As a person who didn’t start playing until mid-TBC, I’ve never had the pleasure of raiding the original Onyxia at a fair level. By the time I challenged the Broodmother I already had an unfair level and gear advantage.
The revamping of Onyxia’s Lair gives the post-Vanilla players a chance to experience the fury of the Broodmother just like the Vanilla players once did. Vanilla players get to see one of their old raid bosses again and be reminded of either their successes or their horror stories.
The loot is on par with Trial of the Crusader gear and even T9. Check out this comparison, for instance. The resistance stats are a bit useless, I agree, but they obviously kept that as a touch of flavor. Either way, it doesn’t seem to hinder the rest of the stats.
As for the encounter itself, it’s not a very hard fight. Out of the three phases, the first and third are basically straight DPS phases. Of course this was very different back in the “olden days”, when Onyxia reset aggro in phase three, so in that respect the fight has become easier.
Phase two, the “airborne phase”, is not hard in theory, but still a bit tricky when actually executing it. The deep breaths don’t actually kill people, but do split them up. Blast waves, cast by the elite dragonkin, can be forgotten sometimes, and in the heat of battle a clothie might get too close to one and suffer a one hit KO. And if these dragonkin don’t get killed quick enough, a second will spawn with the first still up, and there’s only so much a tank can handle.
Oh, and to nip any rumors in the bud: no, melee CAN’T target Onyxia in phase two. It has been tried, tested and found impossible.
All in all, you could say Onyxia’s Lair is a nice addition to the current raids available to us. However, it doesn’t make me all that excited. It’s a fun fight, but very straight-forward. Every raid instance we’ve had so far has given us ingenious fights. From Thaddius and Heigan in Naxxramas to Flame Leviathan and Mimiron in Ulduar, and many more of course, we’ve been spoiled with very fun fights. The straight-forwardness of Onyxia is perhaps a bit of a weak point.
Either way, she does drop that 310% flying mount, so Onyxia will be the talk of the town for quite a while.