Proper preparation prevents poor performance. It's an axiom that's often true in the world of MMOs, and Final Fantasy XIV is no exception.
When you're out and about in the world, you can do your own thing for the most part. But when you're playing as a party, everyone is an important part of the team -- and things run most smoothly when everyone knows what they're doing.
With that in mind, here's a guide to all the dungeons that will take you to the end of the story, right to level 50. Beyond that, you're into endgame territory, which is something that demands its own guides by itself.
If you're a new Final Fantasy XIV player, whether it's on the new PS4 version or the existing PS3 and PC versions, read on to find out the best way to get prepared for the challenges the game offers.
It probably goes without saying, but here be spoilers, particularly towards the end of the guide. You have been warned!
Required level: 15
Unlocked by: Main story quest "It's Probably Pirates"
Sastasha is your first dungeon, and likely the first time you'll play as part of an organized party. In order to unlock the dungeon, progress through the main storyline quests until you reach the quest "It's Probably Pirates" and follow the instructions. When the quest tracker reads "Use the Duty Finder to enter Sastasha," you're ready to go.
To gather a party for any of the game's dungeons, you have several options. You can queue by yourself in Duty Finder, which will match you up with other players queueing for the same dungeon from the various servers in your Data Center. You can attempt to gather a party on your own server using the Party Finder. Or you can ask around -- perhaps in your Free Company if you're a member of one -- to get a group together.
The latter option is usually preferable as it means you can team up with people you know and trust, but sometimes schedules differ or you actually want to try playing with strangers, in which case the Duty Finder is always available. Just be prepared for a wait time -- particularly if you're a DPS class rather than a tank or healer. For those who enjoy arbitrary rewards, note that teaming up with strangers through Duty Finder is the only means of attaining Player Commendations and their attached rewards such as the adorable Princely Hatchling pet, dubbed "Chocopope" by many players due to his rather fetching hat. In order to attain a Player Commendation, simply be a nice enough person to make people want to vote for you at the end of the dungeon. Be communicative and helpful rather than impatient or intolerant; be the glue that holds the party together. (Or be a tank, since most people seem to default to giving commendations to either the tank or the healer if they can't decide.)
The Bloody Memo and the Reef
The first thing you need to do in Sastasha is find the "Bloody Memo" which, conveniently, is right ahead of where you start -- be sure to take the pathway into the dead end rather than the one which continues deeper into the caves.
Read the Bloody Memo and take note of the color it mentions. This will become important later. For now, proceed through the caves, fighting off the monsters along the way.
When you come across Giant Clam enemies, the tank (Gladiator or Marauder at this stage, unless a high-level Paladin or Warrior is slumming it with the lowbies, perhaps through the Roulette system) should use Flash or Overpower (depending on what type of tank they are) to pick up all the small Shade Seeker enemies, while damage dealers should focus on attacking the Giant Clam when its shell is open.
Throughout the dungeon, healers should, of course, ensure that the tank doesn't die -- which at this stage is a simple matter of casting Cure on them when they take damage. Be careful not to cast Cure when your target is already on full health, though -- this can lead to you pulling aggro off the tank and getting a nasty slap around the face. If you're a tank and you see this happening, make use of your abilities to resolve the situation as soon as possible -- healers are squishy.
Eventually, you'll come to what appears to be a dead end with three colored pieces of coral. Interact with the coral that corresponds to the color mentioned in the note -- pick the wrong one and you'll be poisoned! -- then move to the back wall and flip the Inconspicuous Switch. You'll be rewarded with a boss fight against Chopper.
The battle itself is very easy. The tank should maintain Chopper's attention while the healer keeps his HP topped up. Meanwhile, DPS classes should simply use their most powerful abilities to knock Chopper down as quickly as possible. If you're ranged, stand back from Chopper and you shouldn't need to move at all; if you're melee, get around behind Chopper on the opposite side from where the tank is.
The only special attack Chopper does is Charged Whisker. This is a circular area-of-effect (AoE) attack around Chopper that inflicts Paralysis on anyone who didn't get out of the way quick enough. Paralysis is a pain, since it causes abilities, attacks and even movement to randomly fail while it's active, so do your best to avoid it.
After a short run, you'll come to your next boss fight, this time against Captain Madison. He has two friends with him, but the encounter is very easy -- simply deal with his two friends first, then knock him down to 50% HP to see him running away like the big wuss he is.
The Captain's Quarters
The next room you come to has lots of different exits. The quickest route through this area is to proceed to the southern side and defeat the Shallowscale Reaver to receive a key to the Captain's Quarters, then defeat the Shallowtail Reaver inside the Captain's Quarters to receive a key to the Waverider Gate, then proceed deeper into the dungeon.
If you're here for the XP and treasure, you may want to check out the other rooms, too, each of which house a few enemies and some treasure coffers. The only room to really take care in is the bar room, which features a large number of enemies fighting each other. Ignore them and sneak around the back to grab the treasure coffer; you can engage them if you want, but it's inadvisable, since many of them are equipped with restorative spells.
Captain Madison Returns
Proceed through the Waverider Gate and in short order you'll find yourself face to face with Captain Madison once again. As before, he has two friends with him, so dispatch them first before starting on Madison.
This time around, Madison will summon four Scurvy Dogs to nibble on your sensitive areas when he reaches about 50% HP. When they show up, switch your attention to them and knock them down as quickly as possible before returning to wailing on Madison.
Once again, he'll run off before you get to deal the killing blow, however.
Denn the Orcatoothed
Fortunately, Madison gets his comeuppance at the hands of a thoroughly unpleasant sea monster, but this unfortunately leaves you with a thoroughly unpleasant sea monster still to deal with, so I hope you're ready.
In this fight, the tank should maintain the attention of Denn near the center of the room, while the remaining four party members should spread out and ensure they cover the four grates at the corners of the room between them while simultaneously dealing as much damage to Denn as possible. If you have an Archer or Bard in your party, they should be the one to cover two grates since they're more mobile than other classes.
Every so often, you'll see a message informing you that bubbles are forming on the water's surface. While the tank continues to keep Denn occupied, quickly determine which of the four grates is bubbling and interact with the bubbles to calm them down. If you don't, you'll spawn a guard which should be dealt with as quickly as possible. The first time the grates start bubbling, two of them will be active, then three the next time, then four all times after that.
When Denn falls, that's it; you've completed Sastasha! Give yourself a pat on the back and enjoy your loot and XP.
The Tam-Tara Deepcroft
Required Level: 16
Unlocked by: Main story quest "Fire in the Gloom"
The Tam-Tara Deepcroft is an extremely straightforward dungeon with only one real path to follow -- nip off into the rooms at the sides for treasure coffers, then return to the path to continue along your way.
Most of your journey through Tam-Tara involves acquiring Cultist Orbs to unlock the path to the final boss -- the first two are guarded by Dalamud Priests, while the last two are guarded by Octamel the Unforgiving.
You'll fight these guys twice, and it's extremely straightforward each time. The first encounter features a Dalamud Priest and two Gravedigger imps; the second encounter features three imps instead of two. All of these enemies are caster types, so the tank should grab them all at the start of the fight, then the party should dispatch them one at a time.
After defeating them, a Void Soulcounter will appear. While the tank maintains its attention, damage-dealers should wail on it as much as possible -- the only ability you really need to watch out for is Condemnation, and avoiding that is a simple matter of stepping out of the red marker when it appears. These battles shouldn't give you too much difficulty at all.
