Let’s call this side of Ishgard Restoration what it is, yes? This is Final Fantasy XIV giving people another form of PvP in competitive crafting. The name of the game is turning in lots and lots of stuff over and over to hit the top of the rankings, and every scrap someone else turns in means you need to turn in that plus one more point. And hey, I am here for this. There are whole articles written by me about the different forms of PvP; adding a new one is all right by me.
No, that wasn’t a typo there; this is the third phase of rebuilding but only the second one that’s had the competitive scoring aspect. In many ways, the second phase was something of an over-correction for the problems of the first phase. Where the first allowed every server to take part, the second ensured that it was server-locked. The first phase went by so quickly many people didn’t even get to see it; the second dragged on and on for what felt like forever. The first phase was small, the second rebuilt a huge chunk of the Firmament. You get the idea.
We know that the third phase will bring the second part of the ranking, of course. But my big corollary question would be how long this one is going to last. This means that yes, we’re going to have to talk about the ranking a bit more than just acknowledging it’s there because the biggest problem restoration had was that ranking wrapped up long before players were done with restoration.
It’s a given that the best way to motivate people to do content is to give them rewards. Heck, I’ve stated before that you can’t really talk about the value of content without talking about the rewards said content provides. A lack of useful rewards relegates content to lower tiers no matter what. And a competitive time-limited season is an excellent motivational tool for rewards. The content will still be here later, sure, but will you be able to climb the rankings the same way?
But the flip side is that if players feel the ranking is over, they’re more likely to feel that they’ve done the relevant bit. And the biggest problem in the last round was that the sheer volume of people meant that the rankings were competitive… but then they were done, and suddenly work slowed down a lot.
On a big server with lots of crafters, it was perhaps not as big a deal. After all, some people are still going to keep working on rebuilding no matter what. But on smaller servers? I’ve seen people with stories about how empty things got as soon as the rankings were over, and compared to the biggest servers there was often a lag of about two weeks to just get things finished at best.
This is compounded by the fact that I can’t be the only person who did only a bit of the crafting needed when the restoration first showed up. After all, sure, it was valuable and it would matter, there were rewards I hadn’t bought yet… but really, the content wasn’t going anywhere and it could wait.
When it was really go time with this round, though? Oh, I bought the new rewards I wanted. Then the new rewards that would be nice. Then the old rewards I hadn’t gotten yet. Then random stuff to stock up. Then stuff to sell. Unless the new set of rewards is going to literally double the list (which it is not because that would be insane), there are a lot of people who just will not have as much stuff to buy this time around pulling them forward.
Oh, and there’s also the fact that the new season has the same reward titles as the last one.
Whether through good choice of people to listen to or genuine overwhelming player sentiment, my eyes have not been inundated with people complaining about this fact. And this is not me complaining, either. While the achievement and the ranking list is a nice thing to be on, players who mostly wanted the title would be in a bind to grind for a new one, and some people are in a different situation now than when the last season was introduced.
However… this is another thing that could help push some players away from the content. After all, if you’ve gotten your title and that’s what you really wanted… well, you don’t need to worry about it this time. If you got a title and you weren’t even trying before, there’s really no chance you’ll get on the board again. Heck, maybe this time it would almost be better to just opt out.
All of this is a lengthy and roundabout way of saying that I hope this set of requirements is partitioned in a reasonable fashion, rather than falling too aggressively on the side of making something take the same length of time. The people who really want to see this done will no doubt still be there, but the third round is not going to have the same fresh appeal as the second did.
So with all that apprehension, am I not excited about this? Oh, heck yes I am. I love Ishgard Restoration. I’m a little sad that it has taken the place of the building that has traditionally happened with an important region, but I like it a lot more than the Doman reconstruction, and I liked that too. I don’t know if there will be more quests to be seen, but I’m excited to find out either way.
Heck, I’m excited to see how things change this time around. The Diadem was a lot of fun as a gathering instance, but I have a feeling that whatever we’re doing this time around will be not quite as straightforward as the last time, even if the net structure is similar. I’m looking forward to a new set of projects to work on and that electric feeling of concerted works and new buildings showing up.
Oh, and that new outfit looks great, not going to lie.
It’s also well-served because, well… Ishgard is a perfect case study in giving us new content to do in familiar regions that keep people traveling back and forth. We could easily have a new building and restoration project in every different area, with Ala Mhigo and large chunks of Norvrandt needing similar attention. True, they probably won’t all be the housing districts we ultimately expect the Firmament to be… but would it be so bad if they were?
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week? Well, first impressions of 5.31, of course. It’s pretty straightforward like that.