Kanican (kanican) wrote,

AV Strategy


In this post, I want to go over some thoughts about AV given the new videos that recently came out, and more importantly, to propose a plan for killing it.  Note I said kill it, not figure out how to "lock" it.  Unlike most players testing at this point, I actually believe AV is killable in its current state, but not by conventional means.  There were always 2 things that people wanted to lock - Regen and Specials.  The recent testing has found a clear way to remove the Regen, and I believe that this is enough to kill given some reasonable luck avoiding Benediction.  I believe this strategy circumvents the issues caused by Soul Voice, Meikyou Sushi, and even the dreaded Manafont Meteor.

Before anyone calls bullshit on me, I want to point out that in a non-timed event, if you can remove the Regen of the mob, you can always kill it if you can stay alive.  This is true for any mob, and AV as well.  If you can stay alive indefinitely, it is killable.  That being said, I will try my best to justify why I feel this works - not just on paper, but is relatively easy to produce in an actual game environment where mistakes happen.

This strategy is based on 3 key elements -

      -  Using a wide battlefield and terrain as the main defensive tool
      -  Exploitation of FFXI's hate system
      -  Exploiting Shadowbind, the only movement or action altering enfeeble that works on AV

Using these basic ideas, I believe you can fight, hold, and damage AV without AV ever retaliating due to its inability to seek out and reach its intended target (the guy at the top of the hate list).

For those shells currently testing things out for AV, I know most of you guys are trying to lock it, thinking it is impossible to kill without locking.  I encourage and plead with you to just read a bit about this strategy and maybe give the concept a try.  The idea of straight tanking and muitple Aegis PLDs has been done to death!  Seriously, if it could be done that way, someone would have at least made some type of progress on it by now considering how many have tried using this strategy.



Terrain Abuse

The basis of this strategy is the abuse of terrain and the inability of the mob AI to make sound judgments on how to move around obstacles.  I will point to a particular area of Al'Taieu where this fight would take place using this strategy.  AV can be moved to anywhere in the south (non-Limbus) side of Al'Taieu.  It does have Draw In, but it only uses if someone attempts the LB "Wall of Justice" strategy.

What is special about this spot is the thickness of the wall separating opposite sides.  This wall is 19.5' distance thin, meaning players standing on opposite sides and hugging the wall are in range of spells of each other!  The wall, for some reason, does not impede the sight and you can cast right through the wall!  This is a bit similar to the original "Wall of Justice" strategy where the walls on opposite sides were thin enough to perform the same thing.

In order to better show the precise spot and spacing that allows you to get within casting range on either side, I'm going to post some shots of the area in "Wire Frame" mode, which is enabled by Windower using "/console fillmode 1".  This allows you to see through walls and freely target through walls.


I think the idea here is pretty self-evident.  Two players that are able to cast across the wall have the ability to alternate hate across the wall as well; however, the mob cannot breach the wall, and must run around it.  This is the fundamental concept behind the strategy - As strong as AV is, it is bound by the same AI everything else is.  It will run around the wall just like every other thing in the game would.


Enmity and Distance

Anyone that has been following the Enmity Testing threads here probably knows the majority of this already; however, I'll still highlight some crucial points that are immediately pertinent to this strategy.  While you can cast spells across the wall, there are certain distances that a mob must be within in order to tally the hate of that action.  If the mob is too far away, it will act as if it never happened.  There are 3 ways a player can increase enmity in this game -

      -  Perform an action on the enemy itself
      -  Perform an action on oneself while already on the hate list and within 25' of the mob
      -  Perform an action on another player within 25' of the mob and already on the hate list

The first of these is pretty intuitive; if you are close enough to something to touch it, you're going to gain enmity from the action.  The other two, however, only count if the target is within 25' of the enemy in question.  This means if you self target yourself with say Barfire, the mob must be 25' or less away from you for that action to count.  Considering the wall itself in this case is about 19.5' away, Absolute Virtue would have to be 6.5' from the wall or less to "see" that action - which is practically hugging it.  Trying to cast on AV itself is even harder since it would have to be around 21' from the guy across the wall, which is really hugging it.

