A benefit to the relative predictability and stability of patch content in FFXIV is that we have certainty of things that we will be seeing come April 12th (date based on trends from Live Letters). One of those things is how gearing will work in the next patch.
If you’re coming to FFXIV from WoW, as several of my readers are, this might be your first time being caught up and waiting for the next big thing in FFXIV, and so today, before a long set of essays about WoW go up later this week (I’ve been in the drafts writing a lot), I wanted to help you prepare for the patch ahead of the curve!
Right now, you’re likely floating around an item level of 580 or higher for jobs that you care about and have leveled, thanks to normal raid gear from Asphodelos, crafted 580 gear from the market board, and a mix of 580 accessories and weapons from both currently-available Endwalker trials. You probably even have 590 pieces from tomestones and at least one 590 Radiant weapon from a mix of Astronomy tomestones and doing the normal raid endboss enough to get the weapon tokens for trade.
Some of your current gear will hold value in exchange in 6.1, as you’ll be able to upgrade some of it!
First up is the Astronomy tomestone gear at item level 590. You can upgrade this gear to item level 600 today if you’re doing Savage and getting kills on P2S through P4S, but with the Alliance Raid coming in 6.1, each week you’ll be able to get a token that can be traded for upgrade materials. In the past, this was a single token per week that could be traded for items to upgrade your Radiant armor and weapons. Keep in mind that the upgrade items are locked to a type of item – one for right-side armor (accessories), one for left-side armor (your, uh, actual armor), and a last item just for weapons. At some point which will be announced and patched in, the weekly lock on upgrade tokens from the Alliance Raid will be removed, which will let you run the raid on repeat for tokens if you so desire. Keep in mind that in future tiers of Endwalker content, the costs for upgrade tokens increase to 1 from each open raid (upgrading 6.2 tomestone gear in 6.3 will require a token from the 6.1 and 6.3 Alliance raids, for example) so once you have jobs running where you want them, it makes sense to build a stockpile of coins up. You will also likely be able to purchase upgrade items with Nuts from Hunts. The costs are staggeringly high usually – in Shadowbringers, a weapon upgrade token was 3,000 Nuts! If that trend holds, you’ll have a completely non-raid avenue to upgrade your gear over time, so make sure to run those trains!
Second is crafted item level 580 gear. Right now, HQ crafted gear is an ideal entry point into Savage or stopping point for most players just looking to get a baseline of gear to feel powerful with. Right now, the prices are likely lower than average on the marketboard and they will start to escalate over the coming weeks, especially once a patch date is confirmed. The reason for this is that when 6.1 comes out, you’ll be able to turn in a piece of 580 crafted gear to receive currency from a vendor in Radz-at-Han (they’ll be added with the patch). You get a set amount of this currency for each piece turned in, and turning in an HQ piece gives more currency than a NQ craft. HQ items have the little swoopy-swirl next to their name:
With the upgrade system, turning in a single HQ piece will be enough of the trade currency to upgrade to an item level 590 version of that same piece, but you will also need a second currency, which you receive from the same NPC in exchange for Tomestones (in the past it has been the uncapped tomes, so it will likely be Aphorism needed for this exchange). It will likely be 100 Tomestones per token, and you’ll need anywhere from 2 (accessory) to 7 (weapon) tokens to complete the trade alongside your gear exchange currency. If you come ready on patch day with a capped 2,000 Tomestones of Aphorism, you can upgrade a few pieces quickly and start recapping to push ever higher.
Upgraded crafted gear is basically the same stuff with higher stats, albeit with one drawback – the upgraded crafted gear prohibits overmelding Materia, so you’re limited to what slots the item has. That being said, in FFXIV, higher item level is always better (barring a couple extreme edge cases) so it is well worth upgrading any lingering crafted slots you have going into the patch once you can!
