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