Wisdom of Nym: Reacting to the Final Fantasy XIV patch 4.2 notes
Some of what’s on display is actually not all that surprising; we could have ascertained long ago that the dungeon would be tied to the MSQ, for example, because that’s exactly what has happened with every single brand-new dungeon added to the game at the level cap since patch 3.2 (and it was surprising when that wasn’t the case in 3.1). But there are still some surprises in the mix, and some things that are well worth considering as we wait for servers to come back up once more.
New Aetheryte and Trial integration
First things first, we all know that the new aetheryte we’re going to be picking up is presumably in the Doman enclave. The funny thing is that the enclave, not Rhalgr’s Reach, appears to be where building up is taking place during the story; this is in stark contrast to Revenant’s Toll and Idyllshire, but people have supposedly noticed this happening even during 4.1. And it makes sense, since Rhalgr’s Reach isn’t meant to be a permanent settlement, it’s a temple being restored.
Of course, the flip side is that there’s no real reason for us to go to the Doman enclave much of the time… which raises the question of what, exactly, we’ll be using the enclave for starting with this patch. If it has a teleportation point, obviously it’s going to be relevant to the future, and I think it could both serve as an alternate area with the same functions as Rhalgr’s Reach (Rowena always does love to expand) or something more focused around other functions.
There’s also the highly relevant facet of the first Jade Stoa trial getting locked behind the MSQ progression, which is unusual at this point; we’ve not had a new scenario trial like that since Final Steps, and their absence through most of Heavensward was notable but largely welcome. It’s not directly in the content, but it’s connected to that quesline. Of course, I’ve also opined that having the Warring Triad off to one side was kind of a mistake from a storytelling standpoint; I can get behind just rolling this into the main scenario as a whole.
Also, I want it as an egi glamour. But that goes for… uh… about 11 Primals now? It’s a consistent theme.
The reason for the extended downtime is, obviously, the addition of these new wards. The patch does clarify that players with private homes will be able to relocate to the new plots, which is nice, and also makes a certain amount of sense; the mechanics of it mean that there will be no possible decrease in available plots, though sizes and locations will shuffle. That’s all right.
Something that I wonder about is how access will be gated, simply because I imagine lots of people will want to still get in as fast as possible. (I certainly will.) Will people be able to log out right by the desired plot before the houses get turned on? More information is needed and will probably be shared as we get closer.
Oh, and more kitchen stuff! Boy, there’s some stuff I want to do once actual housing locations and such are addressed, I tell you what.
A tour through the World of Sadness
I really did not expect that we would be getting a tour through Final Fantasy VI for our next step into Omega’s little test dungeon, but it’s hard for me to be unhappy about it. The reality is that the game is harder to mine for this stuff than some of the other games in the franchise; most of the bosses are much more tied to the narrative and far harder to separate out. So the idea that we’re getting another batch of bosses from the game is something welcome.
The bosses that we’ve actually seen appear to be Chaddarnook, the Phantom Train, and the Guardian. (I’m going to assume that one is, in fact, a boss.) Oddly, there doesn’t seem to be much of a unifying theme there, other than “weird boss from the game that is somehow notable.” Except that maybe there is a little bit of one, in that all of the bosses are about vestiges of things.
Guardian’s whole schtick when you fight it is copying the patterns of past bosses. Chaddarnook is all about imitating a painting and only occasionally dropping its veil. The Phantom Train is meant to usher the remnants of living souls into the land of the dead. And so a pattern starts to emerge of Omega itself; it can only imitate, it can’t actually create anything new. Heck, Kefka himself is already imitating and stealing existing power rather than earning any of it.
I do wonder how we’ll handle the actual boss fight against clown boy, while we’re at it. He’s obviously got a variety of forms to fight that offer the possibility of a fight akin to the Savage mode Neo Exdeath battle for Deltascape, but unlike Exdeath himself, the fights against Kefka before his final boss form are generally pretty perfunctory affairs. (Since the game is trying to make him seem like the stooge and make Gestahl seem like the real threat.) So how will the game handle that fight?
Also, will we get to suplex the train? It’s not even an effective choice during the fight, really, it’s just about suplexing a train.
This is a little feature that may or may not be a really interesting option for the future. Like… I can see myself sinking a lot of time into this, but the idea of trying to carefully quantify fashion always strikes me as something that’s hard to manage. So we’ll need to see more of what it entails before being entirely sure about how fun it will be and how much if offers. Maybe it’s going to be cool, I’m not sure.
The promise of a new store for cosmetic items, of course, is extremely my jam. How it’s going to be gated is a bit more questionable; if it’s based more on victory than persistence, that’s going to be kind of less fun. I also wonder about the possibility of making it easier to get more glamour pieces by doing better, which in turn makes it easier to do even better…
And yes, I’m now in the rabbit hole where fashion is an endgame activity. To be fair, the addition of the wardrobe alone sort of encourages that. I’m looking forward to that, too, even though I’d like some more flexibility in the glamour plate system allowing you to create additional plates and suites full of items. (If you can equip all of the items in the plate, why can’t you also apply the glamour to a job that couldn’t? It seems fair to me.)
Actually, the glamour plate system already strikes me as a light version of the style lock available in Final Fantasy XI, so it seems like something that can be expanded and improved over time. Let’s start there and remove those job restrictions, yes?
And the balance shifts
Some of the balance changes being made in this patch strike me as sort of out there; I haven’t noticed Warriors in desperate need of some utility or buffs, but here they are again, and the Inner Release changes make it pretty crazy powerful. Then again, those changes also make it more useful for actually tanking, so that’s a good thing. And while there are a lot of buffs in there, a lot of the shifts actually reduce some of Warrior’s stacking madness; you get less out of Storm’s Eye and can’t pile on Berserk, so you actually wind up needing those slight potency buffs along the way.
Shield Swipe continues to not be terribly good for Paladins, sadly, and Dark Knight gets a gentle buff that’s welcome but not exactly game-changing. Monk has some of its actions made more useful but not functionally changed much, and Black Mage has a less exacting timing for some stuff. I also rather like that both White Mage and Scholar got welcome buffs for their little temporary states, making Excogitation less of a gamble and Divine Benison less of a resource hog.
So good changes, for the most part, even if I feel like Paladins might be getting pulled down a bit harder than necessary.
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments below or via mail to email@example.com. Next week? Why, I’ll be talking about playing the new patch, obviously, not just speculating.