You may recall a short while ago I talked a little about Turn 5 of the Binding Coil of Bahamut in Final Fantasy XIV, notorious as being one of the most difficult battles in the game and essentially, if you want to look at it that way, the “true final boss” of the game as it existed at launch.
Since clearing that a few times, we’ve managed to get a regular group together to take on the Second Coil of Bahamut, a four-part dungeon that follows on from the original Binding Coil — and which is soon to be superceded by The Final Coil of Bahamut, bringing this particular side story to a close in suitably climactic fashion with patch 2.4.
We’re by no means ready for the Final Coil of Bahamut yet — mainly because you have to clear Second Coil in order to even enter Final Coil — but we’ve been discovering the joy of having a regular, committed and enthusiastic group together to take on challenging fights.
The first Turn of the Second Coil of Bahamut (known in FFXIV vernacular as “Turn 6″ or “T6″, since it’s the sixth overall part of the Coil storyline) is deceptively simple, much like the other Coil confrontations. You begin by making your way across some perilous terrain and fending off the unwanted advances of golems that spawn from chunks of dark matter and corrupted crystals. Having fought your way past these — destroying the crystals on the way — you find yourself in front of a fragment of Dalamud, the moon that fell from the sky at the end of Final Fantasy XIV’s version 1.0 incarnation (and, by extension, the beginning of A Realm Reborn) and burst open to reveal the elder primal Bahamut. Over the course of the first Binding Coil of Bahamut, you come to discover some interesting bits and pieces about what Dalamud really was, why Bahamut was inside it and, indeed, what happened to it following the apocalyptic “end of the world” that appeared to happen at the conclusion of 1.0. Second Coil is elsewhere in the lands of Eorzea, and promises to offer further insights into the truth — but, of course, it’s not that easy.
Your main obstacle towards even getting inside the damn place is an unpleasant little thing called Rafflesia, a plant from the Gridanian Twelveswood that has been corrupted by dark matter and which now appears to be a tad on the pissed off side. You ain’t getting inside the Dalamud fragment without getting past Rafflesia, and thus begins another extremely challenging battle that our group is yet to clear — but which we’ve made significant progress on in our two attempts to date.
Like the previous encounters in the various Turns of the Coil, the battle against Rafflesia initially appears to be extremely complex and insurmountably difficult, but in reality it’s all about being organised, communicating effectively and knowing how to deal with the various situations in which you find yourself.
Shortly after the fight begins, Rafflesia whips two party members with thorny vines, which attaches them together and continues to do damage as long as they remain joined. The only escape from this spiky fate is to run in opposite directions until the vine is snapped.
The plant monster then goes on to spawn dark matter bulbs, deadly seedlings that sprout into spiky briar patches that slow the movement of anyone unfortunate enough to step into them. A key part of this battle comes in the management of these briar patches; our attempts involved keeping Rafflesia as central as possible and only worrying about bulbs if they appeared where Rafflesia was. This occasionally demands that you dance around a little to make sure you’re not standing in thorns, but it does allow you to concentrate on what you’re really there for — punching/stabbing/burning/chopping a plant monster to death.
Rafflesia is a hungry beast, though, and every so often a party member will find themselves the target of the monster’s appetite. She’ll suck in everything in front of her, then devour it before spitting it out again; ideally, by the time she’s doing the first thing, you’re well out of the way, ensuring that the second and third things don’t happen to you.
Rafflesia, being a plant, also has numerous unpleasant spores and gases designed for the obliteration of unsuspecting adventuring parties. Most deadly among these is her Blighted Bouquet, a devastating move which causes immediate death to anyone unfortunate enough to have been doing anything – moving, attacking, using an ability — when it goes off. She’s also fond of glazing a party member in honey, which causes dark matter-corrupted hornets to come in and give the unfortunate adventurer some unwanted attention — and eventual death, if they’re not defeated, too.
So far, we’re yet to defeat Rafflesia; her Blighted Bouquet and dark matter hornets have proven particularly troublesome to deal with, but we’ve made honest-to-goodness progress in the two sessions of about 2.5-3 hours each that we’ve had to take on the fight to date. Along the way, we’ve come to work well together as a party, too, and the desire is there from all of us to continue the fight against Rafflesia, onwards into the fragment of Dalamud and, eventually, into the Final Coil of Bahamut to discover the truth behind the Calamity. (And, of course, to get some sweet loot in the process, too.)
I’ve been really enjoying our sessions so far; as I’ve noted before, Final Fantasy XIV is the first MMO that not only maintained my attention from beginning to level cap, but which has kept me interested with its endgame, too. Second Coil is, as of now, the most challenging dungeon in the game — though this will change on Tuesday when Final Coil arrives — and it’s a pleasure to be able to take on these tough encounters with a group of people who are becoming not just online comrades, but friends, too.