Patch 2.45 and a quiet interquel
One of my favorite bits of content from 2.3 was added in well after the fact. The Ixali quests were not in on the initial patch day; they came later, a bit of much-wanted content that made 2.3 feel a bit more bulky even though it was really just a little jump. But I'm increasingly unsure that we're going to get any such bump in content when it comes to patch 2.4's cycle.
Eternal Bond is coming in 2.45, for which we still don't have a date. (Mid-December, perhaps.) That's a welcome addition, and from a character standpoint I'm looking forward to planning an RP wedding that's been about a year in the making. But that isn't really content past, well, the wedding. Rings will be there, pretty dresses, a two-person chocobo... all great, all lovely, but not something you plan to do on a daily basis, yes?
Beyond that, we don't have much that's really supposed to come out for 2.4's cycle. There will be more Echo buffs for Second Coil, certainly, but that's the long and short of it. It's a lengthy enough gap that there's reason to go back to Coil out of curiosity, which is sort of the point. There's little relief if you get a bit tired of the dungeons or the same beast tribe dailies we've had for months now, though. I admit that not everyone is finished with those tribes, but I also know I'm hardly the only person to have Allied status across the board.
Of course, there might be a surprise waiting. Back before 2.4's final patch notes were posted, there was a screenshot with a player listed as a First Lieutenant in a Grand Company, which is currently impossible. A promotion or two and some level 50 GC leves before the last patch? It would be a surprise, certainly.
Patch 2.5's dungeons
Quick quiz: What do Toto-Rak, Aurum Vale, Cutter's Cry, and Dzemael Darkhold have in common? If you said that they're the four low-level dungeons that do not yet have Hard versions, you are correct. If you said that they're the four dungeons that were present in version 1.0 of Final Fantasy XIV, you are also correct.
What does that mean? Possibly nothing. But I find it a touch interesting to note that these are the four we're still left with. And it re-raises the question of which ones will get the Hard Mode treatment in 2.5, assuming that the patch follows the normal pattern thus far of one new dungeon alongside two new hard modes, which, of course, is not assured.
The obvious answer is that the 1.0 versions, or close companions, will be brought back to cap out the patch cycle, but that doesn't seem likely to me. The 1.0 versions were very different beasts from what we have now. Toto-Rak had three bosses, but you could face only one on a given run, and the overall layout was far more maze-like. They were slower runs, complete with mechanics that simply do not work with current class setups. There would be a lot of work needed to make them work again... and at that point, why not just go ahead and make them completely new experiences again?
Another possibility is that these dungeons won't receive hard modes. There's nothing saying we can't get three new dungeons in a given patch. Considering that the existing hard modes reuse only some small bits and pieces of what exists from the original dungeon, it could well be that we'll get three new dungeons, two of which just recycle fragments without being simple do-overs. We still don't have any dungeons other than the Crystal Tower series in Mor Dhona, for example.
It's also debatable where the patch will be focused. Update 3.0 is obviously bringing us up to Coerthas and beyond for some time, but we might be struggling elsewhere as we deal with the end of the plotlines from 2.0. Thanalan is an obvious suspect, as are Coerthas and Mor Dhona. If we get only one new dungeon, I expect it'll follow Snowcloak's model and be based near our focus of operations... and we haven't gotten a brand-new dungeon in Thanalan since launch, I'll note.
2.5's Gold Saucer and other diversions
The Saucer is supposedly on track for 2.5, complete with minigames. This being the game it is, I expect that most of the minigames will offer an assortment of vanity rewards and generally keep you up long through the night because of course they will. Joking aside, it'd be a great place to get some previously luck-based glamour items into player hands, like the dungeon set skins for the 2.2 and 2.3 series.
We're also finishing off the extended Final Fantasy III homage with the last Crystal Tower installment, which will probably just feature four bosses like its predecesors but with a pool of five to draw from. Echidna, Cloud of Darkness, and Cerberus seem to be obvious inclusions. I'm hoping that Two-Headed Dragon makes it in, too, because I have gone on the record saying that I love the stupid simplicity of Two-Headed Dragon. He is a dragon with two heads. That's all. That's his thing. He doesn't even really breathe fire or anything. He's much more interesting than a really big ahriman, which is a pretty common enemy type these days.
I also think we'll see the Poetics upgrade items added to Hunt rewards and the wrap-up of the postmoogle quests, presumably with some additional reward. Perhaps an emote for that and Hildibrand? It would make sense.
There might still be surprises to come, but it seems as if we have a pretty clear picture overall. So here's to the future.
Feedback is welcome in the comments below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next time around, time to react to the Live Letter!
Chocobo Dash and other projects!
We're still going, with Episode 30, Episode 31, and Episode 32 available for your viewing and listening pleasure. (Mostly listening, but I do enjoy working in some sight gags.) I also wrapped up Final Fantasy IV and started in on its sequel prequel.
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.