Warning: This blog entry may or may not cause extremely subjective interpretations of lore, game mechanics, and the (not so) sacred bond between the two. Approach with caution.
So yes. At first there was Raggy, which we needed Executus to summon for us after what in some cultures are referred to as a "severe beating". We didn't kill C'thun, he was merely hiding in Cho'Gall's stomach pouch like that snotty kangaroo kid from Winnie the Pooh. Hakkar is eternal, Kael'Thas redefined the word "setback", Maiev kills Illidan, Anweena banish Kil'Jaeden, Algalon found us funny and peculiar and let us live for that reason alone, Kel'Thuzad was nothing more than a taskmaster of the Lich King's armies but still survives not one, but TWO bar brawls up in that night club'ish lounge of his. And the Lich King. Oh, the Lich King. We both know the PWND us royally. I mean, honestly. He just let us take him down to 14% and go, "yeah, screw this, let's kill Tirion". Too bad he forgot about Terenas, huh. Had he only been clever and not demoted Falric and Marwyn to 5-man bosses, he'd at least have his back covered. But no. He had to go on that RP roll of his and thus, Tirion kills Arthas.
So yeah. Long story short... when did we actually kill someone of importance? We don't do we? The World of Warcraft heroes are really only the pawns in the major game of boss chess, we do the grunt work and then some NPC with obvious vindicative issues killsteals. In fact... if we're to be really harsh, we've only really ever KILLED - deaded, murdered, un-life'd - three major lore characters (four if you count Magtheridon, but honestly, why would we?): Vashj, obviously. Her dying in Illidan's service was a major element of the Illidan saga. And then there's Nefarian and Onyxia. Yep. Deathwing's kids. No wonder he's pissed off and burning with rage. I mean, come on. His kids.
So he's coming for us, and it's big and scary, and he sets fire to Auberdine (good riddance, by the way) by flying over it, he FLIES ACROSS THE PIER and it trashes the place. And let me tell you, having grown up in Goldshire, Auberdine is borderline metropolic. We're talking close to Brill proportions here. Huge. So obviously, Deathwing is one mean bastard. And he's angry. And on fire.
How THE HELL are we going to beat that? My belief in item level 379 only goes that far, I'll tell you. Heroic loot is nice, and that stats on certain items like this little fellow only serves to increase my belief that we'll be armed to the teeth when we face him. But seriously... he's on fire. Voluntarily. Inside an armour crafted with more fire and dwarf "volunteers". AND he's huge. And he's pissed enough that he even resurrected those blasted kids of his to undeath. And to top it all off, Tirion's in Hearthglen and Anweena's dead.
(this is where I go from rant to actual game-related content.)
What if we were to actually have an end boss of an expansion be just that hard ingame? There's no honest reason for 10 or 25 player characters to beat Deathwing on their own. No way. Nuh-uh. Not buying it. In short, we need help. Like Thrall or Alex. I don't think it'll be a big shock to anyone if Thrall turns out to be the Tirion of Cataclysm, but I'm honestly not sure if that idea rubs my belly in a comfortable and delightful way. I'd much prefer to see him in a Brann Bronzebeard-esque sort of role, related to the elemental invasion rather than the actual black flight (and besides, us horde have had to put up with that fat, ugly dwarf for two years now, let us have the key NPC this time around, hmmm?)
But what if the actual fight between Deathwing and Azeroth's Finest would be not a 10/25-man effort, but 11/26 - with Alexstrasza being the final raid member? An epic fight where Alex will have to "tank" Deathwing, requiring healing like any other tank or raid member, while the players will have to DPS down the boss while at the same time fighting massed waves of minibosses, trash gauntlets, environmental changes and of course Deathwing's own attacks against the raid? Designed and tuned correctly, it could be the most epic fight of the game thus far, yet still remaining hysterically challenging in a high end-environment. Just get Morgan Day on the case, and I predict an end boss worthy of praise even from the most anti-Blizzard Wrath Babies.
Of course it'll never happen this way. Trivializing the player role in the encounter to the level that we don't actually get even the feeling that we kill him, just that we're Alex's army - it won't go down well with the PR department. But the idea of Alex and Deathwing battling it out in the burning skies above my head while tanking 37 Cultists and their insane black flight overlord under the flaming fires of Deathwing's wounds... it's an exciting prospect.
Until then, Al'Akir looks he'll be quite high up there on my list of most memorable bosses in the game. I guess that's a start.