With the Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker expansion being released soon, this means the brand new Pandemonium high-end raiding content (savage raid content) will release soon as well. Shadowbringers is finally coming to an end, which means several players are coming back to look for static groups to join, while newer players are eager to learn and begin their savage raiding journey. I often get asked the question when I’m streaming “What are you doing?” (savage raid content) and “How do I get started doing savage content in Final Fantasy XIV“? A lot of people come to my stream and express interest, but they don’t know where to start, and the idea of doing difficult raiding in the game fills them with anxiety. There are plenty of multiplayer activities to do in Final Fantasy XIV, because it is, in fact, a multiplayer game. However, you can take this a step further if you’re interested in doing the really hard endgame content with other players—I’m referring to Extreme Trials and Savage Raid content. If you’re one of the many players interested in finding a group, or you just don’t have any clue how/where to start, read on!
Updated to Patch 6.35 03/06/23
Some Helpful Links To Get Started That Will Be Covered Throughout This Guide:
- Link to the Balance Discord server
- Balance has a website now with beginner friendly class guides!
- My guide to downloading and using FFLogs
- Final Fantasy XIV Toolbox
- My stream >:) hehehe POG
- Join our Discord server!
If you’re looking for a multiplayer online game to play and you haven’t yet decided if Final Fantasy XIV is the right choice for you, read here—I just might talk you into it. If you’re already somewhat into endgame savage raid content but you’re trying to get better at gauging your ability, or if you’re just trying to improve, read here to learn about ACT and how it can help you improve in the raid scene. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Decide What Works For You
Putting a group together is no easy feat, but believe it or not, choosing to dedicate your time and mental energy to a static group is even harder. If you’re taking this seriously, you’ll find yourself dedicating a lot of time to practicing and clearing content.
First, you’ll need to ask yourself two things:
- Do you want to be in a static group, or do you want to practice on your own terms in party finder? If you want to play more casually on your own time, it’s better to hop into party finder when you have some free time. This way, you set your own schedule, and complete raids at your own pace. A lot of people actually prefer this method because of the flexibility. If you’re interested in making friends and interacting socially but you don’t mind a dedicated schedule and rules to follow, you should consider joining a static group. That way you can make friends while also learning and clearing content with the same people every week.
- How much time do you have? If you plan on being serious about clearing content, expect to cough up 3-4 hours 2x a week to clear savage raid content with your buddies in a static group. That’s not including time spent researching and learning raid mechanics in your own time, plus perfecting your role.
Once you’ve established what your intentions are, then you can begin gearing up and start savage raid content in earnest. Remember that in order to unlock savage raids, you must clear normal modes first. Many things are locked behind the main story quest in Final Fantasy XIV. So if you’re a new player and your buddy says “Come raid with us!” remember you have to play several hours of story quests before you even reach the savage raid content raids. And FYI, there are a few different tiers of raids in Final Fantasy XIV.
- Normal Raids: Generally the easiest raids in the game. Consists of 8 players, you can queue up for these in duty roulette, and are watered-down versions of savage fights. These are honestly group practice pre-savage raid content.
- Alliance Raids: Alliance raids are among the most interesting duties to clear in Final Fantasy XIV. They are raids where 24 players are divided into three teams. Contrary to other duties, each team only has one tank, two healers, and five DPS players. They are fun, but not easy to clear, at least without dying.
- Extreme Trials: These are a few steps ahead of normal raids with enrage timers and some mechanics will not have tells on the map. In extreme trials, failed mechanics can potentially wipe a party. These are generally found in party finder.
- Unreal Trials: These are fairly similar to Extreme Trials in difficulty. These fights are also synced to an item level and they honestly don’t offer many benefits. I recommend skipping them. but they’re fun to do with friends.
- Savage Raids: The overall player base will seek out savage raid content as they are incredibly difficult on their own. These fights include a multitude of mechanics that can instantly wipe your party even with just one mistake, so a lot of teamwork is required here. Arduous DPS checks exist, which is why it is so important to practice.
