I couldn't miss the chance to practice my drawing!
The Porta Decumana is a Trial in Final Fantasy XIV that sees players square off against the Ultima Weapon. The Minstrel's Ballad: Ultima's Bane is an Extreme-difficulty version of this battle that has existed since patch 2.1, long before the normal version was split off into its own duty.
Making your way through the Praetorium, you sweep aside wave after wave of defenders before finally coming face-to-face with Gaius van Baelsar himself. Unable to overcome you by his own hands, the Black Wolf takes control of the Ultima Weapon and sets upon you once more. Do what you have come to do, and see that the magitek monstrosity never threatens Eorzea again.Duty Finder description
The Minstrel's Ballad: Ultima's Bane
Inspired by tales of your victory over the Ultima Weapon, the wandering minstrel come to Revenant's Toll has composed an epic ballad in your honor. However, as minstrels are wont to do, he has embellished certain details for dramatic effect. Although it can hardly be considered an accurate retelling, you cannot deny his skill with words, for as you listen to his melodious voice, you find yourself reliving the events of that fateful day in the Praetorium...Duty Finder description
The faux commander seeks ultimate entertainment in his tales, and what should lend itself better to such than your furious encounter with the Ultima Weapon? Call to mind the time the steel-clad monstrosity stood menacingly before you, and let your imagination run wild...Duty Finder description
The normal mode is split into 2 distinct encounters separated by a series of cutscenes and a checkpoint saving progress at the beginning of the 2nd encounter.
At the beginning of the 1st encounter, Ultima will utilise a few auto attacks on the main target before warping to the north and casting Earthen Fury; dealing raidwide damage and summoning Titan as an untargetable add. Titan will disappear before a proximity aoe marker will appear on one of the cardinal directions of the arena. Get a safe distance away from the epicentre before Titan lands down with Geocrush. Titan will follow this up by casting Landslide in a random player's direction, before the Ultima Weapon does the same. Several Weight of the Land AOEs will appear on the ground that should be dodged, followed by a second set of AOEs. Mechanics will repeat from Geocrush until enough damage is dealt.
At approximately 80% HP, Ultima will once again warp to the north of the Arena and cast Granite Internment, trapping all party members in Granite Gaols. This is a scripted event: each Gaol will begin to cast Granite Sepulchure while Ultima itself will begin to cast Earthen Eternity to wipe the party. However, players will gain stacks of the buff Prayers of Light which will then turn into The Blessing of Light, which will break the players out of the gaols and simultaneously interrupt Ultima by ripping the essence of Titan out of it, marking the start of the next phase.
Ultima will begin the phase by casting Aerial Blast to deal raidwide damage and summoning Garuda. Ultima will cast Eye of the Storm, causing a repeating AOE to hit the outer edge of the arena and leaving a safe space in the centre. Garuda will appear at one of the cardinals and then cast Wicked Wheel, a large AOE that will cover up most of the safe space from the previous attack.
At approximately 60% HP, Ultima will once again warp to the north of the Arena in another scripted event: casting Vortex Barrier and granting itself invincibility before it subsequently begins casting Headman's Wind. Once more, players will gain stacks of Prayers of Light which will then turn into The Blessing of Light, which will break the barrier and rip the essence of Garuda from Ultima, marking the start of the next phase.
Ultima will begin the phase by casting Hellfire to deal raidwide damage and summoning Ifrit. Ultima will then cast Radiant Plumeand create multiple AOEs before casting it a second time for a second set. Ifrit will then appear in the centre of the arena and begin casting Vulcan Burst, a room wide attack that will also knock players to the edge of the arena which Ultima will follow up with another Radiant Plume that will have AOEs covering the arena edge.
At approximately 35% HP, a final scripted event will occur. Ultima will once again warp to the north of the Arena and begin to cast Radiant Blaze. Unlike before, players are not trapped and Ultima is vulnerable, so players should keep attacking Ultima as they gain stacks of Prayers of Light and The Blessing of Light, which will rip out the essence of Ifrit from the Ultima Weapon. The first part of the encounter will end when Ultima, now only capable of autoattacks, is brought below 21%, at which point an unskippable cutscene begins.
After the cutscene, a checkpoint will be made before the party engages the Ultima Weapon, now at full health and possessing a new set of abilities, once again.
- Homing Lasers - Tankbuster
- Tank Purge - Roomwide AOE
- Magitek Ray - Boss will target a non-tank player and shoot three lasers one at a time. The first will be in front of it, while the other two will be slightly toward the left and right. The Lasers will leave behind line AOEs that will detonate.
- Homing Ray - Targeted AOEs on all players
- Aetheric Boom - Knockback from boss position. Will also summon four orbs around the arena that will be tethered in pairs. The tethered orbs will slowly begin to be drawn to each other and will explode for massive damage if allowed to merge. One of the orbs from each pair will need to be popped by a player to prevent the merges. This will deal some damage but is survivable.
- Laser Focus - A marker will be placed on a player that will be a bunch of arrows pulsing inwards. This is a stack marker, and indicates an attack that deals damage that can and must be shared between multiple people to ensure survival.
- Citadel Buster - The boss will face towards a random player and begin charging an untelegraphed line AOE that deals massive damage.
- Magitek Bit - Summons untargettable Magitek Bits that will go away after a time. They shoot small line AOEs in various patterns. This is an untelegraphed cast, and the Bits will appear spontaneously.
- Explosion - Proximity AOE caused by a crashing Garlean Airship. Appears in sets of four. The centre of the arena will be the safest spot to avoid damage. Rather than an attack from Ultima specifically, this is an environmental hazard.
At approximately 30% HP, the Ultima Weapon will warp to the center of the arena and slowly casting Ultima, a hard enrage that will wipe the party if the boss is not defeated in time. During this phase, players will once more gain stacks of the Prayers of Light buff, but when it changes to The Blessing of Light, instead of affecting the boss, players will unlock the third bar of the Limit Break Gauge, which will subsequently be completely filled and allow the execution of a Level 3 Limit Break, so a DPS player should use this to ensure Ultima is defeated before the cast goes off, ending the trial.
"The Maker's Ruin" plays during the first phase of the encounter.
"Ultima" plays during the 2nd phase of the battle as well as the through the entirety of Ultima's Bane.
Behind the scenes
The Porta Decumana trial was originally part of the 8-man The Praetorium final dungeon of the launch scenario of A Realm Reborn. Due to increasing item levels and job changes, the dungeon was notorious for speed running after the initial launch. It was separated into its own 4-man duty in patch 6.1, with the trial being the first that allowed players to access Level 3 Limit Breaks, while also being the only time the technique can be used in a 4-man party.
Many of the mechanics of the original Ultima Weapon encounter were reworked for the new trial version. Most obviously, the boss follows a more structured rotation akin to more recent encounters instead of a timer-based priority system. Secondly, the order the Weapon utilises and loses the primals was changed so that Titan would be first instead of Garuda. Some attacks from the original encounter have been omitted, such as Ifrit eruptions, others have been changed (e.g. Magitek Bits) while new mechanics were also added (e.g. Citadel Buster, this mechanic existed originally for the Proto-Ultima battle in Dun Scaith and was imported to this encounter due to the shared model).
Ultima's Bane, being released back 2.1, is based on the original Praetorium encounter, and as such follows and utilises the original mechanics more faithfully.