First, I would like to apologize to everyone for my recent lack of posts. I'm moving next Saturday. I've been doing tons of packing and other preparations which require my attention. In the meantime, we've seen a huge surge of focus being paid to FFXIV ARR! It's been exciting to watch from afar. This preview of Beta Phase 4 will include some of the known updates, and a few of my opinions as well. August 27th will be a short wait for me! I'll be so busy with a move, and the subsequent job search, that I will have little time to waste itching my palms in burning anticipation of Phase 4.
Beta Phase 4 is an open beta and the data from that open beta will carry over to the August 27th launch. That makes Phase 4 a soft launch of the game. With that in mind, I would like to make a couple of suggestions.
1. Your names and character appearance will be effectively permanent. If you are looking to reserve some unique and potentially popular names for your server, make those characters fast and reserve those names. Since the Phase 4 servers are going to be the same servers for launch, those names such as Cloud Strife are going to get claimed in a hurry! Even if I don't plan to use any character other than Danforth Wright, I'm going to make a few alts on my destination server in order to reserve some names for characters I might play at a later date. Additionally, for those of you who played 1.0 and already have character data, you will be given a one time opportunity to change both your name and appearance.
2. Decide if you wish to play on a Legacy Server or a New Server. There has been recent attention paid to this subject by MrHappy in a YouTube Video titled "FFXIV A Realm Reborn, Legacy Status Drama."
To be honest, the whole "drama" behind the Legacy Status and New Players is completely lost on me. MrHappy and many others have their positions on the subject and I fail to see any drama whatsoever. I personally had the chance to be a Legacy Player and simply decided that it wasn't worth the money after my own personal FFXIV 1.0 experience. I knew that I might, one day, regret passing on the Legacy Status. Now that the game is playable and I have great faith in Naoki Yoshida, I still don't regret my decision. My final word on the Legacy Status is this: Legacy Players are one of the only reasons FFXIV ARR exists today, I applaud their faith in a game that was essentially dead, and they deserve whatever epic pixels and pricing they get as a result of their faith. If you can't handle that fact, then you are going to have many bigger problems with this game after launch and I would recommend you not waste your money or our patience on this subject.
As for which server situation will be best? Well it's a very very subjective matter. I can confirm the existence of established RMT presences on every Legacy Server about to be reconnected. I can predict with reasonable accuracy that the established economies will be effected by the massive amount of gil and product already in the game at launch. As good as our community is, this will result in a steeper climb for new players -- it's an economic fact of life, but not a game breaker in my view. Other perks are having new friends with maxed out characters to help you from day one and established Free Companies clearing content way before FC's on the new servers. It's like comparing Coffee to Tea... it's up to you. Debating about the pros and cons is an exercise in stupidity.
Let's also catch up on some recent changes confirmed for Beta Phase 4.
The beta forums are rife with stupidity and I would say about 90% of it's content is completely useless to the dev team. In spite of this, the FFXIV ARR dev team has put together some great news for those of us actually beta testing the game:
1. The UI will now be scalable! Camate posted this amazing tidbit HERE. For those of you who may not remember, this was one of my biggest complaints about Beta Phase 3 on the PS3. You will be able to scale every window and even the buffs/debuffs which are part of the UI as well. Camate confirms that this much appreciated update will be in effect for Phase 4!
2. The problem where the UI would bleed off of the screen making some windows unreadable has been addressed. Hvinire has confirmed that Phase 4 will have the option to set a default location for each window so we won't be seeing this problem ever again!
3. There are some important changes being made to the crafting system. Starting with some confirmed adjustments to Culinary recipes. If some of you tested this out in beta, the Culinary progression was pretty stifling. There are too many recipes that require repeated use of earlier recipes. Either they need to offer those items via NPC's or take them out of the recipes altogether. Additionally, there was a confirmed exploit where players could use abilities to force HQ synths. That and a few other exploits will be addressed and subsequently nerfed. Covered in detail by Okipuit HERE and HERE.