Octavel the Unforgiving
This boss is initially blocked off by a Sealed Barrier. Run past it into a small room and defeat the cultists within to acquire the Cultist Rosaries you need to break the barrier. Then get ready for the next fight, which is largely the same as the two Dalamud Priest fights -- right down to a Void Soulcounter appearing when the initial batch of enemies are defeated.
When you've crushed your enemies, grab the final two Cultist Orbs to unlock the way to the dungeon's final boss.
Galvanth the Dominator
The final boss fight against the mindflayer-esque Galvanth the Dominator unfolds in several stages. When the battle begins, as usual the tank should maintain Galvanth's attention while everyone else inflicts damage on him.
At about 80% HP, Galvanth will spawn an Inconspicuous Imp at the outside of the room -- you'll be able to tell this is happening by a purple beam connecting Galvanth and the imp. While the imp lives, Galvanth will be immune to damage, so deal with the imp as quickly as possible.
At 60% HP, Galvanth will spawn another imp and some additional monsters. Concentrate on the imp first while the tank picks up the additional monsters with a well-timed Flash or Overpower. Then knock down any stragglers and return your attention to Galvanth, who gains a wide AoE attack called Mind Blast that inflicts Paralysis -- be sure to step out of the red marker when it appears to avoid suffering this.
At 30% HP, the same routine happens again, this time with two imps. Dispatch them as before and finish off Galvanth with a damage dealer Limit Break -- from a Lancer/Dragoon or Pugilist/Monk if you have one -- which should be charged and ready by now.
Required level: 17
Unlocked by: Main story quest "Into a Copper Hell"
Copperbell Mines is the last of the initial trio of dungeons, and appropriately enough, it's the most challenging of the three. You'll need to pay close attention to what's going on around you at all times -- the biggest risks to inexperienced parties come from bomb-type enemies' Self-Destruct ability, which can easily wipe out even a well-equipped tank, and the two points in the dungeon where a Gigas will burst out of a wall and into the fray.
The first boss fight barely seems like a boss fight at all. When you enter The Screaming Dark, all you'll see is a single Spriggan, easily dispatched, but after that they'll start coming and coming and coming. If you have any AoE abilities, now's the time to use them; the tank should try and grab as many of the Spriggans as possible and collect them in one place for a well-placed Fire II or similar to knock a bunch down in one go.
Occasionally throughout the fight, small bombs called Flambeau will appear. Make these a priority, since their Self-Destruct can one-shot the party if you're not paying attention; be sure to step out of any red circles that appear on the ground.
After you've taken down enough Spriggans, Kottos will appear. Tank-and-spank him, then move on -- he's really nothing to worry about.
Here's where things get interesting. The main focus is on the tank, here; damage-dealers and even healers have relatively little to do in this fight.
Here's the deal: Ichorous Ire has far too many HP to take down in the traditional manner, so the tank simply needs to maintain its attention. One of the other party members -- or even the tank if they want -- should then press the plunger on the Improved Blasting Device, which will spawn a Blasting Cap. Do not kill it! Instead, the tank should pick up the Blasting Cap and maintain its attention until it begins charging Self-Destruct, at which point the tank should step out of the blast radius while ensuring Ichorous Ire is in the red circle.
Boom! Now you have two slightly smaller Ichorous Ire and should repeat the process, but from hereon damage dealers should watch out for Spriggan Quenchers who will occasionally spawn and try to kill the Blasting Cap. Knock them down and keep blasting Ichorous Ire until it's split into eight small pieces, at which point they may all be defeated normally. Easy-peasy.
Gyges the Great
Shortly after this fight begins, Gyges will begin smashing through a wall at the side of the arena, releasing Stone Servants at regular intervals. These will ignore the party and run across the arena to another destructible wall which, if destroyed, will release even more enemies and make things get real messy, real quick. If this happens, have a melee damage dealer unleash a Limit Break on Gyges and hope it deals enough damage to end the fight quickly, otherwise you could be in real trouble.
Damage dealers should focus on destroying the Stone Servants and inflicting Heavy if possible to slow their progression, then switching to Gyges during downtime. The tank, meanwhile, only really has to watch out for Gyges' cone-shaped Colossal Slam ability -- other damage is fairly trivial, meaning the healer can switch to Cleric Stance (if they have it) and fling a bit of damage themselves if they want.
Required level: 20
Unlocked by: Sidequest "Hallo Halatali" in Vesper Bay, Western Thanalan
The first of the game's optional dungeons is a good excuse to upgrade your gear if you're still wearing level 15 kit -- if you're a tank in particular, beefing up your armor will make the healer's job a whole lot easier, particularly when engaging larger groups. If you have level 15 dungeon gear from the previous three dungeons, you're probably good to go, since this gear's stats are comparable to level 20 equipment in some cases.
For the most part, the bits of this dungeon in between the bosses shouldn't give you too much difficulty, but like in Copperbell Mines, watch out for bombs. If you pull a Chain Winch and a bomb appears, don't even bother engaging it -- it will blow up almost immediately, so concentrate on getting out of the blast radius.
The first boss is pretty straightforward. The tank should maintain its attention while the healer tops up their HP from all the Fire spells they'll be suffering. After a while, the fire in the middle of the arena will flare up, and a procession of small, firefly-like Damantus enemies will start coming out of the gates at the side of the arena -- dispatch these as quickly as possible, since they'll trigger an attack that hits the whole party. Not much by itself, but the damage can mount up if you don't keep on top of it.
The Damantuses (Damantii?) all have very low HP, so even a conjurer or white mage using nothing but Aero can see them off without too much difficulty, but at the end of each parade comes a stronger Noxius. This deals a significant amount of damage to the party if it reaches the fire in the middle, so be sure you take it down even if you miss the Damantus brigade.
When you've defeated Firemane, the bonfire will become an Aetherial Flow; jump into it to progress onto the next area.
For this fight, the tank should pull the boss to the edge of the water and everyone else should stand on the rocky slopes that lead down to the pool. Tank-and-spank the boss as normal, making sure to avoid the cone-shaped Levinshower attack.
Several times throughout the fight, Guivre will become invulnerable and wander into the middle of the pool of water, which will become electrified -- so make sure you're not standing in it! While Guivre taunts you from afar, it will summon three Lightning Sprites, which will almost inevitably go after the healer. Kill them as quickly as possible, while avoiding the circle-shaped Electrify attack that Guivre occasionally flings into the fray.
When you've dispatched the Lightning Sprites, Guivre will return for another spanking. From here, the cycle simply repeats until either you or the boss is dead. Grab your loot and hop into the Aetherial Flow to continue to the final area.
The battle with Tangata is almost identical to the Firemane fight, with a few exceptions -- the main one being that Damantus and Noxius enemies come from four directions instead of two, and that they're a little stronger. Tangata will also become invincible when he summons a ring of flame around himself, and will also summon Fire Sprites to support him every so often.
Towards the end of the fight, the cycle will continue but without Tangata making himself invincible. Balance your attention between damaging Tangata and ensuring you keep the Damantus, Noxius and Fire Sprite population under control, and before long you'll be victorious.
The Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak
Required level: 24
Unlocked by: Main story quest "Into the Beast's Maw"
The main things to watch out for in this dungeon are Magitek Photocells, which you'll need to spawn the first two bosses; Sticky Webs, which risk splitting up the party; and Fleshy Pods, which explode when attacked, dealing damage and inflicting Poison on anyone standing nearby. Fling an instant damage-dealing spell at them when you're a fair distance away to avoid this.
