Final Fantasy XIV launches new 5.3 microsite, hits 1.2M active players (with caveats)

    
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Final Fantasy XIV launches new 5.3 microsite, hits 1.2M active players (with caveats)

Final Fantasy XIV has today launched a new microsite for the 5.3 patch, arriving August 11, 2020. The site confirms the new content coming with the patch – the Heroes’ Gauntlet dungeon, Mystery Trial, The Puppets’ Bunker alliance raid dungeon, Bozjan Southern Front battlefield, and more – with screenshots and the new Reflections in Crystal trailer to boot.

Square-Enix also sneaked in a few changes to the A Realm Reborn main story quest requirements. The change requires two additional sidequests to complete the main atory quest, one of which involves getting your Grand Company Chocobo, while the other looks to be a bit more involved. Overall, the changes don’t look too dramatic.

Finally, there’s the fun news swirling around the subreddits this week: the claim that the game has 1.2 million active players. The “active players” number comes with caveats, though, as it counts anyone whose seen an increase in level or experience value, added new mounts or minions, or newly created a character since the last survey as an active player. Astute Redditors point out that the this number can be misleading because of the criteria and the different lengths of time between surveys (the survey period for this most recent survey was from April until August). Regardless, 1.2 million active players is nothing to shake a stick at. It’s safe to say that Final Fantasy XIV is enjoying the same pandemic bump in active players we’ve seen in other games.

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Syran

I’m kinda bummed that their long-touted changes to ARR progression only consist of converting MSQ quests to side quests.

I usually enjoy doing side quests in XIV, especially since some of them are actually interesting and well written. There’s just too many stinkers mixed in with the good stuff, with no way of telling them apart. But I guess I’ll just have to skip side quests entirely if I want to take advantage of their “streamlining” of the ARR story.

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Danny Smith

I felt the same way till Yoshi pointed out that when they tried removing them it lead to a large number of areas with nothing in them and players wouldn’t be driven to see them and ARR’s areas has all these neat side areas and nook and crannies that, should the quests based around them be removed, would be ghost towns, literally in some cases, that would be abandoned to the erp’ers like a couple of places in La Noscea are already.

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Syran

I can see the issue, but it feels like they once again missed the point of what they were trying to achieve. The streamlining was supposed to reduce the amount of time players spend in redundant areas, not to give people an incentive to still do it.

For someone who doesn’t want to miss out on story, ARR is going to be as tedious as ever. For a new player who doesn’t know that FFXIV side quests offer no meaningful rewards, there’s no reason to skip them and ARR is going to be as tedious as ever. For someone who doesn’t care about story and is just skipping through everything, ARR is going to be only 13% less tedious than before.

Yeah, I really feel they could’ve done better.

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Malcolm Swoboda

“I’m kinda bummed that their long-touted changes to ARR progression only consist of converting MSQ quests to side quests.” That’s exactly what I’m looking forward to though. There for some exp and gil, but not as required, perhaps with tedious steps of them removed or adjusted, but the story maintaining.

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Syran

As far as we know, there is no adjustment to tedium if you’re still doing all the side quests. Maybe I could get on board with the “exp and gil” part if that was actually a significant reward. But the XP from MSQ will apparently be enough to get you to the level cap, so side quest XP would just end up being wasted on someone’s first class. And gil rewards are so low that you can easily make a multiple of all side quest rewards combined in a single day.

Obviously I’m not saying that you’re not allowed to enjoy their changes. But based on what we know, it’s clearly not going to be the improvement for new players that ARR needed.

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Malcolm Swoboda

I’m fine with the tedium. I just want to be able to more easily catch up to a friend leveling, through just MSQ if need be. I’ll still return to the other stuff if I do that, though fetch quest objectives are among the least necessary to keep.

These changes sound like the very definition of streamlining (as opposed to the often misleading use of the word, actually meaning ‘pruning’) and I’m very happy for them. They may actually get me as a customer later this year.

The improvement for new players (which I partially count as) is that you can tell them ‘just do MSQ’ and its a more legitimate statement than before – whether the earlier leveling really JUST needing MSQ, or the later post-ARR content not driving them to sleep or resentment.

Players who want to skip swaths of material while in the midst of a storyline won’t get it here. Not IMO should they, though the game is steadily approaching a point where content might be better off as horizontal ‘campaigns’ you can choose instead of vertical movement through 2.0—3.—4.—5.—6.

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Toy Clown

I’ll wait to play again until the next expansion and buy an MSQ skip potion. All of that stuff makes the game so tedious.

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Phubarrh

…OK, so who’s lining up to replay the main story quest on the same character all over again?

Rialto
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Rialto

Had they not made the decision to not allow you to gain exp from replaying the story quests, I would have been. I was looking forward to new game + as an alternative to level other jobs as I actually enjoy the story quests. The way the system is implemented now though is completely pointless and not really any better than the cutscene viewer they had before.

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Malcolm Swoboda

This stuff isn’t pointless for me because a cutscene viewer, while nearly essential to me for cinematic games, also isn’t the same as taking the time to chill and absorb the overall storytelling experience (which believe it or not, includes things like quest tasks and fights) without caring about my progression.

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Malcolm Swoboda

I love these functions and have/want to do it on many games I have with ongoing characters.

Bereman
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Bereman

Got my character created and ready to go, going to be going through it again with some friends to see the changes, at least up through the end of ARR.

Will have to see if we continue past that, but we’re at least checking out the streamlined stuff.

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Scott Leyes

I have plans for alts on other servers.

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Frank White

As you say, not that big a deal, but it’s at least a little curious that they’d add two additional sidequests that are necessary to complete the main story quest, when they have to know that one of the biggest complaints about the game is the necessity to complete all these quests, which can be tedious. If anything, you’d think they might cut a couple out. ;)

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Tân Thành Nhật Cao

They already cut out 13% of the quest. And shorten the rest.
Those 2 quest is needed for the story to make sense, this is a FF game, nobody is complaining about quest as long as it contain important story details.

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Sorenthaz

I think the two are just the quest to get your ability to use mounts + your chocobo and then the Crystal Tower series which is basically mandatory to understand a huge component of Shadowbringers.

Bereman
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Bereman

They also tend to make certain quests mandatory that weren’t before when changes to an area/NPC are significant enough in the MSQ.

The Titan/Ifrit/Garuda Hard Modes were added as requirements for a step in the 2.5 patch series because multiple NPCs involved in giving/receiving/updating those quests were getting moved/disappearing for a while.

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Malcolm Swoboda

All we need to know is that its enough paying players to justify these extensive (albeit sometimes not the most revolutionary) patches and expansions multiple times a year, a decade since the original shoddy game release. Its popular, its here, and its kewl.