Why Are Primals Bad in Final Fantasy XIV?

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Primals are antagonistic in Final Fantasy XIV because their mere presence drains the world of vital energy. They also corrupt and claim the minds of their followers, turning them into mindless devotees.

Many of XIV’s Primals take the forms of beloved summons from previous Final Fantasy games. Ifrit, Shiva, Ramuh, and Bahamut have all been seen in varying forms throughout the series.

We’re used to fighting alongside these titanic creatures, but XIV tasks us with slaying them.

If you haven’t been paying too much attention to the story (fair enough, there’s a lot of it) you might be wondering why we’re suddenly hunting these beings down instead of using them to smite our enemies.

Well, technically, Primals are still summons – or Aeons, Eidolons, and Espers, as they’ve previously been referred to. They’re just not yours.

These creatures are usually strongly linked to XIV’s Beast Tribes, brought forth by them in times of great distress.

Or just when they feel like trying to take over the world.

As a result, you’ll be tasked with bringing them down. And it’s rarely an easy task.

While a standard four party lineup will do the job for Ifrit, Titan, and Garuda, you’ll need eight players for all the others.

These encounters can reward you with mounts, unique gear, and are often some of the most epic battles in the game.

Ifrit Primal Screenshot / FFXIV
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How Are Primals Created?

Primals are essentially gods, brought into the world by summoning rituals and huge quantities of aether – the magical life force of the planet.

The means required to summon them was passed down to Eorzea’s beast tribes by the Ascians, who you may recognize as the forces of evil, pulling the strings behind the scenes.

Primals are essentially the collective will of their people, and they’re shaped by their imagination.

That’s what they think their god would look like, and so it does.

The Beast Tribes summon their Primals when they’re under great threat, or driven by the need for conquest. They are not summoned lightly.

Spend a little time with some of the Beast Tribes through their optional repeatable quest lines and you’ll learn they’re usually divided into two categories.

There’s a faction that wants to raise the Primal, either for conquest or defense, and there’s the group that just wants to chill and get on with everybody.

Either way, Primals are bad for Eorzea.

Even the peaceful ones (there are a few!) could have a catastrophic effect on the world’s balance if they aren’t culled by brave heroes every now and then.

Alexander Primal Screenshot / FFXIV
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Why Are Primals Bad For The World?

A Primal’s mere existence costs the world vast amounts of aether.

Think of them as parasites, draining the world’s lifeblood.

Left unchecked, their existence would cause everything else to wither and die. Eorzea’s aether status is already in a pretty bad way thanks to the events that preceded A Realm Reborn, so maintaining the balance and keeping Primals in check is essential to preventing another cataclysm.

This is basically what the Ascians are seeking to achieve by encouraging Beast Tribes to summon Primals. The end of everything as we know it.

Of course, there’s all the added bonuses of the inevitable chaos and death they bring with them, but that’s really just window dressing for the Ascians.

They’ve got their sights firmly set on the endgame.


What Is Tempering?

Tempering is another terrible side effect of Primal presence.

This is basically a catch-all phrase used to refer to the mind-warping effect that Primals have on their followers.

Spend too much time in the vicinity of the Primal, and your life-force effectively becomes bound to it forever. Tempering persists even after the slaying of a Primal, and dooms the victim to a life of service to their god.

You’ll encounter tempering for the first time fairly early on in the Main Scenario Quest, before you hit level 30.

The Sylph Beast Tribe have summoned their Primal, Ramuh, and you’ll have to go investigate.

During your time with the Sylphs you’ll discover that some of them have become “touched”, and it’s caused a divide between the fairy folk.

The storyline follows you gaining an understanding as to why some of the Sylphs have left their brothers and sisters behind. It ends with the player character being very politely asked to go and observe some of the tempered Sylphs, to reassure our allies that they don’t pose a threat.

Tempering comes up fairly often throughout the Main Scenario.

It’s actually a big driving force behind some of the Shadowbringers post expansion patches we’re playing through right now.

I don’t want to go into too much detail about that in case we spoil some current content stuff, but tempering is a big threat that goes beyond a Primal’s lifespan.

Ramuh Primal Boss Preview Screenshot / FFXIV
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Are There Any Good Primals?

Yes – in fact, the greatest example is probably Ramuh himself.

You’ll hear about him when you meet the Sylphs for the first time, but you won’t meet him yourself until after A Realm Reborn.

Ramuh is one of the targets that must fall before you progress to Heavensward.

You’re not sent to Ramuh on a mission of war. You’re going to mediate – to try and bring about some amount of peace as the world teeters on the brink of terrible danger (again).

As it turns out though, Ramuh is a pretty chill guy.

If you can prove your worth against him in a trial by combat, he’ll peacefully return to the aether.

Ramuh is not like his Primal brethren. He condemns violence and strife, and doesn’t take any more aether than he needs to exist.

This is a great example of how the Primals reflect the attitudes of the people that summon them.

The Sylphs are laidback and want to live in harmony with nature.

Ramuh is simply an incredibly exaggerated & powerful manifestation of that.

Unfortunately, chill dude or not, Ramuh has to go.

Because the simple truth of Primals existing is bad for Eorzea’s lifeforce.

You can face Ramuh again in an Extreme Trial, because the Sylphs decide to bring him back – but it might be okay to let the guy chill at his tree for a bit this time.

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