Ever since Maw of Lorkhaj (Considered to be one of the most highly favorited trials in the game), we’ve craved another good 12-Player Full trial to endure with our groups. Sadly, Halls of Fabrication (even on normal) is a comparable experience to shoving a fork into an outlet, and Asylum Sanctorium / Cloudrest “trials” are moreso 12-Player ARENA’S. Not saying they’re bad, just not the same.
Sunspire, on the other hand, is here to quench your thirst.
This 12-Player FULL trial (Full, being the word used to describe a “Boss after Boss” experience, rather than arena setting) Sunspire is intense, action-packed, brutal, yet still COMPLETELY able to be finished as not the greatest group in the world. The difficulty on NORMAL is a somewhere between Sanctum Ophidia and Maw of Lorkhaj. Sadly, we weren’t able to run the Veteran version at the preview event, because Xynode was on a controller, so we’d have to carry him through. (Kidding. It would’ve been seriously unbalanced).
The Trial Map (From memory)
Before we start, I harnessed by inner mona lisa to create this absolutely stunning Trial outline. If you look closely, this isn’t actually an in-game map, it’s actually made by me, Kevduit. I tried to explain as best as I could below what each of the areas is, so hopefully it makes sense with this map. The quick rundown is either you go to the Left or to the Right. Either way, you’ll end up looping around to the entrance, then fight some adds before the big FINAL boss: The Golden Dragon.
Entrance & First wave:
The Dungeon starts off with a confrontation with a beautiful Golden Dragon, the FINAL boss of the Trial. The Dragon speaks with you (don’t worry, NO spoilers here), and then takes off leaving a bunch of adds to fight in a large room. The room divides TWO ways, with TWO sets of stairs, and you can decide whether or not your group heads left or right. Either way, you’ll be fighting the left and right bosses at some point.
If you head on the RIGHT path (as our group did) you’ll find yourself walking into some crazy ancient temple rooms, with LOTS of open areas on the ground, welcoming players that AREN’T paying attention to fall inside them and burn to a crisp, which I believed were the Dragons ovens. Gotta make them frozen Pizza’s somehow.
As you fight through WAVES of adds, including Dragon Priests and these ridiculous Warg like beasts that pounce on you, you’ll make your way around the Trial in a circle like path AROUND the main area. Fire dragon on the RIGHT path, Ice dragon on the LEFT path. Both paths link up eventually, so don’t think you’re just gonna skip one.
You finally make it to the Flame Dragon, who’s name was so easy to remember that It’d be crazy if I told you what it was. His fighting area is a large platform with rocks on it, completely surrounded by ALMOST instant death lava. You might have a second or two to escape if you fall in. This guy was fun, lots of good mechanics here.
Flame Dragon Fight:
First things first, is the boss mobile? Yes and no. The boss will often relocate DURING the fight, but once it arrives, it stands still for a good amount of time. All the Dragons also ONLY sit on the OUTSIDE of the map, so it’s not this massive thing sitting flat in the middle of their fighting platform. On Normal, this boss has roughly 25,000,000 Health (25 Million) and has QUITE a number of hefty adds that spawn throughout the fight. As the Fire Dragon stands still, there’s a couple things you’ll want to focus on.
The Main Boss:
Clearly you’ll want DPS going absolutely ham on this guy, making sure that, well, you actually KILL it, yet you don’t want EVERYONE on it at the same time. When WE did the dungeon (and no doubt people will find better tactics as time goes on) we had out MAIN TANK on the Dragon, and our OFF TANK pulling adds to the other side of the platform. You’ll need a good amount of DPS both ON the boss and dealing with the adds. We had a tactic going on where ALL the DPS stacked on the boss, while the OFF TANK brought the adds away, and the RANGED DPS took down the adds, while the rest focused on the Main Dragon. Fairly Confusing to explain, but that’s how we did it.
