According to Plan
Enrage Timer: N/A
The Control Center encounter is the second add rush "boss fight" in the Dxun operation. It features a run around a pond dodging crabs and lightning turrets, then an entrance into a control center and a desperate fight against unending waves of beasts to defeat two Warden Droids and restore shields to the holding pens.
The overall key to success is effective use of the Flares to manage adds, which otherwise can easily swamp the group and overwhelm the healers (especially in Hard Mode). Strong AoE DPS and healing will also be critical.
The group should move together around the pond to kill Lake Crabs (that can pull players), hide behind rocks to avoid turret damage, then enter the control center. Inside the control center, the team must destroy two Warden Droids while fending off fearsome beasts. Once the Warden Droids are destroyed, the shields can be reactivated and the team can process into the facility.
Story Mode Video Guide
Holding Pen C
Path to enter the Control Center.
Holding Pens Control Center
Layout during transition phase after entering Control Center.
Holding Pens Control Center
Layout of encounter inside Control Center in Story Mode.
Holding Pens Control Center
Layout of encounter inside Control Center in Hard Mode.
Key Abilities / Mechanics - Enemies
Note that all adds for this encounter except the Lake Crab are present in the Lights Out (Holding Pens) encounter. See the link for detailed mechanics for these adds. Additional mechanics for the Czerka Warden droid are stated below for this fight.
For brevity, the discussion for each add summarizes the strategy necessary. In general, most mechanics that are relevant come down to kill priority inside the control center.
Immune to stun, snare, fear, root, sleep, and hindered.
Buff applied to most adds in this encounter. The only reliable physics-based abilities are knockbacks, though it is important to note that any stun or root effect of the ability or a relevant utility will not have any effect.
Immune to crowd control effects that break on damage.
Buff applied to various adds. Along with Augmented Resistance, these buffs make it very difficult to outrun the add waves in the encounter.
The Crimson Stalkers are one of most common adds in the encounter, along with Felshade Hunters. They have a speed buff and apply a slow debuff, so are difficult to outrun without good coordination of knockbacks and powerful speed boosts like Transcendence / Predation.
The biggest concern when dealing with these adds is their Hydrochloric Pool, which applies a large negative debuff to anyone who stands inside the purple pool AoE. It can be difficult to avoid these while hiding behind rocks or while remaining inside the flare AoE inside the control center, but avoid these puddles as best as possible.
There is only one Rampaging Charger in this encounter. It can be seen at the very beginning when leaving the generator power shed. If not engaged, it will be killed by the Felshade Reaper(s) that also spawn in the entrance corridor.
It has knockback mechanics as noted in the Holding Pens guide, but is not listed here for clarity since they are not relevant to this specific encounter.
Felshade Hunter / Reaper
The Felshade Reapers are very dangerous adds that spawn in the corridor just outside the power generator shed (1 in SM, 2 in HM) and a similar number spawn again inside the Control Center after the shields fail. Reapers are exceptionally dangerous and must be held within a Flare AoE to survive their high damage attacks.
Felshade Hunters are smaller similar-looking adds that spawn throughout the encounter. They hit hard but 1-2 are usually survivable without a flare during the run into the control center, but should be held within flares inside the control center as their are usually much more than 2 at any time.
Shadow Reapers are adds that are part of several periodic add spawns throughout the encounter and are most noticeably present during the final burn of the second Warden Droid. They are not dangerous if kept within a flare AoE but are very dangerous if left unattended due to their Nocturnal status and Dismember stun attack.
These adds must be held within a flare AoE or their will deal too much damage to reliably tank through.
Czerka Warden Droid
The Czerka Warden Droids comprise the nominal "boss" fights of the encounter, as they are the gatekeepers that must be defeated to close the shields to the Holding Pens and stop the unending wave of beasts.
In this encounter, the Warden Droids have an extra mechanic called Optimization Protocol, that provides a buff to any nearby enemies. The buff is not noticeable in Story Mode, but in Hard Mode they put out a large circular graphic that corresponds to the different levels of the buff. See below for more details.
Containment Taser (Warden Droid)
Channeled single target attack by Warden Droid.
Basic attack by Warden Droid. Has 1 second channel and a 3 second cooldown.
Data Lock (Warden Droid)
This Warden Droid is locking a nearby console. It will not be usable while this Warden Droid is still functional.
Buff to Warden Droid that locks a nearby console. An energy beam will connect the Warden Droid to the console, which will not be usable until the Warden Droid is destroyed.
Optimization Protocol (VETERAN MODE)
Warden Droid's optimization ability buffs nearby attackers.
