Category Archives: MMO

On Repeatability

This is an expansion of some of my thoughts from the Podcast this past week, specifically regarding raiding in FFXIV. At this point I’m raiding one night a week, and would consider myself fairly casual, but the group I’m raiding with is awesome. After struggling with it for a few weeks, we cleared Turn 5 of the Binding Coil of Bahamut in mid-December. I’ve since cleared it 3 more times, twice with the same group and once with another group from our server. Some spoilers for the fight follow, so if you want to go into it blind, you should stop reading. (Also, don’t go into it blind. It’s a long fight with lots of moving parts, there’s plenty to learn even if you know what to expect.)

Because Reasons

One of the things that distinguishes our raid group from many others is our continued tendency to ask why certain elements of strategies exist. When learning Turn 2, we experimented with killing different nodes to see what the options for clearing to ADS actually are. Killing a node removes that ability from ADS, but adds a buff. Rot passing is required (if you’re doing the fight traditionally) because killing the Quarantine Node (which grants ADS the Allagan Rot ability) grants an overwhelming haste buff which makes the fight unhealable. As a result of this asking why, we’ve gained a pretty good understanding of a decent number of mechanics in Turn 5.

There are an amazing number of mechanics that instantly kill you in this one, which is probably a part of why it takes so much to learn. The following things will kill you with no save if not handled properly:

  • Conflagration (Phase 2)
  • The wall of the arena (All phases, most relevant in Phase 3)
  • Twintania’s big attack (end of Phase 3)
  • Twister (Phase 4)
  • Dreadknight (Phase 4)
  • Hatch (Phase 5)

The only randomness in almost all of these is who is targeted, and almost all strategies aim to reduce or eliminate the effect of random chance in this. Regardless of who gets conflag, they always move to the same place. The “Divebomb dance” if done correctly allows everyone to dodge no matter who is targeted. (It has the added benefit of allowing people who don’t dodge well to not get flung into the wall.) You can’t tell who Twisters pick, so everyone moves. The threat of the dreadknight is reduced if no one (except the tank) is near the middle. Hatch can be completely eliminated as a threat if the off-tank takes every one in the final neurolink.

Perfect Practice

As a direct result of this, the ability for the fight to screw you via RNG is fairly low, and I’ve observed this for most of the fights I’ve done so far. Fights can be practiced, mistakes can be identified, and eventually, victory can be achieved. Even things that seem like they could be random (Titan jails 2 people) aren’t as random as they look (Titan always jails a healer and a DPS) and can be planned for. Some mistakes are more forgiving than in certain other games because all healers (and also summoners) can raise during battle.

At the same time, the required amount of personal responsibility for all players is far higher than many other games. Part of this is the 8-person group size for “hard” content, which means the loss of even one player means you just lost ~25% of the group’s DPS and might not make a DPS check because of it. Some fights (Titan, Leviathan, I’m looking at you) don’t allow for the element of recovery I mentioned earlier, because once you’re knocked off of the platform, you’re dead until the next attempt. I feel like these mostly balance each other out; random personal responsibility feels unfair (See: Teron Gorefiend in WoW’s Black Temple), but it doesn’t feel quite so bad here. Because fights really do play out the same way almost every time, it’s possible to reliably get farther with each attempt, and that’s something I didn’t feel like was always true in my previous raiding experience. Maybe my group really is just that awesome.

On Tank Training

As those of you who pay attention on Twitter may have noted, I’ve been having some issues with the state of tanks in low-level instances in Fina Fantasy 14 lately. While I level my complaints directly at Riot Blade (and Gladiators in particular) that’s not really the core of the issue. MMOs are bad at teaching you how to play them, and for a role like a tank, that’s A Problem. Rather than continue to berate anonymous Gladiators for not knowing better, I’d just like to clear up a few things. While this post focuses on Gladiators/Paladins, some of it is also applicable to Marauders/Warriors as well. For a few reasons (*cough*) marauders tend not to have the same problems at low levels.

Maintaining Threat

While I’m not going to claim that it’s always easy (it’s not), tanking in FF14 isn’t terribly complicated. Your job in any given pull is to keep all of the enemies attacking you until all of them are dead, and also doing the best you can to keep yourself alive while doing this.The second part could be its own post, so I’ll stick to explaining the first. FF14, like many other MMOs at this point, uses a threat system (usually referred to in-game as “enmity”) to determine what enemies attack (most of the time). Tanks have abilities that are very good at generating threat, and using these liberally is one of the keys to being successful. To track you you’re doing, the party list and the enemy list both have different ways to display your current threat.

