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Final Fantasy 14 players are already grinding the hell out of its new relaxing farming mode

Final Fantasy 14 island sanctuary
(Image credit: Square Enix)
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Instead of kicking back on the beach like they were supposed to, Final Fantasy 14 players are stripping their pristine new island sanctuaries of every single plant and resource to feed the machine of efficiency.

This week's patch 6.2 dropped Island Sanctuaries, a solo mode that lets you tend to a farm, gather resources, craft items, and pet animals. As you explore the island and build facilities, you gain unique XP to increase your rank and ability to purchase mounts and hairstyles (opens in new tab)for your character. Naturally, MMO players have found a way to turn this laid-back diversion into a job by sharing spreadsheets, maps, and details on spawn rates.

Reddit user LucarioMagic (opens in new tab) circled plant locations on the island map to keep you from exploring for too long. Twitter user stalvtuber (opens in new tab) went further and provided exact coordinates so you can create linear paths from each resource. And YouTuber Cole Evyx made a video that warns viewers of a "noobtrap" that prevents you from building your island base and provides an entire Excel sheet of items to craft with a value per hour (VPH) number for each one.

Twitter and the game's subreddit are full of people highlighting (opens in new tab) the discrepancy between the mode's intended purpose and how people are actually treating it. MMOs have this problem a lot: World of Warcraft has implemented its own farms and other casual-friendly features over the years and many people choose to squeeze them dry instead of savoring the break from raiding and grinding mobs. While nothing in FF14 stops you from churning through island life, it also doesn't provide a lot of reasons for speedrunning it either. It purely depends on your patience and what's most satisfying to you. 

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i_love_island_sanctuaries from r/ffxiv

Several Reddit users explained in one popular Reddit thread (opens in new tab) why they've turned the island sanctuaries into a mini management sim:

"I was a math/econ major. I love factory sims and optimizing shit, just how my brain works," spock2018 (opens in new tab) wrote.

"It's like a puzzle. It's fun to engage your brain with how to best get things with what you have," Gorbashou (opens in new tab) wrote in the same thread.

For others, all the crop harvesting and crafting can wait. FF14's islands are where you take a break from challenging raids and quests to pet animals (opens in new tab) and let your minion companions run free. An island where you can build your dream treehouse (opens in new tab) for taking photos of your Warrior of Light or having friends over to hang out.

FF14's island sanctuaries resemble what it was like to see rabid Animal Crossing players take on New Horizons when it launched in 2020. The game that's practically synonymous with chill was harvested alive by early-pandemic players without much else to do. People used the Nintendo Switch's clock to fast forward through the game and they used dedicated websites and Discord servers to track turnip prices to maximize their profit. Clearly none of it was what Nintendo intended, and yet everyone did it anyway.

Now it's Square Enix's turn to bear witness to hordes of players who want nothing but the pure efficiency of a well-oiled farm.

Associate Editor

Tyler has covered games, games culture, and hardware for over a decade before joining PC Gamer as Associate Editor. He's done in-depth reporting on communities and games as well as criticism for sites like Polygon, Wired, and Waypoint. He's interested in the weird and the fascinating when it comes to games, spending time probing for stories and talking to the people involved. Tyler loves sinking into games like Final Fantasy 14, Overwatch, and Dark Souls to see what makes them tick and pluck out the parts worth talking about. His goal is to talk about games the way they are: broken, beautiful, and bizarre.