Buff to Warden Droid in Hard Mode that creates a large circle around the droid. The inner Red circle provides the Perfect Optimization buff while the outer Yellow circle provides the Major Optimization buff.
Major Optimization (VETERAN MODE)
Significantly increases all damage dealt by and reduces all damage received.
Buffs damage dealt and damage received by 30% for all creatures or droids in its AoE.
Perfect Optimization (VETERAN MODE)
Massively increases all damage dealt by and reduces all damage received.
Buffs damage dealt and damage received by 70% for all creatures or droids in its AoE.
Key Abilities / Mechanics - Personal Items (Flare / Stim)
CI-Dark Control Flare
Buff applied for every flare held by the player.
Flares can be picked up inside the Holding Pen C Specimen Processing room, and again inside the generator shed if needed. The buff will have a number corresponding to how many flares the player currently holds and will generate a temporary ability bar with the Ignite Flair ability.
This special flare used by the CI-Dark Project's handlers contains a unique mixture of metallic oxidizers typically reserved for military grade explosives. Although it impractical as a lightsource due to a flame temperature of 3,400c and extremely short burn time, the light produced produced by these flares is one of the few known deterrents to CI-Dark's genetically optimized lifeforms.
Temporary ability granted by holding at least one CI-Dark Control Flare. The ability has a 1 second cast time and a 20 second duration.
Impractically Bright Light
You are illuminated by a blinding light.
Buff / debuff applied by standing inside the AoE of the CI-Dark Control Flare (blue AoE circle). The effect has a duration of 2.1 seconds and is refreshed upon expiration if the target is still within the AoE. The debuff has a wide range of effects, but in general it protects players from certain enemy special ability, prevents affected enemies from using certain abilities, immediately kills Incendiary Shrieks, and debuffs most enemies to deal less damage and take more damage during its duration.
Unused CI-Dark Control Flare
You have fallen and dropped the flares you were carrying at your feet. Allies may each pick up 1 flare every second.
Buff applied when a player drops flares to be picked up by other players.
CI-M Synapse Accelerator Serum
Injects a target with a dose of the experimental CZ-M Synapse Accelerator Serum. When used as directed, this serum grants the user increased runspeed and immunity to movement impairing effects, while also halving tiredness. Injecting a second dose while the first is active will over Overclock and Overload the body.
Overclock: Grants a 100% bonus to Accuracy and Critical Chance, and for Tanking disciplines a 100% bonus to Defense Chance.
Overload: Reduces maximum health by 25%. Receiving an additional dose while Overloaded is fatal.
Item that can be picked up inside the Holding Pen C Specimen Processing room. One use applies a movement speed buff and immunity to movement impairing effects, which effectively makes it grant similar benefits to the Vanguard ability Hold the Line or Powertech ability Hydraulic Overrides. A second use grants additional benefits to DPS and tanks. A third use has not effect in Story Mode but is fatal in Hard Mode.
Accelerated (CI-M Synapse Accelerator Serum)
Immune to movement impairing effects, knockdowns, and physics. Movement speed increased. Your body suddenly moves effortlessly. Both your mind and the world around you seem so much clearer.
Buff applied by first use of the CI-M Serum aka "stim". The stim lasts 12 seconds and grants immunity to movement-impairing effects for its duration and sets movement speed to 135%.
Overclocked (CI-M Synapse Accelerator Serum)
Accuracy and critical chance increased by 100%. Immune to movement impairing effects, knockdowns, and physics. Movement speed increased. Your mind and body are heightened to an extent you never knew possible. You think and move with perfect precision through a world in slow motion around you. You also suddenly feel like you're cooking in an oven.
Buff applied by second use of the CI-M Serum aka "stim", which increases accuracy and critical chance by 100% for 12 seconds.
Overclocked Defender (CI-M Synapse Accelerator Serum)
Accuracy and critical chance increased by 100%. Melee and Ranged defense increased by 100%. Immune to movement impairing effects, knockdowns, and physics. Movement speed increased. Your mind and body are heightened to an extent you never knew possible. You think and move with perfect precision through a world in slow motion around you. You also suddenly feel like you're cooking in an oven.
Buff applied by second use of the CI-M Serum aka "stim", which increases accuracy, critical chance, and melee/ranged defense by 100% for 12 seconds.
Overloaded (CI-M Synapse Accelerator Serum)
Maximum health decreased by 25%. Multi-dosing the CI-M Synapse Accelerator Serum is extremely dangerous...
Buff applied by second use of the CI-M Serum aka "stim", which reduces maximum health by 25% for 30 seconds.
