Saturday, 2 September 2017

Patch 4.1 The Legend Returns live letter

So heres a thing.

I was honestly taking a break just to wait till 4.1 hit. Write up a take on the whole 4.0 experience from launch day to its update to sum up my thoughts on the 'base' story and experience of stormblood.

Buuuut as a huge Ivalice fan i really had to put this up in the interim. The latest Live Letter has gone live and man did we get some stuff to talk about.

So coming October 10th 'The Legend Returns' is the first big content update to FFXIV's Stormblood expansion and it appears to be the 'give something for everybody' patch games like World of Warcraft have failed to pull off for years. No matter what your focus in game there is something for you, 'course this means there might not be enough of certain niche's but there isn't going to be anyone left going "but i have nothing to do in this patch!" which for MMORPG's is super rare.

So lets do the rundown:

Glamour will unlock at lvl.15 and not lvl.50 - Not a huge change in the grand scheme of things but for convenience, quality and life and letting beginners have more to do this is a great change. It sucks to get some really ugly gear and be stuck for hours. Especially if you bought a few months gametime or took part in an event for lvl.1 cosmetic gear with no stats that you simply cannot use until ARR's endgame. Now everyone can clownsuit and slutglamour, viva choice!

Royal Menagerie Extreme Mode - You know who is getting the Thordin treatment and i think everyone was expecting this and i look forward to the fight. God knows over two months of just Lakshmi and Susanoo was getting real tired.

Bards can perform music with notes on a hotbar - Now i know the LOTRO crowd are perking their ears up at this one. I fully expect the 'jazz for your soul' lalafell videos and post wipe respawns having an 'ooo watchu saaaaayyy' macro at the ready in alliance raids. Another example of the devs doing things neat that most studios would consider a waste of resources. But i'm sure the A Stage Reborn people are freaking out right now.

New Hildibrand and beast tribe quests - Side content is always good and hildibrand and more ease for levelling alts all the more so. Given the nature of the Kojin i would imagine this may be our moogle equivalent for crafters which right now have Leves and little else to do.

Pvp Content: Wild Wings - Essentially competitive boss rush speed run raiding. Another push for a streamable, competitive format i think. Not my thing but theres a fair few other MMORPG's chasing the esports bux with worse ideas.

New Dungeon: The Drowned City of Skalla - A new dungeon set in a sunken city. Perhaps in the Ruby Sea? or maybe another Sirensong Sea style dungeon out in the ocean? maybe its on the way to a new location? people have been eyeing Thavnair for ages and they do have a consulate in Kugane.

Alliance Raids added to a new Alliance Roulette and party member size limit removed for 3.X content - Not much to say about this you can't already infer. An alliance roullette is a good way to keep the numbers up for people still doing the storylines or farming glamour gear and gives everyone more rewards and things to do. Not terribly exciting but a welcome change.

The Lost Canals of Uznair - Further exploration to deeper canals can be accessed by finding another map inside the instance. Perhaps this is a little more Deep Dungeon than just another Aquapolis like folks assumed?

Adventure Squadrons update - Not the most cheered for update but your squads level cap has increased, you can glamour their gear and they have new dungeon missions to run. Hopefully with rewards that make it worth actually doing after you unlock your Grand Company Promotion this time around.

Expanded Cross World systems - Now including Raids, Custom PVP matches, Friend lists and tells. Hopefully tells doesnt mean the Gil Spammer containment isnt broken and we get everyones spam at the same time. Beyond that playing with your friends even if you are on different servers is always a good thing as long as the server community doesnt die. We will have to wait and see on this one.

New higher Raid Difficulty - Ultimate - Starting with Ultimate Coil, maybe its Neo Bahamut this time around? we are getting that post savage raid content the hardcore crowd wanted. Ultimate Ozma when?

Return to Ivalice - Oh Boy here we go.

