It’s Patch Day! As usual, the full Patch Notes went up today after the game was taken down for maintenance, and since I haven’t actually talked much about the Patch so far outside of around the last Live Letter, I figured today’s as good of a time as any to go through what stands out about the Patch to me. Of course, there are a ton of things we’d expect: new Main Scenario quests (which seem like they’re going to be opening up a new zone, as there’s a strange mention to “unlocking an Aetheryte” in the Notes), new dungeons, the new trial against Byakko, and of course, the Final Fantasy VI-themed Sigmascape raid. But as always, there are little things here and there that can slip through the cracks!
The Patch brings a fairly large number of Job changes, with the ones I’m most interested in being the Monk changes. I’ve been saying since sometime in Heavensward that Perfect Balance should really have a shorter cooldown to make it a bit more like the “reset” buttons that Dragoons and Black Mages had during the last expansion in Blood of the Dragon and Enochian, and we’re finally getting that! With a new cooldown of only one minute, Monk should feel a lot better in fights with extended phase shifts and time away from the boss (I’m looking at you, Shisui of the Violet Tides).
Warriors are going to have a lot of their Potencies rearranged, and it’s difficult for me to evaluate how that’s going to shake out. Berserk is also being reworked (and apparently folded into Inner Release). Since I’ve never really played Warrior heavily, I’ve got no idea how this is all going to work out, and I’ve seen mixed reception on social media regarding the changes.
I’m actually a bit excited for the Dark Knight changes as well: the longer duration on Blackest Night should make the effect more likely to trigger in dungeons where incoming damage isn’t always high enough to break the barrier in 5 seconds.
Black Mages are getting their 280 Potency Fire IV back and a shorter Transpose cooldown (which should make it a little less annoying to maintain Enochian during phase shifts and the like).
All three healers are seeing minor changes as well, which mostly feel like quality of life changes. Excogitation will be a little more useful, Divine Benison will be easier to use, and in the only sort of “raw numbers” change, Astrologian’s Spear will last longer than it does currently.
There are some nerfs, too, of course, with Paladins receiving yet another reduction on Holy Spirit (and a nerf to Shield Swipe, too). These changes are fairly significant, too: a 50 Potency reduction on Shield Swipe is quite large! I’d imagine Paladin will probably be fine, given how much better its kit got in Stormblood, though.
Summoners, only a patch after their suite of buffs last time, are being retuned again, with the focus largely being on reducing their AoE damage. It’s rare that the team adjusts things so quickly when they feel they’ve gone too far on the buff end of the spectrum for a class, so that actually surprises me a bit.
The Machinist changes surprise me as well, as they seem to be minor that I can’t imagine they were actually necessary. This one seems like the kind of change aimed only at the highest echelons of play, where such a small adjustment might have an effect on the overall metagame. It’s generally rare that the team makes such minor changes.
The Patch is also bringing a couple changes that I don’t think are going to work out so well. The most baffling one is the coming change to cutscenes in Castrum Meridianum and Praetorium, which will no longer be skippable. While I think the intent here is admirable (my initial Duty Finder experience in Castrum Meridianum was so negative that had I not found a Free Company that was willing to do Praetorium with me and wait for the cutscenes, I might not have stuck around in the game!), I suspect the result of this change is that people are going to be even less likely to do the Main Scenario Roulette.
They might be doubling the amount of Poetics rewarded for the Roulette, but Poetics haven’t been extremely relevant for a long time, and as long as the dungeons will be with the cutscenes, there are far better ways to get those Tomestones for old glamour items or leveling other jobs.
I’m also very disappointed to see that it looks like Stormblood is going to maintain the old Expert Roulette and “high level” Roulette split, with the two new dungeons being by themselves in Expert Roulette and all of the other level 70 dungeons being placed into a new Roulette category all their own. This isn’t necessarily surprising, but I had a little hope that with fewer dungeons being added in Stormblood that we’d simply see a single Roulette category for level 70.
This means the old problem of Roulette burnout for the two new dungeons is back (even at the start of Stormblood we had three dungeons, and for awhile we had four, which was so much better!). With the relic questline in Stormblood being tied to Eureka, it’s not even clear that it will have massive Tomestone costs as the Anima and Zodiac quests did, so I’m looking ahead to a future where I potentially never touch the level 70 Roulette, which is going to make things very samey, and I think that’s unfortunate.
But it’s not all bad! We’re getting tons of quality of life improvements, from changes to the glamour system (though I’m a bit disappointed to confirm, from the Patch Notes, that items converted to glamours in the Glamour Dresser won’t be able to be removed from it to wear as non-glamour items, which has implications for me since I often use glamour-focused items for RP and idling) to additional inventory (including the ability to put a number of items in the Armoire that have been clogging up my inventory for ages). The Perform action is getting a lot of improvements (which isn’t something that really affects me, but it does look like it’s going to be a lot better to use going forward).