Synaptic Collapse (CI-M Synapse Accelerator Serum)
Burning hot and burning out...
Debuff that instantly kills the player in Hard Mode if stim is used while under the effects of Overclocked and Overloaded (i.e., using 3 stims in total over 12 seconds).
The objective of the encounter is to travel from the power generator shed (where the previous add rush encounter ended) and get into the Security Control Center. Getting into the Security Control Center will enable the team to activate shields locking all creatures out of the facility and free the team to progress further into the facility themselves. Major challenges include very dangerous adds, Lake Crabs that can pull players into dangerous situations, turrets that can kill a player very quickly if they have LoS, powerful Warden Droids inside the control center, and an enormous continuing add waves at the end until the shields can be reactivated.
Group Composition for this fight should ordinarily be 2 tanks, 4 DPS and 2 healers. In Story Mode, it is possible to run with 1 tank and 5 DPS, as the sole tank can hold both Warden Droids and by keeping the team grouped up can ensure adds stay grouped as well. In Hard Mode, a second tank is required as the Warden Droids must be kept apart the entire time inside the control center.
Having a Sentinel / Marauder DPS player is extremely helpful but not mandatory in the rush to get into the control center. The speed boost can enable the team to skip the initial wave of adds, which is very helpful to conserve flares for use inside the control center. The team may also be able to skip a hiding rock around the pond and get into the control center faster. Without this boost, it may still be possible to skip with good timing but may simply require one more stop along the way.
Inside the power generator shed, the team should divide up the stims and flares and agree on a strategy before opening the door. There will be 8 stims and every player should grab one. Tanks should generally take all flares and can divide them equally, have one tank take most, or have one tank take all depending on experience.
It is critical to make sure the entire team understands the strategy as far as movement, which rocks to hide behind, be clear on who will call out movement, and the strategy inside the control center. If in Hard Mode, make sure to remind the team to wait to close the control center door until the team is all inside.
Strategy Key Points
In the simplest sense, the overall strategy for this fight has the following key points:
Skip first adds if possible. The Charger and Felshade Reaper(s) outside the door are very dangerous and will require 1-2 flares to kill. Run past if possible though is very problematic without a Sentinel Transcendence / Marauder Predation boost. If you can't or don't want to try to skip them, just have the tank grab the Felshade Reaper and pop a flare and burn all the adds down before moving.
Hide behind rocks. The turrets hit extremely hard, so the group should all huddle behind the designated rocks until the key adds are dead and the turrets lose power.
Do not move between rocks until Lake Crab is dead. The Lake Crabs have a pull ability so must kill them before the group can move on.
Use flares on adds inside the control center. Adds can overwhelm the group without using flares. Keep the AoE active at all times until everything is dead or they run out.
Prioritize DPS on Warden Droids. They take 35 seconds to activate once adds start coming in but are a priority when they do. You can't stop the adds until the droids die.
The optimal strategy will involve the team skipping the first big add group (if possible) and then moving into the pond area. The group will huddle behind the second and fourth rocks they encounter, not moving on until the spawned Lake Crabs are dead and the turrets lose power. The group will run into the control center, hit the security panel to lock the doors and then regroup for the second phase.
Inside the control center, the team will have 25 seconds to kill any straggler adds, recover energy, revive any dead players, and restock on stims and flares. Then the group will have to fight an unending wave of adds (though the most dangerous adds spawn in only one wave) and kill two Warden Droids before they can reactivate the shields and finally end the add rush.
Phase 1 - Breaching the Security Control Center
See the map at the top of the page for the 4 key locations as the group attempts to breach the control center. The strategy dealing with this phase is discussed below:
Skippable Add Group - As soon as you open the door, a group of adds will be waiting. This group most notably includes one Rampaging Charger and a Felshade Reaper, as well as various Crimson Stalkers. If the group all has strong speed boosts or a Sentinel Transcendence / Marauder Predation, the group can potentially skip these adds by running past without attacking or healing. The add spawns can bug so this does not always work. That said, it is highly recommended particularly in Hard Mode as it conserves flares. If deciding (or forced) to kill these adds, use a flare on the area where the Charger and Reaper are located and burn them down first before moving on.
Hiding Rock #1 - As the group enters the pond area, skip the first rock just past the fence and go to the next larger rock. The group should hide behind this rock to avoid LoS on the turrets when they power up. One player should step out to the right (when the turrets are down) to spawn a Lake Crab then group back up. The group should stay stacked behind the rock until the Lake Crab comes into range and then kill it immediately. If a Felshade Reaper or more than 2 Felshade Hunters attack the group, use a flare immediately and stay stacked while DPSing the adds. Once the Lake Crab (and Felshade Reaper if applicable) are dead AND the turrets power down, move on.
