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
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.