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The Mog Log

The Mog Log: Happy birthday, Final Fantasy XIV

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Anniversaries

They grow up so fast.
Congratulations, Final Fantasy XIV! It's been a year and you're still going after the relaunch, much to the surprise and consternation of the many people who were hoping for the opposite outcome for... well, I'm not clear on that exit strategy. Bragging rights, I guess. The point is, you turned out to surprise pretty much everyone, you've been posting incredibly solid numbers for a while now, and you don't seem likely to go anywhere in the near future. You can take a load off, maybe take a nap.

Now that I've gotten the congratulations out of the way, let's talk about Final Fantasy XIV and the many ways that the designers have screwed up so far. Sort of. I mean, over the past year I've been more than willing to fire with both barrels when a screwup was made, which has happened... about once every major patch. But here's the thing: I'm glad to see that happening, on some level. It gives me hope for the future.

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The Mog Log: Expectations for Final Fantasy XIV 2.35

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Subscription

Playable Tengu!  I mean Ixali.  (This is for you, Anatoli.)
I realize it's kind of silly, but I'm still annoyed at Final Fantasy XIV's methods for numbering interquel patches. I get the schema, I really do, but "2.35" to me says a patch that's preceded by 34 others. "2.3.5." would indicate a patch partway through the 2.3 patch cycle. Could we get another dot in there? Please?

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?

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The Mog Log: Exploring Final Fantasy XIV's 2.3 dungeons

Fantasy, Patches, Endgame, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Dungeons

Hooray, the parts of the game that don't make you seem like a chump for playing at all.
It's been just about a month since 2.3 went live in Final Fantasy XIV, and while we're still waiting for the arrival of our full personal housing and the addressing of the hot mess that is the Hunt, we do still have new dungeons. More than that, we have three really good dungeons. Since everyone knows I am an absolute glutton for dungeons, it's almost shocking that I haven't talked about these yet.

Unlike the first two sets of added dungeons, this set doesn't really have a loser in the lot; even the worst dungeon is just kind of meh alongside its contemporaries, not actively bad. So whether you've just been waiting for me to talk about them or you've been Hunt-spamming for weeks and haven't even thought about any other form of content, let's talk about Stone Vigil, Tam-Tara, and Hullbreaker Isle long after I would normally yammer on about them.

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The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV's Hunts are broken

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Subscription

Useful data!
It's been nearly two weeks since Final Fantasy XIV's patch went live, and I'm at once surprised and not surprised that we haven't seen anything really addressing the problem with Hunts. I'm not surprised because Square has a bad history of reacting to broken elements about as quickly as a narcoleptic sloth with poor motivation, and I'm surprised because players have been screaming about it for... about two weeks now? Yes, that sounds right.

And not just screaming in the usual disorganized fashion. This is pretty targeted and logical screaming, helped substantially by the fact that Hunts are currently very, very broken and need fixing. So let's explain the mess that the game has made for itself and the numerous simple solutions that can be implemented really any time now. Not that I'm saying they're all easy, just simple. Straightforward. And no, increasing mark HP is not one of those solutions.

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The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV's 2.3 primer

Fantasy, Patches, Endgame, News Items, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Dungeons, Subscription

Chant the ancient prayer, children - it can't be as bad as the last one.
Tomorrow, patch 2.3 will descend upon Final Fantasy XIV like a flight of angels. If you can't tell, I'm pretty excited. While I was by and large disappointed with 2.2, 2.3 is adding a lot of features I want, undoing some of the dumb features added in 2.2, and adding in a few more features that I didn't realize I wanted before but now know are immensely important to me. Kind of like the Challenge Log, except more.

Unfortunately, the fact that it's landing tomorrow as of the time you're reading this means I have not yet actually played this patch. But I can still put a guide of some preliminaries together so that you can at least know what you're doing even if you haven't necessarily examined the patch notes with a fine-toothed comb just yet. So let's dive into it. When the patch goes live tomorrow, pick your destination, and go to it.

