wisdom of nym

Wisdom of Nym is a Final Fantasy XIV column by Eliot Lefebvre. [Follow this column’s RSS feed]

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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Wisdom of Nym: Some story breakdown from Final Fantasy XIV’s latest patch

I had said before patch 4.3 came out that we were going to learn a fair bit about the future direction of Final Fantasy XIV from this patch, and I stand by that. It isn’t explicit, of course – it sort of couldn’t be – but there are definitely more hints about what happens next from this patch alone, simply by virtue of the fact that there had to be. After all, we’re wrapping up our problems at breakneck pace otherwise; we don’t want to be sitting here in November when the expansion is revealed without an idea of where we’re going, do we?

Of course, the picture that it pains thus far also isn’t a pretty one, and there are a whole lot of question marks without solid answers. That’s part of the nature of this exercise. So let’s take a look at what we’ve learned from patch 4.3 and both what has gone said and gone unsaid. Fair warning, if it wasn’t obvious from context alone, there will be unmarked spoilers below. If you haven’t finished the story, you may wish to look away or resign yourself to spoiling.

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Wisdom of Nym: The non-combat side of Final Fantasy XIV patch 4.3

Let’s face it, I’m literally never going to be able to cover everything in a Final Fantasy XIV with one column. They’re just too large. The bright side is that this patch manages to fall into something resembling halves with its content; you have that big chunk of stuff based on trials and associated content, but then you also have all of the fun extra doodads for crafting and so forth.

Last week, I covered the main scenario, our new dungeon, and so forth. This week, though, there are a lot of stupid catfish that bear further examination. Along with changes to loot mechanics and reconstruction efforts… a whole plethora of thing that are a bit more varied than just “non-combat,” honestly, but the header works better focusing on a single thing. Including covering some content that I was entirely wrong about, based on preview images.

But first, let’s go fishing.

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Wisdom of Nym: Slicing through Final Fantasy XIV patch 4.3

You know, it’s kind of rough to get through all of the content of a new patch in one day, especially when you can’t just huddle up in the house all day. I appreciate that. I got myself through the majority of Final Fantasy XIV‘s patch in one day, though, so I can’t help but feel a measure of pride about that fact. That meant a new dungeon, a new alliance raid, and a new trial on the same day, along with… like, so much crafting.

There’s a lot of crafting involved.

Regardless, now we’re on the other side of the patch and can start examining it as a whole. So, as I so often do, I will start with the obvious centerpiece and move on to the more peripheral stuff piece by piece. While I will do my level best to avoid spoilers herein, I can’t make an absolute promise about it, nor can I save you for the comments. Especially since the story this time around was… well.

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Wisdom of Nym: Checking out Final Fantasy XIV’s patch 4.3 notes

As it always has been, so it is again; we’ve got our next patch for Final Fantasy XIV just around the corner, and thus we have a new set of patch notes to peruse well ahead of the actual patch. But we don’t have the full list of new items, which is frustrating. Especially if you’re thinking about which furnishing items you want to move around and so forth, because really, what other stuff is important in a given patch? Endgame progression? Who cares.

Reading through the patch notes is always a bit like some sort of ersatz holiday, because you already know the majority of the things you’re getting but not all of the details until the patch notes come out… and then the patch notes deliberately obscure some things so you still don’t know everything. But I can live with not knowing exactly what quests are in Return to Ivalice just because I can see that there are a lot of them. So let’s start taking this apart before we get to actually play it.

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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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Wisdom of Nym: The Alliance Raids of Final Fantasy XIV

When the next major Final Fantasy XIV patch arrives later this month, we’ll be staring down the games eighth alliance raid. That might not seem like a whole lot, considering that each one takes about half an hour at this point in the roulette, but each one has been a pretty major step forward in design and offers a very different vector for content. Instead of the precision movements of smaller raids or the small-group dungeon tactics, Alliance Raids try to coordinate a whole squad of people to move as one.

I’ve taken a look at big chunks of dungeon content before, but at this point we have a sufficient quantity of alliance raids that I feel like talking about those. While I could rank them, it doesn’t seem as useful as just talking about each one and comparing their high points and low points. So all seven current raids in the roulette; which parts are good, and which parts are bad?

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Wisdom of Nym: Little boosts for Final Fantasy XIV

When I talk about games that provide a whole lot of quality-of-life fixes, I generally point to Final Fantasy XIV as a perfect example. Heck, when I want to talk about games that give a lot to roleplayers, the game still tops the list; it still impresses me that the game offers context-sensistive /sit commands and the ability to choose between multiple poses while sitting in chairs or on the ground, and you can even aim for the ground if the context would enforce a chair or bench nearby. That offers no gameplay advantage, it’s just nice.

The game does have some quality-of-life features that are conspicuously missing, though, and many of them are missing for no real reason at all. More housing wards with larger space, for example, would be a phenomenal quality-of-life boost… but it’s also demanding on the system and on finances, thus making it a more complex issue. But there are quality features that could be implemented with minimal effort that also still aren’t there, and it seems only fair to bring those up for the future.

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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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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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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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Wisdom of Nym: The jobs of Final Fantasy XI compared to Final Fantasy XIV

With 30 years of history, Final Fantasy as a series has had lots of riffs on the same basic ideas. It’s the only thing tying the series together in the first place, after all, and I look forward to getting ever more surreal takes on the various nuts and bolts of the franchise as I get older. Final Fantasy XIV exists as a part of this, naturally; it has yet to have any jobs which are truly unique to it, as everything in there has showed up at least once before in some capacity.

That having been said, of course, some of that “showed up before” happens in very different contexts. There have been a lot of Dark Knights, after all, but it’s hard to compare the tanking job of FFXIV to, say, the status-based job of Final Fantasy X-2 or the prestige job in Final Fantasy Tactics. The games have very different design goals from the outset.

But we can compare these jobs to their equivalents in Final Fantasy XI. After all, most of the jobs we have now were in that title! So let’s take a look at how the jobs worked in the older game, how they work now, and what consistency might be there if any.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV and evergreen options against new ones

Quick, you there! Tell me what’s going to be in the next patch for Final Fantasy XIV, patch 4.3! Not all of it, though, just hit the highlights.

Odds are good that you dd not start speaking out loud, because you are a rational person and don’t verbally respond when an article tells you to do so. (If you just started saying the answer out loud in your office, I’m sorry.) But you probably mentally started listing stuff. “More MSQ, obviously, and it’s an odd-numbered patch so we’ll get one dungeon and the next part of the Ivalice raid… no new tomestone gear, maybe another beast tribe for crafting. Oh, maybe Namazu. Probably updates to Eureka…”

Now, I’d like to remind everyone that we haven’t had the first preview about what’s coming out with patch 4.3. There have been a grand total of no announcements or discussions about it yet. But we know the game well enough to know that odds are it’s going to feature certain reliable additions. There’s some stuff that just comes out reliably for FFXIV, all the time. And there’s some question about how much stuff is really evergreen.

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