FFXIV: Steps of Faith Nightmares

Update: As anticipated, Steps of Faith got a nerf in patch 2.57. Hopefully this will help prevent stories like mine from replaying in the future.

And maybe folks will stop auto-dropping this trial, too. Maybe.

So last night, I reached the Steps of Faith Pain trial on Zuri while working to complete the main scenario story and get her ready for Heavensward. I knew that it would be tough to do using the Duty Finder. I just didn’t know that it would be near impossible.

-Steps of Faith Begins-

Me: Hello!


DPS: I shoulda just run Ifrit HM four times to finish my poetics. Why did I roulette?

Tank: Here, guys, I’ll save you from the pain! *drops*

*Rest of group drops, too*

Me: I… uh… actually need this for story progression. Guys? … Guys?

That was how my first DF went last night. I knew that I was going to be in for a nasty ride. It seems that people hate this trial so badly they will actually eat the 30 min penalty to avoid having to do it.

One sympathetic DPS paused before leaving and left me with these sage words: I suggest you get friends together, or at least use the Party Finder. Good luck. 

I was resolved to keep trying, however. The queues weren’t so long for a lone DPS that I was turned away from giving it another shot. What I found was extremely painful.

-Steps of Faith (Take 2) Begins-

Me: Hi all! Who’s got cannons and DK? 

*silence* …. … ….. 

Me: Uh… great. I’ve got cannon. Who’s second cannon? 

*silence* … … … 

The mechanics of Steps of Faith aren’t hard, to be completely honest. A huge dragon walks slowly down the bridge towards the final warded gate. Two people grab cannons positioned on the bridge and use it to damage the boss dragon and all the adds. From time to time, there’s a tower with a Dragon Killer (DK) harpoon located at the top that someone must fire at the dragon. The DK is what does a majority of the damage unless you have a really high output DPS group.

Every single team I explained as much as I could for each player doing each mechanic.

Me: Climb the tower. You’ll see a red target on the ground. Shoot the dragon once the dragon’s body is in the circle. 

DK Person: *shoots the DK too soon*

NPC: A wasted opportunity!
Translation: How could you miss a dragon the size of a jet plane?

DK Person: What happened? 

Me: *repeats* Only shoot the dragon once the dragon’s body is in the circle.

I was essentially trying to herd cats to keep the mechanics running smoothly. Because if you don’t do the mechanics, you’re not going to win with a DF party no matter what. It was just the matter of getting people to actually read what you write in chat to get things done.

Me: Okay, this time we have to fire snares at the dragon before you can shoot the–

DK Person: *shoots DK and misses*

NPC: What? How could such a huge beast avoid such a shot?
Translation: Really? We even told you that you needed to snare it before–

DK Person: How did that miss? 

Me: *repeats* We have to fire snares at the dragon before you can hit it with the DK.

The main problem is that this trial is part of the main scenario, hence gating the ability to move on into Heavensward when the expansion releases. I’m not sure this is the case of “they’ll get better and learn the mechanics and it’ll get easier to beat in time” mostly because I’ve seen people just drop this trial before suffering through another round with it.

If new folks are coming in who need it for story, and people who already beat it refuse to help or teach (or simply can’t teach because they never ran the cannons or DK and don’t know how it worked), this is going to be painful for people who need to complete this in the future. It’s very rare that I speak negatively about a trial or dungeon in FFXIV, because usually, with perseverance, a Duty Finder group can get through most of the story content. I’m just not sure it’s going to happen with this particular trial.

-Start again. Fast forward to first DK.- 

Me: Ready DK! 

DK Person: Waiting for your snare! 

Me: First DK doesn’t need a snare. Go ahead and shoot! 

DK Person: *doesn’t shoot* 

Me: Shoot! Shoot! 

DK Person: *doesn’t shoot* 

NPCS: Man, you guys just suck… 

I spent hours failing on this trial with three different parties last night. We had lots of folks who dropped. We had people who sincerely tried to get the mechanics. We even had one frustrating run where we hit the boss with all three DK and still didn’t do enough damage to the boss because too many DPS died over and over along the way.

*tank doesn’t pull add off me, and I die at the cannon due to fire or poison damage* 

Me: I’m down! Someone needs to grab second snare! Hurry! 


DK Person: *can’t hit with DK because no one activated second snare*

NPCS: *facepalm* 

At that point, I really didn’t know what to do. I was worn out from hours of narrating the fight to folks who couldn’t stop to read what people were frantically writing in group chat. I probably annoyed the crap out of people… but the only way to win is to do the mechanics. And everyone who wasn’t on cannon duty was ignoring the fact that people on the cannons, or assigned to the DK, can still die and need instant replacements.

The one time I did get a good second cannon, it happened to be a healer. Of course, then the DPS, who couldn’t stay alive for being trampled, started whining about healers needing to heal (though the other healer said many times that he could solo heal it, and he could). So they pulled him off the cannons and put another bard on… who not only didn’t do cannons most the time, but couldn’t snare…

Me: Snare! Snare now!

Cannon 2: *doesn’t snare* 

Me: It’s that yellow pillar with the word “Snare” above it sitting right in front of your cannon!

Cannon 2: *doesn’t snare* 

DK Person: *can’t shoot DK* 

NPC: *cries into his hot chocolate* 

So, I finally had to fall back on the kindness of FC members. We went in four strong and instantly claimed both cannons and DK control. Immediately, a tank dropped without a word. I groaned. Things were already off to a bad start.

Luckily, we retained the rest of the group, though they went ahead and pulled even missing a tank. We honestly came very close to beating it with only 7 people, so when we got a tank replacement before the next run, we had it in the bag.

We won? We actually won?

That’s the interesting thing about this fight: you struggle and struggle usually… but when everything is lined up… when tanks are pulling right, cannons are taking down adds, and DPS can focus on the boss, you can even kill the boss after the second DK drop. Which is what we did. It was a resounding win.

And the NPCs cried with joy. As did Zuri.

The win aside, I remain really concerned about the future players coming through the story only to get gated by this trial. While it may look good on paper, and really isn’t that terrible if everyone is doing their part, it’s apparently a lot to ask from a rag-tag PUG group in the DF.

It’s a frustrating three or so hours of my life I won’t get back, and I really don’t look forward to having to see this trial ever again. Though I know I will because it takes a FC to get it done, and our members will eventually need a group who knows how to do it.