Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Grading the July Update.

Initial reactions are never a good grade of how good anything really is, and this update is no exception. Iceblazek went from hating the update as he was downloading it, to absolutely loving it when it appeared that we may have been killing the first Amphiptere on Odin and maybe even the whole game.

After an enjoyable night testing out new mobs and the new Union system even I have to admit I was much more pleased with this update than I thought I was going to be. To evaluate this update though, we need to look at other updates and juxtapose this one with those to get an idea of just how good it is. The last update was on-balance pretty disappointing, in fact, I didn't really remember what was added in the last update, so I had to check. There were some significant additions, but nothing really said "new" like we have had in the past. There were four significant additions in the April Update. 1) The new WHM JA's (and the RDM and SMN additions), 2) ANNM's and Augmented Items, 3) Gobbiebag expansion. There was definitely more and people will love pointing out the things I missed, I am sure.

Compare that to this update and we can see that this update is probably a little better overall. We got two new zones, which is something we really haven't gotten in almost a year and a half. Included in those zones are three new mobs and several potential melee and BLM XP areas. We got new JA's for NIN, which I believe was sorely in need of some kind of improvement to balance them with PLD. Now, I still believe that those improvements don't fix what is really needed for NIN, which is a bit more survivability.

The Union system is definitely interesting and rewards doing Campaign even if you have to be lucky to get those rewards. It definitely spices up Campaign a bit. We got the long awaited Campaign bodies which were about as good as I expected, the tanking body is great but the rest of them are pretty mediocre. Finally, we have a little bit of a surprise in the large number of Wings missions that were added. There are other things that still need to be determined, like the quality of the Fairy weapon quests and if this FoV stuff is even worth it.

Overall, I would have given the last update about a C- and this update was a little better than the last, that being said, and even considering the positive things I have said so far, this update doesn't really have that much going for it either. New zones are nice, but you need to have a reason to be in those zones besides just doing Campaign. New JA's are good too, but why do they share a recast and have diminishing effects? Union is decent, but the rewards are pretty weak and will soon flood the market and crush the cost of all of the items, except for the ancient currency which don't drop very much at all. One of the Campaign bodies is good, the rest are in line with the "mehness" of the other parts of the set.

I am holding out hope for the Fairy weapons, the packs of mobs you have to fight to get the rewards looks pretty difficult. I am thinking it will take more than a party to handle these and it looks like at least some of them resist sleep. The additional effects for these looked pretty good in the preview, but so did the FoV ones and we all know how they turned out.

So far I am giving this update a C+, but I still have my pen out and I am willing to improve the grade if things turn out to be better with the Fairy weapons. This update still has the problems that I had discussed before. It is tiny, it is uninspiring, it is flawed and it feels like there isn't anyone at SE that is motivating the forward momentum of the game right now. I can't wait until this cycle of crappy scenarios is over, but we still have at least one more coming before we get a regular update without all of this fluff. We can only really judge the direction of the game at that point.

1 comment:

Qtipus said...