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FFXIV Island Sanctuary Gameplay Preview (Patch 6.2 Live Letter)

Finally, we get a live gameplay demonstration of the much-anticipated Island Sanctuary, our own Harvest Moon in FFXIV.

We’ve been hearing a lot about Island Sanctuary, a new type of content for Final Fantasy XIV. It’s finally coming with Patch 6.2 on August 23. Before this latest Live Letter, we only had some brief explanations of its features and a few teaser screenshots. But now, we have a live gameplay demonstration thanks to the Live Letter stream.

Director and producer Naoki Yoshida played through some of Island Sanctuary on the stream, which showcased its size, scope, systems, and mechanics. It’s intended to be a more relaxed gameplay experience where you build, craft, gather materials, grow crops, and raise animals on your own tropical island. Every player gets their own instanced island and must progress through ranking up and completing tasks to open more of the island.

As previously detailed, Island Sanctuary will feature its own unique UI elements and inventory space. Your character does not need crafter or gatherer experience since all gameplay mechanics here are made specifically for Island Sanctuary. Below, we will summarize the things we learned from the Live Letter and give a deeper look at its specific features. (Special thanks to translators on the r/FFXIV Discord channel for providing additional details throughout the Live Letter.)

Island Sanctuary Gameplay Mechanics

The basic flow of Island Sanctuary involves switching between different modes to take care of various tasks. For example, gathering mode lets you gather materials and capture mode lets you catch animals to bring back to base. Build mode lets you construct buildings at your base. As you progress, you’ll be earning new tools that afford you access to new actions for the different modes.

One thing you’ll be doing in Island Sanctuary is cultivating the land. This means tending to crops and making sure they grow. You’ll have options to plant seeds on your farmland, then switch modes to water your crops. They won’t grow if you don’t water them, but if there’s rainy weather, that will count too. You will progress to a certain point where you can assign NPCs to take care of some of these tasks.

Another activity involves herding livestock on your island. You’ll have a unique action for using a net to capture mobs of animals, which you’ll craft and upgrade as you progress. You can then raise and care for these animals, gather materials from them, and even give them nicknames. Additionally, you’ll be checking on their status similar to a management sim.


The next gameplay element that got a deeper dive was building. It seems you’ll need different types of tools to make various structures and buildings. For example, Yoshida had a hatchet but needed a hammer to make other facilities. Further on, more complex structures will take real time to finish building, upwards 12 hours. NPCs can also help with building stuff within your base, but it’ll cost you Scrips unique to Island Sanctuary. This piece of content is not designed for grinding. While Yoshida suggested going at your own pace, it seems there are built-in time gates for certain features.

Additional Features for Island Sanctuary

There are other notable features that were revealed in the Live Letter. You’ll have a dedicated Sprint action which has a shorter cooldown than normal Sprint; this will help traversal in addition to the faster mount speed. An easily accessible tutorial will be available in-game to help outline all of Island Sanctuary’s mechanics. And to make this a great leisurely activity, players will be able to queue into other instances using the Duty Finder while on their island.

Progression is tied to your Sanctuary Level so you’ll spend time ranking up as you build out your island. Making handicrafts and earning the unique Scrips for rewards are also core parts of the flow. And lastly, those who play Island Sanctuary will get new glam; these comfy farming outfits are not gender locked, too.

Yoshida mentioned that new features are planned for every two major patches. I suppose we can expect more from Island Sanctuary when Patch 6.4 rolls around. We already have our hands full, however. Just how full you ask? Well, just check out any of our previous coverage of FFXIV Patch 6.2 or our Live Letter live thread on Twitter to see just how much new content is coming.

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