Wisdom of Nym: Impressions of the second set of Ishgard Restoration in Final Fantasy XIV

    
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Wisdom of Nym: Impressions of the second set of Ishgard Restoration in Final Fantasy XIV

All right! So this is not actually the column topic that I announced last week, but in my defense, I legitimately did not know at the time I wrote that we would be getting patch 5.21 the day after the column. So I am wildly altering my existing plans and instead moving over to talking about… you know, the actual patch we got instead of a bunch of speculative stuff that can really go whenever. I suspect this change will be met with an absolute lack of controversy; if you disagree and are outraged, the comment section is below, commence the jigglin’.

Moving right along, here we are with Final Fantasy XIV‘s second big batch of Ishgard Restoration content! This time it actually has a longer series of quests, but we haven’t seen those yet; that’ll take a little time and I have a feeling that the designers planned for a longer turnaround after watching everything get eaten so quickly the first time. So let’s talk about the changes, the new Diadem, and general impressions of the experience right now.

A different experience.

Diadem is what it always was, but more focused

The thing about Diadem is that it very quickly stopped being useful for actual combat items… but it was always pretty useful for gathering. There were a lot of perpetually available nodes that you could make good use while you were there, crafting items easily obtained through spoils and the like… in short, it was something of a delight to just pop in and load up on Darksteel and the like.

The change to Diadem is technically removing all of the battle content, but since those items can be obtained via scrips anyhow, it’s not that big a deal. Far more important is that as of now, the Diadem is now just directly accessible as a way to gather… materials for earning scrips. Nothing more, nothing less.

On one hand, this is kind of a negative change in that it removes some of the options players had before for gathering materials like the aforementioned Darksteel. (No, I am not counting the Grade 2 Skybuilder’s Darksteel as the same thing.) However, what it ultimately means is that the Diadem remains a useful gathering playground, a bit of self-contained content that works similarly in nature to, well, endgame content for combat classes. You go in, you do what you need to do, you pop bits of enemies to get more materials and feel good about blowing things up with a magical rocket launcher.

Having all of the old materials get removed feels a bit more like a bridge too far, to me, but it does make sense insofar as they clearly want people to be actually using the Diadem. The fact that you can gather a bunch and get both scrips and rating now is definitely a good change, which bolsters the feeling of gathering contributing directly instead of just being the engine you use to fuel actual restoration efforts.

The one big downside to the Diadem is just how random all the nodes are; I’ve seen people argue that the idea is that all of your real gathering is by killing things and the nodes are just a bonus, but since killing enemies almost certainly produces a ton of items you don’t want, that feels a bit cluttered to me. Yes, it’s probably a good thing that you can’t just have people descend on the one relevant portion of the map and gather there forever, but it’s not exactly fun to open four or five nodes and fin that none of them have any items you want or can use. Intent is solid. Execution? A bit more mixed.

Hey, we live here too! Jerks.

Same old song and craft

Here’s where the whole “throwing out the old gathering” bit kind of blows. See, on the one hand, it makes a certain amount of sense to remove all of those old nodes and replace them with the Diadem. On the other hand… now you suddenly have old materials being useless, replaced by new stuff that is functionally identical in difficulty and design, but all that’s really changed is the inclusion of Expert crafting.

This is also kind of non-expert, in a way; most of the solid rotations for it recommend bringing back the old-style Hasty Touch rotations, rewarding you for basically spamming and hoping RNG goes your way for an eternity. It’s an amusing throwback and I’m not at all suggesting I hate it, but it seems mostly for those people chasing a rating rather than farming actual scrips. There are reliable one-button macros to max out on normal turnins, which seems as if it’s going to be faster.

Adding the ranking system also does change things a bit in that way, of course. If you just want scrips and rewards, you’re unlikely to max out on any week’s standings, but you can certainly gain the point-based rewards steadily over time. Instead, chasing the rating is for the people who already have high-end melding and want to chase bragging rights. It is, in other words, non-economic crafter PvP.

Whether you like it or not, you have to admire the chutzpah of that idea. Crafter PvP that isn’t based on the economy?

If the rewards from ranking high seasonally weren’t just titles it’d be kind of a mess, but as it stands it’s more like watching the water rise and marking it off every so often for everyone else. The ranking is a nice addition for those who like it and generally transparent for everyone else; that’s kind of the ideal, so it’s good.

