Today, FFXIV released its first (and hopefully not last) Limited Job – the Blue Mage. But! Before I get into all that, I wanted to note that along with the raiding progress I made this past weekend, I also finally finished leveling my main’s SAM to 70.
This leaves me with exactly one more melee DPS job to get to 70 — my Ninja. Aside from that, I have Astro, Warrior and Dark Knight all sitting at level 50. It’s a 2019 goal to get them all to at least 60 before the year is out. But with a new expansion coming, the closer I can get them to 70, the better.
This is all rather slow going seeing most of this leveling is daily beast tribes. For one thing, I’m not confident with any of these jobs to take them into Alliance raids. I’m not a tank or healer at heart. I suppose I could spam PotD or squad runs to get to 60 pretty quickly… but I also have a lot of other things wanting my attention.
Such as the release of Blue Mage today!
I can’t tell you a whole lot about it since I spent all of 5 mins as a BLU this morning before I left for work. Mostly, I got through the first set of intro quests, which were as amusing as I hoped they be.
They do kit you out in level 1 gear, hand you a Blue Mage spell book (just UI for where you collect your skills) and give you your first spell. But that seems to be about it.
I was already hearing folks shouting “LFG – Final Sting party!” and things like that. This should be interesting!
I started last week out in FFXIV just a few points shy of the 365 ilvl required to enter the new 24-man raid, the Orbonne Monastery. Somehow, I ended up not just earning the ilvl to run the raid, but clearing it on both my main and my RP alt (who is now higher ilvl than my main… go figure).
After hearing all the first week horror stories, I came into the raid both times with no expectation of clearing, but merely learning. The first group we got was very solid, and while there were new folks, there were enough people setting out the strats to get us through with only two wipes.
The second time was a lot more rough. I really didn’t expect a clear. It was crazy that Syn and I, who had only run it once, were the ones more or less leading our group of the alliance and teaching folks how to run it. I’ll say that teaching is the best teacher, because I now have a pretty strong grasp of the mechanics of these fights, especially the third boss. And much to my surprise, that alliance pulled it together, even after several wipes and some folks dropping out, and got it done with time to spare.
When I rolled and transferred a bunch of characters into a RP setting, the goal was to relax a bit in FFXIV and not worry about progression. I’d do all that kind of content on my main, so there was really no need to duplicate effort. In fact, I’ve tried before in the past and struggled to maintain more than one character at end game.
But of course, that didn’t end up sticking.
For a very long time, I was content with my ilvl 340 gear on Amon, which I got from trading Centurio seals from hunts. Those were pretty easy to get, and they carried me through the Burn, which was as far as story got at that time.
Talking About Ilvl
In fact, it wasn’t until over the holidays when Syn started to poke me to run some of the larger content on Amon. I’d given up on Lighthouse on my main, and had sworn off 24-main raids for the time being, but she kept telling me they weren’t as bad as they were before. So I unlocked them on Amon, and did very casual runs – I’m talking once a week things.
Between that, doing some alliance, running PotD and HoH, Amon began to slowly accumulate Tomes for gear. By the time the new patch dropped, he’d reached ilvl 360 — which is just enough to do the newest dungeon and unlock Expert. So, it was sorta lucky that I did start to run stuff or he’d be locked out of the newest content completely.
However, that’s not enough to run the new 24-man raid. I was successful in nudging my main up to ilvl 365 upon finishing the MSQ, however, Amon is going to be held back by his ilvl 340 weapon. This was part of the reason I was working on HoH — to get a better weapon. But the truth is, there are faster ways of doing the same thing.
I told Syn not long ago that if they want me to run raid content, they need to give me something that I really want to make that happen. Gear upgrades are nice, but give me fluff and then you have my attention. Someone must have heard me because they dangled a pretty hefty carrot this time around.
The new hairstyle requires completing the new 24-man raid. And they added new housing items – Level Checker – that requires Deltascape Crystalliods (automatically won each time you beat 4.0). I really want a bunch of Level Checkers for some of the housing ideas I have. And while they are tradeable/sellable, Exdeath isn’t too bad a fight — it was one of the few parts of the raid I ran several times back when it was new.
So these things all worked to finally break down the wall of “I’m not ever planning to run Omega on my RP alt” that I kept touting.
