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.