From expansion to expansion, WoW’s raiding content has always been a staple of the game. In Battle for Azeroth, the game saw five new raids introduced throughout the course of the expansion’s 2-plus year lifespan. Here’s how each raid on that entire lineup stacks up when compared to each other. This is Battle for Azeroth’s five raids, ranked.
5. Crucible of Storms
It feels almost unfair placing the Crucible of Storms on this list, as the instance feels completely out of place when compared to the other raids that came out during Battle for Azeroth. With just two bosses and little impact on the overall long-term implications of the expansion, the Crucible of Storms was nothing more than a quick little one-off raid that doesn’t really hold a candle to any of the other instances on this list. It’s not ranked at the bottom because it’s a bad raid, it’s just easily the most forgettable one.
4. Ny’alotha, the Waking City
The final raid of BfA definitely left a lot to be desired. Not because of its playstyle, boss mechanics, or overall ambience, but instead because of how much hype and excitement had been poured into N’Zoth and the Black Empire over the course of WoW’s entire history, only for the culmination of that buildup to result in a lackluster raid. To finally see the most storied Old God in the game come to fruition in an arguably haphazard manner was quite disappointing. The raid itself was an average instance with a few solid encounters sprawled about, but at the end of the day, the final boss of the expansion – a boss who had been drawing copious amounts of hype for well over a decade – fell completely short of the mark. All in all, Ny’alotha is low on this list not because it’s a bad raid – in fact, it’s pretty decent for a closing instance. It’s down here because of how remarkably short it fell when contextualized in a broader scope of WoW history. N’Zoth and his Black Empire had been painted as one of the strongest, most epic figures in the multiverse. When we finally infiltrated his fortress and defeated him, it felt more like the majority of his potential hadn’t been capitalized upon. In a setting where the sky was the limit, Ny’alotha really failed to make it past the ground level.
The prospect of kicking off the expansion by delving into a titan facility in pursuit of the long-fabled Blood God G’huun was something that genuinely fueled my drive throughout the launch of BfA. I had never been so excited to dive into an expansion’s opening raid more than I was at this time around two years ago. However, when we finally got into Uldir, the raid didn’t even come close to living up to the amount of early-expansion hype that preceded it. In the end, Uldir was a solid raid that did a decent job of kicking off the expansion on a decent note. I enjoyed my time there and didn’t really love or hate the raid either way. I wish there had been a bit more of a payoff – as any raid involving the power of the titans has a ton of potential. Unfortunately, Uldir didn’t do enough to capitalize on that potential, limiting it from landing higher on this list.
2. The Eternal Palace
Perhaps the highlight of Patch 8.2, Azshara’s Eternal Palace was one of the stronger raids to emerge out of Battle for Azeroth. Even despite its lack of bosses when compared to other larger raids the expansion had to offer, the Eternal Palace’s seven encounters were all top-of-the-line moments from the expansion. Many of the fights from EP were mechanically refreshing and definitely memorable. To this day, even with all of the scaling mechanics from Patch 8.3 in place, Queen Azshara on Mythic difficulty is still one of the hardest, most mechanically-intensive fights in the entire game. Additionally, the Eternal Palace absolutely nails the aesthetic of an underwater naga raid – something that WoW has been trying to perfect ever since The Burning Crusade. In Patch 8.2, the game finally pushed through and maximized the potential surrounding that kind of environment.
1. Battle of Dazar’Alor
Dazar’Alor is the undisputed champion of the BfA raiding lineup. As the only raid that truly encapsulated the feel of the expansion, BoD knocked the storyline of the Zandalar-Kul Tiras conflict out of the water. The rising tensions between the central factions of the expansion came to a head in this instance where the Alliance attacked the Horde’s newest foothold in the fabled Zandalari city of Dazar’Alor, and the raid did an excellent job of bringing stoy elements into the raiding scene. As a result, the overall narrative of BfA was impacted heavily as a result. Oh, and from a gameplay standpoint, the raid itself was pretty awesome. The encounters were original and intriguing, to be sure, as fights like Opulence, King Rastakhan, and of course, Lady Jaina Proudmoore, went down as highlights from the expansion. Finally seeing some major faction leaders as actual raid bosses was a huge payoff that had been stirring in the WoW community for years, and BoD was the perfect instance for realizing those aspirations. An epic three-act experience of different experiences for each faction is an amazing concept, and the Battle of Dazar’Alor really pulled it off exceptionally well. As we look back on Battle for Azeroth, this raid very easily topped the list when compared to its contemporaries.
Featured image via Blizzard Entertainment.