First, the enemy list tracks your threat status on all enemies, with green for low threat, yellow for medium, orange for high, flashing orange for a last chance warning, and red for when something has enough threat to attack you (aggro). (These are also all different shapes so they can be differentiated even with color blindness.) Tanks should strive to keep this as red as possible. The party list tracks who in your party has the most threat on your current target. Because the enemy list unfortunately doesn’t have a color for “about to lose aggro”, this is the only real way to see when someone else is getting dangerously high on threat. it can be helpful (especially if you have a Summoner or Black Mage in your party) to tab between enemies and see if any of them are doing unfortunate things.

party list enemy list

Why Riot Blade is a Trap

For Gladiators, the abilities that do bonus threat are (in the order you get them) Savage Blade, Flash, Shield Lob, Rage of Halone, and Circle of Scorn. That last one only comes in at 50 and isn’t really relevant to this discussion. The problem lies between the levels of 12 and 26, where you have access to Riot Blade but not Rage of Halone. This means that for damage, the ideal combo is Fast Blade->Riot Blade, and out in the world this is perfectly fine. However, Riot Blade wasn’t on that list I mentioned earlier, so in dungeons you’ll lose threat to the classes that do more damage than you (which is to say all of them) if you use that combo exclusively. Fast Blade->Savage Blade amplifies the bonus threat on savage Blade, and keeps things where they should be: attacking you. Riot Blade does have a use, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Riot Blade

Provoke and You

Provoke is a Gladiator ability earned at Level 22, and currently holds the spot of “most required cross-class skill in the game” for Warriors. (If you are playing a Warrior and you do not have this skill cross-classed, get those extra few levels of Gladiator right now.) It’s the game’s only true taunt, so it’s essential for tank swaps, and it can be helpful when you lose aggro on a particular enemy. However, Provoke works by giving you threat equal to whoever the current highest threat person is, plus one point. This means that unless you immediately take some other threat-causing action, you’ll lose the target immediately. It also means that if you pull with provoke, you have exactly one point of threat and any action taken by anyone else will pull off of you. Shield Lob does have bonus threat attached, and should be used for pulling whenever possible.*

*There are edge cases where provoke’s longer range allows it to be useful for pulling, usually to grab a patrolling enemy.


Savior of the Universe

Flash is essential for Gladiator tanking. It does no damage, but a lot of threat to all enemies near you; I guess they don’t like light shining in their eyes or something. The range is just barely longer than melee range, so don’t use it expecting to hit enemies halfway across the room (and if you use it running in you’ll probably hit nothing). Flash is your only tool to build threat on multiple enemies simultaneously between when you get it at level 8 and when you get Circle of Scorn at level 50. Even if you use high-threat attacks on your primary target, not using Flash will result in everything else running to murder your healer as soon as they heal you once. Using it once is frequently not enough, either. How many times you should use it and how frequently varies depending on your personal gear, how many enemies there are, how long they’re likely to live, and if anyone in your party is using AOE attacks (attacks that hit multiple targets). Belghast’s recommendation from today’s post is generally a good one: Pull with Shield Lob, Flash twice once things are near you, and Savage Blade combo until dead.

Since Flash does eat a decent chunk of your MP bar, the only acceptable use of Riot Blade in dungeons is to earn back the MP to use Flash more. It can be useful, particularly if you have DPS that are level synced from 50, to tank by spamming just Flash until you are out of MP and using the Riot Blade combo only when you can’t use Flash.


Adventurer in Need

There are some additional nuances, but what’s here is enough to carry you through until you hit 50, provided you also remember not to stand in glowing red things. I hope this helps beginning Gladiators; If you are one of them and you’re in the low-level queue, I thank you for making the queue shorter for the rest of us.

On Au Ra

The new race for Final Fantasy 14 has finally been announced. I’m personally choosing to treat this as FF14’s personal birthday gift to me, even though the timing is a bit off. The phrase “Don’t stop pretending you’re a dragon” (from the PS4 Conference abridged) has gotten a lot of use within our circle, and now FF14 is giving me another way to pretend.

au ra

Missing Something

I was torn on what race to initially play when we started playing FF14. I really liked the Galka in FF11, and my legacy character in FF14 was a Roegadyn. I initially passed on Roegadyn because male Miqo’te were added in 2.0, and unlike Galka, Roegadyn do not have tails. Turns out that’s important to me, as I used a Fantasia to change to Roegadyn last year, and changed back when I felt that I just liked my character less that way. I tend to like the big races however (I played mostly Tauren and Draenei in WoW) and as the second-shortest race Miqo’te are certainly not that.

