It’s 24-hour maintenance day, which also means that it’s Patch Notes day! You can head over to the Lodestone to read them in full. As I did in the two posts on the Patch 3.3 Notes, I’ll be talking about the highlights for me personally. Since I’m only doing this in one post this go ’round, this is gonna be a pretty big post since there’s a lot to cover. Put your tray table up and your seatback in the full upright position (Albuquerque anyone?) and let’s get into the good stuff!
As is normally the case, I’m sure class adjustments are on the forefront of everyone’s minds, so let’s get those out of the way first.
This change to Sword Oath comes a bit out of left field—I suppose the team is trying to introduce some more parity into the off-tank role in 8-man content. While more damage is always welcome, I can’t see Paladin really outstripping Warrior here in optimal compositions, but at the least, they’ll probably play better as off-tank alongside Dark Knights now.
This is a wonderful quality of life change for Machinists. While it’s not specifically stated that this applies to Quick Reload as well, I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t (since the change actually seems to affect the Ammunition buff itself, rather than the Reload action specifically). This’ll even be nice for group-mates, since Machnists will be able to prep their openers while folks are AFK in static groups and such without having to continuously tap Quick Reload for however many minutes.
But it’s the Astrologian changes that are going to have the biggest impact. These buffs are quite significant and whatever else happens, it’s likely that AST will be a far more popular choice for 8-man compositions than it was before. Personally, I think the impact these will have overall is being somewhat overstated, since Nocturnal Stance AST and Scholar don’t really have the same synergy that White Mage and SCH do, so I still see WHM/SCH as being a pretty strong and importantly, consistent healing composition. However, from the looks of it, all healing pairs are now going to be viable now, and it’s taken AST a long time to get to this point. So that’s very welcome.
I’m definitely pretty excited to give AST a whirl in dungeons again if nothing else, as I prefer barrier healing to HoT healing, and I don’t always want to run SCH.
There were also a handful of PvP changes, but since I don’t PvP much at all, I don’t have a huge sense of what the changes will really mean.
We are of course getting all the usual things we should expect in an even-numbered major patch: a new raid, new dungeons, a new primal battle, and so on. But those aren’t the thing I’m most excited about. Instead, I’m chomping at the bit to get started on Wondrous Tails.
First off, I mean, look at her. She’s adorable. But more importantly, I may be in something of a minority in that I like having compelling reasons to run older content. This is a big part of why I’ve always enjoyed the Zodiac/Anima quests, as they give me something to work toward while taking a trip down nostalgia lane. I don’t, generally, share the view that it’s wrong of the team to re-use old content for them: in fact, I like when they do, as it makes the quest more varied than it would otherwise be if each stage of the weapons only interacted with the latest content.
So on a conceptual level, I love the idea of this: the objectives will change every week (though you can work on the same journal for up to two weeks, if I’m interpreting the Patch Notes correctly), too, which will hopefully keep revisiting the journals each week from getting too stale. The rewards look pretty solid, too—an extra 500 Lore Tomestones per week from getting 9 seals is pretty significant for working on Anima weapons in a laidback fashion (which is great for me). Everything beyond that is basically gravy, but the potential for i250 gear with 5 guaranteed melding slots does sound pretty nice (though how rare these pieces will be after factoring in Second Chance tokens and such remains to be seen).
Overall, I’m looking forward to having a new carrot to chase, as simple as that may seem, and it’ll fit nicely into my overall playstyle which already involves a lot of Roulettes for Tomestones, since I’m maintaining four Anima weapons right now (and working on a fifth as they nerf previous stages, even).
Squadrons are going to be one of those features that I think will take a bit to take off, but I’m excited for them nonetheless. My roleplaying half already enjoys figuring out personalities and the like for my retainers, and from the looks of it, we’ll have some control over the recruits we pick up, so I’ll be able to micromanage and eventually end up with a squadron of all miqo’te if I’m patient enough. And I’m planning to do just that!
For now these look like they won’t be that much different from more elaborate retainer ventures, but the team has mentioned that they want to allow us to take them into dungeons in the future, so I’m looking forward to getting my squadron ready for the future.
