stormblood

Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s lightness of dungeons

It feels really weird to think about just how few dungeons we’ve gotten in Final Fantasy XIV for this expansion. Not that it’s the start of a new trend; Heavensward already dropped the numbers compared to the base game, and thus Stormblood continued in a similar trajectory. But when you think about the fact that the game used to have three new dungeons per patch and compare it to an average of one and a half… it’s still adding them on a regular basis, but it’s a much slower basis.

The slower pace of dungeons was something that was announced well before the expansion actually launched, of course. So I think it’s interesting to look at the slower pace, at the stated goals, and see how well the changes have actually achieved those goals. Or, perhaps, if the whole thing didn’t work out very well and we should hope for an uptick again in the next expansion.

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Global Chat: FFXIV re-reborn, State of Decay 2, and Dungeons and Dragons Online

With the rollout of Patch 4.3, Final Fantasy XIV is offering its players a nice big slice of content to enjoy as we head into the summer. It certainly seems to be a time in which many players are making their way back to the game — or through it.

For example, Harbinger Zero booted back up his subscription to give the game a second chance. Sounds like things are going well: “How can I not compliment the job system? It keeps the game fresh to know I can log in and with a button click change my playstyle while keeping my character and progress.”

Aywren Sojourner recently wrapped up Stormblood’s main storyline and has a few thoughts on the journey (with lots of spoilers, of course). “I hate to say it because there were some pleasant parts to Stormblood, especially in Doma,” she wrote, “but I’m actually just glad to get beyond this story arc.”

We’ve got more MMO blog essays, including ones on making alt-friendly MMOs, State of Decay 2 impressions, and the best and worst of Dungeons and Dragons Online!

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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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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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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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Wisdom of Nym: Mechanical issues for jobs in Final Fantasy XIV, part two

Last week, we covered the mechanical issues for about half of the Final Fantasy XIV job lineup. This week, we’re covering the other half. That seems rather straightforward, doesn’t it? There we go.

The thing about mechanical issues is that they’re sometimes hard to identify; they’re not as simple as weaknesses or balance issues. A job not dealing nearly as much damage as other jobs in the same role is a balance issue, while a job having to deal with mechanics differently is a weakness (like how Summoners have fewer options to quickly dispatch adds, or melee jobs have to deal with avoiding AoEs differently). Mechanical issues are specifically places where the mechanics of the job are the issue, leading to gameplay that’s disconnected or irrelevant.

But people seem to have gotten the idea from the first installment last week. So with all of these facts in mind, let’s start talking about the other half of the game’s jobs, not first on deck but no less important.

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Wisdom of Nym: Actual mechanical issues for jobs in Final Fantasy XIV, part one

There are a lot of people who are quick to complain about issues with their personal favorite jobs in Final Fantasy XIV. No matter what job you’re playing, there are people that will eagerly point out all of the screamingly wrong things with the job whilst completely ignoring how well the jobs actually do work together. When you can seriously clear stuff with anything, someone is doing something right, and that’s why a lot of the complaints come down to “well, I don’t like it, so it’s bad.”

However, that doesn’t mean that the game’s jobs are devoid of mechanical issues. They’re pretty well balanced at the moment (not perfectly, but acceptably so), but each job does have certain mechanical issues that are probably going to need to wait until the next expansion to really be properly fixed up. So, while that next expansion is probably a bit more than a year away now (June 2019, I’d imagine), let’s take a look at the actual mechanical issues facing all 15 jobs.

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Final Fantasy XIV announces an end to congested worlds and restricted housing sales

The launch of Final Fantasy XIV’s new housing plots came with an additional restriction: Players weren’t allowed to purchase these new plots as individuals, just for free companies. Similarly, the launch of Stormblood brought a similar restriction, as players on designated “congested” worlds could not make new characters on those worlds or transfer characters to those worlds. But on February 20th, both of these restrictions will be lifted. Players can once again transfer to congested worlds, buy individual houses, and dress up in moogle outfits as tanks.

Actually, players could do that last one before.

Players will still be restricted to only owning one house per server on a given account, so the opening of plots doesn’t change that; similarly, there will still be preferred worlds for character creation, and if population disparities rise again the same countermeasures will be put back into place once more. However, for the time being, players will be able to get together and play more easily. In the end, isn’t that all anyone really wants?

