As Final Fantasy XIV’s first major expansion, Heavensward had a lot to live up to, and carried a pretty heavy burden, as far as solidifying the game’s foundation for the future goes, and now that it’s nearly over, I’ve been thinking a lot about what the expansion did well and what it didn’t. Sporadically over the next couple of months I’m going to collect some of my thoughts on various legs of the game. So far, I’ve talked about Anima Weapons, the Diadem, the Main Scenario (spoilers!), the expansion’s dungeons, and the expansion’s endgame, in broad strokes. Next in the series comes a look at glamour in Heavensward, which will also serve as something of a retrospective for Fashion Ninjutsu itself, naturally.
Way back when I started this site, I made a promise to myself to mostly focus on positive aspects of the game, and I mentioned that in the very first post. I’ve generally stuck to that, but it’s definitely true that that this series of Retrospectives on Heavensward have leaned somewhat negative (Heavensward has, after all, had a number of issues). That’s something I think is necessary: I don’t want to be the sort who can’t think critically about my primary choice for entertainment media, and I also think it’s important to do so if the game’s going to improve, too. However, I also want to talk about things Heavensward did well, and if the existence of Fashion Ninjutsu is any indication, I’ve definitely enjoyed the glamour game during the expansion.
With the North American Data Centers down for the server relocation, now’s as good a time to reminisce about all the time in what has more or less become my “endgame” in Heavensward, since I retired from raiding. I could go on about this subject forever (in fact, I guess, you could say, I already do), so in some manner of an attempt to keep myself from talking about every single gear set released in Heavensward, I’m going to talk about the various gear types in general—mostly by class/job—and how I think each of them fared as far as glamour goes. I’ll be focusing primarily on body pieces, since those tend to form the core of any look, but I’ll highlight some of the nicer side pieces as well.
On the whole, Aiming gear has always had a lot of great stuff to draw on. In A Realm Reborn, Bard got access to some great pieces (with things like the Kirimu Coat having staying power over two years later), so of course Machinist went into Heavensward with access to some great stuff. At Heavensward’s launch, though, Aiming classes didn’t have a lot of new stuff to be excited about. They did have the fantastic Orthodox Aiming set to look forward too while leveling, but their initial options at level 60 weren’t so great. In particular, their 180 crafted set, centered around the Griffin Leather Longcoat, was a reskin of a set they already had access to from 2.4, when other classes either got entirely new stuff or access to a set they didn’t have before (Monk and Ninja both got variants of the Kirimu Coat, even).
Things got better for them, though. Both the Aoidos and Machinist sets were great, and they got a decent variety of styles as the expansion went on, from jackets in a variety of styles to different sorts of tabards and coats. Standouts like the Lost Thief set or the ever-popular Wrangler’s gear will probably stay popular for a long time, as will the Oschon’s set from PvP. Of course, not everything was perfect, but I’d say on the whole that Aiming had a lot of great glamour options in Heavensward (and I’ve only touched on a handful of things here!).
Casting & Healing Gear
I’m taking casters and healers since so many of their options are shared. Mage gear has, for me personally, always been something of a mixed bag. Since I try to glamour in ways that make sense for Alahra’s character, a lot of what we get just plain doesn’t fit her. Ignoring my own personal trouble with “mage” gear, though, Heavensward has added a lot of great stuff for them, with notably more variety than we saw in A Realm Reborn. Most their gear in 2.x took the form of some variety of robe, and while we got some interesting robes in 3.x, we also got a ton of other styles. In lieu of robes in Heavensward, we got a lot of coats, and honestly, a large number of them look great.
We also saw a lot of doublets, jackets, and other styles, really opening up glamour options for both casters and healers, and we even got some more elbow-length gloves, something the mages have really been lacking. If there’s one area where I wasn’t greatly impressed with gear for mages, it’s probably their job-specific Artifact Armor. Elements of each of their sets are interesting, but I’ve only rarely found opportunity to use them outside of their respective sets. That’s not to say they’re not usable, but more that the designs are often a bit too specific to have wide applicability for glamour.
Of course, I only touched on a handful of things here, highlighting some of my favorites. As it did with Aiming gear, I think Heavensward really expanded glamour options for Casting and Healing gear in some great ways.
