Both World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV saw major updates this month. Both serve as a reason for players to return to the game and become reinvested.
Final Fantasy XIV's 3.5 update in particular is a huge win for players. It hits all the big notes: new content, items, improved systems, and attention to quality of life. In-fact, its patch notes are more than 20 pages in length. To help condense all that information into the big talking points, below we've outlined what we believe to be the patch's greatest elements.
1. Cross Server Party Finder
During the course of Heavensward the Party Finder has become an important tool for many players looking to complete group content. It has seen some refinement since its introduction, but has suffered from Final Fantasy XIV's closed server architecture. That changed this week.
In patch 3.5 the Party Finder has expanded to allow cross-server matching, effectively increasing the pool of available players by thousands. This has greatly improved the accessibility of content by ensuring there are open groups looking to participate in activities ranging in scope, relevance, and difficulty.
The only limitation is that players can only group with those originating from worlds on the same data center. This might sound like a big negative, but each of FFXIV's six data centers have at least eight servers included; there are plenty of players to group with.
2. Anima Weapon Upgrade
The Anima Weapon quest line has been a favorite among players, not necessarily because it's enjoyable, but because the series of quests are epic and reliably reward players with powerful weapon upgrades. Up to this point there have been more than a dozen quests available that gradually increase the power of a particular job's Anima Weapon. Though, prior to patch 3.5 most hardcore players had already finished everything the quest line had to offer.
Enter 3.5's new Anima Weapon quests. There are several of them for each job, and they include objectives both big and small. One in particular requires some serious skill and gear, but is well worth the time investment.
Made better, the new upgrade has a level of customization not previously seen with Anima Weapons; players can now choose from a selection of stats. These weapons are item level 270 and in general look incredible (as seen above).
3. Group Content
There are several new pieces of content to chew through. These include more casually oriented dungeons, in addition to tough hardcore content for the most ambitious of players. This content includes:
- Dungeon: Baelsar's Wall
- Dungeon: Sohm Al (Hard)
- Trial: Containment Bay Z1T9
- Raid: Dun Scaith
The new Trial and Raid are no joke. Both require well-equipped and prepared groups to tackle, but have attractive rewards for those who can brave the challenge.
For players who prefer to play alone, new side story quests including beast tribes and Hildibrand are available. The Triple Triad card game has also seen some renovations.
4. Hairstyles, Emotes, and Egi Glamours
FFXIV has always been an excellent game for players who like to express themselves and socialize. This particular side of the game has seen remarkable enhancement with patch 3.5.
For one, two new unisex hairstyles have made it into the game. These can be accessed within the Character Creation screen as well as at a hair stylist.
Summoners have been given particular attention in the update with new Egi Glamours. These allow players to alter the color of Carbuncle for now. It also lays the groundwork for other Egi's to have glamours in the future, in the words of Square Enix. Garuda was the first to be teased.
Lastly, new emotes have been included. The most popular among these is a new "Spectacles" emote, which is only available to players who have glasses equipped. You can see how it looks here and here. The emote is different depending on race and gender, and has been well-received by players.
5. A Catalog of New Items
There are more than 40 new quests to participate in, several of which are Main Story Quests. These, in addition to new crafting and group content, are a means to obtain hundreds of new items.
The new items range in level, some being level 1, but most pertaining to endgame. In the case of the latter, they are a reason to head out and complete difficult content. The level 1 items are great not only for players who may be leveling up a new job, but also provide new opportunity for glamour.
You will also find new furniture for player and company housing which can be collected.
These are just five ways FFXIV just got a lot better with 3.5. To learn more about the update, see here.