Monday, April 26, 2010

Dynamis - Xarcabard

Last night I pulled/lead my first Dynamis Xarcabard run. My experience with this zone was limited to ONE previous run where I joined for the last 15 minutes of a run a long time ago where I didn't pay attention to the zone mechanics much, because there was (arguably) no need at the time. That's right, without joking around, my first-hand knowledge of this zone was pretty much ZERO. I was leading people into it that had more experience than myself. I was reluctant to say this out loud, of course. As that may have put doubt into the minds people present and reinforce the feeling that it was a doomed run. At least, that was the vibe I got form some folks as we gathered. People's mentality and mood are so important in these kinds of situations as anyone who has to work in teams for their job knows. You'd like to think that it's all rational team mechanics. However, if someone's very pessimistic, it rubs off and/or influences the results. There is just no getting around that and so many other personality issues that influence teamwork. There's also a "need" for managing (read: lowering) expectations so that any setback is seen as a normal occurrence.

Stepping away form the psycho babble, the run itself was mediocre when it comes to loot. No AF drops at all. A 100 byne bill dropped which immediately alleviated any worries that this would be a gil sink for the LS bank. I counted 3 clear wipes, but there were many more instances of individuals going down during pulls. All in all, way too many deaths for my taste. I was supposed to be the only one going down so frequently, but it ended up being rough on everyone's buffer. Especially the sleepers.

So, what info DID I have? Well I used the Dynamisbums website for maps and zone mechanics info. There was a thread with some info and second, more accurate map. I also pretty much followed their standard route. It was infinitely useful, but certain things you have to experience yourself before really understanding. Things like: the position of demon pops, where to pull from, positions to die/sac to and linking behavior of NM's. That last bit turned out to be the big surprise. I pulled the RDM/WAR/BRD NM trio telling people to kill the eyes asap so we could then kill the NM's individually. The NM's do not walk back to spawn after sac dies. They run back to the alliance. More notably, one of the demon NM's actually DID walk back to spawn slowly. Was it because its respective Vanguard Eye was already dead? I'm not exactly sure why it happened, but I have some theories:
  • They assist whoever their eye is fighting after the sac dies, like a Wyvern pop from a DRG mob.
  • Actions on the eyes while NM's are within a certain range, generates enmity on the NM.
  • Them going passive or aggroing depends on the distance between eyes or alliance when sac dies.
I'm not sure yet because the second NM tower we tried the same thing as the first thinking that the pullers were pulling too soon and that they need to be given time to properly aggro. It doesn't sound very logical now, but at the time... Not surprisingly, in hindsight anyway, the same thing happened. On the third NM tower we tried time was running out. I had the group kill the THF NM while I sac'd the 3 eyes and 2 other NM's to the zone entrance. The THF went down and not the eyes nor the NM's aggro'd alliance. So, it could be any of the three things I listed, or something entirely different. Either way, the next time we'll either sync -aga3 the eyes, or sac the eyes and fight only the NM's.

There aren't many eyes you can pull without links, I think with a small group like this and without crowd tanks, sac'ing is pretty necessary. I might suggest a crowd tank for future runs to see how it goes. It would certainly make life easier on the sleepers, who wouldn't need to put so much distance between themselves and the crowd or depend on their fellow sleepers to save their asses.

I thought it was interesting that RNG and NIN demons use Hecatomb Wave as their ranged attack. As opposed to Trolls, which shoot their cannon which shows up as an ability in the chat logs, the demons actually have TP ability charge animation. Even though Hecatomb Wave is an AoE attack that ignores shadows, because of the charge animation, you can keep running out of its range. This makes kiting the RNG mob very easy, though I suppose this has always been true.

Other things I learned:
  • We need a THF present in the DD party, because while pulling I'm frequently out of range or dead.
  • In the end sac'ing regular eyes is more necessary with a small group than sac'ing the NM eyes. This is the converse of what I expected to be true going in.
I can totally see how people would duo/trio the RDM NM for their Chapeau. However, I don't see myself throwing gil at that for a 10% chance. Besides, I have a Dynamis group now.

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