So it's finally here. (And some people thought we never would see the day.) Final Fantasy XIV starts to see some of the new features and reforms of the new development team since they were brought in place December of last year.
Anyway, this post - what I think of 1.18 so far.
See also: Patch 1.18 Notes
See also: Maelstrom in Ishgard
See also: Letter from the Producer, XIV
See also: Introducing Settlements
I was kind of surprised to see some original music for the game: Here is the themes for the three companies. I'm guessing they were composed by Uematsu, but I'm not 100% positive.
Order of the Twin Adder:
Doesn't it sound very Final Fantasy Tactics-y like to you? I really like the new tunes. I was personally expecting some recycled music, but they spent no expense on coming up with something new for this.
Speaking of which, that was the very first thing I did when playing. I went to Gridania and put in my application for the "Order of the Twin Adder". Upon zoning in, I noticed that the city has a giant increase in the number of flags showing in the city, there's a new sense of pride, if you will.
I was given a quest to do the company quests at the table. Had to go to Camp Tranquil and do a task and come back. When zoning into The Black Shroud, I noticed that that too had new music. In fact all the zones have new music... Well, correction, it depends on the area of the zone. When you get near one of the new encampments, it plays a different theme, and plays a different theme when you're on the field. Only zones that I've seen that doesn't have new music is the towns, Coerthas, and Mor Dhona.
Anyway, long story short the quests (there are three main ones for each company) go on to show this man at the ending.
Don't recognize him? It's (highlight) Cid .
Probably the biggest aspect of the patch in the 'fun' department, the dungeons. I ended up trying the rank 25 dungeon twice and the rank 45 dungeon twice.
One thing I immediately noticed is that theres a cutscene when you enter that shows the area name in really fancy letters with some of the monsters lurking around, and then this epic theme pops up:
On top of that, it dramatically changes to a different key when you get into a battle, it's pretty interesting how they did that. I was skeptical that the theme would match with the very epic feel of going through a timed dungeon.
As for the dungeons themselves, I'll split it up by the zone:
Rank 25: The Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak
This dungeon is very easy in terms of the monster hoarde, though it seems near impossible if one were to do it with strictly rank 25 adventurers. Anyway, the dungeon is capped at four party members and you can't have more or less. What the linkshell and I did on my clear is that we went in as rank 25-27 classes and got decent SP and changed to higher levelled classes when we got low on time.
It seems that everything aggros (even at rank 50) so running through trying to wing it when low on time means that I had monsters from all over the damn place chasing me all over.
These blue teleporters are used to open up gates in the dungeon. In the case of the R25 dungeon, you need four of these magitek pieces to open it up further. A boss was at the end, and they even implemented victory dances (with appropriate FF theme) that play at the end ala FF7-10 and 12. That made the nostalgic side of me really happy.
Rank 45: The Dzemael Darkhold
This one was undoubtedly much harder than the 25 one. This had aggro everywhere and a floating eye that used AoE on occasion. I was under the impression that he chased you if you were going too slow from the trailer, but nope, he goes back and forth. Even worse, he can't be damaged any.
I admittedly screwed up this run big time for my LS mates. I had connection issues and ran into mobs that haven't popped up on my screen almost killing the group four times.
In the future, I'm going to lead strategies more from the sidelines and tank only after mobs are claimed. I don't want to screw up things due to my bad connection. (You can tell from the red rings near my name, I was constantly on the verge of d/cing. They call it 'Groving'. LS joke, if you will.)
Haven't won the raid yet, but I'm going to give it another go on Sunday evening. No rush to complete it. I'm just taking my time and going with the flow. What bugs me about the dungeons though is that you can't mark mobs, so it's hard to communicate with the party on what to kill first.
I'm iffy on the changes to the battle system. There has been a lot of outcry everywhere because the usability of magic got DESTROYED in this patch. Thaumaturge went from the best healer in the game to borderline useless in the healing department. While I agree with this, THM shouldn't have been a better healer than Conjurer, S-E made this perfectly clear. They split Cure from being single and area spells to Cure and Curaga (just like how FFXI is). And removed Sacrifice to be AoE and only single target.
MP costs for spells also skyrocketed, so it's much harder for everyone to solo mobs that used to be, so a Conjurer in the group is probably going to be much more vital to success in the future... at least until Black and White Mage is released.
As for Auto-Attack, the way they implemented it is a little awkward, it's hard to tell and know if I'm actually attacking or not, there's no button to start an Auto-Attack, you just go in active mode and get near an enemy and it just...happens. I don't know if they tried to make it like Final Fantasy 12 in those regards, but I'm just not used to it, maybe I just need more time.
Oh, and new battle animations.
In conclusion, I think the game took a giant leap forward, but some steps back. I'd have to say the game is clearly going in a positive direction. I've seen the population shoot back to a decent size in a few days to check things out. LS members I haven't seen in forever have popped in and said hi, and I'm looking forward to 1.19 in September where we see more changes such as Airships, Chocobos, and the like.