SWTOR Pillars and Soa Hardmode Guide
SWTOR Pillars and Soa Hardmode Guide by Kabutopps
**First and foremost I want to acknowledge the bugs. I am not saying these encounters are not buggy, nor that they shouldn’t be fixed. I am simply providing work arounds for many of the common issues everyone seems to be facing. Please do not complain about the bugs. If you have a bug I haven’t listed and want to see if there is a workaround for it the go ahead and fire away. But we have enough complaining on these forums, this is a place of action.
The most common complaints I see in this section of the forums are related to these two bosses. I’m no elitist, I’m not here to call you all noobs, and I lead a raid for a surprisingly casual group of regular folks. We have jobs, kids, and real lives as most of you do but we manage to effectively down the most “difficult” encounters this game has to offer. Not to say we are better then you, no, not at all. Simply trying to put into perspective that we are normal people and just about anyone can do what we do. Now, onto the subject.
Hard Mode Pillars – NOT bugged.
Well…not in the sense most believe anyways. I find it hard to believe the devs designed an encounter where if you fail it that you have to reset the entire instance and reclear trash without any explanation other then “You have a bad feeling.” But, then again there was Mt. Hyjal which was far more punishing so who knows their real intentions.
Anyways I’m here to guarantee that you will never fail this encounter ever again. In normal mode it doesn’t matter what you do, solve the puzzle in whatever order at your leisure and just don’t get over run by the mobs. Simple enough. In Hard Mode it is an actual puzzle that has to be done in a timely and simultaneous manner.
Now I have solved it without locking up in just about every combination imaginable but if you want to GUARANTEE that you never fail the encounter then you follow the below instructions:
1) The first row doesn’t matter, you can’t fail it and lock up the encounter. Use it to figure out the color pattern so you know what rotations you need to make. Also, believe it or not someone designed an app for the iPhone to tell you it based on the starting colors. Anyways just figure out the color pattern so you can set up your rotations.
2) Due to the recent buff to the encounter to where you have a limited time before being bombarded with elites you need to have 2 people who are doing the rotations. Best thing to do is assign one person on each side, North and South to call out rotations and they themselves initiating the “solving” rotation.
3) Once you get the puzzle into a place where one more rotation will solve it for your side stop, clear the current wave, ensure that both your “solvers” are ready and then solve at the same time.
4) If you do the encounter correctly it shouldn’t matter which side solves first, HOWEVER, for safety sake, ALWAYS solve the SOUTH side a second before the North. Easy thing to do is when you countdown (3,2,1) to solve at the same time your SOUTH player starts the cast on 2. That way he will solve slightly before the North pillar and well, it NEVER locks up if you do this. Ever.
If you do this quick enough it is possible to clear it before you even get to the double Elite wave spawn. It is an extremely easy encounter and although I will concede it is technically and partially bugged the encounter kinda makes sense, albeit a pain.
Hard Mode Soa – Less RNG, more execution
We all know the bug list for Soa is extremely long and ever expanding. At one point he will be completely ignoring the tank and one shotting your first born child because you didn’t run a lightning ball on the correct path. It happens. Now I can say that with VERY few exceptions almost all of his bugs can be counter acted with a solid strat. A lot of people will say just because you came up with a strat to counter the bugs doesn’t mean Bioware shouldn’t fix them. Well friends, after you read and execute my strategy hopefully you will see that some of these bugs may just be poor execution on your part. Now…onto the strat.
DPS…don’t die…navigate the platforms to phase 2. If you fail here…um…I can’t help you. Occasionally after a wipe platforms may be missing during any of the phases of the encounter. If this happens, everyone zone out, raid leader resets the operation, and when you go back in all of the platforms should be fixed. I’ve heard a couple occurrences of the reset not fixing this issue, my only recommendation is reset the operation again. Personally, I finally did experience this issue and a reset fixed it every time.
1) This phase is in my opinion the most difficult one and where most of the “bugs” start to kick in. Start off this phase by stacking in the middle, getting all of your players topped off, and ready to DPS Soa. When Soa becomes vulnerable give your tank a second to pick him up. If you don’t, well sorry to tell you but he MAY cyclone/mind trap your tank and GG. Last time I checked aggro mismanagement wasn’t a bug, it is user error. I haven’t seen a main tank get mind trapped or cycloned in P2 unless he lost aggro. IF this does happen you can have another player taunt the boss to prevent a despawn.
2) Now DPS prioritizes getting mind traps down and then focusing on Soa. When lightning balls spawn have someone calling them out and those players IMMEDIATELY run out of the raid, get topped off, get a shield, and run to their lightning ball. Run just enough to blow it up and then IMMEDIATELY run back to the group and restack. This allows the healers to keep everyone topped off much easier. **Pro Tip – Don’t shield people during this phase unless it is to blow up a lightning ball. You don’t want a person to have to blow it up and it be unavailable.
3) Lightning balls should be up for a matter of a few seconds, once exploded get those people topped off and restack. Sometimes a player make get lightning ball called out on them and promptly cycloned or mind trapped, this presents a problem as that lightning ball will go to wherever their position was before being cycloned/mind trapped. Move your group. If you reposition your group to another spot you avoid that issue entirely. The key is your players paying attention to lightning balls and calling out “hey, I got lightning balled by cycloned/mind trapped please move.” Your group moves as one to a slightly different position and when that player pops out you shield/top them off.
