Wisdom of Nym: Gold Saucer impressions in Final Fantasy XIV

    
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Are you not entertained?
After a madcap week, I got to come home to the Gold Saucer. Traveling to Seattle on short notice was a mixture of the good and the bad, and I was certainly happy to be back home, but I was all the happier when I had Final Fantasy XIV‘s den of gambling-but-not-really to look forward to upon arrival. What could be better?

Well, a system that was actually ready to account for the vast influx of people who wanted to take part in the minigames would have been a good idea, but let’s not get crazy, hmm?

Thematically, the Gold Saucer comes at a highly inappropriate time, since Eorzea is kind of tearing itself apart at the seams while people gamble ceaselessly. But it’s also something that’s both fun and almost infinitely expandable, a feature that will fit well into the game after the initial rush has worn off. So let’s take a look at the Saucer, the many games therein, and how everything shakes down on the average.

If you're wondering why Godbert hired Ruby Rhod to run the Saucer, I'm not sure. Actually, I'm as confused as you are.Triple Triad

The biggest disappointment I have about this game is that you can’t play people in dungeons, which is a shame. It’s the perfect thing to do while one player is AFK! But then, it also works just as well waiting for a queue or a Hunt or whatever. I suppose that letting people sling cards in the middle of Wanderer’s Palace would have been a wee bit jarring, after all.

Mechanically, the game has remained almost untouched from its Final Fantasy VIII incarnation except to swap in new rules that I find both easier to understand and far less obnoxious. Plus/Same are the ones that consistently give people trouble, but they’re honestly not that bad when you take into account the description and the intent behind them.

While there are a fair number of cards available as drops, most of those are available through other means or through content that isn’t particularly difficult to clear in the first place. It’s a nice addition in the sense of being something to fritter away your time with while waiting for other content; I wouldn’t say I find it compelling enough to play completely on its own, but it’s not unpleasant, and the process for earning cards is diverse enough not to be irritating. And hey, if you always wanted to be a card shark…

Chocobo Racing

Before the patch, everyone seemed excited for Triple Triad and completely unaware of the existence of chocobo racing. I can understand the former a little better now, but boy, racing is a whole other ball of wax. And it’d be ideal… if not for the fact that the only place to queue for a race is in the Saucer itself.

I don’t need to tell anyone who’s been playing the game lately that the Saucer has some serious congestion problems lately, do I? It seems to have gotten mildly better, but that’s not the same as “good,” and I can’t imagine that everyone who wants to send birds a-racin’ being crammed into the same area helps matters in the least.

The actual races themselves are a blast, playing out as what amounts to Mario Kart with leveling birds. It’s also very clearly built to be extensible. Like other parts of the games, it uses existing maps in creative ways, and there’s nothing preventing us from getting new maps in future updates or picking up other chocobo breeding options. I consider that very much to its credit.

If we could just queue up from anywhere, I would argue that this is the best part of the Saucer. As it stands, it’s very good, but it misses that crucial benchmark.

Welcome to your series role.GATEs and other attractions

The GATEs are easy to clear for substantial rewards; I don’t know what cutoff point you would hit with Triple Triad or consistent racing results before they become a worse use of your time. Their irregular spawn rate is solid, though, since they work well as something else to do while at the Saucer rather than something altogether farm-worthy. Making the NPCs a bit easier to see during the dance-off would be nice.

The minigames are… cute, but not too engaging. I appreciate the fact that you can grab a few MGP with Cuff-a-Cur, but they’re essentially time-wasters in an area that is all about time-wasters. With their rewards being so low, I admit I don’t see the point except for continuity; upping their rewards would be a bad idea since they’re so low-impact.

Last but not least are the Cactpot drawings, and it is here that I would hasten to remind everyone that the “consolation prize” for the big drawing is based on participation. If you want more change for a losing set of numbers, get more people to play. They’re both good “passive” ways to enlarge your bankroll a little, hardly the central attractions but worth swinging over to pick up whilst you’re racing or being a card shark.

Rewards are a bit on the pricey end if you look at them as something to do this patch, but they’re quite reasonable if you take the approach that this is an infusion of content for the next several months and well into Heavensward. I know that I’m not going to be picking up the Gambler’s Coat tomorrow, bu I also know that I have plenty of time to do so, and it’s not something that’s going to take me a huge amount of time every day to nab. There’s an off chance that you’d win the big drawing, too.

Overall

In terms of actual minigames, the Saucer feels a bit empty right now. There are only two worth discussing, Triple Triad and Chocobo Racing. That having been said, Triad is a great way to spend a little time here and there; the races are as insanely detailed as you would expect a system in this game to be. It’s not a major piece of content, and it won’t invigorate you if you’re beyond bored with the game as a whole, but it does make for a welcome inclusion and should help you wile away the hours.

Besides, nothing that allows you to pick up a fat chocobo minion can be easily disregarded.

