Part of me has never been altogether clear on why I am so enthusiastic about seeing the fresh set of patch notes for Final Fantasy XIV when the actual patch itself is a few days away. I can give an abstract answer and I understand the principle of it, naturally, but the preliminary notes are always fairly thin in terms of content, so on one level they’re just not that interesting. And yet every time I’m reading through them with the same focus and intensity usually reserved for localization teams scrupulously examining each line of a text for meaning and suggested intent.
First of all, as always, the MSQ for this patch is short. We’ve got just six quests lined up for this one, which feels short even by the “first half” standards we’re used to. Of course, that’s partly loading the bases ahead of the next fan festival and such, but I am interested that it’s this short and so much of the trailer is also focused on something that will presumably dovetail with that second part, the new Bozjan area.
Of course that’s not in here, we knew it wouldn’t be, but still.
I’m also curious about the “continuing” weekly quests. There are three quests listed, which makes me wonder if a new one will be unlocked each week… which also seems a bit unlikely, as three quests in three weeks isn’t significantly all that different from just unloading the new quests directly. At least to me, it seems more likely that the quests will provide some extra incentive akin to the Proto Ultima fight in Heavensward, with some extra reward unlockable with all of them.
That could take the form of more accessories or the like, and three quests would give you an extra reason to run each of the individual raids over again on a weekly basis. But the specific statement is that it will continue the story, which… well, just raises further questions, let’s be honest. What sort of additional content could be there?
I really do appreciate how much of an experiment the overall YoRHa series has been. It’s clear that they’ve been willing to both give Yoko Taro a lot of leeway to work here as well as willing to indulge some rather distinct flights of fancy, which strikes me as just plain worthy. I know some people are still annoyed by it, but to me it’s a sign of confidence in both the expansion and the storytelling that they’ve been willing to go this far afield for the content.
Also, the sheer brevity of the Sorrows quest line makes me think that Drippy Legatus is going to manage to live through this particular story arc. He’s just proven too consistently vile to be killed via cutscene. We need the opportunity to give him what he truly deserves, which may involve stomping on him with a giant mech.
Moving on from story, I’m also deeply curious about how that new house skin is going to work. I love it and it’s entertainingly different, but I have no idea how the geometry of that is going to work out in actual play.
Regardless, I feel that the new furnishings are stepping up to an even higher level on this particular occasion. We’ve had some really good stuff this expansion for housing, but the stuff previewed so far feels like it’s rounding out that selection very nicely. One wonders how difficult it’s going to be to obtain; these days it feels far more random when it comes down to what’s crafted and what’s rather easy to simply buy or craft from basic materials.
One thing I find a bit interesting about the changes to the Triple Triad rules is that it’s actually a bit ambiguous now whether decks will be one five-star card, two four-star cards, and two three-star cards or one five-star, one four-star, and three three-star. The wording is just ambiguous enough that either one would potentially be valid. Either way, it’s nice that four star cards actually matter again.
I’m also hoping – perhaps futilely – that the new MGP rewards will not solely consist of the Rainmaker hairstyle. Again, ambiguous wording, we certainly haven’t seen any other new rewards listed, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any.
The new target ring is useful, but I also find it looks kind of ugly. Maybe that’s just me, but it looks a little more visually jumbled. Still, I can’t say it’s not going to be at least somewhat useful with the many, many mechanics relying chiefly on facing to predict where something is going to happen.
Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that Bozja’s changes are… well, let’s just call them far-reaching. I’m a bit surprised that it’s being made so much easier now instead of earlier, but it’ll help people get ready for the next area, especially since you only need to run Delubrum Reginae once before unlocking the next set of story quests. I especially do wonder about Castrum, though; it would take a pretty significant Echo buff for that to be doable at half-size, but it’s not inconceivable.
The one down side that apparently hasn’t been changed is the amount of effort needed to get to rank 10 and get Castrum in the first place, which… strikes me as still being a bit of a problem. Like, I’m not altogether certain that the people who noped out of Bozja pretty hard are necessarily out there because they want to be. Some people are probably struggling with getting to 10, and while this makes smaller Bozja instances more capable of actually doing things, the grind is still there and still real.
Of course, at the end of the day, this patch is going to be largely carried (or fail to be carried) based on the strength of its content. And that’s always hard to ascertain from the preliminary patch notes. Is this patch big enough to keep people interested as we wait until next month for the next job reveal? Will it be fun to play the new raid and the new dungeon? What sort of story teases are we going to get?
I don’t know just yet. But I’m excited to find out, and there’s enough lingering stuff from the last patch that I feel confident I’ll have plenty of time to find the answer to all of those questions.
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, as always, will be the first impressions of the patch itself. There’s a reliable cadence here.