Wisdom of Nym: Taking a peek at Final Fantasy XIV’s next patch

Gosh, I feel sort of bad for the person whose job it was to make the next Final Fantasy XIV fan festival reveal seem novel. That must have been a really important job, and I am sure a great deal of time and work went into that. And none of it mattered at all, because everyone already knew that there was going to be another fan festival in about a year, because this game is nothing if not endlessly reliable in this regard.

I can’t tell you the response they were hoping to generate, but I feel relatively confident that “duh” was not it.

Of course, that was a side note to last week’s live letter; the main event was the first preview of the game’s next patch, which is still rather ambiguous but is coming more into focus. No doubt we’ll learn more with the next letter and then move into the new year, so… well, let’s move forward. Let’s stalk about what we know and what is actually surprising.

Now it's a lizard's time to shine.Somewhat unfortunately, a lot of what we learned about the patch was equally unsurprising, in much the same way as the fan festival reveal. It’s not that anyone who likes the game would be unhappy about this; it’s that all of this was stuff that you could see coming a mile away, so it’s less “big surprise” and more “yes, things are going as you expect.”

The story focuses on Doma and will probably incorporate the new dungeon in the Ruby Sea as part of it? Yes, we can guess that. Two new dungeons, one hard mode and one totally new? Yep, predictable. Snake lady beast quests? Uh-huh. New trials based on the Four Symbols starting with the white tiger Byakko? Slightly less predictable, but all of the seeds were sown ages ago and we’ve run out of obvious primals from the story, so it would seem like a given that we would head down this route.

So a lot of these things are things that feel rather… expected, I suppose. That’s probably why a lot of focus was placed on the stuff that wasn’t expected, or at least doesn’t slot into the same general layout of content.

Eureka, for example, is an odd animal right away, because there will supposedly be some leveling content included. You’re also aiming to strengthen your gear while there, which makes me wonder if Eureka isn’t meant as both a fusion of the game’s Deep Dungeon system with its existing exploratory missions. I hope not; while I ultimately like both, I think they fill very different spaces, and I would be sad to think of not actually getting a new portion of the Deep Dungeon to explore.

It’s also slated for the mid-point patch, which is something the game has been getting better about over the years, making sure that the interquel patches still add something new to do for players and spacing out content slightly more. I’m not exactly sad about the idea that this might well be in replacement of the relic weapon quests; we’ll see how it shakes out once we know a little bit more.

We’re also getting some new sort of glamour improvement, which is currently… vague. Like, we know a bit about how the whole Glamour Commode is going to work, but only a bit; there’s a lot of vagueness and a lot of details yet to be revealed. And while it’s a welcome change for anyone who has far more glamours than space to store all of them (hello), the mechanics still feel a little unclear, especially insofar as you need a reason to have this system not wholly replace glamours in general.

Compiling every glamour prism down to a single type is a bit of a surprise, but the writing for that was on the wall once we could buy glamour prisms for seals. Combine that with the new stack limits, and we should all be able to make ourselves look excellent with minimal effort. And we can toss all of our weathered gear in the glamour storage and free up many inventory spaces.

Moving forward, we’ve got more changes coming to the Feast and the addition of PvP teams, which strikes me as some long-needed functionality in a game still struggling to find a way to work out PvP seasons to be enticing without being limiting. I’m also hoping for some new cosmetic gear to pick up along the way, as well; we’ve had the same sets as rewards since Stormblood’s launch, and the result is that you probably have all of the pieces you want by now (if you ever wanted any of them).

Let me live here. Or in the Mist. Actually, a Mist mansion sounds nicer.We also still don’t have any details on how the “new” housing purchase system is going to work, which is… worrying. The reality is that the designers obviously want this time around to not be a frantic, angry dash into the housing districts, and players who want a house should have the option of getting one. Fair enough. But with no details at this time, it can’t help but seem like there isn’t currently a working solution on the table, or at least not one that’s ready to be discussed.

Not that this isn’t a serious problem with lots of moving parts, but the core problem is the extreme first-come first-served nature of the beast, which means that most of the obvious solutions either shift around the issue or start a whole new problem. (Someone suggested auctions, for example, which creates a whole new problem such that people who can buy the plot are still effectively priced out; it also feels predatory.)

This is one of the things that I think is most important for this patch, I’m not going to lie. The game’s biggest current black mark is how horribly housing has been handled from top to bottom; this patch needs to seriously address it, if not fixing it outright. So the fact that we still don’t know anything about how it’s going to happen makes me nervous.

