Crystalline Conflict stands as the most active PvP mode in Final Fantasy XIV, the five-on-five mode appealing to fans of ranked and casual competitive play. FFXIV's Patch 6.5 brings some new additions to the interface to display more clearly what's happening on the battlefield, and a new map.
With the introduction of PvP Series one in Patch 6.1, many Warriors of Light were incentivized to turn towards the PvP modes to earn various time-limited rewards. As a result, Crystalline Conflict's player base grew larger than ever, as its fast-paced match times were a selling point over the other modes such as Frontline and Rival Wings. Patch 6.5 aims to bring many changes to the Crystalline Conflict's UI to streamline the mode further, as they have throughout Endwalker's life-cycle.
Crystalline Conflict UI changes in FFXIV Patch 6.5
The most crucial UI element in Crystalline Conflict is its Progress Gauge, which indicates which of the two teams has pushed the objective further toward its goal. Patch 6.5 will bring a few changes to this gauge to demonstrate how far a team has to push the crystal to make a comeback.
A new setting will display a large countdown 10 seconds before a match ends or will lead into overtime. The Progress Gauge's timer will now indicate how much time a team can spend away from the crystal during the nail-biting moments in overtime, removing much of the guesswork. There is also a clearer indicator of the progress made for the map's checkpoint that marks the halfway point, with its completion percentage now shown more prominently on the gauge.
The "comeback point" displayed on the Progress Gauge will now appear on the map itself, giving Warriors of Light multiple indicators of how hard they must push their team to victory.
The interface isn't the only recipient of visual changes, with abilities such as the Dragoon's Sky High or a Summoner's pet now indicated by color, meaning players will no longer have to wonder if the lance flying towards them is a friend or foe. The visual updates to skills aren't limited to Crystalline Conflict, and will appear in the other PvP modes.
New map coming to Crystalline Conflict - The Red Sands
Sometime in late October, a few weeks after Patch 6.5's launch, players of Crystalline Conflict will encounter the newest addition to the mode's many maps, The Red Sands. While seemingly a smaller map than its counterparts, participants will not only be battling the enemy team but the environment itself.
The sun will beat down in a scorching heat wave, dealing damage over time to every member of both teams. There isn't an SPF high enough to counter the sun, but an oasis on both sides of the map will provide a healing effect that negates the damage. There are also circles on the ground players can stand in during this phase to get a small heal in order to fight off the DoT. This will open the crystal for when a team has to fight against the environment, creating the dilemma of needing to push through the damage to protect the objective or flee to survive.
A deadly sand trap marks both ends of the crystal's paths, pulling in any Warriors of Light who stand too close and instantly defeating them. While every Crystalline Conflict map interacted with the environment in some way, The Red Sands seems to rely on these mechanics the most.
PvP Series five rewards in FFXIV
Each new major patch release in Final Fantasy XIV comes with a new PvP Series, which means more rewards for players to earn. A new regal suit of armor was shown as one of the rewards during Live Letter 79, reminiscent of the False Monarchy set awarded during PvP Series three.
While not directly earned from the PvP Series itself, other cosmetic items were shown by FFXIV director and producer Naoki "Yoshi-P" Yoshida, who indicated these clothing items were acquired by exchanging Trophy Crystals, a currency earned by participating in the PvP Series. The gear sets appear to be far more futuristic than most in-game cosmetics, with a style that might have most local Bard troupes fearing they'll soon be replaced by a boy band.