To the surprise of basically no one who closely watches Final Fantasy XIV‘s overall patch progression, patch 6.2 is arriving on August 23rd. That’s soon! Seriously, that means that we have just over a week, so if you have anything left you want to get from this particular set of moogle tomestones, you should probably start putting the effort in now. Also, it means you should wrap up your Crystalline Conflict rewards. And your other pre-patch preparations and… all right, you get the idea, the patch is coming soon.
The fact that we have what feels like a very short timespan until the next patch arrives means that everything we saw in the live letter has a very short shelf life. It’s going to be a really near thing when we run over to take on all of the patch content ourselves, so a lot of what’s being discussed here is just first impressions from the short and sweet content previews on display. So, hey, let’s talk about exactly that.
A fiendish display
Well, we’re getting our Fiends at long last, something I’ve been waiting for a long dang time now. Interestingly, though, we’re still being told that the next trial (which, according to other interviews, will be a part of the MSQ) is a secret, and it certainly looks from the trailer like Scarmiglione is going to be the last boss of the Fell Court of Troia. This certainly makes sense, as he’s the Earth Fiend and Troia in Final Fantasy IV is directly tied to the Earth Crystal, but it does raise the question of who our trial is going to be if we’re fighting the Fiend in the dungeon before.
It’s possible, of course, that he’s going to be both. After all, in his original appearance this was Scarmiglione’s whole gimmick, in that you fought him and then had an immediate rematch in his undead form. However, the boss form we see in Troia certainly looks like his post-undead form, so it’d be a little more unusual to do things like that – not to mention that the game generally avoids pitting us into an immediate mirror match of any sort against the same boss but more.
At the same time, it also seems like it’s a perfect setup to have us fight all four Fiends with the four trials we’ll need to get over the patch series… but then, that also leaves what appears to be Golbez still kicking around, and on some level I find it hard to believe that we’re going to be dealing with an explicit villain from a prior title past this story arc. I suppose we’ll have to see. We could double up on fiend fights now and fight Golbez as a last trial, maybe?
Eh, it’s too early to guess at the plot. I am happy that we’re getting these references in here regardless, even if part of me would have liked to see another take on the Fiends (it’s kind of weird that we’ve only seen two sets). So I’m curious to see where we’re going with this story, especially since I have a feeling our next expansion is not going to be a full-on venture into the Void just yet.
A substitute for crossing animals
It’s been honestly kind of weird watching the FFXIV developers repeatedly state that Island Sanctuaries are not meant as a “replacement” or “substitute” for housing and then seeing people getting upset that they are not that, even after repeated statements that this is not what we’re getting. Island Sanctuaries are their own thing, and what they are… is Animal Crossing. Seriously, we all knew this, since we were told this, so it should be pretty obvious. This is Animal Crossing but you’re playing on your FFXIV character; you’re developing a nice island all to yourself. It’s not unexpected.
And quite frankly, I am entirely down with that.
The fact that this is content not meant for crafters or gatherers is, honestly, the smart move. What we’ve seen so far looks fun but also in a very different style to how the game’s existing crafting and gathering works, a much simpler and more straightforward system that rewards persistence more than mechanics. And that’s good. There should be content like that in the game, especially with its own reward tracks, things to earn, and reasons to keep taking part in the content as an idle side activity.
If anything, it looks like this is content trying to aim for people who are tired of running dungeons or doing hunts or whatever for a particular day but still want to be playing the game. That’s honestly a good thing, and it’s something that the game has long lacked. There’s a lot of stuff to do, but short of chasing older content most of it is relatively high-impact. This looks like the chance to stay logged in and playing at a lower intensity.
That’s not going to do it for everyone, but it looks like a lot of fun to me. I hope it keeps getting updated through the expansion (which seems almost certain) and beyond (less certain, but I’m hopeful). This is a bold new experiment, and I’m eager to see where it goes.
The interesting thing right now about Variant Dungeons is that we have yet to get anything explicitly tying them to our new relic weapons. Obviously, some of that is to be expected; we’ve heard little to nothing about the new relics beyond the fact that interviews have made it clear they’re not making another Bozja/Eureka. (I’ve discussed the merits of that before, but there’s probably another column in that.) But we did get to see a bit of what Variant Dungeons have to offer.
Honestly? I’m curious to see more because this looks like a fun new experiment informed in no small part by the experiments already done on open-zone content with its little instanced side areas. The capstone instances in Bozja and Zadnor as well as Delubrum Reginae provided a template for a different kind of dungeon-going experience, and this seems like another experiment in that same vein rather than Square just pumping out another open-world zone or another Hard-mode dungeon.
Don’t get me wrong; I do miss Hard-mode dungeons. But I also like the idea that this dungeon has multiple routes and a different way of pulling and playing as well as more variants to keep the layouts and playstyle more inventive. We didn’t hear a lot about the rewards, which to me is another sign that these will tie in with our relic weapons, but they definitely look interesting at first blush.
Of course, we’ll have to wait a little while longer on when those arrive. But we won’t have to wait long at all for the main patch, which is just over a week away now. So obviously, next week I’ll be talking a little more about that on patch day eve, and until then you can send me feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave it down in the comments below. Heck, maybe by that time we’ll know for sure exactly how much the patch balance changes do nothing to help Machinist.