Happy new year, everybody! 2017 was an incredible year for FFXIV, and 2018 is already looking great. There’s a lot to look forward to in the short term: a new patch is dropping at the end of the month, along with a new raid tier, a new primal, as well as a continuation of Stormblood’s story, and shortly after that we’ll get Eureka and the next relic weapon grind. If you’re lucky, maybe someone you know in game will have sent you a gift to commemorate the year gone by.
I’m still trying to work out what this is all about:
This year holds a lot for me personally — I’ve joined another static after spending months hunting for one that’s right for me. As these things often tend to go, I ended up joining one where I already knew most of the members, despite wasting time trawling Discord servers trying to sell myself. I’m only trialling, but I feel pretty good about it. For starters, thanks to these guys, I finally killed Neo Exdeath and cleared Omega Savage, which is something I’d all but given up on. It’s a really excellent fight, and I’m very glad I finally conquered it, but it is murderously difficult to do in pugs.
There’s not really a huge amount for DPS to do, but tanks and healers have a hell of a lot to deal with. The level of ability it requires from players is not something you really see very often in party finder, as a lot of those capable typically have groups of their own that they’ve practised with to get to that point. It’s also difficult to learn in chunks, so a lot of people who say they’re at Grand Cross Omega still have a lot of issues with earlier phases, so even getting halfway is a pain in the ass.
It feels really good having it ticked off my bucket list, and getting it done means I got my hands on a Genji weapon. I’m a proud owner of the spear now, so I feel like an actual, proper Dragoon after switching mains a few months ago, and can actually meaningfully compete on DPS. But it also means I can enter The Ultimate Coil of Bahamut while it’s current, which is something else I never thought I’d have the chance to do.
I was very excited about Ultimate when it came late last year, as the fight looked like it was designed really well and was really fun to watch. Now I’ve actually had time to get in there and give it a go for myself it hasn’t disappointed me at all.
We’ve not had a huge amount of time to get stuck in because of the holidays, but so far I’ve seen up to enrage on Twintania, and there really is nothing else like it in the game. The first phase isn’t particularly complex, but it’s just so much more demanding than anything else that’s current; everything happens really fast and pushes you so hard. I’ll have a few more raids there before the next patch comes out, so hopefully I’ll see up to Bahamut before 4.2 drops.
Either way, that’s a lot to get through in the short term, and the year’s just beginning. I’m really pleased to be headed into the next patch with an actual group of people I can work towards clearing new content with, because it’s so much easier to stay motivated and it makes seeing cool stuff like what I’ve outlined above so much more likely. I like this game a lot, but I like it a lot more when the stuff I want to do actually feels meaningfully achievable.
As a postscript, those who have read this column for a long time will remember that about six months ago I wrote a piece evangelising for people to start their own statics, which I had done at the time. Sadly, it fell apart — these things happen, goals change, but it is a shame because I genuinely did have a good time. I didn’t want to write anything about it back then because I didn’t want to discourage people who’d read my earlier column and might have been considering starting their own groups. To be clear, I still think it was a great experience, and if I had more time, I’d do it again.
Now that enough time has passed and I’m in another group, I’m thinking of putting together something about what I learned from things coming to an end. The thing with raiding in MMOs is that people only tend to talk about their successes, which is understandable, but maybe if I talked about where stuff went wrong it could help steer people who end up in a similar spot. Hopefully I’ll get that published before Patch 4.2 goes live, but either way, I don’t feel anything negative about it, and I’m really optimistic about the year ahead.
Prepare for a pounding
On the subject of the New Year, Heavensturn is back for another year. As with previous events, it’s themed after the Chinese Zodiac / the Junishi, and this year is the year of the dog. It’s more of the same mochi-pounding FATE-completing action that ran last year, and the rewards are pretty thin on the ground — but it comes so soon after the Christmas event that it’s hard to be too annoyed. The rewards are cute, too — I can’t have a dog in the apartment where I live, so I’ll hoard anything puppy-related, like the hats you can see above.
You can pick up the event in Limsa Lominsa (the nearest Aetheryte is the Aftcastle). Festivities end January 15th.