The Journey into Savage 20A casual scrub's raiding misadventures
As I read the summary of the Producer's Live Letter, I felt a shiver of anticipation! The next Savage raid series - Eden's Verse - and patch 5.2 are predicted to arrive on 18 Feb. It is time to begin the next leg of my journey.
I can't believe I'm writing this, but I'm excited! I feel like I'm preparing for a vacation or overseas trip.
The release of a new Savage tier is a magical time. Everyone is discovering new mechanics and discussing strategy. Everywhere are stories of desperate battles, of parties saved by quick thinking and brilliant players, of wacky hijinks and funny mishaps. It's like a carnival and sports tournament all in one. I've never experienced anything like it in a game.
This time, I won't be among the vanguard challenging Savage on day 1. That's because I'll spend the first day clearing the new Ruby Weapon EX. Its ilvl 485 weapon is stronger than the crafted one, and I'll need its firepower for the challenges ahead. On day 2, I'll begin Eden's Verse proper.
I set aside money to pay for raid food, potions and crafted gear. I filled my wallet with tomestones and scrips, and packed my backpack with combat materia for overmelding. This time, I also took 2 days of paid leave on the weekend of patch release.
Why? Because I hope to clear earlier. I spent 13 weeks to conquer Titan. 13 long weeks of focusing on Savage and waking up early several times a week to raid burnt me out a little.
I asked for advice from experienced raiders. They suggested that I frontload my playtime, playing more during the earlier weeks, and less during the later ones. That's because the strongest players will be progressing during the early weeks, so parties are more successful. Indeed, while our image of a hardcore player is one who spents long hours every day playing, many elite raiders seem to play intensely for short periods and then relax. I read about one guy who spent 30 hours clearing everything on week 1, and after that only logged in to collect his weekly loot! I'm not that good - but I still want to make a focused effort on the first week.
I go alone, with no static to accompany me. I managed to clear Eden's Gate with a decent result, and thought of finding a casual static. But considering my odd schedule and the difficulty of finding 7 other players with compatible motivation and skill level, I decided against it. I think that pugging gives me so much more freedom - I raid when I want to, my progress is my own responsibility. In some way, I also became proud that I cleared as a pug, that I have nobody to do callouts, cannot ask my friends to change the strategy for me, and must contribute my fair share of the party's dps. I became proud that I survived the wild, wild world of PF alone and can fight competently in any party you put me in.
Since I cleared Titan, I should be well-prepared for the next tier, right? However, many raiders commented that Titan was mechanically simple, and the main difficulty of Titan - the strict DPS check - was greatly eased by good gear. When I killed Titan I had an ilvl of 470, so the Titan I killed was a lot easier than the challenge faced by those in the earliest weeks, when gear levels are still low. This video by twitch.tv/OryzaMercury
explains how Titan's difficulty eased a lot in the later weeks, and why.
Furthermore, the producer and the Savage battle designers all said that the next tier will be harder. It's clear that this time, I will be facing a far, far greater challenge.
When I set out to challenge Eden's Gate, I was unsure of my strength. I told myself: I am on a journey to see how far I can go.
But this time, I'll chose instead to repeat those audacious words:I will clear no matter what.
Don't get bitter, just get better! Let's clear together next time!