Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Beta Raid Testing - Throne of the Four Winds

Thought I'd change tack on this post and give a preview of the raid instance in Uldum, Throne of the Four Winds. I unfortunately don't have as many lovely screenshots of this instance as it was a bit harder to grab shots of some of the bosses (the first boss is actually three bosses spread around the instance), but I have got a few still!

This is definitely one of the most unique instances I've seen. The place itself is all the way up in the sky, rising out of the clouds, and the art and architecture inside are just amazing. The design is really stunning, and it's a really lovely shift from the dark gloom and the lava in the Bastion of Twilight and Blackwing Descent.

There are only two encounters in this instance. From my understanding, this instance is supposed to be roughly equivalent to encounters like Malygos in that it's a short instance with no trash to deal with.

Inside is really quite unique - there are a total of five platforms, one in the centre surrounded by four smaller ones. The first platform is where you zone in on, the three others surrounding the centre hold the bosses for the first boss, Conclave of Wind, and the largest, centre platform is where Al'Akir sits (the final boss). To get to each platform you walk (carefully) onto a ramp of air, which will launch you up and over to the next platform. These can be a bit tricky - especially during the first encounter (where you will need people transferring platforms) - you want to move slowly and directly onto them. Also, don't levitate or slow fall before going onto one, as it will launch you too far and you'll likely end up flying off to your death.

Conclave of Wind

The Conclave of Wind is made up of three bosses, the Djinn: Anshal, Rohash and Nezir. All three bosses have an energy bar which, when it reaches 90 energy, will allow them to cast their special ability and will reset their energy to zero. You cannot jump between platforms during a special ability, and there MUST be raid members at each boss at all times - if any boss is left completely alone, they will wipe the raid. All three bosses must be killed at roughly the same time or they will regenerate.

Ability information sourced from

Soothing Winds: Summons an area of calm winds on a random friendly target creating a green circle which will heal allies for 20,000 per second. Enemies (raiders) in the area will be silenced/pacified while in the area.
Nurture: Summons a Ravenous Creeper every second for five seconds.
Toxic Spores: Caused by Ravenous Creepers, spores erupt every second for five second afflicting those within 8 yards iwth a deadly toxin which deals stacking Nature damage for five seconds.
Zephyr: Cast at full energy, this healls all allies within 15 yards for 25,000 health per second and afflicted targets gain 15% damage for 15 seconds. Stacks.

Wind Chill: Deals Frost damage to all enemies within 15 yards and increases all frost damage taken by 10% for 30 seconds. Stacks.
Permafrost: Channels a Frost blast at Nezir's current target dealing ~10,000 damage per second in a frontal cone for 3 seconds.
Ice Patch: Deals ~7000 frost damage per second to all enemies within 20 yards and slowing their movement speed. Stacks, lasts 3 seconds.
Sleet Storm: Cast at full energy, deals ~30,000 Frost damage per second to all enemies within 100 yards. Damage is split among all targets.

Slicing Gale: Cast instead of a melee attack - Winds slice through a random enemy target dealing ~12,000 nature damage and increasing Nature damage received by 5% for 30 seconds.
Wind Blast: Slowly spins around the platform, blasting the area in front of the caster for ~10,000 nature damage and will knock back anyone struck 200 yards.
Tornado: Summons 3 tornados which move randomly and deal damage to anyone within 10 yards of them and will knock back.
Hurricane: Cast at full energy, this creates a vortex of wind, catching nearby enemies and lifting them into the air. Causes Nature damage and drops enemies at the end of the cast, causing fall damage.

As you can see, each boss has their own unique abilities and specials. Strategy can be pretty variable it seems like, and we tried several different strategies. In general, for having them die at the same time, what seems to work is beginning with one boss and burning him down to roughly 10%, moving to the next boss and repeating, then moving to the final boss, burning him down completely, then moving back and finishing off the first two. If you can split your dps up enough (more likely in 25s probably) you may be able to try burning all three at the same time rather than moving. As of now, your best bet may be being open to experimentation and working with your group makeup and how you're able to handle abilities. On our 25s kill, we used the movement strategy, burning down first Rohash, then Nezir, then Anshar, then returning to the previous bosses to finish them off after Anshar went down.

There MUST be raid members at each boss at all times - you cannot move your entire raid from boss to boss. If any of the three bosses is left on their own, they will cast an ability which will wipe the raid. You will generally be fine with leaving a tank with 1-2 healers at each boss as the rest of the raid moves to the next boss. All the bosses need to die within a very short time of each other (roughly at the same time) or they will regenerate.

Some key things to note for each boss:

As Rohash doesn't have a melee attack, you don't necessarily need a tank for this boss, which is particularly useful for 10 mans (on 25s you can easily just have a tank for him, and have the tank remain with the boss along with a healer when the rest of the raid moves to the next boss.

Sleet Storm, cast by Nezir, can do a significant amount of damage, but it is split amongst the targets in range, so if your raid is mostly on Nezir when he casts his ability, damage will be mitigated.

There are several stacking abilities which may require tank swaps throughout the fight, so it's important your tanks (and healers who have remained at each boss with them) communicate. In particular are Wind Chill and Slicing Gale, and potentially Toxic Spores.

