Final Fantasy XIV Patch Promises Dragons, Fluffiness, Pompoms

If you’ve been browsing Cobbo’s RPG scrollbars you’ll have noticed how he likes to mention that Final Fantasy XIV [official site] is a pretty good MMO. That is, if you manage to beat the ARG of opening a Square Enix account and actually starting the game.

The announcement of Patch 3.3: Revenge of The Horde for the 7th of June seems like a pretty good time to remind you that FFXIV is indeed a pretty good game: I played almost nothing else for an entire year. And with massive content updates coming steadily every two to three months, it’s not just the endgame that gets fleshed out, but the whole experience, even for new players. We haven’t posted about it in a while, so let me show you what’s new in Eorzea.

Final Fantasy XIV is that subscription-based MMO in which you could be everything you want, except you’ll be a catgirl (or a catboy), because duh, of course you will. It has some recurring characters from the Final Fantasy series, like Chocobos, Moogles and a Cid working with airships, but it doesn’t really require any knowledge of previous FF titles, or indeed of MMOs. The learning curve is very smooth, even too smooth: if you’ve played any RPG in your life, you’ll breeze through the first 30 hours at least.

So, what happened since the launch of Heavensward, its first paid expansion? First of all, Square Enix actually moved the European servers to Europe, instead of hosting them in Canada with the American servers. Revolutionary, I know.

Most importantly, since Patch 3.2 they added a new mentorship system, where people who meet certain requirements can apply to be mentors and join a chat channel dedicated to helping new players out and answering their questions. The game is very generous with explanations, but it’s also big and wide, and asking a human being is always nicer than consulting a webpage. Similarly, the Hall of the Novice and Stone, Sky, Sea are arenas in which players can train mechanics, sometimes specific to some encounters and dungeons, in a stress-free environment before joining up with other players for the real deal.

Another feature that was severely lacking was the PVP. It was clearly an afterthought, and very few people played it as a result. Also starting from patch 3.2, Square have been working on The Feast, a proper competitive mode with matchmaking, rankings and everything – and players seem to have taken well to it.

The video above is almost all we know about Patch 3.3: Revenge of The Horde. There are several types of new content: new dungeons for parties of 4, 8 and 24 players will be added, together with new Main Scenario Quests, which are single-player missions moving the storyline forward.

The Moogles (the fluffy things with a pompom on their head at 2:30) will give out new Beast Tribe quests, i.e. daily sidequests rewarding players with hard-to-find materials while fleshing out the lore of the race. The optional story quest of Inspector Hildibrand (4:30) will continue: this is an optional storyline of slapstick comedy, where the ratio of cutscenes to gameplay is heavily skewed towards watching and reading, but for my money it’s where the game’s writing is at its best.

It’s not mentioned in the video, but Square Enix have a habit of running “free login campaigns” shortly after each of their major patches. If you’re an old player who has cancelled their subscription, you’ll have a window of time of about a month to log back in free of charge for 96 hours and poke around the game’s new additions, so keep an eye out for it if you’re interested.

Final Fantasy XIV’s Patch 3.3 is scheduled for the 7th of June. Remember that you need to have purchased the Heavensward expansion to access most of its new content.

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  1. Assirra says:

    You can say what you want about the game but the patches are always huge with a ton of content.

    • Nosada says:

      I honestly only have two quarrels with FFXIV that made me quit:

      Partying is too impersonal (duty finder)
      The job system is too simple (no pure support classes)

      Now, both are caused by compromises. Duty finder allows MUCH faster parties, doesn’t limit you to finding people in the same level range and with identical requirements and rewards higher level players for helping you out. Downside is that, because there is a high chance those players are not on your server, and there is no real need for communication, none happens, and most parties now go through without a word spoken.
      The classes have been honed to the duty finder requirements, and solidly fit into the tank/healer/DD role, with no chance for experimentation or variation. It also leaves no room for pure support/crowd control classes.

      These choices have their up and downsides, and I can imagine most people enjoy their time in FFXIV quite well (I know I did), but it lacks longevity because of these downsides. The party system in FFXI was grueling, but I have never experienced the joy I found in a good party there in any MMO since. The EQ2 TLE server comes closest, and I have high hopes for Pantheon, but I doubt FFXIV will ever fill this niche for me.

      That said. FFXIV with a pleasant Free Company is one hell of a blast, and should be tried by every MMO-loving gamer at least once.

      • Melody says:

        If I had to highlight my issues with it, I wouldn’t necessarily mention those – except the duty finder being cross-server. The Secret World had separate servers, but you could still communicate with others cross-server and even meet up with them, so Servers really weren’t a big deal because the separation wasn’t absolute. In FFXIV the player base is too fragmented in my opinion. It’s kind of sad.