Roegadyn Ash
One of the very few shots of Ash as a Roegadyn

Scales & Claws

The Au Ra appear to be almost exactly what I wanted. They’re dragon-people, with horns and tails and claws and scales, but with a basically human facial structure. That last part is probably important because of how much FF14 likes to use and abuse the fact that your character is a silent protagonist; it allows the player characters to remain expressive in recognizable ways. I’ve always taken a liking to the less-human race options in most games, because being a human is boring. The nature of the Final Fantasy 14 world means that actual non-humans aren’t likely to be an option soon or ever, but I’ll take what I can get. In addition to the horns and tails, Au Ra are a bit unusual in that they display more sexual dimorphism than the current races. I’m not sure this was entirely necessary (Female Roegadyn seem to be fairly well received), but I guess it might be a bit late to take back Yugiri’s appearance.


I find it somewhat interesting that character re-customization is just cheap enough that it’s a semi-common occurrence, but not cheap enough that people do it all the time. Also, after being subscribed for a month, you get one free Fantasia (which lets you change everything about your character except the name). Any additional ones are $10, with a bulk discount if you feel you really need that sort of thing. This is reasonable to me, and priced competitively with other games. (For reference, changes like this in WoW cost $15 if you don’t change races and $25 if you do, but a name change is included. Square charges an additional $10 for that, which is the same as a rename by itself costs in WoW.) When Heavensward comes out there are likely to be screenshots of Ash the Au Ra, and I’m looking forward to it.

On Jumping Good

The developers of Final Fantasy 14 have been very slow to make balance changes. The last patch to make major balance changes before last week was in December of last year, with major Warrior buffs, Summoner nerfs, and quality of life improvements for just about everyone. With Ninjas coming in with patch 2.4, it became clear that there were some balance issues between them and the existing melee DPS Jobs. As I’ve mentioned earlier, Dragoons had a few issues with positional requirements and magic defense that Ninjas and Monks did not share. I expected the patch to address these, and maybe nerf Ninjas a bit. (Ninjas were balanced on the assumption that Ninjutsu is hard, and it sort of isn’t. More on that later.)

What actually happened was beyond the wildest dreams of every Dragoon player I know. Buffs were received in multiple places, addressing both survivability and damage. The required math to figure out where they ended up in relation to the other classes is beyond me, but I have my suspicions.

Potency ↑

A few abilities got flat damage increases. Full Thrust went up by 30 potency (and so Life Surge -> Full Thrust became better burst). Both dots (Phlebotomize and Chaos Thrust) went up by 5 potency per tick (for a total of 30 and 50). The direct damage portion of Chaos Thrust also went up by 50 when used from behind; I’m pretty sure at 600 total that’s the highest displayed potency on any single target ability across all classes.

Impulse Drive didn’t get a potency increase, but now has full potency from all sides of the enemy (which incidentally means that it’s the only offensive ability you should use other than heavy thrust before Level 26). To go along with this, the positional requirements on all combo steps have been essentially eliminated (Heavy Thrust and Chaos Thrust still do more damage from the side/rear), and combos can no longer be “missed” by positioning incorrectly.

Cooldown ↓

The Dragoon’s signature Jump ability had its cooldown reduced from 40 seconds to 30 seconds. In addition to the straight damage increase this represents, it also allows it to line up nicely with Power Surge. Life Surge’s cooldown also decreased.

As a related note, I personally think that the way Ninjutsu’s 20 second cooldown aligns nicely with the ninja’s ability set is why that class was not as hard to play as anticipated. A 1-minute long rotation of Huton, Suiton, and Raiton overlays over the “standard” rogue rotation in a mostly predictable way.

Survivability ↑

The most important change in this patch for Dragoon survivability is that the magic defense on their armor increased to be equal to the amount on comparable Ninja/Monk armor. This change alone means a lot for survivability in boss fights, and it allowed us to use Dragoons as fireball soaks in T5 this past week. In addition, the cooldown that melee like to use at the worst times, Blood for Blood, had the damage taken component reduced for Dragoons only. (Monks and Ninjas can continue to kill themselves with it.) Combined, these might mean that Dragoons survive the boss AOE they’ll inevitably get hit with.

