My thoughts on Crystalline Conflict & revamped PvP

PvP is Final Fantasy XIV’s flavor of the patch, and just like probably everyone else, I’ve been tapping into it quite a bit. At first, I approached it with cautious optimism, knowing that I shouldn’t expect some epic PvP experience, as that’s just not what FFXIV has historically been about. After tons of Crystalline matches, however, I realized just how wrong I was, as I am completely and hopelessly addicted to it. That’s why I decided to go ahead and share some thoughts on what I’ve been enjoying in particular, some things I’m a bit concerned about, and my overall PvP experience lately. 

The good…

What I enjoy most about the Crystalline Conflict is just how easy it is to learn the rules and understand the mode fully, without having to lose tons of matches just to get familiar with some intricate details, like what the glowing crystals are, which maps are the capture-the-flag ones, and so on. Crystalline is so perfectly friendly towards new players who want to give PvP a try, it’s insane, and it literally takes a few minutes to understand what’s going on, making it very easy to get into – even for a community that’s been oriented towards PvE.

Another great thing about Crystalline is the lack of high stakes feeling as you’re entering the mode. The queues are short enough for you to feel okay even with losing, knowing that you can just queue again if you so choose, and you don’t feel like you wasted a bunch of time. The fact that the matches are also short make it super engaging, and even when you are on the losing side, you still find yourself fighting, as it only takes a few seconds sometimes for the game to turn around completely. Everything just happens so fast you can find yourself queuing, not really knowing what time it is, when you need to get up and go to work tomorrow, and not really caring if you’ll be getting about two hours of sleep overall!

The fact that they tied the release of a cool new mode along with a long-term grind event like GARO is one of the best things the devs could’ve done to ensure everyone at least taps into PvP. Considering just how many wins you need to unlock all the achievements, it creates a big incentive to work towards a goal that isn’t something most people obtain during, let’s say, one weekend. Getting all those wins takes quite a while, just enough for you to get totally hooked on PvP, forgetting that you’re in fact grinding those mounts!

I was pleasantly surprised with how little it matters whether you’re queueing as a tank, DPS or a healer. While there are tiers and you can definitely pick the right job like White Mage or Warrior, the fact that everyone gets some sort of healing and crowd control tools is such a beautifully done feature. I have been loving the PvP job reworks, as they’ve made it so easy to play all sorts of jobs in PvP – even the ones I admittedly haven’t even leveled yet. Even though they differ from PvE quite a bit, I’d go as far as to say that if you’re anxious about playing a certain job, getting into it as a PvP player could potentially teach you the basics of the job, get you familiar with the flow, and potentially encourage you to pick up the job.

There’s just something strangely addicting about the whole battle pass system. It’s such a minor, yet significant feature that appeals to everyone who enjoys grinding, and that’s probably most MMORPG players. The satisfaction of leveling Series and getting those next 1k Crystals, or other rewards like emotes and glam, is one of the most fulfilling feelings I’ve had in FFXIV in a while. You just can’t help it, you just want to get to that next one and you’re ready to go ahead and sacrifice your sleep and everything that comes with it, just to get it, it’s insane!

With all these cool things being introduced, it would make sense for the dev team to be like “okay, you guys HAVE to check this out”,  but no – PvP is still a standalone feature, that doesn’t make you do it for the sake of in-game progress, which is just wonderful. I love seeing the confidence to create a mode and just know it’s going to do well, without tying it into some pointless mandatory system in order to progress your character. And if you’re an FFXIV-only player who’s never stepped foot into WoW, me even stating this very obvious thing may not make sense. Bit if you have played WoW and have experienced Torghast and the Soul Ash grind for your legendaries, you know what I’m talking about all too well. I’m just happy and excited that FFXIV is retaining the attitude of all the features being non-mandatory, standalone, and therefore fun to engage with. 

The bad…

There are some things I’m a bit unhappy with, however, and not being able to queue with a friend is definitely one of them. I understand that this is a massive feature, and it’s definitely something that would go against the spirit of Crystalline Conflict the way it is now, but it would still be nice to feel less alone when queueing. I mean of course, you can still get on Discord with your friends and queue into some matches while talking, but whenever you comment on something that happened and the other person is like “what are you talking about?”, it’s just a little disheartening. I understand that party queues is probably not something they’ll ever introduce into Crystalline as we know it, but it would be cool, at least in the Casual mode, where it wouldn’t be considered as completely unfair to the other team.

Another thing is not as tied to the game system as it is about the community. I’ll be honest, I think the fact that people figured out how to take advantage of adventurer plates to create those sketchy images is quite comical. Yes, it’s distasteful and disrespectful, and it probably had zero devs entertained by it, but for as long as no additional addons have been used, and people understood they were doing it at the risk of getting their account banned, what can you do? The ability to create something like that was within the game afterall, although it’s not something I’d feel comfortable doing or seeing when I queue into a match. (Especially when I have my toddler looking over my shoulder and asking me why cats look the way they look on those plates. I mean, how do you even get into explaining that?)

Things have been a lot more tame on Light lately, though!

Also, cheating, using addons, bots, and fishy macros, is something I could see happening, but I’m still really disappointed about it. I mean honestly, I don’t even want to get into how unfair it is to use addons and queue into a match with someone who’s playing on a console and doesn’t even have access to them. The point of PvP is for us to face other people as equals, and win based on our own skills, time investment, improvement, and efforts. Winning with a bot and thinking your bragging rights about getting to Crystal are the same as other people’s, who got there fairly, is just ridiculous. I honestly hope the dev team takes this very seriously and makes an example of what happens when you cheat in PvP, as I would hate seeing a great in-game mode destroyed by behavior like this. It is not cool!

In conclusion…

Overall, these are my thoughts when it comes to the revamped PvP and Crystalline Conflict. Have you been playing PvP in FFXIV, and what are your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments. If you’re more of a visual person, and you don’t mind getting easy wins in-game, you can check out all of this in my video – and subscribe for more awesome FFXIV stuff!

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