Review: Final Fantasy XIV Patch 5.2 Echoes of a Fallen Star

Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers saw its second major patch last month with Patch 5.2 Echoes of a Fallen Star. This update continued the story of the Warrior of Darkness and the First, while also pulling us back to the Source. We saw new types of content in Ocean Fishing, and plenty for gatherers to do with the Qitari Beast Tribe Quests. The patch also saw the inclusion of the Ruby Weapon trial and the next set of raids for Eden.

We have five reviewers, five categories, and a maximum score of 100! Let’s see how Patch 5.2 fares!

Note: Due to feedback as well as a change in development, the dungeon will now be included into the Main Scenario category.

Our guest reviewer for Patch 5.2 is our good friend, and Twitch Partner, Sly

Warning: This review may contain spoilers for Patch 5.2 content.

Main Scenario and Dungeon

Fusionx: Patch 5.1 for me didn’t live up to the high bar of expectations that I had created for it after playing through Shadowbringers. However, Patch 5.2 shows us that good things come to those who wait. Scenes in this patch gave us throw backs to events from version 1.0 which made me incredibly happy. I also really liked the potential story point that’s hinted at towards the end of the patch where you have different NPCs that can show up and talk to you.
Anamnesis Anyder was the dungeon I wanted in Patch 5.1- back when I was hungry for anything and everything Amaurot. While I’m still very pleased we got to to go the original ruins of the city, I can’t help but feel we could have seen more of it if we didn’t spend what seems to be a bit too much time actually traveling to it on the back of Bismark.

3/4

Xenedra: Two main story patches in and still going STRONG! I’d argue that this chapter was stronger than the previous one, in fact. Every extra little detail revealed about the Ascian plot is like sweet, sweet candy for my brain. The tidbit we got at the end of the dungeon was especially juicy, but also felt simultaneously misleading. I’m not one of our lovely loremasters, of course, so I don’t have my facts all historically organized and it’s natural that I should feel just a little bit lost. In this case though, I feel it’s less a case of me not having the facts and more that SE is weaving us into thinking one thing so that they can shatter our worlds with a dramatic twist! I’m one of those jerks who guesses what’s going to happen next in a movie and usually gets it right, so I LOVE it when I have no idea what’s going on!

As for the dungeon itself, I had more fun with this one that the last one. It felt a little more varied. The boss mechanics overall were more fun as well, especially the combo in the last boss that involves blocking 4 sahagin spawns while letting the water hands kill the other 4.

4/4

Aldianaux: Going into the patch, I was incredibly excited for Anamnesis Anyder. Anything that adds more information about Amurot and their society is awesome right? I was wrong. It ended up being the closest I have felt to playing through a throwaway “Troll dungeon” from WoW. The MSQ saves this category with fun reveals and more insights into the Asican lore, and some ominous foreshadowing that keeps me excited to see more.

2/4

Rook: The MSQ delivered a good chunk of content with some memorable cameos from ShB NPCs, fun dialogue, and a few larger reveals. Added cutscene options such as the ‘all role quests complete’ choice were great additions. Though the dungeon was less than impressive, overall the story was very robust.

4/4

Sly: Patch 5.2 sets up the finale of the Shadowbringers story. And while I usually haven’t been a fan of this in previous expansions, Echoes of a Fallen Star executed this in a way where this time I’m ready for things to end. The high point for me definitely has to be the midway point where we visit the Viis in Fanow and learn about the Ronkan archmage, Tiuna. It’s when the devs give us these tidbits of lore that leave me asking for more. Then there’s the elephant in the room of Elidibus. We’ve dealt with Elidibus’ schemes for quite some time and this definitely feels like the Scions, with all of their wit, easily fell into his “trap.” I’m definitely looking forward to hopefully closing out the Elidibus chapter with the Ascians, and learning who our new Ascian is and what their role ultimately is in the grand scheme of things. 