The End of loldrg?

Dragoon is still the melee that is perceived as being the easiest to play, and playing either of the other two optimally requires running it up to 34 anyway (for the aforementioned Blood for Blood). Because of this, there are a lot of potential dragoons, and some of them are still… unfortunate. The past two weeks have taught me that while good dragoon players are amazing, bad dragoon players are still bad, and no amount of patching is likely to fix that.

Maybe next game, guys.

On Speculation

First things first, this post is inspired by Bel’s post this morning, and conversations we’ve previously had. I might be the friend he mentions who would drop everything for Blue Mage. With the announcement that Dark Knight is going to look more like the version from FFX-2 than the version from FF11, the doors are open for wild speculation on the other jobs. I have a few ideas of my own, but we’ll start with one already covered.


In my opinion, this is a natural fit for a DPS job to go with the already-existing Marauder class. Marauders have almost everything needed to be a functional DPS class already. They have a long-duration DoT (although the potency is laughable), a slashing resistance debuff and a large DPS cooldown (which is even called “Berserk”) the only thing it lacks that the other melee DPS in the game have (including Ninja) is some form of gap closer, and all of these so far are Job abilities anyway. They’d likely have to give up the defenses of heavy armor in trade for proper DPS stats.

One of the reasons I think this would fit well is because the Warrior quests are all about not letting your rage overwhelm you, and gaining control over it. Berserker quests could provide an interesting counterpoint, displaying the power of what happens if you just let it all out. There are no actual hints of anything like this, so it’s just based on my wild speculation, but I’d like to see it.


There is already at least one NPC who is a master of illusion and strikes with cards. I don’t think a class focusing on such would be unreasonable, although this game doesn’t really need more DPS classes right now. With the Gold Saucer on the way, I think it would be nice to have a class using the traditional dice/cards/slots to do damage to enemies. It’s probably better for everyone involved if the number of negative effects associated with such a class were kept to a minimum, but purely positive things could still work (like Wakka’s attack reels, or Setzer’s dice).

To go along with this is the card-using trickster class from FF Tactics A2. This one lacked the random abilities, and had status abilities instead. They also had an abilities that did increased damage based on the number of statuses, similar to the ability Fester that summoners currently have. Since most of what this job did went to arcanists, it might not get reused.

Red Mage/Mystic Knight

One of the skills that I noticed early on that enemies use, but players can’t use in any way, it the en-[element] spells (like Enaero or Enthunder). These usually go to some sort of mystic knight class,but in FF11 they mostly went to the Red Mage along with a large assortment of other buffs and debuffs. Interestingly, I think this class would best fit into FF14 as a tank. Powerful defensive buffs could make up for potentially lighter armor, and weapon enchants could be switched around depending on situation, possibly for AOE, or increased survival, or other purposes.

Gun Mage

“But Ashgar, Gun Mage isn’t even a Final Fantasy class!” First, that’s incorrect. Second, as that game’s version of the Blue Mage, this would make me happy forever. As far as gun classes go, this one seems quite unlikely. Yoshi-P said that the gun class would be something that people didn’t expect (which immediately made people expect that it would be a healer), but I’m holding out hope for this.

I can dream, right?

On The [insert noun here]

Arrrr. Now that that’s out of the way…

Destiny is an interesting, and somewhat divisive game. I’ve been playing it a bit, and I’ve been having fun, but apparently not everyone is. It’s not perfect, but I will say that I haven’t had this much fun with a 70s Metacritic game in a long time.

Valid Complaints

Destiny’s story is kind of terrible. There’s a lot of backstory in the grimoire, but you can’t access the grimoire in any way while in-game. Until you get to Venus (more than halfway through the story missions) there simply isn’t much in the way of story at all presented in the missions. There’s also this very annoying tendency to name everything “The [insert noun here]”. The Traveler, The Speaker, The Stranger, and The Queen are all examples. (The grimoire is especially unhelpful in this case, as it also uses these names. Proper nouns have so far been exclusively used for enemies.) I feel like Isey has an appropriate take on the story as presented.

destiny robots
Gun variety has been a bit lacking, although since they reserved special effects for level 20 exotic gear and I’m not yet level 20, it’s a bit understandable. But since exotics are so rare, it might not be excusable. It’s hard not to draw comparisons to either halo or borderlands here, but the former had things like the needler and the plasma pistol and the latter had more interesting weapons than I can count. Destiny doesn’t have this, and in fact the only “non-standard” weapon type it presents is the Fusion rifle.

