Tag: Final Fantasy XIV ARR

So, about that crafting in Final Fantasy XIV

Sometimes you’ll read about the crafting in Final Fantasy XIV, and how it is implemented in a good way- to be honest, i don’t think there’s a much better way to have crafting in your themepark- but maybe it doesn’t click with you. Maybe you write a comment that you’d like to read more about that on a blog and maybe the blogger responds on the spot. So, before i might dive deeper into the crafting in FF14, let’s take a look at the reasons why i think it is special- and also, why i think you should craft if you’re playing Final Fantasy XIV.

It’s integrated into the game

Gathering in Final Fantasy XIV
Gathering in Final Fantasy XIV – you have options!

No trash

It all starts with loot. When you kill a mob, you’ll get items, like in any other game out there. The difference is- i don’t think there’s something like “trash” in Final Fantasy XIV. At least i didn’t encounter it yet. Everything i saw is either craftable, consumable or wearable. The only thing to sell to vendors i saw is a selectable quest reward you choose when you already have the other items.

Levels

As you might know, you can do and be everything with one character in FF14. I read somewhere that this isn’t the optimal solution, that it’s better to have 2 or 3 characters sharing all the available classes and jobs, but i can’t remember why. The gathering and crafting jobs in Final Fantasy 14 have their own level progression- and it’s a progress, alright. Now, i am pretty low-level still, but i can only guess how, for example, the gathering progress evolves in later levels- more dangerous mobs around the nodes, more hidden, rare materials and so on.

Quests

Yes, i know there are crafting quests in many MMOs. Rift has them, for instance. But what they grant is, mostly, adventuring experience. In FF14 you’ll level your crafting class while completing them. As all other classes, the crafting classes also have their “class story” quests- you’ll get one every five levels. When you reached level 10, you’ll be able to do leves, as well. And, of course, the grand company you join will have some tasks for you. Generally, the leves are considered the best way to level your crafting class.

Equipment

Crafters do have their own equipment with corresponding stats- they’ll help you in finding more or better materials while gathering and help with rising quality when crafting items. Raising quality is worth the effort, every time, because even if you don’t get a high quality item, you’ll get more experience the higher your chance for doing so is.

An involved progress

Crafting in FF14 is very involved. It begins with searching for the ingredients- in FF14, it’s not as simple as “in zones from level 1-10 you’ll get bronze, in zones from level 11-20 you’ll get silver” and so on. Sure, if you are, say, a weaver, there’ll be one spot to get your cotton bolls from, but the Botanist (the corresponding gathering class) can gather so much more- stuff for provisioning, alchemy and others, i think. So you’ll have to travel to get the materials for something you want to craft.

While crafting, you’ll use skills, just as you’d do while fighting. There are skills to increase the quality of an item, to raise your chance to find a high quality version of an ingredient and others. While this is relatively simple and something a macro could simplify even more, it still is something that makes you think. At least sometimes, for now, i’m using the same pattern everytime i craft something, but my guess is that this will change later on.

Hunting Doe in Final Fantasy XIV
Hunting Doe for beast sinews

There’ll also be ingredients you’ll really have to look for- yesterday, i needed beast sinews- i knew the guild supplier sells them, but i wanted to look for them, myself. I found out which animals drop them and went out, hunting. Here’s another thing- the crafting feeds the adventuring classes, too, because when i think about it, this hunting would have gone a lot better if i had a dps class ready for the task.

You can also just craft everything that’s in your crafting log- since you get a considerable amount of bonus experience when you craft something for the first time, you’ll get some progress along with the knowledge of how to make something and how/where to gather the materials.

Interdependency

Another thing that makes crafting in FF14 quite unique is the interdependency- you’ll need materials from other crafting classes. The best representation i found is this one. So, if you are a weaver, the Botanist will probably be the best fit gathering-wise. But you’ll also need materials from the leatherworker (who, in turn, need stuff from mobs and mining). Now, thankfully- as i find the “auction house” somewhat tiresome to navigate- you don’t need to buy everything from other players. Guild suppliers have what you need, at least up to my level. This also serves as a price check, i think, because you won’t find basic materials getting very expensive here, as you would in other older themepark MMORPGs.

You could, of course, try and do everything by yourself- if for nothing else, then for not wasting all the stuff you gathered or looted. That’s kind of what i’m doing right now- i put everything i looted on the bank to process it at a later point. But levelling all gathering and crafting classes in addition to the adventuring class? Yeah, talk about time-sink!

An economy

All in all, this leads to a working ingame economy. It’s not perfect, since i still found the dungeons to be the source of the best gear (for now, i didn’t produce anything in HQ, though), but it’s pretty close to what you can do without item decay, local auction houses and so on. I think pricing reflects that. I haven’t looked into the economy very much yet, because i have other things i’d rather do for now, but there are people who play the market in FF XIV.

