So let’s correct this now and talk about these dungeons. The level range for things was adjusted after my initial preview, and we have a similar leveling arrangement to how things were in Heavensward, but I honestly like this batch more. Part of it is familiarity, sure, but I remember feeling like the first two dungeons in Heavensward were kind of clunkers even when they were new, compared to really enjoying the heck out of everything in Stormblood. Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t high points and low points, but… well, let’s just get to it, yes?
Naturally, the first question I had to ask was how Yoshida is feeling about Stormblood following early access, launch, and the release of the first content patch updates. For now, he said (through translators) that he’s relieved but that the expansion had “an unexpectedly high number of new and returning players [who] came back to the game, which caused some issues and frustration.” One of them was the DDOS attack, for which he again offered apologies.
Of course, this will likely coincide with another in-game event which we haven’t yet heard about; until we do, you can tide yourself over with another piece of fiction in the ongoing Tales from the Storm series highlighting tales surrounding the events of Stormblood. (As always, be fairly warned that there are spoilers.) Keep your eyes peeled for more information about the anniversary broadcast as August winds down.
Yoshida also discussed changes coming to tank jobs, Black Mage, Machinist, and Dragoon. He also discussed some of the game’s upcoming content, such as plans to implement a new Alliance Raid roulette for content such as Crystal Tower and Void Ark and new separations of congested areas in the open world. You can check out the full letter for more hints about the future, but you can also just wait until tomorrow; a lot of this will be in patch 4.05, after all.
Since there were so many early access issues with Stormblood, I figured I’d try to give you Final Fantasy XIV players a little something to chew on while Square-Enix smooths out the rough edges and handles today’s launch. Building on Massively OP’s Eliot Lefebvre’s recent interview with Naoki Yoshida/”Yoshi-P” at May’s Final Fantasy XIV event, we sat down again with him for a chat at this year’s E3. And while I haven’t personally spent nearly as much time in the game as a vet like Eliot, I’d heard that Yoshida was very much a gamer’s developer, so I was looking forward to talking with him about not just the game, but game design.
He did not disappoint.
There have basically been two attitudes throughout the past weekend with Final Fantasy XIV’s early access to Stormblood. Here, we’ll run it like a Tumblr meme; tag yourself appropriately in the comments:
- “Wow, all of this stuff is really cool!”
- “A system error occurred during event movement.”
I spent Friday and Saturday stuck in the latter, but Sunday I moved on the the former. But I can’t really talk about this early access period without talking about the server errors, what may have been causing them, and what should be considered when discussing them.
Because, make no mistake, this was not a fun weekend to be trying to play FFXIV much of the time. It was often dizzying in its frustration, and it was made all the worse because there’s always a communication gap with the game despite the best efforts of the staff. This in and of itself is something I really should write a column about, but that’s not today’s column.
Producer and director Naoki Yoshida has been doing his best to keep players updated, but at this point getting past this early instance is largely a matter of clicking for entry repeatedly and hoping to not get the now-dreaded error message stating that the instanced battle could not be started. It’s not exactly surprising that the game would have some issues with early access, but players are left unable to progress beyond the first two areas of the expansion without some appreciable luck (and the instance servers aren’t at their most stable even for other purposes). The issue is being addressed, so keep your eyes peeled for updates when the logjam is finally broken.
Obviously, my focus during the media event was finding out as much as I could about what was going on with the actual mechanics of the expansion, but I also got a chance to pick Yoshi-P’s brain a bit regarding more specific reasoning behind existing changes and what changes were yet to come. But as someone who played Machinist extensively, my first question was both obvious and straightforward: Why the big change to castbars just to revert it in the very next expansion?
Yoshida laughed and said he was quite familiar with the associated “Bard Mage” jokes, lest anyone be unsure.
The show floor will also see a special eve-of-the-expansion Live Letter from producer and director Naoki Yoshida, so players will have one last chance to watch details and get hyped about the upcoming expansion. Fans, if you hadn’t already marked your calendars for excited whimpering for June 13th through June 15th, you can do so now.
We’ve included an embed past the break, but if you can’t watch the video or would prefer not to, worry not; we’ll be updating you on the progress of the letter right in the comments. This is the first time we’ve done the liveblog with the new comment system, so we’re eager to put it through its paces. What things will be revealed? (Stuff related to Stormblood. We all know it.)
Moving your housing (which will not be available at expansion launch) will be a matter of buying the new land and then indicating you wish to move; if you buy a larger plot of land than your existing spot, you’ll have your furniture stored for convenience. Players can also look forward to receiving the full set of artifact armor in a box for the level 70 job quests, and there should be a benchmark available in the near future… like, say, right now. There’s a lot to digest from the live letter, so feel free to take a look at GamerEscape’s point-by-point summary while you wait for the benchmark and figure out what to do with 130 new Armoury Chest spots.
Which is odd, because Funcom literally has access to a playbook for a large-scale reboot.
Secret World Legends is coming off of The Secret World, which was a cult MMORPG classic with a mighty fan following. Final Fantasy XIV was coming off of… well, its initial version, which had a fan following full of people who admitted that it was halfway to Stockholm Syndrome. And yet that game managed to get people excited and earn fans, while Funcom seems dead-set on alienating people or making them just plain nervous.
Of course, if you’ve been away from the game for a bit you might be asking if you want to spend the next couple of months catching up. The good news is you don’t have to determine that just by speculation; another free login campaign has arrived, allowing former subscribers to log in for up to 96 hours until May 7th. So you can jump in, check out the changes, and then decide if you’d like to spend more time with the game as an informed player.