The feeling is somewhat mutual.
Warning: Mild Patch 4.3 Story Spoilers & Mild Rant
You know, I’m not sure how Square Enix can hit and miss so much in one patch. On one hand, the QoL and gentle casual content has been great. I’ve really enjoyed unlocking the new Namazu Beast Tribe quests and the new Deliveries. I’m already earning scrips for my new crafting/gathering accessories, and I’m now leveling crafters that I’d long ago lost interest in doing.
The other thing I really wanted to experience was the story. This came to a grinding halt last night when we were dropped face-first into a new trial.
This was touted to be the “end” of the Stormblood story arc. Granted, I’m not as invested in this story as I was in Heavensward, but I give S/E a chance to change that every new patch. I’m open-minded even if they haven’t been able to tug my emotional heartstrings despite all their attempts.
Poor History of Story Trials
But one thing that has always frustrated me is when they throw a trial in the middle of story that practically blocks you from finishing the story. The did this with the first Steps of Faith — it blocked so many people that they ended up nerfing it.
They swung back the other direction with the Thordan fight. He was super, super easy. But you know what… I’ve never heard anyone complain about that battle. People always willingly jumped into it to help folks who needed to clear.
The Final Steps of Faith was challenging… it was something you were advised against trying with a PUG. Seeing that most people are going to try it with a PUG due to the nature of the game, I didn’t think this was a good move. It took a coordinated group of FC folks on Discord to finally beat it.
Shinryu had challenge, but was a little easier. I felt like there was a bit more wiggle room for individual mistakes. We actually cleared this with our FC on the first try.
Fast forward to this new trial. Syn, Amoon and I went in blind and used the Duty Finder. We did not beat it last night.
Now, most of the players there were first timers who went in blind, like us. However, by the third pull, I think we all mostly had it figured out. It’s one of those battles where just because you know how to do it doesn’t mean you can execute it, however.
This trial requires fairly precise group coordination. This fight has several wide-range mechanics, and any one of them can one-shot a party member, or put them on their last leg, easily. This fight requires the group to stack and move as a unit, quickly and under pressure. There’s a lot of individual responsibility and you can’t just ride other people’s coattails to a win.
We eventually had to give up because we were out of time. But I felt like despite being a PUG group, everyone tried their best, remained calm, put their all into learning and doing mechanics… and we still couldn’t get through it. The closest we ever got was a little under 10%.
This was actually a good PUG group. I’d hate to see a bad PUG group attempting this.
While I think the fight is do-able, it is not PUG friendly. It is not friendly to folks of low or medium-low skill. And the problem is, because the fight demands the group to work as a whole, those of lower skill and slower reaction time will put the party at risk of failure.
Now we have to go back and try it again tonight… with a group that probably won’t know the mechanics as well as the one that we were learning with last time. As the primal says, “This is going to be a long night.”
For goodness sake… this is a STORY instance!
Some difficulty is fine. This doesn’t have to be Thordan.
But make the story bosses accessible for the majority of the players. You guys know that most people are going to probably use Duty Finder for this. You could have easily done away with just one of those mechanics during the final phase, and we might have actually cleared it last night.
This is not a RAID boss!
Oh, and don’t even start me on the new 24-man boss that requires you to do math in your head to do mechanics. I haven’t played this yet, but I have a feeling I’m probably not going to run it very much… because math is not fun for me, and I can’t do it well under pressure.
I just don’t know… I feel that S/E is out of touch with the (I don’t want to say casual, because some casual players are super skilled)… less-skilled population of their player base. If a fight requires the kind of coordination that needs voice chat to clear, it shouldn’t be blocking anyone’s ability to finish the story.
It should not be a “Wait until the ilvls get higher” thing. I also don’t want to hear, “But it’s a final boss fight!” That’s not an acceptable answer when it comes to story that we all pay a sub to have access to.
Save this kind of stuff for the Extreme version of the trial. People going into that have chosen that level of difficulty. People going into this just want to see how the story ends.
Darn it! I want to love this game but I get really frustrated when I see what direction they’re taking these things.
Ugh. Have some happy Namazu. I need some cheering up.