For the last few weeks there have been a truly silly number of events going on in Final Fantasy XIV to commemorate the first anniversary. To some extent this game is a bit of an aberration. No where else is a game allowed to fail miserably, and then rebuilt from the ground up to be a much better experience. Game simply fail and fade away into obscurity, however in the case of a Square Enix I guess they felt obligated to fix the blotch in their lineage of games. While it had a bit of a rough launch due to severely underestimating the popularity, things have generally stabilized and as a result the game truly is a joy to experience. The relationship Square has with the player base is extremely interesting. They still make mistakes, but they seem to be extremely forthright about them. For example when they released the 2.3 patch and the players ended up doing something with the hunt system they couldn’t foresee… they completely overhauled the system as a result making it significantly better.
This history of awesome interaction is reaching a bit of a crescendo during the Anniversary events. As a result they have planned a solid month of things happening in game, bringing back some of the limited time events that happened earlier in the year so that players that missed them the first time could participate. This makes me so amazingly happy, because the one event that I really wanted to participate in was the Lightning Strikes event commemorating the launch of Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns. I have a rocky past with the FFXIII franchise, in that it is one of the few Final Fantasy games I have never been able to finish. However the nifty things you get from doing the event provide some rather unique looking graphics here in Eorzea. One of my regrets was not being around when it happened the first time and not being able to collect the weapons.
The event centers around completing a series of quests involving reports of a strange pink haired woman in Eorzea. At the request of a reporter you pick up the trail outside Limsa Lominsa by doing FATEs in either Middle or Lower La Noscea. I ran most of the FATEs in Middle where there was constantly a group gathered up at the spawn point. It feels as though they have greatly reduced the requirements needed to get Gold in a fate. During the days after launch this event would have been extremely frustrating, as during some of the times I was out there yesterday there was at least fifty players all vying for the same crab mobs. The FATE name you are looking for is called “Sister Crustacean” and involves killing a bunch of Megalocrabs as they spawn. The catch is that not every single one of these FATEs actually includes the lightning event. How you can tell is that you get a unique FFXIII themed “Fate Started” graphic at the beginning. Additionally if you roll up on it as it is in progress the music is from FFXIII not the standard FFXIV fare.
Once you complete the first step of the quest you follow the trail to Uldah where in the Steps area another reporter asks you to go off and gather evidence. This once again involves going out into one of two regions to gather clues. From this point on the fates you need will have “Lightning Strikes” in the title making them significantly easier to find. In Eastern Thanalan the one you need spawns over the highbridge and up near the South Shroud zone entrance. In Southern Thanalan the FATE you need spawns north of Little Ala Mhigo near the Eastern Thanalan zone entrance. The awesome part about this fate is you get to fight one of the really cool mechanized behemoths that existed in FFXII. These are fun fights and take a significant amount of time to whittle down, so generally speaking if you see the fate spawn you have more than enough time to run across the zone. While grinding for Atmas yesterday there were more than a few times I helped out with the FATE just to tank it.
The quest line picks up in Old Gridania near the amphitheatre and from that point onwards will keep working off of that same NPC. It is the reporter for the Raven that you have encountered before in other quests. These next few FATEs are more tricky, in that there are a wide array of spawn points for each. This next step takes you to Coerthas and has you fighting some strange machine that looks kinda like a walking cuisinart. It is a similarly long fate to the one where you fight the Behemoth so you generally have plenty of time to reach it. If the FATE has been up for awhile there is a chance of failing if Lightning dies in the process of fighting it. I had that happen this morning as I was taking this screenshot. In any case you collect another piece of evidence and turn it over to the reporter in Gridania who sends you out once again on another quest.
This final step of the quest chain takes place in Mor Dhona and once again has a viable spawn location. Generally speaking it will spawn somewhere near Saint Conach’s Find. During this step of the quest Lightning summons up Odin to help her in battle and you fight the FFXIII representation of Bahamut known as Chaos. While not a particularly difficult battle considering how many people were gathered up to help, I figure this would be more than difficult if you tried to solo it. Chaos has a series of almost unavoidable AOE attacks, that while none of them deal spectacular amounts of damage… it would slowly wear you down without the aid of a Chocobo to heal or an actual player healer. In any case it was a rather impressive fight, and since I was tanking I saw the boss without much issue. However there were numerous other players that complained that they could not see the encounter at all due to the number of people surrounding it.
After all of this effort you return to Old Gridania where Lightning is waiting on you. You are of course treated to a rather lengthy cut scene explaining what exactly is going on, and why she is visiting Eorzea. While I’ve given plenty of spoilers about how to complete the quest chain, I am going to refrain from giving any away on what actually is happening. I found the overall story arc to be charming at least, and it was fun getting to run around with one of my favorite characters from FFXIII. I am perfectly okay with Lightning being the female equivalent of Cloud Strife, and all of their lack of depth. I like the character because she tends to be all about killing things… which is conducive to my own goals. The reward for all of this is a cosmetic outfit. If your character is Male you get an outfit to look just like Snow, and if your character is Female you get to dress just like Lightning. Additionally completing the quest chain unlocks several hair options at the Aesthetician so you literally can replicate Lightning or Snow exactly if you so choose.
Additionally through the first steps of the quest chain, you get 2 Otherworldly Parcels. One will be consumed by completing the quest, but the other you can use in Limsa Lominsa next to the quest npc that started this whole event to purchase a FFXIII themed weapon. If you are like me and you wanted to get more than just the one weapon, you can do that as well. Each time you complete the events in either Middle or Lower La Noscea you get two ore Otherworldly Parcels. So by completing the fates four more times you can purchase one of each weapon. They can of course be stored in your Armoire in your Inn Room to free up Armory Chest space. While not all of the weapon graphics are amazing, I wanted to complete the full set just in case I had a later need for one of them. The Armoire is a nice way to dump seasonal stuff into permanent storage so it is available later if you end up wanting it. Overall it was a really fun event, and I look forward to doing the Dragon Quest X tie in event when it happens in a week or so.