Since I got my Samurai to level 70 it made sense that my next Job to level would be Red Mage. I already had it at level 50-something and have been choosing Red Mage gear from those quest rewards for casters.
Last Friday I finally got it to level 60, half-way there and finished their first story questline. Here are my thoughts on that story:
WARNING! Spoilers about the Red Mage story from 50 to 60
When they announced the addition of Red Mage I was wondering how they would introduce it. I mean, Samurai was easy, they just had to say it was a different fighting style from Doma. But Red Magic in the Final Fantasy series has always been based on White and Black Magic, both schools who are pretty much known in Eorzea.
My initial thoughts were that it going to be introduced as some kind of new development in the magic arts. But no, turns out that Red Magic has been around for some time. According to X'rhun Tia, the Red Mage mentor, some fifteen hundred years ago when two powerful magical civilizations brought the world to the brink of destruction by waging war with magic. The survivors were obviously not too happy about it to the point where they threatened anyone who used magic.
The remaining wizards however still believe the arcane arts would be needed to rebuild the world so they decided to rebuild the fundamentals of Black and White Magic and upon that foundation they created Red Magic.
While Black and White Magic uses the ambient Aether, Red Magic uses the users own aether to cast spells. The sword techniques are used to amplify and accelerate the energy of their incantations.
The goal of this new school of magic would be to protect people and prevent the same catastrophe that led to its creation in the first place.
That is all good and dandy. But it does make me wonder: if they had such noble intentions why it never took off in the rest of Eorzea, why it got pretty much restricted to Ala Migho? How did Black and White Magics came to be prominent in Eorzea again? I guess they could explain it in the level 60-70 quest line or maybe later. But right now these questions bug me!
Anyway, X'rhun Tia learned red magic himself about 20 years ago in Gyr Abania, one of the locations in Ala Migho. With some friends he formed a company called "The Crimson Duelists". They were part of the revolution to overthrow the ruler of Ala Migho, "Mad King" Theodoric. They were crushed however and X'rhun was the only survivor. Since then he traveled around the realm trying to uphold the ideals of "The Crimson Duelists".
Another thing that I am wondering is what happened to the original Red Mages? I mean, their motives were noble enough so surely they probably weren't just hunted down like the other wizards. I suppose this is something we'll learn in a later storyline.
And yes, I am aware I am overthinking all this (don't even get me started on Soul Crystals!). :p
The actual story of the questline starts with a little girl in Ul'Dah asking our help to save her sister from some would-be kidnappers. When we get there though X'rhun Tia is already at the scene taking care of said villains.
X'rhun is a pretty cordial fellow in this first encounter. He also decides to do a bit more investigation on this kidnap attempt and invite us to meet him somewhere else if we are interesting in pursuing this.
When we meet him again he offer to teach us some red magic since we've proven to be an adventurer willing to protect the innocent. I think if we have finished Heavensward he will also mention Alisaie, how he trained her before and how she mentioned our name during training.
Side note here: I like how X'rhun actually helps during the quests. Well, ok, he only helps in a few fights and in the others the story comes up with an excuse of why he can't be together with us during the fights. But at least they try to show him doing some work. :p
As the investigation progresses we find out that the kidnappers are magicians who lost their willpower, apparently being controlled by some sigil on their faces. We also discover that the group behind this might be targeting people who have been funding the resistance in Ala Migho.
Eventually the investigation ends up leading to a ship anchored near Aleport. Talking with the people in the port reveals that there is a lot of rumors around that ship and none of them any good. Since they are still technically within the law though the authorities can't do anything about it.
Of course such things never stopped a couple of intrepid adventures to just taking a peek on a ship's cargo so that is exactly what X'rhun and ourselves went about doing. Turns out the cargo the ship was carrying were all military supplies clearly marked for the Garlean Empire. Oh, and a girl sleeping inside a box too.
Talking to her we find out her name is Arya. Unfortunately she doesn't have any idea of why she was sleeping inside a box or how she ended up in there. In fact, she doesn't remember anything about herself, besides her name and even that she isn't completely sure of.