        Still, my biggest problems with the game are:
        – The culture that expects you to learn fights on paper or by watching a video before you do them. I never did, but there are strong expectations that you do because the grinders don’t want to waste their precious grinding time – to me that just ruins the fun. What’s the point of a new dungeon if I just have to follow the script instead of figuring it out for myself?
        – As much as the content updates are huge and frequent, Square still have to keep their hardcore fanbase at bay with something to do. So with every patch there’s always something that is extremely grindy, boring and repetitive alongside the nice stuff. The Anima weapon questline is the biggest culprit, but whatever is the highest gear level also always takes an impossible amount of grinding. They do tone it down after a while, which is great, but it’s still kind of annoying.

    • Ansob says:

      That, and the game is absolutely gorgeous. It’s by far the prettiest MMO on the market, with by far the best world/creature design. It’s also well-populated, and in a few dozen hours I’ve yet to run in to more than one asshole – everyone else has been super friendly/helpful.

      Plus, it’s, y’know, fun.

      • Melody says:

        I’ve had great experiences in FF XIV re: community. Near when I started the game, a random stranger gifted me a pet, just because. It was cheap for her, but for me it was awesome, and I started doing the same after that.

        But I have to say, all the toxic, stressed-out people are in the end-game, grinding out the same handful of dungeons and quests over and over.

        • Ansob says:

          Yeah, I’ve heard similar. Fortunately, I’m part of a big FC on Excalibur, so I’ll have all the party members I could possibly want once I reach endgame. As always with MMOs, it’s all about finding cool people to play with. :)

    • SaintAn says:

      Yeah, that’s how P2P MMO’s are. No idea why anyone would want to play a F2P or B2P MMO when they are all scams and get very poor quality and small quantity content that comes a few times a year. But some people are ignorant or unthinking and would rather fall for scams like sheep.

      • malkav11 says:

        A lot of F2P MMOs are terrible, but the one-off purchase games like Guild Wars 2, The Elder Scrolls Online, and especially The Secret World are among my favorite entries in the genre and are certainly not scams. I grant you that they may not see the same scale of content updates as a full subscription MMO might, but the point for me has never been to play these games exclusively year round. Not having a subscription means that I can dip in whenever I please and enjoy what is there instead of feeling like I have to play them a huge amount to get my money’s worth. Since I don’t play them to destruction, I’ve never exhausted their content and the update pace has been more than sufficient to run ahead of my progress.

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          particlese says:

          Yep, I can at least vouch for ESO in that respect. After about a year of playing roughly every other day for a couple hours, I’m still working on the first of three main campaigns and have barely dented the first two DLCs. There’s grindy stuff to do if you want it, but I’ve never felt the need. I do play it like an Elder Scrolls game with chat, though, so take that how you will. The PvP has also been really fun and low-pressure almost every time I’ve played, though again, it can be grindy and/or intense, if that’s your thing. Totally worth the optional subscription, in my opinion.

  2. malkav11 says:

    I continue to be skeptical. I absolutely loathed the previous Final Fantasy MMO, XI, and in general haven’t found an MMO from Asia that I get on with very well, presumably because their design priorities are very different from mine. (Especially in Korea.) But I did get the base game in a Humble Bundle so one of these days I need to make time to check it out.

    • Ansob says:

      It’s a Western MMO in terms of the time commitment it asks (no P2W stuff, no massive grind except if you want the cutting edge gear for cutting edge raids), and is nothing like FFXI ever since they completely overhauled it with A Realm Reborn. If you’re interested, you may as well make a trial account to get a feel for how it plays, before deciding whether to activate the base copy or not.

      As a “bonus,” there’s nothing in the expansion that can even be played before hitting the base game’s level cap (50), so no point in getting that until you reach the end of the base game.

      • SaintAn says:

        Well leveling is a grind. Either do dungeons over and over hundreds of times or join the Fate zerg to kill all those public quests over and over and over.

    • SaintAn says:

      Shame, FFXI is a masterpiece. Best FF game next to FFT:WOTL, and still the best MMO I’ve played, and I’ve played a lot of them.

      • malkav11 says:

        I respectfully and emphatically disagree. It’s not actually the worst MMO I’ve played, because I tried Lineage and a couple of other Korean MMOs before I learned my lesson, but it comes pretty close.

        • Idealist says:

          FFXI is actually a lot more enjoyable to play now than it was (at least if you weren’t someone in a good linkshell). It’s nothing like it was even a handful of years ago. Example: Last night I spent an hour exploring the Temple of Uggalepih solo (with my 5 NPC followers), getting my blue mage job from level 59 to 60 while casually fighting the various easy con tonberries and opo-opos. When I decided to take a break and head back to town, instead of having to warp/die and give up the progress I’d made getting into the temple, I simply found the nearest Survival Guide, which allowed me to teleport out to my destination of choice, and to which I’d be able to teleport back to at any time.

          • malkav11 says:

            Yeah, I’m sure they’ve improved quality of life in the interim – pretty much every MMO does. But for example, I went back to the original Everquest for a little while a couple years back since some other folks from a forum I frequent were. And they’d made a bunch of quality of life improvements, for sure. And it was still a game that hated me as a player and had to be wrestled into submission to extract the slightest bit of fun from it. Not worth it when there’s so much else out there that’s actually enjoyable from the off.