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The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV's superfluous damage Ninja

Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Subscription

It's probably right, but it's still kind of wrong.
If you don't know whether or not I'm excited about the inclusion of Final Fantasy XIV's newest class, I don't know what to tell you. I've been playing a character who's been an in-character Ninja for the duration of the game's life, so obviously I'm happy to finally have it available to me. I personally would be happiest if it were a tank, since I do so enjoy tanking in the game, but I have plenty of people to run stuff with anyway. I'm not worried about queue times anyhow.

At the same time, though... we know there's a shortage of tanks in the game right now. This isn't a mystery or a secret. Healers are more common but still hardly as ubiquitous as Bards and Dragoons. So is the inclusion of another DPS class really a wise decision? With the precedent established, would Final Fantasy XIV have been better off adding a more party-oriented option into the mix?

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The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV's E3 revelations

Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, Patches, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Subscription

Don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years.  Rocking my peers, etc.
Let me open off with an apology: Last week didn't feature a Mog Log column, and that happened without warning. This was a calculated decision; I figured last Monday it would be silly to talk about a game promised many exciting E3 reveals before those reveals when there was a game that had just launched. So I held off talking about Final Fantasy XIV until this week, but I am sorry if anyone had a fear this column was being unceremoniously dropped.

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?

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The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV's latest Live Letter

Fantasy, Patches, Endgame, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Subscription

Can't get there from here, apparently.
As of this writing, the Letter from the Producer LIVE took place yesterday, and that means we have a whole bunch of Final Fantasy XIV news to discuss! It's a happy time for people like me, because it's at least a couple weeks of very chewable information to discuss. And at just the right time, too, we were in the middle of a serious drought there.

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.

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The Mog Log: Whispers of what comes next for Final Fantasy XIV

Fantasy, Classes, Patches, Previews, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Subscription

It's going to be the future soon.
When I find myself in times of trouble, friends of mine will comfort me, speaking words of wisdom: "There are more patches coming to Final Fantasy XIV." And it's true! While I'm not as happy with 2.2 as perhaps I would like to be, as odd as that statement sounds, it's not the end of the world. In fact, there's a lot of stuff around the corner that should make me a lot happier.

We've heard rumblings about what we'll see at E3 next month, we're hearing discussion of what's next on the docket for patch 2.3, and there are tantalizing hints about what's going to be arriving beyond even that. Some of these are things that I've discussed elsewhere; some I haven't had the opportunity to chat about yet (we only got the live letter announcement on Friday, after all!). So let's go ahead and dive into what's on the horizon for the game.

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The Mog Log: Why aren't there more tanks in Final Fantasy XIV?

Fantasy, Culture, Endgame, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Subscription

Sometimes you say things you would think to be obvious.
To the surprise of pretty much no one, tanks are the rarest thing to find in Final Fantasy XIV at the moment. It's so rare to see a role other than tank in need on the Duty Roulette that people take notice of the times when it changes. Everyone knows that tanks are in short supply, leading to the supposed "tank rewards" introduced in 2.2 that don't seem to hit the mark.

I've seen a number of posts in which people ask why there are so few tanks and what can be done about it, and most of them seem to miss the mark, either by completely misunderstanding what tanking actually entails or by misunderstanding why people aren't tanking. Really, I don't think it's terribly complicated. Why aren't there more tanks in Final Fantasy XIV? Three pretty straightforward reasons, none of which tends to be addressed when I see people asking that question.

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The Mog Log: More time in Final Fantasy XIV's 2.2

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Endgame, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Dungeons, Subscription

Writing ahead to not get blindsided by PAX, it's witchcraft!
I was pressed for time when Final Fantasy XIV patched at just the wrong time. I'm on a schedule, you know. My first impressions of the patch were far less comprehensive than I would have liked, although I did try to fill in the blanks as best I could down in the comments. But that was two weeks ago, and you doubtlessly expected that by now I would have gotten through the rest of the patch for more impressions.