Why you should do it, too

This is simple- to diversify your play sessions. As i said yesterday, there’s a lot to do and many different goals to accomplish in Final Fantasy XIV; you’ll get distracted a lot and maybe feel overwhelmed at some point. In my book, though, this is great! MMORPGs are not only about progression, they’re also about discovery and diversity- and it’s one of FFXIV’s strengths that there is a lot to do.

Finally, there’s housing in Final Fantasy XIV, and it isn’t cheap. I don’t think adventuring alone is going to net you enough gil to partake in these more expensive activities, so knowing about what sells and what doesn’t might be essential in this regard, as well.

 

Yes, switching weapons and not being able to fight might feel strange, and it is, since gathering and crafting become main activities instead of being something you do as a side activity, but also: you can do something that doesn’t involve fighting and get a sense of progression! If you’re bored of the quest grind the gathering/crafting grind might be a nice distraction- for instance, yesterday i gathered cotton bolls and took screenshots while listening to the first episode of the Massively Overpowered podcast.

So if you take on gathering and crafting, you’ll broaden your gameplay experience- in MMOs, that’s a good thing.

Got my chocobo!

So i finally got my chicken to ride on. As said, it involved a few days/sessions of questing, gathering and crafting, which is ok, i guess, since i gained a few levels in everything. I’ve made it a policy that when i need, say, 10 items of something, i’ll go and collect 1 stack (99) +10 of it. This way, i’m levelling up continuously. Today i got my Botanist up to level 20, which is now quite close to the level of my highest adventuring class.

And here’s what i have got as reward.

My Chocobo
My Chocobo

Well, at least i’m lucky enough to already have spent lots of money for FF14 despite being utterly low-level, so i also have the Behemoth to mount.

My Behemoth
My Behemoth

Now that’s something totally different, isn’t it? Honestly, i don’t like either one of them. One is too cute, the other too badass, but i do like how comfortable my character looks on the Behemoth, so i guess i’ll go with that for now. One thing FF14 does really right: your character just looks great in almost every position and occasion.

Talking about looks

I also finished the barber questline, which took simply travelling to the capitals and talking to some of the crafter guild leaders. Once you unlock the barber, you can summon him by using your bell in your inn room.

Deidra before
Deidra before

This way, you’ll be able to gain access to new hairstyles and -colors which have been added to the portfolio or made usable by all races. I did a quick do-over and when i was ready, Deidra looked like this.

Deidra after
Deidra after

Going on

See, there was something i totally forgot: there are the hunting logs, as well. Hunting logs, to simplify, are lists of different kind of mobs you’ll have to go and fight (it’s not the same as the hunting jobs where you hunt named mobs). They exist for every adventuring class and do give considerable XP.

Also, as i mentioned, i hit level 20 with my Botanist, so there’ll be a new class quest waiting for me in Old Gridania.

Right now, my to-do list in FFXIV looks like this:

  • get and finish the Botanist class quest
  • continue the main storyline until it reaches the same level as my Arcanist is (yeah, still not there)
  • level up the Weaver, so that i can craft stuff that’s level-appropriate for the Arcanist
  • craft some gathering and crafting equipment- i feel my Botanist is underequipped at the moment
  • gain access to Halatali, which is a dungeon, and i learned that you’ll have to do a quest to gain access
  • finish the hunting log for the Arcanist
  • see what other classes have open/available class quest
  • get the quest for putting magic stuff into items (needs level 19 crafting profession)

…and that’s just to continue to “play the game”, it isn’t actually doing something, it’s getting the stars lined up so i can continue to play the game. This game is crazy, but i like it. In fact, the longer i play, the more i like it and the more i want to be somewhat “finished”, as in max-level in one profession and finished with the storyline. I like to play the game somewhat “focussed”, but it just offers such a breadth of activities, already in this early game, that i get distracted and try to progress in many areas at once.

There is so much endgame in sight for me it’s dazzling: crafting, gathering, playing the market, adventuring, getting other classes levelled, exploring dungeons and so on. I really feel “behind the curve” on this one- and it’s not only the level, but it’s also that i can’t seem to even grasp everything that’s in there- in that veign, it is quite similar to Everquest 2 (even more than it resembles WoW, i think).

Busy in Eorzea

So Final Fantasy XIV is a subscription game. By design, the developers want us, the players, to take time achieving our goals. But also, and i like this side of the equation, they want us to have many goals to aim for. I’m really a lowlevel player, bein level 23 with my Arcanist, but i have so much stuff to do. The most annoying part, i have to confess, is travelling back and forth for the different quests. So here’s what i’m doing at the moment.

Get a chocobo

If i had one other problem with FFXIV, it would be the sometimes so very much apparent candy-cuteness, like with the “mounts” they use.

The standard "mount" in Eorzea
The standard “mount” in Eorzea

I guess it’s a matter of tastes, but i don’t really like riding around on a chicken. But there are other mounts available, as well, so i’ll see to that when i have gained access.

