FFXIV gearing sucks. In fact, calling it “gearing” at all is almost insulting by conventional RPG standards. With the most recent world race having come to an end, I’ve mapped out a template that I believe covers the following:The endgame community is kept engaged (if they choose to be, no crazy mandatory grinds)Squeenix keeps their precious sub money without holding you hostage to a house. Alt jobs are allowed to shine as more than just an advertising angle to sell people on the game.AND DOPAMINE.Without further adieu, let’s break it down in bi-monthly increments.
Savage patch release
What Changes? Keep everything as is. Maximum item level only achievable through savage.Rationale: You want to keep the World First race and early competition exciting, and let those at the cutting edge enjoy the exclusivity of their power level.The first 8 weeks are a very fitting window of time for this, as that’s what constitutes the majority of progression leading up to even the most unlucky person in a static getting their weapon from the final floor.
2 month gap -> x.x5/x.x8
What Changes? Weekly upgrade material from CriterionRationale: Criterion is awesome content. It’s not necessarily an answer to M+ (and there’s several valid points that such a system wouldn’t work great in FF anyway), but it is finally challenging light party content.Something sought after for nearly a decade! And unfortunately, it only rewards measly criteria and cosmetics on savage.Funnily enough, you can make a decent chunk of gil farming the regular difficulty of Criterion dungeons, but if we look at how dead PF is for this activity, it’s clearly not enough. The most popular compromise I’ve heard is simply allowing upgrade tokens, but I don’t think it causes any harm to have a weekly item drop as a consideration either.Criterion still requires a savage-esque level of execution ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶a̶d̶d̶o̶n̶s̶ ̶a̶m̶i̶r̶i̶t̶e̶. You keep the gear exclusively earnable by high-end players. This also lines up to right after groups begin getting their 8th book from Savage, and the quality and quantity of PFs begin to diminish.This wouldn’t solve that problem, but it would alleviate it, as players may be more inclined to stick around and help in PF if they can begin slowly gearing alt jobs sooner.Related:Comparing high-end WoW healing to high-end FFXIV healing
4 month gap / odd number patches
What changes? 24-mans, on top of providing an upgrade token, drops Savage item level loot rather than -10 item level. Raise tomestone cap to 600.Rationale: Let’s be honest. At this point, no one cares. I can’t think of many savage raiders that think “BUT MUH EXCLUSIVE ILVL.” At this point they just want their PF to fill so they can spend less time running laps around the Limsa aetheryte while watching Xeno react to content on their side monitor.Maybe I can’t speak for everyone but I personally do a 24-man once and never step foot into it again. This is blasphemy for how much heart and soul goes into these instances (God bless you Soken, you beautiful man.) This gives raiders sidegrades ̶i̶f̶ ̶w̶e̶ ̶p̶r̶e̶t̶e̶n̶d̶ ̶e̶v̶e̶r̶y̶o̶n̶e̶’̶s̶ ̶b̶e̶s̶t̶ ̶s̶e̶c̶o̶n̶d̶a̶r̶i̶e̶s̶ ̶a̶r̶e̶n̶’̶t̶ ̶C̶r̶i̶t̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶D̶H̶,̶ ̶a̶ ̶c̶o̶n̶v̶e̶r̶s̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶a̶n̶o̶t̶h̶e̶r̶ ̶t̶i̶m̶e̶and alt job gearing options. It’s one piece a week, so it’s not going to invalidate Savage farm at all. But for those that maybe took a break or had issues with their savage experience but still want to play the upcoming ultimate, this gives a solid option to catch up to required item level, and—again because it can’t be stressed enough— provides more options for gearing up alt jobs (beyond glamour, of course. And y’all already have the 2B bottoms.)Let’s take a pit stop and look at the “to-do” list for raiders looking to gear and play alt jobs that isn’t at all required but definitely incentivized for enthusiasts at this point:
Weekly Savage clear
Weekly Criterion clear
Weekly 24-man clear
Weekly Faux Hollows (if you need the gil or other rewards)
Tomestone cap (and now you have more activities to passively cap it outside of expert roulette and hunts!)
6 months in
What changes? Savage loot UNLOCKED. Raise tomestone cap to 900Rationale: Seriously, it’s been a half year. Remember, we want to keep PF alive. What’s the concern, too much flexibility for the next tier? Too much fun? What are we, Blizzard Entertainment? The gear will become irrelevant anyway the instant normal raid and new crafted sets become available.All the best players are busy in their ult statics and don’t need extra pages for their mains, but if you fully unlock savage…well, you’re finally not completely excluding those poor folks who dare try to prog savage super late into a patch. It gives farmable content that requires a pulse while also potentially fulfilling a community need, because frankly, if you’re deciding to start getting into endgame raiding at this point of the patch cycle……Good luck, friend. You might as well run back to World of Warcraft and try again next tier. You got caught up on the wrong entire half of the patch’s life cycle—sucks to be you, nerd.No one deserves this fate. Just unlock savage loot. Tweak tomestone rewards for completion while you’re at it so you get bonus [current weekly tomestone] for clearing with someone new to the duty.
8 months in - next Savage drops
And there we have it. Tah-dah! The next savage is out. We repeat the cycle from here.__In conclusion, It perfectly fits their current content cycle and it's a win for everyone.
The game encourages a continued subscription
the tryhards get their sidegrades
the alt enthusiasts can actually play other jobs.
There hasn’t been a dent on the scarcity of gear since the increased tomestone cap of 300 to 450 in ARR, but there’s substantially more jobs to play around with. The math doesn’t make sense.One of FFXIV’s major selling points is a facade, and I’m calling it out. Love it or hate it, in World of WarCraft: Dragonflight, you can get an entire character Mythic-raid ready in a fraction of the time it takes to have an alt job in a place where it feels good to play in Savage encounters, let alone playable at all in Ultimate encounters.The endgame PvE community already suffers from limitations like the Savage loot lockout system, and there’s very little provided in the way of preparing players from the leap up from braindead Duty Finder content to High-End duties. Let’s rectify that.Michale 'Drexxin' Lalor is Editor-in-Chief at Esports Heaven. Follow him on Twitter at @ESHDrexxin.
Cover image courtesy of Square Enix.
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