So there may be some players to young to remember, or simply didnt play games at the time, to know there was a series of Final Fantasy games that were not stand alone self contained universes. Including title's like FF Tactics, War of the Lions, Tactics Advance, Vagrant Story, FF12, Revenant Wings and more eventually this series of games all set in the same world albeit in some cases centuries apart was known as "The Ivalice Alliance". Unlike other attempts to make a sub series like 'Project Fabula Nova Crsytalis' however this did not fall through. It never really lead to insane sales like the main series games but on the whole the world of Ivalice is easily the most fleshed out Final Fantasy world other than Eorzea and Vanadiel.
And now we are going there, only things like a bit more 'Dark Souls 3' than we remember. Written by Tactics creator and 'father of the series' Yamui Matsuno this is the next 'Crystal Tower' or 'Void Ark' 24 man storyline for this expansion. So expect revisiting this place a lot on alts and when grinding the new maguffins for your 4.0 relics.
Not much on the story right now but knowing XIV its either going to be one of the other worlds getting ready to collapse into void, a storybook ala FFTA or an Alt Ivalice native to Eorzea from a pre calamity age. Our last main villain was listed as 'having trained as a Samurai in Rabanastre' after all.

There are still more tidbits coming in as translators work their butts off to get through a wealth of infodumps but on the whole im ready for new content and have been for maybe a month even. Plus i just really, really hope Ivalice gives us some Vagrant Story love. Of all the Ivalice games its the one that needs a little love the most.

So start counting down kids. Just a mont to go!


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

A Realm Reborn and the End of an Era


 Here it is. The day before servers go down for the 4.0 24 hour maintenance. Which means that this is the final 24 hours of life for the Playstation 3 client for Final Fantasy XIV. It feels like its come so fast, i played on pc but the PS3 beta was actually what sold me on the games rerelease after the initial reputation put me off like so many others.
Its a bit strange to look at my shelves of games and in the Final Fantasy section my FFXI discs are all fine and can be used for the same game i played almost 14 years ago yet these ARR discs i bought what feels like only recently but was already a good 2 or 3 years ago at this point are useless for any purpose beyond collecting's sake or should i desperately need a good drinks coaster. Yet its happening tomorrow. The PS3 players that lived through the calamity of Bahamut and the fall of Dalamund now have their very real final day ahead of them tomorrow. Thats such a rare thing for mainstream games but there are people that cannot afford a PS4 or a gaming PC so for them this is sadly the end of Final Fantasy XIV.

 Its not as though it wasn't needed though, thats really the saddest part. The previous console generation lasted so long that the hardware is roughly 12 or more years out of date. The game chugged along at the best of times but in heavensward it was a nightmare i played through for the first few months before i got a PS4. Void Ark crashed the client, zone transitions loaded so long that you would get a DC for being inbetween areas too long and Alexander hard locked the whole console to name just a few issues. King Behemoth and Odin was an infuriating exercise in watching players models pop in attacking something you could not see or target and it was over a year between King Behemoth Spawns on a couple of servers. That was a horrible state of affairs.
But for all its problems i made it through it all. Beat Coil, got all my classes to 50 and so on. I platinum'ed the game essentially 'beating' ARR such as you can and i can't imagine how many hours i put in as this poorly running PS3 client replaced World of Warcraft as my MMORPG of choice. I had a good time and my memories of the experience overall remain fond ones.

But they are just memories as tomorrow this version of the game dies and of course 4.0 means so many other little things are changing with it. You can make a pun about a 'storm on the horizon' but i feel sorry for the people being left behind. Surely there are some casual players who have no idea about Stormblood, let alone that after tomorrow their discs simply will not work. They will just wake up to find the game they love is over. For them at least.

Its a reminder no game lasts forever and online games are all the more often a victim to sinking without a trace.

So enjoy it while you got it folks, and feel sorry for the Warriors of Light we leave behind who no longer can.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Time to clean up those hotbars!

Here we are with 12 days to go till Stormblood Early Access. Which means its house cleaning time! One of the best tips i learnt when i was getting into my first mmo expansions was the sage wisdom of "empty your questlog, clear out your bags, organise your banks and sell what crafters need now before demand drops" and in cases of class changes "sort your hotbars out now rather than waste time on launch doing it".
With the Job changes coming in 4.0 i feel that one in particular rings the most true and important after the media tour info has come out. So heres a very brief note of what skills you can delete from your hotbar/crossbar to set it back up for the new 3-5 skills coming between 62-70 in Stormblood.

Ninja: Kiss of the Viper, Kiss of the Wasp, Mutilate, Sneak Attack and Dancing Edge.

Dark Knight: Scourge.

Astrologian: Disable, Combust 2.

White Mage: Stoneskin, Aero 2.

Scholar: Sustain, Miasma 2.

Bard: Swiftsong, Wide Volley.

Summoner: Miasma 2, Spur and Sustain.

