I have to say that whole “preliminary” patch notes thing that Final Fantasy XIV has been pulling for years now has begun to wear a little bit.
This isn’t to say I don’t understand the rationale behind it. The designers don’t want people knowing what to stockpile in terms of materials right before crafting recipes get added; that’s not a great situation to be in. Second, as we’ve seen very clearly, fans will make wildly incorrect assumptions about the game’s balance just from a handful of numbers, and we’d have to endure days of “Scholar is dead” before finding out Scholar is actually fine and the professionals who balance this game are in fact smarter than Savage raiding theorycrafters on Reddit.
But it would save me time, so I want it to change.
That having been said, we’ve got our preliminary notes up now, so pour yourself a cup of your preferred morning beverage served piping hot. (This may be disgusting if you prefer orange juice, but science works the way it works.) Let’s sort out some varied odds and ends ahead of the patch actually arriving tomorrow.
First and foremost, while I’m glad that Scholars are getting the option to Carbuncle up their fairies – as is right and proper – I feel it does kind of highlight the fact that there’s a deep-seated issue with the game’s current pet system for Scholar and Summoner. It’s more pronounced with the latter, but both of them still have it, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that they’re still linked jobs with pets that are at this point not really pets.
Seriously, Scholar and Summoner pets cannot be targeted. They don’t take damage. They’re purely a visual feature. And so it’s kind of irrelevant that the visuals on them are so limited, but it also kind of makes a big deal, especially as Summoner is still summoning two reasonable and high-level summons, along with what feels like a random assortment of lower-level ones.
Yes, I know why Ramuh, Leviathan, and Shiva are not represented there, much less other Primals like Odin, Ravana, and Lakshmi. It makes sense from a development standpoint. It does not, however, make sense from a lore standpoint. At this point it’s easier for Blue Mage to channel the power of specific Primals in battle than it is for Summoner, and that just feels weird.
Hopefully that’s something on the table for the next expansion. It’s not that the job has a mechanical issue here, but it’s a lore/aesthetic one that I want to see addressed.
Moving on: It’s nice that we’re getting new produce and new animals in Island Sanctuary. But are we going to get new space to go alone with them? Because otherwise, I feel like we have a little bit of a problem. We know that there will be new construction space in this particular addition, and it’s entirely possible that will include gardens and livestock housing, but it isn’t stated outright, and it is a little bit of an issue.
As cool as Island Sanctuaries are – and as cool as they’re getting with the addition of furnishing placement – there is definitely a bit of overload with the current lineup of animals and produce along with the space available for all of the above. And yes, I know, it’s casual content that’s there for fun. But that’s not an excuse for not balancing it for people who do want to drive at it with a bit more focus, and that’s something the developers have generally been cognizant of. I hope that continues into this particular patch.
The PvP adjustments look… fine-ish? We obviously don’t know the full extent of everything going on with them; it’s possible, even probable, that more changes are waiting in the wings, but we don’t know about them because they’re specific job balance changes. But at a surface level, they seem like decent tweaks that move the needle a bit. It’s not clear what new rewards there will be aside from a new series, but we’ll see when we learn more about items.
Having access to more remote options for casting glamours, though? Great. Marvelous. A wonderful addition to the game. The sheer number of glamours and outfits is already staggering; this both adds to it and gives you more opportunities to cast more stuff. I appreciate this. Adding more gear sets also helps a bit with this, since you can now have the same set linked to different plates.
Of course, that runs into the problem that we don’t have enough plates, but that’s another issue altogether. I also think there’s an element of the developers realizing that we’re never going to hit that 100 gear set level in the realistic lifespan of adding jobs to the game. That might seem like a big deal, but… really, did you expect the game to have 87 combat jobs?
Actually, don’t answer that.
I also wish that PlayStation Plus members didn’t get a free teleport option. Console players getting an advantage? In my MMORPG? It’s more likely than you think!
Joking aside, it’s actually not a bad compromise to incentivize console subscribers without crossing the acknowledged red line of making subscription to the console service mandatory. I do wonder if some of that is meant as a potential solution since there’s been an ongoing issue with porting the game to Xbox based on exactly that. (Yoshida’s brought this up so many times it’s almost tedious. The issue has always been the same: Microsoft wants the game to require membership to the console’s service and/or to have Xbox-specific servers, and that’s not acceptable.)
Otherwise? Well, it’s the usual patch notes with the usual question marks. It also is the base part of the patch, and I’ll be honest, the more interesting stuff is coming in the halfway patch. More Blue Mage spells, a new Variant Dungeon, another Relic step and more Splendorous Tools? Yeah, that strikes me as a little more discussion-worthy.
Not that I’m not excited about this patch or even less excited. I’ve been enjoying the expansion, and there’s a column in the wings about the complaints that the expansion is somehow thinner than usual (which isn’t really true, but as always, pointing at the numbers doesn’t tell the story). It’s just that, well… by this point a major MSQ patch is a known quantity. You know what to expect. There are quality changes along the way, but all of what it contains is pretty familiar.
On the plus side, at least now we can make a joke for the rest of the expansion’s lifespan about how this content is a joke. Because it rewards Allagan Tomestones of Comedy, see. Do you get it? If you think that joke is tedious now, just imagine running Expert roulettes with me for the next few months. It’ll get way funnier.
Feedback, as always, is welcome via mail to email@example.com or in the comments down below. Next week, as per usual, we’ll be talking about the new content from a purely mechanical standpoint (so people have a couple of weeks to get through the stories without rushing). It should be a fun time!