12 December, 2005

Heir to the Realm of Dreams

Diabolos: "So you have come, confronter of the Emptiness and liberator of Vana'diel. When last we fought, I could feel the light of the crystal. You possess a power great enough to dissipate dreams.

I shall submit myself to your will. You may use my form in the waking world as you desire.

However, you must first prove yourself strong enough to undertake such a feat. You shall witness the full extent of my power. This dream is no dream...Underestimate your enemy, and this battle shall be as a fleeting illusion before eternal slumber!"

It is big-update day! Several changes and upgrades were made to the game in a lengthy update that introcuded several big changes, including a system to combat MPK, new Dynamis areas, a new 2hr ability for Dragoons, and the battle to fight Diabolos to earn him as a summon.

That last one particularly got me all excited, since I don't think I could stand leveling my Summoner again without Diabolos, so as soon as I got back from dinner, it was straight to Lower Jeuno and off to try and find a Diabolos party! Fortunately, I didn't have to wait very long, and eventually found a spot in a BLM BLM BLM BRD RNG NIN party. This was thirty minutes since the servers went back up, too.

Details and speculations were flying everywhere. At first, people thought that the NPC that gives you the quest was somewhere in the Tavnazian Safehold, although that was quickly cleared up as being Kerutoto in the Rhinostery instead. We didn't know just how far through the CoP missions you had to be before being able to even try fighting the uncapped Diabolos fight, although as it turns out, all you need is to have cleared "Darkness Named".

We weren't quite sure if there was a special BC area you had to fight him in, perhaps like, in a new Protocrystal or something, but eventually, our gut instint was correct in thinking that The Shrouded Maw was where the battle was to take place. We grabbed a key item from Kerutoto, and off it was to Pso'Xja. Remembering the way to The Shrouded Maw wasn't really a problem, since all one had to do was follow the train of people heading there. Evidently, we weren't the only ones who wanted Diabolos. ^^;

This is a bit of an aside, but when we got to The Shrouded Maw, we found the place packed with people all trying to fight Diabolos as well. The problem is, due to limitations in the Playstation 2's memory, there can only be three separate occurances of the Diabolos fight at any one time. Thus, there was some chaos as to who would go next.

It didn't take long for people to start forming a line, with just party leaders queueing up for their party's turn, much like what happened when the fellowship NPC quests were first released. However, here's where things start getting me all /disgusted about some people.

Evidently, people can't seem to get the idea that one should wait his or her turn in line, and what resulted were people constantly spamming the BC in the hopes that they'd get the option to enter, and then cut in line. As much as I hate to generalise, pretty much all the Japanese parties at The Shrouded Maw were politely queueing up, while the English parties were shamelessly cutting in, making things rather aggravating to both myself, and the others. Heck, my party leader even encouraged just spamming the BC entrance, without the slightest consideration for those already waiting in line, or those who arrived before us.

I'd abstain from doing such activities (also because I'm quite conscious about maintaining a good image), but when five of your party members jump into the BC, I might as well go in as well. After all, they cannot leave, so no matter what, that time slot is taken up. I still feel uncomfortable about jumping in front of others, although I suppose I could've just veto'ed and left the party to try out Diabolos with five. Anyway, I entered. The uncapped fight against Diabolos is called "Waking Dreams".

The uncapped version of Diabolos plays out very much like the Level 40 cap version in Darkness Named, except that he has a few more abilities that need to be taken care of. Dream Shroud, for example, enhances his Magic Attack and Magic Defense, and in addition to Nightmare, he also casts Sleepga II (very quickly too, I might add). In addition, he can also 2hr with Ruinous Omen, although all it does it take off a random percentage of each party member's current HP, so the good part is that it doesn't actually outright kill you.

Nightmare is still your #1 enemy here, and to make things worse, Diabolos uses his AoE Sleep effects with frightening regularity. It's very difficult to try and Stun both Sleepga II and Nightmare, and should Sleepga II resolve, that leaves your party open to a Nightmare, and from there it's basically good game.

