Good morning you happy denizens of the interweb. This morning is one of those mornings that I am struggling to find purpose and direction as I set about with writing my morning post. Allergies are still laying siege to me, but at least the Dayquil seems to have completely worked its way out of my system. At this point I am thinking I will just go back to taking some Allegra and seeing if that works. I managed to get what appears to be a good nights sleep last night, so all signs point towards this being a far better day.
Lord of the Crag
One of the coolest fights so far that I have encountered is the second trial, this time fighting the Lord of the Crag. Be warned there are likely several spoilers to follow so if you are not interested in them skip ahead. Titan has always been one of the strong summoned creatures in the Final Fantasy mythos, and this time is no different. In Eorzea he is the worshipped deity of a number of the beast races, and throughout the course of the quest line you end up exploiting one of the beast tribes Aetherite crystals to get to him. While Ifrit was a difficult encounter due to one key mechanic… Titan is much more difficult in every way.
Firstly one of the coolest things about this fight is the amazing soundtrack. The following link is the boss music for titan in the final phase. It has a very Trigun feel to me, but from the very start of the fight this amazing rock theme is playing, which completely fits the feel of the encounter. Titan is mad, and he is about to kick your ass! The real challenge of the encounter is that the entire party takes lots of damage, a large chunk of it completely unavoidable. My friends tend to favor the Scholar healer, so in some ways it made the encounter easier… but Scholars in general have trouble recovering from extreme spikes in damage.
Similar to Ifrit there is a do or die mechanic. After you have dealt a certain amount of damage to Titan’s Heart will appear. Similar to the nails in Ifrit you have to destroy the heart within a certain time frame. Titan is going to jump up and perform a massive quake attack either way, but it is manageable damage if the heart has been broken, similar to the Ifrit Hellfire attack. The biggest issue with the fight are the two avoidable attacks.
Firstly every so often Titan will jump up into the air and slam back down in the center of the arena. The closer to the center you are standing the more damage you take. However if you are too close to the edge of the arena… you will get knocked off. So this attack becomes a juggling act of being far enough away that your healer can recover from the damage, and not so far away that you get knocked off the platform and killed. Second you have a shockwave like attack that shows up as a blue line drawn from titan to the edge of the platform. If a player gets caught in this they take massive amounts of damage and similarly get knocked off the platform.
The Problem With Trials
We went into this fight completely cold, so it took a few tries for us to figure out the inner workings. As a tank, I took massive amounts of damage from Titan on a regular basis. I have to say the entire encounter feels extremely epic… and similar to Ifrit this is a Trial… meaning that the game for all intents and purposes pauses until you defeat it. The big problem with Trials however is that there is little to no incentive for players to do them more than once. I have been tanking it for various guild members as they got up to the phase, and the only reward is roughly 4200 xp and 300 gil, essentially far less xp and money than you would get for a single guildleave quest.
As a result… no one wants to do them more than once. I mean I am always willing to tank Ifrit or Titan for guild members when they get up to the point… but there is absolutely no incentive for players to queue for them. Quite frankly it is crap experience, and you often times end up with more of a repair bill than you could possible recover from the final reward. I feel as though they really need to adjust the reward a bit to make namely tanks and healers willing to queue up for these and help get other players over the bottleneck. Our guild healers have been solo queuing for the trials as a bit of a community service, but I am sure they are the exception rather than the rule. Like with Ifrit… players are waiting multiple hours just trying to get through this roadblock… and unlike Ifrit… this encounter is not nearly as easy to roflstomp.
At this point I have defeated every dungeon in the first part of the game. They released two videos, the first of which I have embedded above, that give players a preview of all the dungeons they will encounter. I have to say… having a new dungeon every 5 levels is really pretty awesome. So far of all of the dungeons Haukke Manor is my favorite… mostly because it is essentially Castlevania in MMO Dungeon form. Everything about the place screams Symphony of the Night… even the rock soundtrack. Since SOTN is likely my favorite game ever… this dungeon is essentially my perfect one. Sadly however, I have only actually run it the one time. I am hoping when I get my gladiator up to the level I can talk some guild members into running it multiple times.
I thought it was a bit arbitrary when they divided the videos up into two parts. However after last night… I realize there was a method to the madness. All of the dungeons in the above video are more or less relatively easy. Sure there are some rough mechanics here or there, but so long as you pay attention you are likely to get through without any wipes. Last night I was completely out of it… so I intended to just piddle around on either the Warrior or the Dragoon working on leveling them. However Tibuant has been not so patiently asking for Sunken Temple of Qarn for almost a week now. Since he is in college, he has had a lot more playtime than the rest of us… and as a result shot ahead level wise.
Shit Just Got Real
He really wanted to wait to do Qarn for the first time with a completely cold guild group, and after hearing the pleading in his voice… for the hundredth time… I went in with the disclaimer that I was pretty out of it… and it would likely end in tears. The above video you will notice… starts with the Sunken Temple of Qarn. Essentially from what I can tell the video could be subtitled “shit just got real”. Qarn in every way was a new kind of dungeon experience… filled with some truly brutal mechanics. I had been watching for awhile in chat with people asking for the dungeon… and some of the side commentary made me nervous about the place.
I am not going to spoil any of the direct mechanics… but there are several mob types that can literally one shot the player… in fact that seems to be the new rule going forward. If you don’t do whatever it is at the right time… you are going to die horribly. The first boss encounter is a similarly brutal wakeup call, and will wipe the party before you really figure out the mechanic. I always thought the 90 minute timer on an instance was an extreme amount of time to finish a dungeon run… however last night we used almost every single minute. We finished the final boss with a couple of minutes to spare.
I can’t say I am really looking forward to going back into the place. Luckily we have almost an entire team that has yet to do the place… so they should be able to experience it completely fresh. Namely they should not take Rae into it with them… she is really bad about spoiling mechanics without meaning to. Granted I realize that I just went into detail about the Titan fight… but at this point most of our guild has long passed fighting that encounter… and I did warn you to skip ahead. It was extremely fun having to figure out the mechanics on our feet and for the most part we did extremely well at all of the fights but the first and last one. Some of the deaths were avoidable, where I simply stopped receiving heals at the wrong time. Tib does a good job as a healer, but I can tell it is definitely not second nature.
Essentially the dungeons are hands down the best part about the FFXIV experience. I had no real intent of doing any last night, but after getting guilt tripped into tanking Qarn I am glad I now have the experience. I was so drained last night that I was just trying to avoid getting into anything at all. Hopefully with the sleep today will go smoother. I hope you all have a great day ahead of you, and that you get whatever it is that you need to get done accomplished. I need to wrap up on one project, and begin stubbing out a second today.