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24 April 2014

Eye on the Sky: A beginner's guide to The Dredgion

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The Dredgion is one of Aoin's best loved instances. It's fast paced, nerve jangling and no two runs are the same. For newer players it can be a bit confusing, however, so let's take a look at the layout and some basic tactics. I'll then move on to some more advanced tactics and some dos and don'ts for more advanced players.

The Dredgion. Source: www.gameguide.na.aiononline.com

So, what is it?

The Dredgion is a PvP/PvE instance in which six Asmodians and six Elyos battle each other and the Balaur for territory inside a Balaur ship. Points can be gained by killing mobs, killing other players and capturing Surkanas, which are large stones at the centre of each room. Hitting a Surkana agros every mob in the area, so players have to take out the mobs protecting each Surkana before they can capture it. Each one is guarded by a miniboss who does high damage.

Teams lose points for dying, and the higher their points the more they lose if they die. The instance is 40 minutes long and ends either when the timer runs out or when the Dredgion Captain, Captain Adhati is killled. The instance is available to players from levels 46 to 50.

There are two other Dredgion levels - Chantra Dredgion for 51-55 and Terarth Dredgion for 56-60 which have the same overall aim and map with a few twists (and heavier mobs). This guide will focus on the lowest level Dredgion however.

 

End boss Captain Adhati. Source: www.gameguide.na.aiononline.com

Entering the Dredgion

This instance is available three times a day - 11am-1pm, 7-9pm and 11pm-1am GMT. You can enter each round only once, and EU players will need a Gold Pack to access all three (otherwise the cooldown is longer and you can only get into one a day). You can enter by clicking the little entry button that appears at these times to the left of your minimap. You can select Private Entry to queue for a new random group, Quick Entry to join one that is already in progress or Group Entry if you are going in with two or more players. On weekends it's usually possible to get a group at any time but at quieter times it's best to go early.

Players who are only level 46-7 may struggle to get into non legion premade groups, but can usually get in through quick or private entry.

Once you have made an entry application, a timer will appear (which isn't particularly useful as it only tells you how long you have been waiting). When your instance is ready you will see a pop up asking if you want to enter. Be careful not to miss this - you can drag the box to another part of your screen to make it more obvious, as the entry box will reset to the bottom of the screen. If you're taking a group in make sure you do a ready check before you apply, as groups who go in one or two players short are at an immediate disadvantage.

If you cancel or miss entry, don't worry - the entry button will reappear after a few seconds.

Dredgion quests

These can be found in Reshenta at the point you are returned to at the end of the instance.

 

Dredgion quest locations

Team structure

If you're going in with a prebuilt team there are various setups that can work. It's a given that level 50 PvP geared players have a better chance, but different classes make for different teams. You definitely want a cleric, a chanter or a second cleric on DPS and backup heals is also good (but not essential, depending on how good your cleric is). For legion groups it's not a bad idea to take a lower level cleric along to teach them the ropes - they can practice the healing with backup if it all goes wrong.

A tank is also very handy, but it doesn't have to be a templar, a well geared gladiator is fine. They're actually a little faster (in most but not all cases, I've met some notable exceptions).

Mages are great - spiritmasters can play havoc with Fear, sorcs are good for crowd control and to boost DPS.

Rangers and assassins are invaluable in their ability to sneak around to see what the other team is doing where needed, and also to pull agro off healers when you get into a pileup. I play with a sin who watches out for mobs and enemies hitting me and pulls them off, which makes healing a lot easier and makes our group far more likely to survive a train or a bad pull.

All in all, no class is 'bad' in Dredgion, they all have their uses, and a heavily imbalanced team can do as well as a balanced one. I have fond memories of playing in a team of five chanters and a templar who were completely unstopable. Another popular combination is a cleric, three gladiators and two spiritmasters because they can fear player and NPC enemies into a corner and the gladiators can AOE them down.

In Private Entry you're a lot more likely to get a bad combo. One good example is a team of mostly leather and cloth with no tank and a chanter healer - i.e. squishy with few group heals. If you're in a group like that and you're not the chanter, please give them as much help as you can in terms of keeping them clear, using potions and pulling carefully - they're going to be pretty busy.

Unfortunately bad teams are often made so because of the attitudes of the players rather than their class.

