FFXIV: Dun Scaith Raid – Left Its Mark

Warning: If you don’t want to hear me grumble and discuss my (probably unpopular) opinions about the new brand of alliance raid content in FFXIV, feel free to move along. 

Syn and I attempted the new 24-man raid, Dun Scaith, last night. I have a soapbox for it today. There’s just no other way to respond to this for me. Here’s my impressions on the direction that alliance raids are going in.

The Death of Average-Player Raiding

If you don’t want my soapbox, skip on down to the Impressions part below this. Thanks!

I’ll say time and time again, I’m not a raider. Heck, I’m not even much for dungeon running, much less taking on group content with more than 2 or 3 people. So the fact that FFXIV coaxed me into an alliance raid at all was nothing short of a miracle.

Crystal Tower was the first time I experienced anything over an 8-man instance. Crystal Tower feels like a raid for folks who have never raided before.

It had mechanics. It had some tricky moments. It focused on teamwork and supporting your alliance. But overall, for even the average player, it was something achievable.

Most of all, it was fun. It’s STILL FUN.

My Free Company still runs Crystal Tower Sundays. And me, who is not a raider, actually spent all of last Sunday teaching FC folks how to run these raids.

Me? Teaching raids. Yeah.

Crystal Tower is content we still run as a FC group while Weeping City is not.


Because I know I can take new level 50s and regular folks into Crystal Tower, teach them the mechanics, and they walk away feeling like they’ve achieved something. Feeling confident in themselves. They just completed this pretty epic story arch, maybe even their first raid, beat down these pretty epic bosses, and they want to do it again!

World of Darkness Raid

Why am I talking about Crystal Tower in a post about my experiences with Dun Scaith? Because between Dun Scaith and Weeping City, we’re seeing the death of average-player raiding. FFXIV is legitimately telling the the normal player, the ones who are going to struggle with these instances, that they have no place in alliance raids.

The message is: “Git gud or GTFO.” This makes me sorely disappointed, because FFXIV wasn’t like this in 2.0.

And those players who can handle the mechanics and the demand? They’ve moved on from Weeping City months ago, once they’ve gotten everything they’ve needed out of it.

They’re off to Alex, which are the raids that should be made for this group of players. Of course they cheered to see a set of harder alliance raids, and whined the old were too easy. But now they’re gone, and the people who are struggling through them are the normal players.

Syn noted that the last couple WC runs she’s had have been the worst she’s seen since the raid was new. People used to say “Once the average ilvl gets higher, Weeping City will be easier.” So, now that the average ilvl is higher, why are the runs still so rough?

Because the raid design and mechanics aren’t tuned to the average person, who is grouping with 23 other randoms who have no means of voice communication. And expected to perform fairly intense, sometimes vague, often punishing, mechanical responses very accurately. 

That just doesn’t work well.

We’re seeing this all over again in Dun Scaith. Even more so.

Dun Scaith Impressions

Yes, I understand that these are impressions from Day 1. I understand it will get better as people learn. These impressions were formed, however, going in about 30% blind (I did read some brief explanations that did little to help overall), and I think I can pretty fairly judge the straightforwardness of the raid mechanics having done most other raids in this game.

We were also very lucky to have some level-headed raid leaders there. I will judge to say that our team was probably 90% better than what most randoms will be. We had folks giving suggestions, calling out raises, and overall keeping the salt down. People who wanted to clear. People who were willing to stick it out and learn.

Despite that, we had a terrible time getting through all the bosses and did not earn a clear. We ran out of time on the final boss, which we did get down to halfway at one point. This makes me nervous to see what a poor group will do.

My main issue is some of the mechanics aren’t very clear. Some mechanics, I understood and learned. Most of the boss fights, though, I was sitting there dead saying, “I’m confused. I don’t understand what I needed to do. I’m not sure what killed me. How do we handle this?”

Yes, I know, first run. But, the mechanics were so vague (an issue I had with Weeping City, too), and can kill you so fast, that it was frustrating. Not to mention you often had several of these mechanics stacking in rapid succession, which just led to massive wiping.

So, the bosses.

Deathgaze ended up being the easiest of the bosses to figure out, despite my fear of falling off the edge. This one will take some practice, but once you get it, it’s not horrible. It’s annoying when he randomly drops the iceblock (you have to use as a buffer not to get knocked off) all the way at the other end of the ship’s deck… and you have no hope in reaching it in time.


