final fantasy

Disambiguation:

Final Fantasy XI, an MMORPG released in 2002
Final Fantasy XIV, an MMORPG released in 2010 and re-released in 2013
Final Fantasy series, a series of video games that began in 1987

Final Fantasy XI previews its April version update

The monthly update cadence of Final Fantasy XI is continuing into April, but this time around the game is actually moving backwards a little bit. Just a little bit, though; it's bringing back one of the more popular Ambuscade foes for players to face once more, complete with new rewards available. If you couldn't get enough of fighting the Gigas, you'll have another opportunity.

Players can also see another old foe with a long history of being fought as another Ark Angel joins the list of Trust companions, this time the Ark Angel MR. There's also new log messages in the chat window for crafting gains to facilitate the Escutcheon line, new Records of Eminence objectives, and a few other quality of life features. Just because some of the monthly update content is glancing backwards doesn't mean the game as a whole isn't moving forward just the same.

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Final Fantasy XIV launches patch 3.56 and removes free trial time restrictions

Patch 3.56 has arrived for Final Fantasy XIV, bringing with it the end of the Heavensward main story quests, Season 4 of the competitive Feast rankings, and an increase to the weekly Allagan Tomestone cap, which you're probably not going to hit on a regular basis. (900 tomestones a week is a lot.) It's enough stuff to give you good reason to keep working your way across Eorzea until the game's second expansion comes out in June.

But maybe you haven't actually bought the game yet. Does the patch still hold something of interest for you? The answer is yes; this patch marks the abolition of the 14-day free trial's time limitations. So the free trial is now unlimited, although you can't get higher than level 35 and you're limited to the base game without Heavensward content. You can check out some screenshots for the patch just below if that's what you need as an eventual motivator, at that.

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Final Fantasy XI opens up bonus reward campaigns for the start of spring

Spring is just around the corner, bringing with it a desire for most people to head outside to enjoy fresh air. Or you could stay inside, which is clearly the direction Final Fantasy XI is hoping for with its assortment of bonus campaigns starting on April 11th. They're all going to be familiar to long-time players, but they're also all the sorts of campaigns that the game frequently runs, where doing various activities gets you more rewards for the same effort.

More seals will drop, more Mweya Plasm will drop in Delves, more silt will come from Geas Fate content, and so forth. Players can also activate the special Adoulin reward dial for the Goblin Mystery Box, get additional personal loot from Geas Fate, and get more rewards from digging with a chocobo (including in areas where chocobos have only recently been added as mounts). The campaigns will start on April 11th and run until April 30th, so there's plenty of time for dedicated players to rack up plenty of extra rewards.

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Wisdom of Nym: Speculating on the healer skills Final Fantasy XIV could delete

Tomorrow, we're getting the end of the Heavensward story quests in Final Fantasy XIV, which means I need to start looking at Heavensward as a whole. For now, however, we can look forward to Stormblood and ask ourselves what we're not going to be using any longer as healers. And this wrapped up just before the final story patch, so I feel rather satisfied about how that timing worked out.

I'd say "all according to plan" if I remembered actually planning it this way.

As with previous installments, I'd advise you to take a look back through past articles in this series; the first one has tanks and the general philosophy, while the second column tackles melee damage and the third tackles ranged damage of all flavors. Today, we're finishing things off with healers. That's kind of a tangled mess with every option other than White Mage, but we'll plot a course.

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Final Fantasy XIV walks players through NA data center relocation

A new North American data center has been in the works for Final Fantasy XIV for years now, and in mid-May, Square Enix is planning to flip the switch. Hopefully, this will decrease latency to those accessing the game in the region and offer improved services.

The studio walked players through the switchover, which will require up to 48 hours of server downtime to perform: "As has been previously announced, with the release of our upcoming expansion Stormblood, we are planning major updates and upgrades to our server system to allow not only for increased server efficiency, but also increased inventory capacity, worldless (cross-world) party matching and friend management, and additional content and increased field size for new areas. All which we hope will contribute to increased playability."

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Final Fantasy XIV wraps up the Heavensward story on March 28th

In less than a week, the first expansion for Final Fantasy XIV is coming to an end. The final story patch for Heavensward, 3.56, is arriving on March 28th, with accompanying maintenance starting at midnight EDT. The first half of the story already had a fair amount of death and revelation, but this is where we find out exactly what happens leading into our journey toward Ala Mhigo and Doma in Stormblood.

Of course, there's a main scenario preview available right now, but be fairly warned that it's a pretty notable spoiler for anyone who hasn't already done the first half of the 3.5 story. Suffice it to say that the solution to the major problem at the end of that first half was not nearly as final as may have been surmised, and more is coming right along the path. Feel free to speculate about what happens next; you've only got a few days left until you find out one way or the other.

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Final Fantasy XI players gather cherished memories for anniversary celebration

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Final Fantasy franchise, but it also marks the 15th anniversary of Final Fantasy XI. And yes, the game is looking quite good for a 15-year-old title. Players have taken the initiative to celebrate the lengthy history in other ways, however, by kicking off a community project to gather up the playerbase's cherished memories of the game over the 15 years of history.

