Sometimes it feels very weird when Final Fantasy XIV bribes me into doing content. Ameliance’s custom deliveries are a prime example of this. You did not need to put anything at the end of the delivery questline to get me to do it; I would have done it anyway for the scrips and the lore. You didn’t need to give me a thing! I was already convinced! Why are you bribing me into doing something I would have done anyway? Now I feel weird about it!
Ahem. Anyhow. Patch 6.15 is here, and with it come a lot of changes and new content for you to play through between your regular weekly clears of other content. You know how these things go. While it seems as if it took longer than usual to arrive, let’s not dwell on that and instead focus on the next content and what it brings along with it – and, perhaps more importantly, what it doesn’t bring with it.
If you were hoping that the first set of tribal quests were somehow going to surprise you by doing something unexpected, well… no. This is our first set of quests, it is our usual combat quest line, and it has a hippo cart as its ultimate reward along with a whole lot of hippos along the way. Seriously, these quests are neck deep in hippo content. I daresay this is going to win our 2022 award for Most Hippo-Filled Quest Series if that were an actual thing, which it is not. Sorry.
One thing that I’ve been a little surprised by is how the quests do require you to do both of the “major” quest lines in the zone (that is, the series of linked quests with a distinct beginning, middle, and end), but the NPCs involved are really only tangentially related to what you’re doing with the hippo riders. They’re not irrelevant, but they have kind of walk-on guest roles instead of having anything prominent to do. It’s even weirder since one of them seems to obviously hook into this content, but… well, it’s just a touch unusual.
Mechanically, there’s not much different about this particular quest line that we have not already seen several times before now. That doesn’t mean the content is bad or something, just that FFXIV has worked this into a science at this point. It’s nice that the developers took the time to actually write out different dialogue for the first time you do a given daily quest vs. when you’re repeating it once again, but the actual practice of helping out hippos should provide few surprises. Go kill some things, use mount abilities, track down stuff in the zone, take your experience or tomestones and go.
It’s all fun and I like it; I look forward to the ending. It’s very much how these things work, though. If you don’t tend to care about tribal quests or don’t particularly want the mount, there is little to nothing here that will make you change your mind.
Look, I will never stop being amused by the fact that Ameliance manages to demonstrate in just one scene how she can manipulate people even more effectively than her husband can by getting everyone dancing to her tune with just a few well-chosen words. It’s a good scene, and it makes it clear that she is absolutely as whip-smart as you would believe given what you know of her family; she’s been paying attention all the way along. And now even Rowena is volunteering to help her out.
Beyond that, of course, the story does a good job of establishing the ways that Sharlayan needs to change just as much as things have changed around it, even though it comes not at the cost of violent political upheaval but a rearrangement of circumstances. I suspect it’d be easy to paper over that particular fact, but Sharlayan needs to account for how long it managed to basically deceive the entire world while masquerading (functionally) as a distant ally to a lot of people.
I think there are some questions to be asked there about how much of Sharlayan’s isolationist policies with regards to learning also apply here. A possible overlap with the Astrologian storyline? Maybe?
Regardless, much like with the Arkasodara, the actual content that you’ll be dealing with here is going to be very familiar if you’ve done custom deliveries before now. It’s all the same right down to the numbers, with the only major change being what’s waiting for you at the end, a little bonus along the lines of Ehll Tou’s final reward. If you haven’t enjoyed this content before, once again, this will not be the time that changes your mind. Sorry!
Where is everything else?
Call me cynical, but when you spend this much effort building up the idea of Tataru’s Grand Venture, I really expect the actual kickoff to consist of more than one quest.
Don’t get me wrong here; I’m happy that there’s more content in this patch. I’m glad that we, as players, get not just one but three little questlines to enjoy here, from Hildibrand to an Omega coda to the Tataru stuff. All of that is good and welcome, and all of that in my mind qualifies as going above and beyond. Most of that stuff is stuff that we would not expect from a minor patch, and so it is welcome. The idea that Tataru’s questline is setting up future content primarily doesn’t bug me, either; that’s a perfectly valid reason to introduce this line now even if it’s light at the moment.
It’s more that, well… for all that these things were touted as major features of patch 6.15, they are ultimately kind of just a couple new quests and then you’re done. You can blow through this stuff in an afternoon, and you can easily find yourself sort of stopping and realizing that’s all this content amounts to at this point.
And again, that’s all right. I don’t mind that. I’m just a little surprised, I guess, that this stuff was as hyped as it was when it is ultimately not that big of a deal. Welcome and good, but perhaps not living up to the established standards of “wow, look at this super-amazing new content we’re adding with this patch!”
To some extent it feels like it’s almost an apology, like the designers know that we’re going to need some time to adjust to the new pattern of deployment here and so we’re getting what amounts to an apology as bonus little questlines. I can live with that, and it doesn’t bother me. But it feels like there was a bit much on the sound and a bit light on the fury, when you get down to it. (Not to be confused with being a bit light on the Fury, which is going to be when we get our next set of deities to fight. Rimshot.)
Maybe my expectations were just miscalibrated, I don’t know. Give me my new set of clothing and let me think about it for a minute.
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to email@example.com. Next week, I’d like to talk about the legions of Garlemald, both the ones we know about and the ones that remain heretofore unaccounted for.