I've been struggling to put this down into words, but having had a discussion with a few other people, I feel it's high time to actually try.
Let me preface this post by explaining that I genuinely love Final Fantasy XIV, I've played from 1.0 right through till now, and plan to play onwards, I love the Free Company that I founded, and I love being within the world. But I am concerned. Yoshida mentioned in an interview yesterday that they wouldn't add any 1v1 because it could disrupt the balance of PvE with how skills work - now putting aside the fact that skills already work differently in PvP, why can't we have this? Just for the sake of having fun? We don't need a reward progression structure, just more content to play and have fun with. But there seems to be more behind the lack of content variety that I would like to talk about Final Fantasy XIV Gil
Throughout the 2.X series, it was almost a staple formula for what we expected in a patch; Main Scenario, Side Quests, Beast Tribe, EX Primal, 3 Dungeons, 24-Raid OR 8-Raid. Although this seems something that is likely to continue through the 3.X series as well, which isn't bad, I love new content, but lets talk about each of these a bit further.
Dungeons: Thematically and visually, the Dungeons are great, throughout Heavenward it's always refreshing to push through these Dungeons and complete them. However, every single Dungeon follows the same pattern -> Trash -> Mediocre Boss -> Trash -> Mediocre Boss -> Trash -> Final Boss - an incredibly linear pattern. Why is it not possible to have some variety? Are the developers so focused in their way of working that they don't want to try anything new? Is it a if it isn't broke, don't fix it situation? Why can't 1/3 of the new dungeons be "Hard", and mean it, with challenging content and bosses that reward a surplus in Esoterics or whatever?
I was genuinely excited at the prospect of using Flying Mounts in Neverreap, and journeying to these Islands in any order you see fit to progress - alas it didn't turn out that way, and was instead a linear path. Remember 1.23 Toto-Rak with three different final bosses depending on the route you took through the Dungeon? Fantastic! Of course repeating it a thousand times wasn't, but there was interesting variety - even doing the Temple of Qarn puzzle each time in FFXIV still makes me happy. "Flame Left, Strawberry Right. Because Strawberries grown in the RIGHT conditions!".
Those that played 1.23~ will remember the difficulty of Cutter's Cry, Aurum Vale and Dzaemel Darkhold, not so difficult as to be impossible or gating, but hard enough to be challenging and to have to play your role correctly to complete them. Even in the 2.0 Alpha, we had Tam-Tara Deepcroft with side-paths and sub-bosses that weren't part of the critical path. This was removed however, as people found it "too confusing". Why can't we have this back?
We were told before that Heavensward would be more difficult and designed differently because A Realm Reborn catered to people who are new to the MMO genre, and Heavensward is for the players, those that have progressed - yet nothing has changed in the new content we've seen so far.
Story Content & Gear Something that I expect to never see the light of the day is any form of challenging story content. I LOVED progressing through Final Coil and hitting them milestones of story, it felt rewarding, and it felt right. One of the best applauded moments of the Main Scenario of Heavensward was the Halatali Instance, and the Hinterlands battle with the Goblins Instance - the first due to progressing through a solo dungeon with NPCs, it was new - and the second due to everything happening and the little difficulty presented by it, depending on the job you were on.
With Alexander, and now Savage, I feel little push to go through this content aside from gaining very small ground from vertical progressed gear that is not required for anything but min-maxing - this gear won't be crucial in the future, nor will it give an edge in future content, as it will likely be replaced in Patch 3.15 or similar. I hate to bring up FFXI, as I know the sort of response it can receive around here, but when you got a piece of end-game gear in XI, such as Byakko's Haidate, Relic, or what-not, it was a permanent piece in your arsenal for months or years to come - it was worth it - and that's without even mentioning the Horizontal Progression, and multiple end-game sets that was present in both XI and 1.23.
Group Content Am I the only one that wants challenging content for smaller groups? Yoshida mentioned before that ARR was focused on 8 man hardcore content, and it would likely change in the future where they would make either four man hardcore content, or maybe 16 man - I believe this was an interview. But with Heavensward now here, it seems likely that the norm from 2.0 will continue here too. While the 8-man content is good and challenging (absolute gear checks aside), there is a missing difficulty outside of anything 8-man that I think needs filled. I would love to do hardcore 4-man content that requires everyone to be playing at their absolute best.
Content Variety We always know what to expect with new content (3 Dungeons, New Raid, etc,etc) and that's why I'm genuinely excited for the Free Company Airship stuff mentioned previously because it's something unseen and new. To me it sounds like a sort of procedurally generated terrain that allows your FC to explore as a group to find new items, enemies and so on. This is brand new content that sounds exciting and engaging. Assuming it's more difficult than a Peisteskin Map - and while difficulty isn't the be all end all of design, it certainly helps in making something feel rewarding. Looking back once again to 1.23, we had Chocobo Caravans and Hamlet Defence which while boring when repeated, were still something new and interesting at the time.
Conclusively, I would like the patch formula to change, I would like buy ffxiv gil
content to be a bit more difficult, and for everything to not be catered towards absolute completion on a daily challenge - outside of just vertical gear progression (Savage) that is quickly replaced.
Do we want to be sitting here two years from now, excited for 4.2's brand new linear 3 dungeons, 1 raid, side quests, and main scenario? I'm genuinely worried that the developers are scared of trying something new for fear of alienating their playerbase, so they will be playing it safe from now on.
tl;dr - Content variety is all very same-y and we know what to expect. Patch formula hasn't changed, and content looks to be continuing the same trend in Heavensward - I hope at some point it changes to cater the midcore crowd.
Edit: I also forgot to mention the whole PvP thing - for the sake of lore (which I understand is important) they would rather stick to that than give the players a free 72-man PvP that FRIENDS can play together and have fun with. Queue times would be reduced, you could still get EXP/Marks for your company, there is literally NO negative to creating a FREE 72 Man PvP. Restricting EVERYTHING to GC with no option to play in pre-made groups with friends is making PvP very undesirable.