So as I sit here and download FFXIV 2.0 client, I figured I would do my long overdue review of the latest XI expansion.
Overall: 8/10 (subject to change as more is released)
The Ulbuka continent to the far west decides to open up its ports to the middlelands’ adventurers to join in the pioneering effort of colonizing the harsh terrain outside of the walls of the city of Adoulin. The city, separated from the middle lands by great distance is barely discussed prior to the release of the expansion, and as such much is unkown about it.
GEOMANCER: An interesting spin on a classic Final Fantasy job. In previous games this job harnessed the power of their environment to cast spells accordingly. In XI, it takes a different approach although the lore is rooted in the classic definition of the job which is a nice touch. In reality, GEO is a new support job with an emphasis on what I like to call “broad stroke” buffs or debuffs. If you compare it to bard, bard casts spells on individuals, groups, or enemies. GEO works a bit differently. GEO can have 1 spell cast on themselves that works with a sphere aura, which is generally some sort of party buff but can also work as an aura debuff, something previously only available to enemies. You can have a regen aura that affects the caster’s party, and stacks with other regen spells, songs, rolls, and uniquely cannot be dispelled. Geomancer can also have 1 spell that is manifested as a luopan which is initially cast on a party member or enemy, but is then stationary, and has an HP guage, and behaves sort of like a pet. Luopans can take damage, but can also be strengthened through various job abilities. Aside from the geomancy spells, GEO gains access to most black magic, and some AOE black magic spells unique to GEO. Upon its release, GEO found its way into most situations rather well as an additional support job.
An interesting choice, new to the FF series, Rune Fencer is a light armor job that oddly has A+ Great Sword skill, and can harness the power of elemental runes to add en-spell effects of that particular element, while adding resistance to the opposite element. It has many similarities to Paladin in terms of the spells it gets access to, but has no natural curing spells. Instead it gets access to up to Regen 4, and all of the bar-spells that Red Mage has. When it was released, Rune Fencers had a difficult time finding their way into content, since it’s not exactly a heavy damage dealer, and is too frail to be the kind of tank that Paladin is. After some version updates, and the addition of artifact equipment, it still struggles to have a place in end game content, but is uniquely capable of resisting a lot of enfeebles, and taking or absorbing magic damage. Personally, I love the job, and have been able to solo Abyssea avatars, and even some voidwatch NMs with it, and see it eventually being used as a Paladin assistant- helping to hold enmity (which it’s surprisingly good at), and complimenting Paladin with refresh and regen4, while Paladin can toss the ocassional cure over to the Rune Fencer.
New Battle Systems:
Rieves- These work similar to campaign battle, but are joined instantly when walking into the area of battle. Periodic evaluations grant boons, XP, and bayld (the currency of adoulin). Completion of colonization rieves create temporary holes in the terrain to make it easier to navigate through, and the overall colonization rate has other effects like weakening the zone boss if the area has one (wildskeeper rieves).
Skirmish- Part old-school dynamis, part garrison, part meeble borrows, part maze mongers, these instanced events designed for single parties can be entered by assembling a combination of items which determine the spoils, length, and buffs available. Initially they were too obscure to obtain the parts for most people to participate in, and by the time that was adjusted the initial rewards were eclipsed by the introduction of Delve. However with the introduction of the Yorcia Weald skirmish, new armor and the ability to upgrade the original skirmish weapons, I think it’s been made relevant again, and is overall a pretty fun event, and not too challenging.
Delve- Currently the “end game” content. Monsters can be spawned in normal zones with a trigger item similar to abyssea NMs, and generally require an alliance to defeat (with some exceptions). Unlike the random procing systems of abyssea, each NM has some exploitable weakness or “trick” to defeating them. Defeating one in the field grants the alliance some plasm credits which can be used to exchange for rewards available after obtaining particular key items, and they may drop some gear directly, and airlixirs which are used to upgrade delve equipment.
In addition to fighting NMs in the field, players can enter a “fracture” which is an instanced dungeon with a 45 minute time limit. All 5 of the NMs from that zone will be present without having to be triggered, and if all are defeated, the group will gain access to the Mega Boss which is an alternate version of the Wildskeeper reive boss from that area. Defeating the mega boss will grant the alliance 60K plasm (typically 10x the amount from just defeating the previous 5 NMs), and drop equipment that is currently the best in class in the game.
Other new systems:
Mog Gardens! A personal island each adventurer can visit, similar to their mog house where they can grow crops, fish, and harvest local renewable resources. It’s a relaxing environment and you have a BABY CRAB THAT WANDERS AROUND. Awesome.
Coalitions: There are various coalitions in adoulin responsible for pioneering, entertaining, keeping the peace, etc. You can do assignments for them, similar to assaults. As the server progresses together they unlock buffs, purchasable equipment, key items and more.
Seeker’s of Adoulin is a HUGE expansion. I never thought we would see this amount of new content for the game honestly. Zones are incredibly enormous, unprecedentedly so. There is literally so much to do I cannot even write about it all here. The storyline (what’s been released so far) is pretty fascinating, and reveals some more about the frozen continent to the north (are they actually alluding to yet another expansion????), and the rune fencer AF quests tie back to the strange apperateus devices found in the middle lands. Various side quests also hint at ties to Aht Urhgan and Tavnazia, so from a lore perspective, this really fun to play though. In the post-99 era, SoA introduces an item level concept, that effectively pushes your stats and combat skills into level 119 without actually breaking the 99 cap. An odd, but reasonable direction to go.
I have to give it an 8/10 because while there is so much to do, and so much great things about it, it’s not without some devastating problems. The new equipment, as powerful as it is, has caused some friction in the community for those who have spent months to make Empyrean/Relic/Mythic weapons which are now rendered inferior. They are supposedly going to update these, but as of yet, haven’t. Additionally, some of the content like Wildskeeper reives have brought back memories of the 18-hour Pandemonium Warden battles. Yumcax in particular, has been battled for 13, 18, even 27 hours straight. The details around those are a topic for another post, but regardless I have to knock a few points off this expansion because of these severe issues. By and large though, it’s an amazing addition to the game, and unexpected as 14 rolls out for rerelease.