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View Full Version : FINAL FANTASY XIV Patch 2.1 - Impressions



Aulayna
12-31-2013, 10:36 PM
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Itís been just under 2 weeks since the first major content patch for FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn was deployed. Patch 2.1, titled A Realm Awoken, brings a variety of updates to the already polished game, adding even more hours onto the adventure players undertake. Potential unmarked 2.0 spoilers are to follow, so be warned!

Note that for this impressions piece, I wonít be touching on Player vs Player as I am still currently dabbling in it and plan to post a more in-depth impressions piece on PvP at a later date once some of the teething difficulties have been ironed out.

So, whatís new Miqoíte? (get it, Miqoíte, cat, pussycatÖ Iíll grab my coat)


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Maybe I have an audience after all... or maybe that's my escort out.



MAIN SCENARIO QUESTS

A Realm Awoken continues where the main storyline left off. Following the defeat of Gaius Van Baelsar, the Scions of the Seventh Dawn become all too aware of the lingering Ascian threat looming over Eorzea. The continuation of the storyline sees playersí looking for someone from Minfiliaís past, investigating the cryptic messages left behind by an Ascian emissary and ultimately getting to the bottom of the increased activity amongst the Moogles of the Twelves Wood, which leads to troubling revelations about the nature of the Primals themselves.

Mor Dhona has also become a designated place of neutrality for all willing adventures to gather, free from the influences of the three city states, with the goal of protecting Eorzea from whatever threatens her. As a result, Revenantís Toll has undergone a significant visual upgrade.


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The building work in Revenant's Toll has progressed.


The quest chain also sends players back to the Sunken Temple of Qarn, as well as undertaking 2 Guildhests, which act as great way of introducing players to content they may have overlooked on the path to level 50. The quest chain ultimately unlocks the Good King Moggle Mog XII encounter.

Overall the new Main Scenario quest is a satisfying continuation of the story, providing some tantalising new developments as well as fleshing out Minfilia's character more. However, it also leaves more than enough questions unanswered to keep players pondering over what could happen next. What is the Ascian's endgame? What threat looms over Hydaelyn? Why have some of Minfilia's trusted contacts fallen silent?


SIDE QUESTS & BEAST TRIBE QUESTS

The patch also adds a plateful of new sidequests to undertake. From investigating the disappearance of Hildibrand to solving a smuggling problem involving coeurls and wolves, thereís definitely a breadth of new stories to explore. Players can also choose to ally themselves with the Sylphs of the Twelveswood and the Brotherhood of Ash to cull the population of aggressive beast tribes. In reward for their efforts players can unlock cool cosmetic armour pieces or new minions for their collections.


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Pimp digs, for the 1 percent.



FREE COMPANY HOUSING

I canít really say too much about this right now. Our Free Company, Fat Chocobos, has yet to acquire a house. In fact, only three (yes THREE) Free Companies on Sargatanas have a house at the time of writing. The immense gil costs are obviously there to give Free Companies something to band together and work toward, and gil sink some of the massive amounts of gil that were accumulated due to early economy inflation at the release of A Realm Reborn.

The feature will ultimately be a great addition to the game ,though I can only hope that the developers continue to add new furniture at the game , or thereís a very big risk that a lot of houses will end up looking incredibly similar. However from the houses Iíve explored, thereís a great deal of customisation available and it offers Free Companies the chance to call a bit of Eorzea their home.


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Unsurprisingly, she's not very friendly.


NEW DUNGEONS

Patch 2.1 introduces 3 new 4-player dungeons to be tackled. These dungeons all drop item level 60 loot, with a combination of the old Amdapor Keep items, and new items, dropping across them. Amdapor Keep has subsequently been scaled down and now shares its drop tables with The Wandererís Palace.

First up is the brand new dungeon, Pharos Sirius, which sees adventurers climbing the ruined tower on the Isle of Umbra to ultimately take on Siren. The dungeon is incredibly challenging, and a significant step up from its predecessor Amdapor Keep. It will test a groupís movement, co-ordination and healing capabilities to an unprecedented degree in 4-player content thus far.

