Review of the Realm: Rise of a New Sun

Final Fantasy XIV continues releasing it’s patch updates, moderately on time, beginning the New Year with Patch 4.2: the Rise of a New Sun update. The update not only brings two new dungeons--one of which being a revamped version of a Heavensward dungeon--but also bringing some really great quality of life updates that a lot of players can feel excited about.

First and foremost, the patch moves the main story for Final Fantasy XIV along by taking the player to the east. So far, things have seemed fairly calmed in Ala Mhigo, so now it is time to take a look at the other half of the story, much of which takes place in the Japanese-inspired Doma. Without too much spoiling, players are given information that certain characters believed to have perished during the rebellion, may still be alive! What a twist! Following leads from other newly introduced characters, the player and their group must go and find the missing characters.

Up until this point in the story, there hasn’t been much of a “villain”. Certainly that there were some hints of forces working in the background, but nothing has really presented itself as much of overarching threat to the story. This patch, it seems, seeks to change that with the introduction of certain characters. Again, not to spoil anything, but it does get pretty interesting.

As good as the story is, there is so much more jam-packed into this patch.

Players are finally seeing a brand new trial come to the game. Although we did get the Unending Coil and Shinryu Extreme in Patch 4.1, this recent patch includes a trial known as “The Jade Stoa” which pits players against a being known as Byakko. Byakko, whose influence and story derives from the Chinese constellations, is a powerful white tiger in FFXIV, and provides an all-new challenge for players--and a fun one at that. Of course, The Jade Stoa, also gets it’s Extreme mode counterpart in this patch as well, with some pretty awesome looking rewards.

In addition to the mystical Byakko, the latest addition to the Omega raid is also added to the game. The base game of Stormblood included the “Deltascape” where fans were excited to face off against some of the most iconic Final Fantasy V bosses. Now, in “Sigmascape” players face off against even more iconic bosses--this time, from Final Fantasy VI. And yes, that does include Kefka and his incredibly strange laugh. Sigmascape also, of course, features the Phantom Train. Most western players of Final Fantasy know the Phantom Train from the rather popular meme of watching Sabin, the strong Monk-like character of FFVI, use his Suplex skill on the train. Because suplexing a train is just silly, even for a video game.

Unfortunately, I will spoil you here: no, you cannot suplex the Phantom Train in FFXIV. Sorry. There are a couple theories as to why other than “they didn’t want to put it in the game.” Rather, it is likely that because the meme of Sabin suplexing the train is heavily concentrated within the western RPG community, and not the Japanese or eastern community, that they simply did not think anyone else other than western players would understand the reference.

In any case, what really makes this patch aside from the great content is the amazing quality of life changes that have made their way into this update.

Players who love the way their character looks have a chance now to really get into the “glamour” system. When it was introduced back in the 2.x series, glamours were a way for a character to wear certain items that looked good, without having to use the poor or unnecessary stats on the item. Fast forwarding to the “Glamour Dresser” now in 4.2, players have the option now to make up to 10 outfits that they can stamp over their current gear, giving players a nearly-unending amount of options for both fashion and function. Additionally, a mini-game that revolves around fashion known as the Fashion Report has been added, so players can really show off how much they care about virtual clothes.

A function known as the Duty Recorder has been released as well, allowing players to record in-game footage without the use of a third-party application. Similarly, it allows the player to switch point of views to other players for a better look at what is happening during a fight. This, of course, is great for raid groups who are looking for some help in finding out why they’re not completing certain raids or dungeons. Though, there are some players that are worried about the “elitism” of this new function.

Finally, if you read the last Review of the Realm, then you read about Bard Actions. If you haven’t, well then, you’re still in for a treat. Bard Actions are a new function that allows players to play music in-game of their own creation or design. Most people up until now have used it to re-create music from FFXIV or other Final Fantasy titles. However, the functionality of the actions were a little rough, and some players were having a difficult time. With 4.2, players can now use the update Bard Actions, which gives the players a Piano keyboard tied to different keys on their computer’s keyboard, allowing a little ease for players who are really into music. Most players are onboard with the functionality, yet still believe that it could use a little work. For example, though the keys seem very true to a real piano, some players are unhappy that you must press and hold a different key in order to change octaves, which is unrealistic. But again, the action is still new, there are likely some more changes on the way.

There is so much more that has come to the patch, but it would take forever to go through! My suggestion? Go play FFXIV! Now is one of the best times to be an FFXIV player.