wisdom of nym

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

Wisdom of Nym: Where we’re heading in Final Fantasy XIV with patch 3.3 (and beyond)

I’ve made no real secret of the fact that I don’t particularly like Final Fantasy XIV‘s live letters. Leaving aside the usual issues I have with video content providing less information than raw text, I’d argue they have the added non-benefit of being broadcast in a language I don’t speak, meaning that the period between the letter and the official translation is filled with an endless parade of debates about the “accurate” translations and what Yoshida really meant when he said “Bards were a mistake.”

Still, another one did happen, and as we’re in the between-patch lull it’s high time to start speculating and picking through the details we know about. Ironically, what we know about also handily overlaps with two features that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago with regards to features we hadn’t heard about, because the world is funny like that. So let’s start there, because I enjoy irony as much as the next person.

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Wisdom of Nym: Affection for Final Fantasy XIV’s beast tribes

I really like the beast tribes of Final Fantasy XIV. I’m also very happy that we don’t get to play them and probably never will.

Beast tribes are a narrative conceit that I really like from Final Fantasy XI that found its way into Final Fantasy XIV as well, and I absolutely adore them. All of them. I like the Ixal, the Amalj’aa, the Sahagin, and the Kobolds. I like the Vanu Vanu and the Vath. I like the returning elements from Final Fantasy XI with the inclusion of Mamool Ja, Goblins, and Qiqirn. About the only beast tribe I’m not super fond of are the Sylphs, and that’s because they seem a little too sprite-like rather than bestial.

And these are not playable characters and never will be. And I think that’s interesting, and I think part of what makes these races and cultures so interesting is that we don’t have the inside look. They’re foreign in ways that nothing else could be, and the game’s approach to beast tribes, in general has been even-handed, subtle, and thought-provoking if you want to think about it.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s silent design plans

I do not envy the team behind Final Fantasy XIV in some respects. In many ways, the game is the poster child for developing a plan and following through, delivering content updates with a regularity and a quality level that other games frequently strive and fail to match. But in other ways, that just makes the few things that the title hasn’t implemented that much more glaring. All of the major features that are promised are delivered, features that are just mentioned as jokes are also delivered, and… then there are the things we haven’t heard mentioned again.

Today, I want to dive into that realm, some of the stuff that’s been mentioned as an offhand at various points, features “promised” insofar as someone said they were coming along at one point or another, and so forth. Some of these features are still coming. Some of them probably aren’t. And some of them… we might not really want after all.

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Wisdom of Nym: Materia melding on tome gear in Final Fantasy XIV

One of the big additions with Final Fantasy XIV‘s patch 3.2 was tomestone gear with materia melding slots. This is something very new for the game; up until now, materia melding was something that existed entirely outside of the high-end gear. You melded materia on crafted gear for specific purposes, but you didn’t usually have access to them at the topmost levels. Now that materia actually has a use again, and you have plenty of encouragement to do Void Ark at least once a week because you do not want to spend the money on those Savage Aim Vs.

Honestly, though, the addition of materia melding changes a lot about how the uppermost gearing works, even with tomestones. Materia becomes far more relevant and useful, and it also makes gearing more expensive in every sense of the word. I don’t need to tell you that I have thoughts about all of this, and I think it’s the sort of thing that’s going to have a big impact on the community over time. So let’s talk about these melds, whether or not they’re worth it, and what the ups and downs are.

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Wisdom of Nym: Odds and ends from Final Fantasy XIV’s patch 3.2

I spent all of the last column talking about Final Fantasy XIV‘s most recent patch, but boy, there’s still more to talk about. Who would have seen that coming? The answer is you, probably, if you read the end of last week’s column. I said that this was exactly what I was going to do. It wasn’t subtle, either. Obviously, we’re still going to be talking about the patch and what’s going on therein.

Last week, I hit several of the big points and the stuff that I’d had a chance to experience. There’s still more stuff to discuss, though, and there’s so much patch in general that it’s going to occupy the next several weeks of my thinking at the very least. Heck, there’s at least one very obvious addition that I didn’t discuss at all last week… due, at least in part, to the fact that it’s not actually in the game yet. But it will be in the game soon enough, and I think it’s never too early to start talking about PvP.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s patch 3.2 is a return to form

I’ve expressed my misgivings about Final Fantasy XIV‘s first major post-expansion patch before. It wasn’t terrible, but it didn’t really hook me in like the expansion proper had managed to. But here we are after the second patch, and… yeah, this is a lot better. Not perfect by a long shot, but even most of the things that would usually trigger my carefully cultivated rant gene are at least comprehensible-moving-toward-smart. It’s a good patch, in other words.

I haven’t yet quite experienced everything on display in the patch – as I write this, I’m halfway through Alexander Midas, so it’s quite possible that A8 will make me hate my job and the game. (Although I doubt it, for many reasons.) Still, there’s plenty to talk about with what’s already in place, so let’s start off at the beginning and move along and even include dungeon boss overviews, for those who care about that sort of thing. (I am one of them.)

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Wisdom of Nym: Analyzing Final Fantasy XIV’s patch 3.2 notes

It’s patch day, ladies and gentlemen! All right, so it’s the day before patch day. It’s close to patch day. It’s patch day adjacent. And as it always happens, we have a full set of Final Fantasy XIV‘s patch notes right in front of us, albeit one without all of the things we’re necessarily going to find in the patch proper.

