I’m not usually one to complain in the forums but this has to be said.
Alexander sucks. It really does, and most people I know agree with me – so I can only hope people on the forums also agree so we can make it loud and clear to the devs that we expect, and demand, better.
Alexander as a whole looks poorly designed.
A1 starts off as a corridor that’s oddly reminiscent of FF13 and ends in a rectangular arena. The distance between the start & end is so small it’s a wonder they didn’t shove us at the boss in the first place. The boss is a large machine that is very forgettable. The whole area looks bland and is a poor start to the raiding experience.
A2 is slightly better since it has a longer wind up the boss (not saying I like having to deal with the adds, but at least it doesn’t seem as poor an effort as in A1). The arena is a large rectangle that has no interesting details at all. The fight is basically a poor substitute for T4 – with silly looking goblins and those large bulky machines that pale in comparison to dreadnoughts.
A3 is actually kind of nice. The varying hues of blue from the electricity and the lighting at the top make for a nice change from all the brown in the previous floors. The boss looks good, if somewhat silly but the arena is just a plain old circle with a dark background.
A4 is basically A1… plain arena, clunky forgettable boss (that doesnt even move) and a poor end to the raiding experience.
Contrast these turns with Coil & regardless of whether you like the steampunk theme of Alexander you can tell there’s a large drop in quality.
Opening raids: T1 had a long wind up to the boss with interesting details such as Bahamut’s fossilised wing in the background. T6 had so many different elements to gawk at. T10 was a very large area with all those pods and was absolutely fascinating.
Meanwhile A1 is a small and dull corridor & rectangle.
Final raids: T5 was on bahamuts hand – all that needs to be said. T9 had so much detail, an amazing looking boss, and two environment changes that kept the fight fresh. T13 looked brilliant also, with a larger arena than most, amazing detail on the animations and Bahamut himself, as well as the special effects in the arena during the final phase change. All these things made it one of the best looking fights in the game.
Meanwhile A4 is small circle with a stationary clunky robot.
Also when you beat T5 & T9 you enter an area where you get to see Bahamut’s head and this massive area! After beating A4 you see a metal cube…
This is a grey area: people have differing opinions on this & I accept that, but this is my take on it:
Normal mode is easy and on the level of Crystal Tower bosses – easy for most individuals, and only difficult because of duty finder baddies – which is perfectly fine.
Savage mode: (full disclosure: only have first hand experience in A1S and second hand knowledge of A2S & A3S) A1S is similar to A1 with very little difference in mechanics – the difficulty is artificial and made of only tight dps & healing checks. The mechanics themselves aren’t difficult to execute (4 lasers instead of 2, resin bomb leaves poison & now there’s a tank buster…. ooooh). A2S has more differences between the two version but ultimately its still not a stimulating experience. Edit: Since I’ve got no exp in A2S, I’ll leave it to people with exp to state their opinions of it. Seeing & hearing isn’t the same as doing it.
I’m told A3S is very complex and should be pleasing to those who want more challenging mechanics but that means nothing to groups stuck on A1S (or possibly A2S) which are boring fights only made interesting by artificial difficulty (that is to say, while a balance of high dps & good execution of mechanics is expected in raids, artificial difficulty tips the scale more towards the dps side to raise the difficulty without making the fights more mechanically complex).
The story of Alex is pretty poor also. I do understand that coil was established before the start of 2.0 with the events of the calamity, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have tried to set up a compelling story for Alexander.
Who on Earth can take those silly little goblins seriously as a credible threat with those looks and that ridiculous way of speaking? Who cares about the threat that Alexander poses when it’s barely emphasised and there’s no visible evidence of the risk he poses. Supposedly he drained all the aether in the hinterlands, but I can’t see that as a player. Everything still looks the same, no desolate wasteland formed, and I can still go about my merry day and fly past him to get those Morels or Cloud Bananas.
The Raiding System:
SE introduced normal & savage with Alexander to better meet the needs of the playerbase. There were many people in ARR that wanted to experience the story of Coil but couldn’t or didn’t want to raid. The echo & nerfs were used months after the release of the raid to make it easier for some people to get the experience but it was still too difficult for some, and others were displeased by the nerfs.
So, they gave people two versions to hopefully satisfy all those people, except by having normal mode predate savage mode, and by having raiders farm normal mode to get gear to be able to do savage, those raiders had nothing to look forward to except gear. The excitement of seeing each arena & boss and progressing the story was gone within the 3rd week of HW for basically everyone & instead those raiders only have gear to look forward to which greatly devalues the raiding experience. People may still want to do savage because it’s the hardest thing in the game atm, and they want gear- but surely it would be a much richer experience if it could be experienced as coil was!
That’s not to say I think they should have followed the raiding scheme of ARR, locking the majority of the playerbase out isn’t right – but this current scheme is also very flawed and they need to find another way.