 

Supervisor Lakhane. Source: www.gameguide.na.aiononline.com

The first two minutes

Before the instance starts, you get two minutes to prepare. This is what you should do in this time:

  • Priests should buff all team members and SM pets. Please move as soon as you enter the Dredgion so that the priest can target you to give you buffs.
  • Hit food, scrolls, buffs and summon any pets you want to use (buff, loot and signal pets are useful).
  • Look at the team list (which you can see by clicking on the cup shaped icon in the scorebox in the top right hand corner of your screen) and decide on a kill order. See if you recognise any of the other players. If you are up against more than one high rank prepare to play defensively if you are not in a strong team. It's not an absolute indicator - some might just be saving for their first piece of gear, but it's a reasonable indicator that you might be up against a good side.
  • Decide who is marking and who is leading, and note that these are not necessarily the same person. For example I play cleric and usually run the group but I don't mark because I'm a cleric and I don't have time. 

Speed and agro

The Dredgion is primarily about speed. It's about capturing as much as you can as fast as you can, staying in tune as a group and striking with great accuracy. 

The speed of the group is fundamentally determined by the ability of the healers to heal the agro pulled. If you go faster than the healer can cope with you're going to drop people, if you go more slowly than that you're going too slowly. The tank should judge this pace and get an idea of the healer's abilities quickly. It helps if you note the level of the healer and ask them what gear and stigma chain they have if you're not sure. Don't just set a furious pace and blame them for not keeping up - strike a medium to fast pace and see how they're doing after the first couple of mobs. If there are no problems, speed up. 

Speed also depends on DPS - if your damage dealers aren't particularly strong it's better to slacken the pace enough for the priest to contribute some damage. Don't multi pull too much in groups that have trouble burning them down fast. If your DPS is pretty epic, just push it, mobs will be dead before they get a chance to do much damage.

Ideally it's best when the tank sets the pace, as this means that they are taking each initial mob attack and it makes life easy for the healer, but they must be fast. Chain pulling is essential for speed - the tank should be pulling the next mob when the current one is half way down. This means a constant stream of attack with no pauses. Watch the cleric's mana though, it should be obvious if you've pushed it too far.

Mana management

Firstly, there are no mana breaks in Dredgion. Take good potions and accept that you will need to pop a lot of them if you get through a lot of mana. Ask the chanter nicely for mana mantra - ideally they should be using mana mantra during fights and swapping in celerity mantra for speed when you have to run somewhere, but leaving it up when leaving a heavy fight is also a good idea.

Clerics have to learn to mana manage here. Make use of all your mana saving skills - you should be able to keep up in even the fastest group by popping Penance and Grace of Empyrean Lord as well as hitting a mana treatment whenever you have a spare four seconds. I tend to do this as the last quarter of the Surkana's health is eroded down (usually I stand by the exit so I don't end up behind the group).

In higher level Dredgions, support chain chanters should look out for mana shortages and deal with them.

Teamwork

Before going further into tactics, I want to stress one thing. Teamwork is essential for success in the Dredgion. Teams need to be highly coordinated, and they need to follow marks even if they don't 100% agree with them (feel free to suggest that a different target might be better if you know something the marker doesn't, and do point out mistakes like marking a DPS mob before a healer but don't be rude about it). I've seen so many groups fail because one or two people wanted to do things differently and couldn't accept that a team needs a leader and the leader needs people to follow orders quickly and accurately. There is no time for argument, no need for name calling and no call for rudeness. However, if you think the leader is making a huge mistake point it out politely with a brief explanation, for example 'pls mark healers 1st' or 'take bara next so we get tele to bridge' or 'this surk is half clear better to take first'. Calling the tank an idiot noob who can't mark is not helpful. Pointing out that the sorc on the other team has twice as many kills and needs to be marked higher is.

Adjutant Kalanadi - definitely worth killing. Source: www.gameguide.na.aiononline.com

Communicate clearly (and don't be an ass)

This is hugely important. Healers who tell you when they are silenced, DPS who cry out when they pull by mistake, tanks who want to do something unusual but explain it first - these are good Dredgion players. Share information succinctly and without getting into discussion. Tell people it's not a problem if they make a bad pull but immediately say so. Don't yell at people for accidental pulls - get busy solving the problem. If you're lagging, say so. If you realise at the start that you've forgotten to buy pots, ask someone to sell you some rather than bringing the team down. If one person is verbally attacking another, tell 'em to can it - it's horrible to be yelled at when you're not doing anything wrong and it's lovely when someone else says 'hey they're doing fine, leave them alone'. Morale is important - Dredgion can be quite a stressful instance and people often lose their temper.

