This post is horribly late. I actually got Machinist to level 70 a few weeks before Shadowbringers released. As I mentioned earlier though I wasn't in the best of mental states so I didn't write anything back then. Then I sort of forgot about it, started playing Shadowbringers, finished it and got my Machinist to 80... Oops!
Since Shadowbringers switched to a role-based questline for levels 71 to 80 and Job Quests now consists of only one quest at level 80 I will include that one in my usual recap of the Job Quest story here too.
WARNING: Spoilers about the Machinist questline from level 60 to 70 and the level 80 quest ahead!
One of the things I was most curious about this storyline is what would be their excuse to send us to Stormblood areas. I mean, all the other Jobs I got to 70 so far have found a way to do that so it was to expect that Machinist would be no exception. Well, my expectations were wrong. They did decide to go the exception route. But it turned out for the better.
I am getting slightly ahead of myself though. The story starts when we go back to visit Stephanivien. Since this is after the events of Heavensward, the government in its attempt to form into a more egalitarian society decided to officially recognize Hilda's city watch and arm them with machinists weapons.
There is only one slightly problem. I am doing this after Stormblood so Stephanivien has been swamped with orders for weapons from the now liberated Ala Migho and he doesn't have the personal to spare to help Hilda out. Even Joye had to be sent somewhere else just to help out.
He request us to help train Hilda's watch on the use of the weapons. We won't be alone on this endeavor though, Rostnsthal will be joining us in this endeavor. In fact our first job is to go to Idyllshire to convince him to come work again for the Manufactory.
It isn't something hard to do and although the roegadyn is reluctant at first he accepts to take the job.
Back in Ishgard, as we go to meet Hilda we see a Temple Knight trash-talking her and her team just because they are lowborns shortly before leaving. If this feels like a sign of things to come then you are absolutely right.
Hilda is glad to see us again, even more so since we are technically the ones who will be training her crew. She also explains that the purpose of the watch is to keep the peace inside the city in case the Temple Knights have to go away to help the Eorzean Alliance.
This is a pretty good deal for Hilda and her crew. It is something they already did anyway, except now they are being paid to do so. It seems it was also her decision to get the money they were given to hire Stephanivien to supply them with the weapons and training.
Of course, not everybody is happy with that as we just saw. The Inquisitors and nobles still don't like much like the idea of commoners brandishing weapons. But Hilda believes that she and her crew can shut them up by proving their worth.
Rostnsthal agrees with the idea and suggests they adopt a name so people will recognize them and give them the proper respect. The name they set on is "Hilda's Hounds".
With that we leave them to their training. Which is to say, we are off to level some more and come back later when the next quest pops up.
Next time we come to check on them it seems Hilda's Hounds got a pretty important job right off the bat. How important? The kinda that if they screw up they won't get any other type of job.
Hilda asks our help with it. The task is to stand guard at the Temple Knights investiture ceremony. The favor she asks of us is to join the security meeting for the event since there is a guy there, by the name of Muscadain, that Hilda hates so much that she hopes our presence will allow her to keep enough control to not shoot him in the face.
Hilda wasn't exaggerating either as soon as we get there the two already start to argue. The argument is only broken when some knight comes saying that the Vault has been breached and the sacred blade Hrunting has been stolen.
As Hilda explains it that sword is the one used to dub new knights. The place is also crawling with guards so it is hard to imagine anyone being able to do that.
But apparently the knights guarding the Vault were somehow struck senseless and when they woke up, the treasury's door was open and only Hrunting was missing.
It is almost like someone was trying to sabotage Aymeric's government!
Hilda offers to investigate the case and retrieve the sword, promising that her crew can keep their mouth's shut about the whole incident. After all it is in their best interest that this ceremony proceeds smoothly and if it gets them in Aymeric's good side it would be a bonus.Muscadain agrees since we'll be helping out too.
To cut a long story short, the investigation reveals that the all seven locks to the armory were destroyed and a bullet was found in one the keyholes. Unfortunately since Stephanivien's bullets are identical to the ones used in Limsa it is pretty much impossible to track its origins.
Also, during the investigation a Noblewoman just so happens to hear about the crime and comments on how she heard some other crimes with firearms happening. Apparently some merchants even heard shots being fired near Hemlock!
