MogTalk: Episode 241 Digest – Finishing Realm Reborn

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This summer, Final Fantasy XIV saw unprecedented player numbers as many World of Warcraft players took the leap to try a different MMO. During that time, MogTalk welcomed Pyromancer, a lore-focused WoW player and budding FFXIV sprout. Two months later, Pyromancer is fully embracing his time in Eorzea and has shifted his content to solely focus on FFXIV.

This digest follows MogTalk: Episode 241, featuring Pyromancer and FFXIV lore expert Anonymoose as they join Frosty in discussing the story of A Realm Reborn.

Since his last appearance on MogTalk, Pyromancer has changed his previously WoW-themed backdrop to suit his new main game. His wall is adorned with decorative Black Mage flags, along with one representing his starting city-state, Limsa Lominsa.

FrostyTV: Pyro, I’m excited to see what you’re going to bring to the lore community. People love your energy, and your voice acting is absolutely amazing to listen to. [5:17]

Anonymoose: Agreed. Because we did that first show together, every time something big happens with you, I get a bunch of DMs saying “Hey, guess what Pyro is up to?” [5:36]

Pyromancer: That’s insane. I can’t believe the community in and around this game. [5:48]

FrostyTV: It’s extremely welcoming, especially for those who love its story because it’s a very story-focused game. A lot of players have been excited to see you here. You’re a full-time FFXIV streamer now, right?. [6:00]

Pyromancer: Yeah, and I’m putting out YouTube videos for it as well. I quit my regular job as a supervisor for a sales department at a retail store. We’re just going to go for it. I was full time before I started at that job, but now it’s a completely different game and environment with different people. It’s pretty amazing this time around. I’m very thankful for the opportunity. There’s no other way to put this—it’s changing my life. Thank you. You both were very early to welcome me into this community and scene. For those watching, thank you. Without the support of the viewers, this wouldn’t be a thing. [6:16]

Anonymoose: Community is the name of the game for me. I like to use the word ‘campfire’ a lot because I have this image in my head of us all sitting around at a campfire. It’s very low stress and everybody is getting along and drinking. That’s the vibe I try to keep at all times. Anybody who promotes that energy, I want to talk to. [7:11]

FrostyTV: I’m already feeling good. Thank you for that, Pyro. [7:41]

Currently, Pyromancer is working through the Heavensward main scenario quests. While playing through the story, he keeps a notepad nearby to quickly write down important lore points. After completing his notebooks, Pyromancer hopes to digitize them and possibly hold a charity auction to keep his notes within the community while giving back.

FrostyTV: How is your notepad doing? [9:14]

Pyromancer: When I play this game, I do voiceovers and take notes. In this notebook, I have close to 40 pages of notes on stuff through A Realm Reborn, including Crystal Tower, Coils, and Ascians. Anything the Ascians have said, I have written down. I’m going to have to get a new one soon. [9:21]

Anonymoose: When you first started, you said “I just started. I’ve got four pages!” I got all these messages saying “He can’t seriously intend to keep writing stuff down.” Look at this—he’s done it. He’s doing it. [9:57]

Pyromancer: I’ve got lots of pens and lots of paper. We’ll be fine. [10:12]

FrostyTV: Now that we can safely talk about A Realm Reborn, what are your thoughts about the main story? [12:38]

Pyromancer: The story is pretty compelling, especially for a new player. It hooks you in quickly and makes you feel important, but you understand that there are steps and things you need to do to make yourself more powerful before just going to kick a primal’s ass. I really enjoy that aspect of the story, and I love how you’re injected into the world. Getting to choose your home city is really cool, and I’m glad that I went through Limsa Lominsa as my first one. I think the story is very well put together. It’s not very well paced, especially right before Titan. It was just kind of a slog, but I think everybody knows that. Now, I’ve gotten into Heavensward and see why A Realm Reborn is diminished for people, but I still think that if you consider how and the circumstances in which it was made, it’s pretty damn good. [12:46]

Anonymoose: I think Titan is famous for being what feels like the emotional midpoint because it takes so damn long. I think they did it on purpose because they wanted to make it feel like the company of heroes is trying to keep you from going to Titan. They want you to change your mind and weed you out. It makes it feel like a slog. [14:11]

Pyromancer: I understand the structure of it, and I definitely appreciate that. It was generally really good. Honestly, once you get into Crystal Tower and Coils, it gets pretty sweet. The patches to ARR are also really good. I love the political story in this game because it sucks in WoW. [14:37]

Throughout this digest, ‘Coils’ will refer to the Binding, Second, and Final Coil of Bahamut storyline and raids. 