As with so many things in Final Fantasy XIV, you’ll have to unlock the ability to ride while doing story missions- after choosing your grand company, one of the first quests they’ll assign to you is to get a chocobo. You’ll need to get 2000 seals, though, to buy some writ from your grand company shop. 2000 seals doesn’t sound much, but it is. Or maybe it’s just because i’m so low level in everything. You can do different things to get these seals- i hear you could just do Fates, but what i’m doing is- i’ll get out to the first grand company levemete (?), get two duties, which are basically just-for-you-quests in the open world, each one good for maybe 250 seals.

Then i look at the crafting and gathering missions that grant seals. Right now, i’m able to accept one for every crafting and gathering job i began with my character, and while the crafting experience these missions grant are very good, i’ll only receive about 200 seals for doing three of these quests. So i’ve been doing that for the last 3 sessions in game.

Crafting

Which leads me to this: so i can take a mission for every crafting and gathering profession i have? Why didn’t i begin all of them in the first place? What i’m doing now is to get into every crafting guild the moment i encounter it. I mean, i’m interested in crafting, anyway, so where’s the harm, right?

Also, since you unlock the crafting professions while doing story missions, you are behind in your first choices. Basically, you’ll be level 12 or 13 when you are able to pick up crafting- and then you’ll have to play catch up. My highest crafting-related profession is the Botanist, and it’s level 19. So there is a slight problem in that i can’t craft very useful stuff for myself, because i lack crafting experience.

As i’m sure i’ll try out different classes at one time (Monk, Archer, Bard, for instance), i want to give the other professions at least a little headway. So i’m going to pick up all crafting-related classes in the next few days, because i’ll be in every capital anyway.

Good times ahead
Good times ahead

The Barber

And that’s because there’s a quest to unlock a barber shop in the game, where you can change pretty much everything appearance-wise, except race/gender, of course. This quest begins in Limsa Lominsa and sends me to all three capitals, and i’m not really sure it’s finished after that.

Storyline

Also, of course, i want to follow the story line to make these quests as high in level as i am- right now, my story quest is still for level 20 characters. I haven’t done any quests besides these, what’s mentioned above and some crafting since “returning” (realizing i still have a sub) to Final Fantasy XIV, but the missions have only gained one level.

There’s just so much

When Final Fantasy XIV re-released, many people were complaining that there are few ways to level your character. Quests can only be taken once, after all, so what i read was that you’d get one profession to maxlevel and the second one would have to do Fates, all the time. Maybe that was true then, but it’s very different now.

I do like when there’s stuff behind quests, when you unlock something, explore something and all that. But it doesn’t really mix with the way i level right now- for instance, i avoid doing quests, because i want to keep them for later classes. But that could mean i miss out on some hidden feature until i discover the related quest.

All in all, it’s a great game and i’m looking forward to the next dungeon, the day my crafting professions catch up and the day i will accept normal quests again.

Why i like Final Fantasy XIV

So, my plan’s not going so well- i didn’t have time to play on any day this week. Well, i managed to get a story mission in Guild Wars 2 in, but that’s all i got. I really need to get going in Final Fantasy XIV, though. In light of my obsession to play every MMO out there, i mapped out a series, of sorts- telling some reasons why i like the games i do or don’t play at any given moment. I’ll try and make it a list of 5, every time. So let’s begin with Final Fantasy XIV

Why Final Fantasy XIV is a great MMO

1. The crafting

In many games, crafting is little more than a useless hobby someone might enjoy who likes the idea of “downtime”. In Final Fantasy XIV, crafting is quite involved- it’s not just a queue where you put items in that you want to craft- you have to participate in the progress, raising your chances to get a high quality item (and experience), research where to gather stuff you need, playing the market and there’s even quests to do for crafting. Also, you can follow any crafting job you want with one character, while the process still is quite social in the sense that you’ll have to buy materials off the market- at least when you don’t have much free time, because raising every gathering/crafting profession is quite time-consuming. There’s a lot of interdependancy involved- you’ll need your leatherworkers for tailoring, for example. The crafting in Final Fantasy XIV is a levelling and gameplay experience all by itself.

Hanging out
Hanging out

2. The community

Final Fantasy XIV’s community is one of the nicest places i’ve seen in MMOs. Chat is generally quite polite and helpful and at least i haven’t run into many unfriendly PUGs (there was just one guy), although i’ve heard the dungeon finder groups can be quite elitist, as well. Still, what i found, was very friendly indeed.

3. No Alts necessary

If you provide me with options, i’m going to make use of them. If there are 8 classes in an MMO, chances are that i have one character in all of them while the highest character still is under level 30. In Final Fantasy XIV, changing classes is as easy as changing equipment, and you can do everything with just one character. So while the outcome might be the same in short term, no progress will ever be “wasted” because i’ll somehow never get back to a class. It will be there, waiting for the next time i want Deidra to be something else or want to change up my game experience.

