FFXIV: Version 4.2 Update

I’m little late getting this post in, but I’ve finally had time to dive into the latest update for Final Fantasy XIV. Like most point releases, this patch adds several new things to the game. But sadly, one of the biggest pieces of content will have to wait a little while longer. The addition of the Eureka battle system has been pushed back to 4.25. I won’t be reviewing that update separately, but I will throw a little sidebar discussion into my 4.3 post at a later date.

So, what is included here?  Well, the BIG focus on this patch are some new main scenario quests. (Including the introduction of a new character). These are very story-focused. And, I LOVE where the story is headed! This new storyline sucked me right in and really got me excited to see what’s coming down the pike. I hope SE can maintain this momentum. Of course, there is more packed into this update. So let’s take a look in detail:

  • New main scenario and side quests
  • A new Aetheryte
  • New Dungeons
  • New Raid content
  • New Omega content
  • A new trial (The Jade Stoa)
  • An update to the glamour system and the addition of a glamour-related minigame
  • New beast tribe quests
  • New Treasure Hunt content
  • A new Submarine option for Free Companies
  • New PVP content
  • Various refinements, balancing changes, items, and Q.O.L tweaks.

I was really bummed to see the Eureka content and the new Hildibrand quests pushed back for a future update, but I was quite pleased with many of the surprise changes that were included. By far, one of the most welcome is the revamp to the glamour system. Glamours have been redesigned from the ground up. As a result, the system is much more useful and also helps alleviate inventory woes by converting a large chunk of vanity gear into “glamour plates” that are stored outside your character’s inventory. This change has also resulted in SE again making an update the inventory UI. Many people are complaining about this, but personally – I’ve have no issues with the change. What inventory space is seemingly “lost” by the update, is regained in the form of a saddlebag.

Another interesting new feature is the ability to now record duties for later playback. This is an interesting concept. The idea here is to be able to playback battles and other group content for review and learning purposes. You can switch between the perspective of various players, pause, and slow down/speed up playback, etc. A very handy feature!

In a nutshell, 4.2 is a pretty typical but solid update. Final Fantasy XIV continues to grow and expand, and this patch really gives a glimpse into what type of changes might lie in store. This game has come extremely far since the rough days of 1.0. I can’t wait to see what’s on the horizon.

I give this patch a rating of:  A

 

FFXIV: Version 4.1 Update

The first update to Stormblood is here! I apologize for taking so long to write about this update, but real life events really cut into my playtime for FFXIV. But, I’ve finally finished all of the content included in this patch and I’m here to share my thoughts.

Like most incremental patches for FFXIV, this one includes a number of quality of life improvements, a few new dungeons, a new raid, and several side quests. This patch also saw the release of a whole new housing area. This is something fans have been clamoring for. (Although, the new plots were snatched up pretty quickly as expected… this has become a recurring problem).

Breaking down the contents of the patch into a list, we have the following additions to the game:

New Main Scenario quests and side quests

New Dungeons

New Raid Content (Rabanastre)

New Beast Tribe content

New Treasure Hunt content

New Grand Company Squadron content (Command Missions)

Shirogane Housing and housing enhancements (relocations, etc)

A slew of refinements, big fixes, new items, materials, mounts, minions, etc

I was little disappointed to see only one quest in the Hildibrand quest line in this patch. Hildi is one of my favorite characters in the game, and I was really hoping to see his full return in this update, but sadly all we got was a set up to his reintroduction. But, I don’t mind waiting a bit longer.

For me, the most enjoyable change has been the new Squadron content. I really enjoy the squadron “mini-game” and SE is doing a great job expanding this content. Players are now able to run instanced dungeons with their AI squadron members. It reminds me a bit of the Trust System from FFXI, and I’m very curious to see just where this is headed in the long run.

I’m a bit on the fence when it comes to the new raid. I’m torn on seeing the introduction of something as specific as Rabanastre brought into Final Fantasy XIV. For those that might not know, Rabanastre is a city from Final Fantasy XII. It seems that the world of FFXII and FF Tactics is bleeding into Eorzea a bit. This seemed a bit confusing to me at first, but the in-game lore does a decent job of smoothing over this merge. While I can certainly see the value in plucking out imagery and lore from other games in the series and inserting them into FFXIV, I feel this should be done with care or the game could easily end up being an unrecognizable mish-mashed mess.

