World of Warcraft Classic has proven one thing: WoW players are a hell of a lot better than they were a decade ago. Raid bosses that used to torment players—that required no less than 40 people armed to the teeth with the best equipment—are now being absolutely squashed without much effort.
Take Onyxia, for example. Back in the day, this intimidatingly large black dragon was one of WoW’s first-ever raid bosses and was responsible for the infamous “More DOTS!” meme due how difficult she could be. But in WoW Classic (which is a near perfect recreation of vanilla WoW), she’s been killed in all sorts of embarrassing ways, like the time 32 warriors practically one-shotted her in a record-breaking 54 seconds, or when a 40-person raid group killed her without wearing any clothes. But today two players dealt the ultimate blow to Onyxia’s frightful legacy by managing to whittle down all 1.8 million of her hitpoints by themselves. Why bring 40 players when two will suffice?
According to WoWhead, this is likely the first time anyone has managed to kill Onyxia with just two people—and it only took them 57 minutes to do it. The two players are Gendisarray and Shiftus, a warrior and a priest, who had to spend that hour perfectly coordinating their abilities and use of restorative items like healing and mana potions in order to stay in the fight.
Onyxia is not a challenging raid boss by WoW’s modern standards. She was first released over 16 years ago, and WoW’s bosses have become far more brutal over time. Onyxia only has a basic handful of abilities that most modern guilds can manage with their eyes closed. Most hardcore Classic players are able to down Onyxia fairly easily—but that still requires a full raid party. It’s cool to see two players push things to the extreme.
One of the biggest dangers of the fight is that players must continually watch their positioning relative to Onyxia. If someone wanders too far behind her, she’ll send them flying with a tail swipe—often straight into a nest of ready-to-hatch dragon eggs that spawn whelps that can quickly overwhelm the raid party. You’d think that having just two people would make things much harder, but in this case not having to worry about 30 other people accidentally wandering within smacking distance of Onyxia’s tail is a blessing.
That isn’t to say that Gendisarray and Shiftus had an easy time of it. For 57 very long minutes they had to slowly chip away at Onyxia’s health while managing their resources. If Shiftus fired off one to many spells, for example, they might not have enough mana to keep Gendisarray’s HP up. One slip and the entire fight would have to start over from the beginning. Keeping focused like that for almost an hour could not have been easy.
It doesn’t make for the most compelling viewing experience, but it’s still an incredible achievement. I’m interested to see if players are able to keep destroying old raid bosses once Burning Crusade Classic launches later this year. As Blizzard explained in our interview during BlizzCon, BC Classic will use the original version of its raid bosses instead of the nerfed ones present in WoW Classic.
It’s a bit complicated to explain, but when raid bosses were first released, many were simply too difficult to kill at first so Blizzard tweaked them to be more manageable in the weeks and months that followed. Because WoW Classic is based off of the 1.12 patch that came out just before Burning Crusade was released, its raid bosses had already been nerfed. But because players are obviously so good, Blizzard is deciding to roll with the much tougher versions for raids that originally launched. Somehow I don’t think that’s going to stop players from performing some ridiculous kills, though.