Nestled in the ungodly number FFXIV patch notes for version 6.2 is an easy to miss notice about an Aethernet Shard. A new Aethernet Shard, as it turns out. You don’t see those pop up very often in old cities. They’re usually reserved for entirely new in-game hubs released in each expansion — like The Crystarium or Ishgard. Well, the latest update added one, so this is us telling you to grab it!
The Aethernet Shard in question is located in The High Crucible of Al-Kimiya. This will be painfully obvious to anyone accessing the Aethernet in Radz-at-Han for the first time after Patch 6.2, since the new option is grayed out (marking it as unattuned like any normal Aethernet Shard introduced during any expansion). However, if you just happen to be walking around, it’s pretty easy to miss this new fast travel point. You might even assume it’s always been there and not interact with it until it’s too late.
The new addition makes a lot of sense. The High Crucible of Al-Kimiya wasn’t easily accessible before. You had to walk all the way from the Central Aetheryte Plaza and through a somewhat winding path. Then getting to the “basement” area takes you down a set of staircases. That’s not so bad when you’re going to the basement. You can just jump the stairs and take the fall damage (it won’t kill you outside of combat). But getting back up the stairs was then a trial unto itself.
Was this really annoying? Yes, yes it was. Was any of this insurmountable? No, not really. There isn’t much in The High Crucible of Al-Kimiya. All the important vendors are found in the Balshahn Bazaar section of Radz-at-Han while all the role quests begin in Sundrop, near the Hall of the Radiant Host. You only ever go to The High Crucible of Al-Kimiya for story reasons at the moment.
However, that’s exactly the point. Patch 6.2 (and Patch 6.1 before it) introduced new story quests set after the events of Endwalker. Most of which are focused on the dragon Vtra, the government leader of Radz-at-Han, and his search for his lost sibling. Much of the story takes place in and around Radz-at-Han and, perhaps, The High Crucible of Al-Kimiya. So it’s nice to have a way in and out of the facility.
On a more minor (but still very cute) note, you can also find Milladeen standing around here with the other alchemists. This is the NPC you help out while combating student debt with Ameliance during the latter character’s Custom Deliveries questline. If none of that means anything to you… It’s a crafter thing. Minor spoilers for the Ameliance Custom Deliveries ahead!
At the end of that questline, Milladeen chooses to study alchemy after mastering sorcery in order to combine the strengths of the two talents to complement one another. Seeing her here is just a nice little nod for those that completed the Custom Deliveries storyline and happen to remember the little Au Ra student’s ambitions. It’s a nice touch! Similar to how we can see Alpha wandering around parts of the world after the Omega raid in Stormblood.
Anyway, that has little to do with the Athernet Shard itself. There’s not much more to say, though. Make sure you attune to it!