M'qote

Under my umbrella

Parasols! They’re finally here! And they’re on the cheap side; 1800 Skybuilder’s Scrips sounds like a lot (for the black; the blue is a prize from the scratch-off-tickets), but it’s really pretty easy to farm with a little effort, helped in no small part by gathering in the Diadem. Unfortunately, they have one minor flaw – they basically don’t do anything.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, they let you tote around a parasol. But non-facial emotes aren’t compatible with them, and they’re mostly just there as a vanity item for players who want to walk around with a parasol for a while. You don’t get any sort of parasol animations or anything.

Lest you think that this is groundless complaining over nothing… all right, it is, but it’s complaining over nothing insofar as it feels like this is pretty early in the feature’s lifespan. And, you know, I think it’s important to properly manage expectations. There is no twirling of parasols, no special interactions, no function beyond walking around looking like a boss. Know what you’re buying ahead of time, and all that.

Having said that, I would also totally believe parasols are a feature that can be expanded in the future and a test for similar held items in other contexts. They just aren’t more than what was said on the tin at the moment.

Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, we will actually talk about features we’re still expecting from the expansion that have yet to be shown off. I really don’t think 5.25 will drop this week, so we’ll be safe.

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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Sorenthaz

I’m enjoying myself with the Diadem and the stuff to get from Ishgard crafting. Gives me actual incentive to level stuff up and it also gives a more straightforward method for leveling stuff up.

devtek
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devtek

The nodes are not Random. See multiple guides on reddit etc. The nodes are fixed.

Diadem Mining Nodes full map from ffxiv

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Vincent Clark

Honestly, I have no complaints about the new Diadem and Ishgard content. It does exactly as advertised. I appreciate the fact they are providing gatherers and crafters end game content with long term/expansion goals (which will only be expanded upon with the new Skytools coming next week).

I’ve heard people complain about Diadem being boring, but…I mean, you’re gathering materials. The fact you can switch over to fishing (where the real points are) and kill beasties with a big cannon inbetween nodes…I don’t know, I’m not quite sure what people expected.

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Kawaii Five-O

I was initially worried that expert crafting was going to be a return of the Hasty Touch meta from ARR. However, having spent some time doing expert crafts, I can say that is thankfully not the case.

Besides having better skill sets compared to ARR along with the addition of the new synthesis conditions, you have a lot more agency in manipulating your synthesis, so you’re not completely screwed if you fail a certain number of hasty touches like you were in ARR with absolutely nothing you could do about it.

Furthermore, you shouldn’t be leaning too heavily on Hasty Touch outside of a centered condition if you have a base of 541 CP with decent enough Control. If you’re looking at those guides like “How to Love Hasty Touch” from early last week, know that they’re already a bit dated compared to what the top scorers are doing now.

Don’t forget you have a lot of other kinds of touches that are extremely useful, especially under various situations and buffs. Use them! Knowing what your buffed and unbuffed gains are from those skills and being able to plan ahead is key. Yes, you can still get screwed by a string of bad RNG occasionally, but it’s not as bad as mindlessly hasty touch spamming as some people are mistakenly letting on.

I personally love expert crafting and really hope we’re going to see more of this in the future. Before expert crafting, all of my enjoyment from crafting was gleaned from outside of the game using a simulator to optimize my own rotations and figure out stat thresholds, because in-game it was just something you do while semi-afk.

I’ve thought for a while now that they may as well get rid of the synthesis mini-game entirely in its current state. There’s nothing fun or engaging about pressing a 100% HQ 1-button macro while semi-afking and watching Netflix or working. Once you’ve worked on getting the desired stats, it’s just pointless busy work that needlessly takes up more time than it really needs to.

It may as well just be streamlined to be like WoW and be a simple button press, because that’s all you’re essentially doing anyway–only it takes 45 seconds to complete instead of 2 seconds.

I don’t expect they’ll implement expert crafting to synthesize actual gear, and even I’m not sure if I’d want them to go that far. However, I do really hope this is being used as a test case, and we see more of expert crafting going forward with other types of content and collectables.

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Kawaii Five-O

Also, just wanted to add–Agreed on parasols.

For how much they hyped them up, they’re pretty basic, and it’s a little disappointing. Not even a single cute emote to go with them. I imagine, like you said, they’ll add onto them in the future. However, for now, they’re really just kind of there and nothing too special.

Speaking of emotes, I’m becoming increasingly annoyed by not having the ability to toggle persistence for emotes. Why in the heck is /bread and especially /read not persistent?!

I suppose SE really only cares about gpose and that’s all they really have in mind when they add fun emotes like these, but a persistent toggle would be a godsend.

Bereman
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Bereman

For how much they hyped them up

Did they really hype them up?

I remember it being a community requested thing a while back, then the announcement in the live letter that they were being added, along with the pictures of what they looked like and a quick showing of it in-game, and then moved on to the next thing. It didn’t even get a Developers’ Blog, which is usually the way to tell when a feature or addition is being hyped up or not.

