The Final Fantasy XIV development team aired Live Letter XXX today, and producer Naoki Yoshida and Japanese Community Team member Toshio Murouchi treated us to a whole horde of exciting updates.
Speaking of hordes, Revenge of the Horde, Patch 3.3, is set to launch on Tuesday June 7th 2016! What better a way to start a Sunday than an eagerly anticipated release date? (Other than clearing AS6â€¦ Still working on thatâ€¦) The official patch note reading will take place on Monday June 6th, 4:00 PDT/11:00 GMT. This will give you all the final patch information on what is being included in this latest installment to the franchise.
But what has been shown so far in this latest Live Letter? Well hereâ€™s some in depth, juicy updates straight from the broadcast!
The Final Steps of Faith
We had Steps of Faith Round One in patch 2.55 against the almighty Vishap, who had a habit of effortlessly dodging the harpoons conveniently laid out for us. But this time, we face Nidhogg/possessed Estinien, who still seems rather persistent on stomping our burnt corpses into the ground.
Like with all Boss/Primal battles, this fight will be a full party of 8 adventurers. It will also feature the Heavensward main theme â€œDragonsongâ€, sung by vocalist and artist Susan Calloway. The final battle in the Binding Coil of Bahamut featured the main theme of a Realm Reborn, â€œAnswersâ€, and this echoing of music choices could signify the Warrior of Light entering a final show down with the great dragon. If this is the case, it will no doubt be just as epic as Bahamut Primeâ€™s defeat. It has also been noted on the Final Fantasy XIV Forums that we should expect an Extreme version of this duty which will reward weapons.
But perhaps most importantly, Yoshidaâ€™s Lalafell showed off the fight in a new pig costumeâ€¦ Is that the secret weapon to victory?
Perhaps one of the most interesting updates is the new, unique dungeon The Aquapolis. Unlike normal dungeons, you locate this area randomly through completing treasure maps. (Note: only level 60 treasure maps will yield â€œThe Aquapolisâ€ reward). Once you successfully complete a treasure map and open the chest, a special portal could open up. This portal remains open for 10 minutes before it disappears.
Once the players are inside, you will head down a corridor and into an open area with two doors and a treasure chest in the centre of the room. When you open the chest, the process is similar to a normal treasure hunt. Defeat all the enemies inside to claim your rewards, which, again, seem similar to that of normal treasure maps.
However, the further you progress, the better the rewards you can receive. There are 7 rooms in total, and if you defeat the cyclops in the 7th room you will receive a lovely bunch of grade V materia. It has also been announced that a golden goblin has a chance of spawning, and upon defeating this goblin, players will receive a gil reward. Again, the further into the area players are, the more gil they will receive. In the 7th room, each player will yield 100,000 gil. You have 30 seconds to defeat the golden goblin, however, and since it is not aggressive and simply runs away, it could prove more difficult than originally perceived.
It has also been announced that rare minions you can receive in dungeons can also drop, such as the baby opo-opo, though it is likely that these will remain very rare drops.
Once you defeat your enemies, the party leader will open one of the two doors. If successful, you will progress deeper into the dungeon. If the wrong door is chosen, you will be teleported back outside.
The drop rate of these teleporters is currently set to 50%.
The Final Fantasy XIV team recommend that you enter The Aquapolis with 8 adventurers, as equal treasure chests drop regardless of the number of party members. Overall it will increase your chances of success against the cyclops, golden goblin, and other difficult mobs. However, Yoshida said that it is possible with a party of 4, though it is recommended to take at least 1 tank and 1 healer.
This new update will likely see the price of level 60 treasure maps to soar. Adventurers can only claim one per day through high level gathering, and since the rewards in this dungeon are nothing to frown at, they will undoubtedly be in high demand. So get gathering and saving up as many as you can!
Fenrir "Flying" Mount
Another mount joins the flying brigade! The great Fenrir creates a shower of ice crystals which enable him to walk across the sky. The sound effects of the shards dissipating are also particularly satisfying.
We are still waiting for announcements on when the tank mounts will gain flight.
This new matchmaking system will allow players to set certain conditions for raiding via duty finder. The content that is currently scheduled to follow this new system includes:
Alexander Midas: Fist of the Son (Savage), Cuff of the Son (Savage), Arm of the Son (Savage), Burden of the Son (Savage).
This new system allows you to register for certain conditions when queueing for a duty.
Firstly, you can register under â€œcompleteâ€ and â€œincompleteâ€ matching conditions, where you queue with either those who have cleared or those who have not yet currently cleared. (You cannot queue to find those who have completed the duty if you have not yet currently completed the raid).
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, you can assign for either â€œcompletionâ€ or â€œpracticeâ€. I whooped when I they announced this feature, since I am currently still attempting to clear AS6. But why is this new update so important? AS6 involves 4 bosses. If you die on one of the bosses, you have to start from the beginning, not from the last boss you defeated. I have had very little practice on the fourth boss in AS6 because it takes on average 7 minutes combat time to get there, and thatâ€™s with every player performing perfectlyâ€¦ And this doesnâ€™t even include the wipes in between. I am sighing in relief knowing Iâ€™ll be able to get some practice in on that last boss without fear of wiping in a mere few seconds and starting all over again.
This practice system will be helpful for all of the listed encounters, giving players a chance to practice a future phase without having to spend hours on sections they have previously conquered.
However, for the players who feel they are ready for the kill, you can register under completion, where you will be put into a group of people at a similar level of progression.
Raid Finder will also have default party compositions which are dependent on â€œcompletionâ€ or â€œpracticeâ€ raid conditions. This is to suit ease of play as well as queue times.
