I have high hopes for 2016. Higher hopes than I did for 2015, at least. 2015 also started out with my being fired for absolutely no good reason and then left to twist in the wind, as you all recall, so it will not take a heck of a lot for this year to turn out better. But you don’t want to know what’s going to happen to me, you want to know what’s going to happen to the game we all know as Final Fantasy XIV
We know it as that because that’s its title, yes. Work with me.
Oddly, we almost incidentally found out one of the big revelations of next year before the year even arrived, but it’s going to take us most of the year to actually get there. But I’m getting slightly ahead of myself. Let’s start looking at 2016 for the game with a mix of speculation, certainty, and smug certainty that we won’t be eating crow about these predictions in five minutes.
Everyone who has listened to my rantings for an extended period of time knows that I did not like the Zodiac Weapon quests in Final Fantasy XIV
much from inception to conclusion. Really, the only part of it I liked were the weapon models… and even that
was touch and go. Put bluntly, they were pretty bad. So here we are again with another line of weapon quests, and the obvious expectation is that I’m probably just as annoyed with this line as I was with the previous one.
But I’m not. In fact, I’m pretty much fine with the Anima Weapons being what they are.
I’m not saying that I’m sure any and all future developments will be absolutely fine, mind you. It’s entirely possible that the next set of quests will make me very angry or annoyed. But as things stand? Yeah, this doesn’t bother me. So why was one a terrible thing and this one I think is all right?
I realize that this is arguably a little early. We’ve still got a couple of weeks left in 2015, after all, and patch 3.15 is going to be dropping later this week so that we all have new stuff to undertake for weapons. But you know, I feel confident evaluating Final Fantasy XIV
now. I feel as if it’s in a state wherein there’s more to see, but not more that needs to be seen for a report card, so to speak.
Everyone who plays the game (and even several people who do not) knew at the start of the year that this would be a big year. It was the game’s first expansion, it involved the wrap-up of the previous storylines, and it was up against several other big high-profile launches. So how did the game do for its second full year of post-relaunch operation? Assuming you’ve forgotten all of the columns I wrote about how it was doing along the way, I mean.
I haven’t forgotten the fact that there were people on the first day of Heavensward
early access sporting level 50 Machinist and Dark Knights. There was a period when the new jobs absolutely dominated low-level roulettes. Heck, they’re still
more common than the others in leveling content. But even with all that having been said, being level 60 on one of the new jobs is no longer a badge of honor. You just are
, at some point, after sufficient leveling.
So where does that leave Final Fantasy XIV‘s three new additions?
None of the new jobs introduced with the expansion is unusual at this point, but they all still occupy a unique place in player culture simply because they are new. Beyond that, however, all three of them have an odd place in player minds that may just be there until we get another set of new jobs with the next expansion. So let’s take a brief and highly unscientific look at where these jobs are as we steamroll toward the new year.
Part of me wonders if there’s someone in the Blizzard Entertainment
offices with a very close eye on Final Fantasy XIV
. Is it a coincidence that after a couple of years during which FFXIV
has been doing great and garnering a great deal of praise, World of Warcraft
announces an expansion which ties very heavily into the idea that classes have a specific place in the world and in lore?
Yes. It is almost certainly coincidence. But it’s a coincidence that makes me very happy, so I suppose I’ll take it.
Final Fantasy XIV makes a big deal out of jobs, classes, and cultural underpinnings, but one of the things that I also see as being a source of great misunderstanding is how those jobs work in the lore of the setting. So today I want to talk a bit about the lore behind jobs, job stones, what these occupations mean, and where all of these jobs exist in the setting. It’ll be fun for the family.
There’s a whole lot to be said about the Diadem. Let’s start: It’s kind of a mess because it’s a really solid idea lacking the clarity of purpose found in most of the game.
Well, that was quick. Who wants lunch? Or, no, you want me to elaborate on that point for another several hundred words as I always do. I suppose that’s fair.
In the broadest terms, the Diadem is sort of meant to be a new style of content for Final Fantasy XIV, something that it hasn’t tried before. The designers have showed that they know how to design dungeons, large-group challenges, massive raids, solo content, crafting content, and so forth. What the game hasn’t yet had is content aimed at loosely banding several players together for content at a lower stress threshold. That was the idea behind Hunts, but due to a number of factors, they didn’t quite work. And most of those same factors are hitting the Diadem just as hard, just from different angles.
Part of me feels really ungrateful for being upset that it took five
months instead of the usual three
to get Final Fantasy XIV
‘s next big patch. It’s even more like four and a half, which just makes me kind of want to smack myself, because how high on Maslowe’s hierarchy of needs are you
? Seriously, who gets upset when the magical wonder box that is this game dispenses a fresh dose of marvelous content at a slightly
Apparently, I do. That is a character flaw to be addressed at a later date.
