Worlds in MMO games are always changing. Developers have to adapt as games begin to show their age, or add additional level-based incentives to end-game content so that players never truly get a sense of “beating” their game. While World of Warcraft might be the first MMO that springs to mind when discussing massive content updates, there may be a game that even has Blizzard beat.
Final Fantasy 14 completely re-designed itself after an initially poor reception and has since become one of the few MMOs that has been able to maintain a pay-to-play model while retaining a playerbase. Although it would have been easy to take a break after Final Fantasy 14 was essentially torn down and built up nearly from scratch 2 years ago, developer Square Enix has been hard at work ensuring the new approach isn’t just temporary. Final Fantasy 14‘s first expansion, Heavensward, was just released in June after over a year in development. Despite the already massive update to content, Square Enix has announced that there’s even more to come soon.
Patch 3.1 for Final Fantasy 14 finally has some details, and they are as numerous as they are game-changing. Although the usual suspects like new story quests will be present in the update, some exciting new features will be included as well. For example, a new beast tribe questline is incoming, as well as an enhanced airship exploration system and minion battles.
Players who enjoy group PvE content will also be pleased, as two new dungeons, called Saint Mocianne Arboretum and Pharos Sirius Hard, are set to make their debut in Patch 3.1 as well. However, the most interesting addition might be the new 24-man raid, ominously called the Void Ark.
The Void Ark will be modeled after the pre-existing Crystal Tower raids, which are designed so that anyone can join up and play. This means that players who don’t have 23 friends handy will be able to complete the Void Ark with a random group. While coordination might be lacking in these excursions, the ability to play a complex, large raid without having to schedule it weeks ahead is a welcome feature in any MMO, and Final Fantasy 14 is no exception.
Another feature Final Fantasy 14 is adapting from other more well-established MMO games is minion battles, which will apparently function very similar to battles in the Pokémon series. These clashes will take place in the Gold Saucer, which is Final Fantasy 14‘s take on the very popular casino/arcade from Final Fantasy 7.
It’s clear that Final Fantasy 14 has made it a priority to include more mini-games to help gamers avoid traditional MMO grind burnout. Although the worldwide launch might have been rocky initially, Final Fantasy 14 has grown to a player base of 5 million in the two years since.
Do you think random groups in giant raids are ever a good idea? Which is better – Gwent or Triple Triad? Let us know in the comments.
Final Fantasy 14 and its expansion, Heavensward, are currently available for for PC, PS3, and PS4.