wisdom of nym

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

Wisdom of Nym: Speculating about Final Fantasy XIV in 2017

We’re not there yet, but 2017 already makes me anxious. That’s not going to stop it from arriving, though, however much I might want it to. And hey, we’ve got some stuff coming for Final Fantasy XIV for this year, so that’s something to look forward to. Including the second expansion, which currently has some pretty darn big shoes to fill and a lot of content to deliver. Stormblood has to do everything right that Heavensward did right while also improving all of the things that its predecessor didn’t do quite as well. That’s a tall order.

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.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s 2016 in review

If you care about awards – and let’s be real, we all do, even if they don’t inform our emotional states – you’ll notice that Final Fantasy XIV won this year’s award for the most underrated game. That seems appropriate to me, this year in particular. Because when I look back at 2016 for FFXIV, I see a year that is on one hand tragically boring, but on the other hand is astonishingly consistent and together.

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.

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Wisdom of Nym: The state of Final Fantasy XIV’s Machinist

About a year and a half ago, I first put (digital) pen to (theoretical) paper about Final Fantasy XIV‘s Machinist. At that point, Heavensward had just recently launched, so the new jobs were still in something of a grace period, but right out of the gate Machinist felt like it needed a tune-up. Heck, I know a few people who abandoned any and all plans for the job after having played it for a few weeks.

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.

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Wisdom of Nym: Our first preview of Final Fantasy XIV’s Patch 3.5

The last patch of Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward is on its way. It’s not here, of course; we’ll have to wait until January for that. But it’s coming, and we got our first look at what it will contain. And it’s… well, it’s the most boring parts that we know about right now.

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.

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Wisdom of Nym: Thankfulness for Final Fantasy XIV

I haven’t exactly made a secret of the fact that I’m on a bit of a low pulse for Final Fantasy XIV at the moment. Some of that is just me and being in a rough place mentally; some of that is the game being in a rather in-between place as it gears up for the still distant second expansion. But this is the week of Thanksgiving for those of us in the US, and let me tell you: Even if I’m not playing as much of the game at the moment, I’m still immensely thankful for it.

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.

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Wisdom of Nym: At the end of the world for Final Fantasy XIV

It’s kind of weird to think about the fact that we just passed the four-year anniversary of the end of an era in Final Fantasy XIV. The world came to an end in a way that could only happen in an online game, a moment that felt like nothing so much as the halfway marker of Final Fantasy VI. We fought, and we strived, and we did all that we could, and we completely failed.

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.

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Wisdom of Nym: An uncomfortable season for Final Fantasy XIV

My original plan for this week was to dive into the newest parts of the the Palace of the Dead, but I shan’t mince words: That didn’t happen. There are several unrelated reasons complicating my lack of motivation, but unquestionably part of it is down to the fact that this right now is the worst time to be a big fan of Final Fantasy XIV.

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.

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Wisdom of Nym: The scariest stuff in Final Fantasy XIV

As a horror game, Final Fantasy XIV fails, due largely to the fact that it isn’t a horror game and never attempts or pretends to be one. It’s the same sort of charming Renaissance fantasy as Final Fantasy XI, and that’s exactly what it wants to be. If you want to play a dedicated horror MMO, you play The Secret World.

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.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV console support, storage woes, and PvP servers

First things first. If you missed this before, I already did put together my thoughts about what little we know of Final Fantasy XIV‘s next expansion and what my initial impressions are of Stormblood. Today, I don’t want to talk about that at all, except in the lurking background sense that, well, version 4.0 is also the arrival of Stormblood. Everything else doesn’t touch upon that.

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.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival in review

Being at the Final Fantasy XIV fan festival was interesting for me on several levels because I wasn’t just there to have fun, I was there to work… but I was also there to have fun. I was there to cover the event as media, but I’m also a big fan of the game as it is, so I was splitting my time between being Serious Professional Writer, Sir and just generally having a fandom collapse. This helped me in certain areas and hurt me in others.

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.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV patch 3.4 in review, continued

There’s never really a good splitting point when discussing Final Fantasy XIV patches. They always cover so much ground with features and additions that any breaking point in a discussion is naturally artificial. There are small quality-of-life changes that I miss in the middle of patch notes, even; I hadn’t realized about the ability to do batch turn-ins for beast tribe tokens until I was actually standing in front of the vendors.

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.)

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV Fanfest predictions

There’s a mild trend on Twitter as I write this for Final Fantasy XIV predictions. It makes sense; after all, the fan festival is in just a bit over a week. And I’ll be on the ground as it happens, somewhat unexpectedly but not in an unwelcome capacity. And that just raises the question of what will happen in Las Vegas, much of which will not stay there despite the slogans.

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.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV patch 3.4 in review

We’re on the penultimate patch of the expansion (no, that’s not official, but let’s be real) and Final Fantasy XIV fans have had a whole week to play around with it. How does it stack up?

Well… that’s an interesting topic. And it kind of merits a discussion about what’s been done differently with this expansion cycle in terms of storytelling. While the 2.x series ostensibly told a continual story straight through until the end, 3.x quite happily ended the story of Heavensward with 3.3. Sure, there’s more stuff to do, but there was no ambiguity about the fact that the war was over and we were moving on to other problems.

The bright side is that the result is a story that flows quite naturally and doesn’t have to share screen time with setting up the next expansion. The down side, however, is that the story has… some issues. That’s kind of a throughput for the patch in general. For the record, while this post may have some spoilers, I’ll keep anything major hidden behind spoiler tags, so it should be relatively safe to read through; fairly warned be ye.

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