Warrior: Bloodbath, Fracture and Mercy's Stroke

Machinist: Lead Shot, Grenado Shot.

Monk: Featherfoot, Haymaker and Touch of Death.

Dragoon: Feint, Keen Flurry, Phlebotomize, Power Surge and Ring of Thorns.

These skills are all gone completely, so cut em loose and forget em! BUT its not all that clear cut. Some existing skills are going into the updated cross class system to pick and choose and some you may want back and others you may want to replace so when updating your hotbar for the removed skills bare in mind the following is now cross class:

Ninja: Goad.

Dark Knight: Dark Dance, Shadow Skin, Low Blow, Reprisal and Delirium.

Scholar: Virus.

Summoner: Eye for an Eye, Virus.

Warrior: Brutal Swing, Foresight.

Monk: Second Wind.

Paladin: Provoke, Rampart and Convalescence.

Dragoon: Leg Sweep, Invigorate.

Lastly here is whats known right now about the new 60-70 abilties going on your hotbars instead and with a few 30-50 for a few select classes getting a minor rebalance like PLD.

Ninja: Hellfrog Medium, Bhavacakra and Ten-Chi-Jin.

Dark Knight: Delirium, Quietus, Bloodspiller and The Blackest Night

Astrologian: Earthly Star, Malefic III, Minor Arcana, Sleeve Draw, Lord of Crowns, Lady of Crowns and Undraw.

White Mage: Thin Air, Stone IV, Divine Beacon, Plenary Indulgence.

Scholar: Excogitation, Broil 2, Chain Stratagem, Aetherpact and Fey Union.

Bard: Perfect Pitch, Troubador, Caustic Bite, Stormbite, Natures Minne and Refulgent Arrow.

Black Mage: Between the Lines, Thunder IV, Triplecast and Foul.

Summoner: Ruin IV, Aetherpact, Bio III, Miasma III, Summon Bahamut, Enkindle Bahamut and Devotion.

Warrior: Onslaught, Upheaveal, Shake it Off and Inner Release.

Machinist: Cooldown, Barrel Stabilizer, Rook Overdrive, Flamethrower, Heated Spirit Shot, Heated Slug Shot, Heated Clean Shot, Rook Overload, Bishop Overload.

Monk: Riddle of Earth, Riddle of Fire, Brotherhood, Earth Tackle and Wind Tackle.

Paladin: Total Eclipse, Intervention, Holy Spirit, Requiescat and Passage of Arms.

Dragoon: Doom Spike, Sonic Thrust, Dragoon Sight, Mirage Dive and Nastrond.

So yeah quite a few new skills to take up those lost ones based on class huh? Folks are still trying to break down the rotations based on the not quite 1005 finalised tooltips but for now at least you can start getting all those hotbars ready for the new rotations and just fill in the blanks as you level. Get it done now and thats one less boring chore when the expansion drops week after next!

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Press Embargo lifted, class changes and my first thoughts

Eighteen days to go till the release of Stormblood, two weeks for early access to boot. This means the media campaign is moving into full swing and the first big reveal has been a number of websites and youtuber's being invited to SE to test the 4.0 builds of all the jobs and the changes that are coming to each class. Naturally this has some players overjoyed, others saying this is it the game is ruined forever. Change is not something the mmorpg player craves more often than not but as is the nature of a persistent game change is inevitably going to happen. So i'm just posting a quick rundown of all the jobs and my thoughts since a full ramble about each would take pages of test to get out :p

So starting with my favourites:

Ninja - is my main job and thankfully its seeing no big shakeups. As i predicted they are streamlining some of the armour crush style abilities but other than that sneak attack and poisons are the only notable loss in the NIN skillset. These spaces on the crossbar are being taken up by new skills that focus more on the 'ninjutsu=ninja magic' idea like the new ten-jin-chi ability that makes Jutsu more than just a rotational filler/upkeep buff so overall it looks like i'm not going to be relearning the job and i don't particularly have any complaints.

Dark Knight - Unsurprisingly they are trying to nerf the button bloat, theres been some slight nerfs and the changes to Darkside are interesting but again beyond that i dont feel like one of my main jobs is getting some massive overhaul and dont think i'll struggle to adapt.

