Reviewing BC heroic dungeon bosses

Continuing to ride the wave of nostalgia caused by me doing BC attunement chains with my paladin, I'd like to take a look at the difficulty of the bosses in Burning Crusade's heroic dungeons (if you did them at level, that is, now you could obviously go in at eighty and pwn them no matter what). I intend to follow this up with musings about WOTLK bosses and comparisons of the two expansions, but this should be a good starting point and will hopefully be interesting on its own as well.

I shall rate a boss's difficulty by "wipe factor", which is entirely subjective and based on my personal experience in countless dungeon runs. I prefer this terminology over simply rating them as easy or difficult, since fights like heroic Murmur aren't necessarily based on a difficult concept, but can still be hard to execute for your average group, which led to a lot of wipes back in the day.

The instances:

Hellfire Citadel

Hellfire Ramparts

First boss: Watchkeeper Galgomar
Wipe factor: low
Pretty much a tank and spank fight once you took out or controlled the two squishy healer adds. The only thing that could cause a problem was the pull itself. Since he patrols, it was quite possible to get him as an add while you were still clearing off trash.

Second boss: Omor the Unscarred
Wipe factor: low to medium
If you burned him down fast he was easy, but the mana-burning felhounds could become a serious problem for a caster-heavy party. The curse that damages nearby friendly players could also be deadly if it got cast on a player in melee who wasn't on the ball.

Third boss: Nazan & Vazruden
Wipe factor: medium to high
His fire damage was nerfed after a while, but not standing a fire was still a considerable challenge for some people. The pickup of the dragon also had the potential to go hideously wrong.

The Blood Furnace

First boss: The Maker
Wipe factor: low
If he mind-controlled the tank you could get in trouble, otherwise he was a simple tank and spank.

Second boss: Broggok
Wipe factor: medium to high
Broggok himself was never difficult (even if his poison clouds claimed the occasional rogue), but the "cage event" triggered right before you get to engage him required a skilled and well-geared tank as well as healer with a lot of endurance.

Third boss: Keli'dan the Breaker
Wipe factor: low
People getting one-shot by his burning nova were the most common problem here, but rarely did this lead to a wipe.

The Shattered Halls

First boss: Grand Warlock Nethekurse
Wipe factor: low
The big problem with this boss was actually wading through all the annoying trash leading up to him. The boss encounter itself was pretty straightforward and the void zones not too hard to avoid.

Second boss: Blood Guard Porung
Wipe factor: low to medium
While Porung himself didn't do much, the infamous gauntlet leading up to him was somewhat of a challenge.

Third boss: Warbringer O'mrogg
Wipe factor: medium
The random aggro changes were the most dangerous thing about this boss, especially in a party with lots of clothies.

Fourth boss: Warchief Kargath Bladefist
Wipe factor: high
The ideal positioning to minimise damage from the blade dance was always highly debated, and no matter which strategy was eventually chosen, people would die to it a lot. The adds also needed skilled dps to be kept under control.

Coilfang Reservoir

The Slave Pens

First boss: Mennu the Betrayer
Wipe factor: low
The only moderately dangerous thing about this guy was his fire nova totem. Still, I remember an instance where our healer died to that right away and we still muddled through with me keeping the tank alive as shadow spec.

Second boss: Rokmar the Crackler
Wipe factor: low
Another fairly simple tank and spank. The only thing that could cause problems was the healer not being aware of the urgency of the bleed debuff.

Third boss: Quagmirran
Wipe factor: low
His poison aoe could be annoying, but hardly devastating.

The Underbog

First boss: Hungarfen
Wipe factor: low
People would occasionally die to poisonous mushrooms, but as long as you kept moving he went down pretty quickly.

Second boss: Ghaz'an
Wipe factor: low
Tank or healer getting punted into the water could cause problems but people usually knew where to stand.

Third boss: Swamplord Musel'ek
Wipe factor: medium
Having to deal with both the boss and his bear pet at the same time could become difficult, if you had someone to kite the bear away it became pretty trivial though.

