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Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Awoken Patch Review

The first major content update of Final Fantasy XIV is here! Released on the 17th of December this patch features a large list of improvements, fixes and additions to the game.

2.1 “A Realm Awoken” features:

- The first 24-man instanced-raid in the Crystal Tower series “Labyrinth of the Ancients”
- A new 4-man instanced dungeon “Pharos Sirius”
- Two Hard-mode instances “Haukke manor” & “Copperbell mines”
- Extreme mode Ifrit, Titan and Garuda
- New trial against Good King Moogle Mog
- New trial against The Ultima Weapon
- Continuation of the main scenario
- New Sidequests “ Hildibrand—agent of enquiry, inspector extraordinaire”
- Beast Tribe Quests for the Sylph and the Amalj’aa
- Daily Roulette system
- Treasure Hunting
- Addition of a Aesthetician
- The Wolves’ Den PvP arena
- Free Company Housing
- Player commendation system
- Party Finder

There were also a load of changes made to the game that include:

- Average item level requirements for endgame dungeons and is now also displayed in the character menu
- Revenant’s Toll in Mor Dhona has been expanded
- New mounts & Minions
- Vote and Dismiss functionality
- Inventory sort functionality

This was quite a chunk of content and it took me some time to get through enough to write a review.

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More story

A batch of new main scenario quests have been added. These “A Realm Awoken” Quests act as a continuation to the ones found in “ A Realm Reborn”. (2.0) So there is some interesting story right there that can keep you busy for a few hours. The plot gets really interesting but also ends with a cliffhanger so you will have to wait for 2.2 for more! Yoshida-san mentioned that patch 2.2 will have about 1.5 times the story compared to 2.1 so seems to be worth looking forward to.

Also worth noting is that the main scenario of 2.1 will also lead up to the new primal fight “Good King Moogle Mog XII” The difficulty of this fight is between Garuda (Hard) and Titan (hard) and drops a random iLvl 75 weapon. I was very lucky to receive a grimoire on my first kill! Great! The fight is also really fun and involves fighting a crew of moogles and the boss, organisation and teamwork is key to success. There’s also some really great music playing that develops as the fight goes on.

Hildibrand Has Returned!

In the original release of Final Fantasy XIV there was this weird eccentric detective and his assistant that would go around solving crime and such, perhaps the biggest and greatest case would have been Dalamud, and the prophecy that foretold its descent. He thought he was a hero of destiny and followed in the moon’s path and as result was never heard from again.

Then there was his assistant Nashu who was very faithful until his disappearance five years ago. Now she is offering her aid to the people of Eorzea in an effort to unravel the many mysteries that beleaguer the lands.

Her next case, the strange zombie activity surrounding Ul’dah.

This is really only an introduction to the great humorous quests that follow, much like the main scenario this also ends with a cliffhanger and even a preview of the next episo—err patch.

I have to admit that I really enjoyed these quests more than I thought I would, there is some great dialogue here that is really worth reading. Awesome cutscenes that really make you laugh. After finishing all of them I really started to look forward to the continuation that is scheduled for patch 2.2

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Crystal Tower “Labyrinth of the Ancients”

The first 24-person raid instance is here, and it is great! To gain access to this content players must first complete a couple of quests with the first of these starting in Revenant’s toll, Mor Dhona.

What I really enjoyed about these quests is that they revolve around the crystal tower and really make it like a separate storyline. Key characters even make an appearance and from the looks of it even a new one will be introduced.

The real star of course is the actual instance itself, at the moment it is only available to enter with a party of 8 or less. In the actual instance however two other parties of 8 will join in on the fun.

The instance is designed that in a way you will have to work together with your teammates and the two other teams. It starts off simple, you have team A, B and C. Team A takes the mobs on the left, team b takes the middle and team C takes the right. Then the first boss comes up, and without spoiling too much of the fun, you are basically dropped into a huge arena and you have to prevent adds from getting to the boss. Upon defeating the boss each team gets to loot a piece of gear and a new section of the dungeon opens up.

