Well, it turns out this week did not bring much in the way of new information about Final Fantasy XIV patch 5.3. Or… it did, but it only brought one piece of information, and that one piece of information was important but not particularly illuminating. Yes, patch 5.3 is not coming out until August 11th. Yes, that’s about two months from its original planned launch date. And yeah, that makes this the longest patch gap in the game’s history since the relaunch.
Let’s take a step back. One of the stated reasons for the delay was the simple reality that the new alliance raid and Bozja content needs playtesting, and that’s hard to do without people in the actual office doing the playtesting. Some progression-minded players have taken this as an excuse to blame “casual content” for the patch delay.
And for those of you in that boat? I want to be as clear as possible with what I say next: Piss off. Seriously. Hush up and go away. Unsubscribe, or maybe just go away for good. We don’t need you here.
This is most certainly not the majority of people, nor even the majority of progression-minded players, but the minority who acted as if this was somehow the “fault” of content that was not in their specific wheelhouse. And those people? They can just go away.
Not all content is necessarily for you. That’s fine. Savage isn’t for me. I don’t need the EX version of basically any fight in the game. Ultimate makes no impact upon me. These things do not impact my enjoyment of the game. But the thing about FFXIV is that it really, really works overtime to provide content for a wide variety of different people, and that’s literally all a part of the content and deployment roadmap. It’s not a matter of doing X for casual players and then Y for progression, it’s a matter of ensuring that no one is ever stuck behind while also keeping up the content everyone enjoys.
Maybe you don’t have any particular need for this content or it’s not for you. But for a lot of people, it is important. For the designers it’s important content. They want people to play the stories that have been written and provide a fun environment for lots of different people.
If you don’t care about the content itself, well, fine, but that doesn’t mean it’s unimportant or doesn’t need playtesting. And if you don’t have much to do as a result, one of the consistent refrains from the designers is that part of the game is being able walk away when you want. Not feeling the urge to do anything in the game? Unsubscribe for a month or two. It’s not a big deal!
It’s far more important that the team be able to work safely and that the patch continues moving forward with planned content in a way that doesn’t put anyone in danger. If you can’t grasp that fact? You aren’t welcome in this community. That’s not what we’re about and not what I imagine any of us want to be about. This would be just as unacceptable if it were a delay for properly testing Savage. It’s a two-month delay because we are in the midst of a global pandemic.
Yes, that does mean my predictions for delays may themselves be wrong. I know this is going to ripple through this patch cycle. Will it ripple through the next expansion? Maybe! We don’t know yet. It’s up in the air right now, but if the price of keeping the team save as they work is that the next expansion launches in August instead of June, so be it. I am more than willing to accept that as the cost of the team staying safe, and it is beyond admirable how much work has been put into making the patches continue despite circumstances.
As for me personally? That’s… complicated.
You’re aware of the phrase “check your privilege,” and as far as I’m concerned, that is very applicable to me during this upheaval. I recognize that I am insanely fortunate, both in the sense that my state really has gotten things under control and in the sense that I’ve been working and able to adapt to my working situation pretty quickly. Working from home isn’t new to me. I don’t even have kids to handle. The delay of things to look forward to is, really, an incredibly minor problem for me to have in the bigger scheme of things.
Moreover, it’s easy for complaining about that to be seen as in some way an indictment of the team or a failure to recognize the amazing work being done by Square-Enix to ensure that development continues and that everyone stays safe. I can only imagine the sheer amount of work necessary to move the entire team into being able to work from home or the office, especially when you consider that most people do not actually choose their living spaces based on being able to work from home. “Unprecedented” is a word that gets thrown around a lot for a reason at this point.
Having said all of that? This kind of crushed me, yes.
Yeah, all it really means is waiting for another month for new content. But this has not been a good year for looking forward to things, helped in large part by things being delayed or cancelled or pushed back and then cancelled and so forth. And speaking purely from a standpoint of my mental health, after an assault of disappointments for the things that have happened so far this year, it feels… bleak.
Obviously, I don’t think that my emotional response overrides the fact that this is what needs to happen, nor do I feel like it’s someone’s fault. I wanted things to be otherwise, but wanting something doesn’t obligate you to get it. But it feels like a significant enough additional delay that the part of me latching on to something to look forward to is just adrift through July, looking for something to actually point to as “yeah, that’s happening this month, you can look forward to it.”
So yes, it makes sense. No, I’m not upset with the team or blaming anyone. But it’s kind of hard to pop out of bed with a smile at the best of times, and this sure didn’t help. All of those things can be true at the same time, and if you’re in a similar position, hopefully it helps just to have that validated.
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments below or via mail to email@example.com. Next week, let’s take a look at the things you can do during the wait for the next update, since we’ve got… you know, the rest of the month.