Offerings and Anima: I can’t stop repeating this – if you want to get something done in WoW, you merely have to start farming, and the results are immediately rewarding.
By the end of week two of Grateful Offerings farming, I’ve acquired 1-2 pieces per armor and Covenant type – which in total counted as 16 or 17 slots filled in my Renown set spreadsheet. This pace is quite solid, I think – granted I don’t stretch myself too thin. I’ve woven in a Grateful Offerings round before a toon goes to Korthia, and another run upon return from Korthia, with another 2-3 offering rounds before reset. Normally I get about 3-4k anima per alt in a week which is quite enough to purchase a set item, so that will do. I’m not farming any other sources except for a world boss – well, of course I could do world quests, assaults, souls quest, but that is too much – at least not with all my roster on the task.
It’s a sort of a currency see-saw which is mildly irritating me nowadays. Some toons have accumulated a ton of offerings and lack anima, and some accumulated anima which is impossible to spend with the lack of offerings. Well, I guess it figures out in the end – there’s still a ton beyond the sets themselves, like weapons, mounts and all. So far the pace is fine with me, we’ll see what corrections are due in a month.
On the Offensive meta-achievement – required for obtaining the final Covenant mount tint from Death’s Advance – got recently nerfed, which is a most welcome change. First, it is now properly account-wide (it means 1 alt, not 4), second, it requires 6 achievements of choice out of 9 to complete. I’ve already done three, I’m aiming now for three more. The greatest thing is you don’t have to complete the whole assault – or in some cases, even a quest: come to an assault ground, see if the quest in question is up, do the requirements and walk out happy.
My first million in gold: I know, it might sound ridiculous for some of you, but I’ve always been broke in WoW. Not great with savings, sitting on 30-40k per toon at best, and draining them all from time to time – because expensive mounts, mats to reach level cap in professions (yes, in my case professions is where I spend money, not earn them), and transmog purchases/transmog sessions.
In 9.1. I managed to hop on the train and did some amazing business with Korthite crystals. As soon as I learned they are required for legendaries and can be sold, it clicked with me. I have zero desire to visit Torghast and upgrade legendaries of my own, so I went into business! I managed to catch the time when they were sold 2300 a piece, and even now, when the price is about 200 gold, I’m still selling for 30k weekly. It’s what my alts accumulate through their normal Korthia activities with zero extra effort, pile up on my main and sold immediately – I login the next day to collect the money and never the returned unwanted crystals.
Long story short, I’ve collected about a million across my roster, and now sitting on a pile of gold, waiting for a good opportunity to spend it. The only purchase I allowed was 270k per a paladin’s belt. Back in raid set farming days, I’ve discovered a nasty surprise: to complete an Ulduar paladin set, you need a belt which now drops only from ogres (!) in open world (!!) in Warlords of Draenor (!!!).
Naturally, it was counterproductive to farm specifically, and you had to wait until someone else gets it and realises its value enough not to vendor it, but to put in AH. Back in farming pre-SL months I’ve checked AH daily with no luck, and now when I had the gold burning my hands, I decided to check – and lo, it was there! Well, that was some happy bargain I made.
Finally, I burned through the Heavensward content with my second toon, and now we’re heads deep in Stormblood – the next expansion.
First and foremost, let me tell that the first impressions are amazing. It’s like every next bit of story improves gradually, to the point that looking back makes the gap of difference grow exponentionally. Mind you, when you’re in, it’s never too bad, but it improves more and more. Looking back, A Realm Reborn experience was not quite an unbearable slog, yet still the things really started to shine there in patch content after the climax raid, Heavensward main story was even better – even if I complained about the lack of logic in dragon behaviour, in Heavensward patches the story upgraded emotionally and in writing even more (it’s like different teams wrote HS main and patch content), and now comes Stormblood which is quite a pinnacle in my opinion so far.
From what I’ve seen yet – I’ve just arrived in Kugane, the local Japan’s port – the first leg of Stormblood easily beats the entirety of Heavensward already. I was so invested in the start of rebel story – well, it’s one of the plots where you must try really hard to spoil it. Oppression and bullying by an evil empire/aristocracy is playing the justice strings of our souls too easily not to get invested at once. Let me remind you that Suramar lore was one of the best WoW’s team’s ever written, and that’s the reason.
FFXIV went farther than that, and instead of presenting a common linear story – building trust with rebels, helping them in small skirmishes, winning post by post, climax battle – has thrown in an epic twist. As you barely start to feel comfortable with the rebels and their well-concealed base as your new home town, the evil empire comes and razes it to dust. How’s that for story development? Things like that make it super interesting, as no one and nothing is safe, and you cannot expect what awaits you around the corner. So you merely stop guessing and building theories, and just enjoy the flow, with many surprises waiting ahead.
Stormblood also throws in more world building effort than Heavensward and A Realm Reborn. Quests really try and succeed to explain not just the characters’ thoughts and major arcs, but how the land lives in general, the everyday life, the troubles and the mood of the natives.
Graphics have improved too, it seems. Well, it’s still quite bleaky, but not so rip-my-eyes-out as before.
And a couple of amusing things to review. One, is when you start running in the first zone, you are harassed by ent – the walking tree – mobs. Thing is, they are called Leshy – a name taken from Russian/Slavic mythology. Leshy, or Leshiy is a guardian spirit of the forest, normally taking form of an old bearded peasant man. It can be both malicious and benevolent, depending on how a hero behaves towards the woods and its creatures, and what the story requires. It can guide a hero, provide him with a helpful artifact – or make him lost in the woods and die. It’s not the first time FFXIV addresses the Russian mythology – I chuckled a lot how a Coerthas dragon dungeons had dungeon bosses named Chudo-Yudo, Koshchei, Gorinich and alike – the legendary fairy-tale villains. Koshchei in mythology is basically a lich king, an armored old sorcerer with a zweihander sword, normally kidnapping a princess to his castle for a hero to save, commanding armies of demons and undead. Gorinich, or Zmey Gorinich is a three-headed fire-breathing dragon, harassing villages for loot and virgins, and Chudo-Yudo is a sort of a chthonic sea serpent. It’s amusing to find these little references to your culture in game :)
Second, music. I was thunderstruck when there played a cinematic sequence with a Garlemald anthem. First of all, it’s a very wise approach to empire theme – but of course, the anthem should be inspiring, not villainy. After all, even evil empires deem themselves as good guys. Second, the usage of the theme in open world. Well, empire is the main focus of the expansion, so an excerpt for a quest taken/quest completed jingle is explainable. What is not explainable is why Garlemald anthem is used as a theme song for a rebel camp. That was super weird!
Finally, more mundane matters: gameplay. I’m following my plan of leveling both toons simultaneously, and it appeared very rewarding. My first toon arrived in local Japan, but the second one is not too far behind, ready to depart for Limsa Lominsa in her tracks. I think I’m doing this from now on: chapter – catch up.