If you do end up with an abusive team mate, don't let them get to you, and block them if need be - you don't need to read a load of bile from a complete stranger. If you feel someone has been excessively rude to you or another team member, screenshot the exchange and raise a ticket, the admins do actually care about things like this. Don't start arguing back though - after all you can yell at them afterwards if you want to - just get on with the game and ignore the rude person. If they are making a valid but unfriendly point, correct whatever behaviour of yours inspired their ire without comment, and always apologise if you're actually in the wrong. People appreciate 'sorry, adds' a lot more than silence and lots of extra death.

Tactics

There are plenty of tactics used by players to get one over the enemy. Here are some of the most common ones.

Training

Training is one of the tactics you'll see most often, and it can be very effective. Essentially, training the other team involves pulling as many mobs as you can, running to the enemy team and hitting them so that when you die the mobs transfer agro onto your enemies. If they hit you they will also take agro. 

Training is a contentious tactic. Some people think it's unsportsmanlike, other people see it as a valid way of bamboozling the other team or damaging a strong team's score. Whether or not you like the concept, training is something you need to be able to recognise in order to avoid being trained by the enemy team.

Ideally, training is best done by a plate wearer with a cleric following them with dispel and instant heals, so if the tank falls before the mobs reach the target the cleric can take agro. Mages can also be good at it, as their shields will usually last until they get into the right position. Really, anyone can train - as long as you use every defensive buff you have, hit a heal over time potion and use a speed scroll and an anti-shock scroll you should make it if your gear is ok. 

Watch out for trains from the other team. If you see one person running towards you alone, check for mobs. If they have mobs following them back away and don't touch them, if they die without transferring agro to you the mobs will just reset.

My personal favourite is to train into Barracks from the Captain's Cabin end. This is hard to get right as there are a lot of mobs between the top corridor and Barracks, but a cleric can do it as they have a heal over time and can dispel slowing spells. It's very hard to survive. I usually only use this when I'm in a PUG where everyone has gone afk.

Surkana stealing

Sometimes you have to fight dirty, and one way of doing this is to have one person train mobs onto the other team while the rest of their group rushes the Surkana. Or, if you enter a room just as the other team finish the mobs, all classes able to cast DOTs should cast these on the Surkana so that they capture it as they kill the other team. In losing scenarios a Kamikaze approach can be adopted. Try to steal them however you can, without wiping the whole group.

Blocking

If you can get to Gravity Control you can create a Bulkhead shield between the Ready Room exit and the central area by destroying the Shield Generator on the corresponding side of the room. This cannot be broken and blocks off that side, which can now only be accessed by going all the way around.

 

Dredgion Bulkhead shield locations

 

Room order

Below is a map of the route I usually take:

 

A solid strategy for completing level 50 Dredgion

1) This is the starting room where you respawn after death. Later in the game, teleporters appear here.

2) Take the Primary Armory as fast as possible. A strong group should be able to pull most of the room at once, but make sure people know you're planning on doing this.

3) Take the Engine Room. Whether or not you decide to kill bosses from this point onwards depends how fast your group is, and how fast your opponent is. Take bosses if you have time, CC them if you don't.

4) Skip around Ready Room One and across the centre to PvP the other team. Once they are down, take the Ready Room 2 Surkana.

5) Return to your side and take the Ready Room 1 Surkana

6) Capture Gravity Control. Depending on the other team you might want to lock their side at this point to prevent them slowing you down. This also makes taking Barracks a little easier.

7) Proceed to the Weapons Deck. If you are short of time skip this room, if you are the stronger team you can take it.

8) Take your Brig. Someone should have dropped a key to release one of your prisoners. Ideally, you should release all your prisoners and kill all enemy prisoners if you have enough keys, as enemy prisoners give you points. Remember that the Brig quest is AOE and everyone needs to be in the Brig to complete it. When attacking Brigs, the tank should bring the mobs up the ramp towards the rest of the group, who need to stand well back. This resets the boss. This is a point at which people can easily die.

9) Take your opposition's Brig. You are likely to find PvP at this point.

10) Take Barracks, kill Lakhane if he is up. He drops a PvP cloth helm, this is FFA for all classes rather than specifically being for mages. He also drops a blue caster ring. Remember to loot him.

11) Use the teleport to enter the Captain's Cabin. Clear the room, take the Surkana and reset the Captain. These mobs do a lot more damage than the ones in the rest of the ship.

12) Go downstairs to the Bridge, clear and take the Surkana. This is possibly the nastiest room on the whole ship, so pull very carefully and stay in range of the cleric - it's easy to line of sight yourself.

