Here we are with our first live letter for the start of a new patch cycle in the bag! Are you excited? I’m excited. Admittedly perhaps a bit less excited than I might otherwise be, since this particular Final Fantasy XIV patch is coming into existence at an odd time for the game. There are no questions to be answered, no grand problems that need solving… everything is fine and in a place where we have to kind of start over from the beginning, which is part of why the patch title is so gosh-dang generic anyway.
Seriously, “Newfound Adventure” is kind of a weak title. We can admit that.
Some big question marks
So what does the new story entail? What’s the new dungeon? What are we doing next? Good questions! Good, entirely unanswered questions, since apparently whatever happens next is such a spoiler that we can’t even get a name of the dungeon just yet. About all we can say with any certainty at this point is that at least some of it will have to do with Garlemald, which… I mean, that’s a thing, but it’s also a bit of a “no duh.”
Let’s be realistic here: At the end of the MSQ there’s no reason at all to revisit two of the zones we explored (either because all of the stuff that was going to happen there already happened or because one of them is literally in the past and thus kind of irrelevant at the moment), and let’s not mince words, neither Labyrinthos nor Mare Lamentorum seem like they’re going to be a hotbed of new activity. Garlemald is the one place left where there’s some actual space for forward motion, given that the nation has a whole lot of “what the hell do we do now” energy shot through it.
Equally question-worthy, at least to me, is the way that content is being staggered out. It strikes me as more than a little unusual that tribal quests, the new custom delivery, and the usual Hildibrand nonsense is all being held back for the first interquel patch, especially since there’s not the usual specter of “new housing district means everyone will rush the servers” with the lottery system. I’m more than a little curious about that delay.
I’m honestly not expecting to learn much more about this until the patch actually arrives, if we’re being honest. The fact of the matter is that whatever happens next, this is very clearly meant to be a new start for the story and a new chapter of things happening, which means that if they’re not willing to tease more now we aren’t going to get much more for a bit. We’ll just have to wait and see for all of this stuff.
Old World Changes
Rest in peace, MSQ roulette. You absolutely sucked.
No, really, MSQ roulette as it exists now is annoying garbage, and I’m not going to miss it. Yes, it’s important for the game’s structure for it to be there, but quite frankly I’m happy that time is being taken to make all of the dungeons compatible with NPCs and offer players another way to clear this content. I think it does have a certain degree of friction with the way that the game is overall designed to work, but only slightly, and quite frankly “open the game up to more play styles” is a clear and present goal here, so it’s a minor quibble at best. This is a good thing and it’s overdue.
I do wonder how MSQ roulette is going to be incentivized now, considering that it’s no longer occupied by unique content and thus is going to have to still offer worthwhile rewards for participation, but that’s a lesser concern when you consider that these instances have long been a bugbear for clearing the original storyline. I’m not sure exactly how the shrinking down to 4-player groups is going to work out, but I am certain it will be less annoying than what we have right now.
I will admit that I’m a little sad that these things are being done after the fact so there’s no real space for these dungeon companions to be, like, characters we know about in any way. But hey, better late than never.
The fact that data center travel is finally happening is nice. The restrictions on it are… well, probably necessary, but they’re a little less nice. It feels like a lot of hoops to jump through to make this work, especially for otherwise short jaunts.
My point here is not to imply that somehow this is being done in a halfhearted or incomplete fashion – just the opposite. I genuinely believe that the restrictions in place on data center travel are a direct result of technical limitations and the way that servers are set up. More likely this is the only way this could work, and within that context it’s quite a technical achievement that people can skip between data centers to hang out with friends all over.
Still, it does keep the individual centers feeling much more fenced off. You’re not going to casually hop to another center one night; you’re going to go for very specific things and probably plan it ahead of time. This is almost certainly a technical limitation, but it also is just a little bit of a bummer. I’ve really enjoyed how server hopping has become far more normal and enjoyable and how it’s brought people together into a much more communal feeling; that’s kind of what I had hoped to find in data center travel, but it doesn’t look nearly as effortless or even useful if you don’t have people you specifically want to visit.
Then again, I don’t want to sound like I’m down on the feature. I’m glad it’s being added! It’s just a bit less versatile than I might have hoped. But it’s still a new effort to keep people connected and playing together instead of separated by arbitrary boundaries, and I am all in favor of that.
Of course, there’s a lot of other stuff going on in the patch as well, like Myths of the Realm and the like. But right now we just don’t know anything about this content beyond the fact that it’s been added. Time to wait for that next live letter and the patch in April, I suppose.
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next time around, I want to talk about limited jobs as a concept and why making another one might be proving far more difficult than it immediately seems.