Final Fantasy XIV Patch 6.4 feels the most well-rounded of any Endwalker patch so far
If there's one personal regret I have with Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, it would be that I have as-of-yet been unable to raid Patch 6.4's Savage Raid tier. For all intents and purposes judging off reactions from friends and the state of the Normal Raids, it feels like Endwalker's best raid tier yet - and the last missing piece of the puzzle for what might just be Endwalker's best patch yet.
Endwalker's additional post-launch updates have been numerous, as is generally the case for MMOs like Final Fantasy XIV, and for the most part, they've been excellent. Whether it's been the well-received PvP rework in Crystalline Conflict, the addition of new casual content in Island Sanctuary, not just 1 but 2 new Ultimate Raids for the opposite end of the spectrum, and the introduction of Criterion Dungeons - I've been having a blast with the expansion as a whole. 6.4 is the first patch to really wind things down, then, with "only" a new Raid tier, some new Main Scenario Quests, a new Criterion dungeon, and not much else; but it still feels like perhaps the best "balanced" patch to hit the expansion so far.
One of the other new additions to 6.4 is rather an update to an existing feature; Immerse Spatial Audio. In the lead-up to 6.4 Square Enix actually reached out to us wondering if we would be interested in reviewing the new tech, and although I had no experience with the prior version of the tech - the current implementation is very good for certain game content. The spatial audio tends to fall apart in more hectic scenarios - it's perhaps not well-suited for raiding, or hunt trains - but when lounging around in a housing ward crafting, hearing the bauble from the stream a few malms from my front yard off in the distance with all of the expected echo is quite something else.
For a certain type of player, it would be rather easy to recommend, then. I'm not sure if raiders would get too much use out of the tech considering its current limitations, sadly, but that's not to say that it's worthless for them, either; I'll still gladly continue to use the feature, as we head into the lead-up to the game's next expansion and beyond.
Speaking of which; I think most players expected for Endwalker's patch quests to more directly lead into 7.0, and while I'm sure they eventually will, so far the storyline feels like it may just neatly resolve itself over the course of the next few patches. With 6.4's new story we have probably received the best set of quests of the expansion's patch series, and the latest Trial especially is an absolute treat - doubly so when challenging the Extreme variant of it. 6.5 certainly has a certain set of expectations waiting for it, with how the situation has evolved in the Void.
Last week's addition of Endwalker's second Criterion Dungeon, Mount Rokkon, also had expectations set after the first Criterion Dungeon was added to the game last year; expectations that have largely been met, I expect, even if the structure of it might not be quite as interesting as the first attempt at the concept. Getting the chance to explore even just a bit more of Hingashi is wonderful, and as much as Stormblood might be maligned by the playerbase at large; I liked it well enough, and outside of Kugane we really have been at a deficit for proper context for the nation as a whole. It's a welcome addition, and I'm eager to see how the concept of Criterion Dungeons can continue to be expanded upon going forward.
Like I said earlier - I have been unfortunately unable to properly engage with 6.4's set of Savage Raids. The tier dropped a week before Summer Game Fest, and by the time I had a chance to rest my feet Party Finder had already become a desolate wasteland of desirable parties - not to mention there was no chance of me finding a static to raid with at such late notice. I hope to get a chance to attempt the tier before the next XIV expansion launches, but for now all I can say is that even just the Normal Raids have been a breath of fresh air compared to the rest of the raids from 6.x. After the string of unfortunately received raids over the last year, it's a genuinely great feeling to see the last set of raid content for Endwalker be met with a generally good reception.
I'll be the first to admit that, perhaps, I've enjoyed Endwalker's continued patches more than most - and while the lack of any content like Eureka or Bozja is disappointing, I do also understand that much of Creative Business Unit III's bandwidth has been spent bringing older content up to snuff, adding in much-desired quality of life features, and working behind the scenes on the much-awaited graphical overhaul, set to launch with next year's expansion. As someone that doesn't just play nothing but XIV, but still engages with the game to the tune of hundreds of hours per year - 6.4 has continued the streak of Endwalker's updates keeping me fed, and while I do have my complaints with certain aspects of the game (combat balance comes to mind), I'd be lying if I said I haven't been happy with the state of the game overall. Here's to 6.5, and whatever 7.0 brings!