12/11/15 update: Added some images and Diadem impressions!
After a bunch of months that felt like a special circle of hell where everything you see is Living Liquid (aka Jigglybutt) twerking at you, Final Fantasy XIV‘s first big patch of the expansion launched yesterday: As Goes Light, So Goes Darkness. And it feels awesome.
At the moment I’ve only cleared the main scenario quests and the new 24-man raid (which in XIV means a not-that-hard raid) called the Void Ark. I have opened both new dungeons and barely started the new Vanu Vanu quests. I haven’t played Lord of Verminion, either!
OH, and I haven’t entered the new hotness: the Diadem (an instanced area for multiple parties to hunt monsters and get really strong items).
I am, so far, satisfied with the new patch.
Main Scenario: Of course, I won’t spoil anything, but I’ll say that it’s interesting to see where it all goes. Also there’s bound to be a group of people on a podcast that’s going to make salt rain from the heavens from a few developments that happen both in the new story and are teased for the future. Oh, and ladies… have fun!
Void Ark: It was, overall, pretty fun. It isn’t too hard (as fitting the successor of the Crystal Tower series), and most mechanics can easily be deduced by savvy players. The atmosphere is awesome. Can’t talk much about the music since I went in with friends so we were using Skype at the moment. The best thing is that the lore of the incursion and the events at the end are really exciting – some even say it’s better than Alexander’s story.
Facial animations: The flexibility in the faces that we were used to seeing in the Hildibrand sidequests has been slowly making its way into more serious quests. We saw a bit of that in the 3.1 trailer when a mysterious Paladin is fighting Y’shtola and struggles to make his blow land, but there’s more instances in 3.1 where this tech is used to great effect. Both in the main scenario and the Void Ark story, where a particular face made by a new character manages to be both funny and charming (and to some, sexy) at the same time.
Mini-games: Verminion is on hold, but the new Botanist and Miner mini-games in the Gold Saucer are great ways to pass time, and the MGP acquisition rate is actually very good! You can, with luck, get over 150MGP for a single MGP investment!
Diadem: This is confusing, but a lot of fun in a group. Basically, it’s a new zone that’s populated by strong monsters; each time a foe is killed it seems as if stronger monsters appear. Respawn rate is also high. After each kill there’s a small chest that includes random hear. And I do mean random: you can get gear that can range from i150 to i210, and random stats – you can get BLM gear with skill speed, should RNG wish to troll you. This gear is quite good! Did I mention enemies are strong? Like… really strong? The strongest ones cannot be taken down with a single 8 man party… and will likely make you see your life bars drop faster than my interest in doing Savage again!
I still have much to do! And while I did take some screenshots, I forgot to bring them with me to the office, so I shall try to update this article later. Tonight I’ll try the new dungeons, and maybe fiddle with Verminion (which sounds complicated but fun). Life’s back in Eorzea, and with the new Anima relics coming in the coming weeks, there’s sure stuff to keep us busy for a while!