Just to point out essjayehm, it's Defiler, not Deflier
Despite the Hydra being rather late in the game, you'd be surprised just how beneficial its chest drops can be for a toon even though, by that point, the game is roughly 2/3 completed. The gear that can drop is amazing and can really help your toon, so it's definitely worth the trouble to battle it, and even moreso to farm it. I don't consider slaying bosses, optional or otherwise, "bragging." They're in the game for a reason, and I hate to suffer an enemy to live, you could say. I hate seeing my toons die, too, but to me it's a badge of honor, so-to-speak, to face those beasts (Hydra, Manticore, et al) and live to tell the tale. Once you figure out the proper tactics, those battles become much easier, but you'll never learn those tactics (which can come in handy against other bosses) if you bypass those encounters.
An example would be the infamous Night Blossom Plant, as essjayehm noted. My Epic Diviner got one-shotted by that thing. I mean, it was instantaneous, and it was that toon's first death up to that point. After that encounter, I figured out a better tactical approach and other toons have avoided trouble from the Epic version of that boss since then. Hydra? First toon to face it--a bow Haruspex--got wasted, but since then I've had no deaths to the Hydra. Sure, I could avoid it, but I wouldn't feel as if I were "heroic" by passing up boss encounters. My philosophy is without risk, there's no reward, even if that reward is simply learning how to beat that particular boss for future reference. I can live with a death or two to a hard boss, but I couldn't live with the knowledge that I deliberately avoided a boss fight just so I could keep my death count at zero.
Last edited by defboy99; 01-24-2012 at 02:00 AM.
Very interesting. Thank you all for the insights and reflections.
Well, based on suggestions of unsullied paladin's honor, I faced my fear and went up against manticore. I'm happy to report that I killed him with zero deaths. In fact, he was quite easy. The only thing he had that could scratch me was his lightning breath, and with 80% to lightning resistance, that was a one-potion instant heal.
I keep getting surprised at what this pally can face, when armed with a little knowledge; i.e., I read up about Manti before I faced him so I would know what protections I needed (poison and lightning).
The dreaded head bite was nothing but a tickle, since I had combined armor well over 1000. One "resistance" that I think a lot of players underestimate is straight-up armor, i.e. physical damage protection. Properly equpped paladins with Armor Handling excel here.
I suspect that one of my caster characters would not have had such an easy time (less armor). My pally was able to go toe-to-toe with Manty, no sweat.
I'm looking forward to seeing whether my pally can face Hydra with so little trouble. I must avoid getting cocky about it.
The number of times I've gotten surprised by this pally's ability to face tough bosses reminds me of Yoda's "tree", where Luke had to confront his fears about himself during his training on Dagobah.
Hydra is much easier than Manti. With 80% Poison resistance, Hydra is very easy. Just stay in melee range so he doesn't use his breaths.
Manti's "head bite" is not a dangerous attack. I think the attack which was killing people, and which was mistaken for the "head bite", was his Pounce attack where he does a bazillion poison and pierce. His Lightning breath is his other dangerous attack. If you have those two covered, he's not much trouble.
Good job, Belgarath! It's ironic, as you mentioned, what happens when we face our fears, eh? (Luke on Dagobah was a great example.) Manticore can be a scary dude, and for my ranged toons it's taken a long time to defeat it. When I got my Ternion/Harrowing Diviner to Manti's cavern the first time, I was all sweaty-palmed and anxious. She is an odd build and I wasn't sure if she could stand toe-to-toe with Manticore, having never faced it with this toon before. Anyway, I prepared for battle, summoned Outsider and ran in. Three seconds later, Manti lay dead on the cavern's dirt floor. I was shocked. Three seconds. Done. It was over before it even started. So, it's the reason I always try to face those difficult encounters, even though I may not succeed the first try. You learn something every time that can help you in future encounters.
My Paladin and Juggernaut both died twice to Manti first time in Epic. So I got a bit nervous when my Spellbinder arrived in the Sandswept Cave. I had it all figured out - I'd cast Outsider, Colossus Form, Quick Recovery and would then dash in and hope that I could take Manti down before Colossus/QR expired.
So I get there, stop just out of Manti's sight, cast Outsider, send the LK ahead, hit Colossus Form, cast QR, rush forward and take up position at Manti's tail - and then I noticed, just as I was about to hit him the first time, that he had about 50HP left. There was just a tiny sliver of health bar after the LK and Outsider had laid into him. So I hit him once, he fell down in a heap and that was that.
Spirit is definitely a bit overpowered when it comes to bosses.
@ Irma -- You said it! It was hilarious when I defeated Manti with my Diviner. I was actually looking around the screen, trying to see where Manti went, where he was hiding. It simply couldn't have died that quickly. So, I was being very, very cautious as I peered about, and then looked down at the feet of my Diviner and saw the skeletal remains... Reflexively, my arms shot into the air and I pumped my fists. It was a bit silly, actually, but sometimes this game can reduce you to a fit of silliness, eh?
Thanks for sharing battle stories, everybody. I got a kick out of each one.
My strangest boss monster encounter was one that never actually happened. It was back in the time when I was just playing the game, not yet looking up stuff about it on the interwebz. I had known the Sandswept Cave from Normal and had wondered what the point of it was, it looked as if there should be something, but there wasn't. So after finding out that in Epic there were new bosses like Talos, I was already curious whether that cave might hold a surprise for me. I got in and Manti caught me completely off guard and smashed me. I finally managed to slay him and only then noticed that there had always been a skeleton of him in the cave as some kind of foreshadowing. So I took a closer look. And I saw those huge dragon bones... So when I was on my way down there again in Legendary, and having met the Hydra in Greece already, I was literally shaking with anticipation. I was dead sure that this time around, there would be this gargantuan lizard waiting for me. So I cautiously entered the cave... and was deeply disappointed to "only" see Manti again.
I always thought this to be a wasted opportunity, a real case of building up false expectations by the designers.
"I don't need a nicotine patch, Penny - I smoke cigarettes."