The next patch for Final Fantasy XIV
will arrive in late January according to the most recent live letter from producer/director Naoki Yoshida. Of course, players don’t have to just sit back and shrug about “eh, sometime in January,” as the letter also covered some of the features coming along
. New dungeons? Yes, two of them, including a hard mode for the Fractal Continuum. The new Sigmascape portion of Omega, improvements to Perform actions, a new set of PvP adjustments… oh, and new storage for chocobos and a whole new system for storing and using glamours. That’s new.
The new system will allow you to save “glamour ensembles” that you can swap to if you’ve already prepared the setup, with all glamours being compiled to work under a single type of prism instead of different types split by crafting discipline. Up to 200 of your most frequently glamoured pieces will be eligible for storage. There’s also the promise of new housing to be released a week after the patch is released, with more information about purchasing changes coming before the patch goes live. And then there are new tomestones, the new Eureka land to both explore and improve equipment, the Ananta beast tribe quests… there’s a lot of stuff. You know, like most FFXIV patches.
As for the further future… we did just get a fanfest site promising a fanfest in November of next year. So, you know, start your speculation engines.
On December 15th, Final Fantasy XIV
will celebrate the winter holidays once more with the arrival of the Starlight Celebration. And what could be more festive than an enormous bear in a seasonal costume
? That you ride around as a mount? We’re sure that bear is probably just wild about being ridden and about being forced to dress up, that’ll work out great. Happy holidays, we got you an enormous bear.
There are also new tabletop furnishings, a new Orchestrion roll for seasonal music, and a new poster to place on the wall of housing. But the big reward is riding a big bear through the world spreading the joy of the season.
The latest patch delivers a little seasonal joy ahead of the event itself; players no longer have a weekly lockout for Deltascape Crystalloids and can exchange them for weapons more easily, and the turrets in Rival Wings have become somewhat weaker and shorter-range. So that’s not quite as much of a gift as a riding bear, but it should make life happier.
It’s hard to say whether 2017 was a good year for Final Fantasy XIV
Sure, on one level it seems obvious. The game launched its second expansion, it continues to drive sales, every financial report shows it doing well, players are happy, content is delivered on a swift and regular schedule, everything seems to be going fine. Yes, the game had a good 2017, it has a pretty good year on each outing. What more needs to be said?
Well, a few things. Because this year also brought out some pretty nasty bits of underlying issues that the game has long had bubbling under the surface, problems that we’ve all known were there but sort of ignored for a long time for various reasons. We’ve got another patch coming around, but the year has shown that as solid and impressive as the title may be (and it is), there’s still room to improve.
It’s one thing to strike a pose and get a good-looking selfie in there, it’s another to coordinate a whole group of twitchy gamers and get them to take a group photo without someone jumping or facing the wrong way or forgetting to emote.
Vincent Clark has mastered this group pose in the formation of his new Final Fantasy XIV boy band album called “Ears over Eorzea.” We anticipate great things from this mostly shirtless crew of well-manicured rebels, as long as they don’t fall into that hot tub and drown.
One of the quirks — and frustrations — of MMORPGs is that there never seems to be one game that truly has it all. Even some of my favorites are missing what I consider key features or design elements that are present elsewhere, and it’s maddening to think about how much better the game could be with those features transplanted.
For Lord of the Rings Online, I have to say that my biggest frustration with the game design is that dungeons might as well be non-existent. Oh, they’re in the game (and raids and skirmishes too), but LOTRO has never cultivated a dungeon-running community of the sort that you see in contemporary MMOs.
In other games, I enjoy changing up the routine by grouping up with others for a run through detailed setpieces as we battle our way to the final boss. I enjoy the rewards that those runs bring and learn a lot more about how to play my character. This has almost never been the case for me and LOTRO, and it’s not for a lack of trying. This MMO has a grouping problem that undercuts participation and interest in the dungeon scene, making such runs an anomaly instead of part of the mainstream. I have some observations from my point of view and some thoughts about how it could be fixed.
As we do every year, today we’re going to peer back into the depths of last year’s staff predictions for the genre and the games within it to determine just how we fared. After all, what would be the fun of making predictions if we couldn’t have a laugh at how wrong we were a year later? So let’s dig in and find out whether we nailed it or failed it!
Think of all the wacky things devs have said in public in front of gamers and journalists this year.
