FFXIV: Riding High on Crystal Tower – A Raid for Shy Players


I’ve been playing MMOs for over a decade, and this weekend was the first time I have ever participated in a raid. My FC, <KoM>, helped Syn and I work our way through Labyrinth of the Ancients (which I just call Crystal Tower, or CT, by habit) and Syrcus Tower (ST).

Even though Zuri is over ilvl 100 at this point, I’ve never attempted the larger raid instances, just because I was afraid to try it. What I discovered, however, (and this is coming from a very group shy player) is that the raids in FFXIV are actually super fun! In fact, Syn and I ran CT maybe 4-5 times this weekend just trying to learn the mechanics and get familiar with it all. ST is a little harder, and while the rewards there are more on level with what I need for upgrades, we’re focusing on one at a time.

Why Crystal Tower Is a Great Raid for Shy Players

Running for the next boss room.

I know someone will come along and laugh at how FFXIV raids are not really hardcore raids of old. That may be true, but that’s why they’re accessible for people like me. At first, I thought a 24-man group would be terrifying to play in. Then, I learned that while there are some areas where team work is involved, for the most part, CT feels a lot like a more focused form of a GW2 public event.

There are so many people around you, you kinda blend in (unless you’re being a dingus). This is perfect for someone like me, who is always concerned that people are judging my group performance. Everyone is so focused on whatever part they’re playing, as long as you’re not dying constantly or accidentally pulling what you shouldn’t, no one even notices the bard in the back. Works for me!

The mechanics are pretty easy to learn and memorize, especially if you have someone teaching you in voice chat as you go along. I found by my third run through that I was able to teach other FC people who were running the first time without difficulty.

I think that’s where FFXIV really shines – boss mechanics are challenging, but not impossible or overly frustrating. It’s truly a fun ride for a casual player, and I’m really happy that FC folks encouraged us to give it a try and taught us the ropes!

Battle of the Big Keep

My little Enkidu!

I’ve been putting off the final fight with Greg, which would finish up my Hildibrand quests for Zuri. I read the tactics for the fight in the wiki, and remembering the stress (and queue times) of the Dragon’s Neck, I kept pushing it back.

I mentioned I still needed to finish this encounter in Mumble chat, and a kind FC member came to the rescue, volunteering to be my healer in the queue (oh, so much faster than the lone DPS). So, I took the plunge, and I have to say this was a really fun fight (unlike Dragon’s Neck) that I wouldn’t mind doing again! We got through it first time without a wipe, and I was stoked to win the roll on the Enkidu minion (because I never win rolls like this).

It feels like the devs are leaving it open to a possible return of Hildibrand stories sometime in the future, which I would love. These questlines have been some of the corniest, but good, fun I’ve experienced in an MMO.

Oh, and Manderville Gold Saucer releases tomorrow! Woo! 

Hildibrand is also excited for the Gold Saucer!
Hildibrand is also excited for the Gold Saucer!


  1. Sounds like you’re a convert. I need not tell you again how many fond memories I have of raiding with a casual, friendly guild. 24-man raids sounds pretty good to me (40-man raids have never been my favourites). It’s still a group size where individual performance doesn’t matter nearly as much as group performance. Which is why I personally prefer smaller raids, but I can see this work out well for you.

    1. I still have my doubts about usual raids in other MMOs, as I have heard that FFXIV raids are very, very casual in comparison. It’s all done through the Duty Finder (a Looking for Raid tool), so most of the people you go with are PUGs and unknown to you. They’ve also been running this forever, so most people know it like the back if their hand.

      The bosses and mechanics are well designed in these encounters, and it’s made so that anyone with the base level 55 gear can make it through. So, it’s not meant to be difficult at all (aside from teamwork). Since most people are now item level 100+, these fights are significantly faster and easier than they may have been when they were launched a year ago. 🙂

      1. I’d say it really depends on the group you’re playing with. I wouldn’t try hard raids with a pug and I think I’ve only ever pugged a raid once or twice.

        However, if you’re with 20 or so guildies that you know and the first priority of getting a raid together is ‘having fun together’, rather than ‘clear the raid instance’, performance really isn’t such a big issue. An evening can be successful even if no boss goes down.

        1. Yeah, these raids aren’t made like the ones you’re talking about. Syn and I go in duo with no one else but 22 other strangers and we get through the “raid” without any issue. That’s why I compared them to a GW2 dynamic event, cuz that’s what it feels like. Just with better and less frustrating mechanics.

          It’s only a raid in the number of people (and even that is broken into three groups of 8), and not in difficulty. This content was created to be accessible to everyone at end game. Difficulty comes with the 8-man raids known as the Coil of Bahamut.

  2. The whole concept of “raids” has changed so much over the years. When I first came across it in early Everquest a “raid” was literally a bunch of people all killing things in the same zone. The terminology was “raid [placename]”. For example we would would “raid Mistmoore” or “raid Kerra Island”, meaning that on a Sunday afternoon everyone online in our guild would meet up at the start of those zones and attempt to move through them killing everything we came across. There was no Raid UI or anything – we would just be in groups and communicate in guild chat.

    After that things moved on to the larger raids (EQ raids went up to 72 people at one point) and all kinds of formal UI systems and player-devised DK-point systems came in. I didn’t do much of that – a little Open raidng in Planes of Power, the odd heal chain… Then WoW followed with 40-man raids and it all got very serious for a while.

    I don’t like the formal style of raiding at all. Takes too long, too restrictive, too much drama. The current trend towards much looser, less formal raiding seems to me to be taking the whole thing back to its roots, when it was a lot more simple and, I thought, a lot more fun.

    1. Wow! Very cool history of raids there. I never knew that’s how they started in Everquest. I guess when I think of raids, I think of WoW’s crazy formal ones!

  3. It brings a smile to my face to see a shy player like you dip their toes into raid content and have a great time. I’m even more impressed that it was with a PUG! FFIX sounds like a special kind of game to have such a good community as to allow you to spread your wings like this. 🙂

  4. I mostly enjoyed the group content of FFXIV during its relaunch and am still enjoying it now. If I have one complaint about any of it, its how little it feels like actually running a dungeon. It has that same clean feeling of modern WoW raids/dungeons where’s it is almost entirely a straight-forward run to boss, kill boss, repeat type deal.

    I miss the longer dungeons with side objectives and other forms of progression. Or just the good ole, “You have to think about this pull before you pull it” type deals.

    1. This is true. It’s all fairly linear. I wonder if in the future we’ll see some deviations from the normal style dungeons. Until then, though, they’re challenging enough for someone like me… who hasn’t even scratched the surface of hard mode dungeons.

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