This month we bring on Rinny, Thana, and Kaze to discuss where we are in the current state of PvP.
One of the few content creators for FFXIV PvP, Thana Rah'Thazel, was featured in this episode of The Wolves' Den. Watch the community managers play some Feast on Chaos, shoutout the top players in Feast Season 7, and interview Thana. Show Thana some love and watch the VOD below.
With chat having been removed for many seasons now, the community has had to get creative and come up with our own systems to communicate with our teammates. Originating from the Japanese Data Center, the current communication methods involve the following: Understanding the role meta, communicating you are ready to burst, using a countdown macro, and other advanced tactics when comfortable.
If you are the melee player, by default, you’re in charge of marking an enemy target and calling for burst. Try your best to build up your mini bursts every 30-45 seconds to keep pressure on the enemy. Take into account that your ranged teammate will have to be in range for the best outcome (ie, do not mark targets too far away).
As a ranged player, do your best to be ready for the countdown by building up your burst and then looking for positioning where you are safe to attack from. Black Mages can also look to help crowd control the support players just before firing off their burst.
During the burst countdown, as the tank, you can either look to help burst with the dps, or you can crowd control the enemy support players. Also, if you feel the situation is right, try and time a stun on the marked target so they cannot escape your team’s focus fire.
As a team, syncing your damage with your teammates will be your best chance for scoring a kill. In PvP, burst damage is everything. Burst will force out cooldowns and relieve pressure from your team.
The PvP chat “Hello” message, when used during battle, is used to communicate that you are ready to burst a target.
If you are the shot caller in the group (defaulted to melee) and your teammate tells you “Hello”, that means they are ready for your countdown.
/mk attack1 /mk attack5 <t> <wait.1> /mk attack4 <attack5> <wait.1> /mk attack3 <attack4> <wait.1> /mk attack2 <attack3> <wait.1> /mk attack1 <attack2> <wait.1>
Note: Before you use this macro, to give your team an audible queue, we highly suggest using the “Everybody attack!” PvP quick chat command.
What does the macro do?
Add a simple 5-4-3-2-1 countdown to your target, it will also remove the 1 from whoever is marked previously when its used. After using the macro on the burst target, you can actually switch off the target, and it will still countdown. Use this often to continue to apply pressure with coordination.*
- Wolf Pups Den: Useful Macros for Feast 4v4 PvP
Note: If you use ANY other macro during the countdown, it will cause the countdown to stop.
Some casters prefer to do the shot calling (countdowns and marking focus targets). Study your allies habits and start to adapt your playstyle to mesh with individuals you have played with before. Pre-communicating via Discord (or a linkshell etc) can prevent any confusing communication issues you might run into during a match. Post game communication will also work for the next time you are paired.
If no one takes charge of shot calling, it will be an uphill battle for your team. Even making questionable calls is better than making no calls. The current version of the game requires the dps to work together to score kills.
If you are in charge of marking targets, the tactic of a ‘hot swap’ can throw off the enemy support players:
As an example, start by attacking the tank a bit while the countdown is marked on the melee. As the countdown nears <1>, swap to the melee with enough time to land your burst as the <1> appears over your focus target. It might catch the enemy off guard as they support the tank.
The best way to improve is to work as a team and communicate. Figure out how to incorporate “Hello”, “Everybody attack!” and a countdown macro into your current keyboard binds.
After you get the hang of it, you can perform more advanced countdowns that catch the enemy off guard. You also may wish to create a cancel burst macro and tell your team to “Fall back!” in a situation in which the target is no longer a proper target. Then quickly choose a new target to focus down.
The PvP community was not sure if the new season would start with the 4.25 patch, however today it was confirmed by Zhexos:
Season 7 will commence on Tuesday, March 13, with Patch 4.25 and will introduce several action adjustments.
They also have the top 100 rewards to share with us before the season starts!
Good luck to everyone this next week! We will be updating content here as soon as the changes are announced. In the mean time, be sure to join the Team Tryhard and Wolf Pups' Den Discords.
The EU community team is going to broadcast their third episode of the European PvP Stream "The Wolves’ Den" on Thursday, February 15, 2018 at 10:00 (PST).
Ragnarok, Chaos Data Centre
View the official announcement here!
Rinrin has been one of the many players trying to help educate new players who wish to get into PvP. She also has been working on collecting feedback to share with SE. Check out the feedback thread here
If you were unable to watch the Aether League Finals or wish to rewatch the event, we have created a few vods for you.
