FFXIV’s November Patch a Big Step In The Right Direction

Thanksgiving marked the launch of FFXIV’s first big patch. I’ve yet to get in the game to try it out – I’ll be patching overnight – but it looks like they’ve addressed a lot of the big things players have complained about. This is very much a quality of life patch; the only new content comes in the form of a couple new mob types. There’s a lot to take in but it’s safe to say that FFXIV should handle much more like other MMOs now. Here are some of the bigger points:

  • More gathering leves have been added and difficulty now be changed on the fly
  • Ranking up from 11-31 now requires less XP. If you’re in that range, whatever points you’ve earned over the new thresholds will level you up accordingly (or get you closer) – Yay, free XP. I’m glad they’re making this apply to everyone and not just new players.
  • Common keybinds can now be assigned – inventory, character panel, attributes, etc. – This should get rid of most need for the menu system. If the menu was the reason you left, consider it mostly fixed.
  • Inventory has been expanded to 20 slots and +1, +2 items are caput
  • Attacks hit more often and are resisted less
  • You can now filter out other players’ crafting spam Thank goodness. I spent a good 15 minutes in my first week trying to set that up.
  • More enemies spawn in the field – Less kill stealing is always good, though this might make travel a little more difficult in some places. I’m interested to see if this is universal or just in certain places.
  • Crafting requires less steps to begin and the effects of each action have been altered – This leads me to believe they’ve put in some kind of history. Starting crafting was cumbersome, so this is a welcome change.
  • The difficulty of many low level crafting recipes has been lowered – Remember my post about things exploding in my face? Hopefully you won’t have to live through that horror. It was like ‘nam but with Lala’fell.
  • UI lag has been reduced –  This is a love letter to Drew of The Beast Within (and everyone else who played the game before today). Tanaka looooooooooves you! Tanaka and players, sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N… okay, I’ll stop. Seriously, I believe them when they say it’s been reduced, but I’ll be interested to see how much. Are we talking milliseconds or something more noticeable? Is it still dramatically worse in more populated areas?
  • Lots of GUI stuff, including mouse scrolling on the map, a rework of the gear page, the ability to mouseover items to see their effects, and a one-button inventory sort – Out of this, I’m most happy about the inventory sorting thing. At first, I thought having an 80, now 100, slot inventory was nice… then I saw how junked up it would get with mats and things that didn’t matter to me. This sort is a god send. A god send.
  • Anima costs halved for all city-states, returns, and three “favored” locations – I’ve taken to avoiding teleportation whenever possible. The last system encouraged you to tiptoe around using anima – and not in a good way. These amounts seem much better while also forcing you to pay attention and not abuse fast travel.

    Notably absent is any kind of search function for the bazaars, but they’ve added icons to tell you who’s selling and who’s buying, so it’s a step before December’s bigger revision.

    There’s a LOT to this update. A whole lot. If you left the game, head over and look through the specifics because there’s a good chance your issue has been touched on, if not fully addressed. If this patch is any indication, Square has taken the complaints to heart and is seriously stepping up to the plate.

    From what I read, the players who left the game did so because of one of two things: they didn’t like the function of it, the UI, lag, inventory, etc.; or, they didn’t like the design of it. The latter is a lost cause. This isn’t a game they’ll enjoy. If you’re in that first camp, come back for a day or two and see how things are. After all, it’s not costing you anything. If it’s not good enough, check back in December. Remember, we have a patch this time next month, and another in early 2011.

    This is the first of three big steps, the way I see it. And for a first step, it’s big and it’s good.

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