The new dungeon, Anamnesis Anyder, has to be one of my favorites in a very, very long time. Aesthetically, the dungeon is stunning. Starting out on the back of Bismark and riding through the Tempest felt great. Entering the actual location you’re greeted with that Amaurotine architecture we’ve come to know from Akademia, but with slight touches. One small downside has to be bits of lore that we have come accustomed to getting from our dungeons, and with an Amaurotine locale, we were definitely expecting more lore in regards to the creation magics within.  The enemies and bosses were your standard fare; not much to say about them. But the real highlight of this dungeon has to be the music. I was not expecting to like a song more than “A Long Fall” but this theme has been in my head daily. Soken definitely knocked it out of the park with this one.

3/4

Main Scenario Total: 16/20

Raid

Fusionx: I’ll admit, I was curious to see what kind of character Gaia would be when she was announced during the last round of Fan Fests. We finally get to see her now with Eden’s Verse and… I’m honestly not terribly fond of her. The fights against Ramuh and the other “remembered” Primals simply didn’t have the same impact to me as Leviathan or Titan did previously. The story line included with Eden’s Verse made me yell “Why would you want to do that?!” towards the final fight and I’m a little worried the last chapter in 5.4 will have nothing but more terrible decisions from Ryne and Gaia going forward now that we’ve had Thancred and Urianger take their leave from the story.
Mechanically the fights gave us enough new things to keep things interesting, though I found Iconoclasm to be particularly irritating.

2/4

Xenedra: Most of the fights this time around I found quite enjoyable and actually even more so in what I’ve seen in savage so far. Furor Savage might actually be one of my favorite fights to date. The symmetrical dance involved in dealing with so many of the mechanics is pleasing to my noggin. It just makes sense, not to mention is plain ol’ FUN. I wish everyone much luck in they portal trials and tribulations!

A lot of people had their suspicions about the last boss of this tier was going to be, and most guesses were at least somewhat right. That’s not the surprising part to me, though. They’ve fed us all of the elements now, so were do we go in our last 4 fights!? Once again I’m left in the dark theorizing with the rest of the community and I LOVE it!

4/4

Aldianaux: The raid content itself is one of the best collection of surprises and fun mechanics in a long time.
While Iconoclasm (the fight on the roof) is the weakest of the bunch, even that encounter is imaginative and well-paced. However, 5.2’s contribution to the Eden storyline was fun, but ultimately nothing revelatory.

3/4

Rook: The next set of raids offered creative re-imaginings of several favorite Primals as well as new bosses. The ideas and mechanics are fun, but Savage feels inconsistent in difficulty, and installments such as E7S feel slightly underwhelming. Ryne and Gaia’s bond is heartwarming though.

3/4

Sly: The continuation of the Eden storyline brought the restoration of the last few elements in the Empty and our newest compatriot, Gaia. As a character, Gaia was hit or miss for me with her combative nature in cutscenes and concern in the pre-fight dialogue and ultimately in the final fight (normal). The one real downside for me was the quest, post-MSQ, setting up for the eventual departure of Urianger and Thancred. While Ryne needs to be made aware of the imminent departure of her caretakers and friends, it felt a bit forced. In regards to the elements we knew lightning would be involved, but to deal with wind and fire together was a welcomed surprise. I kinda sensed we would be fighting Shiva but not in the sense that we saw. In terms of mechanics, Yoshi-P promised things we have never seen before in fights and definitely delivered. In comparison to Eden’s Gate, these fights were fun to prog even under pug settings.

4/4

Raid Total: 16/20

Trial

Fusionx: There should be no surprise here that the new series for Trials in 5.x revolving around Gaius is going to get high marks from me. While I’m fairly unaffected by the potential thought of the Weapons being some kind of nod to Final Fantasy VII, I am absolutely, 100% on board with the twist that they’ve given them. The story started out intriguing me, the fight had me jumping up and down in my chair at the revelations of the second phase, and I teared up as the quest concluded for this patch.
I want to go to the store, buy up every last box of Werlyt-o’s and eat them until I burst.