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Wisdom of Nym: Looking at Final Fantasy XIV’s patch 4.2

A lot of times, I spread out my time with Final Fantasy XIV patches, unlocking and finishing up content at a reasonably sedate pace. For whatever reason, that wasn’t my approach this time around. I cleared through all of the day one content that I had any designs on doing right away, which means I’ve already gotten through the end of Sigmascape, the Jade Stoa, and both of the dungeons in short order. It went faster than I expected, truth be told.

There’s always a lot to talk about with these patches and a lot of opinions, which is always fun. But one of the interesting points that I found comes up when I consider how the game divided up its storylines for this patch. I had misunderstood what the patch notes noted about Hells’ Lid as a dungeon and where it fit into the MSQ, and the change in this case makes me very happy for both storytelling here and in the future.

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Massively Overthinking: Considering pay-to-win MMO peripherals

MOP reader and commenter Sally Bowls recently sent along a link to an insanely awesome 34″ monitor that costs more than a lot of PC rigs in their entirety. “UltraWide For A Gaming Advantage,” LG’s sale page says in a huge font. It even touts a pro e-sports team using the monitor to “get an edge on the competition.” The idea is, shell out for expensive gear, and you’ll dust those scrubs still peeping through their tiny 16:9 portholes – that’s if they can see at all between the screen-tear, stutter, and input lag! You sure showed them, and it only cost ya $900!

Sally is not amused and wonders why people aren’t enraged at pay-to-win coming from this angle of the market. “This is not subtle. More expensive mice trying to justify their price with more buttons/resolution/tracking has been a thing. As Dr. Bartle points out, it is not that people don’t like P2W; it’s that they dislike other people being able to buy power. Is this a new trend or have I not been hanging out in the competitive end of the pool?”

So what do you think? Is better hardware pay-to-win, or is this just overblown marketing fluff? Why don’t people discuss this more? Have you ever taken advantage of pay-to-win hardware and peripherals? Should this be a thing modern gamers worry about? Where do you stand?

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One Shots: Poster perfect

One of the things that impresses me about the submissions to One Shots here is that so many of these pictures really could be blown up into high-resolution posters and be hung as honest-to-goodness art. I’ve always been meaning to comb through my screenshots folder and take the best of my best to a store and get that done, but I am a lazy man and figure that you all will keep my eyeballs entertained for one more week.

Here’s a good example of a poster perfect pic from Camelotcrusade, who shared this interesting shot from Star Wars: The Old Republic. “It feels like a galaxy far, far away now, but I really liked the title cards for Knights of the Fallen Empire,” he wrote. “Here is one of my favorites which transposed my character against a backdrop of galactic war.”

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Wisdom of Nym: Materia and stats in Final Fantasy XIV

When Heavensward was the current expansion for Final Fantasy XIV, we were introduced to the idea that you could meld materia onto valuable endgame gear. It was a big shift, made only slightly smaller by the fact that pretty much every single job required the exact same melds without the slightest amount of consideration. You didn’t really need to think about it except for a handful of cases, and even in places where melding something else might be useful (like melding just enough Piety for Black Mage to get another cast off), you weren’t going to be suffering if you just ignored it.

This has changed somewhat in Stormblood. At this point, melding is a simple game, but it’s more complex than it gets credit for, while also perhaps being a bit simpler than it needs to be. Or perhaps it’s just as complex as it needs to be. It’s a multi-faceted issue, in other words, and one that deserves more nods than it gets.

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Perfect Ten: The best MMO updates and expansions of 2017

Last year was positively stuffed with updates, expansions, and cool stuff. A lot of years I struggle to remember which major updates happened in the past year, due partly to my own faulty memory but due largely to the simple fact that not a lot of them really stuck out for me. This year? We were awash in updates. Some games literally gave me multiple choices about which update I thought was “the best” just because, well, there were so many.

So the list that follows is, honestly, a fragment of what could be chosen. At least one of them is something you will probably disagree with. And that’s fine, because thankfully, last year (as mentioned) contained tons of great updates for people to enjoy. So without further ado, let’s delve into the best updates of 2017 and gush for a bit about how many cool things got added to games last year.

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