Fighting Ifrit

4. A lot of options in levelling content

I know many will see this as the opposite, because you are only able to do each quest once, but as of now, i feel there are a lot of options to level your character in Final Fantasy XIV. There’s the normal questing, of course, and then there are repeatable tasks that are called leves- you’ll get an allowance of doing 8 per day which stacks up to 100, and this is sometimes too low if you play a lot, but for me- i’m almost always at 100 when logging in. Then you have FATEs, which are basically Rifts of Rift or Anchors of TESO, the Dungeons, of course, and Scenarios, which are quite short, instanced, group fights. And that’s just for the adventuring classes. The gathering and crafting jobs have their own quests and leves. There really is a lot of variety.

Limsa Lominsa by night
Limsa Lominsa by night

5. Updates

I feel Final Fantasy XIV deserves the subscription money they get- they’ll release new content in a three-month-cadence and there’ll be an expansion, soon. While most of the updates are not meant for me, since i’m still quite early in the game, i watch from afar, but still, there aren’t a lot of MMOs who put out that much content in the same timeframe.

I need a plan

Yesterday i chatted with a guildmate in Elder Scrolls Online. Since i know her to like Final Fantasy XIV a lot, we talked about that game in passing. She mentioned some uncertainty on her part in regards to buying Heavensward- because she hasn’t got time. Pew, who knew that time could be a problem, right? That was when i told her about stuff i’d like to get done at some point this year- i mentioned that yesterday when i tried to estimate at what time stuff releases this year. My guess is that when we’re talking about expansions, Final Fantasy XIV will be next.

Please don't remind me of all the ways you're awesome!
Please don’t remind me of all the ways you’re awesome!

So, to recount the games and my plans, as well as provide an overview for myself, let’s see what’s on my table and what goals i want to achieve as well as how much time i’ve got.

  • Final Fantasy XIV – get at least one adventuring class to 50 before the release of Heavensward – this will be a tough one.
  • The Repopulation – it turns out my old gaming community plans to start a chapter there, and rather sooner than later at that. Not much to do, here, just finish up the tutorial this or next week, after that it’ll be dabbling.
  • Guild Wars 2 – get my Ranger and my Elementalist to 80 before the expansion- shouldn’t be too tough.
  • Everquest 2 – my goal in Norrath is quite simple: just some steady progress and maybe be at the level cap in time for the expected expansion.
  • Lord of the Rings Online – smell the roses, see the world. My guess is i’m somewhat time-pressed here because i really don’t think the game will be around longer than 2017.
  • Elder Scrolls Online – smell the roses, see the world, craft. No pressure here.

So counting that and adding the project i have in my guild, which takes away one night every week, we have 6 games i need to juggle somehow. The easy way, of course, would be to just play what i like when i like to play it. But i’m pretty sure i won’t meet my “hard goals” this way, so i’m going to set up a schedule, you know, like Syp. I’ll mix it up a bit but will keep his “anything goes” – evening just to have it there. Also, since weeks just don’t have enough days, Lotro and Repopulation will have to wait for their turn on Anything-goes-evenings.

Yes, i like that one, too
Yes, i like that one, too

Final Fantasy XIV will have to get two evenings, and even then i’m not entirely sure if it will work out in the end. But for now, let’s stick with that. EQ2 gets one evening for now, since it’s also the current game in the guild project. The guild project gets another one. I think one evening for GW2 will be enough right now to get to level 80, at least with my Elementalist who already is around level 60. Elder Scrolls Online gets one evening, too, because, right now, i pay a sub for that.

So let’s see…

Monday: Final Fantasy XIV

Tuesday: Guild project / Everquest 2

Wednesday: Guild Wars 2

Thursday: Elder Scrolls Online

Friday: Guild project / Everquest 2

Saturday: Anything goes

Sunday: Final Fantasy XIV

Although i have to say that i don’t know yet what i’ll do if i don’t play some night, which will happen, of course, since gaming is not my only hobby and i’m not in the mood for it every day. Either i’ll just stick with the days or i’ll move them around (while keeping saturday for anything)- right now, i prefer the latter.

Is this good?

No, it isn’t. If you call me names, i’m perfectly fine with it. I really tried to be Mmonogamist, but it doesn’t work out for me right now. Every time i decide to play just one or two games, it just makes me miss the other ones more. It’s hard to describe, the best example i have is when i tried to quit smoking- i could go whole workdays of 8 to 10 hours without a cigarette easily, but my penultimate try to get rid of it lasted only about 4 hours- time i mainly spent thinking “i will never smoke again” and panicking at the thought. Meanwhile, i succeeded, but it’s quite similar here- when i try to play only FF14, for instance, suddenly i remember how game x is better in this-or-that feature.

