The Journey into Savage 11A casual scrub's raiding misadventures
I tossed and turned in bed before waking up from a troubled sleep. It was August 22, 2:30 a.m.
No, I didn't dream of FF, silly! Do you think this is a gaming anime?! Lol.
I had gone to bed early, intending to get up in the morning and raid. Unfortunately, my air-conditioning broke that evening, and the weather was hot. It was impossible to sleep. I decided to wake and play. As I brushed my teeth and showered, I remembered to my thoughts on the drive home from work yesterday.
"A journey to see how far I can go." "To become a better player." "I am not some elite player who aims to clear early." etc.
These are all things I told myself at the beginning, to encourage myself to take that first step. However, I realize that I am not satisfied being stuck at only the 2nd floor. I don't want to be left behind, I want to go further than ever before. I won't waste the time and effort of those raiders who spent hours training me.
I barely played on Week 2 and 3. Now, at the start of Week 4 of Savage, it is time to sprint ahead and join the others fighting Leviathan. For the first time I let go of those old thoughts and told myself instead: I will clear no matter what.
That's how, in the quiet hours before dawn, the hum of the PC filled my home. The nostalgic sound reminded me of my days in university, waking up to play games before going to class.
I joined a solo WHM who had started a 2 chest "Quietus to enrage" party. They did not answer my greetings, and I settled in for a long wait. However, I saw another party appear saying "2 chest clear for 1. Have been to 2% enrage. Easy clear." There were already 7 players inside, with a tank slot open.
I hesitated. Is this a trap party (party that is unlikely to achieve its goal)? It sounds too good to be true. I hesitated a bit and decided to join, just on the basis of needing to spend less time waiting for the party to fill. We assigned positions, and the first pull began.
DPS is strong and we progress smoothly through the phases. I had been told by NA raiders that in order to clear with a reasonable margin of safety, the boss must be at 20% HP or less when the first Quietus starts to cast. As it begins, I glance at the HP bar. 19%!! Is this it? Have I stumbled upon the party that can do it where so many others cannot?
But mistakes occur. Cotank dies, and I take over tanking, moving to the 12 o'clock position. She is raised, however at the next mechanic I go to my old position, and disaster ensues.
In Savage, an unspoken rule of tanking - no guide mentions this, though it is easy to figure out - is that when you swap with your cotank, any assigned position for mechanics is swapped too. For example, MT was assigned N and I was E. Since I took over tanking the boss, I am supposed to go N now, essentially becoming the new MT. This is generally done to keep the boss facing N. (The only exception I saw is E1S, where tanks keep their starting positions no matter what.) Instead, I went E, overlapping powerful aoe attacks on my cotank, and we both die.
I facepalm so hard at such an elementary mistake.
Off we go again. I misplace a lookaway marker, and kill one of the melee dps. MT lags during 1st flares, and the party is wiped. She goes to reset her router. Our DNC checks on dinner.
SCH is very jovial, and jokes with us to pass the time as we wait for DNC to come back. "We all look somewhat weird except MT," she says. What does that even mean, lol?! Look here, I look completely normal.
DNC comes back after an unusually long wait. "I have to go," is all he says. We never found out what happened to his dinner...
In PF, when someone leaves, there is always a possibility that it causes a domino effect of more people leaving, until the party disbands. If you have found a competent party with good chance of clearing, you always pray: don't leave, please stay, we can do this! Fortunately nobody leaves and we are soon joined by a replacement DNC.
Again we set off. Our new DNC is about as competent as our previous teammate, and the party still has a strong chance to clear. The GNB is among the best cotanks I have ever worked with, beaten only by the Ultimate cleared WAR who trained me. Her movements are precise and her mitigation is effective.
But even extremely good players are human, and sometimes make errors on easy mechanics. Someone forgets to look away at an eye, and dies. One of the DPS stands right in the path of one of the earliest mechanics, and dies; we wipe to reset. "@#$%, I forgot", "sjfdhdfksdk", each mistake is accompanied by an expletive. At last, a shaky run with many players being hit by damage down brings us to enrage - only the 3rd enrage I have ever seen on this boss.
The clear is within reach. If we can just dodge adds a little better, we will clear. We switch dance partners from SAM to the MNK (it is a higher dps job than SAM currently). Nobody says anything; we are all tense, knowing that victory is close. MT starts the countdown without a word.
The final pull. All goes smoothly, and then Quietus begins to cast. I glance at the boss's HP bar: 18%. Our performance is better than ever before. If we can do it at all, it has to be now.
We do cycles correctly. Nobody dies in what is by far the hardest part of the fight. I don't see large amounts of damage down on the party list.
Another Quietus cast. The enrage is very close now. I start popping everything in a panic. Str potion, fight or flight, requiescat, in order to output a desperate last burst of dps. I completely ruin the strict PLD rotation in doing so, but in a few seconds it won't matter any more.
The final mechanics are 3 consecutive casts of Quietus, for powerful raidwide damage. After each cast, the boss gives itself damage up, and coordinated mitigation from tanks and healers is needed, or the entire party will be one shot. The RDM, with the lowest HP of us all (81k), does not survive the final Quietus even with Passage of Arms, Divine Veil, Succor and other powerful defenses in effect.
The final enrage cast starts filling up. How many times have I been here? All caution thrown to the wind, desperately trying to kill the boss before the enrage can wipe us? But this time, I am smiling. I already know we have done it.
And that's how, 3 weeks to the day I downed Eden Prime, I stepped through the gates of the Wall!
Of course I'm not stopping! I'll continue to practice E2S, especially from the MT position, while moving onward to Leviathan. Let's clear together next time!