Ragar asks why half of the classes in FFXIV can't join in the random event fun.
Hello and welcome to the fourteenth edition of the Eorzea Examiner, ZAM’s column on Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. For this week’s column, I’m actually dipping into something from the comments. This one goes all the way back to the Crafting and Gathering preview, where ZAM poster mbncd said:
“I still feel that crafters and gatherers are missing out on a lot and that Yoshi doesn't respect them as much as the combat classes. Until DoH and/or DoL based FATEs and/or quests (outside of the run errands quest that any discipline can do and outside the the one every 5 levels guild quests) get implemented, I really won't be able to consider us to have fully fledged classes.”
It’s an excellent question – for all the talk about how the Disciples of the Land and Hand are valid means of progression with their own gear and endgame, the lack of FATEs they can participate in seems like quite the oversight. Those of us who have leveled a Disciple of War or Magic Class in FFXIV are well aware of just how large of a role FATEs play in the path from one to 50, especially once you’ve finished your first Class and have depleted nearly all of the non-repeatable quest offerings. Gatherers and crafters have even fewer options when it comes to variety in leveling. You have your class quests every five levels and you have a set of three or four guildleves to repeat for five levels before moving on to the next set. Other than those, you’re stuck grinding gathering nodes or recrafting recipes you’ve done before until the next batch opens up. If we’re going to treat the DoH and DoL classes as valid progression, let’s see if we can’t come up with a solution to this oversight.
How About We Leave the Gathering FATEs to the Professionals?
We’ll start things off by looking at FATEs for the Disciples of the Land—after all, someone has to gather the materials for the crafter FATEs. So how do we go about giving the DoL Classes their event content? For starters there’s a type of gathering FATE that’s already covered in the game: the “bring us these random MacGuffins until the bar fills up” FATE. Combat-focused characters are quite familiar with these FATEs since they account for a good chunk of what’s available. An NPC will appear and say that he needs some kind of item brought to him – antidotes for poisoned townsfolk, elemental cores for a merchant, etc. As a combat character you run around picking these items off the ground or killing the mobs that drop them, turn in the items to move the progress bar, then rinse/repeat until the FATE’s finished. Sounds like something DoL classes are perfectly suited for.
Anyone can pick up random items off the ground, so now we need to figure out a way to add some DoL flavor to these FATEs. We already know FFXIV is capable of creating localized instances of gathering nodes; these are used not only in gathering guildleves, but also in the endgame nodes. As such it’s reasonable to assume that during a FATE, unique nodes could spawn for the various DoL classes as applicable. You may not be able to fit in a node for everyone (when an NPC calls for stone, there’s not much call for a Fishing node), but as long as you add in what’s reasonable for the event as well as include everyone at least occasionally, we’ll be all the happier. If nothing else, simply for the fact that it would break up the routine of doing donuts around a zone’s gathering nodes/guildleves until we hit the next level multiple of five.
Crafting Items for Someone Other Than Your Retainer
Now that we’ve given the gatherers something to spice up their leveling, let’s see if we can’t do the same for the Disciples of the Hand. Combat’s out of the question, so that leaves us with the “bring me X items” FATE design. Sure, crafters are capable of picking items off the ground, but that’s not what they signed up for – they’re here to make stuff. So what incentive do crafters have to leave their safe surroundings inside the capitals to do these FATEs off in the wilderness? Even more important, why would they spend their hard-earned or purchased materials to make items for FATEs? If the payoff’s not enough, they won’t do it, but too much Gil paid out would wreak havoc on the economy as crafted goods are depleted by all of the turn-ins. The solution? Quest specific recipes.
We’ve seen these with crafting quests in other MMOs, where a new recipe would show up in your list and stay only until you crafted your items and turned in the quest. FFXIV has already shown the ability to separate recipes into various categories with the Dyes, Housing and other tabs in your Crafting Log. Adding another for FATE/quest recipes should be simple enough, though some work would be necessary to make recipes disappear when no longer applicable after the FATE/quest has ended. Of course we can’t craft the items without any materials, but this is where the NPCs and even the DoL classes come into play. Some FATEs could be included that are cross-profession where progress is made both by supplying materials and by crafting with it.
