The Journey into Savage 6A casual scrub's raiding misadventuresMechanics spoilers for Eden's Gate: Resurrection (Savage) follow!
"I only saw up to first meteors," I told my FC before logging off on Tuesday.
"That's the last new mechanic," they said. "You've seen the whole fight."
When something is just within grasp, you want to reach out and seize it even more. As Wednesday just happened to be a holiday for me, I decided that on Wednesday I would make a serious effort to learn the rest of the fight and clear.
I joined "post-adds prog" or "meteor prog" parties - the adds occur about a third of the way into the fight, and meteors are at around the halfway mark. However, early wipes were very common, and just getting to the phase we wanted to practice with the party alive was hard. Two difficulties in particular stood out:
One was coordination. In Savage you cannot yolo and do things on the fly. Many mechanics require every member of the party to stand in specific locations, or you wipe. The problem is, every party had its own way of doing things, and occasionally teammates who had got used to being in certain positions or certain strategies were reluctant to adapt. Every new party inevitably wiped on early mechanics several times until everyone had got used to the new arrangement.
Another was the "meteors" phase, which occurs twice in the fight. 4 Arcane Spheres spawn along with 4 light orbs that rotate and shoot lasers in an arc across the arena. By now, raiders had discovered that the rotating lasers always target the closest player. Therefore, players must be assigned to bait the lasers away from the center of the arena, so that other players can destroy the Arcane Spheres in the center.
Sometimes, the player assigned to bait did not stand close enough, other times, they baited it in the wrong direction. Sometimes, players who are not baiting strayed too close to the orbs and made them lock onto themselves. There is little room for error.
The first party I join has low dps, and we can only clear the adds with the use of ranged LB. We see enrage once - at 14% - but cannot get there reliably again, and people start leaving. I join a different party, which begins with an argument over what strategy and positions to use. One of the players is a very skillfully played DRG, who protested against anything that would lower DPS. The other players wanted to play it safe, and argue with him. Our WHM keeps messing up the baiting of the lasers, and apologizes frantically even though nobody is blaming him.
Another DPS is having a hard time learning how to bait successfully. The others who are baiting try to coach them how. As a teacher, I feel I should teach. But although I have read someone's notes on how to do the mechanic, I never actually done it myself, so I feel I should leave it to those with actual experience - because partial knowledge can sometimes be worse than no knowledge.
Wipe after wipe, the poor DPS simply does not get it. Eventually one of the healers has enough. "I'm done," he says. "Thx for the party." Party leader disbands.
I took a short break, and when I return, I see that the DRG from earlier had started his own party - a clear party. At this point I feel confident enough with all the mechanics to go for the clear. I hesitate a moment, then join.
Again we go through the song and dance of standing in markers and assigning positions. Again we are stalled by meteors. Just getting there alive is messy, and we suffer many wipes. One of the players assigned to bait the north laser orb, Player A, seems to have a lot of difficulty with the mechanic.
On one pull I die, and am raised right in time to see a laser orb sweeping through the room and 3 meteors about to detonate.
I do the only thing I can: I use Tank LB3. It is the only time I have seen the PLD LB3, Final Bastion, in person.
It saves us from the meteors, but two players were already dead when I used it, our WHM among them. We struggle on for a bit more, but cannot recover and wipe.
Frustration rises. "Once again, nothing changes," one player says.
The healers and DPS try to train Player A to bait properly. "If the north orb's arrows rotate clockwise, stand to its west so it rotates out of the arena," one says.
"So stand on the opposite side for 2nd meteors then?" Player A responds, missing the point that they must identify the direction of rotation themselves.
From their responses, it seems A does not understand the mechanic and is trying to do it in a programmatic way (i.e. stand here first, then stand there next). I sense that the party is falling apart and will not survive long enough to teach player A. Instead I say: "I can bait N lasers if you want."
DRG is immediately happy. "N laser is in melee range of the arcane sphere," he says, dps-fiend that he is. "You can keep uptime (continue attacking) while doing it."
