As part of the ‘Before The Fall’ trio of patches readying Final Fantasy XIV for the upcoming expansion, Heavensward, patch 2.51 adds two extremely fun new features that is sure to keep adventurers amused for hours to come. These three additions pay homage to two games in the FF franchise that is very dear to me, which makes this GGS-er extremely excited to dive in!
Before I get started with the first one though, I invite you to listen to this tune whilst you read:
First up, we have the Manderville Gold Saucer, located in the Thanalan region of Eorzea!
The Manderville Gold Saucer will strike a chord with those who have played Final Fantasy VII as it is an Eorzean equivalent of the amusement park within the game, right down to having an arrangement of the tune we’re listening to right now!
Within this amusement park are arcade machines where you can win points, including games like Monster Toss (analogous to the Basketball game in FFVII) and Cuff-a-Cur, where you have to punch Gilgamesh as hard as you can!
Golden Saucer Active Time Events (GATEs) are fun little group events where adventurers fulfil objectives to win big! One such event could involve asking all adventurers in the area to show off their best dancing moves.
If you’re a gambling adventurer, then the Cactpots offer a way to win lots of points in short games of chance. If you think along the lines of the scratcards that corner shops often sell, then you’re on the right track.
Winning points in cactpots, arcades or other such activities in the Golden Saucer can earn you Manderville Gold Saucer Points (MGPs). These points can be spent to unlock gear for your adventurer or your Chocobo. MGP can also be spent on the other two additions within the Manderville Gold Saucer. Speaking of which…
Time for a tune change!
In the Gold Saucer, you can train up a Chocobo and race it against fellow adventurers and their Chocobos. I’ve yet to fully dive into this properly, but training and breeding Chocobos are key to getting better and faster Chocobos to win all the races.
Racing is very similar to the racing that was available in FFVII control of the Chocobo is mildly limited, with the key control involving the management of the stamina bar and timing when to instruct your Chocobo to sprint. Once the maximum potential of your Chocobo is achieved, you can retire it and send it off with another Chocobo to breed, in the hope that you get a better Chocobo as a result!
Now, for the next feature it’s time to change the record once more. This time we look towards Final Fantasy VIII for a certain card game…
This is potentially the most interesting out of the bunch for me, as it opens up lots of replayability in already existing dungeons and raids to try and collect those all important cards.
Triple Triad was a mini-game in FFVIII and it makes a return in FFXIV with the ability to take on various NPCs at the game (just like the original) but also against other adventurers in-game.
You win by having the most cards in the 3×3 deck in your colour. Enemy cards can be changed to your colour by having a higher number than the other card when placed next to each other. It has a surprising amount of strategy to the game, and a vast array of rule variations that can randomly appear helps to keep the game from going stale.
Those points that you can win in the Gold Saucer can be used to buy new cards, with value depending on their rarity. However, there is also a huge swathe of cards that can be collected by completing dungeons or trials. Unlocking specific achievements can also unlock cards. For example, beating 30 NPCs at Triple Triad will earn you the Squall Lionheart card. Various other characters from across the franchise are also available as cards. Cloud Strife from FFVII, for example, can be yours for a cool 1 million Gold Saucer Points. Prepare for lots of point farming!
One of the things I love most about Final Fantasy XIV is how much it casts an eye back to other games in the franchise, triggering all manners of nostalgia when they occur. This patch is one enormous cake-flavoured tower of nostalgia that’s simply sublime.
So… I better get back to collecting those cards!