The Aetherian Archive trial is located in southeastern Craglorn near the city of Elinhir. Within the tower, groups of twelve battle through a series of challenges and ultimately face the Mage. Trials are special PvE group instances in Elder Scrolls Online, which can be identified by the icon. They have special mechanics and group tactics for 12-player groups to accomplish, and present unique rewards for players. Note: this walkthrough focuses on how to complete veteran mode. There is also a hard mode that can be achieved by breaking the three globes in the portal area used to teleport to the final boss.
The Aetherian Archive Trial quest begins when you enter the dungeon. There are four bosses the team has to battle during the trial: Lightning Storm Atronach, the Foundation Stone Atronach, Varlariel, and the Mage herself.
All Group Members
- CP rank 531+ for Veteran and Hard Mode
- 18k Health
- Appropriate gear for group buffs (Ebon, Worm) and damage buffs (Aether, Alkosh, Twilight, etc.)
- CP 150+ food
- Potions geared to magicka or stamina based character (weapon damage, spell critical, and/or spell power)
- Soul gems
- One group member with Retreating Maneuver skill slotted
- 1 tank on normal mode
- 2 tanks on vet and hard mode
- 2 healers
- 9 dps on normal, 8 dps on vet; maximum of 4 melee
Before entering the trial, the trial leader will divide the raid into 3 groups (4 players each) due to the fact that there are transportation pods throughout the trial, some of which separate the group into 3 smaller groups, with each group fighting their own enemies. The groups should be broken down as follows:
- Left: Healer, 3 DPS
- Center: Tank, off Tank, 2 self healing DPS
- Right: Healer, 3 DPS
One player will activate Rapid Maneuver right before the team opens the door to start the trial, to assist with speed. The frst set of adds you will encounter will be a group of Fire Atronachs, which can easily be killed with AOE skills. After clearing, the team will stack on the next door, where a player will once again activate Rapid Maneuver.
When you open the next door, you will enter the frozen room, don’t use any skills as you run through the room, as if you do, you will get caught and stunned by the frost whirlwinds. The next set of enemies you will encounter will be 2 Frost Atronachs. Run past them and DPS them from behind. Once clear, the trial leader will call for another rapids. Run up the stairs and through the lightning area without stopping. The first person to the next door should open it and wait just inside the door for the rest of the team.
Let the tanks go in first, with everyone else following and stacking together to make it easier for the healers to heal the group. Throw a negate on the mobs, focus on the Overcharger enemy first then AoE the remainder of the DPS. As soon as this is clear, run up the hill and drop down to the next area to fight the first boss.
Lightning Storm Atronach
When the group is ready, the main tank will approach the boss first and the group will follow. The tank will hold the boss in the middle of the room. Use single target DPS. The boss has 2 main attacks that he will alternate:
- A large AoE lightning attack: there will be a big red circle around the boss. This attack hits hard. If you have low health, or not a lot of spell resistance, stay out of the red circle. There are also lightning tornados that are cast during this attack. They move in a straight line away from the boss.
- A lightning attack that affects the whole area: This will wipe the raid, so all 12 players much reach a safe zone, which is a tiny yellow circle of light (sometimes hard to see). It spawns in random places. As soon as you see or hear where the light is, go there immediately. Roll dodge and sprint to get there faster. You only have a few seconds before the lightening attack will kill you. DPS the boss at a distance from the yellow circle. Eventually it will disappear. Move back to the center of the room and repeat.
After killing the Atronach you will split into the three pre-defined groups (left, right, center) and teleport to 3 different locations using the first set of Teleportation Pads:
- Center Group: Kill all enemies. They will continue to respawn until the left and right side enemies are all killed.
- Right Group: Apply shields and healers begin to apply healing springs while in the loading screen. The enemies will be attacking and damaging you while loading into the area. Target and kill the Overcharger first then the rest of the enemies. Head down path to middle to advance.
- Left Group: Kill all enemies and then go through the back path to assist the right side. Head down path to middle to advance.
Players will now all step onto the next set of transport pads. A bridge will form in front of you. Run to a rock at your 11 o’clock and stack on it. AoE DPS the enemies until the Overcharger spawns. After killing the Overcharger, go back to AoE DPS, then the second Overcharger, then the rest of the eneimes. Keep a tight stack to make the healers lives easier. During this fight, there will be some mobs that are out of range…Dragonknights should use chains to pull those mobs in. Once this group is clear, get on any teleport pad, where you will be taken below for the second boss fight.
Foundation Stone Atronach
The tank will start this fight. He is going to pull the boss towards the group a little bit, with everyone else stacking on the tank. This fight requires more coordination to combat the 3 main attacks:
- Boss Ground Pound – 5 pounds each time. The healers can heal the group through this, but the group needs to stay stacked for this to work.
- Spawned enemies – including Chain Spinners, who will throw an AoE attack on the ground. It is a red circle with white spinning graphics in the middle. As soon as this attack goes down, if desired, a Veil of Blades skill can be used to lesson the damage. This attack starts when the boss is around 80%. The off-tank will tant the enemies and ‘line of sight’ them, causing them to come into the stack with the group, so they may be killed by AoE skills. Enemies will continue to spawn during the entire fight, so AoE skills are important to manage the number of enemies that are alive while you are single DPSing the boss. Everyone should tab target the boss at the start of the fight, to make sure you are not accidentally focusing single target DPS on the adds.
