Island Sanctuary is a fresh casual activity of patch 6.2. It’s sort of a mix of housing and… Animal Crossing? I wouldn’t know, I did not play the game.
Anyways, it’s a thing-in-itself, with island-earned and island-spent currency. The only thing that requires mats from the outside world is Island Prisms to glam your cabin and grounds, which need to be crafted by your Disciple of Hand job or purchased at market board – about 12k a piece in day 3 of the patch, so not too expensive.
I’ve reached rank 4 of “island knowledge” in two hours, with a maximum of level 10. Now the progress stops a bit, and you need to complete major quests (depending on knowledge rank?) and place orders to progress further – with a time gating that makes it a stretched pastime, not a one sit thing. There’s absolutely no urge or need to rush to the top, just take your time :)
I’ve built the cozy cabin and upgraded it to rank 2 – the main building with vendors and stuff, the workshop where you place orders to earn currency, a crop land and an animal yard. There’s probably a lot more to come, Im eager to see all the options :)
Currency comes in 2 options: blue and green. It is spent for your normal amount of goods: glams, mounts, minions, haircut options and such. To earn it, you’re completing main quests and place workshop orders (maybe more options to come).
To complete orders, to build and expand you need to collect mats, and so far it seems like the major pastime of the sanctuary. It is relaxing though, the animals aren’t hostile, and you can do your gathering with your brain switched off, watching a movie, listening to a podcast or simply waiting for a raid/dungeon queue. There’s no shortage of nodes – in fact, you quickly learn to be picky not to get overwhelmed, but then again you need a lot of different mats, so mowing down everything you see in sight may not be a bad idea – to stockpile them just in case. Every mat is valuable sooner or later.
I see two major attractions/goals here. Goal one is customizing your island base as you’re progressing through the ranks and getting more options as you level it up. Goal two – acquiring the rewards for currency (mounts, haircuts, etc.) for the outer world. After that? It’s probably housing – you can get in, chill and do some updates, for sure, but all in all there’s nothing to achieve anymore (if SE doesn’t add customizing updates, and I’m sure they will!).
Conclusion: it’s another option for housing and customizing, and FFXIV is already two steps ahead from WoW, for example, which has none :) The feature seems to be designed pretty well, with a mild, non-demanding grind and palpable goals and in general is an option of what to do for casuals if they want some peace in-between or after battles. Expansion in future game updates is very possible, but the foundation is well set.
Shall I play it? Yes, at the very least I need to see and get all the upgrades and rewards, and farming is more fun in queues than just hanging out in Sharlayan square. I think all my toons want an island.
P.S. Is there an option to move the island teleport/sprint buttons from the middle of the screen? HUD menu doesn’t seem to work, and you also can’t move it unlike the island menu window.