Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV patch 5.2 in review – the content

    
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Jomp

All right, here’s the deal. Every time we get a new patch, I wind up finding that I have two of these columns’ worth of material, but this week I want to try something a little bit different. Usually, I split it up between the biggest-ticket items and the smaller ones, but I never really liked that format, I just find that’s how it breaks down. So this time, I am instead going to split it up by spending this week just talking about the content, the nuts-and-bolts mechanical execution and such of Final Fantasy XIV’s latest patch. The follow-up column will be the one about the story stuff, full stop.

Will this work? I don’t know. Frankly, I like that this lets me spend a little more time spacing things out if, say, there’s a lot of news coming out from what was originally going to be PAX East stuff but is now not, but I haven’t tried the format before and can’t tell you how well it’s going to work overall. But it feels like it has some potential, at least. So let’s give this a shot.

Coral time.

Amnesis A-go-go

This dungeon had me mildly annoyed until I realized that despite how it’s set up, this is not another Amaurotine dungeon; it’s a Sahagin dungeon. All right, fine, it’s the Ondo and not the Sahagin, but in all practical terms it’s a chance to dive into the realm of these aquatic beastmen. The only real part that nods to the ostensible origins of the region are the various enemy summons and it justifies making a second boss that isn’t just another fish-man with a spear, so that’s fine.

One thing that is a little disappointing (but verges into being a story thing) is that our first glimpse of a female Sahagin/Ondo is… well, retextured Genbu. This is fine, and it’s perfectly fitting, but it’s far from this monstrous creature we’ve been told to expect from many, many quests. It doesn’t even look like she’d have a hard time on land. Ah, well, mild weirdness.

Mechanically, the dungeon feels no less dense than the Grand Cosmos; in many ways it feels similar insofar as the first boss is easy to die to with an odd dodge mechanic that’s going to trip people up for the first several runs. I almost feel like the critter’s weirdness deserves more explanation than it gets as just a blanket “Unknown.” Yes, that sort of name should follow an inscrutable boss, but… ah, well.

The second boss is mostly just familiar mechanics in a different balance and a very constrained arena, while the final boss does do some genuinely neat things with its crashing water-claws and a callback to the only other fish-person boss we’ve had. It’s a pretty solid dungeon, overall, and I definitely liked it a lot more once it clicked in my head as being primarily a fish spot.

Half man. Half beard. Another half beard.

Oh no Eden’t

More so than the first tier, this set of bosses struck me as a lot more confusing in their mechanics. That’s not to say that they are confusing, exactly; once you understand how you’re supposed to handle each individual fight, the all make sense. It’s just that the first runs through all of them left me with a feeling of “what is even happening” and, judging by the other players in the run, I was not alone at all.

Still, they make sense. Ramuh summons multiple lighting rods, but of course the shortest one is the safe zone. Garuda does a lot of stuff with wind. Ifrit calls back to explosions and radiant plumes. The one totally new fight has lots to do with portals. Shiva is definitely still thematically relevant to her original incarnation. Once you start understanding what’s going on, you can start understanding the context, like how the third fight is very much about locking down specific zones to stand or the second is about controlling your movement as much as possible.

I wonder if one of the main reasons Garuda and Ifrit got double-billing and ultimately merge was just that a lot of their individual mechanics from the original form wind up… well, feeling either basic or impossible to replicate without just doing that mechanic again. Like, Ifrit in particular feels almost like the platonic ideal of an FFXIV boss fight these days. Maybe it’s also the fact that they had wanted a dual boss and they were the least interesting on their own?

I will say that I like the mirror mechanic on Shiva just for the cheekiness that these bosses are literally reflections to start with. It does feel like it could be telegraphed better, though; my first thought of how that mechanic would work was literally reflecting the attacks, not mirroring them a second later. Minor quibble.

Ultimately, it’s a good set of bosses that definitely build up in mechanical complexity, although perhaps a bit more than is entirely necessary. Still, they’re nice new takes on classic fights, and now we can move into newer territory for our last outing.

Lorge lad

Red Red Weapon

Well, I have to say the second half of this fight was one I… did not see coming. It’s surprising to me that every so often it’s easy to forget that this is the horror expansion… and every so often it pushes that in a new way, this time with an homage that feels right out of Parasite Eve as much as any entry in the mainline series. If you haven’t done this yet… well… just keep an eye out for it.