Why I’m Playing Anyway

Despite the things I just said, and the collective rant in the podcast last week, I’m playing the game, and it’s very fun. The animations for precision kills are satisfying. The super abilities are incredibly fun to use (Even the not very flashy Sunsinger Warlock one). Progression is always enough to hold interest for a while, and that can certainly be found here (even your weapons level up).

Last but certainly not least, playing with other people is a blast. the game’s overarching story isn’t great, but the story of the random things I did with Kodra while wandering the moon is more compelling. It’s not a perfect game, but I do think it’s a great one.

On Role Balance, Continued

I said that the DPS classes in Final Fantasy 14 could use a post to themselves, so here goes. The DPS classes are divided mostly into melee, casters, and Bard, which is a special case for a number of reasons. Interestingly, this role is often referred to as DD (damage dealer) as a holdover from Final Fantasy 11.


The options for melee in FF14 are Dragoon and Monk, and I’ll just get this out of the way now. Dragoons have a terrible reputation for dying a lot. (Even the developers made fun of this.) Both classes require moving for positional attacks directed at either the flank or the rear of their target, and the target circles are fairly helpful in helping you figure out where each of these starts. Monks generally have to move more for optimal DPS, but are penalized less for not moving. Dragoons lose entire combos without access to the flank or rear of enemies. Monks have a fair bit of ramp-up time (which can be mitigated somewhat with their level 50 ability, Perfect Balance) that dragoons do not. Dragoons tend to do larger single hits, monks don’t have anything with a potency higher than 190. In return, monks hit very quickly, getting up to 15% increased attack speed and 27% increased damage once they’ve been fighting for long enough. Dragoons have more off-GCD abilities, with a lot of cooldowns and their signature Jump ability.

Dragoons tend to have high physical defense (only tanks have better) and low magic defense (literally the worst in the game), leading to them taking extra damage if/when they get hit by boss AOE, which is almost always magic. Jump does apparently provide some untargetable time now (I don’t have lancer leveled and can’t test this), but it locks you in place for the duration of its animation, and can lead to eating boss attacks if used at unfortunate times. Monks have a different problem, in that if their rotation is interrupted for long enough, they lose their buffs and have to start from scratch. Perfect Balance every 3 minutes is not enough to mitigate this every time.

Either way, having a melee in the group gives everyone a strength bonus (meaning more threat for the tanks) and more importantly, access to a single-target limit break. Braver, Bladedance, or Final Heaven (depending on limit level) are incredibly useful in group content. This is kind of a balancing lever in itself, because as long as melee are the only ones with these attacks, melee will never be obsolete.


The choices here are Black Mage and Summoner. Summoner is a dot-based pet class, black mage is more direct damage with a fairly unique MP management mechanic. Both classes have a bit of defensive utility, with Eye for an Eye from summoners (which is cross-classable) and Apocatastasis from black mages (which is not). Summoners are the only non-healing class that can raise during battle. Summoners excel in AOE situations since they can apply a large portion of their single-target damage to as many as 4 things at once. Black mages excel when burst is called for, because Flare is one of the hardest hitting abilities in the entire game (and with some tricks it can be cast three times in a row).

Both of these classes are limited in the amount of DPS they can do while moving. Virtually all black mage spells used for DPS require you to stand still while casting. Summoners are a bit better off since their dots and pet can be going even if the caster has to move, but they still can’t re-apply most of their dots while moving. As far as the DPS produced by each class I don’t know which is actually better. Summoner DPS is incredibly difficult to parse, as it involves 3 dots, a week filler spell, a ground-targeted damage field, various pet abilities, and one very large hit. It’s hard to get a feel for if the damage you’re doing is good, and I think that drives a lot of players away from the class.

These classes also have a damaging limit break. The caster limit break is Skyshard/Starstorm/Meteor and it does significantly less damage than the melee one, but it’s a ground-targeted AOE. Most fights that don’t call for the melee limit break use this instead.

The Oddball

Bards are unique. They are currently the only dex-based class, and have unique benefits and drawbacks. Bards have various “song” options that drain the bard’s own MP for a group buff, either TP regen, MP regen, or lowered enemy resistances; these effects are entirely unique to that class. In addition, they’re a full DPS class in their own right and can do their full damage while moving. They’re also the best source of the silence effect.

