“There are two kinds of spurs in this world, my friend; ‘those who come by the door: and those who come by the window”–Tuco, The Ugly
Al’akir, being end of instance boss (even if that instance is very short), is a step up in difficulty from the other fight in the instance. Usually this increase in difficulty is rewarded by a windfall in epics. Cho’gall and Nefarian drop 8 items! Al’akir? He drops a measly 5 epics of random-enchanted gear. Bleh!
Why spend the time to kill this boss? A boss with a learning curve and one with little payoff. You can spend that time on heroic bosses in the other two raid zones just as easily.
I disagree with this line of thinking. While the payoff for killing Al’akir isn’t in the loot department, you can find it in other, intangible places:
Defender of a Shattered World: It is both a title and a mount (with Guild rep at exalted). Neither has anything to do with more DPS or more healing, but it is a great morale boost. That may seem insignificant, but showing that you are a guild that takes on challenges, even if the epic reward is low, is a message to those looking for a guild and those already in the guild.
Second, his loot isn’t great, but he does give 90 valor points and the epics can be turned into Maelstrom Crystals. On Zul’jin those materials go for over 2000g each. With enchants costing as much as 6 per, you don’t want to waste that opportunity.
Lastly, I think clearing an entire tier is very important from a raid-measurement point of view. Al’akir is hard, but it isn’t nearly as hard as ANY heroic boss. Putting your raiders in as many situations as possible helps refine their skills. Al’akir is a big time personal responsibility fight. That’s the trait you want to reinforce the most.
There’s my pitch for actually doing the fight. Now I’m going to attempt to give you some tips on making this fight more manageable.
I’m going to refer to this diagram a lot, so take a look at the symbols and their arrangement.
The platform in BossBlueprint‘s map is arranged to have a “spade” at the bottom. Our raid sets up on the circles between the spades. We found the tornado spawn points to be more forgiving this way. This strategy also assumes a 6 healer arrangement, you can add a 7th to the tank’s spot easily.
The tornadoes (Squall Line) spawn at fix locations on the platform (near the Orange Circles). Tornadoes on the west go counter-clockwise, tornadoes on the east clockwise. Combine this with the Wind Blast cooldown and you create areas on the platform that are more difficult to stand than others.
The hardest sectors are the ones marked with Diamonds. Put your best/fastest learners there. This shouldn’t excuse poor play, but some people are just better at these kinds of fights. Timing a Wind Blast to get knocked off or not, timing with the tornadoes, all that takes time. Those positions will never be easy.
On the other hand, the positions marked with Circles are very easy. The Wind Blast and tornadoes are perfectly offset and you’ll never have to deal with both. Very straightforward, not a lot of decision-making.
The spot that I marked with crossed swords is where I put all of my rogues/other melee. In 25 man, obviously one sector will need 4 people. Load up that spot with melee that can mitigate damage/self-heal.
Note: When Wind Blast is casting, Al’akir cannot cast his lightning AOE. Use that to your advantage to get through a Squall Line quickly, but don’t linger! You’ll kill some raiders!
Heal quickly. Use your quick, inefficient heals to top people up as soon as possible!
1. You’re going to be running around (and flying) a lot, you might not get a chance to heal them if you wait.
2. That group’s healer might not be able to heal so cross-heal and overheal if necessary
3. You get tons of regen time in this phase because of (1), don’t worry about your mana, the goal of the phase is to survive.
Phase 2, Stormlings, Feedback
Ranged DPS on the adds, melee DPS on Al’akir full time.
DPS the first Stormling to 50%, hold it until there are 3 Stormlings active, and then start killing them one at a time (we have our tank mark the kill target). This will allow you to keep the Feedback stack rolling and climbing. It will become more difficult to keep the stack as the adds will spawn as the debuff gets closer to finishing.
If you are quick, and wait at the proper times (kill the adds just before Feedback goes away), you can get crazy dps numbers. Our highest stack was 12!
Hit Herolust Warp at 7 or 8 stacks. If you can get the stack above 10 I recommend all dps switching to Al’akir and burning until Feedback goes away, then restart the stacking (you’ll be out of Phase 2 at this point).
Phase 3…go down…go down…go down…go down…
Start at the top. When you enter Phase 3 immediately fly as high as you can go. Stare the boss in the face and give him the finger.
Mark one player and go down after each cloud appears. After Wind Blast be sure to fly under the clouds if a new one has spawned. If you go below the marked person or bad things will happen. Don’t wait for a call! If you wait for the call on vent, you’re already too late. Look at your character from the side so you can see the clouds (they are faint if viewed from above).
Lightning rods: strafe to side to avoid killing everyone. You learned this lesson on Ascendant Council, just don’t go out of healing range.
This is by no means a full fledged strategy as I’ve left several mechanics out, but this should clarify some of the more difficult parts of this encounter. Use one or use them all, but don’t skip this boss. Get it out of the way. Collect Maelstrom Crystals, get people confident in the fight. You’re going to have to kill it eventually, might as well do it now.