Wisdom of Nym: Why Final Fantasy XIV’s Anima Weapons don’t bother me

    
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Going back.
Everyone who has listened to my rantings for an extended period of time knows that I did not like the Zodiac Weapon quests in Final Fantasy XIV much from inception to conclusion. Really, the only part of it I liked were the weapon models… and even that was touch and go. Put bluntly, they were pretty bad. So here we are again with another line of weapon quests, and the obvious expectation is that I’m probably just as annoyed with this line as I was with the previous one.

But I’m not. In fact, I’m pretty much fine with the Anima Weapons being what they are.

I’m not saying that I’m sure any and all future developments will be absolutely fine, mind you. It’s entirely possible that the next set of quests will make me very angry or annoyed. But as things stand? Yeah, this doesn’t bother me. So why was one a terrible thing and this one I think is all right?

Weapons are no longer hard to get

Look what I got, completely by accident!One of the biggest issues that I had with the relic quest at the launch of 2.0 wasn’t that it was one unpleasant way to get a weapon. It was the only reliable way to get a level 90 weapon, and considering the game as it was there was a pretty sizable gap between managing to get that weapon and not having one.

Every other path to a remotely comparable weapon required nothing so much as raw luck, and most of those “remotely comparable” weapons really weren’t. If you wanted to do things on your main job, you really needed a relic. And it was, consequently, gated behind the (at the time) intensely punishing Titan (Hard). The net result was that it became a miserable gate to get through before you could start really playing the game, helped not one whit by trying to assemble parties for two trials that no one ever wanted otherwise.

By contrast, at this point it is not hard to get a weapon for a job. It can be a bit time consuming, yes – those things cost a bunch of Esoterics – but a 200 weapon is pretty straightforward. A 180 weapon is trivially easy. A few clears of Ravana nets you a 190 weapon, and that ain’t so bad any longer either. You have lots of options for getting and upgrading your weapon.

The most mandatory part of the anima weapon, at this point, is the fact that we still don’t have the weapon upgrade item available via Mhachi Farthings just yet. We do, however, know that Yoshida plans to make that a thing; it’s a bit surprising it wasn’t now, but we know it’s going to happen. So rather than being a mandatory and unpleasant gate, it’s a bit more optional now.

Less luck, more time

The first step of Zodiac didn’t bother me too much beyond the content involved; you could clear through it with time and effort. It was as soon as the word “Atma” got thrown around that it got bad because suddenly you were subject to the whims of the RNG on a job that by definition required nothing from the FATEs you had to spam. Subsequent stages involved random drops from dungeons at the level cap, random FATEs that you specifically needed, and random windows of weapon-enhancing light.

Anima weapons, thus far, have one random component. It’s the crystals in the beginning. And those are arranged to be as non-infuriating as possible. You can pick them up on any job with any weapon, allowing you to use most of the various FATEs for leveling purposes, and the drop rate seems to be in the 20-25% range from my experience. (Others have reported worse rates, which are certainly possible; my numbers have held up reliably for my testing, I could be lucky or others could be unlucky.) Not constant, in other words, but hardly rare.

The other steps of the process are time-consuming, but they’re not random. They’re effort-based. Several of them also benefit from doing things on lower-level jobs, which means that this is a project in which lower-level jobs are as useful as higher-leveled ones. You have multiple roads to reach your destination. It’ll take some time if you’re doing everything one way and one way only, but dividing your efforts makes it fairly straightforward.

I'll forgive a lot when I don't have to go out of my way.

It’s a non-mandatory project

This is something I touched on above when discussing the state of weapons as they currently exist in the game, but it bears repeating and further examination. If you’re worried about getting the best possible weapons for your job, you are more than likely never going to need this content. It’s completely irrelevant to you. It exists, it’s a thing you can do but don’t need it.

The purpose of this content is not for you to get the best weapon; the purpose is to give you something to do for a long-term weapon project. When all is said and done, you essentially have a unique weapon skin. Over time, you can pick up more if you have other max-level jobs and you want to have those skins as well. And you know, you can have it as a bragging rights reward.

