Roughly two days ago, Square Enix released patch 1.18. Dubbed the “Golden Patch”, many touted this as the 500MB all-holy light of hope that would resurrect Final Fantasy XIV. But is this game update everything we’ve waited for, or is Eorzea still in need of a hail mary? I spent some time with the game to find out.
Playing a Lv30 Conjurer as I do, I immediately noticed that my cure spells cost a lot more mana than before. Cure II went from 25MP to 75MP, and is now a single-target spell, as opposed to being Area-of-effect with equal cost. You’d think I’d be frustrated, but I am thrilled! This allows mages to use their own judgement and instincts in a party and really lets the player showcase their own individual skill and play style. In the past, I could stand just off the edge of combat, cast damage spells without a care in the world, never pulling aggro from even the weakest of tank classes, spamming AOE heals indefinitely because every spell in the game was way too cost effective. This has separated the roles of the Conjurer from the Thuamaturge, as THM can no longer cast AOE Sacrifice, their only effective source of party healing.
Added challenge seems to be the theme of the class changes across the board in Patch 1.8 Tanking is a far greater challenge with DPS classes and mage cures pulling aggro more than before. So if you’re not doing your job as a tank and taking all the damage, your party gets picked off one by one. When you’re actually holding aggro, damage absorption has finally become a key aspect in successful party/raid play. Before, tanks had to focus their equipment on increased damage to compete with real DPS jobs rather than vitality or defense because the mage could just spam AOE heals without a worry, so a true tank wasn’t really needed in most aspects of the game. Not anymore. Seeing the newer raid content, it's evident that proper crowd control and tanking is the key to success, even with the higher-level, well-geared party. The game is now more strategic; you actually have to play your part on the team.
There are other changes as well, including the removal of the stamina gauge and the addition of auto-attack which, from the looks of it, simply means less arthritis for your index finger. At the moment, it doesn’t seem to make a huge impact, but it definitely allows melee classes a little bit of breathing room in-between job actions and weapon skills. Also, quite a few game-changing abilities have been made class specific and many of the class actions have been made more potent at the cost of greater MP or TP usage. For example, Storm’s Path is now a Marauder exclusive move that went from 1000 to 1500 TP. Now you won’t see a pugilist, who is a DoT DD, spike damage for so much.
Another big aspect of the update that’s beginning to surface as a big part of the game are The Grand Companies. These companies are like military factions players can aline themselves to. Despite that, a player can join all of them regardless. These definately add a little more story to the game. The best thing I can compare them with is to conquest and city campaign from FFXI, where you do missions related to the descision of your legion. This is definately a great idea because it allows players to become closer to their faction and understand how they operate and what makes them different from the other companies. For example, it appears the Order of the Twin Adder is more like a rogue group that are not as direct as the brutish mercenaries of The Immortal Flames and both their stories reflect that.
All in all, the game is a lot better. In the past, the game used to just be way too easy and i’m not basing that on my own skill. Casting cures was dirt cheap and they wereAOE and single-target, tanks were not needed because DPS-specific jobs could play the part, and the more ambitious player really wasn’t able to do much at a higher level besides more leveling. Everything this update has to offer brought back that sense of danger most players should have when picking what and who to bring on your adventure.It’s evident that Square Enix is indeed trying to fix the game and with this update finally being the start of additional content rather than bug fixing, I can see a bright future ahead for the previously fallen MMO.
This update has added so many new things and if you want to see all the little details, you can look here.