If circumstances were different I'd suspect this to be some kind of trap. But Arya is a pretty timid girl and seems to have a very gentle personality. So I really believed she was a victim of whoever is behind this cult.
X'rhun seemed to agree with me saying that he suspected that she was drugged and was going to have one of those mind-control sigils put on her. He also took the time to notify the authorities of our findings but the ship and its crew fled before the Yellow Jackets could do anything about it. He hopes though that as soon as Arya's memories return we can finally get some answers about what is going on.
Even after a bit of rest Arya's memories don't return naturally so X'rhun tasks us with taking her for a bit of stroll to see if jogs any of her memories. In the mean time he will contact the Yellow Jackets to see if he can get any information on the girl.
It works! Arya remembers that she had only one living relative an uncle. They were traveling on a road to Limsa Lominsa when men from the cult appeared out of nowhere. Her uncle tried to protect Arya but they killed him. After that she doesn't remember much but for one thing: they were going for the Isle of Umbra. For what purpose she doesn't know but it had something to do with their master.
Arya also pleads to join us in our adventure as way of thanking us for saving her. She also hopes this might help her recover more of her memories. X'rhun hesitates a bit but he decides to allow her to accompany us.
This is where I started to like Arya. At first I thought she was going to be nothing bug a damsel in distress that would be there just serve as a plot tool. But this showed that she had quite a bit of courage in her. 🙂
In the Isles of Umbra, X'rhun decides that we should split up and search the isle for this mysterious master. After fighting some mooks we are finally confronted by a blond young man who says something about our vital energies being an irresistible feast.
Just as he is about to do something evil, X'rhun appears. Turns out the blonde man is Lambard, a former friend of X'rhun and the one who betrayed the Crimson Duelists! Just as they are about to fight, Arya shows up trying to launch a fireball at Lambard who decides this is a good time to escape.
When X'rhun asks Arya where she learned to cast spells she answers that she doesn't remember, that it just sort of happened. Another little mystery to the list!
Back in Aleport, X'rhun explains how he and Lambard were part of the original group that founded the Crimson Duelists in Gyr Abania with the goal of fighting Tyranny. One day Lambard decided to kill his former comrades and then vanished. X'rhun only survived because he was out scouting.
Later on X'rhun found out that Lambard was paid to do this by the Garlean Empire. However he wasn't able to find anything more about his former friend during all this time.
Since this became a matter of vengeance, X'rhun decides to continue pursuing this alone. He tells us we are sufficiently advanced on Red Magic that we could continue learning on or own and as for Arya he will seek appropriate sanctuary for her before departing. Of course neither Arya nor we would accept any of that nonsense. After a bit of a chat, X'rhun concedes to allow us to accompany him in the search for Lambard. Arya also asks to learn Red Magic, which X'rhun agrees to.
More investigation ensues to find out more about this Cabal and Lambard's plans. Turns out it is just how we have been guessing. The empire kidnaps young people adept at the arcane then delivers them to Lambard for mind controlling.
Apparently though this cabal is a relatively new force within the empire. Lambard had orders to build as an expendable force of assassins that could kill Resistance supporters in lands outside the Garlean Empire.
The plan was made by Zenos himself. It is cool that if you finished Stormblood X'rhun acknowledges that we defeated Zenos. I wonder what he says if we haven't met Zenos yet or just haven't finished the expansion storyline.
They also found out that Lambard's next target is Cid's engineering company, Garlond Ironworks. Their target however isn't Cid himself but to assassinate their senior staff, starting by its deputy president Jessie. The idea here is that without talented engineers to help out Cid isn't a threat. Even worse, they have orders to keep trying until they succeed. Meaning we'll have to stop the Cabal right there.
X'rhun already went ahead and warned them of the danger then tell us and Arya to get ready for war.
During all this there is also a conversation between X'rhun and Arya where he says that her potential for destructive magic is pretty high, extremely so, but her abilities with restorative magics is abysmal. Apparently Alisaie had similar problems so it isn't that uncommon. X'rhun however never saw a case as extreme as this.