You'll know you've encountered a Sticky Web when you get "sucked" into a room or corridor, and anyone standing near you is dragged with you. Anyone not near you will be stuck on the other side of the web that forms behind you, so damage-dealers in particular should focus on cutting, burning or stabbing it down as quickly as possible.
Couerl o' Nine Tails
Assuming you've remembered to collect Magitek Photocells as you go, pop four of them into the Magitek Terminal in the first boss room to summon Couerl o' Nine Tails.
Ranged damage dealers and healers should stay well back, since Coeurl o' Nine Tails frequently casts Poison on everyone unfortunate enough to stand nearby. A swift Esuna deals with the poison without too much difficulty, but don't forget to keep healing HP as well as status effects. Aside from the poison, this fight shouldn't present too much difficulty.
Couerl o' Nine Tails, Reprise
Once again, pop four Magitek Photocells into the terminal to summon Couerl o' Nine Tails for a second round. This time around, it will summon two Warden's Whip friends and cast Slow as well as Poison. The healer should prioritize removing Slow from themselves, as it severely impacts cast times, then taking care of the rest of the party if there's time. Otherwise, this fight continues largely as before.
The outside of Graffias' arena is riddled with Fleshy Pods -- it's a good idea to take a moment at the start of the fight to get rid of these as quickly as possible to prevent any unfortunate mishaps later.
Graffias will occasionally attack the tank with Silkscreen, which deals damage and knockback, but is fairly easily dodged. It will also summon scorpions to help, which should become the priority for the damage dealers when they appear.
Graffias will also occasionally use a Sticky Web attack on a party member, which spawns a Fleshy Pod at their location. Move away and remove it before too many appear.
At about 50% HP, the skin will fall off Graffias' tail and he will spew green crap all over the floor, so make sure you don't stand in this. Destroy the tail as quickly as possible and then return your attention to Graffias -- finish him off with a Limit Break if you like to end things with a flourish.
Required level: 28
Unlocked by: Main story quest "Skeletons in Her Closet"
Throughout Haukke Manor, watch out for the Manor Maidservant enemies which patrol the corridors, and prioritize them first of all, since their Terror-inflicting Dark Mist attack is a pain in the backside due to the fact healers can't remove it with Esuna.
Also be sure to grab any Tiny Keys you see, since these can be used to unlock rooms that often contain treasure. The keys you need to unlock the doors necessary for progression are all named -- the Green Key for the Ivy Gate is dropped by the first boss, the Yellow Key for the Carnation Door is in a cell in the basement, and the Bloody Parchment needed to remove the Sealed Barrier on the stairs is dropped by the second boss.
Like the Manor Maidservants, Manor Claviger can cast Dark Mist, so be sure to get well out of the way when she does. Aside from this, she starts the fight with Sweet Steel, a frontal cleave attack with no charge time that hits for 200-300 damage -- the tank can't avoid this, but should face the Claviger away from the party to prevent anyone else taking damage -- and Void Fire II, a fireball that gets flung at a random target in the party every so often throughout the battle.
This battle is largely a straightforward tank-and-spank affair -- the healer should just ensure they're on top of the tank's HP at all times, pausing to heal anyone unfortunate to get hit by Void Fire II. Remember that you can't remove Terror with Esuna, so don't waste time trying if you're playing a healer.
Grab the Green Key from the Claviger's lifeless corpse and head through the Ivy Gate into the manor's basement. Work your way around the cells in the dungeon until you find the Yellow Key, which can be used to unlock the Carnation Door and access the second boss.
Manor Jester and Manor Steward
Manor Steward is a melee enemy, while Manor Jester is a caster who has the ability to cast Ice Spikes, which deals damage to melee attackers.
If your party composition is made up of mostly magical damage-dealers, Manor Jester is the one to attack first. If you have only physical or melee DPS on hand, take out the Steward first. When you switch to attacking the Jester, be sure to stop attacking if you get too low on health and give your healer a chance to refill your HP.
This fight is pretty straightforward -- just be sure to move out of Manor Steward's circular-area Soul Drain attack to avoid him draining your HP and healing his own.
Pick up the Bloody Parchment when you're victorious, then either run back to the entrance of the manor or, if you're feeling lazy, simply cast Return. Then head up the stairs and use the Bloody Parchment on the Sealed Barrier to open the way to the second floor.
When you reach the second floor, you'll need to beat up on the Manor Sentry in order to open the way to Lady Amandine's chamber. Before going in, you may wish to proceed down the corridor in order to take out a few additional enemies and score some loot.
When the fight against Lady Amandine begins, the tank should lead her to the middle of the room, and the rest of the party should position themselves near the corners of the room. One of the damage-dealers -- a ranged if you have one -- will need to cover two corners, since the tank will be occupied. Be wary of Lady Amandine's ability to cast the Dark Mist attack the Manor Maidservants had -- Terror cannot be removed by a healer, so do your best to avoid this attack when it appears.
At several points during the fight, Lady Amandine will light the four Void Lamps in the corner of the room, which pulse every few seconds and damage everyone in the room. Everyone who isn't the tank should run to their assigned corners and interact with the lamp to disable it. Make sure all four lamps are disabled. It's not a bad idea to convene in the middle for the healer to cast Medica or equivalent and heal everyone at the same time before returning to your corners.
The second time the lamps light, bombs called Lady's Candle will appear. They're easy enough to take down, but take care they don't interrupt you disabling the lamps or catch you in their Self-Destruct blast.
When Lady Amandine is low on health, she'll summon two Lady's Handmaidens and the Manor Sentry. Take out the Handmaidens first, since they cast Void Fire III, which does 200-300 damage at a time. Avoid the Manor Sentry's Dread Gaze attack, too, since this inflicts paralysis. Finish her off with a Limit Break and you're all done.
Required level: 32
Unlocked by: Main story quest "The Things We Do for Cheese"
Brayflox's Longstop is an outdoor dungeon with a somewhat more open-plan layout than your previous challenges. Stop and check the map if you find yourself getting lost.
At four points throughout the dungeon, you'll encounter friendly goblins who are under attack. When you approach them, they'll get attacked by enemies; save them to be rewarded with a treasure coffer.
Great Yellow Pelican
Great Yellow Pelican will begin the fight with three friends that will subsequently respawn in various different colors as the fight continues. Violet Backs, who are present at the start of the fight, can inflict poison; Sable Backs can inflict Sleep; Blue Backs can inflict Petrification. You don't really want to get hit by any of these, but Petrification on the tank in particular is bad news, so prioritize Blue Backs if they show up.
Great Yellow Pelican itself shouldn't give you too much difficulty, since it only has two main attacks -- Hammer Beak, which will inflict about 300 damage, and Numbing Breath, which is a cone-shaped AoE that inflicts Paralysis.
This fight begins with a battle against Inferno Drake, whose main ability is a frontal breath attack that inflicts 600-900 damage. The tank should face the Drake away from the rest of the party to minimize the amount of damage everyone takes and take a bit of the pressure off the healer.
A short way into the fight, the friendly goblin Brayflox Alltalks will show up being pursued by a Tempest Biast. At this point, if you have anyone capable of inflicting Sleep via the Black Mage Sleep spell or the White Mage Repose spell -- you should put the Inferno Drake to sleep and concentrate on getting the Tempest Biast off Brayflox and then spanking it into oblivion. Once it's down, Brayflox will "help" you finish off the Inferno Drake, but be wary! He's somewhat prone to grabbing aggro from the tank -- use Provoke if you have it to rectify this situation -- and has a habit of flinging bombs around with little regard for the rest of the party's safety. Finish off Inferno Drake as quickly as possible to minimize your time with Brayflox buzzing around your ankles.
