Anybody who plays Final Fantasy XIV knows that the easiest way to get stuff done that Duty Finder can’t handle is to find a static — a term unique to FFXIV and its predecessor, XI, that’s basically just a fancy term for a set raid group.
Of course, that’s easier said than done; finding eight like-minded people anywhere in the world is a challenge, let alone on an online video game, so I mostly avoided it. I’d frequently sub into my free company’s static when they needed me, but otherwise I was afflicted by severe anxiety that I’d join some people I didn’t know and get a reputation on my server for being a crappy player.
All along, there was one solution: start my own. But I avoided, that, too — Until now. Stormblood gave me a second wind as far as FFXIV was concerned, and I learned to love the game all over again. Now we’re at the start of a new raid series, I figured that I’d give it a go, after being repeatedly urged to do so by my FC-mates.
My group started playing together a couple of a weeks ago, and, now we’ve killed Susano and Lakshmi on extreme mode (which, at least until the 18th of this month, are the hardest fights in Stormblood) I feel like I can say that not only is starting a static possible — even for a serial underachiever like me — it’s hugely rewarding.
I started with a few advantages. Not only did I have a decent FC to draw from that included some of the people I hit Palace of the Dead’s 200th floor with, but we already had a resident static, so there were plenty of people I could turn to and ask for advice. That said my experience has led me to believe that getting a group together isn’t as hard as it sounds, even without the head start I had.
You see, I figure most people in this game want to do something — they want to see extreme primals and raids. There are thousands of people who, like me, are tired of waiting in queues or joining Party Finder fail groups, but they wait in them anyway because it’s the best thing that’s available to them. Those people are all waiting for something better; you just have to find what it is and provide it.
In my case, what I wanted was a group I could rely on that wasn’t a super-serious affair. The sorts of adverts on my Data Center’s Party Finder would be enough to scare anyone off (High DPS! Do a trial raid with us for eight days a week! Sacrifice your firstborn child to the blood moon so our AST draws Balance more!). So I figured I’d start something different and see who responded. I expected nobody… And ended up with seven other people in a few days, plus a smattering of volunteers.
There’s a girl in my FC, for instance, who’s always been a competent player but mostly left end-game content alone, protesting that she was too casual to get involved; once I put forward the idea of a static that wasn’t super hardcore, she was one of the first to put themselves forward. Other people I’d never really spoken to became fast friends, partly because, like me, they wanted something like this. They were just waiting for it to come along.
But simply getting a group of eight people together isn’t the hardest task. Duty Finder does it, and it’s just a Big Dumb Algorithm. The hardest part is actually making sure that you guys can come together and kill something without wanting to kill each other by the end of it. A standard DF group will break up after a single wipe but at least they’ll never see each other again. Starting a group with people you sort of know carries the extra risk that you’ll fail in front of people you have to see on a regular basis. Which, to someone like me, is a fate worse than death.
...So thank god we didn’t. After dying to Susano extreme’s awful thundercloud mechanic way too many times, we managed to kill it with three seconds left on the clock, and, later on, Lakshmi too. I’d be a bit disappointed if we didn’t kill at least the latter, to be fair, because Lakshmi is probably the easiest encounter to ever bear the name extreme (Mechanic? Mash Vril!).
Even so, it’s a start. There are plenty of people for whom killing an easy (relatively speaking) boss like Susano with only three seconds on the clock would represent an embarrassing failure or something to complain about on a Discord channel where people compare FFLogs rankings. It would not really represent anything to get excited about. But the moment that big blue idiot went down, at least for a moment, eight people from a few different countries were overjoyed. It didn’t matter what loot dropped, how good the DPS parses were (they were definitely bad), or how fast the clear was. All that mattered was that we did it — and that we’re going to do it again.
It’s easy to sit here and write sentences like “anyone can start a static”, as I have done so many times, but it’s much harder to actually prove that by doing it. Still, if a serial underachiever like me can do it, it’s a safe bet that almost anybody more people can, so you have nothing to lose by giving it a shot. (Unless you’re an asshole, in which case you stand to lose your friends.)
Of course, we might hit a wall as soon as the first tier of Omega savage and break up. Lord knows that a lot of groups went into Alexander pretty stoked before Living Liquid crushed their hopes and dreams. But even if that happens — and it’s entirely possible it might — it doesn’t undermine anything I’ve said, or the experiences I’ve already had.
If you’re kind of casual like a lot of other people, and you’re looking for a way to make Stormblood a different experience to ARR and Heavensward, here’s my suggestion: make your own static, even if you only raid once every two weeks or so. You might not succeed, but you won’t regret it. With Omega savage opening on the 18th, there’s probably never been a better time.