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Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Editorial: Diving into A Realm Awoken

By Robert Lashley on December 19, 2013

This week Square Enix finally added in the highly anticipated patch 2.1 known as A Realm Awoken. ARA is the first major content update for SEs reimagined Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Guild housing, player versus player combat, and a slew of new features made their way into the game with this update.

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This was a rather beefy patch and should be considering this is a subscription based MMO and it has been 4 months since the game was released. There are a number of quality of life features that have been added into the game. There is now a looking for group tool in addition to the duty finder. The LFG tool is very robust and a welcome complement to the games other grouping features. The UI has been cleaned up a bit. The number of icons on the display bar in the bottom right has been reduced from 18 to 6. We saw this in RIFT early on too. Sticking what used to be menus into sub-menus. It will probably take you a few minutes to get used to but I like it when ever we can gain back real estate to our view-able area in a game and get rid of cumbersome UI elements.

This update has also added in daily quests, side quests, new main story quests (which we won’t really talk about to avoid spoilers), a new instances, two hard modes of previous low level instances, guild housing, PvP, five primal battles (upgrades to Ifrit, Garuda, Titan, and Ultima Weapon as well as adding in Good King Moggle Mog), company housing, new crafting abilities to make items for company housing, a new raid instance, and the day after the patch came out a new holiday event kicked off commemorating the winter holiday season.

This would turn into a book instead of a column if I attempted to tackle all of this today, and to be honest I have not even had a chance to experience all of it yet since it has only been live for about 24 hours when I wrote this, but I will talk about the Crystal Tower this week and some of the new level 50 content and what I think it means for the game. Some of the other features we will circle back around on and talk about next week.

The feature that I have eagerly awaited the most since before FFXIV:ARR was released is the Crystal Tower. While I was unhappy to see it slip from a release day raid instance and not come out until this update I understand that is the nature of the MMO business and did what any good gamer would. Just grinned and beared it.

I expected the crystal tower to be a challenging experience. Not as difficult as the Binding Coil of Bahamut but a step up from the hard mode primals. While I knew that the alliances would consist of three groups put together through the duty finder I was hoping we would see 3 groups that were 8 man premade groups. What I did not expect was for it to be a 24 man pick up group raid, but that is what it is. But it turns out, that is not a bad thing.

Currently it will take you longer to get attuned to the Crystal Tower then it will take you to actually complete the Crystal Tower. Part of the prerequisites for entry require you to complete 4 new FATEs that were added with patch 2.1. The problem is these FATEs do not have priority to spawn in their zones and are being held back from spawning by FATEs that are currently active. So if you have 5 FATEs active in a certain zone you cannot have a sixth. So you have to wait for one of the FATEs to despawn or you or another group can go and complete the FATE in order to get another one to populate. There is no guarantee that it will be the FATE you need though.

I spent over an hour waiting for 1 of my 4 FATEs to spawn. Now before the patch this wouldn’t have been such a big issue because the zones these FATEs take place in were heavily farmed by FATE groups increasing the chance your FATE for the quest would spawn. But now FATE groups are becoming a thing of the past because SE has added in a lot more experience for people to complete dungeons so most players are switching to dungeons to level. This is one of those situations where SE just could not win for trying. This was a good change. SE needed to do something to encourage players to do something other than FATE grind at low levels. The other 3 FATEs took less than 30 minutes each to spawn. All totall it took me about 2.5 hours to attune myself for a dungeon that took me 90 minutes to clear. Square Enix plans on hot fixing this FATE problem and giving the new FATEs priority so hopefully this issue will be fixed by next week's column.

Click through to page two for more.

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