I’m stopping to look for guilds…and more

Final Fantasy 14

I finally managed to go back to Final Fantasy 14 – as i mentioned, i wasn’t really in the mood to play this game due to a lack of time. When i returned, i had to find out- yet again- that my inactivity led the Free Company i found earlier to kick me out. Well, both of them did that- the international one and the german one.

FF14 is a game that takes time- usually, i’m totally fine with that, in fact, an MMORPG should take its time to play- but it shouldn’t waste mine. FF14 does just that in many ways and that’s why FF14 is a poor game to start playing in times where you know you won’t be able to put a lot of time in. Now, a lot means different things to different people- for me, that amounts to about 10 hours a week, preferably a little more. If i feel confident in being able to put that time into FF14, it’s a great game- if i’m not, it’s a waste of time to even launch it, since it can happen that things one should do in the leveling process take a while to get rolling.

So i haven’t logged in in quite some time- my new Free Company had big leeway- 6 weeks absence wouldn’t do a thing, but after that, you are going to be kicked out of the FC. Of course i could just raise my hand and tell them i’d like to rejoin, but there’s really no point because i know they’ll kick me again in the future. I don’t think i should need to tell the guild that i won’t be logging in for some time- i’m an adult, there might be times when i simply can’t or won’t play and i think good guilds should factor this in.

I’ve always been of the impression that in-game or out-of-game acquaintances are the best way to form and maintain a guild- forum advertising, applications and somesuch don’t really serve for the community of people i’d be looking for. If you’re short on time, like i am, it seems getting into a guild and forming relationships there doesn’t really work. It’s better to get to know someone and join his or her guild because you already have some roots and a contact there. I think Belghasts superguild works kind of like that- know someone of them and they can make a recommendation/vouch for you and you’ll be able to join the tribe.

Watching the sun set over Limsa Lominsa
Watching the sun set over Limsa Lominsa

There will be a lot of other guilds out there working quite the same way- and if i were to found one again, i’d go with the same process. So now, i decided that i simply stop looking for a guild and instead stumble upon one while playing the game. Or not, we’ll see. Of course, this means i’ll have to put the effort i usually put into forum-digging for a guild into in-game relationships, which again might be a good thing. There used to be a time when friendlists were longer than the guild member list, it’s time to get back to that.

Useful links if you’re playing FF14 for the first time

So when i saw that, i decided i needed to create a new character. I know, i know. This is one of the many flaws in my way of playing MMORPGs- i play a game, maybe take a break and have a hard time getting back into that character i used to play. Normally, it’s the skill bar that confuses me, but that is a thing that’s manageable- one can read descriptions and try them out on mobs. With FF14, it’s more than that- since you have threads everywhere, the question i don’t have an answer to when relogging into an old character is her position- what was she doing, what was she planning to do next, where does she need to go? And so on. This can get out of hand and whenever this happens, i feel that it’s just easier to begin a new character since i’ve not progressed very far into the game anyway. The farthest character had her main adventuring level at 26- this is something that can be achieved pretty quickly.

And so i needed to decide on a server, again. But since Heavensward early access was going on, many of the servers were shut down for new characters. However, this is not a permanent or even daily thing- every 3-4 hours, servers opening and closing for new characters switch around. There’s a way to get help with that, namely worlds.nyxstudios.moe . Not only can you see which servers are available for new characters, but you can also subscribe for e-Mail notifications, so whenever a server changes its status you’ll get an eMail.

I don’t know how many times i looked for “essential quests” for Final Fantasy 14. The most basic gameplay features are unlocked by way of the main storyline, but there are some things- like dyeing your gear, forging materia, access to the Gold Saucer and others that you’ll have to unlock through sidequests. Since you can do all sidequests only once while being able to level all classes with one character, i try to avoid sidequests as much as i can for the first class. But i don’t want to miss out on game features- so in the end i found this useful list of quest- and level-locked content in Final Fantasy 14, and that’s a great help if you’re looking for something like this.

There’s also a basic leveling guide with some general advice to be found. If you’d like to know how to best level crafting, Aywren has put together really great tips for leveling gathering/crafting classes in FF14. She also has some nice postings up with impressions from the Heavensward launch.

If you’re looking for Heavensward impressions, i can recommend these posts:

Aywren – Heavensward Launch day recap (no spoilers)
Aywren – Heavensward day 2 recap (no spoilers)
Belghast – It’s finally here
Belghast – Learning to fly
Belghast – Making story matter
Belghast – Lord of the Hive
Lucek – Heavensward first impressions (possible spoilers)
Nomadic Gamer – Heavensward is here
Nomadic Gamer – Heavensward 1st weekend

Do you remember that NBI talkback challenge? Right now, i really envy all these people playing in the expansion.