Lord of the Rings - Archet

If i had to come up with reasons, i’d say there are mainly three to name: no game is a perfect fit for me yet, as are the guilds i joined in these games- although i do like them. The third reason is that while no game is a perfect fit, i do like most of the mentioned MMOs for something. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, but i like them. And, to be honest, i’d rather like too many MMOs than being grumpy about all of them while still thinking i’m the “real” type of MMO player who strangely doesn’t like any MMO on the market.

Game time: rejoining a guild and experience bonus

This past week i played both of my main MMOs and dabbled in three others.

Everquest 2

There was a bonus experience event in Everquest 2 this weekend and i planned to take full advantage of that. As plans concerning MMORPGs usually go for me, it didn’t quite happen as i’d liked it to. I wasted friday just reading blogs and other stuff on the net- i was in the mood for a movie (haven’t watched one of those in what feels like forever) and researched options. Saturday i watched what i found out (Guardians of the Galaxy); it was a good choice to make- it was very relaxing, just watching a blockbuster which was both somewhat funny and quite entertaining. I liked watching space superheroes.

Sunday evening i was finally able and in the mood to dive into EQ2 again and quested in the Butcherblock Mountains- yeah, my main character was just level 23 and i know that the description of “main” might be stretching it a bit, but still. I got him up to level 27 in about two and a half hours, which was great. I realize, of course, that i could have levelled more efficiently if i’d got a mercenary and went to a dungeon, but i also like to see the overland zones of this game. Next time, though, i will take a merc and head to some dungeon or continue the armor timeline for the inquisitor.

While Everquest 2 is a quest grinder (for me) and gives each class way too many skills (i’ve got 4 fully slotted hotbars), there’s also a lot to discover. I think one would be able to level a character by just exploring dungeons and killing stuff that’s on the way while, maybe, gathering materials for crafting for a good while in the early levelling process, especially when experience bonus weekends are around. For now, though, i’ll take the handholding approach and simply quest while slowly attaining a broader point of view on the game. As i said, i plan to visit dungeons solo/with a merc soon.

Why solo, you ask? Well, you won’t find many PUGs that do the old dungeons. Also, while my guild seemed to be a friendly, welcoming bunch of people when i joined (shortly after the expansion launched), it seemed awfully quiet yesterday. They’ll take me to level agnostic dungeons and help me progress and they’ll answer my questions, though it seems to be very dependant on which members are online. The guild is huge, if you count inactive players, but it actually is quite small when you consider activity. Unfortunately, there is a big, silent majority in there, as well. I can live with that, it’s an old game after all.

Final Fantasy XIV

I continued the main story questline, but still haven’t made it to the point that the main story level equals my adventuring class level. I travelled a lot. My Arcanist is level 23 now, i’m a level 15 Weaver, a level 18 Botanist, Level 6 Conjurer and Leatherworker and a Level 4 Carpenter. And i learned how to dye my clothing as well as how to get materia out of items (but not how to get it in other items, yet). So that’s where i stand.

Fighting Ifrit

I also chose my grand company (that one from Gridania) and saw that this path gives levelling options and stuff to do aplenty. It’s very difficult for me to not take every crafting and gathering class that’s available, because i don’t like selling stuff i might use later in the game for another craft. Also, i think it’s more useful to level the gathering professions with some sense of meaning by gathering materials i use in the different crafting classes. But if i do it that way, i kind of know i will be all classes level 10 when Heavensward launches. And i don’t want that, so i’ll see how far my bank space takes me.

I also rejoined my german free company, they’re a nice bunch of people and it’s a small but friendly and quite successful guildand i’m happy to be back with them.

The dabbling

I loaded up Landmark, Marvel Heroes and TERA, as well. Reasons were: to find land for my possible building project, just logging in for a reward / checking if store specials were still active and, well, i don’t know why i launched TERA. Maybe because someone wrote about it and called it a great MMO to dabble in and have fun fighting stuff.

I’d really like to get the Landmark project going, but i really am not very talented in building stuff when it’s totally free (that’s also why i prefer EQ2’s housing over Rifts Dimesions, by the way) and i’m not very creative. But i want to do that…thing. I’ll write about that when it seems at least possible in some way. Meanwhile, combat is in, but for now, i just find it…annoying when you’re out there gathering stuff.

Progress report – week 1

Final Fantasy XIV

Last week i only played Final Fantasy XIV after discovering that i have an open subscription to this game. Right now, you could find me on Shiva- the name’s Deidra Winter- and my current plan is:

  • get Botanic up to the level of the Arcanist; right now Level 22
  • get Weaver up there, as well
  • continue in the storyline to the point that the Story-Quest Level equals that of my Arcanist
  • rejoin my Free Company

I made progress, somewhat. I’m a level 18 Botanist right now and a level 13 Weaver. Since FF XIV always gets me sidetracked, i also got my Leatherworking skill up to Level 6. I do like how crafting disciplines are co-dependant in this game, but i think the auction house mechanic is somewhat clunky and isn’t good at giving an overview of the market. So i just thought i’ll help myself out with leather. Sooner or later i think i’ll get to all crafting classes anyway.

