Everything old is new again
Just as with the last patch, you can't expect to just jump into the new dungeon before you've bothered with the main scenario. The Keeper of the Lake is unlocked as the fourth quest of the main scenario, while the other two can be unlocked by quests in Mor Dhona that simply require clearing the 2.0 scenario and clearing the original version of Wanderer's Palace and Amdapor Keep.
As suspected, both dungeons require level 90 and both have a new set of gear that in my experience will never drop if you desperately want one of those pieces for glamour because life is a cruel parody. Unfortunately, the current tradition of having only three dungeons in the Expert rotation will continue, which irks me to no end because I know I'm going to be pretty well tired of these three by the time Heavensward rolls around, but that's where we are.
Taking on the big troubles
If you've avoided getting those hard-mode primals done until now, you're going to want to do precisely that. The next chain in the main scenario requires you to clear the hard modes of Garuda, Ifrit, and Titan. At this point, this is not an onerous task for anyone; I've successfully run Titan multiple times just by queueing up in the duty finder these days. Given the Echo, general player experience, and a bit of luck, you should be able to handle it.
There are only eight new quests in the main scenario this time, which hopefully indicates a bit more focus. And of course, there's the fact that the big conclusion is wrapped up in the second part of the patch; that can't be ignored. Not much to be done about that.
Hildibrand's chain is also capping off with this patch, and both that and the main scenario have a trial waiting at the end. Yes, if you were worried Greg would be shortchanged in his final appearance, worry no longer!
Throw yourself on the mercy of the court
There are three new trials in this patch. One of them is against an Ascian. It hasn't been revealed, no, but seeing as the achievement "Secret Ascian Man" is tied to the mystery trial and we've been hinting at a big Ascian fight since the end of 2.0's main story, this is not hard to conclude. What that fight will entail is anyone's guess.
Aside from that and a rematch with Gilgamesh, the designated trial fight against Odin that players fought at Fanfest is also incoming. It requires slightly higher-level gear than its contemporaries and isn't being added to the roulette, but it doesn't require any EX primal clears, so it's probably more along the lines of Ultima's Bane. Strategies from fanfest will likely work here, as well. There's no word on what he drops, but since he's not in the main roulette, I'd imagine it's something nice.
Bring some light
The World of Darkness is released, and here we reach a point at which the patch notes don't quite match up with what we've heard before. We've been told that players will not have to choose between armor and upgrade items for this phase of the trial, which is great. However, what the patch notes actually say is the same thing we've seen for every previous installment, which would indicate that picking up armor there is a sucker's game. We'll see once we start exploring, I guess.
Interestingly, there are several quests that extend past the entry quest, so either there will be quests mid-dungeon (which is a terrible idea) or the denouement is going to be pretty thoroughly extended (which isn't great either). Supposedly there will be pieces for crafting, too, but as none of the new craft recipes has been released, we have to remain in the dark about that.
As the walls fall
The new mode for Frontline isn't something I saw coming, but I'm glad it's there. No captures, no nonsense, just smash your heads together, kill or be killed. In many ways, it can counter the rising tide of poor strategies you see crop up in the existing version of the battlefield.
Seriously, people, you need to think this through. If you're in last place you don't attack the team in second, and if you're in second you don't attack the team in last. That's just handing the remaining team a win. It's not complicated.
Adrenaline Rush also seems like a neat mechanic and something that would fit nicely into the game as it is; one of the weird-ish parts of Limit Breaks is that they require a lot of extra coordination from the group as a whole. This is by design, sure, but there's a reason tank and healer breaks are seen as generally worthless. Ah, well.
And nothing else?
We know there's more coming, but the Gold Saucer hanging back until mid-February means that this patch is a bit lighter on fluff stuff to do. It's a bit more goal-focused, and it's still suitably large, just not quite as large as it could be, for what it's worth. I think that was a reasonable choice, though. Especially since Eorzea is coming down around our ears.
Feedback, as always, can be left in the comments or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next time around, as is tradition, I'll be talking about the new dungeons and possibly story revelations.
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.