Now that Karazhan has been reduced to a 5-man dungeon, with some admittedly cool encounters/rewards, like a Nightbane style mount, I spent a bit of time really thinking about what raids really wowed and excited me throughout my many years in playing MMOs. But I want to go a little farther than just traditional MMOs. From text-based games to current generation MMOs, I’m going to go over my top five favorite MMOs of all time. Maybe I’ll expand this list sometime, but I really really have blown me away.
- 5: Unofficial Squaresoft MUD: Deep Dungeon/Military Raids: This was really my first “Raid” even though it was only a regular party for the Deep Dungeon. But it was similar to the Ancient Cave in Lufia, in that it was random, and it was deep. At the bottom of the Dungeon sat the Black Rabite. And you don’t fuck with the Black Rabite. It was the only way to get Rabite Weapons, and way back when, they were worth it. In addition you had the Military Raids, which only really affected you if you were in the Military Force. I think I capped in one of the Officer Positions, spending a lot of time on these. Evil forces would ravage the main hub, and it was up to the military to stop them, finding where the big bads of the raid were lying and kill them. It was so much fun, even for a text game. Especially for a text game. I need to find a Windows 10 MUD client…Shoutout to Shinji, Vell, Raiyt, Johan, Moonlight, Mecha, Dana, and everyone that made that place a pleasure to play and work at.
- 4: Final Fantasy XIV: Alexander: I’ve only done the first few waves of Alexander content, but I love it. It’s set inside of Alexander, the Holy Fortress, and the last boss I fought was a Super Sentai battle where all the earlier bosses of that wing came together, formed up into a giant robot. It even had a cool Sentai-inspired theme song! It was unique among the raids I’ve played simply for what it was and where you traveled. You did battle inside of a gigantic robot! The visual aesthetics and challenges were phenomenal.
- 3: World of Warcraft: Black Temple: I didn’t get to really journey through Black Temple when it was content. My guild was far too casual, and I was pretty busy with work and school. But Illidan as a character has always fascinated me; not as much as Kel’thuzad and Kael’thas, but I always wanted to know more about him. What brought him to the point where he stood atop the Black Temple, mad as a hatter? We would find out far more later on, in the present expansion [Legion], but his generals were plentiful, the challenge was serious, and the legendaries at the end were worth fighting and dying for. They still are!
- 2: Final Fantasy XI: Pandemonium Warden: I tried helplessly to help fight the Pandemonium Warden, and I don’t think I ever succeeded. This makes me profoundly sad. It was a roughly 18 hour fight, and many people who stuck it out to try and get the kill fell sick, vomited, endured horrendous fatigue, and much worse. I couldn’t do it, so I retreated from the field of battle, and feel no shame in it. No game is worth my physical health. Mental health maybe. But not physical! Regardless, it stands out as a truly time-tested challenge.
- 1: World of Warcraft: Icecrown Citadel: How could it be anything but? As a long-time lover of Warcraft 1-3, seeing the throne of Arthas, now the Lich King still sends a shiver down my spine. This raid I did complete when it was current content, everything about it was perfect. It wasn’t too challenging, it had plenty of story. We had a reason to want to be there outside of loot! It was one of the most memorable encounters in any MMO I’ve ever played. The bosses made sense, the dialogue of the NPCs are lines I can still hear in my head. “I. WILL. NEVER. SERVE. YOUUUUUUU!!” Terrific stuff. It set the bar pretty high for future raid encounters.
What about you guys? What are some of your favorite multiplayer encounters across the spectrum of MMOs? I’d love to hear ’em!