This game offers breathtaking views

Levelling is kind of slow at the moment, though. Gathering and crafting are somewhat grindy, even at those levels, and adventuring is slow because i’m all over the place for the story quests. Nevertheless, i like my experience so far and will continue to sub. Also, i’m really looking forward to a snow zone.

So, what are my plans for 2015?

2015 will be a good year for MMORPGs. I believe so, because there’s not much in the way of “new shiny” coming out. This will be good, in my opinion, because the genre will relax a little bit- players will be more happy with their choices (because there’s nothing coming out next month that will make everything better), the chosen games will turn a profit and see some kind of development, and maybe some will be left behind and close shop. This may seem like a sceptical outlook, but i think this year is going to be healthy for the genre and its players.

So, i’ve put my resolutions for 2015 into some words and there’s two that are hopefully going to define my MMORPG-related gaming in 2015: focus better on some titles instead of spreading out too thin and “be ready when they come”. Also, i’d like to NOT discover an open subscription to a game like i did with Final Fantasy XIV the other week.

Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV

Speaking of which, FF14 will be my first candidate. With Update 2.5 possibly coming in January and the expansion, let’s say, in April, there’s still some time to get my main character to 50 at least in one class/job and hopefully one gathering and one crafting profession, as well. As i’ve mentioned a couple of times, i like the game a lot- it’s a nice mix of old school mechanics and new features and it at least tries to make crafting and the economy somewhat worthwhile.

So, at least in the first quarter of the year, i’d like to make that one my main MMO and hopefully get something done in there.

Everquest 2

Everquest 2 will be my “main alternative” MMORPG for the time being. I like it a lot (in reality, this is my problem- it’s not that all MMORPGs suck, but that they all have their strengths and i do like them).

EQ2 New Halas Mount

 

I’d like to play it when i’m not in the mood for FFXIV and continue levelling my Inquisitor slow and steady. My goal is to be where i need to be when the next expansion comes, presumably some time in November. But, of course i know that this game would be too big for that goal even if i’d play EQ2 exclusively until November, so i’ll see how far i’ll come.

Other candidates

SWTOR will lie dormant for the time being. It’s that “third” MMO i’d like to play, but i won’t have it in my roster permanently- the other two will take up all my free time to achieve what i’d like to achieve there. But still, when i’m in the mood, i’ll probably fire it up some time.

The Repopulation- i’ll take a look before headstart/final wipe and i’ll play it if and when it releases. But we’ll see if that’ll be in 2015, anyway, soooo i’m totally relaxed on that part.

Landmark- i have a vision i’ll share when i looked into the game and my abilities with it and have decided to follow through with it. So that might come up at some point, as well.

World of Warcraft is postponed. I might get back to that if i’m in the mood.

Lord of the Rings Online. If and when they let me buy my way through Moria i’ll take a look at the lands beyond. I won’t play through those caves, though.

Elder Scrolls Online and Wildstar. If and when they go buy-to-play and/or free-to-play, i’ll be there on relaunch day.

The Secret World. Hmmm, i don’t know. Funcom did something spectacular with this game, it might just be the best “play-to-finish” MMO out there, but unfortunately, it’s too quest-heavy for my tastes. But it is possible i’ll be hopping in from time to time.

Did i forget something?

For sure. I’m fickle. Sometimes i’m in the mood for this and sometimes i’m in the mood for something else. As much as i’d like to call one MMORPG my home, i don’t see a candidate yet. It would have to offer almost everything MMOs have to offer in one game- also, my guess is it would have to be polished and, of course, at least hack-and-cheat-free. Also, of course, there are Elite: Dangerous and The Crew, which you might or might not call MMO…and there’ll be new games.

Doesn’t matter, though, for now. We know Heavensward is coming and that should be my priority right now, because i know for a fact i’ll consider buying it and it would be a nice change to finally see an expansion i paid for. So, right now, i’d like to declare 2015 to be the FFXIV and Everquest 2- year for me. We’ll see if that pans out. (Spoiler: it probably won’t)

Final Fantasy 14: First goals accomplished, new ones ahead

So, Final Fantasy 14. Let’s summarize what i wanted to do:

Get retainer access

To get retainer access in Final Fantasy 14, you have to advance far enough in the storyline. Depending on how much you get sidetracked, that might be around level 17 to 20. Before you get to the corresponding quest stage, you’ll be partaking in three mandatory low level dungeons, suited for Level 15 (Sastasha, around Limsa Lominsa), Level 16 (Tam-Tara Deepcroft, around Gridania) and Level 17 (Copperbell mines, around Ul’Dah) respectively. They didn’t seem too hard, although i experienced a wipe or two and you’ll even have some basic boss mechanics other than tank’n’spank to find out in the last one.

