Final Fantasy XIV is an MMORPG, which means that you can definitely expect an element of grinding in basically every aspect of the game. Past expansions have introduced Relic Weapons, which are some of the most powerful weapons you can get in the game for your respective jobs. And, yep you guessed it, there’s always some sort of insane, tedious grind involved. This time, though, FFXIV isn’t too demanding of your time. And it’s nice.
Patch 5.25 dropped for FFXIV in the last couple of weeks, introducing the first chapter of a new quest line called Save the Queen. By completing this first chapter, players would be able to unlock a forge where they could gather materials to craft a Resistance weapon — basically the new fancy term for this expansion‘s Relic Weapons.
When I heard about the patch drop, I was apprehensive. I instantly started getting flashbacks to the Relic Weapons of the Stormblood expansion, when Square Enix introduced Eureka and forced players to grind there for literal years. Okay not literal years, but it might as well have been.
Eureka was a pretty divisive aspect of the game, to say the least. It was meant to be a throwback to the gameplay loop of FFXI, but because it was so at odds with FFXIV’s current model, it ended up being quite a jarring process to get into. The grind felt unbearably tedious especially if you weren’t playing the new content right when it dropped, and if you wanted to catch up on your own, Eureka didn’t make it easy for you to do a lot of the content solo.
With the new Resistance weapons, it feels like Square Enix has veered off into the complete opposite direction. The first chapter of Save the Queen is essentially an extension of the MSQ where you’ll click through lines of dialogue and play through a long solo duty at the end where you get to fight some bosses. Beat all that, and you’ll receive your first Resistance weapon for free.
Nice, I thought. Having joined the FFXIV party a little late (right after the Heavensward expansion dropped, to be precise), I never put in the time to grind for the earlier Relic Weapons, and when I played Eureka, I quickly found that it just wasn’t for me. It was nice to finally get my first Relic Weapon in a game I loved so dearly.
Then my heart sank a little as I realized this was probably where the grind started. You get your first one for free, but the game informs you that you’ll need to gather materials yourself if you want the other weapons too. But, wouldn’t you know it, gathering these materials is actually ridiculously easy.
The materials can be bought from end game-ish vendors with a currency that’s very easily farmed from easy dungeons. It’s still a little tedious, to be sure, but it beats out Eureka by miles, and is by far the most straightforward ‘grind’ I’ve ever encountered in FFXIV. Especially when the reward is so tantalizing. A cool-looking weapon? With a high item level? With five freaking Materia slots??? Square Enix, you’re too kind.
The only caveat is that you need to have cleared all three Alliance raids from the Stormblood expansion before you can even get started on the new quest and the grind. So if you only joined the game with the Shadowbringers release, you’ve got quite a bit of catching up to do.
But with the way the Alliance roulette works, and how much more manageable those raids are now with players having geared up properly, it shouldn’t be too difficult. And for players who have been keeping up with the content faithfully, it’s a walk in the park.
There are, understandably, a few minor complaints about the first stage of the Relic Weapon grind being too simple this time around. With the current COVID-19 situation and everyone being forced indoors, there’s a lot of free time to spend on video games, and having a nice grind to work on can be a good (?) use of your time.
Even so, as someone who doesn’t always necessarily have time to commit to all of FFXIV’s intricacies, it feels good when Square Enix decides to toss a bone to players like me.
I’ve done all of the major stuff in this game. I’ve done all the raids, I’ve attempted all the optional dungeons and Trials at least once, I make it a point to level all my crafters and gatherers. I know I’ll never have the gumption to finish Palace of the Dead or Heaven on High, and I know I’ll likely never max out my Beast Tribes, or grind out Extreme Trials for the absolute coolest-looking gear in the game.
It’s exceedingly rare for FFXIV to make desirable gear so easy to obtain, and for this one time the game’s made an exception to that rule, I’m eternally grateful.