The last letter from Naoki Yoshida didn’t really drop much in the way of bombshells on the Final Fantasy XIV community, especially as there had already been rumors due to Famitsu columns that the next patch would arrive on January 8th. Sure, the fact that we’re not getting preliminary patch notes is itself kind of surprising, and the talk of how much stuff is in development for 5.0 as a part of that leads to all sorts of speculation, but it’s not exactly going to rock anyone’s world so long as it doesn’t become the new normal.
I really hope it doesn’t become the new normal. I like preliminary notes.
Blue Mage and the delay
So we now have a general ballpark of learning rates, since we’ve heard of abilities being around 30%-20%. I’d guess that’s the median range, so my overall guess is that abilities will be learned somewhere within the 10%-40% range, with the lower end for low-level enemies commonly found and the high end being more common for higher-level enemies. We might also hit 100% learn rates for stuff like Extreme primals with abilities; I’m reluctant to call that likely, but it would make sense.
There’s also confirmation that you earn Allied Seals in the Masked Carnivale. This is a pretty big deal. Allied Seals have been a lot harder to get in bulk right on down the line; you just don’t get as many opportunities to earn them on a daily basis, and they usually involve some tedious waiting for FATEs to spawn. More to the point, they’re vital for getting mount speed increases in Eorzea, which is pretty important since those are the zones where you can’t fly.
Or in simpler terms, we can agree that this is a pretty great reward even aside from the inclusion of poetics. It’s incentive to do this content and to level Blue Mage, aside from the reward of Blue Mage itself anyhow.
It’s interesting that the job is being delayed sightly after the patch launch; the stated reason, of course, is to allow everyone a chance to go through the MSQ first. This strikes me as a little odd, seeing as I tend to doubt progressing through the MSQ will take most people multiple nights of hour-long play sessions, so my suspicion is that it’s more about staggering output to ameliorate demand. Not that it doesn’t make it easier to decide what you’re doing first.
The most golden of all saucers
I think Doman Mahjong is going to be my new go-to for an illustration of how much the developers actually do with any additional systems. This is an entirely new feature being added to the game basically out of nowhere, and while it doesn’t require a whole lot of additional rules for developers to decipher, there are still a lot of moving parts to program. And it’s just… there, for everyone, just as an incidental.
The promise of new rewards in the saucer is a good thing, especially as the past few patches have added a lot of stuff without necessarily offering much new to spend MGP on. That’s not to say t’s useless, just that if you didn’t already need or want these rewards, the new content alone may not have given you much new motivation.
Also there’s the new rail shooter. On this I am torn. I’m quite fond of rail shooters, which for a long time kept me engaged even in the rail shooting segments of Star Wars: The Old Republic. But you can go through the same shooting area over and over only so many times before it starts getting boring, so they’ll need to be offering either randomized setups or a rotating group of tracks to avoid that sort of tedium. Otherwise, it’ll be… well, fun a couple of times, then boring forever after.
In fact, speaking of staggering…
Here’s one small part of the patch!
I’m going to be honest, I’ve never actually liked the splitting of the pre-expansion patch. I’ve always understood why it’s done; after all, when it happens you’ve got one patch to last for six months instead of the usual three-and-a-half. This is a prime example of something I may not like all that much which also still makes perfect sense and is almost certainly the correct decision. We can accept that, right? Good.
Even by those standards, though, this patch feels like it’s been relentlessly chopped up into bits and pieces. We’re getting a lot of stuff staggered for later releases, right down to the Blue Mage release. Do I necessarily mind that I can’t start leveling BLU on patch day? Nah, I’ve got stuff to do. Is it still kind of disconcerting that it isn’t even an option? It really is, especially when there’s an awful lot of stuff held back until a patch between January and the late March story wrap-up.
Sure, it gives us time to explore these things, but it also gives us time to just be waiting for things we want to do before the end of the story. It disrupts a lot of the regular flow of content and makes it feel like January 8th is less the day of the patch and more the day when the patches start arriving.
At the same time, it might be too harsh. While that’s definitely how I feel from this side of the screen, we all know full well that it takes a lot of effort to release a new job mid-expansion (or late-expansion, if you want to be pedantic). There’s definitely cause for waiting and being patient, and it does fulfill its purpose of giving you stuff to do straight through until the end. Much like the lack of preliminary notes, my biggest hope is just that this doesn’t become the new normal. I like usually having one big patch I can then pick through at my leisure.
At least it should keep us busy until the second fan festival in February. That feels like another really over-staggered release, really.
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Yes, that’s true even if you’re only dimly paying attention to what’s happening today; it is December 24th so a lot of you probably have holiday plans.) Next week, I’m going to be taking a look at the year in review and in preview, starting with a look back across 2018.