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View Full Version : Impressions: Through the Maelstrom - FINAL FANTASY XIV Patch 2.2



Aulayna
05-01-2014, 07:07 PM
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Can you believe it's already been 4 months since the mammoth Patch 2.1: A Realm Awoken (http://home.eyesonff.com/final-fantasy-xiv-realm-reborn/153830-final-fantasy-xiv-patch-2-1-impressions.html)gave you a banquet of content to feast on!? It certainly has! Just in case you were getting bored though, or worried that Eozea might become A Realm Asleep, a tidal wave of content has just hit the realm. Following in it's wake comes Patch 2.2: Through the Maelstrom, which will have you quite literally rocking the boat!

In case you've been living under a rock, or simply vacated the realm, let's take a quick run down the key new features and additions in this patch:



The continuation of the Main Scenario
The continuation of the comical Hildibrand side story
The continuation of the Relic Weapon quest line
3 New Dungeons
The Second Coil of Bahamut
Leviathan Extreme and Thornmarch Extreme
The Echo
Glamours
Challenge Log
New max level crafts, items and gear
Gardening


This is by no means a definitive list, but should generally cover the topics most players are interested in. For the complete list of just about every last digit that was changed, check out the official patch notes at: FINAL FANTASY XIV, The Lodestone | Patch 2.2 Notes (Full Release) (03/26/2014) (http://eu.finalfantasyxiv.com/lodestone/topics/detail/250fa2fc9b3709d18dca7ee733c851473cb34da5)


Main Scenario: Through the Maelstrom
Warning: Contains 2.0 and 2.1 spoilers

The scenario kicks off where it left off in Revenant's Toll. All things considered, it's been pretty quiet in Eorzea since the defeat of Gauis Van Baelsar and Good King Moggle Mog XII. However, one should know, peace never lasts in Eorzea. Large quantities of crystals have been going missing from digs in Thanalan, but the culprits aren't Ifrit's Amalj'aa slaves. Just what could be going on?

At the same time, refugees arrive from a war torn land in the east called Doma. A mysterious masked lady called Yugiri acts as their representative. Throughout her struggle to find asylum for her people, various events happen that begin setting in motion story seeds (such as a mysterious thieves guild) that will likely come to fruition in future patches. Players will also be treated to a teasing little glimpse of a seemingly innocent character, who could perhaps go on to be Eorzea's equivalent of Little Finger.

The story climaxes in the battle with the Lord of the Whorl itself, Leviathan! The battle is, honestly, a bit lackluster on story difficulty with very few ways for it to go wrong. I can only imagine the developers were trying to balance difficulty, with making the story content doable by everyone. However this counteracted with it's lack of itemised rewards, with the conclusion to the story events being the icing on the cake.


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Death from above... and below...


Overall 2.2's Main Scenario content is relatively short, the majority of it is spent teleporting between Horizon and Ul'dah, talking to various characters with very little battle content. Not many of the unanswered questions from 2.1 are resolved, and the Ascians inparticular seem to have been relegated to antagonists in the shadows again. This is not bad by any means, and the new twists and threads that are woven into the overarching mythos of the world certainly have the potential to become game changers. Overall, the scenario of this patch feels like the midseason episode of a TV show, setting up the pieces for the events to follow. How it all pans out, we'll have to wait and see!



Side Scenario: The Adventures of Hildibrand

Picking up directly where the adventure left off in 2.1, the Hildibrand storyline continues to provide some comic relief to the otherwise serious tones of the game. Players will journey from the searing heat of Thanalan, to the chilled mountains of Coerthas in search of a missing weapon. The story has all the comedic elements you'd expect from a crime investigating parody series. From an intelligent rival inspector who always has the upperhand, to a journalist seeking to make our motley crew out to be a sham... and even a half naked blacksmith gets thrown into the mix... wait, what?


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They don't know either!


Every cutscene in this scenario is sure to produce a giggle, from benny hill style chase scenes to exagerated facial expressions - the cheese and corniness factor is set to max here, and we wouldn't have it any other way!

Fittingly, then, that this scenario ends with a battle with Final Fantasy quasi-villain supreme: Gilgamesh. Whilst not particularly challenging, this fight is sure to raise a few eyebrows and laughs. Feigning death? Check. Chickens that will peck you to death? Check. A big bridge that happens to feature a remix of one of the most popular battle themes of the Final Fantasy series? You bet!