4) “But dude, I died to cyclone and there was nothing I could do.” **Pro Tip – If you are EVER below 50% during that fight use a medpac. “Why? I shouldn’t have to use consumables for a bug.” Sorry chief, but being topped off has always been a design for end game encounters in almost every MMO I have ever played. If you are below 50% HP you will likely die if you get cycloned. So…pop them medpacs and let your healers know how important it is to keep everyone topped off.
5) Believe it or not but some DPS classes have heals. *GASP* No way! So yeah, if one of your healers gets mind trapped or cycloned and you can see the raid is falling a bit behind on heals. Help a brother out. Use self DR/heal cooldowns, heal yourself, heal the guy next to you, whatever. I’m not saying you have to take the healers role but at least keep yourself up. The Enrage time is NOT that tight, you can afford to be spending one GCD on a heal.
6) “OMG I’M STUCK IN A MINDTRAP!” or “OMG SOA DROPPED ME FROM A MILLION FEET INTO THE AIR TO THE GROUND AND I DIED!” You mean you failed at timing your push into p3? I’m sorry but this one drives me insane. If you are too stupid to realize that pushing him under 30% while people are mind trapped or cycloned is a bad idea then you probably think that any mechanic leading to your wipe must be a bug. Would it be nice if Bioware designed it so that it placed you in a safe location promptly after pushing him into p3? Sure. It would, but it isn’t necessary. You are just impatient, lazy, stupid, or all of the above. Seriously, this is almost as bad as wondering why your tank got mind trapped. I’ll say it again, the Enrage timer is NOT that tight, you can afford to wait a few seconds to break out mind traps or wait for cyclone to finish.
Now sometimes he may mind trap OR cyclone someone after he pushes over and his shield goes up. The best way to counter act this is get him to 31%, stop DPS, let him cyclone someone and right before they are about to land push him over to the next phase. This way his cyclone cooldown is up and if he does anything to anyone, it will be a mind trap. Can this still propose an issue? Yes but your DPS should be good enough to break someone out of the mind trap and proceed to the platform phase. Mind traps ALWAYS spawn on the outer ring and the person will be broken out RIGHT on the edge of the platform. **Pro Tip – If you get mind trapped don’t move when you are broken out, be aware of your surroundings before you make a decision of what direction to move. This will prevent you from falling to an untimely death.
1) It is the same as phase 2 really, only instead of DPSing him the entire time you only have to worry about when he is vulnerable. The rest of the time can be dedicated to breaking out mind traps and managing the lightning balls. **Pro Tip – Stacking the raid underneath a pillar is um…well…F***ing retarded.
2) Your tank is the star in this phase, he needs to make sure he positions correctly, advises of when to DPS, etc. Even though he is invulnerable you can still stack debuffs on him prior to the shield breaking. So if you have a delayed DPS ability, an armor debuff, or whatever. Once all mind traps are down and a lightning ball isn’t on you feel free to prepare that for when Soa is about to break. It can give you the extra boost that you need.
IT IS possible for your tank to get mind trapped in this phase. I’ve read multiple threads on it and seen different point of views and believe this to be intended. I think bioware wants you to have 2 tanks for this phase of the fight. That DOES NOT mean you need to gimp your DPS, a player in full tank gear simply switching stances and taunting will suffice until you break your main tank out of the mind trap. Again a quick stance change and taunt can prevent a heartbreaking despawn.
3) Okay so you have managed to break his shield three times but that DPS just wasn’t good enough and you are about to get to your fourth one. I will absolutely concede a design flaw here…sometimes this fourth shield coincides with his enrage timer and if he hits that right as the pillar hits him the shield WILL NOT break. Sometimes it does, more often it seems it doesn’t. So my word of advice here is to try and kill him before the fourth shield break OR if you can try to survive till the fifth. If you get to six…welll…uh…you are both pro and bad at the same time, but either way I think I’d give you props.
Well folks I hope my guide was at least somewhat helpful to you and if you have any questions, comments, or concerns please let me know. I will do my best to address them in an appropriate and timely manner. Good hunting. Get it? I’m a bounty hunter? F*** it.
**HELPFUL TIPS** – I will try to list quick solutions to common bugs below so you don’t have to read the entire wall of text.
1) Hard Mode Soa has a lot of things that can bug permanently if you wipe. There is ZERO downside to simply resetting your raid after EVERY single attempt. This will prevent things such as bugged platforms and many other issues.
2) If your main tank gets mind trapped or cycloned have someone else immediately taunt him, this can prevent heart breaking despawns.
3) During the transition phase going to p2 sometimes his stacks will not fall off of him even after downing the ancient pylons. It stays at 3 and makes your phase 2 nearly impossible for your healers. I CAN NOT 100% confirm this but after experiencing this issue many times last night we made sure to reset after every attempt and wait a couple seconds after each pylon was targetable before bursting them down. After this change we never experienced it again.
4) I already said this but its important, solve south first for pylons, it won’t bug.
5) Prevent Soa despawning by having someone taunt him quickly if the tank gets cycloned/mind trapped.
6) Phase 2 is a marathon, not a sprint, focus on executing correctly and not tunnel visioning. Phase 3 is very similar and even AFTER enrage you still have plenty of time to kill him. I’ve seen people live long enough for 3 extra pillar drops after enrage.
7) I’m not saying these encounters aren’t bugged, but execution will trump them.