Four bosses and four pieces of iLvl 80 gear can be found in the first raid in the Crystal Tower series with some challenges in between. You can obtain one piece of loot per week from this instance.

“Labyrinth of the Ancients” sure sets the bar high for future raids.

Pharos Sirius

Pharos Sirius is a totally new dungeon in the world of Eorzea, you might have heard about it during a certain main scenario arc in La Noscea, also you might have seen the exterior as it is a giant lighthouse. Well here is your chance to climb it. This 4-man instance is fairly challenging and can be accessed from iLvl 48 and up. The boss fights are heavily reliant on coordination and knowing what to do. The second boss is a good example of this, it’s an angry bird and you gotta kill her babies in a moderate pace or else she’ll rage too much and kill ya all. The actual mechanics are of course a bit more interesting than just that. The final boss is a well-known Final Fantasy creature! Enjoy.

Personally I thought Pharos Sirius is a great end-game dungeon, but I think it is a bit hard at iLvl 48. It should be doable though. Pharos Sirius drops iLvl 60 gear.

Haukke Manor (Hard) & Copperbell Mines (Hard)

Let’s get it out of the way first, these are practically new dungeons. Rather than just making everything harder as the titles suggest these instances use the same style of the non-hard versions but are a completely new experience with some familiarities in between.

Well, once again.. much like all the other dungeons these are a blast to play through albeit a bit more challenging. From the moment you step into one of these dungeons you will notices that while it may look a little bit samey, most of it isn’t. The whole layout has changed. It’s great fun and I recommend giving them a spin! Just like Amdapor Keep and Pharos Sirius, iLvl 60 gear can be obtained here.

Extreme Primals & Ultima Weapon (Hard)

There isn’t a whole lot to tell about these encounters. It’s like the previous versions but harder with some new mechanics. Titan will have some adds, Ifrit will spawn 16 nails(although the mechanics are different). So It’s really for the die-hard and the rewards are good! Ultima Weapon drops iLvl 80 accessories, and the extreme primals will drop iLvl 90 ones, it is worth noting though that each of the three extreme ones will drop accessories for a different slot.

PvP

PvP has arrived in Final Fantasy XIV! It’s 4vs4 in an arena and the first team that completely defeats the other team wins, there is no respawning aside from getting resurrected by a teammate. Personally I’m not really a PvP-er so while I thought the content was okay and it could be fun in-between It wouldn’t be something I’d play constantly, but now it’s there! So that’s a good thing.

It really is most what you could expect, you can kill people and get points for it, these points you can use to unlock pvp skills and obtain pvp gear and items.

Additional Features

Now that I have covered up the main bits there are still a few thing unmentioned. Beast tribe quests are pretty much like dailies with the addition of some lore and cut-scenes related to the struggle of the race that you are questing for. As you complete these you gain reputation with the tribe you are questing for, this allows for new quests and the ability to be able to buy different items from their shops.

The Daily Roulette system, this system allows you to enter a queue for a random dungeon within the group of roulette you picked. For now you can only use this solo but it was mentioned by Square Enix on the forums that this will change in the future. Basically, you pick one of the 4 available roulettes; low level, high level, main scenario or guildheists and queue up. The system will handle the rest, each of the four roulettes has a daily bonus in rewards and an additional bonus for the role that is needed the most in that roulette (like Tank or Healer).

Treasure hunting! Disciples of the land can now find treasure maps and this can lead to a new adventure. Search for the treasure, dig for it, sometimes you also have to fight some monsters (and/or group up for it) and claim your treasure. It’s a nice addition to the game. The Aesthetician is here, after completing a quest you can change your facial features for 2.000 gil.

Last but also really worth mentioning is the inclusion of a party finder, this is a tool that can help you create or join groups for any cause and the player recommendation system that if you enter a group with randoms you can cast a vote on which one was the most helpful in your opinion, players get a point for each time they have been voted and these can unlock certain things (achievements, mounts, etc)

So that’s it, patch 2.1. Quite the thing isn’t it? I’m really enjoying it and can’t wait to see what’s on offer for 2.2!

To find out more about Final Fantasy 14, visit the game page.