Last night I was able to participate in a unique (in my experience) raid in EverQuest: Xegony in the Plane of Air.
Normal raids in EQ run a simple pattern. 1) Clear guards. 2) Set up, buff, etc. 3) Pull boss. 4) Tanks in front, complete heal chain, everyone else to the sides and back. 5) Pound on it until its dead.
The Xegony raid is different.
We set up beside some rocks on an island in the Plane of Air. The Main Tank, Secondary Tank and Third Tank, along with their complete heal chain compatriots, set up behind us. Xegony was pulled to there and the Tank set in. At 90% health, a wave of other spawns “woke up” and started to move toward her. The rest of the raid charged to meet them. We fought, a named spawn and 5 guards. Meanwhile, the Main Tank is “soloing” Xegony. Every 15% of her health, another wave would wake up, and we’d charge, north or south depending on the call, to meet and stop them. Xegony actually died while we were stilling fighting the last wave… the raid never fully engaged her.
It was a blast! Most raids are mind numbingly boring, turn attack on, mash a special attack key every now and then, with your biggest concern being if you are standing in the right place and making sure you aren’t stealling aggro from the tank. This was just so much more. It was a much needed breath of fresh air (pardon the pun) in EverQuest.
I think I’m ready to keep going now… and while my faith in SOE’s customer service and some of their design decisions (berserkers?? fu!) hasn’t been turned around, I’m at least happy to know that there might still be a few folks in there who actually understand what is fun in gaming.