So, last night I rush unlocked Deltascape, and with Syn’s help, cleared all the fights. Now there’s a few of these fights that I’ve not done since I cleared them back when they were new. I’m not a fan of a number of Deltascape bosses (aside from Exdeath). But despite having a number of other new folks in each, and me having to take raid cues from Syn over voice chat, we did just fine.
In the end, I even rolled a 99 on the Exdeath minion (so rare for me to do!) and got my first Level Checker — will go back to get a few more, but it’s a start. I’m just a tiny bit grumbly that I’m “tricked” into raiding again, but I guess the rewards are worth it. And once I get the weapon from the Kefka Crystalloids, Amon will be much closer to the gear level I need for the next raids.
I’ve only had a precious few hours with this update so far, and it’s been torn between crafting all the new things, immersing myself in story and fighting to get my ilvl up to the point I can run the 24-man raid. I was successful on most of these points on my main… my RP alt has a ways to go, though.
As you can see above, the highlight of the patch is that the little unicorn mount you get as a level 30 Conjurer can now fly… and they’ve added sparkles to it! Well… okay… it’s not really the highlight. But a lot of folks were excited about the primal ponies finally being able to fly. Seeing that I don’t own any, but I do own the unicorn, I dusted it off, and it’s now become one of my favorite flying mounts. Thankfully, you can now tell the mount roulette to only pull from your favorite list. So all is well.
4.5 Story (No Spoilers)
This is one of those patches where it’s part 1 of 2 of a larger story arc. It feels like the type of plot that is building a foundation for a larger conflict… because it is. Everything happening now in the story is leading us into the next expansion.
It’s been a pretty smooth ride. We had a number of theories confirmed, the biggest being the long hinted-at identity of the Shadowhunter. We’re also getting back in the thick of things when it comes to learning about Asicans and the Empire’s agenda. Or… at least… the emperor’s agenda.
And this guy.
I know I’m probably not supposed to like him, but I do. With that kind of grim fascination you get from watching a slow-motion disaster unfold. The team did an excellent job of designing this fellow, right down to the haughty walk.
Aside from that, the 4.5 story was a balance of long sessions of plot and discussion (though it’s interesting to see an alternate viewpoint and chew on the moral grey) and a bit of war action.
It’s no secret that the Empire is posed to push back into Ala Mhigo as of last patch. It’s interesting to play this scene out through the story dungeon, Ghimlyt Dark.
Syn and I went in completely blind last night, and were paired with a SAM and tank who were also both completely new. Despite the fact that I just barely squeaked by in terms of ilvl to play the dungeon, we did well.
The boss mechanics for the first two bosses were pretty intuitive – we always approach these new dungeons as a learning experience, talking out what we see and figuring out mechanics like a puzzle.
The final boss fight was a bit more tricky, and we wiped at the tail end when we didn’t get it down in time to stop the forced enrage. However, the second time through, we had a clearer vision of how to handle things and it went off without a hitch.
I got the orchestrion roll drop and one accessory upgrade that helped nudge me closer to ilvl 365, which was my goal. Eventually, I had to suck it up and run a Lighthouse for the coin drop. I had a stack of Raba coins, but I’d stopped running Lighthouse pretty early on. With one upgrade, I was able to hit my goal, which will allow me into the new 24-man raid.
Not that I’m dying to get in there. Rather, I’ll probably be dying all the way through it. I’ve heard it’s rough… but all the new 24-man content has been pretty rough the first week of release. I guess I’ll find out when I get there.
In the meantime, I’m exploring all the new furnishings and started to set up the new loft in our FC house. It’s a lot wider than the old stage loft, but I made it work. I also figured out how to turn the direction of the new stairs (which should have been a thing without glitches from the start) and get those to stack. I might write up a tutorial about it later.
The newest patch has been released to the wild today, but I won’t be able to touch it until later tonight. So, until then, let me talk about older content, some of which I’d never tried until this weekend.
When Palace of the Dead (PotD) released during Heavensward, I ran it quite a bit with friends and FC members. It’s the type of content I enjoy in short bursts. So when its successor, Heaven on High (HoH), came out, I was looking forward to trying it… I… just never did for some reason. (?)
A Question of ilvl
Fast forward to Christmas vacation. I’d never planned on running any sort of raid content with Amon. At the time, he had the ilvl needed to clear the story, and I was content with him as he was.
