A substantial patch for Final Fantasy 14 just went live, changing up the MMORPG's party system in a big way. Players had complained that it was a little sterile, with minimal options for customisation. Now, players can recruit each other for cross-server parties, form password-protected private parties and keep their Chocobo companions summoned when they have registered for duties.
Patch 3.5 added a cross-server party finder to the game. So not only can cross-server parties register for the duty-finder and raid-finder, but the pool for potential parties (and friends!) is now much, much larger. But FF14 players may be disappointed by the new feature's limitations: They can't form alliances or do FATEs, quest battles, treasure hunts or deep dungeons with cross-world parties. A more obvious limitation is that players can't recruit each other from across data centres -- just servers.
To start a cross-world party, hit the "Recruit Members Across Data Center" option under the "Recruitment Criteria" menu. It's now a default option.
FF14 also added an option to form a private party. These are password-protected, so you can hit the Binding Coil of Bahamut with your exclusive A-team.
With Patch 3.5, players can also use several filters and a new search feature to find the exact type of party they're looking for, filtering by the level of privacy, objective type, recruiter name and so on. And, if you're like me and you're too shy to ask a good player you've partied with to be friends, you can now look them up with the "Contact List" feature, which names the last 50 people you've partied with via the duty or raid finders. The reverse is also true -- if you've been griefed or harassed by a random player from a party, you can hold them accountable even if you forget their name.
Some other fun updates: Players with the Summoner job can change the appearance of their Egi (although the quest to unlock that is for level 50 players) and a few new mounts, hairstyles and emotes have been added.