FFXIV is a difficult game to get into right now, as all the friends I’ve begged and pleaded to play with me can attest. My guttural moans of “but it’s the best MMO on the market” assault deaf, uncaring ears the moment newbies encounter the utterly insurmountable number of dull fetch quests in the first arc of the game. And those same “friends” turn their backs, leaving me with the best Final Fantasy characters and writing ever penned… once you get to the expansions.
Well, we’re finally getting a long-awaited salve for the road of hot coals that is the base game. Namely, A Realm Reborn is getting a “revamp.” Although it sounds more like a quest massacre, scheduled to coincide with FFXIV Patch 5.3, which we now know will be called “Reflections in Crystal.”
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The news comes from Square Enix’s latest live letter from the producer, as translated by Discord users on the FFXIV Reddit server. So take some of the specifics with a tiny grain of salt until we get an official translation. In the meantime, though, it sounds as though FFXIV will cull 13 percent of its total quests entirely from the 2.0-2.5 content chain. In laymen’s terms, that’s all the campaign content from the original release of A Realm Reborn, when it launched as a reboot of the original FFXIV. Plus all the stuff that came afterwards as free updates.
This mostly includes mandatory fetch quests — a plague that’s spoiled the early game since 2013. Though some of the more filler-y questlines will remain. These include any chain that introduces important characters that play a bigger roll in the story later on. It doesn’t seem like Square Enix is actually rewriting anything, or introducing any time paradoxes that we know about. But even those quests will have many of their steps removed. So the “13 percent” number doesn’t paint the whole picture.
In fact, we won’t have the whole picture for quite some time. These live letters for major patches usually come in two parts. This was just the first. The second Patch 5.3 info dump will come sometime in the future. Even that’s up in the air at the moment. Square Enix has been extremely candid about how working from home while quarantined has affected the development schedule of the game.
Luckily, a lot of the next patch was already prepped before the 2020 lockdown began in full. But things are still progressing slower than originally planned. Expect at least another five or six weeks before any major developments.
When we do get the update, though, it won’t just be good for new players. Square also confirmed what some expert players have long suspected: flying mounts are being added to A Realm Reborn zones. Previously, these airborne chariots were only designed to work in areas built for expansions. But according to Naoki “Yoshi-P” Yoshida, producer and director of FFXIV, the design team began work on expanding the functionality more-or-less for fun. He never actually asked them to do it. And don’t worry! No Aether Currents required, longtime fans.
It’s a nice surprise that will make it even easier to get around the old content — for veterans and those friends of mine who I’m going to be bugging all over again once Patch 5.3 finally hits FFXIV sometime this year.