But then, Syn lamented that I didn’t play Lighthouse with her (mostly because I’m not a fan of the direction 24 man raids are going at this point), so I finally broke down and unlocked Raba and Lighthouse on Amon. I even unlocked Expert (as it was in patch 4.4).
I started gearing Amon a bit better… and in the end, that was a good thing — you have to have ilvl 360 to enter the new Patch 4.5 dungeon, which is probably required to finish the storyline. I really don’t like that FFXIV gates story behind ilvl, but I can forgive this since the game gives a lot of ways to catch up if you’re behind.
Anyhow, all this is to say that I recognized quickly that his i340 weapon was going to hold him back. I really don’t have the energy to push through the Omega raids on yet another character (haven’t finished Alphascape on my main yet!)… so seeing another option for an ilvl 365 weapon was HoH, I decided I wanted to casually go that route.
The only thing is, in order to unlock HoH, you have to beat floor 50 of the original PotD. Amon didn’t even have that unlocked, much less any progress in it. So, I wrangled up Syn and Amoon, and we three-manned our way as a tank-healer-DPS trio.
Since there were only three of us, and we were all starting from scratch, we took it a bit slow, really working up our aether pool gear in the early levels. I was a tad worried that the lack of DPS would put us at a disadvantage, but even though none of us were over leveled or had red weapons, we were able to make the clear just fine and without a single wipe.
On to HoH!
I may return to PotD and work on it some more just for the fun of it — Amon does have a Red Mage and I’ve always wanted to try soloing some of it. However, once this was cleared and the way was open to HoH, we jumped right into that.
I really enjoy the aesthetics of the area! They kept all of the things that I liked about PotD and gave them a slight twist. Not enough to make it unfamiliar, but enough to be surprised from time to time.
Also, exchanging the frog transformation for the odder actually makes you happy to be transformed! I knew this was a thing, but until I our party started to experience it… well…
Again, we are running this is a trio — and most of my focus is on finishing Floor 30 for the story and upgrading my aether gear enough to eventually get the weapon.
Are there faster ways to do this, yes. But I genuinely have a good time romping around HoH. Not to mention, the items you can get from the hoard sacks are really nice. I’ve gotten all sorts of barding that I didn’t own before. And Amoon got the hair — which he gifted to my main!
Plus it’s another way to quietly earn tomes on the side. And I can’t complain about that.
Tomorrow, FFXIV is releasing patch 4.5 — the first in a series of 8 patches that will lead players into the next expansion. We didn’t get preliminary patch notes this time around since the team was taking a holiday (hope it was restful), so while we’re enduring the 24 hour maintenance, here’s my take on the most important things in the patch (Note: These are probably not the most important things, but they are to me! 😉 ).
Also note, I don’t include things such as the story, dungeons and raids we tend to see because those are givens. But I am excited to see where the story is going this time around!
Last night, I hit level 70 Fisher on my RP alt, Amon. This marks the final gathering class I needed to level to max, and to earn the title God of the Land… which he wears just a little bit too proudly!
As the title of this post indicates, this is the second time I’ve leveled gatherers to max. I’ve been working at it fairly casually — mostly through daily GC turn-ins until the point I could use Namazu beast tribe quests to push through the final levels. It took a number of solid months to do it that way, but this was never something I intended to focus on from the start.
Why two max level gatherers?
Well, at the time I started leveling gathering classes on Amon, my main was still on another server. It made sense to work on a little gathering and crafting, if only to serve as a basis for making a bit of gil.
When I made the transfer of the majority of my characters to Mateus, it seemed a shame to not finish what I started. So, I just never stopped running crafting/gathering beast tribes… which honestly makes up the majority of content that I play on Amon.
I admit that I have been taking him into higher level content lately — just unlocked Expert roulette (well… until next week when a new dungeon is added). I also have been casually running Raba and Lighthouse, mostly because Syn was sad I didn’t care to run things like that with her anymore.
I still feel the 24-man raids ask a lot out of players, especially considering how fast you have to react to the layers of mechanics constantly dropping on you. Raba has gotten significantly easier due to better gear, but Lighthouse is still a solid challenge. I’m not sure I’m looking forward to the next installment next week, but we’ll have to see.