After a couple of weeks of a break from Final Fantasy XIV
, I happily patched up and got back into the mix on Thursday evening. Unfortunately, I'm writing this up on Sunday morning, and honestly there's too much for me to have a firm grasp upon the entirety of it after three days. Due to schedule weirdness, I haven't even finished my usual dungeon diving. There's a whole lot to see, and I've been able to get only a top-level overview.
That having been said, I've assembled a nice new outfit via Glamours, I've tired the most brand-spanking-new dungeon, I've started in on questing, and I've submitted myself to challenges. I don't think I love this patch quite as much as its predecessor, partly since this one is more heavily focused upon the endgame portion I'm not fond of, but there's still a lot of great stuff buried in there and plenty of elements to love.
The Lost City of Amdapor
I harbored a lot of fear about this dungeon, a nervousness that this was going to be Pharos Sirius Reborn. Quite the opposite, as it turns out. This isn't the same animal as Pharos; it's the anti-Pharos. It's neither too challenging nor too easy, being tuned at a wonderful sweet spot. My first run was painless in no small part because I had a full team of talented people with me, but unlike Pharos the fights felt neither overloaded with mechanics nor over-reliant on one particular role stepping up.
The goobbue fight, in some ways, seemed like a direct response to the first boss of Wanderer's Palace. It wasn't terribly hard so long as every swapped to the stomach as needed and avoided the obvious poison patches, but it also wasn't something that could be coasted through without a care. The second boss I'm still figuring out, but the use of a debuff to maintain aggro creates an interesting dynamic. Trash pulls along the way were fun without being overly complex; the mold mechanic was well-developed, while the tower fights along the path to Diabolos were neat once you realized that you can pull everything but the central enemy separately.
As for Diabolos himself, we wiped on our first try, but the fundamental gimmick is pretty keen. The pattern-matching is a bit taxing when the doors lose their symbols, but a quick DPS can mark the necessary pairs and open them up. From a tanking perspective, stunning Nightmare is fairly important, since it shuts you down hard otherwise; he's best tanked near the center. We also found it easiest to open one door, then open the other one when his ultimate cast was halfway through, thereby bypassing the damage altogether.
The new 70 gear dropped in the instance is gorgeous, to boot. I want more of the Protector's pieces.
The Sahagin and the Kobolds
I was afraid that this would be Amalj'aa and Sylphs mark 2. The Kobolds would be a group that was just friendly toward adventurers, while the Sahagin would be a Secret Rebel Branch that moved against their crazed brethren. Functional, but nothing engrossing.
Happily, that's not the case. The Sahagin are still your enemy and outright say they'll be pleased when Leviathan summons his great storms to destroy the finless ones; they're just eager to avoid us as much as possible rather than to provoke further conflict. The Kobolds, meanwhile, are the Bad News Bears of the beast tribes, so devoid of status that they'll happily take the aid of anyone willing to offer.
As for the actual quests, I've gotten the same FATE farming quest from the Sahagin every day and the same glitchy bomb-setting quest from the Kobolds every day, but I suspect that's just bad luck. By and large, they seem to follow the same pattern as the other beast tribes -- nothing groundbreaking, but solid and enjoyable questing on a while. I look forward to maxing these out as well, even if I still haven't bought my Amalj'aa or Sylph mounts. (I just like learning about beast tribes!)
The challenge log is my favorite
That header says it all. I adore the challenge log. Love it more than anything. It's so great.
When I was playing Guild Wars 2
, I was keen on its practice of having daily achievements, things that you could work toward on a daily basis to get more bonuses. It seemed like a very clever way to direct people in given directions. The challenge log, in many ways, is an adaptation and distillation of that core concept down to its simplest form.
There's a fair bit of money there: Even if you do most of the non-gil challenges, on your way to clearing out the 20 total challenges required per week, you'll be earning about 30,000 extra gil on top of whatever the activities net you. Luckily, it's flexible enough that it's quite easy to unlock all of those based on what you're doing already, rather than having to rework your normal plans of attack in order to fit in new challenges.
In short, it's a great new feature that I'm excited to see expanded. I'm not sure if I'll be able to fill everything out this week, but it feels like a set of bonus unlocks for doing the stuff I already enjoy. Well done, Final Fantasy XIV
Myth is easier to earn now but not as easy as philosophy. Soldiery is harder to earn than myth used to be and will likely remain so until 2.3. But that's all right; having two separate roulettes that award a fair bit of it gives plenty of opportunities.
I'm pleased to see that level 90 weapons can be purchased for a moderate amount of soldiery, since that fills in a rather major gap in the system. The relic upgrade system keeps the quests from becoming obsolete, but it does mean that you don't have to break your back quite so much to try and kit out secondary classes. (You can, of course, also farm Leviathan if you'd like.)
People still aren't sure how to upgrade the weathered 100 items of Soldiery to their finished 110 version. A lot of people seem to suspect that this is achieved via coil drops; I'm hoping this isn't the case, as I think the alternative helps make soldiery gear more interesting. It's going to take some time to bring your arsenal up to what drops naturally, but it's also going to take some time to get good enough at Coil that you can get all those sweet, sweet drops. How do you want to spend your time?
Then again, that's speculation. If it turns out to just be a Coil thing, though, I'll be rather disappointed.
Of course, there's a lot more to talk about with this patch -- Leviathan, the bridge battle, main story, the other two hard modes -- but I haven't been able to experience all of those just yet. If you'd like to share our experiences with this content, what I discussed here, or anything else, you can leave comments down below or mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org
. Next time, I'll be catching up on the many elements of the patch I didn't quite get to here.
From Eorzea to Vana'diel, there is a constant: the moogles. And for analysis and opinions about the online portions of the Final Fantasy series, there is also a constant: The Mog Log. Longtime series fan Eliot Lefebvre serves up a new installment of the log every other Monday, covering almost anything related to Square-Enix's vibrant online worlds.