Hiding Rock #2 - The group should skip the next rock (the third since entering the area) and stop at the fourth rock again. This one has a little nook to tuck into. Same process, wait for the Lake Crab to approach, burn it and any other adds down, then wait for the turrets to power down.
Breaching the Control Center - After the turrets power down, the group should immediately run towards the walkway entrance. As soon as a Lake Crab spawns in the pond, all players should hit their Stims (for the speed boost and to prevent being pulled into the pond and dying). Once in the walkway, take a left and run into the control center. In Story Mode, the first player in should immediately hit the security control panel (has a short cast) to lock the door. Completing this cast will teleport all players into the room. In Hard Mode, any players outside the door immediately die and their bodies are teleported into the room.
Phase 1 Shortcut
In Story Mode, it is possible to have one player handle all these steps. The strategy is that all of the team but one player will stay inside the power generator shed. The healers should throw out some heals to generate threat and all adds in the area will aggro to them and run to the shed, while the one player can bypass them by not using any attack or healing abilities. Once inside the control center, click the panel to teleport everyone inside. A stealth player is somewhat easier for this strategy but any discipline can complete it so long as they careful to avoid taking damage from the turrets.
Phase 2 - Securing the Control Center
The team will have a brief respite from new enemies for 25 seconds after shutting the door in the control center. Any adds that made it inside should be killed. In the back right corner (in relation to the door the team entered from) there will be 4 more flares and 6 more stims (4 in Hard Mode), all of which should be picked up during this downtime.
After 25 seconds, the shields to the holding pens will fail and adds will begin entering the room. These adds will eventually include a Felshade Reaper, several Shadow Reaper, and many many Crimson Stalkers and Felshade Hunters. The Crimson Stalkers and Felshade Hunters will continue spawning periodically until the shields are reactivated.
Following 35 seconds of the shields failing and adds coming in, the Warden Droids will activate and become hostile. The Warden Droids have a Data Lock buff on the security console preventing its use. Once both Warden Droids are destroyed, the console can be activated to reactivate the shields. The remaining adds in the control center must be killed, then the encounter is complete.
See the graphics above regarding the layout during the transition phase and the tanking for both Story Mode and Hard Mode. The straightforward method is to pull all adds to the door in between the Warden Droids. Keep a flare AoE active at all times and immediately refresh it when it expires (it has a 20 second duration). Once the Warden Droids activate, keep the focus of single target attacks on them while letting AoE splash damage and DoT spread kill the adds.
Once both Warden Droids are destroyed, one player should click the console to reactivate the shields. Adds will stop spawning at this point and just finish cleaning up the adds and the encounter will be complete!
Tanks have a much easier job in this encounter than the previous Holding Pens add rush. The key to success in this encounter is building and maintaining AoE aggro, timely use of AoE taunts and skillful use of flares.
During the rush into the control center, do everything possible to maintain aggro on the adds behind each rock and keep everyone together. An AoE taunt should generally be available at each hiding spot, so make sure to time its use effectively. If the group starts to have difficulty keeping everyone's health up due to the quantity and/or quality of adds, drop a flare.
Inside the control center, the only job of the tank(s) is to keep the adds grouped up and keep a flare AoE active. In Story Mode, these should be grouped up right in between the Warden Droids, while in Hard Mode the Warden Droids should be pulled apart and adds pulled to one of them.
A major key to success in this encounter is the timing of flare usage, particularly in Hard Mode. In Story Mode, using flares effectively will make the fight feel extremely easy for your healers, while in Hard Mode the fight is impossible to heal without using your flares properly. You start with 8 flares in the power generator shed and can pick up more in the control center (6 in Story Mode, 4 in Hard Mode), so you have either 14 or 12 available depending on difficulty. My experience has indicated that you should be able to safely use one flare during the rush around the pond but try to avoid using a second if at all possible. Typically the first rock is the most challenging especially if a Felshade Reaper aggros to the group. In the control center, once the adds start grouping up on the team, the tank(s) need to ensure a flare circle is continuously active and that all adds are in the flare AoE. The group should have 13 or 11 available depending on difficulty, which gives the team effectively 260 seconds in Story Mode (4:20 minutes) or 220 seconds in Hard Mode (3:40 minutes) to kill the adds and Warden Droids (though the droids will not activate until 35 seconds have passed with adds coming in).