4. The maps are going to get a makeover. The zones will now indicate where to go for the next step in your quest. This was a frequent irritation in beta because the quest dialogue would tell you where to go by saying something like "Your destination is this village in this other zone far away." Well, that didn't help us looking at the map because, if you weren't already familiar with that part of Eorzea, you couldn't tell which zone to go to in order to get to your destination city/village/NPC. Starting in Phase 4 the map will display a quest marker at the appropriate zone where your destination will be!
5. There will be an option for altering your characters head gear appearance in Phase 4. Currently we had the option to make the head gear invisible or visible. However, in Phase 4 you will be able to wear a helmet, such as the one you see me wearing, with the visor up! This will help us to identify ourselves to others visually. It has the added benefit of preventing the problem on the Lodestone where, if you were wearing a helmet, you could not choose an emote to display when you were posting.
This is my tribute to all those who simply can't live with the game the way it has been designed.
The beta forums have been a source of much irritation to many of you. In fact, I myself was temporarily banned for trolling several threads. I simply couldn't help myself. After reading so many thousands of mindless posts, I simply have to confirm that the general population of players in North America have the sum total intelligence of a hormone soaked 13 year old boy trying to score on a distant cousin he met at a family reunion.
1. The size of the Egis, or Summoner pets, will not change. Apparently there's a gripe for everything in this game... The Summoner pets are small -- deal with it.
2. There will not be a guy to fix your gear in dungeons, and NO you can't change classes to fix your crap during the instance. Prepare your asses for battle BEFORE going.
3. Remember the grass trolls from 1.0? Well those trolls had sex with FFXIV ARR trolls and spawned "Eeeewwww.... the sand texture is yucky" trolls. And NO there will be NO adjustments made to the "ugly" sand these trolls can't abide.
4. Even I would like to skip the intro video, especially after seeing it for the hundredth time. However, in that video you are given a look into the future of both the storyline and how your character will look in class specific gear. So I can live with the fact that we are forced to watch it for each character.
5. Apparently not enough people are signing up for the "Join in progress" option when using the Duty Finder... Ok, Shanyn, first off cry us a river and NO there will be NO adjustments to the "Join in progress" functionality.
6. After only a small amount of beta content was released, some of the testers thought the FATES were "too small" and "too easy." Well, (DERP) it's not fully launched yet and we will have big/hard FATES in the future.
7. THIS IS NOT World of Warcraft... Dear God, please let this be a troll... Similar systems have been discussed and other WoW-like requests are being made at an increasing rate. At the risk of seeming mad, I can't stress enough how idiotic these threads are getting. I was temp banned for saying so on the forum. Apparently, advocating that this bullshit stop is too much for the sensitivity of these morons. He mad...? Yeah, I'm mad.
This game is ready for launch! I keep saying this because, in spite of all the bugs or other "problems" people have with the game, it's an outstanding MMO! FFXIV ARR is already better than 3 out of any other 5 MMO's were at their respective launches. In fact, I am beginning to get very intimidated with the traffic my blog has been getting in the last couple weeks. I'm new to this and I don't get much feedback other than the positive from readers around the world. On the other hand, behind the scenes in the FFXIV Community, I've been getting a cold response from other fan sites and writers. The combination of finding my blog in top search results and apparently being "offensive" has given me pause about the future of this blog. The number of people saying good things about FFXIV ARR and the sheer number of interested readers is overwhelming. I should be careful about some of the things I say, but that's just not my style. I am humbled by your comments and the help you have all given me in this project.
Another question I am consistently asked is why I don't do more in the terms of videos and podcasts, etc. Well, it's the simple fact that my computer is only capable of doing photoshop and blogging. I'm on the PS3 and simply can't afford the equipment to record on the PS3 or a decent computer to run the game and record that way. That's why all of my photoshop projects are done with your screenshots! I know, I know... I'm a scrub. Anyway, I love y'all!
Thanks for being such great friends!
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