6 Legendary MMORPG Bosses
by Tyler Edwards, January 13 2012
You've made your way past the low level zones of your favorite MMO. Your character has evolved into a mighty hero ready to defend the land from evil. It is now time to confront the mightiest of MMO opponents, the bosses. No MMO would be complete without mighty and terrible bosses for adventurers to pit their skills against. Some are hard, some are easy, some are fun, and some could only appeal to the masochistic. We decided to put together a run down of the ones that most stood out in our minds.
6: Venril Sathir (EverQuest II):
The reptilian necromancer Venril Sathir is an incredible test of players' precision and coordination found in EverQuest II.
There are numerous things that can kill a group on this fight, including a debuff that healers must immediately dispel and statues that must be kept constantly stunned by an assigned team of players.
Perhaps the most dangerous of these is an ability which causes hordes of adds to spawn if a player's power strays too far from 50%, requiring careful rationing of ability use. To make matters worse, Sathir also has a number of powers that drain or inflate a player's power, greatly increasing the chance of failure.
To add an extra indignity, failing the power mechanic causes an emote naming the player who just consigned his allies to a gruesome death. We can only imagine the awkward moments between guilds members this must have caused, but we suppose there's something to be said for not having to guess who is the proper target of one's nerd rage.
5: Murozond (World of Warcraft):
In stark contrast to the difficulty of some of the other bosses on this list, Murozond is a relatively easy boss that proves you don't need a huge number of players or a massive time investment for a boss to feel epic.
A mere five-man dungeon boss, Murozond is the leader of the Infinite Dragonflight, a group twisting time to its own ends. But he was once Nozdormu the Timeless, who was charged with protecting the integrity of the timelines. Nozdormu aids players in defeating his future self by granting them access to the Hourglass of Time, allowing them to rewind time back to the beginning of the fight up to five times.
It's a simple mechanic, and indeed, the entire fight borders on the basic, but it's also extremely fun. Rewinding time instantly resurrects dead players, resets all ability cooldowns, and restores all health and mana to friendly targets. Murozond is so powerful that he would normally never be killable, but with the ability to constantly rewind time, players can charge in without fear, spamming abilities that they would normally only be able to use per encounter at most.
All in all, it makes for an incredibly unique and thrilling fight.
4: Pandemonium Warden (Final Fantasy XI):
You've probably fought some very hard bosses in your MMO career. None of them are likely to hold a candle to Pandemonium Warden.
Pandemonium Warden is a shape-shifting boss with no less than eleven forms, each brutally difficult and with its own set of abilities and adds. Each form must be defeated in sequence to bring him down, a task beyond even many of the greatest FFXI players, such that even the handful of players who did manage to kill him often could only do so by exploiting the encounter.
In one famous incident, a group of players fought the boss continuously for eighteen hours without success. Eventually, they gave up when people began fainting and vomiting - literally sick of playing.
This garnered a great deal of bad press and ultimately led to significant nerfs to Pandemonium Warden and some other FFXI bosses, as well as a two-hour time limit on the encounter.
To add insult to injury, the Warden's loot is weak and has little practical value. It's essentially only useful for prestige. Next time a WoW boss is mopping the floor with you, remind yourself that you'll at least be getting good loot if you kill it.
3: Absolute Virtue (Final Fantasy XI):
Absolute Virtue is another soul-crushingly difficult boss from the sadists who brought you Pandemonium Warden. Those sissies who gave up on the Warden after eighteen hours have nothing on the brave or insane players who participated in the reported thirty-hour attempts on Absolute Virtue.
Absolute Virtue could well be the most difficult MMO boss ever to exist. The boss was released in 2005, but a legitimate kill - not involving exploits - had still not been reported four years later in 2009. Since, the boss has finally been defeated, but only because of significant increases in the level cap and player power.
This is a boss so hard that the game's developers had to release a video showing the strategy to defeat it, but even that provided little help and was criticized for being too vague.
But yet despite all this, when fans suggested nerfs to Absolute Virtue's difficulty, there were still plenty of other players who vehemently disagreed, which seems to indicate that MMO fans' appetite for punishment is truly limitless.
2: Kerafyrm the Sleeper (EverQuest):
Kerafyrm, a dragon of incomprehensible power born of the forbidden union between two dragons of opposite powers, was a boss in the original EverQuest that would lie dormant, asleep, until four other dragons, extremely powerful bosses in their own right, were killed.
Once awake, Kerafyrm would leave his lair and fly across multiple zones of the world, leaving a brief window in which players could attack him as he destroyed everything in his path.
For a long time, it was thought that Kerafyrm could not be killed, and numerous absurd rumors of his power, most of them totally untrue, flew around the game's players. Finally, an alliance of several guilds including hundreds of people managed to bring him near death, but the game masters despawned him, as the boss had never been intended to be killable.
However, this triggered a backlash, and the developers opted to allow players to kill Kerafyrm. The kill came through a tankless "zerg" strategy that saw hundreds of players repeatedly rush in, attack, die, and be resurrected for more than three hours, eventually wearing the dragon down and defeating him.
He dropped no loot.
Kills later followed on other EQ servers. In each case, neither Kerafyrm nor his four guardians ever spawned again after the initial kill. For all their improvements in the years since EverQuest, MMOs seem to have lost these kind of unique and epic events, and it's something to be lamented.
1: Algalon the Observer (World of Warcraft):
So far in this list, we've covered insanely difficult bosses, incredibly fun bosses, and bosses with rich back-stories. Algalon the Observer, the hard-mode only boss of World of Wacraft: Wrath of the Lich King's Ulduar raid, is all of these things.
Both messenger and message, Algalon's arrival is triggered by the death of Loken, the god-like Titans' Prime Designate on Azeroth. His purpose is to determine whether the world has been corrupted beyond repair, and, chillingly, this is exactly his conclusion. Thus, he prepares to re-originate Azeroth - essentially destroying the world to start over from scratch.
Of course, it falls to players to stop him.
But that is no easy task. To even access the Celestial Planetarium, where Algalon dwells, requires a lengthy quest chain involving the hard-mode defeats of numerous other bosses within Ulduar. Once that task is finally completed, players have only one hour to defeat Algalon, after which he will be locked out until the raid reset at the end of the week. (It should be noted that both these restrictions were lifted with the release of the Cataclysm expansion.)
The Algalon encounter itself is also brutally hard. So hard that he is often referred to as "Algalon the Raid Destroyer." Blizzard employees have gone on record as saying, "He feeds on your tears," and many players have jokingly theorized that Algalon is an alt played by Chuck Norris.
Once defeated, Algalon surrenders. Moved by the fearless of devotion of the defenders of Azeroth, he is forced to reexamine his views and provides players with Reply Code Alpha, allowing them to cancel the re-origination, a moving and powerful scene praised by WoW fans everywhere.
For bringing a little bit of everything to the table - difficulty, epic fight mechanics, good story - Algalon earns the top spot on our list of top bosses.