Hellbender is a newt-type enemy with a bunch of irritating attacks. Bog Bubble deals splash damage to anyone nearby, so spread the party apart to minimize this. Eerie Light, meanwhile, is a circular AoE that inflicts increased magic damage on anyone affected. Finally, Stagnant Spray is a frontal cone attack that does a hefty amount of damage, so take care to get out of the way when you see Hellbender charging this one up.
Hellbender will also cast Effluvium on a random party member, which encases them in a Queer Bubble and inflicts them with Bind, Mana Modulation, Physical Attack Down and the endearingly named but very dangerous damage over time debuff Dropsy. When this happens, everyone in the party -- including the player stuck in the bubble -- should attack it to free the prisoner as quickly as possible.
Knock Hellbender down to 10% HP and Aiatar, the dungeon's final boss, will show up and finish him off. Smack Aiatar around a bit, taking care to face him away from the main bulk of the party, and he'll fly off ready for the final confrontation.
The main thing to watch out for in the Aiatar fight is his Poison +1 debuff, which will stack and drain HP very quickly if the healer lets it get out of control. Most of Aiatar's attacks inflict this status, so healers should ensure they have Esuna in an easily accessible place on their hotbar.
During the fight, Aiatar will make use of several attacks. A frontal breath attack called, imaginatively enough, Dragon Breath is easy to sidestep but painful if it hits -- and it also inflicts Poison +1. Salivious Snap is an instant melee attack that is unavoidable and which inflicts Poison +1. Toxic Vomit, meanwhile, is the thing to pay most attention to -- it deals 300-400 damage to a random player, inflicts Poison +1 and spills a poison pool on the ground which will heal Aiatar if he stands in it. The tank should move Aiatar around once the ground starts getting covered in Toxic Vomit, and ranged damage-dealers should try and maintain a safe distance while still being in range to hit the boss.
Other attacks to watch out for include an area-effect attack around Aiatar called Granite Rain, though ranged attackers shouldn't have too much trouble avoiding this, and his tail whip attack, which will knock you back and deal damage if you get too close to his, well, ass.
The Sunken Temple of Qarn
Required level: 35
Unlocked by: Sidequest "Braving New Depths in Vesper Bay, Western Thanalan. (Note that the quest is level 32, but you may not enter the dungeon until level 35.)
The Sunken Temple of Qarn requires you to acquire several key items as you progress, including the Helm of Might, the Gem of Affluence, the Flame of Magic and the Fruit of Knowledge. It's difficult to miss most of these if you explore thoroughly -- just remember to grab them to save later frustration. Also be sure to check The Warden near the start of the dungeon and remember the symbols you see there.
Between the bosses, beware of Temple Bees. These have been toned down a little in more recent patches, but their Final Sting ability still packs a punch, so prioritize them if they show up.
A stone face enemy called Qarn Facer will show up at various points in the dungeon. You probably won't be able to kill it the first time you encounter it, but if you successfully knock it down before the end of the dungeon, it will reward you with a treasure coffer.
Finally, if you encounter stone face enemies named Avoirdupois, you'll need to kill them atop switches on the floor. If you don't, they'll keep reviving. The tank should lead them to the appropriate place -- the switch will stop glowing when they're in position -- and then everyone should knock them down as quickly as possible.
The Teratotaur encounter is another fight that has gotten somewhat easier since its original incarnation, but it can still put up a stiff challenge if you're not ready for it.
The tank should start the fight by facing Teratotaur away from the rest of the party at the far end of the room. This will help prevent too many people being hit by Mow, a frontal cone attack that inflicts Poison, and Frightful Roar, a circular attack that inflicts Physical Vulnerability Up. The tank should avoid these attacks when the relevant red areas appear and continue maintaining the attention of the Teratotaur.
Every so often, two Dung Wespe enemies will appear. Like the Temple Bees, these have a powerful Final Sting ability that can one-shot characters -- destroy them as quickly as possible when they appear.
The main thing to be wary of in the Teratotaur battle, is the Mortal Ray attack, which inflicts Doom on the whole party, causing you to keel over dead 12 seconds later. Doom may not be removed by a healer, but it can be removed by stepping on whichever one of the switches in the room is glowing orange at the time -- this tends to change around the same time Mortal Ray is cast. Be sure you see the Doom buff disappear -- you'll see the "- Doom" floating text waft up from your character if you've done it right -- before you step off the platform.
Damage dealers should rotate their attention between Teratotaur, Dunge Wespes and clearing Doom from themselves as quickly as possible. Keep at it, and before long you'll be past this challenge.
The Temple Guardian
Deeper into the temple, you'll come across a golem called Temple Guardian. This beastie takes no damage while the Golem Soulstone on its chest is active, so wail on that first until Temple Guardian is knocked to its knees, allowing you to pile on and inflict some serious damage while the healer helps restore everyone's HP. That's essentially all there is to this fight.
Temple Guardian's attacks include True Grit, a frontal cone attack that inflicts blind; Boulder Clap, a frontal cone attack that deals high damage; Rockslide, a frontal line attack that deals high damage; Obliterate, an unavoidable party-wide attack; and Stone Skull, an unavoidable stun attack on a random party member. Dodge True Grit, Boulder Clap and Rockslide -- these are good practice for dealing with Titan and other dodge-heavy fights -- and healers, be on the ball to help people out who get hit by Obliterate or Stone Skull. Grouping up around the healer to allow for the use of Medica isn't a bad idea -- particularly while the Temple Guardian is stunned after destroying the Golem Soulstone.
The Scales of Judgement
Beyond Temple Guardian, you'll come across some stone pedestals. Place the appropriate items into the relevant receptacles to open the way to some treasure coffers -- Helm of Might in the helm slot; Fruit of Knowledge in the fruit slot; Gem of Affluence in the diamond slot; Flame of Magic in the fire slot.
Continue onward and you'll eventually come to the Scales of Judgement. Look familiar? If you think back to The Warden at the beginning of the dungeon, you'll remember there was a flame on the left and a fruit on the right -- recreate the image with the Flame of Magic on the left pan of the scales and the Fruit of Knowledge on the right to reveal three treasure coffers.
Qarn's final boss is quite a complicated fight, but take your time and don't panic and all will be well.
Early in the fight, Adjudicator will make use of a couple of abilities -- an easily avoided frontal cone attack called Darkness and Paralyze, which inflicts Paralysis on a random player. Paralyze can be stunned by a tank with an appropriate ability such as Shield Bash, or can simply be removed with Esuna from a healer.
While this is going on, Sun Juror stone head enemies will appear. Similar to the stone heads you saw earlier in the dungeon, you'll need to kill these atop switches in order to keep them down. The tank doesn't need to pick them up, so long as they're dealt with pretty quickly.
The tricky part of the Adjudicator fight comes when the staff-like Mythril Verges start to appear. These are effectively laser turrets that need to be destroyed quickly, otherwise they'll start shooting line attacks across the battlefield regularly. Unlike many other AoE attacks, this "Verge Line" attack makes a blue glowing mark on the floor rather than the usual red markers -- that doesn't mean you should do anything differently, however: get out of the way!
Later in the fight, the Mythril Verges will begin behaving in a different way. If one spawns with a large black box around itself, it will not fire Verge Line and will instead begin charging an attack called Verge Pulse. If this goes off, it deals significant damage to the entire party, so the Verge needs to be destroyed as quickly as possible. The twist is, the moment you set foot inside the black box, the Mythril Verge will seal you behind an impenetrable barrier that blocks line of sight until you defeat it -- so only characters with a solid damage-per-second count should step up for this challenge.
