Guide:PvP - Addendum of the Wolf
Addendum of the Wolf
Hello. My name is King Stefan, and this is my shorthand guide on how to be pretty decent at The Feast Solo Queue. All that is written will be targeted towards players who already have a basic understanding of PVP and this game mode. As in, I will not be covering the rules of the mode, what PVP abilities are, or where the quest is to unlock PVP. That said, this is still going to cover some more targeted basics, so if you are an above average player, you may not find this guide too helpful. I'll give this disclosure now: This guide and the tips within are a collaboration of advice from many of the top players on Aether data center. You may disagree on some points, and very well some of these things may not work for you. However, this advice is certainly given with much credibility.
- CC = Crowd Control. Refers to abilities which cause loss of control of players. (Stuns, Silences, Sleeps.)
- DR = Diminishing Return. Refers to the "cooldown" of when CCs lose their effectiveness. (Example: Sleep has a diminishing return of 1 minute. Meaning, after 1 minute since the last successful Sleep on the same target, it will have the full duration instead of a shorter one.)
- AOE = Area of effect. Damage happens in more than one place at one time. Like, a circle. Or a rectangle.
So, you've played a few matches in The Feast Solo Queue. You've probably won some, lost some, or maybe none at all! Don't worry, because no matter how you're doing, or what role you play, this section of the guide will go over what ANY player can and should do to improve their performance.
- Have a good attitude. Ever heard the term "Tilting"? Even if you haven't, you've probably experienced it if you've PVP'd in any game ever. It's really important that you retain a positive and optimistic attitude, or else it will show in your performance.
- PLAY TO WIN. Really. You are queueing up for a game mode that is ranked, with leaderboards, and meant to be a place where people can go and test their skill (and luck.) If you are not queueing up with the intention to win, there are other things you can do in this game besides The Feast Solo Queue.
- Play the job you are most comfortable with. Pretty simple. If you don't know how to play your job properly, how do you expect to fare well against other players?
- Communicate with your team. Macros with important messages go a long way. Do you think your team should back off? Play objectively? Target a certain player? Make a macro.
- Use Macros. Don't be that guy that doesn't take action for several seconds because they're writing a monologue in chat about what their team should do. Macros are quick and simple, if you make them to be quick and simple.
- Be aware. Did your healer die? It's probably time to pop sprint and B-line back to your spawn, NOT continue fighting. There are several situations to look out for, but they are far too many in number to list. The general rule here is that you should not be looking at your action bars, or just your exclusive target. Be aware of everything going on in the match.
- Medals. Medals are the (insert adjective expletive here), I mean, BEST mechanic ever put into PVP. Whether you like it or not, it's a huge part of The Feast. As a general rule, you should be looking at your stacks, the stacks of your enemies, and your allies. How each role deals with stacks will be listed in their given Job sections, in the next piece of this guide.
Tanks are the real "support" role of The Feast, though that support comes in many different forms depending on which job you choose. No matter what your job is, there are a few key things you should be doing when you queue up as a tank.
- Pick up medals. At the start of the match, YOU are the person that should be picking up medals. However, you should NEVER go over 4 stacks of "Heavy Medal". Even at 4 stacks, you are quite easily killed, and not that tanky anymore. Going over this stack count will make your healer miserable. Also, when you DO reach 4 stacks, you will have to consider your defensive cooldowns and your tank stance when being attacked by the enemy. If the enemy team kills you, they will get a lot of points.
- Know when to be offensive and defensive. This will take some time to master, though you should be trying to make these conscious decisions every time you queue up as a tank. As a tank, you need to assist your DPS with abilities like Full Swing, silences, and certain CCs (not always.) You can also assist your healer with abilities like Cover, Thrill of Battle, Clemency, and other CC abilities to get those pesky DPS off their backs. Abilities like Mythril Tempest, Glory Slash, Tar Pit, and all forms of CCs can be used both offensively and defensively. Use them wisely!
- Limit Break: Your LB is an AOE (area of effect) damage reduction buff that lasts 10 seconds. It's good to apply this when the enemy team is throwing out high damage, or when your healer needs a bit of extra help. This LB is great at countering DPS LB's if you can anticipate when they are going to use them, since you will have to do is preemptively.
- Don't dwell on your dps. Seriously. Nobody cares if you are higher damage than your unranked black mage because you spent the whole match spreading goring blade to the entire enemy team, including the enemy SMN's pet. Your job is to augment your team with your offensive and defensive utility, while intelligently using your CC. Which segways into point #2 ...
