Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Operation: Asation Terror From Beyond

Eager Mood
I'm eager for TFB to go live.
I really enjoyed my day 1 playtime on PTS where I had the chance to do Terror From Beyond 8-man Story Mode. I love the atmosphere and story. We finally see what the Gree actually are, and the horrors the Dread Masters are capable of unleashing.

Asation is a completely silly name for the area. I'll never understand why we need an official name to slap on the quest and an abbreviated name we'll all know it by -TFB.

Bioware did well with their internal testing this time. On Story Mode, at least, neither I nor the other groups we chatted with while inside had any problems with bugs.

The Writhing Horror

The Writhing Horror was too easy. I suspect there will be some mechanics involving the mate and/or the puddles on the ground in harder modes, but for Story Mode we simply:
  • Cleansed debuffs
  • Tank kited the Mate
  • Killed adds before going to the Horror's new position after burrowing

Dread Guard

Heirad flings lightning, Ciphas is a marauder with a shield ability, and Kel'sara is an assassin. Each has different buffs and abilities depending on who you're targeting. The easiest approach was to fight the middle boss - Heirad - until he gets shielded. Switch to DPSing Ciphas to break his personal shield, then use an interrupt on him to make Heirad vulnerable again. Tanks switch the other two bosses to deal with a stacking debuff.

After Heirad dies, we fought Ciphas who now drops damaging green goo on the ground and marks a person with 3 stacks of Doom. They run through the green puddles to remove one stack of Doom, so it takes three puddles to clear the debuff. If you fail to remove it in time, Doom will kill its target.

Finally, Kel'sara will fixate on someone and stay on her target for a given amount of time. The target needs to kite her so she doesn't catch up to them and kill them. Check out the additional mechanics in hard mode.

Operator IX

This is the token puzzle boss of Terror From Beyond. At entry for 8-man, you need two people per color to click the appropriate button. Inside the computer, enemies spawn constantly during phase one and they target the team who's color is active. The group needs to clean up adds and keep them away from the team using the puzzle.

For the puzzle itself, a circle in the center of the room will light up in a certain color. Someone with that color needs to stand in it and the other person with that color clicks the nearby console to bring down two shields on Data Cores at the outer circle of the room for the rest of the group to kill. If spawned adds hit you while using the console, the channel will break and you'll need to either have the adds pulled away from you or kill them before you'll be able to continue. This cycle repeats for each color team.

When all Data Cores are down, the Operator IX itself spawns in the middle of the room and all the surrounding circles will occasionally light up. Everyone should find their color and go stand on it. Failure to do so before "Black Obtuse" finishes casting results in a ~18k AoE to the group. Currently you can trigger both color panels with one person, but I wouldn't expect that to stay that way. You move quickly while inside the machine, so just keep your eyes peeled for your color to pop up.

Kephess the Undying

We had a hard time understanding the fight the first try, then after asking in chat what to do we unexpectedly killed Kephess the second time around. Since I thought it would take more attempts, I apologize I don't have the full fight recorded.

  • If you have a lightning DoT on you, run into the AoE on the ground to clear it.
  • If the Laser targets you, run behind a pillar to break line-of-sight.
  • When you have parasites, click one of those same pillars to break them.
  • At less than 50%, Kephess jumps and this time his landing zone follows a person who should not stand near others.
  • At 10%, Kephess mortars the group until death.

Terror From Beyond

I did not see a successful kill of TFB itself. If you approach it, you'll instantly die. Hit it from range and wait for the tentacles to spawn. Both need tanked and faced away, but only one should have DPS on it. Worms spawn from the swamp behind the group with a predetermined target they'll crawl to and explode at if they reach them. Ranged DPS should deal with them quickly while melee finishes fighting the tentacle. Killing a tentacle damages the otherwise invulnerable boss.

After a tentacle goes down, a worm stampede will spawn at the boss' location and run outwards. I'm not yet sure how you're supposed to deal with them. If you attack, they burrow and go high-speed towards whoever aggro'd them, but defensive cooldowns work to prevent their damage. On the other hand, if you ignore them and sidestep their path, they won't bother you. I have not determined if worm deaths harm TFB.

Our failure came when range was dealing with worms but tanks died, either from being too spread apart from the healers or they just took too much damage to keep up with. There are probably additional mechanics later in the fight, because neither of those issues should be a problem with a non-PUG. I'll update you with more info as it becomes available. Enjoy watching this massive boss smack us around.

Update: Supriquix from the SWTOR Subreddit pitched in additional information. The damage the tentacles take hurt the boss, it's not the act of killing them that does it so you can take one to 1% and kill the other to inflict 17% damage in one cycle.  At 50%, he says you get pulled into the Hypergate where you DPS both tentacles and kill all the "blueish things" on the platforms until the last phase where you can fight the boss itself. Thanks!