Friday, 1 August 2014

Zodiac Weapons: Sphairai III

Sphairai Novus Complete!

Out of all the trials and tribulations Strawberry had to go through, Novus was the most gruesome of all. Now it's over!

Unlike the Animus stage of lil' Sphairai's Zodiac journey, this was more a challenge of luck over skill and commitment.

First, we needed to unlock the Novus questline. Like the Trial of the Braves books, this cost another 1,500 Allagan Tomestones of Mythology. After that was done and dusted, Strawberry needed to get ahold of a new type of catalyst, Alexandrite:

As soon as I heard that word, painful memories of FFXI came flooding back. In that game, you needed over 50,000 of them for a legendary weapon. Luckily in XIV, you only need 75. The catch is, they are quite difficult to obtain. The most common way to get one Alexandrite is to take part in the daily Expert Roulette after activating a daily Alexandrite Cache quest, rewarding players with a new type of treasure map. The other way is by obtaining treasure maps directly by purchasing them for a whopping 800 Allagan Tomestones of Mythology!

These maps are a lot tougher than regular treasure maps! All the enemies have 200% movement speed, a load of HP, and never stop attacking with weaponskills! Luckily, each one has a weakness, and exploiting it is key to winning! 

After beating all the enemies surrounding the treasure, players are awarded one Alexandrite and 1,600 gil 100% of the time. No luck needed...yet.

As I mentioned before, Alexandrite are merely catalysts. In order to improve the Animus weapon, we needed a Sphere Scroll, as shown above, and some Materia.

Scratch that, lots of Materia, and lots of luck.

Unlike the Atma stage of the Zodiac weapons, where customization only existed until all the Trials of the Braves books were complete, the Animus stage allows you to perfectly customize up to five types of secondary stats. Since Gerolt's Masterworks weapon for Monk has Accuracy on it, and the ilvl115 High Allagan weapon has Skill Speed, I went with the strongest possible option at ilvl110; Determination and Critical Hit Rate!

By only picking two stats, each one can be enhanced 44 times except for Determination, which is capped at 31. Since Determination is the most important secondary stat for a Monk, weighted at around 1 STR = 0.325 Determination, I maxed this out first.

Here's how the Sphere Scroll infusion works, using Critical Hit Rate as an example:

Each stat is split up into 4 grades of Materia, I though IV. In order to increase that stat, you need to "infuse" the lowest grade of Materia for that stat first. In the case of Critical Hit Rate, I needed Savage Aim Materia.

Since Critical Hit Rate capped at +44, after 11 successful infusions, the scroll will no longer allow any more infusions from that tier of Materia, and you must start infusing Tier II Materia of the same type.

Yes, I said successful. The more Tier-specific Materia you infuse, the lower your chances become of success. Starting from around the 5th of 6th Materia of every Tier, each infusion success will become less and less successful until you hit a 60% success rate! As soon as that Tier of Materia is completed, it jumps back to 100% for the next Tier. I think you know where this is going...

Skip to the last five Tier IV Materia, which sell for around 300,000 gil each. Slap on a 60, 70 or even an 80% chance to succeed and you start to pray lady luck will rear her beautiful head, or in most cases, kick you right in the genitals.

Determination, being capped at +31, follows the same rules, but you only need 7 Tier I Materia, then 8 each of Tiers II through IV. Since Determination is globally useful, it is also the most in demand, and the most expensive...

This screenshot is the scariest thing I have experienced in FFXIV so far. Anything with "Fair chance" and "Fail" in the same sentence terrifies me, especially after how expensive Materia has become!

But honestly, it wasn't all that bad! I worked incredibly hard crafting, spiritbonding, and funding the entire Novus weapon for a little under 1 million gil. If I had bought all the Materia the moment I obtained 75 Alexandrite without any spiritbonding or trying to raise the money first, It would have cost me over 8 million!

Once all 75 Alexandrite get used up, and the final Materia succeeds (fingers crossed!), it's time to pay Jalzahn another visit!

Donning her traditional Monk garbs, Strawberry reached for the stars and grabbed a couple, in the form of Sphairai Novus!

Relic, Zenith, Atma, Animus, Novus. The legendary Zodiac weapon quest just keeps getting more and more challenging. But Strawberry is never going to give up, so as always, wish her luck!

Thanks for reading! It's almost been one entire year since Strawberry started her adventure in Eorzea. A lot has changed, but her fighting spirit hasn't! Here's to many more years!

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