- Don't stun for nothing. I see very often new (or even experienced) paladins stun for no reason whatsoever. Stuns should be used for three reasons only. First, and most common, is to interrupt the enemy healer AT KEY MOMENTS. This means to stun lock the healer while your team is bursting, not randomly in the middle of a match while no damage is going out. Second is to peel for your healer. This means that if your healer is getting attacked and is in trouble, it is probably a good idea to tab-target and spread out some sweet, sweet stuns of justice. Lastly is to secure a kill. The general rule of thumb is that if you are using a stun offensively, especially on a healer, do not stun unless the target is below 50% of their maximum HP. This will help ensure that the kill is landed and the stun is not wasted, since it could be another minute until you get your next chance to pull it off. Important note: When stunlocking, it is important to clip your stuns when they have 1 second remaining, since there is a short animation delay before the next stun lands. Failing to do so could allow a healer to get off an instant cast spell. Which is like, bad.
- Be like Hodor. You really need to hold the door. You might ask, "Hey King Stefan, there is no door in The Feast, what gives? Are you dumb?" While the answer to the latter might still be "yes", I am speaking of the door on the backside of your healer, and when it opens, your healer is free to be murdered by the enemy team. We don't want that, do we, Hodor? No, so we use spells like Cover, Testudo, LB, Shield Swipe, Shield Bash, Clemency, and Flash to reduce the effectiveness of the other team's damage and hold that door.
- Unless you are named after one of the three legendary sannin, you are not a one man army. Do not think that you can go off on your own and do your own thing. Play with your team, as your burst is a valuable augmentation to that of your dps. An extremely common mistake that I see nearly every warrior make starts in the planning stages of the match, when they say things like "I'll harass healer." Just ... No. While there are times this COULD be effective (and there are), my advice to those reading would be to help your DPS focus down the same target.
- Storm's Path. Believe it or not, the lower potency on Storm's Path will not actually affect your FFLogs in The Feast. This is an invaluable ability which can really help lower the damage output of the enemy. Use it frequently.
- Holmgang. Holmgang can be used in many ways, but the lesser known use is for displacement. Don't use it just to hold someone in place, use it to pull someone out from behind a wall, or out of a pesky healing circle.
- Thrill of War. Use this to counter high damage, notably the melee LB.
- This job is pretty weak right now. While there are buffs coming up in patch 3.4, and while there are still several instances where Dark Knights can really shine, I would ultimately recommend one of the other two tank jobs if you are looking to hone your tanking skills in The Feast.
- Defensive Utility. This is where DRKs lack compared to both WAR and PLD. As a DRK, you have limited CC in the forms of a single stun and an AOE heavy. There is, however, a unique but somewhat difficult to use ability: Carnal Chill. Carnall Chill, when used at the right time, can absolutely crush an enemy's burst, as it reduces their damage done by 60%. While this ability is very powerful, Cover (from PLD) accomplishes the same thing, generally, and is considered both easier to use and more reliable.
- Offensive utility. You have more here than the PLD, but less than the WAR, arguably. You have the standard Full Swing, as well as the added effect of Sole Survivor, which now acts as a sort of Trick Attack. Use this on primary targets to assist your DPS in bursting down an enemy.
Healers are the backbone of any team, and also arguably the most difficult role to fill. Healing in the Feast effectively is considered the hardest piece of healing content in the entire game by many high level players, surpassing the stress of even Alexander Savage. Healing is not for the faint of heart, or the easily offended, since most mistakes you make, even the smallest ones, will often lead to a team mate's death, and potentially (usually) a loss. That said, there are several things you can do to (maybe) not let the match come to that!
- Manage your resources and cooldowns wisely, but not sparingly. This takes some time to master, but every healer should be aware of their MP levels as well as their available CDs at all times. Each healer has unique ways to manage their MP, and all have the baseline restoration in the PVP ability Mana Draw. Don't be afraid to use spells like Luminiferous Aether and Shroud of Saints early on, since you will typically eat through your MP very quickly in the opening skirmish of the match. The same goes for cooldowns, which are a bit harder to manage. Don't wait too long to use Benediction, Essential Dignity, or Lustrate, but don't hold onto them too long either, else you risk dying when you could have otherwise saved a life!
- Communicate with your team when you need help! Low on mana? Don't have Attunement? Make a macro, and press it so that your team is aware of your situation. This can possibly (hopefully) prevent situations where you are low on MP, and your team rushes headlong into the enemy team's spawn. Also, some (read: very few) bards and machinists will use their MP regen abilities to help you out. Paladins can assist with Cover and Clemency to back you up, and generally your team can play more defensively until you are in a safer spot CD-wise.