In fact, that's exactly what happened on our first try. A Sleepga went off, he followed up with Nightmare, and it was just too much for us to recover from, although we did manage to get him down to around 60% on our first attempt, so he was certainly doable. It was just figuring out how to prevent his Sleepga moves.

The party ended up cutting in line four times in total, much to my dismay. Each time we lost to one reason or another. The second time, I couldn't Stun Nightmare due to overwhelming lag (my Stun actually went off a full second or two after I hit the macro), and although we did a decent job recovering, he managed to get off another Nightmare. And this time, he also 2hr-ed. >_<

Third attempt was lost to Nightmare yet again. We managed to Stun his first Sleepga II, but as soon as the Stun wore off, he immediately followed up with another Sleepga II and from there, it was just a matter of time before Nightmare came along, and that's all she wrote. -_- I don't remember what happened on our fourth attempt, but somewhere in there, there was a Nightmare and the Ninja died pretty early on, leaving the rest of us easy pickings for Diabolos. We disbanded after the fourth attempt, which was good for me I guess, since I didn't feel very comfortable with this group.

I made some notes and observations based on online forums and from those failed attempts. First off, Diabolos has roughly 9000-10000 hit points, so it's actually not that high for a boss. Secondly, while conventional wisdom eschews Poison Potions for the 40-cap version, having Poison Potions here means you can effectively ignore Sleepga II, leaving you with less things to Stun. Funnily enough though, when Diabolos drops the floortiles, he apparently forgot to update the Diremites that lurk at the bottom. While they will chew through a Level 40 party, they are {Too weak} to Level 75s, so all you had to do if you fell was just run back upstairs and rejoin the battle. ^^

In retrospect, I don't think our party was very good for Diabolos. While we did have the stunners, Diabolos spams his Sleepga effects too frequently for even multiple Stunners to keep under control, not to mention other issues such as lag. With a NIN tank, the BLMs couldn't really turn up the damage either, which is a very bad thing, since a longer, drawn out fight gives you more chance that something will go wrong, and believe me, this is not a fight you want to draw out and just chip away at. You wanted to kill Diabolos swiftly with minimal mess.

Which leads me onto my next point; it struck me as odd that of all the people who tried and failed (and believe me, there were a lot of wipes), nobody had yet to try a manaburn setup. There was definitely talk about doing it manaburn style, but nobody had really organised a manaburn attempt at Diabolos yet.

I went back to Jeuno, where I got a /tell from Sollanon (who actually does log in every once in a blue moon) who expressed interest at fighting Diabolos. I told him I wanted to do it manaburn style, and after a bit of calling up friends and searching, (and convincing Sollanon that this was going to work,) we ended up with BLM/WHM, BLM/WHM, BLM/RDM, BLM/RDM, RDM/DRK, RDM/DRK. We figured we'd split the Black Mages up into /RDM and /WHM since we needed access to Erase, Curaga, and Dispel during the fight. The two RDM/DRKs are obviously there for the obligatory Chainspell-Stun that seems to be the best way at buying yourself 30 seconds of (almost) uninterrupted assault.

When we got back to The Shrouded Maw, there was a lot more people this time. Sollanon, being from the eastern hemisphere, at least had respect for the queue that was forming, and so we joined the back.

In the meantime, NA players were still blatantly cutting in front, some even multiple times, leaving some very annoyed people behind. As Starfox told me while we were passing time, "...and NAs wonder why JPs are racist towards them." Seriously. If you can't show basic courtesy, then it's no wonder people have such a bad image of you! Fortunately, not every North American player is like that, and there were some that dutifully joined the queue, and tried to do their part in encouraging others to join the line as well. It was also interesting to notice that as the same people kept cutting the line and failing, people also stopped giving Raises to them as they were unceremoniously booted from the battlefield. ^^;

A couple hours passed by. Darksday came, and it was an inside joke to let the cutters go throw themselves at Diabolos once again when Diabolos would be at the height of his powers. On the outside of the battlefield though, we were slowly, but surely inching forward towards the arena.

