The Journey into Savage 29A casual scrub's raiding misadventures
The Balance discord's guide to E8S begins with a warning: "Shiva is a dance-like fight with the hardest DPS check of any tier’s final boss since Midas." The fight is an incredible 14 minutes long, and it took the world 1st team an abnormally long 34 hours to clear. As I studied guides and videos, I was shocked by the complexity of the mechanics, the number of patterns to memorize, the strictness of timing and positioning, and the amount of coordination required.
The glory of past battles faded away, and I felt that every boss I killed to get here was just training for this moment. Yes, even Titan savage was just for practice. Titan taught me an important lesson: however impossible the fight looks at first, months later you can become a veteran of over 20 kills.
It is time to fight without fear, and find out how my story ends.
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The first goal is to reach and learn Light Rampant, considered the first major hurdle to progression. If we are to learn the later phases, we must be able to do Light Rampant with a high degree of consistency.
Even the opening mechanics are merciless. The boss begins by casting Absolute Zero, which does over 120k damage. If you don't strongly mitigate it, it will just delete all the non-tanks. Fun fact, this is the only time the boss casts it, to warn you of the amount of damage in this battle. Then you have Diamond Frost, which in Savage looks like this, lol!
But all of this is just the appetizer. We soon arrive at the first dish of the main course, Light Rampant (not Rampart!). This mechanic is so hard, even PF is joking about it:
You have probably seen the normal version of this mechanic: players must stand in a set of 4 towers, then 2 towers, then a single tower in the middle, while other players bait cones away from them.
In Savage, the mechanic is hugely complicated. 4 random players (always 1 tank, 1 healer and 2 dps) will be tethered together, and if they stand too close or too far
, the tethers explode and you wipe! The other 4 players will be tethered to orbs, and you must drag the orbs a certain distance before allowing them to explode on you. If any player runs into them too soon, they explode and you wipe, too! While all this is going on, towers must be soaked and cones baited, and if even one is missed, yep, you wipe.
To top it all off, each time you are hit by a mechanic such as towers, cones etc. you are given a stack of a debuff called "Lightsteeped". Any player who hits 5 stacks will explode for massive damage. The mechanic is designed so that when properly done, all 8 players will have exactly 4 stacks of this debuff. Thus, a single mistake will wipe the entire party. While such mechanics are not new to Savage (e.g. Black Smokers and Fury's 14), Light Rampant has far more complicated movement and far stricter positioning and timing requirements. I could not help feel that this is the single hardest mechanic I have ever seen.
To further complicate matters, the popular strategy in Aether, "Ilya strat", is easy to understand but very difficult to execute. It relies on the players baiting orbs to soak the north and south towers, and this almost always causes failures. In particular, this wipe mystified me. The circled player was moving to stand in the tower as planned, but his orb was too close to him, and it exploded and hit other players, causing a wipe. There was no way for him to do the mechanic correctly under the circumstances. Or was there?
I replayed the recording at 0.5x speed, comparing it with Ilya's video, like a detective hunting for clues in a murder mystery, and concluded that there must be some subtlety in the strategy that I was missing. Luckily, that day I ran across a Reddit post with critical information: Ilya's own guide omits some elements of his strategy. The players responsible for baiting the east and west orbs must wait 1 GCD
after the first cones go out before moving into the set of north and south towers. If they move too early, the orb takes a sharper turn, causing it to hit other players or collide with you too early. After some more practice, I was able to do it correctly at last.
Is the worst over? Am I past the danger zone? If my experience on Titan is anything to go by, the road ahead will be long and difficult still. It was 4 whole weeks between my learning to do phase 1 perfectly and clearing the battle. Indeed, the add phase that comes next brings many more new challenges.
But there's hope, because we have conquered the first and perhaps greatest obstacle.
Don't get bitter, just get better! Let's clear together next time!Next: Beyond A Shattered World >>