- Predict, don't react. This is a mantra healers should be chanting to themselves in all modes of FFXIV, not just The Feast. However, it holds ten-fold importance in PVP. Always try to anticipate incoming damage and pre-cast. If a teammate is at 50% HP and you're just now starting to cast Cure 2 ... He's probably going to die before, or right as the spell goes off. The net code of this game only gives out a 3 second update, so to put it simply: the server will update everything in 3 second chunks, and favors damage over healing. Example: Player has 2000hp. In a 3 second window, the player takes 1500 damage, then 2000 healing, then 500 damage. The player will die, even though they technically should have lived. (I apologize if this point has become confusing or convoluted at this point ...) TL;DR: PRECAST
- Defend Yourself: You can't always (also: never) rely on your team, so take your life into your own hands. Spells like Blizzard 2, Attunement, and other job-specific CC abilities can literally mean the difference between life or death. You can do more than heal!
- Limit Break: The healer LB is a medium-cast, very powerful AOE heal. I have seen it used many ways, though my personal input is that it has two major uses: The first is as a counter to heavy AOE damage, such as the ranged dps LB or summoner burst. The second is when you need a panic heal when you are low on MP or other CDs.
- Choose your Sect. Nocturnal Sect and Diurnal Sects are both viable, though one is better than the other depending on the given situation. If you are a novice, I would suggest sticking with Nocturnal, as I personally consider it a more basic playstyle.
- Nocturnal: "Noct" sect is best used again teams with heavy burst and low CC. This sect specialized in single target healing and shielding, and is good against: WAR, DRK, BRD, MCH, DRG, MNK, NIN
- Diurnal: Diurnal sect is best used against teams with lower burst, but more spread damage and/or heavy CC. Good against: SMN - because your aspected spells will leave a HOT (heal over time) on your allies and counteract the DOTs (damage over time) of the SMN. These HOTs are also good against enemies with strong CC - PLD/BLM, as you will be able to dish out some healing even when unable to take action.
- Cards. While the use of cards is much more detailed than I will get into, I will give a brief explanation of how each card should be used. Please take this into consideration, as the random nature of pulling cards and their uses vary greatly depending on the situation.
- Balance: The most straight forward card. I typically hold balance whenever I can, and use it to augment the burst damage of my DPS. Good practice is to wait until you see your DPS start to pop their own buffs, then throw in a balance on top.
- Bole: Also straight forward, and my second most-held card. The bole can totally cock-block major attacks like melee LB, barrage-emp combo, and FT jump combo. It's also great to just toss on someone who is getting trained.
- Ewer: It gives you mana. Always use on yourself. Typically don't hold, always use.
- Spear: Spear is tricky. I see many experienced ASTs hold onto the Spear to pair it with Luminiferous Aether, Essential Dignity, and other key spells. However, I believe the CDR (cooldown reduction) received from the Spear is negligible in most cases, and is not worth holding. I recommend Royal Roading the Spear unless you can use it immediately and benefit from the CDR.
- Arrow: The arrow is a tricky card to use wisely. Often, you will find yourself benefiting from the lowered GCD (global cooldown) that is product of its increased spell speed. However, I personally prefer Royal Roading the Arrow, as I typically don't find that added spell speed useful. Many will disagree with me on this, so I advise you use it to your preference.
- Spire: Toss it in the trash where it belongs. Right next to your unranked BLM.
- Advanced: I will not go into advanced tactics of the Astrologian, though I did want to quickly bring up the importance of Celestial Opposition, Celestial Alignment, and Retrogradation. These abilities are often used very situationally and require a bit more awareness and careful consideration.
Hands down the most difficult of the three healers, White Mage is not recommended for beginners. The strength of the WHM lies in its ability to prepare and control, as well as its insanely powerful CDs. However, when your CDs have run dry, or if you are not able to maintain your HOTs, you will find that you can quickly fall behind and feel like you're not able to do much of anything.
- Pre-hotting. This is often the most overlooked tactic of novice and mediocre WHMs. Pre-hotting is the term used for when you have Medica 2 and Regen up on all, or just the necessary targets, even when they do not actively need to be healer. This is so that if damage DOES come rolling in, your HOTs are already prepared and you can focus on casting your Cure 2s.
- Control. WHM has the best control of the three healers, and in my opinion, is the second most CC-capable job in the game (behind BLM). The WHM can heavy with Stone 1, sleep with Repose, knockback and bind with Fluid Aura, bind with Blizzard 2, and AOE stun with Holy.
