I Got To See Atiesh Get Made

Vanilla WoW is full of content that was only ever experienced by a small minority of players when it first came out. One of the great things about Classic was that it allowed more people to see and experience things that they missed back in 2005. I didn't go into Classic with any intentions to raid for example, but it was cool to get to do it in the end and to experience the epicness of 40-man raiding for myself. Similarly, I felt privileged to take part in the forging of the legendary Thunderfury more than once.

One thing that I hadn't seen yet after almost five years of Classic was the creation of the Naxxramas legendary Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian. Atiesh never became as widely popular as Thunderfury, partially I think because it's quite drab-looking compared to the flashy Thunderfury, partially because the fact that it comes from the last raid of the original game meant that fewer people really knew about it. Working on getting it also requires even more of a time-commitment than Thunderfury, as you need to collect forty randomly dropped splinters of the staff from bosses across Naxx, then kill C'thun in AQ40 and Kel'thuzad in Naxx once more, just to then finish off with an extremely demanding five-man boss fight. The latter also goes to why I hadn't seen that part before myself - it's one thing to be in big raid group gathering in the sands of Silithus, helping to take down a giant wind lord, but when the presumptive staff-bearer can only take four of their trusted friends (of the right classes) into an instance for the final step, that does kind of limit who can go.

I was therefore extremely flattered and excited when a friendly druid from my era guild messaged me the other week to let me know that she had nearly collected all the splinters for her own Atiesh and to ask whether I wanted to come along to the final fight when the time came. It's really hard for me to capture how meaningful this simple offer was to me, as I haven't really been online much in Classic era for several months now, even if I do keep logging in to do my auction house stuff and try to stay in touch via Discord. It's still not the same as actually being there for the raids every week.

I was initially nervous that I might miss the whole thing since a holiday took me out of the game for a week, but in the end it worked out so that I came back just in time for Bracken (my druid friend) to collect the last pieces she needed before the five-man fight. Thursday night I logged on excitedly after the guild had finished an AQ40 run, even spurning my husband (there are some occasions that are too special to miss!), and it was only while I made my way to Stratholme that I finally learned what was going to be involved in the fight, partially from people talking about it, partially from looking things up.

Atiesh is a demon that looks like a dreadlord (though I'm not sure whether he's actually supposed to be one, lore-wise) whom you summon on Festival Lane in Stratholme and who hits like an absolute truck. Key to the seemingly intended strategy for the fight is to have a warrior in the group to disarm him, which will cause him to drop his sword as a temporary item that you can pick up and use during the fight to do insane dps, kind of like the weapons of Kael'thas' advisors in Burning Crusade. On top of that he has a constant shadow damage aura akin to that of Baron Rivendare, which combined with the damage on the tank makes it recommendable to bring two healers. Oh, and he pulses an AoE curse on everyone that reduces physical attack power by 1000 (!), which also makes it advisable to bring someone who can decurse.

Our group did contain two of the best-geared priest healers in the guild, but we had neither a warrior nor a decurser, as my friend was tanking in bear form and the other dps was one of the officers on his rogue. This was, frankly, an utterly terrible setup in terms of guaranteeing success, as it meant the boss's damage output on the tank was entirely unmitigated and our dps was perma-nerfed by the curse. (Unbuffed, losing 1000 attack power reduces my hunter's overall AP by about two thirds!)

We gave it one go without world buffs, which ended with our poor bear going squish with the boss at only about 75% health. After that, we decided to pop our chronoboons, which helped a lot. Things still got tense however when a stray wandering ghost got pulled into the fight (not even by me) and started whacking one of the priests. We eventually killed this unexpected add and got things under control, but the fight is so tight that this distraction had caused the tank healing to fall somewhat behind and healers to run out of mana a bit earlier than expected. With the boss at about two percent health, our tank died again, immediately followed by one of the priests, and for a nerve-wracking few seconds we didn't know whether we were going to make it. Fortunately, the rogue managed to pull off the classic manoeuvre of evasion-tanking the boss for his last sliver of health so we could get him down.

The actual hand-in for the quest after that is with Anachronos at the Caverns of Time in Tanaris, so we had a little guild assembly there to cheer for the guild's newest "Guardian". The fact that they were letting a druid build Atiesh should give you an idea of how many versions of this staff there are in the guild by now... one of the fun perks of the never-ending Classic era.

She then made her first portal to Karazhan (it's an on-use effect the staff has) and we all took it and did a bit more silly bouncing between portals in front of Kara before calling it a night. I made a 14-minute video to commemorate the event as well:


  1. Before reading this post, I honestly thought the staff was spelled "Aitesh". Learn something new every day!

    I'm pleased you're able to still experience seeing new things in Classic given its otherwise static nature. ^^

  2. And this is why Vanilla is usually called World of Warriors, because the "brown boys" are the meta class for many encounters. I still remember the druid tank from the The Holy Forks which had huge problems in Naxx, because none of the encounters were designed having in mind for a non-warrior. Also, disarm is important on some trash and for the 4 Horsemen...