Wisdom of Nym: The two-month delay of Final Fantasy XIV’s next patch

    
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Kershadow

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.

Naturally, I have reactions. (I mean, it’s kind of my job.) Most of the fanbase has reactions, and really, most of those reactions have been pleasant and understanding. They’re focused around wanting everyone to be safe and healthy along the way. Other people have… well, let’s just say they’ve had less positive reactions. And while “ire” might not be my primary reaction in this particular situation, hoo boy, that part sure elicits a handy dose of ire.

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.

I've got a lot of problems with you people!

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.

Wasted.

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 eliot@massivelyop.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.

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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brokenskill
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brokenskill

Tried to get back into this game recently.. boy it’s hard to get back into.

My old main character is somewhere in the middle of the MSQ stuck behind a dungeon wall and I have no idea how to play any class that’s relevant on it to continue. On the other hand, starting a new character is very overwhelming with the amount of MSQ they’ve added to the game (I refuse to pay for skips).

I guess I could sit there for hours watching guides and hitting a dummy but I’d rather not. Or run POTD until my eyes bleed. Hopefully they do something to ease returning players better into the game one day.

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Kawaii Five-O

There’s a problem with the whole “unsubscribe if you’re unhappy about the delays,” but let me make a few things clear before I get into it.

One, I called this all the way back in March and was very vocal with friends and in some Discord channels that people should expect 5.3 to be delayed by at least a month and probably more unless they cut content. However, nobody wanted to believe me back then, but I saw these delays coming months ago.

Additionally, I do not fall into the category of players that I’m about to talk about as I renewed my six-month sub in May, and I’ve been enjoying the extended content lull by working on stuff I’ve long neglected in-game. So, I’m not affected personally.

So, what’s the problem then? People that play on six-month subscriptions don’t get that choice to unsub right now. I know plenty of people who renewed their six-month subs in the first half of this year with the reasonable expectation that FFXIV would deliver its usual cadence of content updates–and are now frustrated because they’ve exhausted all of the types of content that they partake in.

The delays are totally understandable, and it’s good that the dev team are taking the necessary precautions to be safe–and hopefully, they got a little bit of a well-deserved breather too.

However, players are affected by the pandemic too. Some of them haven’t been as fortunate and lost their jobs, and they’re stuck with a game that they’re not playing because of delays. A game subscription that they paid for with reasonable expectations (at the time) for FFXIV’s usual quality of service and updates and regardless of extenuating circumstances, SE has been unable to deliver that quality of service.

So, I do think that it would be a good gesture on SE’s part to grant 1-2 months of free game time to people who paid for 6-month subs before May (SE waited a long time before officially admitting there would be delays). People paying for that amount of time are your core fans, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take care of them.

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Vincent Clark

1. Even saying “regardless of extenuating circumstances” at this point is a ridiculous thing to say. Sorry, that is just how I feel.

2. Square Enix announced that 5.3 would be delayed at least a month in mid April–that is hardly “waiting a long time” to announce delays.

Bereman
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Bereman

Quite frankly, I feel like by paying a 6 months sub up front and getting the discount on the total price that comes with that, you’re already acknowledging and accepting that what comes in the next 6 months may not be to your liking, whether it’s because they added stuff you didn’t care about (Deep Dungeon in previous expansions has had plenty of detractors, same with the original Diadem, etc) or because of other things that delayed it.

Paying a 6 month sub at a time is, quite simply, accepting that risk in exchange for a discount, one that already just about equals the cost of a month (you save $12 by subbing 6 months at a time).

Also…this is about to turn into a rant, but I do not apologize for that.

I’ve been subscribed consistently since 2015. I have all 80s. I’m planning on leveling another character to see the 5.3 ARR changes. I’ve got all of the soundtracks, art books, both lore books, three statues (with another pre-ordered). I’ve even got the freaking Doman Mahjong set pre-ordered.

I’ve got 368+ days played on my current main character, that I started originally as an alt to experience details in the story in ARR I missed the first time, and had 50+ days on the character I had from before that. I log in every day, even if just for a brief time, as long as I’m not on vacation. I’m currently logged in, working on finishing up my crafting relics.

I’m 100% what you would call a “core fan” yet I don’t do the 6 month sub. Strictly speaking, I’ve also given more money in a 6 month period than you have to the company, while being subscribed for the same amount of time, with no plans to end my sub – even during this lull.

I sub on a month by month basis, largely because I’m aware that things could happen in my life that could push me from the game or prevent me from playing at any point (as is the case with any game) and so I simply choose not to do long term subs like that for any subscription-based game.

“Core fans” are not some monolithic group that is represented just by those who sub 6 months at a time, so you can kindly take your “we deserve 2 extra months of free play time cause we sub 6 months at a time and we’re your core fans” and put it over there with the “casual content caused the delay” whining.

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Kickstarter Donor
Java Jawa

Safety first, video games can wait, they are definitely taking the right approach.

2020 is full of delays, but that’s ok!