Tomorrow, patch 6.5 will be live for Final Fantasy XIV. That’s the last patch of the Endwalker cycle, which means the first part of the MSQ wrapping things up with the Void plot and a whole lot of other systems. But let’s be honest, this entire month is going to be pretty darn overloaded for fans of FFXIV on a whole, and that’s even for those of us who don’t get to order a special FFXIV meal from KFC because we’re not in Japan.
In the past I’ve usually gone over the patch notes in some detail, and to be fair, I will be picking out some elements of the patch notes along the way, but I’ve generally found that there’s not a whole lot of meat there the day before the patch. That is why this time I find it interesting noting that we’re going to have a whole lot of things happening through the month, starting with the patch… tomorrow.
First and foremost, it’s important to note that tomorrow’s patch isn’t just for veterans but also for free trial players; the trial is expanding to include the entirety of Stormblood, which likely means that at some point during Dawntrail it will be expanded to include Shadowbringers as well. And this is important, not just because it means even more content for new players but also because… well, this expansion has put a lot of work into the new player experience.
Having a whole new PvP mode that got multiple bespoke maps took up development time. The same is also true of the fact that multiple dungeons got reworked, old duties got redesigned, and trust support was added to every single dungeon that didn’t already have it. That doesn’t take five minutes of work! You can say that it doesn’t mean much to you personally as an invested player, but it’s important to keep the early game in the best state it can be to attract new players. A column for another time, but worth keeping in the back of your head.
Moving on, the next couple of weeks are going to be reasonably quiet, but the next fan festival is scheduled for the 21st, and beyond a shadow of a doubt we’ll be learning the first of our two new jobs and getting some teases of what it can do. There’s a whole other column to speculate about what the fan festival will reveal, although it’s worth noting that this one will probably not quite have the seismic level as the first one; that having been said, I wouldn’t be surprised by at least one surprise, like lady Hrothgar being here.
We also know that at some point during 6.5x we’ll be getting the Xbox beta version, although we don’t have an exact date. It’s entirely possible that this won’t be during October, but I do want to remind folks of it – just as we also will be getting that cloud data server test at some point. I’m curious what, if anything, will be used as incentive for that, but I couldn’t begin to speculate.
After the fan festival, patch 6.51 will arrive. That could mean one of two dates, either October 24th or October 31st. My personal hope (because of my own personal work schedule) is October 31st, but at this point all we know is October on one of those two dates. This will also include the new variant dungeon and so forth, and that’s faster than usual already. It’s also going to be the last patch until next year, since 6.55 (and part two of the MSQ) is slated for January 2024, so there’s a little more reason for October 31st.
Also, we’re going to have our Halloween event this month, let’s not forget about that. I have no idea if it’s going to be grand or super different, but it does mean yet another thing happening in what is going to be a very busy month all told. Sometimes it just doesn’t stop.
So that’s all about what’s coming. What about what we’ll be playing tomorrow? Well, first and foremost, I sure hope you got your island sanctuary all ready because that’s one of my top priorities. I’ve banked up two weeks of experience as soon as we go live, and I cannot wait to saunter onto my island and start working on it.
Now, I think it’s going to be hard to get a full sense of island sanctuary until we’re done with it after this patch; we know that this patch is going to contain the last big update, but we don’t yet know what it’s going to look like after all the upgrades, for example. However, for my money, the big question has always been about how well it’s handled two very different needs. On the one hand, it needed to be instanced housing, and on the other hand, it needed to be content that’s fun to engage with on its own.
The results in the former category look promising with this patch. With plenty of customization options and outside furniture, the whole thing isn’t totally there, but it should at least scratch the basic itch of having a place that can look like you want. I consider that a net victory. I’m also heartened by admissions that the team wants to do more and better in the future in this vein.
As for fun content… well, it depends on what sort of player you are. If you like setting things up to manage and playing idle games, it’s been pretty great. I do like that, so that works for me. However, it’s pretty easy to get to just a point of managing your idle gameplay briefly, and the thing is that if you like this stuff, you probably get there quickly. If you don’t like that, then you may never get to that point, but you also primarily will engage with it as “A Park I Get To Customize After Chores.”
First draft? So far so good, but far from perfect. But let’s see how the patch changes things before proclaiming final judgment.
I also keep forgetting that we’re getting another custom delivery client, although I’m certainly looking forward to it. (And she can’t end up being as boring as Anden; I liked Anden during the deliveries, but once that story was ended, so did his relevance.) Lots of fun stuff and quality-of-life improvements for people who aren’t just killing stuff.
Now, my question is what we’re going to do to cap off Thaleia. And how the Zeromus fight will shake down. And… you know, lots of questions that are going to be answered tomorrow. So for the moment, I’m just going to say that as always, feedback is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, as is tradition, we are going to kick things off by talking about the content side of Growing Light, give everyone some time to get through the story first.