These aren’t your typical “Burn down and return to boss” adds. These guys have SERIOUS mechanics even after they’re dead, and you’ll want to follow them closely. There are Flame Antronach’s, which are your BIGGEST threat. These guys, with roughly a million health each, will collapse into a spreading pile of lava, similar to Bloodroot Forge’s FINAL boss. Remember why I said the OFF TANK needs to keep them on the OTHER side of the platform? THIS is why. That lava, if stepped in, will fry you faster that a fillet fish in the Earth’s core, so please… avoid that. Besides that, the other adds (at least with what WE played) were pretty standard. You had typical ranged fire enemies that you’d want to clear out, not let them build up, etc.
THE FLAME EXPLOSION:
One of the absolute COOLEST mechanics in a Dragon fight is their ability to get up and fly around the map, occasionally breathing a cone flame attack (Scalecaller peak, anyone?) and ending off with a HUGE burst flame explosion, spreading from the very center of the circular platform ALMOST to the very edge, JUST barely enough room for your character to stand there and not get hurt. There IS a smaller platform JUST off to the side of the area, which tricked a bunch of us into thinking “OH! It’s just like the Bloodroot Forge Bull, you need to JUMP to that to avoid it!” Haha, yeah, well, turns out that doesn’t work… as you die instantly. It’s pretty easy to see this mechanic, as the dragon literally flies to the VERY center of the platform to breathe its fire, so make sure you pay close attention to that, as well as the Flame Antronach’s spreading lava pools. You don’t want to be caught in those pools as the fire spreads, or else you’re gonna have a bad time.
Besides those mechanics (which were the only ones that I saw clearly during the Normal version), it’s your average rotate and repeat tactic, just making sure that you get rezzes and pay attention to the Dragon’s rather QUICK swipes at you. DO NOT ignore mechanics even when boss has hit 25%. If you try to continue through mechanics because it’s the “Burn Phase,” you’ll find the dragon will do the same to you.
Middle Adds (Second Wave):
Basically an intermission. Once you’ve utterly embarrassed the Dragon with your super awesome group full of 12 Necromancer’s, you’ll be moving on through a bunch more adds, which (once again) do not underestimate. They’ll clear up anyone that falls behind, or the ones that don’t watch for their quick strikes.
At this point, you’re kind of at the back of the Trial, running AROUND the final bosses platform (which, by the way, is way up in the sky in the middle of the Trial map, just fyi), and are coming around to the Frost Dragon’s lair. It’s actually pretty quick and easy taking down the adds, if your group is well coordinated, and I doubt groups will be spending much time on this, especially in Normal.
Finally, you’ll come to the Frost Dragon’s platform, which actually looks OVER the fire dragon’s platform on the other side of the map. We found this boss to be MUCH easier than the Flame Dragon, but there’s still a couple of mechanics to follow to keep your group alive.
Frost Dragon Fight:
Definitely easier to figure out (we did this one on our first try, with only a couple group member deaths), the Frost Dragon fight is mechanically similar to the Fire Dragon EXCEPT for the Antronach’s Mechanics, and the Flame explosion.
The Main Boss:
VERY close to the Flame Dragon, make sure that you avoid it’s cone swipe attacks as it sits on the ground AND continue to try and get rid of adds, keeping them off the MAIN TANK. It will occasionally fly up and do a couple smaller frost breath attacks BUT it’s finale (like the Flame Dragon) is something you need to pay close attention to. It’s easier to dodge than you think, and VERY easy to see… if you remember to look. The Dragon will fly quite a distance away, leaving you clearing up the adds (which I expect is the diversion to keep you distracted from the dragon returning). As the Dragon SWOOPS back in, at a very fast speed I might add, you will see a large, straight, red line appear on the map, marking the exact location of the Frost Dragon’s “Deepfreeze” attack. Those standing in that red area are gonna have a bad time.
Besides that, just continue to rotate and repeat as the dragon moves around, and USUALLY he stays pretty much at the same place, even after flying around.
In my opinion, for BOTH of these fights, the adds are more frustrating than the Dragon themselves. They have brutal mechanics that are quite unforgiving, even on Normal. The Frost Antronach’s here will actually explode into large tornado’s of ice, and then target players to slice up. On the map, large circle of light will appear, and the ice tornado’s NEED to be brought toward them, similar to Balorgh’s when he’s tracking down a specific player. Once they hit that light spot, they decide that what they are doing is actually evil, so they leave you in peace.
