Eorzean Evening Post: Under The Moonlight

Patch 4.3 is just around the corner, as showcased in the recent Letter of the Producer Live by Final Fantasy XIV’s Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida and its Global Community Producer Toshio Murouchi. Carrying the title “Under the Moonlight”, this new patch brings us the latest addition to the Main Story Quest, which will likely be centered on Yotsuyu and her comeuppance prior to the events in the Stormblood. The new storyline was also noted to be the final leg and conclusion to the Doma chapter, which means we’ll most likely see some hefty transitions in terms of story. With all the sensitive reveals in the previous update, this makes me all the more excited to see what comes next.

FFXIV Live Letter XLIII

The update will bring a lot of new features, as well as a few balance changes to existing classes. The content is said to be segregated into small patches along the way, but the lineup looks promising thus far. Here are a few things that caught my eye during the FFXIV Live Letter XLIII.

In addition to the main scenario quest, we’ll also be getting another side quest for the Four Lords arc, which of course means having another intermediate 8-man fight like Byakko. It’s still unclear as to which of the four we’ll be facing next but the series of pictures suggest that we may get a proper Genbu 8-man raid. I would have preferred either Suzaku or Seiryu just for the sake of diversity, especially given the fact that we’ve already had a bout with the turtle back in Hell’s Lid; then again, his shenanigans there might prove interesting when exercised in a raid scenario. At least we know they aren’t short handing us when it comes to intermediate content. Furthermore, they’ve revealed that we will be getting a mystery trial in addition to the four lords, which will be kept secret until further notice. I may be wrong about this but I’m certain those who have finished the MSQ might have an idea on who it may be. If so, then I have no qualms with this choice whatsoever.

Want more of a challenge? The next Ultimate fight has finally been announced in the form of the Ultimate weapon. Looking back at the fight back in ARR, it does offer a lot of phases that could be tweaked well into something so frustratingly difficult. He does house the original 3 Primals, so we might get ultimate versions of Ifrit, Garuda, and Titan in the middle of the fight. Who knows? We may actually even see Golden Frieza—I mean, Gaius van Baelsar. Guess Alexander Ultimate won’t be coming any time soon.

Those looking for a bit of comic-relief will be happy to know that we’ll be getting more adventures with Hildibrand and his band of whacky mystery solvers in the coming month (or months, depending on where they squeeze it in). I honestly haven’t toucehd Hildi quests for quite a while, but I’ve been hearing a lot of hilarious things about them. Guess it’s time to pick up where I left off and be a Manderville man who does what a Manderville can.

Now that we’re here, let me get something off my chest—the Ananta beast tribe really creeped me out. Those blank dead eyes, that slithering movement *cringe*. There is no way anyone can convince me to place a snake lady NPC inside both my FC and personal house. With that said, gone are the days of pointless killing and traveling, not to mention the needless washing of bedsheets. The new update will bring us a new rep grind—I mean beast tribe in the form of the Namazu. This particular tribe will be centered on both crafters and gatherers, which is quite refreshing as our Eorzean entrepreneurs can finally have something that’s more suited to their expertise.

We will also be treated to more side quests that will continue the Doman Reconstruction. If you have not done it, I suggest starting the chain via Kozakura in the Doman Enclave. It’s a pretty quick and nice introduction to everything, so do try it out. I’m still unsure as to how it’s tied to the overall story, not to mention its relevance gameplay-wise, but I’m guessing it’s connected to the Namazu beast tribe quests given the Namazu found inside one of the jars within the Enclave. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a screenie.

Even now, I’m still of two minds about Eureka. It’s fun at times but gets terribly tedious when you’re aware of the time spent within its confines. Ah, Eureka… and I thought I would be rid of thee. Great news for weapon farmers though. Eureka will be getting its second update in the form of its Pagos Expedition soon, which was showcased to be a new snow filled land to explore. I’m actually glad that they are adding more areas for weapon farming. It’s a lot better than seeing the same dungeon over and over again, that’s for sure. Love it or hate it, I think Eureka has already proven itself to be better than the Diadem in terms of giving the player a purpose to traverse the land. Having it tied to the new living weapons was definitely a lot better in terms of player progress than simply doing it for the sake of weapons with randomized stats.

Patch 4.3 will also be bringing the next installment on the Return to Ivalice saga with its next 24-man raid, the Ridorana Lighthouse, which of course is made famous by Final Fantasy XII. The Alliance raid was also stated to have special quests that are exclusive to crafters and gatherers. We’ve yet to see anything of the sort, so I’m very excited to see how it pans out. In addition to that, certain changes have been implemented on the looting system which I found questionable at best. Upon the patch’s arrival, Alliance raids will no longer support the Need option for loot, and players are only subjected to Greed rolls for their weekly 24-man drops. I’m unsure what this particular decision of theirs will solve. Are they trying to get us to queue for it more? Queueing for this raid continuously until you see your desired item drop was stressful enough. Not everyone sports a 370 set, and it’s possibly the best gear non-raiders could attain until they grind enough tomes, not counting the fact that it could even be BiS for them without Savage gear. Isn’t that the reason we queue as a particular class regardless of queue times? I don’t know. It’s just a very odd move for me. Might as well queue as tank and spam greed until you get something.

We’re also getting another dungeon in the form of the Swallow’s Compass, which is the tomb found on the western side of Yanxia. I’ve always wondered when we’d be able to see more of it, as anything with big doors warrants exploration. The dungeon’s open aesthetic is very pleasing to look at and really piques my interest.

Now that we’ve come this far, it’s time to address the elephant in the room; I’m talking about the Final Fantasy XIV Companion App. I guess FFXIV’s April Fools stunt wasn’t all lies after all, as we will now be getting our first mobile app that connects to our respective accounts.