Ferdiad… I had no idea what all was going on with this fight for a lot of it. I’ve read through some guides since I ran it, and that helps a bit. But still, there’s lots of mechanics here, and most of them aren’t easy to eyeball and know how to respond. The first fight where I started going, “I’m confused… what’s going on?”

Scathach was another huge pain in the butt. Lots of vague mechanics on top of not so vague mechanics. Everything just piled on everything. We wiped many times and hardly made it through this one — we got a lucky kill at 1%.

Click for bigger image of death

Another complaint is that she and the final boss do these attacks where you have to know which way they are facing. Most the time, even as ranged, I found it difficult to determine which way they were looking because they weren’t as large as some of our previous bosses were.

Diabolos is the final boss. He has two phases. It was cool to have a pause-for-dramatic-speech effect the first time we fought this boss, but I can see it being an annoyance when wanting to clear it over and over. I also found the “you have to break the shield and do no damage to the boss” phase annoying and unnecessary. It’s just wasted time in the fight… and we did this phase over and over and over and over until we ran out of time.


Again, not all mechanics were clear from the start. Eventually someone told us that a group needed to go inside the middle door to fight an add. But looking at it, it was a targetable door, similar to the others, and I couldn’t tell with all that was going on that that was the intention of the mechanic.

We made a valiant effort, but ended up abandoning when we only had 2 minuets left. Since the only things that dropped were double Casting and Healing gear, no one really got anything out of this run in my group, either.

A Second Opinion

Now, if my casual-biased opinion doesn’t hold sway with anyone, when that was done, Syn said to me, “I really hate that raid. This isn’t going to be fun to run.”

Oh wow! This is from someone who runs alliance raids for no other reason other than she just loves World of Darkness. I have never heard Syn say she’s “hated” a raid as a first impression. Hehe… maybe now she understands how I’ve felt about Weeping City this whole time. Though, I do think this one is going to take the place of most-disliked alliance raid in the end.

Our overall takeaway is to wait until people figure this out better and we can see some guides on mechanics. And it’s not that we can’t read and learn mechanics — shoot, we breezed through the new story dungeon without knowing a thing about it. Right now, it’s just too frustrating to fight through all that again without having a better idea of how to handle things.

The only problem is, in a 24-man instance, just because you know something doesn’t mean anyone else does. I agree… this probably isn’t going to be fun.

The things we do for gear upgrades…



  1. Seen on Reddit today: You can buy the upgrade item to get i270 gear (from your i260 Scripture gear) with Centurio Seals, so you can hunt instead of raid to do it. Though it takes a lot of seals, so it won’t be quick….

    Thought I’d mention that since you closed with “the things we do for gear upgrades.”

    I haven’t even done Weeping City yet. I heard to much complaining about it as it came out, and then when I read the guides and watched the videos I just went “nah, not my cuppa tea.” Sounds like Dun Scaith will be the same.

    1. Yeah, I might supplement the upgrade items with Centurios Seals for the i270 upgrade. But I’m also running Dun Scaith for upgrades to alt jobs. I already farmed Scripture for my main job, and while it wasn’t too bad on the last set of Expert dungeons, I’m not sure I want to do that for alt jobs.

      I guess I’m just going to have to balance how much I dislike Dun Scaith with how much I dislike capping Scripture! There are options, I suppose, and I like that there are! Don’t get me wrong. I don’t even really need to upgrade the Scripture set or my alt jobs, I guess. I don’t do any hardcore raiding, and it’s all going to be replaced with Stormblood anyhow.

      I just wish they didn’t completely obliterate the fun in these new alliance raids by pushing people to “git gud.” You’re not missing anything with Weeping City and Dun Scaith except probably frustration.

  2. I think MMOs will ultimately die on the altar of difficulty. Complex mechanics and stressful content with little margin for error are catnip for a very small, very visible, very unrepresentative subset of potential and actual players. Creating increasing amounts of exclusive content for that subset tends to drive out the rest — but that subset *constantly* lobbies for more content which they *deservedontchaknow* because they are after all better than the rest of us. And they are! Better at handling that one kind of content. Which they therefore see as the whole game — and over time developers have mostly come to agree with them.

    FFXIV mostly hasn’t been like that. But, I dunno.

