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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s next patch reveals our future story

The next patch for Final Fantasy XIV is something we should all watch closely. Because it’s going to tell us plenty about where we’re heading in the next expansion.

We haven’t yet been told that we’ll learn about a new expansion this year, but we have a fan festival on the calendar, we’re moving through the middle of the patch, and FFXIV moves on a content delivery schedule reliable enough to set your clock by. So we know that announcement is happening this year, and we can all bet on it coming out in June of next year. (If it’s running really late, maybe July.)

And this is the patch where we’ll find out where we’re headed. Not that we’ll be told yet, of course; we were never actually told in-universe that we were heading to Ala Mhigo until it happened, after all. But this is the point when threads need to start collecting into a useful form, and so it’s best to watch closely and see which elements are being picked up and tugged along for our next destination.

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Final Fantasy XIV invites the community to design physical DPS gear

Thus far, Final Fantasy XIV has run three gear design competitions for the community, inviting players to design gear for tanks, healers, and magical DPS jobs. The winners of all three have already shown up in the game, to boot; winning designs have been implemented in subsequent patches, expanded to fill all of the various roles (the caster DPS design is the design being added for dungeon gear in patch 4.3). So how would you like to fill out the remaining gear designs?

The design contest for ranged and melee DPS has just kicked off, with the same rules as prior installments and a variety of prizes for players to enjoy. This time, players can enter for either category to be included, so if you have something in mind for Monk but not necessarily for Bard, you’ll submit it separately. No promises are made about when the designs will be added to the game after the contest, but our suggestion is to get drawing and put the designs out there if you’ve got a knack for costuming.

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One Shots: Tour guides

It turns out that MMORPG players really don’t need much prompting to go out and take a bazillion screenshots of their favorite in-game zones, as evidenced by the avalanche of photos generated by last week’s challenge.

SmugglerSteel kicks us off this this neon nightmare: “I knew exactly where I needed to tour in SWTOR for this one. I will always remember my first trip to Nar Shaddaa. I was blown away away by the color and aesthetic. I always thought it had a very Bladerunner inspired feel, yet still did it’s own thing.”

Like any good casino, Nar Shaddaa is designed so that players can never figure out how to leave. SmugglerSteel forwards his mail there now.

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Final Fantasy XIV releases its next patch site and its Live Letter digest

Players are crucial to the reconstruction of Doma in Final Fantasy XIV, so it’s only right that the next leg of the game’s main scenario will bring us back there. The special site is already available for players to peruse, offering some details on the upcoming patch and giving a hint at the lore behind the Sparrow’s Compass dungeon. Without spoiling anything, it doesn’t sound like everything is going to go smoothly for Doma… which should surprise almost no one.

Meanwhile, players who had subsisted on fan translations of the live letter can now read over the official digest of its contents, which includes a number of additional (and relevant) pieces of information. For example, there’s further explanation of the “Greed Only” rule in Alliances, noting that it’s in place to prevent people from feeling pressured to run on the job they want to gear up when it may be at a lower item level; it’s an experimental rule that is open to revision based on community feedback. In other words, offer feedback on it. Or anything else in the letter’s official translation, really.

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Massively Overthinking: What we really mean when we talk about ‘difficulty’ in MMORPGs

Massively OP reader Steve wants us to revisit the Daily Grind on making death more meaningful without making it more annoying. His letter was long, so let me paraphrase a bit:

“It feels to me like underlying point was, ‘MMOs are too easy, so how do we make them harder?’ The question of video game difficulty is something that is seldom ever tackled head-on, as it tends to draw out a somewhat vocal minority. There are so many worthy topics about how people define difficulty, twitch skills vs. depth, easy vs. hard, difficulty vs. accessibility, easy vs. engaging, shallowness vs. depth, and so on. These are things I’d love to really see discussed more online, and very few sites will actually touch it. But I think that MOP’s community is overall mature enough to actually have some discussions about this without it devolving into a fist fight.”

I’m sure you’ll prove him right! Right, guys? Guys? So let’s talk about MMO difficulty in this week’s Massively Overthinking. What do we really mean when we talk about “difficulty” in MMORPGs? Are games easier than they used to be, and if so, is there something studios should do to change that?
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Bot-maker Bossland’s legit game flops, Germany rejects Blizzard’s US court victory and won’t enforce damages

Are you surprised to be hearing about Bossland again? We’re surprised to be reporting on it. The German-based botmaker made headlines for the last few years thanks to ongoing litigation provoked by its sale of cheat, bot, and hack programs for multiple Blizzard games. Blizzard had pursued Bossland across multiple continents in an attempt to shut down the cheat programs, which Blizz argued violated its copyrights and cost it significant amounts of money to fight – money it was therefore not spending on its own games and customers. The drama finally culminated in 2017 with victories for Blizzard in a German Supreme Court ruling and a California federal court case that awarded Blizzard $8.5M in damages.

Though the German courts recently ruled not to enforce the US court’s decision (on the grounds that it considered the minimum statutory damages awarded to be excessive and punitive), Bossland ended sales for almost all of its hacks at the end of last year; as of today, the only ones remaining are for non-Blizzard games, specifically Final Fantasy XIV and Path of Exile, though according to the group’s latest newsletter, there’s a PUBG one tucked on the forums too.