13) Return to the Captain's Cabin and dispatch Captain Adhati to end the instance.

PvP

To win, it's best to actively seek out the first battle, as it gives your team a confidence boost and puts your enemy on the defensive, as well as stealing some of their points.

Look at the team you're facing before you start and see if you recognise anyone from other Dredgions, Arena or world PvP. It's worth marking high damage dealers like sorcerers and crowd control specialists like spiritmasters, silencing the cleric and rooting DPS.

Decide on a kill order and adjust it if needed after the first fight if another player turns out to be more dangerous than you expected. Even if you don't totally agree with the kill order, try and stick to it rather than doing your own thing, at least for the first battle. Targets go down a lot faster when everyone is hitting them.

As well as sticking to the kill order, keep your eyes open for problems. If the cleric is taking very heavy damage it's worth working out who is hitting them. Templars can pull melee off other team members, chanters can stun attackers, spiritmasters and rangers can silence, assassins, sorcerers and rangers can burst down targets, so if someone is attacking your healer it's worth using a quick skill to save them.

It's worth deciding at the start of the instance who is the most appropriate person to resurrect the cleric if they go down without a self res to save time. If any team member is ressed in combat remember that they will be soulsick and slow for the next few minutes.

When you get into a battle, try to stay within 25 feet of the cleric to benefit from group heals. Don't bunch up, that leaves you vulnerable to AOE, but don't cut yourself off by chasing after enemies alone and don't allow yourself to be pulled around a corner away from your team. Clerics on the other hand should move around as the team moves to stay in the centre, using root to get away from melee attackers. Always stay together.

Don't chase after the other team unless that's what the entire group is doing, and if you pull mobs just as someone shouts 'incoming', kill the mobs if you have time. Don't leave one person to be eaten alive by them as the rest of you run off. You can also just ignore the mobs and pull them into the battle with you, using enmity reducing skills to pass them around if you need to, but do either one or the other, not both. Teams die when they are attacked while in combat because it breaks their coordination.

Be careful using teleporters - buff first and go together, otherwise the first person through will get hammered on by the other team. If you keep porting back into a fight you're just going to get picked off one by one. Spending fifteen seconds coordinating and rebuffing and going in together means that your enemies always have to face you as a group. Don't teleport unless you know where you're going.

Don't close shields automatically, always check with the group.

Use food and scrolls. You should always have some sort of food, running scrolls and antishock scrolls (which are great for running away from bosses).

Scoring

Here is a map showing the various values of mobs and Surkanas in Dredgion. It also shows where quest mobs and rare valuable bosses spawn. Thanks to Dushatar for this useful map!

At the end of the game you will see a scoreboard (which you can see any time by clicking on the cup shaped icon in the scorebox in the top right hand corner of your screen). Your personal points determine what share of the AP you get - basically you get more points for doing a good job. Dying or going AFK will reduce your personal score, surviving and playing your class well will increase it.

 

How the points are allocated - scores of different bosses and Surkanas in Dredgion

Loot

Dredgion has a few good drops,notably Lakhane's Kerchief (also a popular skin), Lakhane's Necklace and Lakhane's Ring. You can also get several nice items from Adjutant Kalanadi if he appears. It also gives you lots of Ballic drops, notably Boiling Balaur Blood Stains, which are used for the Fenris/ Miragent questlines and Blue Balaur Scales which are required for entry into Dark Poeta. Manastones and items from the Elder gearset are also common.

General tips

If you're finding that your Dredgion attempts tend to end with someone yelling at you, you might be doing something wrong. Here are a few little facts about Dredgion that you might not have sussed yet, hopefully they will help you to avoid some of the most obvious newbie mistakes.

Priests cannot heal around corners.

Dred is full of twisty passages and corners, even Surkanas can block line of sight. If you have only one healer in the group and there is an obstacle between you and them when you take damage, then won't be able to heal you.

If you run away you are going to die.

If you chase after the other side when the rest of the team has stayed together, you're going to die. If you decide to cut across a room because you thought you saw something shiny, you're going to die. Stay with the group at all times and if they all seem to be following each other in a precise path past some mobs, do as they do.

If you pull half the room, stay well away from the rest of the group.

If you have more than four mobs on you there's a good chance that running back to the group will cause an extra death beyond your own. If you've pulled agro you know you can't survive get well away from your allies. That way only one person dies and fewer points are lost.

