12 March, 2006

LimitBreak vs. Absolute Virtue

Absolute Virtue: At lassst the time has come.. The ssscattered fragments of my thoughtsss once again mine. Long forgotten memoriesss filling me once more... However...these memories generate sssuffering... These thoughtsss...bring remorssse...

Tell me...for what sssearcheth thou, to travel this far? Show me...by what principlesss art thou driven?

98% is about as good as anyone has gotten, 70% = writing history.

I normally don't write much about HNM and the endgame scene (mostly because, well, I don't like the endgame scene), but what transpired was just so big, I don't think I could forgive myself for not writing something on it.

First, I need to make a disclaimer. I was in no way involved in this fight. Heck, I (much to my dismay) don't even have sea access, so I couldn't even go down to watch the fight even if I wanted to. All the information presented here is my interpretation of the events that occured based on what I heard from friends in Odin, and from the forums that, essentially "covered" the event. Of course, if someone was actually there could come in and correct/straighten out some things here, all the better. ^^

Sometime on the 11th of March, the HNMLS LimitBreak went down to sea to pop and fight two Jailers of Love in an attempt to spawn the current top dog on the Vana'diel bounty list:

Absolute Virtue.

Of course, actually beating Absolute Virtue (or just "AV" for short) is something else altogether. To the best of my knowledge, Absolute Virtue was first discovered sometime around 3rd November 2005, when a linkshell on Pandemonium killed the Jailer of Love, only to find that Absolute Virtue popped afterwards!

From that very first encounter, people learnt the following facts about Absolute Virtue:

* AV can use all fifteen two-hour abilities, each multiple times.
* AV starts out with a ridiculous Auto-Regen.
* AV's regular hits deal about 300 damage to a PLD.
* AV's magic is primarily Wind-based (Aeroga IV, Aero V, and is instantcast.
* When AV uses Manafont, it start castings Comet, Meteor, and Tornado II in addition to the above.
* AV's version of Call Wyvern summons 3-6 Wyverns, each of which can cast Thundaga III.

They were barely able to even scratch Absolute Virtue- the lowest that first attempt got AV down to was about 97% HP, whereby AV's Regen promptly restored its HP to 100% before the Black Mages were up and ready for a second volley of nukes.

Anyway, back to LimitBreak. Led by Masago, LimitBreak is one of the more well-known linkshells in Odin, partially because a lot of their members are very dedicated to the endgame. I have quite a few friends in LimitBreak despite the fact that I choose not to participate in endgame activities, so the group has my respect in the sense that I feel they are good at what they do.

LimitBreak took down two sets of items to spawn the Jailer of Love in the attempt to pop Absolute Virtue, and while the first kill resulted in no pop, Absolute Virtue showed up after the second kill, and it was off to the races!

At first, the linkshell was plagued with problems. AV was just too powerful to really be contained, and the massive regen was something else that the linkshell couldn't deal with. LimitBreak used Shadowbind to hold AV in place while dealing with its various 2-hr abilities, including Call Wyvern. Unfortunately, the lowest they managed to get AV down to was about 98% health.

Until, all of a sudden, after about two hours of fighting, AV seemed to run out of mana, and stopped 2-hour'ing!

This alone, was news to everybody out there, and word spread like wildfire across not just Odin, but across all the other servers as well. For the next twenty-four hours or so, a lot of eyes were on LimitBreak and their encounter with Absolute Virtue. The fact that AV went though a stage of melee-only meant that things had become a whole lot more manageable, and now the question was what to do about the situation.

The problem was that LimitBreak still hadn't been able to break through AV's Auto-Regen, so while AV was easier to contain due to no more 2-hrs, they had reached a stalemate. As Miriamel put it, "We could technically hold it forever," although they could not actually damage AV at this point in time.

There was a little hiccup in the middle when someone accidentally Call for Help'ed, and so LimitBreak waited and reclaimed AV when AV turned yellow again. Somehow, it had refreshed some or all of its mana, and was casting again, although it still did not 2-hr.

By this time, it was getting late, and people were tired and needed sleep. LimitBreak members took it upon themselves to work in shifts, keeping AV claimed throughout the night as members went to sleep and got in some much needed rest.

LimitBreak members woke up and assembled together to re-engage Absolute Virtue at around 3pm EST the following day.

Some three hours later, LimitBreak gets the idea to use the surrounding terrain to their advantage. It seems that there was a certain point in the battlefield where the BLMs could safely stand and nuke Absolute Virtue without retaliation. For some unknown reason, AV's auto-regen seemed to have disappeared, if not, then knocked down a few notches, allowing LimitBreak to actually get some damage in. Camdon posted a screenshot of Absolute Virtue at 88% HP, the lowest anybody's ever gotten AV's health down to. By attacking AV from the other end of the cliff from which they held AV and rotating in Black Mages to cover for those out of mana, they essentially held AV in one spot, trying to get to the Black Mages.

At 60% HP, things were made more interesting when Absolute Virtue put on some "power bracelets", which is when some believe he switches into a new mode, something like how the Ix'MNK's attack speed increases when it puts on its own bracelets.

Along with the new mode, AV regained all its 2-hr abilities. All was well, until AV's health reached 51%. A Manafont and Chainspell later resulted in a Comet/Meteor that took out the damage force, and for a while, AV's health hovered in between 52% and 53%.

Then came what is now quite possibly the most famous Benediction to date. ; ;

The Benediction did more than just set everything back to square one and make people /cry. For one, Dia II and Bio II as DoT spells no longer seemed to stick as well. Using similar tactics, LimitBreak was able to whittle down AV down to 87% health, whereby a second Benediction came their way. To be more precise,

AV at 87%

Invincible > Benediction > Mijin Gakure

40 people dead... /sigh

LimitBreak's next attempt at taking down Absolute Virtue got him all the way down to 72%. Now, up to this point, Absolute Virtue seemed rooted at a particular spot where, for some reason, he wasn't 2-hr'ing again. Ladyeve, who was in charge of the BLM team made a note of this, and instructed her team not to let AV move, since she had previously observed Meteor go off a few times when AV moved.

Like a prophet, Absolute Virtue just shifted out of position. One Meteor later, the team was wiped again, AV went unclaimed, and regenerated its health back up to 100%. >_< I'll shamelessly steal one of Banderdragon's pictures of the fight: >_<

One observation during this time though, is that Absolute Virtue does have certain patterns when it comes to its behaviour and 2-hr abilities. For example, Manafont and Chainspell seem to go together, Meikyo Shisui and Eagle Eye Shot is another. Soul Voice generally results in a lot of Maiden's Virelai, and Invincible generally preceeds a Benediction. That latter part was important, since it now gave some hope to preventing a Benediction from wiping out some more hours of hard work. A BLM's or DRK's Stun would just get resisted, so people tried hitting it with Stunning weaponskills like Flat Blade instead, but unfortunately, the person missed. >_< The fighting continued, until eventually, it was time to throw in the towel and say you'll get 'im next time.

10:15:06 PM PST, Absolute Virtue has despawned. LimitBreak fought AV for almost 30 hours, bringing him down to 51% at the best. I truly, truly believe that this mob was not meant to be killed by anyone at this point in the game- it is an absolutely insane mob.

Thanks for all the support, but we're all very tired as you can imagine, I'll try to answer questions, maybe tomorrow or something of the sort, but wow that takes it out of you.

All in all, Absolute Virtue Benediction'ed a total of seven times during the some 30-hour battle.

Major props go to LimitBreak for their tremendous effort in taking on Absolute Virtue. While granted, they did not manage to defeat Absolute Virtue in the end, they made some major breakthroughs in the fight, and hopefully what new knowledge that has been uncovered tonight will aid in Absolute Virtue's eventual defeat. The question then is who will be the first to actually take Absolute Virtue's (figurative) head.

One thing I noted over on the forums was that some people appeared pretty upset that LimitBreak's ability to damage Absolute Virtue rested upon the abovementioned "glitch" whereby the BLMs could hold AV in place safely, without any 2-hrs or insanity from AV to stop them. Others just didn't like the fact that it was the terrain that allowed LimitBreak to get this far.

To that, I have to say nonsense. Use of terrain is a very relevant aspect of a fight, and has been used in some other high-level fights, like against the Dynamis Lord, where the cliff edge acts as a shield from which the BLMs can nuke the Dynamis Lord, safely covered from Oblivion Smash. I have no problems with LimitBreak's use of the cliff in their battle against Absolute Virtue, although should AV's occasional passiveness be attributed to a glitch in the programming, well, I guess it's a good thing they stumbled across it.

Anyway, the forum posts for those who like to see references:

Order of the Blue Gartr post

Killing Ifrit post

And once again, {Congratulations!} and {Good job!} to LimitBreak for their efforts!


Kirsteena said...

Don't forget a lot of the complaining about exploiting the terrain came from the Blue Gartr forums - as far as I know they haven't even managed to take down JoL yet (as far as I know only one Japanese linkshell has even come close on Bahamut).

What LimitBreak did was simply amazing - for anyone to get AV to below 80%, let alone to nearly 50%...

Onekomaru said...

also people were making fun of LB for staying 30 hours - however, you have to realize that the two sets of JoL materials took LB 2 months to collect >.>

drop rates are ridiculously low in sea

Kirsteena said...

No kidding about the drop rates....