So for right now, you can prepare by stocking up on crafted gear (you can use it for trade-in or sell it on patch to those trying to get upgraded pieces) and ensuring you continue to cap your Astronomy tomes weekly, using those to buy 590 pieces that you can upgrade to item level 600 with the Alliance Raid (or if you take a chance on Savage!).
Important Note! When upgrading gear, you must unequip it and trade it to the vendor. If you leave Materia socketed in the gear, it is gone forever! Make sure to retrieve the Materia from the gear prior to exchanging it.
Contrary to the way WoW does things, a new patch does not mean a new “season” or anything of the sort for raiding – Asphodelos Savage will remain the top-tier non-Ultimate raid content in the game until 6.2 brings the next wing of Pandaemonium. That being said, running Savage in the patch will generally be easier, as readily-available gear upgrades will push more casual groups past hard DPS checks and increase survivability, so trying in 6.1 may be worthwhile if you are interested. At some point in the lifecycle of the patch, the loot cap for Asphodelos Savage will likely also lift (it will be with a minor incremental patch and will be announced and noted in advance), so eventually, there will be many more groups pushing the current Savage content and you’ll likely see a lot more success on the later wings of the raid.
Savage will remain top of the heap for loot on two fronts – based on itemization, the armor in the raid, at item level 600, may still beat your out-of-raid choices like upgraded Radiant armor, and secondly, because the weapon from P4S, at item level 605, will remain top-tier in general due to weapon damage, primary stats, and overall power (also, most of the Asphodelos weapons look amazing). For this reason alone, Savage will remain worth doing for the duration of the patch!
A new dungeon should come with the 6.1 story content and be a part of the MSQ progression we’ll all experience. Based on prior dungeons, this new one is likely to drop item level 575 loot for all slots except for weapons. The required item level for entering the dungeon is not likely to exceed the item level you’ll have just from your level 89 reward AF job sets plus current Expert dungeon accessories, and will be excellent catch-up for new jobs you level close-to or after the patch where you do not have sharable gear from other jobs to offer.
6.1 brings a new EX trial, the Endsinger’s Aria. At this point in the expansion, trials will only offer new weapons going forward, and the expected item level of weapons from Endsinger’s Aria will be 595. You can run this trial with no limits on rewards, and each kill will grant a Totem that can be used to buy rewards as bad luck protection. Weapons cost 10 Totems (except for Paladins, who buy the sword for 7 Totems and their shield for 3 Totems), and the unique mount reward that is a rare drop can be purchased for 99 Totems, although not immediately – it will be patched into the game in the future. The battle content vendor row in Radz-at-Han already has a “Totem and Sundries” vendor who sells the totem items for the current EX trials, and his inventory will expand with the new trial.
The first Alliance Raid of the Endwalker “Myths of the Realm” series drops with patch 6.1, and for loot, this content has two significant offerings. First is the upgrade tokens for your Radiant gear I mentioned above, limited at launch to one token per week. The second offering is item level 590 gear of its own, which drops from the bosses. At launch, you’ll be limited to a single piece of loot from the whole raid per week, but you can run as many times as you’d like until the piece you want is yours. The gear dropped in the raid is left-side armor only, so you will still need to upgrade your weapon and accessories outside of the raid.
The Tomestone Situation
For 6.1, Tomestones will remain as they are today. Aphorism will be your uncapped acquisition baseline reward for level 90 job play, with Astronomy remaining your weekly capped reward at 450 tomestones per week, with both allowing you to hold a maximum of 2,000 at any one time. The gear available with each will remain the same as well, with the only exception being the addition of crafted gear upgrade tokens for Aphorism. Aphorism gear will remain at 570 item level and be good for gearing new jobs, while Astronomy gear remains at 590 item level and gains new usefulness for non-Savage players through upgrade tokens.