Overall, though, this is one of those patches where it’s hard to feel super-excited just because, well, all of this is the straightforward stuff that you know is going to happen and you aren’t surprised by it. That isn’t a bad thing; in fact, in the context of the game and its reliability, I would argue that it’s downright good. I am happy that we can consistently expect certain things from this title, and patches arrive reliably and with excellent content. But it does mean that it’s hard to act shocked and dazzled by what you already expect to happen.

Perhaps I’ll feel more excited with more housing news and an Omega preview video. I mean, they can’t hurt.

Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next time around, as you have probably guessed, we’ll be continuing on with our usual end-of-the-year antics by looking to the next year of Final Fantasy XIV. Not that you’ll probably read it at the time, considering that next Monday is some holiday or another. Go throw some presents with a bear.

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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Adrian Brown

One other thing to note is that it is not just an overall supply problem. There is an even greater demand for large and medium housing. So increasing wards will not even be enough. Making money in this game is so easy that most people are now seeking medium or large houses.

Whoever designed this housing should be fired. If they were going with non-instanced housing, at least make all plots the same size. Then you could allow people to buy and upgrade their house building size on the same plot. I cannot believe no one thought of this. That would have helped tremendously with the housing demand pressure they are feeling. Right now it is twice as bad as it would have been if plot size was standardized and upgradeable. People don’t just want more housing, they want bigger houses! That’s why apartments were an even bigger debacle. That was a chance to offer large inside space while circumventing the outside plot issue. But yet again, they rushed an idea and took the sloppy shortcut.

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Adrian Brown

As we all know, housing in this game has been badly handled and can only be fixed by increasing supply by an amount that will meet existing and future demand. They can either do this by building a massive amount of wards or introducing instanced housing. The latter is definitely not happening. Budget and time constraints aside, this would be an admission of failure with the existing model (both internally and to customers). The former probably cannot be handled in one fell swoop due to budget, infrastructure and time constraints.

Housing is therefore not going to get fixed in the next patch. The fact that they are changing purchasing rules is a dead giveaway. Unless they are talking massive housing ward increases, everything else is just playing around at the margins in an attempt to keep the population partly mollified until the next earmarked ward increase. Basically, housing for the life of this game will be patch increases with some PR speak nonsense from Yoshi P to deal with outrage.

On the plus side. as the game gets older, it’s population will probably drop off to the point where ward increases may no longer be necessary. Everyone will probably get a house easily then. So check back in a few years! lol

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touchofkiel

I really don’t care about glamour. Find something I like and stick with it – easy! I feel like too many players are obsessed with playing dress-up. Hey, play how you want, I don’t care – but then it affects development, and something like the Commode (lol), my eyes just glaze over. The only problem I have with glamour is changing jobs within the same role/gear, but glamour is restricted to one job. I switch from my (main) awesome bard to my MCH, who looks like a bum. But maybe the real problem is that most of the good or BiS gear is so ugly, no one wants to be seen in it.

As you say, everything is predictable, but in a good, comforting way.

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nobleeinherjar

I feel like the Glamour Commode is going to brush up against what the glamour system should be in FFXIV without actually achieving that goal. Still, that’s better than nothing. I loved when they got rid of graded prisms, and reducing what remains down to a single prism is even better. I can live with that.

I don’t have a lot of hope for housing, though. I almost feel like they would need to devote an entire patch to it. Which would be fine with me, honestly. I’d totally be okay if the dev team sometimes said, “Hey, instead of the usual new dungeons and whatever else for this patch, we’re gonna take this time to clean up , how does that sound?”

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Vincent Clark

Good to see they are going more in-depth with the music system. I’m really feeling the content lull this time around, I think mostly because I’ve decided I’m only going to level a certain number of jobs and focus on those. Now that they’re equipped, I find myself with not much to do (which is why I’m dabbling in some PvP). Lots to do look forward to, but if I’m honest I probably won’t be logging in much once we hit January until the patch drops. I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing though.

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Mike Sanders

I have the opposite feeling about this patch, while nothing is ground breaking. Tt is all stuff that I’m very excited to see finally making it in game, pretty much a giant QoL patch when it comes down to it in addition to your standard content patch stuff.
I do agree about the Housing portion though, it is a big chance for the team to make right one of the biggest mis-steps since ARR hit so it’ll be very interesting to see how it is handled.