Sunday, 31 October 2010

Beta Raid Testing - Atramedes and Nefarian (Blackwing Descent)

Apologies for the lack of updates this past week! It's been a pretty crazy week both work-wise and otherwise, so I've either not had the time or just been too tired to get a proper post up.

To get back into the swing of things I'll start with an update on some of the Beta Raid Testing I did over the past couple of weeks. Since there were so many encounters, I'm breaking them down, and thought I'd kick off the rest with two fun encounters in Blackwing Descent: Atramedes and Nefarian! I'm a bit of a sucker for dragon encounters, as the dragons are one of the things I love most in WoW, and these two encounters didn't disappoint.


This fight is really quite interesting conceptually. Atramedes is blind, so his abilities centre around trying to hear you - 'I have no need for eyes to see my enemies. Your clumsy footsteps... give you away!'

The key mechanic of this fight is your Sound Bar. This appears as a circle graphic on your screen which has a small blue dot in the centre of it. You want that blue dot to remain as small as possible - the more 'noise' you create, the larger the blue dot gets. If it fills up or exceeds the circle, Atramedes will hear you and kill you.

There are two ways to manage your sound bar (and sound bars are individual, not raid-wide). Avoiding damage from Atramedes' abilities is the primary way to keep your sound bar low - raid awareness is key in this fight. The other way to deal with the sound bars is by using the Shields arranged around the room. If you strike one of the shields, it resets everyone's sound bar and also causes Vertigo to Atramedes - he will be stunned and increase damage done to him by 50%. There are a limited number of Shields, though, and he will destroy a Shield after it's used, so you do not want to waste these. They are best saved to interrupt Searing Flame - and 8 second cast which cause Fire damage every second and increase fire damage taken by 25% per stack.

There are two phases which cycle throughout this fight, a ground phase and an air phase. Ability info thanks to wowwiki.

Ground Phase
Sonic Breath: Cast at the player with the highest sound. Causes damage per second and increases sound by 20 per second. The flames will follow the player faster the higher their sound is.
Searing Flame: Causes 15k fire damage per second and increases fire damage taken by 25% per stack, cast over 8 seconds. Interrupt this with the Shields.
Modulation: Atramedes begins to Modulate, increasing the Sound of all enemies and causing shadow damage. Damage increased by a player's sound bar.
Sonar Pulse: Discs of energy fly around the room, causing arcane damage and increasing sound by 7 if struck.

Air Phase
Roaring Flame Breath: Cast at the player with the highest sound. Deals 15k damage per second and adds 20 sound per second. The flame follows the player faster the higher their sound is and continues to speed up.
Sonar Bomb: Drops Sonar Bombs (visible in the first screenshot) which inflict arcane damage and adds thirty sound.
Sonic Fireball: Deals 30k fire damage to enemies within 6 yards of impact.
Roaring Flames: Scatters flame patches around the room. Cause 15k fire damage and an additional 8k fire damage every second for 4 seconds and increases sound.

The key to this fight is keeping your sound bar low by reducing your damage taken and using the Vertigo stuns at the right time. The achievement Silence is Golden says everything about this fight - keep that sound bar low! Master that and you'll get this fight down.

The fight itself was a lot of fun, I really enjoyed the mechanics and the concept behind the fight. Atramedes' model is quite cool as well as you can see in the screenshots. Healing this fight isn't bad, assuming raid awareness is up. Everyone should be focussing on reducing their damage taken, so if the fight is done right, healing won't be a struggle.


This was quite an interesting and involved fight. There are three phases total, and the beginning of the fight has you fighting a reanimated Onyxia as well as Nefarian.

Once you activate the fight, Nefarian will transform into his dragon form and take off into the air and the magma that filled the pit below him will drain away, revealing an undead Onyxia. To begin the fight, you leap down into the pit and engage Onyxia. A note for druids: Even from the lowest platform, everyone will take some fall damage from the jump - shifting into cat form (regardless of your role) for the jump will eliminate fall damage for you.

Phase 1:
Phase 1 begins when you jump down and engage Onyxia. Normal dragon rules apply on both dragons - they cleave, have a conal breath, and a tail lash which will cause damage and stun. Their conal breath is Shadowflame Breath: Inflicts shadowflame damage in a frontal cone, also resurrects Animated Bone Warriors caught in the breath. They also have an additional ability, Children of Deathwing: Nefarian and Onyxia attack 100% faster when within 60 yards of each other. Abilities sourced from wowwiki.

Electric Discharge: Fires lightning from her sides, dealing Nature damage to those on her sides. Damage increased by her lightning charge. Range should stay at good range and melee should try to move behind her as much as they can without getting Tail Lashed.

Hail of Bones: Nefarian will cast this six times before he lands, dealing shadow damage to nearby enemies and spawning Animated Bone Warriors. The zones are a deep purple and easy to avoid, an offtank should be prepared to pick up the Bone Warriors which spawn.

