Last week, we discussed the community reaction to Atma in our Eorzea’s Voice column. Since then, we’ve still not heard anything from the developers regarding Atma drop rates, though Yoshida-san did write a nice novel regarding the Mirror of the Whorl.
Having just completed my Gae Bolg Atma yesterday evening, I started to lay down the ground work for upgrading my weapon and had some thoughts that I wanted to share.
The first discussion that I believe needs to happen is regarding time and difficulty. Gathering Atma, completing dungeons and F.A.T.Es for upgrades- they’re not hard. In fact, jumping into Duty Finder to do a dungeon here and there or to do some F.A.T.Es plays right into the “casual player” experience that this game strives to accommodate. Doing these things is easy, but what it does do is take a very long time.
Players can complete The Whorleater (Extreme) and get both their weapon and mirror to upgrade it in the time that it has taken some players to even receive a single Atma on their quest for getting all twelve. Of course, the random number generator (RNG) gods have a say in the matter, but for the most part the Leviathan weapons will require a fraction of the time. The worst part is? You get a better weapon for it as well.
Even after completing the current version, the Animus weapon, the upgraded Tidal Wave weapons from Leviathan are superior. Now, I know at this point people are thinking “well yeah, but they’re going to have more upgrade quests for the Animus weapons.” That right there is a further part of the problem.
In order to complete an Atma weapon, players must have already completed a Zenith weapon, not a terribly difficult task as it can be done in an afternoon. To get the Atma weapon, players must do F.A.T.Es in 12 different locations and hope that they’ll receive one of twelve Atma at the end of a F.A.T.E. This process so far has been found to be 100% random, though there are theories that have started to pop up that the player community is examining. The biggest problem regarding Atma is that other than counting how many Atma you have, there is zero sense of progression. You can do F.A.T.Es in one area for hours upon hours and at the end of the day, have absolutely nothing to show for it. At this point, even something like a quest that says “Complete a certain number of F.A.T.Es in X area to get an Atma” starts to seem preferable, if only to give players the sense that they’re not wasting their time.
After you obtain your twelve Atma, you turn them in and can convert one of your Zenith weapons into an Atma weapon. It gets boosted to ilvl 100 and a new coat of paint. That’s it. Zero stat increases for what will take you either a few days, or a few weeks because of RNG. All this on top of the dreadful fact that if you want to ever upgrade another one of your Zenith weapons- you need to collect the Atma all over again.
Now you have to purchase books with Allagan Tomestones of Mythology- a whopping 1,500 a piece. Quite a price for what the NPC begins to say are worthless items before realizing you’re trying to procure them. There are 9 books. Each book requires you to kill X amount of a variety of monsters, and complete various Dungeons, F.A.T.Es and Leves. After all that is done, you’ve successfully just grinded 1,500 tomes, done all of those other bits of content, for an underwhelming +2 to a single stat on your shiny new weapon.
Now, repeat that process eight more times. In the meantime some of your friends are going to go and outfit all of their jobs with Tidal Wave weapons while you focus on building a single, weaker weapon.
Now, the first thing I mentioned is time and difficulty. These tasks outlined above are easy, but exceptionally time consuming. Sadly, the time required for Animus weapons vs Tidal Wave weapons at this point in time are horribly unbalanced. It’s hard to say who the Animus weapons are being targeted too- those who are largely casual players with only a few hours of play a day, or those that have way too much time to play.
While starting to farm my mythology tomes for my first book, I came to a troubling thought. Because I have to spend all of this time grinding these mythology tomes to upgrade a weapon for just one of my jobs. That means that none of my other jobs that still require mythology equipment will get worked on.
Arguably, one of the best core design choices of Final Fantasy XIV is that you don’t need to create multiple characters in order to play each class. You can play any class you want on one character. Is this idea now getting put to the wayside in favor of time consuming content that has players only focus on one job? Square Enix should be encouraging players to play other classes, not persuading them to buckle down and pick one job because of insane achievement requirements or largely time consuming content focusing on single classes.
Further adding to this issue is the fact that the quests for these weapons aren’t done yet. There will be even more grinding, and probably more requirements that have you continue to put any other classes on the back burner while you focus on a weapon for just one.
To my other jobs while I work on upgrading my Gae Bolg- I still love you. It’s not you, it’s Square Enix.