- Ultimate Raids: Ultimate raids are the most difficult raid content in the game. I won’t go into detail about these since we’re focusing on getting started in savage raid content.
Types of Raid Groups
So you’ve caught up in the MSQ and you know what type of content you’d like to do. Awesome. Now I’m going to talk about more differences between joining a static group or finding progression groups in party finder. This is definitely the most difficult part when it comes to exploring the raid-content scene, especially if you’re coming into the raid-tier late. A lot of people try to put a group together, get overwhelmed, and quit. Others don’t know how to even begin looking for players, and there are a fortunate few who have no qualms jumping between one raid group to another, or just sitting in party-finder waiting for a competent clear group to come along.
If you can’t dedicate your time to a specific weekly schedule, then pugging in party finder might be right for you. It takes a lot of patience and a lot of learning, but it can pay-off in the end, especially since you might find a group to play with along the way. It’s also beneficial to learn pug strategies—pug strategies are usually no-brainer strategies that are very forgiving for players. My group usually figures out mechanics on our own and worries about learning pug strategies later. Sometimes this is great because we can discover better or more efficient strategies for our group that will deal more damage, while other times it is a pain because we may need someone to sub for us and we have to teach them our strategies instead of just following the pug strategies.
If you’re looking for a group to practice together in party finder, be sure to join a group that says Practice in the description. Also, remember that early savage raid content loot is restricted, meaning if you clear the savage raid, you cannot receive more loot that week. This can be an issue if you practice in party finder and clear before your raid group, because then you will ruin loot drops for the rest of your teammates and that’s something you want to avoid. If you join a group and become worried that you might clear before your static group, let the leader of the party finder group know and politely leave.
Just like most other live service games, Final Fantasy XIV features a daily and weekly reset time so players won’t be able to just grind out all the tomestones and gear they need within a few days of playing. The weekly reset occurs every Tuesday at 4 a.m Eastern Standard Time, or 1 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. This includes savage raid content.
As mentioned before, a static group will meet a set number of nights and focus on clearing content together as a group. Some teams try to clear within a week or two once the raids drop, while others are more casual and take their time. You should choose a group depending upon on your own skill level. And ideally you want to join a group that you get along with, so be patient and try some groups out before committing.
What Do Statics Look For In A Player + My Experience As A Raid Leader
Each static will recruit differently depending on their own preferences, goals, and ambitions. Some groups are more serious than others, while others are casual. One common thing recruiters look at is your damage relative to your gear level, and how consistent you are at executing mechanics and communicating with a group. Ask yourself, “Can I prove that my rotation can improve?” and “How often do I die to the same mechanic?” Generally, everyone makes mistakes, and that’s okay. Some players pickup specific mechanics more quickly than others. It’s your ability to reflect, communicate, and improve that will set you apart from the rest. In most situations, a static group will ask to see your FFLogs. Remember that ACT and FFlogs is a means to reflect and improve—if a static group bullies your ability as a player, it’s a reportable offense. Having higher percentile logs will definitely increase your chances of finding a group. Just practice your rotation until you’re absolutely sure that you’ve nailed it down, then practice some more.
Personally, I care a lot more about players who are in it for the long-term and have the right attitude. Perfecting yourself as a player is important for me to see, but over the years, I’ve found that I don’t mind as much if a new player joins our team, so long as they have the right attitude and they can show me that they are working hard to improve over time. I also look for punctuality, the ability to respect the other members of the team, and the ability to communicate.
No matter how good you think you are at the game, you are still part of the team, and it’s still just a game. Let’s be honest, if you’re a toxic asshat with elitism issues, no one will want to raid with you. Don’t be an asshat, and your raid experience in Final Fantasy XIV will go a long way. People want to play with other players that they can connect to, who they find enjoyable to be around. Having the ability to give and receive criticism is very important, not just in Final Fantasy XIV, but in all aspects of life. This is just a game where ultimately, everyone wants to have fun. Do your part and research mechanics, but also remember to make friends and have fun!
