Operation: Mechagon, the new eight-boss “megadungeon” in World of Warcraft, offers players a fun, challenging evening of killing bosses and sliding around on trash piles.
But even after the initial work is done, the dungeon has more difficulty to offer. Completing Operation: Mechagon on Hard Mode gives one lucky party member a 430 head slot item and one an Aerial Unit R-21/X mount — the aerial bot piloted by King Mechagon himself.
In addition, completing the dungeon on Hard Mode gives you twice as many Progression Sprocket pieces toward completing the dungeon’s Vision of Perfection Heart of Azeroth essence, so it’s rewarding even to players already raiding Eternal Palace for higher-level Mythic gear. With the Hard Mode bonus, it takes just two weeks to complete your Rank 3 essence.
There’s an achievement (Keep DPS-ing and Nobody Explodes) for completing Hard Mode. If by some miracle you complete it without a single player death, you’ll earn the Hertz Locker achievement and Rank 4 of the Vision of Perfection essence, which has splashier visuals.
To do the hard modes in Operation: Mechagon, you’ll zone into the dungeon on Mythic difficulty as usual. But instead of heading to your favorite boss first, look up: You’ll need to tackle the one that the HK-8 Aerial Oppression Unit is circling over. You’ll also see it on the mini-map and typically hear a voice line from an NPC telling you where it’s headed.
If you kill the first three bosses in the correct order (once you’ve defeated one, HK-8 will proceed to the next), you’ll make your way into Junkwatt Depot to kill HK-8 itself and find yourself facing a robot that’s been upgraded to a Tank Buster Mark 2. That’s your cue that so far, you’re doing it correctly.
What HK-8 adds to the fights
Each of the fights (including the trash in the area, if you haven’t already killed it, and the fight against HK-8 itself) will have a new, additional set of mobs: Walkie Shockie X1s. These unkillable robots wander around, putting a line of shocking goo on the floor behind them and zapping any player that gets too close. If you let them roam freely, your playing area will soon be covered in stuff that’s ouchy to stand in.
That’s especially harmful in fights like the ooze Gunker, where your space to fight in is already tight.
Walkie Shockies can be crowd controlled, so you’ll want to root, stun or trap them as soon as possible. A druid with mass root is terrific for this.
Fighting the upgraded HK-8
When you get to HK-8, you’ll take on the Tank Buster MK 2. Walkie Shockies will still be patrolling the area, which is already limited by the Tank Buster’s arena and aerial bombardment, but they’ve also been upgraded to MK 2 and move faster than they did before.
The Walkie Shockies are also connected now by an electric link when active, which hurts players who move through it (and can kill them quickly if they stand in it.)
The Tank Buster himself does more damage and has more health, but he also makes it so that you have to split Fulminating Burst with other players.
Defeat him and you’ll run the gauntlet from the normal Mythic difficulty, clicking on the Overcharge Station to overload HK-8 and bring it down to fighting range; only now you only have 55 seconds to complete it.
Completing this stage can be challenging, but with quick application of crowd control on the Walkie Shockies, it’s mostly a matter of players not standing in bad things, sharing the Fulminating Burst properly so their teammates don’t die, and navigating the maze to get to the pilon relatively quickly. Most groups will end up doing each pilon once, for a total of two.
You’re in! Now what?
Inside Mechagon proper, not all bosses have a hard mode. You must have done the outside hard modes, including the final HK-8 fight, to trigger them. Tussle Tonks and the Machinist’s Garden will play pretty much as usual. The other two are where the challenge lies.
The first is K.U.J.O., the robot dog. There’ll be a glittering pile of his robotic poop at the edge of his arena, on the left as you come in. Throw it at him and hardmode is now active. (If your group dies, the poop will respawn.)
The fight is basically the same, but a debuff will gradually slow you, until you’re moving at 20 percent of your normal speed. (This makes a run slower than a role-playing-style walk.)
This debuff is challenging, because you’re constantly going to be moving to get away from the boxes you’ll need for shelter from his abilities — he still jumps on players, and any player too close to a box will cause him to destroy the box — and then to get back to them in time to take cover.
Movement abilities such as blinks, charges and disengages still work. Movement speed boosts only boost your reduced speed, which doesn’t add up to much, so get out and get back in early.
The final battle: King Mechagon hard mode
This is when things get truly tough for most groups. The final fight starts when you hit the giant red button on the pedestal (which will only appear if you’ve completed the earlier hard modes.)
Four pedestals with buttons on them at the back of the room will initially light up with skulls. Everyone except the tank should pick a button, and you should agree on a numbering system: 1-4 from left to right as you face the boss, for example. Ranged players (heals and ranged dps) should stay near their button, but not standing directly next to it.
During the fight, the little bumper bots will create swirls on the floor that indicate where they’re going to zip to next. You don’t want one of those swirls next to your button when it’s time to press it.
On the right side of your screen, you’ll see a health bar for the boss and an energy bar for the Annihilo-tron 5000. When that latter hits 35, it starts a destruction sequence that will kill everyone in the room. At this point, the shapes above the four buttons in the back of the room will begin to flash in a random order. Ignore the shapes and the colors — they’ll only distract you.
Instead, focus on the order that the buttons light up. It’s best to have one member of your party who’s very mobile or doesn’t have to face the boss stand near the front of the room to call out the order in voice chat. Hunters and healers work particularly well.
After the sequence lights up, all the lights will flash once in “skull” form, then you’ll be able to hit the buttons. You have five seconds for your party members to push the buttons in the right order, much like a demonic game of Simon Says. That is incredibly fast. You’ll hear each one “ding” when it’s hit correctly, or you can have party members call out their numbers (e.g. “1,” “3,” “4,” “2”) in voice chat as they press their buttons.
Now you know what to do — here’s when to do it
Depending on your party’s damage output, you’ll have to do that roughly four to five times during the course of the fight. Meanwhile, King Mechagon will be attempting to kill you by knocking you off the platform with the zooming bots, carving through you with cutting beams when he’s airborne, sucking you into his magnetic arm and blowing you up, and shooting lasers of fire that cut through your entire group. Fun!
The first sequence timing typically lines up when he first goes airborne. The second usually occurs midway through his second airborne cycle. The third is just after the “intermission” between his airborne and giant-robot phases, and the last typically occurs at a really inconvenient time when his magnetic arm is active or has just finished.
No one can die, realistically, and no one can be out of position for a button press. Every sequence must be accepted the first time it’s entered — there are no second chances. Get through the fight with every single sequence entered successfully in under five seconds and you win!