Monday, June 29, 2015

X12 Buff Progression: Inquest for the Inquiring Inquisitor and FFXIV

After powering through three class stories (bounty hunter, consular, knight) in as many weeks, I've decided to relax quite a bit and take the Inquisitor at my own leisurely pace.  I'm feeling a certain amount of reticence in leveling my Chissquisitor; this is last class story I have left before 'seeing it all.'  Well, seeing the class stories, anyways.  It takes a bit off the shine of SWTOR knowing that I'll be seeing new class stuff for the very last time.

I've done Makeb a couple of times and found it to be competent.  I've yet to experience the Shadow of Revan stuff, but from all accounts it is well done and intensely fascinating.  I may hold off on that for a while just to prolong my game experience; after all, I'm very intent on taking SWTOR as casually as possible this time around to avoid inevitable burnout.  And that means trying new things and taking time off from the game if I need to.

Nowadays, I busy myself with being outside, playing my Xbox One with my son (Forza Horizon 2 is a particular favorite of ours), and trying out new games.  Or more accurately, trying older games I haven't played in a while.

Enter Elder Scrolls Online!  Again!

TESO captivated my interest from the early announcements.  It looked like Oblivion (but prettier) and played like Skyrim (at least later in development).  There are several very cool things about it (good starting races, good starting zones) and some bad things (lol auction house wtf, twitchy combat).  Mainly, my wife plays it a lot and I sometimes watch her and think, HUH.  Maybe I should do that again!

TESO can't catch a break.

I downloaded two MMOs over the weekend.  One was TESO.  I won't be playing that any time soon, thanks to the *other* MMO I downloaded.  On a whim, and it was a complete and utter whim, I also downloaded the trial for FFXIV: A Realm Reborn.

Now, I played the original FFXIV on a trial account early on.  To say that I hated it would be a shockingly inaccurate statement.  I *loathed* that game.  The opening cutscenes on the ship, the 15 minutes of voiceover, the hilariously bad menus and UI.  God, everything about original FFXIV was 'wtf lol dis game suxxx' bad; the combat, the graphics, even the chatbox.  I tried it and dropped it almost immediately.  It's important to remember that my only real MMO experience prior to FFXIV Original Flavor™ was World of Warcraft (and to a lesser degree Puzzle Pirates).

Then came a cavalcade of other MMOs, including SWTOR.  I tried EQ2 as well and found that I enjoyed it a bit despite the busy and antiquated UI.  Rift came and went; while it was a bit clunky, I appreciated what Trion was trying to do.  Some Perfect World MMOs came after that, so generic and bland that I've forgotten their names.  There was TESO as well, and a trial of Wildstar which did not impress me at all.  Heck, I even tried MMO shooters like World of Tanks (nope), World of Planes (better but didn't last long on my HD), War Thunder (better than WoP but still not good), and Destiny (bought it on sale, ok for a time, got old fast).

The only one besides WoW that really stuck to me was SWTOR.  That may have changed yesterday morning.

I booted up the trial of FFXIV: ARR (which is now pronounced in my head 'Fix-iv arrrrr') and was pretty impressed with the visual style.  Even the start screen was snazzy.  The character creator was pretty outstanding as well; it may be missing all the sliders and customization of TESO's crazy editor, but it had more than enough options to make me happy.  Much more than SWTOR or WoW's creators, that's for sure.

The opening cinematic definitely lets you know you're playing a Japanese RPG.  It's weird and makes no sense, but not in a horribly awful way.  I generally dislike JRPGs intensely, so the fact that this one did not immediately piss me off was a good sign.  The opening scenes aren't skippable, which makes it rough if you create more than 1 or 2 characters though.

The game starts you off in 1 of 3 different cities based on starting class;

  • Limsa Lominsa for Marauders and Arcanist: A beautiful seaport that boasts some truly inventive vertical design.
  • Gridania for Lancers, Archers, and Conjurers: A fairly standard woodland realm that's sprawled out and mildly inconvenient to traverse.
  • Ul'dah for Pugilists, Gladiators, and Thaumaturges: A desert city with all the Arabian trappings you'd suspect.  I've spent the least amount of time here so far and can't really give a good indication of what it's like.

So far, the game is interesting and fun.  In stark contrast to Warlords of Draenor, FFXIV's world feels alive and bustling.  There are an immense amount of NPCs wandering around in cities and small towns, enough to make it feel like a real place, and they interact with your character for the most part.  The creature density is pretty damn high in the wilderness, though thankfully (at least early on) most of them are not aggro-on-sight.  Leveling is a steady process, with decent pace and excellent quest writing.  All in all, I'm pretty impressed.

I started as a 14-day trial account, but since the base game is only $20 and includes a free month, I signed up for the whole shebang.  I'll be interested to see my engagement level in 30 days; will FFXIV stay with me like SWTOR did?  It's off to a promising start ... but then again, so was Rift.

I'll report again with my impressions beyond the starting zones soon!

4 comments:

  1. First, welcome to FFXIV. Big player myself.

    As such, I wanted to mention a few things for a beginner:
    1) That choice you got at the beginning of the game with the meddler, decided what ring he would give you. So, yeah, you should have a ring if you haven't equipped it yet.

    2) Your advanced class - Job - requires you to get your base class to level 30 and a secondary class to 15. Along with that, you will want to level a third to get certain cross class skills.

    3) You don't have to do most of the side quests and it's actually better to save them for easy experience gain for your second and third class. FATEs, your hunting logue, and main scenario - the mandatory story - is enough to level you through most of it now.

    4) Mandatory grouping.

    5) You want to do Guildhests, the original three Primal Hard Mode, and Temple of Qarn Normal because they become mandatory to proceed.

    6) Expect trash battles, fetch quests, delivery quests, and quests that send you to talk to people in the main scenario.

    7) Have fun with it.

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    1. Thanks for the tips! I'll admit that I'm a bit of an altoholic when it comes to MMOs, though FFXIV doesn't lend itself too well to that (apparently?). I've created a few characters to try out the classes and so far my favorites have been Pugilist and Archer. Also, I'm a bit of a completionist, so I've been belting out the quests at a pretty quick clip .... so I may screwed myself XP wise. I'll apply your tips going forward though.

      I don't mind the fetch/delivery/kill quests too much, really. To me, that's what an MMO is early on. The hunting log reminds me of SWTOR's area quests that auto-complete, so that's extremely nice.

      So far, super impressed with the game. It's very polished and engaging.

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    2. You don't really have alternate characters in FFXIV. One character can be all classes, so if you start with gladiator, you can just go over to the pugilist guild and pick up that class (at level 10 or so).

      Then, whenever you switch weapons, you automatically switch to the other class. You level each class separately. It's like having alts, but all on one character.

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    3. Yeah, that's the rub for me right now. I'm still trying to decide which character I really want to play. I thought I'd be happy with the huge Roegadyn but they just come off as a bit goofy. Miquote and Hyur are in the lead right now, but 'cute cat girl' is a bit on the nose for me. Oh well, I'll probably wind up having 2-3 characters just for funsies. I know it's counterintuitive, but hey.

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