When the Epic of Alexander raid dropped for Final Fantasy XIV last week, the rush to World First began. And just under four days later, a group emerged victorious — and got some praise from Square Enix along the way.
FF14’s endgame, like in any good MMORPG, provides plenty of interesting challenges for dedicated players. There are high-level dungeons, player-versus player scenarios, and, most importantly, the raids. Raids send players to defeat boss after boss, which are far more difficult than your average middle-of-the-world spawns. Players are expected to learn each and every attack in order to avoid devastating damage. Group chats allow for callouts to create coordinated maneuvers for attack and defense purposes.
The 2014 Alexander raid, which came with the Heavensward expansion, was a fan favorite. It brought intense gameplay, driving music, and gorgeous mechanical-fantasy design that’s some of the best in Final Fantasy. It even prompted devs to make a more accessible version for lower-level players to try.
The “Epic of Alexander” raid is a scaled-up edition of these bosses, themes and gameplay. In it, the primary boss, Alexander, returns with more enemies for a bout worthy of the best players. And the best players did oblige. As soon as the race “officially” took off on November 12th, at 5:00 AM EST, dozens of groups from each server rushed to take the “world first,” or the first-ever clear on the raid, as is MMORPG tradition. A centralized spreadsheet listed 45 teams as making the attempt.
Epic of Alexander killed by Thoughts per Second of Gilgamesh
(11:26pm) PST pic.twitter.com/nqoYoEcVYl
— Sfi (@FFsfia) November 16, 2019
After days of effort, the first group, called “Thoughts Per Second,” pushed past the finish line. According to the site FFXIV Progress, TPS recorded the finish as taking place at 2:26 AM ET, on November 16 — that’s 3 days, 21 hours, and 26 minutes, an impressive time in any MMORPG. (For the first Alexander raid, it took a whole month to finish the final boss of the first released part; the final Alexander boss took only two days.) The finish had the community in awe, especially as one DPS player, a Black Mage class, was playing on a North American server from New Zealand.
Of course, players also had their doubts, as some onlookers expressed doubts about the clear. TPS used third-party tracking tool — known to have been used by pretty much every early “race” group ever in FFXIV — and had a ninth person looking on to keep notes on the raid.
But if there were any issues, it was nothing that Square Enix was particularly concerned about. In fact, they promptly took to Twitter to congratulate the raid group for their finish — confirming once and for all that it was a fair finish.
More adorably, it came packaged in with a picture of director Naoki Yoshida, known endearingly as Yoshi-P (or “producer”), giving a thumbs-up.
(2/2)We show great respect to their high level of skill and to their imagination during the fight! Congratulations! pic.twitter.com/Rczb4CVvIJ
— FINAL FANTASY XIV (@FF_XIV_EN) November 18, 2019
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It appears that the picture was taken during the FF14 meetup in London this past July. However, it’s a pretty fitting picture for the circumstance, and a cute one, too. “Imagination” is also a fitting word, as the raid apparently required some unique out-of-battle techniques.
It also doesn’t look like anyone else has completed and confirmed Epic of Alexander, according to FFXIV Progress. With TPS’s clear already up, though, it’s only a matter of time before the next clear comes (or a TPS reclear).