Castrum Meridianum Guide
The Beginning of the FFXIV Endgame
Castrum Meridianum is the first level 50 instance in FFXIV:ARR. This is an eight-person instance. The instance typically requires two tanks, two healers, and four DPS. CM is a required dungeon for your central story line and sets the stage for the penultimate showdown with Gaius and Lahabrea.
Castrum Meridianum does not drop any loot. However, completing the dungeon rewards each team member with 100 Tomes of Philosophy. These are turned in for gear upgrades at Revenant’s Toll in Mor Dhana. You will need some 5385 (thanks Brandon in comments) Philosophy tomes for Darklight gear (il-70), so you will likely spend a lot of time in CM.
This is a very fast instance to complete, while it lists over an hour for completion, in practice it can be completed in as few as fifteen minutes. Since level 50 players regularly queue for this zone, speed runs are the norm and it can be a bit frustrating and confusing for a first time player. Be warned, your team may not take kindly to you stopping to view the cutscenes as many will want to get the run done in 20-minutes. Don’t fret, though, you can always revisit the cutscenes from the book in your Inn room.
This guide is intended to help you understand the flow of the CM speed run. There are a number of points where careful movement is required to bypass content. Additionally, there are places where your party will expect you to man field artillery and still others where you may be expected to use your “Return” ability. The map below is designed to help you follow a typical CM speed run.
Starting Castrum Meridianum
When you enter CM (the star on the map), you will see an array of soldiers guarding a pair of warning signals. Defeat the guards at the right and left signals (circles on map) and turn off the signals. This dispatches a number of the guards allowing you to move forwards much more quickly.
From here you cross the land bridge heading towards #1. Along the land bridge, you can bypass the patrols by hugging the left wall. Generally at least one person in the party will trigger at least one group of patrols. In practice most people just run these down to the entry to point #1. You can skip the final group of guards by simply walking behind them – they only attack targets that walk in their frontal view arc. Garleand Guards are the.worst.ever!
Remember that, when in doubt, just walk behind a Garleand Guard.
The Black Eft
The first boss of the zone is the Black Eft. This is a Reaver mounted Garleand. As with all Garleand mechanical walkers, expect periodic aoe attacks. Simply move out of the red splats and you will be fine.
The primary mechanic of this fight are the adds. On the pull, bring the Black Eft over to one of the sides (we prefer the left side). Have your DPS move over to that side as well to make add pickup easier. Set the fight up right against the gates. Adds will spawn from this gate and from the far gate. Have the second tank pickup the incoming adds, stack them up, and burn them down.
Once this fight ends, take the Waste Disposal Chute on the southeast corner of the battle arena. This moves you along the blue-dashed line on the map.
At this point, you begin moving towards #2 on the map, where you will disable two of the processing plant pipes. Along the way you need to disable one warning signal (red circle) and you sneak past two guards (remember, walk behind them, Garleand guards can’t look backwards).
At the pumps you can clear the guards on the southern platforms. Generally a single party member can sneak past the guards on the northern platform and disable that pipe. After that, hug the right wall and make way towards encounter #3. Once again, bypass the gate guards and walk right in.
Magitek Vanguard F-1
The second boss of the Castrum Meridianum, located at point #3 on the map, is the Magitek Vanguard F-1. This boss plays like a standard Vanguard. He hits moderately hard and stops to AOE on occasion. He also fires off big cannons that can be avoided.
The primary mechanic for this fight is, once again, adds. Adds spawn from the south gate (where you entered) as well as the east and west gates. These cycle throughout the fight and should be cleared each time. In a later round, the east gate will also spawn a Reaver add which should be managed by the off-tank. By the time he comes in, the Vanguard should be nearly dead and you can simply hold the Reaver until you win the fight.
We typically move the Vanguard towards the west gates. This makes it easier for the main tank to hold the Vanguard and acquire the western adds. The off-tank should be responsible for the eastern and southern adds.
We Need Bigger Guns
After this fight, you proceed north towards #4 on the map. During this stage your DPS players will be using Garleand’s own artillery against them. The artillery pieces are located at the smiley face on the map. Big guns are fun, fun makes you smile, big guns make you smile. It’s simple, really.
The key here is that you have a series of Colossi to take out. Tanks should acquire agro and interrupt the column and cleave attacks of the Colossi. Failing to do so leads to the destruction of the cannons and slows down the run.
