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How would you design a raid boss?

Matthew Rossi

Nois, a dwarf warlock, posted this neat thread to the forums asking that very question: how would you design a raid boss? It interests me for a variety of reasons. One, I like seeing what players would do if called upon to design aspects of the game. For another, it gets me thinking about raid design, boss fights, and how they've evolved and changed over the years. It's hard to believe that once upon a time Razorgore or Vaelestraz were considered enormously difficult mechanically complex fights when pretty much every boss fight in Throne of Thunder has so many moving parts and elements to consider (the Iron Qon fight, for example, is a four phase fight with different mechanics for each phase).

I'm also interested because this finally gives me a chance to share my Cakearon the Frosting God raid boss strat I wrote back in Firelands of all places. People here at WoW Insider have been regaled with tales of the epic battle with Cakearon for two years now, and finally, I get to share the master of Icingdeath with you all.

Behold the taste of your death

In phase one, Cakearon simply attacks the tanks, stacking Sugar Crash on them. He must be taunted at three stacks, because at four stacks the tanks get Food Coma, rendering them unable to move or use abilities. Sugar Crash stacks are applied every seven seconds and it takes 14 seconds for the entire stack to fall off, so two tanks should be able to keep Food Coma from being applied.

At 75% health, Cakearon summons Sweet Puddings to attack the entire raid. The Puddings must be gathered up and tanked, but be careful not to kill them all at once, or High Blood Sugar will render your entire raid unable to control their movement, sending them plummeting off of the platform and into the Eternal Frosting Vats. Sweet Puddings can be snared but not stunned or rooted - they are also immune to knockback. Each pudding has 10 million health. They are summoned again at 25%.

After the Puddings have been dealt with (he spawns 3 on 10, 10 on 25) Cakearon resumes his attack, but now he has his Frosting Attack, randomly covering half of the platform in either Vanilla, Chocolate or Maple frosting. Vanilla gives everyone a stacking DoT, Chocolate a movement speed debuff, and Maple just tastes hella awesome.

The Cake is not a lie

He also drops Chocolate Creme Pies on the raid, so don't stack up or you get Distracted By Cake and are stunned and knocked prone for ten seconds. At 50% Cakearon gains his Bakery Fresh Filling attack, grabbing 2 players (on 10) or 5 (on 25) and placing them in a Flaky Crust. This crust must be DPS'd down before The Hostess comes and devours the players in the pies. The Hostess cannot be attacked or affected by the players in any way. This mechanic reoccurs every 10% for the rest of the encounter.

At the same time, Cakearon now drops two Frosting Attacks on the platform, alternating between them randomly. They can never be two of the same frosting. Chocolate Creme Pies also increase in drop frequency, but if they drop in the Maple Frosting the raid gets a 25% haste buff, and if they drop in the Chocalate Frosting the raid gets 25% damage or healing, As the Chocolate Creme Pies are targeted on a player, their drops can be controlled.

Drown in delicious destruction

If the fight is engaged in Heroic mode, at 75% a Tummy Ache resource bar appears and begins filling. Players who allow their Tummy Ache to reach 100 will receive the Eyes bigger than your Stomach debuff, decreasing damage and and healing by and to that player by 10%. This can stack infinitely. In order to empty the bar, players will need to use the special ability Feeding Frenzy on players trapped in the Bakery Fresh Filling or to clear the platform when a Frosting Attack is used. In this way, patches can be cleared for the raid to stand in.

Also, on heroic, he doesn't retreat into his lake of milk, he becomes soggy and wades out of it at 10%, flooding the platform with milk that reduces everyone's damage and healing by 5% every 45 seconds. The milk can also be cleared with Feeding Frenzy, but will return after 10 seconds. Clever players can keep their Tummy Ache entirely gone by exploiting this mechanic. (Ten uses of Feeding Frenzy in this manner leads to the Wash It Down buff, stacking to five, which grants 5% haste per stack.) You need soak players to use the ability to make clear patches to stand in - All while managing the Frosting attacks, controlling pie drops, and of course DPSing the flaky crusts, which are now harder to DPS because they're in the milk and thus tastier to The Hostess, so you have less time.

Can you and the Captain make it happen?

But luckily Oreo the Double Stuffed and Captain Charles Crunch come and buff your raid, Oreo with Dipped in Vengeance (A player who would otherwise die gets saved, restored to 25% health, once) and Crunch with Soggies may not rule (Any spell or attack can be cloned, 10% chance).

You can, however, choose to do the fight without either buff for a chance at better loot including but not limited to an Epic Ice Cream Cake Whale named Fudgy (he can fly and seats four) and Cakearon's signature weapon, Icingdeath, which comes in a staff, 1h and 2h sword and bow varieties.

So there's my raid encounter. What would you design?

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.

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