In FFXIV, a Harrowing Memory of the Dying has nothing to do with near-death experiences. Instead it’s an upgrade item for the Resistance Weapon quest in Shadowbringers. This is a unique, new series of missions tied to the Bozjan Southern Front. Though you actually start the mission in the Gangos area — by taking an airship from the Doman Enclave in Yanxia.
This continues the long line of FFXIV Relic Weapons with freshly minted Resistance Weapons. The name has changed in Shadowbringers (as it has across multiple expansions and patches), but the core conceit is the same. Resistance Weapons are highly modular super-items specific to each Job. You upgrade them, unlock Materia slots for melding, and get snazzy new visuals to go with it.
Resistance Weapons might just be the coolest iteration yet, too. For one they look great. You can never go wrong with a great, future Glamour! You can also mostly upgrade them with new items called Memories. These new materials drop from various events across the world of FFXIV. The Harrowing Memory of the Dying, for instance, is available in the Bozjan Southern Front. This endgame area is deeply tied to Resistance Weapons — both in lore and progression. Its storyline even ties into events from the original Final Fantasy XIV Online and the Return to Ivalice raid from Stormblood.
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Trivia aside, you need exactly 20 Harrowing Memories of the Dying to complete your first Resistance Weapon upgrade. It’s quite the grind compared to unlocking your first Resistance Weapon. Especially since you also need 40 more other types of memories. There are a few ways to speed up the process, though. Not to mention you can accomplish quite a lot while hunting your Harrowing Memory of the Dying.
The first and most surefire (but probably least efficient) Harrowing Memory of the Dying farming method is FATEs. Across the entire Resistance Weapon quest line, Square Enix encourages high-level players to revisit and repopulate older FFXIV content. During this quest step, “For Want of a Memory,” that means Heavensward. Specifically Heavensward FATEs.
You can collect all three memory types from two different Heavensward zones apiece. One Harrowing Memory of the Dying will drop from any FATE in the Dravanian Hinterlands (not to be confused with the Dravanian Forelands) or Azys Ila. That’s one guaranteed memory, mind you. As long as you successfully finish the FATE. If you participate in the public quest and win (and sync your level when applicable) you’re golden.
This is a great opportunity to level up an alt — particularly a Blue Mage. The “limited job” isn’t as useful as a “real” FFXIV Job, but has the added benefit of crowd clearing ability. Blue Mages have many completely overpowered area-of-effect spells that make them great in older, open-world content like past FATEs. I also recommend the Dravanian Hinterlands instead of Azys Ila. More players tend to gravitate to that region, leading to faster FATE completions. Probably because the zone is easier to move around.
Twenty total FATEs will net you all the Harrowing Memories of the Dying you need. Even with a big group that… could take a while. Your best bet is to broadcast your intentions by using the Party Finder. Simply set a group to let folks know that this is what you’re working on and hope for the best. You can also go to the Bozjan Southern Front. Though it might take even longer to get your Harrowing Memories of the Dying there. This method might still be worth your while for one very good reason.
Bozja is a unique, instanced area similar to Eureka from Stormblood. It’s almost its own, miniature MMO hidden within FFXIV. Inside you gain unique levels, or ranks, totally separate from your chosen Job while exploring the region. There are also unique spells and items you can only use inside the zone: Lost Actions and Essences. These also allow you to completely “break” the game — turning tanks into DPS machines, Ninjas into spellcasters, and so on. It all depends on what you equip.
The Bozjan Southern Front is fun, unique, has its own special raids. It will also grant XP to any Job between levels 71-80 that you use within its walls. That makes the area a great way to multitask while on the hunt for a Harrowing Memory of the Dying or three. The downside is that no Harrowing Memory of the Dying is guaranteed within Bozja, the way it is in FATEs. Instead, you must play through the resistance questline to reach the third and final region of the Bozjan Southern Front. Enemies in this northern area have a miniscule chance to hold the item. Skirmishes (special FATEs within this area) and Critical Engagements (randomly occurring miniature Trials/Raids) also seem to increase your chances.
The tough part is getting to the northern zone. The upshot? You collect Tortured Memories of the Dying and Sorrowful Memories of the Dying in the two areas beforehand. Not to mention you rank up, level up, and acquire new abilities to use in future Bozjan Southern Front raids at the same time. It’s slower but arguably more efficient (and fun) than redoing the same half-dozen FATEs you’ve been playing for years. It depends on what you’re after. Dravanian FATEs are faster for Harrowing Memory of the Dying farming, but don’t offer much in the way of rewards on the side.
Either way, these are the only ways to find a single Harrowing Memory of the Dying at all, much less the 20 you need for the quest. Once you’re done you still need 40 more memories of differing types. The sooner you get started on the quest, the sooner you get your reward. Best of luck!