Tis’ the season to... Well, I guess it’s the season to hurt each other as much as possible. Season 6 of The Feast, FFXIV’s ranked PVP mode, started last week. This one will run until 4.2; interestingly, it’s not running until 4.25, which suggests this will either be a fairly short season, or the gap between now and 4.2 will be pretty long.
This is the season I’ve decided to jump into ranked. I like PVP in XIV, and I always have. My first column for this site — about a year ago, now — lamented how many people just ignored it entirely. Ranked PVP scares me, though. Really, it’s ranked anything I can’t handle. I don’t get tilted by losing a game, but if I lose a game and some arbitrary ranking points, I want to smash my keyboard against a wall. (This is why I stopped playing Hearthstone seriously.)
Yet I’m going to go for it this time. I’m privileged in that I have friends who’re also into PVP and a reason to throw myself into this stuff because I write about it, but now probably is the best time. The rewards are good — unique glamours and a trophy if you’re the very best — and interest in PVP is probably at a peak because of the introduction of Rival Wings.
We’re also at the start of a season, and that really helps. Speaking to friends, I heard that on Chaos, towards the end of Season 5 rankings and queues seemed to stop moving. Hearing that surprised me, because on other games, towards the end of a season tends to be the most competitive time as people fight to move up the last few spots. It could be different on other data centres, but even if it isn’t, the start of a season is going to be where most people at least give it a try, so it’s worth getting in early.
It’s great to see so many people taking PVP seriously at this point, and there hasn’t been a time in this game’s history where interest has been this high. Indeed, my Free Company’s Discord server now has a PVP chat channel because enough of us care about it, when a year ago that would’ve been laughable. The only big objection I have at this point is that healers feel too damn sturdy.
No, they’re not too strong. Their DPS output is, obviously, lower than a DPS or a tank. They’re just so damn hard to kill if they decide to focus on healing themselves. I had a couple of humiliating moments where I was playing Dragoon in Rival Wings and found healers out by themselves. “Great,” I thought. “It’s an easy kill!” Fast forward 30 seconds and they’ve chipped me down while remaining at full HP because they can keep themselves topped off and I can’t do the same, forcing me to limp off feeling like an idiot.
Still, it’s probably better than an alternative where healers are really squishy. There already aren’t very many people playing supporting jobs, and healing is immensely stressful as it is. I have bad memories of playing a Priest in WoW years and years ago (pre-resilience!) trying to level it through battlegrounds and getting reduced to a pile of ash in a few hits by a rogue. That wasn’t fun at all. It’d be nice, too, if healers got a little boost in being able to heal multiple targets a little more easily; I probably split my time fairly evenly between White Mage and whatever DPS job I’m playing at the moment, and healing multiple
Either way, I’m excited to actually throw myself into it at long last. Sure, I waited six seasons, but Stormblood’s changes to PVP were monumental and now the time finally feels right. It helps, too, that everything is solo queue — there’s no reliance on being on at the same time as other people, nor that ever-present fear that you’re going to be matched into an incredibly coordinated premade that steamrolls everybody that isn’t tryharding. Even those who I know who played pretty casually last season managed to make it to gold rank. Now we’ll see if I can join him there.
Following the return of The Maiden’s Rhapsody and the Yo-Kai Watch crossover, XIV’s Dragon Quest crossover event, Breaking Brick Mountains, has also reappeared. Ignoring the goofy pun title (it’s hard not to type the title of a certain famous film, and harder still not to say that by mistake), crossover events don’t turn up in the cash shop, so now’s your chance if you weren’t playing back in 2014. Besides, who doesn’t want to wear a slime on their head?
The event runs until December 14. I suspect the Starlight Celebration, the Christmas event, will be shortly after that date, as it started December 15 last year.