That was the first thing that came to mind when I was up close. One of the bosses we're tackling in Firelands is a giant, flaming bird. Actually, it looks more like a phoenix; the Encounter Journal says it's actually a dragon. Either way, it's a multi-phase encounter with some fast player movement, controlled DPS and a phase where we can just sit there and burn the boss.
That being said, do you prefer your former dragons original recipe or extra-crispy?
Also, spoilers after the jump. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Unlike previous Firelands encounters, Alysrazor actually has some trash that has to be dealt with. My raid grouped wiped the first time we engaged it, until someone was observant enough to notice that the phoenixes on the ground were interactive.
After that, we see Majordomo Staghelm, and a short RP scene begins. I'll spare you the details of that bit. (It's just him going on about how awesome he is and how terrible the rest of us are.)
Once the encounter engages, the raid starts taking some quick raid damage. I wish more fights would start like this. It's a great way to wake up healers and to see who's paying attention and who isn't.
I had most of the DPS players focus on one Hatchling at the time. Despite the buffs we gained from using Molten Feathers, we weren't sure whether to divide up DPS between Hatchlings or on Alysrazor, who was flying over us in the air. One player was assigned strictly to take care of the Blazing Talon Initiates that do nothing but shoot Brushfire at us. They move fairly slowly and are easy to dodge. The danger is that if the Initiates aren't taken down and controlled, more of them will continue to spawn, eventually overwhelming the entire area.
I wish I had a chance to experience the air phase. There are these rings that Alysrazor emits in the air. If you fly through them, you gain extra flight time along with restored energy (or mana or rage or whatever). It's like playing Starfox 64 all over again.
Then it was on to phase 2.
This is the skill check phase. We got here once, and we were completely caught off guard and out of position. Using the Encounter Journal, we realized what we actually needed to do. The first thing is stay away from the middle. The second thing is to keep moving. If you see any fiery Fruit Loop rings on the ground, you can run through them.
If I numbered fire tornadoes from 1 to 6, with 1 being the closest tornado and 6 being the furthest, you'd have tornadoes at positions 1, 3 and 5 going one direction and 2, 4 and 6 going the other direction. Reminds me a little bit of Al'akir. The best way to adapt to it, I found, was to point your camera straight down, strafe through them accordingly and dodge.
Survive that? Then say hello to phase 3!
This is the burn part of the encounter. Alysrazor crash lands into the center of the room. She doesn't move. This part of the encounter lasts until her energy reaches 50. Start focusing your DPS efforts on her, as she takes 100% extra damage. If you hit her with a spell, she returns mana. Her energy is restored by a few Druids of the Flame. I'm not sure if we should have taken them out or just worked on Alysrazor herself. The call was made just to burn as much health off the boss as possible.
We didn't get very far after this phase, unfortunately.
From what I could gather in the Encounter Journal and from watching livestreams earlier in the day, Alysrazor starts burning again and pulses fire to everyone, just as in the initial part of the fight. She's also got a conical cleave effect. Don't get hit by it, as it increases your damage taken by 10% per hit (fire and physical).
When her energy reaches 100, the encounter shifts back to phase 1 mechanics with the Voracious Hatchlings and eggs.
I wish I'd had some more time with this boss. I genuinely felt we could have defeated it. It does feel a little undertuned in some aspects. I switched from three-healing to two-healing largely because I couldn't find any other healers on such short notice and the one I had bailed. It's a lot of fun, and of the three bosses I've previewed so far, this is my personal favorite. It's another test of coordination and skills. That second phase could very well crush 25-player raids.
The news is already rolling out for the upcoming WoW Patch 4.2! Preview the new Firelands raid, marvel at the new legendary staff, and get the inside scoop on new quest hubs -- plus new Tier 12 armor!