The last action type - targeting an ally - is the one this strategy focuses on.  Since the "hate range" is 25' from the target, NOT the caster, one could conceivably be in "hate range" while really being 40+' from the mob.  Consider side A and side B.  If a player on side A cures a player on side B, the radius of the "hate range" stems from player B, even though player A is casting.  This allows player A to gain hate while being VERY far away.  In this instance, we're talking up to 40+' distance, and a wall!


This concept is showned in the diagram above.  The caster, in purple, (the person attempted to get hate) forces himself to the top of the hate list by casting an ally spell on the target, in blue, who is just barely in the 20' range to cast spells.  The range of hate being seen is shown by the blue circle zone - if the mob is within this 25' range from the target hate is gained on the caster.  The green zone represents the zone in which AV is close enough to target you - basically this is the "it will destroy you" zone - I just made a liberal judgment and said it was 30'; it is most definitely less than this.  Notice how the caster is able to have AV "see" his actions on the ally target while avoiding that danger zone.

This sounds a bit crazy but this actually does work.  You can try it yourself by going to this spot on the map further down (G-12) and using a normal mob.  You can really trade hate across the wall and make the mob move back and forth, which takes a good 20+ seconds.  The mob will probably lose aggro, but AV, would not.


Shadowbind and Controlling Pace

Absolute Virtue moves and attacks so damn fast that most players cannot react to it in time over the course of a long fight.  The only tool in the entire game that works on AV that can inhibit its actions and movement is Shadowbind.  This strategy uses this move as both a defensive tool and an offensive setup tool.  It also allows everyone to just take nice breathers during the fight.

Shadowbind usage on AV is not really a new thing.  In the original LimitBreak AV attempt (the famous 30 hour marathon that resulted in the "Wall of Justice"), the actual strategy going into the fight was based on Shadowbind setting up a timed nuke attack as well as protecting the PLD tanks.  The downfall of this strategy was that the instant AV locates the player at the top of the hate list anywhere near it, it essentially rapes everyone - in the case of Manafont Meteor, instantly killing anyone within a 30' radius from the target.  The fundamental difference between that attempt and this one is that AV will never truly get near the targets it wants to hit due to the things stated above.

The use of Shadowbind makes this strategy humanly possible to pull off
.  Without some way to slow or stop AV momentarily, it's just not possible for a human being to keep up with what is going on.  If you've never seen AV, it FLIES across the screen.  Luckily, Bind is an incredibly strong enfeeble, and Shadowbind has 2 great properties about it.

      -  It never misses and always has a good 30+ second duration.
      -  It is a JA so it is instant cast.

Because of this, you can always rely on Shadowbind to do what you want it to do.  This turns an impossible to pull off strategy into a very viable one just due to how much you can slow down a fight using this repeatedly.  I'll be going over a lot more about Shadowbind later.


Alliance Setups

The setup includes three distinct alliances, each with its own specific duties.  This strategy involves probably around mid to upper 30s to pull off easily, which is why I posted here instead of trying it out in LS.  It's a pretty substantial number considering how things have focused so much on low manning over the course of the last 2 years.


AV is held roughly around (G-12)

      -  Pink Dots - Holding Alliance Placement
      -  Blue Dots - RNG Placement
      -  Green Dots - Damage Dealer Placement

Wynav Alliance is not shown.


Alliance 1 - Holding Alliance

(1) - WHM | RDM | BRD | XXX
(2) - WHM | RDM | BRD | XXX

Where XXX is any job of any level with access to Cure 1 (these are the Cure targets that just sit - best if these are mules since you don't do anything once you get on the AV hate list)

This is a bit odd, but the actual holding alliance does not have claim over AV during the fight.  Since the hate gaining actions are ally targeted, there is no need to target AV and have claim in the main holding group.  This is a huge advantage since the effective number of players which can play a large role in the AV fight is effectively doubled by not having to contain both DD and holding groups in the same 18 man alliance. 

WHM plays the role of the holder in this strategy due to access to Cure V, which has a static, large amount of CE (non-decaying hate) at 400.  This is the highest CE spell in the game that can target allies.  The basis of the holding technique is to have 1 WHM on each side of the wall topping AV's hate list.  By curing the 2 "cure targets" on either side of the wall (which should just be AFK mules), the 2 WHMs can force AV back and forth by trading Cure Vs.

BRD and RDMs are there simply to provide refresh for the WHMs - Cure V is pretty expensive.  I'm not sure if a Ghorn is necessary.  If it is and you don't have access to one, consider making the Cure target mules SMN/WHMs then adding a COR for Evoker's Roll.


