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.
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.
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?
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.
Much as the team has done with previous PAX East events, Yoshida took both pre-written questions from fans on the show floor and live questions taken directly from the audience in attendance. While there were no huge revelations, there were plenty of tidbits for players to chew on as the game moves along through the remaining months until the launch of the second expansion. And, of course, there's plenty of stuff to speculate about, but isn't there always?
First and foremost, enterprising Red Mage players will want to stock up on caster gear and INT accessories, as the translations indicate the job will share the caster gear pool. The developers are looking into ensuring that gear only drops which at least one person in a group can roll Need on, however, at least for 8-person content. The upcoming Omega raid will have two difficulties, just like Alexander, but the designers are considering adding a little something for odd patches for players who have already cleared the savage difficulty. It hasn't been officially translated yet, of course, but it's worth considering as we approach the Stormblood launch.
That having been said, we are going to have more stuff to do over the next few months. Depending on when in the day you read this, the game might be down for maintenance right now with one of those patches along the way. So let's talk about the road to June 20th, what we know is coming, what we can reasonably expect, and what we don't yet know about but might help fill the gap.
You also missed a look at the design aesthetics of the upcoming port city (Kugane) that will serve as a major hub, the stills of the Samurai job, and the new world map. Fortunately, you can now take a look at all of that with a new set of screenshots available just below. You can also catch the full trailer for the expansion; if you'd rather read up on our reactions to the revelations in Frankfurt, we've got you covered there as well.
So what's coming next in Stormblood? We're getting Red Mage, we're getting swimming, we're getting Ala Mhigo, but what else is right around the corner? Oh, tons of other things. For one thing, the new job is actually Spider-man. Yeah, we were all taking that t-shirt bit far too figuratively.
All right, no, that's not true. The actual revelations were even better, and if you weren't up at an unusual hour to catch them all on the livestream, we've got them right here.
There's some stuff we can reliably predict at this point, of course. There are no more patches aside from the last bits of 3.5 between now and Stormblood, and thus this is going to be our densest chunk of information about the expansion prior to launch. It's also impossible to predict everything that we'll hear about, since Naoki Yoshida loves to troll and surprise us. So this will, by necessity, be equal parts wishes, speculation, and prediction. Take it with the requisite grain of salt.
We can expect to hear about the remainder of jobs being added to the game with Stormblood, see more details on the new areas, and presumably get more information about new abilities and combat changes for patch 4.0. There will also be previews of patch 3.55 and more events to excite and delight, as always. Plus, since these are digital tickets, you don't have to worry about them running out.
The development team has also released a lengthy video showing off what you can find in the collector's edition for Stormblood and what the pricing will be for both the physical and digital editions, which is useful for pre-orders starting on January 24th. If you don't have time to watch the whole video (it is more than an hour long), you can catch up with a quick set of slides capturing the relevant data.
So perhaps you can look at the timing of this patch intentionally. It can be a weaker patch and no one is paying attention. If "weaker patch" meant much for FFXIV, anyhow.
At this point we don't have the patch notes, but we do have the trailer, and that means we have some idea of what we're going to be dealing with once the patch goes live. So let's talk a bit about that before we're analyzing raw gameplay, because I feel like it deserves more space in the sun than it has had.