Don't demand buffs repeatedly when the healer is really busy or out of range

Buffs are secondary to heals - healers are not going to put buffing you ahead of healing another team member. Healers are also unable to buff from around corners, from half a ship away or when they're dead.

In most cases, good teams take barracks after the timer is half down.

The reasons are simple - firstly it gives you a teleport into the cabin which is by far the safest way in and you don't need more than 15 minutes for the brig and cabin, and secondly it's in the centre of the ship. It's not hard to tell if the other team goes for it and wherever you are you should have time to jump them. Do not take barracks early unless it's a close fight and Lakhane is up.

Watch the AOE.

Bosses can do a lot of damage if they wake up too early and for mages it's really annoying to have to cc something twice...and then see a gladiator AOE right next to it and moan at them for not crowd controlling. Save the AOE for times when you're sure you're far enough away from the thing you're trying not to hit. Every class should know what their skill range is - if you're not sure whether something is in range or not tab it and check the distance. If in doubt, don't AOE. Whoever is leading should specify whether you are leaving bosses or killing them - ask if you're not sure rather than assuming.

Do CC bosses if you can, especially if your group has chosen not to kill them.

Only today I got bounced back by a boss 5 times (a personal record) because the mage didn't check to see whether a second CC was needed just before we left the room.

Follow the marks!

PvP marking takes a bit of practice, especially as tab targeting sucks, but once those marks are up try and stick to them unless the healers are obviously being hammered. If so, try and CC the person hammering them if you can and go back to the top mark. This means that everyone is focussing on the same target, incapacitating them and making them very hard to heal.

Training is fine, as long as it's done correctly.

Training is lots of fun, and can really reduce your enemy's score fast. Don't train unnecessarily - save it for when you're completely outmatched and you want to ruin the other team's score.

Make sure everyone is in range when you do the brig quest.

Check that the entire group is inside the brig with you, unless everyone else is afk. Don't selfishly take it when everyone else is running back, it's an AOE quest and doesn't spread far beyond the brig. 

Don't argue with a half decent leader.

Dred is all about speed, there is no time for arguments. Unless it's clear that the person in charge hasn't got the slightest clue, don't confuse the rest of the group by trying to steal the lead half way through. If you want to lead a group recruit your own rather than hijacking someone else's.

Watch health bars, even if you are not a healer.

If the healer is going down, figure out what is hitting them and take it off them. They shouldn't have to ask for help, if three mobs are wailing on them the rest of the group should notice this and help take the aggro off them if they want to stay alive for more than the next five seconds.

Do challenge chanter mantras.

The complete nerfing of the pre-50 game means that chanters aren't really necessary for anything pre 50. This means that many of them haven't learned their class properly yet, and it's one of the harder ones to get right. For example, if the chanter has put up speed, heal and elemental defence instead of crit, attack and mana (swapping to speed when running) politely request that they change them. They probably don't know any better. I don't mean to bag on chanters but having played one myself for two years it's pretty obvious when they don't have a clue, and unfortunately that happens all to often.

DYING LOSES POINTS!

If you have decent points, try not to die. By this I mean 'try not to do anything silly that will cause you to die'.

PvP has diminishing returns.

If your team has 4k points and the other team has 1k points, attacking them again is a waste of time, you'll get more points and therefore more AP from getting a couple more Surkanas. Don't chase PvP just because you like to hit people, remember the aim of the game is to get as many points as possible, and if the other team doesn't have many points you won't gain much from killing them.

Stay together!

Apart from finishing a Surkana off when you're up against a strong opponent, nothing in 50 Dredgion is soloable. For most people, the entire opposing team is not soloable. Success never starts with you running off on your own without the rest of the team. If you wipe, waiting 15 seconds for everyone to res and get buffs is better than running back in alone. I've seen groups pull a room by mistake and wipe twice because of it as people run back into a losing battle and die rather than waiting for everyone to die and letting the mobs lose aggro.

Use a loot pet if you have one

There's very little time to loot in Dredgion, so saving some bagspace and using a loot pet can net you a little more cash. It also opens up dead mobs to allow others to loot quest items and drops that have to be rolled on.

Why do Dredgion?

As well as being one of the best ways to accumulate Abyss Points, Dredgion is a huge amount of fun and extremely good practice, particularly for tanks, healers and people who like PvP. It is extremely fast paced and tensions can run high, but having a successful run feels great.

 

One of my more memorable runs

 

Does your team have a winning tactic? Let us know below!

Last modified on Saturday, 15 February 2014 14:44

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