Responsibility In Raiding
I’d suggest getting used to pugging Primal Extreme content first. At the time of writing, we have Storm’s Crown (Extreme) that will drop a item level 615 weapons and Mount Ordeals (Extreme) trial that drops an item level 625 weapons. Item level is a reflection of how powerful a piece of gear is, and by extension, how powerful you are. Higher item level is better. If you’re confident in Extreme Primals, then you really should be pretty much good to go for Eden (Savage). Do the (Normal) ones first, of course—they preview the majority of the Savage mechanics, and show you what the actual AOE’s, boss abilities, markers, ec. look like. Many Savage mechanics are just Normal mechanics that hit harder, faster, and without the puddle forecast, so you have to watch cast bars and sometimes even the boss’s visuals or the arena (like Thordan). Don’t be surprised if a few salty folks ruin a run for everyone else, but if you stick to it, you can get the clear. And the sooner you begin raiding, the sooner you’ll find a group.
Once you’re in a group, it’s up to you to take time on the side to practice and learn mechanics, learn your class/role, and improve overall as a player. If you decided to join a static group, depending on their rules and loot lockouts, you can hop into party finder practice groups to get better at executing mechanics. If you find yourself struggling a lot during raid nights to learn something, it’s usually best to practice in party finder and/or watch a video on YouTube. I usually recommend joonbob’s videos on YouTube. He’s very straightforward and his videos do a great job at showing mechanics step-by-step. If that’s not enough, use tools like Final Fantasy XIV Toolbox that shows you a step-by-step diagram of mechanics. You can make your own strategies on this site or look at what other people have uploaded to help you learn mechanics that you might be struggling with. This is also a great tool to dissect how you may have died in a previous pull if you can’t figure it out using the FFLogs uploader.
Practice Your Opener And Rotation
Find a job guide on the Balance Final Fantasy XIV Discord server (or look on their new website!) and then practice hitting a training dummy. The mods in the Balance server are there to help you, so don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you think there are stupid questions. There are no stupid questions. The Balance server has plenty of guides, videos, etc. to help you learn your class. You can even upload and share live FFLogs with the moderators who will dissect the logs for you and teach you where to improve. Once you’ve found the opener/rotation that is right for you, you should practice on a dummy until you can execute your opener/rotation from memory. As described in my ACT guide, ACT (or “Advanced Combat Tracker”) is a third-party tool used to parse damage in Final Fantasy XIV. There is currently no official parser in the game. Although third-party tools like this are generally prohibited, there is a huge grey area with ACT. Don’t use it to harass other players and you’ll be fine.
Once you’ve got ACT figured out—and if you don’t, check out my guide!—the next step is uploading your logs to FFLogs. This tool will upload your ACT data to the FFlogs website, which can provide a number of different insights and analysis both for your own play and for the execution of your entire group. A tool that goes hand-in-hand with FFLogs is XIV Analysis. A bunch of really smart people made this third party tool to dissect your FFLogs and teach you areas where you can improve on. Just paste a link to a log and it will spit out a summary of your performance. For mor information on how to setup ACT and FFLogs check out my guide…here.
As a tip from me to you, if you’re learning a new class (especially a DPS class), it’s better to always hit a (DPS) button no matter what. If you freeze up on a mechanic, continue doing your rotation, and if you forget your rotation, smash an ability. It’s good practice and will increase your damage output. Over time, you’ll learn to always output damage, even during progression. It also looks great on FFlogs since your active % will be up, which is always a good indicator that recruiters look for. Of course, smashing abilities during progression is great, but remember you can fine-tune everything later as you become more comfortable with mechanics.