After leveling up some more it is time to meet with X'rhun again and get back to work on stopping the Cabal. We already know that Lambard intends to assassinate Jessie while she is accompanying a scheduled delivery to Ala Mighan's Resistance. They plan to ambush her just outside Mor Dhona as she makes her way to an waiting Airship.
Our plan will to be use this opportunity to take them by a surprise. After discussing it with Jessie they decide to disguise Arya as the deputy president and for us to accompany her as her escort on the road. Meanwhile X'rhun will be accompanying us out of view. Once Lambard himself appears X'rhun will come to our aid and we'll finish the traitor's plans once for all.
The plan works flawlessly although Lambard doesn't seem all that surprised when he realizes he was caught in a trap. Before the fight though X'rhun asks Lambard why he sold his soul to the Garlean Empire. Being the villain he is, Lambard is happy to oblige. So, besides being a jerkface who thinks saving people is pointless, Lambard found some secrets from the ancient Red Mages that could lead to untold power. The only problem is it would be necessary to restructure his whole power, a process that required years of magical slumber. At this point his form changes and... his hair turns red. Ok, that isn't much of a visual change.
X'rhun and Lambard start things off with a duel. At first it seems it is X'rhun that comes out as the winner as even Lambard admits that the red mage was always a better fighter. Lambard still gloats though as he didn't need to defeat X'rhun in physical combat, just cause a simple scratch, which he did. According to him the transformation wasn't to enhance his ability to physically defeat his enemies but to drain their life forces! And now X'rhun will be his next meal! Dun dun dun!
Fortunately this doesn't kill X'rhun but it is enough to put him out of the fight. Lambard continues to gloat, explaining that this new form allows him to wield extremely powerful magics but the cost is that he needs to feed off the life force of others. Being an assassin for the empire makes his life very convenient because it provides him with a constant source of prey and allows him to continue his experiments.
Side note: I don't think Final Fantasy XIV has an actual vampire either as an enemy or its lore, right? So this is as close to it as we are going to get in this game I guess.
X'rhun urges us to flee. But Arya will hear nothing of that, nor will we. It is fighting time!
It took me 3 times to finish this quest. The fight with Lambard was pretty annoying. For one it didn't end if only we die. Arya is part of the fight too and if she dies then we fail the quest. To make matters worse her ability to heal herself is pathetic (remember, she is terrible at restorative magics) and Lambard does a ton of AOEs.
The first try I only realized this when Arya died. The second time I tried my best to heal her but failed. I think I only managed in the third time because I was trying to keep the AOEs as far away from her as possible and spam the healing spell on her. Also, the game took pity on me, giving me the Power of the Echo buff to make thing easier. :p
Once Lambard is defeated, him an X'rhun chat a bit more, with the Red Mage lamenting how things have ended while Lambard only concedes that justice won just this day. Arya feels momentarily sick but claims that she was just feeling tired. Lambard smirks then say that makes some cryptic comments about Arya and how he won't be around to see X'rhun to suffer.
Back at Mor Dhona, X'rhun is fully recovered, Jessie thanks us for our aide as well as give us some reward. X'rhun is also happy that after 20 years of failure he finally accomplished a victory, for himself and for Eorzea. And only because we helped him.
With that the questline ends. Overall I liked the level 50-60 questline for Red Mages. X'rhun always gave me the impression of a genuine hero. The one who would jump to defend the weak for no other reason than because it is the right thing to do.
Arya, like I mentioned before made me worried that she would be just a damsel in distress but she showed courage when it counted which is always a good thing in my book. 🙂 Although I admit she felt pretty useless in the last fight. :p
Both of them made the questline fun to do and even Lambard's jerkface attitude didn't bother me much as it is usually do with those kind of villains.
Unless something go wrong next post should be about the level 30-50 Astrologian quest. That one should be a lot smaller (and easier to write!) or at least I hope so! Until then! 🙂