Patch 4.36 sure seems
as if it’s has been dragged out. Realistically, that’s not what has happened at all; the time between patches has remained pretty consistent, and with the next big Final Fantasy XIV
patch planned for September this is just about the right time. But something about 4.36 having big content just makes the whole thing feel overextended, as if we’ve been sitting and spinning our wheels for an extended time however untrue that may be.
My big plan for this week was to try out the Monster Hunter World crossover because I was honestly less interested in Pagos. (Yes, I like the idea behind Eureka, but there are only so many hours in the day.) I honestly found the experience a bit… not bad, necessarily, but just underwhelming. It was neutral. And I think some of it comes down to how the game has been increasingly handling its crossovers and whether or not those are, well, good things or less-good things.
Tucked away in the latest live letter was a bit of information that seems like it’s more relevant than its rather humble placement would seem to indicate. In the not-too-distant future, Final Fantasy XIV
is going to remove all limitations on role actions. You can use all 10 of them at the same time! Goodbye, literally any remaining shred of character customization, you will not be missed.
Or rather, you will, but not for what you did but what you were supposed to do.
The big problem with role actions, simply put, is that they never actually accomplished their stated goal at any point. It’s part of the game’s complex relationship with character choices and actions I’ve discussed before, but seeing as role actions are soon going to be altogether yanked from their current state, it seems worthwhile to examine why they didn’t work and what (if anything) would be helpful in replacing them.
When we talk about issues with Final Fantasy XIV’s
housing system, the first issue that’s going to be brought up – invariably – is the fact that there are too many people and not enough houses. Seriously, that’s going to come up in seconds, and it’s going to suck the air out of any further discussion. This is kind of a problem, because while this is true
, it’s also not
the limit of the actual issues the game’s housing system has. It literally ends every discussion before it starts.
This is a problem. Because yes, without a doubt, the dearth of space and the number of people who want houses is a serious issue for the game’s housing system. But there are other issues even once you actually get into the house, and at some point it would be nice to see these things actually addressed amidst the need to address the availability problem. Even once you get the house, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
It hardly needs to be said at this point that the new way of doing things with Final Fantasy XIV‘s
live letters has proven to work out, well, about as successfully as people accustomed to the company and fan translations had predicted. (This is to say that it involves lots more people getting upset at half-translations and no actual benefits for the community.) But we still do have new stuff to look forward to, and that starts with the big collaboration event starting in about three weeks. It feels closer, but that’s how long it’s actually going to be before Rathalos of Monster Hunter World
stomps on over.
Beyond that, we also got our first gander at patch 4.4, even if it felt like only the barest of glimpses. So the point is we have plenty to look forward to in the near future, and even more in the more distant future. So let’s start talking about it, starting (rather obviously) with what we know most about already.
The fun thing about ranking the beast tribes of Final Fantasy XIV
is that before I started in on this, I actually had no idea who would wind up where. I knew there were some tribes I liked more than others, but the actual final rankings surprised even me. Mostly toward the top; some entries, like the Lupine, were always going to be low on the list. But who would have thought that the top spot would go to…
Well, you’ll have to read for that. For now, let’s just make sure you’re caught up with the bottom ranks and the middle ranks. We’ve got five tribes left to go, and so by process of elimination you no doubt have a relatively clear picture of what tribes have to be here in some order, but let’s count them down. Starting with number five, just past the break. (The other four are further past the break.)
Heaven-on-High is not quite the same as the Palace of the Dead. That is not surprising; they’re different places with different lore and slightly different goals for their place in Final Fantasy XIV’s
overall breadth of content. But they’re both part of the same food group, so there’s also the basic expectation that Heaven-on-High will be, functionally, Palace of the Dead 2. Which is… not inaccurate.
This is, in summary, an iterative take on the idea already established rather than a whole new frontier of content. It has both good sides and bad ones, and by and large I think it’s an improvement over the first version of the Deep Dungeon content. That doesn’t, however, mean that this take is flawless. It doesn’t even mean that every addition even enhances the overall experience. So let’s start prying into the dungeon from my first several runs, picking out the good parts from the negative and seeing what works for the future.
We’re continuing our tour through the beast tribes of Final Fantasy XIV
, and as I move through these rankings I can’t help but notice certain themes. There are some sorts of tribe that I just find more interesting than others, obviously; this whole exercise wouldn’t work if that weren’t the case. Last week’s tribes had various reasons for earning my non-affection, but there was a fairly consistent thread of the tribes not having super distinctive hooks and also not having much done with them.