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A challenger awaits on the Big Bridge




Relic Weapons: Saga of the Zodiac Weapons

The relic weapon questline, which saw players battling an assortment of bosses and the Hard Mode Primals, was one of the rights of passage after hitting the level cap at 50 in 2.0 and 2.1. Once upgraded to a Relic Weapon Zenith (or +1), the weapon was pretty much the best available barring those obtained from The Binding Coil of Bahamuth Turn 5 and Extreme Primals.


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A return to 1.0 style grinds


2.2 sees the introduction of the Zodiac Weapon Saga. A lengthy grind that sees the item level 90 Relic Zenith being upgraded to an item level 100 Relic Animus. Yes, sort of like in Assassin's Creed - you'll be reliving the tales of former Warriors of Light to collect souls for your weapon. Unfortunately, unlike Assassin's Creed, this quest line isn't very good. At all.


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A walk in the park.


The saga kicks off with players being sent to gather 12 Atma Crystals. On paper this sounds easy enough. This test involves going to 12 different zones and completing FATEs repeatedly on the off chance you'll get a crystal. The caveats here are a) you have to obtain a Gold rating for the FATE and b) the drop-rate on the crystals is incredibly low. Some people have spent 18+ hours in a single zone without getting a crystal. The official forums have been ablast with complaints about this, but Square Enix seem to have no intentions of changing the drop rate. So, bust out your Chocobo, make a cup of tea and prepare for some serious grinding.


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Expect to have gone grey-haired by the time you've amased all 12


Once all 12 crystals have been obtained, they can be infused into a Relic Zenith. This converts the Relic Zenith into a Relic Atma which, has exactly the same stats as before but the weapon is now a different colour and no longer glows. But hey, at least the grinding is done now, right... right?

Wrong!

In order to upgrade the Relic Atma to a Relic Animus, you need to purchase 9 books chronicling the journeys of the Zodiac Warriors. Each book contains a list of challenges (kill X mobs, complete Y fate, do Z dungeons - nothing all that inspired), once all have been completed an incremental stat increase (such as +1 intelligence) gets applied to the relic. After all 9 books have been completed the Relic Atma becomes a Relic Animus and regains it's former glow.


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Hunting Log 2.0


Simple, right? Well, each book costs 1,500 Tomestones of Mythology. Most level 50 dungeons award between 30-50 mythology per run. This also means that if you were planning on taking advantage of the removal of the weekly mythology cap to gear up a sub-job in some sweet, sexy, mythology gear - you've now got a tough decision to make.

Overall, I'm not a huge fan of this implementation. These weapons are clearly intended as a bridge to fill the gap for players who don't have access to The Binding Coil of Bahamut Turn 9 or Leviathan Extreme, so some degree of grind was required. But, this type of game design feels pretty archaic in this day and age. Had this been 2004, and FINAL FANTASY XI, then this may have been hailed as pretty innovative. However, in 2014 it feels like an archaic grind. This is FINAL FANTASY XIV, a game that gave us nice little storylines and skill checks every 5 levels when levelling classes and jobs. This saga could've been a continuation of this type of story telling, featuring instanced battles like the ones for reaching level 50 on a job, or events out in the world.

Yoshi-P, in the last Live Letter, did say that this saga will continue in 2.3 with another upgrade. Here's hoping that the 2.3 implementation feels a bit more creative.




New Dungeons, Trials and Raids

Patch 2.2 introduces three new high-level 4-player dungeons, four new 8-player trials and one new 8-player raid. This puts it on par with the amount of Player versus Environment (PvE) content introduced in 2.1

The three new dungeons are: The Lost City of Amdapor, Halatali (Hard), Brayflox's Longstop (Hard). It's worth immediately noting that none of these dungeons are anywhere near the level of Pharos Sirius in difficulty. Square Enix have taken note that many Duty Finder groups struggled with Pharos Sirius, so these three new dungeons are more of a relaxing romp than technical fights. All of these dungeons award item level 70 gear, both Darklight and new sets, as well as the crafting materials that used to be purchased with (the now removed) Allagan Tomestones of Philosophy.

The new trials come in the form of: The Whorleater (Extreme), Thornmarch (Extreme), The Whorleater (Hard) and The Battle on the Big Bridge (Gilgamesh). The latter two have already been covered in the previous section so we won't go over them again.

