Throughout the past few months, many Final Fantasy XIV players have been using the game’s downtime to clear the hardest PVE content available in the game. Are you interested in taking the first steps to clear the Ultimate raids and become a Triple Legend? This digest follows MogTalk: Episode 243, featuring Llamatodd and Rin Karigani as they join Frosty in discussing various aspects of the game’s three Ultimate fights.
Llamatodd and Rin are both exceptional raiders and FFXIV content creators who enjoy helping as many players as possible through Extreme trials, Savage raids, and Ultimate encounters.
Ultimate-level raids were first introduced in Stormblood to provide hardcore raiders with a challenge while developers scaled back on Savage difficulty. These fights feature gauntlet-style battles, where players must beat each boss in succession to clear the encounter. Completion of an Ultimate raid rewards players with a unique title and a totem that can be exchanged for a glowing weapon.
The Unending Coil of Bahamut (UCoB) was released in patch 4.11 as the first Ultimate duty. In this encounter, players must battle Twintania, Nael deus Darnus, and Bahamut Prime while executing mechanics such as Twisters, Exaflares, and Heavensfall Trio.
FrostyTV: While progging ultimates, teams get about three pulls an hour. That’s rough. If you make one mistake, you might feel like you just wasted 10-15 minutes. [7:42]
Rin: I give a number of motivational speeches during our prog. Sometimes, there’s 1% wipes and someone will say “I didn’t use my potion” and be screaming at themselves. It happens, and I remind them to stay calm. [8:01]
FrostyTV: Ultimate raids really woke us up and showed us the scale of how challenging content can be in this game. Later in Stormblood, we got UWU. The cool thing about that fight was progging 10 hours then realizing that we haven’t actually figured out the puzzle. Once you figure it out, it’s not as much of a challenge. [8:34]
Rin: Some of the mechanics became easier. A new group today who knows what to do isn’t going to spend their first day thinking the fight is simple and later be confused on why they’re wiping. [9:39]
Llamatodd: With Endwalker coming up, I recommend that everyone do themselves a favor and go in blind during the first week of the raid tier. You only get one chance to do that before all the strats come out. Go into Savage and have that fun. [10:14]
FrostyTV: I prog Savage through Party Finder when new content first comes out. I don’t go hardcore like those who clear week one in Party Finder, but I do enjoy going in and trying it for that fresh experience. When getting into the new tier, I want to see the fights and try to decipher them. It’s difficult to convince people to do that throughout the entire fight, but you can always get those first few minutes fresh. [10:31]
UWU refers to the Weapon’s Refrain, the second Ultimate high-end duty that was released in patch 4.31 during Stormblood. In this encounter, players must once again defeat classic primals such as Garuda, Ifrit, and Titan before battling Lahabrea and the Ultima Weapon. UWU’s main gimmick involves ‘waking’ the primals to allow players to survive to see the Ultima Weapon.
FrostyTV: We also found out that Square Enix creates this content for the spectacle of the event. They’re watching and want to see if players can figure out the puzzle put in front of them. Players can go in blind or use guides and still get the rewards at the end. We were blown away by UWU before finding out that the third Ultimate would be released in Shadowbringers. [11:42]
Rin: We got other cool content though, like the Baldesion Arsenal. By the end of Stormblood, many players were getting into UCoB that couldn’t earlier in the expansion. Thanks to the dungeons and new gear that came out, the fight became more accessible. [12:43]
The third and currently most relevant Ultimate introduced to the game is the Epic of Alexander (TEA), which features notorious bosses from Heavenward’s Alexander raid tiers. This high-end duty requires players to be on their feet while battling against Living Liquid, Brute Justice, Cruise Chaser, Alexander Prime, and Perfect Alexander.
FrostyTV: In Shadowbringers, they gave us a fun Savage tier and TEA, which goes back to the beginning of all the meaty, difficult raid mechanics. Everyone was hyped and excited for it, and the raid was amazing. We saw such difficult content, plus that little puzzle in there. [13:38]
Rin: It took us a week to figure out. Thoughts per Second (TPS) was done with it in a few days. It’s another situation in which doing it without the puzzle was more difficult. Afterwards, it wasn’t so bad. It was a really fun time. [14:10]
FrostyTV: It’s a ride to watch people go through these fights and clear the mechanics. That was the first time I knew all the answers to the fight before anyone else did because I saw the TPS footage. Other teams were still progging it, and the community didn’t know. It was difficult for me because I had to stay quiet and avoid hinting what the answers were. [14:37]
During the Letter from the Producer LIVE Part LXII in February, Square Enix announced that the next Ultimate will also be based off the Dragonsong War, another event that took place in Heavenward. Unfortunately, the development team also announced the postponement of the fight’s release due to COVID-19 delays.
