I have to admit, part of my reaction to patch 5.25 was simple relief that finally, finally, I had something to spend Poetics on again. Overcapping on Poetics in Final Fantasy XIV is basically a reality of being capped across the board, so it was almost reassuring that we’re now in a place where Poetics actually has a use; after all, getting 1000 Poetics is a lot easier and cheaper than any other way to get a weapon of equivalent level.
Sure, you have to clear the Return to Ivalice series first, but that almost feels like it’s helping you with all those Poetics.
Trial of trials
Well, we got our new dyeable artifact gear, and the explanation for how you could get this gear on the Source when we got the first set on the First is… shut up. There is no explanation. Why are you causing problems for all of us? Take your gear and be happy. Why can you buy these sets in exchange for a boss fight against a version of a character you’re just fantasizing about in the first place? Stop asking these questions.
No lie, I actually kind of love this. Like, it’s ridiculous and makes basically no sense, but I feel like any explanation we actually could get would also not make a whole lot of sense. Shrugging and moving on is likely the most reasonable response in the first place. Why is anything anything? Just move past it.
Of course, all of that is secondary to the actual relic weapons, which are wholly unconnected to the original line of artifact gear… which I also kind of appreciate because it honestly made the first tier of new stuff kind of boring in Eureka. (Alongside… all of the other issues with Eureka, really.) And the actual designs are… well, generally neat, although several of them seem to be a bit basic in various ways. The Ninja blades are nice and large, for example, but that’s about all they have going for them. The White Mage artifact is a stick. It’s a very pretty stick, but it’s still a stick. Places to go for the future, I suppose.
The other down side is that this particular bit of content really doesn’t seem to start as it means to go on. It’s clear that later stages are meant to include a significant time investment and this particular way station is just at the starting phases, but the first stages of Eureka gave you some idea of what content was coming next. The first stages of the previous relics also had some clarity to them. This is just… well, pretty much implies that there are places to go from here but not where.
On the plus side, I feel like the imagery of the weapons from the questline implies that this particular line will end with an arsenal not dissimilar from the various gun-themed weapons used by various Garlean forces, which makes a certain amount of sense given the origin point with the Hrothgar. It’s not being said outright, but it also would be an interesting new place to go with the line – bringing something not just to a point of restoration but then augmenting and improving it into new forms. Or old forms that feel new, same different.
Also, I need the orchestrion roll for that zone music yesterday.
Ultimately, while I appreciate the ease of picking up additional relics here, I’m a bit disappointed in the fact that it feels as if it ends short of information we could have used. It’s not going to be like Eureka, but it’s going to be similar, but we don’t know what that’s supposed to mean… and without further information, it’s hard to know if this is really going to be incorporating lessons or just serving as a different sort of unpleasant grind.
Craft of crafts
What’s weird about the tools is that despite their name, they kind of don’t tie into Ishgard Restoration at all. I mean, they vaguely do in terms of lore, and they may very well tie into future restoration stages, but right now they’re just… there, relying entirely on yellow scrips and your own ability to work your way through crafts. Not terribly tied into anything, that.
The actual process for upgrading them seems straightforward and appropriate enough, of course, since it’s all about either spending a bunch of yellow scrips and then crafting high-quality items or gathering lots of stuff. Not tremendously difficult or time-consuming; I know people who got multiple Dragonsung versions over the course of the first day. Myself, I was content to stretch it out a bit, but it’s not hard to see how it works. And the net result is… not as good as Facet mainhands, but better than what you can get with white scrips.
This is actually a good thing, as I’ve said for a long time that the game needs more stuff for mid-tier crafters and gatherers to do, incorporating things for players who like these systems but aren’t going into the territory of optimized overmelds for mass-producing high-end items to sell. Ishgard Restoration has helped with that in a way that custom deliveries really didn’t, and these tools feel like another step forward in that same vein; you don’t need maxed stats to make them reliably upgraded, but you do need to have invested time and/or some gil and melding along the way.
Plus, you know, it’s nice to have some tools that feel like prestige rewards in ways that the specialized gear never has managed. It’s even forward-looking in a way that relics usually aren’t, making a set of improvements to an idea rather than simply recreating an old item of immense power.
I’m also very fond of the fact that both of our relic lines this time are all about going back to places we’ve already been, rather than focused entirely on the current region or connecting with places we haven’t yet seen. As the world expands, some places are naturally going to be less active over time, but by ensuring that max-level players have reasons to head back to Yanxia and Ishgard, it contributes to the sense that the whole world remains interconnected. I’m curious to see where our next steps take us.
The actual story might be a bit on the light side, but hey, it’s an upgraded tool that I made. It feels special, even if theoretically another tool would be more powerful. And I got more than a few genuine chuckles out of of the dialogue surrounding it.
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, I’d like to talk about Ishgard restoration, correction or over-correction for prior issues, and what it might all mean for the now-expected housing area in this map. It feels like it’s worth considering.