Weekly Hype Train Week of 7/22/2020! The One With All The Shadowlands Beta Stuff

Another week and boy are there things to be excited about! While I’ve called out one specific topic in the title, there was some good news this morning for FFXIV fans (which I woke up exceptionally early to see), so let’s start there and then wind back to Shadowlands!

FFXIV Patch 5.3 Live Letter: In case you haven’t seen it, let’s start with the trailer.

So as is tradition for FFXIV, the live letter actually unveiling patch features is light on story spoilers, which is a very good thing (I’ve written about this in the past and it is one of the things I like very much about the game). Feature-wise, it is a very robust patch which promises the story completion of Shadowbringers (there are usually 5-patches per expansion, the first 3 of which are tied to the story arc of the base expansion, the last two then begin to transition to the next expansion story) and has been said to contain the most raw content and voiceover in the game’s patch history. On top of that, there is the following:
-ARR revamp including flying in the 2.x zones
-Crafter/Gatherer reworks continue including reverse-searching recipes from materials in your bag
-New round of Ishgard Restoration with rewards
-Story dungeon/trial
-Sorrow of Werlyt quests (this is what had Ruby Weapon in the last patch, and while they’ve said no trial for this, the trailer shows the player character stand-in piloting THEIR OWN WEAPON MECH!!!)
-Bozjan Southern Front (similar-ish to Eureka, one way to improve Resistance Weapons from 5.25, includes Skirmishes which are FATE-like fights and Critical Engagements, which allow a strongly-contributing player to face off solo against a boss enemy with a player audience watching, also has Lost Actions which allow you to farm special spells to use in the zone, but you can also opt to farm the quest items for your Resistance Weapon upgrades outside of the zone which makes it fully optional it seems)
-YoRHA: Dark Apocalypse 24 player raid round 2 – called the “Puppet Bunker” it has a different aesthetic to the first round, with some elements NieR Automata fans will enjoy, new NA-inspired armor sets, and the coin mechanic here should allow non-Savage raiders a chance to upgrade their Crystarium tomestone gear they’ve been farming over the last several months
-New Yokai Watch Collaboration Event – last run in 2016, the new event adds weapon glamour for the jobs added since the first round (Samurai, Red Mage, Gunbreaker, and Dancer)

For those who haven’t tried the game, the patch release will extend the free trial to level 60 and allow Heavensward content in its entirety to be played, along with the jobs available as a result of that allowance and the use of the Au’ra race. Given that they’re cutting the fat from the ARR experience in the patch, this is a savvy move on the team’s part and one that should hopefully help them add even more players. Speaking of that, the team now claims 20 million players, and while I remain skeptical of such claims as it does not qualify current/active/free/paid etc, it is an impressive milestone all the same – one that has increased by 4 million from the Shadowbringers launch trailer!

Shadowlands Beta: Needless to say, my primary game of the last week has been the beta test for the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion, as I’ve been chronicling extensively on these virtual pages! At this point, I’ve completed level-up questing in Bastion, gotten as far as the template character could in Maldraxxus, and am working through Ardenweald although lag the last several days has rendered the beta unplayable for longer than maybe 30 minutes at a time, even late into the night. At level 60, I’ve played with both the Kyrian and Night Fae covenants, done some basic questing for both, run Spires of Ascension, Halls of Atonement, and Necrotic Wake dungeons, run about 7 wings of Torghast, and spent about 3 hours in the Maw in various stages of questing. I’ve really enjoyed my time on beta overall, although I have some concerns that remain about the gameplay of the Maw, confusion on how some aspects of Torghast work, and a lack of clarity around the story quests at 60 with covenants and how these are progressed.

For this week, I want to finish testing leveling quests and write up the details of the zones, discuss lore and have actual spoiler posts, and really capture the experiences I’ve had so far in dungeons and Torghast.

Spyro: Reignited: Just a bit of the first game left and on to the second!

Writing: Right now, being out of work, I’ve been focused on writing a lot more. You may have noticed (perhaps, just a bit) that there have been a lot more posts here as of late, which is driven somewhat by the Shadowlands beta and moreso by a desire to work on my craft. That’s because I’m planning to resume writing novels, but while I have to spend chunks of my day trying to call my state’s unemployment office (today, just in 3 hours: 118 attempts), I’ve been writing blog posts to keep the skills sharp while also being able to drop in and out of writing to try and make more phone calls. I have some plot skeletons already fleshed out and am optimistic that I’ll have more to share about this soon-ish!

Moving: Not really hype, other than that a new place we’re moving to includes gigabit internet, which is very exciting!

That’s about it for this week!

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