Part 2: The Ennead Expedition - read on!
With Brimstone Sands comes the new The Ennead Expedition and with it, in my opinion, the most challenging mechanical boss fight in the game. The rest of the expedition is great as well and it doesn't overstay its welcome (...unless you struggle with the mechanically challenging boss fight). Here are my thoughts as a 620+ gear score tank taking on the regular version.
The Ennead is themed as an ancient pyramid and features a number of the new enemy types from the Brimstone Sands zone. While not as visually stunning as Tempest Heart it is still a good looking expedition. There is a mix of corruption along with the ancient theme and lasers, lots and lots of lasers! Slight spoiler, but at the end of the expedition there is a neat little console you can activate for a quest line that calls in the trademark upside down pyramid top that is heavily featured in the Brimstone Sands area.
As far as fights go there is not a ton of trash to work through. There is one part that is maze-lite but nothing too challenging to work through. There are floating guards that go through the expedition laser zapping anyone that stands in their sphere of influence. The guards are invincible so you do not fight them. They keep players on their toes.
When it comes to bosses there is some pretty tough mini-bosses throughout the dungeon. They are mostly tank and spank but all seem to come with a group of adds and ranged minions. The first major boss is a giant scarab in a room full of lasers and the scarab features its own giant laser beam. While the scarab has an array of attacks and some positioning by the tank can help avoid group wipes it is a straight forward fight.
The next boss, General Crassus, is fun filled mayhem. The fight features a lot of continuously spawning adds and progresses through three phases. The last phase is where it gets interesting with two hard charging cyclops, of course with laser beams shooting of their eyes, and its a race to either DPS the main boss down or take the cyclops down and then the boss.
The last set of bosses in the dungeon are sure to make plenty of players mad. The last fight is a pure mechanics fight. Players have to know what they are doing and when to do it in order to succeed. My first run took us two hours to get it down and I've had multiple more that just can't get past the hump of the final fight. It is a very challenging fight and I can't imagine how players are doing it on higher mutations; it is rough even as a 620+ gear score tank on regular! It's a fun fight to figure out and a sense of accomplishment once done!
The only real issue I have The Ennead is that the last fight is hard and that sets it apart from other expeditions. While there is the reward of earning a unique heartgem, Detonate, from the final bosses the rest of the rewards are your lock and stock expedition rewards: shards, materia, and some named items. Unfortunately since other expeditions are far simpler and faster to run I do worry we will see a limited number of players wanting to run The Ennead in the future. It feels like some of the other new items with Brimstone Sands could of been added to this more challenging expedition such as glyphs for runeglass gem crafting.
Over all I really like the new expedition and it was good to be challenged again. I like the mechanically challenging fights but do think they will keep other players out since "quick run" can turn into a slog or a wall at the last fight. I won't be running this one nearly as much as I've run the other expeditions, but feel like the challenge is worth the time spent even if rewards are the same as other expeditions.
Have you got your butt handed to you in the last set of bosses in The Ennead? Share a comment!