It’s Patch 3.4 for Final Fantasy XIV tomorrow, so naturally any players of the game have been poring over the patch notes, which were released in their entirety today.
Different people have different priorities when it comes to MMO patches. Here’s what I intend to get up to:
Whenever a new patch comes out, I always do the main scenario quests first, because these usually 1) unlock at least some of the new content and 2) mean that I can’t be hit with inadvertent spoilers from loose lips.
In the case of Patch 3.4, it’s an exciting time for the game, since we not only get to find out a bit more about the mysterious “Warrior of Darkness” — seemingly our dark counterparts, and possibly even something to do with the character used in all the game’s CG cutscenes — but we also start the run-up to the next expansion, which is set to be revealed in the not too distant future.
The smart money is on us finally heading to Ala Mhigo in the next expansion, as it’s a place that has been frequently referenced in the game lore, and which is of particular importance to Raubahn, who has been a major character in the entire storyline so far. Our visit to the Ixali region of Xelphatol in 3.4 would seem to indicate our overall “journey” heading in that direction, too, but ultimately the truth remains to be seen.
Since I’m probably going to romp through the main scenario stuff first, I’ll probably complete Xelphatol first, with The Great Gubal Library (Hard) coming afterwards, since it’s just a sidequest.
I enjoy Final Fantasy XIV’s dungeons, but they’re always a bit too easy for my liking. This is almost certainly deliberate, as a means to make them friendly to casual players rather than hardcore raiders, but it would be nice to have some new dungeons that the majority of the playerbase don’t vastly outgear the moment they step inside.
At least if nothing else the new dungeons will provide some gear to help people “catch up” to the cutting-edge item level, and dungeon boss fights are always memorable experiences. I can’t honestly say I’m hugely excited about either of the dungeons coming up in this patch, but I will reserve judgement until I see them for myself!
Sophia, the Goddess
A new Trial is always enjoyable, because although they’re just single boss fights, they tend to be absolutely spectacular, with some of the best music and graphical effects in the game. The preview footage for the battle with Sophia looks to be no exception to this; hopefully it won’t become another Sephirot, where people moan and complain every time it comes up in Trials roulette mere days after it being released. (I actually quite liked the Sephirot fight!)
I’ve been underwhelmed by Alexander throughout the 3.x patch cycle, but then, I wasn’t anticipating it to be particularly up my alley from the moment it was first announced. I’m not a big fan of steampunk and the comic relief that the Goblins generally provide in Final Fantasy XIV doesn’t lend itself well to the sort of epic conflict that raids, for me, need to be truly exciting. Also the music in Alexander up until now is awful (although admittedly in keeping with the Goblin theme) and I hope to God we at least get some suitably epic music for the final battle.
All that said, I’m particularly interested to see how the Alexander cycle ends. We were promised some sort of interesting encounter involving time manipulation, so I’m very interested to see where that goes. Beyond that, I hope the team have learned some valuable lessons from Alexander’s development and the lukewarm to poor reception it has had from the player base.
This content caught my eye when it was first announced, and it’s probably going to be little more than glorified Retainer Ventures — i.e. wind up a minion, send them on their way to do something off-screen for 18 hours, then check the results when they get back — but I like the idea, nonetheless, plus there’s potential for it to be expanded in the future. In fact, the developers have specifically said they’d like to make it so that players’ Squadron members can be taken into dungeons, so that will immediately make this stuff worthwhile.
I’m intrigued by this: a randomly selected series of weekly objectives with some significant rewards on offer for completing them. What I’m most interested in is exactly what content is going to be involved with this. Are we going to see something that expects us to do Extreme difficulty trials and The Binding Coil of Bahamut at its original difficulty level? (Or, at least, not unsynced with level 60 gear and stats)?
Mechanically speaking, Wondrous Tails sounds like a way to make old content relevant again, something which has historically been accomplished with the Relic weapon quests. Wondrous Tails is divorced from all other aspects of progression, however, so it can be tackled alongside whatever route you want to go with, be it raiding, Relic or a combination thereof.
Palace of the Dead
I like Palace of the Dead a lot, and it’s getting some tweaks in 3.4, the exact details of which haven’t been given. What I’m most looking forward to is it being extended to the full 200 floors in patch 3.45, with floor 100 being the end of its “story mode” and floors 101-200 being effectively a “hard mode”. Palace of the Dead already offers some worthwhile rewards in the form of weapons; I’m interested to see what the deeper floors will offer.
Since they’re set to sell for just 500,000 gil, I’ll likely finally get my own piece of personal housing in the form of an apartment. It’s a pity you can’t do gardening in them, since gardening is one of the key benefits of having either a personal or a Free Company house, but I’ll enjoy having a space to call my own that I can fiddle around with and decorate.
The onward grind
I’m making decent progress on my Dark Knight Anima weapon, and will continue to do this throughout 3.4; hopefully the new additions to the game will make this process more varied and interesting.
Beyond that, I’ve been levelling White Mage and enjoying it, so I might try my hand at a bit more healing than I have been doing in the past, though naturally gearing WHM up will have to be balanced with gearing DRK, which is still my main.
Overall, I’m really interested to see where 3.4 takes the game, and especially interested to hear the first details of the new expansion when they finally arrive. Hopefully it won’t be too much of a tease when it’s revealed!