The first incremental patch after an MMO expansion is usually iffy. It tends to contain more fixes than content, and that’s certainly true with this patch. But considering the amount of new stuff introduced in 4.1, I have to praise Square Enix. Stormblood was a boon for Final Fantasy XIV and they don’t show any sign of slowing their momentum.

All things considered, I am giving this patch a solid:  A

 

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood

It’s been two years since the release of Heavensward and SE has spent that time working on the next chapter in the Final Fantasy XIV saga: Stormblood. Well, it’s finally here! I’ve spent the last two weeks playing the new content and I’ve finally completed the expansion. So, as expected, I’m here with a full review!

Stormblood brings Final Fantasy XIV up to version 4.0. With that version bump comes a ton of new content. Stormblood adds two new (long awaited) jobs to the game: Red Mage and Samurai. It also raises the level cap to 70 and adds an entire new continent to explore. The focus of the expansion is the retaking of the nations of Ala Mhigo and Doma from Imperial control. The occupation of Ala Mhigo has long been a part of the game’s lore, reaching back as early as 1.0. In this way, Stormblood finally brings a capstone to nearly every loose-end that is left from the original version of the game.

Whereas Heavensward introduced flying to the world of FFXIV, Stormblood brings about the ability to dive and swim. Even some areas of the original game have been updated to allow players to swim in shallow waters. For many of the new zones, players are able to dive down and explore areas of the deep. Flying mounts are also able to traverse the underwater zones as well.  Currently, this ability is pretty novel and really only comes into play for the new scenario missions. But SE has hinted that more content might be coming that incorporates swimming/diving.

I have to go on record and state that the storyline for Stormblood is absolutely fantastic. At worst, it is on par with A Realm Reborn, but I daresay it even exceeds it. To me, Heavensward was a decent expansion. But, at times it became very repetitive and downright boring. This was not the case with Stormblood. Everything about this expansion felt fresh and interesting to me.  From the storyline, the new cities and zones, the innovative dungeons and even the boss fights, the whole of Stormblood was just spot on for me.

Aside from all the new content, Final Fantasy XIV version 4.0 also marked a major revamp to the core game itself. The whole job system received an overhaul of sorts. Skills and abilities were streamlined, with several actions being revamped or even eliminated. The pointless concept of customizing character ability scores (an old mechanic from the now defunct 1.0 version) has finally been removed from the game. 4.0 also introduces the “Job Gauge”, a job-specific on-screen graphic that is unique to each job and related to that job’s special abilities.

A major theme of Stormblood is that of the Far East. Pretty much any type of Asian flair is represented in the new zones. From the Japanese-inspired city of Kugane, to the Chinese-like landscape of Doma. There are even elements of ancient Mongolia, Turkey, and Slavic inspiration found in the new zones.

At the time of this writing, Stormblood has received one minor content patch, bringing the game up to version 4.01. This patch added the highly awaited Omega raid to the game.

All in all, I cannot say enough great things about Stormblood. If I had to find a complaint, it would not be with the expansion itself, but rather with SE’s recent decision to sell level boosting potions on the Mog Station store. For cold hard cash, players can now purchase an item that will level their characters to either level 50 or 60, and even one that will clear the main scenario content for A Realm Reborn and Heavensward.  I understand the concept behind such items: they allow new players to jump right in and join their friends on new adventures. But at the same time, I feel they cheapen the game play experience somewhat. As a player who has stuck with FFXIV since the early (and often dismal) days of 1.0, I couldn’t imagine spending money to purchase a game, then spending more money so that I don’t have to actually play it. But, to each their own I suppose.

I’m going to continue my tradition of reviewing each major patch as they are released. So stay tuned and as they say in the FFXIV community; “Please look forward to it!”

Patch 4.1    Patch 4.2   Patch 4.3   Patch 4.4

FFXIV Hub

** Final Fantasy XIV  (1.x)  –    A Realm Reborn  –    Heavensward   –  Stormblood **