Checking on Hemlock reveals a broken camp and some beasts guarding it. The only clue in the camp is a contract of sale. I don't know if it is just me but this seems awfully suspicious. I mean, what kind of bandit gives a contract of sale?!?
It is the only clue we have to follow on though so might as well go with it. The note leads us to an isolated location where the thief is trying to sell the sword to some black market dealer . Unfortunately in the ensuing combat both manage to flee, leaving only the sword behind.
Seeing the guns used by the bandits up close, Rostnsthal thinks he knows where they came from. He just wants to do some snooping alone first to confirm it. Again, this is just code word for "go level up and come back later".
When we get back to Ishgard to check on things, there is a letter awaiting for us. Apparently Rostnsthal did find the supplier of the weapons. To the surprise of no one it just happened to be the same black market dealer that was negotiating the purchase of the sword. With some threats to denounce him to the Yellow Jackets, the dealer spills the location of the leader of the bandits that stole Hrunting.
Back in Ishgar we find the leader hiding among some ruins. He does try to put up a fight, futile as it is. Following his defeat our heroes interrogate the bandit, revealing the whole story:
Apparently he and his crew used to be pirates before Merlwyb took over leadership of Limsa and cleaned the place up. Since they weren't fond of honest work and were almost out of money, they accepted this job. The bandit doesn't know the name of the employer though, only that who paid it was an "overpainted wench", as he puts it, and the one who introduced them was the black market dealer that got them the weapons.
The woman paid them to steal just the sword from the Vault. She even provided the guns, a route with no guards and instructions to shoot the lock. The trouble started after the job was done. The next day the woman returned the sword with another large amount of money saying she made a mistake and the bandits should try to sell it. That is when the bandit leader tried to contact the black market dealer to sell Hrunting.
He denies to have ever made a contract of sale though.
With all this information it is clear to our heroes that his was all a setup. Someone went to a lot of trouble to make sure they retrieved the sword and make it look like it was the result of their investigations. Now the only question left was to figure why the culprit went to such lengths. And the only way they could find the answer would be to check Hrunting!
Time to play a visit to Muscadain and explain the story to him. At first he is skeptic about our suspicion. But upon seeing Hilda's pride about getting the job done to the end he agrees that there could be dire consequences if their suspicions were correct.
However there are rules that prevent him to just handing the sword for us to check. Plus they already had a sanctioned blacksmith check Hrunting who didn't find any issue.
Despite that Muscadain decides to send for Stephanivien to examination the weapon, claiming that a Machinist may find something that the blacksmith was not able to. And since the Manufactory is a sanctioned facility it shouldn't have any problems with the bureaucrats.
Since that is where Hilda intended to take the sword for examination in the first place she accepts it.
Some time later we get invited to go to the Manufactory to hear Stephanivien's findings. It seems there was a small bomb hidden in Hrunting's hilt that could be detonated from a distance. Stephanivien also reveals that this bomb is part of a batch that he made for the training of Temple Knights.
The good news is that the bomb isn't strong enough to murder anyone. At worst the explosion just might burn the hand of whoever is holding it.
Muscadain however feels this is bad enough as it is. If the people watching the investiture ceremony saw the sword being dropped they might interpret it as sign of Halone's displeasure over Aymeric's rule. Consequently Hilda's Hounds would be blamed for the whole thing.
Upon hearing this Stephanivien mentions a rumor that has been circulating among the nobility: that the sword's theft and retrieval was all orchestrated by the watch just so they could elevate their social standing.
Seems like that despite all the changes in Ishgard there are still people who feel threatened by the idea of commoners being armed.
They also figure out that the person behind all this must be the overpainted woman who hired those bandits to steal the sword.
With all of this being cleared up it is time to catch up the mastermind behind all of this. Stephanivien being ever the helpful fellow even made a device already that can pinpoint the location of the detonator. With this Muscadin proposes that the ceremony to proceed as normal and we catch the culprit red-handed. They then proceed to discuss the details of their strategy.
On the day of the ceremony Hilda explains the plan: Muscadain and the Hounds will handle security as normal to not raise any suspicions. The culprit will probably have someone watching to tell her the best moment to activate the bomb. The Hounds should have no problem catching the watcher.
