If you’ve been playing FFXIV Online for any amount of time, you’re no stranger to Raids. From the Bowls of Embers to Dragonsong Reprise (Ultimate), there’s always something so satisfying about taking on an opponent several times larger than yourself, learning their mechanics and then seizing victory from the jaws of defeat after countless losses.
If you’re more of a Savage or Ultimate raider, you’ve felt that rush of dopamine and adrenaline when the boss’s health bar finally drops to 0%. At that moment, nothing else seems to matter apart from that classic victory fanfare from the fact that all of the hours upon hours of trial and error were all worth it.
Regarding my list, I’ve yet to find any raids that properly interested me in Endwalker, so all of my picks will be from the prior expansions, Shadowbringers or Stormblood.
The Great Hunt (Extreme)
I didn’t think it was possible to fully encapsulate the essence of Monster Hunter World in an FFXIV Online Raid. But apparently, I thought wrong.
This epic battle against Rathalos breaks the norms of any other FFXIV Raid, forcing you to temporarily unlearn some of the established mechanics you’ve grown accustomed to. First, the Tanks have no control over the wyvern and essentially become DPS with more HP; they’re unable to manage the monster’s aggro, so Rathalos will randomly target and attack the party.
On top of this, any healing spells will have no potency, making them useless. Continuing to keep up with the Monster Hunter references, you’ll recover your HP using the Mega Potion item, which locks you into an animation, preventing you from using any of your regular actions.
Concerning Rathalos, this monster has its usual attacks from its franchise, including its signature fireball attack. This beast is capable of stunning, poisoning and burning the party with relative ease; it’s also quite fond of wiping the entire party when you forget to mount it before it starts its transition from Phase 1 to Phase 2.
This trial does Monster Hunter Word the world of justice, perfectly replicating the unpredictability of the wild and dangerous Rathalos and the thrill of facing such a monster in battle. The only way that the FFXIV dev team could’ve made this trial better is by having it take place in the iconic Ancient Forest location.
Memoria Miseria (Extreme)
Whilst the standard version was reasonably good, this next-level trial requires nothing less than your undivided attention, and I almost adore it for just that fact alone.
During my first attempts at Memoria EX, I made the mistake of treating it like any other Raid in FFXIV: Shadowbringers, expecting my party to carry me through it. After wiping for the fourth consecutive time to the first mechanic, I promptly readjusted my strategy…
Unlike most raids at the time, Memoria Miseria EX relies on the party to learn and memorise the names of Varis’s attacks instead of just relying on visual cues. On top of this, this raid boss would use various techniques, like directional parries, powerful knockbacks and lethal doughnut AoEs, to eliminate unaware party members.
And that’s just the first phase.
Phase 2 is much more brutal as it relies on players to recognise several of the boss’s attacks and prepare accordingly. You can only access this phase by completing a rough DPS check, which you will automatically fail if only one of the two tanks is alive.
Memoria Miseria EX is still quite challenging, even with an entire party of level 90 characters. I love the challenge this Trial presents and how it forces you to pay close attention to and respect its mechanics.
Eden’s Promise: Eternity (Savage)
As a raider, I’m very partial to Eden’s Promise raid series since it was the first Savage raid tier I ever completed. ED: Eternity is a fight that pushed me to my absolute limits, there were a lot of mechanics to learn and execute flawlessly, but each one was very engaging and exciting to learn.
Eden’s Promise: Eternity takes inspiration from all of the other Primals you’ve battled before; since the boss draws upon the power of these Primals during the first phase of the fight. It takes a lot of concentration to focus on your rotation, avoid unnecessary damage and Vuln stacks, and be aware of what Primals the boss is channelling for the next big mechanic.
Between being blown across the boss arena, baiting out deadly laser beams from massive muscular men and avoiding fire-breathing lions, you’ll be required to meet a reasonably tight DPS check to progress to the second phase of the fight; which is much more difficult in case you were wondering.
This trial pushed me to my absolute limits as a player. It allowed me to see all the exciting and complex mechanics I wasn’t privy to in the normal mode. Thanks to this fight, I became more interested in tackling complex content.
The Seat of Sacrifice (Extreme)
Putting the lead-up to this battle aside, this trial is fun to progress through. There is something so intense and epic about facing a true Warrior of Light in combat. It’s something special about fighting an enemy who can perform the same techniques as you.
During the first phase, the Warrior of Light always starts the fight off by reducing every single player to 1 HP; on top of this; he is very fond of buffing his attacks with elemental damage, such as fire, water, ice and earth. This boss will also use heavy-hitting Limitbreak attacks, like Braver or Desperado. Take it from me; these mechanics shouldn’t be ignored since they are more than capable of wiping your party in just a few seconds. Even in the current expansion, Endwalker, the damage from these mechanics is no joke.
After successfully using a level three Tank Limitbreak to transition to Phase 2, the Warrior of Light will begin summoning various enemies, including other WoLs and a dragon that looks somewhat like Bahamut. Aside from all of this, this boss can also make himself entirely invulnerable to the party’s Limitbreak attack if he is currently charging one of his own.
This is easily one of the most climatic battles in the entirety of the Shadowbringers expansion. Not only for the lead-up to the fight but also for the actual mechanics and gameplay of the battle itself.
Eden’s Promise: Anamorphosis (Savage)
This is my favourite raid in the entirety of Eden’s Promise series. Not only is the premise intriguing, but all of the mechanics are fun to figure out. The image of the Fatebreaker is also really inspired, since it mixes the designs of Thancred Waters, a Sineater and even a legendary dragon.
This raid revolves around the boss using his signature gunblade to create various long-reaching, explosive attacks that can deal either fire, holy or lightning damage. The Fatebreaker really enjoys baiting out different attacks in an attempt to catch you and your party offguard Along with devastating, HP-sapping raid-wide AoEs and a dangerously powerful cloning technique, this battle requires the utmost level of teamwork and communication to progress through, let alone clear.
Overall, all of these battles are fun to learn and require you to be actively engaged the entire time you’re fighting through them. Not only is it entertaining, but it also helps you build rapport with your party members and grants you powerful new equipment or rare items.
I thoroughly recommend every FFXIV Online player to try more difficult raid tiers instead of the normal ones. Having a brand new challenge presented to you will make the game much more engaging, even during its infamous content droughts or whenever you grow tired of the other additional content the game has to offer.
If you’re seriously looking to properly get into the raiding scene, then I’d suggest perfecting your rotation and read up on all the necessary jargon. Also, don’t forget to treat all of your party members with respect, regardless of what happens.
(Credit goes to FFXIVMomo for the video)