Around the same time, Adjudicator -- forgotten about him, eh? -- will start using Creeping Darkness, an attack that deals unavoidable damage to the whole party. When combined with Verge Pulse, this can put you at a serious disadvantage, so mitigate this by dealing with the Verges as soon as possible.
When Adjudicator is down to around 30% health, he'll spawn four Mythril Verges that will spew lasers around in a very inconvenient manner -- knock them down as before. From this point on, he'll spawn two Verge Pulse-casting Mythril Verges at once instead of one -- the two damage-dealers in the party should run to opposite corners to deal with these as quickly as possible when they appear.
Once the boss is low on health you can afford to focus your attention on him, particularly if you have a Limit Break charged and ready. Deal the final blow for a satisfying conclusion to one of the more challenging dungeons in the game.
Required level: 38
Unlocked by: Sidequest "Dishonor Before Death" from Sibold in Ul'Dah's Steps of Thal area, near the Sapphire Avenue Exchange marketplace.
Cutter's Cry is an area built on unstable, shifting sands, so be wary of where you're putting your feet. If you see the sand underneath you behaving strangely or pulsing, get out of the way quickly to avoid damage.
In the first areas, you'll need to kill sufficient enemies to open the Shifting Sands that provide a route through to the next area. In the second areas, which sport oases, you'll simply need to cut your way through the enemies to the Shifting Sands on the other side of the room. In the final area, watch out for the blue fires that occasionally erupt and cause damage.
There's two ways we can do this: the easy way and the hard way. The easy way involves everyone wailing on the boss for the duration of the fight and ignoring any additional enemies that show up. The healer, meanwhile, should draw the attention of the additional monsters -- ideally by casting Regen on the rest of the party and themselves if they are a White Mage -- and then run around the perimeter of the room with the additional enemies in hot pursuit. Use your Sprint ability to gain a moment's reprieve every so often by getting ahead of the horde -- healers don't use TP for anything else, so you may as well make them count.
If your healer has trouble drawing aggro -- or if you just want to do things the hard way -- you need to watch out for several things during the fight. For starters, the Myrmidon Princess makes use of several abilities -- a frontal cone attack called Mandible Bite, which is easily dodged; the Silence spell, which should be removed from casters as soon as possible; Trap Jaws, an unavoidable melee strike; and Haste, which increases the speed of the target.
Once you've knocked her HP down to about 50%, she'll summon Myrmidon Marshals to help her out. These should be destroyed as a priority, since they can heal the Myrmidon Princess with their stunnable Formic Pheromones ability. Following this, she'll summon Myrmidon Guards, which are capable of the same Mandible Bite ability as Myrmidon Princess, and Myrmidon Soldiers, which are low-HP trash.
Giant Tunnel Worm
This is a fairly straightforward fight, but everyone needs to be paying attention.
The tank should face the Tunnel Worm away from the party to minimize damage from the unavoidable Sandstorm attack every so often. Healers should pay attention for Sand Cyclone, which targets a random party member and inflicts Sludge, which deals earth damage over time and which may be removed with Esuna.
Once you knock Tunnel Worm's HP down to about 50%, it will burrow underground and pick a random target, who will get a marker on themselves briefly. The Worm will then charge underground towards where that player was standing, dealing damage to anyone hit by the Sand Pillars it kicks up on the way, then dealing significant damage with its Earthbreak ability when it bursts back out of the ground. To avoid this, when the Tunnel Worm goes underground, the party should spread out around the perimeter of the room and keep an eye out for who gets targeted; everyone should avoid the area where the targeted player was standing and move to a different area of the room.
Beat Tunnel Worm down to about 25% HP and it will burrow beneath the sand and use Bottomless Desert, which pulls everyone towards the center of the room. Quickly move towards the outside of the room to avoid another Earthbreak, and by this point the beast should be nearly dead.
There are two golden rules for this fight: when the ram's eyes burn blue, run away from the boss; when the dragon's eyes burn violet, run right up to the boss. The reason for this is that the ram's eyes glowing blue indicates Chimera is about to cast a close-range area effect ice attack, while the dragon's eyes glowing violet indicate that he's about to cast a mid-to-long range area effect lightning attack with a safe space in the middle. Don't worry about watching Chimera too closely, though; these two abilities will be marked with prominent text on screen when they happen. If you find your party struggling, assign one character to call out when it happens, ideally with an audible warning such as <se.1> in the chat.
The other thing to be wary of is Chimera's Cacophony ability. This sends a blue orb flying towards a random player, who will get a target marker placed on them briefly. Lure the orb away from the rest of the party, let it approach until it stops moving, then get away from it as it detonates to avoid damage and Paralysis.
The final thing to watch out for is Ram's Keeper, a circular AoE that is fired at a random player and which subsequently leaves a dangerous frozen patch on the ground. Be mindful of these areas when attempting to dodge Chimera's other abilities.
If you're planning on getting your Relic weapon once you hit level 50, this won't be the last time you fight Chimera -- though the next time you see the beast it will be somewhat stronger.
The Stone Vigil
Required level: 41
Unlocked by: Main story quest "In Pursuit of the Past"
While proceeding through The Stone Vigil, watch out for "dragon traps," where a Lesser Wyvern will suddenly drop down and burn you for 600-700 damage. Whenever you come across a spot where this is proving dangerous, try to bring your fights into the side rooms to avoid damage.
Also be wary of areas with large openings in the wall marked with icicles -- these mark areas where Ice Sprites will suddenly appear, which can quickly overwhelm a party already in battle against something else.
Battling Chudo-Yudo is all about being in the right place at the right time. Generally speaking, the bulk of the party wants to be behind Chudo-Yudo as much as possible, meaning only the tank gets hit by the frontal Lion's Breath attack. The tank should face Chudo-Yudo away from the party to make this straightforward.
Every so often, Chudo-Yudo will run to a wall and charge up an ability called Swinge on a random player. Follow him to the wall and stand to one side of him to avoid this dangerous attack. Once Chudo-Yudo is down below 50% health, he'll start using Swinge twice in succession instead of just once, so be ready for this.
During this fight, the dragon Isgebind will occasionally appear in front of the room's windows, just begging to be hit by one of the convenient cannons. Assign one party member to be on cannon duty and scare Isgebind off whenever she appears, otherwise you'll suffer repeated party-wide attacks from her Snowfall ability.
As for Koshchei, the tank should position the boss near the front of the room, with the party spreading out behind. The tank will take damage from Koshchei's unavoidable Collapse attack and potentially the frontal cone attack Blazing Trail, but everyone else will be mostly safe -- apart from the regular Typhoons Koshchei summons. These will slowly move towards a random party member, inflicting the damage-over-time Windburn debuff if they hit you, so try and keep out of their way if you can. The Typhoons' behavior is also why the party shouldn't spend the entire fight standing near the cannons -- when Isgebind does show up, you don't want to have to run through a gauntlet of tornados just to get a shot off.
Much like the last few bosses, the tank should face Isgebind away from the rest of the group -- probably a corner -- in order to minimize damage from frontal attacks. Regardless of where she is, Isgebind will still randomly target party members and spit Sheet of Ice at them, inflicting damage, Paralysis and leaving an icy patch on the ground that inflicts the Frostbite damage-over-time debuff if you step in it. She'll also cast Rime Wreath, which deals damage to the whole party.