Now imagine what gets said behind closed doors!
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked our staff to select the best (and worst) developer quotes from the year and reflect on what we’ve learned from them. Let’s dig in – we’ve got some whoppers.
As Counting Crows told us, it’s been a long December, although the fact that it has also only just started being December speaks to something unpleasant in the makeup of this particular month. But it also means that this is a good time to check in on the overall health of various MMORPGs and see which ones look to be in the healthiest state at the end of the year.
This is, I hasten to point out, not a scientific process; last year I pointed to Marvel Heroes as a not-quite-MMORPG title that was still in a very healthy and robust place, and it later turned out that this was entirely not true and had been built upon a foundation of lies. But we’ll cross that bridge if and when we come to it in 2018. What are the healthiest games running right now?
If you ask any Star Wars Galaxies veteran about the game’s most amazing features, I guarantee that the music and dance system will make the list, even if that player never picked up a slitherhorn to join in. There was just nothing comparable to a 20-man band playing in harmony while dancers synchronized their routines, and everyone was grateful for a musician who could whip out a nalargon for a tune while we waited for the shuttle.
That’s why it breaks my heart when I see articles like these gushing about the – I’ll say it – rudimentary music systems in Guild Wars 2 and Final Fantasy XIV. The performances and events are thrilling, and I’m glad to see other bloggers finding joy in stumbling upon them! But these systems can’t hold a candle to what was standard fare as long ago as 2003 – never mind what a game community like Lord of the Rings Online’s can and does deliver on a daily basis. Imagine how these folks’ minds would be utterly blown by Weatherstock!
I’m glad even rudimentary music systems still exist in MMORPGs, but they can be so much more. Which MMO needs a better music system – or any music system?
My friends, I can see the future for Final Fantasy XIV.
And by “see” I mean that I can guess at it with reasonable reliability.
As we move into the holiday theory, I figured it’d be fun to lay out a large-scale theory about the game’s future that’s based on a fairly thin slice of evidence that has every reason to turn out wrong or misguided. You can feel free to look back in the past and evaluate my history for yourself, if you’d like; as someone who has been writing about the game for years, I have lots of predictions for you to draw upon to see how well I tend to do at predicting the future. (About 60-75% accuracy, or something like that. Far from perfect.)
So let’s speculate, starting with the assertion that’s going to perhaps set up the biggest bit of debate: We have three more large boxed expansions coming. Anything after that is very much up in the air.
You may hold Elves in high esteem, but the truth is that they are bonafide slackers. They live forever and can’t even be bothered to keep up with the weeding, so Elves make up some nonsense about communing with nature to cover for it while they binge on Netflix.
BalsBigBrother brings us our first pic of the day, this one from Lord of the Rings Online: “The one is from the High Elf starting instance, with this particular area the last part just before you are thrown out into the ‘real world’ of Middle Earth. Still amazed with how well the SSG folks do with their world building using such an old engine and saddened at times how divorced they often seem to be when it comes to actual player mechanics/fun.”
Last weekend, Brendan wrote a great column on how to stay safe from gankers in EVE Online, noting that the newbies are commonly given what he considers bad advice to just stay in high-sec; indeed, he smartly quoted Shedd: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
The article prompted a discussion in our work chat about risk-taking in MMORPGs. “After every one of Brendan’s (excellent!) tips, I keep mentally adding, ‘or alternatively, don’t play EVE,'” Eliot joked. And they’re both right. If you’re dead-set on being a “ship” in the risky gameworld of New Eden, staying in “harbor” defeats the purpose of playing EVE. But this is a real world where you don’t have to be a ship – you don’t have to play EVE. You don’t have to risk it all just for some pixel gratification.
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked the writing staff to dish on risk-taking, in EVE or elsewhere. Are they into it? What kinds of risks are they willing to take, PvE or PvP? What do they think about risk-vs.-reward in MMOs?
The Battle Bards are quite familiar with the power of the strummed guitar and lute, knowing that such simple instruments can bring down walls, devastate armies, and dethrone monarchs. But on their off days, acoustic guitars are simply pleasurable to hear and are sprinkled throughout many a-MMO’s soundtrack. It’s six-stringed serenity in the 110th episode of this podcast!
Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
Listen to Episode 110: Acoustic Guitar (or download it) now: