1.18 launched yesterday, and while I haven’t done every new thing in the game, I was able to test many things and get my overall impression. And right off the bat, I don't like this patch much at all.
Guildleves: I understand that its better for the game to remove guildleves as the major focus, as sweeping changes will bring this game in line, but I have to say its still a bad change. Guildleves’ function mainly as solo content to farm minimal SP and guild marks. The mobs offer no additional SP and the reward at the end is static thru all levels, even through the level curve goes up. It feels dumb since grinding may be faster. They could have had SP rewards higher for completion, instead they gutted it and then gutted it some more. Mobs 7 levels above me were giving 41 SP each out of 81,000 SP to next level. Are you kidding me with that junk? And the reward SP was….. 1,200. That cut guildleves out as the predominate way to level up. For guild mark farming, and solo content when low on time, they are practical, but still gutted down to far.
Regarding the action bar; the bar can now be made to always stay active, instead of hiding. Hiding was aweful, because you had to guess which of the 3 bars was up and then guess which ability would pop up that didn’t trigger an action you don’t want to take. I cant count the times I cast quickstride when I didn’t want to. So now its made static if selected in the menu. Great!? Yes and no, the bars are mainly toggled thru the arrow keys, but the arrow keys also toggle targets on the field. So when you think your moving the bar up and down, your really just reselecting targets in front of you. This multi-use function for the same keys needs to be removed. Let me map the keys, all the keys, and let me see the bars, all the bars. Its frustrating to have a target, want to cast sleep on them, try to toggle to bar 2 where it resides, only to select a new target… Frustrating!
Combat: If someone said to me “The developers of FFXIV are going to make the combat slower than it already is” I would have said no way, Yoshi isn’t that stupid. Guess what, Id be wrong. Combat now relies on Auto Attack as the main source of damage. Auto attack is… slow, like really slow, and requires two key clicks to engage. The main abilities that were spammed before are now on a 1 minute cooldown, and have all but removed their usefulness. TP gains are slower because of this delayed actions/second and so TP moves come out slower. It plays more like FFXI but its slower and painful to watch. Its like watching a slow movie play out in front of you. I want more input on my actions, I don’t want to watch auto attack alone. I like auto attack, but don’t make it the main focus. I buy a car to drive it, not pull over and let a computer drive it for me.
Archers: I main archer and I did because I felt they would get a nerf eventually and leveling them after that would be hard. It was true, and Im glad I did level archer. After this patch they aren’t bad, but they feel disjointed. I get 4 seconds between attacks based on my bow speed, which is slow. I get 15 seconds between multishot, big deal, I can live with it, it still functions but I do miss it. Auto attacks are thrown in when I solo but they look like stone throw animation. The bars made playing feel even weirder because it wasn’t very fluid combat. Im moving faster than melee because I have direct input with Light Shot but its not the same. I cant pinpoint 1 thing that makes it bad, but it just doesn’t feel like good combat anymore. Before it was good, it was fluid and I understood my place, my playstyle and my buffs. Now its just odd gameplay and I need to relearn it.
Casters: I lump these together but I only really touched Conjurer. I did 2 Guildleves and was not impressed at all. The bar issues cause a lot of problems when trying to switch targets and do actions. The AoE toggle is still there so I can have some control. But the thing that really sucks is spells and wanding “The no-MP-cost abilities”. The cooldown is so long. 10 seconds? Really? I have to wait 10 seconds before I can use my wand on an enemy? This puts the main damage on spells and with the increased cost of heals and only heals every fight was an MP drain. Best case in a fight, I don’t link any mobs, sleep 1 add or AoE both, I still walk away with 20% mana remaining. Wait for 2 to 3 minutes while I regen mana before moving on. Its slow paced and difficult. Mana for Heals should be increased but they took it to a level beyond. I could average 10 heals on myself or party members. That’s it! Its just costs to much mana to heal. Its like they wanted to control group combat by regulating incoming heals, but its repercussions are on all types of play, solo, duo, light and full parties.
Melee: Specifically Marauder, but Lancer feels the same way: SLOW. With auto attack the main focus in combat, its like watching paint dry. I want more input, not once per 30 seconds… They took the abilities to the extreme, from 1 click per second to 1 per 30 seconds. Way to fix combat guys! Gaining TP is slow, very slow and without TP I can’t really click anything but the two abilities I have on 1 minute cooldown. And one is an AoE move that I sometimes don’t want to hit, but need to so I can gain hate.
Enmity: I like the new icon, its pretty neat way to see all enemy enmity at once. But the problem I have is the game still has the same bad enmity generator links to it. One heal pulls hate even when Im wailing on the mob? Really? I get it, heals are high threat but still too high. AoE abilities do nothing to pull hate. And Taunts are on a 1 minute or 30 second cooldown. Why so **** long? Are we playing chess?
Companies: Disappointing. That sums it up. An instanced quest hub hidden in the Market Wards, a quest hub with vendor that sells items, weapons and armor for a new currency. Weapons and armor that are not linked to the guilds within the City-State the Company Resides IN! I want a new bow, so join the Gridania Company? Nope, go to Ul’dah. Ok? Companies were supposed to have some link to gather linkshells. And all they truly are is a faction within the game you can join and buy gear if you grind quests/dungeons for the faction. That’s it, nothing new, innovative, or cool. Just a place to kill time and have access to gear you may not even want.
Claiming and SP: The same problem that existing before still exists, when you have 1 group or mob claimed others give less or no SP if also attacked. This problem is even more noticeable in the new dungeons because a single room could have 5 or more mobs in a small area but each is single claim only. Each area is so tightly packed you link them all. It makes for dumb design, because I have to tank mobs that aren’t claimed which means Im attacking them, which means im gaining less or no SP. Why? Why do I have to forego SP gains just to function as a tank in a bad pull situation? Why is there no AoE taunt abilities? Gah it’s frustrating.
Changing Classes and Bars: Still the same as before. Have to readjust action bars and equipment every time you change classes. Its going on 10 months since release and this is still a fundamental flaw in the game. I really wish this was a higher priority because Macros are filled with Action Bar macros, not action macros.
Loot Distribution and Display: Last night, first run in, we beat a boss in the dungeon. Our LS members in attendance each received a small sum of gil, and one member received a piece of armor. That armor is not viewable by other member, nor is it rolled on. The game just randomly selected a person. The game then gives the other members no way of seeing what the stats are until after the item is looted and equipped, or you could look it up online. Why is there no roll feature? The person who looted them item wasn’t even using the class that the item was specific too. It makes no sense. And I can’t even see the item until its looted, equipped and no longer tradable. It is a bad design on loot distribution to coincide with the launch of new instanced dungeons.
Encampments: Across the zones there are a large number of new encampments both of allies and enemies. I was actually really excited to see these pop up and ran over to one to check it out. And, nothing. Every NPC just has generic text and nothing of interest. It is literally a landmark only and serves no real purpose. I was very disappointed that there wasn’t even a quest or vendor for these camps. They are high art containing landmarks and nothing more.
Summary: This patch was something I had high hopes of, a lot of people did. And because of its long delay those hopes grew beyond what they should have. This patch is still transitional to the next and the next, so it’s a work in progress. But it is still unfortunate to see the developers get wrong so many of the new features. It’s hard to see them still have a problem coding in what macros must do. It’s hard to deal with an even more boring combat system. This game was disappointing at launch, got better and tolerable with 1.17, but now is less so until we finish this transitional state. I will keep playing but I just feel less excited about the games future
Edited, Jul 22nd 2011 2:41pm by Takahime