FFXIV’s Island Sanctuary Is A Tropical Getaway With Little To Do (But Maybe That’s The Point)

FFXIV’s Island Sanctuary Is A Tropical Getaway With Little To Do (But Maybe That’s The Point)
Contributor: Renee O’Flynn

Final Fantasy XIV‘s 6.2 patch Buried Memory released on Tuesday.

In addition to a new dungeon and the next series of Asphodelos raids, the patch also contained the long-awaited Island Sanctuary. Its release followed an activation at London’s Mudchute Farm that saw players vote to name a rooster after Stormblood antagonist Zenos yae Galvus.

Regrettably, my arrival on my island was a dissonant one. Upon arrival, a cutscene played showing a lovely tropical island. The moment it ended, however, my island was drenched by six months of monsoonal rain in the space of a few hours. The Island Sanctuary has its own weather system separate from the rest of Eorzea, in the same way that all the game’s city-states have their own weather. The island also follows Eorza’s day/night cycle. Everything else moves in real-time, just like Animal Crossing. Growing crops and watering them is measured in real Earth time. At the time of writing, 48 hours after first putting my gardening hat on, none of my crops are ready to be harvested. Only player crafting and gathering is instant.

Oh, and petting. Petting is also instant.

Animals that are dotted around the island can be caught with nets crafted by the player. I believe the catch rate is random, but there appear to be better nets that I don’t have access to yet. It’s possible to find different and even rare versions of each animal, but I’m uncertain what makes rare ones appear. The black sheep is now my nemesis and I will catch it one day (probably when I have a better net). [Update: All my friends now have a sheep and I still do not, and I am mad about it. — Renee]

My island is only Level 5, so what I have access to is limited. I have two workshops, a granary, two landmarks and the house. The house cannot be moved, but it can be upgraded. The workshops and granaries can be moved, but only to specific plots. It appears that the workshops and granaries can be upgraded as well. So, though an element of customisation exists, it’s not really a lot.

Your primary avenue for customisation seems to be which minions can be released in the hideaway. Up to 40 minions can run around in areas that the player has cleared but they don’t really do much. They move around and have speech bubbles. It would be nice to have them interact the way some do in the game, under normal circumstances. You can invite up to 15 friends to your island but they can’t do anything while there, just look around. They can wander about my free-range minion farm and watch them talk amongst themselves, I suppose. How fascinating. 

The main Island Sanctuary gameplay element is the gathering. As small buildings take up to 3 real-time hours to create, and landmarks take 12 hours, a lot of a player’s time will be spent in the wilds, gathering and catching animals. FFXIV has a gathering dungeon called the Diadem and you’ll be doing much of the same in there, which certainly isn’t a bad thing.

There isn’t much music in the wilds, so chuck on a podcast and just chill as the Isleventory fills up. Gather everything, it all has a use. The workshop mentioned earlier allows the mammets (island helpers) to craft items to be sold at Limsa Lominsa. These items are created in real-time too, but players can queue up what they want crafted in advance. As long as players have the materials at the time of the crafting, they will be made. Let’s say you have a craft queued that requires Vine, and you have enough available for the first craft but not the second. As long as you round up enough Vine before that second craft is scheduled, construction will go ahead as planned.

Crafts and excess materials can be sold for Cowries, which are the island’s unique currency. As a tease, though the three mounts in Island Sanctuary are available to purchase right from the beginning, there’s no immediate way to afford them. Expanding the Hideaway costs Cowries, because the mammets want to be paid and they have a good union. It’s 1k cowries per clearing. The mammets in the workshop also have rest days, so two days of the week that they won’t craft anything. Like I said, good union. Mammet working conditions are top tier (nobody tell the Retainers).

After all the hype and the waiting, Island Sanctuary is definitely not what I was expecting. I thought there would be more crop growing! And less time management! And a lot less gathering! I wish there was a way I could flag what items I needed to gather, but I’m still really enjoying it. Aside from a few little issues that can be frustrating, it truly is the place you can sit back, relax, get lost in farming materials, and watch the free-range minions frolic as the world goes by.

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