The main thing to watch out for in the battle against Isgebind is her Cauterize ability. Here, she will take to the skies, light up a third of the room with a blue glow, then attack the area with her frost breath. Move out of this glowing area as quickly as possible to avoid nasty damage and Frostbite -- keeping the majority of the party around the middle of the arena is a sound strategy, though be wary of any ice patches left by past Sheet of Ice casts.
After Isgebind lands from a Cauterize, she'll land on the tank with her Touchdown ability, dealing damage to any nearby party members. This means that the rest of the party should keep well away from the tank after avoiding Cauterize to minimize further damage.
Once beaten down to below 50% HP, Isgebind will begin casting Sheet of Ice when she takes to the skies for a Cauterize attack, making it more difficult to dodge. Concentrate on getting out of the way of Cauterize, since it's more dangerous than Sheet of Ice.
Finish her off with a Limit Break if you have one ready and that's that for Stone Vigil. Note that dungeons have started awarding you "Allagan Tomestones of Philosophy" from this point onwards -- these items may be traded in at Mor Dhona's settlement Revenant's Toll for powerful level 50 equipment such as Darklight or Artifact 2 gear. This won't be relevant until you actually reach level 50, but it's good to get a head start, because you can never have too many Tomestones.
Required level: 44
Unlocked by: Either sidequest "Fort of Fear" from Carrilaut at the Observatorium in Coerthas, or a Grand Company quest once you have ranked up to at least Sergeant First Class. You can complete both quests with one run.
Throughout the dungeon, you'll encounter Magitek Terminals. In order to activate these, someone needs to stand in them until the countdown expires. In later stages of the dungeon, these cross over with exploding orange crystals that deal heavy damage every few seconds. Don't be tempted to move away, though -- the countdown resets if you leave the terminal. Instead, the healer should keep whoever is operating the terminal topped up on HP and preferably blessed with Stoneskin to minimize damage.
Dzemael Darkhold has probably the biggest variety of different equipment sets in the game
The Crystal Veil
Throughout the first part of Dzemael Darkhold, you'll be constantly harassed by an Ahriman called All-Seeing Eye, who regularly casts a powerful area-effect attack around itself called Eyes on Me. In order to mitigate this damage, only fight in side rooms where All-Seeing Eye does not patrol, or if you must fight in the corridor, do so in the light of the blue-purple crystals that line the walls. Doing so will provide you with the Crystal Veil buff, which significantly reduces all damage taken.
As you approach the end of the first area, there's a room with a lot of enemies -- too many to take in one go, you might think. Actually, with the damage reduction of Crystal Veil, it's very possible to tank the entire room in one go -- and satisfying to boot. Once you've cleared this room, you get to lay the smack down on All-Seeing Eye, and I bet you're dying to by this point, too.
All-Seeing Eye is only vulnerable when it's affected by Crystal Veil, so the tank should lure it into whichever of the crystalline areas in the room is glowing purple while the rest of the party pounds on it.
Every so often, the crystals' power fades, however, meaning you'll have to quickly run to the next area, which will have started glowing. Quickly determine which of the crystalline areas is the new safe spot and get there as quickly as possible to minimize damage, particularly from Eyes on Me.
All-Seeing Eye has two abilities besides Eyes on Me, both of which are frontal cone attacks that can be fairly easily dodged. Cursed Gaze inflicts Amnesia, which prevents the use of abilities; Dread Gaze inflicts Paralysis. Both can be removed by the healer, but it's better to not get hit by them at all.
All-Seeing Eye will also summon two types of additional monsters during the fight -- Mouche Volante and Amanuensis. These can be knocked down fairly easily, particularly if you're blessed with Crystal Veil at the time, so deal with them quickly and return your attention to All-Seeing Eye to finish it off.
This fight is about dodging, and about the healer being on top of their game. The tank should concentrate on repeatedly hitting Taulurd and avoiding his frontal cone Double Smash and Elbow Drop attacks. Meanwhile, everyone else should fling damage at Taulurd when they're not being beset by various ranged attacks from his friends the Deepvoid Slaves.
These take one of two forms: Firewater, which spawns avoidable circular markers and deals heavy damage, and Boulderdash, which deals unavoidable damage the healer will have to deal with. Keeping Stoneskin up on party members is a good idea if you have the time. So long as you can deal with the constant damage to everyone -- whether from a perspective of healing it or avoiding as much of it as possible -- this fight is fairly straightforward.
This fight unfolds in several phases. The tank will want to face Batraal away from the rest of the party as usual, and soak up the brunt of the damage from his unavoidable frontal attack Grim Fate, and his unavoidable area effect attack Grim Halo, which hits everyone standing nearby. Other party members may get hit by Grim Cleaver, which is unavoidable and targets a random party member, but the majority of the damage will be on the tank.
Three times during the fight, Batraal will stop what he is doing and become connected to one of the crystal formations at the edge of the room via a purple ray of energy. When this happens, the Corrupted Crystal the purple beam connects to needs to be destroyed as quickly as possible, but the party should watch out for Batraal's Desolation ability. This targets a random player and shoots an instakill beam attack at them three times -- though thankfully there is plenty of time to get out of the way. Try not to point it at the rest of the party if at all possible! If the crystal is not destroyed by the time Batraal has fired Desolation three times, he'll switch targets and continue in the same way.
The order the crystals must be destroyed is always the same -- the one at the back left around the corner first; then the one at the front left near the entrance, then the one at the back right.
Once the three crystals have been destroyed, Batraal will get really, really angry and start spewing void pitch on the floor. These black pools explode if you step on them and deal heavy damage, so keep well out of their way. They're easy enough to avoid, though, and by the time they start to appear Batraal will likely be quite low on health. Be wary, though, as by this point of the fight he is able to cast Desolation at any time -- be careful not to stumble into a pool of void pitch when avoiding the beam.
Defeating Batraal will reward you with 20 Allagan Tomestones of Philosophy.
The Aurum Vale
Required level: 47
Unlocked by: Sidequest "Going for Gold" in Vesper Bay.
Aurum Vale is not a popular dungeon for the simple reason that it's full of unpleasant tricks and traps that make your adventuring life rather difficult. It can be a good source of XP, though -- in fact, some powerlevellers deliberately enter the dungeon, wipe the first room clear of enemies, abandon the run, then go again for quick and easy XP gain. You are, of course, free to play how you wish -- but if you're going to take this approach be sure to agree it with the rest of your party beforehand. You may find it beneficial to set up a Party Finder group for this purpose rather than using the Duty Finder.
Throughout the dungeon, be wary of yellow pools, which inflict you with a powerful damage over time debuff called Goldbite while you stand in them. Also watch out for gas geysers, which knock you backwards, often into a yellow pool. Tread carefully as you proceed through the dungeon and you'll be just fine.
At several points through the dungeon, you'll fight an enemy called Goldvine. As with any Morbol enemy, take care to avoid its Bad Breath attack, which inflicts pretty much every status effect you can think of. During these battles, you'll also see Morbol Fruit around the area -- be sure to destroy them with area of effect attacks to prevent Morbol Seedlings from hatching and causing difficulty for you and your party.
Before the fight starts, spread out and stand near one of the Morbol Fruit along the chamber's walls. You'll need to eat one of these when you're afflicted with Gold Lung, a stacking damage over time debuff that the boss hits all players with when it uses its Gold Rush ability.
Also be wary of Locksmith's unavoidable Hundred Lashings melee strike -- the tank will need to time their use of the fruit between getting thumped -- and Gold Dust, a large, circular area of effect attack on a random player.
