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See: Final Fantasy XIV

The Soapbox: Do MMOs still fall victim to the copycat curse?

When Radical Heights launched, I was inspired to put together a whole Perfect Ten about why trend-chasing doesn’t work for online games. Obviously, my chief focus was on games that wind up being developed at a rushed pace to cash in on trends and then run face-first into problems with chasing momentary trends, which… you know, you can just read the article; it’s linked right there. But it also prompted a follow-up question by longtime reader Sally Bowls asking why, with all of these issues, why the same rules don’t apply to MMOs.

The answer? Well, there isn’t one answer. There are three answers, all of which are part of the same set of considerations. For one thing, there’s the difference of development time and depth. For another, there’s the time before grinding. And last but not least, well… they do apply, really. But let’s take this piece by piece to talk about why trend-chasing for MMOs doesn’t quite provoke the same immediate reactions as it does for, say, MOBAs.

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Wisdom of Nym: The non-combat side of Final Fantasy XIV patch 4.3

Let’s face it, I’m literally never going to be able to cover everything in a Final Fantasy XIV with one column. They’re just too large. The bright side is that this patch manages to fall into something resembling halves with its content; you have that big chunk of stuff based on trials and associated content, but then you also have all of the fun extra doodads for crafting and so forth.

Last week, I covered the main scenario, our new dungeon, and so forth. This week, though, there are a lot of stupid catfish that bear further examination. Along with changes to loot mechanics and reconstruction efforts… a whole plethora of thing that are a bit more varied than just “non-combat,” honestly, but the header works better focusing on a single thing. Including covering some content that I was entirely wrong about, based on preview images.

But first, let’s go fishing.

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One Shots: The crane… the crane…

I love crane machines. Yes, I know they’re a total scam, but I won something in one once, and I can’t help but throwing money at them in the vain home of repeating that epic moment. Of course, I might forswear crane machines altogether if I got one of FFXIV’s creepier races as a prize.

Vincent has no such compunctions: “Only a Lalafell would look this happy being carried around by a Death Claw!”

It’s how all of us at Massively OP get to work every day, actually.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 172: Delays and do-overs

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin tear open a fresh pack of Launch-Os, dine on the sour grapes of server closures, and imagine just what they would do if an MMORPG studio was ever foolish enough to hire them.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Wisdom of Nym: Slicing through Final Fantasy XIV patch 4.3

You know, it’s kind of rough to get through all of the content of a new patch in one day, especially when you can’t just huddle up in the house all day. I appreciate that. I got myself through the majority of Final Fantasy XIV‘s patch in one day, though, so I can’t help but feel a measure of pride about that fact. That meant a new dungeon, a new alliance raid, and a new trial on the same day, along with… like, so much crafting.

There’s a lot of crafting involved.

Regardless, now we’re on the other side of the patch and can start examining it as a whole. So, as I so often do, I will start with the obvious centerpiece and move on to the more peripheral stuff piece by piece. While I will do my level best to avoid spoilers herein, I can’t make an absolute promise about it, nor can I save you for the comments. Especially since the story this time around was… well.

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One Shots: The cream of the shuttercrop

What do you get when you ask MMO players with bulging folders of screenshots to pick their very, very best to show off? An absolutely amazing array of visual delights, that’s what.

Zyrusticae kicks off our look at the MOP community’s best-of-the-best screenshots with this view of what I think is Blade and Soul: “Just one? Really? Just the one? Boy, you really know what to say to induce absolute decision-making paralysis in me, don’t you? Well, after much deliberation, I just realized that it had to be this one. There is no other shot that gets my attention as much as this one does. The absurdly saturated, bright blue color palette in contrast with the autumn colors… yes, it does my heart good.”

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PlayStation 4 heads into the end of its life cycle, making console MMOs nervous

No console lives forever, although it seems like the more recent generations have enjoyed lengthy runs. Sony delivered some disconcerting news to fans this week as it said that the PlayStation 4, which debuted back in 2013, is now heading into the end of its life cycle as hardware sales decrease.

This doesn’t mean that the console is going to be abandoned any time soon, just that Sony is shifting its hardware priorities elsewhere. Software sales are still expected to continue strong for the time being, and the company reported that the online PlayStation Network now has 80 million users. Sony told The Wall Street Journal that the next iteration of the popular platform is at least three years off.

