Not that all of the information is good, mind you. Every time I think about Atma my hands instinctively ball into fists.
Still, there's stuff to chat about, there's good stuff in with the bad, and perhaps most importantly there's enough to fuel some speculation and some off-the-cuff reaction before we dive into the meat of E3 and we learn even more about the future of the game. So let's get right into it, starting with the bit of news that I already foreshadowed in the intro.
Zodiac weapons are still broken
Having no immediate plans beyond adjusting myth drop rates is a really, really horrid system. It encourages more of the speedrunning nonsense that makes the duty finder a real annoying piece of work these days, it doesn't fix the completely random nature of Atma drops, and it generally contributes to the air of making dumb design choices and then standing by them that we've seen happening over time.
Remember housing? Same deal, basically. The community spoke up and said "this is absurd" and it took months for the powers-that-be to even acknowledge that maybe this was a terrible decision.
It's one of those things that every development team suffers from, to an extent, a sense of love with one's own design that obscures community feedback to the contrary. This is particularly bothersome, though, when one considers just how difficult actually getting a decent weapon is to begin with. Yes, you could always farm Leviathan Extreme, but if you're the sort of person who's gotten that to farm status you're also probably not the sort of person for whom Atma is ostensibly targeted anyway.
So this is a big and uncomfortable missed opportunity, and one that I found really cast a pall over the rest of the letter. However, I was at least mollified on one major point of 2.2 irritation: Yes, Crystal Tower will indeed contain sands/oils in 2.3, along with who knows what else. Unidentified tomestones? It wasn't said, but I certainly hope. This doesn't make the way that things were handled good, necessarily, but it at least unbreaks a majorly broken element from 2.2.
It seems only fair that as long as the game is taking so many other cues from Final Fantasy XII it should also take the whole concept of hunting marks, as well. This is the sort of thing that sounds just plain cool, and it could do wonders for making the world feel more lively as opposed to spawning more FATEs.
Exactly what sort of rewards we'll get remains to be seen, outside of myth stuff and Zodiac upgrade items. I suspect it'll be some good stuff, though, and there are hints of one of the better design choices from 2.0 and 2.1 that kind of got lost in 2.2. Rather than being gated by what you're doing, hunts are largely gated by your own patience and willingness. Earn enough allied marks through whatever means you want and you'll be able to purchase rewards; there are probably faster ways to get them, but there's no wrong way to approach this.
I'm very curious to see how group sizes will be managed here. Having some be soloable by a level 90-geared player implies that they're all meant to be targeted by groups, but more on a numbers level than a mechanical one. That being said, I fully expect my wife and I to form an in-character monster hunting guild within a week of the patch launching.
New dungeons, primals, etc.
Great, we are getting another Limsa dungeon. Come on, guys, Thanalan could use a little attention. Haven't we spent enough time on Vylbrand lately? No, all is not forgiven simply because Ultros shows up in Hullbreaker by all accounts.
Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to fighting Ultros again, and I love the game's willingness to mine out older content for new inspiration. But it seems that we're going to be doing a lot of stuff on that small isle again after coming off of a patch in which it was all Limsa, all the time. Two beast tribes there, a primal, and now a new dungeon and some jobs coming in the none-too-distant future to flesh that city out.
At least 2.3 is also bringing along with Ramuh, along with accessories, weapons, and serious implications for the sylphs. I'm hopeful (though not certain) that the new Ramuh fight will not go the same route as leviathan where the basic version of the fight is completely devoid of rewards, but I've got a creeping suspicion that this is the face of new hard-mode fights. Kind of disappointing, really.
That being said, we don't know why Ramuh is so dangerous now... but it's hinted to be tied to the Sylph dailies. The end of those quests involves a new period of supposed safety for the Sylphs... but perhaps the very threat of losing their big trump card pushed the crazed Sylphs to extreme measures. I suppose we'll see.
Obviously, there's more to talk about here -- a lot more -- but there's only so much time in the day, so that's going to be it for this week. As always, your feedback is welcome down in the comments or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next time around, I'm going to analyze a little more about what we know is coming and speculate a bit more on what we don't yet know.
It's been a slow couple of weeks for Nel and I, but we've been trooping along. Episode 5 involves discussing old systems that may not really have a place in the game any longer, chocobos, inventory, and the then-upcoming letter. We then broke from the usual a bit with Episode 6, reminiscing about 1.0, looking at social features, and highlighting some awesome community initiatives.
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.