This week I’ll be stepping firmly away from the GPose tool and continuing my Stormblood Journey, albeit a little (a lot) more slowly than the rest of the Eorzean population. The article will also include a quick tactics guide for the Shisui of the Violet Tides dungeon. If you have not begun your journey in Stormblood I would urge caution while reading this article as there may be some spoilers in terms of story content.
We continue our story where we left off: in Kugane, along the path to Doma following the catastrophe that was Raubahn Savage. To locate the whereabouts of Yugiri and Gosetsu, we are sent to speak with various NPCs including one of a very fishy nature, Gyodo. Gyodo offers to help us however, this rather obviously turns out to be a betrayal plot and we are sent running for our lives with the aid of smoke bombs to mask our escape. A stranger appears who offers us a place to hide and conceals our location to the guards. This stranger is revealed to be Soroban of the Kojin. He is willing to help us in return for securing a trade agreement between himself and the East Aldenard Trading Company.
Who are the Kojin?
In real life the word Kojin represents the Japanese deity of the fire, hearth and kitchen. In the realm of FFXIV they are an aquatic Beastmen Tribe, native to the Ruby Sea and who worship the Primal Susano. Visually they have the appearance of tortoise-like creatures. They are split into two factions: Red Kojin and Blue Kojin. The Red Kojin are warriors and mercenaries aligning to the Garlean Empire yet maintaining and concealing their faith. The Blue Kojin, such as Soroban, are pacifists and skilled traders who seek out valuable items and artifacts. The items are of great value to them as they believe their gods, known as Kami, resides in all things. Ownership of such items will bring great power and prosperity.
Upon agreeing to ally with Soroban, we hear news that Gosetsu was arrested by the Sekiseigumi. Hancock jumps to our aid and pledges to arrange the finances to free him, only to find that Gosetsu himself had bartered for his own freedom by beating 10 of the Sekiseigumi in single combat. Gosetsu reveals that Yugiri has traveled ahead to locate their master Lord Hien in Doma. Following this we secure passage by means of Soroban across the Ruby Sea. We leave Tataru and Alphinaud (phew) behind to take care of business in Kugane.
The Ruby Sea
At our first stop in Othard we meet Tansui, an apparent high ranking member of the Confederacy (pirates) and enforcer of the Ruby Tithe, a payment that all travelers must pay to the Confederacy to secure passage across the Ruby Sea. We are shown a short cutscene where an imperial officer, accompanied by a Red Kojin, refuses to pay the Ruby Tithe, threatens Tansui and passes through unhindered (all the while Soroban makes a swift exit). Tansui reveals how frustrated he is with the Empire, especially Yotsuyu, the acting viceroy of Doma.
Yotsuyu’s location is revealed to be at a nearby fishing village of Isari. Having delivered you to the outskirts and performed his end of the bargain, Soroban departs. Gosetsu is determined to confront Yotsuyu (after we witness another rather violent cutscene), which he does in an attempt to buy us time and save local residents of the village. Gosetsu lets himself get captured and we hasten to Onokoro.
Who are the Confederacy?
The Confederates are a faction of nationless sailors who have controlled the Ruby Sea since before the Imperial occupation and do so to this day. Anyone crossing the Ruby Sea is required to pay a toll, the Ruby Tithe. If they do not pay the toll, their safety is not guaranteed and thus risk being victims to piracy. The Garleans don’t consider the Ruby Sea a strategically important area, so they turn a blind eye to the confederacy as there seems little to gain by stopping them. The confederacy do not have the resources to actually claim the Ruby Tithe from seafaring Garlean vessels, and Yotsuyu has recently forbidden any Doman citizen under Garlean occupation to pay the Ruby Tithe. To pay the Tithe would break Garlean law, yet to not pay the Tithe would risk an encounter with the Confederacy.
