For her most recent request, @curious_usagi wanted to know my favorite Artifact set from A Realm Reborn. I’d talked a little bit before about the Drachen Armor being my favorite, but the more I thought about it I realized that wasn’t entirely true. If you’d like to make requests of your own, you can support the site on Patreon.
As you can probably guess from the occasional posts here on Fashion Ninjutsu about Final Fantasy XI, I had been a long time player of Square’s first Final Fantasy MMO before I moved over to FFXIV. During the lead-up to the game’s A Realm Reborn relaunch, I was pretty strongly opposed to switching over to the “new” game. I was happy over in FFXI, and most importantly, the new game lacked Ninja, Alahra’s canon job. It didn’t even have a thief or rogue type of class at the time, which was the same thing that had kept me from checking out FFXIV in its original state, too. (Pugilists did originally have access to Steal, though).
But tons of my friends in FFXI were going to be switching over, which made me want to switch on some level, too. First and foremost, I had to figure out how Alahra would be represented in the game if I were going to switch, and one of the things that made me think a “translation” of her character could work was the game’s Monk Artifact Armor. Though I spent most of my dedicated efforts in FFXI gearing Ninja, I’d always considered Monk and Samurai to be secondary “canon” jobs for Alahra, so if I was going to play her there, she would almost certainly need to be a Monk to make things work.
Augmented Temple Attire (in Pure White)
Fortunately for me, early promotional materials tended to display the Monk as a Miqo’te. I can still remember browsing through the Jobs pages on the Lodestone in those early days and thinking how awesome Alahra would look in the Monk set. That wasn’t quite enough to get me to jump ship (it took a couple more friends taking the plunge to convince me), but it was instrumental in getting me to realize it was actually possible.
In the end, I took a long and torturous road to getting the Temple Attire during ARR. Alahra started out as an Archer (because I needed to start in Gridania to play with my friends), became a Lancer, then a Pugilist, then a Gladiator, then a Pugilist (and a Monk) again, and finally hit level 50 as a Scholar long before I ever got Monk to level 50. I really didn’t like Monk’s playstyle back then (and it took until Stormblood for Monk to actually feel right to me mechanically).
But for as long as the Augmented Artifact sets from ARR have existed, I’ve kept coming back to the Temple Cyclas for Alahra whenever I play Monk. Whenever I decide to put together a Monk glamour, I nearly always start with the Cyclas (though the Pacifist’s Vest is definitely competition for it now), and if I had to pick a canon Monk look for Alahra, it’d almost certainly be the Cyclas in Pure White.
I’ve not used the other pieces very often in terms of glamour, but even if I can find ways to replace them, the Temple set on the whole is one of the few Artifact sets from the original game that doesn’t have any pieces I actively dislike. Most of the time, for an Artifact set to work for Alahra, I have to swap in other things. Sometimes, I don’t even like using the body centerpiece (which is sadly the case for Ninja). But I’d be happy with the Monk set even if we didn’t have Glamour at all (though if we didn’t have dyes I’d probably end up using the Melee i90 variant instead just for the more striking colors).
So, the Temple Attire will probably always be a favorite of mine, as it comes the closest to fitting Alahra without any actual changes to it. If it weren’t a job specific piece, I’d probably use the Temple Cyclas in particular for Ninja, Samurai, and maybe even Bard at least some of the time, too, as even if Alahra’s a Ninja canonically, I’ve always imagined her fighting style as a fusion of Ninja and Monk, with a heavy focus on the meditative and chi elements of Monk. But because I have to play Monk to use the Cyclas, it’s likely that I’ll still come back to both the job and its original Artifact Armor sometimes even five years from now (assuming FFXIV is still a thing and I’m still playing it, of course!).