I saw someone asking the other day what the “point” was to the Doman Reconstruction effort in Final Fantasy XIV. What’s the big reward? So here’s your answer, friend: your reward is Doman reconstruction. That’s the reward. Sure, you get a little extra gil (nice), you get some cosmetics (fun), but the real reward is rebuilding Doma. The subtle hints of that include the name of the content, and… actually, that’s enough! And it’s not subtle! It’s overt! This is why you’re doing this!
Let’s be real – if you don’t care all that much about Doma (and that’s fine if you don’t), there’s no real need to unlock these quests. You can probably find someone willing to help you with the cosmetics for house decorations and the like, which will set you up with that. While there is story in place, none of it is story you will be concerned with if, again, you don’t care what happens in Doma. The whole premise is built upon you wanting Doma to be all right, and if you just don’t care… well, then, ignore it.
But I see people who are doing this and are wondering when we get the Big Reward. Like at some point you’ll suddenly unlock something no one else has gotten or something super cool that totally justifies putting any given character through this content. I suppose a higher rate of return on otherwise vendored items isn’t enough for some folks (and they’re not totally wrong, insofar as 30,000 gil per week is not actually much money to me).
The reality is that’s what it’s for. It’s a way to get a little more money for vendored things and see this region rebuild. It does exactly what it looks like on the tin. Expecting it to do something else is missing the point entirely.
I’ve even seen some Reddit threads insisting that this must be a hub for the next area. That we’ve got to be seeing more, because why else would it be in the game? Why else would we be invested in rebuilding if it’s just all going to not matter?
Why? For the same reason we watched Idyllshire and Revenant’s Toll grow up, and the same reason we pursue new gear with a new set of tomestones while knowing full well that this gear is not going to be the best gear forever and ever. Because something being less significant in eight months doesn’t make it insignificant now, and what we do right now has echoes into the future.
The fact of the matter is that yes, FFXIV has maintained basically the same endgame structure for five years now. Once we had Expert Roulettes and Alliance Raids in place, the game was pretty well set; the system has been refined over time with Normal Raids having two modes in the first expansion onward, but it has not been fundamentally rewritten. At no point have we seen a large-scale reimagination of how the endgame will play out.
This is not a failing. This is a mark in the game’s favor.
You know what people hated in the base game and Heavensward? The amount of tedious nonsense you had to do for your upgraded weapon, often with odd restrictions along the way. People did not like having to wait through random FATEs or do random dungeons or whatever just to upgrade this weapon. So the developers created a new kind of content for Stormblood that has a totally different way of doing things. Eureka offers some other rewards, but the focus is on upgrading those weapons.
“But people don’t really like Eureka,” you argue. Hey, that’s fine. I’m not a huge fan myself, and I think saying “this doesn’t really work” is valid feedback. But when you recall that this game is planned out far in advance, it becomes clear that it can’t pivot on a dime. It can take feedback into account, but “completely scrap and remake Eureka” is not a realistic prospect. What the developers can do is adjust what’s in place to make it less painful and take that feedback into consideration for the future.
And that’s not the only place where rewards are being changed up for Stormblood. We’ve had the Ultimate difficulty added for those who prefer to really race for world first clears. We’ve had the new final phases for bosses in the Savage versions of raids. We’ve gotten a different sort of challenge for Heaven-on-High and the Rathlos fight. All of these things have rewards.
But they don’t upend the way the game’s gearing has worked for a long time, and so I see people asking “but why, where are the rewards.”
The reward is right there. The reward for clearing Exdeath’s Savage form is seeing his Savage form. That is a reward. Because the balance of how gear rewards are currently distributed works well and, really, has been part of what has kept people subscribed to the game and happy. People like this. Why would you disrupt something that, by all accounts, is working well?
Thus, you get a lot of rewards that aren’t tangible. They’re experience-based. They’re about seeing extra bits of story, or new mechanics, or something else that adds to your experience without adding to your item level. More importantly, they’re about fun.
The whole reason that I’m doing the Doman Reconstruction stuff is because it’s fun to see the place get rebuilt. The gil is nice, but if I didn’t have it that would hardly cripple my income. It’s just neat to see it rebuild, and the cosmetic rewards I can turn around and buy are positives without being mandatory. They’re just extra gewgaws for what I’d be inclined to do anyhow, because it’s there and it’s content I enjoy.
I can certainly understand occasionally wondering why you’re doing something, but the important thing is to remember that if you’re asking “why am I doing this” the answer should be immediately obvious without relying on meta-explanations. I’m not capping out my tomestones to increase my item level, I’m increasing my item level because that is fun for me. I’m having fun making a plan and following through with it. If that’s not fun for you? Don’t do it.
Because ultimately, that’s all the reward you’re ever going to get out of a game. Having fun doing something. So if you’re wondering where the reward is, maybe you missed a connection somewhere.
Feedback, like always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, I’d like to talk about job gauges as we start looking to the next expansion. Which ones totally worked, which ones are all right, and which ones are… well, bad?