Let me make an agreement with you, dear readers: this column about Final Fantasy XIV
will not talk about the housing situation in Shirogane at all. If you’re wondering “why wouldn’t you cover that,” the answer is that I already did and you can read the whole feature on that
. (You can also read the follow-up
.) So for the remainder of this column, we’re going to talk about all of the other features of this particular patch, which seems like a better use of our time anyway.
Heck, the whole stupid housing mess was only released with this patch, it’s not like the mechanics or anything are new.
And hey, there’s some good stuff going on with this patch, along with parts that are well worth discussing for where they don’t work as well. So let’s dive right in, starting with the obvious centerpiece of every patch, the continued expansion of the game’s storyline… as perfunctory as it may feel sometimes. Some mild spoilers are possible, so be fairly warned.
Another All Saints’ Wake is approaching once more in Final Fantasy XIV
, and that means players will need to deal with the usual antics of the Continental Circus
and its associated void-based schemes. Of course, this year also sees the addition of a woman from Othard with an… unusual
set of traits. Given the year’s rewards, one may be certain that the Lupin are going to be involved somewhere along the line.
Yes, the latest set of festivities will award you the chance to dress up like a werewolf to terrify onlookers and irritate the heck out of any Lupin who are now being mocked by your getup. There are also housing decorations for those who prefer to fill their houses with pumpkins rather than dressing up in a costume; the game allows for either. The event starts on October 19th and runs through November 1st, so you can be dressing up with a tail and humming “Werewolves of London” before the week is out.
Last week, MOP’s Justin (friend to man and beast alike) posted his list of MMOs he would recommend people play. It was a pretty good list! It wasn’t the list I would have written, but that’s why we’re separate people and not a single fused mass pulling ourselves along on withered, inhuman appendages. That would cause lots of problems in our respective marriages, for one thing. Also, it’d probably render us ineligible to collect multiple paychecks.
One thing I did not ask, however, was why he didn’t include World of Warcraft as a game he would recommend, even though some of our readers wondered it aloud. I would think that the reason for that would be pretty obvious, given that it was a list of Justin’s recommendations. But because I do love being contrary, there’s a good list of reasons why no one, ever, should recommend World of Warcraft as a game to be tried. Under any circumstances. Let’s even make it a nice round dozen reasons… but then subtract two, for no good reason.
If you missed this particular bit of drama, here’s the TL;DR recap. Final Fantasy XIV
releases patch 4.1, which includes the new housing wards. Those wards are gone before the first hour has passed, meaning that the vast majority of people who wanted something for housing didn’t get anything. A light is shined, yet again, on the fact that housing in the game has serious design issues
for availability. Clear on all that? Great, now you can appreciate the official response from director Naoki Yoshida
No, this is actually a good thing.
Yoshida’s response explains, in no uncertain terms, that the team vastly underestimated the number of people looking forward to housing in Shirogane and will be working to add additional housing plots for the game’s next major patch. There’s also the implication that sales and even structure for these plots may be notably different, as the team is reviewing a great deal of feedback to prevent the Shirogane issues from showing up again. To avoid speculation, nothing will be announced on this until it is ready. While it’s too early to say exactly what form this will take, it seems clear that the complaints about how badly housing has been handled will result in some changes.
Patch 4.1 arrived in Final Fantasy XIV
, and the Shirogane housing rush came and went exactly how everyone familiar with the game had been expecting for months on end. The plots available sold out in a matter of minutes, the people who were lucky enough to get in ahead of the queues were the ones who got new houses, and everyone else was left to rant and rave. Frankly, it all worked great, technically speaking; there were no sudden disconnections, no horrid lag spikes, no zone crashes, nothing. Everything worked exactly as it was supposed to and nothing broke, which means that by definition, nothing went wrong.
Well, unless you count shining a harsh light on the game’s horribly misguided housing design as “something going wrong.”
A lot of discussions about this seem to be missing the point. It’s not that what happened with Shirogane housing was a disaster; it was a model of efficiency and the game working as intended. Calling it a disaster is mischaracterizing the situation, making it seem like something didn’t work, when the real problem is an underlying issue of an open-world housing system that completely fails to adequately serve the needs of players.
Since this past summer, we’ve had our eye on Fractured, yet another SpatialOS MMO on the way to hard drives everywhere. If it’s not on your radar yet, it probably ought to be be, as it’s touting planetary colonization, crafting, housing, skill- and reflex-based combat, and most interestingly, no grind and no forced PvP.
The team’s most recent dev vlog covers character progression, specifically a “knowledge system” that is “different from both level-based and skill-based systems.” In fact, Dynamight Studios is saying it “can be defined as the first accomplished example of horizontal progression in an MMO,” which I’m sure will quirk the eyebrows of all the other games with horizontal progression, yeah?