FrostyTV: Regarding Coil, you’ll notice that they put a lot of story into the raid content. [15:35]

Pyromancer: It was pretty tough. We couldn’t kill Bahamut synched. We tried, and it was rough [15:56]

Anonymoose: We usually raided three hours a day, two days a week. We weren’t hardcore by any means. Even with those hours, it took 3-4 weeks to get some of the fights down, especially when it came to Bahamut. [16:15]

Pyromancer: The last few get tough. T9 was a rough one on stream. I didn’t understand one of the mechanics, and it really set me back. I was a pretty big hindrance to my team. I also felt like the indicators were not as obvious or intuitive as I was hoping for, but then again I died standing in a puddle on the ground. [16:28]

FrostyTV: This was the game’s first attempt at doing hardcore difficulty. There was no easy mode, and you had to do it the hard way. I loved it. I ran it with a casual group that met three times a week for three hours at a time. We started right as the second set of Coils came out, and we didn’t clear it before the next set. We did clear the last one before the expansion came out and felt pretty good about it. Unless you have a group of people who really know what they’re doing, it’s really difficult. Learning those mechanics and figuring that stuff out takes time between a lot of pulls. [17:14]

Pyromancer: I’m excited for trying harder content in the game eventually, like ultimates. I appreciate the fact that with eight people, you can put together a really solid group. I understand that there’s a lot of personal responsibility, but there’s also a lot of personal responsibility in 20-player groups in WoW. 20-player groups can become shambles quickly, and rezzing in that game during combat works differently than this one. I’m impressed by FFXIV’s first go at difficult content. The way the raid looked for how old that content is was amazing. [18:05]

FrostyTV: One of the difficulties in the fights is not being able to pay attention to all of the pretty visuals going on around you and having to focus on what’s going on in the fight. [18:52]

Pyromancer: It’s so hard for me because I’m prone to look around in the fights. I want to see the environment and know the story of where we are. I look around all the time and sometimes get clipped by stuff in battle. [19:03]

FrostyTV: I did see the video where you were in Bahamut, looked down at the floor, and they were explaining that it’s a life tree. That’s something they didn’t mention anywhere. They waited for people to pick up on it and make it public. Stuff like that is so subtle. [19:19]

Pyromancer: When they pointed it out, I was like “Holy shit!” It had me thinking of the implication of that and if they were suggesting something or trying to look cool. Those are the things I like to consider. [19:43]

FrostyTV: Let’s talk about the raid story. What were your thoughts on the big finale all the way up to Bahamut? That’s what you see in the trailer. How did you enjoy going through that storyline? [20:32]

Pyromancer: I loved it because I was very intimidated by the scale of Bahamut. The visage of him floating and all that stuff happening to him was very cool. I loved that it’s all in this mega starship from the Allagans. Holy shit. That set off a light in my brain. They had starships, so do they even come from here? Do they come from another place? When I saw Louisoix become the Phoenix, I felt that almost anything could become whatever a primal is. That really got the wheels turning there. Getting to face Bahamut at the finale was so sick. I’m familiar with Bahamut from FFX, and obviously I’ve seen all the ARR cinematics. It was very intimidating, and the story leading up to it was satisfying. I didn’t see it coming. I was pleasantly surprised. [20:51]

Anonymoose: It’s interesting hearing the perspective of it from a non-1.0 player. For us, there was a story in 1.0 that went from 1.18 to 1.23, and Coil is the back nine of that story. For us, that was the closure of everything we’d been through since the Garleans showed up and we fought our way through Mor Dhona. The place where T9 takes place is a 1.0 battlefield. That was where we had our last 1.0 fight. To see that again was wild, and to see Louisoix not dead was wild. I was so in awe of it. We had completed the entire first Coil before I really understood that we had gone down the outside of the spaceship. The dragons flew out of the broken hull of the spaceship, and I don’t even think I put that together until after we were done. I have an ancient chart somewhere in a powerpoint that has all the depths you’re at in all three Coils to figure out a general schematic of the spaceship. [22:37]