Astrologian - Can easily be summed up as "the same, but cooler" with abilities like drawing 4 cards, cleric stance becoming a cooldown, way higher regen/potency, sleeve draw and the lord/lady adds more tarot deck flavour i already love to the job. Honestly it just looks like more fun from the same job and i really have no worries or complaints about this one at all

Red Mage - The standout for the two new jobs i am actually interested in playing. So far it looks neat. Building white and black meters to dash in and fence then dash out with a holy or flare finisher. My only worry is this will turn out to just be another umbral/astral ice/fire balancing of BLM in another skin and personally -and BLM was my main job for ARR- i got tier of that real quick.

Favourites aside the rest i need playtime with. PLD finally seems to be getting some love and BRD might be really fun in 4.0 But then there are things like WHM that look, for lack of a better term redundant and a lot of SMN players are unhappy with the nerfs even if the Bahamut summon looks rad.
Naturally i'll expand on them with hands on experience in a few weeks but for the jobs i play and the new one i have interest in i can't say i have complaints overall. The big question is will i finally be interested in jobs like MNK or DRG that i got to 60 but never really had interest in playing in the longrun.

Times gonna tell i guess.

Friday, 28 April 2017

And so the Benchmark trailer dropped AKA The thirst is real!

So there i am getting over a nasty flu and a break from XIV when i check my twitter. Through my fugue state i see the official XIV twitter mention "Hey don't forget to check out the new Stormblood trailer in the Live Letter!" which was a bit of a surprise. I thought we were not getting SB related live letters for a while to go now. What we got was surprisingly long. New locations, new gear sets and most surprisingly: New Abilities.

Some of it is solid info, some of it guesswork based on what we have seen but a rough list of info so far can be summed up with the following.

  • DRG now appears to have a skill where it burns off Blood of the Dragon as a ranged burst damage spell
  • DRK appeared to use Shadowskin on the SAM, perhaps an on ally version of PLD's 1 physical block skill?
  • AST has two new cards in their tarot, The Lord and The Lady
  • BRD fires a flurry of magical homing arrows at once
  • MCH has a flamethrower skill
  • NIN has a new skill to summon a giant fire breathing Toad
  • WAR appears to have a new downthrust charge similar to DRK's current ability, possibly a new cross class skill?
  • SMN appears to fire off a new spell reminiscent of ravana's wings, not unexpected considering 50-60 brought an emphasis back to SMN using the powers of primals.
  • PLD appears to have a small holy style aoe.
  • SCH now appears to show an ability to link Eos or Selene directly to a targeted party member, probably as a more direct healer instead of an aoe turret its used as now.
  • MNK appears to shift into max Grease Lightning level instantly
  • RDM appears to use a combo on one enemy then the chainspell finisher on another suggesting it is a 'counter' tied to the player not an enemy upkeep.
  • WHM appears to have another group wide heal or buff
  • BLM shows a dark purple stabbing graphic spell not dissimilar to the AST weakening debuff. Painflare perhaps?
As well as these teases we also received concrete info that the TP cost for Sprint has been removed entirely, Crafting Specialisations will have more weight on crafting choices now (glad i picked those up for BSM, LTW and CUL) and now would be a good time to cap Poetics -yes Tomestones of Poetics as they will be exchanged for a new currency used for progression in 4.0. Perhaps as an all purpose low tier with the mid and endgame tiers remaining the same for now instead of the mid current replacing poetics as tiers upshifted in the past? for now they just recommend 2k poetics will be a nice "ahead of the curve boost" for whats coming in 4.0.

Aside from this its mostly tidbits. the initial inventory boost will be 10 extra slots for every page of the armoury and 40 for inventory to test server load and a much larger increase after should it take properly. Flying mounts will swim underwater and some current ground mounts like Sliepnir will fly. New hairstyles are coming to nobodies surprise and the SAM Limit Break is a move some FF fans will find quite familiar.

Overall a nice bit of info in a time where the Heavensward content is running tired and Idyllshire is getting real empty this time of year. Now its just time to rewatch the trailer to see what tidbits i missed and get back to the countdown, just 52 days to go...

Friday, 7 April 2017

The lonely Easter, or 'Ten weeks to Stormblood!'

So its that time again. Not Easter i mean. Well yes technically its also Easter but thats not what i'm talking about here.

-But go to Gridania and get your egg mount. Takes like 10 minutes tops.

What i'm talking about here is that its the 'pre expansion lull' again, yay! or something. I guess i could be more bummed but after putting up with the "we beat the big bad... now lets settle with NOTHING for the next 18 months!" level of content updates between final patch and next expansion i did back in my WoW days. Waiting 2 and a half months isn't looking too bad.

