wisdom of nym

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

Wisdom of Nym: Taking on the Final Fantasy XIV patch 3.3 notes

I really hope you got anything you wanted done before Final Fantasy XIV‘s patch finished up yesterday because the game is down all day today. That’s what happens when you get new housing wards, after all. But let’s put the inevitable housing rush and associated gnashing of teeth to one side for the moment; we’ve got patch notes to analyze! Isn’t that fun? Don’t you find that exciting? I’m excited.

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.

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Wisdom of Nym: Jobs we are unlikely to ever see in Final Fantasy XIV

We all have jobs that we want to see in Final Fantasy XIV. Some of them are pretty much definitively going to happen (I would be very surprised if we didn’t see Samurai, especially since every game in the franchise with jobs bar Final Fantasy III has it). Others are possible, but part of the grand morass of possibility without any certainty. And some of them are just plain pie-in-the-sky thinking, like my desire to see Enhancement Shaman Only In FFXIV And Hopefully With A Shorter Name Than This.

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.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s lingering quality-of-life issues

The next big Final Fantasy XIV patch is bringing us flowerpots and new housing plots. These are both good things. The housing plot prices are being normalized across all servers, which is also a good thing. And considering the intense amount of work and care that’s going into every single patch for the game, complaining about the quality of life within Eorzea sometimes feels intensely unkind. There are games that I can only dream of getting this level of attention from their development teams, regardless of size.

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.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s class weaknesses and why they matter

The other day, I was browsing the official Final Fantasy XIV forums for a reason I can no longer recall. I am sure it made sense at the time, but then, I’m sure of lots of things. On the browse, I found someone complaining that as it currently stands, Ninja has pretty terrible AoE, and the designers really need to do something about that because it makes the job less useful on dungeon runs.

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.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV could use some Merit Points

The cross-class system in Final Fantasy XIV is not good. It functions, yes, but the mixing and matching of abilities from other classes is basically dead in the water. The only classes with abilities that can be mixed and matched are the original nine classes, and those abilities are a short list of expected additions to a given job’s toolset. The result is a game that feels very light on customization, and that’s a problem the game would do well to address.

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?

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s first patch 3.3 live letter

I don’t know why, but I was kind of surprised by the sheer volume of discussion about Final Fantasy XIV patch 3.3 in the last live letter. I expected it, yes. I knew the letter was going to be about patch 3.3, we had all but been told that it would be, it’s not exactly stunning. And yet at the same time, I found myself kind of blinking in surprise, as if I hadn’t expected to learn this much for a patch that still feels like it’s further out. I still have more tomestone gear to get!

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.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s deepest dungeon, Palace of the Dead

The funny thing about Final Fantasy XIV, in some ways, is that the game could actually get away for a reasonably long time without innovating much. A cadence exists in the game and has for some time, a reliable and straightforward pattern of content updates and releases. A new patch comes out with dungeons, either more raid content or more catch-up content, and more story content. That’s been the routine of the game since, oh, the first few patches.

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.

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Wisdom of Nym: What we should (and shouldn’t) expect from Final Fantasy XIV’s next expansion

We all know that this year’s Fanfest is going to include an announcement of a new Final Fantasy XIV expansion. “Know” might be too far, admittedly (“expect” is more accurate), but there’s every reason to expect it. That’s why I’ve already done a bit of speculating about where we’ll go and what we can expect in terms of new jobs.

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.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s missing Midgardsormr

What is Midgardsormr doing?

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.

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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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