FFXIV: Skyslipper Story – A Lesson in Community

Posted on May 28, 2024 by Aywren

Despite having played FFXIV for over 10 years, one area of content I’ve never dabbled in is the Savage raids. This is mostly because I’m not much of a raider in any capacity – to me, raiding has always just been a blocker between me and seeing the story, to be totally honest.

However, one thing I’ve wanted for a number of years now is the Allagan Skyslipper mount. I know it’s not overwhelmingly cool looking (though it is a 4-seater) compared to a lot of mounts out there, but there’s more of a role play reason for it.

I’ve always teased that my RP alt, Amon, was not allowed to drive the Allagan Skyslipper. The description notes “once belonging to the imperial family” – indicating that this slipper was for royalty only. And Amon is not Allagan royalty, though he did serve high up in the ranks.

But that didn’t mean I didn’t want to eventually unlock for him. The only thing that kept me from doing this was a Savage fight in the first set of the Eden raids.

This bad-boy Titan clone was all that stood between Amon and his slipper.

Oh, and the fact he’d never unlocked the normal version of Eden. But, come to find out, those can be easily unsynced and taken down in a group of 4 (or less) now.

Group Content Fears

The idea for this started on Friday when FC folks – Magris and Zel - approached Syn and I with the idea of running E4S unsynced to get the mount. At first, I noped right out of the idea of doing a Savage, even though it was last expansion’s content.

My thought was to wait a few expansions for when it could be easily unsynced by 4 or less players – mostly because I didn’t know if getting a party for it was possible, and I didn’t want to be a “bad player” in harder content with strangers.

I may be better about doing group content in MMOs now days (it’s only taken me 10 years), but I’m still self-conscious about holding back my team and being a bad player. This keeps me from trying a lot of content because I struggle to view the game as a game, and content as something to enjoy rather than to struggle to do my best through.

Part of the reason I’m writing this, though, isn’t because I won a mount that I’ve wanted for a long time. It’s because I feel like I’ve learned something about the mindset of group content, and of people who do these things just for fun.

Anyhow, I turned down Magris’ invitation on Friday, dismissing myself with things like – “I don’t remember the Normal, much less the Savage.” (true) “I’ve never run anything Savage before.” (true) “Running with 4 other strangers is scary – I don’t want to be A Bad.” (true)

But later that night, I remembered that the Skyslipper was a 100% drop – though I mistakened that for being a 100% drop for everyone (which was not true). You still have to run it to get a key for each person, but a key always drops.

I then also remembered that Amon, whom I wanted the Skyslipper for most, had never even opened the Normal Eden raids. Beating the first 4 is a requirement to unlock Savage. Thankfully, once you do unlock Savage, you don’t have to do 1-3 in order to access 4, which is nice.

Getting Prepared

I waffled on it a bit that night, then forgot about it until yesterday, when I saw in Discord that Mag and Zel successfully got their Skyslippers over the weekend. I was happy for them and happy to see it was very possible, but also a little grouchy with myself to bypass the opportunity.

I mentioned all this in Discord and found that Mag and Zel were quite happy to go through the ordeal all again so that I (and by extension, Syn) could also get our mounts. I was apologetic for not having gone the first time, but they were supportive and willing to help.

The other snag was that Red Mage would be much more helpful for this than Bard. I do have Amon’s Red Mage leveled to 90, but it’s a side job for him, so it was not at all geared for anything.

Thankfully, Amon has more than enough gil from daily crafting turn-ins, so I got a Tome chest piece, upgraded that with the only coin I had from the single Thalia run I did on him, and bought the rest of the best crafted gear I could get from the marketboard.

This was okay gear, not the best, not the worst, considering this was a level 80 raid tier. Mostly what I brought to the raid was the rezzing, with some damage on the side. I’d prefer Red Mage to Bard play, anyhow.

Helpful Key Runners

Once we got the group of 4 FC folks together, they blazed Amon through the Normal raids in no time. Then, it was on to unlocking Savage and doing a bit of 4-man practice through the first phase of the Titan fight.

The idea was that with a team made of 1 tank, 1 healer and the rest DPS in an 8-man group, you can push the DPS hard through the first phase to beat Titan before the second phase goes too long. Once we’d practiced enough to get the basic concepts down, we went in search of a party finder to fill out the rest of the team.

I was surprised when Mag found one almost at once. I was a little nervous as we merged in, and jumped into the fight.

The start was a little rocky – Syn and I weren’t the only newcomers as there was at least one other who needed the mount. I was surprised, though, at how many folks who were just there to help out, and how patient people were as we tried and failed a few times. Usually once we hit phase 2.

Eventually, we had a shift in team composition, and that improved our clear ability significantly. However, losing someone meant that someone new took their place – and we needed to run one more go for another mount. Most folks stuck in there, but we did have one DPS leaver who hopped in, got his mount on his first roll, and only ran one more before dropping.

We just needed one more mount at that point – for Syn – and she was already talking like she didn’t need it, and we could just disband the party. But I refused to enjoy my mount when she didn’t get hers, for all the work she’d done progressing the fight for others.

We tended to refill the party pretty quickly when searching for a single DPS, which surprised me. This was a Monday late afternoon on a holiday, but still, this is Savage content from last expansion.

We were now clearing consistently, and under 5 mins – which added to my grouchiness at the DPS leaver (shame, shame). But some folks were tired. Still hanging in there, but tired. So, we needed to get this clear. Still, the worry was, adding someone new could mean another person for another run for another mount.

What blew my mind, though, was when we got our final replacement. He didn’t need the mount.

He didn’t need anything.

He just joined a Savage mount farming party as a DPS just to do it. Just to help us get something we were hoping to achieve, with no reward for himself.

Raiding Revelation

Along with the kindness we’d experienced from all the folks – and our own FC friends – I was a little taken aback and overwhelmed (in a good way). I rarely venture out of my comfort zone to do things like this, and here was an example of that kind FFXIV community that I always hear about.

I don’t know. I can’t really put into words my feelings.

Maybe… inspired? Humbled? Thankful?

Yeah, it’s just a video game, I know. But I never underplay the effort someone else puts in if they are doing something to help me when they don’t really need to, and aren’t getting something out of it.

My own fear of grouping and interacting, and my low tolerance for running content, has always kept me from doing something like this for someone else. I’m always dipping out of running stuff with FC folks because I don’t have the energy, I don’t remember the mechanics, group content is exhausting, I don’t really need anything from it.

I feel a little ashamed, to be honest. I haven’t been a good member of the community, much less my FC.

And yet… here we have hours of working on something that all these people got nothing out of… and they just do it just for the fun of it.

And you know what? I actually had fun, too. In fact, this was the some of the most engaged I’ve been with FFXIV in a very long time.

Yeah, we wiped. But we learned and we got better. I was doing baby’s first Savage content, but we were on voice comms with the FC (which is rare), and we were grouping with kind strangers - people giving of their time because they wanted to be there.

And that was more amazing to me than actually getting the mount drop.

Which I did get. And so did Syn – we finished our final run and said our goodbyes to the group.

I took a lot more than just a mount with me from the experience, though. I need to rethink what it means to be a player in the FFXIV community, because I think I’ve been doing it wrong all these years.

*|* {May} *|* {2024} *|* {FFXIV} *|*