Let's start with the basics. Both tribe reputations start with a quest from the Grand Companies of the relevant cities (Twin Adders for the sylphs, Flames for the amalj'aa), which requires you to mostly just go and watch a cutscene. Completing this quest opens up the faction vendor and puts you at the lowest reputation tier.
Each tier has a different NPC that offers three quests a day. Being at the lowest tier, you'll have a single NPC offering three quests for the faction. Those three quests are randomly chosen from a reasonably diverse pool; somewhere between six to eight different quests are available at each tier, but only three will be offered on a given day. Each quest rewards shards, philosophy tomes, and five reputation.
It's the reputation that's the key thing to be concerned with here. Unlike, say, World of Warcraft's reputation system, this system ensures that doing enough quests to fill out the reputation bar doesn't kick you over to the next level. What it does is unlock the next storyline quest for the faction, which then promotes you to the next reputation tier. That, in turn, unlocks another questgiver who offers three quests for the day, again randomly chosen out of a pool of possible quests.
Those of you doing the math will note something. At the first tier of reputation, you can pick up three quests per day from each faction for a total of six. Once you hit the second tier, however, there are six quests available per faction -- the same three you'd been doing from the first tier plus another three from the second tier. And you're limited to six daily quests a day.
Part of this is obviously to slow you down, but more than that, I think it provides you with a nice set of options. You aren't doing the same dailies every day, but neither are you running all over several maps and traveling from hub to hub trying to pick up what you need. You can keep advancing both factions, or you can focus on one to hit your cap for the day. With six quests, it's not exactly an onerous chore; I finish out my dailies in about half an hour per day, tops.
First-tier quests reward five reputation each, second-tier quests reward seven reputation each, and third-tier quests reward 10 reputation each. Getting to the second tier requires 150 total reputation, the third requires 360, and the last requires 510. The most efficient way to advance your reputation is to do the highest-tier quests on both faction every day, but focusing in on one will bring you up to the top tier faster.
And your rewards? Dyes, at first. The basic faction goods are otherwise crafted items that are used as components in several crafts, which is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it's nice to not have to make Mythril Rivets every time I need them; on the other, did this patch need anything more to kick crafters in their teeth? Reaching the second and third tier rewards you with three new dyes each; these dyes can be resold on the auction block and cost 216 gil per.
The iconic rewards are at the top tier. You have a mount available for 120,000 gil, a minion available for 25,000 gil, and two furnishings for the Free Company house that you probably don't have. If you missed out on 1.0 and want a goobbue to ride, the sylphs are the faction to follow; if you'd rather have a fire-belching monster, go with the amalj'aa.
What particularly tickles me about the factions is how much insight they offer into the beast tribes. I've said before that I absolutely adore the way both Final Fantasy XIV and Final Fantasy XI handle beastmen, and both the sylph and amalj'aa lines offer a great deal of insight into the culture around these people. The amalj'aa give a look at the society without the influence of Ifrit, and the sylphs show themselves to be a bunch of drug-addled nutbars.
Seriously, there's a quest in which you are sent out to gather something for the sylphs to make an even more potent version of milkroot, and another in which you have to beat down a bunch of sylphs who are too tripped-out to function normally. Walking one may need to stage an intervention at some point.
Problems? A couple, yes. First of all, there's the fact that the rewards for doing this slow work aren't super-useful. Yes, I'm quite happy to have more dyes available, and I will happily go to great lengths for new mounts. Not everyone will. The added gil and tomestones are a bonus, and a welcome one to be sure, but I don't even want to speculate about how long it will take to buy even a Darklight accessory just through dailies. They're bonuses, not draws; the main reward is lore.
The other problem is that there are a few dailies -- three, to be precise -- that inherit Square-Enix's bizarre concept that people like waiting for FATEs to clear quests. I don't know how many times I can state in this article that this is not fun, but it seems to keep coming up. They're not triggered FATEs, and the result is that either you nab the item ahead of time and sit on it or you're encouraged to sit around and wait whenever that quest comes up. Who is the guy on the team that thinks players enjoy this? What do we need to say in order to make it clear that this blows?
In the end, though, this is the sum of FFXIV's dailies -- fun and worthwhile without being a necessity for endgame. I think that's a good spot for them to occupy. So can we see some ixali and kobolds in the next patch?
Feedback, as always, is welcome via firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments below. Next week, let's talk about why no one likes Pharos Sirius. The week after that will depend on how much we learn from the producer's letter and whether or not there's enough compelling stuff to talk about regarding 2.2 at that point.
From Eorzea to Vana'diel, there is a constant: the moogles. And for analysis and opinions about the online portions of the Final Fantasy series, there is also a constant: The Mog Log. Longtime series fan Eliot Lefebvre serves up a new installment of the log every Saturday, covering almost anything related to Square-Enix's vibrant online worlds.