This powerful enemy has some nasty abilities, so pay attention at all times, particularly if you're tanking.
The main things to watch for are his 10-Tonze Swipe, 100-Tonze Swipe and 100-Tonze Swing abilities. The former is unavoidable, so the tank will probably soak this up. 100-Tonze Swipe and 100-Tonze Swing, meanwhile, do not have ground indicators, so watch the boss carefully to see what he's up to. If he only uses a single hand, he's going to use 100-Tonze Swipe, which can be avoided by running between his legs and popping up behind him. 100-Tonze Swing, meanwhile, inflicts instakill damage in a 360-degree area all around him, so the tank should either stun Coincounter or get out of the way very quickly.
Meanwhile, ranged party members will often be attacked by Glower, a beam attack on a random player that also inflicts paralysis. Spread out so that no more than one person at a time gets hit by this.
When Coincounter "takes a moment to reconsider" everyone should immediately run into melee range and the tank should attempt to stun his Eye of the Beholder ability. If this goes off, all characters outside melee range will take a chunk of damage and be inflicted with Electrocution, which does damage over time. The moment Eye of the Beholder goes off, ranged party members should move back as quickly as possible to avoid getting hit by a Swipe or Swing attack.
In this battle, the tank should face Miser's Mistress away from the party in order to protect everyone else from Bad Breath and Vine Probe. As the fight continues, Miser's Mistress will regularly inflict you with the debuff Burrs, which deals damage when she uses the ability Burr Burrow -- and more damage the more stacks of Burrs you have on yourself.
Like the fight against Locksmith, Burrs can be removed by consuming Morbol Fruit. Don't do this too quickly, though, otherwise you'll be hit with more damage than you can handle when a Burr Burrow crops up. A good rule of thumb is to chomp on a fruit when you have three stacks of Burrs or more.
Twice during the battle -- at 50% and 25% HP -- Miser's Mistress will spawn a bunch of the egg-type Morbol Fruit around herself. These must be destroyed as quickly as possible, since the Seedlings that hatch can afflict you with additional stacks of Burrs very quickly; use area-of-effect abilities if you have them, and assuming everyone's HP is in a decent condition, even a White Mage can assist with a few Cleric Stanced Holy spells , which is sure to please a healer who has been starved of damage-dealing for much of the game.
Continue the process until Miser's Mistress is low on HP, and finish her off with a Limit Break as usual to clear the dungeon and earn a well-earned rest before you make the final push to level 50.
Required level: 50
Unlocked by: Main story quest "Rock the Castrum"
You're almost there! Having made it to level 50, it's time to take the fight to the Empire and thwart Gaius van Baelsar's dastardly schemes.
Castrum Meridianum will likely be your first full 8-player dungeon, though you'll have completed the 8-player Cape Westwind Trial prior to coming here. Behaving in an 8-player party is fairly similar to when there are just four people -- know your role, don't steal aggro from the tank and follow the orders of whoever steps up for a leadership role. Healers, don't panic about having more targets to heal -- most of the damage will still be piling on the main tank, and now you've got a second healer to help keep up with incoming damage, too.
Throughout the dungeon, you'll occasionally run into rows of cannons that you can man to help out with tricky groups of trash mobs, particularly the stronger enemies later in the dungeon. If you're not sure what to do, don't be afraid to ask your party leader how they're going to handle it. When manning a cannon, your hotbar will change to provide you with the ability to fire; select this ability, use the marker on the ground to aim at the area you'd like to hit, then select it again to fire.
Note that, being one of the final two main story dungeons, Castrum Meridianum is a cutscene-heavy dungeon. Be sure to agree with your party beforehand whether to watch or skip cutscenes, since some speedrunners prefer to simply race through as quickly as possible. If you're here for the story, you may have a better experience if you gather your own party through your Free Company or the Party Finder, the latter of which allows you to specifically indicate that you're doing the dungeon primarily for story reasons.
The Black Eft
As the dungeon begins, clear out the guards near the searchlights and then disable them. This will cause any remaining guards to flee, allowing you to proceed onwards and take on the first boss: a suit of Magitek Armor named The Black Eft.
The Black Eft only has a couple of abilities, but summons friends at several points throughout the fight, so be constantly aware of what's going on around you. The main tank -- agree this beforehand -- should stand in front of one of the two doors to the arena to pick up one set of the additional enemies when they show up, while the off-tank who isn't letting the boss pummel them should stand by the other. In this way, it minimizes the risk of fragile casters and healers getting thumped by incoming enemies.
The only ability of Black Eft you need to be wary of is Magitek Cannon, a circular area-of-effect attack that deals heavy damage. So long as you keep out of its way, you'll be fine. The main tank should face Black Eft away from the rest of the party to minimize damage from Black Eft's other attack Photon Stream, which is unavoidable.
Magitek Vanguard F-I
After beating Black Eft, jump into a garbage disposal chute to go to the next area. Disable the searchlights in this area and head down the hill to the Pump Station. Defeat the enemies in the area and plant explosives on the two Unstable Panels before proceeding to the next boss fight.
Much like Black Eft, this boss should be faced away from the group, and tanks should take care to pick up additional enemies when they show up. Be sure to avoid the column-shaped Drill Cannons attack and the cone-shaped Overcharge ability when they appear and this will be a cinch -- just be wary of the Magitek Reaper that shows up towards the end of the fight. Damage dealers should ignore this enemy and concentrate on the boss; the off-tank should distract the Reaper's attention while the rest of the party finished off the boss.
The Final Generator
Ahead of the final boss, you'll need to disable one last generator. To do this, carefully pick your way around the rows of Magitek Colossus enemies if you haven't already defeated them, then disable the last two searchlights. You'll come under attack from two new Magitek Colossus enemies; one tank should take each. Kill them both, then use the cannons to bring down the airship and finish off the generator.
It's time to finish this.
Livia sas Junius
This is an unconventional fight, so be sure to know what you're doing before you jump in. The golden rule here is that if you pick up the boss' aggro when you really don't want it -- you're a caster or healer, say -- move into the middle until her attention moves on to someone else. Healers, pay attention to who is being attacked and keep their HP topped up.
The key mechanic in this battle is using the cannons. Click on one of the piles of missiles to trigger a Magitek Loader, which will load the ammunition into a cannon. Both tanks should take care to pick up any additional enemies that show up, as they'll attempt to destroy the cannons and the Magitek Loader; rather than defeating them, however, the tanks should drag them to the middle near Livia so that when the cannons fire, they take the adds out in one fell swoop.
How to handle the cannons is up to the party, but it's worth agreeing beforehand. Some parties prefer to just fire as they're loaded; others prefer to have one member count down and then all fire them at once. Either way, the last person to hit Livia with a cannon will have aggro and should run into the middle until her attention is elsewhere. Repeat this process until you've destroyed her Magitek Armor.
Livia sas Junius, Reprise
Now you're on a more level playing field -- well, eight against one -- it's time to put Livia down for good.
Livia has three unavoidable instant abilities, two of which (Delta Trance and Aglaia Bite) are melee attacks on whoever has aggro and the third of which (Roundhouse) is a whirlwind attack -- non-tanks should stay back to avoid being hit by the latter.
Livia will also use Stunning Sweep, a circular area-of-effect attack that inflicts Paralysis; and Angry Salamander, a frontal column attack. Be sure to avoid both of these as much as possible; healers, stay on the ball to clear Paralysis if someone isn't quite quick enough.
Livia also has a third area-of-effect ability which doesn't have a ground marker: Aglaia Climb. To avoid this, simply run behind her.