Fourth boss: The Black Stalker
Wipe factor: medium
The adds could become pretty overwhelming if your dps wasn't high enough, and static charge on an unaware victim could cause a lot of damage as well.

The Steamvault

First boss: Hydromancer Thespia
Wipe factor: high
Often referred to as the hardest boss in the instance, this lady's aoe damage and constant need for movement could overwhelm most parties pretty quickly.

Second boss: Mekgineer Steamrigger
Wipe factor: low
People not killing the adds could become taxing on the healer, but mostly you'd make it through anyway.

Third boss: Warlord Kalithresh
Wipe factor: medium
Either your dps was sufficient and smart enough to change targets to the water tanks when needed or it wasn't. Sometimes it would be a close call.



First boss: Pandemonius
Wipe factor: medium to high
Insane amounts of shadow damage going around plus a shell that reflected damage on over-eager dps could easily create a recipe for endless wipes.

Second boss: Tavarok
Wipe factor: low
Neither his stomping nor his crystal prison ever caused huge amounts of problems.

Third boss: Nexus-Prince Shaffar
Wipe factor: high
This fight was so hard to survive that it was even a commonly accepted strategy to attempt to nuke him to death and then just accept to die to all the adds that had spawned in the meantime.

Fourth boss: Yor
Wipe factor: nil
This optional boss was just a simple tank and spank for an extra badge.

Auchenai Crypts

First boss: Shirrak the Dead Watcher
Wipe factor: medium
The slowing aura made this fight every caster's nightmare, and avoiding the fires didn't always work for everyone either.

Second boss: Exarch Maladaar
Wipe factor: low to medium
The stolen souls could be quite the nuisance and if you didn't burn him down quickly the avatar could become a problem as well.

Sethekk Halls

First boss: Darkweaver Syth
Wipe factor: medium to high
This fight was all about controlling the spawned adds - if you knew how to do that it wasn't too bad, but many people didn't.

Second boss: Talon King Ikiss
Wipe factor: high
The arcane damage going around in this fight was extremely high, and a badly timed sheep or slow could often cost you a party member no matter what.

Third boss: Anzu
Wipe factor: low to medium
While he has some interesting abilities, they are all relatively easy to handle. Maybe he just seems easier because anyone who got to summon him likely had already a decent idea of boss fight mechanics in general.

Shadow Labyrinth

First boss: Ambassador Hellmaw
Wipe factor: low
Mostly a tank and spank with the occasional fear thrown in.

Second boss: Blackheart the Inciter
Wipe factor: high
You either loved or hated this infamous boss. The loss of control during the repeated mass-mind controls and the following aggro reset often had disasterous consequences.

Third boss: Grandmaster Vorpil
Wipe factor: medium to high
With enough dps it was possible even at seventy to burn him down before he even teleported once, though this was in very late BC. With average dps it could be challenging to do enough damage to him while also keeping the voidwalkers under control.

Fourth boss: Murmur
Wipe factor: high
The change in mechanics from normal mode confused many people, and the constant running in and out was easy to mess up. Murmur's touch could also screw with people big time, and reliably avoiding the sonic boom as a tank was a serious challenge.

Caverns of Time

Old Hillsbrad Foothills

First boss: Lieutenant Drake
Wipe factor: low to medium
Another boss where the bigger challenge was to even get this far. Still, he hit very hard and the fear plus aggro reset was dangerous.

Second boss: Captain Skarloc
Wipe factor: medium
The boss fight itself wasn't that hard, but being pushed into it right after the exhausting run with Thrall could pose problems.

Third boss: Epoch Hunter
Wipe factor: medium to high
Again the boss himself wasn't as much of a problem as the hard-hitting adds he spawns beforehand.

The Black Morass

First boss: Chrono Lord Deja
Wipe factor: low
More or less a tank and spank with some aoe damage, which shouldn't have been a problem unless you were already behind on portals.

Second boss: Temporus
Wipe factor: high
Many tanks found it hard to avoid getting multiple stacks of his mortal strike-type debuff, which often lead to them being near immune to healing towards the end and many a wipe.