FrostyTV: When we found out that there were no more Ultimates coming in this expansion, it broke a lot of people’s hearts. We become attached to these fights as they are the most difficult content that everybody looks forward to progging. Clearing is a huge achievement. When you’ve cleared these fights, you’ve cleared the most difficult content in the game. [15:39]
Rin: It’s also on the bucket list for the end of this expansion. Those who aren’t hardcore raiders feel confident to try it now. Sometimes, players go into an Ultimate as the first raid they’ve ever done. Having only TEA is okay because UCoB and UWU don’t depreciate. There are options, but you always want more, right? That’s human nature. [16:00]
FrostyTV: The reason for our excitement is not just about the difficulty, but also for the visuals, weapons, and achievement. The dev team puts so much work into these. It’s like the masterpiece they put up on the mantel. It’s really cool to go through and be able to clear it. Clearing Ultimates has exploded recently because of the WoW exodus and people seeing the rapid growth in FFXIV who want to get into this difficult content. [16:28]
FrostyTV: The two of you have recently been in the spotlight for helping others clear Ultimates. How many messages did you get, Todd? [17:35]
Llamatodd: I haven’t counted them, but there’ve been a lot of DMs asking for help on UCoB all across the data center. I actually had to put a spreadsheet together of my schedule for all the groups I’m currently raiding with. Who would have thought there would be an influx of WoW players? [17:51]
Rin: People put Ultimates on an unreasonable pedestal. It is a feat and an achievement, but it’s not one at the top of Mount Olympus. It’s on your top shelf, and you can get there. There’s also many people who come in and say “I put a static together because I watched you.” There’s now many Party Finders open for UCoB and UWU. [19:37]
Llamatodd: There’s more Ultimate listings in Party Finder than Savage. [20:21]
Rin: I know people meme on the amount of times I’ve killed the fight. A clear is just another one for me, but it’s always somebody’s first time. Getting to see them so excited makes me relive it, and that’s what I get out of it—getting to see them so happy and wear that golden Gunbreaker or Dancer weapon. [20:45]
Llamatodd: Not too long ago, I took six fresh players into UCoB. We unlocked it for them, and everyone was dying left and right. We ended up getting through the first phase, and they were so excited, asking “When can we do that again?!” [21:09]
FrostyTV: When people go and get that clear, they’re excited and want to do it again. You hope it infects people, right? It starts a wave of people trying to help others get their first clears. [22:36]
Llamatodd: That’s one of the big reasons why I do what I do. It’s about being there for someone’s first clear. We get that same level of excitement. [23:29]
Rin: You get that dopamine out of seeing it happen, like with coaching. When you see someone else succeed, you’re so proud of them. Sometimes people want to go back in to get a cleaner run. Ultimates are also great for those who like to prog. Maybe they don’t want to farm things a million times, but they want to kill a fight. [23:40]
Llamatodd and Rin both mentioned seeing a surge of players interested in clearing Ultimates after RichCob, which featured many well-known raiders as they helped streamer Rich Campbell learn his first Ultimate fight. Rich’s success sparked some controversy, and a few players voiced negative opinions on how his clear was achieved.
FrostyTV: Let’s talk about Rich for a little bit. What are your thoughts on him? [26:08]
Llamatodd: He’s a great guy, and his reactions have been great. He’s done a lot of good things for the community and found a home in FFXIV. It’s been awesome being able to raid with him. When he hit Stormblood, he messaged me and asked to put some people together for Ultimates. I took a lot of the raiders I knew, Rin included, and we made some good content out of it. [26:16]
FrostyTV: You made tons of good content and pissed off some of the people in the FFXIV community, too. [27:23]
Llamatodd: I think it was a net positive, but there were some spicy comments. [27:29]
Rin: For every spicy comment, you had a league of people who were happy. It wasn’t supposed to be fresh prog. Rich got to do an Ultimate and we got to entertain people. Because of the level of expertise, we were able to meme along the way and have a really good time. I think a lot of people were ready to take a break from the game. Then, we got a big influx of players from WoW. Some people who came in weren’t as interested in the game as much, but Rich loved all aspects of it. He enjoyed the story and created new memes, even out of things as old as A Realm Reborn. [27:35]
FrostyTV: Rich coming in was an extremely good thing for the community. Without the FFXIV community, the game is not as fun. I enjoy the game, but I need that community. All those people supporting and laughing with you create so much positive energy. Rich is feeling the full force of the FFXIV community, and that has to be addicting. The community is excited because Rich is someone who’s representing all the things we love about FFXIV and making it very public. [28:31]
Outside of RichCob, there are other voices within the community that diminish Ultimate clears. These players argue that the fights aren’t as difficult as they once were and judge those who learn from a group that has already cleared.