Crafters and Gatherers
Crafters and Gatherer get slight upgrades in 6.1 based on past history. At present, the best gear you can have for either role is the item level 560 crafted gear with pentamelded Materia on it, with higher item-level job-specific gear available for Purple Scrip at item level 570 (with worse stats compared to properly overmelded 560 gear, mind you). In 6.1, the expectation is that a new crafted option will open up to give item level 590 pieces of gear excluding accessories. These pieces will be overmeldable as the current 560 pieces are, and will set you up for success in 6.2 when we will likely see new battle gear that can be crafted to match the next Pandaemonium wing, as well as making the existing 6.05 gear much easier to craft with the boost in stats.
These pieces will make use of current timed-node materials from 6.0, meaning you will need to have purchased your Folklore books for each region in Endwalker and also meaning you can start gathering and pooling materials now, as you’ll need timed node gathers and Aphorism tome refining materials. You’ll also need to have already purchased Master Recipes IX for each trade, as the new recipes will not require a new book but will instead be granted through the existing top-tier Master Recipes. These items will all live on as valuable until patch 6.3, which will bring full upgraded gear sets for crafting and gathering for you to make.
If these follow the template from Shadowbringers, we are likely to see a new material needed in addition to timed-nodes and Aphorism refiners, which will require Purple Crafter’s Scrip to purchase. In Shadowbringers, this was Sublime Solution, which was used in an intermediate material recipe to make a fiber as an Alchemist which was then used in the final recipe. In Shadowbringers, Sublime Solutions were 150 scrip a pop and one was used alongside some timed node gathers to make the fiber needed, so having 2,000 purple scrip on patch day will be a boon to help you buy these items!
In addition to these, new top-tier crafting and gathering food should become available to make for those Culinarians with Master Recipes IX. The food added in this manner in patch 5.1 required Aethersand to make, so I would expect to continue to farm aethersand as much as possible.
That actually makes a nice cap off, all told – to be as prepared as possible for crafters and gatherers, be sure to continue stockpiling timed node materials, gathering Aethersands, ensure you have your Master Recipes IX and Folklore books all purchased, and come into the patch capped on Purple Scrip and ready to quickly add more to your stockpile (stocked collectables, Custom Deliveries ready to run, etc). For right now, getting your crafted 590 upgrades will be best done with current 560 pentamelds, but if you’re tight on gil, having the accessories pentamelded will continue to pay off until 6.3 when they will be replaced at last. Speaking of Materia, as a last note, have a stockpile of crafter and gatherer rank X Materia (for base slot melds) and odd ranks below that (IX especially, but VII and V both have their uses in some cases, especially for crafting/gathering point melds to cap). You can have any materia in these ranks, not just crafting or gathering, because you can take them to Mutamix in Thanalan to shuffle them, but I would try to use easy Scrip caps like Custom Deliveries and low-material collectable crafts or easy collectable nodes for gathering first, because Mutamix’s shuffle takes 5 materia to give you one new one, so the rate of exchange is astronomically high!
Basically, at this point, you have a simple checklist if you are leveled in all jobs or roles and are looking to prepare for the patch:
-Continue to cap Astronomy tomes weekly and buy your preferred 590 upgrades
-Hold on to any 580 crafted gear for upgrade exchange
-Run Endwalker and Shadowbringers hunts to keep your Nut supply high (phrasing?)
-Ideally, enter the patch week capped on Aphorism tomes if you want to upgrade crafted gear
-Continue stockpiling timed-node gathering materials and build a supply of Aphorism refining mats (you can craft the intermediate materials from these now)
-Continue building up Endwalker Aethersand supplies
-Make sure you have your gathering Folklore tomes and crafting Master Recipe IXs purchased and learned
-Ideally, enter the patch week capped on Purple Crafter Scrip
-Stockpile Materia X, IX, VII, and V (preferably crafting/gathering, a lot of battle ones if not)
-Make sure you have properly pentamelded crafting/gathering accessories – they’ll last a while!
And with those things in mind, you’ll be ready for success in patch 6.1!