My daily FF ritual lately goes as follows. Log in, say hi to guildies, jump into expert roulette for my daily alexandrite quest, then daily Main scenario roulette for more soldiery so I can buy more alex and then it’s off to farm fates and hunts for even more alexandrites. It might sound awful and I admit I could do without more runs of Keeper of the lake right now but it’s not as bad as you would think. After all, I’ve been doing it for close to 10 days now and I keep coming back to it.
Why? Because thanks to some clever social engineering, Square Enix actually managed to turn a grind into something that can be fun and today, I want to show how clever it can be.
Alex and you
So a bit of background first about why I’m farming all those alexandrites. One of the steps for the Zodiac weapon involves getting 75 alexandrites, an item that you can acquire various ways and meld those 75 alexandrites with 75 materias that will upgrade various stats on your weapon based on what you chose. It’s a long process because alexandrites don’t just drop out of the sky and material can get quite expensive.
How exactly can one get alexandrite?
Daily Expert dungeon quest: 1 Alex. There’s a repeatable daily quest that will net you one mysterious map that will lead you to 1 alexandrite. It’s the most reliable and easiest way to get alexandrite.
400 tomes of soldiery: 1 Alex. Tomes of soldiery are one of the currency that you get from daily roulettes (random dungeons/trials/raids runs), the dungeons themselves and a few other endgame activities. A good rule of thumb is that doing 4 roulettes should net you enough for 1 alex.
200 allied seals: 1 Alex. You get these seals from Hunts which is simply killing rare monsters that spawn in the world as a group. These monsters are tough enough that you cannot solo them. If you want to farm these, it’s best to join a dedicated hunt group that roams around looking for them.
Fate drops: 8-10% chance of getting an Alexandrite from completing fates. Fates (public quests) spawn all over and completing them will give you a chance to get an alexandrite. It’s random so you can hit dry spells or be real lucky. The best way to farm these is in a group where you can clear fates quickly and do multiples rapidly.
One of the most optimal ways I found to do the Alex grind time wise is to do the following.
- Do daily Expert roulette for guaranteed Alex. Also gives about 70 soldiery
- Do daily Main scenario roulette. Main scenario roulette gives 120 soldiery the first shot, the dungeons themselves give 100 and you often have the new player bonus for an additional 100. So 120 + 100 + 100 =320 soldiery. Combined with the 70 from daily expert and you can be at 390 which is just shy of the 400 needed.
- Join a Fate farm group that also goes after hunts when they pop and if none exist, I’ll start one. The idea of these groups is to farm Fates quickly in-between Hunts spawn. Usually I’ll farm in middle laNoscea since its low level and the Fates cycle quickly so you can do them real fast.
Let’s look at how clever this grind is in terms of getting people involved in the game.
- It gives me a reason to do the daily roulettes even if I don’t need gear from it, which speeds up the queues for everyone.
- Once you’re done with the main Scenario instances there’s no real reason to go back to them and yet, up and coming players still need them. By offering me so much soldiery, I get to go back to old content and help out newer players
- It gets me involved in Hunts a type of content I’m not drawn to. For players who want to do them, more players involved = more opportunity to do hunts.
- It gets me in groups of strangers outside my guild. Most people in my guild don’t need this content. So when I go out with farm groups, I get to meet new people that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Just last night I was enjoying my farm group so much that I ended up playing later because I enjoyed the company.
- It makes me initiate group content. When there’s no group already created, I will create a new group and invite people to it. This way I contribute directly to having people play together.
- The material steps get me involved in the auction house something I usually avoid like the plague. I’m not going to become big players but now that I understand it better I do find myself putting up a few things for sale and buying some stuff. Again, more players participating in the AH, the more fun it is for people who love that stuff. I’m also adding crafting mats to the market instead of vendoring it to the delight of the crafters.
And there’s probably more stuff I’m forgetting about.
See how Squeenix turned a grind into an engine to build community? If I’m a hardcore min-maxer, the best way to go about completing the grind is to get involved in the community and not grind by myself in a corner. If I’m more into the social aspect of the game, this grind is a good way to do group content and meet people. Just yesterday, we had both types of player in my group and everyone was getting along and having fun.
That is a powerful tool, giving reason for different type of players to do content together besides raids where performance and egos can ruin the experience for everyone. With a grind, everyone’s going insane together and that’s a lot of fun.