I’m not upset about that. If weapons were still obnoxiously difficult to get, yes, it would bother me. If it were mostly based upon randomly getting the items you needed, I’d be annoyed. But it’s not based on either of those things – it’s optional content that you can do over the long term as part of your character’s development.

You are free to look at this and think “yeesh, this is pointlessly slow and I don’t want to do this.” That’s a valid reaction. The content is not meant for you. Alexander (Savage) is not meant for me. You are not meaningfully prevented from playing the game by declining to take part in this content; it’s more there if you want to, not an expectation.

If you want a long-term project for a weapon for your job, with the expectation that it’ll eventually look pretty cool? Here you are! If you just want to be competitive at the top end? You can safely ignore it. I’m all right with that.

This is not surprising

Have a cute Au Ra.Really, if you saw the Zeta quest requirements, it cannot come as a surprise that this is a big old pile of long-running projects. The same principles applied then and apply now. It’s going to take time, it’s going to be ornate, it’s going to require crafting. All of that was true before. It’s just that this time it’s not crafting tied to one specific job each time, and most of the “take more time based on luck” elements were replaced with “take more time based on, well, time.” I can live with that.

So yes, at the end of the day, I’m all right with the Anima quests. It gives me more incentive to do things, it gives me a long-term project (which I’ve been sorely lacking of late), and some of the weapons either look cool now or likely will look cool in the future. It’s a new thing, clearly built upon the things which have come before, but with a lot of the rough edges filed off by time and experience.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s what I’d consider ideal, but I don’t have a grievance, at least.

As always, feedback from agreement to shouts of denial may be left in the comments below or mailed along to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next time around, let’s predict the future of the game in 2016! That surely won’t prove to be wrong in a variety of entertaining ways.

The Nymian civilization hosted an immense amount of knowledge and learning, but so much of it has been lost to the people of Eorzea. That doesn’t stop Eliot Lefebvre from scrutinizing Final Fantasy XIV each week in Wisdom of Nym, hosting guides, discussion, and opinions without so much as a trace of rancor.
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Mitternacht
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Mitternacht

voydd Many of the people complaining are actually mid-core raiders who are unlikely to have cleared A4S (the Gordian weapons, Gobdip, and the associated manifesto pages all drop in there). Which again is more a matter of A3S being overtuned for a large part of the raiding population. Raid group-destroying progression choke points are nothing new to the genre, but it hadn’t been a notable issue in FFXIV until the addition of Alexander Savage.  

Thordan EX does however serve as a stopgap since it is more in line with the level of challenge that the ‘fat-middle’ of the raiding population seem to desire. 

Also many people like to engage in different aspects of the game. Even if someone had multiple A4S clears and the weapons to show for it, they may want to do the Anima weapon quest for their own reasons that may or may not have anything to do with it’s mechanical value in game.

One of the sticking things about ARR is that Coil tied rather closely to aspects of the main scenario and that the Relic weapon quest tied in with the Job quests (the initial quest is listed under the job quests for the respective job). This created the implication that in a game as narrative-heavy as a Final Fantasy game that you are missing out significantly if you don’t engage in these aspects of the game. Obviously that’s a very subjective thing that will vary from player to player. Post-Singularity Reactor content can come across as very side-story-ish as if they are trying to avoid putting too much weight on any non-main scenario narrative. You can see the reverse of the Coil-FOMO in what I guess you could call Alex-Ennui. Similarly people really looked forward to the Anima quests, they really wanted to like it, they really hoped that the devs would greatly improve on what they did before, and instead they got (what was for them) a lot of disappointment wrapped in a grind that is incredibly obtuse at first glance.

asuranknight
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asuranknight

shaw sbst asuranknight I think you are forgetting different people like games different ways. I like games where there are accomplishments to be made, that is especially true of mmos where ideally I like them to be a virtual world where I can develop my character. It isn’t about it being catered to me, its about why I don’t like it. I don’t think YOU have any authority on who the game is or should be catered to in the first place so get off your high horse.

exeeter
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exeeter

shaw sbst exeeter this isnt about being catered to, its about a complete lack of direction from the devs as of late.

Its the fact that now of all times they decide to give us a glamour grind when interest in the overall game is seemingly at a very low point.

