Crafting Tutorial now available via our YouTube channel

Here’s a permanent link to the tutorial Headmistress Kela made regarding the level 70 endgame crafting rotation known commonly as a Maker’s Mark rotation or a MaMa rotation. All newly 70 recently geared specialist crafters should learn this rotation, if they don’t already know it. Direct questions to @Kela#8130 via the Crafting/Gathering channel of the discord, or in game in the /fc chat.

Seven Steps to Savage Success

With Stormblood only a few months away and the Creator: Savage Tier’s loot becoming unlimited access this week, Headmistress Kela shares her experience in order to help Stabbies anxious to get their feet wet in Raiding.

Hello there, Kela here. I’m excited to hope for the possibility of an All-Academy Raiding Team in Stormblood. However, I know most of the Free Company has little to no experience in raiding. Alexander: The Creator (Savage) was my fist attempt at raiding (and raid-leading) and I learned so much. To help with the learning curve I now present the Academy’s premier resource material: Seven Steps to Savage Success.

Firstly, it’s important to know that while Savage (right now, Stormblood raiding is still a mostly-unknown entitiy) is designed to where casual players can still clear it, it’s not for everyone. I would say that proper contribution to a raiding team requires about ten hours of total gameplay over the course of one week, including progression in the instance and proper preparation outside of raid. If you are interested in having a positive, successful experience, please be prepared to commit at least that much time.

Step One: Leveling

Obviously to be able to raid you must be able to unlock the instance which requires two things: a character at the level cap and the requisite item level. Let’s talk about the first.

If you’re leveling your first job from the beginning, I recommend following the Main Scenario Questline, which gives excellent experience and unlocks Leveling Roulette, which is the most efficient time vs experience return. It’s a once-daily huge bonus to experience, so try to run it every day. If you do that, you will likely never be unable to progress in the MSQ because of low level. Leveling Roulette unlocks at level 16.

If you’re leveling an Alternative Job from level one and have already completed the Main Scenario, do your hunting log and your Class Quests as soon as they become available to you. By completing the class quests through level 15 and the hunting log through level 20 you will likely be level 16 and will be able to do your first leveling roulette. This will likely get you to level 19 or 20. From there, do your daily roulette and progress your hunting log, then repeatedly queue for the highest level dungeon you are qualified for. While waiting for the queue, do FATEs around your level.

Alternatively, Palace of the Dead (accessible level 17) has a high time v experience return if you’re confident. It can be risky because if you queue for a random group no party composition is enforced on you, and the instance is tough to complete without a healer or tank in the party. However, in addition to experience, it also rewards lucrative items which can help you increase your gil stores. It’s a high-risk high-reward alternative that you might consider.

These methods will take you to max level over the course of a couple weeks depending on how diligent you are. These are also the ideal scenarios for leveling alternate jobs starting from 30 (Heavensward jobs) or 50 (Stormblood jobs)

Step Two: Gear

Once at maximum level the quest to unlock the raid becomes accessible to you. However, you may or may not be the required Item Level to actually enter. Here’s how gearing up works.

i. Armor

Your armor will almost always be gated behind Tomestones, and the highest-level ones that will give you relevant gear are always time-capped to 450 per week. So you’ll need to constantly be hitting that 450 tome cap in order to get the gear you need to enter and make good progression against the boss.

The most efficient way to gain those tomestones is to run Expert Roulette, which is a coin toss between the two highest-level four man dungeons released in the latest patch. This will automatically become unlocked once you complete them both for the first time. One is likely free to access, but one is often locked behind being up to date with the main scenario. If you complete expert roulette daily 6/7 days of the week, you will get 450 tomestones and you won’t have to spend any other time doing it.

If you’re not a high enough level to unlock or enter the Expert dungeons, then you’ll need to farm the second-highest tome, which is uncapped, by running other max-level content. As you purchase gear with this tomestone set, the Expert dungeons will become accessible. Alternatively, Seals from Hunts can also serve this purpose.

Also, drops from max-level dungeons and the story version of the raid can give gear that will allow access to Expert Dungeons or even the Raid itself. Drops are random, however, and must be rolled for. Also, the story-mode raid gear will be capped at one item per turn per week when it first becomes available, so you may need to do some research to see which pieces are more valuable to your job based on their secondary statistics and which pieces to get each week in order to get them most quickly.

It’s worth mentioning that every odd patch (x.1, x.3, x.5, etc) adds a 24-man “raid” which completed casually once a week will allow you to upgrade one of your tomestone pieces by ten item levels. Do this every week once it becomes available until you’re all upgraded.

ii. Weapon

There are three ways to get an end-game weapon: Tomes, Extreme Primals, and the Relic

The tomestone weapon is often the least powerful of the three, but the easiest to get in terms of content difficulty. It requires 1,000 tomestones of the capped variety (so that’s two weeks and a little bit) and 8 clears of the last turn of the story-mode version of the raid. Easiest content (expert roulettes and story-mode raid), but long in terms of time, generally has the worst sub-stats and the opportunity cost of 1,000 tomes you could be using on armor instead.

The Extreme primal weapons are the most efficient in terms of time invested. They’re often quite powerful and only require you to learn and clear the most relevant Extreme Primal. They are random drops that must be rolled on, but with ten clears you can turn in your victory tokens for the one you need. Another bonus is that it’s a good way to get a weapon for an alternative job, since you can just farm the fight until it drops. Downside: you’ll have to spend about ten hours in the fight actually learning it and wiping to it.

