed a lot to the difficulty of some encounters. I don't think anyone says they didn't require a strategy though. That's just silly. Though its definitely the truth that encounters have become more difficult and complex in general over time.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Grogo View Post
    I do not think any of that was unreasonable and it did not takes months to replace anyone. Most guilds had ongoing recruitment & training, swapping out of people who did not need gear off a particular boss etc
    what's reasonable or not is a point of view. in my opinion, it was unreasonable, because there's no way in hell you'd ever convince me to go through all that work for a video game. at least nowadays, I was a bit crazy when I was younger lol
    Warlorcs of Draenorc made me quit. You can't have my stuff.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by mistahwilshire View Post
    The combat in WoW was a lot clunkier and dumber back then which contributed a lot to the difficulty of some encounters. I don't think anyone says they didn't require a strategy though. That's just silly. Though its definitely the truth that encounters have become more difficult and complex in general over time.
    I agree and disagree. It could be clunkier but in a good way, I miss that threat is really no longer a factor and so forth. Raids now can be more complex with too many phases, i do like the simple in concept but hard to master fights.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Grogo View Post
    I do not think any of that was unreasonable and it did not takes months to replace anyone. Most guilds had ongoing recruitment & training, swapping out of people who did not need gear off a particular boss etc
    Depends on whether your guild was predator or prey. If you were a predator guild, you could easily destroy several lesser guilds by grabbing all their good people to replace turnover. If your guild was prey, good luck with your "ongoing recruitment & training" as you see all your top players constantly being snatched up by further progressed guilds.

  15. #15
    Sadly, Nefarian was one of the more forgiving fights in BWL.

    Though, it was partly because of a few things. BWL was in the era before enrage timers. You could have 3 dps alive, a tank or two, and some healers, and do Nefarian for 30 minutes (I've done it >_>). Also, you could still LoS stuff and out of combat res (we did it on Broodlord :P).

    But a LOT of people see vanilla, which they've never done except on level 80+ characters, and think it was press 2 buttons kill a boss and acquire loot. MC was not much to behold, true, but even stuff like Garr or Shazzrah (ESPECIALLY after his buff) required a lot of pre-planning and personal execution to win.

    BWL? Wow, starting off with Razorgore, it was like going from LFR to Heroic modes. You needed each group to not slack, you had to have kiters do their jobs for the whole fight. If you were horde... shaman whirlpool! Most of the rest of BWL was largely an exercise in threat management (with all the threat tank debuffs and whatnot). But even stuff like Firemaw, when was the last time you made a diagram for a boss fight? A lot of interesting LoS mechanics there in order to take him down.

    AQ? Had it's moments. Some fights where tough because of numbers, others were legit challenges. Stuff like Bug Family (in the bonus loot order) had a lot of people doing a lot of things to not screw up the fight. Sartura, Fankriss, Prophet, not so bad. Huhuran (Nr resist farming was actually pretty neat, I thought. giving me a reason to do weird old dungeons I wouldn't have otherwise. felt very RPG-like) Ouro was another optional boss most people did AFTER C'thun because it had a lot of coordination going on and was tuned high as well. Slimey Viscidus, how do you have 15 afk players when you need 8 groups to do their jobs to kill him ? :P TwinEmps would be a legit 25 man fight TODAY. C'thun, man, he was our Yogg back then. Months of wipes.

    I won't even touch on Naxx40, but it was the real deal. I still have nightmares of stuff like Grand Widow, Gothik, and Horsemen. Bleh -_-



    All in all, people DO think vanilla was some joke and that Molten Core was representative of how the rest of the raids went. Obviously if you only did MC or did the raids last month, I can see why. But to silly kids like me back then raiding 6 days a week, it took coordination just like things do today.

  16. #16
    Legendary! Pendra's Avatar
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    I wish they'd bring back things like the hunter call. Would be hilarious in today's raid environments, especially LFR.

  17. #17
    Anyone who says Vanilla raids didn't have mechanics are people who clearly didn't raid (or even play) during Vanilla, and probably facerolled everything at 85+.

    Were the fights as complicated as today? No. There also wasn't a dungeon journal, PTR for testing raids, or LFR to hold your hand through the encounters, so fights took a long time to learn and master. Fights were difficult.

    Anyone who has raided the WotLK Naxx should be smart enough to realize it was originally a Vanilla raid and every single boss has multiple mechanics.

    Today, raids are much easier (normal mode) than they were back then simply because it takes a lot less people and guides to the fights are released before the actual patches are released. Add this with the fact that everyone can faceroll through LFR and learn the fight and raids do not take near the amount of preparation/time that raids did back in Vanilla/TBC, it isn't really close.

  18. #18
    Herald of the Titans Poppincaps's Avatar
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    Raids now and raids then had different ways to measure their difficulty. Raids then difficulty came more from having to coordinate 40 people and as checking facts said, the absolutely brutal gear requirements on some fights. Now, people over exaggerate whenever they say that 20 people could do the raids while the other half was afk, but the fate of the boss being killed wasn't determined by each and every person. There were fights that had complex mechanics, but I think it also stems from the skill of the players then and now. I don't know about you guys, but I am vastly better now than I was in Vanilla, and I was in the top 5 on pretty much every fight in our 40 mans.

    Raids nowadays ask more of each individual player. You still have to work together as a team, but the bosses have strict dps requirements while also asking alot in terms of mechanics.

  19. #19
    I don't get this post.. I mean every boss had their own strategies back then.. Nefarian just being one of MANY. Maybe OP didn't play vanilla. I mean... Onyxia & MC were the first raids & to think that you could get through those without any strategies is kind of dumb. Then you have AQ40, Naxx...

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Madcaptn View Post
    I don't get this post.. I mean every boss had their own strategies back then.. Nefarian just being one of MANY. Maybe OP didn't play vanilla. I mean... Onyxia & MC were the first raids & to think that you could get through those without any strategies is kind of dumb. Then you have AQ40, Naxx...
    I guess I made this post in response to many blurbs over the past months stating how easy raiding was in Vanilla compared to now.

    A second point is maybe the mechanics of current fights are just adding phase after phase (and gimmicks?) instead of perhaps going back to basics and the root.

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