Upon installing, you’ll be prompted to choose a character to log in with while using the app, as well as an additional Favored Destination Aetheryte for reduced teleportation costs. You can either use this app for free or avail its premium plan for $5. You’ll be able to manage your inventory, as well as chat with fellow players on the go. The inclusion of in-game chat is somewhat useful, although with the likes of Discord being commonly used by players, it may just end up being a secondary communication tool. Perhaps the most useful feature in this app is the ability to check, Preview (opens in a new window), sell and buy items off the marketboard, which is done by using kupo nuts to order your moogle to make the transactions for you, an app only currency that is obtained via login bonuses. It’s also worth noting that premium users are given double their original saddle bag space and will be able to hire an additional retainer. Quite useful for heavy crafters. A lot of people seem to be deterred by how the premium plan offers these extra benefits, but I for one have no qualms with it. I’m not looking to use its premium services, but I really don’t think it’s as game breaking as some claim it will be. Anyway, the on-the-go chat and Favored Destination should be reason enough to download the app when it hits stores, even just for its free plan.

That’s a lot of awesome stuff on the way. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who’s heavily bored by the drought, so all these new features are a welcome sight for me. Patch 4.3 is scheduled to hit on the last week of May.

Also…

Twelve have mercy…

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Eorzean Evening Post: Tiers for the Fierce

It’s not hard to see how much Final Fantasy XIV has been streamlined upon the arrival of Stormblood, letting go of its once convoluted nature in favor of a more comprehensive system that does well in helping its players focus better on the actual fight instead of their classes’ quirks. The same could be said for both its end game raids and intermediate content, which seemed to have been made more accessible compared to their Heavensward counterparts (except for Creator, maybe). I had originally intended to write about this sooner, but Eureka got the best of me. Apologies, my fellow Eorzeans!

I was surprised at how easy it was to take down most of the Primals early on, with runs being easily salvageable, despite most of the party eating the floor. The likes of Susano’o, Lakshmi, or even the recently released Byakko were a far cry from Ravana or the Warring Triad, who weren’t as lenient when it comes to punishing mistakes. A tad disappointing for players who expected more of a challenge from FFXIV’s latest expansion, but it’s a welcome change, considering how it effectively opens the gate for new adventurers, properly pacing them towards harder content without overwhelming spikes in difficulty.

Weeks after mindless ‘doggo’ mount farming, we were finally given a taste of Deltascape (Savage), which was very different from Heavensward’s raids. We had a designated action button that allowed us to boost ourselves from the ground (O2S), as well as a fourth-wall-breaking “The Game” mechanic that made us position ourselves in squares containing our role symbols (O3S). Regardless of it being questionably easier than what we were catered to in the last expansion, Deltascape felt fresh and greeted us with mish-mash of mechanics we’ve yet seen combined.

Of course, what was once new will eventually become the norm, and we were once again left with recycled mechanics like gaze, moving AOEs, and the everyday stack and spread. And with Patch 4.2 then on the horizon, we wondered if we will ever see something different in this sea of repetition.

Enter Sigmascape, FFXIV’s latest raid tier themed from the hailed installment that is Final Fantasy VI. I had good hopes for this raid tier, especially given the prestigious pedestal it drew inspiration from. Suffice to say, Sigmascape was looking great during its first week, feeling as fresh as the former tier in terms of mechanics. But how exactly did it fare in the long run? Let’s find out.

 

How to Train your Phantom

I immediately got excited after hearing about the Phantom Train being the first encounter in Sigmascape. We haven’t had an interesting first fight in a while, so I found it necessary to hope that it won’t end up as boring as Alte Roite. To my surprise, the fight did great in mimicking the actual encounter found in the classic RPG, minus the player’s ability to suplex the ghastly locomotive. For a start, the fight took place on a moving platform, emphasizing the movement found in the original encounter. Most of the boss’ skills from FFVI were also properly implemented as raid mechanics, with players having to dodge moving ghosts and the scar beams (spotlights) that mildly tracks before activating.

We also weren’t stuck on a single platform, which was a breath of fresh air since both the first encounters of the last two tiers were very contained fights. Regardless of difficulty, I enjoyed the visual spectacle of having to jump on the train’s back (or top) to take out its chimney, as well as being dragged into its passenger car right after. It’s a bit sad that they never patched the strategy where only one player goes in to take out a ghost. Despite it making the fight faster and more efficient, I kinda enjoyed seeing three different areas in one fight.

Alas, the fight still sits well with me after downing it on a weekly basis. Despite its RNG getting in the way of uptime for some players, Phantom train persists as one of my most enjoyed fights in Stormblood’s savage lineup.

 

Chadar-noob

I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed about the Chadarnook fight, especially after the brilliant pacing showcased by the previous scuffle. If there’s anything O6S raiders will tell you, it’s that it’s much easier than the Phantom train. Indeed the normal mode took some time to learn over O5, but its Savage format was merely just a few mechanics different from its normal counterpart. I would even go as far as to say that it’s perhaps the easiest Savage fight ever. During progression, it did not take us long to realize that everything was a scripted dance. There was very little RNG involved, and the adjustments needed were easily handled and were addressed in an almost free-form manner. It also didn’t help that some of the mechanics were very easy to cheese, all thanks to Hallowed ground eating the stack marker.

Regardless of difficulty though, the paintings were unlike anything I’ve ever seen in the recent raids, so it does get some points for creativity. Following the ‘now’ trend of the second fight having a designated mechanics button, players are to walk on paint to brush and activate buffs from portraits. Having the Siren portrait in the middle was also a good choice, encouraging teams to assign paint carriers during the Demon’s Lullaby.

Unfortunately, it did not do much to resemble the original encounter, as FFVI’s Chadarnook fight merely consisted of the painting changing forms. Given the considerable simplicity of the original, they did well in creating a unique set of mechanics for it, with the team activating paintings in reaction to the Demon and Goddess’ mechanic. I do wish they integrated the two switching more instead of the Goddess being an untouchable entity on the field, as doing so would have added more depth to such an easy encounter. While the masochist in me would have wanted more portrait-related RNG to make this a worthy second fight, it still an enjoyable encounter. Or at least one that just lets me FIRE IV all way.