Feedback is welcome in the comments below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com, same as it ever was. Next week, let’s talk about what was learned at PAX as I head back down from that event and after we’ve seen several writeups about that. Also from me. It’s going to be a busy week.

The Nymian civilization hosted an immense amount of knowledge and learning, but so much of it has been lost to the people of Eorzea. That doesn’t stop Eliot Lefebvre from scrutinizing Final Fantasy XIV each week in Wisdom of Nym, hosting guides, discussion, and opinions without so much as a trace of rancor.
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Anad
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Anad

Madda actually if whats shared on reddit is true, he already appeared in some people’s races, but using a chocobo called Toho Fuhai ^^!!

Noble_Einherjar
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Noble_Einherjar

I really enjoy Triple Triad in FFXUV, but I’m annoyed that I have to run dungeons and stuff to get certain cards. I spent forever trying to get the Demon Wall card before I realized you can only get it in Amdapor Keep. I wish you could get it either way, as a drop from the dungeon or from, you know, playing the card game they bothered to implement.

J2K
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J2K

wolfyseyes pilafluff Terra Card is from beating Ultros in The Dragons Neck trial

xania
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xania

“They’re both good “passive” ways to enlarge your bankroll a little”

God, I want your luck. I haven’t made back my money yet on any cactpot. The closest I’ve gotten is 80 MGP from a mini cactpot. If that emote dancing GATE didn’t exist I wouldn’t even bother leaving the chocobo square, the rest of the place is too much of a gamble for me (yes I realise the irony.) Losing MGP due to luck sucks when it’s so hard to get. I’m just lucky I usually play at a time when my server is dead so I can easily win 1st in chocobo races against NPCs.

Krenian
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Krenian

I think, honestly, this is one of the more pivotal patches that S-E was able to put in. It is finally a patch where they actually focused on something else other than raids, or battles. This is more horizontal content that I was hoping for. The idea of breeding plus leveling your chocobo is a whole new game on it’s own and the Triple Triad card game is a nice little feature to spend time when you’re bored; especially waiting for queue as Eliot was saying.

A couple of addendums:

Add a button to concede the Triple Triad game. This comes at a cost cause someone could easily just concede a game over and over and over, but in another way, is already programmed that after 3-5 times, you lose any good reward to do it. Just make it that if you concede more than 5 times, you actually do not win or lose anything. Conceding should not be a cheating method to lose your way to riches. If you put a restriction like that, concede works for what it should work as: Leaving the match. I actually played TT with my wife to pass the queue time and we got locked out accidentally in the roulette because of it. lol Our fault but it would have been nice to just hit a button and concede. I don’t mind losing and getting 0 points due to hitting concede. 

I understand the complaint with Eliot about queuing only at the Saucer, but it’d be hard to implement the chocobo queue in the queue window. You have 3 levels (that I know) that have 4 sub options. Maybe, if you want, just add the random sub option if you use the queue system in our duty finder window but some people like certain areas and would rather just do that area (I’m a fan of the Desert, tbh.) I suppose for those who really wanna choose, they should go at the chocobo area and queue from there but I just don’t see too much of the fuss in regards to that. Makes the saucer actually a bit more full and in the whole week, I never ran into a congestion issue (Sargatanas, but a caveat to this is my wife has seen it congested before.) Think this is an issue that with time, it will resolve itself.

The mini games are just that but kinda left to the side as they really don’t give much point. Maybe add a situation that if you actually win the game, there’s a retry with a higher possibility to get double points, up to 5x or something…Might give more of an incentive to play them. For now, they’re rather pointless. 

The fact I said this might be pivotal patch is to see how people feel about content that is nothing with progression via gear and everything about progression through other content. They’re exploring and seeing how it does. I honestly wish this could be more of a thing instead of the constant grind for gear to endgame. I understand the game is meant to be Vanilla WoW with FF components but with it being a success, it’s now the time to try different things to see and distinguish itself from the other MMOs out there. 

Just my two cents.

Zyonight
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Zyonight

I’ve enjoyed my time in Gold Saucer so far. It’s a great way to break up playtime, although I have to admit that it’s been all I’ve done since the update. 

Chocobo racing has been the highlight for me. It’s so easy just to have one more race. I hope I don’t get bored of it too quickly ;)

Vagrant Zero
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Vagrant Zero

Don’t see too many people use the words fritter or wile. I sense a Pink Floyd fan in Eliot.

Leviathonlx
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Leviathonlx

I do like that it’s pretty clear that there are sections set aside for additions to the Gold Saucer along with Chocobo Racing.

Walpurgisnacht
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Walpurgisnacht

imolnar Walpurgisnacht Did it have physics (like ramp jumps and sliding)? I would hope that FFXIV could handle something like that.

SorriorDragneel
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SorriorDragneel

I STILL say cloud should have gone snowboarding on his sword.