Still, the reality exists that all that time has passed. It’s a real thing. And while I can gently chastise myself until I’m blue in the face, there’s the fact that said long gap leads to certain expectations. I’m generally pleased with the patch, but there are a few things that do sort of bother me, some of which I expected and some of which were surprising. Let’s dive in.
There are a lot of things that I really like about Final Fantasy XIV
, a fact that should come as a surprise to practically no one reading this column. This specific week, however, I’m happy that the game’s developers have a longstanding tradition of making the patch notes for large patches available well in advance of the actual patch. Sure, certain elements are omitted before the full notes, such as the recipes that could otherwise lead to widespread market inflation, but the gist of the notes are available in advance.
Patch 3.1 is no different, and as such I’ve had a couple of days to mull over the notes. The obvious big features like Void Ark and the exploratory missions are things to be discussed as the patch is actually played, and you know that’s going to be the subject of the column over the next few weeks. But some things can be analyzed just from the notes, and so I’m going to examine the notes, consider what we know, and rant about a colossally dumb decision that has been made.
We’ve still got a preview or two to go before the main event, but Final Fantasy XIV
‘s first post-expansion patch is on its way very soon. November 10th is when it’s slated to go live, after all. So now its the time to get those last bits of speculation and theorizing in before the day itself — and start preparing for the patch proper. Not that there’s a whole lot to be done to
prepare, other than possibly stockpiling materia when no one will care for quite some time.
The last letter from the producer had a few more tidbits covering elements of the patch, although a lot of it centered around Lords of Verminion and exploratory missions without adding a lot to our existing knowledge of those features. So let’s take this last moment before the launch to speculate a little more about the patch and consider the future, and then you can expect a survival guide to said patch next week.
Every game has stuff in it that’s dummied out. There are ideas that the developers brought to a certain point without ever finishing, and that’s fine. But Final Fantasy XIV
has an entire development line for the game that never went beyond the very early concept stages, a set of planned updates that were unceremoniously canned when the game encountered intensely negative reception for good reason.
The question, of course, is whether this stuff might be more relevant than we think for determining the future.
A lot of speculation was flying around when we still had yet to find out the new skills being added to the game with the launch of Heavensward, but I think there’s a lot of points to still be seen within there, and it’s not as if speculation about what comes next has stopped with the expansion release. So let’s take a look at the stuff that was going to be in the game and answer with some certainty the question of whether or not any of it is still relevant.
One of the damage dealers in the party can’t stay out of damaging effects because moving interrupts his casts, and he thinks finishing a cast is more important than not getting killed. The other DPS seems to think that she’s winning if she can pull threat off of the tank, usually by pulling groups that the tank hasn’t even seen. And the fact that the tank is wearing nothing but Slaying accessories and hasn’t even broken 13,000 HP as a Warrior doesn’t help matters either.
But the dungeon still gets cleared successfully. Why? Because of the healer.
Healers in Final Fantasy XIV are fairly involved as roles go, given far more tasks than simply desperately clicking on party members while making health bars go back up. Oh, sure, that’s a big portion of what they do, but there’s respectable damage and support to go along with it. So now that we’ve covered the other roles, it’s high time to give the healers their due.
In one respect, Final Fantasy XIV
is an incredibly flexible game. You are never actually locked into a single role or job; even if you’ve been playing a dedicated Warrior since the launch of the game, you can always start taking up the lance and become a solid Dragoon. You always have options. So from one point of view, there’s nothing
wrong with your options for playing a given job.
On the other hand, there’s still the screaming problem that there’s no customization once you make that choice.
There’s been an issue in place since the game launched in straddling the line between what players can and can’t toggle around. While the current state of affairs is arguably better than the game was at launch, it’s still not good, and it has a major issue insofar as the game has two systems for player customization that both don’t work in the slightest. It’s something I’ve talked about before, and it’s something that should be examined in more depth.
The purpose of magical damage in Final Fantasy XIV
is to ruin everything. Really. You get a huge group of enemies together, and then you ruin them with a barrage of magical forces. Not literally using Ruin most of the time, that works its way into your rotation but isn’t a mandatory thing at all times. Though it’s pretty important for Summoners, I know. Mostly as a filler.
Just as ranged DPS and melee DPS has a niche in the game, magical DPS has its niche, and while Summoner was originally sold as a bit more of a debuffer than simply a DPS with a heavy damage-over-time element, we’re here now. So to round out the previous columns on the DPS jobs in the game, let’s take a look at the two damage-dealing casters in all of their glory. Mind the explosions, those show up a lot. Also mind the damage fields. It’s sort of their thing.