RDM woes: I really hate how the boss must be face-pulled to activate the encounter. Just a pet peeve, I know, but it really is frustrating to have to wait for the fight to start. Jolt II Opener? No thanks! *Switches to Black Mage.

 

Guardian

A fitting gate before the final bout, O7S pitted us against the Guardian, who carried with him a bunch of familiar skills from the original encounter. It was interesting how the developers managed to integrate his program gimmick into the raid, with Dadaluma, Air Force, and Ultros unleashing a series of mechanics in rapid succession. Ultima, sadly, was replaced by Bibliotaph, but it’s not too bad as we did get the beast itself in Fractal Continuum (Hard).

The Guardian was a bit more lenient when it came to uptime compared to O3S’ Halicarnassus. It had relatively good pacing which allowed most classes to shine and worry more about the fight rather than their rotations. The fight had a lot of things to watch out for, as well as a returning Allagan Rot debuff reminiscent of the Binding Coil of Bahamut’s Turn 2. I really enjoyed this fight a lot more than Deltascape’s third boss, perhaps due to the lack of mechanics that render you unable to attack or function. You’re almost always in control, without the fear of those random switcheroos.

The many programs were interesting and all, but the true star of this fight would have to be the missiles, which once again carried the same bullet hell feel patch 4.2 had featured on its previous fights (namely, Byakko and the ghosts from O5S). It’s fun seeing new things to dodge, and getting hit by one just felt so mockingly painful, you’d want to pay more attention to it. Michael Bay would be proud.

 

Kefka Palazzo

And finally, we have the evil clown himself. Even now, I still don’t know if I enjoyed this fight, or if it was any better than the dodge simulator that was Neo Exdeath. Much like O4S, the fight is divided into two parts, with God Kefka emerging after you drop Kefka’s health down to fifty-nine percent.

kefka sigmascape

Kefka’s core mechanic comes from his Mana Release, which are a series of familiar raid hazards that are either dealt with normally or in reverse depending on whether Kefka is lying or not. This is indicated by the appearance of a question mark or lack thereof on top of Kefka’s head. A very tricky mechanic, but one that’s easily avoidable if everyone pays attention as they are just reskinned versions of what we have already seen thus far.

Other gimmicks such as Gaze, half room AOEs, and pushbacks are weaved into these tricky deathzones, which at times force melee users out of range. Regardless of how it complements Kefka’s lying nature and the overall difficulty of the encounter, most of his mechanics were simple at best. The Statue of the Gods (Tower) also makes an appearance but is very conservative regarding its involvement.

In terms of mechanics, I personally find ExDeath to be much more challenging due to the movement and placements involved; however, Kefka definitely wins in the DPS check department.

 

Dancing Mad

After the hard-won fight with his mortal self, we were finally able to bring out the final phase of this encounter in the form of God Kefka. The game tugged hard at my fandom as soon as Dancing Mad played at the start of the fight. Much like FFVI’s final battle, Kefka gains access to skills such as Heartless Angel, Trine, Forsaken, Hyperdrive, Meteor, and Ultima, which were all sewn together as a beautiful dance of mechanics.

Tip: Trine’s deathzones are deceivingly large.

The main difference between God Kefka and Neo Exdeath for me was the overall focus of each fight. While Neo focused more on vanishing and giving players mechanics to dodge in his absence, God Kefka centered more on gradually bombarding you with small but frequent bursts of mechanics that get in the way of your uptime. Kefka is within reach for a huge duration of the encounter, and you’re almost always greeted with ample time to hit him back after adjusting yourself for each mechanic. It’s this form of methodical precision that I enjoy in FFXIV’s raids, and I’m glad they brought it back after Deltascape.

kefka sigmascape

This form, to say the least, becomes a clusterfluff of mechanics that’s more intimidating than it actually is hard. Things do hurt more and a lot of healing is required, but that’s more or less the norm for the final fight of a tier. I honestly believe that Neo Exdeath felt very different from the other raids in the game. It felt more akin to a play that must be carried out with little to no combat instead of the precision-based DPS dance I’ve come to know in FFXIV. The latter is exactly what God Kefka is, and I’m very happy with how the fight turned out. God Kefka is very fun fight to end Sigmascape with.

 

If Its Not Broke, Don’t Fix It

I’ve had a discussion with a couple of MMO players about how FFXIV’s raiding fares in its current state. Most of them argued that it lacked new significant mechanics, with us getting the same reskinned hazards to watch out for every tier. In a way, they are correct. The game is indeed giving us a lot of recycled content. It’s like they just jumbled yesteryear’s mechanics into different sequences to keep them from feeling old.

I still think that Stormblood was made with new players in mind, and the inevitable inclusion of overused mechanics were more of a conscious approach to help tier content better for newer players, making their past experiences more meaningful. We could also argue that the dev team’s running low on creativity juice, but it seems that they’ve yet to give up on raiding innovation given the birth of bullethell mechanics in 4.2.

sigmascape

Just to make it clear, Sigmascape as a whole wasn’t the groundbreaking raid experience I was hoping for, especially as a FFVI fan. It had its shining moments and was absolutely fun during our progression period, but all that excitement just waned a little earlier than expected. It might be due to the fact that we’ve been playing this game for a long time, but that only shows how the game tries so little to break free from its traditions with regards to raiding.

Was Sigmascape fun? Yes, it was! Could it have been better? Indeed. We’ll most likely get the last leg of Stormblood’s raid tier next, provided that they followed the previous expansion’s format. Regardless of my various pet peeves regarding this one, I’m still very much excited to see what comes next.

