As was the case in Vegas, FFXIV fans got plenty to chew on from the first day and slightly less to munch on from the second day, so much of what got covered in our initial post is what there is to be known. But there's still space for reaction, isn't there? The answer, as far as I'm concerned, is "definitely yes" - starting with the speculative side of things.
wisdom of nym
Am I worried? Not particularly. So now that we've looked back, let's look forward at 2017 and what we can reasonably expect to see in the game over the upcoming 365-day stretch. Aside from the obvious stuff, anyway; if you're curious about whether or not we're going to get new tomestones, I don't know what to tell you.
Trying to remember exactly what was patched in this year, for me, is an exercise in frustration; we had three major patches, and objectively a lot got added for each one, but it's harder for each individual part to stand out from the crowd. But that's also a very good thing, because it means that the game spent the year doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing by providing steady, quality content to entertain players. So let's take a look back over the year, the good, the bad, and the just-sort-of-there.
I am not one of those people, obviously; I've stuck with the job from launch until now. So now that we've seen the job actually play out through all of the various updates (with, admittedly, one more patch for potential minor tweaks), it's safe to say that Machinist has gotten at least some of the adjustments it needs and enough buffs to be more competitive. It's just still not going to be what some of the people looking for the job have wanted.
All right, "boring" is arguably the wrong word, but it's still the parts that you didn't really need a preview to learn about. Is anyone actually surprised at the thought of us getting a new dungeon and the last part of the Mhach raid? Of course not. We've all been waiting for this for some time. It's a foregone conclusion.
Just the same, there's stuff to talk about and some interesting points to unpack, so I've done precisely that for this week's column. I've also put together some of the nicer-in-isolation screenshots from the official transcript, if you'd prefer them in a straightforward gallery. So let's get started on the completion of preparation for the preparation of completion.
While I could talk about cool people I've met or nifty parts of the community, the fact of the matter is that I feel like the game only deserves peripheral credit for that; after all, lots of games (darn near all of them, even) have cool community stuff and the like. So instead, I want to talk about the cool stuff that's unique to FFXIV. What makes me thankful for this game in particular?
It's a big question to answer, but I think a large part of it comes down to an anecdote from liveblogging.
And there are people who are playing the game as their main experience who have absolutely no memory of it because they weren't there.
If you think I'm upset about that, you're wrong; I'm thrilled. I'm glad that the game has advanced to the point where people are playing the game and enjoying it without any real conception of the huge mess that was the original version. But now, three years away from that conclusion, I find myself looking back and thinking about it... and how it was at once awesome and something that no subsequent experience in the game can ever replicate.
Back in July, I noted that the game was at a really flush point, with plenty of content and plenty of motivation to steamroll along. Now, however, we've gone in the other direction, plummeting down until the next few months start pulling us up once again. I touched a bit in that column on why this was inevitable, but I want to talk a little bit more about why this cycle is probably one of the worst places for the game, even if we're not exactly hurting for content compared to a few months ago.
That having been said, there's a lot of difference between a horror game and a game containing horrific things. FFXIV does not try to be the former, but boy, it loves introducing you to the latter. Lest we forget, this is the game that also only just wrapped up the story of a woman carrying her dead fiancé's head in a bag, and that was just an aside.
I won't surprise anyone by revealing that today is Halloween, and since that's my favorite holiday I won't surprise anyone by saying that I want to look on the frightening side of things. So let's look at the scariest everything in Final Fantasy XIV today. Or at least, everything that I can think of for one column.
See, there were other things going on at the fan festival, other revelations here and there that I don't think you can really just tie on to the expansion. While I found the overall information content a bit lacking in places, the pieces we did get to chew on tended to be meaty, and they were pretty interesting on a whole.
So today I want to talk about all of that, starting with something that was easily one of the least controversial moments during the entire weekend, though it has a bit more controversy attached to it after rippling outward.
The result was that I have several different views of the event, and all of them run an interesting gamut, with some mostly relevant to being media at the event and others equally relevant as a fan and a journalist. And several of them either wouldn't be visible if you were just watching the live stream or would at least be harder to see and experience. So for those of you who weren't there - or those who were and just want another take on the event - I'd like to talk about what worked and what didn't and what could stand to be improved the next time around.
That's a good thing, incidentally.
For my last column on the topic, I primarily focused on the big story and dungeon centerpieces of the patch, which makes up the bulk of the new content in this patch. But it's not not all of the additions of the patch, not even all of the new content we got. So let's dive in once more, starting with another bit of slightly underwhelming story that really feels like it's approaching a non-climax. (Not an anticlimax; that's different.)
Of course, I have predictions. Everyone has predictions. But I notice a lot of the "predictions" getting thrown out are less "this is probably what will happen" and more "this is what I want to happen," which isn't so much a prediction as a wish list. I like wish lists too, most of the time, but they're not the same. And the record will show I'm also happy to make my predictions public, so I can either prove to be very right or very wrong as a matter of public record.
So what the heck: Here are my predictions for next week in Vegas. And no, I'm not going to predict an expansion announcement because we all expect that. I'm going to predict what we're getting.