A new raid and dungeons, PvP, player housing and more await in ARR's first major patch
It's been nearly four months (moreso when you factor in Open Beta) since players first logged into Square Enix's Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. In that time dungeons have been cleared, primals slain and the schemes of the Garleans thwarted. Quite a few of you out there have even delved into the Binding Coil of Bahamut, FFXIV's only current end-game raid dungeon. Others like myself have mined/fished/logged the riches Eorzea has to offer and/or crafted our way to fortune and glory. After all those months though, you do start to get into a routine and look for something new to try. Next week should hopefully bring that change as FFXIV's first major update, Patch 2.1 A Realm Awoken, is scheduled for release on Tuesday December 17th.
For the hardcore PvE players, this patch should have you covered. First up is The Crystal Tower, a new dungeon supporting up to 24 players as they seek to unlock the secrets hidden away within the tower walls. According to earlier developer talks and interviews, this 24-player raid will support Duty Finder, allowing players with smaller Free Companies or just starting endgame PvE to try their hand at FFXIV's raiding. Patch 2.1 also brings with it harder versions of their leveling content: Extreme difficulty versions of the three primal battles, a Hard mode version of Ultima Weapon, as well as Hard mode versions of the Haukke Manor and Copperbell Mines dungeons.
In addition there are two new instances for players looking for new sights and monsters. The abandoned lighthouse of Pharos Sirius will pit adventurers against the siren of Umbra and her undead minions as you push your way to relight the beacon at the top. Meanwhile in Thornmarch, the Moogles are trying to resurrect their legendary leader, Good King Moggle Mog XII.
Looking for a little variety in your dungeon content or perhaps a little extra loot? The new Duty Roulette option will reward players for queuing for (and clearing) random dungeons, trials and guildhests each day. There are also the new Treasure Hunts, where groups of up to four players will roam the world searching for buried treasure.
If dungeons and raiding aren't for you, there's still more available with this patch. The Main Scenario questline will be expanded, expanding on the overall story and lore in FFXIV. No details yet on if they've locked any of those quests behind clearing one of these new Hard/Extreme dungeons or part of Crystal Tower, but with the 8-man dungeon requirements for where I'm at with the story, it's not out of the question. Patch 2.1 also brings with it Beast Tribe Quests, giving you the chance to learn more about Eorzea's other natives while at the same time getting something to level those alt classes besides FATE grinding.
An old face from Eorzea is also mentioned in the patch notes: Hildibrand, Agent of Enquiry, as well as his assistant, Nashu Mhakarraca. Hildibrand disappeared while trying to uncover the mysteries of Dalamud, leaving his assistant to investigate Eorzea's other problems. With rumors of zombie activity in Ul'Dah floating around, it'll be up to Nashu, and likely any adventurer willing to help, to solve the case.
Fans of PvP have likely been disappointed in the lack of any available in FFXIV up to this point, but Patch 2.1 will finally give you the chance to beat the tar out of your fellow players. The Wolves' Den off the shores of Limsa Lominsa will give all the Grand Companies of Eorzea the chance to show off their prowess in FFXIV's first PvP Arena.
That leaves us with the non-combat features of this patch, including my personal favorite. First up is the Aesthetician, giving players the opportunity (after completing a new quest) to change their hairstyle, face paint and more; if you completed at least Chapter 1 of the Lightning Strikes event, now's the time to show off your new Lightning or Snow haircut. Last but certainly not least, we have player housing. Available in the Lavendar Beds of Gridania, the Goblet in Ul'Dah and Mist by Limsa Lominsa, these are three new distinct residential districts for each of the city-states. Players can purchase plots of land and start building a unique base of operations for them and their fellow Free Company members to call home, with customizable home fixtures as well as decorations and furnishings for both inside the home and outside.
If you'd like more details on what Patch 2.1 has to offer, head on over to the official page for A Realm Awoken and read on. So what new features are you most excited about for this first patch? Personally I would have preferred some new crafting recipes, but if housing has as many options as they've been implying these last few months, I'll be happy with that. Of course they haven't given us any prices yet, but I'm hoping my pile of crafting Gil will be enough to supply my Free Company with a sizable new home, stuffed with every +crafting and +gathering decoration I can find.
Michael "Ragar" Branham