Warning: There will be story spoilers!
I know it’s been a while since I last posted something to this blog. Between the week of hurricane readiness and my trip to Las Vegas last week, it’s been a busy time for me. In fact, it was so busy that I didn’t get to finish FFXIV Patch 4.4 MSQ until last night.
Seeing that this has been out for a week now, I’m going to discuss the story and the lore bomb that was dropped near the end of this episode. Spoilers will be everywhere, so please don’t read if you want to experience this for yourself! It’s worth it to go in blind.
The patch starts out simple enough — the group has lost contact with Alphinaud, who chose to travel to the Empire, by himself with other Garleans, last episode. They were waylayed within The Burn, an area devoid of all aether, and now everyone back home is worried and decides to search for him.
This leads to the story dungeon of the patch: The Burn.
I actually rather liked this dungeon. Parts of it has a nice open desert feel to the location, which I prefer to the more enclosed areas we sometimes battle in. Syn and I went in blind, and I wasn’t particularly over-geared for this run (some of the drops I got from the dungeon were better than the gear I came in with).
We didn’t have any trouble figuring out mechanics for the first two bosses. The final boss, the Mist Dragon (a nice nod to FFIV), didn’t wipe us, but it came close on the add phase. It has a pretty serious DPS check there, and I can see it being difficult for under geared parties. People have to be on the ball to clear this one for now.
I haven’t tried the other new dungeon yet, nor have I unlocked the new trial as all I’ve finished is MSQ at this point.
A lot of plot elements came into play this patch — we have the Garleans, Allagan technology, and the Ascians — all rolled up in one neat package.
Since Allagan lore has been of strong interest to me lately, the idea that an artifact they once utilized to create things like Azys Lla was revered by the AuRa of the Steppe as a holy object from their god was a fun concept.
Speaking of AuRa on the Steppe, the most frustrating part of the patch was the series of instanced battles against Sadu and Magnai. While I really enjoyed the story exchange, the battles themselves were a huge pain in the tail for me, especially the timed part on the final section of Sadu’s fight.
Maybe I was undergeared or something, but that meteor wiped me several times before I could finally progress past the Sadu fight. Then, probably because I was so frustrated from having to re-fight the battles over and over, I wiped my first time on Magnai due to simply not seeing the mechanics where Hien creates a safe spot to stand.
It was fun to experience another bout of “role play” battle with Y’shtola — it was neat to see her again throughout this entire episode, in fact. But after I wiped again, and saw that I’d have to go back through Sadu’s fight, I put it down for for Sunday night. Yesterday, I was able to clear it the first try, so it could have just been the effects of having been on a plane all day Sunday.
That being said, I was glad to be done with that part of the story.
After that, the more interesting things began to take place. Namely, the idea that someone unknown is Calling to the souls of the Scions (and the Warrior of Light), attempting to relay what seems to be a warning. This, however, has put several of the Scions out of commission, which gives you some time to bond with Alisaie.
I’m actually finding her a more and more likeable character as she develops beyond the tough-twin-sister-just-there-to-poke-fun-of-Alphinaud. Of course, that was always there, but it’s not until you remove other influences that her own character is pushed out of its comfort zone enough to start that development.
And then, comes the ultimate lore bomb, right at the end of the episode. I knew interesting things were brewing with Ascians and Garleans, but I was completely taken by surprise by this revelation.
I’d long suspected that Zenos’ body was taken over by an Ascian, ever since the cutscene at the end of 4.0. But this takes things to a different level. In a way, though, it makes complete sense for Ascians to use the tools of man (setting up an empire) in order to carry out their plans. And it makes me wonder just how much influence they had on the Allagans and the downfall of that Empire.
Even Varis wants nothing to do with this… I almost feel sorry for him in a way. He’s fairly much stuck in the middle of two manipulating Ascians, one that’s long-since taken control of his grandfather, and now one that’s taken his son’s body. Now he’s being told to sit down, shut up, and do his job, which is to use his position to carry out the chaos the Ascians want to sow. That’s gotta suck.
Solus came out of nowhere, and he’s quite a wonky character. But I actually like something about him. This is going to be interesting to play out, as long as the writers don’t go too overboard with it.
Also, it seems all but confirmed that Garlemald will probably be the backdrop of the next expansion. I guess we’ll see next month!