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Wisdom of Nym: What we know so far about Final Fantasy XIV’s next patch

Yes, the latest live letter happened, the fan translations happened, and as one could expect the Final Fantasy XIV fandom has already taken half-translated facts and suspected tidbits as gospel right off the bat. Who could have seen this coming, and so forth. let’s see if we get actually translated and accurate information any faster than usual, although I suspect it’ll be at around the same pace as always.

If I sound annoyed, that’s because I am.

Regardless of the inefficiency of the presentation, we did find out a fair bit about the next patch and associated features for patch 4.3, so we can start discussing some of the things we need to know about the update. Of course, no small amount of what we know is coming is stuff that we could also have expected to see just because of the game’s fundamental structure, but there’s also a lot of genuinely surprising bits. So let’s start in with the stuff that isn’t a new dungeon, a new Alliance Raid, or points related, yes?

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Final Fantasy XIV confirms its next major patch in late May

If you were watching the most recent Final Fantasy XIV live letter, we can only hope you speak Japanese. It would be pretty hard to follow otherwise. But the official Twitter account did tweet out some short highlights from the video, including the release date for patch 4.3 in late May. The new patch will naturally include more parts of the MSQ, new trials, a new dungeon, and the next part of the Return to Ivalice series bringing players to the Ridorana Lighthouse.

The patch will also include Namazu beast tribe quests, the new Deep Dungeon installment in the already visible Heaven-on-High structure, a new component of the Eureka expedition, and a new Ultimate battle against the Ultima Weapon. There’s also the promise of the long-awaited FFXIV companion app, allowing access to market boards, inventory, and friend chatting. Of course, the actual live letter had more information, but we’ll have to see how soon the digest with all of the translated features arrives for players who don’t speak Japanese.

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Massively Overthinking: The best of PAX East and GDC in 2018

The past couple of weeks has been wild as we dispatched writers to GDC in San Francisco and PAX East in Boston to gather up and bring back everything they could on the MMORPGs large and small on the spring convention circuit. In fact, as I type this, we’ve got Brendan in Reykjavik for EVE Fanfest too! So for this week’s Overthinking, we’re rounding up our coverage and then reflecting on the best and worst as we pick out what most excites, surprises, and disappoints us: First the roundups, then our thoughts. Read on!

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Guild Chat: Rebuilding a real-life home and an MMORPG guild all at once

Welcome along to Guild Chat, the column through which many Massively Overpowered readers get the help they need to achieve better balance within their guilds through the help of our commenter community and my musings on their dilemmas. This time, reader Jase has a well-established, small Final Fantasy XIV guild that has suffered from cliques and division since he was forced to take time away from the game after the hurricanes tragically destroyed his home. A small band of officers got very used to doing things their own way in his absence and were neglecting the wider member base and excluding them from endgame exploits at peak gaming times, but none of Jase’s measures to fix the issue has helped and the guild recently had a mass exodus of members caused by these officers. Jase is left wondering how to rebuild at this point: Although the members have rejoined, they only did so to use the resources the group worked on together and they are trying to get him to relinquish full guild control to them.

Read below for Jase’s full submission and my thoughts on the matter, and don’t forget to share your ideas with this guild leader in need in the comments section. His submission is a lengthy one with many twists and turns, so give it a good read to help with your advice.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV and the horror of the Live Letter

It’s easy to miss one of the worst bits of news about the next Final Fantasy XIV Live Letter because it’s tucked in the very bottom of the announcement. But there it is, plain as day. No more translations on the forums, just the important points on Twitter. That isn’t going to be annoying as hell from start to finish, I tell you what. It’s not like we don’t already have hasty and inaccurate translations floating around with at least something to point to, but now we can be sure that there’s even less to offer a common reference point!

The irony is that the next Live Letter is coming about a week after the PAX East panel in which one of the major points of discussion was in ensuring that the experience for all players across the world have the same reaction to the game. For the most part, that’s correct; it’s something that Square-Enix in general and Naoki Yoshida in particular has worked hard to ensure. But when it comes to the Live Letters, it’s a principle that doesn’t even pretend to get followed, and it leads to a simmering frustration that might be best served by leaving the whole thing out for good.

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PAX East 2018: Final Fantasy XIV’s main scenario writing and localization

It’s easy to have little to no idea about how Final Fantasy XIV is localized. Obviously the localization team has advanced beyond the days of Final Fantasy Tactics (which apparently was translated by someone with Babelfish and a rampaging hangover), but it’s still pretty easy to picture the localization as a matter of the Japanese staff dropping a stack of untranslated text on someone’s desk with a laugh and a note to have fun figuring it out.

The note, presumably, would also be in Japanese.

This is not just wrong, but it bears absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to the actual localization process. I had the chance to talk with main scenario writer Natusko Ishikawa and localization lead John Crow, who helpfully went into some details on both the localization process and their personal feelings about the story and characters therein. You can also check out the embedded footage of the panel below, which goes into more detail on the writing process.

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Jukebox Heroes: Five great YouTube channels for MMO music

As a collector and reviewer of MMORPG soundtracks, I owe a great debt to fellow music lovers who take the time to somehow extract files from the game directories and make these tracks available to the world at large. YouTube has been an invaluable treasure trove of MMO music, thanks to these devoted fans, and I thought I would give some of them props today for their hard and continuing work.

While there are plenty of channels where you might see a person post a playlist at one point for a single game, there are a handful of YouTubers who see their mission to continually post new music for ongoing online games. Today we are going to look at five channels and the game soundtracks that they cover. We’re talking hours and hours of music at your fingertips here, so set aside your plans for the rest of the day and get listening!

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