Forum trolls joke of white knights waiting for a "Golden Patch," but what if it's real?
Darkness surrounds you, perilous traps await you and spiders crawl all over your back. You’re in a dark cave somewhere in the Black Shroud, mindful that the slightest misstep could be your last. And you’re in this cave for one reason, and one reason only -- to find the mythical Golden Patch, the most coveted treasure in all the land.
After overcoming numerous obstacles -- including swinging on a whip across a spike-filled pit (good thing you brought your whip, because you can’t jump) -- you find yourself face to face with your gleaming bounty. The Golden Patch sits unguarded on an alter, ready to be taken if you dare to take it. You approach the pedestal, and then kneel down to behold the treasure's beauty. You reach for it, but you stop just short. Your hand is just a breath away.
And that’s when you ask yourself: “Do I believe in the Golden Patch?”
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This is the question many fans of Final Fantasy XIV will be asking as we edge closer to the largest version update this game may ever see. And if this update is all it could be, then I’m going to proclaim it as the coming of the Golden Patch.
What exactly is this Golden Patch which I speak of? Honestly, the first time I saw this term mentioned was about a month ago in our FFXIV General Forum. Players have debated the origin of the term, but critics of the game were saying “the Golden Patch” in reference to the massive content patch that everyone hoped would be implemented when the game was launched last September.
The term has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Just say it: “The Golden Patch.” After so many tweaks and minor changes to Eorzea over the past several months, a Golden Patch sounds like just what this game needs -- never mind the fact that the term was probably invented by forum trolls just to pick on White Knights. I never heard anyone specifically mention the Golden Patch as the game’s servers went live. I didn't believe in the legend.
Now, though, I can’t help but wonder -- is the Golden Patch real?
And will it come this month?
In his tenth Letter from the Producer, FFXIV producer Naoki Yoshida unleashed an updated grid of updates planned for the game. All of these changes would constitute nothing short of an overhaul. There’s auto attack, the company system, the addition of materia, auto attack, traditional Final Fantasy jobs, instanced dungeons and more. And the most amazing thing is this could all be implemented by the middle of June.
Keep in mind, the timeline is far from set in stone, but Yoshi-P bolded in his letter that these changes were what were planned up “until summer 2011.” A community representative on the Square Enix official forum later confirmed this meant changes would happen through the end of summer, but we still don't know exactly which changes will be doled out when. In the past, Yoshi-P has told us we could expect at least the new battle system, new dungeons and new jobs to be released around the same time.
Just think. In two weeks from now, there’s a chance you may be able to join a party in Ul’dah, hop on a mount (let’s hope mounts in this game are covered with feathers and “kweh” frequently) and ride to an experience points camp anywhere on the map. Once you’ve reached your camp, you may have dedicated tank, healer, support and damage-dealing jobs. Or, if you don’t feel like partying, you could solo, do storyline quests or participate in company quests -- that’s if your linkshell isn’t about to run one of the new instanced dungeons.
If all these changes are implemented simultaneously -- or even in the span of a few weeks -- how could that not be the manifestation of the mythical Golden Patch?
Most players will not expect the development team to pull off such a game-changing patch, and with good reason. After spending hundreds of dollars on computer upgrades to play an unfinished game, we’ve had to endure several months of tweaks and small content additions as the development team worked behind the scenes on larger, more important changes. We entered a five-star restaurant expecting an exquisite steak dinner, but instead we’ve been fed ground beef after being forced to buy our way in. It’s no wonder why some people are so angry with Square Enix.
Plus, the game needs revisions that aren't listed in the upcoming patch notes. We desperately need a party search function, linkshell management tools and a mailbox system. We need more quests with cutscenes, and the small amount of lag still in the user interface needs to be completely gone. Square Enix should also continue working to reduce the game's burden on PC hardware. My computer has two dual-core graphics cards, and one of my cores recently stopped working. I can't help but wonder whether FFXIV is to blame.
That said, the new development team led by Yoshi-P has done nothing to betray our trust. They’ve done everything they said they would. And now, Yoshi-P seems to be telling us that all of these game-altering revisions could be implemented sometime this month. These changes will profoundly and positively change the way we interact with Eorzea. This game has been taking shape for months, but this is the patch that could finally give this game an identity. Although the launch of Final Fantasy XIV turned out to be a colossal letdown, this development team has given me no reason to be pessimistic about the game’s future.
If FFXIV dies, it will ultimately be because Square Enix rushed the game out in an unfinished state. In the months that followed, too many players lost faith (or patience) in Square Enix’s ability to turn things around. When people started talking about "the Golden Patch," they were conjuring a symbol of what the game has needed since launch -- an impossibly successful patch to spark a seemingly impossible comeback. I don't think even the Whitest of Knights took the notion of a Golden Patch seriously. It was such a ridiculous notion, which is probably why so many trolls lached onto it.
Yet now, here we are. We’ve come this far, and now we’re at the alter, and the mythical Golden Patch seems finally at our fingertips. It’s so close, we could reach out and take it. Is it wise to put our faith in this patch, after so many months of turmoil? Will we finally be rewarded for our months of perseverance, or will we be crushed by a cascading boulder of disappointment?
What do you believe?