Third boss: Aeonus
Wipe factor: medium
His time stop could be problematic if your tank wasn't geared enough and your healer didn't have heal-over-time spells.

Tempest Keep

The Mechanar

First boss: Gatewatcher Iron-Hand & Gatewatcher Gyro-Kill
Wipe factor: low
Sometimes people in melee would die to Iron-Hand's hammer if they weren't careful, but that was about the worst that could happen (provided you didn't pull a watcher as an accidental add into a trash fight).

Second boss: Mechano-Lord Capacitus
Wipe factor: low to medium
Some groups had trouble positioning him correctly to avoid the bombs while not losing line of sight of the tank. The positive and negative charges weren't usually much of a problem, even if they were quite different from the fight's normal mode.

Third boss: Nethermancer Sepethrea
Wipe factor: high
Many groups decided to just skip this boss since she was generally considered too much of a hassle. Kiting her fire elemental adds all over the room while also trying to stay in taunt and healing range was more than many people could handle.

Fourth boss: Panthaleon the Calculator
Wipe factor: medium
The boss fight itself could cause issues if the adds weren't sufficiently controlled. The gauntlet leading up to the actual boss encounter probably caused more wipes though.

The Botanica

First boss: Commander Sarannis
Wipe factor: low
Another patrolling boss that could be pulled by accident. Her adds could be a nuisance as well, but otherwise she was very easy.

Second boss: High Botanist Freywinn
Wipe factor: low to medium
The fact that he healed up a lot if you didn't control and kill his flower adds in time could put a lot of strain on your healer's mana.

Third boss: Thorngrin the Tender
Wipe factor: medium to high
Another boss that people sometimes preferred to skip, due to his high-damage hellfire aoe and the nasty sacrifice.

Fourth boss: Laj
Wipe factor: low
The adds could be a bit of a nuisance if not controlled properly, otherwise another simple tank and spank.

Fifth boss: Warp Splinter
Wipe factor: low to medium
Similar to Freywinn he did a lot of healing if adds weren't killed in a timely manner.

The Arcatraz

First boss: Zereketh the Unbound
Wipe factor: high
His shadow damage was so insane that many people just skipped him. If your tank had the full shadow resist set on the other hand, the fight became trivial. Few people had that though.

Second boss: Dalliah the Doomsayer
Wipe factor: low to medium
Her damage on the tank was pretty negligible even at seventy, but her whirlwinds could easily kill people. If you lacked someone to interrupt her heals you were in for a looong fight.

Third boss: Wrath-Scryer Soccothrates
Wipe factor: medium
A lot of fire damage going around. Enough said.

Fourth boss: Harbinger Skyriss
Wipe factor: medium to high
The sheer length of the encounter and its many random elements were quite taxing on any healer. Mind rend used to be so powerful that an off-healer was pretty much required but got nerfed eventually.

Isle of Quel'Danas

Magister's Terrace

First boss: Selin Fireheart
Wipe factor: low
His aoe damage was considerable, but not terribly hard to heal through.

Second boss: Vexallus
Wipe factor: high
A requirement for highly focused add control and huge amounts of aoe damage did not make for a pleasant experience for many parties.

Third boss: Priestess Delrissa
Wipe factor: high
This fight was a bit luck-dependent, as it could be easier with the right combination of random mobs, but the inability to tank everything and pvp-like craziness made many parties eat dust (especially if they contained a lot of clothies).

Fourth boss: Kael'thas Sunstrider
Wipe factor: medium to high
Easier than the previous two bosses, this guy was still no pushover. The phoenixes could do very bad things to melee-heavy groups, and gravity lapse could get quite chaotic as well.

Total number of Outland heroic instances: 16
Total number of Outland heroic bosses: 56
Average number of heroic bosses in an Outland instance: 3.5

Total wipe ratings for bosses:
low: 17
low to medium: 9
medium: 9
medium to high: 9
high: 11

Overall one could say that BC's heroics left an impression of pretty balanced difficulty in terms of boss fights, though there were slightly more easy ones than hard ones.

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