Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn was a great game at launch, but being an MMO, it's going to evolve and change over time.
Naoki Yoshida and his development team have been teasing the first major content patch for the game for a little while now, but a two-day "Letter from the Producer Live" event at the recent Tokyo Game Show shed a considerable degree of additional light on what players can expect from version 2.1 of the game, set for launch soon.
First up is player housing. Initially this will be a Free Company perk, but there are plans to roll out individual personal housing in the near future. The video above shows distinct housing areas separate from the main city areas, with each of the buildings the work of either a player or a Free Company. You won't be restricted to building only in the city for which you have Grand Company affiliation; you'll be free to build in whichever of the three city-states you please.
There are three sizes of house to choose from -- small, medium and large, naturally -- and five preset types for each size. Once you've picked your size and style combination, you can then adjust the color of numerous individual elements of the building, ranging from the doors to the weather vane on the roof. Inside, you'll be able to pick from numerous furniture items to deck out your virtual living space as you see fit -- expect "a number of furnishings with a very Final Fantasy feel to them," apparently.
Pricing for land and houses hasn't yet been set -- Yoshida and the team are keen to tweak and adjust the economy prior to patch 2.1 to ensure there's plenty of gil flowing through the game. Once individual housing launches, future updates will add the ability to grow Gysahl Greens to summon your battle chocobo, a baby chocobo-raising minigame and the facility to construct an underground workshop to craft boats and airships.
Patch 2.1 will also introduce the Wolves' Den PvP arena for players of level 30 and above. Here, players will be able to compete in 4v4 PvP battles in a special arena -- there are currently no plans for world PvP a la World of Warcraft, largely because the game's setting and lore doesn't really lend itself to that kind of conflict. There will be individual tiers for level 30, 40 and 50 characters, and matchmaking will take into account whether or not you're using the Duty Finder to group up with random strangers or coming together as a pre-formed team.
There will also be PvP specific skills such as abilities that let you recover immediately from debuffs such as sleep, bind and the like. New passive traits will also be added to help counter some of these status effects, and the intention is to add to these skills and traits over time as PvP expands into an upcoming "Front Lines" scenario at some point in the future.
Also coming in the new patch is a special guest appearance from Final Fantasy III's Crystal Tower dungeon. This will be a 24-player dungeon that will take between 90-120 minutes to complete, and will apparently be "more casual" than the current hardest content in the game, The Binding Coil of Bahamut. The dungeon will feature both encounters that require all 24 players to work together, as well as branching paths where the three sub-parties of eight members each will split off in different directions to regroup later.
The item level requirement for accessing the Crystal Tower won't be as high as that for the Coil, but it's likely you'll require a Relic weapon. The drops and rewards for the dungeon will include some of the most powerful items from Final Fantasy III, and we're promised a "very nostalgic experience" from the dungeon with some "amazing songs" on the soundtrack -- though Yoshida stopped short of actually confirming whether or not the dungeon would feature arrangements of Final Fantasy III's music. Given that Final Fantasy XIV already features an excellent remix of Final Fantasy II's battle theme, however, it's not an unreasonable assumption to make, particularly given how heavy on the series fanservice the game has been to date.
Patch 2.1 is currently in development and thus Yoshida and the team are keen to note that all planned content is subject to change prior to its . It's sounding like a great update on the whole, though, and one that will certainly give high-level players something else to do. Check out full details of everything to expect here.
Guess I better buck my ideas up and get to 50!