FrostyTV: You can go into an Ultimate knowing the strategy with a group of people who haven’t done it before. You can also have a team where only one person is learning the fight. In the end, Rich knows how to clear the fight and is an Ultimate raider. You have your choice of how you want to clear the fight. In the end, this shouldn’t diminish the achievement. If you clear it, you get your title and weapon. The RichCob experience encourages more people to try and get the clear. [34:26]
Llamatodd: After week one of any fight, you’ll be with someone who knows more than you. Are you being carried if you didn’t go in blind that first week or someone on your team has better gear than you? In my first Ultimate clear, Xeno led our group. The seven other people were new. You could say “Llamatodd got carried.” I’ve been carried through all my Ultimates because I had leaders that knew the fights. It was still an awesome experience and doesn’t take anything away from my clear. [36:40]
FrostyTV: Let’s talk a little bit about the rewards. What do you think about the glowy weapons? Are they too much? [40:32]
Llamatodd: They’re great. The weapons look great, and I love the TEA axe. [40:40]
Rin: They change your whole glamour. Now, I need a glamour that fits and works well. I love them. When they come out, they’re your new best in slot because they grant a bonus materia. It doesn’t give a lot, but it feels cool. [40:46]
FrostyTV: I don’t care about titles as much, but I do care about glowly weapons and how they stand out in a crowd of players. Are people mainly clearing for the weapon or the achievement? Do most people clear multiple times? [41:32]
Rin: It’s a mixed bag. [43:13]
Llamatodd: Some people just want to clear once to say they did it. For me, it’s about helping others and getting all the weapons. [43:15]
Rin: I’ve done them all when they came out. Todd, I think you did your first one last year, right? Since you did them after they came out, what about the fights made you want to do them in the first place? [43:30]
Llamatodd: I had some good friends I was raiding with, and they suggested that we try an Ultimate. I was in the same boat as many viewers and thought I wasn’t good enough to try Ultimate. It wasn’t something I was actively looking for. It helped having someone to lead us through it. I did my best, and we put in the work. It was quite the experience, but I think that bit of encouragement from my friends helped me. I wanted to improve as a raider, and doing Ultimate was the next level. [44:03]
Rin’s first Ultimate experience was during the UCoB world race. His group took three days off work to compete before realizing they’d need more time.
Rin: It took us six weeks to clear UCoB, which was about 216 hours and around 2400 pulls. We were the first group on Balmung to clear, which was a big deal because the server is traditionally for roleplaying. So many people showed up in Rhalgr’s Reach that night. It was like the server came together and achieved something. That sense of accomplishment is heartwarming to see and feel. Now, I kill these bosses as fast as I can so I can immediately start teaching people. I want everyone else to be able to experience that. [45:40]
FrostyTV: I haven’t cleared any Ultimates. If I do get a clear, it will be in the same vein of people who know what they’re doing and helping me through it. I have a wife, a job, and lots of other things going on. I can go through the fights and be completely content with myself for clearing it. This entire expansion, I have cleared Savage through Party Finder. I have fun with it, and the people in the party have fun with it. The only people who don’t have fun with this are those who are jealous and envious for no reason. [52:45]
Rin: There’s always someone who is negative. I challenge everyone to be a little better every day. Wake up to be a little bit better than you were the day before. For all those who are speaking negatively with loud voices, there’s so many more happy people giving these fights a try. [54:42]
FrostyTV: I think some players may be in the same boat as me. I look at the fights and realize all the work it takes to go through it. What would you say to someone in the same situation as me? [55:52]
Rin: Sometimes, I’ll take people in for just one lockout. You can get some experience and see what you think. Some people catch the bug and go for the clear. Others may be a little stressed out and want to try another time. Frosty, if you only had a couple of days a month, do you feel your knowledge would degrade every time or that you can retain that knowledge and chip away at the fight? [56:19]
FrostyTV: I think I could chip away at that. That’s the reason I use Party Finder. There’s no set schedule and you get a little further when you can. [57:18]
