But oh my, was it ever worth it. Here we are in the wake of E3 fit to burst with new information, new revelations, all the fun stuff you could ask for from the convention. It's ever so joyous. So let's talk about what we've learned about the next patch, the patch after that, vague rumblings of the future, and... um... darn. There was one big thing that got unveiled at E3, wasn't there?
When you see me, it's already too late
The addition of Ninja makes me so happy in so many ways that I'm actually angry now. Every single month that I'm subscribing to a version of Final Fantasy XIV that does not contain Ninja, I have the vague sense that I'm being ripped off. The weapons. The movements. That stab. That PvP armor.
I could unpack a lot about the addition of another physical DPS class, but I'm going to do that in another column. It's deserved.
Regardless, the addition of this class will mean that Limsa Lominsa is finally rounded out to have the same class distribution as every other city, which is a good thing. I'd honestly expect 2.4 to land sometime in early October, which means that it'll be a little while yet before it goes live, unless the staff is really upping the patch turnaround speed. This is a wee bit odd, all things considered, as one of the big elements the class offers is a different approach to the Frontline system... then again, it's possible that the designers wanted to let people get used to Frontlines before turning everything on its ear.
What we've seen in the trailer suggests a few things for actual play. Obviously, there's the fairly basic array of weapon attacks on display. The Rogue activates what appears to be some form of self-buff as well as tossing a rain of knives, presumably the usual point-blank AoE of melee classes. We also see the Ninja perform what appears to be an execute-style ability jumping on the target, an icy breath attack, and a variety of the hand gestures that are supposed to make up some of their abilities. There's also a point where the Ninja summons a field of doom, which I suspect will work sort of like Sacred Soil as a fixed damage buff area; the peiste doesn't wince when the area is formed.
As for how those combined hand motions will work in gameplay... we don't know yet. It's going to be rough working that into a solid rotation if they're on the normal GCD unless they produce big bursts or utility, since you don't want to hit one minor attack skill in the time it takes for the Dragoon to finish his basic combo. And that's not even touching the fact that you've got roughly as many abilities as the other classes. I suppose we'll just have to see.
Form a line at the front
I'll be honest -- I've tried my hardest to be into the existing PvP in the Wolves' Den, but I just don't care for arena-style PvP. So my only reasoning would be prepping for Frontlines ahead of time because this is extremely suited to my tastes and what I like to play. Not that it matters much since the rewards from Frontlines will be the same as what we already have from the Wolves' Den. Except more.
What we've seen of the gameplay makes me suspect that we'll be divided up according to Grand Company rather than nation of origin, in what at a glance looks like a region on the border between Thanalan and Mor Dhona. We also know that role changing will be permitted, which lends a certain strategic weight to the proceedings if you have a group whose members can swap between roles as needed. It also means that tanks will have a very different role from the one they have in the Wolves' Den at the moment, where your tank is essentially buffer and slowdown rather than being a legit solitary threat.
Oh, and a new mount... in the form of a horse. I'm not thrilled about this, but I've apparently already been overruled. It reminds me of nothing so much as the warhorses of Paladins in World of Warcraft, and it is nicely animated, I suppose.
Patch dates rolling forward
Patch 2.3 is due on July 8th, which is... soon. Much sooner than I would have thought, even, which implies that the pace is picking up a bit. I'll be happy to leave 2.2 behind, I can tell you that much. (Although I find myself slightly adrift as I wait for the job I actually care about to be released now.)
While there may still be something else we haven't yet learned about, we have a pretty clear picture of the patch as a whole, and it's a real feast for players. I suspect it's also a little further along simply because some of these features were just held off rather than being freshly developed. Still, it's meaty, especially compared to 2.2.
As for 2.4... well, between the hints of Shiva, the reveal of the class, and the general impression that we're approaching a big reveal and climax, I'm increasingly inclined to say that 2.4 is aimed at October before the fan event. That means that the stage will be wide open then to discuss the expansion, and we'll have enough information to know, loosely, where the story is headed, as well as enough time for another patch or two before the expansion itself is released. How accurate my guesses are remains to be seen.
But seriously, Ninja. That's what I want.
As always, feedback can be left below or mailed along to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, I'm going to talk about Ninja in more depth, specifically the choice to make it another physical DPS job instead of a healer or tank. Is it a smart decision? Will it make things worse?
Oh, we're still up to our same tricks. Episode 7 covers the last live letter before E3 and revelations contained therein, Episode 8 contains our E3 speculation, and our live reactions to the English live letter form Episode 9. Meanwhile, over on my personal site I'm still plowing through the entire series for your entertainment, having just moved on to Final Fantasy III.
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.