Yes, it's time to analyze Final Fantasy XIV's upcoming patch 2.1 with an eye toward something other than the various direct endgame changes. Truth be told, I think all of these features will still have a pretty big impact on the endgame landscape, but they're not going to have the direct impact of new dungeons or the like. They're going to add money, they're going to offer story, and they're going to offer a place to congregate.
Worth noting is that the Lightning event currently running in Final Fantasy XIV is running until December 9th. Does that mean that patch 2.1 is dropping then? I can't say that for sure, but it would make a certain amount of logical sense. So let's turn our eyes to the patch and start speculating.
Housing and companies
So the first version of housing is on its way, which is the good news. The bad news is that it's going to be launched only for free companies at first, so you won't be able to have your own house for a bit. Yoshida's predicting that Square will have a personal version rolled out in about six months, so sometime between May and July.
Those of you who are aware of my deep and constant love of housing will no doubt also be aware that I was a little distraught by this turn of events, but it does make a certain amount of sense. There's a lot of server strain to be had from housing; it makes more sense to roll out the functional version quickly and then later put in the individual version. People who just want the net benefits from housing will have a company by then, so personal houses can be, well, personal. Plus, by that point we'll have a good idea of the costs associated with housing rather than simply shooting blindly in the dark with what we hope is enough money.
There's also talk about whether this will take the form of a private house or private rooms. The idea of private rooms strikes me as a very bad idea in this case, given the landscape. By the time personal houses/rooms are implemented, we're going to have seen WildStar launch, which will have a full set of housing, and we're not going to be far away from World of Warcraft's Garrison system. (Others have argued quite convincingly that Warlords of Draenor absolutely has to come out by the summer, and I agree with that assessment. It's a matter of need, not necessarily want.) Leaving individual players with just a room isn't going to send a good message to players about what can be done in FFXIV.
Of course, for all this, we haven't yet seen much of what we can actually do in houses. We know that they will have features, but as yet we haven't been shown many of these features in action. Buffs? More rested experience? Crafting bonuses? The biggest systems we know about are things like chocobo breeding and gardening, which are not going to exist when the houses are first introduced, but I don't believe we'll be wanting for functionality. The question is just what sort of functionality we get.
Me, I'm treating this as a preview of when I get my own house. I need that.
The daily grind
Daily quests are apparently enough to make literally anyone who played Mists of Pandaria break out in hives. And I can understand it, definitely. I like daily quests, but there's a thin line between having some fun with regular content and being forced into an inescapable constant loop of doing the same thing over and over. So there's a little more to be dreaded here and some reason to be happy when we're told that the dailies will be rewarding us at least in part with tomestones. The question becomes what else we'll be getting.
I've mentioned before that I like the way that FFXIV's current endgame exists -- there are a lot of things to buy with your endgame currencies, and there's plenty of space to follow an upgrade path no matter what you like to do. But depending on your overall aspirations you can run out of things to spend Philosophy on pretty quickly, leaving you to just buy huge numbers of reagents and flood the market. We've already seen the prices on things like Coke and Potash start dropping as more people assemble their Darklight sets.
I don't expect a full reputation system or anything like that, which is probably for the best at this point. But I'm curious to see whether these daily quests will reward just Philosophy stones or we're going to see a surge in Philosophy and gil alike. It could be a pretty major change in the long run.
Hunt that treasure
Treasure hunting, meanwhile, is still almost unknown. But we can make some educated guesses, and my first guess is that it's not going to involve all that much combat, since we've already got repeatable content that fills that niche. (Daily quests will likely not consist of giving various beastmen massages.) So the real question is what we can dig up.
Personally, I'm hoping that this is the big bone for crafters and gatherers. As it stands, once you're at the level cap and have your HQ set for these classes, you're pretty much done. You can gather things, yes, and you can craft HQ items and put them up for sale, and... that's it. All the other content is purely for combat classes.
Obviously, housing will give crafters plenty of thing things to do, so treasure hunting may well give gathering options more opportunities to act. You can unearth some valuable new gear, materials, or even just gil. That'd be something to see.
Feedback is welcome down below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, as always. Next week I'm going to talk about the Lightning event in review, and the week after I'm giving thanks for Eorzea.
From Eorzea to Vana'diel, there is a constant: the moogles. And for analysis and opinions about the online portions of the Final Fantasy series, there is also a constant: The Mog Log. Longtime series fan Eliot Lefebvre serves up a new installment of the log every Saturday, covering almost anything related to Square-Enix's vibrant online worlds.