Hi fellow Eorzeans,
— Introduction —
Disclaimer: This post won’t cover PvP abilities in detail, as there would be too much to say about them, and I’m not good enough to write a guide about them. Anyway, it’s already a very long post…
I think that most players agree: Frontlines is pretty awesome. I didn’t like Wolves’ Den at all, but I truly enjoy Frontlines. It’s a nice and fun instance where you can really chill out from killing poor monsters again and again, and just kill other people again and again instead. The in-game information about Frontlines is pretty bad, and you have to dig around a bit to know all the details. For this reason, I wanted to write a guide, but I have to start by emphasizing a point that most people don’t get right with Frontlines.
TL;DR: Frontlines is a dominion, not a deathmatch. You get most points by winning objectives, killing people is not a priority at all. While I have your attention, I’ll also say that it’s an instance made for fun, so don’t take it too seriously and just enjoy it!
Now that I said that, let’s start the guide! The information can be erroneous, especially the numbers as most of the information is harvested and not given directly by the game.
— What are Frontlines? —
Frontlines is a Player versus Player instance where adventurers fight for their Grand Company (again the adventurers doing all the dirty work). Up to 3 teams of 8 players fight for each GC, thus bringing up to 72 players on the field to compete against each other on the Carteneau Flats, place of famous epic fights (go read the lore if you don’t know :p ).
To unlock it, you need to be level 50, and do the quest “Like Civilized Men and Women” at your Grand Company. You can then use the Duty Finder to enter the duty; you can only team up with people of the same grand company though. If you change your grand company, you can still enter it right away.
The rewards are tomestones (50 mythology, 25 soldiery), PvP marks and experience (400 EXP and 600 Wolf Marks for the 1st team, down to half for the 3rd team, bonuses if your GC loses too often); they allow you to buy nice-looking PvP gear (up to iLVL 100), and do more awesome things in PvP. You also get a mount through achievements after 100 victories with the same GC. DrakeIddon made a useful spreadsheet with EXP and Frontlines runs required to level.
— How does Frontlines work? —
Depending on the number of people in DF, you’ll get from 1 to 3 teams of 8 players on each side, making it up to 72 players. If there are multiple teams on the same side, things work like in Crystal Tower. You can communicate with your team with all chat modes; the enemies can’t hear you nor see your emotes.
Upon entering, your gear will be synced to iLVL 80; morale stat is ignored in this instance, so you can pretty much go with your usual gear. Defense and Magical Defense are ignored (more info and tips in this comment; GM post). You can use mounts, even the new 2-people mount.
The winning team is the first to get to a Tactical Rating (shown in your quest list) of 1600, or the one with most points after the 30 minutes duty timer. Most fights last 10-15 minutes.
Here’s a map of Carteneau Flats.
There are multiple ways of improving your Tactical Rating. The primary objective is to control the flags. The secondary objective is to kill the allagan defense systems spawning in the Heliodrome. You can also earn points by killing other people.
— Staging area —*
You start in your GC staging area. You’ll have 2 minutes to prepare before the fight starts. Tip: use this time to check roles, check you have all your PvP skills equipped (and that you used your latest PvP points to level them up), discuss strat with your teammates, and get on your mount.
You can change roles in your staging area (without cooldown if it’s the preparation time), and wander around a bit. Once you leave it, you can’t come back, unless you die.
— Controlling flags —
Stand in the circle to get control of the flags and defend them. Please, please don’t be thatplayer who spends ages turning around the flag while you could capture the flag.
If the flag is not controlled, the team with most people will start capturing it; it gets faster if the difference in people is greater. The people count is capped at 4; if there is 4 people from one team and 8 from another team in the circle, it will count as if both teams have the same number of people.
If a flag is controlled and another team has more people, they will start neutralizing it, getting it back to a non-controlled state.
You get more points the more flags you control; and flags also reward you with more points the longer you keep them.
|Getting control of a flag||10|
|Neutralizing a flag||10 (unsure)|
|Controlling 1 flag||1 / 3sec, augments with time|
|Controlling 2+ flags||2x more for each flag|
— Heliodrome —
At the middle of the map stands the Heliodrome. There are allagan drones and nodes which will spawn in the area regularly. 6 drones will spawn after 3 minutes into the fight, then another set spawns 3 minutes after the previous set has been defeated. 1 central node spawns some time after the second set — and I don’t really know the timings after that. The drones do a laser AOE easily dodgeable; the nodes do periodical damage over the whole Heliodrome. The team dealing most damage gets the credit. The heliodrome can really give an edge in Tactical Rating, so don’t neglect it!
|Killing a drone||20|
|Killing the central node||200|
— Killing people —
Well, you can kill people. It’s fun, especially as anyway they’re all adventurers like you and don’treally die thanks to the mighty big crystal that talks in your head, so don’t have any remorse killing people here. But it doesn’t give that much points, so keep that in mind when running after someone.
It’s easier to kill with burst. So, try to burst people.
