It's no secret that the second MMO to bear the Final Fantasy name has issues. Square Enix today lays out plans for massive patches in November, December, and early 2011 to fix the game. What's changing?
After many below average reviews and negative player feedback, Square Enix boss Yoichi Wada came out and said it: "Currently, the service isn't satisfactory." It's that sort of refreshing honesty that gives me hope that the upcoming changes to the game could turn Final Fantasy XIV around. They aren't sugar-coating this. They want to fix it.
Now the developer lays out an extensive plan to bring the game up to par, with a series of major updates addressing all of the major issues affecting Final Fantasy XIV, starting with a pair of major updates in November and December.
First up is the guildleve system, which is Final Fantasy XIV's mission-based questing element. The November and December patches will see the addition of more guildleves; the ability to tweak difficulty after starting a mission; and the ability to abandon a guildleve you've already accepted.
The early 2011 update will bring more tweaks to the guildleve system, as well as new main scenario quests, new job-based quests, and new and improved tutorial quests to help explain the game better to new players.
Combat will greatly benefit from tweaks to the targeting system this year, along with various class and monster adjustments and the introduction of notorious monsters. Next year brings even greater changes, with new skills to further differentiate the combat classes, an assist command, and new battle content, such as hamlet defense battles.
Gathering and synthesis will benefit from new item sorting options, recipe tweaks, a log that tracks the last eight recipes the player used, and a reduction in the number of menus you need to go through in order to begin synthesis, one of the biggest annoyances to the game's crafting system. Future updates will bring even more sorting methods and the introduction of new synthesis recipes.
On the market side of things, all I care about is the search function, which should be coming in the next two months. There are plenty of other changes coming, but the search feature is the one that matters the most. No more wandering from merchant to merchant for hours on end, praying the item you want is there.
Communication is key in any MMO, and the November/December updates will give players the ability to create multiple chat log windows and the ability (thank god) to filter out other people's crafting spam.
Then in 2011 Square Enix will introduce Companies, which are more like traditional guilds than the current linkshell communication system. Companies will gain access to company housing and ships. They'll also be introducing an in-game mail service.
You can check out the full list of updates and changes by following the link below. The main point here is that Square Enix seems to be covering all the bases, and remains dedicated to making Final Fantasy XIV the game it should have been in the first place.
Comprehensive Content of Upcoming Large-Scale Version Updates (11/11/2010) [Final Fantasy XIV - Thanks Christopher!]