Raid Review 6: Accursed Ascension
Alternate names: Abbott
History: originally released in September of 2007 with module 5, the Abbott raid has seen numerous major changes ranging from boss HP increases to major reworking of the 3 puzzles. There was a time that a game update of any kind without changes to this raid was a rarity. Even today this raid is very difficult as most of the puzzles are about movement and do not factor in character gear or builds.
Level: 17 (originally 15)
Quest pack: Necropolis part 4
Flagging: first complete an 8 piece sigil by looting chests in the Orchard of Macabre (particularly the quest end chests). Then run the pre-raid 4 times beating each of the optional bosses. Once each boss is defeated you must go out the back door into the Orchard and be present for the destruction of the 4 crystals. Reflagging is not required.
Objective: stop the Black Abbott from accursedly ascending.
Overview: The Black Abbott is ascending accursedly to godhood. Stop him.
What’s really going on: the Black Abbott is performing a ritual that will allow him to accursedly ascend into godhood. Beat him down until he makes you complete the 3 most challenging puzzles in the game and then beat him down some more using the skills used in the puzzles to counter his special attacks. Super Mario skills required.
For those that don’t know the puzzles, beat down the boss, AFK for 15 minutes, repeat until puzzles completed, beat down boss again.
Best raid features: aside from the difficulty of the puzzles, or at least the penalty for failure, the puzzles are actually quite engaging. To call them puzzles is actually a bit of a misnomer as they are more of a series of acrobatic challenges that require a high degree of teamwork and coordination. Running the goggle puzzle is one of the most exhilarating things to do in the game and the few people who are actually really good at it are often considered to be legends amongst mere players. The boss fight is not terribly difficult but his special abilities make for an engaging fight.
Worst raid features: for the most part you only get 1 shot at a puzzle. If you misstep or lag out you die. Timing is a huge factor in 2 of them. If you fail any one of the puzzles you can technically try again but you have to beat down the boss an extra time so groups often just restart. These puzzle would be far better and much less feared if failure was less catastrophic.
Debated features: the appropriate difficulty of the puzzles, whether or not one of the Abbott’s special abilities should drain sp (if it happens to you you a doing it wrong!)
Prominent builds/Key roles: for a time clerics with divine intervention could complete one of the puzzles in ridiculously easy fashion. Dark monks still can.
Proficient puzzlers are almost a must for completion. For this reason few people ever had the opportunity to learn how to do them unless they joined a training run.
How we used to run it: invitation only. Difficulty was so ridiculous that PUGs stood almost no chance of being remotely helpful and were more likely to make things more difficult. It would typically take several attempts to actually get all 3 puzzles completed at the same time.
Basically, square peg, round hole, big hammer.
How we run it now: puzzles are easier to complete due to the various tweaks over time, but are still very difficult and several attempts are often necessary, the number being somewhat PUG dependent. While 2 of the puzzles are still very skill based and are typically done by the best available people, there are tasks easy enough for new folks to do and be helpful. Still, the majority of groups are formed with a core group of a guild or friends. The fewer PUGs the better.
Why we used to run it: the loot is pretty darn good and unique. Also, more than that even, status. The number of groups able to reliably complete this raid on elite could be counted on a person’s hand. That’s across all servers. Mostly, people were too scared to even attempt it so few people ever really ran it and fewer still enjoyed it. But if you were hardcore, you probably liked it.
Why we run it now: some of the loot is better, some got nerfed. It’s still more of a status thing since most people don’t even factor the gear into their builds since groups are few and far between.
Notable loot: litany of the dead, an assortment of caster gear, quiver of alacrity
What you need to know: each puzzle requires highly coordinated teamwork and precision along with some super Mario skills. If you fail, you die, and conventional wisdom says you should restart.
Best way to fail: enter the raid
Bonus Tidbits: this raid concludes a campaign arc of 4 quest series. Somewhat fittingly, they contain many of the most hated quests in the game.
Personal favorite moment: solo healing a hard run in which we beat down the abbot an extra time rather than restart after goggles failed. Amazingly enough, didn’t even use a pot. Then to prove it wasn’t a fluke, I did it again with my second rate healer.