I’m Starting to Believe…
…That maybe, just maybe, the Final Fantasy XIV community is really as good as it is made out to be.
I’ve heard this is the case from many people. People I very much respect and trust, too. Still- I didn’t quite believe it. I imagined all the ways in which this could be a sincerely held belief, but still not be… true. Confirmation bias and the resulting (even if unintentional) selective memory leading the pack of candidates here.
Truth be told, I’ve just been waiting for that one incident to prove my suspicions right.1 And last night… I thought I was going to get it.
You see, after finishing Heavensward 3.0 content (no spoilers/spoilers), I’ve gone around and spent some time unlocking more of the level 60 dungeons and raids and whatnot. I don’t know that I’ll be comprehensive in my unlocking but I did want to add a little more variety to the selection of my daily roulette dungeon options. The itch to carry on with the story is mounting but I’ve put it aside so far.
“Here it comes!”
To set the scene, I’ve duty’d my way into Neverreap — a newly unlocked level 60 Heavensward dungeon. Suffice to say, I’ve never done it before. It seems the emerging etiquette of the game is for players new to a piece of content to say so at the outset so that if anyone else is so inclined, they can bullet-point key boss mechanics.
This normally happens after the initial round of ‘Hi!’ or ‘\o’ waves that occur during the scene-setting flythrough of the map. So I did my duty and announced, wondering how it would go down now that we were off the beaten path of ‘mandatory for MSQ’ dungeons.
The tank also groaned about the dungeon we’d got into which immediately concerned me. But on querying it seemed more about getting turned around in there than any actual difficulty. There was no direct acknowledgement of my new status for either good or ill. And off we went!
Just a quick sidebar to say — I already know I could have and perhaps even should have opened the wiki and looked up the boss notes. They’re actually pretty good, as I discovered. e.g., Neverreap’s entry.
So far though, my experience with the game has taught me this isn’t necessary.
Not just from people being willing to explain mechanics all the way through — but also because 9/10 times you can hit a mechanic blind and intuit what it expects of you.
Looking up the boss fights is certainly something I do for end-game current content though. Full-on detailed boss guides, particularly for raids — but even for dungeons when the expansion in question is particularly challenging.
Back to the Run
For the most part, it was actually pretty smooth. The tank died on overpulling trash packs in one section, but the rest of us managed to clean up the rest of the pull without a wipe and raise the tank to continue on.
The healer apologised, and the tank told the healer he was fine. So far, so Final Fantasy.
First boss went well. I didn’t quite catch the shadow mechanic of the boss the first time it went off, but caught it the second time and helped kill the shadow version off to return the boss to the normal state more quickly.
Second boss, I could tell no one really understood (or remembered) the mechanic but we sort of defaulted into doing it (mostly) right just by MMO 101 training to avoid circles on the ground, drop things far away from everyone else and focus adds.
It took a long time due to the invulnerability coming up several times from us not realising during the first half of the fight we could actually interact with the totems to pick them up and run them back to an edge. But there was never any danger of failing it.
And so on we went, to the third and final boss of this dungeon Waukkeon.
I should add that by this point — I was convinced I was not the only person new to the dungeon here. Or at least, if the others had been here before, it was so long ago as to no longer matter. Second boss basically confirmed it for me, third boss — Waukkeon — took that conclusion the rest of the way.
I think Waukkeon might be the first boss I’ve encountered so far where if the entire party doesn’t understand the mechanic, you will wipe. Just boom- gone. … Well; almost. Depending on when you might be able to carry on if one person (that isn’t your healer) doesn’t understand. It would be slow going though.
If you didn’t jump into the Neverreap page before, let me explain. Waukkeon is also a phased boss fight. During his normal phase, things are peachy. He’ll spawn adds on random players every so often but they don’t do a lot of damage. Tornados travel around the boss arena forcing movement but otherwise, smack the boss!
After a little while though, Waukkeon will shield himself and start zipping around the arena. Anyone hit by him moving around will take damage and the shield renders him invulnerable. During this phase, the idea is to turn your attention to the adds that were spawned in the first phase.
When the very last add dies, Waukkeon will start to cast ‘Turbine’.
This is a giant AoE.
To a person — every single one of us — ran to the edge imagining that closer = more damage taken.
Cast completes and… Every single one of us flies off the edge into a rather uncomfortable looking natural spike-pit. Blasted stalagmites.
Someone — the healer, I think — suggests that perhaps we tank the boss on the edge of the arena. Maybe that will help.
We get to the Turbine cast again, and learn two important things:
- The boss can’t be tanked during the add phase. Like I mentioned, he zips all over the place.
- No matter where Waukkeon is on the arena, the whole space is covered. There is no safe spot to run to. Anywhere.
Even so, the healer and I work it out — the knockback isn’t severe enough to push you right off the arena if you position yourself such that you stand orientated to the boss such that you have the most possible space between your back and the spike-pit of doom.
Amusingly, it seems that the healer was capable of keeping me up. But with no time to do DPS of their own, and both the other DPS and the tank dead — it would’ve taken all day. So we go run off the edge.
By this point, in WoW… Someone would’ve said something. You could almost bet good money on it. And of course, by ‘something’, I mean, laying blame as specifically as possible or failing that on the group as a whole for being a bunch of scrubs.
Instead, the tank apologised for mucking it up and the other DPS then joined in apologising too.
The healer said it was all good, we had it, and I went over the mechanic as it was now understood.
- If possible, kill the final add when Waukkeon was near one of the edges rather than in the centre.
- Run in close to Waukkeon on the side that gave you the most distance to the edge.
And Waukkeon went down. Easy when you know how.
So Perhaps it’s True
Maybe people really are, by and large, just… Nicer… in FFXIV.
Of course, to take one example and make it the lynchpin in deciding, makes me every bit as guilty of the biases I suspected other people were falling prey to.
This could well be very different from the typical experience of the ‘real’ and current end-game content.
I expect there will still be a bad encounter somewhere along the way.
All I’m saying is… I’m more open to believing in FFXIV’s community than I was before.