As an example, let’s pick the town of Aleport. A FATE could be introduced around the idea of repairing and stocking a ship prior to setting sail. DoL Classes would go off to gather quest-specific materials while the DoH classes set to work turning some of those goods into the miscellaneous supplies the crew would need. Carpenters could shape wood for use in hull repairs, Blacksmiths/Armorers would work on cannons, Culinarians would prepare the crew’s rations – each of the different DoH/DoL classes could find some way to contribute to the cause. As for the supplies themselves, DoH players would collect those from interactive piles by the FATE NPCs, allowing them to craft without trading with other players as well as allowing them to complete the FATE should no gatherers be on hand to provide supplies.
This Is Nice and All, But Where’s My Loot?
Adding a little variety to DoH/DoL leveling is certainly nice and all, but I know what some of you out there are thinking: why should I do this? After all, boring though it may be, grinding guildleves does work to level your Class in a timely manner (more so if you’re on the crafting side of things). We can do this in multiple ways, but let’s look at the most obvious first: Grand Company gear. As things currently stand, other than buying consumables to temporarily boost XP gain for those Classes, there are only a couple pieces of equipment of any interest to those classes, and those are generally short-lived between the rewards from your Class quests. Once your character has out-leveled the need for those pieces, all you’re left with are those +XP items… which are nice, but hardly worth the effort. So how do we go about incentivizing these players?
Let’s start by looking at some consumables. All of the combat classes can buy useful consumables off the Grand Company vendor, so why not us? Crafting and gathering buffs already exist in the game in the form of Culinarian food, so the addition of some potions of +Control or +GP for a limited time aren’t out of the question. Consumables like these would also give high-level DoH/DoL classes a reason to continue doing FATEs, assuming there was content that encouraged getting these buffs to succeed. Perhaps even… some unlocked content?
FFXIV has only started to play with the concept of locked recipes with the 2.2 addition of Master recipe books. If it’s possible with the current engine to add recipes that can only be achieved through using a consumable like that book, why not add them in for other locations like the Grand Company vendor? Crafters could learn a new tab full of recipes, brimming with new ingredients the likes of which they’ve never seen before. Where do they get these new materials? From gatherers who’ve purchased their equivalents of those skill books to tell them the locations and techniques for finding such exotic items.
Of course if we went this route, we would likely need to introduce a new currency to the crafting/gathering FATEs. Seals may be fine for the consumables to allow combat players to buy consumables with their excess seals, but if we’re going to introduce new skillsets like these, we should only reward the applicable kinds of gameplay. In addition, it prevents players with a stockpile of Seals from coming in and buying everything, putting everyone on an even playing field where decisions must be made about where to specialize with our FATE tokens.
It’s certainly possible to level a Disciple of the Land or Hand Class to 50 with how the game is built now; I’ve done it with Armorer, Goldsmith and Miner so far. While FATEs for these Classes may not be strictly necessary, it would certainly provide some much needed variety in the leveling flow. With Goldsmith I was able to distract myself with making Gil, but Armorer was a blur of chaining the same guildleve for five levels, checking if a new efficient one was available, then switching to that or repeating the old one till the next multiple of five. Miner was even worse since there were times when I already had a sizeable surplus of all the high XP items I could mine for anything I’d ever care to craft, nothing I dug up would sell for an appreciable amount of Gil, but I needed to grind those items for another three levels to unlock the next tier. Just because the current system works doesn’t mean we can’t find room for improvement.
That’s it for this edition of the Eorzea Examiner. Does the idea of FATEs for crafters and gatherers appear to you? Do you have your own ideas for non-combat FATEs? Does the idea of adding recipe unlocks for FATE tokens strike you as a good idea or an annoyance? Tell us in the comments below. If you've got any requests for column topics, add those as well. Until next time, see you in Eorzea.
Michael “Ragar” Branham