As we march slowly on towards Final Fantasy XIV's second expansion due in the early summer of 2017, let us not forget that there are loose ends that need to be tied up first before we wave off the Heavensward and 3.X portions of the game with valedictions for good. The latest Live Letter (XXXII) has announced Patch 3.5, titled The Far Edge of Fate. Like Patch 2.5 prior to Heavensward, this patch will be staggered across two parts, with the first due to come live in mid-January. Part 2 will arrive two months later.
- As you would expect, the main story will pick up from where Patch 3.4 Soul Surrender left off. The narrative will continue to serve as the bridge between the end of the Dragonsong War and the beginning of the Warrior of Light's foray into the Ala Mhigo war front.
- With Sephirot and Sophia vanquished, the last of the Warring Triad Primals will be unleashed from his millennia of imprisonment: Zurvan the Demon. Expect the usual two difficulties.
- New quests involving Saint Endalim's Scholasticate will continue in Ishgard.
- And who doesn't love the idea of more Hildibrand? The adventure of the bumbling Inspector Clouseau continues, along with his dim-witted Miqo'te assistant, his impossibly masculine artisan father, his demonic and impossibly youthful mother, a poor member of the Ishgardian clergy who has been roped in to this madness, and Vivi the Mammet with the power of Time Mage.
Dungeons, Trials and Raids
- New dungeon #1 - Baelsar's Wall, located on the edge of the Shroud, separating Gridania (and by extension, the rest of Eorzea) from the Garlean-occupied region of Gyr Abania to the east. This impregnable wall that may or may not have made Garlemald great again (tremendous, believe me!) was built by the late Gaius to keep so-called "Eikons" out.
- New dungeon #2 - Sohm Al (Hard), quite why we're back here is anyone's guess, but this time we're climbing down the mountain as opposed to going up.
- And thus concludes The Shadow of Mhach storyline. After Void Ark and The Weeping City of Mhach, the last of the three 24-man raids of the 3.X series will be Dun Scaith. Who knows. There may still even be loose ends after this!
- Zurvan the Demon is released from his fetters and the final member of the Warring Triad will be fought at Containment Bay Z1T9. Expect the usual Normal and Extreme modes.
- Zhloe Aliapoh is a new NPC that will send you on crafting and gathering-based quests to earn favours with the NPCs of the Shire. Successful completion of these quests will boost their satisfaction level and in time, more clients other than Zhloe will come knocking on door for errands, and they will focus largely on glamour items. The content itself is intended to be geared towards glamour. No raid gear for you, lads!
- A revamped Diadem was promised and it will come, but the new exploratory content will not be available at the outset of Patch 3.5 Part 1. The map itself won't see major changes, but objectives will be overhauled, with hunting and gathering missions separated to minimalise discord within parties and their competing interests. Boss monsters tough enough to require four parties to come together in a group of 32 to beat may be a feature of the new Diadem.
- A new map will be added to The Feast after the end of season three as part of a new pre-season in which the development team will garner feedback on the new map. Chat will be disabled, but new auto-translate functions and communication options you can add to a hotbar will be added.
Changes to party finder system
- Let us start with the PvP system. Avid PvPers can now praise the sun, for players will have the option of being matched in Duty Finder without regard to Grand Company affiliation.
- The Party Finder will undergo significant expansion. Players from other servers within the same data centre can now be grouped together AND communicate. The UI will be updated so that you can tab between party requests from the same server or all servers. If you host or join a party that has members from different servers, you will still be able to chat even if half the group is in Ultros and the other is in Behemoth. If need be, a password-lock system can be utilised on your parties, while a blacklist and friends list system are currently still in development and may arrive later. This new Party Finder feature will not yet be available for Palace of the Dead, so please look forward to that. However, this system cannot be used for Gold Saucer content.
Stay away from the Summoner...
- ...because they will soon pack some Egi glamour! If you have a Carbuncle, an Ifrit-egi, a Titan-egi and a Garuda-egi and feel like customising their looks, you're now in luck! By doing a quest, you can turn your pet into a err, Carbuncle of whatever colour you want! All you need to do is put in an emote command to change your new Carbuncle's colours. More glamour for Egis is expected later. That being said, I do have to ask why Scholars can't do this too...
- The Novice Network will have a prompt to either accept, wait or decline an invitation to a chat channel.
- Returning players who have been gone for 45 days or more will be able to flag themselves as a returning player, and will get access to the Novice Network if they so choose. You’ll gain extra experience points by teaming up with a member.
- You’ll be able to preview dye variations from the equipment screen.
- Paintings will be added as a housing furnishing — some will be unlocked via the Sightseeing Log.
- I saved the MOST important feature till last. Come mid-January, you will be able to queue for duties with your Chocobo companion out at long last. What a time to be alive. Unfortunately, this has a small downside. Chocobos will longer be treated as party members per se, but as pets. You will have to manually click on another party member's Chocobo to heal it now. But this does mean eight players in a party can have eight Chocobos out!