Gold Saucer first impressions

Actually, it’s more like a second glance. Yesterday, i visited the Gold Saucer two times- the first time i was very, very enthusiastic about what the Gold Saucer offers, even commenting here that it might be the “end of my levelling”. I went in a second time, and while i’m still enthusiastic about it, i have regained some hope in still bringing my character up in levels. First things first, though.

Overall impression

The Manderville Gold Saucer looks just like what one would expect a casino to look like in a fantasy world like Eorzea. It’s kind of loud, right now very overpopulated, flashy, colourful and there seem to be things to do everywhere.

The info counter
The info counter. Notice how my carbuncle stopped being the most flashy/annoying thing on screen.

The Gold Saucer is designed like most things in FF XIV – it’s somewhat big, but also compact in the sense that there are quite narrow corridors to pass when you go from one attraction to the other. As usual, there’s also a lift- in this case, it’s being used to access the chocobo racing.

Activities

So far, i’ve managed to do three activities more than once- Triple Triad Challenges, Chocobo Racing and the Mini Cactpot. All three are fun in their own ways, but to be honest, i think maybe the most involving game to be found here is Triple Triad, the collectible card game.

Triple Triad

Now this game has quite the potential- first of all, it’s about collectible cards. Then, it is a very easy to understand game- two opponents face each other on a 3×3 grid on which to place their cards. The cards are divided in decks of five, one deck is provided for you after getting access to the card game. Each of these cards has four numbers written at the bottom of the card- the four numbers represent a “value” given to each direction- up, down, left and right. You place the cards and “flip” cards of your opponent that have a lower value on the corresponding side. After all cards but one are placed, the player who “owns” the most cards wins. Easy enough, right?

This can be a huge (and enjoyable) time sink.
This can be a huge (and enjoyable) time sink.

You can challenge NPCs as well as other players- more on the NPCs in the next paragraph, but let’s think about challenging other players- this opens up so much in terms of social gameplay- see, first, it offers a great opportunity for roleplayers. They can sit in a bar, play and roleplay. I’m not really a huge fan of roleplaying around game systems or ignoring lore, game mechanics and other things and prefer RP when it makes use of the ingame systems, complementing them with just enough made-up-stuff that’s necessary to make it work. So this card game is right up my alley in terms of RP. But even if you ignore RP- i’ll just say “Guild Triple Triad Tournaments” or even “Open Triple Triad Tournaments” for the community- i wrote about how a guild needs level-agnostic activities planned and scheduled every once and again, so here’s a game system that makes meeting, talking, playing around and getting to know each other so very attractive.

You can challenge other players in these locations:

  • The Manderville Gold Saucer
  • Limsa Lominsa – Upper Decks, Adventurer’s Guild (X:11 Y:11)
  • New Gridania, Adventurer’s Guild (X:11 Y:13)
  • Ul’dah – Steps of Nald, Adventurer’s Guild (X:11 Y:9)
  • Eastern La Noscea, Costa de Sol (X: 33 Y:31)
  • South Shroud, Buscarron’s Druthers (X:17 Y:19)
  • Central Thanalan, The Coffer & Coffin (X:19, Y:20)
  • Coerthas, The Observatorium (X:26, 28)
  • Mor Dhona, Seventh Heaven (X:21, Y:8)

To the NPCs- they’re scattered around the landscape, not only in the Gold Saucer, so you can meet and challenge them all over the world, at least theoretically (haven’t looked out in the game world yet). Although i have to say, with the starter deck i couldn’t really manage to beat all of the NPCs in the Gold Saucer- only one, to be exact, and maybe having a shot at another one. The two remaining NPCs seem to be off limits with the starter deck. So you’ll need to get additional cards.

New cards can be obtained through MGP (the Gold Saucer currency), by winning matches against NPCs or participating/winning in tournaments that are held in the Gold Saucer. Right now there are 80 cards and different rulesets in the games.

Conclusion: this is longterm-happiness-stuff. Of course, since it’s the latest patch, right now everyone is in the Gold Saucer and playing around with these things. But when the dust settles, i think the card game will hold itself very good and for a long time- the devs can add cards, NPCs, rulesets, locations and so on. Also of note: it’s great to see how enjoyable such a system is when it isn’t tied to a cash shop- in f2p games, stuff like this will be monetized- while i don’t take real issue with this, i still think it’s very relaxing to have such a system without having the feeling to miss out somewhat if you’re not spending money.

Chocobo Racing

I’ve run two races in Chocobo Racing. To be able to participate in the races, you’ll have to:

  • talk to the NPC at Chocobo Square in the Gold Saucer
  • travel to the black shroud and talk to an npc there
  • talk to that same npc again (don’t miss this or you’ll have to travel back and forth again….not that this happened to me or something)
  • go back to the Gold Saucer, register your racing chocobo and finish the training course

On the track, the chocobos run by themselves. You have the option to accelerate your chocobo, but it might get depleted (?), so you’ll have to take a break in acceleration. Using acceleration will also make use of the stamina of your chocobo and if you reach 0%, you’ll not be able to accelerate anymore. You can also steer the chocobo to the left and right of the track, thereby making use of an “ideal track” or to reach bonuses/abilities that spawn on the track. There’s speed boosts as well as some “skills” to debuff the other participants of the race.

It’s too early to come to a real conclusion here- it seems to have some potential, and if you could access the races as a group- well, see above. Guild Racing Events would be a nice thing, too. There’s also the breeding aspect, where you can look for a good partner for your chocobo and let them breed a new racing chocobo. But i’ll have to look into this part of the minigame later.

Mini Cactpot

Oh, this is easy. But this is also something one could do each and every day, in the beginning or in the end of a session. It’s simple: you buy a card containing a 3×3 grid of numbers. One number is visible to you and you can select three other numbers to display. Based on what you see, you can make a guess and select one row (horizontal, vertical or diagonal) and your prize is determined by the sum of the numbers in your selected row. Simple enough, isn’t it? Yes, but it’s fun in being a combination of riddle and luck.

All in all, great fun and great opportunities arise with all that stuff that is available through this patch. I’m really looking forward to trying it some more, but i think some levelling will come first- of course, excluding one trip to the Gold Saucer just to play Mini Cactpot 😉

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