Final Fantasy XIV’s endgame is becoming a snoozefest with no clear end to it in sight. For the love of this excellent MMORPG, something needs to change and it needs to happen fast.
The latest Letter from the Producer LIVE featuring FFXIV Director Yoshi-P has been announced, and go ahead and stop when something sounds familiar:
Patch 3.2 Preview Part 2
Take a sneak peek at the new challenges to come in patch 3.2 including new dungeons, an encounter with the Warring Triad, and the next decent into the recesses of Alexander
Here we are, just about six months since FFXIV’s first expansion, Heavenward, was released, and almost nothing about FFXIV’s endgame (with one exception, which we’ll get to) is functionally different than what took place during A Realm Reborn’s 2.x series of patches. Here’s what just about every major (named) patch looked like during 2.0, as far as endgame battle content is concerned.
- New story content culminating into a new duty/trial fight (usually either a new primal or major battle).
- Three new dungeons to grind for endgame currency known as Tomestones (two re-skinned hard modes and one brand new one).
- Either a new section of the hardcore Bahamut raid, or the midcore/casual Crystal Tower raid.
- A new relic weapon quest upgrade to pursue.
Occasionally, there would be some curve balls like the addition of the Ninja job. By and large though, that’s the stuff that mattered for people that were in the midst of FFXIV’s endgame. For 2.x and A Realm Reborn, it was fine because at the time, all of that was still new enough.
Many people, including myself, were looking forward to all the new ways that Heavensward would shake up FFXIV. We wanted to see what new fresh ideas the developers had for its endgame. The shine of the new areas and jobs only lasts for so long, its the endgame that keeps us hooked. Unfortunately, we have to wait longer for that shake up.
You could have taken a break sometime during 2.x, and despite an entire expansion and (almost) two major content patches, your endgame routine would pretty much still be the same, just in different looking places. We’re still grinding away in dungeons for two forms of currency. The same dungeon format that SE refuses to budge from still exists: Three bosses per dungeon, filled with trash monsters in-between them. The only change is that instead of the three dungeon expert roulette rotation (which many thought was not enough variety as is), it’s only two.
Although the community has known for a while now that 3.x would follow the same raid format as 2.x, it wasn’t until Void Ark was released that the community got to see for certain just how real our repeat of 2.x was going to be. As of 3.1 we’re all back to ‘facerolling‘ an easy midcore/casual raid (Void Ark) for once a week drops. We do that to help expedite the process to completing harder fights which are- yep, you guessed it- the extreme trial fights and the main hardcore raid which is now Alexander.
Hell, even the relic quest couldn’t be bothered to switch things up. Get ready to grind Heavenward fates this time for Atma again. This is unless, of course, you had a Zeta last time around, then you can skip that part to grind old dungeons instead. Thanks for that, at least.
As I mentioned in my review of the expansion back in June, Square Enix essentially re-skinned A Realm Reborn’s battle endgame and called it day. I was hoping that this endgame was just something that was kept intentionally familiar for players to serve as a bridge over to new and different content. This was not the case. MMORPGs are supposed to get better with age and new expansions. FFXIV is as stagnant and dull as ever with Heavensward.
All of this would be way more acceptable if the FFXIV team could add another layer of worthwhile battle content to break up the current (very stale) rotation and increase the time it takes before it all gets boring. Older MMOs, such as FFXIV’s big sibling Final Fantasy XI, have achieved this over the span of its life. Even though a lot of FFXI isn’t any less grindy, there are at least a multitude of events worth spending your time in, making the process more enjoyable through content variety.
It isn’t fair to compare Final Fantasy XIV to a much older game like Final Fantasy XI, but at the very least, fans deserve to see more of an effort being made to add new content. In fact, instead of throwing more dungeons onto the pile that already reaches the Eorzean moon, Square Enix would be better served experimenting with new content, further propping up PvP to make it more popular and fun, and rescuing the failed Diadem event. That’s the kind of content that if it were successful and worthwhile, would make the formulaic stuff like Void Ark and Tomestone grinds more palatable.
Speaking of the Diadem Exploratory Missions, I’m going to stop short here and not rip into it too hard. Despite it failing to live up to the hype, it was at least an attempt to be something different. With any luck, the developers won’t give up on it, and fix it so it becomes something that the masses will incorporate into their routine. For all of its warts, Final Fantasy XI was, if nothing else, fearless when it came to adding new content. Whenever a major content patch or expansion was released, you could count on something being different and exciting. Not everything worked right away and sometimes it never did, but at least you could count on being able to try something (actually) new every couple of months. That’s not the case in FFXIV. Right now, players get the same gift every three to four months just decorated with different wrapping paper.
Yoshida and the FFXIV development crew can’t allow themselves to be discouraged about Diadem and go back into a hole of repeating the same safe content. For the sake of the game, fix it and then go and create something new again. If that fails, fix that, too. Because right now, we don’t need Live Letters to preview new content. We can predict it, and that’s a serious problem.