Dark Knight Paladin Tanks Warrior

Anima Questline Speculation

Last night, I got my Dark Knight Anima to the Hyperconductive (230) stage after a slowly mounting effort on the Unidentifiables needed for the base Anima (210) step. Luckily, Nothung is a pretty nice looking weapon, and it has a nice silver and black motif that fits right in with my current tank glamour. All I needed to do was swap in some Metallic Silver Dye, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be set until 3.4 brings us some new gear to play with, at least for this one.

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I stuck with the Replica Nothung, since the edgelord glow on the Hyperconductive weapon wasn’t a great fit to the silver color (though I considered going Dalamud Red and may still do that at some point).

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Thanks to judicious stockpiling of Umbrites as I worked on the Unidentifiable items, I’m also mostly done with the Guillotine of the Tyrant (240) stage, which will make for my second 240 Anima. And that’s got me wondering, where do we go from here?

Will There Be a 245 step?

Though we don’t have a lot of precedent to draw on, so far, Relic/Zodiac/Anima weapons have always hit a point where they were equal in item level to the current best weapon from raiding (with the exception of the period following the adjustment of original Allagan weapons to i95 but before the actual implementation of the Zodiac quest), before that weapon becomes obsoleted by the next raid tier (or expansion, as appropriate).

There’s been some speculation that the trend here isn’t going to continue, but right now I suspect we’re still going to get one more branch of the questline for the 3.2/3.3/Midas raid tier. The Nexus step of the Zodiac storyline increased the weapons to i115 (in line with weapons from Second Coil) and was released about six weeks prior to the launch of 2.4. We are now about six weeks from the earliest, most generous estimate of the launch date for 3.4 (mid-September), but I wouldn’t be surprised to see 3.4 launch on the 20th or 27th of September instead, which leaves room for a 3.38 patch including a 245 step.

Since WoW’s Legion expansion is launching at the end of August, something of a “short” 245 step (akin to the Nexus or Zeta Zodiac stage) released in a few weeks would allow for Square to  have something strategically placed to blunt the move of players toward WoW, while still giving them plenty of time to make sure 3.4 itself has enough development time (the normal 3.5 month patch release suggests we’ll see it on September 20th at the earliest, I think—which would probably be enough time for folks “vacationing” in Legion to potentially want to come back to XIV after experiencing some of Legion’s content).

If we don’t see a 245 step (and a corresponding 3.38 mini patch) before September, I suspect the next step will jump straight to i250 and launch immediately with Patch 3.4’s release date (which would then potentially hew toward a September 6th release date —almost 3 months to the day from 3.3’s release and a more aggressive push to counter Legion.

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But What Will We Do?

As usual, I expect whatever the next step entails will be focused on keeping earlier content alive. I suspect the next stage, whether it’s a 245 or a 250 one, will focus on the two Alexander wings primarily, as both of them are largely empty and have been for some time. To that end, I heavily suspect the team will hook the next step into the “bonus window” framework from the Nexus and Zeta Zodiac steps, since the processes are already in place on the server and they’ve thus far been left unused. This is also in keeping with the fact that both the i115 and i135 steps used the bonus window framework.

We might also see other underutilized bits like Heavensward Trials (and probably the Leveling Dungeons, which could use another shot in the arm) included in the mix, of course, but I have a feeling they’ll want to emphasize Gordias and Midas as the most efficient ways to grind this out. I think this is especially likely since they didn’t do anything to really keep Midas relevant after the release of Weeping City. Will Gordias is involved in the 210 step, it’s not a particularly favored way to work on the step these days, since Roulettes and Beast Tribe quests (especially the Moogle ones) allow for a much less grindy experience there.

There’s a slim chance we’ll see Diadem included in some way instead, but I suspect the team wants to let us forget about their largest blunder until they can hopefully renovate it and release the new Exploratory Missions instead. From a top-down perspective, fostering more interest in Diadem would be a good idea (to help hopefully push down the cost of the materials for the 210 step), but it would likely result in something of a backlash, since Diadem was so poorly received initially. And I think with Legion on the horizon, the team probably wants to avoid doing anything to galvanize any pitchfork armies for now.

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And What Will It Look Like?

So far, Anima Weapon stages have all been split into two parts in terms of appearance: a base model (Animated/Anima/Reconditioned Anima) and then the base model with a glow/particle effect (Awoken, Hyperconductive). That means we’re due for a glow on these new Reconditioned Anima models, following the existing pattern, probably representing the Anima spirit’s completed bond with its new vessel.

The more interesting question, going forward, is whether or not we’ll see a slowly mounting glow effect (as was the case for Animus to Novus to Nexus) after this step, or if we’ll get another new model sometime during the Patch 3.4 raid tier. So far, each model has only been associated with two steps in Heavensward (and actually, this was also the general trend in ARR—both the Relic and Zodiac models had just two stages, one without a glow and one with it).

I’m really hoping a future step will also include some sort of “ability glamour” for the class involved, changing the appearance of some key ability for each job, too, in something of a nod to the new weaponskills that Legendary weapons in FFXI granted, but if we see anything like that, it probably won’t be until the absolute last stage of Heavensward. I can dream though, right?

Regular posts will resume next week. I’m out of town for GenCon Indy starting on Wednesday!

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