Well, we are creeping up on Golden Week here in Japan—a weeklong vacation packed with some of Japan’s finest holiday offerings. But for now it’s still business as usual in the office for Yoshida and crew.

Patches 1.17 and 1.17a are good and done, and we’ve started work on the next patch—appropriately named 1.18.

1.18 is going to be relatively bigger than previous patches. This means that balancing is going to take more time than usual, and so we’re anticipating a somewhat longer period between patches. Even if we break off some of the content and release it ahead of time in a 1.17b patch (which me might!), 1.18 will still go live sometime in mid-June at the earliest. Sorry for that.

But good things come to those who wait! Dungeons designed for ranks 30 and 50 are on their way, and 1.18 will see the start of our reworking of the battle system, as we bring in some changes to that area.

Also, we’re planning to introduce various new encampments that will serve as quest hubs. We’re in the process of testing these now on our development servers, and I strong-armed one of the designers in charge into handing over some screenshots for me to post here.

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From top to bottom, those are encampments in the Gridania, Limsa Lominsa, and Ul'dah regions. In this way, we’re going to gradually increase the number of public areas with quest hubs. We also have some beast tribe versions in the works, but it’s looking like those will have to wait until 1.19.

By the by, this is still under development, but here’s what the beast tribe equivalent is looking like.

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I’ll continue to drop more details on future patch content on the Lodestone forums, and in these letters as well. Akihiko Matsui, our lead battle planner, will also be posting on the forums in the near future regarding some of the new battle concepts we have planned.

Come mid-May, the vanguards of the Grand Companies will be the first to brave Eorzea’s newly discovered dungeons. Their preliminary reports will be made available on the Grand Companies page on the Lodestone, so be sure to check it out!

Instanced dungeons will provide a means to further solidify the bonds of the Maelstrom, the Immortal Flames, and the Order of the Twin Adder. The Grand Companies are large-scale organizations that will play an active role in the events going on in Eorzea as they happen, so be on the lookout!

In my next letter, I’ll be sure to update the list of game changes. (Sorry it’s been so long...)

Until then! And for players in Japan, I hope you enjoy Eorzea over your Golden Week!

Oh, and one more thing, I’ve seen some auto-translations of some of my posts going up on the forums. A recent one concerning synthesis actually starting spreading some misinformation before our official translation came out. I know I post at crazy hours sometimes, and that there are time lags, but ask that you please refrain from posting these translations in the forums. Thanks, and talk to you again soon!