So Final Fantasy XIV has put out its sizzle reel for Patch 5.1, and almost immediately I felt pretty much excluded. Most of it was about content tiers I don’t care about, styled after a game I am worn out about, with only a couple of nods to parts of the patch I’m interested in.
To be fair, this feeling is mostly self-inflicted, but it brought up a whole lot of sour thoughts all the same and I felt the need to talk about them. About how this patch seems to be about folks who need to be at the bleeding edge of content tiers at the repulsion of all else who don’t feel that way.
Like I said, this is mostly self-inflicted, but I also had some help. NieR: Automata was one of those games I kept constantly hearing about from people who were touting its virtues to the point of incessance. Having to hear about it so often actually had the adverse effect of hype. I was sick of it to the point that I was mentally checked out. The same thing happened to me with Undertale and with Breath of the Wild (though with Breath of the Wild I also made up my own mind that its peanut brittle weaponry and other reams of inconvenience were too much to put up with).
With that in mind, Final Fantasy XIV’s next patch going all in on its NieR: Automata fascination has me more than a little annoyed. Once again I’m going to be hearing about this game, as well as the raid and its content. Which ties in to another self-exclusion: the raiding scene. Specifically, the higher tiers of raiding.
To this date, I have never seen the inside of an EX fight. Ever. I’ve been subscribed to this game for a number of years now and I still am nowhere near the sort of player who gets in to these fights. Again, this is due to self-exclusion helped along by the attitudes and behaviors of others.
Case in point: There’s one person in one of the Discord servers that I rumble around in that is all about that high-tier XIV life. They meld their gear, they have DPS parsers, they focus on what they’re doing and especially on what everyone else is doing, and their advice is less like guidance and more like hard-set IKEA instructions. So, naturally, they were delighted as hell by everything they were seeing in this new trailer, from the new Hades fight to the new Alexander fight.
I, however, am so far beyond this level of dedication/insanity that I feel forced away. In fact, not only am I likely never going to touch the new Hades and Alexanders, I also am probably never going near the new raid simply because I don’t want to be embroiled in a universe I’m exhausted of hearing about with 20+ people who balk at my playstyle, item level, and lack of melded gear.
It’s stuff like this that not only keeps me out of things in XIV, but also stops me from playing games like Destiny 2 with any great fervor; you either get to the highest end or get lost.
Sure, there’s some new MSQ things waiting, and the new dungeon looks pretty, and I’m probably going to spend about an hour or two sliding down the slides in the Pixie Beast Tribe area, and I might see if this new crafting streamlining makes crafting worth my time. But what else is there this patch cycle? Nothing for someone who has cast themselves out before others can lay the boot to my ass, that’s for sure.
To be fair, I’m not trying to yuck on anyone’s yum here. If you’re the sort of person slavering for this type of challenge, then I hope these new encounters appeal and appease. I’m just disappointed that it seems like that’s all this patch is about; the top flight, DPS parsing, materia-focused, item level-glowering sort.
Oh, wait, there’s New Game +. Yea, that’s something that we needed to see added.
I’m still going to play XIV, mind you, especially just to see what the new dungeon is like, but then I’ll probably let my subscription lapse unless leveling and gearing up my alternate classes is enough of a hook to keep me logging in. I just hate how this patch — the first patch after an absolutely astonishing expansion like Shadowbringers — feels like it’s making sure I don’t see most of it.
Or maybe I should just “suck it up” and try to reach a new level, right? No thanks. I’m not going to force myself to become the kind of player that sees a game as something to pare down, streamline, and reduce to nothing more than optimal keystrokes and specific layouts and numbers. That’s not fun. That’s not me.
Man am I disappointed.