Match 1: DEEP vs Practice casted by Dan and Spooked
Match 2: Forfeit
Match 7: DEEP vs Practice casted by Dan and Hurp
Match 8: ECF vs Embrava casted by Hurp and King Stefan
Match 9: Embrava vs Practice casted by Kaze and King Stefan
ECF vs Embrava casted by Dan and Hurp
Hopefully you enjoyed the event!
Congratulations to ECF for winning the first season of the Aether League. They performed extremely well throughout the entirety of the season; taking first place in the regular season.
Good game to Lyn, Nikoza, Straigus, Esudesu, Nex and The Boss!
The Aether League regular season has concluded. The top 8 teams participating in the Season One Cup are:
Friday we will have the bottom four teams fight for the 5th and 6th seeds in our bracket.
On Saturday, Jan 27th, watch the games on our Twitch channel @AetherLeagueFFXIV from 6pm EST - 11pm EST.
If you are looking for more PvP resources, you should check out the Wolf Pups Den Discord server.
Here is a quote from Korihu Yanhu of Aether, whom helps run the server:
Please remember that our aim in this discord is to help our fellow players improve! As a result, you may sometimes get DMs or mentions pointing out any mistakes you might have made and what you could have done to get better. This is not done maliciously (but do let us know if someone is being unnecessarily toxic)! We aim to help you and your fellow players improve, think of it like a classroom!
This Aether League Portraits series wouldn't be complete without an interview from the man behind the League. Scyn Sovereign has been working on this project for months after having the initial idea - since then, the concept has gone through changes, as has the PvP in FFXIV at large, but on the eve of the official Aether League start date, we can take the time to look back and be proud of what was accomplished. For the 5th and final installment of the series, Volene had the chance to meet with Scyn to talk about the creation of the league, his expectations of it then and now, and his participation in it as a player.
Volene: Hi Scyn! First of all, thanks for accepting the interview, it’s really appreciated.
Scyn: Thank you for having me!
Q: Let’s begin with the same question I asked the other participants before you – could you start by introducing yourself and your PvP profile?
A: Sure! So I really started PvPing with the introduction of Frontlines. I started off on Monk and gradually made my way to Black Mage. Then a friend of mine told me I could 100-0 players with a super easy rotation on Summoner and that is where my career on Summoner began. I pretty much played Summoner for the majority of the time in Seal Rock. Once Feast came out, I participated in season 1 till about halfway in and got bored. I skipped out on season 2 because it just wasn't my thing. Then I really focused on Feast halfway through season 3 until present day. I’ve hit diamond season 3 through season 5. My drive in PvP is to play the best so I can improve as a player.
Q: So, it's no secret that if I'm having you today, it's mainly as the founder of the Aether League. How do you feel now that this project of yours is only hours away from becoming a reality?
A: Honestly it’s very exciting. It’s great to see an idea like this flourish and gain traction like it did within the community. My expectation prior to announcing this league was about 5-8 total teams for season one and I'm happy to say we hit 12 for the first season. With that said I am even more excited to see how this season plays out as we have a lot of strong teams participating. Honestly, if you were to tell me 6 months ago that this league would get so much attention and hype prior to having a single season completed I'd call you crazy. But now that it is less than a day away from reality it feels great.
Q: When did you first get this idea of starting a league for FFXIV PvP? What did you have in mind for it? Like you answered, I think it’s fair to say that the community's response to it so far has exceeded your expectations?
A: I first got the idea literally hours after the Aethercup ended. I was talking to Mateo and a few other people and said, "What if 10% of the total 400 viewers participated in a league format?". 40 players, 5-6 players per team, that is 7-8 teams right there. You add the 5 teams that participated in the Aethercup and you make 13 total teams. What if we had a league that wasn't time-constricting and promoted involvement regardless of skill level? At that point I was expecting laughter or push back but the response I got was simple, if a system like the Aether League was in place we would participate. And that that moment I thought, let’s do it! What I had in mind was this year long system where we would eventually build up to 12, 16, and 24 teams. I kinda thought of the League of Legends e-sports tournaments and the hype around them and tried to build a system similar to that, where we would have these "seasonal splits" that would build up to the grand championships. The best of the best duking it out for the top prize and the glory that goes with it. A few of my ideas had to be toned down, however most of them stay true till even today. And honestly, yes, everything about this league has exceeded my expectations. From the involvement of teams to the players willing to help out and build this league.
Q: That means you had the idea and started working on it before the big 4.0 changes to PvP, both the action overhaul and the Light Party mode being completely removed from the game. How did the expansion affect the development of the League?
