Dragon Slaying 102: Unsung Heroes
The following story from Final Fantasy XI describes a mission type that plays as a series of smaller goals. In the story, the player gives an example of how domain expertise is crucial in raids.
Final Fantasy XI: Expeditionary Force
The one thing that needs to be taken care of first and foremost is making sure that everybody involved understands the goals and rules. If you all need to have a specific item in your inventory, you'd better make damn sure that EVERY LAST PERSON checks to see if they have it. Otherwise, someone will inevitably have not been paying attention and will set the entire event back by not having the item. This was doubly demonstrated during a Conquest attempt I participated in recently.
You'd think it wouldn't be that difficult to go and talk to a guard, then talk to him again once everybody else has talked to him the first time. Heck, we even had a system set up so that everybody would confirm when they'd talked to him. Somehow, three people STILL got left behind because they didn't talk to him the first time, yet reported that they were ready. Thank god for those complementary warp tabs. Okay, so after warping back and retrieving our errants, we were ready to begin. The 'leader' of this rather half-assed expedition had been on ONE Conquest mission before this (and not even a successful one), and apparently hadn't understood the rules even then.
The way he explained it was that there would be six fights, and we had to locate the triggers for each in turn. Great, in theory. Unfortunately, that has nothing to do with the ACTUAL way the system works. Here, let's give a quick rundown of the process of Conquest: 1. Find the beastman flag. There are dozens of possible locations all across the zone. So split up in teams and find it. This is easy and we had it down pat. 2. Assemble everybody at the flag, and rest/buff up for the fight. We had a few coordination issues here, but it wasn't bad. 3. Somebody tag the flag and trigger the fight. Okay, these fights are a pain in the butt. We had some problems with these, but I'll go into more detail later. 4. After the fight, somebody tag the flag AGAIN to remove the curse. Yeah, this would have been a good thing to know early on. Unfortunately, as stated before, our leader was somewhat uninformed and didn't know about this. 5. Go to #1 and start hunting again. Okay, that's the process of Conquest in a nutshell.
Supposedly, there were only to be six fights. Unfortunately, the number of fights isn't static. You fight until your conquest rating for that zone is #1. Apparently this took 6 fights for our leader's previous group. I'm going to skip describing every fight just to skip to immediately after the 6th. Supposedly after this point, something was supposed to happen. Some grand fanfare, crowds cheering our glory, masses worshiping us as gods... that sort of thing. And that's exactly the sort of thing that didn't happen. I tag the flag after the fight (we'd figured out that we had to do that by this time), and exactly nothing happens.
Well at this point people are starting to wonder, and a few (including the 'leader') bug out. Apparently somewhere along the line, I'd distinguished myself (I still haven't a clue how. I'm a red-mage, which isn't a class suited to heroics) enough to have the departing leader stick me with alliance leadership. So now I'm stuck coordinating the remaining 2/3 of our force in continuing this fight. Okay, so now flag #7 is located and we assemble and buff/rest for the fight. *tag* and we're off, and getting royally beat down.
The fight started off bad as one of our groups targets the beastman paladin en-masse and all fail to notice that he's tossed 'Invincible' and they're not doing jack squat to him. Meanwhile, the beast-Blackmage is tossing area-effect spells like they're going out of style. I manage to rally enough force to take him down while I'm Chainspell-nuking the hell out of the still-invincible Paladin. It's about this time that whitemage #1 bit the dust because of the paladin. I still have a bit of time left on chainspell so I spamcure that group up to full. Not like I'm surviving a suicidal act like that, so I'm facedown in the dirt shortly thereafter.
Anyway, half our force was eating sand at the end of that fight, but we were victorious! ... And still no fanfare. Two members more bug out while we're raising our fallen. We're now down to two parties. Again we take up the search and again the flag is located. Now we sit and rest/buff up again. You'd think this would be understood since this is our 8th time doing it, right? Apparently not. We're still prepping with most of our mages below 1/2 mp, when our idiotic thief tags the flag. We don't stand a chance and eat dirt rather rapidly. All that is to illustrate one simple point. Before you leave, make sure EVERYBODY has a complete understanding of ALL the rules and knows every step of the plan along the way. This includes, very importantly, the leader of the expedition. It can't be stressed enough that an unformed leader WILL bring about failure. So please please PLEASE make sure you know what you're about before planning a huge event like any sort of raid. Your alliance and nation will thank you for it. [FFXI, M, 21]
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