During the month of October Izlain and J3w3l of Couch Podtatoes are running a special event they are calling Bragtoberfest. The idea is to share the fun you are having gaming with your friends. You can check out all of the details on Izlain’s blog Me Vs Myself and I. I thought it was fitting that on this fight October morning, that I do in fact have a handful of gaming achievements to “brag” about as it were. The event however is not just for crowing about your gaming achievements, but instead sharing that magical feeling we all have while playing a game we are really into. Over the past months there has been quite a bit of negativity either coming from or leveled against gamers. Bragtoberfest is an opportunity to embrace the good and present a positive viewpoint of gamers having fun being gamers.
Months Behind but Loving It
Back in July a large number of us that played Final Fantasy XIV at launch, returned to the game to give it another shot. I was the first to come back thanks to a free weekend, and enjoyed it so much that I ended up roping a lot more of my friends to join me. We played for roughly three months after launch and then for various reasons all wandered off into the next big game. As such we never really made much progression at the time. As a guild we had managed to take down Hard Mode Ifrit while working on the relic weapon chain, but that was literally as far as we had managed to get. So coming back we have had this whirlwind of catching up, and experiencing content that is almost a year old at this point, but still very new at the same time. Over the last several weeks on Tuesdays we have been pulling together an eight man raid team and working our way through Binding Coil of Bahamut. At this point we have defeated the first four turns and had originally planned on focusing on turn five last night.
However last night we had one of the members missing, and were subbing in a player that was relatively new to the Final Fantasy XIV end game. As such we opted to set our sights on a different target, the first of the Extreme modes… Garuda. Most of us had managed to get attuned for this fight and had been for quite some time, however there is just something about the Garuda fight that is terrifying. For starters it has one of the most awesome and at the same time creepy introductions. The normal mode Garuda fight kicked our ass so many times while trying to get folks through it around level 43 when you encounter it in the game. All of this gave me pause when I thought about the difficulty of doing the fight on Extreme mode.
One of the most interesting things about the Final Fantasy XIV endgame is that you have a fixed amount of time to make attempts. For Garuda and most instances you have exactly 90 minutes to defeat the encounter before the game punts you from the instance and you have to start over from scratch. For the most part we all went into this fight last night without functional experience of how it works and learned on the fly as we went. Each attempt we made adjustments to the strategy, shifting the targets between myself and Ashgar until we figured out an ideal mix of who needed to tank what where. There are three phases to the fight, and the last two phases rotate back and forth between them until you defeat her. Once we had managed to get through a single rotation of phase three we pretty much had the fight in our sights. At that point we had roughly nine minutes to defeat the encounter as a whole. We pushed through and managed to get it just in time, and as such finished a quest we all had sitting in our logs for some time allowing us to now move on to Extreme Mode Titan.
Flaming Axe of Doom
While bragging about cool stuff, I managed to finish gathering my 1300 Tomestones of Soldiery and am now the proud owner of the awesome flaming axe Conquerer. While I would love to be wielding a Bravura Novus instead, that quite honestly is still a good long ways off. I am still slowly working my way through the 9 Animus books, and then after that I have to do the Novus grind… which involves collecting a bunch of Alexandrite and binding 75 pieces of Materia to my weapon. This step is not only time consuming but also extremely expensive. As such I have been stockpiling money and Materia as I go to hopefully be able to complete this step. As far as the current Animus grind, I am 2 books into it and still have 7 more to go. My good friend Cylladora however is down to two books left, so I am pumped to see her progressing so quickly.
All of this made me decide a few weeks back to go ahead and gather up the Soldiery “bookrocks” and get the slightly easier to get level 110 weapon. The process for that is somewhat contorted as well but involves winning an Unidentified Allagan Tomestone from Syrcus tower or Second Coil of Bahamut. You then take this and 10 Rowena’s Tokens and trade for a Weathered Conquerer which in its own right is a really nice level 100 weapon. Each of the Tokens is sold for 130 Tomestones of Soldiery in Mor Dhona for a grand total of 1300. You then take your Weathered weapon to Drake in Hyristmill and trade both it and a Sands of Time to him to receive the level 110 “unweathered” version.
This is all possible thanks to the fact that in patch 2.38 they started allowing Sands of Time to drop in Syrcus tower. Since you can only win a single item per week in Syrcus, that means that I gave up on usable gear for the last two weeks to gather up the UAT and the Sands. Similarly I had to make sure I capped my Tomestones of Soldier each week to make sure I could get to 1300 in time, since you can only early 450 a week. I am damned happy to have a level 110 weapon, which is almost best in slot. You can technically get ilevel 115 weapons now either through the Second Coil raid or through the completion of the Nexus step of the Relic weapon chain. My goal is still to complete the Relic weapon, because I love the feel of the quest chain and the look of the eventual weapon. However for the time being I can feel happy knowing that I am going to be able to generate plenty of threat with a weapon at least as good as anyone in our little raid group.
The Queens Bounty
Monday night I pushed through to level 20 and started working on the Queen’s bounties in anticipation of trying to get gear from the event before it goes away at the end of this week. Last night after the raid I talked a couple of friends into helping me out with making this happen. The only problem is that as a fresh 20, I could not actually RUN the Queens Bounty Strike. Thanks to Kodra and Shiana we pushed through a couple of strike missions and after a few lucky drops and some upgrades… I managed to get to 21 light which allowed me to queue for the Queens Bounty content. So it was myself, a 24 and a 27 queueing for the content, and the game decided to give us all 24 mobs. As such I finally begin to understand the rage that some of my friends have felt while grouping with higher level players than themselves. Quite simply I could not actually land decent attacks on anything. I was aiming straight for the head and making content, but just simply not making a dent in it with my level 18 blue hand cannon.
My friends assured me that this was not anything I was necessarily doing wrong but instead just a simple component of the mobs being a few light levels higher than me. As such I tried my best to limp along through the content but spent a lot of time hugging the ground. At the end of the mission I managed to get the chest piece drop, but at that point it was already well past time for bed. My hope is to go back tonight and try for the helmet and maybe the sniper rifle. I still have four more tokens left to go and I just picked up a few more easily bounties this morning. Level disparity problems aside I am still digging the way this game feels. While I am not sure I would ever complete the raid, I am definitely going to shoot for gearing up in full purple gear. The biggest thing is I wish to god I could get a purple weapon drop. That would at least make me feel less useless. At the end of the night I was sitting at 22 just a single upgrade away from 23, so I am pretty damned happy with the results in any case.
#FFXIV #Garuda #Destiny