Wisdom of Nym: Actual outdated content in Final Fantasy XIV

As we start down the road through 2018, I feel it’s important and appropriate to look at the content in Final Fantasy XIV that could actually use an update and/or some way to become more relevant in the current environment once more. Surprisingly, that list is not terribly lengthy.

Perhaps it shouldn’t surprising at that; one of the things that the game has consistently done is find ways to make sure that important content this week is still important next week, even as you continually have new content to experience. The addition of the Alliance Roulette seems tailor-made to ensure that one of the older bits of content is still very desirable to players, and it hits that mark nicely with a big chunk of experience and a bounty of tomestones.

But there is still some content that’s languishing somewhat. Not just stuff like exploration missions and Palace of the Dead, either (those both need new installments, but traditional roulettes aren’t even viable there). So let’s look at where we can get some updates, expansion, and improvement to some content that’s just not relevant any more.

Grand Companies

It's not like the added pieces weren't stylish, but for once that isn't the point.The addition of dungeons we can run with our squads sure does help this particular feature, but it doesn’t address the central problem that Grand Companies basically have nothing to do. They are, for most players, a place to toss unwanted gear and to pick up some consumables (mostly glamour prisms) as an according reward. They don’t really do anything, they don’t have any actual relevance to the content you’re actually clearing.

Some of this, of course, is because grand company leves became a thing of the past in Heavensward, but in Stormblood particularly we’re feeling the sting where there’s no real in-story relevance to any particular allegiance. We haven’t actually gotten new equipment since we got squadrons, and that alone was two pieces; forget any cosmetic weapons for Samurai or Red Mage.

For that matter, the ranking mechanism has some issues as it stands. It could all use some updates, and some of those would be well-served by getting yanked or improved from…

Allied Seal hunts

Some people probably adored hunts as they were first implemented. They were definitely in the minority. Even the people who took advantage of rampaging hunt trains across the countryside to obsolete capping tomestones any other way and upgrade everything with a deluge of hunt seals didn’t really seem to enjoy them much. And now that basically no one is concerned with this as relevant content any more, Allied Seals feel like the dirty stepchild of the Centurio Seals we’ve all gotten used to.

It’s especially notable because the original hunts make every mistake that the subsequent hunts don’t make. They don’t use a unified currency, they don’t support leveling at all, you don’t have a collection of them to do; you have five per day, two of them FATE targets (a mechanic no one liked at all), and all for rewards that provide no actual advantage beyond cosmetics that were overpriced when this was relevant content.

Ultimately, we need some restructuring here. A slapped-together solution would be in just upping the number of seals for each hunt significantly; a better solution is working through old-world hunts to be closer to the ones we have through the rest of the game. I’ve long praised the game for having mechanics at one stage teaching you the next, but hunts don’t do that at the moment; that could stand to be addressed.

Extreme Primals/Coil/Alexander

Furniture and mounts, in short.The problem here is that challenge content doesn’t fit nicely in any sort of roulette structure. The bright side is that none of this content is worthless just the same; there’s reasons to go back, and it’s not terribly hard to clear. But it’s kind of weird, at least to me, that you have more reason to run Sophia’s normal mode than you do her challenge mode, when the whole reason she had the former was to prepare you for the latter.

Of course, without gutting the challenge, there isn’t a whole lot that can necessarily be done with this content to make it super-relevant again. Adding in some crafting items from Alexander savage might not be a bad idea, but this may also just be a case where some things wind up less relevant. (But nothing else winds up in that spot, which makes it feel more glaring.)

The 2.x quest series

Here’s content that needs some updating despite not, technically, being repeatable content in any way, shape, or form. Once you’ve done this on one character, you will never have to deal with this ever again. I think that’s a big part of why it hasn’t been updated, because let’s be real, you’re done with it once you’re done with it. Why bother changing it?

Oh, right, because new players are going to run smack into this wall of content locked at a very specific level and with little to no relevance to anything. This is going to slow everyone’s leveling pace down to a crawl, and for no real reason other than the fact that these were bulked out to make the patches feel longer. (Seriously, it’s impossible to overstate how much better things are in the 3.x series.)

I can imagine this is low on the priority list for consolidation and changes, but it’s still something worth considering. Since we’ve had similar cases where low-level stuff needs to be re-addressed before, another pass would not go amiss.

Oh dang.

FATEs

The bright side that I’ve noted about FATEs in this expansion is that they really do offer you a more pleasant experience with this expansion than in the past. Leveling through rampaging hordes covering maps is generally not productive, and there’s good reason to seek out the ones with experience bonuses while you’re leveling. And then once you’ve hit the level cap, you can basically forget they exist altogether.

And yes, that is a little bit of a problem, because FATEs are one of those open world content bits. It’s kind of helpful to give players a reason to go back to them, but we’ve also had it implied that we’re not getting another relic weapon to hammer on for this expansion. So… what do we do about FATEs if their usual bump back to prominence is no longer there?

I will happily admit that this is one of those things where any objections I have are a bit more limited; I’ve never been a huge fan of FATEs, and anything that gives players more reason not to mindlessly chase them is all right in my book. But I also can’t help but notice that I have literally no reason whatsoever to actually pay attention to any FATE that spawns on my map, which feels a little off. Doing something to bump up the rewards and give something at least remotely meaningful to max-level players might not be the worst idea.

Feedback, like always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, I’d like to talk a little bit about stats, melds, and how to improve materia as a concept as well as in execution.