Besides the frost boi’s, there will be occasional other adds appearing (Like Ice Wraith’s) that you’ll want to clear up, just make sure you focus on the Frost Antronach’s death mechanic.
All in all, this one is fairly standard, some would even call “easy.” Definitely a lot easier than the Flame Dragon’s mechanics, and we voiced that heavily at the event, so I suppose we’ll see if they add some sort of mechanic that makes you ice cream but throws it on the ground right in front of you to make you cry for 30k damage or something. Just make sure to kill the adds as they come, take the add pressure off the MAIN TANK who’s on the Dragon, and watch for the Dragon’s main swipe attacks, as well as the frost breath.
The Final Wave:
So now that you’ve defeated the Two Dragon’s, you’ve unlocked the passage to fight Gold Covered Smaug 2.0. You’ll be fighting through many more adds to get there, including a room FILLED with those crazy pouncing Warg Beast things, but after all that is done, make sure to take in the architecture and design of this place, it’s actually really well structured and VERY distinct. Props to the design team on this one.
Golden Dragon Fight:
Don’t you just LOVE how I literally just call them “Flame” “Frost” and “Golden” instead of their real names? I thought that sounded better than “Jim” “Betty” and “Terry.”
THIS FIGHT in itself is golden, and even on Normal it can be a bit brutal at times. I couldn’t quite catch all the mechanics, but I got QUITE a few of them to try and explain here.
The Main Boss:
Once again, VERY similar to the other bosses, but this guy doesn’t fly around, he’s too proud and full of himself to do that, so he sits upon his beautiful circular platform, feasting on all of us. Remember, these dragons HIT HARD, and even though your MAIN TANK is doing his heckin’ best taunting the Dragon, this does not mean it won’t still target you time to time. Watch out for it’s quick swipes and make sure to dodge out of the way.
THIS is where things get crazy. There are literally so many adds spawning on you that you will need to TRY and keep yourself close to your group, and the OFF TANK is going to have a rough time keeping them all at bay. In fact, at one point, 4 BRUTAL adds (I don’t wanna spoil who they are exactly) will appear, each with their own fighting styles and mechanics, and you’ll need to try and get them down as quickly as possible, especially the ranged ones and the healer.
As the fight rages on, you’ll notice a portal appear on the ground. This is very similar to the whole “Fungal Grotto II” or “Cloudrest” mechanic, where someone needs to go down in the portal, kill the stuff inside to end a mechanic happening UP TOP, and then safely return to the main fight. Sadly, I didn’t get to experience this thing (Ninja614 did, and I’m pretty sure he was traumatized for life being the only one that actually went in… as a tank), but just a warning about WHAT is coming your way.
I wish I had more time to really understand this boss and its mechanics, but as a super crazy custom ZOS picked PvE group, we were just too awesome and cool and ended up killing it faster than expected, in fact, we killed THAT one on our first try as well. The Dragon will continue to have INTENSE cone attacks that will absolutely wreck anyone inside of them (even on Normal you take a HUGE hit), as well as incredibly painful swipes at those who are stacked pretty close to it.
In the end, that beautiful 25% health left, make sure you don’t ignore the portal to go down and end the pathetic adds within, and DON’T let the adds stack up to an unbearable point.
I love saying in conclusion cause it makes me sound smart.
Sunspire Trial is DEFINITELY the Trial you’ve been waiting all these years for. It’s INTENSE and VERY mechanic based battles satisfy those who are looking for more of a distinct and challenging unique experience, and will make everybody stand on their toes, making sure they don’t slip up. It’s not an Arena based Trial, it’s larger, more story-driven, and definitely more satisfying to finish up, with Bosses like you’ve NEVER seen before… because… well, you haven’t, they’re friggin’ Dragons.
Normal groups won’t have TOO much of a problem with this one, which is GREAT. Cloudrest was NOT friendly to those who were just coming into the Trial scene, and I STILL know people who haven’t completed it (ON NORMAL REGULAR MODE) just because you need a full blown Trial group to understand the mechanics. SUNSPIRE, on the other hand, is easily learned, STILL a challenge to even those teaching others, and gives great loot.