Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV is ready to expand

    
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It's not just me, right?
There’s a phrase that gets passed around my house frequently these days, and the phrase is “expansion mode.” I have two characters locked into it in Final Fantasy XIV. My wife has one. Our constant companion has one. I suspect many of my readers have at least one, possibly more. This is a bit upsetting because you get to that point only if you’re a pretty big fan of Final Fantasy XIV, but it sort of shuts down your prospect of playing the game for a while.

Expansion mode is that state where your character is as ready for the expansion as you care to be. Sure, you could run more dungeons in theory, clear another piece of content or two… but what’s the point? You’re not trying to catch up. You can get into Ishgard. You are, for all intents and purposes, done with the majority of the game as it stands now. That means that by definition you are not the person that the last incremental patch is designed to address.

I'm so above all of this that I'm no longer bothering with gravity.There have been two significant intermezzo patches that I haven’t really discussed here. The first was the Steps of Faith “nerf,” which I don’t really think deserves the name. Second, of course, was the bump of the Poetics cap from 450 a week to 900 a week, or what I described as the death of my motivation to bother capping every week.

It’s not that I couldn’t do so to keep fleshing out one of my other classes; I could most certainly finish kitting out my PLD or SCH or whatever. It’s that I cannot, really, get 900 poetics in a week on demand. Once it became something that I couldn’t do without murdering myself with constant roulettes, my interest dropped pretty rabidly because seriously, it doesn’t matter. I’m at 130 on my main job, I’m in expansion mode, and I just needed something to do.

But, of course, it’s not for me.

Let’s step back for a moment and talk about the Steps of Faith, which was recently toned down. I don’t care for the phrasing of nerf because leaving aside how mangled that term has become, the actual mechanics of the trial are identical. Cast times for abilities are no shorter, stuff like Landwaster will still wreck your day just as certainly, and you still have to pay attention to when you fire those Dragonkillers.

All that’s changed are the numbers. The last time I ran the trial pre-tuning, a single missed dragonkiller was death. Afterward, we succeeded with a missed Killer shot without too much trouble. It would have been better to hit, and we hit with both of the other killers, but that wasn’t the point.

If you want to argue that the trial is easier, you’re allowed to, but I don’t think there’s much actual change there. What I feel has changed is simply the amount of margin for error present in the trial. It’s no longer a matter of hitting perfectly with every part of the trial or dying immediately, then watching as Vishap slooooooowly marches along the bridge.

In other words, it’s not for the people who could not get the mechanics down to save their lives. It’s for the people who haven’t already done the trial to death and just want to be able to clear it before the expansion launches. Having brought my alt up to that level and done the trial again pre-tuning, it feels like a reasonable change; I ran with at least two groups that ended in failure even though everyone knew the mechanics just because tuning allowed for no gaps in execution.

Not everyone was clearing Steps of Faith on the day it came out. Some people came to it later. Some people are just now getting to this content, and since the powers that be have decided that it’s necessary content to see the expansion… well, Square-Enix is not stupid. It wants people to experience the expansion and the content therein.

The poetics cap is a similar function. If you wanted to, you could have a full set of 120 gear in a handful of weeks with the new cap. Sure, it’d take a whole bunch of dungeon running, but you could. You could definitely go into the expansion well-kitted and ready to hit new challenges right in the face. The goal is not to make sure that the people who have capping religiously can ascend a bit higher; it’s to make sure that everyone who has been playing catch-up can, in fact, catch up to a reasonable degree.

You can also take shots like you're in the middle of a music video.None of this does anything to mollify those of us who are in expansion mode, but what in the world could? By definition, we’re pretty much done. What we need now is more content, like, say… an entire expansion. And that’s not coming out until next month.

I may have a countdown running.

Part of what I enjoy about FFXIV in philosophical terms is that while the team doesn’t seem to be perfect about it, there is a general acceptance of the idea that people coming in later should be able to catch up and get to the top. There is not a slow grind to the apex that requires doing steps along the way which you don’t care about; there’s the apex, but as that height gets bigger, the steps along the way become easier. The Crystal Tower series, the ever-rising tide of tomestones, everything is a matter of releasing the new best and brightest, then making it easier to get up there. This is how it’s always been.

So right now, it’s easier to get up to a good place for Heavensward‘s starting gun. I think that’s pretty awesome. We’ve even been promised that once the starting gun goes off, we’ll have a little time to get comfortable and get going before we have to worry about weekly caps, which it a good thing for me, since I’ve got at least one character who will need to make up 20 levels before getting back to current content.

