The lights are on
It's been a while since we've checked in on Final Fantasy XIV, Square Enix's much-maligned second attempt at an MMO. A new team has taken over updating the game, and they've announced some pretty serious sweeping changes that will be hitting soon.
The news comes via a new Letter from the Producer on the official FF XIV forums. Naoki Yoshida begins his letter by saying that the changes mark a major change in the design philosophy of FF XIV: "Final Fantasy XIV will gradually shift from being a grind-centric game to one that offers enjoyment for all playing styles and circumstances with its ever-expanding variety of content."
So what does a "shift from being a grind-centric game" mean? Well, for starters, FF XIV will receive instanced raids, and the simplistic guildleve system is being supplemented by a huge number of more traditional MMO quests. Yoshida says that guildleves "will no longer be central to Final Fantasy XIV." Instead, players will be able to take on "large volumes of quests" that require actual interaction with NPCs.
The guildleve content that's left in FF XIV will now reward players with bonuses based around the region they're adventuring in as well as skill points. This is all coming in patch 1.18, which was originally scheduled to be out already but has been delayed to fit in all of these huge changes.
Yoshida also mentions some of what's in store for even further FF XIV patches down the road, including a complete reworking of the game's recipe/crafting system, a stealth skill, an improved in-game map, and more.
These are certainly some major revisions for the title (and much-needed ones at that), but I have to wonder if it's already too late for Final Fantasy XIV. Many hopeful gamers bought it at launch, got burned, and gave up already. Can Square hope to win back those fans by making design changes they probably should have implemented before launch?