I play a lot of MMOs, and not all of them are as updated as often as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Traditionally, major patches (2.1, 2.2, and the upcoming 2.3) deliver the stuff everyone wants, like more dungeons, raids, and content. But more often than those updates are the minor ones, such as the 2.28 patch that just dropped today.
It's there that you'll find a collective of quality of life improvements, mostly designed to make the game more fun and/or fix issues the community has been having with the game. You can check out the full patch notes for 2.28 here, or read my impressions below on some of the bigger parts.
I know I said minor patches don't bring new content, but the Novus quest (which allows players to get item level 110 weapons) is technically new gameplay. It's a massive time sink though just like the Animus before it, and it will only suit the most dedicated of players. It's far too early to judge the impact of Novus on the alternate raid weapon progression path, but I'm still a big proponent of an alternate method for people who don't have static raid groups.
You can also buy Fantasia potions at the Mog Station, which allow you to completely re-customize your character if you're tired of their race or their look. It's a nice, completely optional service that doesn't go overboard in terms of MMO microtransactions, and a welcome addition to the game.
You'll also get more outfit options in general, as you can now "try on" gear -- a function that WoW has basically had since launch. It's great for people who want to glamour (change appearance) their gear, but don't want to search online endlessly for what something looks like on imgur.
You'll also be able to save individual settings for different gear sets in terms of whether or not your head gear is visible. Crafters are getting a slight buff, in that they don't need to change classes to repair gear, and you'll get a 199% repair buff on top of that. You won't get any experience from repairing, but at the very least the craft means something now.
One of my favorite new additions is the Sightseeing Log, which is basically a take on Guild Wars 2's vistas system. After grabbing a quest you'll be able to seek out new sights around the world, some of which consist of jumping and sprinting puzzles. It's a nice way to break up the action when you're waiting for a queue or a static raid, and I hope they add more. You can earn this adorable pet, too.
Grouping has been improved as well, and now you can "queue" group teleports to save for later. Previously when someone teleported, if you weren't able to accept the port it would just go away, but now you can instantly accept it as long as you don't logout or leave the area. This is pretty great for fast Atma farming groups. Teleports can also be queued by clicking on the world map icon now, and FATE progress (both percentages and time left) is shown on the map -- love this change.
In terms of higher level content, you can also queue up for Mog EX and Leviathan EX by yourself, which is amazing for people who play on low population servers. Previously, you had to find an eight-man group to play these. Cutscene skipping is in, and a godsend for people who are grinding out high-level content and want to save time. Additionally, Crystal Tower, and the Trials, High level, and Low Level roulette have added more myth stone rewards, which is great news for potential Animus grinders. The new power to queue some roulettes with a party is also great.
Now, onto the most controversial change -- blacklists now have more sway. Instead of simply saying "I will blacklist you if you do bad" it actually means something now. Previously, it worked more as a mute feature, and you'd still be able to group with someone who blacklisted you. Now, you are unable to join a party finder if you are blacklisted by the creator.
This is interesting in multiple ways, most notably by its potential to be abused. Some groups are iron-clad in their rules and kick people for messing up once in high-level content. Now they have the ability to essentially ban that player from groups, and on low population servers that might mean that said player may never get to play by themselves. We'll see how it works out on a macro level in the weeks to come, but at the very least those players have solo queues now for Mog and Leviathan.
There are a lot of other small changes like new PVP tweaks, new poses, new idle animation settings, and an extra dismount button combo (L1+R1), but that covers most of the big updates. Stay tuned for my thoughts on patch 2.3 when it hits -- that one's going to be a doozy.
Final Fantasy XIV's Gold Saucer is amazing if you like Triple Triad or Chocobo Racing
12:00 PM on 02.27.2015