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The Mog Log

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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The Mog Log: Patch 2.2 and beyond for Final Fantasy XIV

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

Is this the week when I get really annoyed at raising the item level cap?  I don't know!  Stay tuned, everyone.
Supposedly, we're still on track to see patch 2.2 in March. Assuming later March, that would mean we're still on a roughly four-month schedule for updates to Final Fantasy XIV, which feels just a bit slow... especially since what we know right now about patch 2.2 is just a bit thin compared to what we knew about 2.1 at the equivalent point in time.

Admittedly, I'm biased. New turns of Coil? Not really my jam. (Being able to stomp the old ones will be kind of nice, though.) Still, in some ways this update currently feels smaller than its predecessor, even though I'm pretty sure it isn't. We've got a lot of stuff incoming, but between a deluge of in-game events and the PlayStation 4 beta test, less attention has been paid to the update.

So let's shine some light on it. Yes, there's going to be some speculation, but let's start looking at what patch 2.2 is going to mean and what we'll be getting.

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The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV's story post-2.1

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

Why does this feel more living to me than a year of Guild Wars 2?
Something kind of surprising happened in Final Fantasy XIV's first major patch: The story kept chugging along quite coherently. And not just through the main story quests, either. Yes, the primary focus was obviously there, but there were a lot of things taking place, wheels within wheels, building on the narratives established in 1.0 and seriously working toward the next major set of events rather than simply being a set of padding.

I should warn readers, once again, that there will be spoilers for the game's story below. That includes both the patch story material and the main story from the core game. If you haven't finished the main story and unlocked the Crystal Tower yet, you may want to stay away. Or you can just read on ahead and be spoiled. I'm not going to tell you how you should enjoy your game stories. You should also finish the Hildibrand storyline, although I'm not spoiling that; it's just amusing.

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The Mog Log: No one likes FFXIV's Pharos Sirius

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

No, not even you like it.  Stop lying.
Every night, I sit down at my computer and I play the high-level roulette game in Final Fantasy XIV.

There are five possible results. Amdapor Keep and Wanderer's Palace are the "win" results, the super-easy runs that can't even scrape dents into my armor. Copperbell Mines and Haukke Manor take a little more doing and a bit more attention on my part, and my shiny white Paladin armor is looking a bit scuffed up by the end. But they're still not bad. They're certainly doable.

But there's always that 20% shot that I'm getting thrown straight into horror. The camera pans in to show a ruined lighthouse filled with crystals and a couple birds, and as soon as the cinematic ends, people are already asking "can we vote to abandon?" This seems to be the consensus: that it's not even worth trying to do Pharos Sirius start to finish. And when you look at the dungeon as a whole, it's not hard to see why no one likes it.

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The Mog Log: Making nice with beastmen in Final Fantasy XIV

Fantasy, Lore, Consoles, Races, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Subscription

Finally, a chance for me to talk about drug references and the intensely creepy use of the 'tsundere' ideal in a single article.
I'm going to type a couple of words at the end of this paragraph, and I really need everyone reading to keep it together. I know these two words are frightening, believe me. But if you can just take a deep breath, I promise you it's all right. Ready? Here they are: daily quests.

No, I -- sir, please put down the torch. Ma'am, stop eating your chair. That's not the exit; that's the window, and we're two stories up, and -- well, that went about as well as I had expected. Most of you are just shaking and silently screaming.

While I'm definitely in the minority in terms of liking daily quests, that's mostly insofar as I don't find them vile anti-hope toxins. (I also was not around for the launch of Mists of Pandaria.) The addition of beast tribe dailies in Final Fantasy XIV might not set some people on fire. But the way these quests are handled not only is pretty darn good but might actually appeal even if you're one of the people fleeing in horror at the very mention of dailies.

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The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV's Crystal Tower

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

Now drop my stupid healing coat.
Let me be up front with you, dear readers: The Crystal Tower in Final Fantasy XIV is one of the most well-designed dungeons I have had the pleasure of playing through, ever.

Not just "in Final Fantasy XIV" but anywhere, ever. It's fun, it's clever, it's clean, it's engaging, it's freaking spectacular. If not for one minor wrinkle, it'd be a nearly unambiguously perfect bit of bliss. But I'll cover that part later; the important point is that right off the bat, this dungeons is something that I consider absolutely stellar.

Longtime readers will also know that large group content is generally not my thing. I dislike a big raiding endgame, and I'm not a fan of the style of play, so the idea that my current favorite dungeon in the game is a 24-man rush through the tower probably seems a bit odd. So let's talk about boss strategies, progress through the tower, and the one blemish on what is otherwise unambiguously great.

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The Mog Log: Future classes and jobs for Final Fantasy XIV?

