A Survival Guide to Final Fantasy XIV's 4v4 The Feast.

With the release of Stormblood, the latest expansion into the Final Fantasy XIV universe, there were many changes to PvP. We were introduced to PvP-specific skills, and lost the ability to use our normal PvE ones. We are also now able to pick from a pool of two “additional actions” and bring them into each match - such as Purify which removes detrimental effects from whoever it is cast on; and Bolt, the PvP version of Sprint. Don’t forget to choose three traits as well. These include: increased MP regeneration; increased TP regeneration; and increased action speed.

With how appealing these changes may sound, many users may find themselves wanting to join the PvP community and work towards getting into the top 100 to win themselves a sweet exclusive glamour. However, this can be daunting, especially if you don’t have much experience in ranked 4v4. So if you’re wanting to get into the scene, here’s a little guide to get you started. And hey, even if you’re already into it already, you may still find yourself learning something new.

 

The Basics

The goal of The Feast is be the team with the most medals when the match ends. If your team has a total of 600 medals, you’ll win automatically and will have no need to wait out the entire eight minute match. Each player starts off with 100, and loses about half of what they’re holding upon death. Make sure to be careful who picks up medals that the enemy has dropped though, as they will grant vulnerability stacks. I personally like to have everyone get to one stack (when possible), before going any higher - as the stacks increase the damage you take substantially.

There are two different maps you can be tossed into when queueing into The Feast, both of which have boxes which can spawn in them. Each match starts with an Offense Kit, and a Defense Kit on each team’s side of the arena. Kill these boxes and they will drop a buff which can be picked up to increase damage or defense correspondingly. You can divvy these up however you’d like, but generally ranged DPS will take the defense kit, melee DPS will take the offense kit, and on occasion (usually if the healer is new), then the healer will pick up the defense kit.

My personal favorite method though is for one DPS to pick up both. This allows the player who has the offensive buff to go in with less worry, since they’re generally going to be targeted first, and then as a result be spending too much time on the defense rather than making use of the  offensive buff. It can also confuse the opposing team a little bit, and create a divide. One person might think, “We should kill the DPS that has both buffs! They’re the most dangerous, so we need to make sure we take them out first, or at least need to put them on the defensive until the buffs wear off” while others may think, “Hey, that dps has no defensive buff. They’re the obvious target, since we can get them down the fastest.” Personally, I find the choice to dependent on how well each team’s healer is doing. If the healer on your team is able to keep up with the damage, go for the one with no buffs. This makes the opponent healer work overtime, and you could very possibly get an early game kill which could snowball into more. However, if the healer on your side having some issues, then I recommend going after DPS with both buffs. This will put pressure on the that player, making the damage output that your healer has to deal with less harsh.

Next up, we have Adrenaline Kits. When destroyed, you can pick these up to increase your Adrenaline gauge, which is essentially just a limit break that you don’t share with the rest of the party. Melee get a hard hitting single target move; healers give an AoE instant cure; tanks can put a defensive debuff on the party for 15 seconds; and ranged DPS get an AoE that does a fair amount of damage to anyone it hits and also debuffs them.

Wolf’s Heart will spawn in the middle of the arena around four minutes into the match. It increases MP and TP regen, and is something that I constantly see people have no idea what to do with, but can easily make or break a match. In general, the healer should be the one to pick this up. However, it can greatly help out tanks, especially if they’re a Dark Knight or Paladin, as they each use massive amounts of both TP and MP. But if you’re new to PvP, I’d say it’s a safer bet to leave for the healer and only pick it up if they don’t seem to be going for it.

The basic strategy that you’ll see most teams use is to have both DPS focusing one target (usually whichever DPS didn’t pick up the defense buff), while the tank does their best to harass the healer with stuns; silences; and raw damage. The healer will do their best to fend off the tank so that they can focus on healing the party, occasionally throwing in a support spell such as White Mage’s Stone III which not only damages, but also heavies the opponent. Who everyone targets will of course change with the situation as each match progresses, but that’s how most will start off and the basic strategy you’ll want to stick to at first since it’s what most people tend to do. Since you can’t talk while engaged in The Feast, it’s not feasible to discuss a strategy with your group while in the prep period, and that’s why this is one that you’ll see many groups fall back onto. However, you can use some pre-set chat commands to help navigate the flow of things such as “Attack the Healer” or “Collecting Medals!” Now onto some small tips that are a bit more role specific. We’ll start with DPS:

DPSing in The Feast 4v4

I’ve had some of my friends complain to me about how they’ll lose PvP matches constantly, despite having insanely high amounts of damage dealt. While doing constantly high damage is certainly a good thing, especially for putting strain on the opponent healer, it’s not often the most effective. Rather than just constantly doing tons of damage, try to get the opponent to feel comfortable. I find it best to whittle them down slowly, and then when they least expect it, strike them down with all of your burst at once. For example, you could get them to around 60% HP, and then do your huge burst. It’s best that the burst kills them, as it’ll just end up going to waste if you only manage to get them down to 20% just for them to be immediately healed back to full.

