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.
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.
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.
Well, time to get my running shoes on, Final Fantasy XIV’s
next patch is coming out on October 10th and I’m aiming for a Large house. After I’m done with that, I can think about everything else in the patch. We already heard about some of it during the previous reveals, of course, but now we’ve got a bit more context for the additional… er, additions. And that’s not counting the stuff we still don’t know about, elements which I’m willing to be we’ll hear about when the patch actually goes live and for interval patches after 4.1 launches.
So let’s talk a little bit about what we’re getting with this patch, along with the things we’re not getting and the elements that raise an eyebrow slowly. We’ve already mostly heard about several parts coming with the patch, but let’s start with the updates coming to Adventurer Squadrons, a feature that was sadly kind of introduced without full expansion and is hopefully coming into its own with the next patch.
Did you think that the final boss of Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood
was difficult? You’ll probably be singing a different tune when you face off against the Minstrel’s Ballad version of the boss with patch 4.1, which is coming out October 10th. But perhaps you’ll never even go down that route, focusing instead on new custom deliveries for crafting starring M’naago of the Ala Mhigan Resistance. The latest update to the official patch site shows off these additions and more.
Players can also gawp at the new screenshots for the Rival Wings PvP battles, which looks to bring a slice of MOBA action into the game’s PvP scene. There’s also a preview of the continued Inspector Hildibrand story and the beast tribe quests focused around the Kojin, and there’s still more to come before the patch goes live in October. The latest producer’s letter also covered things like the coming adventurer squadron updates and miscellaneous changes, like the ability to remove materia from items. So isn’t that exciting? There’s even a trailer!
The next major patch for Final Fantasy XIV
is on its way, and like every patch, it starts with a new portion of the main scenario quest
. Sure, the end of the Stormblood
story saw the liberation of subjugated provinces… but what does that mean for the many people who had long seen that end as an impossible dream? We don’t know yet, but we know that Raubahn and Lyse both will have some important questions to answer… and quickly.
Players will also be exploring the Drowned City of Skalla, ruins flooded beneath what is now Loch Seld in the wake of the Sixth Umbral Calamity, now filled with the remnants of a once-grand civilization. Over in Kugane, players will be meeting up with the Majestic Imperial Theater Company on the performance airship Prima Vista, learning more of the company’s legendary performance of the Zodiac Brave story and diving into the legend of Ivalice. And that’s only the stuff we already know about on the preview page; there’s still more to come.
I’ve been gathering, crafting, and fighting my way up in Final Fantasy XIV
in preparation for 4.1. Not that I haven’t been enjoying the game on its own, of course, but it seemed likely that 4.1 would bring a new set of beast tribe quests, more stuff to nab from the 24-person run, plenty of new main scenario lore… you get the idea. It seemed like the sort of thing I’d want to be as prepared for as possible, in other words. And here it comes in just about a month! That’ll be nice.
Of course, the lengthy anniversary broadcast didn’t reveal everything we’re going to be hearing about for the patch; it was more of a tease than a full rundown. But we can derive a lot from that tease alone, so let’s talk about what we’ve heard so far for patch 4.1. We’ll know more around the middle of the month, but we’re here now.
I find it kind of wild to think that when I wrote my last Final Fantasy XIV
anniversary column, we hadn’t yet actually heard of Stormblood
yet. Obviously we did hear about it a couple of months later and it’s dominated the discussion cycle since then, but we were still just speculating about the game’s second expansion when we hit the three-year mark. Now it’s here and we’re all looking to its first major patch. So by most metrics anyone would care to use, things are going well.
What was once shocking or surprising has now become mundane, and what was unexpected is now the most expected thing in the world. Another expansion is going to come out in a little under two years, we’re going to get more reliably paced patches, the game is going to continue on as it has to this point. Is there nothing interesting to say about all of that?
Of course there is.
The first time, it was all about the jobs everyone thinks are garbage now. The second time, it was all about the jobs everyone thinks are great now. And this time… well, it’s about the Final Fantasy XIV
jobs no one seems to think about much at all. Or they’re in the middle of simultaneously called spectacular and awful so that it all averages out into the middle. In other words, these are the jobs that tend to escape the notice of players.
That makes these jobs a little harder to talk about, because they’re not in the midst of any sort of perception shift. In at least one case, we have jobs that have basically just maintained their position in the game’s overall makeup across expansions, yet they haven’t seemed to change enough for people to really notice what they’re doing now. Are they good? Bad? Neutral? What’s going on with these jobs? Let’s talk about it.
Another year of Final Fantasy XIV
is coming to a close as the game celebrates another anniversary on August 27th. But there’s still plenty more to come, and fans can tune in for the game’s next long-running anniversary stream starting on September 1st at 11:00 p.m. EDT, then running for 14 hours straight
. So you may not want to watch the whole thing in one go; it’ll have previews of the upcoming patch 4.1, discussion about the development history for Stormblood
, celebrity guests, and so forth.
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.
Last time around, we looked at the jobs everyone thinks is deep in the loser category in Final Fantasy XIV
. Some of them are really in a bad place, some of them just seem to be in a bad place due to perception, and some sort of have both going on at the same time. But now it’s high time for us to look at the other side of the coin, the jobs that everyone thinks are just doing great
The funny thing is that in this case, I feel there are fewer jobs where the reality is that the job isn’t that good but just gets perceived that way; it’s more a case where some of them are being seen as outright overpowered when they’re really in a pretty good spot. But enough of the hand-wringing; let’s move on to the jobs that everyone sees as being the absolute winners of the expansion thus far, and examine whether they’re really so great.
It took me a very long time to cap out everything in Final Fantasy XIV
was current. Until the moogle questline was introduced, my crafting jobs languished pretty badly. I could have gotten more materials and worked on them, but some of that required leather, and since my options were farming that myself or sending out retainers on ventures… well, that meant leveling Warrior, I didn’t want to bother, it didn’t happen. It took a long
By contrast, right now with Stormblood, I’m already halfway done with the leveling of combat jobs. My overall goal of leveling everything to 70 plus all of my alts should be done by mid-November. I know that later today, I’m going to be getting at least two more levels, maybe more, and I’m well on my way to my goals. And I’m not bored or putting in the time, I’m excited.
I’ve seen this sentiment going around from other people, too. There’s a general sense that leveling and just playing is much more fun with Stormblood. So what’s the difference? Why is it that now leveling up seems like less of a chore, when the usual methods of leveling quickly (FATE trains) have basically dried up to nothing?
With Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood
out and being enjoyed, you might think that the team behind the game would be taking a vacation. Not any more; maybe that was last month, but now it’s time to go full steam ahead to PAX West 2017. The official site has announced a lore panel on September 2nd with localization expert Michael-Christopher Koji Fox
discussing the process of localizing the game, the lore behind Eorzea, and perhaps even the lack of proper tacos throughout the realm.
If you can’t make it to the convention, you don’t have to miss out; the panel will also be streamed live at 4:00 p.m. EDT on September 2nd. Attendees on the floor will also have the opportunity to take on the Susano battle challenge, complete with the traditional t-shirt reward for those who manage to down the Lord of the Revel. (You will also be legally allowed to quote his many charming voice lines if you win.)