Final Fantasy 14 director doesn't have any plans to change 'the structure' of Dawntrail's patches, but its Bozja-like field exploration zone 'will be larger in scale than the content we've had in the past'

The Hero of Light slashes with paired daggers.
(Image credit: Square Enix)

The reception to the post-Endwalker patch cycle in Final Fantasy 14 has been decidedly tepid. Aside from a mixed reaction to the main story, the community has been split in opinion over new additions like Island Sanctuary and Variant Dungeons, with complaints around a lack of midcore content and meaningful rewards permeating discussion. I offered my own feelings on where things were at last year, and fellow Eorzea dweller Harvey Randall dove into the state of Final Fantasy 14 earlier this year.

It's drummed up thoughts around whether the current post-expansion patch structure—which has largely remained the same across the last decade—needs to change. Some are pretty down with the comfort of knowing what's coming and when, while I've seen murmurings over the last couple of years from folk who want to see the team breaking the mould a little.

Personally, I'm not too sure what camp I fall into. While I am a creature of habit and enjoy knowing exactly when I can lose myself in the next batch of Savage raids or spend far too long fawning over the Alliance Raid armour, I've found myself repeatedly dropping off the game since patch 6.2. I was curious to know director and producer Naoki Yoshida's thoughts on how patches are structured, and whether he intends to shake things up.

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Thankfully, I had a chance to sit down and chat with him during the Dawntrail media tour last month, so I was able to put the question forward to him. The short answer? The team has no intention of making any drastic changes any time soon, but don't be disheartened just yet. "With regards to feedback that players might grow tired of this cadence, this was something that we factored in when we were planning the fundamental basis right back at the time of A Realm Reborn," Yoshida tells me.

Ultimately, according to Yoshida, the benefits of having a set schedule for each expansion's major content outweigh the risks. He also claims that it not only benefits the players—so they know what's coming and when—but it makes things a lot easier on the developers too, making things more efficient for the team and therefore easier to push out all the raids and whatnot.

"The benefit for the players is that when they know about this patch structure, they know for sure that when the patch hits, they know what content they can expect," he continues "And this is different to other MMOs where sometimes there suddenly comes a time when there's no content being provided at all, or there's no longer a patch being provided. However, by planning our content release in this way for the past 10 years, we've had a firm foundation and we haven't faced a situation where we've had any deviation from that foundation."

It's a fair assessment to make, and I can imagine having a pretty clear-cut path from the get-go makes it a lot easier for the team to pump content out at a reasonable pace. But while we can continue to expect the base foundation many have familiarised themselves with, that doesn't mean Yoshida and the team are getting too comfy with it.

(Image credit: Square Enix)

"From the patch 7.x series we are going to be focusing on developing the new style of field operation content and this will be larger in scale than the content we've had in the past, and we do plan to update this with each patch as well. So by going through this process of adding more content with each major update, we are aiming for an ideal situation where players will no longer be tired and we will be able to provide more unique content and so this is basically the plan that we have for the 7.x series."

As someone who was a big Bozja enjoyer and sorely missed having something like it during Endwalker, the prospect of a new large-scale field operation has me very excited. It's entirely too easy to sink several hundred hours into a zone like that, as I've done across both Bozja and Stormblood's Eureka, and should be a good way to keep the droughtier patches chugging along. But that's not all Yoshida has up his sleeve: There's some stuff we haven't even been told about yet.

"Also, we are working on new content which we haven't announced yet. And so I would not be able to share any details about that here," Yoshida tells me. "But in addition to that, we are also working on adding more rewards. Previously, we received feedback that the Variant Dungeons, the rewards for those were not so good. And so then they weren't so much of an incentive for people to go and participate in the rewards. But we are working on adding more rewards so that there would be more of an incentive to play the content and we are intending to build [on it] so that the structure is more enhanced."

It seems like Yoshida and the team have definitely been paying attention to the snags hit during Endwalker's patch cycle, and I genuinely have a lot of faith that things are going to be a lot more engaging this time round. Yoshida has already touched on better Variant Dungeon rewards in previous livestreams, as well as trying to increase rewards given from these kinds of things 1.5x by the time patch 7.3 rolls around, but hearing it reaffirmed will no doubt come as a relief. I do applaud the post-Endwalker patches for trying to introduce new features—even if they have needed a bit of fine-tuning to make them more fun—and the feedback taken on board can only do good things for Dawntrail's future.

Mollie Taylor
Features Producer

Mollie spent her early childhood deeply invested in games like Killer Instinct, Toontown and Audition Online, which continue to form the pillars of her personality today. She joined PC Gamer in 2020 as a news writer and now lends her expertise to write a wealth of features, guides and reviews with a dash of chaos. She can often be found causing mischief in Final Fantasy 14, using those experiences to write neat things about her favourite MMO. When she's not staring at her bunny girl she can be found sweating out rhythm games, pretending to be good at fighting games or spending far too much money at her local arcade.