Meanwhile we'll be waiting with Hilda at another location with Stephanivien's device, ready to move as soon as the detonator is activated.
The plan works flawlessly and as we proceed to the location of the detonator we find out that the culprit was none other than that noblewoman that way back in the beginning of this quest mentioned the shots being fired in Hemlock!
Her name is Melisie and at first she pretends to not know anything. But since we aren't stupid enough to believe it, her accomplices, some inquisitors and temple knights, arrive for a fight. At this point Melisie show her true colors and promises that if we surrender we may live.
Of course we don't accept that and a fight ensues. Melisie however ends up fleeing and seek's help from a Temple Knight saying that we want to hurt her. Unfortunately for her, that Temple Knight is Muscadain who already caught the rest of her accomplices and knows everything about her plans.
Cornered, Melisie decides to fight. At first it is a pretty easy fight but then in the middle of it she decides to turn into some kind of giant humanoid dragon monstrosity. Fortunately the fight still isn't too hard, she just has a lot of HP.
Once the fight is over, Melisie is arrested and Muscadain and Hilda realize that they have a lot in common now as they both fight to protect Ishgard.
They also casually reveal to be siblings much to the surprise of the others. Hilda explains that Muscadain is her half-brother, born after her father abandoned her mother. This is part of why Hilda hated Muscadain so much, his face reminds her a lot of their father.
With all this solved though everybody ends up happy and Hilda's Hounds got the recognition they deserved for a job well done.
Considering this story is pretty much a rehash of the previous quests themes I think it handled the idea of "nobles vs. commoners" much better. Even more so because it was Hilda, a commoner, who was the one pushing to prove her valor and not Stephanivien, a noble trying to prove the value of commoners. All in all, I enjoyed it a lot more.
It is also another nice epilogue to see how Ishgard is changing after the events of Heavensward.
The Level 80 Machinist Quest
This quest begins at the Manufactory in Ishgard. Stephanivien is happy to see us as he has a problem that we might be able to solve. It seems Joye has been acting secretive and sneaking out to parts unknown. This worries him as it reminds him of that time when her father was kidnapped.
Stephanivien also believes that asking Joye about what is going on would be fruitful so he asks us to find out what is going on, discreetly of course. Lucky (?!?) for us, she even just left and shouldn't be too far off.
After waiting a bit outside we find out Joye meeting up with Hilda and both leaving for somewhere. Apparently just like Stephanivien we lack enough common sense to just go and talk to her!
Anyway, putting the sarcasm to the side, Muscadin just notices us there and as the conversation goes we end up telling him of Stephanivien's request. The Temple Knight doesn't think much of it, in fact even give us some info: It seems Joye and Hilda have become so famous that people have noticed them traveling around Falcon's Nest.
We then end up bringing this information to Stephanivien who decides that the best course of action is to go with us to Falcon's Nest for further investigation. The trail end up leading us to Iron Bridge, where we find Joye and Hilda practicing.
By overhearing their conversation it seems the two of them have been trying to develop new fighting techniques instead of relying on us all the time. It is a pretty cool idea but unfortunately the two of them are having trouble making any progress.
Stephanivien is proud of them and decides that we might just be able to help them... "discreetly". His plan is to bring a big monster to us, then once Joye and Hilda hear the shots they will certainly come to check. Then as they see us fighting the monster they surely will feel inspired to develop their new techniques!
I'd point so many holes in this plan if I could but unfortunately the game doesn't give this option so we just have to go with it.
The monster that Stephanivien bring is just a overglorified Bergthus which goes down easily enough. This is enough to satisfy Stephanivien though and it is back to Ishgard for us. At the end of the cutscene we can see Joye and Hilda watching from a hiding spot though.
Back at the Manufactory as Stephanivien is thanking us for a job well done, both Joye and Hilda show up. They are a bit irritated as they reveal they found out what we did. After all it was just too convenient for we to be fighting something near their location at the exact moment they were going through a slump.
They aren't completely ungrateful though as it seems to at least given them some direction to pursue. With that said they go back to their training and Stephanivien bids us to visit again even if there is no crisis to deal with.
Overall, this was a pretty short and nice quest. I like these kind of change of pace with smaller stories that don't involve any life or death situation. And it is always cool to see what Joye and Hilda are up to. 🙂