— General mechanics —
- All PvP skills are unlocked automatically for everyone, so don’t hesitate to use them.
- It’s PvP, so casters get interrupted each time they get hit. Hit them to prevent them for healing / dealing damage.
- Bards’ damage depend on distance (must be far enough).
- If you die, you can be raised, else you’ll have to wait 5 seconds (and 5 more each time) to ressurect in your staging area.
- You can use mounts to go faster, but if you’re hit by an ability, you’ll get Heavy for 20 seconds. 20 seconds is long, use them only when far from combat.
- Falling can kill you; falling from the Heliodrome will kill you if you’re in combat (that 1 HP disappears fast).
- Limit Break gauge will decrease over time if your team isn’t in combat.
— Differences with 1 or 2 teams —
If there aren’t enough people in DF, you’ll have only 1 or 2 teams on each side. The only differences I saw are that the target Tactical Rating is respectively 800 or 1200, and that you only have the Outposts as active flags when there’s only 1 team.
If you have 2 teams, you’ll have to split up to control all objectives. If you have 1 team, the best is generally to control the middle while having 1 or 2 people defend the outpost; the edge middle allagan mobs give is really significant there.
— General tips —
It’s more a list of random tips that comes to my head than an exhaustive list.
- General strategy is to have A team go left, C go right, and B help A and C after capturing your own outpost. Then B gets to the middle when allagan interceptors spawn, before going back to help people or trying to push up to another flag.
- Did I already say to prioritize capturing points? Of course, prioritizing doesn’t mean standing there waiting for the flag to be magically captured. You also have to kill people to make the capture easier.
- Focus the healers. Killing Eos/Selene is often not too bad, killing the scholar who has some instant heals isn’t either, killing the white mage who spends his time holy-ing is probably a good idea too. Try to see what they do, who your teammates are attacking and prioritize depending on that.
- Interrupt casters. Did you ever think “oh my god Flare is so cool to kill dungeon mobs”? Well, you’re the people to kill here, so you don’t want black mages to chain flares. You can use half-GCD abilities (those who are on another cooldown than most abilities) to interrupt two targets at the same time.
- Limit break is nice! If you’re mage or melee DPS, don’t forget to use it. Melee LB will often one-shot kill (better use it on healers), mage LB2 will bring a whole area low enough for them to die instantly or almost; best coupled with some AOE sleep or bind. Mage LB AOE will be shown to your enemies; but server lag will often make dodging hard.
- Displacement is awesome. At the start of a fight, run to the flag, displace the whole enemy team with some explosion, and you’ll capture the flag quite easily. Make people fall from the Heliodrome and laugh at them (best thing ever in Frontlines).
- Disease is really cool too. Reducing cures received
and movement speedis exactly what you want in Frontlines. Miasma 1 and 2 are quite useful there that.
- Try to know what abilities people have and recognize the icons. For instance, healers can mitigate 90% of damage for 10 seconds, if you recognize the icon you know it’s time to go bother someone else.
- Of course, know your own PvP abilities too. They’re all really useful, and learning how to use them properly helps a lot. (I’m not a PvP expert though, so let’s hope someone else will write a guide about PvP abilities…)
- Remember you can hide behind walls and behind pillars. As a scholar or summoner, in some situations it can be a good idea to hide behind a wall and let your pet unhidden heal your teammates or kill your enemies.
- Try not to have your team scatter too much. If the enemy scatters, use the opportunity to kill someone. What often happens is that your healers stay back to protect themselves, enemy DPS jump on them to stop them from healing; these enemy DPS often are far from their healers, it’s thus the good moment to kill them. Always check your own distance to your healers, and evaluate whether it’s safe or not.
- Try not to have your team stack too much either, for obvious reasons. (Pew pew AOE oh dead…)
- Run it again and again and you’ll get better 😉
You can also read this thread (keep a critical mind though, and don’t listen to the last tip though, I’m pretty sure he says that just because he’s in Immortal Flames!).
— Reputation —
It’s something I felt like I needed to talk about in this guide. Reputation with other players is quite important here, as you’ll often have the same teammates over and over again. (You don’t have that many people from the same GC doing Frontlines, and you have 24 people you run with for about 12 minutes, so if you chain-queue you’ll see the same people for sure.)
Even if I’d say that in general, don’t be a dick, I’ll just emphasize that in Frontlines, as you’ll meet the same people, it’s better to try not to be a dick there, as people will stop listening to you if you are one. And in a game mode where strategy and teamwork is quite important, it’s better to have them listen to you when you try to strategize! Also, as kicking isn’t really possible in Frontlines, most people will report bad teammates. So being a dick can have huge consequences…
Moreover, a few online games I played like League of Legends taught me that positive attitude helps winning. So, keep a positive attitude, even when you lose, anyway the rewards aren’t that different!
— The end —
Well, I think I said everything I could say about Frontlines. So… have fun with it! Moreover, soon we will have Ninjas, and as Yoshi-P said, the class was designed with Frontlines in mind. I can’t wait!