I have now played through a substantial portion of the more casual content released in Patch 6.2. I have not yet done the new part of the Tataru questline, but that'll give me something fun to write about next week. I had been taking quite a bit of time away from FFXIV in favor of World of Warcraft and ESO, but I seem to be back with a vengeance now.
As is usual with FFXIV these days, the storyline for the latest portion of the MSQ was outstanding. Both the new dungeon and the new trial were challenging without being too over the top. I ran them both on the first day, so some wiping was involved because there weren't yet any videos to watch to learn the fights. One of the other things I love about FFXIV.
I also have finished all four circles of the new raid instance. The mechanics on these are challenging and fun. I don't think we actually had full wipes on any of these circles, but there were definitely a lot of rezzes going out. The continuing storyline for this raid instance can be a bit of a tear-jerker and opens up many exciting possibilities, given what we already know about some of the characters involved and how we potentially interact with them later on.
So yes, I'm just dancing around the feature released in this patch that all casual players like me have been waiting for - Island Sanctuary. For my World of Warcraft friends, Island Sanctuary is what you might get if you combined the fun things about Garrisons with a little bit of Animal Crossing and the best parts of your farm at Halfhill, put it in a gorgeous location, and made it feel like an enjoyable, relaxing experience.
I've been spending a lot of time on my island sanctuary so far, building up my production buildings and landmarks, working through my pasture and capturing animals for it, and getting my garden plots all up and running and planted. It's been a ton of fun and a great way to stay engaged and productive if you're waiting in queue for your next roulette while you are leveling your alts jobs or farming tomestones.
So here are the downsides for those of you that are ready to pop in and give it a try. It doesn't solve the issues with the availability of player housing. Player housing in FFXIV is one of the most fabulously customizable things around, but they are extremely hard to get, even under the new lottery system. While you get a Cozy Cabin on your island sanctuary, and you can upgrade that Cabin as you progress, there doesn't appear to be any ability to customize the interior at the moment. And while it does have an Orchestrion player, it doesn't currently have a summoning bell or glamour dresser (which maybe they could add later on?!) So if you're looking to scratch that itch, you'll still need to be putting in your regular lottery entries.
The other downside, for anyone new to FFXIV, is if you start from scratch, it will take you a long time to unlock this. One of the requirements to unlock Island Sanctuary is that you have to have completed the MSQ up through the end of Endwalker. And that could easily take you 2-3 months to do.
But as a reward for those who have done that, it's so enjoyable and fantastic it's hard to describe. Two thumbs way up.