Bereman99
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Bereman99

ihatevnecks wolfyseyes When a lot less people are doing FATES, they are actually generally easier to complete, and to complete with a gold rating. Even with AoE and getting there before the pulls, I’d still end up with a silver rating on about 25% of the FATES I was doing last night, and those were near level 60 mobs in Azys Lla. This morning? Only one other person doing them, the amount of enemies were smaller and easier to kill, and got gold on every one.

Might not be able to easily complete the boss type FATES, and might take a couple extra minutes for each one, but completing them almost certainly should not be an issue, even once the major crowd is gone.

voydd
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voydd

Well said Eliot, people need to start treating anima weapon chain as a side hobby. Some players including myself like this kind of achievement to look towards to and will spend all that time needed to accomplish it with pleasure. If you’re a hardcore raider focused only on upgrading your stuff  why would you even care about it when you already have i210 weapon anyway?

shaw sbst
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shaw sbst

asuranknight Its great that you present all these valid reasons why this content is not designed to cater your needs and expectations for everything SE does in this game. But you are forgetting the fact that this game is not designed and created to your specific needs, and that there are also a lot of players that will enjoy taking their sweet time to do these quests.
“I just want my grinding to be worth something in the end, and not be a glorified skin that if farmed on the timeline it is released will result in massive amounts of wasted time and effort.” – I think that you are forgetting you are playing a game. If you want to get something of worth, out of time and effort, you should get a second job, adopt a puppy, redecorate the house, or whatever it is that you would like to do to get something really valuable, instead of playing a game where ALL gear is discarded in due time, and that is always subjected to the whims of SE. I mean, will you take that gear home if SE shuts down all servers?

shaw sbst
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shaw sbst

exeeter And again, you are adult enough to know that if you don’t want to do something, you just don’t do it. If the gear provided is not to your liking, and if the path to achieve that goal is not to your liking, then you just don’t do the damned thing.
Wether you like it or not, or wether these activities are not tailored to your needs, does not mean that you are forced to do it, or that everyone in the game thinks just like you. If SE put this content in the game, and put it in this way, its because they have the DATA that proves that some % of the playerbase will do it and enjoy it.
|I’m sorry if you are not one of those catered with this content. Maybe next update will cater to you exclusively, and I will NOT bitch and moan about it.

ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

wolfyseyes My other concern is tying this to a FATE grind. I’m on Balmung and just a few weeks ago, people weren’t even doing these FATEs because they’ve all seemed to level their alts already. What happens in six months when the majority of the population are past this first stage, and you no longer have anybody to actually run these required FATEs with?
Hell, I can’t even go beyond a snail’s pace leveling up my lower level jobs because there’s nobody doing anything but dungeons right now, and those still come with a 10+ minute queue for DPS.

Mitternacht
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Mitternacht

The outsized negative reaction to the Anima weapon quests has more to do with the perceived content drought leading up to 3.1 combined with a muted reception to 3.1 itself by some and the overall souring of  the ‘mid-core’ raiding population by Alexander Savage, than the Anima itself. It just happens to punctuate the dissatisfaction some feel with the state of the game.

That said, for something that got delayed to the interim patch of the first content patch of the expansion the process is a rather mechanically underwhelming grind. I think it would have been less negatively received if it has come with 3.1 proper or had been added with Esoterics. The effort would feel more meaningful for many of the critics if it didn’t feel like the reward was on the verge of being undermined by the game’s own vertical progression timeline if you don’t no-life to get the weapon *right now*.

It’s nice that they diversified the methods of obtaining the token items for the third stage, but leaving out the CT raids, Wolf Marks, and Coil as avenues is a severe oversight. I also don’t particularly care for the specialist requirements on the crafted items. I think scrips and specialization have done nothing but turn people off from engaging in crafting unless they’re all-in on it. Making these quest tokens require specialist is a top-down method of justifying specialization without addressing the shortcomings of scrips and specialization.

exeeter
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exeeter

It is entirely relevant, especially when you before anyone else bring into the discussion people that complain about the grind. Especially when the crux of the issue is not the grind itslef but a) what the grind provides and b) ffxivs approach to long term goals and how it falls flat on its face.