Wisdom of Nym: What we know so far about Final Fantasy XIV’s next patch

Book 'em
So we know what’s going on with the next patch for Final Fantasy XIV, or at least as much as could be released during a producer’s letter. The transcript of one, anyhow. I know there are people who totally sit through the whole thing as the transcript of the letter goes up on the forums, and I have to tell you, I am not one of those people.

Regardless, the important thing is that we have some information about the next patch. I feel… oddly ambivalent about it. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t sound bad, but I don’t feel as if it has a feature list that gets me intensely hyped up. But let’s just take this one as it comes and hit the highlights of the content we know about right now. I do think it’s going to be a good patch, mild ambivalence aside; I just don’t look at it and see much in terms of a shock factor.

The Feast

Take the fight to them, etc.I’m of two minds about this particular content because on the one hand, it’s a positive update. PvP players have been waiting for a long while to get some new PvP options, and I’m happy to see another addition to the game’s PvP rotation. For that matter, it looks as if it’s going to add some additional strategy to PvP play.

On the other hand, it seem that this is our new not-on-the-regular-schedule content, like Lords of Verminion was in 3.1. And while I liked that a fair bit for being a joke that the developers decided was popular enough to make into an actual thing, this feels more like an effort to get players to care about something that has been shown to be rather unpopular.

The system does sound neat, and I enjoy the fact that the setup gives another set of options for players who enjoy to fight one another. The role distribution is also interesting, preventing teams with too fixed a composition from storming the metaphorical battlements. What’s really going to wind up making the difference is whether or not enough people care about the ranking option to support it over the long run. At the moment, my suspicion is that it’s going to be touch-and-go in that regard, sort of drifting in and out of critical mass based on novelty.

That might also just be my complaining about things I’m not as interested in, though. Perhaps everyone will finally be gaga over PvP in Eorzea. Anything’s possible, really.

Stone, Sky, Sea

One thing this game was not missing was Proving Grounds-style content with no rewards and no ties to anything. I get the concept, and it surely can’t be as poorly mismanaged as the solo DPS check content has been in other games, but it’s still not tremendously compelling as much more than a mild diversion.

It’s also kind of silly insofar as it’s the game trying to have DPS meters without having DPS meters: You have a hard burn target and you need to get it down in a limited amount of time, and that’s fine, but this setup is just telling you if you can do that rather than actually giving you a target number and seeing if you meet it. Again, I see why the choice is being made, and Twelve know I wouldn’t be sad to not have DPS meters in a game… but people are already running them if they’re really interested. Denial, on the whole, does not seem to be working.

New dungeons and Alexander

Well, duh.

Sure, this is fine, but we all knew these were coming and it provokes no interest in me whatsoever. It’s just whatever. It’s expected stuff, it’s going to be fun, it’s more or less the foundation of every new patch in one form or another. It’s less a surprise and more proof that yes, this next patch is indeed a next patch.

Adjustments all around

Walking through the same door we're already behind.There’s a mild downside to the change in tank damage formulas insofar as it really puts the lie to how pointless the current bonus point system is, but it’s still welcome. For tanks who have been gearing and statting in the intended way all along, it’s going to have no impact, and the net result is fewer fragile tanks. These are positive shifts on a whole.

Astrologian and Machinist have been in need of adjustments for a while, so their updates are welcome. The biggest problem that Machinist has, as before, is that its damage is just too reliant upon randomness; once you’ve used up your ammunition, you’re left hoping until the next time comes around. It’s not a bad job, but that random-proc style of play is a bit much for reliable damage.

It’s a minor update, but I’m very happy to see that the criteria for trial queues allow groups to queue for leveling/trial roulettes now; those were always odd omissions, and it made things a bit more obnoxious for me when I couldn’t get those things done in a party but could do most everything else in a party. If we could just do something about being able to queue with our chocobos out, I’d be extraordinarily happy. (Not expecting that one any time soon, though.)

Mentor system

This seems as if it has the potential to be abused, but it also seems like a really good feature on a whole and a chance for new players to really benefit from more experienced players. One of the facts that myself and several other players have noticed over the years is that FFXIV, on the whole, really does tend to have a community with a welcoming attitude toward new players. The normal reaction to “I’ve never done this dungeon before” is less “Oh, gross” and more “Oh, here, let me go over the bosses for you.”

I know that I’ll probably be trying mentor status myself, at least. I think it’s a positive move that games can do well to embrace, and I’m going to embrace it. And I want to see how the Mentor Roulette winds up shaking out in the long run. Perhaps I’m a little more hyped about that than I originally thought.

The date

The next patch is dropping on February 23rd. That’s honestly a lot earlier than I had expected; my guess was early March, but this one seems to be on a tighter schedule. I am a bit sad that we are unlikely to get the weapon upgrade to 210 before then, which is likely to make it just a wee bit useless for everything other than skin purposes, but that’s a mild niggle and not worth screaming over.

Yes, I know, anima weapons; I think it’s important to have buying an upgrade, getting a drop, or doing the quest as options, that’s my point.

I do also think this is a smart move based on the fact that I’m not the first person who seems to be a little bit ho-hum after 3.1. While this particular feature list doesn’t get me dancing in the streets, that’s just from looking at a rundown rather than playing it; for all I know, the actual play experience will turn me around and get me excited once again. And even if not, it’s still going to be a solid patch; that’s something to be happy about regardless.

Feedback is welcome in the comments below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com, as with every week. Next time around, I’d like to talk about the Warring Triad in history, what we know about it in the game so far, and why it deserves some focus that it’s really not getting.

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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