Smudge and I finished off Heavensward a bit more than three months ago now, and you might expect that we’ve been getting well into the post-Heavensward content of FF XIV….

Not so much.

There are a few things from before the expansion that we had not finished up, and our efforts have been going to that. So not only have we not gone into Patch 3.1 yet, but we haven’t seen a lot of the newer zones lately either.

First off, we’ve been working on the Postmoogle quests, generally doing one per week. We’d probably just work on that while also doing 3.1 content, but the main thing we’re holding back for is getting our main-class relic weapons through all the stages they went through before Heavensward. Technically, you can just skip ahead to the beginning of the post-expansion versions, but Smudge has been determined to see it through (and it does get some extra achievements, along with some background and story for NPCs who won’t be going away any time soon). As expected for something originally designed to keep people busy when all the current story is done, every step along the way has its own brand of frustration, and takes a fair amount of time.

Possibly the most frustrating part was the Animus Zodiac weapons, which have you go through nine books, each of which has certain monsters, FATEs, Levequests, and dungeons to do. This was time consuming, and quite repetitive by the end, as there were only so many places of the right level range for them to draw from. After that, attaching 75 materia to a star scroll took some time and organization due to getting the materials, but we generally had the materia to hand. And then the next step of gathering light points took a bit simply because it was a big job, and we didn’t burn out on it. One of the most efficient ways of doing it was the three ARR+ raids, which we went through for a few weekends in a row, so we finally got familiar with them after also skipping by that on our way to Heavensward.

After that, the plan cooked up by the NPCs is to create an all-new weapon with better potential, and pour all the soul-energy of the old one into the new weapon. This required a fair amount of running around for more materials, and some things needed to be crafted. Luckily, between the two of us we have all the crafting classes in good shape… but part of it is taking apart (or desynthesizing) relatively expensive vendor items to get materials that only exist that way. Most of our desynth skills were not already up to the task, so that took some extra effort. I have gotten a better idea of how those skills work as a result, and why getting them into Heavensward levels is such a pain….

And once everything is ready, and you’re about to sacrifice your old weapon, the game warns you, twice:

Maybe I needed more soulbonding with it?

Well, let’s just say it worked. The new Zodiac Braves weapons are quite good looking (I admire their attempt to build a harp into a bow to explain bards, but it always looked too bulky, and made an annoying rattle while unfolding for combat), and very surprisingly is dyeable. The dye system in FF XIV isn’t bad (I’m spoiled by GW2), but too many things aren’t dyeable at all, and this is the first time we’ve seen any weapon be dyeable. We ended up racing through the process for Zodiac Zeta, and are now both feeling rather raided-out. But we’ve gotten to the end of the ARR+ relic weapons will soon look at getting the Heavensward relics, as well as actually starting up patch content.

Meanwhile, we’ve been doing lots of other things as well. The most regular way for the pair of us to have some fun is still Palace of the Dead, and I’ve used it to train up on both Black Mage and Paladin now. Black Mage is still in the early 50s, so there’s a lot I can’t do in that class yet, but I’ve been enjoying it, and like what I’ve seen of the level 60 version in POTD. Paladin is my first tank class, and one that Smudge hasn’t cared for, but so far I’m liking it. It might be a little too steady of a rhythm in normal combat, but it is nice having some true interrupts for a change….

Smudge has tried Astrologian (opposite of my BLM) and had a lot of fun with it; I’ll definitely have to get to it at some point. And took Machinist opposite my Paladin, and reports that it’s more the straight ranged damage dealer that I had assumed that Archer (/Bard) would be, so I’ll want to get to that too. Smudge has also found a good antidote for the annoyingly emo anti-hero storyline of Dark Knight:

The Postmoogle quests have been interesting, as they keep highlighting various NPCs from the story. Thankfully, Smudge can remember most of them, partly from having a head for it, and partly from having re-done the early questing on another character recently. They’re mostly small things, story-wise, but they help flesh out the world more, which is nice to see in an MMO. The tones of the quests are varied, from fairly serious to fairly silly.

(That entire quest was filled with lines like that.)

Just this last week, we finally got some time with some of the other guildies on-line, and did some of the content waiting in our quest logs for a while. In this case we did the entire first part (four small… dungeons? They’re not trials, as there’s a couple encounters before the main boss, but it’s still just one or two encounters and a main boss.) of Alexander. The fights were generally fairly interesting, but I still got lost in part 3, when everyone took off before a cinematic was done.

Of course, despite being victorious, things are still going south, and now more of Alexander has emerged from the lake. Square is walking a fine line on having things change, but not needing you to split off into a separate version of the zone. Much better than Blizz’s problems with instancing in WotLK.

Smudge has also recently discovered the joy that is Quick Exploration with your retainers. They come back with completely random items, some of which can be hard to get. Recently, Guilda came back with a new housing exterior, and Smudge liked it enough to remodel the home:

The fact that it overwrites all the exterior accessories is nice, because you don’t end up with a roof that just doesn’t match, but also annoying, since you can’t personalize it at all.

Finally, I need to mention that Smudge has been brushing up on her video editing skills by doing 10+ minute highlight reels of our adventures. You can see the current list of them at Thayrin & Rylea’s Highlights. At the moment, they’re split between our raid runs for getting our relic weapons improved, and our POTD runs. The first few are from when she was streaming, which needed lower video quality, but that goes up with #5. Sound is still an issue as her system insists on recording her microphone louder than anything else, so I’m kind of hard to hear.

Still, my favorite bit: “I don’t remember what the next boss was.” “Easier than this level.”