This week is an exciting one for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn fans as the latest major content update, Defenders of Eorzea (Patch 2.3), has finally been released! However, because two days isn’t enough time to properly run through all of the new features in 2.3, my impressions of Defenders of Eorzea will be ready to roll for my next post in two weeks. I’ll be sure to hit the new main story quests, hunts, Syrcus Tower, new dungeons, and anything else that I can squeeze into a two week time period.
Instead, we’re going to keep it casual this week and talk about the different activities people take part in to keep busy when they aren’t instancing. As someone who is just now starting to get into the mid/end game roulette rotation, I’m finding that it is important to have other things to do in order to prevent getting burnt out from dungeons and raids.
Many FFXIV players come from a Final Fantasy XI background. FFXI, god bless its soul, was not great when it came to organizing players and keeping people busy in-between EXP parties/events with worthwhile activities. FFXIV, like many other modern MMOs, is instanced based; queue up for a party and let the duty finder take the wheel. For tanks and healers, you’ll be on your way to what you selected within minutes. Damage dealers (DPS), on the other hand, usually have to wait at least 10-15 minutes on average (often times longer but still WAY better than the wait for some jobs in FFXI). Either way, unless you like sitting around or just want to do dungeon after dungeon, picking up a hobby is important. For me, I decided to join the armorer and fishing guilds with mixed results.
I won’t waste time discussing it, but the actual crafting process and mechanics in FFXIV are fantastic. The problem though is that because of the developers’ disdain towards being able to buy your way to a high item level and real money traders (RMT), crafted items take a back seat to dropped dungeon items. Why spend Gil on gear when a few dungeon runs will get you far better equipment for free? The few items that are worth crafting are extremely competitive and are constantly undercut. Materia melding could have been used to offset these problems, except that most relevant stats on HQ gear are already capped.
With the recent addition of desynthesis in 2.3, maybe the pendulum will swing back towards a more balanced relationship between crafted items and dungeon drops. As of right now though, I can’t help but see crafting as underutilized. Especially when there are possible workarounds, such as making high level craft gear un-tradable or even better, you could look back to FFXI for inspiration. Did anyone have a problem with the abjuration system (high level crafting materials dropped from difficult fights used for top level un-tradable armor/weapons)? I understand that this game is trying hard to not be FFXI, but that doesn’t mean they need to disregard aspects that worked.
However, despite my disappointment, I have found it to be one of the few sources of consistent income. And as I mentioned earlier, the crafting minigame is very enjoyable. Even if it’s not perfect, there’s no reason not to fill up your retainers and get as much as you can out of it.
Gathering, on the other hand, is much better off especially when compared to how it used to be in FFXI. The three gathering classes supply all 8 of the crafting classes, on top of being able to supply their own crafting efforts to save money. Fishing has been a pleasant experience; I am currently at level 47, with barely any money at all invested into it. It’s a peaceful activity that has you exploring gathering spots in all different areas of Eorzea and, along with Botany and Mining, is far more predictable and less frustrating.
Not everyone is into peaceful side activities though. Some people are all about action, all of the time. Levequests, hunting logs, and beastmen dailies are among the many ways to mix things up with your DoM or DoW class without sitting around and waiting for an instance to start up. While none of the three will dominate large amounts of your time (maybe levequests before 15), they are all adequate time killers that are worth pursuing. The hunting log and levequests speed up the leveling process substantially for those that take the time to do them. When EXP becomes a nonfactor and tomestones reign supreme, the beastmen daily quests are a solid way of getting a small amount of quick tomestones, while working towards some cool perks and mounts.
While all of the activities I discussed have their flaws, FFXIV has enough going on outside of instanced activities that I’ve never felt that I was forced to into a repetitive routine. Even if you only have a limited amount of time you can always knock out a couple of beastmen quests, work towards your relic, fill up your retainers, or just kick back with a rod for a while and reel in some fish. MMORPGs are just as much about living in an immersive world that feels real with everyday things to do, as they are about raiding and EXP parties. With the addition of the hunt system and chocobo raising in 2.3, Square Enix seems committed to creating content that can appeal to any kind of gamer.
Are you satisfied with Square Enix’s offerings when it comes to side activities? Did I miss something that you enjoy? Let me know in the comments and tune in 2 weeks from now for my impressions of Defenders of Eorzea!
[Chocobo Diaries is part journal, part FFXIV current events, and part MMORPG theory. Started mostly because Ed plays too much FFXIV to not write about it, you can expect it every other week on Thursdays. He is well versed in all things Final Fantasy MMORPG related and was a 10-year FFXI veteran before switching over to the PS4 version of FFXIV.]