Final Fantasy XIV 6.2 has been the best patch to be a raider
While there are undoubtedly plenty of people that raid in Final Fantasy XIV, it goes without saying that those players - myself included - are a minority when it comes to the playerbase as a whole. However, with the rollout of patch 6.2, I’m beginning to wonder if a large part of that has been down to how the game has almost punished its players for wanting to raid on day-1 of a new content drop.
For some context; while expansion launches have always had a staggered launch between “Normal” and “Savage” difficulty raids, even-numbered patches - which add new raid tiers and continue the raid storyline - have traditionally had both difficulties unlock on the same day; a tradition that the devteam have decided to play around with for 6.2, as Savage fights have been delayed 1 week from the patch launch for the first time in the game’s history.
There’s a lot of great content that’s been added with the patch, but in a way, it feels like that doesn’t matter as much as the fact that for raiders, we’ve been afforded the last week to actually engage with the game’s content at our leisure. With Savage delayed, there’s been no major rush to get raid food, potions, and gear ready on the same day as the patch dropped; for once players have even been afforded the opportunity to take the time to go through the story without worrying about falling behind.
Instead of raiding for the last week, we’ve been playing the game and enjoying the rest of the patch - many of us taking the time to relax and fully engage with the new Island Sanctuary, and even offering time for teams to theorycraft what additions and changes might come with the harder versions of the raids. While there have certainly been some vocal detractors, one thing is abundantly clear - for the vast majority of the raiding scene, players are already eager for this change to stay moving forward.
Of course, it’s not just this change that has made patch 6.2 such a hit with the playerbase; the new story quests have been almost universally loved, and for good reason. While 6.1’s story had some major shoes to fill after Endwalker concluded the previous story arc, 6.2 has quickly slid the game into the beginnings of a new story with aplomb; while the new story dungeon might not have hit me quite as hard as 6.1’s did, the new Trial has quickly become a favorite - especially with its Extreme version, cementing itself as the best Extreme Trial of Endwalker so far, and one of the best in the game flat-out.
Adventurer Plates, which were a highlight of 6.1, have come out of Beta - complete with a whole host of new changes and additions, including a new slew of accessories for those of us who have managed to clear any Ultimate Raids. PvP has maintained much of the hype from Crystalline Conflict’s launch as the dev team have continued to provide regular balance updates to jobs, and has brought necessary changes to how rankings work with 6.2. The new rewards - including a mount - are sure to keep the queues populated well into the patch cycle as well.
The star of the show this time around is Island Sanctuary, offering a sort of laid-back content that the game could always use more of. Taking your time in-between Duty Finder queues for more casual players, or while waiting for S-rank Hunt Marks or time-restricted gathering nodes to spawn for the more hardcore playerbase, it’s already easily slotted into many players’ schedules. It may be a tad barebones at the moment, but it does its job for now - and with promised updates in the patches to come, there’s always room for it to grow.
There’s still plenty for players to look forward to with patch 6.25 in the coming weeks, too; Criterion Dungeons have been highly anticipated, as has the return of the ever-present Relic Weapon grind. It still remains to be seen if the touted difficulty of the higher-tier versions of the content will sate players’ expectations, but much like Island Sanctuary, it promises to be something truly new and different for everyone to sink their teeth into.
Hot off the heels of patch 6.1 being one of the game’s strongest patches yet, and the unanimous praise for Dragonsong’s Reprise (Ultimate), it begs the question of just how much better Endwalker can get. Final Fantasy XIV has never been in a better state.