Today marks the launch of the first tier of 8-player normal raiding in Final Fantasy XIV’s Endwalker expansion. In a trend similar to the dungeon and trial fights of the expansion content, there is a noticeable increase in difficulty, mostly obtained by using boss telegraphs that are animation or model-based opposed to simple orange markers.
I’m not a skillful guide writer, so rather than rattle off every mechanic or name everything (and risk spoilers), I’d like to write a very brief, one paragraph bite-size guide for the four encounters that make up Pandaemonium Asphodelos. Let’s begin!
The First Circle
The boss has a half-room chain attack, watch his animation for which side it will be on. The effect is a full half-room cleave, not a cone, so get to the opposite side when he starts winding up. This will layer with later mechanics. The boss will target a player with a line AoE, this should be moved out of the raid so that only the targeted player will be hit. After that player is knocked back by the initial hit, I believe that triggers a stack AoE on the same target, so get back to the raid quickly! The boss will encircle the room in chains that fill in with fire and a green light in alternating patterns. When he casts, he will show the element that will hit for damage, so don’t be in it. He layers the chain swing here, so watch out.
The Second Circle
This boss has a two-phase structure between a water phase where you need to stand on the grates or elevated portion of the room and a normal phase where you can use the full room. The boss will split and show two directional markers that fire off front and back for a full-room AoE, find the safe spot. During the sewage phase, the boss will use spread AoEs to force the group apart – stay on grates or the raised platforms and you’ll be fine. Getting in the sewage triggers a Dropsy DoT, so keep your healers happy. Near the end of the sewage phase, the boss will pick a corner and do a full circle knockback from their jumped-to location. Knockback nullification (Arm’s Length, Surecast) will work to prevent the knockback, and given the sewage is still up, this is your best option. There is a line AoE stack accompanied by a single-target proximity AoE, get that prox effect out and everyone else in the line stack.
(Quick edit: there are also red shrinky arrows on this fight. Stack to avoid them, and if you get hit, don’t touch the grates!)
The Third Circle
The boss does two fire attacks, denoted by animation. The large single fire orb will be a room center AoE that hurts and is very large, get out immediately when you see it. The circle of fire orbs is a bombardment effect that circles the room and also hits the center. Find the starting point and run just behind it as the effect begins at the room’s edge to avoid damage. When the boss does numbered target hits (with the counter orbs above target heads) these can be used to extinguish the 4 targetable fires at the room center (there was no need to order the debuffs on each fire target, just get each player to a target quickly). Use them for it, otherwise the fires will explode and likely kill the raid. The boss will pick an edge and do a room splitting AoE, get to either side of the boss to avoid the majority of the damage. The boss will start doing a full-raid AoE target spell, spread out to avoid excess damage. The boss has an add phase that is somewhat confusing – there will be circles that look like they do more damage, but they did not appear to hurt at all in my run, so get in and kill the adds quickly. After the add phase, a large AoE will go off, so healers prepare for that. Lastly, the boss will place 4 visual markers unique to the fight on cardinal directions, and the order they are placed seemed to be the order they went off, with a 90-degree conal blast from the room’s center. This one has orange no-no zones, so be mindful of those and you’ll be fine!
(A quick missed-mechanic edit: There is also a fire cross that splits the room in quadrants and then expands to make the quads smaller. You’ll see a small flap of fire extend out and an emote when the boss begins this effect, note the flap locations to find your safe corners!)
The Fourth Circle
This boss took the most progression, but is fairly straightforward once you see it.
The boss will enshroud one quarter of the room, revealing an elemental effect that will trigger. The lighting is a proximity damage AoE that originates from the room’s center, not the quadrant with the effect. Get to a corner, but be careful – hitting the wall is a one-shot even if you walk into it. The water quadrant will do a knockback, also from the center of the room – get to the center and prepare for knockback, minding the walls. The poison quadrant will do a spread AoE, so spread out. The fire quadrant does a stack AoE, so stack for that. Later in the fight the boss will do these in sequence, and there is a startup animation to tell you what to expect, so keep your head on a swivel. The boss will do a line AoE that must be avoided – he will face a direction and begin casting, so move when you see that. There is a late orange marker to warn you, but if you are dead center on him when that pops, you are likely too late. He will do an emote about gather aether, and this will summon either 4 tower circles or 8 orbs. These circles and orbs will be marked with a role icon with an X on it – meaning if you are that role, do NOT touch it. There is no debuff I noted from soaking multiples, so on orb phase, you can sprint around grabbing multiples, but each hits for light damage, so be careful. There was no number of players required that I could tell for the soaking of towers – just one in each of a role other than the one shown on the tower will suffice. His last major mechanic is a rapid attack to a side of the room. He’ll do a startup animation (holding a cape aside) and when you see that, you need to check the walls for a marker. If you see a sword, get to either side of the sword on that wall, it is a large-angle room-wide conal cleave. If you see a cape, get to the cape, just in front of it with your body on the inside of the room and the cape just outside – the cape will do a massive knockback when triggered that will push you around 75% of the distance across the room, so if you are not on top of this, the walls will kill you for it. Towards the end, you will see all 4 quadrants firing in rapid succession, so be mobile and attentive. As a final important note, standing in the quadrants during the drapery transition will not hurt and standing on them when transformed does not hurt either, but standing dead center on the quadrants (which is clearly visually marked with a crater spell effect) will debuff you with the element in question, so avoid that.
And with that, that is Asphodelos normal in just over 1,200 words! Have fun!