FrostyTV: I’m not from 1.0. I started in 2.2 and I remember what Moose is talking about. When you go into a fight, it tells you how many yalms, right? I didn’t care about that. I didn’t think about it at all. This is something Moose would catch as he plays through it. He sees all these different bits, and that’s why all these crazy theories are made. They give you so many little things to work with. It bypasses me because I like looking at the pretty colors, fights, and explosions. [24:37]

Anonymoose: I was just trained by 1.0, where they didn’t tell you anything because even the writers didn’t know what was going on sometimes. [25:43]

Pyromancer: I think when the writers are still trying to figure things out, you’re required in some aspects to piece it together yourself. It pushes you in that analytical direction, and you’re in that mindset for the rest of your experience. [25:21]

Since transitioning to FFXIV for his main content, Pyromancer has shifted his YouTube’s focus to reflect on the game. Uploaded videos include 160 Hours of FFXIV Later… and MOENBRYDA!!

FrostyTV: One of the interesting parts of ARR to me was the story of Nael and T9. What were your thoughts on that? [26:52]

Pyromancer: First off, it was very confusing because I didn’t really understand the plot. Nael Deus Darnus was a super awesome character. I immediately found them intimidating, and I love how FFXIV presented this to me. It was pretty good and immensely confusing. I probably spent 15 minutes sitting there trying to understand what the fuck just happened in front of me. [31:05]

FrostyTV: To be fair, I had no clue who Nael was when I beat them. When I went back and got a little more of the lore, I realized how cool it was. Why did I not pay attention to it? It would’ve made the fights better and made everything about the game much better. [31:36]

Pyromancer: Every game is like that. It’s not just a Final Fantasy thing. If people paid attention in WoW, they’d enjoy the game more. If you understand why you’re there and why you’re doing something, there is an emotional capacity behind it. [32:05]

FrostyTV: The other part about the raid story is that the twins and their grandfather were a huge part of it. Did you think their characters did well to help guide you through that story? [32:29]

Pyromancer: Yeah. I honestly enjoyed 2.0 Alphinaud. I know a lot of people didn’t, but he was pretty much present the whole time. Alisaie is there, and that’s all. There’s a nice overcoming of internal emotions that I can appreciate. Honestly, the first time I saw Louisoix, I thought he was an Ascian pretending to be Louisoix. Every time someone is there that I don’t think should be there, I think it’s an Ascian. It was pleasant to find out that it was actually Louisoix. I like how they lead you down different paths of thought, and the answer is never the first thing you find out. The whole phoenix thing was a cool way to process the line of thinking and not go in with one dimensional thought. In this game, there’s a realistic trial and error, even for the hero characters that exist alongside you. A lot of the time, that trial and error leads to very important and strong character development for those characters. What happened to Louisoix brought Alphinaud and Alisaie’s relationship with one another and to their grandfather in a meaningful way. [32:40]

Anonymoose: I think the twins are intended to be polarizing. People tend to like one more than the other. I think it’s because they’re such a potent example of the Japanese red and blue oni trope, where one is more logical, cold, and calculating while the other is more fiery, passionate, and impulsive. It speaks to different people in different ways. [34:53]

FrostyTV: When people in the community got to the final tier and beat T12, the cutscene became a huge deal. Everyone had this hush-hush mentality and would say “Let me know when you beat it. I want to talk to you about it.” I didn’t expect that and thought people would spoil it everywhere, but it was this perfect secret that everybody wanted to be exposed to by doing the content and experiencing it themselves. What were your thoughts when you saw that? Were you expecting a CGI, fully-funded cutscene? [36:03]

Pyromancer: No, I was not expecting that and what happened. That was fucking sick. Compared to some of the other calamities, it’s a rather light one. It truly showed me the gravity of what we were messing with here. I can’t even describe what I witnessed. It was awesome. [36:45]

FrostyTV: It definitely took my breath away when that happened. It pieces everything together. [37:23]

Anonymoose: As a 1.0 player, we didn’t know what to expect when the servers went off. The servers went down, and this video came up that called the end of an era, where you see the first half of that cutscene that’s near the beginning of A Realm Reborn. That was our ending. The server went off, and we got to see the end of an era. Then, everybody kept the secret. When you got to T12 and finally beat it, you realize there is a second half of the end of an era. [37:41]

The crew was astounded that the community kept such a secret to themselves, and Anonymoose mentioned that the datamining community within the game keeps to themselves and doesn’t intend on spoiling those who wish to avoid spoilers. Pyromancer has only been exposed to a few spoilers, including accidentally seeing merchandise of a specific character while shopping.