Honestly, I could probably spend quite a bit of time talking about all the various aspects of the game altered by this particular patch, but I'd prefer to narrow my focus slightly and zoom in on the most immediately relevant bits. So let's talk a little bit more about 2.2. Let's talk about the dungeons I didn't cover last time, the quest lines, the big battles (sometimes on a bridge), and a couple of problematic elements that have cropped up.

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The Mog Log: A couple of days in Final Fantasy XIV's patch 2.2

Fantasy, Patches, Endgame, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Dungeons

I can't say a week, that would be a lie.
After a couple of weeks of a break from Final Fantasy XIV, I happily patched up and got back into the mix on Thursday evening. Unfortunately, I'm writing this up on Sunday morning, and honestly there's too much for me to have a firm grasp upon the entirety of it after three days. Due to schedule weirdness, I haven't even finished my usual dungeon diving. There's a whole lot to see, and I've been able to get only a top-level overview.

That having been said, I've assembled a nice new outfit via Glamours, I've tired the most brand-spanking-new dungeon, I've started in on questing, and I've submitted myself to challenges. I don't think I love this patch quite as much as its predecessor, partly since this one is more heavily focused upon the endgame portion I'm not fond of, but there's still a lot of great stuff buried in there and plenty of elements to love.

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The Mog Log: The last stretch before patch 2.2 in Final Fantasy XIV

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Endgame, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log

Me, I'm on a bit of a low pulse for the game until 2.2 comes out.  Not for lack of love, but you know, you can't run the same things forever without getting a little bit tired, you know?
The past week has brought up an interesting problem regarding the timing of this column and upcoming releases. On the one hand, I had planned to talk today about why there aren't more tanks in Final Fantasy XIV. On the other hand, we also have received a lot of news about patch 2.2, which is launching in a little over a week. Do I push back discussing the patch previews in favor of talking about a larger structural issue?

I don't think I can, especially when the reason there aren't as many tanks is one that's been explained dozens of times in other games whilst still being applicable here. Instead, let's talk about 2.2. We've got a week and change until this drops, and while I've already discussed a good portion of the endgame elements, we've got a clearer picture of what's coming out other than that. So while we'll doubtlessly learn more during the next live letter, let's talk about what we've got now.

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The Mog Log: Making the most of Final Fantasy XIV macros

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Subscription

I know, you had a little rush of panic on Saturday.  It's all right.  I'm still here.
Final Fantasy XIV is not World of Warcraft. We are not in urgent need of an ability squish after years of play; you hit level 50 with a pretty reasonable number of abilities. The fact that everything needs to be workable on a PlayStation 3 controller helps discourage button bloat, to boot. But you still wind up with a lot of abilities to use in rapid conjunction and marks to place on various targets as a tank. You can run out of convenient space, in other words.

That's one of the things that macros can help address, but it's not even close to the only thing. You can use your macros to make your rotation tighter, you can combine necessary abilities, you can mark targets, and you can even toss in a text line on every ability use. (But that does get kind of spam-heavy.) So let's look at some simple macros that will make your Final Fantasy XIV experience that much cleaner.

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The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV's future patches

Fantasy, Patches, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Subscription

It's not about originality sometimes, it's about quality.  Sooner or later you stop asking if the bear can dance at all and start looking for good dancing.
A week after I mention that Final Fantasy XIV's next patch seems a little light, 2.16 comes around and lets us know that gardening is incoming with the next patch. What does gardening involve? Who knows? We haven't been told. I would tend to guess that it involves FC housing, which means that it's a non-entity for the majority of the playerbase, since the house prices are still insane for anything other than a small plot and small remains tiny.

I mentioned some things that the game is going to need to aim for over the course of the year, and all of those remain on the table. In many ways, the game is going wonderfully -- we're hearing rumblings about the next expansion, the first patch did its job quite well, the second is on its way, and based on the current content schedule we can expect a couple more before the end of the year. While we don't yet have a roadmap, we can start putting together some basic guesses about the next few patches for Final Fantasy XIV -- and what they won't address.

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