Fending & Maiming Gear
As I talked about a bit just recently, I have a really hard time with glamours for Dragoon and have similar trouble with tanks, which makes sense since they share so many models. Truthfully, the problem got worse in Heavensward. Early on in the expansion, the team seemed to settle on a lot of heavy coats or otherwise heavy armor for Dragoons and tanks, and for a good while, it seemed like everything we got was some variation on the theme of armored coats (probably in part due to the popularity of things like the Heavy High Allagan Coat of Fending from 2.x). We got very little in the way of lighter armor, like the Mythril Cuirass from A Realm Reborn, and the few models we did get just never seemed to work well. None of the Artifact sets for Dragoon or any of the tanks was really lasting, either—I can’t tell you the last time I’ve seen someone using them for glamour.
It hasn’t all been bad, of course. The Orthodox sets (and their Dravanian reskins) are some of my favorite sets in the game, though in practice I have only found regular use for the gauntlets and greaves from the sets. Various sets from Alexander, like the Gordian set for Dragoon or the Midan Fending gear strike a better balance between light and heavy styles, too. For me personally, though, none of these ever really felt right for Alahra (though it’s possible if I ever get my alt to 60, she’d have better luck). That’s left me, at least, still largely preferring gear from 2.x for both Dragoon and tanks, so if there’s anywhere I’m disappointed in the glamour options in Heavensward, it’s for those two gear types.
Scouting & Striking Gear
As far as shared sets go, Scouting is sometimes paired with Aiming, but for the most part, it’s pretty consistently shared with Striking sets in Heavensward. Thankfully, with both Ninja and Monk serving as primary Jobs for Alahra, Heavensward added a lot of neat stuff for them. Both the Iga and Tantra sets are great, and both Monk and Ninja got a ton of new goodies besides in the expansion. Like everyone else, they got nice Orthodox sets (with the Dravanian Striking variant taking the cake from all of them). They also got their own versions of the ever-popular Kirimu Coat that I mentioned above, and frankly, the Scouting and Striking ones look better than the original, especially when dyed.
And maybe I’m biased, but Monk and Ninja got the best Shire sets, too, though admittedly you have to have the dyeable versions to realize that (the base color schemes were…questionable). Then there are useful staples like the dyeable Ramie Trousers (which also have an Aiming equivalent) and more stylized gear, like the Yafaemi Cyclades or the Diabolic Dolmans. While we occasionally got some really strange designs for them (like the Althyk’s PvP gear, which fits Dragoon better than either Monk or Ninja), on the whole, as with most other armor types, there were a lot of great choices for Monk and Ninja in Heavensward.
Of course, we also got a ton of gear that wasn’t job-specific in Heavensward, and some of the best and most varied options are accessible by everyone. We saw the Kirimu Coat get an All Classes version, and everyone got access to a useful pair of thighboots (not to mention the best boots ever from Y’shtola’s Modish Attire). Glamour sets like the Expeditioner’s and Falconer’s gear provide pieces that have plenty of applications, and we even got some nice pieces from events, like the Songbird Jacket and Vampire’s Vest for styles we didn’t have much in the way of before Heavensward.
The Thavnairian sets or the High House pieces from early in the expansion were great for more regional looks, and with things like the Wind Silk gear and Scion Adventurer’s attire allow for modern fantasy sorts of looks often seen in other Final Fantasy games. And while most gear for Crafters and Gatherers was specific to them in Heavensward, we got some handy things like the Archaeoskin Jackcoats and Serpentskin Vest and Fringe Boots that everyone can use.
The job-specific sets for Crafters and Gatherers were hit or miss, depending on the individual class, but all in all they were well designed. The Ironworks sets for both of the non-combat roles are fantastic, and my only complaint about them is that they’re not for all classes like most other gear is for them. I’m sure they’d work great in conjunction with some of the older Ironworks gear from 2.x, but unfortunately we’re not able to experiment that way.
Even so, on the whole—this is great for how I enjoy the game—I think Heavensward really added a lot of great options in the way of glamour options for just about every class. As I’ve said numerous times, I only touched on a fraction of what we got here, and there are probably things I’ve just plain forgotten about that I loved at one point or another. It’s also worth mentioning that the Glamour system as a whole was streamlined mid-Heavensward, which was a major quality of life improvement! Following that and all the great stuff we got in this expansion and having seen the new Artifact sets in the Stormblood Benchmark, I’d say I’m unquestionably excited for what 4.0 and beyond will bring for glamour.