A: It did and it didn't. We knew that the league itself would generate enough interest to run, however what we didn't know was the amount of interest. The action overhaul and Light Party removal definitely hurt us in the beginning as people really didn't see a reason to participate in a league when Light Party didn't exist. But once Yoshi-P announced the addition of Light Party cross-server customs in 4.1, we were back on track. In my eyes the action overhaul was more of a wash. We lost some players but at the same time we also gained new players which is evident, with a handful of current Aether League teams being partially filled with newer/new players to Feast.
Q: In the same way, patch 4.2 is supposed to bring more changes to PvP, including what could be a revival of the official (rather than fan-organized) ranked Light Party Feast, now complete with team registration. How do you feel this could affect the Aether League? Could it be a tool for you to use, or would do you think it would compete with the League for players interested in Light Party?
A: Honestly, my primary reason for creating a league was because there wasn't a system in place in the game. If Square Enix would build a system similar to what we have with the Aether League I would be happy. How it affects the league really depends on what they do. If they simply restart Light Party ranked but with team registration and don't add anything else then we will continue hosting seasons without any issues as they wouldn't have addressed some of the primary reasons Light Party failed in the first place. However, if they really put in features the community has asked for, well that will affect us and at that point we would have to decide as a team whether Light Party is in a good enough place where the league isn't needed anymore or if we should run simultaneously with it. Let me make this clear, I am all for a built-in system that mimics the aether league as that will only help the PvP community as a whole.
Q: What made you want to be the organizer in the first place? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that your profile prior to that was more that of a player with little staff experience - what made you want to step up and create the league over someone that had organized tournaments or scrim nights in the past?
A: So I've always wanted to impact the community in a positive way. That has been my drive from the beginning however I never found the proper outlet to do so. In the beginning I was really trying to get my feet wet so to speak as a player. Tried to gain as much experience as possible because at the end of the day no one is going to follow a no-name. I had to build a reputation. I had to become a name that most players knew, that most players could trust that I had some idea when it came to PvP. Whether people hate or love me as long as they knew me that is what I cared about. Once I got to that point and after the Aethercup had ended I thought the Aether League was the best way I could impact the community and help not only grow the community but improve the community as a whole.
Q: And you will be participating in the League as a player too, and the leader of your team, though you registered fairly late with the last few groups. Did you always have the intention to participate, or were you holding onto the idea until recently seeing if there would be room?
A: I initially wasn't intending on participating. I wanted to spectate and assist when needed to help facilitate the league and make sure it would be successful. But Mateo bullied me into building a team last second (yeah I called you out!). So I made one, but I'm glad I did. I am now excited to participate in the first season and hopefully we will do well. We got a solid team with great players.
Q: What do you expect from the contestant side of things? How do you think your team can measure up to the others?
A: I honestly think we will do well. We don't have the experience that most teams have as we signed up late as you said but we are definitely starting to mesh well together. I think we will know our identity in a few weeks, and from there, the sky’s the limit.
Q: Lastly, has there been discussion on what the League rewards will be? After the Aethercup, there was a commission made of the winning team - will there be such rewards this time around? Or will the teams compete for the pride and bragging rights that come with being the champion?
A: As much as I would love to simply set the rewards to bragging rights I know that won't fly. There has been talk about rewards however we haven't really agreed on one yet. However one thing we did agree on was having 3 smaller rewards for the season tournaments and one larger reward for the Grand Tournament at the end of season 3. Hopefully come mid-season we will announce what the rewards will be.
Q: Letting the hype build, I see! At any rate, that was all I had planned. If there is anything you wish to add, now is the time!
A: I would just like to really thank everyone who came out and participated in our official scrims as well as thank all the teams that registered. I look forward to seeing these matches as we go live come Sunday. I also would like to thank everyone who has influenced the league in one way or another because without them we wouldn't have the league we have today. And lastly I would like to thank you Volene for creating such a great series. Every piece has been a fantastic read. Hopefully we get similar pieces throughout the season as it progresses!
Q: And thanks to you for creating this project in the first place - without you, we definitely wouldn't have the League we have today! And thank you again for taking the time to answer my questions. Best of luck to you and your team come tomorrow!
A: Thank you!
Also known as Mateo, Xy Xx is one of the most versatile members of the community. Having participated in all modes as a player, he also played a support role in community events and will keep this going in the Aether League. Volene had the chance to benefit from his unique insight and ask him a few questions for the 4th installment of Aether League Portraits.
Volene: Hi Mateo! I wanted to start by saying thank you for accepting this interview, it’s really nice of you.
Xy Xx: Thanks for doing this! Super entertaining to read and see all the different insights.
Q: Thank you! So, could you start by introducing yourself?
