Raid bosses are easily in my opinion the most important aspect of MMORPGs. Games that fall into a different genre may be more dynamic, but only here will tens and sometimes hundreds of players need to come together and work together to defeat an epic boss in a raid. Just simple getting together as many players as possible is not enough to determine your success. Players usually need to use trial and error with a number of different strategies before they can actually take down the boss. All this is done in order to test the weaknesses, come up with an effective approach and correctly coordinate players in the raid.
Top 10 Epic Raid Bosses in MMORPGs
Over time, the concept of an “epic boss” has become rather blurred. Colossal monsters, the destruction of which requires a long preparation time, and then became just another episode from grandma’s fairy tales. Some raid bosses have already gained the “cult” status, and veterans of MMORPGs could tell you a dozen stories about those legendary fights. I’ve tried to select the most powerful bosses who once upon a time, caused a burning sensation and will certainly awaken stirrings of nostalgic feelings from experienced raiders!
10. Illidan Stormrage (World of Warcraft)
A well-known exhibit is Illidan Stormrage, a night-elf born Demon Hunter and the founder of the Illidari. He was the former self-proclaimed Lord of Outland, ruling from the Black Temple until his defeat.
He was the final boss of the Burning Crusade update. Perhaps, it was the best expansion in World of Warcraft history (at least that’s what the players say). An important aspect of such success was the storyline surrounding the Black Temple raid, and the quests which at the end led the player into the instance to fight the Betrayer.
Only a few players could fight Illidan due to the instance difficulty, until the game received an update later on. The fact the difficulty was so high, was one of the reasons why Blizzard made various changes, after which other players had the opportunity to see this epic game content.
9. Valakas, The Fire Dragon (Lineage 2)
Valakas is the second dragon to make an appearance in Lineage 2 C4: Scions of Destiny global update, and it’s the strongest raid boss to make this update. He inhabits a volcanic terrain located in Goddard, known as the “Forge of the Gods”. Valakas is allegedly the strongest child of Shilen (goddess of destruction in L2 lore). His gigantic stature and massive four wings exemplify his majesty and strength.
One of the main difficulties of killing this raid boss (which is common for Lineage 2) was to win a massive battle between players to even begin to attack the dragon. All the strong clans and alliances wanted to get the raid boss epic jewelry so battles could last for several hours. Only after that, the winning side would kill the dragon in about an hour, if their mages had enough power damage and mana pool. Many veterans of the game will remember this beast.
Unfortunately, the dragon is still not a part of the classic version of Lineage 2, but it will probably be added in a future update.
8. Baium (Lineage 2 Classic)
Baium’s power is considered inferior to the dragons, but among players there it’s hard to find anyone who does not remember his bright ultimatum strike when he reached a certain level of health. His wrath could easily destroy all raid players in one go.
The backstory of Baium is that the once great emperor was so powerful that he decided to challenge the gods. He used his kingdom’s forces to construct a tower rising high into the clouds. The magnificent tower of Baium’s designed took thirty years of construction. He intended to use the building in order to climb to the residence of the gods, and obtain the secret of everlasting life. When he did indeed climb the tower, the gods got angry about his plans and severely punished him. Having brought the fury of the gods upon himself, Baium was trapped for all eternity at the top of his tower in immortal silence.
Since then, this became known as the Tower of Insolence, and anyone who broke it’s silence would wake Baium and lose their life. The heroes of Elmoreden who reached the top floor came to measure their strengths with the demigod in an epic battle and Baium is doomed to an eternal life of this continuous war.
Today Baium’s raid is available on the Lineage 2 Classic servers, there are instance and “real” boss versions. The instance zone is a lighter raid version, but to kill a hardcore boss, players need to have the best equipment in the game and come together in an army comprising of 100-200 players.
7. Brothers: Dagon, Dagan and Dagnu (Rising Force Online)
Dagon, Dagan and Dagnu or known as the DDD brothers, are the strongest raid bosses in the game. The next brother that follows, is always stronger than the previous one. They are 3 separate bosses who are located close to the Elan Plateau. Taking into account their direct connection, it wouldn’t be right to review them separately.
