The Journey into Savage 8A casual scrub's raiding misadventures
Yesterday I joined an E2S fresh learning party, and once we got into the instance, party leader (without assigning positions, explaining anything or discussing strategy) just said "alright, get to learning." So I started countdown and pulled, and we all died at once. Lol!
But! That was actually a good party. We talked over mechanics and learned a lot. Several members had no experience at all, but we made it from fresh learning all the way to 2nd flares in a 90 minute lockout. I still need more experience to become familiar with 2nd flares. Then I can learn the last phase, and go for the E2S clear.
But that's not really the highlight of my week so far. It was the E1S party I joined.
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I wanted to refresh my memory of E1S in preparation for weekly clear, so I joined a clear party to help them clear. This was mere hours before reset, so for these players, it was the last opportunity to clear on week 1 and effectively receive 1 more week's worth of loot.
We went in, and everyone was silent. I had to ask the usual questions to get us started. What strategy are you using, where should we stand for this mechanic, etc. On the 3rd pull we saw enrage at 2%. Victory in sight!
But somehow we could not make it there again. Time after time, something would always go wrong and cause a wipe. Someone would stand in the wrong place, stack wrongly, or miss a mechanic. Mechanics that were done correctly on previous pulls would be messed up on later ones. They could do all the individual parts of the fight correctly, it just never all happened in the same pull. I admit I was a little frustrated at the end.
In the end DRG suggested that we take a break, but I saw that there were 13 minutes left on the instance timer. The fight is exactly 10 minutes from pull to enrage, so I said, "let's try 1 last time."
The minute those words came out of my mouth, I wondered if it was the right thing to say. After all, when you put someone on the spot and tell them they have 1 last chance, they will get nervous and make more mistakes (that's why I'm skeptical of PF's with scary messages like "1 mistake = kick"). Believe me, that was not my intention and I only wanted to make full use of the instance timer.
However, the party really rose to the challenge. Despite 1 early death, we made it through all the early phases successfully. DPS was strong. I had saved Hallowed Ground for the heavy damage immediately before the start of 2nd meteors, and entered the trickiest phase of the battle in healthy condition.
But cotank (who was responsible for baiting N laser) had not, and died!
I quickly took his place to do the mechanic safely. Healer raised the dead cotank, only for him to press accept in the middle of a fatal aoe. No, he's saved! Another healer immediately rescued him to safety with Rescue.
Disaster averted, we proceed into the final phase, only for another disaster to strike. In one of the final mechanics, players must stack in 4 pairs, and overlapping pairs will cause instant death. Unfortunately, 1 player stands a little too close to the others. 1 step is all it takes to cause disaster. In a single blow, 2 dps and a healer are killed.
There are only 20 seconds of the fight left. There is mathematically not enough time to raise all the dead. "Kill it!" "Get iiiiiiit" cried the KO'ed players as the boss began to cast the next mechanic. It is the very last mechanic before the enrage.
But I was already smiling as I hammered the Confiteor button and watched Eden Prime crumble.
The whole thing played out like a cheesy sports movie. You have the rag-tag band of misfits, the long training sequence with hijinks everywhere, the final match where the team has 1 last chance to win or be disbanded, sudden disaster at halftime, a miracle comeback in the 9th inning, etc. All we were missing was a coach to tearfully tell us he/she had faith in us, and we could sell the script to Disney.
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After the clear I thought about why I chose to raid. I am very casual: till this day I literally only have 1 job leveled. Many of you with multiple jobs leveled and geared, rare mounts and achievements, etc. are far more hardcore than I am. If you told me 1 year ago that one day I would be doing hardcore raids, I would probably laugh and say your crystal ball is broken.
I guess it's because in my opinion, a game does not feel like a game unless there is some risk of failure. In dungeons and normal trials, we are guaranteed to clear. Vote abandons and wipes are rare exceptions. So the victories feel meaningless to me, while the failures frustrate me.
In Savage, knowing that a single misstep could cause a wipe, I never felt this way. And whenever those inevitable missteps were made and we still managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, we cheered.
I don't want to look down on people who don't do Savage. After all, just because you do not raid does not mean you are a poor player. Conversely, challenging Savage does not necessarily make me some kind of elite - with the right mindset and preparation, I think the majority of players could clear at least some of it. And maybe I will regret my words soon enough, if I fail to clear E2S.
All I know is I can never go back. For better or worse, this is what I play for now. That moment when everything hangs in the balance, players scrambling to adjust in the wake of a death, the enrage cast bar slowly filling up. Will our story end in cheers or tears? It's the fact that we don't know that makes it fun.
Don't get bitter, just get better! Let's clear together next time!