The Relic likely won’t be available right when the expansion drops (I believe it was added in patch 3.15 in Heavensward, for example) and it is a long, lifeless grind. Depending on the intensity of the step it could take anywhere from ten to fifty hours of non-raid time to complete a single step, and they generally come out every patch or off-patch, so it’s a constant stream of casual grinding. However, the upside is that this weapon is fully customizable, it doesn’t become outdated so long as you continue the quest to upgrade it, and it’s likely the most powerful of the three options at the end of the day.

Any of these three options are viable, so choose the one that’s right for you.

Step Three: Accuracy and Materia

Think you’re ready to enter the raid now? Think again! You’ve got a decent set of gear and a weapon that will let you enter. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be contributing to a successful raid and the last thing you want to be is dead weight. So let’s talk about accuracy, materia and sub-statistics.

The “Accuracy Cap” of a raid is the minimum accuracy stat required to hit the boss 100% of the time. Your goal is to get your character to that number and not above it. The best way to do this is with materia: Heaven’s Eye Materia. Meld this to every slot that will accept accuracy materia until you meet this number (bear in mind that ever number above the cap is wasted, so try to get it as close as possible). It’s different for every boss and it also depends on where you’re hitting the boss: from the Front (Tanks), Flanks (DPS) or if you use magical damage (Healers and Casters) there’s a special number for you as well.

Any slot not filled with accuracy materia should be melded with your most potent sub-statistic, which varies from Critical Hit, Determination, Skill Speed or Spell Speed depending upon your role. A quick google search or sub-Reddit query will get you the one that you need. Fill up the rest of your materia slots with that.

Step Four: Knowing your Job

When we talk about savage, we talk about the most difficult and tightly-tuned content in the game. It’s not enough to let your gear carry you to victory like you can in so much other content. You have to know how to maximize your DPS contribution at all times, and that’s not just the DPS roles, Tanks and Healers also should maximize their DPS as they are able relative to their other responsibilities.

This is as simple as it is complicated, simply google a few written and video guides on how to properly optomize your chosen job. Watch, read thoroughly, take notes, absorb. The DPS roles in particular can get quite complex quite quickly: don’t give up! Really try to understand the granularity of your chosen role.

When that’s done, get some practice on a striking dummy (There are several on the open world, but we also keep three in our Campus Yard). Once you’re confident you’ve gotten the basics of it, unlock Stone, Sky, Sea. This is an instanced, solo, striking dummy that’s tuned to the DPS requirements of the actual Savage fight you’re interested in. If you can kill the dummy before time expires, you’re contributing the minimum amount of DPS to clear the fight. The faster you kill it, the more DPS you’re contributing to a successful clear.

If you can clear the dummy, you’re capable of bringing enough DPS to not be a burden on your teammates. However, always strive for more if you know you messed up or did something suboptimally. The faster you kill the raid boss, the less mechanics you’ll have to work, significantly lowering the difficulty of the fight, which is very important and quite helpful.

Step Five: Food and Potions

Now we can raid, right? Nope! Stock up on High Quality Food and Potions.

Food is used in 30-minute increments and stacks up to one hour. You should choose a food that will increase the sub-stats that you’re interested in: Accuracy if your materia didn’t quite get you to cap, which can happen. Otherwise, your most-efficient substat that you determined earlier. Food will often buff two or three things at once, so other good foods are ones that buff Vitality. It’s always nice to have a little extra HP while learning mechanics. It allows for more recoverability from your Healers.

You might consider having a cheaper “progression” food which is not quite the very, very best choice to save on money while you’re just wiping to the boss over and over. Go for the nice stuff when you’ve got the fight on farm, for extra speed making the clears quicker and easier.

Potions are used during your opener, it should be your main damage dealing statistic so you get as much mileage out of all those DPS buffing cooldowns in your opener as possible. For example, as a Scholar I take mind potions. Potions are significantly cheaper than food, so feel free to use them liberally.

Step Six: Guides and Clear Videos

Now we’re getting somewhere. You’re completely theoretically prepared to enter a raiding instance. However, you know nothing about the fight in practice. Google a guide video: Xenosys, Mizzteq and Mister Happy are all solid choices. Some people prefer one or the other, but I’d take a look at all three for a different perspective. Keep them nearby, you won’t be able to absorb the whole fight in once viewing, you’ll need to refresh your memory on later phases once you start seeing them consistently.

If you ever encounter a “hurdle” during raiding: a mechanic or check that’s consistently wiping your raid and you are unable to progress, check out a clear video (try to find one from your job’s perspective if possible). You’ll be able to observe exactly where they stood, moved, and what abilities they executed during the mechanic to get past it. Take that information to your raid group and try your best to emulate it in practice.

Step Seven: Patience

Now comes the hardest part: learning these fights. Square Enix has said that they tune these fights for casual groups to be able to clear before they become irrelevant by the release of its successive tier. Now let’s break down that ten hour weekly figure I gave you at the start of the guide. A casual group will raid about six hours a week of actual practice. The remaining four is yours to buy or craft food, run your expert roulette for gear upgrades and work on your weapon, whichever route you took there. If you do this, you should see success on all four fights before the next tier is released. That’s every even patch (x.0, x.2, x.4 etc). So to clear the four fights casually expect to take six to eight months.

If you’re prepared up front for that kind of time investment, you’ll face a lot less pressure to perform and burnout, so take a moment to impress on yourself what exactly you’re committing to.

Success in these fights is super rewarding, not even from an in-game perspective but just in general. Knowing that you and seven of your friends depended on each other for this kind of commitment, persistence and accomplishment is monumental. Best of luck and congratulations in advance. See you in Stormblood!

((Pictures to come to break up this wall of text, need a minute for that update so enjoy the info in the meantime))