- Powerful CDs. Use your CDs wisely. Benediction and Sacred Prism have very long CDs, and poor use of Attunement or Tetragrammaton could come back to bite you in the ass later down the line. Learning when and where to use these CDs will take some practice, and will change every match.
- Scholars provide more difficult gameplay for less reward than the other two healers. You will have to battle with pet micro-management, worse MP regeneration, and a more bitter recovery. I do not recommend Scholars as your choice of healer (sorry Primal/Chaos).
- Micro-manage your pet. Forreal, do it. Also, place your pet. If you have your pet on follow, it will cancel its embrace casts to follow you. Do you know what that makes it? Useless. Just like you, you Scholar.
- Adlo > Physick. Big burst can't melt Critlo (critical Adloquium) shields. At least not easily. If someone is being attacked, Adloquium is always the answer.
- Ruin 2. Use it. It is an instant cast that puts blind on a target, which can really mess up some rotations and burst damage.
Melee DPS. You are the seesaw, the tipper of the scales. You can win and lose the game in an instant. If you want to carry, or want to be absolutely sure that you lose all of your matches, THIS is the role for you. As a melee DPS, you alone (not really) wield the power to win games. Like Cloud, with your almighty braver, you are the hero this game mode needs.
- Limit Break and Adrenaline Kits. I covered the LB portion of the previous two roles last, though I'll cover it first for melee. Why? Because the melee LB is the most broken piece of crap garbage ever implemented into a PVP game. After a short delay, you will deal massive damage to a single target, typically equating to 80-90% of their maximum HP (without mitigation.) If the target has even 1 stack of Heavy Medal, and they are not a tank, it is almost certainly an instant kill. You will want to try and utilize this LB at key moments, and on key targets. The most notable, (and infuriating) place to use this is in the last 30 or so seconds of a match, to slay the member of the enemy team with the highest medals. Pick up the medals, pop sprint, turn 360 degrees, and walk away laughing... you dick. Salt and joking aside, this is a very useful tool and is arguably the most important and game altering spell in The Feast. Therefore, you will want to ensure your team gets control of the Adrenaline kit which spawns in the middle, since it will fill your LB gauge.
- Burst Damage > DPS. The most common mistake I see from decent players is their ability rotation when playing PVP, as most will simply replicate their PVE rotation. While this isn't terrible, it's certainly far from optimal. In PVP, you need to rely on high amounts of "Burst Damage", which can be loosely defined as a large amount of damage in a short amount of time. This means that it is common practice for most classes to clip their GCD in favor of pressing more OGCD abilities which yield higher potency. This makes it harder for healers to react and recover, and if done correctly, can kill an enemy player in mere seconds.
- Blood for Blood. It might seem odd that I am giving a whole "tip" section to a single buff ability, but you might be surprised at how important it is to use this ability wisely. Blood for Blood is an ability that increased both damage done, and damage taken. So why is this bad? If you are taking 30% more damage, then chances are that if you are being attacked, you're going to die. It is extremely difficult (and in many situations, impossible) to heal a player through Blood for Blood. Top melee players use a macro which cancels the Blood for Blood effect (so they can turn it off when being focused by the enemy), though right clicking it off can work just fine.
- Fetter Ward. Simple really, use this ability when you are setting up to burst or especially when you are trying to use your melee LB.
- Use Fists of Earth by default. Take FoF and FoW off your bar until you get it in your head that 10% reduced damage taken is a really big deal. It's the equivalent of having the defense buff, except you have it baseline. More practiced monks will know when to swap between their fists, but you should generally be in FoE.
- Be careful using Shoulder Tackle. It has a stun attached, and a short one at that, meaning that gap closer you just used could possibly mess you up when you're trying to land a stun shortly after to try and secure a kill.
- Prepare Forbidden Chakra. This is the same as in PVE. If FC is not up, make it up. There is quite a bit of downtime during the Feast as a melee if you are being kited or bound. Use this time to charge up your chakra.
- Use Elusive Jump to escape certain CCs. This will allow you to get back into the action, and can be paired with Dragonfire Dive or Spineshatter Dive for some great mobility.
- Use Spineshatter Dive carefully. It has a short stun attached to its distance traveling effect, which can make it more difficult to secure a kill shortly after due to the stun DR is will incur.
- Easy burst! Your bread and butter burst combo is to have both Life Surge and Power Surge buffed up, then use Full Thrust and Jump at the same time. This does TONS of damage.
- Utilize your silences well. Silence is easily one of the most powerful CCs in the game against healers, and you've got two of them in the form of Ill Wind and Jugulate.