Last but not least is The Second Coil of Bahamut, unsurprisingly the continuation of Patch 2.0's The Binding Coil of Bahamut. Unfortunately I've yet to see inside the Second Coil so I can't really comment much on it.

The Lost City of Amdapor
Probably the most challenging of the three, The Lost City of Amdapor takes dungeon-goers through the ruins of the Amdapor Township. Battling an array of insects, gremlins, slimes and mimics (yes, mimics make their A Realm Reborn debut!) there's probably always going to be a debuff that your Healer needs to cleanse. The boss fights include a plagued goobue, a flying boss who's aggro mechanics are based off of debuffs rather than enimity, and, Diabolos himself!

Diabolos wants you to play a game of pairs. Throughout the fight a set of doors with matching symbols has to be opened to avoid his most powerful attack. The catch? Well, you only get to see the symbols at the start of the fight. So your memory best be good, or perhaps it's time you learned how to use Marks. Those things aren't just for tanks anymore!


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Amdapor is certainly pretty


Halatali (Hard)
Halatali has changed. Thanks to your efforts, probably way back in the early level 20s, the training grounds are no longer seized by angry Bombs, plants and Piestes. What's taken up residence there now? Well, the first rule of fight club is...

Halatali will see brave fighters progress through a series of arenas, fighting piestes, bears (BEARS!) and even other challengers! The final boss battle is essentially a 5 on 5 arena, followed by a Black Mage and minion that will give some players just a rough idea of how frustrating chain sleeping was in PvP.

Brayflox's Longstop (Hard)
The Illuminati are back and they are still after Brayflox's cheese. Yes, a fight between rodents over cheese - if that doesn't sell this game to you, then I don't know what will!

This dungeon is probably the fastest and easiest of the three, full of big pulls and bombs. Lots of bombs. Expect some Bomberman style line-explosion dodging on the first boss dodging exploding puddles on the second boss and avoiding ALL THE BOMBS o/* on the final boss.

The general ease and speed of this dungeon has currently lead to it becomming the new hotness for farming Allagan Tomestones of Mythology. The first two bosses can be killed in under 10 minutes, rinsed and repeat for a tidy amount of Mythology per hour.


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Cheese is srs bsns


The Whorleater (Extreme)
Otherwise known as Leviathan Extreme, this fight adds the meat to the bread and butter of it's Main Scenario counterpart. The boat will be rocking here, shortly into the fight the railings around the edge of the sea platform will be destroyed - meaning that all of Leviathan's surges and belly slams become incredibly more potent. Too close to the edge when Leviathan slams the boat? Shame, off into the sea you go.

The battle is probably up there with Titan Extreme in terms of difficulty, although a lot of the abilities that can knock players out of the arena are forecast quite early meaning Titan probably still wins out when it comes to the "trout that wants to kill you" scoreboard.

Overall it's a fun encounter, but like with Titan Extreme, you will be dependent on 7 other people being able to handle raiding 101 and getting out of all of the bad stuff on the ground. Tidal themed item level 95 weapons await the victor, with an added rare drop that allows the weapons to be upgraded to item level 100.

Thornmarch (Extreme)
Good King Moggle Mog XII is back, and crazier (and possibly more sadistic) than ever. Okay so the Hard Mode fight was pretty much organised chaos, the same term could be pretty much blown up tenfold to describe this encounter.

The fight is pretty much Hard Mode Phase 2 from the get go, with the key mechanic being that the only way to damage King Mog is by lowering all of his Moggles Guard equally, before killing one of them. This causes the King to use his own HP to heal the Guards and revive the one that has died. As the fight goes on, the Moggles Guard gain more abilities and "Pombination" attacks that utilise deadly combos. Item level 100 Necklaces await the victor.




The Echo

The Echo is a sort of catch-up mechanic that has been added to the majority of the Patch 2.0 and 2.1 trials. If the party survives for at least 3 minutes, but is ultimately unsuccessful in clearing the trial, a stacking 5% increase to health, damage and healing is added per wipe. This ultimately makes the majority of the older trials easier and easier to complete and gives other players more of a reason to stick around after wiping, rather than dropping at the first sign of failure - especially as these trials have now been added to a new Trial Roulette on the Duty Finder. However, particularly in the Extreme difficulty encounters, this buff does not guarantee a kill. The Echo is split into 3 Tiers.