The next two dungeons are hard modes of existing dungeons; Haukke Manor and Copperbell Mines. However, these arenít just simple rehashes with the same bosses that just hit harder, oh no! These are completely new routes through the existing dungeons, backed by their respective original background themes from 1.x to give veteran players a nostalgic kick! Both dungeons provide a great challenge on the first run through, testing both movement and damage dealing capabilities to give players a good benchmark of the their performance.

The only downside of these 3 new dungeons is that the loot is all existing loot from Amdapor Keep, or re-itemised variations thereof. For players whoíve been playing since launch and have been grinding out The Wandererís Palace or Amdapor Keep week after week to cap their Tomes of Mythology, these dungeons offer no exciting rewards for them other than a change of scenery. Given that the crafted gear and Darklight gear is item level (ilvl) 70, it feels like some cool ilvl 65 items (particularly accessories) couldíve been added to these dungeons to give even seasoned dungeon-goers something to look forward too.


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They may be cute and fluffy, but they ain't your pals.


NEW TRIALS

Aside from Extreme Mode Primals, which weíll get too later, 2.1 adds two new 8-player trials for bands of adventurers to undertake: The Good King Moggle Mog XII and a harder version of the Ultima Weapon encounter.

Good King Moggle Mog XII is not very challenging, probably only slightly harder than Garuda Hard Mode. It just involves precise add management and a kill order to make sure the party doesnít succumb to too many menacing status ailments and disorientations at the same time. The encounter is good fun, and humorous to boot! Victors are rewarded with Moogle themed weapons that make Moogle noises when they strike in combat.

Ultima Weapon, on the other hand, has become one hell of a badass. Combining all of its abilities from both story mode encounters, alongside some new devastating attacks, this fan-favourite encounter becomes even more chaotic and enjoyable. Be prepared to tank swap, run like maniacs into orbs of doom with your friends and dodge more lasers than someone tripping in a night club. All while trying not to get blown up in the process. New ilvl 80 accessories await the victor and a slightly exaggerating Minstrel will be singing tales of your victory.


EXTREME MODE PRIMALS

Anyone whoís got their Relic Weapon, or in the process of getting it, probably has fond and not so fond memories of the Hard Mode Primal Battle encounters at level 50. If you found those Hard Modes a bit too easy, then this patch has you covered!

These encounters are only available to players who have successfully overcome the Hard Mode encounters.

Garuda is the first extreme mode primal players can pit themselves against. Featuring a completely different sequence of events, this encounter is a far cry from its hard mode equivalent. With hard DPS checks, healer awareness checks and devastating attacks that require careful cooldown management by tanks Ė itís certainly a step up from previous encounters.

Players who successfully vanquish Garuda then get to take on Titan. Titan is known, affectionately, as being the giant rock in a thong who has forever cock-blocked many players from finishing off their Relic Weapons. Clearly he wasnít satisfied with the amount of frustration he already caused as this time heís tougher than ever. Had trouble dodging landslides in Hard Mode? There are 3 of them now! Or better yet, 5 landslides after the heart phase. 2 Gaols to trap party members. Adds. More bombs. More weights of the land to explode and a brand new attack to knock unwitting individuals off the platform with. Your movement skills will be put to the limit!


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Yeaaah....


The most hardened of players who manage to vanquish Titan will then be pitted against Ifrit. Ifrit was considered a bit of a push-over as a Hard Mode and mainly just relied on a good tank to interrupt. That's all changed now. You could say heís as hard as nails, because thereís certainly a lot more nails now! Eruption can no longer be interrupted and he also applies stacking HP reduction debuffs for the tanks and healers to manage. All while trying to kill pesky nails to avoid a fiery demise at the hands of hellfire, so DPS donít get off lightly either!

The hardy few who successfully beat (or pay their way through) these 3 extreme lessons in coordination get aptly rewarded for their efforts. Brand new ilvl 90 accessories and the ability to purchase ilvl 90 weapons that are on par with, or in most cases better than, Relic Weapons. This is a great way for skilled players to get a nice weapon for their lesser played jobs.


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I think he missed the memo: Belted coats not required for entry.