Alliance 2 - RNG and DD Alliance

(1) - RNG | RNG | RNG | RNG | RNG | RNG
(2) - RNG | RNG
(3) -

I've included only the RNGs in the alliance setup.  I am assuming no RNGs are switching in and out of the Alliance since this can cause some confusion.  You can certainly do this to increase DD though.  Ideally I think you want about 8-12 RNGs in total.  How many you want in the alliance at any 1 time just depends on how good you are at switching people in an out.

The remaining spots are pure DDs; however, the type of DDs you can use are varied.  Obviously to start, BLMs or some type of nuker is required to nuke the correct element and remove Regen.  Beyond this, I think SMNs work pretty well since they grant 0 enmity while being pretty good ranged DDs with Netherblast.

The key is to keep the RNGs cycling for Shadowbind.  This is the only method of slowing the fight!  I'll go over the positioning and timing of when to use Shadowbind later on, but this is the biggest key to survival other than the WHMs coordinating Cure Vs.


Alliance 3 - Wynavs Alliance


* Have all WHMs sub THF for Flee.  Honestly, and job with Flee and Reraise can do this; I only picked WHMs because they have access to Reraise III

This is the basic kiting strategy employed by the LB/BBQ attempts.  Wynavs walk back to AV after losing aggro, they do not run back.  At the start of the fight (making sure the Wynavs are already out), pull them off AV and run as far away as possible - The Prudence pop area is best).

The only goal of this party is to keep the Wynavs as far away from the actual fight as possible.  Each WHM can just take turns Flee sacing to move the Wynavs away.  You can actually stay alive pretty long - I was actually really impressed when I saw this done.  1 guy even go to the Hope ??? all the way from the AV spawn point.


Positioning and Movement - Holding Alliance

I'll try my best to diagram what I'm trying to say here.  In sentence form, basically you place 2 mules that have gotten on the hate list (just Cure I someone on the hate list and move into position) on opposite sides of the wall as close as possible.  They should end up about 19.7-8' from the other end, giving you a reasonable 1' to move around on the other side and still be in Cure range.  Once these mules are set, don't move them!

The WHMs themselves have to move around constantly between 2 positions depending on if AV is on their side of the wall at the time.  If AV is not on your side, you position yourself where the mule on your side is.  This is to get yourself ready to Cure the move on the other side and retake hate.  If AV is on your side, you move further back into a position outlined in the diagrams below.

The reason for not just staying at the wall is you just don't ever want AV to actually get close enough to see you or bad shit happens.  By backing the WHM on AV's side further past the wall, you can Shadowbind AV at the wall while it is still trying to reach the WHM, who is further back!  This places AV at the wall, 25' or less from the Cure Target (meaning the guy on the other side can get hate), while never reaching its WHM target on that side.


This is the previous diagram but with the Current AV Target also listed in Orange.  This "Current Target" is actually the WHM on that side retreating backwards from the wall.  Again, the reasoning is to make AV run into the Cure Target's hate range (in Blue) without reaching its intended target at the top of the hate list.  Shadowbind is used to force AV to stay within the hate range so that the WHM on the other side (in Purple) has a good 30ish seconds to secure hate and force AV back to the other side.  The 2 WHMs on either side alternate this, moving back and forth to and from the wall.

While retreating or away from AV, that is the best time to receive Ballads and Refresh.  You want to make sure your support for the WHMs are building up CE.  While the WHMs will certainly be receiving CE faster, things can get nasty if the fight lasts long enough for the support to cap CE.


Shadowbind Positioning

This strategy requires a ton of RNGs - ideally 8-12 of them.  Shadowbind runs on a 5:00 recast timer while lasting 30-45 seconds consistantly depending on if you are using the "Enhances Shadowbind" AF.  The reason for using this many is to try to have enough to mathematically keep AV bound 100% of the time - obviously this is not really possible but the idea is to have enough to do so so you cannot actually run into a situation where no Binds are available. 

Keep 4 RNGs on each side of the wall!  That's a total of 8 RNGs at the wall sides.  This seems like a lot, but it is to ensure the safety of the WHM holders.  Not all of them have to be in alliance, as I mentioned previously, but 4 need to be there ready to go.  These Binds are purely for defensive means - just to stick AV in place within 25' of the Cure Target on that side of the wall so the WHM on the opposite side can secure hate with Cure V spam.

