Patch 52 PTR JiKun
Rejoining Lore from TankSpot and his guild Months Behind, Ji-Kun was our next target. Hers is an interesting fight, which somewhat split the group's opinions, leaving us undecided on whether it was genius or gimmick.

Rather like Alysrazor in Firelands, Ji-Kun has a mechanic involving feathers. Actually, she has several mechanics involving feathers, if you include Quills, but the main one I'm thinking of here, indeed the main mechanic of the fight as it is intended, is Daedalian Wings. The tooltip isn't enormously useful here, but this is the buff received by players when they loot feathers from killing off the Hatchlings in one of the nests. Ji-Kun is positioned on a very elevated platform in the center of a circular room, with five other platforms positioned around the edge, below her level, and four more platforms positioned above her.

These platforms are the key to this fight, which, apart from their mechanic, is, frankly, rather dull. Some of your party will be traveling to and from the lower platforms, while most will likely remain on the upper.

Patch 52 PTR JiKun

Platform Hopping

The platforms can be seen in the image above, and what their mechanic revolves around is, essentially, Ji-Kun's babies. She's a Mogu experiment gone wrong, you see, and as part of the process of sorting the whole Mogu mess out, you have to kill her nascent chicks.

The fight begins with all players on Ji-Kun's platform, where she will land in the middle, ready to be collected by one of the two tanks. There are two tank-swap mechanics, Infected Talons and Talon Rake. The latter hits for 175% weapon damage as physical damage and leaves a one-minute debuff on the tank that increases the damage they take from the next Talon Rake by 50%. It seemed that these two combined to mean that a tank-swap at two stacks of Talon Rake was the best way to go, perhaps even just one stack depending on your composition.

Because it's not like the tanks have much else to do. Your best AoE DPS will be platform hopping to take down Ji-Kun's chicks before they manage to eat the slime she's throwing at them, and mutate into bigger, angrier chicks. Periodically, a beam of light will appear on one of the five platforms, as you can see we've marked them with raid markers to make it easier to identify the appropriate platform, as on PTR the beam of light appeared and disappeared fairly quickly.
Patch 52 PTR JiKun
You can see the beam of light to the right-hand side of the above picture, just next to the blue world marker. This signals players that some DPS and probably a healer depending on your DPS need to jump down there and start killing some Hatchlings. Hatchlings are the lowest grade of bird, so they cast the lowest rank of Cheep. If the Hatchlings are not killed before they finish their cast of Feed, they will transform into Fledglings. These attack random players, and also spawn eggs which will lead to the appearance of Juveniles. If you look back to the header image, that's what's flying overhead the main platform -- these do a lot of damage with their version of Cheep, so the fewer of them you have the better.

The Hatchling Cheep damage is not inconsequential, though, so you'll either need to send DPS with good AoE and good off-healing, or send two DPS and a healer. Depending on which platform the Hatchlings spawn on, it is possible for a healer standing on the edge of the main platform to heal the DPS below, but this is a risky strategy.

Once the Hatchlings are dead, they will drop feathers. These, like Alysrazor's feathers, should be collected by those on the platform, and used to fly back to the main platform. Our team found that it was very important to be careful about the number of feathers collected, as it was relatively easy to pick too many up and strand someone on the platform, but the possibility to jump off and have a slow, spinning lift back to the main platform did mitigate this risk, somewhat.

The debuff meaning that the feathers couldn't be re-used to fly for one minute didn't mean that there had to be an interchanging set of DPS hitting the adds, but this may change come live. However, at the time of testing, there was another issue that prevented DPS from traveling down to take out every wave of Hatchlings.

The Main Platform

This, as the name suggests, is where the bulk of the encounter takes place, and the tanks, healers (we had three in total) and the ranged DPS will spend the vast majority of their time. There are several abilities to contend with, so let's rattle through them in order of annoyance.

Feed Pools: These green puddles appear on the main platform, and will eventually cover it. They can be removed by standing in them for three seconds, but doing so both damages the player standing in them and puts up a debuff called Slimed. When this debuff falls off, the next application of Slimed will do 10% more damage, and this effect stacks. Feed Pols build up quite quickly, as can be seen from the image below, so it is necessary to clear space by taking the debuff now and then.
Patch 52 PTR JiKun
Downdraft: Ji-Kun will flap her wings, causing a downdraft that will try to blow players off the platform. Players will need to run against the Downdraft to avoid a brief trip to floorsville -- it was unclear whether the slow lift mechanic found on PTR would still be around on live servers or not. If not, this is a raid wiper. We found that jumping allowed you to actually travel forwards over the Downdraft.

Caw: This ability is cast periodically by Ji-Kun, and sends out bolts of sound towards random targets. These bolts of sound will explode on impact with the target, inflicting 250k physical damage to all players standing within eight yards of the impact. This cannot be kited, they move too quickly, so the best thing seems to be for the players not being targeted to move away, thereby avoiding the damage. Players hit should also move out of the resultant sound wave, as seen below.
Patch 52 PTR JiKun
Quills: This is the last and by far the most annoying ability Ji-Kun has to offer. Timers will make it far, far easier to manage, but we found that approximately every 50 seconds to one minute, Ji-Kun will cast Quills, inflicting a little under 100,000 damage to all players every second for ten seconds. This damage is physical, so our paladins' devotion auras did nothing to mitigate it. This ability is annoying, because it also hits players who are down on the lower platforms killing hatchlings. It's very hard for a healer on the lower platform to heal through it alone, and that also potentially wastes a healing cooldown that could be better used on the entire raid.

What we did, then, was to have the platformers head down for the first wave of Hatchlings, but allow the second ones to feed and transform. They'd then go down for the third wave, and so on. What this meant was that they were on the main platform to benefit from healing cooldowns for Quills, and that healing cooldowns were used more efficiently.

Apart from that, ranged DPS need to switch off the boss now and then to take down Juveniles, who are flying around casting their amped up Cheep on random players, doing quite some damage. Having too many Juveniles leads to unhealable random damage. The fight is pretty well rinse and repeat, though, kill hatchlings, back for Quills, and so on, while the main platform deals with their stuff. Notably, it was possible to totally ignore the mechanics and focus the boss down. However, this will likely be fixed, somehow, before the encounter goes live.

WoW Insider Throne of Thunder boss impressions

Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

This article was originally published on WoW Insider.

Patch 5.2: Cross-realm 5.0 raids on the way