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

If you hadn't noticed by now, I really like being speculative.
A long time ago, I speculated a bit on what classes and jobs we might see added to Final Fantasy XIV. And I do mean a long time ago in internet terms; this was back before we knew that Arcanist and Summoner were going to be linked, for example. A lot of new information has come to light between then and now, the sort of stuff that requires a whole new round of speculation.

Some of that speculation is, of course, completely out there. Some of it isn't. And some of it is out there in a way that would be totally cool and would attract a whole lot of interest. So let's take a look at some potential jobs, classes, and whatnot to see where they might fit into the game... or even whether they'll fit into the game. There's probably no space for Celebrant, sadly.

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The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV's horse year

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

All of our horses are 100% horse-fed for that double-horse juiced-in goodness.
As I steadily collect another set of holiday hats for little reason other than an inexplicable need to collect these things (and I'd really like to be able to store my Usagi Kabuto while I'm at it, thanks), it's a fair time to look at the next year for Final Fantasy XIV's development. The game launched well, has made some missteps, and the next year is really going to determine how well it can manage over the long term.

I'm not pretending that I have a picture-perfect roadmap for the game over the next year, but I do think there are some pretty obvious things to be addressed. There are gaps to be filled in, systems that could stand to be improved, and more systems that would have a positive effect on retention and play. So let's look at what the next year will hopefully bring other than equine headpieces.

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The Mog Log: 2013 in review for Final Fantasy XI and XIV

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

Took a long time getting here.
This feels as if it's been a really long year to me. Spending an entire year waiting for a game to re-release is certainly part of the reason why, but it really seems that there were a lot of things going on for both Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV over the last 365-ish days. I didn't even do a year-in-review last year because what could be reviewed? One game shut down and was waiting for a full revamp, and the other was just hitting the numbers and moving along.

This year, though, has been the big one. The fifth expansion that no one ever expected to release actually came out. The relaunch happened. A whole lot of mechanics got updated. I flew across the freaking country. It was a big year if you were a fan of online games with moogles, even if that year wound up being a lot bigger for Final Fantasy XIV than Final Fantasy XI.

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The Mog Log: A week of Final Fantasy XIV's patch 2.1

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

How long am I going to be on the housing thing?  That depends.  How long is it going to be until the feature can be accessed by players?
All right, I admit that the headline is a dirty lie. It hasn't been a full week however you slice it; the patch dropped on Tuesday, and I've only been able to play it for two days before writing this. To make up for that fact, I've devoured Final Fantasy XIV's patch with a zeal I usually reserve for hamburgers, although I still haven't seen everything there is to see. Though if I had seen all of it in two days, that would kind of be a problem anyway...

The point is that 2.1 is pretty dang huge, even if it includes one feature that's a massive blemish. So let's take a look at what the patch has to offer, how the various new features hold up, and where the patch falls down -- other than with housing, which is already a great big "fall down" that will be addressed all by itself.

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The Mog Log Extra: Final Fantasy XIV's great housing fiasco

Fantasy, Culture, Economy, Patches, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Housing, Subscription

I am not allowed to curse on the site.  That is the only reason why this is not a string of obscenities.
This past Saturday morning, Final Fantasy XIV announced free company housing prices in its patch notes for 2.1. These prices did not explicitly include an upturned middle finger and looping sounds of laughter, but they may as well have.

This was not a positive move by Square-Enix. With the patch scheduled for release on Tuesday, players had an enormous part of their enjoyment kneecapped immediately and almost arbitrarily. One of the major features of this patch that has been announced and discussed repeatedly is housing, and nearly every free company I spoke with said that this announcement more or less killed any dream of having housing accessible to the players on my server. And they're not the only ones.

To say that this has been disheartening is an understatement. Final Fantasy XIV has had an immensely strong relaunch, and this debacle -- and the complete lack of communication from the community team on the issue -- is absolutely astounding. These are not launch woes that almost every game suffers from; this is a result of failing to consider so many basic elements of playstyles and the playerbase.

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The Mog Log: Preparing for patch 2.1 in Final Fantasy XIV

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

These trials are survivable, but only with a level head.
All right, everyone, the time is nearly upon us. Final Fantasy XIV is about to unleash its first big patch. Please remain calm and take everything slowly. If necessary, painkillers may be consumed to reduce swelling. Anti-anxiety medications are not recommended.

A friend of mine noted on Twitter that the presentation for this patch reads more like an expansion than just a patch, and I have to agree. There is a lot being added to the game with this patch, more than you would expect. I haven't been playing around with it on the test server thanks to the lack of a test server, but we've still seen enough information to have some idea of what comes next.

So let's talk about patch 2.1. When it finally goes live, where will you go? What will you do? How can you get the most out of Final Fantasy XIV's major drop?

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