A: Most people know me as Mateo - however, I name changed to Xy Xx in the middle of season 3. Coincidentally, season 3 was the first season that I participated in. I always loved PvP, and casually started in the Wolves Den (l entered as soon as I could with the wifey at level 30 and we had a blast, despite being rocked LOL). That passion really started to grow when the first Frontlines map, Secure, was released. I literally quit everything in the game to queue 24/7 as a Marauder, or Bard (my only two jobs at the time). Meanwhile, in the Wolves Den, my hype for PvP was at an all time high... seeing the shouts by Joe Never about #FNF (Friday night fights), along with the super intimidating teams/players popping in out and out of duty (Stefan really sticks out as one player that I looked up to a lot)... Ultimately, I was one of those players that, as much as I wanted to participate in these high level matches - I was crippled by fear of underperforming and never really found an -in-. Seal Rock rolled around, and I followed a similar pattern as I did with Secure... until one day I just got bored.
I quit for approximately a year and a half, only to return at the behest of one of my greatest friends in FFXIV, Air Weaver. He raved how FFXIV PvP was so amazing now with the new arena mode, how I'm missing out, if I can lend him money for a name change, etc etc. So I returned in time for the beginning of season 3. I remember my first day back to FFXIV clearly. I was invited to Straigus's PvP linkshell on Balmung (I believe it was called Casus Belli at the time), and on the same day, I was invited to participate in a custom match... scratch that, not invited, DRAGGED by Air Weaver. I played Warrior, as this was my main before I quit, and apparently it was a simple job to play in the Feast... according to Air. Fumbling like a mofo and being literally thrown into the fire against some of the best players, I somehow adapted and started to love the game once again. Grinding through solo queue on various jobs, but mostly Monk, I earned a spot in the top 100 ranking on the solo queue board for season 3. Season 4 I competed as well with a bit more confidence and a few tricks of my own. Once again I competed on various jobs, but mostly stuck to Monk . In both season 3 and 4 I also competed in Light Party Feast. This was my baby and where I learned the most. Season 4 also marks a really special memory for me, and that's the advent of the scrim nights that Kiri Gaia directed. Eventually I helped Kiri run the show behind the curtains and fell in love with the community. Which brings us to the Aether Cup, a silly idea between +ONE and myself that to this day is regarded as one of the most popular community-led PvP events. My role was that of co-organizer, recruiter and shout caster.
Q: Right, so as a player, you've participated extensively in ranked Feast solo queue, Light Party, Frontlines too, and you can play all four roles at a very high level, but what made you stand out in this interview is that beyond that, you've also been involved in the community as an organizer and even done shout casting during the Aethercup - I can't think of anyone else whose implication in the PvP community has been so broad. Of all you've done, what would you say was your favourite part?
A: Thanks for the compliment! It's difficult to answer, because my experiences in solo queue, Light Party and even Frontlines allowed me to build relationships and familiarize myself with the community, allowing me to speak and direct freely. There's perks to each endeavour, so I'll answer like this: Through solo que I've met a huge variety of players - yes, even GARO players (NICE JOB!). Light party I felt a different and elevated degree of competition that was honestly very enlightening. Frontlines was super cool as well… working with so many, usually strangers towards a common goal was fun fun fun! Organizing events and shoutcasting became almost the next logical step... it was a natural transition and I had a ton of fun! That said, I can't pick a favourite instance - they've all helped me grow as a player and have really seeped into a passion for the game :)
Q: With that in mind, in retrospect, how would you say the changes in Stormblood have affected PvP in FFXIV, both within gameplay and outside of it, like with the community? Say, one good thing and one bad thing?
A: I knew you'd ask that! My personality is one of an optimist. So even if things are really gloom, I'll be the one trying to find that elusive light. At first, I was cautiously optimistic with the changes. After playing a few matches in a solo queue format, I actually enjoyed the gameplay - it was really refreshing. As time went on however, I grew to long for the 3.X system, citing lack of depth and skill differential between players. Fast forward to today, I believe I've solidified my stance. The bad: Allowing level 30 characters to compete in ranked gameplay is a damn shame. I truly feel the wintrading problem has been exploited a lot easier due to this, along with multiple alts cluttering the board… top 100 is a challenge for this season. The good: the community has grown exponentially! Cross-server custom matches have allowed us to host awesome events such as the Aether League!
Q: Speaking of the Aether League, of course you also decided to participate, both as a player and a staff member. In fact, some consider you the League's co-founder beside Scyn - do you think that's fair?
A: This time, yes, I've decided to participate. Our idea with the Aethercup was very exclusive. The Aether League has spun that upside down to be very inclusive… anything can happen! Scyn is most definitely the brainchild of the project - it wouldn't be fair of me to identify as the co-founder! That honour goes to all the staff and league officials working together to make this dream a reality.
