The Journey into Savage 14A casual scrub's raiding misadventuresI'm hungry! Image by u/Irethius on RedditWarning! Spoilers for Eden's Gate: Sepulture (Savage) boss transition follow!
My progress on Titan was slow and plagued with problems. It took a long time to fill learning parties, especially for fresh learning and phase 1. People often dropped out after several wipes, and of those parties that did stick together, many would call it a day after they have seen the transition to phase 2. But most of all, I had little time to raid. In the end, it's difficult for a casual like me to make serious progress...
Through it all, one mechanic stood out to me: Bomb Boulders
Titan uses his classic "Bomb Boulders" mechanic that also appears in The Navel (Hard): 3 rows of bombs appear, and explode in order. The way of doing this is to stand at the 3rd row, wait for the 1st row to explode, then run into the safe area left behind: a "3 > 1 dodge".
In Savage, Titan simultaneously forces you to hide behind one of four rocks around the area from his Seismic Wave attack just before the first bomb explosion.
The "intended" way of doing the mechanic is probably to check which safespot is at the 3rd row of bombs, then hide there. However, because the boss does not move when casting, this forces melee dps and tanks to disengage from the boss, and the loss of firepower is considered unacceptable. Therefore, the strategy adopted by NA raiders is to position Titan behind the closest safe spot instead. By random chance, it is possible that this safe spot will be at the 2nd row of bombs, forcing you to dodge out of the 2nd row of bombs immediately once the 1st row explodes: a "2 > 1 dodge". The timing is incredibly strict!
I play from Malaysia under a high amount of latency (220ms). Even with the help of VPN, the mechanic is very punishing. When I first tried it, I got hit by the bombs every single time. I wondered: is it even possible to do this under such high latency?The bombs give vuln up, damage down and healing power down, so it is absolutely critical to avoid being hit at all costs.
Then I came across critical information. Observant raiders noticed that the explosion of the 1st row of bombs (which always falls in the center) does not completely cover the middle 2 columns. Standing in the corner of one of the 4 middle tiles reduces the distance to the center and helps avoid getting hit by the explosions of the 2nd bombs.
However, the next time I tried it, I got hit again! I realized that due to latency and the delay in the animation, by the time the explosion appears, it is too late to move. Then I noticed that the bombs actually appear as untargetable adds in the enmity list, and you must look at the castbar to accurately determine when they explode.
I tried various ways to improve my success, including the most extreme measure: stop all DPS, press no buttons and ensure the mechanic is done properly. Even so, my success rate at the 2 > 1 dodge was only about 50%.
Finally, after carefully watching my video replay, I made a breakthrough. I was moving diagonally into the center of the arena, which increases the travel distance. It is better to move horizontally into the center 2 columns, which reduces the distance to the safe zone. At long last, I was able to do the mechanic with 100% success rate.
That was my experience of learning Savage. At first, you are shrouded in darkness, and understand nothing. "What am I supposed to do? What is going on?" Then, when you understand the guide and discover what is expected of you, the enormity of the task seems daunting. It feels impossible, unreasonable. But slowly, you gain knowledge and experience. Each wipe teaches you something - this is too close, this is too far, that doesn't work, etc. Eventually, your learning coalesces into mastery and you are able to do the once-impossible task with ease. The darkness of your ignorance brings out the brightness of your understanding and makes it shine.
And I think a great learning party is one where at the end everyone feels happy that we advanced in the fight and can say "thank you for prog", one where you finally mastered some mechanic you have been struggling with.
But time is running out. Soon, patch 5.1 and Ultimate will be released, and the number of people attempting savage will decrease. I decided to abandon the list of best-in-slot equipment given by the Balance discord, rush all slots to maximum ilvl to ease progression, and stop weekly reclears of E1S and E3S as I no longer need gear from them. It is time to make a focused effort and sprint forward to the finish line.
On week 9 of Eden savage, I joined Phase 2 parties for the first time. Here I was surprised! I found the mechanics in Phase 2 much easier than in Phase 1, and learned them quickly. They give much more time to react.
The whole of Phase 2 is a geometry puzzle, where Titan puts various markers on you and you must figure out where to go based on what markers you get. I realized the true challenge of this phase belongs to the elite few - those raiders participating in the race for world 1st, or challenging the tier blind in the early weeks of Eden savage, who had no guides to instruct them and must solve the puzzle on their own. For scrubs like me, the solution is already known, and all that is left is the execution.
No, the difficulty lay in getting to phase 2 to practice it! Many pulls were ended early by careless mistakes in Phase 1. It was extremely hard to consistently get to Phase 2 with the party in healthy condition. Even though I considered myself familiar with Phase 1, I still fell victim to simple errors such as getting knocked off the platform on several occasions. That's not to mention the issue of DPS - since Phase 1 has such unpredictable movement, it was tough for me to optimize.
The fight is incredibly punishing. There are so many places where a single wrong step, a single failed mechanic could wipe the party. The healers are constantly under immense strain, so it is critical for tanks to reduce incoming damage and protect the party well. In fact, even Titan's autoattacks do over 30k damage each (Tanks have HP from 130 to 145k depending on gear), so I studied my recordings of the fight to identify phases where the boss does autoattacks and prepare cooldowns for them.
The furthest I have seen is the last set of healer gaols in Tectonic Uplift 2. Beyond that, there are only 3 major mechanics left for me to learn, then, it will be time to begin the long and arduous process of trying to clear in clear parties.
Step by step, inch by inch, towards a victory we have forged with our own two hands, the long and rocky road continues.
Don't get bitter, just get better! Let's clear together next time!