Batraal (Dzemael Darkhold)
By now it’s pretty obvious that I prefer fights wherein everyone has to be on the ball in order to win. Batraal doesn’t let anyone off the hook in terms of performance; one lazy member can easily wipe the group regardless of gear. More than that, though, there’s something achingly fun going on in this fight, and it’s more than just dodging lasers and pools while breaking down crystals.
Batraal actually feels dangerous. Your assault on Darkhold isn’t meant to stop an urgent threat, really, but despite that this boss has a sense of malevolence and intent. In a just world he would be sitting at the end of Amdapor Keep, leering and threatening, even his defeat feeling like it’s only a temporary respite. Alas, it wasn’t to be, but he’s still really cool.
Isgebind (Stone Vigil)
This one hits all the notes. The mechanics of the fight are reasonably simple to understand and create a challenging and shifting layout. Everyone in the group has to be on the ball. No one thing will cause a wipe, but an accumulation of mistakes will. And you get a sense of Isgebind before you fight him as he drops in and assaults you during an earlier boss fight. Classic stuff.
How much do I love Stone Vigil? It’s the one dungeon I’ll run with classes that no longer gain anything from it; I might be at the level cap and no longer need the drops, but I’ll still sign on for trips through. So what could beat out Isgebind?
Ultima Weapon (Praetorium)
Look, Ultima Weapon is cake. You can wipe on this fight, but you have to be really bad at dodging things; odds are good that everyone will be up and ready to go on his second stage countdown and able to smash him to pieces. Despite that, this fight wins out because darn it, the whole thing feels unbelievably epic, and that’s a hard trick to pull off.
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Most games give you a seemingly invincible foe and then make him significantly easier to fight than you’d expect, which winds up creating an anticlimax. Or the boss is hidden behind huge numbers, so you have to gather two dozen friends to fight him and you basically swarm him to death. But Ultima Weapon is legitimately powerful, and you get legitimate reasons for why you were able to bring him down with only seven other people as backup. I look forward to the Omega version.