So, I went to take a look at the Animus versions of the Zenith that I have for Scholar. As usual, books with glow don’t appeal much to me. I needed something flashier. As I went through the list, wow, look at that Curtana Animus shiny sword, too bad it’s for Paladin (tank). I’ve never ever played tank in mmos, like not even ever creating one in any game I played, since I’ve always preferred ranged, or melee dps at least; some lighter character that has less armor on. I sighed to myself, as I really wanted that thingy. Then I realised I can be a cloth armor-wearing tank with a shiny sword cos of glamour, and that was when my eyes lit up.
I’ve not even unlocked Gladiator, and never had any experience tanking anything in my life (except self-tanking single mobs while leveling, which every class can). I will have to go through 50 levels of torture, and endure learning how to perform a role well from scratch. I will have to face sharp criticism and bad manners from pug teammates due to bad tanking from my part, and feel useless and helpless for the next weeks of learning. I will have to wait patiently and calmly for the reactions of Pie and friends as they hear this news of me changing a main class to a tank, like “Brushy? A TANK? Oh comeon, continue working on gearing your Scholar/Summoner PLOX”.
But for that shiny sword, let’s go.
So leveling to 50 is a little different now. In the past, everything was about fate grinding to 50. Now, people do dungeons, which imo was a good change. Fate-ing is not a useful way of leveling. It doesn’t help players in any way, other than training their teleporting speeds, or mounting chocobo reflexes, along with their alertness of the area map. Grinding dungeons help almost everyone gain experience in playing their class. The way you play a class in a regular dungeon might not be the same as how you would in end game content, but it definitely gets you thinking about what your job and skills can do. “Who needs Riot Blade on the skill bar? You don’t run out of mana as a tank, um.. do you even use mana other than for a few flashes?” Well, you do run out of mana all the time, especially if you are tanking for geared people, or/and if you wna do a dungeon at a faster pace. “What’s Cover? Huh, it’s a Paladin skill? When do you learn it?” When White Mages spam Holy, which I think all good White Mages need to learn how to do, you will start valuing Cover as a skill. And in Brayflox speedruns, Cover calms everyone’s tits, simple as that.
So by the time I get to 50 as Paladin, which was a short 5 days after I unlocked the class, I already have 8 Atma stones out of 12, by farming them with Omnilex Zenith when I get bored of leveling. So, I started the relic quest, and it was surprisingly easy this time round. Chimera and Hydra are now accessible using duty finder and the Primal hardmodes are so easy now after going through some of the most annoyingly difficult trials/dungeon mechanics in a mmo in Primal EX modes. So within a day, i80 relic is obtained. And by farming some myths the next day, Curtana Zenith is born!
So anything beyond Zenith will be new to me. According to various sources, to get Atma you need Atma stones, 12 of them. You get 1 from each of the 12 stated maps, by completing any FATEs on the map. The chance of getting an Atma stone is low. From my experience, it should be below 5%. So with some determination and lots of luck, I got all 12 within a week, or like 5 days? Some people complain about spending days on a single Atma stone, and that’s just really bad.
So far, the game did really well in terms of gear progression and the ways to obtain end game gear. There is no cash shop in FF14, and therefore, no “shortcut” to getting good gear for raids. There are mainly 2 ways to obtain the several sets of end game gear, either by being skilled and hunting them from difficult raids/trials; or by farming them and purchasing with Myth/Soldiery tomes. The reason I like this system a lot is due to the fact that players EARN their gear. Seeing someone with godlike gear in this game is much different from , say, seeing a shenhao in DN. These guys really have the skills, or if they are equipped with many items of Sol i100 items, have spent much dedication and effort in that particular job. They definitely did not get that through throwing a couple hundred bucks at the screen and get all the gear everyone dreamt of overnight. This, allows them the right to boast about their gear (but normally they don’t, they just know you worship them, and they enjoy that silently), and it makes people less unhappy about rich people irl dominating the game in terms of gear but without really having the skills to back their tools up. Also, the way to get high tier gear without hunting is to farm myths/sol, NOT by gil (currency of the game), so even with illegal gil-buying from 3rd party sellers/scammers/spammers will not get you the best gear around. Yea you can still get crafted i90 and spam materia IVs, but most of them aren’t remotely as good as i100 sol gear, while costing a bomb. Also, I like how the hunted gear and farmed gear have different names, and hunted gear will always be of higher item level (better) than farmed ones. I personally may not be the best raider/player out there, and I have none of the High Allagan, but I definitely respect those players who have these pieces of gear equipped.