Rin: If you’re looking for the best time to get into Party Finder and try these fights, I’d say go for it now. From here to Endwalker, the time is now. [1:02:21]
FrostyTV: Let’s talk about strats for these fights. Is there usually an accepted strat for each Ultimate, or are there many different branches? [1:04:47]
Rin: Just like Savage, there are different strats, but people want to do what they already know. There are different ways to tackle the fights, but a lot of strats are identical. In UWU, you’ll do a lot of the same things. UCoB has more variability. The beginning of TEA has many different strats. It also depends on the data center. If you understand the mechanic, you can use any strat. [1:04:59]
FrostyTV: What do we expect in Dragonsong War? We expect Nidhogg, right? [1:11:24]
Rin: We can expect the Knights of the Round in some capacity because that’s what they showed us. They apologized for the fight being delayed because of COVID-19, which is understandable. They also showed us the arena, which was the end of the Vault. [1:11:36]
FrostyTV: With Perfect Alexander, we had time as a big trick. With Ultimate Weapon, we had to wake the primals. What could the big theme for Dragonsong War be? [1:16:12]
Llamatodd: I think something with the shield and lance or Nidhogg’s eyes empowering mechanics could be big ones. [1:17:04]
Rin: The betrayal and taking the power of the dragons is what the Ishgardians were ultimately after, right? Dragons had immense power via their eyes. I would be surprised if it didn’t have something to do with those eyes. Maybe there’s some sort of peace between the dragons. Maybe we’ll even have to fight Shiva. We can expect a lot of gaze mechanics. [1:17:10]
FrostyTV: Going into Endwalker, do you expect TEA to fall out of relevance? [1:22:16]
Rin: Completely. We’re guaranteed to get Dragonsong Ultimate in the next year, which means people are going to be focused on gearing. Ultimates will fall to the wayside once the expansion begins. [1:22:26]
FrostyTV: We’re going to have a fresh new expansion. A month later, we’ll have Savage raid. Two-three months after that, we’ll have the new Ultimate. It’s going to be hard to find people who would rather prog old Ultimates during this time. [1:23:46]
Rin: Normally, the end-of-expansion bucket list includes leveling your jobs, completing deep dungeon, diving into Blue Mage content, or trying Ultimates. There’s always something to do, but those are the highlights of the end of an expansion. I would recommend prioritizing Ultimates if you can. You can do a deep dungeon on your own, but people are doing Ultimates right now. You’re never too new to the game. Rich did Ultimate, and he was brand new. [1:25:34]
FrostyTV: What process should players go through who are looking to clear Ultimates? [1:31:12]
Llamatodd: For Rin and myself, it’s harder to commit to another static, but we can get people started and help with certain prog points for those chipping away at the fights. There’s also the option of just going into Party Finder and the Discord servers dedicated to Ultimate prog. It’s really up to how much you study and prepare. [1:31:52]
FrostyTV: How stable are Party Finder groups for Ultimate? [1:33:37]
Rin: It depends on the prog point. If the Party Finder says they’re working on ad phase of UCoB, which is about 11 minutes in, but the group wipes to Nael for three pulls in a row, people will leave. [1:33:45]
Llamatodd: It’s going to be along the lines of what you experience in Savage. One mechanic is listed as the prog point, but you have to subtract two-three from that. [1:33:57]
Rin: I challenge people to write that mistakes are okay in their Party Finder. You set the expectations yourself, right? [1:34:24]
Llamatodd: It’s not just about mechanics. It’s also about synergy and if the group can work well together. It takes several pulls to get that going. [1:34:33]
Rin: Maybe you’ve always moved a certain way to dodge a twister, and now somebody else is in that path. You can’t refuse to adjust. Somebody must change, and sometimes people would rather not play in Party Finder than adjust. A lot of times, you’ll find people who are more than happy to work around things. [1:34:47]
Rin welcomes those who wish to clear the three Ultimate encounters to his Discord server, where he has strategy resources for UCoB and a list of servers dedicated to progging Ultimates across data centers.
MogTalk is a weekly podcast airing every Saturday at 5PM ET on twitch.tv/Frosty_TV. The show is entirely focused on bringing the community together to discuss topics of interest regarding FFXIV, including patch notes, game mechanics, and raid insights. Mogtalk Digests are now available thanks to Patreon supporters! If you are interested in supporting all of the content MogTalk has to offer, please visit our Patreon page.