As always, I find myself walking away from the normal version of the trial feeling like it really needs more reason to be run more than once; this is a neat fight. Even on the normal mode, it’s a fight that neither feels overly punishing for execution nor so easy that you can sleepwalk through it. Instead, it’s a shocking and weird fight with some unusual mechanics, and sometimes you can find yourself struggling to keep up not because you don’t know what to do but because you got fixated on what to do now instead of what comes next.

Still, for something that’s had minimal buildup beforehand? Oh, yeah. I like this, and I’m looking forward to the continuation of this quest line.

Big fishing

The ocean fishing setup seems to be everyone’s favorite new thing, and… yeah, I can get that. It’s very much a reminder about how much can be developed for this game without necessarily worrying about dungeons or battle content, and a lot of what people see as inconveniences are… well, they are inconvenient, but they’re the inconveniences that actually make this content work.

It wouldn’t be as fun without the old-school fixed times, for example. In many ways, it’s bringing back the feeling of taking a boat in Final Fantasy XI and fishing as you did so, just so you were doing something of interest. And the rewards seem tailored specifically for people who are less worried about perfectly melding everything and more about just… fishing. Going out to relax and catch fish and get a shark.

I kind of love this. I love that it’s a main patch feature. I love that it’s weird. I love that it’s just for fishing for the heck of it. Good on you, patch 5.2.

Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, either I’ll be talking through the story beats of this patch or I’ll be covering some big not-actually-PAX announcements. We’ll see!

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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Bereman
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Bereman

Well, I have to say the second half of this fight was one I… did not see coming.

Do ya happen to be familiar with this apparently somewhat recent meme image?

I had come across it and shared it last Monday, the 17th, with my FC on our Discord. Serendipitous? Cursed myself? Did the Great Serpant of Ronka provide me with a vision?

Either way, as my FC leader likes to put it – “Sometimes you meme, sometimes life memes back. Good luck” XD. Many laughs were had upon our witnessing that second half when we realize how perfect the meme was for the situation.

For the fight itself…I really like it, both mechanically and the way they are tying certain elements of the story together in a way that I think makes it work (but I’ll save till the story focused article to comment on).

Fishing boat…it’s fun and a rush when the spectral current pops (and kinda fun seeing the speculation/testing on what works and what doesn’t, and the shift as theories get proven or disproved, etc)…but I’ve also gotten quite lucky and already picked up the minion and mount…

So there are some various achievements I can snag, but I’m honestly not yet sure how often I do it, at least in its present form. I have no need of the XP, and the scrip rewards aren’t exactly something to write home about, especially when you can only get them once every 2 hours.

But as we’ve seen, the devs do tend to continue to support a fair amount of systems (*shoves Lords of Verminion under the nearest rug* ahem) so I’m sure it will fill out into something worth visiting on a more regular basis, even after some of the more desirable rewards are obtained.

you-start-a-really-fun-boss-fight-its-suprisingly-easy-67622526.png
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Sorenthaz

What I find kind of bizarre about the Eden Shiva fight is that

spoils
no one flipping talks about the fact that she literally turned into the ancient depictions of Hydaelyn and basically tried to bring back the Flood of Light
. Eden + the Cinder Drift made for some pretty crazy fights with a lot of unexpected surprises that leave a lot of questions.

Also with the fishing boat, I both love and hate it right now. It leveled me up to 80 on my fisher within a day or so of doing several runs, and it seems to be a good source of yellow scrip…

But scoring is so inconsistent and RNG-dependent. Spectral currents don’t consistently happen when someone catches an HQ spectral fish, which really bugs me since getting said spectral fish takes enough RNG luck as-is, even when using the preferred bait. Throwing another RNG layer on top to proc the spectral current is frustrating. Also when actually in the spectral current, the intuition you get basically only gives you one shot at catching the special fish in that current because it’s only like 20-30 seconds long, and if you get a second thing of intuition it’s even shorter.

It’s still a fun side-mode though and I know it shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but it really shows how frustrating RNG can be. Especially when a mount + white scrip can be earned from catching certain fish or getting enough points.

JonBuck
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JonBuck

The new dungeon is almost Sastasha EX. The music is a jazzy remix of that theme.

I have to say I had the most trouble with the third raid fight. Between the portals and which color to stand in, I died a half dozen times.

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Sorenthaz

Yeah the third Eden fight was really weird. It was also hard to tell which of the blue/red portals would fire first, and that’s usually what ended up screwing me over.

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Vincent Clark

Same here. I am so glad that I’m sitting out the savage raid tier this patch (mostly because of this fight) :)