This month’s FFXIV live letter was broadcast on Saturday, with producer Naoki Yoshida hosting a Q&A elaborating on — among other things — what life will be like in Eureka, a new zone and activity coming in patch 4.25.
Those who have been following the Eureka previews over the past few months will know that it’ll will be the primary way we’ll get relic weapons (customisable job-specific endgame gear), and, for the first time in the game’s history, a set of relic armor. Beyond that, though, everything has been unclear — until now.
Thanks to this weekend’s broadcast, we have a pretty good idea of what Eureka is actually going to be. The zone is an ‘unexplored wild’ where the ‘elements are constantly in flux’, and elements, such as fire and water, play a huge part in the mechanics of the zone. An example given was how you could strengthen your thunder element to do more damage to water-type enemies, or strengthen your water element to better resist water-aspected mobs.
In order to facilitate this, a new system, the Magia Board and Magicite, will be introduced. This will enable you to attune your character to whatever you’re doing. So, for example, if you need to kill water type enemies, or there’s a particularly fierce water-element mob you’re looking to take down, you can switch up your element using magicite and the Magia board.
In addition, you will gain elemental EXP, a separate form of experience only obtainable in the zone, and can level up to a maximum of 20. Enemies also have an elemental level. Unlike the rest of XIV, you can lose EXP on death, and even level down if you allow yourself to die repeatedly, so taking risks is discouraged.
Unlike Palace of the Dead, where you level up from scratch, you go into Eureka with all the abilities you’d have at level 70. Instead, your elemental level seems to govern how much you can put towards aspecting yourself towards different elements. Given that this affects how much damage you deal and take, then, maintaining a high elemental level is key to making headway in the zone. As an illustration of this, in the live letter an elemental level 10 enemy was doing about twice as much damage as a level one character’s entire HP bar, so it doesn’t seem like something you can just ignore or cheese your way past.
Enemies can drop protean crystals that will strengthen Eureka armor and weapons, though it’s not clear if these are something you’ll need to roll on or if they’ll drop right into your inventory. Players will need items from specific notorious monsters, and these, too, will be aspected to an element.
You can sort of see how the gameplay loop will shake out here: If you need something from water-aspected enemies, you and your group attune yourselves to the thunder element and you set out to kill it. That said, if, say, you encounter someone who needs help with an enemy that’s aspected in a way that you’re weak to, you can ‘spin’ your magia board and change your element on the fly.
Maps hold up to 144 players, and you can form and disband parties at will; it doesn’t seem there’s a Duty Finder-style system that’ll group people together automatically, but there’s a tool to see who else is in the zone, if they’re a similar level to you, and what they’re looking for. There’s an instance timer, but screenshots made it look like it was tied to the character rather than the zone itself, as you could see someone’s timer when searching for them; there would be no reason to display this if it was the same for everyone, though it’s not obvious why you’d be kicked out after a set amount of time either.
This isn’t the end of Eureka’s development in terms of gameplay mechanics, as the team continues to build on it as patches continue to be released in a similar manner to the relics from A Realm Reborn and Heavensward. However, you’ll be able to get a full set of gear when the content is released.
What isn’t really clear is how the systems described above convert into progress. We collect items and boost our elemental level, that much is clear — but how long will it take someone to assemble a set of armor, or get a weapon? These are things we don’t know. It’s also not been announced when 4.25 will go live, though before release it was said that it’d come out around a month after Patch 4.2, so probably the end of February.
Aside from Eureka, there were tens of questions asked about various other in-game topics such as class balance and the new glamour system, as well as a brief Q&A with Masayoshi Soken, the music lead on FFXIV. There’s a translation on the official forums you can read here, and, given how much was covered, it’s well worth reading. You can also catch a VOD of the stream itself here.
A reminder for everyone out there who leaves events to the very last moment: If you haven’t done it yet, this year’s Valentione’s Day event concludes on Thursday. It’s actually a lot of fun this time — the Valentiones have descended upon Gridania once again, and they’ve brought an event instance with them. Adventurers are invited to put their eternal bond to the test, but really any pair of players can do it; there’s even matchmaking if you’re forever alone.
Despite our hosts being less than impressed by our teamwork, my partner and I had a lot of fun with it; you’re tasked to navigate a maze and dodge AoEs while tethered to each other, which is surprisingly enjoyable, and there’s a card-matching minigame which is surprisingly difficult, even if you’re sat next to each other in the same room. (Or maybe the Moogles are right, and we really are a bad match
I’ve no idea how you’d fare without voice chat at the very least, but even if you’re alone you should give it a try; there’s a mount in it for those who complete it successfully, along with some furniture if you’re lucky enough to own a house.