The remaining RNGs - I would recommend maybe 2 or 3 of them, should position themselves (along with all the intended melees) on the path half way between the 2 wall sides - basically where AV has to travel through to reach 1 side of the wall to the other.  These Shadowbinds are meant for Offensive Setup.  AV runs too fast to get any damage in, so you have to stop it to get off anything worthwhile.  The idea here is pretty basic - just stop it with Bind, then time your Nukes or Bloodpacts to all hit at the same time, releasing AV.


Damage Dealing Methods

I would personally say SMN is the best form of DD in this since it is methodical and does not cause any hate issues.  Obviously, when you start this, you have to originally go with nuking classes to null the Regen; however, once you actually want to hurt it, I would recommend SMNs.  Netherblast is the best option - I don't see physical Bloodpacts working since AV would go crazy on anything that is in its immediate melee range while Bound.

The upside of this strategy is that the DD is occuring very far away from the 2 holding sides.  This means that even if all hell breaks loose while DD is occuring - say someone pulled hate and it decided to Manafont Meteor, wiping everyone in range - you can still continue to hold AV.


Regen Reset and "Unclaiming"

The Regen for AV resets when there is either no one left on the hate list or just when it goes unclaimed for a period of time.  I honestly am not sure which is true.  I do know that AV, like other un-deaggroable NMs, will not lose claim unless the target at the top of the hate list dies or zones, so even though AV is running around like crazy, it should not go unclaimed in the process of running around, which should keep the Regen nerf in tact.


Initial Setups

The hardest part about pulling this off is probably getting everything set up.  AV isn't going to just sit around while you set this all up.  My recommendation on how to actually get everything in position with the right hate balance is to set up an initial alliance to try to straight tank and hold AV for a good 3-4 minutes away from the wall area.  During this holding, 4 players need to get on the hate list - the 2 WHMs and the 2 mules that are cure targets.  

During this straight tank hold (break out the Aegis PLDs here), have all 4 players use Cure 1 for 0 HP on someone on the hate list (this puts them on the list but at the bottom so they won't get tracked down until everyone wipes).  Make sure it was a Cure 1 for 0 HP, and didn't actually cure for a real amount or the hate will not balance!  All 4 players are now on the hate list and have exactly 1 CE, the lowest possible amount of hate someone on the hate list can have.  Now, in addition, have 1 of the WHMs cast Cure 1 for 0 HP again, putting 1 WHM at 2 CE while the others are at 1 CE.

When the wipe occurs, AV will now target the WHM with 2 CE, while the other 3 will be on the hate list and are available Cure Targets.  Position yourselves like the diagrams shown above.  When AV finishes off the original alliance, it will go unclaimed.  Have your RNG team ready (second alliance) and in position to start binds.  When AV goes for the WHM with 2 CE, you should be able to start up this holding process - both Cure Targets on the hate list and hate currently on one of the WHMs.  The only issue with this is that the first Shadowbind by the RNG will cause AV to have the RNG at the top of the hate list, so just be careful of this one.


Benediction and Killing Speed

Estimates of AV's HP are in the 120,000ish HP range.  Honestly I don't know how accurate this is because its max HP seems to change wildly as you hurt it.  Either way, assuming this number is ballpark, you can really pull this kill off in an hour or less in a perfect, no one fucks up, situation.  I really don't know how this strategy will work past 59% when it goes bracer mode...

I do know, though, that AV is no more dangerous in Bracer Mode than it is at 100% in this strategy, since it never actually gets close enough to see its target!  The only issue here is Benediction and the extra set of Wynavs that pops at 59% (which just requires another kiter to handle).  I don't know if AV is killable due to the fact no one knows the AI at 59%, but this strategy should be able to DD and hold AV indefinitely.  If it decides to cooperate, it would be an hour long kill.

(One of the countless Benediction pics from the Original "Wall of Justice")



There are a lot of details to hash out on this strategy.  I sort of only laid the groundwork and general ideas on how this would work.  I have no proof that this would work in practice, but it does seem to work pretty well on paper in my opinion.  I hope that some group will try this out or at least give some of the ideas here like the wall abuse some thought.

To recap the general prinicple of this strategy, the idea is to keep the person at the top of the hate list constantly out of AV's reach, switching the target just before he reaches the one he previously wanted.  There are a lot of ideas bouncing around BG right now involving just throwing more tanks at AV in an effort to survive, but I will point out 2 major flaws in this...

      -  AV attacks so fast that it is pretty much humanly impossible to keep up without slowing it down
      -  Most wipe moves are AoE - meaning they only require the initial target to wipe EVERYONE.

What happens when AV reaches Bracers Mode at 59%, or even what it will do at 79% now with the repeated patches is really anyone's guess.  We have no idea just how impossible he will become, how often he spams new AoE wipe moves, etc.  That is the beauty of this strategy in my opinion - the fact that AV can never get close to the target so it does not matter what it can use.  It's like it arms itself with deadlier and deadlier weapons, but it can't ever find who it wants to kill.

A recap on the game mechanics and general game principles that I'm saying can be abused here...

      -  Taking advantage of the fact that mobs normally only go after #1 on the hate list and avoid all others
      -  The ability to cast over a wall, but the inability to walk through it
      -  Taking advantage of knowing which moves provide what kind of enmity to manipulate a mob
      -  The fact that Shadowbind actually works on AV and lands for a full duration

Of course as always, feel free to nitpick, add onto, or counter anything you don't think works here.

I'll leave with the wise words of a friend and LimitBreak member on his thoughts about AV...



Pics of the Day

In the spirit of talking about AV, I'm going to just post some pics I took from the original LimitBreak vs. AV fight that spanned 3 days, took 30-31 hours, and led to the "Wall of Justice", which was the original strategy used to produce the first 4-5 AV kills (the first of which occurred just days after this on Remora by Apathy).  For those that are not familiar with this wall strategy, you can no longer use it since SE ninja-patched it by giving AV draw in if you attempt to touch it from the Limbus Side of Al'Taieu.

I'd post pics of our own attempts but the memories suck too much - our first real AV attempt happened the day after SE ninja-patched the Wynav kill lock strategy (no one has even gotten AV past 79% since this).  Of course, we didn't know it was broken at the time and must have spent about 5 hours killing Wynavs non-stop in the most pointless fight ever.


(Start of fight - attempting to use a RNG Shadowbind and BLM Nuke strategy)

You can actually still see the BG thread about Masago (former leader of LB) going over this Shadowbind Nuke strategy.  The actual diagrams on his site are now disable though I think.  Thread here.

After about 2-3 hours of this and constant wiping, LB accidently "locks" AV, producing the first lock of it on any server - pressumably by killing a ton of Wynavs.  This led to the start of this BG thread, one of the most massive BG thread of all time.  Unfortunately, one of their members (and a friend of mine), CALLS FOR HELP on it on accident and disables the lock...


(Waking up the next morning and realizing it's still up...)

The leader of LB, Masago, decides to call off the fight and let it despawn around noon, but one of the members decides to try 1 last ditch effort idea, which would later be called the "Wall of Justice" as coined by BG.  Basically you bring AV to the very tip of the lower map at (E-8) and hold it there with sac pulls.  Then, a massive team of BLMs assembles on the north end of Al'Taieu (limbus side), and spams nukes on it.  AV was unable to react being on the wrong side of the zone.


(Taken from the South end - AV desperately trying to reach the BLMs on the north side of the wall)


(AV breaks out the Bracers at 59%)

Other interesting facts about this fight... 

One of my best friends in game, Fatkat, was one of the sac players that stayed up overnight to hold AV - I think he was one of the only members that was awake the entire 30 hour stint.  

The actual person who first thought of the "Wall of Justice" was an EU player in LB named Orfeo.

Some asshole who will remain nameless GM'd LB fo using the Wall of Justice.

The "Wall of Justice" strategy STILL WORKS on everything except AV.  You can 4-6 man any Tier II Sea Jailer using this still since they don't have Draw In.


Drama Thread of the Day

The first AV kill on any server

Why is this a drama thread?

Because in SE's brilliance, IT DROPPED NOTHING.

I have a strong feeling that SE forgot to add the drops on this and just never bothered to fix it because they thought it was unkillable.  They probably ninja patched it after.

Tags: absolute virtue!, hnm fights!
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic
    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
← Ctrl ← Alt
Ctrl → Alt →
← Ctrl ← Alt
Ctrl → Alt →