THE CRYSTAL TOWER

The Crystal Tower is A Realm Rebornís first 24-player raid. Players can queue up in groups of a maximum of 8 people to join 2 other groups of 8 in a nostalgic frolic through one of FINAL FANTASY IIIís most memorable locations. The Crystal Tower is unlocked through a short quest chain that involves doing a number of FATEs.

The setup of this raid is very well done, most of the time you will only be coordinating amongst your own group of 8 to micro-manage whatís going on in your designated third of the encounter area. As each group micro-manages their own objectives it ultimately contributes toward the overall success of the battle. For example in one fight, groups have to stand on platforms whilst killing waves of monsters, and once all 3 aisles have been cleared the entire raid of 24 can delve deeper. Another encounter sees each group of 8 having to kill a demon while preventing reinforcements from reaching the centre of the room and causing a giant Bomb to explode.

The raid drops ilvl 80 loot so is a great way of obtaining upgrades of Darklight gear for either primary or additional job classes. Players can only win one item per week from the raid which gives them a reason to keep coming back.

The raid itself is not overly challenging, which is understandable for something thatís intended to be doable by you and the 23 other people youíve been randomly matchmade with. But considering the thought that has gone into some of the encounters, I imagine future wings added in later patches will become increasingly more difficult.


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It's a lot less blue on the inside...



TREASURE HUNTS

Level 40 or higher Disciples of the Land (Miners, Botanists and Fishers) now have a chance to discover Treasure Maps every few hours whilst gathering. These maps point to buried treasure, naturally. However, nothing in Eorzea is simple and attempting to open these chests will trigger a trap, ranging from a simple soloable mob to a wave of enemies that will require a full part to defeat; the tougher the challenge, the bigger the reward! Everything from high level crafting materials, to materials for new vanity items and even gil and Tomes can be acquired through treasure hunting.


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He's ready to make you into A Beauty Reborn!



AESTHETICIAN

The Aesthetician is the long-promised Barbershop for FINAL FANTASY XIV. It allows players, for a small fee of 2000 gil, to choose a new hairstyle and hair colour for their characters along with different eyebrows and a few other facial features. It allows access to hair styles that were previously restricted to some races at launch. Basically this does what it says on the tin. You too can become A BEAUTY REBORN!


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The customisations available with the Aesthetician



SOCIAL IMPROVEMENTS

A Realm Awoken adds a number of social improvements to the game, from minor things such as the ability to black list people by right clicking and black listing (very useful for dealing with the RMT spam), to more complex features such as Duty Roulette and Party Finder.

VOTE KICK & PLAYER COMMENDATIONS
Match-made parties via the Duty Finder now have the option to vote to remove a player from the party. The vote requires a majority vote to remove the player and votes from pre-made parties (such as people who queue up as a pair) donít carry as much weight as other randomly found players to prevent abuse.

The flipside of this is the Player Commendations system. At the end of a successful clear of a Duty, players will be given an opportunity to nominate an MVP for the party. They can only vote for other randomly found players, to prevent people just voting for the players they queued up with. This is a nice little way of acknowledging good and helpful party members and encouraging positive play. Player commendations also unlock rewards, ranging from a simple title at 10 commendations, right up to a Golden Magitek Mount at 500 commendations. A very shiny reward that gives everyone an incentive play nice.

DUTY ROULETTE
The duty roulette is an incentive to get players to queue up solo and re-run content that they may have already done, with the prospect of additional rewards. The Duty Roulette is split into 4 categories: Low Level (level 15-49 dungeons), High Level (level 50 dungeons), Main Scenario (level 45-50 storyline dungeons) and Guildhests (level 10-40 challenges). Each category chooses a dungeon at random from its pool and puts the player into that dungeon alongside 3 other random people.


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It's almost like Russian Roulette, except instead of death you might just get a bad party. But I guess that results in death too...


Each tier of difficulty has its own level of rewards, with Low Level and Guildhests being a sizeable source of experience for leveling, providing a nice alternative to the monotonous FATE Grinding that was the preferred way of quickly leveling a second job pre-patch. Level 50 jobs earn Tomes of Mythology and Philosophy for taking apart along with sizable amounts of gil.