A big thank you to the 8-Wonders static (Tonberry). Cheers!

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Eorzean Evening Post: Eureka Grinding

Fun comes first! If it isn’t fun, you’re doing it wrong—these are words taken from one of Naoki Yoshida’s slides during his presentation back in GDC 2014, indicating what they have learned throughout the development process of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. I’ve reflected a lot on this before writing this piece, especially given the community’s vocal distaste upon the arrival of what seems to be the successor to both the Diadem and Anima weapons—the Forbidden land, Eureka. Was it really that bad?

As a longtime player, I’ve gradually asked myself if something was bad or if I’m simply too jaded after having endured its myriad of recycled content to appreciate it. Final Fantasy XIV has been my go-to MMO for many years now, and though it still keeps me invested with its steady stream of content and storylines there’s no denying that any game, no matter how good, can only do so much to surprise its longtime players. I imagine this to be the case for many users out there who feel that the game is getting stale, despite it still being a beautiful and amazing game for newcomers. We only get more critical about things the more time we spend on a game, after all, getting more and more perceptive with regards to its flaws and shortcomings.

I’ve entered Eureka and have had my fair share of its, uhh, splendor, which is what prompted me to convey my opinion on the matter. With that said, these are my thoughts on patch 4.25’s weapon grind.

Eureka is Boring(?)

I’m still not certain as to why the devs are still pushing this idea of a remote place full of monsters, not to mention a leveling system that’s completely separate from the rest of the game. To be frank, both incarnations of the Diadem was very boring for me and I was already questioning my choice to queue after a few hours of that Eureka exp crawl. It felt like a very dated MMO built using FFXIV’s graphics engine, with Eureka resembling that of Final Fantasy XI’s. You go out with your party, slay as many monsters as you can, upgrade your Elemental stats/level, and wait for the Notorious Monster (a.k.a. pit bosses) to spawn. To make matters worse, players lose exp or level down upon dying after reaching level 6. We all knew it was going to be a grind, but who would have thought we’d be grinding old school, right? While it does have its merits, seeing as this is a way to bridge both games together, it felt more grindy and brainless.

Much to my dismay, it’s a shame that the first step of the new Relic is tied to this. The glow on the upgraded Artifact gear seemed too beautiful to pass up—not to mention the fact that this may very well be best-in-slot for Ultimate Coil of Bahamut, unless you want crappy stats with your Diamonds.

The Question

I’ve been thinking—Is Eureka really uninspired content or are we just jaded after years of grinding Relics? Most players grinded for their living weapons since the first Relic was introduced in ARR (Remember Atma farming?). Three-hundred Garuda runs and the surplus of light farming have been all but one of the many gameplay tortures we’ve had to endure just to bring our weapons to the next level, so what makes this any different?

Eureka Grinding

Stormblood has brought us a series of improvements that really made us look forward to what they were going to revamp next. We got toggled switches in raids, creative fights, and a better UI to suit our job of choice. I’m guessing that everyone looked forward to how they would address the next weapon grind, only to find that it didn’t change much—or did it?

It Was An Improvement!

Now before you send killer bees to sting the life out of my eyes, please grant me the opportunity to explain myself as to what I think Eureka did right over the past Relic grinds.

Firstly, Eureka is a brand new world. I know it’s not the most innovative feature brought out by FFXIV’s dev team, but it certainly isn’t what I would call uninspired. To be honest, it’s a lot more creative than simply just making us queue for already existing dungeons that we were all happy to be rid of upon having new dungeons in Duty Roulette: Expert. What we have here is a world that not only makes the grind simpler but much more effective for group play as well. While not the most enticing approach to make players build their weapons, I’d say it’s still worth a shot. It might actually be more bearable than the number of times you’ve had to queue for the Fractal Continuum.

The next improvement would be the ability to switch classes on the fly. Anima grinds had the tendency to make you sick of your main class, which likely made you consider if you even wanted to grind with that class to begin with. I consider Relic farming to be the most effective way to get sick of your main, which was actually the reason why I switched to Black Mage. I mean, it’s true that doing these tasks with your mains only makes you more proficient in handling it, but damn is it boring! It’s not like a few more overgeared runs of First of the Father: Savage will make you a better player, right?

Finally, we have the ability to queue solo. Being able to just jump inside Eureka without a fixed party is a welcome thing for me. Building Relics without the much-loved tank and healer queues were such a pain back then as DPS, which prompted me to just go for Nirvana and Sindri. The Twelve know how painful it was to add more wait time to an already hefty Fractal Continuum grind, and Eureka addresses that by allowing players to queue in solo and just look for a party once on board, just like those Hunt chains.

The Problems

I think there is no need to emphasize how boring Eureka grinding is, given the many threads you’re bound to come across all over the internet at this point. Playing devil’s advocate to my earlier points regarding Eureka being an improvement, it tends to get in the way by preventing people from earning exp when paired with high-level players. Yes, I do understand that it works the same way in Eorzea and across various content but we never had that problem back when doing our Anima or Relic weapons. Regardless of how far ahead your weapon’s ‘light’ was, you’re still able to get something when paired with users with little to no light. In other words, you’re not deadending yourself by just helping people unless you’re literally done with it. This for me felt a little contrary to what could have been a catalyst for a better farming experience with friends and FC mates. Remember, Eureka isn’t the main game but a ploy for Anemos weapon farming, so I don’t see why the segregation was necessary. Could this also mean that starting your weapon late would screw you over? Might as well wait for them to nerf the requirements, if ever.

Another thing I found iffy about Eureka was how it does so little to contribute whatsoever to the main game. What I mean by this is how Relic and Anima prompted experienced players to do older less-played dungeons, thus keeping it played enough for newer players to have people to queue with. Garuda felt very much alive during ARR due to this, contributing to the overall census of players keeping content alive. I mean the chunk of people doing DR: Main Scenario Quest have lessened drastically after the implementation of unskippable cutscenes, so surely it would have been a better idea to implement something that uses its story dungeons like ‘Ala-Mhigo’ than simply separating those in the end game from new players further.

