Play Prime World
Play Prime World
Image of Eight of the Most Unnerving MMO Boss Fights

The social nature of MMORPGs doesn't really lend itself all that well to horror. After all, it's pretty difficult to be truly frightened when you've got a horde of friends, allies, and acquaintances at your side. For this reason, a number of masterfully-designed bosses - foes which, in a single-player game would be downright terrifying - are often overlooked entirely. I suppose it just doesn't occur to anyone to really be all that scared. 

Believe it or not, there's actually a whole collection of unnerving bosses scattered throughout the history of MMOs - if only by virtue of their backstories. One has only to stop and look. What follows is just a sampling. I'm certain there are more out there, somewhere. Feel free to share any I've missed in the comments. 

8. Charlie, the Frozenhearted Child (Dungeon Fighter Online)


We'll start with a bit of tragedy. Thirty years before the events of Dungeon Fighter Online, there was an innocent young boy by the name of Charlie. One night, the boy saw a sparkling dragon in the sky. He wanted ever so much to meet the dragon, and thus decided to climb Mount Charnak - after making his sister promise to keep his trek a secret. He was never seen again. 

As it turns out, he met the dragon, and it transformed him into a monster which plans to turn the living creatures of the world into toys. Your character first becomes aware of the quest chain involving Charlie when speaking to an NPC named Seria, who's been hearing the weak voice of a child, crying out for help up in the mountains. You later find out that he's trying to destroy his heart, since it's the only thing resisting his dark desires. 

He's also cursed with immortality - even if you destroy him, he'll just try again, eventually. Sometimes, people near the mountain can hear him crying. 

7. The Pandemonium Warden (Final Fantasy XI)


I've talked about The Pandemonium Warden before, but it definitely deserves the distinction of being mentioned again. See, it's a touch more than just a monster that took almost a full day to kill - it's probably one of the creepiest monsters in FFXI. Its initial appearance aside, consider the fact that it doesn't seem to have any true form - during the battle against it, it shifts from one demonic form to another, summoning wave after wave of creatures to its side each time it does. Worse is the fact that, when it's finally felled, it does little more than taunt the player that its defeat means nothing. 

6. The Wither (Minecraft)


Although Minecraft isn't necessarily a 'traditional' MMO, it's nevertheless a game that I'd argue is designed primarily for multiplayer. After all, the point Mojang's Sandbox title isn't to build a whole host of awesome structures - it's to show everyone online you did. Anyway, for a while, the most terrifying thing about Minecraft (aside from the random, hell-spawned noises the engine occasionally emits) was the Creeper - and that was only because it could detonate one's hard work in an instant. Then it was the Enderman, simply because, well...just look at it.

Then someone designed The Wither. This floating, three-headed abomination would look like something Salvador Dali dreamed up during a bad acid trip in the real world, and it sounds like this.  As if that's not bad enough, it inflicts a devastating 'withering' status effect on attack, explodes on spawning, and can destroy blocks with total ease.

5. Yakhmar (Age of Conan) 


"The Higher animals, he knew, radiated heat. Below them in the scale of being came the scaled and played reptiles and fishes, whose temperature was of their surroundings. But the Remora, the worm of the ice lands, seemed unique in that it radiated cold; at least, that was how Conan would have expressed it. It gave out a sort of bitter cold that could encase a corpse in an armor of ice within minutes." - Lair of the Ice Worm by L. Sprague de Camp & Lin Carter

Northern Cimmeria is not a nice place to live. It's almost universally cold and barren, covered entirely in a vast expanse of snow and frozen stone. Deep beneath these peaks lurks one of the most horrifying creatures on the face of the world; the Ice Worm. These abominations hypnotize men and women from their fires, at which point their flesh is slowly sloughed away from the bones. The victims are left within a block of solid ice. The worst of these creatures is Yakhmar, the patron of the race. It is a monstrous, white-furred beast, with sickly, glowing green eyes, a creature which despises all warm-blooded life. 

4. C'thun (World of Warcraft)


This list simply wouldn't be complete without an eldritch abomination or two, and C'thun fits the bill. Its anatomy is completely foreign and alien to anything that could be considered life. It's exerted its foul, corrupting influence on large swathes of Azeroth for centuries, and while you fight it, it taunts you with cheery statements like "you will betray your friends" and "your heart will explode." 

What's more, it's the most difficult raid boss Blizzard has ever released - they actually had to nerf it, because they made it too powerful in its initial release. It gets worse: it's implied that you're only fighting C'thun at a fraction of its full strength. Had it the sort of power it did when it faced down the titans, well....

Deathwing wouldn't seem so bad anymore.  

3. Abaddon (Guild Wars)


Next up on our list is the penultimate boss of the original Guild Wars. Abaddon is the former god of Water and Secrets, who was deposed after being defeated in a war against the other gods. At that point, he was sealed within the realm of torment. From there, he set in motion the events of pretty much every arc in the Guild Wars universe. He created the Titans that spurred the Char to destroy Ascalon. He was responsible for the sinking of Orr into the sea. He was responsible for the events of Nightfall, which very nearly consumed the world. 