In practice, the two tanks should run ahead first and acquire agro. Healers should follow along and spam heals as the tanks can take quite a beating during this run. DPS should head straight to the cannons and go to work.
Once the area is cleared there is another signal to take out adjacent to the cannons. From there the party moves northeast (then northwest) towards #5. One tank should remain at #6 for reasons which will be explained below.
Why Not More Guns?
A tank should approach #5 first and acquire enmity. All DPS should hop into the cannons near #5 and begin taking out the Garleands.
While this happens, the tank who remained at #6 should bring that pack of targets to the waiting DPS at #5. This assures that Cid lives to join you at #7.
Magitek Colossus Rubricatus
Your next encounter in Castrum Meridianum is the Magitek Colossus Rubricatus. This encounter begins shortly after Cid enters the battle arena.
Three entities spawn at the ramp on the Northwest side of the arena. DPS should take out these adds quickly. Shortly thereafter, the Magitek Colossus Rubricatus spawns on the same Northwest ramp. The primary tank should acquire the Colossus and hold him in the NW corner of the ramp.
Throughout the fight waves of adds will spawn. The secondary tank should acquire enmity on as many as possible while the DPS burn down the adds. These will include progressively more Medicus healers, so it’s important to dispatch them quickly. Near the end of the fight, a Vanguard will spawn. The second tank should hold the Vanguard while the remaining players focus fire on the Colossus.
From here different groups do different things. Our group often uses the Return ability and then the shortcut available at the Star. This takes you back to point #1 where your DPS can return to the cannons at #4.
Alternately, you could simply run from #7, through #5, past #6 and to #4. Frankly, I don’t think the timing is all that different either way. The key here is that DPS should be at #4 so that the tanks can begin clearing areas #8 and #9.
Setting up the Final Fight
With your DPS positioned in the cannons at #4 and your healers positioned at the gates between area #8 and #4, it’s time for your tanks to clear area #8 and #9.
There is a single colossus at #8. Pull him to the gates and let the DPS take him down with the cannons. Following this, there are a pair of gate controls near the doorway to area #9. Activate each and the door opens.
The Parade Ground (#9) has a large squadron of Garleands, too many for you to face. In the back of the parade is a pair of ramps, each ramp has a warning signal (the red circle on the map). Clear the guards for each warning signal by aggroing them and then bringing them to the DPS at #4.
Do NOT trigger the warning signals until the groups have been pulled. Once the warning signals are triggered, the large formation of Garleands disperses. In its place, an airship begins bombing the area and two colossus come out. Bring the colossus to the DPS and take them out with the cannons.
At this point, the entire team should advance to area #9. Use ground cannons to destroy the airsihp. Once defeated, you are ready to enter the final boss fight.
Livia Sas Junius
Livia Sas Junius is the final boss of Castrum Meridianum. She begins the fight in a nearly invulnerable state atop a White Reaver. She does little damage in this stage, but also takes nearly no damage. Your first objective is to dismount her.
Fortunately, there are four missile launchers and two piles of ordinance nearby. You should split your team evenly, with four moving to the left pair of cannons and four to the right pair of cannons. Each pile of ordinance has an entity that can be activated to load the cannons. Take your time to load up each cannon before firing.
Once all four cannons are loaded, fire them at Livia Sas Junius. This will do about 50% damage to her. At this time, Garleand reinforcements will appear near the cannons and begin attacking them. It is important for each half of your team to quickly round up and dispatch the adds. As the adds are coming under control, return to loading the launchers and fire on Livia again.
Adds only spawn after missiles fire. Waiting to fire all the missiles at once causes all of the adds to spawn, but does so in a manner allowing you to group them up and burn them down. Firing cannons one at a time means you will have adds up throughout the stage.
Once Livia Sas Junius has taken enough damage, she dismounts her Reaver. At this point, your party is moved back to the entry of the battle arena, allowing you to regroup for the final fight.
The Final Stage
Livia has a series of area of effect attacks. In particular this includes a pbaoe knockback and a column attack with moderate damage. These are easily avoided.
The other, unavoidable, mechanic in this fight are the adds. Reinforcements will come in from around the arena and will focus fire on a single member of the team. Tanks can not acquire agro on these targets.
Instead, the focused player should bring the adds up to Livia. Healers should focus heal the targeted player. All other players should burn down the adds and then return focus on Livia.
During a late stage of the fight, a Colossus add comes with the Garleand Reinforcements. Have your secondary tank acquire the colossus and move it back to the large gate behind Livia’s starting point.