Q: Could you talk about this dual involvement of yours? Do you think it could become a problem, for example with real or perceived conflicts of interest? Why, or why not?
A: Certainly. As a participant, and team leader, I have linear goals. Do the best I can for my team, inside and outside of a match. As a staff member for the league, I'm charged with keeping the backend running smooth and troubleshooting any issues. I believe these to be mutually inclusive and as such, do not foresee any conflicts of interest; most of the league staff and officials are actually team leaders/participants as well... I'm really happy with the sportsmanship displayed thus far. Our community has a lot of growth potential, looking to the future I feel the lines between staff and participant could widen a good amount by the sheer volume of PvP enthusiasts; everyone will settle into their appropriate role in due time!
Q: Moving on, let's talk about your team a bit. You signed up as the leader of team Embrava, which is made of yourself, Atreus Auditore, Air Weaver, Frost Belle, Kiri Aiga and Jay Park. Is that correct?
Q: Now, you might know that the very reason this interview series came to be was because I was told by Air Weaver that if I wanted to know what SBAV stood for, I would have to ask you during an interview. Well, nearly a month later, here we are, and your team isn't named SBAV anymore. Still, I would be sad if my quest were to end like this. Could you grant us more insight about your old team name?
A: The origin of the name comes from Kiri Gaia, who, when asked what it stood for, FORWARDED the question on to Air Weaver… who then… well, SBAV stands for Send Bobs And Vagene. Our answer to when asked what it meant in a voice interview would have been saying sendbobsandvagene really really fast. Our old Discord name was of course SBAV, which got replaced by our current team logo. Atreus has immortalized the old SBAV in his new Discord avatar. ALSO... we ran 3 damn polls to come up with a new name, which is now (nerd talk incoming) Embrava, for the FFXI Scholar spell that granted Wolf Heart-like buffs, and the shortened name AV to reminisce Absolute Virtue, which is also an FFXI reference... you could only kill AV with Embrava at certain stages of the game.
Q: Anyway, if you don't mind talking strategy now - while it's widely assumed that some members of your team aren't exactly moving parts (thinking mostly of Atreus on Paladin and Frost Bell as healer), many of your players like Air Weaver and yourself can fill multiple roles within the team, and for example the melee could be played confidently by 4 different people. With that said, you have been seen practising Black Mage a lot during the League's scrim nights - is this the strategy you will be rolling with come the League start on November 12th?
A: You're absolutely right. My vision for the team was to have flexible players, that way we could utilize many different compositions and strategies. Black Mage has been a job I've been wanting to play for a long time, not even motivated by Accelerator, but the job's identity and actions spoke to me. In 3.X I coined the terms "throwing rocks" on healer, because I had a trigger finger and really liked... throwing rocks... there's just something about the offensive and defensive capability and more importantly the skill cap and busyness of the job that really attract me. However, my job is not set in stone, and neither are my teammates... we used the scrims, win or lose, to test different strategies and explore their strengths and weaknesses. That I feel is the beauty of the current light party system - the meta is up for grabs.
Q: And with that, what are your expectations for this upcoming first split? Do you think your team has what it takes to be crowned victors in December?
A: My honest opinion is that anything could happen... I'm excited and nervous at the same time. Regardless of the outcome, I feel confident in our team - we'll definitely come out guns blazing and have a lot of fun in the process. If I could use this opportunity to get something off my chest, I'd like to talk about team ECF; the coined “god team”. As a staff member, one of my roles was organizing scrim nights along with Nikoza and acting as recruiters for the league. The most common response I got from way too many individuals was “No use competing as long as ECF is a thing.” This irks me to no end, I do agree that the team is comprised of some legendary status players, however, that does NOT make them unbeatable. Playing against such a team is a privilege, it is a win/win situation. There's games you win and there's games you learn. I guess this is my way of saying... MAN UP. (P.S. Embrava for season 1 champions 2017 8D 8D 8D 8D)
Q: Well, that was all I had planned. Was there anything at all you wished to add?
A: Oh yes! First of all, thank you Volene! This has been great fun - you bring honour to the Duskwoods. Secondly, I encourage everyone to get out there and experience the Feast in a light party format. It is a completely different beast compared to solo queue. Lastly... to anyone that's reading this and is in some part intimidated to participate as I was, I urge you to bust out of that shell. Do it for the rewards, sure, but stick around for a while and get to know the community, try your hand at some community-led events and ask as many questions as you possibly can. We are all very approachable, memes aside - toxicity does NOT relate to the PvP community. You'll find the Nice Jobs generally come from wood-tier individuals.
Q: Well then, thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions, and best of luck with the League start in a few days!
A: queue up pussy