Starfox had already tried fighting Diabolos with a manaburn setup that included four BLMs, a SMN and a (non /DRK) RDM, and ended up taking the record time with that, so needless to say, I was feeling confident. Firesday came, and I was starting to /cheer each time I got to move forward "two Tarutaru footsteps" closer to the entry point, and counting the steps up to the top. Also, I think a lot of the linecutters must've given up, since as the hours passed, the line was definitely moving faster.

Anyway, after arriving at The Shrouded Maw halfway through Lightsday, it was the start of Earthsday when our turn finally came around. >_<

I wish I could give you a more dramatic tale of the battle against Diabolos, but manaburned, this fight was so easy and so quick, if you blinked, you could've missed it. We all basically buffed up from the top, and opened with a simultaneous Thundaga III from the top of the dropoff. One RDM/DRK started his Chainspell-Stun sequence, and a flurry of Blizzaga IIIs and one Stone III later from the other Red Mage, Diabolos was defeated. Just like that. The second RDM didn't even have to Chainspell!

Okay, he did get off a Sleepga II, but we had drank Poison Potions in anticipation of that, so there was no problem at all. ^^ We were all actually joking and laughing about just how easy this nightmare (sorry, bad pun) of a fight had become with manaburn. Heck, our second Red Mage didn't do anything! >_<

One quick run back to the Rhinostery, and after a very brief cutscene, the magic words came by,

"You are now able to summon Diabolos!"

After a bit of showing off to linkshellmates and random passer-bys, I found that at SMN43, I don't have access to Diabolos' more desirable Blood Pacts, namely Dream Shroud and Noctoshield (Phalanxga!), although comparing Noctoshield with the other party-enhancing Blood Pacts, I should get Noctoshield by Level 50. I don't know when to expect Dream Shroud though. >_<

I do have Nightmare, and the Sleep duration versus Easy prey and Too weak mobs is actually quite respectable, not to mention that it's AoE, too. Other DoT effects don't seem to wake the mob up from Nightmare, like Dia, although I don't actually know what Nightmare's accuracy would be like versus IT mobs.

More things to try out in my next Summoner xp party, I guess. ^^

Diabolos: "Your power is impressive. I admit defeat. I believe you can save the people of Vana'diel. Use my powers wisely."


Kirsteena said...

Tuuf - do you just have to be past PM 3-5 to be able to get Diabolos? We are trying to figure it out, and i know you are about the same point as me in CoP...

/sigh guess i'm off to level up drk some... I just KNOW I'm going to be wanted to Chainspell Stun

Tuufless said...

Yes, as far as we can tell, you must have cleared 'Darkness Named' before you can go for the uncapped fight.

Strawberrie said...

Oh, this is so exciting! It's too bad I don't have access to mana burn parties on any of my jobs, and will probably end up doing it on WHM in a conventional PT... It's just good to know someone who's done it.

As for the NA's, exact same thing happened when NPC came out. I stood in line for hours, twice because I missed an NPC. And people would keep cutting. -.-; You're not wrong to make that generalization, the majority (if not all) of the cutters were NA.

Tuufless said...

Actually, as I mentioned over on Killing Ifrit, a manaburn party can ferry a client through Diabolos, since a manaburn only needs five people to beat Diabolos. ^^

I still feel that he is very doable with a standard party setup, but build for damage- he spams Nightmare and Sleepga too much to have a real Stun order, so something will probably go wrong if you don't kill him quickly. At the same time, I feel WHM's important just because of the mass healing you'll probably need to do. ^^

Kirsteena said...

Thanks for this. I guess I will be in the dunes for a while...