I haven't posted a lot in the last month, because I've been busy getting ready for the reopening of my workplace, and also playing a lot of Baldesion Arsenal!
I didn't think I would return to Eureka after getting my AST weapon. However, one afternoon in June, I realized I was still a member of the Aether BA discord, which I was invited to join last December. So, I decided to sign up for a run to pass the time. One thing led to another, and by now I have over 800 (!!) fragments, and now I've tanked the entire Arsenal from start to finish many times.
Baldesion Arsenal is a unique experience you'll see nowhere else in the game. Unlike duty finder raids and trials, where you press a button and get teleported into a tiny room containing the boss, in BA you actually get to explore a giant fortress with danger lurking around every corner.
Baldesion Arsenal is also played very differently from most content. For example, the normal way of tanking in dungeons is to use Sprint, run around and gather up every enemy in sight. That's because enemies in dungeons are simply not dangerous, unless you are severely undergeared.
Monsters in BA are much more dangerous. The enemies patrol, hide in rooms, and deal massive amounts of damage (enough to 1-shot any non-tanks), and they all have specific abilities that must be countered. For example, if this poroggo isn't killed quickly enough, it does a tankbuster that does over 130k damage, it can kill even indom tanks. And the Calcabrina has a giant cone attack that causes confusion if it hits you, making you attack other players and run randomly.
A good tank will be alert to patrolling enemies, and know how to pull and position enemies where they can be safely attacked. Hey, remember how in Hall of the Novice they taught you how to separate groups of enemies and pull them apart? You didn't know it then, but it was training for BA! On my very first run returning to the Arsenal, I was main tanking, got to the lightning room and saw 5 gargoyles in it. I thought, "if I pull just 1, the other 4 will activate and start attacking other people before I can get enmity on them all. I better run in and use some aoe attacks." And, of course, I ran into a trap and died like a doofus. (The safer way to tank this room is to pull the enemies out into the hallway, while also quickly picking up aggro on them with Provoke and ranged attacks.)
A couple weeks later, I was MT again, got to the fire room and saw the 5 Calcas in it. Now, I know for a fact that there is no trap in this room. So, I happily ran in and attacked all the monsters. However! I had forgotten that there is an invisible portal in one of the elemental rooms which must be found to progress in the dungeon. Apparently, you can enter the portal even before the perceptors can detect it, and just as my luck would have it, immediately as I aggroed all the enemies in the room, I stepped in the portal and got teleported to the next level, leaving the monsters attacking everyone else! The raid leaders were very quick thinking and calm under fire. They ordered everyone to quickly rush into the portal so that nobody would get attacked. In the end only 3 people died, and all were raised. (I'm sorry!)
Healers are another place where BA is very different from the rest of FFXIV. Generally, in casual content, damage received is weak, infrequent and predictable, and in Savage, DPS is needed to beat the enrage. In both cases, unless things are going very badly, the majority of spells cast by healers are damage spells.
But in BA, incoming damage is a lot less predictable, because players have varying levels of magia board settings, elemental gear and logos actions. Additionally, there is demand for strong healing, since some of the best DPS logos make you take more damage. For example, Double Edge, which gives a giant damage buff, but inflicts increasing heavy damage on the player who uses it. When you got 2-3 of these guys using Double Edge in a party, you're going to have to spam Aspected Helios and Benefic 2 all over the place to keep them alive, and it is actually the optimal thing to do. It's interesting that this is the only place in the game where the healer might cast more healing spells than dps spells, even though BA, like Savage and extreme, has non-trivial DPS checks.
I had great fun in BA and got to know many BA veterans. I even met what I think is the real Mr. Happy on one run. It seems he is doing a series on Eureka, and joined in on several BA runs, and his video series has also brought attention to BA.
I also joined some wacky runs, where the strategy was to do all kinds of weird things and see if we could clear. I signed up for this "Chaos" run, where the raid leader gave cooking instructions instead of callouts for mechanics, and at Ozma we switched platforms everytime Ozma cast Black Hole, lol!
I strongly recommend you try out BA. Because Bozja does not arrive until patch 3.5, you still have about 1 month to get a BA clear. That's ample time to finish Eureka.
If you are interested in doing Baldesion Arsenal, here are my tips. Firstly, make sure you are elemental level 60 and have completed all the Eureka story. You must have seen the cutscene that says "Eureka Complete!" and talked to the Expedition Scholar in camp to enter BA.
Secondly, make sure you work with your datacenter's BA discord. On NA and EU, this is the only way of doing BA. For Aether, it is: https://discord.gg/Q92V7y4
Thirdly, make sure you are properly equipped with the correct logos. No, Platebearer is not a good logos. It gives you a false sense of security, and it does not protect you against the most dangerous mechanics. What logos should you bring, you ask? I recommend looking at this excellent guide, which is written by one of the Aether BA veterans
. It gives recommendations for logos, and a rundown of what to expect in BA.
That's all! And here's one of my first Ozma kills main tanking after I returned to BA, enjoy!