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Herald of the Titans

As part of our legacy raid content experience, we decided to go for the Herald of the Titans Feat of Strength. Today, we did it!

Herald of the Titans
The achievement.

In case you're not familiar with it, Herald of the Titans is the only achievement in World of WarCraft that requires you to kill a boss (Algalon, the Observer) while you are a specific level (80) with items under a specific quality (ilvl 232 weapons and ilvl 226 armor). This makes it more difficult than many other achievements simply because you can't wait for a new expansion or raid tier to make it easier for you. As a result, most of the player base doesn't have the title.

Originally, this achievement was quite difficult because Algalon had a 1 hour timer on him. This meant you had to clear up to him each week and kill him within the hour of your first attempt. It got a lot easier in later expansions because of the timer removal, over-arching class changes, and added consumables. In Warlords of Draenor, however, it got harder again due to the patch 6.0 stat squish and class ability pruning.

Elmrik, Herald of the Titans
Elmrik, Herald of the Titans!

In total, our guild wiped 27 times before finally killing Algalon. Now that we're done, I can say with confidence that the absolute most important thing to have (aside from a fair amount of ilvl 226 gear per raider) is the flasks from Cataclysm. These flasks offer an absolutely ridiculous boost to your class's main stat and were the difference between us dying with 25% of Algalon's health left on the second Big Bang or simply having killed him by that point. One of our healers, Hotfix, had the Cauldron of Battle, which was the absolute easiest way to make sure people had these awesome buffs.

Aside from gear, food, and flasks, the only other preparation you'll need is to understand how the fight works. It's reasonably complicated:

  • The main tank will get hit with Phase Punch every 15 seconds, which adds a stacking debuff. When this stacking debuff reaches 5, the tank will be phased out and remain there for 10 seconds or so. Tanks must switch prior to this happening (or just as it happens), or you risk Algalon rampaging all over the rest of the raid.
  • Cosmic Smash occurs every 25 seconds and must be avoided. The impact point shows up as a small little red smoke puff about 2 seconds prior to the impact. Raid members take more damage when they're closer to the impact point. This impact point is incredibly difficult to see. We had people call out if it was "on melee" or "at range" to give people a general idea of whether they were in immediate danger.
  • 3 Collapsing Stars spawn at the start of the fight and after each Big Bang. One member of the raid must kill these (to create Black Holes) at fairly regular intervals. When they die, the entire raid takes ~20,000 damage from Black Hole Explosion. If they don't die, there aren't enough Black Holes to escape into when Big Bang happens. It's imperative they die at a constant, slow pace. If they aren't attacked, they will take 1% damage every second or so and eventually all die at the same time, killing everyone.
  • 3 Living Constallations will spawn halfway between each Big Bang. These will cast Arcane Barrage on random raid members as long as they are alive. They can be killed instantly by a player pulling them into an open Black Hole, which it will consume. Ideally, only one of these will be alive when Big Bang happens and it will close the last remaining Black Hole during the Big Bang.
  • Big Bang occurs every 90 seconds and will deal ~80,000 damage to the entire raid. If no raid member survives Big Bang, or no raid member is around to be hit by it, Algalon will cast Ascend to the Heavens and kill everyone. The main tank should pop survival cooldowns during Big Bang to live while the rest of the raid escapes into a Black Hole. Raid members inside a Black Hole will be popped out immediately after Big Bang hits.

Had we been appropriately geared before starting our attempts (and realized what a huge impact the flasks would have), we'd likely have failed less. The mechanics of the fight are difficult, but not too difficult. An appropriately prepared raid should have no problem killing him in 5-10 attempts once everyone is comfortable with their roles and avoiding raid damage. The Lich King fight is, in my opinion, still a far more difficult fight.

In case anyone is interested, I had on the following items (as a Restoration Druid healer) when we killed Algalon the first time:

Elmrik's Gear
Elmrik's (mostly) ilvl 226 gear.