4/4

Xenedra: Everything for me up until now has been fun this, fun that, but you know what? This fight was NOT fun. The normal version was just kind of fine and the extreme version was… well, let’s break down my feelings here a little. This fight feels simultaneously lacking and over-full. It’s very short, while having possibly the most annoying mechanic we’ve seen in a trial in a while. The addition of the checkpoint was nice of them, especially considering the first half is the harder part? I’ve of course been referring to Raven’s Flight, and once you get a grasp of how to avoid it, it’s really not that bad, but it’s not FUN. It’s like using a calculator to try and play music. You can do it, but… why?

The story didn’t do much for me either. It was cool to see Gaius has had a heart for a while, but I’m unimpressed by his color-coordinated “children.” They hinted that perhaps there’s more to their plan than: “Serve the empire, ’cause that’s what dad said before, even though that’s not what he’s doing now!” The visuals in the second half of the fight are really what solidified this as a 2 for me. Really look around the arena if you haven’t had the chance and you find yourself in the fight. PST shouldn’t feel so good.

2/4

Aldianaux: I went into this fight not expecting much and it blew me away. The music, the dialogue windows straight from Final Fantasy VII and the great take on Ruby’s quicksand mechanics were all great in that first phase. Then in phase 2 the fight kicks into another gear. I can’t wait to see what is next in this series of trials.

4/4

Rook: A surprise highlight from the overall patch. Music, spectacle, and surprise make this trial unforgettable. Extreme difficulty offers a nice challenge, though the second phase falls a bit short in living up to the dramatic stakes of Nael’s legacy. Strong opening fight to our new Primal set that teases even more to come in the surrounding story.

4/4

Sly: The Sorrow of Werlyt, started through the MSQ, introduced us to the foster children of Gaius Baelsar. When we learned about the weapon development of the Garleans in 5.1, I was not expecting it to lead to the weapons known from FFVII. It’s definitely interesting, and somewhat sickening, to see how the weapons are operated and the eventual fates of those who choose to pilot them.  I’m looking forward to seeing what data has been loaded on the others and learning more about the other children. Ruby Weapon as a trial was an okay fight. From a pug standpoint, it was pretty straightforward to learn and complete. I just wanted more, in both phases.

3/4

Trial Total: 17/20

Crafting and Gathering

Fusionx: If you had told me that I would spend the majority of my first two weeks of Patch 5.2 on a boat fishing, I would have laughed. And yet, that’s exactly what I did. The two hour timer on ocean fishing constantly made me drop what I was doing in order to go fish on the high-seas for a chance at a minion and mount. This is content I didn’t know I wanted and I’m so happy that it’s here.
We also have the new Qitari Beast Tribe quests for Gatherers. Luckily, I hadn’t already leveled all three of mine to cap so I can use them to gain some EXP. When it was revealed that players would be given a “choice” during these quests I was immediately skeptical of that kind of lore implications it could have. From my time so far, the choice is less about changing the present and more about changing the perceived past, which… ultimately still bugs me just as much as the story split in Eureka. That aside, I’ve enjoyed the story that’s being told and I love the small bits of humor that are scattered into it.

3/4

Xenedra: I’m only relay now starting to get into crafting enough to feel qualified to chime in on the new changes: I like them! It’s really not that different from before. If you understood it before, you’ll get it now, but if you didn’t understand it before, I think it’s simplified enough to make a difference.

The Qitari quests are cute, I’ve always loved the terrible little mouse-monsters that are the Qiqirn. The quests themselves don’t necessarily draw me in as much as I’d like. Learning about the Ronkan empire is cool and all, but what we’ve been given almost feels lacking? I’m not sure if it’s because they give us a choice on the lore or not. That said, I actually enjoy the option to pick what the Qitari think went on. I think that’s a fun way to make the quest varied, while still being able to have an actual establish canon.

FISHING! I don’t do this as much as a lot of my friends do, but it’s been a blast to jump in a party with them and queue up for what almost feels like a mini game. Working together to spawn the rainbow water and make sure we have extra bonuses makes it feel like a weekend fishing outing jammed into a manageable 20 minute or less experience. I’m quite happy to proclaim that I was able to get my shark minion. They nibble, the quibble, baby street sharks.