Of course, along with the introduction of Squadrons, we’re getting new Grand Company ranks, so there’ll be an immediate reason to work on them, too. These have been a long time coming, and the new gear looks pretty good (picture source):
There’s a bunch of other stuff, too, like new Scholasticate and Hildibrand quests, and of course, Apartments and Aquariums. The new Side Story stuff I probably won’t tackle until late in the expansion, when we’ve got more downtime before the launch of 4.0. I’m looking to get an Apartment since I had to give up my old Private House to transfer to Balmung, but I’m more excited for the resumption of Housing Demolitions: I know there’s just an outside chance of it, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to snag a full house again.
We’re also getting a number of cool system features, like PvP Spectating and the new Camera Control interface for use with group pose and idle camera modes. Naturally, with all the screenshots I take for the blog, I’m probably going to get a lot out of the new controls, and they’ll make it so much easier to get shots at night. Being able to pause will be great, too, as sometimes I want to catch a particular emote on a certain frame and that can be really tricky!
There’s also a new Role-Playing status, which I’ll get a lot of use out of I’m sure, and a countdown feature that will be great for group content. As a Ninja who’s very picky about prep time for Huton, I’m really glad there’ll be a system-wide option that doesn’t rely on folks having pull macros.
And while this is minor, I’m so glad they’re fixing the discrepancy between the order of listings for accessories between vendors and the character info screen. That’s been driving me nuts forever.
Glamour prisms are also getting condensed so that there aren’t multiple grades of them anymore, which is a huge quality of life change for me, since I go through the things like crazy (obviously).
And of course, we’ve got to talk about the new gear! While there aren’t as many surprises in 3.4 as there were in 3.3 and 3.2, there are still some bits and pieces. I’ve already talked about the main sets of the new gear, though we did get slightly more useful images of the new Scripture gear:
Now that we can more clearly see the Casting set (second from the left), I think it’s my favorite of the bunch after the Scouting one. The coat’s got a nice “scholarly” look to it, something I could see myself using for a caster glamour, and it’s got thighboots too, which is always a plus. We also got another look at the new Creator gear:
I’m not normally a fan of long coats for NIN, but I have to say I still love the Scouting set here (on the miqo’te). I can’t wait to get it!
Beyond the expected stuff (Alexander gear is i250, tome gear is i260, Savage gear is i270, and so on), there are a few surprises:
- Sophia EX weapons are actually i255, instead of the expected i250. This is likely to differentiate them from the new “Heavy Metal” crafted weapons, which are i250 and meldable. The former will be better in most cases because of how powerful Weapon Damage is, but there’s still a viable alternative for off-jobs now that doesn’t involve primal farming, so I’m pretty excited about that.
- I’m also enough of a dork that “Heavy Metal” showing up for this tier of crafting makes me nostalgic. Heavy Metal Plates were a big part of one of the weapon lines in FFXI, so I always appreciate small nods like this.
- There’s a new “Extreme” version of the Survival set from the last major Patch. I have no idea what’s “Extreme” about it, but hopefully it looks nice!
- There are also new Astral Silk and Griffin Leather gloves—I’m crossing my fingers that at least one of them is a pair of All Classes elbow-length gloves!
- New crafted versions of Ravana and Thordan weapons will hopefully have cool effects. I always liked the style of the Ravana ones but didn’t clear the fight until after it was already irrelevant, so I may end up picking up one or two of these for glamour (particularly the greatsword).
- We’re also getting new dyes (Dark Red and Dark Brown), which will hopefully work out well.
- And last but not least, new “Far Eastern” garb is showing up in the Mog Station on Wednesday! These items were exclusive to the Chinese/Korean versions of FFXIV (well, I’m assuming it’s those items—they could be something else entirely), and people have been clamoring for them for quite some time now. Along with them, we’re getting a new “Far Eastern Greeting” which I’m probably going to pick up, too.
That covers everything that I’m excited about, I think! There’s a lot more in the full patch notes, so don’t forget to go look over them while we wait for the game to come back up tomorrow morning!