Useful information you should know before reading this blog entry:
See also: Patch 1.17 Notes
See also: Notorious Monsters Announcement
See also: Grand Companies of Eorzea
See also: New Notorious Monsters
See also: Letter from the Producer, VI
See also: Letter from the Producer, VII
See also: Letter from the Producer, VIII
See also: Naoki Yoshida Part I
See also: Naoki Yoshida Part II
See also: Naoki Yoshida Part III
See also: Naoki Yoshida Part IV
So earlier this week, I made a very disappointed rant about how I was losing hope for the game and I wasn't planning on playing more than once a week from there on out due to my dissatisfaction and slow update of the game progress.
Shortly after, Letter from the Producer, VIII was posted by Yoshi-P and I felt bad for posting said rant, given that the lack of messages or development was due to him being away on sickness. (I've since edited the said disappointed rant.) A lot of what I posted earlier came in one fell swoop and the new patch for Final Fantasy XIV came out on Thursday. Still skeptical about what could have changed given the not so impressive batch of side-quests of Patch 1.16, I logged on Thursday and Friday to tackle all of the new content that was added, and I have to say, I was pretty impressed with this update overall.
The party size has been reduced from 15 to 8. This has gotten some criticism from various people saying that it really eliminates the use of large-scale content. I'd have to disagree though. The UI looks much less cluttered, and the HP, MP bars are thicker. It's much easier to see people's names and targeting commands and things like that. They also give incentive by adding a buff to full parties of 8 and smaller parties of 4-7. I also like this change because it gives a good reason for players to fight in a team rather than their own.
The new quests are pretty detailed. They add a great sense of lore into them. Last patch I ended up being very disappointed that the quests turned out to be "fetch 8 of this item and bring it back to me." - These quests involved some fighting and some of just talking to NPCs. While companies weren't added in this patch, they added new quests in the Musketeers', Gladiators', and Conjurers' Guild explaining the three companies and their purpose and the people behind them. It's really setting some exposition and I'm interested to see where they take this.
The addition of NMs. And I'm not talking super high level ones, either. I can coordinate events with my LS to start knocking these out weekly until we can get all the members the gear that they would like. I'm very happy that they added this. Repeatable content that we can do. More so, the NMs have a very short respawn time. I'll post more information about this later, but I hunted a lot and it was very enjoyable. (Unlike XI when I would sit there for three hours at a time and no drop or someone else takes it. Ugh!)
UI Toggle! I don't have any pictures of it, but you can it in the patch information. Personally, I don't like a cluttered UI, but people like being able to see different information on the map. But I like how it's optional and not really required to have it visible unless you really need it.
The only bad thing I can say about this patch so far is that there is a notable lack of cut-scenes. A lot of what has been added quest wise is just mainly text and a couple of instances here and there, but no real cut-scenes. I imagine they take longer to do due to the motion capture technology they use, but everything quest wise is in the chat log.
Final Fantasy XIV took one giant leap in the right direction this last Thursday with the release of 1.17. Unfortunately, it still has a long way to go before it's still ready for a PS3 release, and before I can openly recommend it to people. Yoshi-P and his team are doing a great job with improvements on the game, and I'm feeling optimistic about the future of XIV. There's still a lot of work to be done, though.