August is always a busy month for Final Fantasy XIV. True, I’m not sure there’s ever been a major content patch in the dog days of summer, but not only does it mark two seasonal events — the Moonfire Faire and the Rising — but also the anniversary of the game’s rebirth.
This year, it’s busier than usual, because FFXIV is turning five. A Realm Reborn released on August 27, 2013, rising from the ashes of its now-defunct precursor, 1.0, and since then it’s gone from strength to strength. Against the odds, Square Enix has managed to sustain a healthy subscriber base, In a world where just about every other MMO has one-time buy-in or is just free to play.
The developers are commemorating this milestone by releasing notes from the team every Friday on this page, and they’ve kicked it off with some words from the game’s producer, Naoki Yoshida, who says the devs have some surprises in store for players going forward, and that there’s a lot they still want to do.
Speaking of Yoshi-P, he’ll be hosting a 14-hour marathon-edition Letter from the Producer on August 30th to commemorate the game’s continued success, with special guests and previews of future content. Note that it was during last year’s 14-hour broadcast that Yoshi-P re-enabled the Yo-kai Watch event on a whim… So don’t be surprised if something like that happens again.
Meanwhile, a fan vote to decide music for an upcoming best-of CD was opened a few days ago, with the ballot closing this coming Friday. People with active accounts can choose ten songs from as far back as 1.0 for inclusion on the release, and there’s a huge list of songs to choose from — in fact, there’s even the short clip that plays during the time-warp phase in Alexander Prime.
In terms of my picks, Bibliophobia, Spiral, Locus, and Infinity will probably end up on any list I have any say in. Pa-Paya is there, also, and woe betides anybody that doesn’t vote for it. I’ll be pretty interested to see what the community comes up with.
In more regular fixtures, the Moonfire Faire returns in just under two weeks, running from August 13 to August 26, making Costa del Sol the center of the world. A minisite for the beach-themed event detailing the quest and rewards is online here. The Rising starts a day after the Faire ends, lasting until September 18, although further details about the anniversary event are scant. A minisite for the 5th Anniversary celebrations is live here and will be updated over the coming weeks.
It’s kind of a weird moment for me. I’ve been writing about XIV for this site for almost two years, now, but my history goes all the way back to the 1.0 beta. I desperately wanted to like its precursor, FFXI, but I could never get into it, so I figured XIV would be a good next step.
The launch — and subsequent closure — of the original release eight years ago is little more than a blurry memory of wondering why my frame rate wouldn’t go above the single digits. Fast forward to a few years ago, when a friend of mine was playing A Realm Reborn when I was visiting his house. “Wait,” I said. “This is FFXIV? You mean, that FFXIV?” (Okay, this is a slight embellishment. I made fun of him first for doing a levequest in Gridania that involved moving bags of soil. Which, let’s be honest, is kind of a funny thing to pay a subscription for.)
Since then, it’s become part of my life. I’m cautious about saying things like that because it’s the sort of rhetorical overstatement that people rely on when they’re evangelizing about something like yoga, but it’s honestly true. It was invaluable to me when I had to move elsewhere to study in order to stay in touch with my girlfriend and friends from my hometown, and there will come a time — and it’s not that far away — where I will have been playing XIV for longer than it took me to complete my Bachelor’s degree.
So happy birthday, XIV, and thanks to those behind the game for bringing people like me along for the ride. I’ve made a lot of really great memories along the way and met a lot of great people, too. Here’s to another five years.
Don’t forget that this week marks the release of patch 4.36. It’s the last content update before 4.4 and includes a new Eureka region, and the Rathalos trial that’s coming to Eorzea as part of the Monster Hunter x FFXIV collaboration. All that stuff comes out on Tuesday (the 7th). Here’s a preview of what’s coming when the update hits servers. Also, if you own Monster Hunter World, the XIV crossover event is already live, with the Behemoth ready to scrap it out with any and all comers.