Palace of the Dead
Last night I was not terribly certain what I would be doing with myself. For the last several days I have been heavily focused on transmoggy things over in World of Warcraft, but on the same day that patch was released the newest patch landed in Final Fantasy XIV. Before I left work I saw Tam ask if anyone would be interested in taking a trip into the Palace of the Dead… or as he has begun referring to it the “Dankest Dungeon”. This had been something on my radar for a long awhile, with the theory being that you had a brand new leveling path for alts. I have an army of alts and honestly you can only manage so much FATE grinding before you need some other path. It seems like everyone on my server has gotten the same idea, because apparently to queue for the dungeon you have to be standing in Quarrymill. I snapped this photo last night but if you looked in any direction you would have seen pretty much the same density of players. In many ways this reminded me of the wall Revenant’s Toll felt on raid reset day. Neph wanted to play her Dark Knight, Tam his Black Mage, and Thalen his Machinist… which left me needing to do the team focused thing and play a healer. Anyone who knows me very well will know I am not really the best healer in the world. The irony there is that I started my MMO career in Everquest as a cleric… the go to healer for any serious content. I also feel that experience pretty much generated a massive mental block against ever wanting to do it again.
Now I have had a White Mage for a good while, and actually enjoyed myself leveling that. However for whatever reason the Scholar class has never really clicked with me. Before the launch of Heavensward I managed to get Arcanist to 30 and actually claim both the Scholar and Summoner jobs but pretty much stalled out shortly thereafter. I felt like I sucked at the class and simply stopped queuing for dungeons, because for ever Tam Tara there would be five Brayflox that I struggled to deal with. The interesting thing about the deep dungeon is how it has its own parallel leveling system, and how it apparently invents things that simply don’t exist. For example when you go in as a job… you don’t exactly get the path that you took to get to your level. For example I had Eos and Selene really quickly rather than my Carbunkle friends, which is I guess the same thing that happens when you get leveled down in a dungeon. On the other side of the equation, Kodra commented about having a serious challenge dealing with trying to function in the dungeon as an Arcanist without the Scholar job. Arcanists play this strange role of not quite but almost healer, that I remember struggling with when I ran dungeons… because I was also note quite a dps. The early levels seem to heavily favor dps, with the last set that we completed before I was literally falling asleep at the keyboard… needing us to actually do proper group tactics to get through.
Weapons of Light
So as you move through the dungeon there are chests that you open that do a bunch of different things. Firstly you get a shared group inventory that contains these items called Pomanders. These cause various effects both to buff your party, and to counter act the negative effects of the dungeon. For example there is one that shows the entire map so you can navigate to only the rooms that contain chests, or another that will disable all traps in a floor. There are still others that are designed to counter act very specific negative effects gained from certain encounters, like Pox that stops all health regeneration. This one is particularly nasty if placed on the tank… which it was for a significant period of time last night. The natural instinct for me is to clear every room, but you are timed from the moment you set foot inside and have sixty minutes to clear ten floors. At first this seems like an easy task, as we quickly breezed through the early levels. However once we got onto the third set of floors that timer started to make a big difference, and in theory you are given roughly six minutes per floor. As a result we started pulling the levels in a minimal clear fashion with our dps fanning out at times to scout ahead and try and determine which path we should go down as a group. The name of the game is finding the blue and silver chests that contain “gear” upgrades… and by that I mean +1 to your arms and armor score which serve as the gear for the dungeon.
The most interesting thing about the experience is how you gain your abilities during the normal arc that occurs as you level up. However for whatever reason I thought I would hit a ceiling and simply stop getting abilities when I hit level 31 which is what would have happened were I running dungeons. Instead I continued to move forward and am now in my 50s gaining heavensward scholar abilities that are unlocked through quests. So in theory this is a crash course in how to play your class… long before you actually get the abilities. As to whether or not this worked… I started out the dungeon run extremely rough and almost all of the healing was coming from Selene the murder fairy. As we moved forward I started to get the hang of it, and was using adlo like a mad man followed up with some direct healing. People died, a bunch… or at least more than I am happy with… and we ended up wiping on a really bad luck trap spawn. However as the night progressed I started feeling significantly more comfortable healing as a scholar. In theory I would feel much better stepping into a dungeon now than I did before last night. All in all I got roughly three levels which is a slightly faster progression rate than running dungeons, but not the sort of speed that is going to lead to a lot of chain power leveling. I had a lot of fun and just wished that we had been able to start earlier in the evening so that I could see the end of the dungeon. I definitely want to do this again soon.