Maximum 50% Echo (10 stacks)
In the trials A Relic Reborn: The Chimera, A Relic Reborn: The Hydra, The Bowl of Embers (Hard), The Howling Eye (Hard), The Navel (Hard) and Thornmarch (Hard) the Echo buff will stack a maximum of 10 times providing a 50% increase to health, damage and healing.

Maximum 25% Echo (5 stacks)
In the trials The Minstrel's Ballad: Ultima's Bane, The Howling Eye (Extreme), The Navel (Extreme) and The Bowl of Embers (Extreme) the Echo buff will stack a maximum of 5 times providing a 25% increase to health, damage and healing.

The Binding Coil of Bahamut
The Echo works slightly different in Turns 1, 2, 4 and 5 of The Binding Coil of Bahamut. It's not applied in Turn 3 as there are no bosses there. Every 2 weeks the Echo buff is raised by an amount determined by the developers to be appropriate to help groups clear the content. Currently, 4 weeks post 2.3, the Echo buff is fixed at 15% and may be raised in another 2 weeks time.




Crafting

Not being much of a crafter myself, I asked our resident craft-a-holic Loony BoB for his thoughts on crafting in this patch. Take it away BoB:


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There's a reason why he's called Loony


The economy has picked up a lot during this patch, and when the economy is going strong, crafting becomes a lot more enjoyable. There were some more "hardcore" goals for crafters and gatherers alike, too, which helped a lot. I'll break down how the economy has improved as best as I can. You can now craft iLvl 90 battle gear using your iLvl 70 crafting tools and materials that are gathered by iLvl 70 gathering tools. In order to get these tools, you must make a considerable amount of crafts. Not only that, but in order to actually use these tools (DoH or DoL), you need to have a lot of materia melds made to each of your crafts.

Master Recipe Book
Requires: 5 HQ two star 40 durability crafted items. You can either buy these (on our server it's about 70,000 gil each last time I checked) or you can craft them yourself (which requires about 27,000 gil each worth of ex-philosophy items each).
Unlocks: Three star recipes for a single crafting class. You will need to get all eight if you want to get all three star recipes unlocked for all eight crafting classes. It also unlocks a certain two star recipe per craft. This two star craft creates a untradeable item of which 50 are required in order to obtain the respective iLvl 70 crafting tool.

iLvl 70 Crafting Tools
Requires: 50 HQ two star 80 durability crafted items. You have to craft these - they are not tradeable. To obtain the materials required for this craft, you generally need to craft 100 HQ one star 40 durability items, although you can buy these. You can also obtain the materials from certain content such as treasure maps, although this would take forever because they aren't common drops. For most crafters not willing to pay huge amounts for all the materials, this will mean you will need to go through 150 crafts for each iLvl 70 crafting tool.
Unlocks: The tool is one of the four requirements for actualy crafting three star recipes.

iLvl 70 Crafting Headgear
Requires: 10 HQ two star crafts 80 durability crafted items, the same items as mentioned above for the iLvl 70 crafting tools. It should be noted that, unlike the tools, the headgear will work across all crafts so you only need to do these 10 HQ two star 80 durability crafts with one crafting class. All of your crafting classes will benefit from wearing the headgear you obtain at that point (well, providing you actually equip it!).
Unlocks: The headgear is one of the four requirements for actualy crafting three star recipes.

A Whole Lot of Materia Melds
Requires: You may have already done this prior to the most recent patch, in which case... good for you! This is arguably the most expensive part of the four requirements. You have to meld your materia to each item aside from your iLvl 70 headgear and tool (both of which are unable to have materia melded to them) until you have high enough craftsmanship and control. You can do this by either slowly spiritbonding huge amounts of gear, which is certainly the cheaper way despite it being a very, very long process. Alternatively you can spend over 500,000 gil per craft in order to get everything set on your main gear, not to mention another 500,000 gil or more for your jewellery and belt (which can be used by all your crafts). Sometimes you'll get lucky and a 13% chance meld will succeed first time. You may however get unlucky and have a 45 chance meld of a very expensive item fail about six times in a row. Yes, both of these things have happened to me!
Unlocks: Attaining a high enough level of craftsmanship and control materia is one of the four requirements for actually crafting three star recipes.

