Final Fantasy XIV Patch 6.1 feels like more than a simple update

As big as Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker was at launch, one of the most exciting things with XIV’s latest expansion was the promise of something really new in the coming months and years. All eyes were on Patch 6.1 for a taste of the new story, which players will of course tackle from here, but even more than that, there have been a host of changes that will definitely affect the critically acclaimed MMO in the foreseeable future.

First of all – the story of 6.1 is perhaps less of a “reset” than people had expected. While most of the patch is about a shared adventure, we are already well on our way to building the next arc of history. I do not want to ruin anything for those of us who have not yet had the chance to digest the MSQ, but it’s almost a little shocking how obviously the development team is setting up the next expansion, even now. Either way, the new story was a good respite before things get ready to end again – and the new dungeon is already a quick favorite, especially as one that has recently reviewed Final Fantasy XI: Treasures of Aht Uhrgan.

Estonia during part of patch 6.1's MSQ.

One of the “minor” changes for longtime players, but perhaps the most significant outside of MSQ, is how A Realm Reborn is now almost completely playable solo. Many of the former dungeons have been reworked to work with an extended version of what was originally the Trust system, and the equally beloved and hated “Main Scenario Roulette” agencies – including The Praetorium – have been given special care to make them feel fresh, new, and more in line with the rest of the game going forward. Although part of me is sad to see so much of A Realm Reborn’s character shaved down to suit the state of the game as it exists now, it is undeniably the best and sets better expectations for players participating in the game in the coming days.

Although PvP has never been XIV’s strong point, there has been a strong effort to rework PvP with the latest patch – not only has ranked PvP been replaced with a whole new state in Crystalline Conflict, but even outside the new state, every job has had their PvP action set was completely reworked. Now every job can limit their actions to a single hot bar, and there has been a sharp rebalancing against blown windows and party synergy. Many jobs have received brand new actions that are unique to PvP, and the pace as a whole feels crisp. It’s hard to put into words how much this helps the feel of PvP as a whole, but even Frontline feels a much better pace – let alone the completely breakneck pace in the new mode. Seeing Wolves’ The Pier light up with players playing and enjoying PvP shows that the team finally seems to be at something here, and perhaps more than anything else is talking about their success with the latest patch.

A look at the new PvP mode, Crystalline Conflict

I could spend hours talking about the new Adventurer Plate system and how it has been both a blessing and a curse for not only PvP, but the game as a whole. I think the best way to say it is that now that they’re here, it’s hard to imagine XIV without them – they’s a blast, and a fun and easy way to communicate the type of player you is, to everyone out there willing to take a look.

At the other end of the equation, the new 24-man Alliance Raid, Myths of the Realm, has begun an incredible start. Aglaia is filled with excellent boss encounters, interesting battle mechanics, wonderful set pieces and sees the return of voice acting to the Alliance Raids – which was sorely missed with Shadowbringer’s Kidney Crossover Alliance Raid series. Even the story also feels like it has gotten better from the start, with more long-term consequences for Eitherys as a whole, which will definitely follow. Unfortunately, I’m not that hot on the new Extreme Trial added to the game with 6.1. The dev team hyped up the match so much that the end result, which feels like a half meeting, has made a good portion of the player base scratch our heads. It’s not that it’s a bad fight in itself, but it feels understated – especially considering how bombastic the Extreme versions of story-ending Trials have felt in the past.

Here's where my Ishgard house would be if I had one!

Similarly, the new changes to the housing system – and the addition of new Ishgard housing plots – have not gone nearly as well as many of us had hoped. Putting aside all the numerous technical flaws that the development team is still working to fix, the new division of free company / private housing is ridiculous, especially considering how many reasons are only free for companies that are still empty, while players who want to own their own home are struggling to get any house at all. While it makes good sense why the dev team has prioritized FCs first, the balance certainly feels out of place – having only 6 of the 24 available housing terms for private homes is far too little, and the fact that the same provision now applies to all residential districts in the game feels even worse.

Advertising. Keep scrolling for more

If someone moves from a department that is only a free company, to a department that is only private – as the award has only just been added to both – they take up a space for private bidders, while leaving an empty space that only free companies can offer. While the provision exists that only free companies of a certain age and of a certain size can bid on these plots – I have already seen players play the system, and I fear that before the team manages to rebalance the number of departments for private buyers, any , who do not want to play the system themselves, have even worse time trying to get a house in the coming months and years.

My grandfather has become too powerful, please do not pray for him.

All these quarrels aside – 6.1 has been a great patch and there is still more to come. Dragonsong’s Reprise, the first Ultimate Raid to be added to the game in over 2 years, will definitely be a bang – and Hildibrand’s return in 6.15 along with the additions of a new Tataru-themed sidequest chain will definitely be a lot of fun as well . Then there’s patch 6.18 where players will finally be able to travel in Datacenter, which means I’ll finally get a chance to play with my friends stuck on Aether and Crystal, or vice versa. Endwalker maintained the landing with an excellent expansion, and 6.1 has only kept that momentum going. I can not wait to see how XIV will continue to grow.