First off, it’s Blaugust 2015, so it’s a great time to be a reader of MMO and gaming blogs. You get a deluge of posts, every day! Blaugust is a project where the challengers post a blog post on every day of the month August, kinda like Belghast does every day. Insanity. I didn’t last a week, so I am never going to participate, but I am cheering all you Blaugust folks on. Best of luck, and looking forward to reading lots of cool stuff.
As I described last month, I went back to FFXIV, and the longer I play it, the deeper it gets its hooks in me. I am pretty sure it’s not for everyone but it’s exactly what feels right for me. I realize it’s easy to come in so late into a game and feel the amount of content is absolutely overwhelming. If I had my first WoW character now, would I feel the amount of content is overwhelming? Probably so. I peruse the FFXIV Reddit at times, and know people have already burnt through the expansion content or get bored with it, so some things never change. Content locusts will go anywhere.
As I predicted, I didn’t really continue leveling my dragoon job. I fell in love with healing and picked up the White Mage job. I leveled White Mage to 50 and completed the 2.0 main story on her. White Mage feels a lot like vanilla-style priest. You have a fairly large toolkit of healing spells. You have Cure I and Cure II, your bread and butter healing spells single-target spell. Medica I is your AoE heal, Medica II adds a HoT to it. You have a HoT called Regen. Forget about ever pre-hotting anyone though in a dungeon, because it’s an open invitation for any mob to descend on you and eat your face. Healing threat is a thing, yo! FFXIV comes with tools to monitor your threat level on a mob and especially early in a pull it’s a bit of a risk to heal. Or in fights with adds. Oy. Furthermore, you have something like Lay on Hands and you can combat rez. The White Mage brings nothing to the table that you haven’t done before in any other game, but it’s a very solid healing class. Soloing as White Mage is a bit of a chore as your damage arsenal is quite limited, but with stance dancing (you have a DPS stance) you can pretty much go on for a veeeeery long time.
FFXIV does something I have come to adore, a series of class quests. Every 5 levels, you get a specific quest that usually involves solo instances and teach you quite a few tricks of your class while also awarding you new abilities. The White Mage class quest awards you a great set of level 45 gear plus the same gear for level 50 at a high item level, as a catch up mechanism for Heavensward. Pretty sweet. I have missed class quests. Some of my favorite memories from classic WoW are the Whirlwind warrior quest chain that had you travel the world, or the various shaman quests to learn new totems. The loss of those quests have killed a lot of flavor. I am looking forward to experiencing all the class storylines, and their unique characters. Let me tell you, those thaumaturge lalafell masters? Utterly creepy, one and all! Speaking of creepers, lalafell are really the worst.
When I hit level 50, I bought the expansion, for the sole reason to get my experience bar moving again. The Heavensward content is completely locked behind the storyline content of the main game, which I am not anywhere near finished with. I finished the 2.0 story of A Realm Reborn on Sunday and am currently working on the 2.1 story content. I don’t mind at all, I am in no rush. In fact, I regret I missed A Realm Reborn endgame, because I would love to do beast tribe dailies. Mounts, I want more mounts! I find I love daily quests so what’s not to love. Not enough hours in the day is a problem. Of course, I am maybe glad I missed ARR endgame because the end of the 2.0 storyline nearly made me ragequit FFXIV to never come back. It is total bullshit for any latecomer to the game. I apologize to @KerynWeylan, who accompanied me to that part of the game and who got to bear the brunt of my rage.
To finish the 2.0 story, you have to run three full-party (8-man) instances. A trial called Cape Westwind, which is pretty much a one room boss-fight, and two dungeons, Castrum Meridianum and The Praetorium. Apparently, everyone who’s played FFXIV for a while used to farm those two dungeons for endgame currency that running them awards. Which means it’s like people running old school UBRS, taking every possible shortcut and roflstomping their way through. However, if it’s your first time there, you get all the story cut scenes. I mean, just about every trash pull advanced the story. Even with me skipping them after they started playing (you can replay all the cut scenes in your innroom), I was far behind everyone else and managed to get locked out of boss fights which automatically lock the room after 15 seconds. Besides, it was really ridiculous how easy Castrum Meridianum was. A total snoozefest, which Keryn easily solo-healed. I really hate speedruns, and I really detest crushing and outleveling group content. I hate being carried. My mood was black.
Keryn told me the Praetorium would be better but if you ask me, it was even worse! There’s a section where you get to control a vehicle. Unfortunately I did not know you need to click on something earlier in the dungeon to be able to get a vehicle. What kind of shitty design is this? I ran back to find whatever I was supposed to click on, but found nothing. While I ran around like an idiot, I got one cutscene after the other because the rest of the party continued to kill bosses. I even got myself killed to use the dungeon shortcut, only to end up at the vehicle again that I couldn’t use. My blood pressure was through the roof, and I was about to drop party, when I got automatically ported to the end boss. Even the massive amount of cut scenes and proclamations of me being a total badass hero didn’t help. If you didn’t actually get to feel like a hero through gameplay, it’s all moot. It was entirely disappointing.
I am only sticking it out now because those dungeons are considered a failed experiment and there are not going to be any others like that in my near future. If they were, it would spell the end of my FFXIV, I kid you not.
I haven’t really touched any crafting yet. It’s definitely not the queue and forget kind of crafting, or the crippled version of crafting from WoD. Crafting is leveled like a normal character class, with class quests, special gear to craft better, dailies, and a lot of time invested to craft perfect, high quality things. I think I want to be a culinarian, because who doesn’t like cooking?
This post might sound overly negative because of the crappy end of 2.0, but I enjoy pretty much all other aspects. It’s a gorgeous game, a bit quirky for sure. I love you can play any class on your character, and tanking and healing remind me how much I missed the old threat game. DPS classes have a certain complexity, reading about dragoon rotations made my head explode, e.g. Dungeons are really fantastic. The first few are very easy, but the higher you level, the more challenging they become. I am very engaged healing them, and the level sync feature means you can’t really outlevel them.
I’ll end this post with a couple scenic screenshots I took of my catgirl, who is easily the most cutesy character I have ever played in an MMO. But seriously, she’s the most fierce catgirl you’ll ever meet, trust me!