Last time we kept things casual and light but as promised, this week we’re going to get serious and talk about the latest major content update for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, Defenders of Eorzea (better known as patch 2.3). Aside from a few noticeable gaffes, 2.3 is a worthwhile update that shakes things up for many types of players. Let’s dig right in.
I’m going to just get this out of the way. The one major thing that I haven’t hit yet in 2.3 is hunts and it is for good reason: in its current state they are a total disaster. That isn’t to say that I haven’t been closely observing its slow devolution, as many of my free company members take part in it. But despite the rewards, I’m not touching this new content with a ten-foot pole.
Here’s the skinny: the developers included in the rewards two rare, important, and difficult to obtain items: oil and sands of time, among other lucrative rewards. This has led to huge hoards of players camping out for one monster that usually doesn’t survive for more than a few seconds and takes hours or sometimes days to respawn. The challenge isn’t in locating and defeating the monsters (which presumably was the intent), instead it’s getting there as quickly as you can so you can get one swing or spell off before it dies and receive credit for it. It’s as lame as it sounds.
Changes to how hunts currently work are inevitable and hopefully they will happen sooner rather than later. I won’t blame people for dealing with it considering the rewards, but I’ve played MMORPGs long enough to know that it can quickly become a part-time job if you let it. At some point having fun has to play into the equation, and hunts are where I’m drawing the line.
On the bright side, the three new dungeons are fantastic. The FFXIV team put more effort this time around in developing a stronger narrative for each of the dungeons. The best by far in terms of story is Tam-Tara Deepcroft Hard Mode. It expands on a peculiar exchange between NPCs very early on in the main quest that many players likely just brushed off. It has a unique horror element to it that I have yet to see in FFXIV, and its final boss will leave pick up groups with average DPS with gray hairs.
Stone Vigil Hard Mode is essentially what you would expect it to be: more dragons. The one twist being that the second mid-boss has players supporting a team of Ishgardians with artillery rather than taking part in the actual battle. To be perfectly honest, out of the three, Stone Vigil Hard is probably the least sexy. That being said, it is still a fun, well-made dungeon that picks up on the Ishgardians’ efforts to retake the fortress.
The completely new dungeon, Hullbreaker Island, gives off an Indiana Jones vibe complete with secret passageways, wooden bridges, and of course, monkeys. On the surface it may look similar to Brayflox Longstop, which many speed runners are likely tired of, but I can confidently say that thankfully, it plays nothing like it. The battle against the Kraken is the main attraction and while enjoyable, it was a little unsatisfying to only fight the tentacles and not the Kraken itself. Luckily, in a recent letter from the producer, it was confirmed that there are plans to face off against the Kraken once more. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for the rematch.
Check out the next page for Syrcus Tower, the fight against Ramuh, and more!