At the dawn of the release of a brand new TBC raid dungeon, excitement ripped beneath the clandestine waves of Coilfang Reservoir…
Hydross the Unstable is the worst boss I’ve ever encountered in a video game. This gigantic water elemental lived in the watery dump of Serpentshrine Cavern, located in the deep tangled mess of Coilfang Reservior. As I recall, he was always angry, and treated all raids with such callous disregard as to mop the floor with 25 dead bodies. He did this while laughing at under-geared tanks and other fools who'd stand in clumped groups to get AoE bombed by Ice-tomb. This was the state of things before the nerf bat, at least.
What seemed like a basic tank-swap/positioning/dps-race fight turned into an over-tuned cluster-F of confusion and chaos. Every night for a week, the brave raiders of <Eclipsed>, including myself, would burn through 2 flasks (4 hours) of attempts without feeling any sense of progression. As many died to the mysterious elevator boss and over-tuned trash packs, frustration occurred even before the encounter began. After about the first hour of these shenanigans, the raid would be in no mood for fighting Hydross the Bloated, which simply made matters worse.
Now, the Duke of Currents, Hydross, was no more than an angry sack of water who generously spewed forth deadly bolts of nature and frost junk. Upon engaging this boss, he would start out in the nature phase, and you’d need a maxed out nature resist tank to handle him during this phase. Then he’d switch to the frost phase, where you’d need a frost resist tank to take control. This delicate swapping had to be perfectly timed, as improper timing resulted in deaths. No less than 6 healers (preferable 7-8), were needed for this fight, because not only did Hydross hit your tanks for pain-trains and rocket-ships, his ample supply of raid-based AoE damage was substantial, and it became worse as the fight progressed.
The initial pull of the fight led to more wipes than I care to mention, despite the skill of the hunter who initiated; if he wasn’t positioned perfectly, Hydross would simply do his own thing by one-shotting raiders at random (usually me, Hydross didn’t seem to care about my priestly Fade ability). This had something to do with the boss’s tendency to ignore the invisible barrier that accounted for his current damage affiliation (nature or frost). To add insult to injury, a curious raider would occasionally stray too far ahead of the main group, hit a pack of nearby water elementals, and aggro the boss without warning. More frustration and repair bills that could have easily so been prevented! Yay!
A short time into the fight, a ‘water-tomb’ mechanic offered substantial raid damage. This random-target ability affected all players within 8 yards, stunned them for 4 seconds, and caused 4500 frost damage to all affected players over 5 sec. In addition, a raid-wide debuff (Mark of Hydross) stacked up to 6 times, for a max of 500% increased frost damage received for all. As a healer, this was my worst nightmare, as every attempt resulted in the unnecessary deaths of dps and healers, who were simply too lost in tunnel-vision to stay properly spread out. However, to their credit, it was difficult to stay fully spread out, as the platform where the fight took place was far too small and ridiculously shaped for everyone to be safe.
In fact, the entire fight was ridiculous, inasmuch many an ambitious raid group chose to skip Hydross in order to kill The Lurker Below, and forget Hydross altogether. Unfortunately, rather than wait for the inevitable nerf bat, we were far more concerned with maintaining the sense of elitism and pride that came with being a server first guild, so we merrily trucked along in the face of adversity. This outright lack of common sense resulted in a mountain of broken keyboards, a slew of mental breakdowns, and a server-first kill. Only after several <5% wipes!
After all was said and done, we were left with a garbage pair of epic warlock boots, which were soon converted into enchanting materials.
And if you’re the type of person who might attribute this fail to poor raid leadership or lack of skill, consider that we’d cleared all Vanilla content (excluding the final bosses of Naxx 40-man), prior to Hydross, and had maintained top 3 server progression throughout (we were neck-and-neck with our rival guild at all times). Admittedly, we weren’t the best of the best, but we knew how to crush content nonetheless. Or so we thought!