Honestly, feels more like player anticipation for a requested feature has led to the perception of hype surrounding it…but it’s almost entirely player generated hype, not developer generated hype.

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Kawaii Five-O

That isn’t really the case at all, though.

First off, it was not a player-requested feature. It was something the devs themselves thought of and wanted to add. That’s straight from the horse’s mouth in the last live letter.

Perhaps, ‘hype’ was a poor word choice, but parasols have been something they’ve communicated being in the works for almost a year. I don’t remember specifically when, but it was definitely first mentioned before Shadowbringers.

I haven’t really seen the player base hype them up either. No one was expecting this to be some big feature. What we saw is exactly what we got, and I don’t think anyone was surprised by that (myself included).

However, I don’t think it would be unreasonable to hope that it would at least have a couple of special emotes to go with it or have its own unique state added to a few existing emotes much like we have for sitting, mounted, etc.

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cursedseishi

I’ve come away feeling about the same as I did the first step of the Ishgard content for this second go…

Mixed, heavily leaning into ‘meh’.

It isn’t the immediate clusterfrack that the first go was, where whole servers were invading and locking each other out of the Fate events… but… It still doesn’t feel much better. They cut the Fate timer down from 2 hours to 30 minutes, which… yeah is kind of nice… Unless you wanted to do stuff. Before? I’d check the page while I’m running things in game, make sure I’m there an hour or so early usually crafting because at the time it was easy to just find the materials I needed for turn-ins. But now? If I rely on the page, I’ll likely miss it because it only updates hourly. If I see there’s like an inch of a bar or so left? Well, better not risk running roulettes and the Diadem is pointless given its random nature so I might as well faff about and Netflix something while I wait. Yet while they cut the fate timer, they also halved the Script reward for seemingly no reason.

Meanwhile yeah sure they’ve given people some ‘endgame’ thing to do… But it’s the most boring type of content. Leaderboards. If I’m gathering for my lvl 70 crafting recipes, I get practically nothing out of it. Which, hey fine that’s okay… if not for the fact they also randomly cut out material. I can gather 400 rocks, only for the game to tell me ‘Y’know what? Some of those rocks ain’t rocks, they more like small rocks’ and invalidate them. There was nothing (that I recall at least) in the blurb about materials not translating 100%… but that is some bull. It feels like a way to spice up the point grind for leaderboards… except it applies to literally everyone even if it doesn’t qualify for it.

And that isn’t even touching on the casual point grind either. 50k is the current achievement cap, cool… Except you have to hit that on every crafter (670 or so of Expert item per class), as well as 50k for the 3 gatherer jobs. Botanist and Miner? Okay, sure… But fishing…? Fishing feels the worst out of all of them there. To level up, you got a couple puddles of nonsensical fish that give no returns on material. None of it counts because it isn’t the lvl 80 fish, but unlike Bot and Mining who earn points even on the 70+ materials, you have to wait til you are lvl 80 just to earn anything.

Which makes earning a level or two of Fishing there feel… ungodly. I can fish, but the fish desynth into lowest level crafting mats.

It all gets summed up easily into… ‘Exactly the same, just a bit more annoyingly random

… which, coincidentally, is how I feel about the crafting changes. Can’t speak for the expert craft and their unique properties at the moment, but… My rotation has been literally almost the exact same since roughly 2.0… Just, a loss of some general control on things. Hasty Touch is still almost mandatory, You’re still grinding towards 11 stacks. Just… now I hit 1 button at the start rather than another, and at times I’m almost screwed if ‘Good’ conditions don’t pop and Hasty touch hasn’t been cooperative.

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Kawaii Five-O

For the minions, you only need 50k in a single DoH for the Laladile and 50k in a single DoL for Malone.

The mount, which I assume is what you’re referring to, is 500k skyward points across all DoH and DoL.

That mount is really my only gripe with the restoration so far, because it provides some incentive for the people with 500k+ skyward points to switch to another job and take up another top 12 spot on a different job during the ranking period–and we’re already seeing some people do just that.

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cursedseishi

You are correct! Yeah, mixed myself up some on remembering that and didn’t realize it until I took a second look after your comment.

As a long term goal over a while (which I’m assuming is the point here), I don’t see much of an issue with the mount and the points… It’s the way they are implementing competition where again competition doesn’t actually serve a purpose that bugs me.

It’s a strange way of trying to implement ‘cap content’ in what should be a jolly thing. Thank god they aren’t locking more than titles behind the rankings at least…