This gives players incentives to re-run content they otherwise would have no reason to and helps to keep the queue times down on dungeons that new players have to clear to progress in the main storyline.

PARTY FINDER
The Party Finder is an alternative to the pre-made match-making system. It allows players to form a party for just about any content in the game, set specific entry requirements to join the party and pretty much tailor the party to the needs of the content. It reduces the need for having to spam chat channels to recruit members for static groups and is also a fantastic way of players to find practice groups for the more challenging content.


OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

A Realm Awoken adds something new to FINAL FANTASY XIV for just about every type of player. Alongside all of these major additions, things like the experience gained from dungeons and crafting have been increased which makes the process of leveling additional jobs slightly less arduous. Players now also have access to all of the side quests that were previously blocked behind alternate city state main storylines. Casual players who may not enjoy group content now have a lot of other ways of progressing their characters via treasure hunts and the beast tribe dailies.

The Duty Roulette makes the weekly grind of acquiring tomes far more interesting due to the amount of variety and choice it introduces. Most of all these changes make it very easy for new players to join the game and get up to speed with those who have been playing since launch, with systems like Player Commendations encouraging veteran players to help out those who are new Ė rather than simply just seeing them as burden.

This is a very strong first patch for A Realm Reborn that has been relatively free of issues that could've potentially plagued it, considering its near Christmas release. If you've left the land of Eorzea, it's definitely worth coming back to check the new content out. If you've yet to venture into Eorzea, then now is a better time than ever to take your first steps on this adventure.


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Behemoth, Doge Edition

Rostum
12-31-2013, 11:28 PM
Siren has nice big boobies. Also the rest of the patch is quite awesome!

I'm disappointed that they still haven't addressed the way latency drastically affects gameplay to the point where, even for someone like me on the other side of the world with 300ms latency, it makes it very hard to keep up with American and Canadian players.

From what I've read, no other MMO has been coded this way, so not sure why they are doing it since it obviously doesn't work. ><;

Mister Adequate
01-01-2014, 02:49 AM
very article

wow

much impressions

such informative

NeoCracker
01-01-2014, 06:38 AM
Okay, this game is not old enough to refer to ANYTHING as Nostalgic. :p

Aulayna
01-01-2014, 07:07 AM
Well, considering most of the 1.x music (which most players had become familiar with over the 2 years 1.x was playable for) was removed in A Realm Reborn, replaced with new remixes or completely new pieces and that 1.x has also been gone for over a year now, yes it could be considered nostalgic. It's even been commented on as being nostalgic by people I've played with due to the Hard Modes having more in common with the 1.x originals than the 2.0 Normal Modes.

So I think fondly reminding them of the game XIV used to be (and the memories they have of it), which some people still managed to enjoy, is something that would be something that could be called nostalgia.

NeoCracker
01-01-2014, 02:43 PM
....NO YOU!

Anyway, I didn't actualy start this game until after 2.1 was out, so I have no basis for comparison, but I am enjoying it!

I'm looking forward to 2.2 though, if only because the newsletter mentioned it was going to have a focus o Leviathan!

And I did me some Leviathan!

ScottNUMBERS
01-01-2014, 04:46 PM
This update brings an impressive amount of content. If only FFXI could get this kind of lovin' :(. I've been playing some FFXIV since this update in small dosses, and while I've only scratched the surface I'm liking some of the additions and alterations;

The commendation system seems to have effectively reduced the number of jerks if my experience is anything to go by. Instead now you get overly helpful/nice players desperately fishing for commendations - but I'm okay with this. My only concern is that they will revert back to their jerkish ways after they obtain their shiny mount.

Duty roulette is an excellent idea. It breaks up the monotony of endgame grinding all-the-while helping newer players progress through the game. I like Wanderer's Palace but we all need a break from being stabbed to death from time to time.

I also tried out some Wolves Den (PvP) yesterday. I played about 3 games of this before I realised that the Red and White coat didn't do much for my camouflage and that the opposition tend to want me dead first.

Jessweeee♪
01-01-2014, 08:25 PM
I'm loving the patch. Major highlights for me in my experiences so far are duty roulette and right click blisting. I've also been doing the new Amalj'aa beast tribe reputation quests, they're pretty fun!