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Final Fantasy XIV patch 4.3 is out to be played

It’s time to explore the next part of the story and unravel a new set of mysteries in Final Fantasy XIV with the launch of the latest patch. Players can head into the depths of a new dungeon or climb the heights of the Ridorana Lighthouse, exploring more of the lore behind the newest Alliance Raid; there’s also a mysterious new trial to be fought as part of the latest main story installment, so that’s probably going to occupy a lot of attention right away.

Players also have access to the new Namazu beast tribe quests for crafting and gathering, new custom deliveries (and you can find out all about deliveries for Kurenai on the official site), and various other improvements to the game. Check out the trailer just below to tease your appetite if you’ve got to wait through several hours of work before you can dive in; don’t worry, it’ll all be there when you get back.

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Wisdom of Nym: Checking out Final Fantasy XIV’s patch 4.3 notes

As it always has been, so it is again; we’ve got our next patch for Final Fantasy XIV just around the corner, and thus we have a new set of patch notes to peruse well ahead of the actual patch. But we don’t have the full list of new items, which is frustrating. Especially if you’re thinking about which furnishing items you want to move around and so forth, because really, what other stuff is important in a given patch? Endgame progression? Who cares.

Reading through the patch notes is always a bit like some sort of ersatz holiday, because you already know the majority of the things you’re getting but not all of the details until the patch notes come out… and then the patch notes deliberately obscure some things so you still don’t know everything. But I can live with not knowing exactly what quests are in Return to Ivalice just because I can see that there are a lot of them. So let’s start taking this apart before we get to actually play it.

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One Shots: A sense of place

Why do you play MMORPGs? What keeps you questing through these ever-growing worlds? I think a lot of us might answer like Zyrusticae in Blade and Soul here, as we enjoy inhabiting and exploring virtual fantasy worlds.

“See, this is the sort of thing I play MMORPGs for,” Zyrusticae writes. “That sense of ‘place.’ Being somewhere else, even if it’s only behind a computer screen. Old shots, yes, but still some of my favorites just for that. It’s a very pleasant feeling, really.”

Will you find your sense of place in the following player screenshots? Let’s find out!

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Final Fantasy XIV posts the notes for Patch 4.3, Under the Moonlight

What new dangers await players in Final Fantasy XIV patch 4.3? New dungeons, new quests, the usual setup. You can read all about them in the patch notes, which are available right now for your careful examination. Yes, there are certain things missing from the notes like a full explanation of the new items being added, but it’s still a whole lot of stuff to read through in exacting detail as often happens.

Among the nicer new quality-of-life inclusions are the option to warp directly to a boss arena when a seal is initiated (no more accidentally locking out a party member), a plethora of new instruments for Bards to enjoy, and additional functionality for the glamour dresser. You can also drop more aquariums into your living space, thankfully. Go ahead and put on a pot of coffee to start reading through the exhaustive list of changes; there’s a lot here to get in your head before the patch arrives on Tuesday.

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Final Fantasy XIV discusses PvP changes in patch 4.3

Everyone has different goals in Final Fantasy XIV; maybe yours center chiefly around stomping in somebody’s head. If that’s the case, we’d advise you to pay particular attention to the updates arriving for PvP in patch 4.3 because they will affect the path by which you crush skulls; for example, the Feast is getting updates to the Crystal Tower map as well as new music for Culling Time to really get you in the mood for higher anticipation.

Players can also look forward to a new system to keep your ranking between Feast seasons closer to your overall performance, so you won’t be back in the novice tier when a season starts. (Alternately, so you won’t be fighting experts in the novice tier.) Frontline battlegrounds will also be rotating on a daily basis to offer more variety, to boot, so players will face different challenges along with an improved Seal Rock map. It’s all quality-of-life stuff, but you can look forward to it when the patch arrives next Tuesday.

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Wisdom of Nym: The last batch of Final Fantasy XIV patch reveals

You know, I seriously could have sworn that I publicly predicted the next Final Fantasy XIV patch would be out on May 22nd. But alas, I can find no record of it, and thus I get no credit for predicting it correctly. Other than with myself, but I try to generally avoid putting to much stock in that.

Regardless, the important thing here is that we’ve got our next patch date and we’re ready to go with all of the corresponding anticipation. We’ve also got the spoiler-filled trailer that’s going to prove almost impossible to decipher until we watch it again after playing all of the stories and say, “oh, that’s where that scene is from,” so that helps too.

So let’s piece together what’s going to be our last column working from partial information, before next week we have patch notes to look over and analyze in greater detail. There’s even a 24-hour maintenance cycle to prepare for, you know.

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