So, once more FF14 has something new and people are wondering, just how IS it? It is another Eureka nightmare which I won't touch with a ten foot pole? Is it a god Awful grind, and the most important question, is it FUN?
Well dearies, here is your ditzy fun loving blonde Annabel to let you know the gist of the thing.
First off, the new battlegrounds are NOT Eureka 2.0. most of the mobs are not one shot death machines. (But SOME are!) You get to ride immediately. And the grind to the end of the instance does not take that long to do. So, yay!
But, it IS a grind and can be a tough one for casual players not used to harder mechanics. The skirmishes are not bad, but those bosses......oh BOY! I am sure by now you have seen the tropes of Red Comet, AKA the Bird of DEATH! Yeah, the mechanics in these fights can be a REAL bitch to do, even when you are used to them. But to get your rank up there, you NEED to do them, cause only skirmishes and engagements give you mettle.
So HOW much mettle do you NEED? Well, to get to the end of the story you need to be at level 10 to access the Castrum, which is the end dungeon for this tier. Complete that and you finish the chapter. After that, the max level is 15, which gives you access to the higher level Lost actions. And you WANT these higher actions.
Lost actions: The low ones are not that great, but as you go higher in rank you get better and better ones. Level 15 gives access to using the best fragments you can acquire.
For example, there is a healer one that increases your attack 100% but decreases your healing by 70%. YIKES! I used it and it SUCKS!
But later, you get access to a different one which is a straight 100% attack increase without any healing penalties. So the higher level ones are MUCH better, but MUCH harder to get as they only drop from harder fights.
There are 3 areas, each locked until you get the required level. The 2nd area is accessible at level 5 and the 3rd area at level 8. And like I said before, the Castrum fight is accessible at level 10. Obviously, the 3rd area will provide the best experience in both skirmishes and engagements. And get THIS, many of those fights in the 3rd area are actually EASIER then the ones below! :O So watch for them and do them when you can.
(Note: There is one to avoid though. If the skirmish with the big robot and the leader who loves fire is up, do this one at your own risk, it is VERY hard and you can easily die to it. You have been warned!)
While in here you will learn to HATE the mettle. Why? Because Honey, it constantly fluctuates depending on how you are doing in the fights. When you die you lose mettle and this happens EVERYTIME you die! Die in a skirmish, lose mettle. Die in a engagement, lose mettle. Die many times to something like Death Birdy, lose LOTS of mettle. Hell, you aggro a level 5 creature and get one shotted.....yeah, you lose mettle!
Luckily, this mettle loss is not too bad and is easily replaceable if you do well enough in the fight to get credit for it. It DOES add up though, so the more you die, the smaller the net gain from the fight will be. Dying in the wild though....yeah, bye bye mettle.
Now, if you are dead, never, NEVER release unless you REALLY need to, (or your timer expires) For if you do, you loose a LOT of mettle, thousands at high levels. Just like in Eureka, shout for someone to heal you. There is a VERY good chance someone will come. There are also rez potions you can acquire with lost fragments, so keep one on you at all times JUST in case. The exception for this is the Castrum, which I will go into later.
15 is the highest you can go up to and requires 700,300 exp total. (that might be a little off, I am not in front of the game as I am writing this.) This seems like a lot but the higher in level you go, the more exp you get from fights. At 14, you get 15,000 from the 3rd area engagements and 6,500 from the skirmishes, so it DOES all add up. (more so if you don't die lots. ;p )
Once you hit 15 your exp level is locked at 700,300, so any fights you do will give you NOTHING mettle wise if you are capped! Yes people, in case you were wondering, you STILL lose mettle at 15 if you die, but your level does NOT go down. And since you know the mettle cap, you can see how much you need to recover to get it back up if you die a lot.
(At 15 though, you get a LOT of exp from fights, so this does not look to be to much of an issue if you keep up the numbers from the dying loss)
So I told you what happens when you hit 15, but GETTING there.....Ugh, yes, it IS a bit of a slog, grind, whatever you want to call it. But it is not bad IF you are smart about what you do, and here is Ditzy Annabel to help you!
First, KNOW the fights!!!!!!
Yes people, know what all the fights DO, both skirmishes and engagements. Know what ones you can do easily and the ones that you suck at. IF you die a lot to a fight, AVOID it! Seriously! Sure, you can try to learn it to do better, but if you just can't get it, don't DO it! It will just make you frustrated from all the dying and the mettle gain will be little. Note: if you only die a couple of times to the fight, that's ok. But something like 5 or more times and just forget it! Just wait for easier ones to pop, they will, they ALWAYS do!
Note: try to do the ones that collect stuff when they pop, it is easy and mostly risk free EXP!
Second: Know WHEN to rez and NOT to rez.
When someone raises you, be smart about it. Watch the arena and see if it is safe to pop back up. If you know a super nasty mechanic is about to happen, DON'T rez! You will probably just die immediately again. Watch for a lull in the action and go then. Also, if you are dying a lot and the thing is somewhat close to death, DON'T rez just to probably die AGAIN to mechanics. Wait until it is somewhere under 5% and then release. You will be up when it dies. This is especially bad for healers who tend to get raises all the time. Pop up, die, pop up, die, ugh! DPS's kind of have an advantage here to just stay kissing the ground and not losing mettle. ;p
Third, WATCH the instance numbers!
When an engagement pops up, DON'T rush to join. Watch the count first to see who is joining up, especially if there are multiple ones up. If there are too few joining, the fight will be MUCH harder! And if you have joined, do NOT commit immediately once you can go in. WATCH the counter to see how many are ACTUALLY going in. This is important because once you are in there you CANNOT back out of the fight, you are committed to it. If there are too few in there, you may fail and it will be a TPK.
This happens a LOT when there is an active Castrum run going because those tend to suck up a lot of the people in the instance. There are only a max of 72 in a battlegrounds instance, and if 48 are in Castrum, that just leaves 24 people left for the other stuff. So be smart and watch the numbers to be sure you don't get a dud fight.
What you are working towards for the story. Go in, beat people and robots up, and get lots of......coins. Yes people, that's right. all you get from this are coins and maybe a few other goodies. You get NO mettle for running this, NONE! Yeah, yeah, I know, SUCKS! You use the coins for buying the Bozjan armor. The basic stuff is not expensive, but the upgrades are UNGODLY expensive. But if you get lucky, they can come from castrum chests too if you free all the prisoners.
The Castrum run is on the level of a current 24 man raid. It is hard at first, but gets easier once you know what to do. The only bad thing is the end where an 8 man team has to go up to do a special fight. It is a VERY hard DPS check and if they fail, the last fight is a wipe and you will have to release, losing a LOT of mettle!
THIS is the biggest reason the Castrum can be a royal pain in the ass to do, the mettle loss for releasing. People it REALLY adds up if you have multiple party wipes not to mention the individual deaths during the run. (and you WILL die people, LOTS!)
Remember, NO mettle at ALL for doing this, so you can possibly be at a BIG deficit when the run is over.
This is one of the BIG reasons it can be hard to get people to go into castrum when it pops. You may find that you just have too few people to do it. If you have at least 24, it can be done, but it will be rough and the mettle loss might be very high. Also, you really don't get much for doing it other than the coins and the highest level lost fragments. Sure, other things may drop, but it is mostly coins and fragments.
One last thing, farming. If you join a farming party for the clusters, you will also get a LOT of other stuff too like the memories for the relic. This is a good alternative to farming fates in the FF14 areas. Also, farming sprites with reflect drop a LOT of lost fragments, over 20 a sprite. Death can work on super hard star level creatures if you want to risk it.
So there you go! Get out there, have fun, and TRY not to be too pissed off with the mettle losing. Believe me, I KNOW when you are seeing a net loss from some REALLY bad luck in there. But it all balances out in the end IF you play smart. ;-)
Omg I heard tales of Red Comet. In a Facebook birdwatching group of all places.
As I safely watch from Heavensward, I find it high-key hilarious.
Thanks to the free login campaign, so I have a chance to say something. Sadly I have to catch up with the story first and probably have no time to try it out.
Thanks for writing the guide, reading about it gets me to imagine what it would be like.
LOL, too funny Lalli. Yes, be safe in Heavensward....for NOW! ;-)
Sigurd, as long as you unlocked the relic access you will have access to the battlegrounds. The fates are actually pretty fun, with mechanics that are pretty challenging, some almost EX level challenging! ;p