Copperbell Mines
Copperbell Mines

All in all, Dungeons in Final Fantasy 14 are fun. The long cast times are making me as a healer kind of nervous, but most of the time i was able to heal just fine, even when more than one party member was attacked. It got troublesome when i was attacked, though. What i like about these early dungeons is that they are quite forgiving- if the tank fails in getting the attention of the mobs around the party, it’s not as if this will result in a sure wipe. The design of the Dungeons is outstanding, in my opinion. All three of them were fun to move through and very atmospheric experiences.

Once you are done and have retainer access granted, you’ll have to talk to NPCs specialized in hiring retainers for you. The first one comes free of charge, i don’t know about the second one. I think two are the maximum, but that’s not certain, because i haven’t tried to hire a second one and only seem to recall having read about the possibility of hiring two somewhere. Retainers not only function as your access to the auction houses of Eorzea, but also as your bank vault. As such, they are a very valuable thing and were up in my priority list because of that. You really can’t craft in a comfortable way if everything you gather and produce fills up your inventory. Fortunately, the retainer comes with a big space to store everything you want to store, so that’s good.

This game is beautiful
This game is beautiful

And, as a side note: i don’t want to bash free-to-play here, i enjoy it as much as everybody else, but to just get a large bank space without even hinting at the possibility to buy the space with real monies is one of the things where i nowadays think to myself how good that feels, immersion-wise.

Managing the inventory in Final Fantasy 14 seems to be quite a task, i’ve come to realize. It’s not easy to remember or know what kind of items are still needed or wanted, what is good for what situation and so on- and throwing stuff away or selling it doesn’t cut it all the time, either, because before you know it you switch classes and run around in your undies.

Anyways, i got retainer access, so mission accomplished in this regard.

Bringing the other Classes up to par

That would be level 19, where my Conjurer class is. But i formulated this goal thinking i might go for Scholar, but i really don’t think i will. I took a look at the Arcanist’s skills and it doesn’t really look like this would be “my kind” of class. So i’ll switch around and become a White Mage first. It’s the main healer, which isn’t exactly what i set out to be, but i’ll be fine in good company. The community is still very good, i had a fun run in one of the dungeons where every party member was new to it. And i formulated stretch goals, but more on that later 😉

I brought the Botanic and Weaver up to 13, i think, which was somewhat time consuming, especially gathering almost 200 cotton bolls and then crafting them to threads. But it was still fun, because by raising the quality of stuff you craft you can raise the earned experience for that item. I think the cotton brought me 6 or 7 levels.

Hanging out
Hanging out

Switching over to the Arcanist as main class won’t happen soon- as i said, i’m going for White Mage and have other plans afterwards.

Finding a linkshell / free company

I found both. Granted, i had to forsake my good intentions and take a look at the forums, but from my first experiences and reading linkshell chat, they seem to be a nice and funny bunch of people.

The stretch goals

So here we are, i’ll have to revise my goals again. So here they are:

  • get on top of inventory management
  • study the markets, level my crafting professions further
  • get an overview of ways to progress in the game
  • Level the Arcanist class to 15, the Conjurer to 30 and continue as a White Mage to 50
  • Start dabbling in leatherworking before hitting 50 in Conjurer/White Mage, Botanic and Weaver (which is my first goal)
  • Begin as a Archer to eventually become a Bard
  • get to know the linkshell i’m in

I read that it is quite hard to get Gil when you are at max level, so continuing to craft is one of my priorities. The other one is to level up my White Mage/Conjurer, as well, to not be too spread out before i reach the top in one area. The dabbling in Leatherworking is meant to provide a help when i switch over to play the Archer and finally become a Bard, which is a group buffing class. Further down the line there are other jobs that are attractive, as well.

Good times ahead
Good times ahead

Since wednesday i haven’t had any issue with logging in, by the way. And, boy, did i log in 🙂 I’m having more fun in this game right now than i had in a long time. With the addition of a linkshell i think i’m going to enjoy, the outlook is great.

Is ArcheAge dead on arrival? Is Final Fantasy XIV’s launch bad?

So, i’ve been quiet for a few days due to real life stuff, not much game time and no “hot topic” to discuss. I’ve played some Final Fantasy and will come around to that. For now, i’d like to focus on two impressions i had after reading articles and comments of the two games mentioned in the title.

ArcheAge

It seems XLGAMES go through a restructuring period after Archeage didn’t become the huge success they expected it to be in Korea. This is a rumour, mind you, and it is clearly stated as such in the article’s title. The news itself doesn’t need to surprise anyone- it’s a familiar path newly released games go through: from being a new hope to good sales, dropping subscriber numbers, transitioning to free-to-play and laying off staff- that’s the way things seem to go in the MMORPG business right now. It is unfortunate, but when you take a look at the last MMORPGs that released as pay-to-play products- namely The Secret World and Star Wars: the old Republic; both didn’t make it to one year as a purely pay-to-play game. So it’s not a surprise that ArcheAge shares their fate, right?