The Materials
Requires: The easiest and cheapest part - provided you have the Tomes of Mythology and you're crafting something that doesn't require an ultra-rare material such as a Glazenut. Some of the materials for three star recipes can be obtained through gathering from two and three star gathering nodes. Some of the materials for three star recipes can be gathered through extreme fights. Some of the materials for three star recipes can be gathered through trading in Tomes of Mythology at Revenant's Toll. In the end, you can generally buy all of these ingredients. Whether the price is worth it is up to you!
Unlocks: The materials are the final part of the four requirements for actually crafting three star recipes. Well, you didn't expect to be able to craft without materials, did you!?

Because of all of the above (along with new gear/furniture added during the patch), there is now a demand for new three star recipe furniture, three star recipe gear, gathering materia, crafting materia, drops from treasure maps, drops from extreme primal fights, drops from difficult dungeons, materials produced through gardening, gatherers in general... essentially the economy was given a massive boost. However, there is still a slight concern - while this is providing a bottleneck that few crafters and gatherers may be willing to go through (because of the cost of required materia), there is still no real need for crafters in the long run. Everything that is made so far only needs to be made once. We have yet to see any situation where a worthwhile consumable crafted good is required. In 1.x, this came in the form of useful food, somewhat useful potions and the very useful arrows for archers. Until an worthy consumable that requires crafters is added, the question remains as to whether it is genuinely worth crafting your way to the top. Still, so far so good - I can't wait for patch 2.3!

Thanks for that overview BoB!



Gardening, Glamours and Challenges

Patch 2.2 also adds a couple of new minor systems that some fun things for players to do outside of dungeons and crafting.

Gardening
Gardening allows Free Companies to buy small Gardening Plots to place outside their Free Company Housing. Each plot contains 8 patches for seeds to be planted. Over the course of several days these seeds will grow into plants, who would've thought!? That's not all though, certain seeds planted next to each other in specific combinations can result in intercrossing, providing additional seeds for new types of plants and vegetation with some seeds producing very elusive rare crops used by Culinarians and Alchemists. Very little time investment is required in gardening, it's just something to check in on daily. Much like fishing, people will love it or hate it.


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FINAL FANTASY: Harves Moon - Lite


Glamours
The long awaited Glamour system has finally been implemented. Made through crafting, Glamour Crystals allow players to replace the look of one item with the look of another - class and job restrictions still apply here though. So, perhaps you're a MNK and you want to use your Moogle Fists instead of your Relic. No problem, now you can just make your Relic look like your Moogle Fists. This definitely paves the way for some very creative looking sets, and adds a bit of uniqueness back to characters.

Challenge Log
The Challenge Log is a new journal that has been added that contains a list of challenges for the week. These challenges range from completing 5 dungeons via the Duty Finder, voting in Player Commendations 5 times to crafting 10+ HQ items. Each challenge provides a set amount of experience points and Gil. PvE challenges such as the dungeon ones, provide a new path for getting some EXP on subjobs and the crafting challenges are a great boon to those still levelling crafts. As these challenges reset each week, they provide a steady source of EXP and Gil for relatively minimal effort.



Closing Thoughts

Patch 2.2 is another sizeable update to FINAL FANTASY XIV and keeps in line with Yoshi-P's commitment to release major content patches on 3 month cadence. However, if you're not a fan of crafting and are more of a casual player - a lot of the content in this patch is gated behind already existing content which may mean you will be locked out of it for a while.

All of the features 2.2 adds are solid, especially some of the more minor quality of life changes such as Retainer Ventures and adjustments to the UI. For me, personally, this patch didn't have the same impact that 2.1 did. The storyline put some pieces in play, but wasn't really as eventful as 2.0 or 2.1. That being said, the highlight of this patch for me would be the Hildibrand storyline - it's a refreshing drop of humor in an otherwise very serious world.l

Once again, there's something for most play styles in 2.2 and, Animus Weapons aside, you should be kept busy for a few weeks at least.

Formalhaut
05-01-2014, 07:13 PM
http://home.eyesonff.com/attachments/final-fantasy-xiv-realm-reborn/53636d1398963215t-impressions-through-maelstrom-final-fantasy-xiv-patch-2-2-hildi1.jpg

Is that Colonel Sanders?

Elpizo
05-01-2014, 09:07 PM
What, no mentioning of ventures for retainers? =o Especially since they're the only way to get some of the new crafting materials, too! Good summary otherwise, very enjoyable read. ^^ And yes, Bob is loco in the coco.