According to lore, these terrible beasts were created by the ancient civilization of Herodian as a result of experiments on the High elven race (PvE faction). There are currently three warring races in RF Online: Bellato Federation, Empire Accretia and Holy Alliance Cora. They quite often discarded their blade of war and make temporary alliances against these abominations. Dagon and Dagan almost always could be defeated by one of the races over time, but it is incredibly difficult to fight against Dagnu alone.
The reward from these bosses make the ordeal all worthwhile. The unique jewelry that the brothers drop is combine into one powerful epic object which not only grants great stats to its owner but also cannot be transmitted. Just imagine the authority of the player who gets ownership of it! Today, you can take part in a DDD raid on the recently open European server Zucker.
6. Bael’Zharon (Asheron’s Call)
In November of 2000, Turbine (the founder of Asheron’s Call) presented an unprecedented mass, in-game activity. Players were asked to go down into the new Catacombs of Ithaenc to choose their role in the game world: become a follower of the creepy demon Bael’Zharon and try to free him, or prevent his escaping by any means.
On some servers, players guarded the demon for several months, not letting anyone pass. On Thristledown server, players were extremely severe and guarded the demon soul during one whole year. The developers installed a monument to Shard Vigil Memerial, as a symbol of perseverance and courage of the catacomb defenders. But finally one day the crystal prison was destroyed, and Bael’Zharon broke free. Managed by developers, he immediately began to wreak havoc in the peaceful lands of Asheron’s Call.
Bael’Zharon wasn’t an ordinary boss and had tremendous power, but he was not immortal. The destruction and massacres caused by the demon’s doing did not stay unpunished. On each server, players joined forces and attacked the monster. Not all raids resulted in success because there was no specific pre-set strategy to fight the monster. However, sooner or later, the boss was defeated. The body of a man named Ilservian Palacost, once a nobleman turned into an demon creature, remained in the place of the defeated Bael’. Inside the corpse were 6 crystals that held the demon and became the material for creating a powerful artifact.
Bael’Zharon doesn’t seem so scary now, but for Asheron’s Call veterans, his appearance inspired confidence in their own death.
5. The Lich King (World of Warcraft)
The Lich King is the master and lord of the Scourge, he rules telepathically from the Frozen Throne atop the Icecrown Glacier. The fallen prince Arthas succumbed to the dark powers and blended with the former Lich King to take the role and title. He is one of the main villains of the World of Warcraft. Many fans would have been upset if this boss raid could be defeated without much trouble. The Lich King due to his infamy was really strong.
The fight in Normal Mode was fairly brutal for the majority of WoW players, but in Heroic Mode, he’s was downright unforgiving. The fight had 3 stages, each stage it took weeks of farming to succeed before the next one could be attempted properly. The boss stayed invincible until it received the first nerf, which increased the damage and healing from players in the Icecrown Citadel. People believed that it was impossible to kill the boss without it. One guild decided to disprove this statement by deliberately turning off that buff, and defeated the King. However, by this time many of these players already possessed equipment obtained from the last raids.
4. Kerafyrm, The Sleeper (EverQuest)
Kerafyrm used to be the main boss in the The Sleeper’s Tomb dungeon. According to the game’s plot, he was immortal, and there wasn’t even any loot to gain from him. This ancient and enraged dragon, which the elders had put to sleep, was confined to a cave with four powerful guards. Kerafyrm was awoken for the first time in July 2001, when the players of The Rathe server managed to defeat his guards. The phantom however did not remain in debt but destroyed his rescuers, then climbed to the surface and began to destroy all life in its path. Having found out where the dragon lived, other players joined forces to measure themselves against the legendary creature.
In November 2003, the three strongest guilds from the server Rallos Zek teamed up to awaken the monster. There was only one known tactic that worked against the dragon: crowd pounce, continually attack, resurrect after your death and rush into battle once again. The fight lasted more than three hours and the dragon had only lost 74% of his health points. It was at this moment he suddenly disappeared!