Finally, as is expected in this new patch, Alexander Midas Savage 5-8 can now be accessed via this new Raid Finder in Duty Finder.
New Front Lines Map: Field of Glory (Shatter)
The new map is located in Coerthas, with the land and mountains covered in snow. It seems like nice change scenery wise, where previous maps all took place in grassy areas.
Overall, there are two main objectives for this new map. The first involves occupying 3 different locations, one in each grand company stronghold. To take a base you must stand in the circle area until the capture bar fills and your grand companies flag is adorned on the stronghold. Strategically, you can leave people on the base to defend or push forward and attack other bases.
The second objective involves destroying objects scattered across the field. After a certain time passes, players will be able to destroy these objects. It has been said that this is the main objective, rather than conquering bases. In Yoshidaâ€™s demonstration, the objects seem to be something akin to aether crystals, but whether this is the only destructible object remains to be seen. It is also uncertain whether points are obtained from kills and/or lost from deaths, and if they are, how many.
This new mode seems to be a further developed version of The Borderlands Ruins (Secure). I quite enjoyed that mode, though it seems like they are really working to balance out the points system this time around. PVP is something Iâ€™ve always enjoyed, and Iâ€™m excited to be fighting alongside my fellow Twin Adders once again in this new, beautiful arena!
My inner gardener is uncontainable-y jubilant right now. All those glorious plants I have grown can now be put on display in flower pots around the Free Company house. The process is similar to normal gardening, the only difference being that you cannot crossbreed these potted plants. The colour of flowers grown also changes depending on the type of fertiliser used. You can also obtain these flowers from the flowerpots, and use them to craft headgear. More flowers will be added in later patches.
However, if you do not tend to the plants, they are likely to die. Players have been advised to log on at least once a day and tend to them to prevent this.
Two new sets of gear will be added to patch 3.3, one which can be crafted, and one which can be obtained through red scrip hand ins. The item level of the red scrip gear will be higher, but crafted gear can be melded with materia. Players have the option to min-max pieces to suit their needs for crafting and gathering requirements.
Curiously, one of the sets appears to be based on the previous Ironworks gear used by Disciples of War and Magic at the end of A Realm Reborn. It is fairly probable that the red scrip hand ins will be this set.
It is recommended that players wishing to craft and gather the new items to come in patch 3.3 should get this gear beforehand.
Also, there will be adjustments to obtaining blue scrips. It is currently harder for some classes to obtain these items. The development team has taken note of this and has brought the harder classes to the level of the easier classes.
Also, thankfully, the areas for collectibles will be increased, the amount of red scrips received on collectible hand ins and experience gained on collectible hand ins will be increased. Itâ€™s no secret that I am a complete slacker when it comes to gathering and crafting, so anything to make my low level life easier in an attempt to keep up with others is a welcome change!
So weâ€™ve had Atma farm part two with the luminous crystal gathering, and now it seems we have Alexandrite farm part two.
For the next stage of the Anima weapon quest, you will be able to customise your relic to suit your tastes by infusing items into the weapon (sounds familiarâ€¦) by using catalysts (also sounds familiarâ€¦)
We have been promised a variety of ways to earn these items, which may make the experience seem like less of a grind in comparison to the Novus quest in A Realm Reborn. Time efficiency is supposedly different with each method, and there is a balance between time and gil spent on attaining this new relic weapon upgrade.
The development team have said that the upgrade will be on par with a weapon in which you affix 3 grade V materias. No doubt this will be one of the most powerful weapons in Heavensward so far, but these stages mimicking the relic quests in A Realm Reborn are, in my opinion, quite questionable. Hopefully in future patches we will see a bit more variety in how we obtain these weapons of lore.
The development team showed off some rather attractive looking goodies which will soon be on sale; including FINAL FANTASY XIV Tumblers adorned with one of 7 concept art designs, and 3 mini minion keychains based on the Morbol Seedling, Kidragora and Baby Behemoth minions.
A Final Fantasy XIV magazine will be on sale on the 21st June, containing interviews, guides and special coverage from the development team. It will cost 1,400 yen (without tax). You can currently pre-order on Square Enix JP store.
Also, a compilation of â€œYOSHIDA UNCENSOREDâ€, which was featured in the weekly Famitsu magazine, will be released in paperback format for fans to purchase on 22nd June. You can read Yoshidaâ€™s own insight on why Final Fantasy XIV was able to be â€œRebornâ€ after 1.0â€™s unsavoury reception. A price for this compilation is yet to be confirmed.
Make It Rain Campaign
On 27th May, a Gold Saucer based campaign titled â€œMake It Rainâ€ will be taking place. It hasnâ€™t been confirmed what this new event involves. Iâ€™m personally hoping it is similar to the screenshot they showed, being showered with MGP to get the Fenrir mount, while doing the /joy emote.
There were other updates announced during the live letter, including new Beast Tribe Quests, new Moogle-related quest areas, and welcome updates to HUD layouts for gear, abilities and battle related features.
We also had information on the North American Final Fantasy XIV Fan Fest, which will be announced in a separate article on Final Fantasy Union.
Last but certainly not least, it has been confirmed that Final Fantasy XIV will be returning to E3 this year. E3 will be running from Tuesday 14th June â€“ Thursday 16th June, and promises to have many more exciting updates for viewers and events for those able to attend the event.
Phew! What a whirlwind of information we have been given Live Letter XXX! Iâ€™m very excited to try out everything theyâ€™ve teased to come on June 7th (hopefully Iâ€™m not the only one looking forward to mothering my new flowerpots!) I hope all these in depth updates give you an idea on what to expect in the new patch, and give you a chance to consider what exciting activities to get started on first!