Three times during the fight, Livia will use Order to Attack, which will summon a bunch of adds to wail on a single party member. That party member should stand still and allow the rest of the party to use AoE abilities to clear the adds as quickly as possible; the third time it happens, the off-tank should pick up the Magitek Colossus that spawns and take it to a corner of the room while the rest of the party focuses on finishing off Livia.
Now it's time to break into the Praetorium and stop Gaius' plans.
Required level: 50
Unlocked by: Complete Castrum Meridianum, main story quest "The Ultimate Weapon"
This is the final story dungeon in the game and consequently is rammed with cutscenes. As with Castrum Meridianum, agree with your party beforehand as to whether you'll be watching or skipping them; if it's your first time, consider assembling a Free Company or story-focused Party Finder group to minimize frustration -- this is a Final Fantasy game, after all, so you want a proper finale, right?
A lot of the encounters in this dungeon are avoidable; some speedrun groups prefer to simply run straight through them, since you're not gaining experience any more. Agree with your group how you're going to handle it throughout or, if no-one's feeling terribly communicative, simply follow the main tank's lead.
Mark II Magitek Colossus
The first boss fight in Praetorium is pretty straightforward. The main tank should face the Colossus away from the party, which will protect everyone else from being hit by the otherwise unavoidable Grand Sword and Exhaust abilities. Stay on your toes for Magitek Ray, however, which will target a random player with an avoidable circular area-of-effect marker. Move out of this when it shows up and you'll be finished with barely a scratch on you before you know it.
The Cermet Bulkhead
Proceed through the dungeon and past the Cermet Bulkhead until you reach a Magitek Terminal and Identification Key Reader. Interact with the latter to provide yourself with the authorization to pilot Magitek Armor, then "borrow" yourself a suit.
Stomp your way back to the Cermet Bulkhead and blast your way through it using the Armor's abilities -- Magitek Cannon is a targeted area-of-effect attack, while Photon Stream is a frontal burst attack.
Proceed through the Cermet Bulkhead's wreckage and deeper into the dungeon. Stand back from the Proto-Ultima Arm Units that burst out of the walls and make short work of them with Magitek Cannon.
Nero tol Scaeva
The main thing to be wary of when fighting Nero is the fact that the outer edges of the stage are electrified, inflicting around 300 damage per tick while you're standing there. Try not to stand there, though some of Nero's abilities mean it's occasionally unavoidable; if you do find yourself knocked back into the electrified area, quickly move back into the middle to minimize damage.
Throughout the battle, Magitek Death Claws will spawn with a purple line connecting to a single player. Defeat these before they reach their target, otherwise they will use The Hand, which deals light damage but heavy knockback, usually throwing someone into the electrified area.
Nero himself will mostly make use of instant, unavoidable attacks in front of him, so the tank should, as usual, face him away from the party to minimize damage. Nero's Iron Uprising ability can knock the tank backwards, though, so be prepared to move around as the fight continues. Everyone except the main tank should stay back to avoid Nero's whirlwind ability Wheel of Suffering.
Once he's down to half HP, Nero will begin using Augmented versions of his abilities. While these hit harder, they now have cast bars and ground markers, making them avoidable, so be sure to step out of them whenever they show up. Before long, you'll have brought Nero to his knees and it's onward to the final confrontation.
Gaius van Baelsar
Gaius has a lot of abilities that deal damage to random players in the party, so healers should be prepared to play whack-a-mole with the Cure spells.
The main things to watch out for during the fight are his Hand of the Empire ability, which fires at a random player and damages anyone nearby, and Terminus Est, which sees Gaius draw a blue X in the air that will explode forwards (away from him) shortly afterwards. Be sure to dodge the latter and the group should be able to minimize damage.
Three times during the fight, Gaius will mark a blue flame circle on the floor -- these will remain throughout the rest of the fight and inflict Bleed on anyone standing in them, so as with most things on the floor throughout the rest of the game, do not stand in them!
Once you beat on Gaius sufficiently, he'll run off and activate Ultima Weapon. Guess what you have to do next?
The Ultima fight is split into four phases, each of which begins with Blessing of Light filling the room, completely restoring everyone's HP and MP.
In the first phase, Ultima will take very little damage. Healers should use this time to cast Stoneskin on the party to minimize the amount of healing they will have to do, while the rest of the party should simply avoid Magitek Ray. Once Blessing of Light goes off the first time, the fight proper begins.
Throughout the fight, Ultima will make use of all of the Primals' abilities, beginning with Garuda's Eye of the Storm and Titan's Geocrush. When you see the blue vortex appear around the edges of the room, move into the middle to avoid Eye of the Storm; immediately after it disappears, move back out to the edge to avoid Geocrush, which comes straight afterwards. Healers should also be ready for an occasional surprise Aerial Blast from Garuda, which damages the whole party.
When the second Blessing of Light goes off, Ultima loses Garuda's abilities and gains Ifrit's. Now you need to watch out for Ifrit's Radiant Plume ability, which will either force you into the middle of the stage or to the outer edge. Immediately afterwards, Titan's Weight of the Land ability will show up in the safe area left by Radiant Plume, so be ready to move immediately back to where you were previously standing.
When the third Blessing of Light goes off, Ultima loses Titan's abilities and is forced to rely on Ifrit. In this phase, Radiant Plume will either go off in a line across the area, or in the four corners. This is much easier to dodge than in the previous phase -- in fact, there are some places in the arena where you can stand and not have to move. However, do be wary of Eruption, which appears under a random player and explodes a couple of seconds later. A second set of cracks will appear shortly after the first, so when avoiding the first set try not to lead the second into a group of your comrades.
Survive the onslaught and knock Ultima's HP down and... you're not quite done yet.
Ultima Weapon, Reprise
Something that big won't go down that easily, though at least you'll no longer have to deal with the Primals. The main thing to watch out for here is Magitek Ray, which will be marked by an "engraved" area on the ground -- step out of this to avoid being hit. Ranged party members should stand back to avoid taking too much damage from Ceruleum Vent.
At several points during the fight, Magitek Bits will appear and behave in a similar fashion to the Mythril Verges in the Sunken Temple of Qarn -- move out of their blue glowing areas to avoid being hit by their lasers, and destroy them as quickly as possible to keep the battlefield clear.
If you see a pulsing circle on the ground, move as far away from it as possible, as this means Ultima has used its Freefire ability to bring an airship crashing to the ground; the further from the circle's center you are, the less damage you will take.
Once Ultima is low on health, it will teleport away for a moment before reappearing in the middle of the room and begin casting Ultima, which, as you might expect, is a very, very bad thing to let go off. Pop every cooldown you've got, throw your most damaging abilities at Ultima and unleash a Limit Break to destroy it once and for all well before Ultima finishes charging.
You've done it! You've saved Eorzea!
...Or have you?
Of course not. This is Final Fantasy, so naturally there's a "true" final boss. Lahabrea has been giving you grief for the whole game, so now's your chance to finally give him a nice solid punch in the face like he deserves.
The fight is actually very easy. Avoid the pools of void pitch he spills on the floor -- like in Dzemael Darkhold, these explode if you stand on them -- and hit him as hard as possible. Healers should use the long cast time before his Shadow Flare ability to cast protective and heal-over-time spells such as Medica II and minimize the damage the whole party takes, but it won't be long before he falls beneath your combined might.
Now the Empire threat to Eorzea really is over; congratulations! There's still plenty to do once you've enjoyed the lengthy ending, but that, as they say, is a story for another day.