3/4

Aldianaux: Ocean Fishing. Ok, fine I’ll write more… While that is the standout feature of this group of content, I think most Crafters/Gatherers would agree that this patch brought something for everyone as far as quality of life improvements. Though, any content that makes me interested in leveling my DoH/DoL classes is a win.

3/4

Rook: New content including ocean fishing is breathing further life into crafters/gatherers. Rated 3/4 because we’re still awaiting diadem and further Ishgardian restoration segments. Also lowered due to the fact that non-gatherers cant partake in the Qitari quests, but so far ocean fishing is very enjoyable.

3/4

Sly: Ocean fishing was content that was made for me, but at the same time not really FOR me. It is 100% fun content. But once you obtain your minion and mount (which I have yet to get) there’s really nothing left for fishers who are level 80. The charters themselves have seemed to be luck of the draw.  You’ll get good ones where you see 2-3 currents and you’ll get ones where you don’t see any. I see this content moving in the right direction in future patches if they find a way to retain max level fishers. The Qitari beast tribe, as DoL centered content, is pretty straightforward and offers a good bit of lore about the unknown residents of the Rak’Tika Greatwood. Plus you eventually get a pretty sweet mount in the Great Vessel of Ronka. Looking forward to the new Ishgardian restoration content when implemented.

3/4

Crafting and Gathering Total: 15/20

Other

Fusionx: We’ve finally been given a way to search for Fellowships by name! We somehow have even more great options added to group pose. And we somehow got two quests for the 24-man raid that might be helping to set up the story for the next instance in Patch 5.3!

3/4

Xenedra: I’m going to concentrate my “Other” category on markers. I’m pleased as peaches with the new addition of the saved markers. It’s so nice to be able to enter a raid or trial and hit a single button; as a raid leader it was usually me putting them down and by the time I’m done I have someone going, “don’t forget your dance partner!” Thank you, helpful raid member, but don’t you see me putting down markers!? But I digress. It was my understanding that we’d have 5 slots to save markers in per encounter, which I thought was generously excessive, but not, in fact, you only get 5, period. I understand why they likely needed to limit this, but 5 per raid tier isn’t even enough if you factor in the addition of trials. I was really hoping to be able to go into an encounter I hadn’t seen in a while, say a year or so, and have markers saved in my list to jog my memory. It was not to be. Silver lining: if you spam the button to place markers, you’re suddenly in charge of rave lights!

Now for the BIG gripe: you can’t put markers down while engaged in battle. You can’t put markers down while engaged in battle. Excuse me, HUH?! I understand why, I know what brought this about, but let’s not punish the whole for the sins of the few! Actually, if I’m being honest, this is a very gentle slap on the wrist, and only inconvenient in limited situations, but still! Have you ever had a player unsure where they needed to go, so you just threw down a marker and it saved the whole run? I have! They’ve got to be working on a way to restore this in the future, right? Can you bad kids out there just behave, please?

2/4

Aldianaux: The quality of life adjustments to the Materia system, inundation of furniture for Housing and the addition of waymark loadouts are all great features. However, the knee-jerk decision to disallow changing waymarks in content in response to third party tools rankles me like few things have in my time playing this game.

2/4

Rook: Searchable fellowships are a much needed change. Additional markers and preset positions save time for parties. New gear, crafted sets, furnishings, and rewards were satisfying. Otherwise, there wasnt much that was remarkable about other content, but it was solid enough.

3/4

Sly: One particular QOL change of note would be the update to waymarks. We now are given the ability to “macro” waymarks for different fights with five slots for saves. While this is a step in the right direction it is slightly marred by the fact that you cannot change waymark positions mid-fight. This definitely punishes players who didn’t use the mod previously; good players who actually sacrificed DPS, uptime, and GCD’s just to position waymarks in the middle of a fight. I would hope that in a future update the devs would rethink this.

3/4

Other Total: 13/20

Patch 5.2 Total: 77/100


You can listen to our full review, as well as Patch 5.2 spoilers on Aetheryte Radio Episode 160.