Act 1: You Must Be In-Sync
It was couple weeks after the patch 5.3 dropped. I happened to be reading gaming news online, and notice that there is a post saying that SE extended the free trial on FFXIV to free to play until lv60.
At that time, I thought about sign up for a free trial account. I mean, there are plenty of things to do before post lv60. PvP is one of them. You can get access of all of them without paying a dime in sub, and login any day you like. I was also told that SE re-do the lv 1-50 MSQ. So maybe it would be an interesting experience.
Thinking that the tank queue is likely to be faster, I started off as a gladiator. When I finished the ARR story, I thought maybe I should take this opportunity to play the jobs that I don't play much on my main. So I started levelling AST instead.
When I was doing the MSQ on HW expansion, I was also queuing on DF for the ex-primals. I didn't think it would pop at all, but I was pleasantly surprised.
The first ex-primal I did was Shiva. The first DF party was a 30 min+ in progress party. The tank kept forgetting to turn Shiva to the group so we can share the damage, so he was one-shot almost every single run. I just rez him and kept moving on. However, we still wipe because there are too many of us slide to the edge at the final phase and turn into ice cubes. It is a shame that I only joined the party half way. There were limited time to practise before we were time on the instance. Couple days later, I queued up for a few ex-primals and Shiva Ex popped again. This time, we had a tank who knew the mechanics. It only took couple pulls and we killed Shiva.
It surprised me it was possible to queue for ex-primal on DF. Back in the days when I was subbing (we are talking about 3.x), it never popped. So I went on and cleared all the ARR ex primal on DF except for Mog King and Laviathen. Sometimes we get some people from mentor roulette, and they were very friendly and helpful. Then, I started queuing for Coil of Bahamut as well. I thought I won a lottery when T5 popped.
Within the eight of us, there are probably one or two people did this before, while some were brand new. In the past I only cleared this fight unsync-ed. I have come in for a sync-ed run but only died to the twister. However, my memory about the mechanics of this fight was hazy. The first phase of the fight wasn't difficult. We just have to learn to share the fire marker and kill whatever that thing was in the puddle. Then, it was the dive bomb time. I think it was the part where there is always someone didn't make it to the ditch on time, got lost, then unfortunately got knocked to the edge and die. Eventually I found it easier to just shield everybody, run at the dragon and let it hits us. Hopefully when we got hit, we get knocked to the middle instead of the edge. Then my coheal and I can top the team off, shield and do this again.
I don't think this is the right way to handle the dive bomb. We survived because we were at ilv130. We would be dead if we went in at minimal ilv.
We made it pass that phase, but then most people die to the twister. I made two marco with beeping sound to warn people when twister was casting and when the add showed up. In the past I always die from Twister. I was so happy that I went from always dying on this mechanics to be able warn other people about it while dodging it myself.
Still, we were wiping to Twister and the add. However, considering we were 8 strangers on DF, no raid lead, no call out, I was quite happy that we made it that far within 90 minutes. Unfortunately, there was a time limit, and we had to part.
"I waited so long on this queue." My coheal, a WHM said to us.
"Well, I will queue again after this. Maybe we will meet again." I said to him.
I got out, requeued. It was not a long wait, and the queue popped again. It was the same WHM, DNC and tank. There were couple new faces, but most of us were in the last DF.
We quickly got to the Twister phase. A few more pulls, some more practices on dodging Twister, more people alive to kill the add. Eventually, there were no more twister, no more add, the boss were shooting a strange ball that deal damage. I think 3 out of 8 people were on the floor. I have never seen that phase before, and had no idea what is this mechanics about. I just spammed everything to keep the remaining people alive. Before I noticed, Twintania was dead. At least 6 achievement notices popped up.
It was so satisfying. Even we were overgeared and had echo, T5 was not easy. I didn't expect it is clearable on DF with randoms, with most of us new to this fight, and all within two lockouts.
I continued to queued for T5-T9 while doing MSQ on HW content. Unfortunately, they never popped. When I hit level 60, I queued on DF for the lv60 ex primals.
Even sync-ed at lv60, Ravana Ex was so easy. Our overall dps was so strong that not only we skipped the add phase, we one-shot the boss. Bismark Ex took two pulls, because most people forgot to jump off the boss' back if the carprice was not killed. Otherwise, it was straight forward. Then, it came to Thorden Ex, it took us five pulls. There were a few times the tanks didn't seperate the two knights. Then, there was a run I messed up on the charge mechanics and stood right in front of the knight instead of back of the group. So forth and so forth, but it only took five pulls to clear, on DF, with random people, with more than half of the team has bonus.
What a sorry state of Thorden. I remember doing this fight when patch 3.1 first released. I just turned lv60 not long before that patch and went in as a WHM at minimal ilv. My HP was so low that I got one-shot if I ever got tether to a knight. Back then I ended up doing this fight as a BLM with tank accessories, so I can use mana wall to save myself if I ever got tether. It was so hard to progress beyond phase 5, and it took more than a month before I finally clear the fight.
Five years later, you can kill this on DF with random party of newbies.
When I first signed up for a free trial account, I was only thinking of doing PvP.
Back in 4.0, I un-subbed the game after experiencing wave after wave of static drama. I did resub roughly about once a year, but I was reluctant to go back to raiding.
Four years later, I started to come to term that the most interesting contents in this game are the raid contents. These old contents has a lot of entertainment value when it is sync-ed down closer to their original difficulties. Other things are just pale in comparison.
Table of content of this series is here