Machinations aside, he looks wholly inhuman. His face and head resemble some sort of warped spider, while the rest of his head looks like a squid of some kind. Writhing tendrils twist and turn all about him, and he sports two disembodied hands. No one's quite certain what the rest of his form looks like - that's all anyone ever sees of him - and that's enough.  

2. Legion (Dark Age of Camelot)


It's an ancient, devastatingly powerful demon seemingly comprised of a hive-mind of damned corpses. It rules over a sprawling underground kingdom filled with hellish creatures. It also stands about as tall as a bull elephant, and hits as hard as a freight train. Did I mention it basically rules over hell? We actually know virtually nothing else about Legion. It's simply...there.

Somehow, that makes it even more intimidating than most of the other bosses on this list, some of whom have pages upon pages of lore written about them. Legion, meanwhile? It doesn't seem to speak, think, or feel: it just kills. 

1. Thaddius (World of Warcraft)


Most of the bosses in World of Warcraft's Naxxramas are fairly gruesome, but Thaddius in particular stands out from the crowd. See, Thaddius is a being constructed as something of an homage to Frankenstein's Monster. That's not what makes it unnerving, though - it's the fact that Blizzard makes it very clear that Thaddius is constructed out of the flesh of women and children captured by the Scourge. It's also imbued with their souls, which are fused together and bound to their prison. You can sometimes hear them screaming in agony and begging for mercy (or death).

Beautiful music, isn't it? 

Feel like there's anything I missed? Share in the comments! 



Similar Posts
  • Dark Age Of Camelot Set To Conquer Greenlight
    Dark Age Of Camelot Set To Conquer Greenlight

    Usually the mentioning of an MMORPG attempting to succeed through Steam Greenlight means a new launch is approaching right? Well, not this time.

  • Eight of The Most Memorable MMO Dungeons Ever Designed
    Eight of The Most Memorable MMO Dungeons Ever Designed

    Dungeons are a staple of the MMO genre; large-scale challenges requiring co-operation and co-ordination between anywhere from five to a few hundred players to adequately complete. Of course, not all are created equal, and some stand head and shoulders above their peers. Today, I'd like to tip my hat to those few legends, those instances that'll stick with us for years to come as shining examples of how to do dungeons right.

  • Ten Of The Best MMORPG Songs Ever Heard
    Ten Of The Best MMORPG Songs Ever Heard

    In many ways, an MMO is only as good as its music. Many of the best and most memorable moments in an MMO invariably have a song associated with them; a piece of music which brings the memories flooding back the moment it reaches one's ears. Today, I'd like to pay homage to some of those songs - and some of those moments. Here, for your listening pleasure (and in no particular order, I assure you) is a list of some of the best songs ever heard in an MMO.

  • Facebook's Purchase Of Oculus VR Isn't The End Of The World
    Facebook's Purchase Of Oculus VR Isn't The End Of The World

    For those of you who've been living under a rock, Facebook recently purchased Oculus VR to the tune of $2 billion. Understandably, backers and developers alike were rather unimpressed, calling it a betrayal. As for me? I've never been more excited.

  • Seven Of The Worst Things You Can Say In League
    Seven Of The Worst Things You Can Say In League

    If you've played league, you've probably encountered at least one toxic player. If you haven't, there's a good chance that YOU are the toxic one. Don't believe me? Ask yourself if you've ever said any of the following...

  • Six Reasons You Should Be Playing Dark Souls II
    Six Reasons You Should Be Playing Dark Souls II

    I've been playing a lot of Dark Souls II lately - and you should be too. Say what you will about the game's flaws, it's still arguably one of the best action RPGs released in the past several years. If you're up for a bit of a challenge, it's well worth the buy. Don't believe me? Let's talk, then.

  • Eight Reasons The Elder Scrolls Online Will Be Awesome
    Eight Reasons The Elder Scrolls Online Will Be Awesome

    As you're all no doubt aware, The Elder Scrolls Online - currently in open beta - will be launching in a few months or so. In light of both the new release date and all the hype surfacing around it, I've decided that, over the next two weeks, I'll be looking at all the reasons to look forward to it...and all the reasons we shouldn't.

  • League of Legends or DOTA 2?
    League of Legends or DOTA 2?

    The debate between Dota 2 and League of Legends has been raging almost since the two games were first released. But which game is REALLY the superior of the two?

  • Ten Fictional Settings That'd Make For Awesome MMOs
    Ten Fictional Settings That'd Make For Awesome MMOs

    Let's look at a few settings, worlds, and stories I'd love to see made into MMOs. I'm sure you'll agree, all the entries on this list have the potential to be downright awesome.

  • MMO Year In Review: 5 of 2013's Biggest Dick Moves
    MMO Year In Review: 5 of 2013's Biggest Dick Moves

    People are dicks - particularly on the Internet. While that shouldn't come as any great surprise, occasionally we come across someone whose level of sheer dickery reaches legendary proportions. As we move into 2014, let's take a look at a few such individuals from the previous year.


comments powered by Disqus