It turned out that Sony Online Entertainment did not want the dragon’s death to come to fruition, because it went against the prehistory of EverQuest. The community reacted vehemently. The developers tried to justify themselves and said that the death of Kerafyrm would cause an onslaught of bugs in the game, but in the end they surrendered to the cries of the community and on November 17th, the legend was defeated. The dragon would kill players with one swift blow, but they were able to resurrect rather quickly. According to rumors, many players have died more than a hundred times for three hours as that epic battle raged.
Kerafyrm was awoken on all servers except one and players only succeeded in killing him a total of three times. The mighty boss lived in The Sleeper’s Tomb dungeon, but nowadays on many servers it is already empty. After the release of the Secrets of Faydwer update, Awakened Kerafyrm can be found in the Crystallos zone, Lair of the Awakened.
3. Ragnaros, The Firelord (World of Warcraft)
Ragnaros the Firelord is an incredibly powerful Elemental Lord and the master of all fire elementals. He became the strongest raid boss in the game shortly after WoW released. It was the last main challenge in the Molten Core and the first raid dungeon, so no one really knew how to approach him properly to begin with. The fight with Ragnaros was much longer and more challenging than any other battle in the Firelands. Players had to kill 9 of his loyal lieutenants first, in order to summon the Elemental Lord. Perhaps, this is the reason why it took so long before he was defeated for the first time.
The flaming lord himself is invulnerable to fire attacks and every two minutes summons elemental sons that draw mana from players. It was tricky to kill Ragnaros because he utilises several special attacks: throws melee players in the different directions, casts fireballs and creates lava flows. He was a real piece of work in Heroic mode (a harder difficulty). His hammer, Sulfuras, repeatedly slapped players into air, and raiders had to adapt to the random minions that respawned and could easily at any point break the raid try.
The boss lost his power after the release of the ‘Wrath of the Lich King’ add-on’, and now he can even be killed by one player.
2. Pandemonium Warden (Final Fantasy XI)
This particular boss had the unique ability to make players physically ill and no that was not an in-game debuff, but had a real affect to people’s health. The first try to slay Pandemonium Warden took place in 2007, where one of the best guilds which consisted 36 players fought valiantly with the boss for a gruelling 18 hours, but could not claim victory. The players were forced to interrupt the raid due to the fact that some players began to faint from exhaustion.
It was the main reason for which the developers nerfed the boss by adding a 2-hour timer to ensure that the players wouldn’t be overloaded with long fights. The overall complexity has been significantly reduced since it’s initial introduction to the game. This case will probably remain as one of the most hardcore raids in MMO history.
1. Antharas, The Land Dragon (Lineage 2 Classic)
Antharas was the first ever Epic Raid Boss to be introduced in the first chronicle of Lineage 2. He is the father of the famous game gimmick and considered a stereotype of a gargantuan monster needed to be killed by an enormous number of players. Absolutely every player who played Lineage 2 knows his name as his reputation proceeds him, even many who have not faced Antharas know of him.
The humongous size of Antharas far surpasses that of all other evil beasts. Even a very powerful sword would not easily inflict damage upon the body of the dragon, as it is so densely covered with rock-hard scales. Beams of light emitted from the monster’s eyes, causing those who gazed upon it to freeze in horror. Antharas is fittingly regarded by all adventurers as the ultimate symbol of pure terror. The dragon deals massive amounts of damage, summons minions and has several fighting strategies depending on it’s level of health.
It was necessary to gather all the alliance members (more than 200 – 300) to kill this raid boss, or even those who were at war relations. Even by doing this, the dragon until this day was not successfully slayed on all servers. Therefore, game masters often organized various events with this epic boss. They summoned the dragon into places with large numbers of players. But as a rule, the dragon was weakened or after some time was killed at the game master’s command just for the public fun.
Today, the dragon is still is found in the lair depths in Lineage II Classic and is stronger than ever as no one yet has managed to defeat him on the European server called Skelth.
It is impossible to fit all epic raid bosses of all MMORPGs into one review. So, if you have not found your favorite epic boss raid here, then tell us your story about that adventure in the comments!
If you enjoyed this opinion piece be sure to check out 5 Innovations Dragon Age Should Keep After Inquisition. You can also find out more about more MMORPG content in Elder Scrolls Online: The Champion System & The Future Of ESO In 2019 and World Of Warcraft Character Boost VS Leveling.