Still what does it mean right now? Well it means a huge amount of fantastic games have just come out and Nier Automata, Zelda Breath of the Wild and especially Persona 5 (which is fantastic btw) have decimated the FFXIV population in this period where the story and content updates are done with till those ships to Othard make ready to leave in June.
So while this does mean longer queue's it also means a lot less competition on the market board and maybe your chance to pick up a free housing plot to boot. One thing folks have to learn if they are new to mmo's like this is that this is the perfect 'cleaning house' period. Farm gil and get your inventories cleaned up and so on.

Though it is always a little bit of a downer at these times to barely see anyone outside Idyllshire even when a seasonal event is on its always good to take a break to avoid burn out too. Stormbloods just around the corner so its always nice to have some time to take it easy i guess.

-Or go crazy buying and selling on the marketboard. Y'know. If so inclined.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017


 And so the story comes to a close for now. Two years ago we left Uldah in a hurry and wound up in the downtrodden alleyways of the foundations of Ishgard. Today the story finished and we now have the 12 week wait for the gates of Othard and Ala Mhigo to open to us.
Its a little bittersweet as all endings are. The Far Edge of Fate quest is probably the last time the 'Ishgard Fanfare' variant will play upon a quest completion, no doubt to be replaced by a more Othard sounding equivalent and places like the Sea of Clouds will probably be put on the backburner to become another ghost town zone like Southern La Noscea or Coerthas in general.

Still i can say i have had fun from start to finish (bar the umbrite step of the relic mind you, still not finished my second on that particular hump!) and honestly compared to the recent mainline release of Final Fantasy XV i can honestly say this was the more enjoyable experience. I loved the locations, the boss fights, the story. Going through the Void Ark, fighting Ozma, the Griffin atop Baelsar's Wall and so on were a truly enjoyable experience. Both as an MMORPG and as a mainline numbered Final Fantasy experience.
It was not perfect mind you and my own enjoyment doesnt speak for all the players who seriously had a problem with the new raid structure that again is changing in Stormblood but this was an expansion that just never let up on fun things to do and personally i just felt it needed a few more post launch dungeons if even just a new hard mode or two even if that potential list is running short. Perhaps Copperbell Mines Extreme next?

All in all the final update was very short, perhaps an hour of content max. But there is at least one
twist of something dating back to the Calamity i won't reveal here. Needless to say it important and in a way what most of us kind of expected. The reveal of the Primal as Shinryu suggests our first update primal fight -or perhaps the bend of time raid is not fighting Omega but fighting with it to finish off this 'Doman Bahamut' who survives to fight another day -though thanks to coil we know that doesnt always mean intact does it?
Gosetsu was a nice character to join the main team. I expected the reserved yet stern sage-master kind of trope. Instead he seems to be the as yet unseen masters underling and just Yugiris superior in a 'loud mouthed, brave yet rash older brother' sort of role and its always nice to get new Roe' characters with a bit more personality to them. Though personally i feel like a certain former XIVth Legion higher up last seen at the Crystal Tower steals most of the scenes of dialogue, though i'm not sure if the Elder Seedseer and Cid have had a voice actor change again though the rest remains the same. Odd but could just be me hearing things i suppose.

 So now we have reached the end of a very enjoyable expansion and reach the calm before the storm. Which in a period of some of the best games thus far this gen releasing like Nier Automata, Horizon Zero Dawn and Nioh to name a few its the perfect time for the Warriors of Light to take it easy and sit for a spell.
My advice is make sure you have some 50-60 BLM gear for RDM and MNK gear for SAM just in case you havent actually levelled BLM/MNK so you can play catchup easier. Never hurts to be tomecapped and same with company seals and of course you never can have enough gil. Beyond that this is the perfect time to check off what you do or dont need to do. I'm probably not going to finish any more relics right now and i have every class levelled up and the beast tribes all at max. My goals right now are just to get my DRK relic past the Umbrite stage since its almost finished and sell all my crafting materials for HW recipes while the gettings good and folks are leveling their last crafting jobs. Always someone that forgets to just use the moogle tribe.

For now though it doesn't really matter what you do its just that rare period to take it easy and enjoy the sights and get some other games out of your backlog. All the while counting the days left till the Stormblood Early Access goes live, of course.

Just 79 days to go. Spend it well folks and see you in Stormblood!