I do not know enough to coach, but feel that I can adjust to the situation on the fly and read the mechanic myself. "I only successfully did it once before, when baiter died," I say. BLM offers to do it, too. But the party wants me to do it, and off we go.
I bait the 1st laser. (Note that I should have stood a lot closer.) It is safe to move away once the telegraph on the floor appears. Do not be afraid to walk across the telegraph to the safe spot, you have enough time.
I think, "OK, looks like I can do this."
Eden Prime bombards us with more attacks. Healer passes me her prey marker, and as the boss begins to cast Dimensional Shift and start 2nd meteors, I prepare to bait the 2nd laser.
Suddenly I'm dead! What happened?
Nobody knows. I press the ready check once we respawn. However, early into the next pull, player A loses connection and does not return. Another player decides to leave as well after wishing us luck and saying he knows we can clear. Dejected, we return to PF to wait...
Nobody else leaves. We all sense the kill within reach. If only we can bait the lasers correctly - if only, if only... if only!
New players join, and off we go again. These are veterans who have already cleared, and are probably here for more practice on the later phases.
There are the inevitable early wipes. Everyone is tense. BLM misplaces a puddle, and a healer nearly snaps at him for it before apologizing. My performance steadily improved as I got more practice, but now I start making mistakes in my rotation out of sheer exhaustion.
We push past adds into 1st meteors. This time I do not have to bait the lasers, as one of our new party members is assigned that duty, and they do it well.
The DNC (Louiz Ultima) is standing very close to the sphere, inside the radius of the spinning arrows. He stands west of the orb so that lasers will sweep harmlessly through the north side of the arena (right side of image). I am attacking the Arcane Sphere from max melee range to prevent it from locking on to me instead.
Again we progress through the phases: Pure Light, adds, 1st meteors. The healer passes me her prey marker, which causes a heavy bleed that only a tank can withstand. The boss starts to cast Dimension Shift. 2nd meteors is about to - No! I'm dead again!
Eden's raidwide attack, Dimension Shift, deals damage based on your amount of max HP. The combination of bleed from the prey marker (over 22 per tick; I have 130k max HP) and the damage of Dimension Shift kills even tanks.
The party discusses why this PLD keeps dying. One DPS says it might be a healer issue. A healer asks the casters if they are using Addle. I did not notice that Hallowed Ground recharges just in time, and I could have used it against both the prey marker and the dimension shift. I should have asked for Addle against the Vice and Virtue before dimensional shift. But in that tense moment I was not 100% sure of what was going wrong.
Another pull. This time I decide to play it safe and Clemency myself and cotank so that we are fully topped up going into meteors. It works! We clear 2nd meteors without issue.
But in Savage, there really is no such thing as playing it safe. If you sacrifice DPS for healing, you may live now but lose enough dps that you hit enrage. All you do is trade one kind of safety for another. Have I thrown away too much precious firepower? DRG uses melee LB3, and I drink a third STR potion as the moment of judgment approaches...
At 0.2% I hear something go off. I cannot see it on-screen, with other players' effects turned off, but it sounds like Foul. The screen turns black.We did it!
It was 2:40 am. I had spent almost 6 hours in PF.
Party chat exploded with activity. My teammates expressed relief. And I could not help but smile. For the first time, I had cleared a boss not widely considered to be easy, without being overgeared and without voice callouts. I felt I had grown as a player.
Though there were times you could tell people were frustrated, and though there were disagreements over tactics, in all the parties, nobody raged or started fighting with each other. If we had let emotions get the better of us, the party would disband and none of us would have cleared. I will always remember this the next time I hear a stereotype about toxic raiders.
I will probably take the rest of the week off from Savage. But of course, this is not the end. I'm looking forward to help my FC mates get the clear soon, to join more clear parties myself for experience in the final phases, and to progress to the next boss - Voidwalker.
The journey continues! Onward! Let's clear together next time!