The retainer cap is also going up to 9 (though why the team hasn’t increased the base number to 3 or 4 by this point escapes me). I’m not sure I’ll need an extra one at this point, once I convert a lot of older gear I’ve been holding onto into glamours using Glamour Dresser, but the fact that we have the option is nice, at least. We’re also finally getting an option to toggle battle music, which is something I’ve been wanting especially since 4.0, since the areas have such gorgeous music but high monster density, meaning frequent interruptions.
Looking through the various text commands, it looks like we’re getting several new emotes: Charmed, Big Grin, Reflect (which appears to be from Grand Company Seals), Furrow, Scoff, Tremble, Winded, Aback, and Greet. Several of these seem to be emotes we’ve seen a lot in cutscenes, though from the looks of it, we’re still missing some! I really want the standard arms-crossed pose we do so often, and that doesn’t seem to be present here, unfortunately. But, given that we seem to be getting emotes regularly, hopefully we’ll see some more added in 4.3!
Most everything else that’s coming I talked about a bit already when I talked about the most recent Live Letter, so I won’t go into details there, since for once our understanding of what was on the horizon was pretty complete following that. There is one last thing left to talk about, though: all the new gear! As usual with a new “raid tier” Patch, we’re getting several new gear sets, and we’ve gotten the standard “group shot” previews for all of them over the past month or so. Since I haven’t actually talked much about them, I probably should!
The dungeon sets from Fractal Continuum (Hard) and Hell’s Lid looks to be recolors of the sets from Castrum Abania. That’s somewhat expected, as the team’s pattern for a very long time has been to alternate wholly new dungeon gear sets with recolored ones every major patch. I’m pleased by the choice of sets to recolor here, as while I liked the shapes of the Gyr Abania sets, the color schemes were very uninspiring, and these look like they’ll be much more suited to use for glamours. It doesn’t look like the classes got swapped around for each model, and I do like when they do that just for variety’s sake, but otherwise I can see at least some of these working their way into new looks for Alahra going forward.
In something of a surprising pick, the team elected to recolor the Void Ark gear sets for 4.2’s crafted battle gear. I was never a fan of most of these, but I do think the Jackets for Scouting and Aiming DPS could work out all right once dyed. I would have much preferred that we got recolors of the original Labyrinth of the Ancients sets, as those would have been absolutely great to see dyeable. I also have to admit I’m slightly bothered by the weapon models for these sets being recolors of the original Zodiac Weapons. While it never bothered me that those weapons were outdated (or that the quests were nerfed), I don’t like the thought of legendary weapons being reused to fill out palette swapped sets, as it takes away from the mystique of otherwise rare models. (I’m similarly against reusing raid weapons and gear in the same way, for what its worth). That being said, we’ll have to see how these sets dye before I can really comment on their use!
The new Mendacity gear is…honestly very disappointing! I don’t know how else to put it. Not only are these sets similar in style and thematic to the Genji gear from Deltascape, they’re all extremely heavy and bulky, which means they’re going to look absolutely terrible on smaller characters. I’m especially annoyed by the inclusion of yet another large and heavy coat for Scouting classes (the black and purple set the female miqo’te is wearing). The best I’ll be able to hope for here is that various side pieces like the gloves and boots might be usable, but for once I don’t see anything that I want at all for the new Tomestone gear.
The new Sigmascape gear, appropriately, is very reminiscent of Final Fantasy VI. I’m much more interested in these sets than I am the Mendacity gear. I’m not sure if any of them will really work for Alahra, but I at least like them. The Scouting set (which, by my best guess, is on the female miqo’te again) is appropriately light but also armored, which is something we don’t get a lot of. Since I don’t raid anymore, I’ll likely never see the dyeable version of it, but I could see the body piece and possibly the gloves being useful even in these default colors.
And last, but not least, we have the new PvP gear. Overall, I think these are actually my favorite new sets coming in 4.2. They’ve got a sort of Greek mythology theme going on, which isn’t something we’ve seen a lot of in FFXIV, and they all look to have various pieces that could be useful for glamours. I don’t really PvP much at all anymore, but I definitely think I’ll be checking these out to see how they dye, and I think I’m likely to get some use out of them (and honestly it’s always nice to have an excuse to PvP at least for a little while as a diversion!).
And with that, all we have to do is wait! These 24 hour maintenance periods are always grueling, but for once I actually have planned things to do! Hopefully that keeps me from chomping at the bit too much…