Final Thoughts

I’m not by any means trying to cover up for Eureka’s shortcomings. I still think it’s quite boring, possibly even more than the dreaded Diadem or other Relic farms. This new system is a far cry from the improved experience we’ve come to expect from a Stormblood installment, and the players’ reactions prove it. What also sucks is the fact that grinding there is mandatory for our future BiS weapon.

Again, “Fun comes first! If it isn’t fun, you’re doing it wrong.” You just have to wonder—did they do it wrong, or are we just not enjoying it right? Eureka is a grind, but it was no different from the other weapon farms that came before it. It’s not like doing old content while overgeared was any less brainless than what we have today. We don’t prize our Relics and Anima for the enjoyment we felt while making them, but the sheer hard work and lengthy grind we’ve had to endure just to see it in its final form. If you want that glow and the BiS goodness it brings on its later stages (or just for glamour), better get started.

Look on the bright side. At least we have more Hildibrand!

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Eorzean Evening Post: Just FFXIV Things

Ah, Final Fantasy XIV—where to even begin? Ever wonder why Lalafells run from Culinarians? What about where Ramuh’s beard grows from? We’ve got you covered. Every MMO has its own unique set of quirks, each stemming from the community’s various experiences in their game of choice. FFXIV is no different, with a gratuitous amount of highlighted features that are bound to catch you off guard. Despite having played a myriad of MMOs in the past, most of the craziness showcased by Eorzeans still brought me in a state of disbelief. Why are the big races wearing mog caps and subligars? Why did people laugh at the Dragoon who died? It makes me laugh whenever a new face shows up and is completely taken aback by said oddities. It really brings me back to the time I myself was shaken by the Eorzean norm. Of course, these stereotypes have been ingrained into my very being over time, now having donned the figurative banner of this land after having lived in it for more than a couple of years.

Before we begin, I’d like to state that this article is one hundred percent legit, and there is no reason for anyone to doubt our claims as most of the items on this list are provided by Eorzean specialists. Twas as if Louisoix Leveilleur himself hath given us this information. Alright, fine! This article is mainly for fun, and it’s a lot better than channeling an angry mob to try and rip out my throat. Please don’t rip out my throat, I’m heavily attached to it.

Well, now that I’ve cleared my conscience, let’s begin!

 

Glamour is True Endgame

“What are you doing?”
“Farming Skalla for the blasted robe… it’s been 50 runs!”

If there’s anything more frustrating than the abusive work of the devil that is Fishing back in Heavensward (or Ultimate Coil of Bahamut), it’s the unending dilemma of what to wear on the field and the grind that comes with it. Everyone wants to look their best, whether while crafting, fighting, or just sitting around near the FC house. It’s precisely that lust for style that the higher-ups in Square Enix exploit to no end. This means that players will be investing a chunk of their time grinding new and old content to avail its exclusive glamour sets. Despite having very outdated stats, Anima weapon farmers are still at large, keeping the memory of the old expansion alive. A lot of work you say? Indeed it is, but it’s one grind you’ll be subjected to once your need for glamour surfaces (and believe me, it will). Square Enix has us by the balls on this one. If you need more proof, just look at your Mogstation history.

 

‘Popotos’ are Ingredients

Everyone has a purpose in Eorzea. As Warriors of Light, it is our duty to save this realm, charging into battle with our resolve steeled by the power of the Crystal. Life as a savior of the land can be pretty tough, and what better way to soothe those aching muscles than having a nice soup made from the finest Lalafell around? Lalafells are a special Eorzean race. They jump really high, run really fast, and turn into fancy planes when trained in the art of Ninjutsu. You enjoy having them on your lap, petting them when they’re sad, but let’s not forget that this special race has but one purpose in life—and that is to get cooked… in high temperatures no less. I’ve seen many new Lalafells running out and about, fearing for their lives, unaware of the lengthy levels of abuse they signed up for after donning the Lalafellin hide in the character creation screen. No need to worry my fellow Eorzeans! They breed like rabbits, so famine won’t be a problem anytime soon.

Apologies, my little delicacies! The Twelve wisheth to have thee partake in thine role as vegetables.

 

Your First Titan Landslide

“Hah! I totally saw that comi—WHAM!—This is BS!”

Nothing says “Welcome to Final Fantasy XIV” better than getting hit by your first Titan landslide after attempting to land one final hit as it finishes casting. Unlike most MMOs, FFXIV boss skills are tied to the cast bar instead of the actual animation. This takes most new players by surprise, especially after eating something they saw themselves dodge. It’s frustrating at first, but it does increase a player’s level of awareness when dealing with Primals or the more difficult encounters. It still warrants a lot of laughs when someone does get hit though, especially when everyone’s all serious. This problem persists across content and often results in new players second-guessing or stuttering in fear of when the boss snapshots their location. Always be sure to use the focus target function and watch out for that cast bar.

Speaking of cast bars—

 

Muh Ley Lines!

SEGUE!

Black Mages are strong and independent and we won’t adjust for anyone. We do oodles of damage while being far from your cute little buffs and healing (Oh God, please don’t believe me). Seven hells, we have our own buff in the form of our Ley lines! For those who are unaware, Black Mages can cast down a magic circle that allows them to cast faster whilst standing within its confines. Awesome, right? I love my Ley lines, so much in fact that I will never leave it until it expires—is what I would say if every boss in the game didn’t plant their death puddles on it every damn time. Nothing in this game hurts more than casting away at your foes while looking at the fire pool you’ve inevitably planted your Ley lines on. The best comparison I can give for Boss AOEs is like that of a flying cockroach. You know their trajectory is random, but it’s 100% going to land on you and your Ley lines.