This brings me to my small complain about the Atma upgrade process. If you want to make it a grinding process that requires time and dedication, then do away with the RNG. Myth/sol farm takes time, but at least it’s definite progression, and people see the light at the end of the tunnel. For Atma stones it’s so different. You can get the stone from the next FATE, or you can get it after 1000 more of that pointless grind, or more. Simply put, relic is a weapon that was originally designed for the majority of players. It may not be the most powerful weapon at any one time (except when it was still called +1), but most players can obtain it just by putting in some effort in the game. For the base i80 piece and Zenith, no RNG factors were involved, so why introduce such a super RNG for Atma? Many people I know don’t even want to start on getting their Animus, since grinding FATEs for them all over again, with no obvious destination or time of completion, is just anti-fun.
Another factor that deters people from embarking on this journey of Atma is the reward. Well, I understand that can be a major encouragement to getting you from Atma to Animus, but giving just a color scheme change to the weapon by upgrading your Zenith is slightly discouraging. Zenith is item level 90 (i90), Atma is i100, but their stats are EXACTLY THE SAME, at least until your start upgrading the stats more with books, which I will explain later. So, it is really not a lot of reward for going through all that fate farming for this part of the upgrade, except allowing you to squeeze into higher ilvl groups in party finder 😐 For me, losing the glow was the major pain. Although the new color scheme is a lot prettier than for Zenith and earlier, the tradeoff wasn’t worth it imo (reluctantly did the upgrade since it was needed for the eventual Animus T.T)
So after obtaining the Atma, it’s time for MORE grinding. If you think grinding for 900 myth tomes to upgrade i80 to i90 Zenith was tough, or if you think 825 myth for the i90 upper/pants gear for your toon is a lot, then say hi to the 13,500 myth you need in total to get from Atma to Animus. The process requires you to complete 9 legendary books. Each book requires 1,500 myth to purchase, and each book involves killing 10 types of high level mobs found across the world (10 each), completing 3 dungeons (at least 1 hard dungeon or Pharos/Lost City included), 3 Leves and also 3 FATEs. I normally start with FATEs, which are your limiting factors to completing a book. Some of the FATEs require camping, since they spawn once every few hours, and some are hard to be soloed. With FATEs out of the way, the rest are just easy stuff. Well, if you can’t even do a hard mode dungeon as that class you are getting your Animus for, then you probably don’t deserve it anyways. Camp for FATE while queuing for more Bray HM runs, or party find them and wait for good, reliable members. For me, I mostly only take i90 and above dps, healers maybe i85 and above. This is to ensure more consistent runs in terms of speed and rate of success (you’ll know what it means when you do more of it. Some call it “smoothness”). Each run of the first 2 bosses gives 50 myth, so 270 runs… Each run takes between 5 minutes plus to 10 minutes (my fastest timing being 5:36), depending on how good your team members are. By completing a book, one stat on your weapon increases. In a sense you are simply growing your Atma and maturing it bit by bit into an Animus!
For me, I started getting books slow, like I spent 2 weeks getting the first 2 books. After the live letter came out, announcing the next upgrade for relic weapons to an eventual Novus in the near future, I went crazy and got the rest of the books within 6 days. On some days I farmed more than 2,000 myth and completed more than 1 book, which was rather tiring. Having obtained the Animus now, I feel like it was all a dream, and I pretty much don’t remember much of the Animus process, just mindless going through the motion. Getting it is no joke, really. The journey is long, grindy and not meant for most of the players anymore, since that sheer amount of myths you have to farm is no walk in the park. It’s likely more than all the myths several players will farm in their lifetime added together should they not go the Animus way. One can consider comparing Animus to a legendary in Guild Wars 2, just several notches lower in terms of effort put in. But then, there’s still Novus and likely, more upgrades in the future in stall, so who knows? It may well become the grand daddy of “waste-your-life-away-to-get” weapon of the mmo world.
So in conclusion, relic at i100 is no longer an easy way out for end game weapon. The easiest way to an i100 weapon now is actually Leviathan Tidal Wave weapons farming. Or if you are not that anal about i100 and can settle for i95, Levi weapon without mirror upgrade, or t5 farm for i95 Allagan are really easy ways for an upgrade from your Zenith. If you don’t mind the farm and grind for Animus, or if you are determined to upgrade relic anyways in view of further upgrades in future patches, then go ahead and work for it 🙂
of course, if you are like me, who’s just in it for that glow… start nao ^^
Fyi, Bard relic Animus glows like this: