Archimonde is requires near perfect play from 25 people for 7-10 minutes and is very harsh if you screw it up but it is possible to recover from a few mistakes. Once your guild is able to kill everything leading up to Illidan, he really isn’t that hard. Pre 2.1 Gruul was very hard but he was killable once you got the hang of it. Kael’thas is a pure execution fight so once you get your strategy worked out he is actually very easy. Prior to the 2.1 patch Vashj did random mind controls on people, including the tank, and the nagas had 360 degree cleaves and I think you can count the number of guilds that killed pre-2.1 Vashj on one hand. But since I never did that version of the fight I am going to disqualify it. The current version of Vashj is a controlled dps race which is pretty easy once you get a feel for it.
So, if none of those fights are the hardest in TBC, which one is?
Well, I am glad that I pretended that you asked me that. The hardest fight in The Burning Crusade is Shade of Aran.
I was first learning this fight almost a year ago and back then nobody had any gear from arenas and nobody had much if any badge of justice gear. Some people might have had 1 or 2 epics from heroics and one or two from early karazhan, but for the most part, we were all wearing dungeon blues.
Nobody had enough HP to live through a flame wreath explosion which did 6-7k damage instead of the 3-4k it does now. And flame wreath back then was a lot more sensitive. Hunter pets, warlock demons and priest shadowfiends would all cause an explosion if they crossed a flame wreath. Pallies using divine shield and mages using ice block would cause an explosion. A destruction warlock with nether protection would cause an explosion. Jumping up and down would cause an explosion.
If he was allowed to sheep and pyroblast, most people didn’t have enough HP to survive it so interrupts had to be perfect. The summoned elementals had too much HP to kill them in a reasonable amount of time so you had to banish and fear them until they despawned. If you killed the boss before the elementals despawned, they would stick and could still wipe you. And of course the trash was on a 45 minute respawn so you would go up, wipe a couple times and then you had to reclear a HUGE amount of trash before you could practice on the boss again (which was one of the things that made Kael’thas so hard before his trash got nerfed).
These days there are many parallel progression paths so you can overgear some encounters before you even get to them. With the abundance of “welfare” epics nobody really runs into the wall boss of Karazhan anymore. Sure you may struggle a bit with the fight but its just a matter of people figuring out “oh, you were serious when you said ‘don’t move during flame wreath’” and then he will go down. Back in the day guilds would be stuck for weeks on Shade of Aran. My guild at the time stopped raiding Karazhan all together and went and farmed heroics. And I don’t mean just doing underbog and mech for badges, there was hardly any badge gear at the time – trinket, neck, cloak, offhand – so we were actually running the instances to get the boss drops. And back then heroics were hard. I think there has been a nerf to heroics in every single patch. Back then pulling aggro meant a wipe. CC breaking early meant a wipe. Healer sneezed at the wrong moment meant a wipe.
There are some hard fights in TBC, but honestly, the original version of Shade of Aran while wearing dungeon blues is probably the most challenging thing I have done.
In my day we walked to school, uphill both ways, in 2 feet of snow, bare foot, and we like it!