Following on from her most recent request, site Patron @curious_usagi asked me to write about my favorite Heavensward Artifact set this month. I didn’t have to think much at all to figure out which set that was. If you’d like to make requests of your own, you can support Fashion Ninjutsu on Patreon.
Artifact sets in Heavensward were kind of a pain. Like the “Relic” versions of the Artifact sets from A Realm Reborn, they were locked behind lockout-limited Allagan Tomestones at the start of the expansion. Eventually, they were moved over to Clan Centurio Marks, burying them behind the ever more irrelevant Hunts system, and on top of that, picking up the dyeable versions also requires Marks. All of that combines to mean that collecting the full sets for glamour possibilities is a dedicated task and that I’ve never finished collecting all of them.
Thankfully (in a sense, anyway), many of the Heavensward Artifact Armor designs were a little out there, following in the footsteps of Yoshitaka Amano’s character artwork and character designs from early Final Fantasy titles, which often utilize a wide variety of colors and exotic accessories. Since Heavensward was full of callbacks to Super Nintendo era Final Fantasy games, that makes a lot of sense, but it does mean that the sets often have rather limited glamour potential. In this case, that’s great, as it means I’ve never had to go out of the way to collect full sets for each of the Heavensward-era jobs. I’ve only collected a few complete sets, and by far my favorite of them is the Aoidos’ Attire.
Aoidos’ Attire in Pure White (Tights and Boots are undyed)
Unlike most Artifact sets in FFXIV, the Aoidos’ Attire is comprised of pieces that are all individually usable. From the Aoidos’ Turban down to the Aoidos’ Thighboots, each piece works incredibly well with the other parts of the set while still being flexible enough to work with a large number of other items in the game. Each one dyes quite well, too, with very little muddying of the waters with poorly assigned secondary dyeing channels—imagine how less striking the set would be if it lost all of the black accents to a darker version of the chosen color! The dyeing is largely consistent across the pieces, too, with little bits of dark orange sticking around on each one when dyed, meaning that the set remains cohesive in any number of chosen colors.
Several of the pieces are fairly unique, too, thanks to the set’s focus on asymmetry and clashing colors. Like the Choral Attire from A Realm Reborn (and most specifically, the Choral Tights), the Aoidos’ Attire is split down the middle, with the original set being a mix of rusty orange, black, and white, all subtly crossed across the set’s left and right sides. These elements are neatly emphasized on the Shoulder Gloves in particular once you dye them, making it easy to create a really sharp, two-color look with nothing but dyed Aoidos’ pieces. The Aoidos’ Tights engage with the asymmetry in another way, as they’re half tights and half shorts. Even the Aoidos’ Thighboots, which are the most symmetrical piece of the set, have just a little, with the knife on the right ankle.
What really makes the Aoidos’ Attire shine, though, is how it somehow forms a perfectly cohesive set despite all of that rather interesting asymmetry. With the striking color clashes, the set is at once kind of gaudy while seeming completely fitting for the travelling one would expect of a wandering performer. There’s a dash of the exotic—least, relative to someplace like Ishgard—with the Aoidos’ Turban and Cloak perhaps more suited to the deserts of Thanalan than the stuffy halls of Ishgardian noble houses. Even the asymmetry itself is fitting for FFXIV’s version of the Bard job, which is a juxtaposition of archery and performance. All of that combines to result in, I think, an Artifact set that’s both the best one of Heavensward and arguably in all of FFXIV. While plenty of other Artifact sets capture their jobs’ essences quite well, I don’t think any of them capture that spirit so properly as the Aoidos’ Attire.
Accordingly, the set is far and away my favorite Artifact set, and it was a big part of why I played Bard during Heavensward even if I hated the casting-times version of Wanderer’s Minuet. The set’s aesthetics are simply so on point that I couldn’t help but use them, and I continued to find uses for its parts throughout Heavensward. I try to keep the set in mind during the Stormblood era, too. I enjoy the set enough that even after glamouring the entire thing for screenshots, I’ve not felt compelled to put together a new look, though I do imagine I’ll get around to that before too long even so!