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- FINAL FANTASY XIV: Heavensward
Square Enix has released a significant patch for Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward today that makes additions and adjustments to the game in various ways. Looking at the lengthy patch notes you may be overwhelmed. To help ease you into the current state of the game, I'll go over the major elements of 3.05 in an easily digestible manner. See below.
1. Alexander Savage is Now Available
You've likely cleared Alexander by now, and may have even been wondering why it was so easy. Square Enix is trying out a new two difficulty format with the raid, allowing players of all walks of life to enjoy the epic dungeon, while providing hardcore players with the challenge they look for.
Starting today, you can dive into the Savage difficulty version of Alexander. This is a tuned variant of the raid with all the same bosses. However, the bosses have been made much more difficult with more damage dealt, additional mechanics, and larger health pools. Unlike Alexander Normal, you are unable to queue for it using the Duty Finder. Instead, it will be up to you to find a group of players to progress through the raid with.
Your efforts will be rewarded with a variety of Gordian Manifestos that, like Alexander Normal, can be exchanged for gear. However, the Savage difficulty has higher item level gear, and weapons that can't be found in the Normal dungeon.
2. Heavensward FATEs Are Actually Worth Doing
One of the most welcomed changes in 3.05 is the improvement of Heavensward FATEs. While before they rewarded an underwheming amount of experience, now you can receive up to 150,000 experience points from a single FATE with Armory Bonus. The patch notes specifically state that there has been a 50% increase in experience rewarded, that they have had their difficulty lowered, and you will now be synced from four levels up instead of three. It's enough of a difference to prompt many players to leave Northern Thanalan and find new FATE group routes to level up alternate jobs.
3. Astrologian Has Been Buffed Significantly
As someone with a 60 Astrologian, I am happy to learn that the job has been adjusted in such short order. It's a remarkably fun job, but one that wasn't fully realized at the launch of Heavensward.
First, Lightspeed is no longer a low-priority cooldown as it reduces MP cost of spells by 25%. Meanwhile, The Ewer and The Spire cards now regenerate MP and TP accordingly instead of providing cost reduction. Spread can now be used outside of combat allowing you to prepare for battle much better than before. In addition, Shuffle's cooldown is 60 seconds down from 90 seconds.
It is unfortunate that Nocturnal Sect is still significantly worse than Diurnal Sect, but at least the major weaknesses of Astrologian have been addressed alongside the arrival of Alexander Savage. I suspect that by the release of the next patch Astrologian will be the well-rounded package that players want it to be.
4. Tomestones of Esoterics Have Been Added
Tomestones of Law are no longer the rage among endgame players. Tomestones of Esoterics are now here along with a whole new set of gear to acquire. Right now, the means to acquire these is by running any form of Duty Roulette except for High Level, or completing any of the level 60 group content.
5. Dragoon Positionals Are No Longer as Punishing
In Heavensward Dragoon received a new mechanic where it is able to use a tier four weaponskill when Blood of the Dragon is up. While this sounds great on paper, the problem many Dragoons face is that there are two weaponskills that can proc, one of which requires use from behind the target to achieve top damage, and the other from the flank. Without proper positioning players have been punished significantly with a 100 potency finisher instead of 290.
3.05 changes this by improving the base potency to 200. If you happen to miss the proper positioning for one of these two skills, then your DPS won't fall off a cliff because of it.
6. AF2 Armor is Finally Here
A huge library of gear has been added to the game with this patch. First, there's the gear that comes from Alexander Savage. This gear, outside of the accessories and weapons, has an appearance similar to the Alexander Normal gear, but can be dyed.
The real highlight is the addition of AF2 gear. Named after Final Fantasy XI's Empyrean Armor, this gear is remarkably good-looking, with a visual style similar to what you received for free from your job level 40 and 45 quests. However, it's much better, and can be acquired at a consistent rate using Tomestones of Esoterics.
An easy to read website listing all the endgame gear in FFXI: Heavensward can be seen here.
7. You Can Now Purchase Doman Items with Law
With the addition of Tomestones of Esoterics, Square Enix has made it so that you can spend your Tomestones of Law on the Doman items that previously could only be acquired by farming Hunts. The costs are 900 for the Doman Whetstone (weapon), 700 for the Doman Urushi (armor), and 350 for the Raw Doman Urushi (accessories). This change has made leftover Tomestones of Law much more valuable.
8. There's An Exclusive Mount in Alexander
A photo of a new mount was posted among the patch notes. It has a visual style akin to that of enemies in Alexander. It's very likely that it's a rare drop in Alexander Savage.
9. PvP Has Tons of New Options
If you're into PvP, this patch is an important one for you. For one, new item level 180 gear has been added. Also, the maximum PvP rank has increased from 40 to 50 providing veteran PvPers with new milestones to aim for. Made better, a new PvP battleground called Seal Rock has been added.
Seal Rock is a Frontline based in a Sea of Clouds/La Noscea style environment and has a new mode of play unlike previous battlegrounds.
10. New Elite Marks Have Been Added
Hunts are an important part of the level 60 experience, and new elite marks have found their way into the game with 3.05. These are outdoor bosses that typically require a group to defeat, and reward players with Centurion Seals.