The Journey into Savage 33A casual scrub's raiding misadventures
Friday, Apr 3. It is Week 7 of Savage release, and at last I had enough experience to fight for the clear. At this point in Eden's Gate, I had only seen Phase 1 of Titan and it would be many more weeks of struggle before the clear.
Fighting to clear is a completely different experience from the learning party because in Savage, not only must you do the mechanics, you must do enough damage to kill the boss before it casts its final attack, the enrage that kills the party no matter what. In a learning party, if you have some deaths, you can still continue as long as you don't wipe. In a clear party, a few people dying will doom the run even if you don't wipe, because the time spent not attacking the boss, the loss of resources and the weakness debuff will cause enough loss of DPS that you can't kill the boss in time.
Every death must be avoided. Every mechanic must be done correctly, because all of Shiva's mechanics that do not wipe the party inflict Damage Down. There will be no heroic healer LB3 to save the party, because the melee DPS will be using it for damage once it fills. Everyone must dps as hard as possible, including tanks and healers. Food, dps potions, materia, all must be used. Every onze of strength is precious.
If you did all the above and still can't pass the enrage, there are no words for the crushing disappointment you feel. I think Ardbert puts it best: (Patch 3.4 MSQ spoilers)
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When you have this experience of struggling against the enrage, you will understand why raiders are so obsessed with optimization, dps meter and FFLogs, because the game requires firepower to clear. If we fail to clear, we must know: Am I doing enough DPS? Am I doing something wrong? Am I the reason for the party's failure, and how can I help it succeed? The ones who cleared, how much DPS did they do? etc.
However, there is also a kind of contradiction, because you don't really need perfect play or fancy tricks to clear. At least, in my experience, Savage is not so hard that the loss of 1 GCD will cause you to wipe, and you can even make some small errors in your rotation and play a little safe. Just do the correct rotation, have good fundamentals such as minimizing movement and always attacking if possible, do all the mechanics and don't die, and you will kill the boss.
Easily said, but can I do it? It's time to find out.
On April 3, I joined one party. The 1st pull got all the way to Icelit! Despite a promising start, careless mistakes ended the next two pulls, and then someone had to leave, so we disbanded... I joined another "Icelit prog" party later, hoping that we could progress to the clear. This did not happen, but the party was able to learn Icelit Dragonsong, and I felt the additional experience benefited me, so I considered it time well spent.
Saturday, Apr 4. This is the 14th day of my battle against Shiva. I woke up early and joined a clear party started by a WHM I played with a few times before. This party started off very promisingly. In fact, on the very first pull, with 2 deaths, several damage downs, and a mistake on the add phase, we got 1% enrage!
Everyone was excited. If everyone drinks DPS potions, and we can do the add phase correctly and avoid most mistakes, we will clear for sure.
* * *
We did not clear.
Every pull, there was some mistake or another, and either we wiped, or we lost too much dps...
No, I must be honest, I was the reason we didn't clear. On one pull, I slid into Akh Rhais and died. On one pull, I ran into the healer while using invuln on the Morn Afah, because I was used to doing it for a different Morn Afah instead. On another, I stood 1 step too far. Somehow, I could not repeat that 1st pull where I did everything correctly, like I had done so many times before...
There are people who view Savage raiders as elitist or perfectionist, demanding flawless execution on every run. However, as always, the party was very understanding. Nobody blamed me or scolded me. Someone in discord even said not to worry, this happens to people every tier.
Others in the party may make errors, but it is always your own mistakes that come back to haunt you. You agonize over that awful, awful moment when you messed up something you did perfectly 50 times before, and denied the party their clear...
The mistake that was most painful for me was at Wyrm's Lament 2, the final mechanic. This is what the mechanic looks like when done properly. Shiva will fire color-coded Akh Morns on the 2 tanks (getting hit by an Akh Morn of both colors is instant death), requiring the party to split up into 2 light parties that stack separately. In-between the Akh Morns going off, party members must run into the rotating dragon heads that circle the arena to cleanse their debuff, and the dragon head explodes whenever someone runs into it.
On this pull, we were well ahead of the DPS requirement. Shiva should be at 16% when Wyrm's Lament 2 starts to cast, and we were at 15%! However, I stood 1 step too far out, and was hit by the exploding dragon head, taking over 600k damage. Because a tank died, the next Akh Morn went to the wrong party, and it was an instant wipe.
There was no excuse for what I did. Not only do I have experience of Wyrm's Lament 2 and did it correctly before, all the guides I read strongly emphasized the importance of avoiding the dragon head's explosion, and as a tank I should be highly aware of proper positioning and movement in the first place. These are the mistakes that haunt you. If only I had stood closer, if only I had moved faster, if only I had remembered - if only, if only!
However, the day was not a total loss! This party was using Discord, and after the battle I struck up a conversation with them in their Discord chat, and offered to buy them DPS potions since some needed them. We exchanged contacts and agreed to meet up again and attempt to clear.
Although I didn't get the clear, I think I made some friends. Actually, if I must choose, I'll take the friends over the clear. There will always be another day, another clear party, another Savage tier, but good people to play with are a treasure.
Don't get bitter, just get better! (Even 1% better is enough ;_;) Let's clear together next time!Next: The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway >>