Monday, June 28, 2010

Xarcabard: Dynamis review

I went into last night's Dynamis run expecting to do better that we ended up doing. Because of that I left with a feeling of disappointment which apprently the rest of the Linkshell shared.

We started with what has become our standard Dynamis setup of two Melee DD parties with a healer and a Bard each in addition to a BLM party with a Red mage and a Bard or (in this case) a Corsair. The last Xarcabard run we did was actually the first one I lead. It's been quite a few weeks since that run and looking back you could have seen this as a sort of test to see how far the group and I as raid leader have come. I'm glad I didn't see it that way going in...

Strategically it was different than last time. First off we had a Ranger one-shot the first time extension. I asked Skinwalker to come Ranger for this purpose, but Argonar ended up doing it, as he too was on Ranger. The second time extension requires you to kill two eyes at the first tower. The last time this pull was messed up because the eyes don't immediately link because they are actually too far apart. The person pulling the far eye got the whole group (original + 3 pops) as a result. I've found multiple groups seem to opt for one-shotting each eye with synched nukes and so decided we would do it that way. Sync AM2 one eye, then the next then the statue from behind the tower, that was the idea. However, what I did not know is that the eye on the left pops 3 eyes on the right, and the eye on the right pops 3 eyes on the left. So, if you nuke the left one first you can't reach the right eye for synched nukes without getting aggro. At least, not when you try to nuke it from the south. It may be possible to nuke it from the north, but you'd be inside aggro range of the eyes that pop after it dies. There was a pretty bad call on my side and I made BLM's nuke the wrong eye. Even though they didn't all nuke the same eye, it wouldn't have changed much as I had them nuking the wrong one. So BLM's eat it and so do I. I believe it's possible to nuke the south eye from behind the tower. Possbily all three of them. The testemonies I read had people nuking from the front, so I just did what they did. What ended up happening was an attempted sac pull. However, I stuck grav on the eye and it was casting a long spell which meant it didn't get very close to the waiting BLM's. They didn't manage to take it out before the other eyes returned, but Argonar killed it off.

So about 15 minutes in we hadn't even pulled a set of mobs yet. The main ally was waiting behind the RDM NM tower. Though they only had Bard sleepers, the three eyes behind the tower that lead to the third time extension can all be pulled seperately. So I asked the main ally to take care of those as we still had to take care of the second time extension, or so I thought. The unsung hero of last night's raid was Argonar who took out the second eye needed for the TE statue with Eagle Eye Shot where the BLM's didn't manage. Afterwards he one-shotted it with barrage after recovering. Me and the BLM's rejoined the main alliance who at this time were killing the last statue and third TE.

We were left with a reasonable amount of time to farm. I asked Requia on THF to pull the 4 eyes SE of the RDM NM tower. From then on he became the puller on his own volition and even started moving the ally around. I willingly took the back seat and let him decide the pull order. We decided to kill the eye wall (the one leading to castle Zvahl) for an extra time extension. Another strategic tip from the interwebs was synch nuking the eyes in two sets making the pull smuch easier. They seem far apart, but a Thundaga3 will actually hit the eyes on the sides if you aim for the second eye from the top. Unfortunately 4 BLM's took the eyes down to 10%. A 5th BLM or perhaps a Wizard's Roll could have made the difference there. I slept a group of demons away form the rest while the BLM's and I all bit the dust. Those demons could have been pulled as they were far away from the rest of the mobs when they woke up, but weren't. In the end it maye have been for the best.

After this initial failure Requia decided to sac pull the wall while 4 other people pulled eyes and demons off the train. The first time this went wrong because of how the pull was executed. However, I learned something from this. Normally when you pull a mob with an attack, it detects party and alliance members that are within its detection range and puts them on its hate list. When that happens, even if the original puller dies, the mobs will not go passive but target the next player on the hate list. This is something I've tested personally and though not widely known I can attest to it working this way. What I learned from that pull was that the detection range of Vanguard Eyes is larger than their aggro range and that it does not matter whether or not the puller is in a party or alliance. This is the strange linking behavior that I've been seeing over the course of the Dynamis runs I've pulled. I can explain all the 'strange' things I've seen so far with this new knowledge. Previously I found aggro pulling to be the most reliable way of sac pulling as well as having the benefit of not giving healers hate when they cure you after a messy pull. So, Requia pulled a second time with aggro only and things went much smoother.

Up to this point the BLM's died 3 times and the rest of the alliance once. Soon after we pulled another 5-8 demon train which caused a second wipe. We recover and I sac pull it. However, I soon realize they will path across where the main ally was fighting instead of what I thought was the logical path. This didn't turn out to be a problem as the alliance had killed most mobs before the rest of the group returned. Sleepers did a great job handling the incoming group. With not much time left we took one more pull which unfortunately lead to a similar situation only with less time before the returning group and more mobs overall.

So, all in all it wasn't a very good raid. Thief relic hands dropped which I suppose is one of the better drops, but still we could have killed a lot more if we hadn't screwed up several pulls and probably gotten more than the two pieces of relic armor we got. I clearly remember my conclusion about sac pulling in Xarcabard after the previous run and how it makes things much simpler if done correctly. This was the whole reason for me to level WHM to 70 and yet I seem to have forgotten the lessons I learned.

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