I think the censors have gotten a bit overzealous in obscuring nearly every single quest title, but apparently that’s the world we live in and so we may as well all learn to accept it.

As always, there’s stuff that we already know about in the patch and things that we didn’t know about, and there’s stuff we can’t fully analyze without having the patch in front of us. So let’s take a look at what’s going on in the patch that we know of now, piece by piece, and we’ll analyze what’s going on between the lines of explicit content and additions that we already knew about.

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Wisdom of Nym: Aspects of Final Fantasy XIV that could use expansion before the next expansion

I’m excited about the upcoming Hall of the Novice feature in Final Fantasy XIV‘s next patch. Yes, admittedly, part of this is because all it takes to get me excited about lots of things is the promise of new gear that might conceivably look cute; I’m rather straightforward like that. But I’m also excited because it’s in the business of teaching players how to play the game more effectively before they run into their first dungeons.

In theory, that’s what Guildhests were meant to do, but the problem with that was that Guildhests failed to accomplish that goal and were also kind of awful. It makes sense to give that job to something more likely to actually, like, work.

This also prompts the question of what other parts of the game could use some sort of expansion before the next expansion rewrites everything all over again. I’m not talking about things like our roster of dungeons or the number of ways in which player characters need to help Minfilia; that’s all sort of a given. No, I’m talking about fundamental aspects that have been a bit neglected, but they’d be well-served by some attention and some effort.

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Wisdom of Nym: The Warring Triad and what it means for Final Fantasy XIV

The Warring Triad is a big deal in Final Fantasy VI. We don’t actually know if it’s a big deal in Final Fantasy XIV, but I’m tempted to believe it is because we haven’t been told about it much at all.

It’s not hard to find the Triad in the game right now; you can fly past them in Azys Lla if you want. They’re referenced by the plot, even, and they form a major part of the conclusion to the expansion, but they’re not specifically called out as such. The game obliquely mentions what’s going on with them, and later confirms the connection between the final MSQ boss and the Triad, but it always leaves any crucial bits of joining to be drawn by the player.

I think this is a pretty big deal, bigger than it might seem at a glance. So for those of you who don’t have games from two decades ago stuck in your brain, let’s talk about what the Triad was and what its presence might imply for the future of Final Fantasy XIV. There will be spoilers, but I’ll do what can be done to hide them behind our fancy-pants spoiler tags as possible.

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Wisdom of Nym: What we know so far about Final Fantasy XIV’s next patch

So we know what’s going on with the next patch for Final Fantasy XIV, or at least as much as could be released during a producer’s letter. The transcript of one, anyhow. I know there are people who totally sit through the whole thing as the transcript of the letter goes up on the forums, and I have to tell you, I am not one of those people.

Regardless, the important thing is that we have some information about the next patch. I feel… oddly ambivalent about it. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t sound bad, but I don’t feel as if it has a feature list that gets me intensely hyped up. But let’s just take this one as it comes and hit the highlights of the content we know about right now. I do think it’s going to be a good patch, mild ambivalence aside; I just don’t look at it and see much in terms of a shock factor.

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Wisdom of Nym: Potential jobs for the next Final Fantasy XIV expansion

We’re going to be hearing about the next expansion to Final Fantasy XIV in… several months, actually. We’re in no kind of rush here. But I promised last week that we’d be continuing on the speculation train this time around, and even if I hadn’t promised it, I would still be eager to do so. I like speculation about this sort of thing, and the fact is that we have a wide-open field of things to speculate upon for the next expansion vis-a-vis jobs.

I see three likely possibilities for the next expansion, but I can’t list all of the possibilities for the next job. There are countless options. A quick glance at the history of the series reveals countless possible jobs, and that’s assuming that the next set of jobs is something entirely predictable rather than something totally out of left field, which it completely could be. We could get a job none of us have ever heard of, and it would make perfect sense.

So let’s talk about what I see as the most likely possibilities, and we’ll move forward from there.

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Wisdom of Nym: The next stop on Final Fantasy XIV’s magical expansion tour

The next expansion for Final Fantasy XIV will be announced this year. We all know it. I suppose there’s a chance it won’t happen, that the fan festival isn’t going to contain any announcements of the sort, but only in the super-technical sense that it could happen rather than any realistic outcome. So another expansion is being revealed in nine-ish months, and that prompts the obvious question: Where are we going now?

This isn’t an idle question, either. The fact that the first expansion brought us to Ishgard meant that the entire story of the game went in a different direction than if we had gone elsewhere, focusing upon the known but somewhat intentionally vague Dragonsong War and making it the central point of the story. As we prepare for the next expansion, I can see three obvious areas that may lead us onward into the world, and each one brings with it certain assumptions and stories that we have yet to hear.

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Wisdom of Nym: A musing on malaise in Final Fantasy XIV

There’s no question in my mind that Final Fantasy XIV is still one of my favorite games of all time. It certainly doesn’t lack for things to do, even now. Between the setting, the aesthetic, and the mechanics of the game, I’ve vastly enjoyed it through launch until now. And yet lately there seems to be something in the air, some distant sense telling me – and several other veteran players, by my own unscientific examination – that maybe right now it should just be allowed to lie fallow for a while.

You can, of course, read that as a natural consequence of any game you play for an extended period of time. But I think there are reasons that this is hitting now, when I know full well that if I wanted to there are definitely things I can do in the game. I do not want for content by any stretch of the imagination. So why, then, do I not want to play that content? Why now? What’s different about this situation?

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