A surprise tonight as I was sitting debating going to bed – the prelim patch notes for Newfound Adventures, FFXIV’s first Endwalker patch, came out. With them is…a lot of interesting news, so rather than recapping everything, I’ve compiled the most interesting bits to discuss!
Immediate Content You Can Chase
The 6.1 MSQ picks up in the Rising Stones in Mor Dhona by talking to Tataru. The Alliance Raid unlock quest for Myths of the Realm: Aglaia is in Old Sharlayan, although the wording of the quest prerequisites do somewhat sound like you will need to make some progress in the new MSQ quests to get it first. If you’ve completed all of the Endwalker Role Quests on a single character, the capstone role quest begins at an NPC in Radz-at-Han. Lastly, if you’ve finished Endwalker’s base MSQ, you can unlock the 6.1 EX trial by talking to the Wandering Minstrel in Old Sharlayan, in the harbor. The first Unreal trial of Endwalker opens with the patch, and requires that you unlock Faux Hollows by completing the quest “Fantastic Mr. Faux” in Idyllshire. If you already unlocked Unreal trials back in Shadowbringers, you’re already good to go.
For item level requirements on new content, the MSQ dungeon (which remains unnamed in the notes) requires an average 560 item level, which is easily obtained from your level 89 job armor and the accessories available from the current level 90 dungeons without any tomestone-purchased items save for a single ring. The Alliance Raid requires an item level of 565, which will require some tomestone or crafted gear from the current Endwalker endgame. The Minstrel’s Ballad: Endsinger’s Aria EX trial requires a 580 item level if you are queueing for it, a limit met easily with crafted 580 gear or with raid gear from Asphodelos normal, coupled with Astronomy tomestone gear.
Lastly, on the PvP front, if you’ve completed your chosen Grand Company’s version of the A Pup No Longer quest, you’re good to queue for Crystalline Conflict, the new PvP mode added with the patch. It and Frontlines will be the only surviving PvP at this time, as The Feast is done with this patch and Rival Wings will be temporarily disabled for rebalancing.
…is not in the patch notes! Whatever they’re cooking up, we have only the live letter info to satiate until Monday evening when final patch notes are released.
We still don’t know where a lot of the new mounts and pets added in 6.1 will be present, but we do have two tidbits in the prelim notes – the NieR pod mount is going to be a Golden Saucer reward for MGP purchase, and a Troll mount (the big furry dudes from Labyrinthos) will be a reward for Faux Leaves from Unreal Trials and the Faux Hollows.
Quality of Life
A surprising batch of great quality of life changes are present in the prelim patch notes. Firstly, for questing, if you are taking your first Endwalker trip or doing New Game + for the 6.0 content, you’ll benefit from two major changes – the ability to reconfigure the hotbars when controlling another character and the ability to mount and use Aethernet teleports while on escort quests. If you are taking your first step into FFXIV in general, the ARR 2.0 questing experience gets a third coat of paint, as the Duty Support system is added to bring Trust dungeons to all 2.0 MSQ dungeon content, alongside tweaks to existing dungeons in that range to bring down overall difficulty and the varying changes made to the capstone level 50 story dungeons, with player counts being brought down to 4 instead of 8 and the longer Praetorium dungeon being split into 3 pieces – a 4 player dungeon from the current beginning to the fight with Gaius, a 4 player trial against Ultima Weapon, and a solo instance fight with Lahabrea. The fight against Rhitatyn at Cape Westwind will also be a solo instance fight, and the Castrum Meridanium will be a 4-player dungeon in similar form to today’s version.
Unexpectedly, we get other improvements too! Old trial, dungeon, and raid fights where you could get knocked off the room to your death will now allow you to be resurrected, which has been the case for such fights added from Stormblood and beyond, but was not previously fixed for older fights and is now. Raid loot from Asphodelos on Normal get better, as there will be no weekly cap on rewards there except the Unsung Blade used for weapon purchases, which sees the cost of the purchase of the intermediate item go from 7 blades to 4. Jobs added in Shadowbringers and Endwalker will have weapon drops available from Thordan EX, likely because particle-effect littered versions will be rewarded in the Dragonsong Reprise Ultimate raid. The MSQ roulette is not going away as some thought, but is instead being increased in rewards (at least in Poetics), although the experience point reward remains to be seen.
A large number of gender-locked armor items are being unlocked, allowing characters to equip more armor for glamour purposes. The biggest mentions I could pick out were the Rathalos armor from the Monster Hunter World crossover event. Glamour plate total count has increased from 15 to 20…which is fine, but needs more substance like an increase in Glamour Dresser capacity or a larger array of things that can be put into the Armoire instead. On the storage front, Retainers have new ventures (presumably the level 90 ones that currently don’t exist) and can have personal notes added, so you can denote which one is holding what type of your stuff.
A big one for me, the Wondrous Tales book is being changed slightly. At present, when it wants you to do an 8-player raid, it picks a specific boss to do, but in 6.1, it will instead pick a raid wing and you can choose which of the 4 (or 5 in the case of Binding Coil of Bahamut) bosses you want to tackle. My Free Company would often only do “capstone” fights as a group for the raids when doing the catbook, which would leave a fair number of people high and dry on completion of their specific raids, but now that will work just fine.
Lastly, they are doing some play with making raiding and high-end content more accessible and easily understood. The first thing they are doing is adding a Stone, Sea, Sky option for each level cap after ARR, so you can see generally if you meet the expected DPS output of your job at a given capstone level. The second thing is that after a party wipe in current Endwalker raid content (for this patch, it will be both difficulties of Asphodelos and the Endsinger’s Aria trial), the screen will not fade to black immediately, but will linger for a brief moment to allow the group to attempt to better unpack what happened, by being able to see ability animations and things complete to determine who got hit by what and the like. It remains to be seen how long the pause is, but a little readability goes a long way. And for SSS, having capstone versions is a nice shorthand to practice the bare essentials of a job rotation. Some jobs (Black Mage mostly) have rotations that change drastically at different level caps, so getting used to the level 90 version of the job can often leave you feeling very poorly prepared at lower level content. Granted, you can just pick a fight from the existing options for each level cap and go do that, but that is also attempt to analyze your ability to hit a very specific DPS target for that fight, rather than baseline competency. SSS is used by a minority of players anyways, so I won’t pretend it’s a big deal or anything, but I use it often for current raid content to test my openers and study up on timing and making sure I hit the cadence of things without big failures, so I’ll always be game for more tools of that sort.
Those wrap the big notes I had from the prelim patch notes, so now we just wait for Monday!