Dark or Light

The Rise of a New Sun

Michael O’Connell-Davidson Posted:
Columns 0

It’s time to bury the Deltascape, leave Skalla at home and say goodbye to Shinryu — because at long last, Final Fantasy XIV Patch 4.2 comes out tomorrow! Draft patch notes for Rise of a New Sun have been released, along with a trailer showing some of the Warrior of Light’s coming travails.

There’s some stuff we’ve known about for a while in there, but for most of us, it’s the first proper glimpse of what’s to come in the Main Scenario. We’re headed back to Doma along with Gosetsu and Yotsuyu, who seem to have made their way to shore after their brief island getaway. We’ll also return to the Fractal Continuum in a new level 70 dungeon, and venture into Hell’s Lid, the volcanic island off the coast of the Ruby Sea. Tiger-deity Byakko, too, will go live, and what little we can see of the trial looks like it’ll be a lot of fun.

Great as it looks, all of this pales in comparison to one of Final Fantasy’s greatest antagonists making his XIV debut.

Down with the Clown

Omega’s back, and this time, we’re leaving Exdeath behind to move on to the Sigmascape, where we’ll be pit against enemies from Final Fantasy VI. You know what that means? That’s right: Kefka’s back, baby.

For those who haven’t encountered Kefka before, he is probably the most famous — and popular — FF antagonist other than Sephiroth. Uniquely flamboyant among the bad guys of the series, Kefka takes the ‘insane clown’ trope to a whole other level. Like Exdeath, this won’t be so much the ‘real’ Kefka (if, indeed, he ever debuts) but Omega’s simulation, so don’t expect a strong lore explanation. Do expect theatrics an order of magnitude beyond what Exdeath had to offer, though.

Perhaps even more exciting is that the Phantom Train will also feature. I’m not sure if you’ll fight in it, or on it, or against the fight itself — but given that the encounter with the train in VI culminated in someone suplexing it, surely I’m not alone in hoping that they recreate that moment with an Active Time Maneuver. This is the moment they were designed for!

Even if we don’t personally get to piledrive some public transport, Sigmascape already looks much more interesting than Deltascape (Remember Catastrophe?), and I’m excited to see what’s in store. Once again, this will follow the structure of four ‘turns’ or individual instances, each consisting of a single raid boss. Savage comes out on patch day, rather than with a two-week delay as it was in 4.0, so the race for world first will start immediately once the game comes back up if you’re interested in following along.

Balance changes

Meanwhile, Naoki Yoshida’s team has tinkered with job balance this patch in a way that I’m not really sure anybody predicted. While XIV’s jobs are fairly equal, there have been complaints for a while that Dark Knight and others feel like they’re losing their place to competitors in the same role. But those aren’t the jobs that are changing the most.

Here’s a short summary:

  • White Mage has had Benison decoupled from the Lily system, and Astrologian’s spear now lasts a little longer. Healers for the most part seem pretty pleased with this — they were already good, and now they’re better.
  • Monk has been polished up, with Perfect Balance having its cooldown slashed and Riddle of Wind / Fists of Wind being changed to make maintaining Greased Lightning that much easier. Again, people are very happy with these; Riddle of Wind was all but useless until now.
  • Warrior has been significantly simplified, and Berserk and Inner Release have essentially been merged into one single ability. These are by far the most controversial changes, and come coupled with a nerf to Storm’s Path coupled with potency increases across all other actions. Playing the job will feel significantly different to how it did on Stormblood’s release, and if you main Warrior, I strongly suggest you read the patch notes to see what’s changing.
  • Dark Knight has received relatively minor buffs, with Delirium’s cooldown being reduced by a third and The Blackest Night now lasting seven seconds. Paladin has lost some potency to Holy Spirit and Shield Swipe.
  • Summoner has had its damage pared across multiple abilities, while Black Mage has received a little bump to Fire IV potency. Machinist turret Hypercharge vulnerability has decreased from 6% to 5%.

The Warrior changes seem pretty baffling to me (although I am, of course, not a game designer). Warrior was doing fine and people enjoyed playing it — indeed, Yoshi-P said in a recent interview he thought there were more warriors than Dark Knights, so why change it? These are big changes to the way the job players, and they don’t seem to help or harm it in any obvious way. It’s unsettled some WAR mains, though, with one of my static’s tanks saying the changes made him “really sad”.

I’m quite surprised Samurai and Red Mage didn’t get any love, as both jobs seem to be struggling to find their place in high-level groups. For the most part, I’m trying to withhold judgemnt: It’ll take a solid number of groups completing the new raid tier before we’ll really know how things will shake out, and the reality is that most non-hardcore groups can operate as they please and still succeed eventually.

Note that there are some changes to PVP, too. If you’re hoping to participate this season, you’d do well to see if anything’s happened to your job, as most have changed in some way.

A place to call home

If you missed getting a house in Shirogane, new plots are opening next week, with an extra six wards in every area. Long-awaited housing system fixes are coming, too; the number of houses you’ll be able to own has finally been capped to two per account (one FC, one personal), while reselling has been made practically impossible. This is fantastic news for anyone that’s found themselves left without a place to call their own so far.

They say Glamour’s the real endgame. If you agree, good news: There’s now a fashion-rating mini-game in the Gold Saucer, which, coupled with the new Glamour system, should keep the fashionistas entertained. Adventurer Squadrons can now go to three more dungeons, while Triple Triad NPCs who still have cards to offer you are clearly marked. And this isn’t everything; I’ve mostly focused on what’s ‘new’ (I haven’t been able to cram in stuff like the new beast tribes, for example), so make sure you check the full notes in case there’s something you’ve missed in the previews.

All in all, the patch looks great, though I would say that it still feels like something’s missing without Eureka. Hopefully patch 4.25 will round off Rise of a New Sun and put it up there with the greats. A lot of people, both in the hardcore and casual communities, have high hopes pinned on Eureka despite us not really knowing what it’s going to be like, so fingers crossed it matches the community’s expectations.


Michael O’Connell-Davidson

Michael O'Connell-Davidson is MMORPG.com's FFXIV columnist. Follow him on twitter @mikeocd.