FrostyTV: Let’s also hit a bit on Crystal Tower. This is an interesting one because there’s a lot of story. While going through A Realm Reborn, it doesn’t really seem to add up and be as connected to everything else. It branches off a little bit. [40:43]

Pyromancer: It definitely has its own isolated storyline that is the Crystal Tower. I would also say that it meshes back pretty well into the game as long as you do it at the right time. I did it in the recommended order so that it made as much sense as it could, but I understood that I was going to have to eventually go there. Crystal Tower was a joy. I really liked it. [41:08]

FrostyTV: What are some things you learned from doing CT? [41:39]

Pyromancer: I learned that the Allagans made a mistake and basically caused earth-shattering earthquakes that led to some pretty terrible stuff. I learned that Dalamud was an Allagan structure that was put up into orbit by the Allagans and that they used it as a conduit in order to siphon aetheric energy from the sun and channel it into the tower to enhance their energy reserves. Getting to see Xande, an Allagan, in person was exciting because I enjoy the Allagan stuff. The timeline is kind of hazy, but I think that will clear up later as we progress because trying to place Crystal Tower’s origin among other events is tough.

FrostyTV: From a gameplay standpoint, did you enjoy going through the Crystal Tower series? [49:04]

Pyromancer: I thought it was a nice casual difficulty. Having 24 people was awesome, and being able to bring that many people with me for an experience is really special. I try to mix it up and bring different people in. I do have a couple different friends I’ll bring to my extreme trials, but it’s cool to be able to interact with people in a huge alliance raid. The raid was beautiful. The scale of it was pretty marvelous for when it was made. [49:12]

FrostyTV: When that came to a conclusion, what did you think about how that ended? Was there anything you felt curious about? [50:13]

Pyromancer: I remember the male Miqo’te character that had a direct involvement in the story. The way that it ended was rather alarming. He kicked everybody out of the tower and sealed it. I’m excited to see what that unfolds into later, given I know what his title later is because of an unfortunate spoiler. It flowed decently well with the story. It didn’t fit in as nicely as Coils, but it was good. [50:58]

FrostyTV: Coils is one of the best raid stories in any game. It did so much, especially for 1.0 players. It was very meaningful. [51:44]

The show then moved on to talk about Pyromancer’s journey through ARR’s main scenario quests.

FrostyTV: Obviously, primals are a pretty big deal. What are your thoughts on how they use primals throughout the story? [52:05]

Pyromancer: I just fought Ravana, and that was a sick fight. That’s a cool character. I like the use of primals. In Heavensward, they seem to have found the right pacing on how to introduce them in a meaningful way. I saw that crazy sky whale thing (Bismarck), and it scared the shit out of me. I’m excited to maybe confront that eventually. The way they set it up and used it to pace the story is good. There’s a couple of times in ARR where the primal excursions seem a little tedious, but it is what it is. Playing through that part of the game is worth it to get to all the good stuff. [52:30]

Pyromancer noted that the music in the primals adds to the experience of the encounters. After the fight, he enjoys reading the lyrics to get a better understanding of the primal’s story.

Pyromancer: For me, musical analysis or putting thought into the structure of music is not something I’ve done much of in the past. WoW doesn’t have a lot of that. It’s a new challenge for me. People talk about motifs and stuff like that, and I try to think I’m recognizing it. I do really like the music, and I think if you pay attention to the words and think about the situations, you can piece together what it’s supposed to mean or represent. [55:04]

Anonymoose: The word primal means an elemental god of the beast tribes that symbolizes the founders of the planet. If Ifrit is the beginning of all fire, he’s one of the founders of the planet and the primordial beginning of the element. The word primal shouldn’t really apply to anything but the big six, and that started going sideways when they had the idea of Shiva. Shiva had a different way of summoning. From the introduction of Shiva into the middle of Heavensward, you can tell they’re experimenting hard and fast with new ways to summon primals. They’re trying to make it unexpected and cool. Although the word primal shouldn’t apply to anything but those elemental primordial forces, it applies to much more in this game. You’re not far away from the part in the main scenario that really digs into the idea of what makes a primal. [59:22]