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.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

5
LEAVE A COMMENT

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Loyal Patron
agemyth 😩

I think that’s a big part of why it hasn’t been updated, because let’s be real, you’re done with it once you’re done with it. Why bother changing it?

Oh, right, because new players are going to run smack into this wall of content locked at a very specific level and with little to no relevance to anything. This is going to slow everyone’s leveling pace down to a crawl, and for no real reason other than the fact that these were bulked out to make the patches feel longer. (Seriously, it’s impossible to overstate how much better things are in the 3.x series.)

I can imagine this is low on the priority list for consolidation and changes, but it’s still something worth considering. Since we’ve had similar cases where low-level stuff needs to be re-addressed before, another pass would not go amiss.

I almost posted a complaint about how the 1.0 content needed a big redesign, but I forgot 2.0 is the 1.0 for A Realm Reborn.

WoW’s Cataclysm gets a lot of shit for a variety of reasons, including its redesigned Azeroth, but reading the way you talk about 2.x content sounds pretty much in line with a lot of the criticism with WoW’s vanilla world and progression through it. Burning Crusade was a huge improvement in quest and world design, and WotLK was just so good it made the rest of the game feel like it was designed to be something way different than what WoW was by its second expansion. They were two different games in WoW at that point, Vanilla and the expansions.

It isn’t a stretch to imagine that the game Blizzard made from ’01 to ’04 no longer held up to WoW’s own new content in ’08 or some of the “WoW clones” that had then been in development for 3-4 years. Classic WoW deserves to exist and we know there is enough demand for it for Blizzard to acknowledge that, but 1.0 was holding it back from getting new subscribers and from holding onto its current players.

To get back to the point, the quality of the “onboarding” process for new players is something MMOs and games as a service type games should constantly be revisiting and adjusting. It seems like the current development shortcut to welcome players to your game is to give a free level whatever character to skip to the “good” stuff. The good stuff at the time is always intended to be the new or more recent stuff. For games not attempting to be more traditional MMORPGs like Destiny they avoid this issue by just releasing a whole new “service” and put the old one in maintenance mode until it isn’t worth keeping online.

That was my long winded way of trying to comment with more than a lazy shitpost of “FF14 needs a Cataclysm. game is bad gg ez”. I barely mentioned FF14, so I don’t know if that worked.

bereman99
Reader
bereman99

we’ve also had it implied that we’re not getting another relic weapon to hammer on for this expansion

Misleading (now that I’ve found the actual quote from the Live Letter).

“As for Eureka (name pending), balancing is taking quite some time, so we are aiming for release during or after Patch 4.2. Instead of focusing on upgrading weapons, we are planning for a fun new activity of strengthening the player character themselves. Please stay tuned for more details.”

We’re getting a continuous progression activity for those that don’t raid, which is the purpose the relic served, it just isn’t the weapon-focused process of the past (also, the FATEs part of relics was usually just one or maybe two steps, so it’s not like they were a major part of the relic process).

bereman99
Reader
bereman99

with little to no relevance to anything. This is going to slow everyone’s leveling pace down to a crawl, and for no real reason other than the fact that these were bulked out to make the patches feel longer. (Seriously, it’s impossible to overstate how much better things are in the 3.x series.)

Largely better due to not trying to setup about 3 expansions worth of story arcs, mixed with character development moments. 3.x also benefits in that it can pickup story threads introduced in 2.x and continue with them instead of having to establish these new characters and arcs. We already know quite a bit about the Ala Mhigan refugee situation and their anger, so the stuff with the Griffon and such can just move right into the middle of that. We’ve met and worked with the Domans for quite some time, and they are stalwart allies by the time we have an opportunity to help them in their homeland. We’ve learned much more about primals and Ascians work (without distracting much from the Dragonsong War story, which benefited from similar lead-in story development before we actually made it to Ishgard).

Also, I honestly feel like if they had bulked those quests out just to have longer patches as you suggest, that we’d still have bulked out story patches, and 3.x might have likewise been bulked out if they hadn’t decided to move the Warring Triad (which in 2.x would have almost certainly been part of the MSQ) to a collection of Side Stories. Seems less likely that they just added filler for no reason than to make players spend time and then decided not to do that, and more likely that they got better at identifying story arcs and elements that can exist separate from the MSQ (which obviously comes with it’s own disadvantages, namely that plot elements that could benefit the MSQ no longer can in a direct fashion – see Regula).

That all being said, there’s a pretty easy fix to this one that would satisfy all but purists who believe everyone should be required to experience all of the story and those that also think that but want content removed from the game…

2.x becomes skippable as a whole. You can do it as one long chain whenever you’d like (even after starting later story content), but you can also jump straight to 3.0 upon hitting 50 and clearing the 2.0 story, with appropriate messaging that there will spoilers for previous quests and a short series of summarizing scenes/videos/whatever to get said player up to story speed.

This solves the main issue, that it’s a wall new players have to surmount that is uncharacteristically slower than other similar walls in the game, without requiring the devs to spend time rewriting and reworking quests and scenes (which is what would it would take, since the amount you can just remove from the MSQ without it impacting later story beats isn’t exactly a significant amount).

Reader
Toy Clown

The glamour system is horrible, but I hear it’s getting an update soon. I can’t wait to see that.

Sallidar
Reader
Sallidar

Agreed. Would like something like GW2 or DCUO. Let me equip something once and then I can use it as a glamour for that slot forever. Let me dye it once and then i can use that dye on that slot with any gear, forever. The dye and glamour prism consumables would quickly become irrelevant but it would be so much more player friendly.