The drawback for this is that they don’t have a damage dealing limit break, instead sharing their pool of limit breaks with the healing classes. It takes a bit of awareness to play this job well, since leaving one of the songs (other than Foe Requiem) running longer than you need to means you’re doing less damage than you should be.

This post kind of got away from me. I find it incredibly nice that systems in FF14 promote class diversity, and make all of the classes useful in some way. It creates sort of the reverse problem, where too many of any one thing is bad. The generally small group size (8 for “serious” content) also mitigates class stacking, but makes fitting all of the puzzle pieces in much harder. It’s a nice breath of fresh air from things I’m used to seeing where if you could, everyone in a raid would be one of two classes.

On Role Balance

Class design is always an interesting topic for me, and Bel’s post about Final Fantasy 14 classes yesterday sparked a bit of discussion. Final Fantasy 14 has 8 classes which promote into 9 jobs, all focused on either tanking, healing, or DPS. Ideally, every class option would be equal for every role, but this is impossible without giving every class the exact same abilities. Let’s take a look at some of these.


The one I’m most familiar with by far, the two tank jobs in FFXIV are Warrior and Paladin. Both classes wear the heaviest armor and have a number of skills that grant bonus threat.Eventually (Level 30 for warriors, Level 40 for Paladins) they get a stance that increases their survivability, decreases their damage done, and increases threat generation. The differing way in which this is accomplished has led to some perceived imbalance in the classes, and at launch (a year ago) this was actually true. Warriors had more health, but not enough damage reduction (leading to the “healing sponge” complaint that Druids faced in WoW). In addition, they had nothing that matched up to the invincibility that Paladins have as their level 50 class ability. This has been tweaked, and Warriors are just as good now, but the perception still remains that Paladins are good for MT and Warriors for OT. (Interestingly, if you’re optimizing for damage, the ideal situation is the other way around.)

In the mid levels, there’s some actual imbalance. Paladins don’t get their tank stance until level 40, whereas everyone else gets a massive stat boost (and usually some important ability) on hitting 30, making the levels from 30-40 extremely rough in terms of holding aggro. (Survival is less of an issue, as Paladins have better cooldowns than warriors at this stage.) Nowhere is this more clear than in Brayflox’s Longstop, a level 32 dungeon; this is the first instance most people do with their newly acquired jobs as it’s required for the story. Healing this dungeon is generally harder with a Paladin tank than a Warrior tank, but not insurmountably so.


The two healing classes are Scholar and White Mage, and unlike the tanks these have been pretty balanced since the game relaunched. The White Mage is more traditional, with a toolbox consisting pretty much entirely of direct heals, with a long-cast-time shield spell (used before combat more than anything else) and a decent heal-over-time. The Scholar has a pet fairy that helps heal, and an assortment of shielding and damage reducing spells (They can also cross-class the White Mage’s shield spell). Because so much of their healing is preventative, I feel like people notice less when they’re doing a good job.

Not helping is that the class that Scholars promote from (Arcanist) is not a healer, so if you take that path you can’t queue as a healer until you get your job crystal. As such, Scholars sometimes reach Brayflox and have no experience healing in a group, which is compounded by the issue I outlined earlier with tank variation. It’s further compounded by the last boss making use of stacking poison, and Scholars not having a dispel until level 40.

The Longest of Stops

The instance I’ve mentioned twice in this post, Brayflox’s Longstop, is run by a lot of players more than once because of all of the nice things that drop out of there. There’s a set for physical DPS, a set for mages of all kinds, and a set for tanks, all with unique graphics, along with a full set of class-specific rings which are fairly nice. Since dungeons are also used to level now, it’s a fair bet that most players will also hit it many times during the 30s as they work their way up to Stone Vigil(the next required dungeon in the story) even if they don’t need any gear from there. While the game is fairly balanced at max level in regards to the above roles, it’s anything but balanced here. I have to wonder if the impressions left from doing this instance color impressions at the cap more than they probably should. I’ve seen both White Mages and Scholars carry groups on their back in the 8-man content. I’ve seen both Warriors and Paladins pull off incredible feats of survival (and I’ve personally done it a lot more as a Warrior than a Paladin). It’s a bit unfortunate to see one of these classes get the shaft in most rundowns.

There’s an additional issue of DPS balance, but that’s an issue that deserves its own full post.