In that line of thought, i wasn’t surprised when the game went f2p in Korea, although i still have some worries with a Sandpark/Sandbox being free-to-play. Fallen Earth does a great job with that and i don’t know what Archeage does in Korea. Also, despite AA being one of the formerly 3, now 2 future releases of sandboxes i’m watching out and waiting for, i didn’t follow the developement of the game in Korea – i read two reviews of the game with one’s conclusion being “meh” and the other seemingly having a good time and hopes for the game, but i don’t know how they’re making money now or what changes from the earlier advertised vision were made.

I don’t think steam-driven hot rods are a huge shift in design philosophy, but what i read in the comments of the linked article worries me; for instance, the removing of a durability system for gear. Now, i’ve mentioned it before and i’m going to reiterate that: to have a player driven economy, items need to vanish into nothing just like they came into being out of nothing. If the game’s not doing that, the economy won’t work. In a themepark, it doesn’t matter much- you can do something with interdependency of crafters instead of the markets. But we all know how that turns out: it will be “time” that sells in the auction house- resources, for example, are going to be more expensive than finished products…and why is that? Because they vanish and it takes time to get them back.

Also, nevermind that goats used to be the moneymaker in the game- that happens, design mistakes are going to be made and corrected, but the general impression in the comments seems to be that Archeage got “dumbed down” to themepark levels with sandpark possibilities. I don’t know what these changes would be, but from reading Massively a lot, i know the commentors who stated that and know that they aren’t talking out of their backends.

Archeage went from being the new hope of MMORPGs to DOA in the comments of Massively without even being released in NA/EU. That has to be a new record. Also, this makes me wonder about us, the players and customers in this genre- now we are dismissing games before they even release, and that doesn’t bode well, in my opinion. I’m going to continue to wait for ArcheAge, although i have to say: tough luck, Final Fantasy XIV ARR is great and i like it a lot, so any new game would have to compete with that.

Final Fantasy XIV

Talking about that one, the free trial seems to be extended for 7 days. And also, today marks the day they want to get over their launch issues which are: too many players want to play the game. As with Archeage, it’s the comments that really make this article interesting, since the extension of the free game time is not surprising after many players, including me, had difficulties with playing the game.

To call this launch “failed” and attacking Square Enix for not implementing a “proper queue” or afk timers is a bit harsh, in my opinion. MMORPG launches usually come with their share of problems- in Guild Wars 2, my guild had to invite everybody everyday for almost a week and there was trouble with the guild chat and other stuff. The auction house and the forums were deactivated; you could play the game, but with a guild starting its life the problems with the guild interface were extremely bad, but it had to be expected to some extent. Also, huge spikes of players after release are nothing new and i actually think developers are in the right when not opening up servers like crazy in these days only to find them depopulated after a few months.

So i couldn’t play it in the evenings, which is my time to play during the week, and my last time playing it was sunday morning despite wanting to play sunday afternoon and on the evenings since then. I tried, got 1017’d and left. Guess what? I watched a movie and read a book instead and it was fun. I’m looking forward to playing FF14 for quite some time, and the staggering launch won’t change that. And in a year or two, when/if i’m still in Eorzea, the launch won’t matter in the slightest.

What matters is the game- and this one is great- it is interesting to explore and play. I can’t really understand why people are so disenfranchised by a few evenings of not being able to play as to pass on this game just because of that. If you want to enter a new MMO smoothly, just wait 2 weeks before buying it.

Aleport

Aleport

Game time: Final Fantasy XIV

I was ingame, though, and i experienced the first bits of group content, which i liked very much. There are two downsides: one is the small group size- i like 5 people being a party- and the other one is me being a healer. Both are minor, the latter my own “mistake” for playing Conjurer first. Right now, i know the Arcanist is more up my alley, but i don’t want to play that up to 15 before going on in my story, although it wouldn’t take that long, i guess.

But my first goal is being able to sell and store stuff, so i am “rushing” to get retainers. With my gaming schedule being a bit weird, in the way that i don’t usually know if i’m going to play for 30 minutes or 3 hours, it’s not easy to plan for the mandatory Dungeons you have to enter in the storyline of the game. I went into Sastasha and am now approaching Tam-Tara. When i know my gaming session will be short, i just gather up some herbs and lumber as a Botanic. The next time, though, i’ll want to fight stuff. I know i’m not going into a dungeon before the weekend, so i might be switching over to Arcanist again and see where it leads me.

So, again, here is my revised list of goals in Final Fantasy XIV ARR:

  • get retainer access by advancing in the storyline
  • bringing the Arcanist up to par (probably Level 20 by then)
  • bringing the Botanic and Weaver up to par (probably Level 20 by then)
  • switch over to Arcanist as main class
  • find a linkshell/free company