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.
wisdom of nym
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.