Dauntless has a short tutorial that does a good job of quickly showing you the basics, but there are plenty of details that the game leaves to you to discover. One of those is the existence of Aether-charged Behemoths. You may have noticed the term in some item descriptions, but it’s never made clear exactly what it means.
Just so we’re all on the same page, a Behemoth is any monster you fight in Dauntless, excluding minions like the ones that Boreus summons. Aether is the substance that Behemoths feed on, and it’s also what comes out of the vents that let you heal during hunts and powers your lantern abilities.
Behemoths can become Aether-charged during fights, which boosts their power and gives them a new set of attacks. It’s easy to confuse that with becoming Enraged, which also powers Behemoths up, but it’s easy to tell the difference if you know what you’re looking for. When it’s becoming Enraged, a Behemoth will stand still and start to glow red, then emit a wave of force that damages and knocks hunters back. It’ll stay red for a while and hit faster and harder. Keep in mind that Behemoths can be Enraged and Aether-charged at the same time, making them especially deadly.
Aether-charged Behemoths go through a similar transformation, but the change is different for each one. Rather than glowing red like they do when they’re enraged, a Behemoth will take on physical characteristics of the element it uses when it’s Aether-charged, and its elemental attacks will also be powered up.
One of the easiest to see the change on is Nayzaga. When this Behemoth is Aether-charged, the spikes on its back will both grow in size and glow yellow with electrical energy. Other examples include the Embermane growing a fiery mane, or Khabarak’s wings glowing white. In this state, Behemoths will hit harder and have special attacks corresponding to their elements. For some Behemoths, there’s no question about when they’re Aether-charged because their attacks will change completely. When the Charrogg is Aether-charged, for instance, it’ll spray fire from the four vents located on the corners of its shell.
Most of the time, it’s best to play more defensively when a Behemoth is Aether-charged, but some weapon perks let you do more damage when they’re in this state. Once you really get to know a fight, you may want to take advantage of this and get some extra damage in when a Behemoth is Aether-charged. Either way, don’t let your guard down, because Aether-charged Behemoths can be extremely dangerous.