 

Crafting 101: The Laws of RNGsus

Crafting isn’t for everyone, but we can’t deny the fact that FFXIV’s crafting is revolutionary for MMO gaming, even by today’s standards. It’s like an entire game of its own, acting like a mini puzzle that’s methodically solved by pressing the right sequence of buttons—or by simply browsing around for the latest crafting macro (*glare). Ah, just look at that beautiful pentamelded set. The Twelve knows how much your wallet has suffered due to your rotten melding luck, heck, you may have already spent all your earnings from the previous tier. Hush! It’s fine, because you’re now geared enough to craft the harder recipes—after you make food for yourself, that is. Oh my! Ninety-six percent quality and only one more move left? I guess you’ll just have to finish synthesizing it. I mean, there’s no way the RNG Gods are going to screw you over like the last few times it gave you normal quality items for a quality rating that’s only a few digits less than a hundred, right?

Sucker!

LOLDrg

Dragoons are awesome, and I can understand why so many players gravitate towards the class. They hit hard, soar through the air, and backflips great distances to slay their prey. But if you’re an aspiring DRG thinking that your role is to dive down from the sky with the grace of a swan, then you are terribly mistaken. Dragoons are expert at tanking—the floor, to be precise. Indeed, the DRGs in-game are in no way similar to how they were portrayed in the Heavensward opening cinematic—well, maybe except the ones that jumped and got eaten. Worry not about your glorious uptime, for you will eventually find a way to kill yourself mid-fight, whether it’s through kissing-the-line AOE or dead-ending yourself inside a death puddle. Fret not, however, as Dragoons are also built with an invisible luck stat that allows you to win loot rolls even after contributing close to nothing throughout the encounter. I salute thee!

 

Fantasia Is A Drug Addiction

I’ve always thought of myself as someone who would stick with my original look until the very end but after a year or so, my Hyur was no longer cutting it. That’s when it hit me—the need for that luxurious feeling of your body contorting as it grows a new tail, scales, or have it shrink down to the size of an overgrown popoto. I’m, of course, talking about the wonders of Fantasia, a vile cursed drink that leaves its user in final-form limbo, with little to no appreciation for their current form. This evil concoction is highly addictive, and will not only force you to readjust your many glamours, but consume what’s left of your precious Crysta as well.

Fantasia addiction has become quite rampant in the land of Eorzea, hooking more and more citizens with each passing day. I can only imagine the surge in Fantasia purchases if ever Yoshi P unveils a new race for the next expansion (Viera, anyone?). At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if 60% of Square Enix’s fiscal year earnings come from Fantasia addiction.

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Eorzean Evening Post: Tips For New FFXIV Players

Final Fantasy XIV is now hailed as one of the most played subscription-based MMORPGs of all time, boasting over 10 million players in the land of Eorzea. The game has really come a long way since relaunching as A Realm Reborn, though just as with other MMOs, this amount of depth is often what deters some people from picking up the game. This was made more apparent upon the arrival of the game’s first expansion, Heavensward, which saw the rise of the game’s more convoluted battle systems.

While I, as a veteran player, enjoyed its complexity, it was obvious that its new-found depth proved to be quite a struggle for new and returning players seeing as they would have to digest these changes with so little time to adjust from ARR, even discarding job fundamentals upon reaching the later levels. Free-running Bards would suddenly be given cast bars and Black Mages would sport a crucial buff that had to be refreshed in three different cycles. At the time, FFXIV had become a game that left new players in the dark, greeting them with tremendous difficulty spikes either through its myriad of endgame content or their job of choice.

The experience has improved for new players over time, with the game currently offering the likes of Hall of the Novice and the Novice Network which encourages more of a community-oriented approach to learning and teaching. If you’re looking to play FFXIV, now is perhaps the best time to start. With Stormblood’s massive draw on the MMO population, I figured it’d be best to help new FFXIV players understand the game a little better. Enclosed is a list of pointers I hope you find useful as you go along. You’ve already made the choice to play it, so now let’s help you learn it!

Learn to Fight

Seeing as combat became the focal point of challenge for new players during the last expansion, I think it would be proper to address this first. Stormblood made countless changes to the game upon its arrival, removing most of the game’s convoluted skills in favor of a more streamlined approach. The game offers a series of basic tutorials via the Hall of the Novice challenges, which gives an instanced step-by-step breakdown on how to play each role. These challenges also award you with some sweet beginner gear, as well as a ring that grants +30% EXP for any class you are leveling below level 30. Players can access the Halls simply by visiting any of the key locations below after reaching level 15.

  • New Gridania (x11,y13)
  • Limsa Lominsa Upper Decks (x11,y11)
  • Ul’dah – Steps of Nald (x11.8,y:9)
  • South Shroud (x19,y18)
  • Central Shroud (x10,y22)
  • Central Shroud (x19,y28)
  • Western La Noscea (x28,y24)
  • Western Thanalan (x27,y16)
  • Eastern Thanalan (x14,y30)

Though efficient in running you through the basics, FFXIV still tends to be confusing for players upon reaching current content. You may think that you have your class all figured out at level 69, only to be surprised at how drastic the changes are upon reaching level 70. With that said, always be sure to read up on your job’s mandatory rotations, mechanics, and skill descriptions upon unlocking them—your group will thank you for it. Even when doing easy content, having a party member that knows what they are doing will always lead to a smoother run.

Side Quests Aren’t Just For EXP

Contrary to what most players from other MMOs are used to, a chunk of FFXIV’s content is locked behind side quests. You’ll find that even the most mundane features such as glamours (transmogrification), aesthetician (hairstylist), and even the ability to dye can only be accessed after finishing their respective storylines. This can be frustrating as most of these features are normally available on the fly in other MMOs but I suppose it adds up to the game’s story-driven nature. You could choose to unlock them at a later time, but believe me when I say that you don’t want to add more stuff to your already lengthy backlog.

