Last night, my 10-man raid finally got to see Yogg-Saron. In preparation, I read up on the encounter, but I found myself a bit overwhelmed by all the info out there. And while I managed to retain the salient points, I think everyone will agree that the best way to learn Yogg-Saron is by doing the fight.
There are three phases to the fight, and each one has its own difficulties, so our Main Tank decided to explain each one as we got to it. (In other words, first we’d master Phase One, then die on Phase Two, and then get Phase Two explained, etc, etc.)
The first phase is the most straightforward, as far as I can tell. Sara (the lady who’s been yelling from down below the entire time we’ve been in Ulduar) is standing in the center. Around her are floating green-yellow clouds. Touch any cloud and a Guardian appears. Guardians must be killed next to Sara because they cause an AoE damage effect that is the only thing that can kill her. Kill enough Guardians and Sara is defeated, the clouds dissipate into nothingness, Yogg-Saron pops up like a jack-in-the-box, and Phase 2 begins. Make too many Guardians appear and the raid wipes. After a few experiments, we decided our best strategy was to have our ranged DPS and healers following a cloud around (to avoid touching any clouds) while the melee DPS and tanks stood in the center spanking the Guardians. Easy-peasy, right?
Wrong. Turns out the clouds were difficult for a lot of our raid members to avoid at first. The clouds would sneak up on them, mug them of all their milk money, and then spew Guardians all over the place. Our Main Tank’s voice began to get a bit beleaguered as he started to repeat himself.
“Stay out of the clouds.”
“PLEASE stay out of the clouds.”
“Your number one priority is not to touch any clouds.”
“Melee, you have to be standing under Sara. Otherwise you’ll touch clouds. AND NOBODY SHOULD BE TOUCHING CLOUDS.”
Our resident Death Knight protested that he had been standing inside Sara’s skirt, which led to a good five minutes of ribald jokes based on Sara’s constant yells of “Yes, YES!” and whatnot. (Which is why I love my 10-man raid.)
And then all of a sudden, it clicked. The melee hugged Sara’s skirts, the ranged dodged clouds, the healers healed unmolested by thick gobs of green-yellow ick. We were almost through Phase 1, and it was laughably easy all of a sudden! And that’s when my computer froze.
I was standing in a cloud-free zone at the time, and so I stared at my screen for two seconds willing WoW to unlock and let me free. It didn’t.
“Hon, I think I’m frozen,” I said to my pally.
“What?!” he responded in that I-don’t-have-time-for-you-to-be-frozen-please-just-be-cool tone that he and I both reserve for such emergencies.
“I think, yeah, my computer is definitely frozen.” I spoke into vent as well this time so the whole raid would know their tree was decommissioned.
“Oh, don’t worry,” one of my fellow raid members responded. “You’re just standing in a cloud,” he added helpfully.
“EVERYBODY PLEASE AVOID THE CLOUDS,” the Main Tank intoned with some mounting frustration, having possibly not heard the earlier part of the conversation.
“Excellent,” I said, and then cursed my computer heartily.
WoW had managed to give itself a “fatal exception”, but it seemed fine after some tooling around and rebooting, etc., so back in we went.
Our Main Tank felt that we were ready for Phase 2 so he began explanations.
“Taz, you’re going into the portal. You’ll go in the one by Freya,” he announced. He listed off the three melee DPS in our group as my companions for the portal adventure. “Now, once you get in there, you guys have to kill all the NPCs and then attack Yogg’s brain. And there are going to be laughing skulls. You must keep your back to the skulls at all times, because if you face them they will take away your Sanity and do damage to you. It is a very healing-intensive part of the fight.” He then went on to talk about how the DPS should handle it, how there were three different Yogg-brain-rooms, etc. I was busy wracking my own brain for everything I had read about Yogg’s mind, but was drawing a complete blank. Nevertheless, I gamely sallied forth, and when we had gotten through Phase 1 successfully, launched myself into a portal at the appropriate moment in Phase 2.
The chaos and laser-light-show-meets-Lovecraft-terror of the outside encounter was immediately gone. I was standing at the entrance of what looked like a cathedral without pews. The laughing skulls were on either side of me, and down the aisle was a small group of yellow NPCs and the Lich King. A second later our resident Death Knight appeared next to me. The other two members of our party were hollering over vent about being dead, but vent and the outside fight seemed very far away at that moment. The Death Knight and I began walking towards the Lich King with caution. If it had been real life, I’m pretty sure we would have gripped hands, since it was a rather eerie place, and we were clearly both clueless about how to proceed.
We got to the Lich King and DBM hollered at us about Madness and Yogg threw us up, 100% Insane, and it was back to chaos and death and despair.
/Side note – I feel a strong kinship with our resident Death Knight based not only on this shared experience, but also on previous exploratory treks down Thorim’s gauntlet-tunnel after the gauntlet group wiped and the game somehow burped and let us in. We are both inquisitive souls, and, as a healer, I hate to see a raid member wander off unattended, so we are making a habit of ending up in strange, eerily empty locales preceding instant death. (As a result we have taken to calling our two-man intrepid team of explorers “Team Curious No-Pants Incident”. Although we do wear pants.) /EndSideNote
We did not fully master Phase 2 last night. We did go back in through the portals several times, and we did finally do what we were supposed to do there. Like many other things in life, the portal trips lost their mystery quickly as we got used to our surroundings and began the Faster, Pussycat, Kill, Kill destruction we were tasked with.
But when I think of that first Yogg-Saron encounter I will always think of that initial trip into the Mind’s Eye, just the Death Knight and me, marveling and awestruck in the cathedral of an Old God’s mind.