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This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive description of the encounter with Atramedes in Blackwing Descent. It is mostly targeted to DPS who desire to have a short but detailed overview of what is expected of them during that fight.
This guide applies to patch 4.3 of World of Warcraft.
The Atramedes encounter will be an unusual one for DPS players. In that fight it is imperative to avoid taking damage, even if this costs you a lot of DPS on the boss. The encounter does not have a set enrage timer, but instead, a system of gongs that need to be used throughout the fight. The more damage you take, the faster the gongs will be used and the less time you will have to kill the boss.
1. Overview of the fight↑top
Atramedes is a blind dragon. He uses sound to locate his enemies and that concept is largely reflected in the mechanics of the encounter.
The encounter itself consists of two alternating phases: Ground Phase (80 seconds), and Air Phase (40 seconds) during which the raid will essentially focus on avoiding Atramedes' abilities.
1.1. Ground Phase
1.2. Air Phase
2. Trash Groups↑top
Two groups of four NPCs are guarding the room where you will be fighting Atramedes. Defeating them is necessary to gain access to the boss.
These two groups have similar, non-trivial mechanics. Each NPC has a specific ability (can be a spell, a buff or a debuff). When an NPC dies, he heals the remaining members of his group to full health, and transfers them his ability. This means that the NPCs in each group need to be killed in a precise order, so as to avoid spreading the most harmful ability first.
On both sides you will need to kill the NPCs in a specific order that will be given by the raid leader.
There are two things to watch out for on the right side group:
The NPCs in the left side group have AoE abilities, so spread out if you are a ranged DPS or bear with the abilities if you are a melee DPS.
3. Sound Mechanics↑top
Atramedes' abilities, in addition to dealing damage, add sound to the raid members. Initially, everyone is at 0 sound and this value increases every time they are hit. The increase depends on the ability and the amount of sound the player already had. Whenever someone's sound reaches 100, they are killed by Atramedes.
The only way to reset the sound of everyone in your raid group is to use a gong. Ideally, you should never have to do that and the gongs should be saved for dealing with specific abilities that we will present in the Ground Phase and the Air Phase sections.
Graphically, the amount of sound a player has is displayer by a sound counter (or sound bar) that looks like this in the default UI:
The small dot in the middle will grow as sound accumulates. If you want to display the numerical value for your sound count, you will need to configure your unit frame or boss addon.
Using invulnerabilities like Divine Shield or Ice Block does not prevent you from getting sound. Instead, if you try to bypass a boss mechanics with such an ability, you will probably end up with 100 sound as soon as the ability ends and will subsequently be killed by the boss.
4. Ground Phase↑top
The Ground Phase lasts 80 seconds and is the initial phase of the fight. A great part of the damage is avoidable so if you handle the abilities properly, you will make the fight easier on the healers.
4.1. Dealing with Sonic Breath and Sonar Pulse
Regardless of which positioning strategies, among the many possibilities, your raid will use, you will normally be assigned to stack with a group of other raid members (possibly with the entire raid).
It is essential that you stay stacked with your group. When Sonar Pulse is cast, the disks it summons will travel towards randomly chosen raid members. A properly stacked group will have no problem avoiding the seemingly unique disk that will come towards it.
If Sonic Breath targets someone from your group, the targeted player will have been assigned a direction to run to and the other group members will have to move slightly in the opposite direction so as to avoid being hit if the targeted raid member is a bit slow to react.
To help dealing with the breath attack:
4.2. Dealing with Searing Flame
As a ranged DPS, you can be assigned to the crucial task of dealing with Searing Flame (10-man/25-man), the second important ability of the Ground Phase. Your boss mod (DBM for example) should warn you in advance that this ability is coming. In that case, simply move towards an Ancient Dwarven Shield (one of the gongs positioned on the edges of the room) and be ready to hit it as soon as Atramedes starts casting Searing Flame in order to interrupt the cast. This will also reset everyone's sound.
Both ranged and melee DPS should avoid standing in or walking through the flames that Searing Flame leaves on the ground (Roaring Flame).
5. Air Phase↑top
When the Ground Phase ends, Atramades will take off and remain in the air for 40 seconds: this is the Air Phase during which the raid will be on the move almost constantly to avoid abilities while, for those who can, trying to deal some damage to Atramedes.
After 40 seconds, Atramedes will land and the Ground Phase will resume.
5.1. General Strategy
Atramedes will constantly be casting Sonar Bomb. This ability spawns 5 disks in 10-man difficulty, and 8 disks in 25-man difficulty, at random raid members location. A disk does not move and only serve to mark the location where, after 3 seconds, a bomb will be dropped, dealing damage and adding sound.
In addition, you will need to avoid flames on the ground because they trigger Roaring Flame when you pass through them. These flames either come from Roaring Flame Breath, a breath attack which targets the player with the highest amount of sound and leaves a trail of flame on the ground for 45 seconds, or are spawned by Atramedes at random locations in which case they only remain for 30 seconds.
5.2. Roaring Flame Breath
If you have the highest amount of sound when the Air Phase begins, Atramedes will target you with Roaring Flame Breath, a breath attack that will chase you. In that case, you need to run around the room in a circular manner. The breath will eventually catch up with you. When that is about to happen, a designated player will hit an Ancient Dwarven Shield (gong) which will cause the breath to target them.
If you are a Druid (because Dash and Stampeding Roar), a Shaman (because of Ghost Wolf with Glyph of Ghost Wolf), or a Rogue (because of Sprint), it is very likely that you will be asked to be that designated player. Indeed, thanks to your speed enhancing abilities, you can outrun the breath for much longer than other players.
If you are a Priest and your raid contains no Druid or Shaman, then you might be asked to fill their role and use Inner Will to keep yourself ahead of the breath. Additionally, you can help people targeted by the breath, using Leap of Faith to pull them to you.
6. Heroic Mode↑top
In Heroic Mode, The fight remains largely unchanged in its execution. The only important difference is that twice per Ground Phase (sometimes only once, sometimes 3 times), an Obnoxious Fiend appears, runs towards a raid member (during which time, the Fiend is immune to attacks, snares and roots), and fixates itself on that raid member, repeatedly casting Obnoxious, which adds 10 sound to that player, and meleeing that player for about 10k. The Fiend has 232k health in 25-man difficulty and 155k health in 10-man difficulty and needs to be killed fast. Obnoxious casts can and should be interrupted so as to prevent the targeted player from increasing their sound level.
Also, the enrage timer is tighter because every time an Ancient Dwarven Shield (gong) is used during the Ground Phase, an additional Shield is destroyed. You basically have 4 Ground Phases and 3 Air Phases to kill the boss.
Finally, during the Air Phase, the Sonar Bombs will drop a LOT faster than in normal mode, giving you a lot less time to move out of their landing spot.