In any case, this does sound pretty cool. The goals, Dynamight says, are to keep newbies competitive from the start with “minimal power gaps,” while providing “long-term objectives for character development,” avoiding grind, and creating opportunities to change builds during play. If anything, it reminds me of systems used in the Fallout series: Exploring the worlds, encountering new critters, identifying items, and discovering relics all help you earn knowledge points, which you can then spend on a talent tree, which looks more like something you’d see in a sandbox than in a typical themepark or OARPG with class trees.
Yes, Final Fantasy XIV
has dropped patch 4.1
; if you were trying to get a house, you both already knew that and are already out of luck. To the surprise of absolutely no one who has seen this happen before, housing sold out within moments of the servers coming up, something that has been joked about on the game’s subreddit for months now (there’s a reason they call it Shirogane Savage
). This is, of course, not a new problem
. Further analysis on that problem can wait until… oh, let’s say tomorrow; this system isn’t becoming less messy before that.
On the other hand, there’s still plenty of other content in the patch to enjoy, with an expanded main scenario, new Beast Tribe quests, the Royal City of Rabanastre, and so forth. You can check out the full patch notes on the official site (although some of the items are still not listed in the notes) and check out the trailer for the patch down below.
Here we are, folks, staring down the barrel of the latest major patch. If you’re feeling a minor set of trepidation simply because that means it’s time to contend with Final Fantasy XIV
housing and all the racing that implies… well, I’m right there with you. But hey, however that turns out tomorrow morning, there’s new stuff to do in the actual patch, and I always do like to pick apart the patch notes when the time rolls around.
The notes are as extensive as ever, of course, so I’m going to be hitting the highlights rather than going line-by-line. The patch as a whole does feel a little bit thinner, but there are some pretty notable changes tucked in there that you either didn’t notice or did notice and might not have internalized. So let’s take a trip down patch note lane.
The next patch for Final Fantasy XIV
is almost here, but just because the patch isn’t coming out until October 10th doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the patch notes right now. Yes, as usually happens, the preliminary patch notes are here
, and while they don’t include new items to avoid stockpiling, you can still peruse the extensive list of changes while gearing up for the rush to pick up a house in Shirogane following the update.
Along with the major features already announced, the patch includes the new Alliance Raid Roulette, a restructuring of Labyrinth of the Ancients to match party groupings from other 24-person runs (i.e. three tanks instead of six), new housing decorations to let you place wallpapers on partitions, new currency storage for ventures and beast tribe tokens, and so on. Check out the full patch notes for all of the changes; as always, they are extensive.
If you have ever visited the MMORPG subreddit, you probably know that one of the most frequent posts that pop up are ones asking the community for recommendations. These are players who have left a full-time game and are now fishing around for a substitute, or those who have “played them all” and are hoping that some undiscovered gem exists, or are having a difficult time finding a good game match for their preferred playstyle.
I am often leery about tossing out blanket recommendations because it’s far better to get to know a player, his or her game history, and the type of game sought before giving my opinion. But if you were to put a fish cannon to my head and threatened me with rapid-codding, I think I would be generally OK promoting the following 10 MMORPGs to most players, sight unseen.
These are MMOs that have earned my personal recommendation and are the titles that I tend to promote the most. Here we go!
Unexpected bonuses are always a delight, true? RIFT
players are in for a treat later this week, as Trion Worlds is improving its housing dimension system for free.
The improvements come in the form of an item limit increase across the board as well as a cost decrease to raise the item limit in your dimension. Small dimensions can be upgraded to hold up to 1,600 pieces of decor, while medium can go up to 2,200 and large up to an impressive 2,800. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and build some more!
In other housing news, Trion is putting out a new lockbox that is themed around a terrarium concept. The “Landquarium” lockboxes contain 200 new items as well as the chance for a dimension key to the titular area.
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Elsword, Ultima Online, Dreadnought, Overhit, Blade and Soul, Project Ex, Conquer Online, Wurm Online, MechWarrior Online, Pokemon Go, Skyforge, Paladins, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and Miranda, all waiting for you after the break!
Game Designer Raph Koster continues to ponder the significance of Ultima Online on this, the 20th anniversary of the MMORPG’s historic release. In a recent blog post, he answers a question from a fan who asked how UO pushed the industry forward.
To address this, Koster takes readers back to 1995, when the internet was mostly accessed over slow dial-up modems and the gaming landscape was much more different than it is today. After outlining a brief history of MMOs to that point, he lists several groundbreaking features that Ultima Online attempted, including:
- “Pure scale” with up to 2,500 players in the world at once
- Dyeable gear
- A world simulation that was varied in behavior
- A massively interactive world
- Widespread player killing, housing, and shopkeeping
- An actively managed community
- A flat monthly fee to subscribe
- A world where you could live and not just fight