Honestly, I could probably spend quite a bit of time talking about all the various aspects of the game altered by this particular patch, but I'd prefer to narrow my focus slightly and zoom in on the most immediately relevant bits. So let's talk a little bit more about 2.2. Let's talk about the dungeons I didn't cover last time, the quest lines, the big battles (sometimes on a bridge), and a couple of problematic elements that have cropped up.
Clean dungeons (and the murder of Amdapor Keep)
I said way back when that the gnats at Demon Wall were kind of a weird addition, but I didn't honestly expect them to ever be removed. Their departure finishes the work that had already been done to turn Amdapor Keep into a shell of its former self. Where it once could be terrifying, now I start every run with a proud proclamation of "lol, ak" and don't slow down until I'm at the final pull. It's kind of sad; the place is literally a tomestone farming ground now.
If you're a little sad about the loss of a threatening AK, you can comfort yourself with the new dungeons, which are not screamingly dangerous, but they are satisfyingly fun just the same. They're indicative of how much the designers have learned since launch about how to create dungeons. Both Halatali and Brayflox have a very clean and concise flow, a far cry from the many irrelevant pulls in both of the original versions of the dungeons.
Halatali also amuses me simply because it represents a dungeon getting better over time. Brayflox, Haukke, Copperbell... all of them are places you clear out that still wind up being a pile of problems even afterward. But Halatali got cleared out, and now it's back to being a gladiatorial training ground. There's no secret evil, just a training ground that challenges you all the way along.
Plus, you know, bears.
Now that the sands and oils for upgrading weathered gear have been confirmed as a Coil drop -- and presumably only a Coil drop, barring any heretofore unseen information -- the drop in Soldiery items can no longer be seen as ambiguous. Now the whole thing is just stupid.
You can make the case that if you're not regularly doing Coil, you don't need level 110 gear anyway. This invites two responses: First of all, if you're clearing Coil up to the point where you could get these upgrade items, you don't need 110 gear either by definition. Second of all, of course you don't need it. No one needs anything. The question isn't about need; it's about being rewarded for the things you're going to do anyway.
Yes, Yoshi-P has said that having Mythology gear equivalent to Coil gear may have disincentivized some people from running Coil. I would say, however, that the chief thing that disincentivized most people from running it was a lack of desire to run it, period, discussion over. Getting into Coil was not difficult, and by the time before 2.2 clearing most of it up to Turn 5 was also not time-consuming. Trying to force players into doing content they don't want to do doesn't qualify as creating incentive so much as it is discouraging gameplay that works.
I'm hopeful that 2.3 will reverse this staggeringly counterproductive trend. One of the things that I've praised Final Fantasy XIV about is the fact that the endgame has been there whether you prefer doing Primals or raiding Coil or running dungeons or whatever. If it's being narrowed just to "run Coil, deal with extreme Primals," that doesn't bode well for the future of design.
I could also rant about the dense foolishness going on with the Atma system or the way that Leviathan drops are set up, but I don't want to rant about gear for the whole column.
Something ventured, a reasonable amount gained
Ventures, to my pleased surprise, are pretty keen. They're a nice way to pick up items you don't necessarily feel like going out to grab yourself, but the rate of acquisition for the venture tokens along with the time consumption mean that they haven't supplanted more traditional farming as I'd somewhat feared. And Quick Exploration is, of course, weird and crazy fun.
I have not yet received a roof from Quick Exploration, but I have received a single roofing tile. I picture my retainer crouching there, looking nervous, then bolting at a sound in the distance with just a single tile clutched protectively in his hand.
While I am slightly saddened that I can't replenish my shard stock at all through beastman dailies, the ventures do make for better rewards overall. And it means that some of my now utterly useless Darklight gear can have a home on my retainer, so that's cool.
Quests, quests, quests!
Oh, so many of these.
Hildibrand was still hilarious, although this installment was less a matter of making fun of the game and more about making general jokes. (Impromptu Manderville dance parties validate this decision.) I look forward to the next installment and hope to see Gilgamesh stomping around again, as well; the dude's too weird to leave out completely.
Meanwhile, the main story was more deftly handled this time around thanks in part to the omission of the Ascians except in mention. The Doman refugees lend a little more power to the ever-growing heart of Revenant's Toll. I'm quite pleased with Yugiri, as well. Contrary to suspicion, based on her features I think that Yoshi-P may have impishly decided to put bangaa and viera together after all...
Also, the story seems to imply that we'll start seeing new jobs in 2.3. Ninja is coming, I tells ya.
Feedback, as always, is welcome down in the comments below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. For our next outing, I'd like to finally get around to talking about why FFXIV is so starved for tanks. (Yes, I meant to do that forever ago. Things happened.)
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 other Monday, covering almost anything related to Square-Enix's vibrant online worlds.