- Use Enliven to ensure you land your Trick Attack. This is obvious to most seasoned NIN (of which there're like two.) However, Enliven was just recently buffed and so it is worth mentioning that is now ensures that your positionals will hit, which is very useful for NIN specifically as it is a large increase in damage for both Trick Attack and Duality Aeolian Edge combo.
The Ranged DPS role has some of the more interesting choices, as all of the jobs have varying levels of impact in both magnitude and style. Depending on which ranged is picked, the playstyle of either your team, the enemy team, or both teams will change. Therefore, this section will focus less on general tips, and more on Job-specific tips.
- Limit Break: The limit break for casters and rangers alike are similar in use. They do moderate damage in an AOE. Circle for casters, line for rangers. I cannot speak on best-practice for this LB, since it is very lackluster, However, with proper coordination it can be used to augment the melee LB, or help pressure the enemy healer.
- Bards are very easy to use, but also very easy to predict. That said, this is my #1 recommended ranged job for beginners, or for any Feast-er, really.
- Your real worth comes from your insane spike burst damage from a very easy to pull off combo. Simply DOT up a target with both Venomous Bite and Windbite, pop all your buffs, then launch off > Empyreal Arrow, Sidewinder, Farshot, Bloodletter, Blunt Arrow, Misery's End. If you don't kill someone with that, you're probably bad. Or stunned mid-combo.
- Learn to use Warden's Paean to aid not only yourself, but mainly your healer. It will peel a harmful effect off of them, and prevent the next one as well.
- Use Manasong (not Mage's Ballad if it can be helped) when your healer is low on MP. Just do it. A "sweet spot" for when to use it is when they are around 40-50% MP.
- MCH, unlike BRD, have a bit more of an elongated burst, though they can do carry out their burst without the prerequisite of two DOTs being present on their target, and also do not require the cast time of Empyreal Arrow. This burst should be accompanied, when applicable, with CC weaved in, in the form of silences, stun, binds (to land Between the Eyes), and knockbacks.
- Remember to place your turret. It does a significant amount of damage.
- If you hold your gun sideways it makes you look more cool and intimidating. Try to do this at all times. In addition to this, whenever you're looking to kill a target, it is very important that you shout "It's High Noon!" as loud as you can with a makeshift redneck accent. It works 100% of the time if your outgoing damage is higher than the enemies HP.
- If you want to play SMN in 4v4, I will take this bullet point to direct you to any of the other three ranged dps jobs, as they are all better. Jk, but as a preface to these tips, I do not recommend SMN for anyone who is serious about climbing the Solo Q ladder. This is because they have less direct damage than the other jobs, their burst AOE has been nerfed, and their potentially high AOE damage is easily countered by spells like medica 2, assize, and indomitability.
- That aside, you should be looking to spread your DOTs to several targets while being careful not to break CCs, though always bursting alongside your team to help secure kills (since you will more than likely not have enough damage to do it on your own.)
- Use ruin 3, even outside of DWT (Dreadwyrm Trance). It is a hard hitting move with crits that will interrupt casting. Be conscious of mana consumption, but this is better than ruin 1.
- Your CC is still decent, use it! The blind effect from ruin 2 can save lives and infuriate DPS. Your bind, while lackluster, is still very potent at peeling for your healer and yourself.
- Use Garuda. There are already so many dudes in your match that you will need to spice it up with at least one woman-esque thing. Leave that Ifrit and Titan sausage fest at home.
- IMPORTANT: If you are new to the Feast, I do not recommend BLM. It is a job with many intricacies and requires a high level of awareness, planning, and a certain level of team cooperation to be successful.
- CC is your best friend, and your strongest asset. BLM brings some insane tools to the table. Communicate with your team to set up sleeps, binds, etc.
- Try to set up opportunities to use Fire 4. Fire 4 is by and far the most consistently high damaging spell in the game. If you are able to set yourself up to spam it on a single target, they are likely as good as dead.
- Thundercloud. It is important to note that thundercloud procs will be a very important source of damage. It's a good idea to spread thunder 1 to targets you will not be CCing, and watch those procs roll in like boys in the milkshake yard.
- USE AETHERIAL MANIPULATION. It can help shake off attackers and also give you advantageous positioning.
In closing, I hope this guide has at least provided you with a bit more information that you had previously when it comes to The Feast Solo Queue. This is just a couple of brief descriptions and tips to get you started, but if you're looking to get more involved, I recommend checking out the PVP discord, which covers all Data Centers: