Killing Primals for Fun and Profit, OR oh my god is there any Job we don’t do in CT

It’s been a while since I talked about FFXIV: ARR (FFarr) which is not to say I haven’t been playing the game, more that I have been too busy playing the thing to write about it.

My Black Mage has now reached level 50 and at that point began the Epic scramble to finish off first the main quest line, and then to start gathering tomes of Allagan Philosophy and Mythology. These Tomes make up the end games currency as they can be turned into equipment by selling them to three nice ladies in Mor Dhona. This equipment has some of the best stats in the game, and will boost your Item Level (the average of all of your equipment’s levels) considerably.

Why boosting Item Level is important we will come to later.
The first set of equipment you will be wearing when you reach level 50 is actually not gained from Philosophy (philo) or Myth however, as your last few Class quests will give you a suit of armour at least appropriate to your class. This is your job gear, and while it is fine for allowing you to do the missions, dungeons and quests that will give you Philo, you want to get out of it as soon as you can. Preferably into the Darklight set which is bought using Philo, and even includes items for your trinket slots.

Getting Philo is easy. Numerous of the level 50 dungeons pay out in it, and if you are doing your Low and Main Quest dungeon roulettes each day (which you should) you can earn lots of it very quickly. It’s even worth doing your beast tribe daily quests, because they also pay out in increasing amounts of Philo as you go up the ranks. Once you have got a few sections of the Darklight Armour however you should start switching across to trying to earn Myth.

Myth is harder to get. The High Level roulette pays it out, but not as much and you need to have completed the main quest to open it up. The dungeons that pay out in Myth are also harder and you need good gear (the Darklight gear for example) to complete them. Even worse, you are hard locked to earning a maximum of 450 Myth in any given week. You cannot just take a week off work and grind the top level gear out; you have to put effort into getting it, and sustained effort at that.
In my case I began running Crystal Tower (specifically Labyrinth of the Ancients). This is an Alliance dungeon, so three full groups of 8 players, working together (usually) to beat the dungeon. The equipment that drops in CT is usually a step between the Darklight and Myth sets, although some of the pieces are actually Second Tier, so actually better than their Myth equivalents. Again there is an issue, you can only get one piece of loot from CT per week, and with 8 people sharing that loot with you it can be difficult to get the pieces you are looking for. The run is also fairly involved, and one bad team can wreck everyone’s chances. There is a silver lining however as a good run takes about an hour, gives a chance of level 80 equipment, and also pays out 50 myth. Once you get your equipment drop for the week it can be worth swapping to Haukke Manor hard mode, which also pays out 50 Myth, but can be run in only about 30 minutes with a good group. Personally I enjoy CT so I usually help other people in my FC run it.

Having a good FC is very helpful in FF:ARR’s endgame, the one I am a member of, Shadowstorm on the Shiva server is a good example of why. Being part of the FC means I normally go to CT with a team that already knows how to do the fights, and how to work together. The fact that we are usually on Ventrilo also helps, and indeed there have been a number of CT runs where we have not only done our jobs but the other two groups jobs as well! Being able to get such good groups together makes everything so much easier; getting the main quest line done for example is a real pain if you have to deal with pick up groups.
Crystal tower really does have a mixture of “almost trash” and boss fights. it should be said however that the almost trash is still worthy of respect. The First fight is three interconnected rooms with three groups of creatures in each. I suggest not doing what I did my first time there. The slightly raised platforms really are your friends, as once the fight starts the rooms slowly fill up with Poison, and this makes standing on the floor deadly pretty fast. This means the first trashmobs are very much a game of the tanks getting the monsters in just the right position so everyone else can stand in safety on the platforms. The first group are 2 Valefors, and a ton of elementals, with group A and C taking the Valefors and group B dealing with the elementals.

The Second room is much the same, a ton of Valar for Group B and a Greater demon for each of the other two groups. The final room sees everyone (usually) fighting a giant eye and one of the Dira, although in our runs we have sometimes decided to kill ours and then moved on to other groups as well. It’s amazing how much damage a group with a bard and two black mages can do.

Then you get to the first real boss, the bone dragon. Stood as he is in a large circular room with platforms you can be certain that poison is going to cover the floor at some point. This is a fight that can go horribly wrong very quickly. Especially if you have a main tank who can’t run in a straight line while pulling the dragon. Tanking it at the very back of the room makes the next part so much easier, but if the tank goes off at an angle, everyone needs to be ready to deal with that and adjust position appropriately. The issue is that during the fight Skeletons (called platinals) will spawn and try and get to the dragon, which is BAD. Instead you need to kill them as far from the dragon as you can, but at the same time don’t stack them up, otherwise when the dragon dies (for the first or second time) they will go scurrying off to it, then explode. Exploding Skeletons are bad.

The dragon, if you have 3 good groups is actually relatively straight forward… However if the groups are too hasty it gets hard fast. This fight drops gear as well, sometimes it’s not even Monk/Dragoon gear!

The next fight, Atomos is actually three exactly the same bosses, with each group getting their own. It’s an exercise in staying on your pad and having the tanks lead successive waves of monsters to the damage dealers for murdering. It is an easy fight if everyone does their job… becoming a swift and easy wipe if they don’t.

The next boss however begins with an intelligence test. There are three pots, one on the left, one on the right, and one behind the boss. Does group B run through the boss or round the outside? There is a right answer here, and hopefully you can spot it. The Magic Pots are the most important thing about the fight, they need to be kept alive at all costs, as periodically one of the pots will turn one group invisible. Once invisible they can attack the boss, as if you aren’t invisible, attacking him does very little. What this means is that when the group is attacking the boss, the other two groups need to be mopping up adds and healing the pots, including the pot the now invisible group was protecting. Mark of a bad CT run is getting down to only one pot before the other groups realise what they should be doing.

Thanatos himself is not that bad to fight, and again this fight drops gear.

The next boss is the Allagan Bomb. There are three massive red demons, who are linked to the bomb and while they are alive he will not take any damage nor actually attack anyone. They are pretty easy tank and spank fights, avoiding their AOEs and when they drop huge lava pools each group sidles clockwise. It’s fine, the issue is the Allagan Balloons and the Allagan Napalms that also spawn, which need to die SUPER FAST. If they reach the bomb he eats them and gets bigger… the bigger he gets the closer he gets to exploding and killing everyone.

Which is bad.

The final two bosses however Behemoth and Acheron are very fun indeed. My first run through the labyrinth I hated them, because they are very ‘busy’ and you have lots of ways you can die. Once you get them right however they become much less random seeming.

Behemoth is a huge beast, stood on an electrified plate, and surrounded by electrical towers. These towers are the tanks job, as the fight goes on the towers start to glow and the tanks poke them. In the center of the room, Bombs (puroboros) will spawn and head towards them too, trying to blow them up, so the damage dealers need to kill these bombs as soon as possible.

About twenty seconds into the fight people start seeing glowing signs over their heads. You can spot people who are new to the fight, because they will run around, or go stand in the outer circle, or even worse cluster together. Shortly after this the icon dissappears and a rock falls from the heavens onto them. These rocks are your only defence from the much larger meteor Behemoth is going to drop in a little while. Staying away from the comets, and ensuring the Iron Giant and the Puroboros don’t kill them is super important. Mainly as when Behemoth starts shouting, everyone has to run and hide behind a rock.
I’ve seen entire raids hiding behind a single rock before as the enormous comet hits and everyone hopes not to die.
Again assuming everyone does their job correctly, it will go perfectly! If not? Everyone dies as rocks literally fall.
Finally we have the giant golden form of Acheron. While he is certainly covered in bling he’s not that dangerous to the damage dealers on his own. His various AOE attacks, the Mint Triangles, the Flaming Pancakes, the Strawberry laces (I still think they are chorizo) and finally the Bacon Strips, can all be easily avoided if you are aware. Before you ask, yes I think the FC was hungry when we named these…

The only real problems with the Acheron fight are remembering that there is a platform that you need to be able to get to, and that occasionally a giant metal claw is going to spawn from it and grab whoever is closest. When that happens they take damage and they can’t move… which is bad when the AOE starts occurring.

The platform is also important because when Acheron stops fighting and instead starts posing, each group needs to flee as fast as possible and stack on their panel to activate a force field. That isn’t the only thing however when he explodes, as an iron giant spawns on each platform, and as is usual, attempts to murder everyone. Other than this the fight is not that full of surprises.

You will however probably get to see him a lot if you are trying to get hold of a full suit of Crystal Tower equipment, I personally saw him about 15 times when I was trying to get my Crimson Coat.

Now however I am now the reddest Black mage ever!
In addition to getting your armour improved you also need to get a new weapon however.

The quest “A Relic Reborn” is actually somewhat complex involving numerous steps and 5 boss fights. Two of these boss fights, Chimera and Hydra, are not too bad, but not being in the duty finder (which has now I think been fixed) makes them difficult to find parties for but once you know the fight is actually not too bad. The other three however are the Primal Hard Modes.

Oh god.

Ifrit Hard mode is not too bad. Although I should probably point out that making sure your keyboard is not going to go haywire and cause you to try and start the fight by headbutting Ifrit (this has totally never happened to me at all) . The fight once you get going is not too bad, mostly a case of avoiding his Fire Plumes (In, Out, In, Out, Under his arse) and making sure when he spawns 4 infernal nails you kill them asap probably using a black mage limit break to take a chunk of damage off all of them.

Garuda Hard mode is a bit more involved with positioning and careful management of adds required. It’s a fight that if it does go wrong it does so very quickly but once you have actually got the idea behind it you can somewhat get into a rhythm and do it fairly easily.

Titan Hard mode.

Titan Hard mode, is really quite frantic, with a DPS race halfway through, bombs, AOE’s, stomping and fire plumes. You need to be organised, and even then the fight is not that easy to begin with. The bombs I now understand go to the middle, go to the ones that spawned first, this is not too bad, the issue I have is the plumes.

Being a black mage… I have very little health. One Plume will take a huge chunk off, 2 will very usually kill me.

Titan doesn’t like me and regularly drops all 4 right near me. Cue me watching the rest of the fight while lying on the ground. Which is better than watching from the bottom of the spire as you can get raised up again, but that has to be done really carefully due to the large amounts of AOE in the fight. There are actually people who sell Titan runs through Titan Hard Mode, although if you are on Shiva try and find one of Shadowstorms, because when we are in the right mood we carry people through for free!

Once you get the primals killed, and jump through a few other easier hoops you get your relic weapon. Now you have a really impressive weapon, but if you have been careful and have been busy hoarding your Myth you can get it upgraded to the Zenith version. 900 Myth which is two weeks myth cap will get you the weapon, and it is well worth getting it done as soon as possible. The Zenith weapon is usually third tier for most careers so this means until you are getting things from the Primal Extreme modes (don’t ask me about those yet…) you will still be using this weapon.

From there your Myth mostly goes into gearing up, If you have managed to get the full set of gear from Crystal Tower you can mostly concentrate on your Trinkets which are actually cheaper in myth, but will still raise your item level, and by extension your stats.

But why, I hear you ask, would we want to raise our item level.
Item level is a general value showing how “good” a piece of kit is. The higher the item level the better stats it has usually. You also have an Average Item Level which is (as you might imagine) the Item level of all of your gear, added together, and then divided by the number of pieces. This item level is the important one, as it determines if you are eligible for certain things, Crystal Tower for example requires an Item Level of 70 (I think, so class gear and above) while Binding Coil of Bahamut requires much higher.

The Binding Coil is actually the highest level instance in the game at the moment, dropping top tier Allagan loot with an item level of 90. There is a reason for this. The Binding Coil is HARD, you need a full group of 8 people, and every person needs to do everything exactly right. I have actually only been to coil once, hitting only Cadaceus (a giant snake) and the Allagan Defence System. Luckily as a Black Mage my job is relatively easy; make things as dead as possible while trying to stay alive. I need to get more practice in the Coil however, as when the fights required everyone to do their job well, you get worried as a newbie!

The gear that drops however is well worth it. As I said Allagan loot is top tier in most cases with only a few pieces being second tier. The FC of which I am part however works on a loot sharing system, and this is probably the better way, allowing people who haven’t received gear to get it first compared to people who are already well geared. This means that our Coil groups get better faster as everyone is benefiting.

The joys of a Good FC!

Mawdrigen plays on the Shiva Server, and as his characters last name is Mawdrigen it’s easy to find him. The Free Company Shadowstorm is recruiting and looking for new people, being a friendly and busy FC with their own voice comms. The Shadowstorm are a raiding FC, doing all of the end game instances and primals, although the Extreme mode Primals have yet to be sorted out, with Garuda Extreme mode having been attempted but not yet actually killed.

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