Most of the tribes this week, by contrast, have one or the other but not both. Either there’s not much compelling about a tribe but plenty of stuff done with that foundation, or there’s really interesting material there that just isn’t explored. So let’s start unpacking this middle of the pack, which are generally tribes that I feel are just shy of being really compelling and interesting for one reason or another.
I have mentioned before that I’m a big fan of the beast tribes of Final Fantasy XIV
. Final Fantasy XI
, too; there’s a charmingly alien and exotic quality do them that hits a perfect balance for me, a race of adversaries and allies both that’s painted in far more complex shades than you might otherwise expect. But alas, not all of the tribes are created equally, and while FFXIV
might not have quite caught up to the diversity of FFXI
, we still now have a large number to choose between.
We aren’t likely to see any new tribes until the next expansion, but that doesn’t mean now is a bad time to talk about the various tribes and which ones are really cool, and which ones are… not. Thus, we start our ranking at the bottom and work our way up. So let’s kick things off with the worst tribe that’s currently in the game, but you’ll have to click past to see what it is. Go on, take a guess.
It feels really weird to think about just how few dungeons we’ve gotten in Final Fantasy XIV
for this expansion. Not that it’s the start of a new trend; Heavensward
already dropped the numbers compared to the base game, and thus Stormblood
continued in a similar trajectory. But when you think about the fact that the game used to have three new dungeons per patch and compare it to an average of one and a half… it’s still adding them on a regular basis, but it’s a much slower basis.
The slower pace of dungeons was something that was announced well before the expansion actually launched, of course. So I think it’s interesting to look at the slower pace, at the stated goals, and see how well the changes have actually achieved those goals. Or, perhaps, if the whole thing didn’t work out very well and we should hope for an uptick again in the next expansion.
I had said before patch 4.3 came out that we were going to learn a fair bit about the future direction of Final Fantasy XIV
from this patch, and I stand by that. It isn’t explicit, of course – it sort of couldn’t be – but there are definitely more hints about what happens next from this patch alone, simply by virtue of the fact that there had to be. After all, we’re wrapping up our problems at breakneck pace otherwise; we don’t want to be sitting here in November when the expansion is revealed without an idea of where we’re going, do we?
Of course, the picture that it pains thus far also isn’t a pretty one, and there are a whole lot of question marks without solid answers. That’s part of the nature of this exercise. So let’s take a look at what we’ve learned from patch 4.3 and both what has gone said and gone unsaid. Fair warning, if it wasn’t obvious from context alone, there will be unmarked spoilers below. If you haven’t finished the story, you may wish to look away or resign yourself to spoiling.
Let’s face it, I’m literally never going to be able to cover everything in a Final Fantasy XIV
with one column. They’re just too large. The bright side is that this patch manages to fall into something resembling
halves with its content; you have that big chunk of stuff based on trials and associated content, but then you also have all of the fun extra doodads for crafting and so forth.
Last week, I covered the main scenario, our new dungeon, and so forth. This week, though, there are a lot of stupid catfish that bear further examination. Along with changes to loot mechanics and reconstruction efforts… a whole plethora of thing that are a bit more varied than just “non-combat,” honestly, but the header works better focusing on a single thing. Including covering some content that I was entirely wrong about, based on preview images.
But first, let’s go fishing.
You know, it’s kind of rough to get through all of the content of a new patch in one day, especially when you can’t just huddle up in the house all day. I appreciate that. I got myself through the majority
of Final Fantasy XIV
‘s patch in one day, though, so I can’t help but feel a measure of pride about that fact. That meant a new dungeon, a new alliance raid, and a new trial on the same day, along with… like, so much
There’s a lot of crafting involved.
Regardless, now we’re on the other side of the patch and can start examining it as a whole. So, as I so often do, I will start with the obvious centerpiece and move on to the more peripheral stuff piece by piece. While I will do my level best to avoid spoilers herein, I can’t make an absolute promise about it, nor can I save you for the comments. Especially since the story this time around was… well.
As it always has been, so it is again; we’ve got our next patch for Final Fantasy XIV
just around the corner, and thus we have a new set of patch notes to peruse well ahead of the actual patch. But we don’t have the full list of new items, which is frustrating. Especially if you’re thinking about which furnishing items you want to move around and so forth, because really, what other
stuff is important in a given patch? Endgame progression? Who cares.
Reading through the patch notes is always a bit like some sort of ersatz holiday, because you already know the majority of the things you’re getting but not all of the details until the patch notes come out… and then the patch notes deliberately obscure some things so you still don’t know everything. But I can live with not knowing exactly what quests are in Return to Ivalice just because I can see that there are a lot of them. So let’s start taking this apart before we get to actually play it.