So right here’s an fascinating query with a solution that regularly shifts: What content material is optionally available in Final Fantasy XIV?
If you happen to’re a giant fan of the sport, like myself, you’ll most likely be fast to level out that the very nature of the sport signifies that there’s tons of optionally available content material that’s rewarding however not necessary. That’s a part of the goodness of the sport, proper? It actually permits you to run with your individual selections as a result of whereas there’s tons of content material within the recreation, the vast majority of it’s really optionally available slightly than necessary. All it’s a must to play is the MSQ, and that… properly, it takes the entire 2.x sequence to get there, nevertheless it really does wind up being superb!
That’s a superb line. It’s additionally a whole lie, and never simply because we all know that you just’ll want to complete up the Crystal Tower sequence at this level to proceed with the MSQ. It has at all times been a lie, and the record of “optionally available” content material has at all times been narrower than what it strictly encompasses.
This isn’t the primary time that supposed aspect content material has develop into a requirement of the MSQ. Gamers have lengthy been required to struggle Ifrit, Garuda, and Titan in Onerous mode with a purpose to end off the two.5 MSQ sequence. Not that this actually jumped out to anybody on the time; in any case, in case you had been taking part in the sport on the time you have been mainly anticipated to have already completed these fights since you wanted your relic weapon. For a time, that was necessary. So that you most likely wound up doing it anyhow.
Not that this type of factor hasn’t cropped up elsewhere. Living proof: the Fractal Continuum was technically an optionally available dungeon in Heavensward. You didn’t must do it, as long as you didn’t thoughts not accessing Professional Roulette… however in case you have been bringing an alt by way of the sport after that was now not the present endgame, you possibly can comfortably skip it altogether.
Not less than, till the Onerous mode was launched in Stormblood, which you possibly can solely unlock in case you had finished the conventional mode. This meant going again and doing a quest for a storyline that wraps up a largely irrelevant chain elsewhere. Oh, and the Onerous mode finishes a narrative for a beast tribe you could haven’t finished, in order that’s one other kick within the shins proper there.
That’s the factor. Everyone knows these items isn’t actually optionally available. It’s simply typically not necessary.
I understand that that is splitting hairs a bit, however these are literally vital hairs right here. Whereas FFXIV is ready up so as to select to do or not do plenty of issues on a weekly foundation, it additionally very clearly does anticipate that you’ll clear by way of a good quantity of content material in your (anticipated) lone character. Certain, you may not do Professional on a dependable foundation, however you might be assumed to have unlocked the dungeons crucial. It’s assumed you’ve got cleared by way of aspect quests for trials and alliance raids and so forth. You aren’t compelled to reliably clear them, however you might be anticipated to clear them sooner or later.
And it’s not simply anticipating you to do that stuff out of boredom, both. In Shadowbringers alone, one set of quests with apparent lore implications solely reaches a conclusion in case you tackle the YoRHa raids. One other storyline and whole department of the sport is buried over in Eden, which clearly accommodates a lot of details about the long run path of Norvrandt and the First. If you wish to know extra about Ronka, you want to participate within the Qitari beast tribe quests. The record goes on.
That’s to not say all of that is important to understanding the primary plot; slightly, it’s to say that plenty of these threads repay what are in any other case full narrative cul-de-sacs that go nowhere. Heck, I wouldn’t be shocked if The Twinning winds up being the final we hear about a few of the mechanisms behind the Exarch’s journey.
By making all of these things not necessary, you’ll be able to stretch out your expectations a good bit. Clearly it’s all proper in case you have an alt and begin leveling up by way of older content material with out following each storyline to its conclusion. However there are plenty of bits alongside the best way that may have an effect in case you don’t do older stuff, issues that will not be required to maintain the story going however are going to go away you shut out of loads extra content material by ignoring it.
The query then turns into the place the road must be drawn. Are alliance raids meant to be completely optionally available content material? What number of trials do you have to assume individuals have gone by way of? What about regular raids? Dungeons?
Let’s not overlook that no less than one key plot level of backstory in Shadowbringers is barely revealed to you in case you stage up one job of each single function, that means that your understanding of the world (disregarding some looking) requires extra leg work than the sport strictly requires of gamers.
The plain rejoinder is that you just would possibly simply not need to do all of these things, and that’s legitimate… nevertheless it additionally brings up the opposite hand to that, whereby the design group places plenty of work into this stuff and desires to encourage individuals to no less than give them a glance. If you happen to’re questioning “why don’t we get extra (content material I personally get pleasure from)” whereas there’s a complete lot of content material you haven’t touched, one thing has no less than theoretically gone flawed with the general circulate. It’s within the group’s finest pursuits to encourage you to strive different stuff.
And following surprising routes is usually a superb factor as a result of it permits for greater storylines. Sure, as somebody with a number of alts, the truth that ending the Ivalice sequence is required for the brand new relic weapons is annoying… nevertheless it additionally signifies that the hints and teases on the finish have an opportunity to repay in new ways in which would in any other case be inaccessible. That’s a superb factor. Heck, I’m prepared to guess there are some individuals who clocked out of alliance raids some time again since you by no means wanted the for the primary story… resulting in individuals ignoring what’s a authentic portion of the sport and its lore.
But it additionally does lead to some odd and uncomfortable roadblocks. Some gamers are going to have a tough time getting accustomed to the totally different necessities of different playstyles (alliance raids actually are a distinct animal from trials or regular raids), and even in case you’re advised the place it’s essential to go, it might really feel bizarre when it’s a must to cease what you’re doing to instantly backtrack and tackle previous content material simply to maintain going with new content material.
In the end, I don’t assume this is a matter that the builders can remedy solely as a result of that definition of “optionally available content material” is broad. It covers all the pieces that isn’t explicitly required for ahead movement, however even the stuff you don’t have to do continues to be form of anticipated so that you can do. And finally, the most effective factor you are able to do about it’s type of nod and acknowledge that regardless that all the pieces is theoretically optionally available… properly, you must most likely no less than clear it as soon as.
Suggestions, as at all times, is welcome within the feedback down beneath or by way of mail to [email protected]. Subsequent week? Stay letter reactions, naturally.