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The Year of the Cock Begins with a Bang

Final Fantasy XIV Columns - By Michael O’Connell-Davidson on January 07, 2017

The Year of the Cock Begins with a Bang

Big news from Square Enix this weekend: the patch 3.5 microsite is live, along with a trailer — and it’s one of the best yet.

This gives us the clearest view yet of what upcoming alliance raid Dun Scaith will look like, a proper look at the final Warring Triad primal, a taste of what the next expert dungeons will bring and the a snippet story that’ll lead us into Stormblood and towards Ala Mhigo.

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It’s well worth watching, particularly those last few scenes.

There’s not a huge amount there we haven’t already seen in various previews. There are a few surprises, though: we knew we were getting Beast Tribe quests, but now it seems that we’ll have one that brings all of the Heavensward tribes together. Dun Scaith looks wonderful in motion, and I can’t wait to fight Deathgaze on the back of an airship.

There’s also a segment devoted to the Garo crossover event. Interestingly, this is labeled ‘New PVP Gear/Mounts’ on SE’s press site, and PVP gear on the trailer. If you were hoping to avoid PVP and still score a new ride, it’s looking a lot less likely; at Fanfest Tokyo last month, it was confirmed you could get some rewards from the Gold Saucer, but it was confirmed that it’d be inferior to what you got from PVP.

Either the pictures are mislabelled or PVP really will be the only way you can get this stuff. And man, it looks good. If you’re not interested in riding a golden robot-looking pegasus, there’s nothing left in life that will excite you:

Bird collectors will be pleased to know that their efforts will also be recognized as of this patch, with a Kirin-style flying mount your reward for getting them all. There’s also a glasses-touching emote on the way for people who want to look pseudo-intellectual, which will be great for Stormblood speculation. Share your theories on why the next job will be Blue Mage while fiddling with your spectacles! It’ll keep you entertained until June.

The microsite does confirm what isn’t coming. If you were hoping for more Anima weapon stuff, you’re out of luck and will have to wait ‘til 3.5 part two in March. It makes sense to hold that back until 3.55, because it’ll make whatever weapons you get from Zurvan seem more substantial, though I can’t help but feel like the relic was always behind the curve of every other piece of gear in the game especially considering what a grind it is. As an aside, the microsite also confirms that FFXIV has passed six million players, which is fantastic news and a really remarkable figure given that it’s not F2P (although the number of subscribers is likely a fair bit lower).

Heavensward’s final chapter, The Far Edge of Fate, will go live on January 17. Expecting any more surprises? Let us know in the comments below! We’ll have the full patch notes to pore over next week.

Ruling the roost

In terms of what’s happening right now, Heavensturn, one of the lighter annual events on the XIV calendar, has begun! It started on New Year’s Eve and festivities will continue until patch 3.5 hits later this month. The quest starts in Limsa Lominsa, next to the Aftcastle.

Heavensturn is a fun diversion and provides a delightful example of XIV’s sense of humor. Eastern travelers have visited Eorzea to spread their traditions, and wish to celebrate the Year of the Cock with all who will join them. Sadly, brandishing cock-themed objects at passersby has gone down poorly.

“Never did we imagine that we would be met with such indifference,” A bemused NPC says. “To the contrary, given that this is the year of the cock, we were convinced that your people would welcome us with open arms. After all, Eorzea is home to some of the biggest cocks in the realm.” No, he’s not talking about Duty Finder —  but Chocobos, the Final Fantasy series’ avian mounts.

I feel like now is a great moment to recognise how brilliant Koji Fox and the localization team are. Localization is very easy to get wrong, and there are countless examples of big publishers doing just that in recent years; inserting memes where they aren’t welcome, lobotomising characters or simply sucking the soul out of something people love.

Over the course of FFXIV and its tens of thousands of lines of dialogue, I’ve never once felt like I’m missing something the Japanese audience is getting, so well done. The English version of XIV has a wonderful translation, with many lines in the same vein that gave us spoony bard.

To complete the quest, you need to rescue rice cakes from local wildlife as it’s pounded into shape a large cyclops. The trouble is that the cyclops can kill you if you get too close to the mochi. It’s not a one-hit kill like last year, but it’s damn close: I died on my first attempt.

It’s not really an involved affair (you’ll get what you need from it in 30 minutes or even less) but unifying the people of Limsa with their love of free food is fun, and also provides a unique opportunity to gain the Good Samaritan achievement. If you rarely happen upon random corpses and want the elusive achievement for resurrecting players, take a seat by the event FATE and pick up people who get reduced to a fine paste. You’ll be done in no time. It’s the best opportunity to do this since … well, probably last Heavensturn.

There’s something slightly odd about the whole thing: Heavensturn is based on the Chinese Zodiac, but it’s a bit early to commemorate Chinese New Year. For those interested in celebrating, the Year of the Cock (Rooster, really) kicks off on January 28. I’ll leave it to you to decide precisely how you want to celebrate that one.

Michael O’Connell-Davidson / Michael O'Connell-Davidson is MMORPG.com's FFXIV columnist. Follow him on twitter @mikeocd.