    1. I agree that FFXIV has mostly not been like that. For every difficult thing, they’ve offered fairly equivalent, but slower, methods of reaching goals. Even at end game. The game is overall casual friendly, and I appreciate that.

      However, when it comes to alliance raids, we saw a shift after Void Ark that’s sending a message loud and clear: the raid designers aren’t making these as instances for average players to catch up in ilvl gear anymore. These fights take about as much, if not more, memorization, reflexes, teamwork and skill to beat as any of the Alexander runs I’ve ever done. And yet, I’m still reading hardcore raiders who are complaining this raid is too easy.

      The devs already balance job skills based on high tier raiders and savage raid performance, rather than the performance of the average player. And yet, the census shows this is a small percentage of the overall number of players. I don’t get it.

      1. Oh, no! I didn’t mean to disagree with you. My comment was mournful at the idea of FFXIV sliding toward the cult of difficulty. I love the way the game is complex and layered — and has always offered some content for the difficulty hounds but has provided loads and loads of system and world for those of us who aren’t gifted in the twitch department. The idea of serious skill-check walls spreading outside the five-or-so bosses of the current tier of extreme primal and 8-person raid depresses me because it seems to warn of a possible future leading to the decline of the game…

        1. No worries, I didn’t think of it as you disagreeing! I was mostly rambling to myself in that comment. I’m totally with you here.

          I think FFXIV has a lot to offer a variety of folks, but once you get to end game, you’ll inevitably turn your eyes towards what kind of gear everyone else is picking up. I think that’s where the problem begins. So, maybe it’s not a problem… if the typical player doesn’t care and has no interest in trying these raids.

          It just seems like a big jump in skill requirements between Crystal Tower and Void Ark and the two newest raids. That alarms me, too.

  3. I am -so- tired of the “git gud or GTFO” mentality.

    And I say this as someone who was comparing their account on GW2 efficiency for fun and realizing that my account is number 590 out of the 110,000 accounts who were hardcore enough to register an API key on a website for Number of Legendary Insights collected. (Which is more a measure of luck and sheer bullheadedness than skill.)

    As you say, it is just not fun. Not fun to view other people as potential and probable obstacles to progress, not fun to watch other people far more comfortable with competitiveness pick and measure and choose. This does a number on my desire to socialize, which was never very high to begin with, and I default back into grumpy introverted hermit mode so I don’t have to be exposed to the worser bits of humanity.

    If there’s one silver lining note of positiveness I can add, it’s that over time and with patience and the right group, the initial info overload of mechanics will not seem so overwhelming. It’s a natural learning process, that everyone is capable of.

    The only trick is finding the time and the right group patient enough to help – which can be far easier said than done if eveyone is in the impatient “git gud (elsewhere, so you’re preferably not wasting -my- time) or GTFO” mentality.

    1. I’ve been following your struggles with GW2, even though I don’t trust myself to comment. You’re the only one I know that’s given detailed information on how it feels to dive deep into what GW2 end game has become, and how this end game has changed the game as a whole.

      I try to stay on the positive side of things, but I left GW2 because I saw where it was headed even before the raids. It’s no longer the game I invested time, money, and hope in when it first released, and that saddens me. When you open the can of “Raid” on any game, it changes the environment drastically… there’s no getting around that. So I shut up about GW2 and try not to comment or post about it… because I know I won’t have nice things to say about the game I used to love.

      I suppose there’s a bit of me that’s scared that FFXIV is going to start walking that same line. It gave the average player a chance to try something they normally wouldn’t do – a casual 24 man raid. Then they started ramping it up to the point that this player group is probably going to find it very frustrating instead of encouraging.

      Do I think the average player can tackle it with the right group? Yeah. Probably so. The only issue is, with the alliance raids, it’s usually your FC group (if you’re lucky, you have a full pre-formed group of 8) with two other random groups. It’s not super likely you can get 24 people together for a fully organized alliance raid.

      You always have randoms to contend with, and those people you can’t voice communicate with. So even if you want to effectively help them “git gud,” it’s unlikely. Chances are, people just vote abandon and requeue hoping for better luck, rather than invest time to teach and learn.

      So, I understand where you’re coming from. We play two different games, but worry about the same thing. Also being a hermit, I understand that desire to back away when it gets too much. Games should be fun, not stressful.

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