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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.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.