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Ready Check: First look at Cataclysm raids


There's been a huge splash of Cataclysm information released unto the wild in the last few days. Every since the beta hit the streets, we've seen information about warrior changes, hunters and even racial emotes. I guess I called it a splash. What I really meant is that there's been a flood of information everywhere. It seems like we can virtually see anything we'd possibly want to know about the expansion, right now.

But what we haven't seen yet is much information on raids. Our good friends over at MMO-Champion have some great information about 5-man instances, but their raid information is running a little behind so far. Of course, that's never kept us from drooling over new raid content before now, so let's not start bad habits. Let's take a look at what raid information we do have and spend a little time getting excited about the new expansion.

Bastion of Twilight

Let's go ahead and get the Twilight jokes out here. Take a moment to do that. OK, good to go? Let's talk about Grim Batol, the Bastion of Twilight.

We already know that the new raid design in Cataclysm is intended to be groups of smaller, shorter dungeons. The huge, labyrinthine raids with dozens of bosses should be firmly behind us. Raevyn's Cataclysm wiki indicates about a half-dozen bosses for most raids right now, based on the list of bosses involved with each raid's achievements.

The Grim Batol raid looks especially gorgeous to me. According to what we know right now, the fights for the Bastion of Twilight will be:

  • Valiona and Theralion
  • Halfus Wyrmbreaker
  • Twilight Ascendant Council
  • Cho'gall
  • optional, nameless hard mode boss
Valiona and Theralion are going to be a joint fight, apparently. This is actually kind of a nice change, since we've not had a good couple fight since The Burning Crusade. It's hard to tell what kind of fight Wyrmbreaker could be from a mere name, but I think we all know enough about Council fights at this point to expect the Twilight Ascendants to be a bit of a pain in the neck.

What's really exciting about Grim Batol is that we get to fight Cho'gall! Yes, that Cho'gall. He's almost definitely going to be the final boss in the raid, which makes sense since he's one of the Twilight Hammer's head honchos. We can probably expect a heavy magic-damage fight, given the history of Cho'gall as a mage (though like all raid bosses, his melee will be tough enough to require a tank).

The only solid sounding achievements for the Bastion of Twilight are your generic "I beat this raid" and "I beat all the raids" achievements. There's no guessing what hard modes might be like, or what that hinted-at option boss might be.

But the Bastion of Twilight is only a four-boss raid. It's probably meant to be about an evening of raiding, once you have all the fights down. This is a pretty decent-sized raid, in my opinion. Judging from early screenshots, though, it's going to be a beautiful, moody instance. It's got a very purple color scheme, though, which is kind of a drag after spending time in the all-blue-all-the-time Icecrown Citadel. Still, for one night and a chance to throw down against Cho'gall, interior decorating should be the last of our concerns.

Blackwing Descent

Check out that picture up there. Dragons are dangling from the ceiling, dangling from hooks like a gutted carp. We haven't seen this level of dragon brutality since Gruul. And to make it even worse, this is probably going to be dragon-on-dragon violence!

The raid bosses of Blackwing Descent seem to be:
  • Nefarian
  • Magmaw
  • Dark Iron Golem Council
  • Maloriac
  • Chimaron
  • Atramedes
Unlike Grim Batol's Bastion of Twilight, however, we can glean much less from the mere names of the raid bosses. The Dark Iron Golem Council looks interesting to me. I wonder how much that fight might resemble the Iron Council from Ulduar, but that's probably just a naming coincidence. And, I'll admit, it's starting to seem like council fights are standard issue for any new raid. If so, I applaud the running joke.

Nefarian is back! Of course, we can't tell what the fight is going to be like in Cataclysm. We can't even be positive of his relative positioning inside the instance; I do hope he's not the first fight, though. It seems a little anti-climatic to shout, "Oh my god, it's Nefarian!" -- only to immediately realize there's another half-dozen bad guys right behind him.

Blackwing Descent is a definite descendent of the old Blackrock raids and instances. My running fingers almost instinctively wince at the idea of running for 10 minutes after a wipe. Blizzard's not so cruel nowadays, but still. Old, painful memories die hard.

I've already pointed out the dangling dragons, but pay special attention to the blood in vats. Zone detail that strong is almost guaranteed to be involved in some fight mechanic. It's not only thematic, it makes for a nice bit of foreplay to get your raid in the mood.

In conclusion

Like I said, it's way too early to talk too much about Cataclysm raiding. What we know is slim and based mostly on flavor names and beautiful screenshots. But it does look like beautiful content, and I can't wait to get my paws on it. I'm always impressed by Blizzard's incredible content for raiding, and Cataclysm certainly looks like they're stepping it up a notch.
Ready Check is here to provide you all the information and discussion you need to take your raiding to the next level. Check us out weekly to learn the strategies, bosses and encounters that make end-game raiding so much fun.

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