Side quests that unlock hidden content sport a slightly different quest marker, as indicated by the picture above. Also note that even dungeons are hidden behind these missions, and are required to unlocking one of the endgame Daily Roulettes, so hop to it!

Crafting Misconceptions

Unlike most MMO games, FFXIV lets players level all jobs using a single character, allowing them to switch to whatever is needed at a given time. This applies to crafters as well, with each class offering a unique set of skills that can be shared with your other jobs to optimize your chances of crafting High Quality items. A decent crafting life demands that you level all your crafters, which is actually a lot easier than it sounds.

Grinding crafts are made easy through the game’s Guildleves, which are a set of repeatable quests that draws from your gradually refilling leve allowance. You can also do your daily Grand Company turn-ins for a gratuitous amount of EXP every day. These quests mostly consist of just bringing (x) items to an NPC so it’s not that hard, albeit a bit expensive depending on the materials. Keep in mind that using high quality items will double the EXP rewards for both. If you’re feeling lazy, you can always just level all your crafters to 50 and proceed to level the three classes you wish to specialize in thereafter. Then again, why not just be a jack of all trades instead of having to buy an ingredient you can’t craft?

Both crafting and gathering are full games on their own as far as I’m concerned, and I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun with it. Good luck, and happy crafting!

Map Exploration and Hunting Linkshells

Exploring maps is quite crucial in this game, especially when you’re planning to do hunts, which consists of boss monsters spawning across multiple areas and must be taken down by a large group of players. Killing these monsters earn you a number of tomes, as well as the game’s hunt currency which you can spend on various helpful items. Later in the game, you will be prompted to track and interact with a bunch of Aether currents per map. Note that these are mandatory for you to be able to fly around the zones containing them, and will greatly benefit you in the long run.

Whether it’s doing treasure maps or joining a hunt, it’s always best to have the ability to fly to your destination rather than have your party ‘uber’ or wait for you to run to the specific location. You would also benefit from joining a Hunt Linkshell, which is a separate chat room where players can link boss locations, as well as updates on whether said bosses are still alive. These Linkshells are pretty easy to find, and you can probably just ask around for an invite.

Should Healers DPS?

Sorry! I really had to think hard about whether or not to include this, but ended up wanting to give my two cents on the matter for aspiring healers. Both new and old healers often find themselves subjected to this little debate, one that addresses whether or not the role should deal damage while keeping everyone up. Stormblood has made this a lot easier with the removal of the MIND and INT stat-swapping Cleric Stance, making it easier to land a flurry of hits while topping up your party. FFXIV becomes a DPS-heavy game upon reaching its endgame content, with enrage mechanics that wipe your party after a certain period of time.

This means that even tanks must switch out of their aggro stances to deal additional damage, especially during progression where DPS checks are present. In terms of Healer DPS, I would say go with whatever you feel is natural at first. You are not compelled to DPS for dungeons and intermediate content while learning them, but constantly challenge yourself to see how many hits you can land—your contribution will really go a long way. I know it’s frustrating, but keep in mind that FFXIV is an entirely different game altogether, and the only way to really get better at it is to accept the game for what it is, whether or not it coincides with what you’ve done in other MMOs.

One Last Thing

Just as with other MMOs, you may find yourself subjected to various criticisms as a newbie, as well as some negative attention that you might find rather rude while learning the game. This, I think, is brought about by the game’s steep learning curve, which proves to be quite a hurdle for those who have just started with FFXIV as their first MMORPG. With that, my last tip would be to just do your best and try not to let it bother you. Keep in mind that all newbies are susceptible to making mistakes, especially in a game that doesn’t hold your hand while you play. Everyone’s a newbie at some point, so should you be told that you’re doing something wrong, analyze the situation and just try to take it as a learning experience.

new FFXIV players

“You don’t pay my sub!”

Enjoy the game and don’t be afraid to ask questions from your respective Free Companies or friends who have played longer. I’m certain Mentors from the Novice channel will also be glad to aid you with the various troubles ahead.

I really hope that you found these tips helpful, and wish you all the best throughout your journey. Final Fantasy XIV is an amazing game, and I hope you enjoy your stay.

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Eorzean Evening Post: Deltascrapped

Greetings, fellow Eorzeans—oh, where are my manners? My name is Sena, and I will be your new columnist for the Eorzean Evening Post, running alongside the ongoing Echoes of Eorzea. Starting today, I will humbly place myself at your service, delivering my thoughts on current content as much as the Twelve would allow. Before we scurry over to content, please allow me to give a brief introduction, as well as a short tale as to how the game has earned my love as a player.

Final Fantasy was never a title I would associate with my youth, and while I have enjoyed the likes of Chrono Trigger and other games associated with what was then known as Squaresoft, Final Fantasy was not one of them. My journey started as early as 2.0, which was more of an impulse buy after getting burned out on World of Warcraft. With no level of familiarity towards the franchise, I found myself dropping it moments after reaching the first Ifrit fight. I am more inclined to play fighting games than other genres, but there was something about FFXIV that constantly badgered me to renew my subscription, almost like it’s calling me—and no, it wasn’t cat girls.

Okay, fine! Maybe it was the cat girls…

I made my way back shortly after the implementation of the Dreams of Ice patch (2.4), starting fresh and embracing the story and fight mechanics more. Sure enough, I couldn’t stop playing after taking it all in, jumping straight into Eorzea and looking for more things to do after a long day’s work. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn was more than just a great MMO for me, it was the catalyst that sparked my love for a franchise I hadn’t paid attention to since its conception. Soon, I found myself playing a myriad of Final Fantasy games, further familiarizing myself with its colorful set of characters and the job system which I so adored in XIV. Eorzea is perhaps the most immersive world I’ve come across in my entire gaming life, tugging at my heart with its rich lore and endearing characters. Like you, I have faced numerous foes, bested powerful Primals, and yet was still the most useless person in the Sultana’s banquet. ‘Sloppy’! I love this game, and consider it a great honor to be able to write about it.