Lyse makes a plea to the Confederacy for aid in our plans to liberate Doma, yet they do not wish to provoke the empire by doing so. In order to gain favor with the Confederacy, we undertake a series of run around quests as we did in The Fringes. However, help is still denied to us unless we prove ourselves by separating the Red Kojin from the Garlean Empire. For this we need the aid of the Blue Kojin, and so we meet with Soroban once again at the undersea Kojin village of Tamamizu. In order to secure the aid of the Blue Kojin they ask that we find the Yasakani–no–Magatama – a precious treasure they deeply desire. First things first though, we must learn to swim underwater by means of the ‘Ritual of Kami’. Once the necessary ingredients for the ritual are gathered from the Unkiu, the ritual is performed and we may now breathe and remain underwater indefinitely.
Note: Now all underwater emotes are available. To submerge in water from the surface, press CTRL and Spacebar.
Our next quest leads us to Sui-no-Sato, the neighboring undersea Raen village of Tamamizu. Once again we ask for aid, this time from the High Priest of Shisui of the Violet Tides. He explains that their people were driven from their ancestral homes and sought out refuge from the war under the water. The Ruby Princess of Sui-no Sato decrees that isolation is the only way to preserve their way of life and so they wish not to get involved with the affairs of outsiders.
We are then shown another violent cutscene from Isari where Gosetsu is being beaten by his captors in front of Yotsuyu and the remaining villagers. Through doing this it is Yotsuyu’s hope that she will learn the location of Lord Hien, the heir to Doma.
Upon completing the cutscene we gain access to the local quests of Sui-no-Sato, including the next dungeon, Shisui of the Violet Tides (optional).
Shisui of the Violet Tides Quick Guide
The side unlock for this dungeon is available after you do your first MSQ within Sui-no-Sato.
Quest: The Palace of Lost Souls – Kurenai – The Ruby Sea (x20.2, y20.1, z-2.0).
First boss – Amikiri
- Targets one player and roots them in place, and raises a leg up to impale that player.
- Group has to target and destroy his leg to free the bound party member. Destroying the leg will make the boss flip over on its back, taking bonus damage for a while
- Adds will spawn throughout the fight, they should be prioritized and killed quickly.
- Blue marker will drop AoE puddles on marked players, the group should spread out to avoid hitting more than one player per splash.
Second boss – Ruby Princess
- Four chests around room, one for each player. Stepping into chest will grant ‘old’ debuff.
- Step into chest before boss finishes casting Seduce to avoid getting dragged into a high damage aoe attack (Coriolis Kick).
- Boss will cast Abyssal Volcano. This ability consists of two things, one central AoE area near the boss (explodes once), and smaller AoEs that follows 2 players (the damage dealers), run it around the edge of the room.
Third (last) boss – Shisui Yohi
- Casts Thick Fog: floor fills with water and boss submerges. Four stationary bubble adds spawn, must be killed.
- Ripples in the water show where the boss is submerged, boss will surface when all the bubbles have been destroyed. Players standing on top of the boss when it surfaces will get a +vulnerable debuff and take some damage.
- Shark adds will spawn (2 small ones that target the damage dealers, 1 large shark that targets the healer), each and start channeling Bite and Run, a high damage ability. Kill before they finish the cast.
- Boss will cast Mad Stare every now and then, face away from the boss at the end of the cast to avoid being feared.
Although so far the expansion is visually stunning, thus far I have found it far from the interest of Heavensward. With enthusiasm waning and only short periods of play available, it just feels like I’m doing one run around quest after another. The pattern so far seems to be that of going to one village, doing run around quests to gain favour and then making an agreement that if you help the next village, you will gain help from the last. So far this has happened three times in a row and so is becoming a little tiring. There is still so much more to experience within the expansion and so I hold out hope that things will improve. I absolutely adore some of the zone music, it’s so atmospheric and wonderfully calming. Unfortunately, the majority of the time I am exposed to various renditions of the painfully annoying and repetitive Kugane music theme. It appears so often throughout the game that I have got to the point where I need to turn the game music off, something I’ve never done before in Final Fantasy XIV. Perhaps it is just a worse experience to play the expansion slowly with a few hours at once, as opposed to long gaming sessions, filling the hours with big clumps of content that overshadow the dull filler quests and town music!
Related: Column, Echoes of Eorzea, Expansion, Final Fantasy XIV, MMORPG, Stormblood