On ギルガメッシュ

As a break from slightly more serious subjects, let’s talk about Gilgamesh, the best character in Final Fantasy. Our Free Company organized a group to fight him in FF14 over the weekend, and certain things about it seemed really familiar.

Battle on the Big Bridge

Gilgamesh debuted in FF5, where he serves as a minion of Exdeath and general comic relief. (This is important, because a lot of people die during the section of the game that he’s primarily in.) He’s fought four times in actual battles before Exdeath gets tired of his failures and tosses him into the Rift. The second of these introduces Gilgamesh’s now-famous theme, and takes place in a location known only as the “Big Bridge”. Gilgamesh isn’t the only thing you fight here, but he ambushes you as you attempt to go through a door in a watchtower.

As far as FF bosses go, he’s pretty easy. He’s vulnerable to Old, an absolutely crippling status in FF5, and due to the timing you’re quite likely to be using a weapon that can inflict old on hit (it’s the best sword available at that point in the game). For fiesta parties he’s frequently a bit harder, because the -a level spells are starting to wane in effectiveness and it’s right before you reach a town with weapon upgrades.

Final Fantasy V Advance_61 Final Fantasy V Advance_52

Speaking of which, you have 11 days to finish the Fiesta. Get to it!

Thrown Into The Rift!

Usually, Gilgamesh is thrown into the rift where he sacrifices himself to defeat the boss guarding the last save point in FF5. However, him getting thrown into the rift is technically optional (Don’t open the chest that contained the Excalipur in Exdeath’s castle) and him sacrificing himself to defeat Necrophobe is also optional (either don’t fight Necrophobe or deal over 9999 damage in a turn to finish him off), so his fate is a little ambiguous. Later games have taken this to mean that he’s a dimension hopping wanderer, making appearances in FF1 (GBA, and versions based on it), FF6 (same as FF1), FF8, FF9, FF12, FF13-2, and FF14. Unlike the other cross-series characters, Gilgamesh acts nearly the same in almost all of these.


Welcome to Eorzea

This brings us to FF14, and a trial so very imaginatively referred to as the “Battle on the Big Bridge”. It’s a bit of a spoiler to explain why you’ve come to this place, but it’s where you face Gilgamesh once again. He even appears right after you open a door, just like in FF5. When fighting him, he takes several of his lines directly from his FF5 lines. His fighting style hasn’t changed much either, with plenty of blue magic and jumps to go around. This is another example of what FF14 is really good at. Along with Crystal Tower, it’s a love letter to several of the previous games in the series. If they continue making content like this (this fight was added in patch 2.2) then I could see myself playing this game for a long time. Maybe Bel’s right, and this can be a new “home” for a while.


For more posts about… everything, check out the Blaugust Initiative. For some D&D math, check out Kodra’s post about DPR for Strength based classes. (Before anyone comments, we both know there’s more to the game than Damage Per Round.)

On Getting Carried

…be sure to make yourself as light as possible.

That’s advice I heard about League of Legends, but it clearly has wider implications. As you may have heard from Belghast, we finished our respective relic quests yesterday, earning himself a Bravura and myself a Curtana (with accompanying Holy Shield). I was dreading having to tank Garuda, which was a somewhat difficult encounter in 4-man form. On the advice of Kodra, I queued up for it anyway, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as anticipated. The other tank was massively more geared than I was, so my entire function was to be a cheerleader. It took one try, and I’m pretty sure the group would have succeeded if I’d somehow dropped dead on the pull, rather than contributing my meager tank DPS.

Titan was a different sort of carry. Through sheer dumb luck, the other tank was also someone looking to complete his relic quest. As a result, I was the MT for that fight. I had severe aggro issues simply due to gear differences, but I did all I could to keep up. The first attempt we failed to kill the heart (several DPS had been knocked off, and I died during that phase). Second attempt looked like it was going better, but we wiped late in the fight when both healers got Venn diagrammed. On the third attempt, we lost the Scholar very early, and I saw the other healer’s ridiculous ability to carry a group given enough gear and skill. I came out of it suitably awed and with a fancy new sword+shield.

I guess I was light enough. I’m probably going to do it again soon for my own Bravura, as I got the raw crafted weapon ready before we left the game, so I just have to do all of the bosses again. Hopefully I’ll get to do my own carrying once I get enough gear.

For more posts about… everything, check out the Blaugust Initiative. For a look at how the Lego games manage to retell complex stories without words, check out Hello Cynical Badger’s post from yesterday.