DPS are incredibly squishy. Ranged DPS extra so, but even melee die pretty fast. Because of this, it doesn’t matter how amazing your healer is, you’ll want to minimize the damage you take if you want any chance of survival. While you can utilize any CCs you have, there’ is also a chance that those CCs will interfere with whatever your team’s tank has in store (we’ll get to that in the tank section). If you’re being attacked, even only a little, it’s best to run away and kite your enemy until they get fed up and move to attacking someone else.
 

Tanking in the Feast 4v4

The key role for the tank is support. If you’re on Dark Knight or Paladin, this is rather easy as each get a stun and a silence. I like to use these in a pair, especially on healers, in order to maximize the amount of time our DPS has to take down one of their teammates without receiving support from the healer. With a two second stun, followed by a two second silence, that’s a nice four seconds where the healer has become essentially useless.

Paladin’s also get Cover, which allows them to take all damage that is being directed at an ally, as long as that ally is in close proximity. On top of that, they get a high potency cure called Clemency which is particularly useful when your team’s healer is being CC’d.

Dark Knight’s also have a heavy support kit, boasting The Blackest Night, Sole Survivor, and Unmend. The Blackest Night creates a shield on the party member of your choice, mitigating 20% of the Dark Knight’s HP. So, if a Dark Knight has 15,000 HP, then the shield will mitigate 3k damage. On top of that, if the shield is broken then they receive points into their blood gauge which can be used on your silence. Sole Survivor is a ranged ability that increases the target’s damage taken by 10% for 10 seconds, and if the target dies while this is active, then the Dark Knight will have 25% of their MP and HP restored, as well as more points thrown into their blood gauge. Unmend pulls your target towards you, which is a great way to interrupt a spell being cast, or to force the opposing healer into a spot where their team is no longer in their line of sight, making the healer unable to heal them.

Sadly, Warriors don’t get many support abilities and thus their form of supporting is just by doing insane amounts of damage - almost like a third DPS. This just makes it harder for the healers to keep up with keeping everyone topped off, but with the little amount of harassing affecting the healer, that isn’t necessarily a hard job.

Healing in The Feast 4v4

I’d say that healing is easily the most stressful job to do in The Feast, as you have players constantly trying to interrupt you and just mess up your day over anyone else’s. While you may not be the first targeted to be killed, it’ll be rare for you to have a moment of peace. In order to cope with this, you’ll want to make use of instant cast spells as much as possible. If you see a tank running towards you, cast a shield on yourself to mitigate whatever they may be getting ready to  do. The key to healing is to just harass your harassers.

You can utilize knock-back abilities, such as Fluid Aura and Aura Blast so that even if a tank silences you, you can push them back before they’re able to follow up with a stun (since abilities can be cast through silence, just not spells). You’ll want to utilize LoSing as much as possible, so that you’re able to weave in and out of enemy and ally line of sight. Find a nice barrack, fence, or even river, and keep cutting corners around it. Weaving towards your allies when they need a heal, and then going back to evade the enemy. Save your instant casts for when you’re on the move, and having to run away from any potential harassers. Essentially you want to make yourself a pain to deal with, while making sure to not forget about your allies.

 

The Community

Finally, we have the community. Sadly, I feel that this part needs it’s own guide. I’ve noticed that at least in my own experience the PvP community is very harsh and unwelcoming. This is probably why we’re no longer able to talk while in PvP, as it was resulting in many players just flat out assaulting and harassing each other. Players will sometimes even make characters on other servers just to tell each other to stop PvPing and let the “good players” have all the fun, since clearly the “bad” player they’re speaking to won’t ever be able to get the prizes. After all, the more players they drive away with harassment, the less they have to compete with to get the top 100 prizes. But if you take this with a grain of salt, and consider and digest some of the tips I’ve discussed you should be finding yourself climbing the leaderboard in no time.