The bosses won't aggro if you just step onto their platform, so what seems to be the best pre-pull strategy is for the raid to buff up on the first platform, then for everyone to move to their designated platform and prepare to pull together. Also keep in mind raid-wide buffs vs range buffs - for instance, any warlocks should turn off their imp's Pact and instead have your priests buff Fortitude to ensure no one loses range on Pact.

Unfortunately I don't have a good screenshot as yet of the three Djinn. But after you kill them, Al'Akir (above) will appear. In that screenshot I've clicked on the wind current on the first platform which will launch you up and onto his platform.


This is a pretty interesting boss. There are three phases to the fight. Abilities sourced from

Phase 1:
The first phase is from 100% down to 80% HP. We found the best positioning was to have basically two groups for this phase, the tank up front and the melee and ranged stacked up at the back, and possibly a couple of healers inched in towards the tank to keep him in range.

He has a few abilities in phase 1 to be aware of. One is Ice Storm, which creates a blizzard that moves around the platform and leaves a path of frost, which deals frost damage and slows movement speed. Not killer, but best to stay out of. Another is Static Shock, which deals damage to nearby enemies and interrupts spells cast, lasts for 5 seconds. This may be avoidable at range, but staying in melee will be helpful for his other main ability, Wind Burst. Wind Burst deals ~30,000 Nature damage to all enemies and knocks them back. It is best to run into melee range for this cast to prevent getting knocked off the platform. While getting knocked off won't kill you, it takes a few moments for you to get caught in the winds and swirled back up onto the platform, so it will waste a fair bit of time. You can resist the knockback, but don't count on it.

In Phase 1 and in Phase 2, Al'Akir also has an ability called Electrocute, which channels a bolt of electricity to Al'Akir's target (the tank) and does increasing damage over time. Al'Akir is only able to use this ability when he is unable to melee the target, so it will likely be up whenever the tank is either knocked away or has to move out of melee range. The tank and healers should be ready for this when the tank needs to move.

Phase 2:
Phase 2 keeps only two of the abilities of Phase 1, Static Shock and Electrocute. Several new abilities are introduced. One is Acid Rain, a stacking Nature damage which will continue to stack until you hit Phase 3. This is essentially a soft enrage - if you take too long to get to phase 3 (30%), this will eventually kill you. Al'Akir also summons adds in this phase called Stormlings - when these are killed, they can apply Feedback to Al'Akir, a debuff which will increase the damage he receives by 10% per stack, lasting 20 seconds. You want to try to kill these Stormlings to stack up that debuff as much as you can.

The biggest ability he will do is a Squall Line - this creates a wall of tornados which circle Al'Akir around the platform. Each wall will have a gap the width of one tornado, which players must move to to avoid getting hit by the tornados. Getting hit by one will trap you in the tornado, dealing damage and eventually flinging you off the edge. You can survive this if you are healed through it, but ideally you do not want anyone getting hit, as you will lose DPS time, heals and mana. You can see where each set is going to spawn, as they will start forming as gold-white wind swirls and solidify into the gray tornados.

Phase 3:
I imagine this will be another phase people will love or hate - at 30%, Al'Akir will shatter the platform and engage phase 3, tossing everyone up into the air. Everyone is in flight with their movement speed increased by 300%. The best strategy this phase seems to be coordinating everyone's movement, as his abilities this phase will be cast at random raid members and can quickly eat up usable space. We began by flying everyone to the very highest we could go. Al'Akir will summon Lightning Clouds, which will create a thick dark gray layer of clouds at the targeted player's level. After 5 seconds, these clouds will erupt in lightning, dealing ~50,000 damage to anyone caught in it. The best way to avoid this is, by having the raid all at the same level, the instant a Lightning Cloud forms, the entire raid can shift down slightly to the next level, and continue moving down and up to avoid the new layers as they spawn.

The raid wants to be spread out on each level due to Chain Lightning, which is cast constantly during the phase, and damage increases with each jump. Al'Akir will also cast Lightning Rod, which causes a random target to emit lightning, damaging themself and nearby allies. Anyone with Lightning Rod will want to move away from the raid, preferably back (rather than down) to avoid summoning Lightning Clouds on clear levels.

Al'Akir will also resume casting Wind Burst, so you will have knockbacks as well. The most annoying ability, which seems to be quite random, is Relentless Storm - random raid members will find themselves caught inside the Relentless Storm. While in the Relentless Storm, you are spun around in a windstorm around Al'Akir, and you are unable to control your character.

The entire fight is pretty intensive all around. Phase 2 and Phase 3 are very heal-intensive (especially if DPS can't push him into Phase 3 quickly enough, as Acid Rain will stack too high). Phase 3 needs to have very careful movement to ensure the raid doesn't run out of room to avoid Lightning Clouds.

Raid awareness is really key in this fight, particularly for avoiding the tornado walls. While they won't necessarily kill raid members (assuming those caught are given heals), it will waste valuable time and healer mana dealing with them. You also want to handle the Stormling adds well in order to build up the debuff on Al'Akir to help push Phase 3. You don't necessarily need a tank for those - we had them aggro on to the melee and had our DKs deathgrip them into melee to help burn them down, which seemed to work fine. It's best to avoid them latching on to healers or ranged, though.

All in all it's a pretty interesting instance with some unique encounters! Have fun!

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