Wisdom of Nym: Looking forward to Final Fantasy XIV’s imminent patch 6.25

    
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It comes!

Well, that was… sooner than I expected! I had honestly been expecting patch 6.25 to be further out than… well, next week, but here we are! Final Fantasy XIV is going to bring us into a world of gathering things to help some robots in the very near future, and with… less fanfare than I honestly expected, if I’m being honest. The Live Letter’s main focus was elsewhere, and while there’s a certain amount of logic to that since many of these things were already previewed, it still means that we didn’t get much significant information about the patch content.

Of course, that doesn’t change that we do know what it contains, and there’s still some information to chew on – including one thing that I think is highly relevant, even though we’ve had yet to talk about it so far. So let’s talk about the stuff worth talking about from the live letter while we get ready for some patch goodness next week.

A bun cut.

The patch that comes

There are three things that I find particularly interesting that are coming in patch 6.25, and despite my mention above, none of those are the Omicron quests. (I’ll do them, and I’m looking forward to them, but they don’t raise any additional or interesting questions now before they actually get added.) First and foremost, there’s the question of the Variant/Criterion dungeons – more specifically, why will we do these?

Yes, I know: because they’re going to be fun. This is FFXIV, and the designers are well aware that something needs to provide rewards concurrent with challenge and a reason to do things. You can’t just open the doors and say, “Well, go to town,” and you can’t just incentivize people with tomestones; there has to be something unique, something that drives people to take part in these events.

The second question, which may tie into that first question, is how the first stage of these Manderville weapons is meant to work. Leaving aside my already stated issues with turning optional content from several expansions ago into mandatory content (it’s not the first time it’s happened, but it’s still not a choice I agree with), we don’t really have a clear picture of what players are going to do to get their weapons upgraded. Could this tie into the Variant/Criterion dungeons? Absolutely, and it would make some amount of sense. But we don’t yet know it; right now, it’s an open question.

And the third major question is… simple, but worth noting. How are they going to roll out job adjustments? If they’re trying to balance Savage to give melee much more uptime, range suddenly matters a lot less, so what sort of adjustments are going to be made now and in the future when it comes to fights? Especially when you consider that the game does not consist solely of Savage content and there are still uptime differences to be considered?

Yes, I know, I literally did a whole column about how the current balance issues are, at the end of the day, not all that unusual for the game as a whole. But this is a question that needs to be asked and answered just the same because that does affect overall balance and how the game works. It’s a change just as surely as asking what happens when AoE isn’t something that mostly magical DPS is good at while single-target damage is for melee; it’s a valid change to make, but you still have to take a lot of elements into account, and you have to make sure that melee and both versions of ranged damage have a niche and a reason to be there.

Not that the developers are usually bad at it, of course; you just need to ask the question and it’s worth considering. Like I said, three questions. We’ll get answers for them soon enough.

Harvested.

The delay not yet announced

So, for the first time, Final Fantasy XIV is going to be going longer than two years between expansions.

This has not actually been stated yet in so many words, but it has been stated by the timing of the fan festivals. Barring something really unusual, we’ve got the schedule for the fan festivals kicking off in July of next year, then October for the second, and then… early 2024 in Japan. Probably January, but it seems basically a given that December 2023 will not hold an expansion launch as a result; in fact, based on that schedule, I’d expect May/June for an expansion release in 2024.

Given the current four-month cadence of patches, 6.3 will be in late December of this year, 6.4 will be in early May 2024, and 6.5 will probably be mid-September 2024. That means that we’ll probably have about eight months between the last patch and the expansion, which is a bit longer than usual but not egregiously so. (It’s also hard in speculation territory, to be fair; there’s a limited set of data here, after all.)

Even so, everything seems lined up so that Endwalker is going to be our current expansion for longer than any prior expansion, beating the record Shadowbringers previously had of 28 months. That’s understandable for a lot of reason. The game has gotten bigger, the expectations are bigger, the graphical overhaul is going to take time, and Endwalker is a major conclusion to a good chunk of the game’s story. But it does mean that the two-year cadence the game has long operated within is now firmly a thing of the past.

To a certain extent, this was not exactly hard to predict with the extra two weeks added to the patches (after all, that adds a grand total of two and a half months to the life cycle of an expansion). Part of me wondered how the team was going to handle it, and I think this answers that question pretty firmly. We’re scaling back the schedule a little bit and making things last a little longer.

And… yeah, at this point, the game is long enough in the tooth and has done well enough that I think it’s eminently justifiable. This title no longer needs to justify itself to anyone. We don’t need quite the same aggressive timeline to prove that FFXIV has done a lot or has content; we can wait a little bit longer between major moments. It looks longer in the grand scheme of things, but it’s hardly a huge deal.

But you know, it’s also a case where we have a delicious meal, and it’s hard not to want more on a more regular basis. So while I don’t begrudge the delay, I also acknowledge that I definitely would enjoy if it were coming faster. I suppose we’ll know more when the fan festivals start up again next year.

Which will probably involve my flying out to Vegas again. This time in the middle of summer. I’ll be happy to see people in person, sure, but you will have to pay me a lot of money to step one foot outside of the hotel, that’s what I’m getting at.

Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, I want to prepare for the patch with a look at one of the starring members of said patch: Hildibrand Manderville.

The Nymian civilization hosted an immense amount of knowledge and learning, but so much of it has been lost to the people of Eorzea. That doesn’t stop Eliot Lefebvre from scrutinizing Final Fantasy XIV each week in Wisdom of Nym, hosting guides, discussion, and opinions without so much as a trace of rancor.
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