FrostyTV: Pyro, have you noticed the styles of writing advancing? [1:09:40]

Pyromancer: I feel that they’ve really found their pacing in Heavenward from what I’ve experienced. You could even start to see it more in some of the patch content for A Realm Reborn. Everything across the board from ARR to HW is a noticeable improvement. I have to remind myself that I’m playing content that was developing in 2015 because it’s very impressive. [1:10:14]

Pyromancer has been playing Black Mage throughout his playthrough and is excitedly anticipating how the class plays at later levels. He shared that he enjoyed going through the Black Mage class quests and would like to eventually go through every job’s story.

Pyromancer: There’s so much lore packed into the Black Mage story. I’ve learned a fair bit about voidsent, how other people view the use of black magic, and the mage war. I like that it’s individualized, and I like that they really make use of the characters they introduce you to throughout the first part of the questing process. It pays off later on. [1:19:11]

FrostyTV: Pyro, what’s your take on the Ascians so far? [1:22:28]

Pyromancer: The Ascians are sick. I really like the Ascian stuff, and I have a soundboard where I’ll play Ascian music if I think they’re going to pop up on the screen at some point. My sub badges on Twitch are the Ascian masks. I love them. The fact that they follow Zodiark and that Zodiark seems to be a potential opposite to Hydaelyn in some sense is awesome. They’re big players, obviously. They’re immortals, immensely old, and I don’t know what they know. I’m going through Heavensward right now, and the archbishop thinks that he’s outplaying the Ascians. I’m sitting there while shaking my head. This guy doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into. [1:22:30]

FrostyTV: The ending of A Realm Reborn is impactful, and there’s a lot of stuff going on that makes you want to dive into the next episode immediately. What were your thoughts on the Heavensward trailer? [1:31:48]

Pyromancer: Square Enix has always made wonderful cinematics. Even back in FFX, they had insane cinematics. I was not surprised by the quality at all. To be honest, World of Warcraft has some really sick cinematics, also. That’s some stiff competition. It was good, but I’m excited to see the later ones, too. [1:31:53]

Pyromancer: When I got to Ishgard, there was a surprise of 300 people waiting for me. It was insane. That was one of the most special things I’ve ever experienced, especially in gaming. For people that had no idea who I was to come participate in it and be welcoming to a new player was insane. I never would have expected something like that to happen, and that was special. If these are the kind of people I’m going to interact with and this is the type of community that’s here, this is where I want to be. [1:34:52]

Anonymoose: There’s a special kind of interaction that only happens in MMOs where people can come together and create an experience together. Having someone like Yoshida at the helm, who is first and foremost a gamer, is great because he respects that and tries to create opportunities for that. In the fan base, there are all sorts of organic moments that come together when everybody decides “This guy’s streaming right now, and he’s about to do something big. Let’s all go welcome him in.” I love moments like that, especially for people who are streaming and front-facing as their job. [1:36:29]

FrostyTV: Now that you’re mainly playing FFXIV for stream and YouTube, what are your plans for content creation going forward? [1:38:52]

Pyromancer: I’m planning to continue streaming Tuesdays and Fridays at 12 p.m. PT, unless there’s a rescheduling. I plan to do more with YouTube. I’ll eventually start actually sitting down and recording theorization videos and possibly summary videos. There will definitely be a point where I sit down and go through a summary of my notes for A Realm Reborn. I hope to continue to do more things like this with you guys and others in the community. [1:39:24]

Anonymoose: I can guarantee you that there is not one video that hits every single note. You are going to hit a new note somewhere with a new perspective or a new question. [1:42:27]

Click here to enjoy the entire conversation.

MogTalk is a weekly podcast airing every Saturday at 5PM ET on twitch.tv/Frosty_TV. The show is entirely focused on bringing the community together to discuss topics of interest regarding FFXIV, including patch notes, game mechanics, and raid insights. Mogtalk Digests are now available thanks to Patreon supporters! If you are interested in supporting all of the content MogTalk has to offer, please visit our Patreon page.

All images with in-game screenshots used in this article belong to SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

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