Patch 4.1 of Final Fantasy XIV brought a lot of good stuff to the game. Among those one that I was specially curious about was the ability of doing dungeons with your Adventurer Squadron as there is a lot of potential in there.
Up to this point I felt they were mostly fluffy. Yes, they can bring some rewards if you send them on missions and they succeed. But most of those rewards didn't feel that great to me.
With the ability of taking them to do a dungeon with us, even if they are just up to level 50, it opens a lot of possibilities for me. Specially for learning how to tank in this game which has been something I've been struggling with for some time.
So I decided on this weekend to finally test them out.
Before I get to the results of my experiments I figure I should explain a few things about how this works as some people will certainly have questions about it.
- Your squadron needs to be Rank 2 or above
- To do a dungeon you need to go to the Adventurer Squadron base, talk to the Squadron Sergeant and select the Command Mission option.
- You will need to select 3 squadron members to go with you. Keep in mind they will have to fill the same roles as a normal group, e.g. one tank, two DPS and one healer. So for example, if you choose to go in as DPS you will need to select one squad member to fill in as a tank, one DPS and one healer. If you went in as the healer, then it would be one squad to be the tank and two to be DPS.
- You can't group with another player and fill in the roles with squadron members. This is just you and your squadron.
- The only dungeons available right now are Halatali, The Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak, Brayflox's Longstop, The Stone Vigil and The Wanderer's Palace. They all must be unlocked before you can do them with the squadron.
- You also have to spend a number of Grand Company seals to do the dungeon. Halatali, the cheapest one costs 1,000 seals while Wanderer's Palace, the most expensive one costs 2,500 seals.
- If your squadron members levels are above the dungeon level their levels (and yours too) will be synched, just like it was a regular dungeon run.
- You do earn XP and loot just like it was a regular dungeon. Plus some bonus XP by successfully completing it.
- In the dungeon you can give orders to your squadron to engage an enemy, disengage or use a Limit Break. The orders is for all the members of your squadron, you can't order them individually.
- While in the Adventurers Squadron base you can choose for each member what kind of Battle Tactics they should use. Depending on which they will have a boost to HP, DPS or lower the damage they receive. I am not sure if it also influences their behavior during the dungeon run.
- The battle tactics are: Independent, Offensive, Defensive and Balanced. Each gives boost to a different area (HP, DPS or lessened damage received) and have 5 mastery ranks each. All members start with one mastery rank in Independent.
- I am not entirely sure how they gain rank in each battle tactic. In the few tests I did it seemed to be completely random. But there might be a pattern there I just couldn't see yet.
- Doing a dungeon with your squadron does count as task in the Wondrous Tails
Now that this is out of the way, here are the results of my tests with the different roles I played. In all these tests my the member of my squadron were either level 50 or 51.
This is the first role I tested since I feel right now I feel pretty comfortable with all other roles but tanking is still something I am struggling with. My hope is that this will help me to get some good training in this area without having to bug my friends for it or having to deal with impatient players in the Duty Roulette.
I tested it as level 22 Marauder and chose Halatali as that was the only option available for me at that level.
I only did small pulls which proved to be a wise move as my squadron healer let my HP get way too low before deciding to heal me. I even died once but that might have been to my own stupidity as I got more mobs than I could handle and wasn't paying attention to my HP.
Keeping aggro of my squadrons wasn't too much of an issue although they didn't seem to always hit the same enemy as I did so I decided to just ignore it and let them hit whatever they wanted.
In the boss fights I tried to do the mechanics as traditional by ordering my squadron members to take care of the flames but it was proving to be too much of a hassle because as soon as they killed one they decided to go back to hitting the boss. Fortunately the damage wasn't too big and it could just be ignored for the most part.
With the Thunderclap Guivre though I did order them to disengage from the boss when he did put the electricity on the water and ordered them to attack the adds. I didn't want them standing on the AOEs.
I did the same thing with Tangata and his AOE although my rogue did seem to not be taking too much damage by standing on his circle of fire.
By the end of the dungeon I had earned two levels and left with some pretty good impressions of this feature.
My next test was as a level 42 Dragoon in the Stone Vigil. Again it worked pretty well. The tank squadron was able to get aggro quickly and away from the rest of the party.
She even did well when me and the other DPS squadron were being derps and hitting a different mob than the tank. XD
To be expected on the fight against Koschei I had to use the cannons myself while the squadron took care of the boss.
My only problem was against Isgebind thought it was for the most part my fault. Due to my success in Halatali I thought I could just let my squadron members to stand in the AOE and they would be fine. Well, turns out they were not. And they died. And we wiped.
Lesson learned, after that I told them to disengage whenever the AOEs came and re-engage when it was safe. It was still a bit tricky though as my tank squadron sometimes would get Isgebind's back to a wall and as the dragons kept shooting that AOE ice circle at me it would get tricky for me to find a position I could hit him.
Those were my only issues with that particular run but overall it was easier than as a tank.
My last test was a level 48 Astrologian in Brayflox's Longstop.
This was the smoothest one of my tests. My tank squadron didn't require much healing even when the tank got a lot of mobs on them.
During the Hellbender fight I was the only one that was being encase by the bubbles. At one point I swear the squadron just came to free me by themselves but I am not sure if I am hallucinating that as after this I had to manually tell them to stop hitting the boss and attack the bubble.
Aiatar was a lot easier though. Since he only shot his acidic pool at me all I had to do was dodge it and let my squadron do their jobs. Easy peasy.
Overall I am pretty impressed with this addition. I think it will be another good option for leveling.
I only wish that among the squadron commands there was an option for them to attack whatever you are attacking. Mercenaries in EQ2 had that option and they spoiled me in that area. Otherwise the squadron performed well and didn't require as much micro-management as I feared it would.
They also didn't feel so weak to the point of feeling useless. They could take quite a few hits before going down.
One thing I need to test more is the Battle Tactics affect their behavior in dungeons and how they earn mastery in them.
For now I am just happy I can have that option to learn more about tanking and leveling other Jobs. 🙂