The plan is to gather up all of the messages of player memories and send them in to the developers, showing them how profoundly and positively the game has impacted its playerbase. If you've played the game in the past and want to let the Japanese team know how much that's meant to you, hop on by and fire off a message of goodwill, whether you're a former player or someone who's been in-game since the lights came on.

Source: Reddit; thanks to Luis for the tip!

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The Soapbox: What the Mass Effect Andromeda kerfuffle ought to teach us about games criticism

Today is the official release of Mass Effect: Andromeda, which was preceded by the frankly baffling decision to allow people access to an early build of the game ahead of time. Or perhaps the final build without everything enabled? The point is that you could play a bit of it if you were willing to drop some money. That seems like a bad idea that we've been dealing with in online-game-land for a long time, but regardless, it gave people the opportunity to see some of this RPG ahead of time.

This, in turn, allowed the typical internet trolls to find any and all animation flubs and then happily declare that it was all the result of one woman working on the game and handling all of the animations. Which, you know, is a conclusion that would be helped significantly if the woman in question actually worked in that role on the game, which she did not.

Obviously, the game under discussion is not an MMO. But it is symptomatic of two all-too-common problems in gaming culture that are worth noting to people who do not have balls of spiders in place of a soul. So let's talk about those.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV's removed skills, Ranged/Caster edition

Well, folks, by all reasonable estimation we're going to have the final story patch of Heavensward next week. Why? Because there's no more March for it to exist in after that. So it seems like a reasonable prediction, and it also gives me just enough time to finish up with these Final Fantasy XIV skill predictions before I want to move on to reviewing the expansion in hindsight anyhow. So everybody wins, if I double up today.

The first installment is all about tanks, while the second installment is all about melee DPS. As always, the usual disclaimer applies that this is all speculation, not absolute fact; I don't have a clearer picture than you do about how abilities are actually being arranged. If you think I'm wrong? I might very well be wrong! All I can do is justify what I say and make my case. Let's move on.

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The Daily Grind: Will World of Warcraft hold its 7.2 patch until June?

On October 24th, World of Warcraft launched patch 7.1, which contained a lot of not-quite-ready-for-launch Legion features and a bit of content. Since then, the game hasn't really launched any content. Sure, patch 7.1.5 launched in early January, but that just added the Brawler's Guild back to the game for content (which, admittedly, has a lot of new boss fights). We're looking at a content gap that's starting to spread out a fair bit already, and patch 7.2 is coming out... well, eventually?

Of course, MOP's Bree and I are in pretty close agreement about when it's coming out: June. Because that's when a new Final Fantasy XIV expansion and The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind both launch, so they're going to want to try to kneecap both of those launches.

At least from this side of the fence, that's a pretty dumb plan. It's the same plan that was in place for patch 6.2 of Warlords of Draenor, which wound up with lots of complaints about the delays, and it doesn't seem to have really crippled the launch it wanted to "intercept" there, either. Still, it's the sort of plan that Blizzard has used in the patch, and with two big competing releases in the same month it seems almost absurd to think it wouldn't be tried. So what do you think, dear readers? What do you think the odds are of WoW holding its next patch until June? And how much grousing do you expect if people are waiting that long for more content?

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Final Fantasy XIV discontinues 90-day subscription option for PS3 players on March 18

If you're playing Final Fantasy XIV on a PlayStation 3, your days are numbered. Support for the platform is being discontinued with the launch of Stormblood, something that the official site is reminding remaining console players about on a regular basis. This is why the option to pay for a 90-day subscription for PS3 users is being removed on the weekend of March 18th; you won't have more than 90 days to play, so it's unfair to have you pay for that full subscription.

Of course, if you are on PS3 and want to keep playing, the game is still running on PC and PS4, and you can take advantage of the game's upgrade option to move your account to the PS4 at no additional cost. (If you don't already own a PS4, it's still a bit pricey.) It's just the end of support for the old hardware already struggling on occasion, but it's being done with an eye toward transparency for players on every platform.

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Wisdom of Nym: Abilitiy revisions for Final Fantasy XIV: Melee edition

I had really hoped for something a touch more substantial about Stormblood from this weekend's event, but we got what we got. Thus we are still, to some extent, in the dark about ability revisions in Final Fantasy XIV, which does mean I get to speculate about stuff that's being removed or changed a bit longer, since last week I managed to get through the tanks and nothing else.

Look, the jobs in the game are rather extensive. And numerous.

If you didn't catch last week's column, I go over the general philosophy behind what abilities seem most likely to be turned into traits or outright removed right there, so that should be relevant. Worth noting before we go too far into it, of course, is that on pretty much every single job I'm trying to list more stuff than what will likely be changed. If you think that I've got an awful lot of candidates for removal in place, you're right! That's literally the point because some of them will no doubt remain unchanged.

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