Ragar throws on his healing gear to test A Realm Reborn's new group-finding tool as well as the low-level dungeon content
I Haven’t Healed Since Burning Crusade – This Should Be Fun
Entering Sastasha, you’re greeted by a cutscene panning over the twists and turns of the tunnels, showing off some of the creatures inside, and finally ending as it reaches the players’ location. There’s a protective barrier around your group while everyone’s watching the video, so you won’t have to worry about getting attacked while loading in, but this also means players can’t skip the cutscene and rush ahead until the entire group’s ready – you’ll have to wait for everyone to be ready for the shield to drop. Once the shield dropped, I had just enough time to cast Protect on the party before our Gladiator tank charged off toward the first monster in the instance. Luckily these first few pulls in the instance were light one- and two-monster groups, so I had plenty of time to look over what options I had as a Conjurer healer.
As a low-level Conjurer my selection of healing abilities was far from overwhelming. Ignoring the two attack spells and attack caster stance I used to solo up to 15, I only had a few choices for healing: Cure for single-target heals, Medica for an AoE group heal and Raise for my out-of-combat resurrection spell (this does eventually work in combat but not until around level 28 or so). When you hit level 18, there’s also Esuna for cleansing but I didn’t have access to that for this first dungeon run and there was nothing to cleanse anyway. Beyond that I had a few passives to add magic protection to my shields and other healer-type bonuses, but that was pretty much it. I didn’t even have any cooldowns like I did on my Gladiator and other combat classes; the only reason I had a cooldown to use was because I unlocked a “increase healing done” cooldown as a Gladiator. Still having a simple toolbox to select from isn’t all bad when you’re out of practice as a healer, right? On to the actual instance!
Sastasha is your standard starter MMO dungeon: pulls are fairly small (generally no more than three or four mobs) and boss mechanics aren’t any more complicated than occasional spike damage and waves of adds as the boss’ health drops. Where the dungeon does differ from the norm, however, is in the little side areas between Start and Finish for the dungeon. In Sastasha as well as the two dungeons I ran later that day, there were side areas of the dungeon with some mobs and a treasure chest. If players decided to clear over there and open the chest, they might find little more than a few vendorable items to split among the four party members or they may find gear drops equivalent to the early dungeon bosses. If you’re running a dungeon hoping to pick up a few pieces for one of your gear sets, you shouldn’t just focus on running from boss to boss; it may not always pay off, but I’d guess that half of the gear drops I picked up this weekend came from those side chests.
After cleaning out all of the treasure chests the dungeon had hidden away, we finished off the final boss, rolled for our loot, and left group to return to where we queued from on our own respective servers. With that first dungeon out of the way, I was able to turn in my main story quest for the reward and find out what the next step in the chain would be. A few teleports/chocobo porters later, my quest tracker was now telling me it was time to clear the second of ARR’s dungeons, The Tam-Tara Deepcroft. Before descending into the Deepcroft, I decided to make one more Sastasha run to fill in some gear gaps and snag Esuna before going into the second instance.