As with the first two encounters in the Dxun operation, AoE healing continues to be the name of the game. As the group should be very close together for essentially the entire encounter (with one exception in Hard Mode for one tank) and given the many many adds inside the control center, high AoE healing is critical to clear the encounter.
In Story Mode, effective use of flares by tanks (or whomever carries them) may make the healing feel very easy, as most adds deal very little damage inside the flare AoE in this level of difficulty. Poor / no use of flares will make the healing feel very difficult at times, especially inside the control center. Identifying which players have aggro on the Felshade Reaper and Shadow Reaper will determine where burst healing will be needed (though again, far reduced when using flares effectively).
In Hard Mode, AoE healing requirements for this fight are very high even with skillful use of flares. Without effective flare usage, it is not possible to heal through the combined damage from adds inside the control center.
In terms of cooldown/adrenal usage, the heaviest healing phases are typically (1) the first hiding rock in the pond, as heavy adds may aggro to the group; and (2) shortly after the Warden Droids spawn while the Felshade Reaper is alive. Inside the control center, keep an eye on your energy and don't let it get crashed without an energy cooldown. I strongly recommend having a strategy in place to rotate through group defensive cooldowns (e.g., Slinger/Sniper bubble, Sonic Rebounder, etc.) periodically to help.
DPS have an extremely straightforward job in this fight, which is to put out as high DPS as possible. This encounter has the highest potential for sustained AoE DPS in the entire game, as the fight inside the control center offers 3-4 minutes of continuous 6+ target AoE damage amongst the Warden Droids and many many adds. Equip tacticals and gear accordingly. By way of example, the strongest AoE sustained DPS at the time of this writing is Vigilance Guardian / Vengeance Juggernaut via the Cut to Pieces tactical. In Hard Mode, it is possible to clear 80,000 DPS for the burn phase inside the control center!
With that said, there are a few keys to bear in mind. Make sure to stay with the group during the run around the pond and avoid getting blasted by turrets. Prioritize high value targets like the Lake Crab and any Felshade Reapers. Once inside the control center, Felshade Reapers and Shadow Reapers are by far the most dangerous as they do far more damage outside the flare AoE than within it. They should be killed immediately then DPS should focus on the Warden Droids and let AoE splash and DoT spread kill everything else.
A DPS should generally be the player to click the console to reactivate the shields, as tanks need to keep adds inside the flare AoE and healers have a lot of healing to do.
Veteran Mode Strategy
The key new mechanic in Veteran Mode is the Optimization Protocol employed by the Warden Droids, who are also mobile in Veteran Mode. This applies a large circular AoE surrounding the Warden Droid that buffs any of the group's enemies inside it. The inner Red circle provides a stronger buff than the outer Yellow circle.
In addition, it is key to note that the other creatures hit MUCH harder. It is not generally possible to survive a Felshade Reaper (the big red ones) without a flare and the Shadow Reaper (the bipeds) also deal very high damage when not debuffed by the flare AoE.
There is not a meaningful difference in the strategy to get inside the control center. Adds hit harder and so using flares when needed is important and is more likely to be necessary, but otherwise should feel very similar.
Once inside the control center, the combination of the Optimization Protocol and stronger adds will require a different positioning strategy.
When the shields overload 25 seconds after the group entered the control center, the group should pull the adds to the corner to the right (from the perspective of looking at the Warden Droids). The group should drop a flare AoE and begin killing adds. When the Felshade Reaper and Shadow Reapers spawn, they take priority. One tank should take responsibility for maintaining aggro on the adds and save their AoE taunt until the Warden Droids activate.
Once the Warden Droids activate, the tank with add aggro should pull the nearest Warden Droid to the group, while the other tank pulls the other Warden Droid over to the console that will reactive the shields to the holding pens. The group then destroys the first Warden Droid, pulls the second Warden Droid over and destroys it as well, hits the console to reactivate the shields and stop the inflow of adds, and kills the remaining adds.
The biggest key to success for this encounter in Veteran Mode is skillful use of flares. The flares have a 1 second cast time and a 20 second duration. The flares also cannot be used until the duration ends. This means if one tank has all the flares, there will be a one second period where adds are not debuffed by the flare AoE. This is very dangerous and should be avoided. In that one second, some adds may hit the group with a knockback to lengthen the downtime. It is very very easy to wipe if any time elapses without adds debuffed by the flares.
I recommend having the "add tank" and one other player (possibly the other tank though a DPS works also) split the flares evenly. This way, as one player applies a flare AoE they can track the cooldown and coordinate so that the other player uses a flare with 1-3 seconds left. This strategy ensures 100% uptime on the flare AoE while keeping overlap to a minimum.