Onyxia is coming back!

In honor of WoW's 5th Anniversary Patch 3.2.2, what is considered to be a minor fix patch will be bringing none other than her Lady Onyxia back into the raiding scene. The Blue text people have said:

She has lurked in her lair and done battle with the many brave adventurers who travelled to that familiar location over the years. Now, in honor of the World of Warcraft 5-year anniversary, the dreaded brood mother Onyxia is being revamped to make a return to the forefront of Azeroth, as part of our big plans for the upcoming 3.2.2 content patch.

This permanent update to Onyxia will convert the dungeon into 10- and 25-player modes. We will be adding new items to Onyxia’s loot table that have the same model as some of the classic loot from this dungeon, like Tier 2 helms, with stats updated to match the current level of content. There will be a special new item too: a normal drake-sized 310% speed flying mount modeled after Onyxia herself called Brood of Onyxia. We will also be updating the encounter mechanics to be more fitting for modern raiding, but we can guarantee players will get to experience the frightening horror of deep breaths once again.

Then for a limited time, after the 5-year anniversary event officially begins in November, anybody who logs in will receive an Onyxia Brood Whelpling pet.

We’re very excited to bring this classic encounter back to provide a fun new experience for both new and veteran players. Further details will be available in the near future, and we will be setting up the Public Test Realms soon to help test out this fight along with all the new content we have planned for the patch. Keep an eye on the forums for updates!



Changes to the instance

It's not your typical new content, but keep in mind this is NOT a content patch. It's a quick and extra feature for your enjoyment. The old lvl 60 instance will no longer be available, and it'll be replaced with a revamped, re-seeded with new loot - 10+25 man instance.

You'll also be getting the ability to get a new "Onyxia style" 310% speed mount. Probably a rare drop. Not only that, you'll get your very own mini pet called an "onyxia whelp". Eye candy, but for old raiders who've spent a good few months on farming her it's a nice pat on the back.

Cry all you want, I'm happy to see some old content reworked for the current player level. Sure, you won't be able to solo her anymore, but was that ever really "worth" your time? Not since the boss gold drop nerf surely.

It'll also be interesting to see whether good old trusty Vis'kag the Bloodletter will make a return. I've used the blade for a good while before getting my hands on a Chromatically Tempered Sword, but the color! oh man the color. It's excellent stuff.

Another weapon of note is the Deathbringer. Previously this weapon would go to the crying warriors, while the rogues would take dibs on the deathbringer but..... With the changes in patch 3.2 Rogues can now wield axes. And if that weapon makes a return, and "if" they remake it as a 2.9 speed weapon (Doubtful, but perhaps 2.7 speed at least) every rogue on the server will cream his pants to get a hold of this weapon.

Since Onyxia is a single boss instance, and being remade for the anniversary etc, it's likely her loot and difficulty will be on par with Sartharion or Naxxramas... Meaning iLvL 226 "if we're lucky".

This is an estimate of what it'd look like with ilvl 245. The same as the 25 man coliseum boss drops.

Makes you wonder whether Quel'Serrar will also be updated... could be a nice feature.
Update: Looks like she gives ilvl 232 gear at 10 man, and ilvl 245 on 25 man. 22 slot bags, and the mount is a rare ~1% drop chance item. See MMOC.
Update2: Why, look at that.


Getting started

Some of you never did the gruelingly long quest chain to get to enter the instance.
Some probably never even visited her. Many won't remember the tactics. Plenty will have heard of the "Minus 50 fucking DKP" yell, or the MORE DOTS, and "onyxia deep breaths more often in this patch". If not, do your research.

At any rate, it's probably not a bad idea to read up on the boss tactics!
Sure, there's a very large chance that the tactics for this fight will get tweaked and modified to allow for a 10-25 man fight instead of the original - epic - 40 man group that it took to take her down. Though even when she was level 60, she's been done with as little as five, and even 3 iirc. Clever use of game mechanics and full naxx gear, and a sheetload of patience was all it took... ahem.

The fight consists of three phases. You enter the instance, kill a few wardens, group up at the ramp and then everyone races inside to their respective sides. West and East side yo! Odd and Even groups.

Disclaimer: Tactics "might" be subject to change in 3.2.2


Phase 1

Phase one starts as soon as the tank gets in range and aggros Onyxia, he'll have to turn her to the far wall in the back and start building threat (obviously) but also keep his threat level high constantly. In 3.x we have the added advantage of misdirects and tricks of the trade which will greatly help in this. Something we didn't even have back at level 60. The reason for this threat building, other than those reasons which prevent the boss from turning around and killing the other players, is that the boss uses an ability called Wing Buffet. Not only does that ability knock the tank back to the wall, but it also reduces his threat by a certain percentage. The result of this, is that you're dealing with a threat cap. All players should keep an eye on Omen, or whatever threatmeter you're using.

Even back at level 60 we had such a threatmeter, but even back then the exact mechanics of the onyxia fight were largely guesswork, and many a wipe ensued by players overaggroing the tank and causing a firebreath on their side. Usually resulting in a wipe.

Aside Wing buffet and Knock away, she also uses flame breath and Cleave in the front. (So don't stand there unless you're supposed to!) And a Tail Sweep in the back. If you're a hunter/ranged you can stand far enough away in the back to not have to worry about the tail, but it's usually recommended for everyone to be on either the left or right side.

