“Records of Eminence”, which I shorten to Records. This system has a list of tasks that can be turned on and off at any point in time for extra benefits. These are wide ranging. Everything from “Heal X Damage” to “Successfully Harvest X Times” have benefits to them. Completion of a task nets you experience points (EXP or XP) and a system exclusive currency call “Sparks of Eminence”, or simply Sparks. These allow you to buy any number of goods. Leveled equipment from 1-50, then sets of 99+ armor and weapons. There are items available for improving armors (to be touched on later).

The Good: This joins the Fields of Valor and Grounds of Valor systems before it with ways to augment gaining experience. Some places lived and died by making use of the “pages”, called so because the Valor systems were activated out of books. You couldn’t find parties in some places due to the lack of a Valor book. Now, as long as you have something toward a specific type of enemies (X Experience granting enemies, X members of Y family) you can get experience ANYWHERE. Many of these quests are repeatable, can be completed in groups, and stack on top of other content. I can work on a grounds of valor page, have Records for X#+ of damage, mobs in the area, mobs of a certain family, spoils from that mob, and more at the same time. This, combined with Trust, will make soloing easier and partying more lucrative. This means less time at lower levels.

The Bad: “…less time at lower levels.” This very sentiment has resounded as a problem for awhile now. There have always been ways to experience swiftly. Final Fantasy is a known for grinding to become more powerful. Grinding is killing enemies for points of experience until you experience a level up, usually to ridiculous degrees of time put into the process. Once upon a time in FFXI it took a long while to level up. In this time you learned the nuances of your job. How to respond to a variety of threats with the tools available to you. Skills, things like weapon and magic proficiency, had time to grow to its cap. This all meant for not just powerful, but knowledgeable players. But in these times it is possible for an established player to go from 1-99 in a day. Newer players have to deal with level limit caps, and the quests to break them. But, with Trust it may be able to “solo” (I say as such since you aren’t actually on your own) through them, but people will help you more than likely. This means that even if someone has the best weapons, armor, accessories, and every spell available, you may be getting a paper tiger. One of the highlights of this system is a set of armor available at 99 with the trait “Skill Gain Rate+”. This means that your skills have a greater chance of increasing more frequently. This means less time messing with it all.

Overall, this system will do a lot of good. I enjoy this game a lot, but I have a life. Much of the balk of such systems is that it hastens progression. My thoughts on this will escape this post. I don’t want to pull a friend in the game and have them slog though months of grinding to get to where I am. And, as much as I love my friends, they tend to trickle online. I neither wish to stop what I’m doing every time one of them comes online, get left behind the front lines by months, only for them to leave. The advantages, both to old and new players, are most welcome by me.