The Land Is Alive, So Believe

We are currently in the third week of patch 4.2, Rise of A New Sun, and it has yet to disappoint with its rich content that most players have barely covered. It’s almost comforting to hear the hustle and bustle echoing from the walls of Rhalgr’s Reach, as well as the houses of inactive Free Companies that had laid dormant during the drought. It’s these updates that really breathe life back into their respective MMO worlds, providing us with the satisfying feeling of having to climb a new tower of content. I easily become overwhelmed by new content, as I tend to get as excited as a kid with a free-pass to all theme park rides. You just don’t know where to start. Luckily, the patch’s trailer set my priorities straight, sending me floating down to Gyr Abania for a shot at Sigmascape. Sadly, the transition wasn’t seamless with players getting booted out of mandatory cutscenes, denying them access to the new raid.

Omega: Deltascrapped (Few Fight Spoilers Ahead)

Just as Deltascape’s lineup consisted of bosses from Final Fantasy V, Sigmascape encounters hailed from the much-loved Final Fantasy VI. It did a fine job of recycling old mechanics while keeping things fresh by weaving twists and new abilities in between. This, of course, made us all the more excited about their Savage counterpart because, I feel that, the former lost its appeal far too early. The first week was not very fruitful, with a series of server maintenances and connection issues on top of having to learn each fight. Luckily, we were able to beat V3.0S in the first week and have begun progression on 4.0S on the last few days of the second one. The experience Sigmascape brought was exquisitely superior to its tiered predecessor from a learning standpoint, mostly because of how different it felt on the whole. One thing that often bugs me at the start of each raid is how the game reuses most of its mechanics from older fights, be it through markers or concepts. There will always be an eye to look away from, a stack marker to run in, and a tether to break; luckily, Sigmascape showcases new things more than it recycles.

Sigmascape V1.0 Savage was definitely the best way to kickstart the tier, with the encounter loosely contained on a single platform. Being able to jump on top of the train and getting kidnapped by ghosts was a nice touch, brushing off the trend of fights taking place within a fixed arena. The fight encouraged an entry level of team coordination, with ghosts that must be led into puddles of light to prevent them from taking allies inside the passenger cart. The Phantom train’s presentation was top notch, with its gimmicks akin to recoverable setbacks instead of outright killing you. It succeeds in portraying the speedy theme of the encounter, emphasizing the illusion of being pressed for time while the boss tries its best to stall you. Looking back, I can say for certain that Alte Roite had nothing on this fight. The only thing I disliked about it is the fact that you can’t suplex the damn thing.

I remember being both dumbfounded and entertained when Deltascape’s Halicarnassus used “The Game” in one of her phases. It was fourth-wall breaking but greatly cemented how different Stormblood’s raids are compared with Alexander. Sigmascape continues this creative streak by bringing us more activated mechanics and another instance-specific button. V2.0S was pretty fun in its own right, even though it was a little bit easier than the previous fight. In addition to the paintings already present on normal mode, the Savage version adds paint and a Siren painting into the mix. The fight was more like a simple dance with highly manageable RNG, which was a tad disappointing. The normal version gave me the impression that we’d be dealing with some intense RNG paint combinations; sadly, the fight was pretty straightforward, with most party members having little interaction with said paintings outside of activating the water buff. Still, what it lacked in difficulty it surely made up for with creativity. Timing the brushes for mechanics and flying around in mini planes was a treat, and I don’t think we’ve had someone ride a contraption that pushes or pulls bombs away from the party since Alexander’s second fight. I had a lot of fun learning V2.0S, and hope they continue adding more interactable arenas like this in the future.

Sigmascape

Janitor mastery: Wiping the floor since ARR

If there’s anything Sigmascape shares with the previous tier, it’s how the difficulty spikes from 2S to 3S. The Guardian fight teaches us that humanity is not ready for such breakneck speeds. I’m of course referring to the missiles, which becomes frustratingly forgettable when paired with a couple of mechanics. Hell hath no fury like a raid group wiping to missiles at around three percent. It was this fight that shattered the glass on what the patch brought more than anything else—BULLET HELL. It’s almost as if Yoshi P was playing Touhou one day and immediately jotted down “active dodging” on his patch planner. This is made even more evident by the Byakko fight, which gave off a Nier Automata vibe. Admittedly, I enjoyed having to dodge these projectiles. It was a fine way to test a group’s attentiveness and greatly increases the tension of having to perform the simple tasks sandwiched in between. The copy/paste part also gave us a bit of trouble, making us store a certain mechanic at the back of our heads whilst watching out for its other gimmicky moves. From a difficulty standpoint, I would say that the Guardian gave us a harder time than Deltascape’s Halicarnassus, though it’s a fight I definitely liked more.

Clutch victory

Moving on to 4.0S, Kefka played with our senses early on, with him bombarding us with a series of AOE/stack markers that could be either fake or real, similar to his Normal counterpart. Think of it as a harder version of the “Truth and Lie” mechanic from Rabanastre. I’m quite fond of how Stormblood cuts these final encounters into two segments instead of it being one long fight. While it reduces the difficulty expected from a savage fight, it does make for a more seamless raiding experience when it comes to cooldowns and resources. It’s not like these guys hit you with pillows, so some leeway is always welcome. We’ve been able to reach the enrage timer a couple of times and will hopefully see God Kefka in the next few days. It’s too bad both Omega bosses didn’t have voiceovers seeing as Dissidia NT (PS4) featured a modern take on both of the character’s voices. Oh well, at least they kept the original SNES laugh.

I will be sure to update everyone on our progress, as well as more information on future content. Cheers and a big ‘thank you’ to 8-Wonders (Tonberry) for the fun raiding experience.

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