No, evidently not. And yes, I know we'll probably have an expansion long before we'd be that far through 2.x, it's the principle of the thing.
As I write this, we still don't have a preliminary set of patch notes or anything on 2.35, but while it's a "minor" patch it's still adding a fair amount of stuff into the game. This is one of the great parts about playing the game, that however bad some parts of it might be when it comes to balance, it pumps out content as minor patches that makes other studios look painfully lazy. Specifics are left to the audience for speculation. So what am I expecting from this week's little patch, the known and the unknown?
I'm going to be honest here -- despite my well-known love of the beast tribes, I don't like the Ixali much. At all. This is because Final Fantasy XI also had a race of bird-people, and any discussion of the Ixali means by nature you're comparing them to the Yagudo. Compared to the other big tribal comparisons (Quadavs to Amalj'aa, Orcs to Kobolds, Goblins to... um... Goblins), the Ixali really come out looking worse.
The Yagudo were decidedly foreign and odd, but also imperialistic, intelligent, and inscrutable. Dealing with them was to walk up against a force that wasn't actively inimical but also didn't have much motivation to offer itself up to your analysis; they were fully capable of forcing Windurst to a standstill, yet they also didn't have the entrenched aggression of the Orcs or the desperate loss of the Quadavs.
By contrast, the big Ixali thing is raids against the Black Shroud, which was almost suicidally stupid back before the Calamity and now seems like something that Gridania should be paying a lot more attention to than they are. So I'm not as excited about the Ixali in particular, but I am excited to have some new beast tribe content to chew through, especially since there's something new on offer when you've capped out with all available beast tribes.
Mechanically, I suspect the quests are going to be none too different from previous offerings -- while they're supposed to be more focused on crafting things, I think that's largely to deal with the fact that Natalan doesn't have an easy lead-in area like the other beast strongholds. I'd love it if DoH classes could speed along your rep gains, though. That would be a welcome chance from the "grind, grind, grind" philosophy we've seen in the past few craft updates.
Glamour in PvP will be a welcome change, albeit not a game-changer. What I'm curious is whether or not we'll see a point to that PvP gear.
For those of you who don't really PvP, the funny thing is that at this point the rewards from Frontlines come down to glamour fodder. This is all right, by and large, since it's not like you're stepping out with the best gear after two matches; I've been working steadily and slowly, and I am not a dedicated PvPer, seeking this gear out mostly for glamour. But as it stands, getting PvP gear is actually a hindrance, equipment with higher item levels and no actual benefits to your performance in a PvP map.
The reason for this is obvious, since Morale is crazy overpowered in Wolves' Den matches, and seeing someone rock a set of PvP gear against another team shows you how bad you can destroy people with it. This is not the state anyone wants to be in for Frontlines. At the same time, while the glamours are nice, it's a bit silly that your top-rank reward is purely cosmetic and something you would never want to wear in an actual PvP match.
This is one of those places where the developers have to step carefully, because we want neither "PvP gear over everything" (for reference to how that works out, go do some level-cap battlegrounds in WildStar) nor "PvP gear is worse than PvE gear." It'll be interesting to see what changes make it in, if any.
If we don't actually see the promised changes to daily/weekly seal rewards in this patch, it will be a catastrophic mistake on the part of the developers, which is pretty bad to even consider. There's already been a huge mistake made in the sense that any serious changes have been delayed for this long, turning the endgame process into FATE spam without a map marker. Addressing it after more than a month means that anything done now is closing the barn doors after the horses haven't just left, but have moved to Milwaukee and started their own business selling custom soaps.
Unfortunately, it's where we are now, and if the developers want people to be doing endgame stuff other than spamming hunts, I think a drop to rewards from individual marks is necessary. Naoki Yoshida himself has basically said that people aren't doing this content in the way the developers intended, but the system is set up to reward doing things just that way; blaming the players for it is silly. Poor testing and not thinking out what's happening is to blame here. Let's see that change.
Or maybe tomorrow's update will bring none of the above. Who knows? You might, by the time you read this, but I don't.
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments below or via mail to email@example.com. Next time around, I'm going to be talking about the game's anniversary, the various anniversary events, and why it's probably the best time for the game to screw up in general.
Nel sustained an injury before Episode 17, but we still managed to talk a fair bit about bard songs, friend recruitment, and elephants in the room. There is not an actual elephant. Episode 18 talks more about anniversary events, dances, tackle boxes, and crafting. Over in the Final Fantasy Project, I finished out Final Fantasy III, which has an endgame so drawn-out that it took me two columns.
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.