Get Better Gear
As suggested before, Extreme Trials are a great way to upgrade your weapon. Every even and odd patch update releases an Extreme Primal with weapon drops that you can farm in party finder, which will always be a higher item level than crafted weapons. Remember, higher item level does mean better attributes and gear. Relic weapons are also an option, although it depends on the relic and the level of the content. Most of the time, relic weapons will be behind the current BiS weapons, and often by a lot of item level. Look at the Balance server to figure out the recommended gear, otherwise known as BiS (Best in Slot) weapon, armor, and accessories. The Balance will also include recommend material melds. Depending upon where you’re at in the raid tier, you’ve got a few options to upgrade your armor and accessories. You can purchase or make your own crafted gear off of the market board. Once you do that, you’ll have to overmeld it. I don’t recommend this method unless you’ve got a lot of money or if you have someone to help you out.
When normal raids first drop, you can receive weekly Antique armor/weapon tokens to turn in and receive higher item level gear that is better than your average dungeon gear drops. This is the best way to start at the beginning of a raid tier. A few weeks later, the savage raid content will drop, and the new alliance raids will begin dropping coins that you can use to upgrade your gear to augmented pieces. Additionally, new alliance raids will drop armor/weapon tokens that you may turn in for gear upgrades.
Stock Up On Food & Potions
Party finder courtesy rules are a little different, but any static group you join will be very disappointed in you if you don’t show up on time with your own raid food and potions. Of course, every group has their own rules, but a good rule of thumb is to show up prepared with your own supplies. Don’t assume you’ll get free handouts. Potions may not be required until your group is near the end of progression in a fight. Ask your leader for details on potions. Generally, I don’t require potions until my group has played through all of the mechanics and the clear is in sight. This way, no one wastes their Gil, and potions give us that extra DPS boost that will help us clear the boss. You don’t necessarily need a potion for every pull, but if you’ve got the extra cash, purchase a few potions that are older tier to help boost your stats through progression. This will also help you map out where best to use your potion, so that you don’t have to guess when it comes time to break out the good stuff.
Every class needs different raid food to optimize their skillset, so always check the Balance Discord to see the recommended raid food for your class. Food is always a must since it will boost your health bar by quite a bit! Every little bit helps, and your healers will love you for it.
“But Moonie, I know all of that. How do I find a group?!”
I hear you. There are a few ways to discover raid recruitment groups in Final Fantasy XIV.
- Party Finder: Since this is done in-game, it’s the most simple way to find a group. You can either look for static group recruitment in the party finder, or get started in a practice group. Opening Party Finder and joining a practice group is the most accessible way to clear content. However, joining a static group has social benefits and sometimes clear benefits. Just pick whichever you’re mort comfortable with. If you post in party finder with the interest of joining a static group, remember to put your Discord ID in the description so players can contact you more easily, especially if you go AFK!
- Reddit: The Final Fantasy XIV Recruitment subreddit is a great place for group recruitment in Final Fantasy XIV. You can sort by group types, focus, data centers, and more. You can post your own thread or scroll through and look for a recruiting static team that meets your own criteria.
- The Final Fantasy XIV Discord Server: This Discord server has several channels dedicated to all aspects of Final Fantasy XIV, including help for new & returning players, trivia quizzes, endgame and lore discussion, regional chat channels, data center recruitment, and channels for various side content. They also have channels for sharing screenshots, artwork, and many more! There’s even a rants channel if you feel like punching a Lalafell! Not only is this a great place to find friends and socialize, you can also find Free Company recruitment posts here as well as people who are looking for a static group to join. Just scroll all the way down to the FFXIV Recruitment category. Whatever is posted on the FFXIV Recruitment subreddit will also be automatically posted in the Reddit recruitment feed channel.
Take it at your own pace, but remember that the best way to get experience is by getting out of your comfort zone and practicing in real time. Believe it or not, savage fights are accessible to players at all levels, as long as you commit time and effort. If you’ve read this far and you’re thinking “This is a lot of work. I’m not good enough.” you probably are. There are several people out there who started the same way you are. Study videos and guides before going into raid content, have the right attitude, and you’ll do just fine. Find a group that fits your needs, and the rest will take care of itself.
Image Credits: Square Enix