Animated Bone Warrior:
These adds have an energy bar which decreases over time but resets if they are hit by Shadowflame, and any dead ones will be resurrected by the Shadowflame. They should be kited by an offtank or CCd. Their damage is increased as they attack and the buff will stack infinitely, so it's best to try to kite these and ensure they stay out of Shadowflames so that they will die, otherwise they'll eventually kill the tank. They cannot be allowed to run amok as they will begin wailing on dps and healers in particular (through healing aggro) and will kill them.

You'll begin the fight by DPSing Onyxia. You'll notice a cast bar by her which is slowly filling up which is her electrical charge - she needs to be killed before this bar is filled. Nefarian will land after he finishes his circle casting Hail of Bones. We had the two dragons tanked on opposite ends of the pit facing out with their tails about meeting in the centre of the room. Ultimately we DPS'd Onyxia very low, then turned and dealt some damage to Nefarian to start wearing him down. When Onyxia's electrical charge bar was closing in on full, we quickly switched back to her and finished her off.

It's essential to prepare your raid for phase 2 by splitting the raid into three groups and assigning each group to one of the platforms/columns arranged around the pit. These groups need to have an equal split of tank, dps, and healers. An interrupt should be on each platform. The screenshot below will show you the platforms/columns, one is just to the right in that shot. This shot was an initial pull just to get a glimpse of what was goign on, so don't rely on that positioning!

Phase 2:
Phase 2 begins when Onyxia dies. The second she dies your entire raid should be moving to their assigned platforms/columns and be ready to get on them. When Onyxia dies, Nefarian will take to the air and the pit will begin filling up with Magma. The Magma will deal 5000 fire damage per second and increase your damage taken by an additional 2000 per stack. You will use the magma to swim up onto the columns, but it's essential you do so quickly!

Nefarian will be in the air casting Shadowflame Barrage and Shadow of Cowardice. Shadowflame Barrage will cause constant Shadowflame damage to the raid.

On top of each platform will be a Chromatic Prototype, an add which will stand on the platform and attempt to cast Blast Nova. You'll want to DPS these down and interrupt those casts.

It was unclear whether Phase 3 begins when those adds are dead or after a set amount of time. It appeared to be after a set period of time when we tried it. We had our melee DPS focussed full time on bringing the adds down and had our ranged DPS switching between attacking Nefarian and assisting on the adds. The adds need to be killed before Phase 3 begins.

Phase 3:
For phase 3, the magma will once again drain from the pit and Nefarian will land. You MUST jump off the platforms/columns - if you remain on them you will be killed very quickly by Nefarian (this appears to be when Shadow of Cowardice strikes).

Phase 3 is very similar to Phase 1 in that you have Nefarian's original dragon abilities (his breath, cleave, and tail lash) as well as the Animated Bone Warriors, who will again be resurrected if they are hit by any Shadowflames.

The key difference in Phase 3 is the pink fire on the ground which you can see in the screenshot above. This is started by a Shadowblaze Spark - this starts a Shadowblaze, which expands in a circular shape and appears to follow players and speed up if touched. The fire deals Shadowflame damage, so it will also resurrect the Bone Warriors.

Positioning is a little bit tricky in this fight, as you can find your space is quickly eaten up by the Shadowblaze. We began with holding him in the centre and kiting him to clear areas as needed. The Shadowblaze will despawn, but it will be quickly replaced by a new spark, so your raid has to be very aware of it.

There's a lot going on in this fight and it is a great encounter! There's definitely a mix of raid awareness as well good target switches and knowing when to dps what. The Animated Bone Warriors should NEVER be DPSd - you'll just be wasting time doing that.

Healing this fight is pretty interesting. Positioning of the two dragons in Phase 1 can be tricky - you may either want to assign tank healers who can position themselves closer to either tank or have the tanks position just close enough to both be in range. Your tank picking up the Bone Warriors also needs a good eye kept on him - if the adds are resurrected or have their energy restore long enough to build up some stacks, their tank may begin taking some big hits. The tank handling them needs to be very aware of them spawning - they seem to have a particular love for healers. Preparing for Phase 2 is also crucial so that no one takes any extra unnecessary ticks of Magma damage, as is interrupting the cast by the adds on the platforms. AE damage on the melee in particular in Phase 1 will be strong if they get hit by Onyxia's lightning charges.

Overall a fun fight and two great encounters in Blackwing Descent! There are still a few more as well, the Omnitron Defense System which I've covered already, plus Chimaeron and Maloriak, and there should be at least one other battle against Magmaw which I haven't tested yet.

More updates to come!


Icedragon said...

Awesome guide! I've bookmarked it to link in a future post, and so I can read up on the fights.

Looking forward to more :)

Feral Tree said...

Thanks! :D More should be up soon, I've fallen behind in getting them up, some of these guys have been down for a week now >.>