So... patch 1.19 for some it has been amazing and for other it's caused more stress, anxiety, and depression than a bag of coal for Christmas. I've been reading the ZAM posts (specifically 'What the heck did they do to combat' one) and a lot of posts from Lodestone. Seems like the community is somewhat split; great patch vs. horrible patch.
From what I gathered, the split is also solo vs party. People who prefer to solo seem to be in the 'horrible patch' category while the party players are in the 'great patch' category. Here is what I've gathered so far (feel free to add without derailing this thread).
1.) It's much harder to level up for newbies / low-level classes.
This is something that is to be expected in my opinion. If you were physical level 50 before your stats have been adjusted for your level... so you are 'weaker' than in the previous build 1.18.
Second, the gear! Optimal level for your gear is equal-to or five levels below your level. So if you're on a level 8 job using level 1 gear or gear from levels 14-50 I believe you receive zero bonus and basically are crippled. It's very important to wear gear in your optimal level range.
2.) Solo should be a viable option!
Yes it should be, and it probably still is. The thing I've seen with this is that you can't kill things 10 levels head of you anymore. Well, first I think that was stupid to begin with. You shouldn't be able to easily kill things 10 levels higher than you, it's pretty ridiculous and honestly the level was just a number it did not in any way indicate whether something was "tough" to kill or not. In other MMO's I never ran around killing mobs that were 10-15 levels higher than me to level up.
Something the solo players need to keep in mind is that this is an MMO and is going to be focused around group content throughout the game. You can't solo toto-rak at level 25 for a reason, sure solo should be a viable option to level up but it's not the heart and soul of this game.
3.) Battles are taking way too long :(
This has been mentioned quite a bit so far and it's pretty easy to explain. In build 1.18 as a melee class in a party you rarely had an opportunity to attack before mages and archers just ripped through mobs; this was not fun. By increasing the length of fights now everyone should be able to participate in groups without /afkfollowarcher leveling. Again, because this is a party / group / MMO game and playing with other is the point of the game it's made killing things as a solo player more difficult. This is simple cause and effect.
You never know, there could be some supreme leveling spots out there for solo players that haven't been tapped into yet.
4.) Another note with gear
It's been stated by SE that content was going to be balanced around Gear + 1 materia. The materia will give your characters that little extra boost to make things easier. The fact that materia just came out means there isn't nearly enough (if any) to go around to players and it's not a viable option for low level characters to spend a ton of gil on materia right now.
However... I see in the future there would be a lot more materia in the market and the costs will be reasonable allowing for you to use materia in your lower level gear. We are in a transition period where systems are being added, some have been abolished, some have been altered, and some have been structurally rebuilt. It's natural for things to be a bit chaotic right now and you... people HATE change. This is a fact of life.
Lastly, just imagine the bigger picture for a moment. Forget whatever biases you have; I hate this patch, I love this patch. And just think about this scenario down the road when the materia system and out-dated gear has been removed from the game. You get gear at low levels, you wear that gear to gain a few levels. Then you change that gear into materia and buy an all new set of gear and imbue it with your materia. You repeat this process with your new set of gear, gaining spirit bond and using it for several levels then change this gear into materia and buy new gear.
I can see the vision that Yoshi and crew had when developing this system. But let us not forget - Rome was not built in a day and it's always darkest before the dawn. These next few weeks might be troubled time for players and it might cause some rage quit but I suggest you keep calm, open minded, and discover what FFXIV is becoming. We wanted distract changes to Eorzea and that's certainly what has been delivered.
The FFXIV beta is coming to an end and with the next 2 patches might be time to be considered a true competitor in the MMO market. Keep in mind that Yoshi is going to be tweaking things based on player feedback, but it would be ignorant to think he is simply going to revert back to how it was before.
The patch has just come out and I doubt everyone has attempted every single area to level, mob types, materia, new gear, new quests, new leves, etc... The road that FFXIV has been built on is under construction so it's going to be a little bumpy here and there until they finish resurfacing it (lol analogy... construction on my way to work helped with this one). Solo players keep an open mind and try to view the game as a whole and not as "this game was built for me to solo". Party players keep in mind that you are the community and should try to help people when you can, if you see someone alone killing things, ask if they'd like to join your party!
With all that being said, and I think it's become long I must conclude by saying... I haven't played 1.19 yet but from what I'm reading it seems like everyone is jumping the gun by either praising it or loathing it a little too early. Give it a couple days, preferably weeks before you cast such hasty judgments. If anything make a post on the Lodestone forums, but DO NOT express hatred and opinion. (Example of hate opinion: New patch sucks its worse than ever!!!1!1!) (Example of a good post: I'm having trouble leveling effectively since the new patch.)
Bored @ Work