Phase 2 will start at roughly 65%


Phase 2

This phase is the meat of the fight, survive this and you're nearly there.

Onyxia will lift off and start shooting Fireballs at players in the area. Now, some myths and theories are linked to these fireballs but basically she will shoot them at whoever is highest on her threat list. As the fireball has a splash effect everyone should spread out among the area. The fireball, when it hits also causes the affected player to lose a certain percentage of his threat. The exact value isn't known, but it's enough to make yourself want to get hit by it at least once more than the tank. That's largely outside of your control though.

Some whelps will spawn from the sides where the egg chambers are (don't run in there you'll cause a wipe) and these need to be taken care of by some aoe capable players.


Deep breath

Simply put, this hurts and it's going to kill you. If you see the emote "Onyxia takes in a deep breath..." You'd better run to a safe spot or you'll be one very crispy WoW player. There's about six spots where she can fly and hover, and each time after she moves there's a 50% chance that she's going to use the deep breath ability. Make sure there's a hunter on TS or Vent able to yell where she is, and keep a keen eye open yourself. Position yourself accordingly. If she's in the top-left, you move top-right or bottom-left. If she's top-right, you move top-left or bottom-right. Etc, etc.

Some speculation was made whether she'll deep breath more if players are too far away from her, but this was never (to my knowledge) tested and proven. Presume deep breath is fully random. The best defense against this ability is to simply burn her to 40% as quick as you can. All ranged DPS, and even melee if you're standing directly below her needs to take her health down quick. Just don't forget about the whelps, as they'll quickly target and eat your healers.


Phase 3

When her health reaches about 40% (sometimes a bit later) she will land in the middle of the cave and run for the player highest on her aggro list. Now, the fun part of this, is that she's immune to taunt and threat locking abilities. So your tank will need to start building threat like a maniac, rogues use tricks of the trade, hunters misdirect. Back at the lvl 60 version of this instance it was very common for her to eat her way through a good portion of your DPS "and healers" before a tank was able to get aggro back on her. With the new threat giving abilities at 80 this should be a lot easier.

Once you have a hold on her, simply move her back to the same spot she was in during phase 1 and burn her down the rest of the way. The only difference during phase 3 is that she'll use a bellowing roar which will fear everyone in the instance. Again, back at lvl 60 this meant you'd be praying tremor totem ticked just at the right time or you'd be pretty screwed. We didn't have dwarf priests / fear ward back then. And bosses ran off when the tank was feared. That "stick to the tank while feared" feature wasn't added until somewhere halfway during TBC. While this "bellowing roar" is in effect there will also be lava shooting from cracks in the ground. So bring that pvp trinket, tremor totems, fear ward, and above all stand at a safe spot away from the crack edges. Especially make sure you stay away from the whelp cave entrances, as those can be a nasty surprise during phase 3.

When her health reaches 10% she'll soft enrage, and start dealing more and more damage to the tank as her health gets closer to zero. Be aware of this, and bring her down to 0% for some hard earned loot.


Some more tricks up her sleeve

Once you've successfully done the fight a few times she really isn't "that" scary. However, there are a few more tricks she will occasionally use, and some of them are even considered to be bugs.

If you run too far away, or are at the instance entrance while the boss engages she will teleport you directly in front of her, and bite you dead. Simple fix, don't run away from her.

Speaking of running, if you feel a wipe is coming don't bother running. As soon as the fight engages the wardens you killed earlier will all respawn! Meaning you'll also have to run into the cave as a group. Leave no stragglers or you'll have to deal with some nasty elite adds early in the fight.

Fire immunity, that's right, she's a dragon and she's immune to fire. Much the same as Ragnaros. Don't bother shooting fireballs at her, they just tickle.

Taunt immunity, I already said it, but it is worth repeating. This is a single tank fight usually. Though it never hurts to have 1-2 offtanks building threat "just in case" so they can take over tanking in phase 3. Hey, it beats getting the rest of the raid eaten.

Bugged heals and evade. In the many times I've fought her, I've only seen her actually do this twice. Both times were explainable, as some player got feared up a ledge, or knocked there. Keep your feet on the ground, that also applies to the tank.

Going for a walk? I've only seen her do this when killing her with 2-3 people. She might wander off and take a hike through the whelp cave. It's very strange, and she'll still randomly try to hit people that get too close, but most of her abilities will no longer be used until she starts phase 2 or dies.


So, there you have it.
You feel ready to take on Lady Onyxia in 3.2.2 ?
Or still upset that Blizzard is adding "reused" content?

5 comments

  1. Very entertaining tnx.

    It'd be an even greater nod to old school raiders/lore fans if Lady Prestor was to return prior to the appearance in some intrigue.

    Overall 3.2.2 interests me far more than 3.2 did.

  2. Well, the 3.2 engineering changes were quite welcome :P
    The 3.2.2 raid sounds a lot more entertaining than the coliseum though.

  3. Would have been awesome to have put onny, ragnaros, neffarian, c'thun etc in some kind of goblin museum where you can fight them. Tweaked for lvl 80 ofc.

  4. The dropped items seem to be ilvl 232.
    25 man Ulduar level then.
    link link2

  5. Possible update:

    1. You can use fire damage now.
    2. Melee can't hit her airborne.

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