A friend of mine noted on Twitter that the presentation for this patch reads more like an expansion than just a patch, and I have to agree. There is a lot being added to the game with this patch, more than you would expect. I haven't been playing around with it on the test server thanks to the lack of a test server, but we've still seen enough information to have some idea of what comes next.
So let's talk about patch 2.1. When it finally goes live, where will you go? What will you do? How can you get the most out of Final Fantasy XIV's major drop?
I need Myth and I'm tired of Wanderer's Palace!
The bad news is that you're still going to have to do WP on occasion, but the good news is that you'll have a few new options, starting with the Duty Roulette. The Roulette gives you extra rewards based on your role and the random nature once per day, and those extra rewards can indeed include Myth tomes. It appears to be based on the level of what you queue up, as well; the demonstration screens show a level 50 WAR queueing for low-level dungeons and still earning 10 Myth for the effort.
Beyond that, though, three new dungeons are being added. Pharos Sirius is totally new and wraps up the storyline on the Isle of Umbra, which had a fairly obvious hanging thread if you've gone through the quests there. You've also got the new hard modes for Copperbell Mines and Haukke Manor. All three of these dungeons require a quest to unlock, and all three correspond to one of the major cities, so it's no great leap to say that stopping by each and then heading to the dungeon entrances will allow you to add in these new challenges.
Bear in mind that these new dungeons appear to have similar requirements to Wanderer's Palace and Amdapor Keep, so if you're already in full Darklight the new equipment is unlikely to be an upgrade for you. No word on whether these dungeons will contain more accessories and weapons to ease the gap between lucky Primal drops and the GC weapons.
I'm higher than that, but I need a new weapon!
The Good King Moggle Mog XII primal battle is being introduced in this update, with a difficulty pegged somewhere between Garuda and Titan. He drops level 80 weapons and only requires an average item level of 54, meaning that you have another option to get up near Relic levels of weaponry even if you're unlucky with primal drops. (Not that this will fix your luck, exactly.)
I want to take on something even more challenging!
This patch also introduces all three of the original Primals in Extreme mode, which will provide better rewards. Supposedly, beating all three within a single one-week reset allows you to pick out a level 90 weapon, on par with your fully upgraded Relic. These are meant to be hard times, obviously; the minimum item level is 67 for Garuda and Titan and 70 for Ifrit, so you'll probably want to be rocking better than full Darklight. Mechanics seem to center around the existing Hard strategies but bigger, with Titan dropping multiple Gaols and bombs amidst Landslides and Ifrit bringing up sixteen nails at once. If you're still struggling with Titan HM... maybe hold off.
I'm ready for a big dungeon challenge!
That would be the Crystal Tower. A 24-person dungeon with a two-hour time limit and an expected one-hour completion, the Crystal Tower is meant as a bridge toward Coil as well as endgame for those uninterested in Coil. Armor drops are level 80, fitting nicely between Darklight and AF+1/Allagan pieces. No word on challenge, but you will have to use the Duty Finder for this one, even if you have a full group. And there's no lockout, so you can keep running it several times in the same week if you want.
I've stomped Turn 5 and want something even harder!
This patch's endgame stuff is about bridging the gap, not about raising the ceiling. Patch 2.2 should expand Coil and points related.
All of this group content sounds fun, but I'm more in the mood for doing some stuff by myself on occasion...
Daily beastman quests are coming. The two beast tribes that get the treatment first are the amalj'aa and the sylphs, and they look to involve a variety of themed quests more involved than simply going to a location and killing enough of something. We're not sure on the rewards yet, but tomestones have been advertised as something you can acquire through dailies along with gil. And we see some new outfits on display in the process...
You're also going to be getting some new main story and side-story quests, which appears to be leading up to the first expansion and setting groundwork for further conflicts. You know, as you do. How much of this can be completed solo remains to be seen, but I would wager money that you don't need to be ready for Coil just to get in the door here.
This is all PvE content! I want to smash faces!
Patch 2.1 has you covered. The Wolf's Den is the game's first instanced PvP arena, pitting teams of four against one another in arena-style combat. You can queue up for this from the Duty Finder, but don't worry about being grouped with three random schlubs against Team Deathmurder; we've been told that the game's matching will not pit random parties against premade groups. (Whether or not this is true remains to be seen. We can hope.)
Participating in PvP will earn points to be spent on both gear and PvP abilities, mostly utility stuff like "get free of Bind effects" and the like. Since the game currently does not feature a stealth class usable in combat, we don't yet know which class will be known as blatantly overpowered. Or perhaps we'll see the addition of Botanist PvP gear. That would be sort of cool.
Actually, I'll just be happy to not have FC meetings in the middle of Limsa Lominsa
The first iteration of the housing system is also being introduced with this patch, and it's currently limited to free companies. Those of us waiting for private housing will have to wait about six months; the team wants to check on demand, stability, and the economy before rolling out that feature. Free companies with enough rank and money can just waltz in, purchase land, and then build a house on that land.
Once you have your house built, you'll be able to freely decorate the outside and inside, which gives crafters and gatherers something new to do for money. It's unknown how many of these features will be functional rather than cosmetic right out of the gate, but you will be able to have your meetings away from prying eyes.
Wait, so all I can do as a non-combat class is make furniture?
Nope! We know that crafters and gatherers will also be intimately involved in the new Treasure Hunting system, which covers all disciplines. Essentially, it seems that gatherers will find maps, crafters will make them usable, and then solo or grouped adventurers will head out to find the treasure at the end. High-end maps will require groups to unlock the best of the best, but you can imagine the market for all sorts of maps.
Wow, this is a lot to take in. I'm going to sit back and just run my fingers through my hair.
Oh, right, you'll have access the aesthetician with this patch, which is a fancy name for "barber shop." That will include new hairstyles, including Lightning/Snow hairstyles from Final Fantasy XIII for everyone who finished the first part of Lightning event.
As always, feedback and notes of anything random I missed in here can be left in the comments or mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, I'll deliver my first impressions of 2.1, as I have literally no idea what I'll be doing first and will probably be flailing about shrieking a fair bit.
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.