Of course, the patch notes rarely contain a whole lot of surprising stuff; we knew all of the major additions coming with this patch well in advance, and in some ways the biggest surprise is simply what isn’t coming with this particular patch. There are no new big systems coming with patch 3.3, nothing to turn the existing rules on their ear, nothing but more content. Of course, it’s new content almost everywhere, so this may not be a bad thing. So let’s take a trip through what we know of the patch and get geared up.
wisdom of nym
But then there are the jobs that have the series pedigree to show up and all the reason in the world to be there… but probably won’t ever be added to the game. Today, it’s that list that I want to tackle. If you’re holding out hope for one of these to be added to the game, I don’t want to tell you it’s never going to happen, but I would advise you to acquire some slightly more realistic hopes. It doesn’t look good.
But at the same time, it’s hard to ignore some issues that have just… persisted. Housing changes just sort of shoved this into higher contrast. So with all due respect, I think it’s fair to look at some quality of life issues and mechanics that have glaring issues which still aren’t being addressed, even though these are not new or surprising issues for developers or players by now. We all know about this stuff, but outside of vague acknowledgement we could use some actual words. We got some on egi glamours, at least.
That stayed in my brain. Because on the one hand, the person who wrote that was completely right. Ninja does have weak AoE capability; we have three AoE skills, two of them are tied to Ninjutsu cooldowns, and the third is almost entirely worthless in terms of actually damage done per TP. (If someone is spamming Death Blossom, she is playing poorly.) But the author was also completely wrong because that’s not a problem. The only problem is if you try to play Ninja as if it did have tons of AoE capability. And buffing up that ability would make for a worse job and a worse game.
Why? Because every class needs weaknesses.
There’s also a leveling problem in the game insofar as there’s a level sync system to allow higher-level players to interact with lower-level content… but not to give much motivation for doing so. Doing a random low-level FATE on a maxed job offers me virtually nothing; I get a pittance of gil and seals I could earn more easily doing almost anything. Once you have everything maxed out, content worth experience feels actively counterproductive, because you can’t earn it and can’t get any real benefits from it.
Isn’t it nice when one system suggests a solution to multiple problems at the same time?
Then again, perhaps it’s only fitting, because this patch is… not the end of an era, but the start of a big sea change. Just like patch 2.3 marked the start of a change from the relaunch story into Heavensward, patch 3.3 looks like it’s going to start setting the stage for the next expansion. Unless, of course, we’re getting elaborately faked out. Regardless, let’s look at what we know so far about the patch.
That’s not to say that the game hasn’t had really new stuff added along the way, of course – hunts, the Gold Saucer, treasure maps, the game’s entire PvP system and all of the according modes. But the core PvE rotation has become fairly locked in place over time. There are some minor shifts, some slight alterations, but at the heart of everything is a very reliable cadence and pace. And it’s one that could, in theory, continue for a very long time.
None of that is stopping. But the Palace of the Dead seems poised to break that particular cadence by adding even broader options.
But all of that may be pointless because no one has ever promised us new jobs with every expansion. Or even new areas. Heck, we had a Final Fantasy XI expansion that added only frustrations and nothing else if you couldn’t hack through an incredibly difficult set of storyline missions.
So for today’s column, I want to look at what we are likely to get in the next expansion, in loose order of likelihood and why. It’s all well and good to make predictions about X, Y, or Z fitting into the game, but you can come up with a very convincing explanation for something that’s unlikely to happen in the first place.
The lord of the wyrms played a major role in the end of the 2.x story series in Final Fantasy XIV, and he was a pretty big influence through all of Heavensward. Yet the reality is that we don’t know a great deal about him beyond the fact that he’s old, powerful, and pursuing his own agenda with gusto. He’s neither an enemy nor an ally, precisely, even though he fulfills both roles over the course of the MSQ. And there was something about all of that sitting with some discomfort in the back of my mind.
A couple of weeks ago, I realized what it was that bothered me. Fair warning: Today’s column contains spoilers for the ongoing MSQ, albeit not major ones, and a whole lot of speculation. If you haven’t yet done the quests and want to avoid some minor spoilers, you may not want to click below, although I assure you that the spoilers you will see aren’t major plot points.
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.
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.