Before the Storm: Heavensward Reflections

The new Final Fantasy XIV Online expansion, Stormblood, launches on Tuesday, with early access beginning this Friday, June 16th. Before that, though, I want to take a moment to think back on what Heavensward was to me.

When I started the playing FFXIV in January 2016, I was apprehensive about joining an MMO. I already had so many games in my collection, why play one you have to keep paying for? How much story could there be? How do you play a game with thousands of other people on your server?

I quickly realized how much I enjoyed the social aspect of the MMO – it felt like much more than just a game purchase, worth subscribing to. The story was better than I expected, and the battle system was an interesting challenge to master. I joined a supportive FC with a couple IRL friends, struggled to learn how to tank, and took a long time to get through the story, enjoying every minute of it.

And there’s been time for plenty of fun along the way.

When I hit Level 60 in February or March, Midas was already going strong. I worked to try to get my gear up and, after joining a few Sephirot Extreme and A5S learning parties, started looking for a raid group to get serious about clearing Midas. After one group that was not a good fit and quickly fell apart, I was able to join my current static, which had been stuck at A6’s Brawler for some time, and once our roster stabilized around a solid group of 8 members, we cleared A6S in August. Unfortunately, that would be our last victory in Midas Savage – we weren’t able to clear A7S until it was nerfed after 3.4. We did do other fun things in patch 3.3 – when we cleared Nidhogg, for example, relatively quickly after the patch, I felt like we were really coming together.

I managed to get a Nidhogg birb 7/10, the only time so far I’ve had a birb while the fight was relevant.

In 3.4, we hit the ground running, killed Sophia right away, burned down A9S and A10S by mid-October, cleared A11S just before Thanksgiving, and then A12S in January, right after patch 3.5 (after a brief pitstop in Zurvan). I know that everyone is saying that Alexander Creator Savage was a significant reduction in difficulty versus the raids that came before, but I still am quite proud to be a member of Jiffy, and proud that we were able to not only clear, but farm these savage raids weekly to get geared up before echo.

This was the only time we took a group photo after clearing this tier ^^;

Later in 2016 I worked on crafting and gathering, managed to become a Grandmaster of the Hand, and geared my crafters up prior to patch 3.5. I have really enjoyed learning the FFXIV crafting system and have worked to try to craft things for my friends and also encourage them to work on crafting and gathering as well. I managed to gear myself to the point of being a 4-star Omnicrafter.

Farewell, my Ishgard – you had my back when all others turned against me.

Other things I’m proud of would probably be… Getting outside my comfort zone and leveling and using additional classes. Back when I was first looking for a raid group, I felt like I could do WAR and SCH decently, and that was it. I considered myself a WAR first and a SCH second. Now, I’d probably call myself a SCH main but flexible omnihealer (AST is probably my weakest one but I’m still capable of clearing Extreme and Savage content with it), and also a capable WAR/PLD, a pretty good SMN, and a decent MNK.

Is the sun really setting on the White Mage in Stormblood? I hope not; I like WHM.

I spent a lot of time in Diadem and became kind of a figurative “sky rat”, jumping into queue for Diadem anytime I was bored or needed a fix. I started playing PVP and found that I actually kind of like it. I joined a PotD weekly static, and we managed to clear floor 200. Currently the only accessible instances I haven’t cleared in the game are The Burden of the Son (Savage) … and the Hildebrand trials, whoops – I’ll get there lol.

The bench at the center of the world

I’m so glad for the fun and adventure I had in Heavensward, and so grateful for my close friends, my wonderful static, my new home the Gold Saucer Free Company, my mentors in the Tabard Cloud <T.C.> where I grew up, my friends in the Tryhard Panties , Renko and everyone in her Party Finder 2.0 linkshell (without whom I might have been too chicken to raid), and all of the Cactbutts of the greatest server in North America.

The Cactuar Facebook group organized a group picture :3 This is only like 1/3 of the people though because of the visible character limit.

It’s been a pleasure joining you all for Heavensward; I look forward to what we can do in Stormblood!

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