Thursday 5th June saw the arrival of Patch 2.28 to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Here are a few thoughts on it after several hours gameplay.
New ideas in MMORPGs are few and far between, but Guild Wars 2 managed to revamp the genre with a couple of fantastic gameplay additions: public dynamic events and jumping puzzles. Both types of gameplay have been seen in other games before, just never implemented so perfectly into an open world massively multiplayer RPG.
A Realm Reborn already has public events (FATES) and does them really well, but the arrival of Patch 2.28 has now added a whole host of neat tweaks including their own take on jumping puzzles. With a difference. In FFXIV’s new Sightseeing gameplay you still have to do a little acrobatic jumping to get to your destination (called a Vista) but then you have to wait for certain other conditions to be fulfilled, like the time of day or the right weather conditions to be present. Way to kill a great idea. This morning I waited 4 hours for Cloudy Weather to appear then got hit with an emergency maintenance. Some downtime is normal after any MMO is patched but secretly I’m hoping it’s because they want to fix the non-appearance of my Cloudy Weather.
So if you’re going Sightseeing make sure to stock up on things to do, like lots of crafting materials, repair kits to keep you going (because if your crafting level is high enough you can now repair all your items to 199% durability), a couple of flasks of coffee and a tub of Ben & Jerry’s for when the going gets really tough. Overall it seems like a tacked on afterthought by Square Enix rather than the ‘designed from the ground up’ approach of Guild Wars 2. It’s nice that new gameplay has been introduced because more stuff to do is always a good thing, it just could have been done a bit better.
Another addition is the cosmetic / changepose command, your character now has 4 different poses when standing still (and 2 for sitting) and you can configure options to allow switching between all 4 automatically after a time delay, as a result towns look a lot more lively.
Great news for PS Vita owners, you can now save your HUD from your PS4 to your Vita, and vice versa, instead of having to reconfigure them to your liking each time you go to and from remote play.
My favourite tweak is now being able to rein in a chocobo by hitting both shoulder buttons on my controller, it feels more natural than the previous handbrake motion of left trigger and down on the D-pad to dismount.
For those at endgame I’m hearing the word ‘Novus’ a lot, more advanced fellow players tell me it’s a new big grind that allows them to upgrade on top of all the upgrading they’ve already done. I’m not at endgame personally so I’d not expect to worry about such things until a few months from now, if you are at endgame then you’ve probably already read all about Novus in the Patch Notes:[http://na.finalfantasyxiv.com/lodestone/topics/detail/450816f57ade2015876e7675c3d06dca30386770].
They’re also worth a read to see all the other little tweaks that make life easier (teleport destinations are now a lot clearer) and a few other new features (gear preview’s before you buy, more dye options, auto-afk settings and so on) as well as a handful of fixes, which I guess is why they’re calling it a patch when really it’s a pretty big update.
Minor quibble regarding hanging about waiting for something unexciting to happen aside, I’ve been playing for 3 months now and still love the game to bits. All my gathering is paying off big time with my crafters who are paying off big time with my combat classes, so everything is going along nicely and I’ve still got months of content to be getting on with. I’ve yet to do the final couple of story missions due to getting distracted all the time by crafting and helping out fellow players with bits and bobs. And of course I like my ingame cheevos and FFXIV has hundreds of them to be getting on with, including the new ones that Patch 2.28 arrived with.
Overall: Still one of my favourite games, great to see so much new content so early on, nothing else is getting a look in on my PS4 at present.