It’s been more than a year, we’ve all settled into a comfortable routine, and I’m not going to lie and pretend I haven’t been having a grand old time. With occasional missteps. But as far as I’m concerned, all of this is signaling that the game no longer cares about this stuff right now. There’s an expansion coming, and it’s going to be a whole new ball of wax.

Until then, I’m sort of stuck in expansion mode. It isn’t fun for me, honestly, but it means that the people who aren’t stuck in expansion mode have more space to catch up. I consider that a net win.

As always, you can feel free to tell me that I’m full of it down in the comments or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Or you can agree with me if you can really think of no finer use of your time for an idle evening. Next time around, I want to talk about what we’ve seen of the new skills so far… or not, because we’re kind of lacking in context for all of them and don’t know what they’re going to be. (It will make sense when I write it, promise.)

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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SomniumWintersun
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SomniumWintersun

I am most definitely in expansion mode. All classes 50, all DoW/DoM at 100+ ilvl with SMN and BLM at 130 with Zeta’s. I basically just log in, do a quick trial roulette and do my daily cactpot…oh, and i also kill 100 things with my chicken out for the weekly challenge, lol.

seemsthatway98
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seemsthatway98

RoboPurkit That’s how I always feel about people who wanna do nothing but solo in an MMORPG. I get that people wanna play how THEY wanna play. But it’s pretty unrealistic for people to think they’ll NEVER have to interact with other people. Kinda the point of an MMORPG. If they don’t wanna deal with anyone and just play by themselves, they’re in the wrong genre and shout hit up 1 player games.

ReginaldAtkins
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ReginaldAtkins

my WHM is sitting at il125, so not *quite* where I want to be, that’s fine cause it gives me plenty to do and we have lots of friends playing who need help. Couple of brand new players even, so I have things to do even if it’s not things for me.  Would I be happy to ping il 130 before the expansion, sure.. course, but if I don’t it’s not the end of the world. I never capped poetics before the bump up and I’m certainly not going to break myself to do so now.

RoboPurkit
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RoboPurkit

Midgetsnowman seemsthatway98 I was an alt-alohic in other games, but you have to remember that you need multiple jobs on the same character for the cross job skills. Without those you are missing out on some really important abilities, which other players will expect you to have. If you don’t have them people will tell you exactly why you should have them, in… lets say a very strident manner.

Then again if you want to solo FF14 you should probably just play a solo FF game instead, there are way better solo experiences than FF14 in the FF universe. As someone that tends towards solo play myself I’d recommend trying to find a nice guild (they do exist), play with other people and try out some of FF14 group content, its really quite good.

Ramellan
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Ramellan

I’ve hit this mode pretty hard myself. I’m a mini altoholic, and I’ve gotten 3 characters through the story, all decently geared enough for the next stage. So now I just busy myself with little oddball things whenever the mood strikes me. Sightseeing log one day, Triple Triad the next. Now I’m buying rare, expensive furniture to renovate my room. and of course Roleplaying, the reason I even have 3 alts.
sigh, I really, really should take a break from it and finish my other games, though. I bought Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider in the last year, but FFXIV eats up so much of my time I still haven’t beaten them yet! Now’s your chance, dummy! Get on that!

seemsthatway98
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seemsthatway98

BryanCole I gave up on the relic weapon a long time ago. The grind isn’t fun, not gonna do it. You can get an 130 weapon without doing relic. Still takes a bit of time, but it’s not really that bad compared to relic. :)

BryanCole
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BryanCole

Just resubbed myself, stuck on the Shiva part of the storyline. So…hoping I can get through it in the next few weeks in time for the expansion.  My only issue ever really was the insane grind required for the Zenith weapon and animus and all of it’s following steps whatever those are called.  Only wanted to do it on at least one character but that Fate grind…just isn’t fun and pushes me away from it instead pulling me to it and anyway, seems like it won’t matter in a month anyways.

seemsthatway98
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seemsthatway98

Midgetsnowman That’s fair, and completely understandable. I remember as much as I wanted to play Ninja when it was released, I did have a hard time leveling it. I wasn’t a fan of chain running dungeons and FATEs to level. In all fairness though, grinding levequests isn’t any different from doing regular quests. It’s all about perception really. I still think they should allow every quest to be available 1 time per class. That way you can still level on 1 character. I really hope they revisit the way questing is done in the expansion.

seemsthatway98
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seemsthatway98

Eliot_Lefebvre I’d like a Wanderer’s Palace run. For me it’s Keeper of the Lake every time I decide to do expert roulette lol. (I don’t do every roulette every day)

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

seemsthatway98 Midgetsnowman In short, my problem with it is that I can do every class on one character, but that leaves me with zero quests to do very quickly, and then I’m kind of stuck doing content I dont enjoy.