- Boss Boulder Throw – The last attack is a boulder throw. You can tell this is coming, because the boss will “kneel” down/scrunch up. As soon as this happens, the entire group will only have a few seconds to form a loose stack, hold block and don’t move. If a player moves, the boss will throw small boulders and stun or knock down the player. who moved As soon as the boss unfolds, the group reforms into a tight stack, DPSing intil the next crab phase. From here on, it will be a rinse and repeat. A healer can use the Solar Prison skill on the 4th pound, to mitigate the damage output during each “hold and don’t move” phase.
After the fight is over, you will run up a ramp and once again split into the three pre-defined groups (left, right, center) and teleport to 3 different locations using the next set of Teleportation Pads. Center group must be crouched.
- Center Group: Tank will taunt and keep one enemy alive until both left and right groups have killed all enemies. Then kill last enemy and move across bridge to path.
- Left and Right Groups: Kill all enemies and then let center group know when finished. Move across bridge to path.
After the fight is over, you will run up a large winding ramp and drop down to face the third boss fight.
Before the fight the trial leader will assign one or two DPS to every pillar, except for the pillar with the green christmas tree lights on it. The purpose of this exercise is that during the fight, the boss will spawn clones of herself which need to be killed immediately. The only exeption to this, is the clone which spawns at the green light pillar, which will be completely ignored during the entire fight. The boss attacks during this fight are:
- An AoE attack around her feet that can be difficult to see. The boss has a really big hit box, so if you are a melee DPS you don’t have to be that close to her to attack.
- A small red AoE attack on the ground that hits hard, so watch your feet and stay out of the red. These spawn ramdomly across the entire area. Most deaths happen in this fight because people are not watching their feet. If you turn off grass in your graphics settings, its even easier.
- A Clone phase which happens multiple times during the fight. At the first phase 3 clones will spawn, with more clones spawning each additional phase.
The main tank starts the fight and maintains taunt on boss throughout, as there is a 3/4 health damage shot that comes from her. Tank and Off Tank share taunt of clones when they spawn. Melee DPS will be closer to the boss with ranged DPS farther away, and healers directly opposite of each other. As soon as clones spawn, the DPS will run to their assigned pillars, killing their clone then helping the other players kill theirs before returning to the stack to DPS the boss. The boss has a massive attack at the end of each clone phase, which is signaled by beams of light being pulled towards her. The Healer will need to use the Solar Prison skill on the 12 player stack to mitigate the boss AoE. Rinse and repeat, remembering there will be one extra clone each phase.
When the fight is over, cross the bridge and go to the last set of transport pads. It doesn’t matter what pad you are on. Near the front pads are three Aetherial Orbs. Smashing the orbs will convert the final boss fight into HARD MODE. DO NOT SMASH THESE (unless you intend to do the fight in hard mode). Once everyone is on the transport pads, you will be taken to the final boss fight.
The Celestial Mage
You will enter a circular island floating in the air. If you fall off, you will die and be respawned at the beginning of the dungeon. Think of this floating island as a clock. You are at 6 o’clock when you enter, 12 o’clock directly opposite, etc. There is a large round platform which takes up the majority of the room, with a smaller inner cicle identified on the ground. During the fight, the ranged DPS will need to stand on the outer edge of the platform, each person on a different clock position hands, with no more than 4 melee dps evenly spaced around the small inner circle. The reason for the spacing is the boss throws out lightening attacks and it will chain between players, killing or severly damaging the last person it hits, if players are too close together. There are three main phases in the fight:
- Two Add Phases: AoE through the first set of adds focusing on the two Overchargers when they spawn. Stay in the stack unless you get a red circle on you. This will cause lightning damage to the whole group, so put some space between yourself and the group. After the first set of adds is clear, you will have a few seconds before the second group spawns, including three more Overchargers.
- First Phase of the Mage:
After the second group is clear, the Mage will descend on you (literally). Spread out onto your assigned clock hands if ranged, and around the inner circle if melee. The Mage will remain in the center of the room throughout the entire fight. The attacks during this fight are:
- Reflection enemy – During the entire fight, a Reflection enemy will spawn and will need to be killed instantly. When any add is out, ignore the Mage and focus all DPS on the enemy, as if it is up too long and another one spawns, it can wipe the entire group.
- Daedric Mines – During the entire fight, daedric mines will spawn in random places. Early in the fight, the off-tank can walk on these to destroy as many as possible, as quickly as possible. Range DPS should also destroy amy that are close by, after applying the harness magicka skill.
- Conjured Axes – As the mage loses health, she will summon conjured axes, stating with two. The longer the fight continues, the more axe’s will spawn. The main tank will taunt the first 3-5 axes while the off-tank will tant any othes that spawn. There should be a dedicated healer for the tanks. The axes hit hard, so if the tank loses taunt and you have an axe on you, hold block until it moves back to the tank.
- Lightning AoE – There are also lightning circles that spawn randomly, which you can block through.
- Black pools – The Mage will also put black holes on the ground, which start small and grow extremely large. If you stand in them you will die.
- Second Phase of the Mage: When the Mage is at 15% health, the second phase starts. The Mage will conduct a series of knockdown attacks. This will destroy any remaining adds/axes. At the end of the last knockdown, the mage throws up a field. Everyone stacks on the boss and healers wll use their strongest healing skills and Solar Prison skill in a rotation.
- Defending Warrior
- Healing Mage
- Quick Serpent