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100 days and 25 levels to go

Final Fantasy XIV - Heavensward

 

We have a release date. Preorders for Final Fantasy XIV’s first expansion, Heavensward, will open on 03/16, headstart will happen on 06/19 and official release will be 06/23. If you’re interested in what it contains, just head on over to Massively Overpowered for an overview. There’s new zones, three new classes/jobs, flying, 20 new Triple Triad cards and one or two new races.

100 days

I have thought about the best possible way for me to handle that release date. It’s a little bit farther down than i expected (by a month or so), so it should make me confident i can be level 50 in that time. But i don’t really know about that. I could, of course, push for it, and in some ways i might do that- but if i were to “rush” to 50, there’s also the chance that this hurry might kill my enjoyment of the game.

Instead, i’ll just keep doing what i do. First, i’ll try and get the Conjurer up to the main storyline level by way of normal levelling. The Arcanist will not do that anymore- instead, i’ll also play this class “properly”, to gain levels faster, but also to open the game up for me. The Botanist and the Weaver will try to hold the pace of the Arcanist. Until the expansion hits, i’m going to ignore all other combat classes and “Alts” (sorry, Cactuar) and limit the other crafting classes to a slow burn, by maybe doing quests for my Grand company.

25 levels

My Arcanist is level 25 right now, and i’m curious to see how far i’ll go before the expansion hits. Of course it would be very nice to be in the flow of the players with release- to be where everyone else is, to experience this MMO with many other players around who are also new to the content. We’ll see if i can make it. My strategy so far amounts to these things:

  • this is going to be tough, but i want to get my levequest-allowance below the cap. I always have 100 and it really shouldn’t be there. So i’ll need to play a few days in quick succession and do at least 10 of these things to get the counter down. I think when i do that, i’ll level quickly. I’ll probably use it for the gathering/crafting, mostly, and for the Conjurer to bring the class up to par.
  • Ironweakness told me i should keep an eye on the Challenge log to level quicker- i’ll do that. Thanks for that!
  • I’ll try and run dungeons/guildleves more often. Still haven’t got access to Hatali, so i guess that’s one thing my Arcanist can do now

And here’s the kicker: in reality, i don’t need those 25 levels that quick.

Or is it five?

Of course i’m interested in the new zones, they look great, and big, and interesting. But so do- in my opinion- the snowy zones i’ll be doing, i think, in the mid-thirties. But there are other things in this expansion, as well, namely two of the three new classes that i find interesting enough to try them.

The Astrologian is a main draw

My main interest goes toward the Astrologian, although we don’t know that much about how it works- which is a good sign, in my book, because it’s such a new concept that, while i’m able to guess the direction this class is taking, it’s not an educated guess. We know the class will use a deck of cards in some way- probably as skills, but really, i don’t know. I mean, there is Triple Triad, already, so i can’t see them working in a class that makes use of a CCG-style skill system, but something in this direction is my best guess. I do like the look of the class, however, and that’s a thing i can’t say about all classes (the Scholar outfit, for example).

And then, there’s the Machinist.

The surprise entry

I didn’t count this class in, because i thought it would be a pure dps class- but at PAX East, it was hinted that it can be played in a support-role way, as well, depending on what gadgets you use while playing- and this makes it interesting to me.

Both classes won’t make use of a base class, but you will need to be level 30 to access them. This makes it so that my real goal before the expansion is level 30, and i’m pretty confident that i’ll make it. I’m going to preorder the expansion, don’t know if i’ll do that in this month or later- this also depends on what you’ll get in the preorder and the two editions (only two editions! That’s modest nowadays).

Free-to-play?

Haha, oh no, they won’t do that. Of course not. Just watch and read all those blogs- i’ve been following some of them for a long time, and i can honestly say that i’ve never seen all these people being more or less in the same game- but right now, it seems “everyone” is playing Final Fantasy XIV, the game has gained the “WoW momentum”- it doesn’t need WoW numbers, it doesn’t really want that, but it’s gaining ground and is the one and only successful subscription MMO released in recent history. So i really don’t know why you would ask that question.

 

Be ready when they come – Guild Wars 2

Whoever said january would be quiet in terms of MMO news was wrong on this one- this month has seen the Early Access Launch of H1Z1, which, thankfully, is the one MMO-type game i’m not (yet?) interested in, the announcement of The Elder Scrolls Online going buy-to-play and the announcement of the Guild Wars 2 expansion Heart of thorns.

The landscape is beautifully done
The landscape is beautifully done

It was one of my MMO related resolutions this year to “be ready when they come”, knowing how especially business model changes and expansions never fail to interest me despite the fact that i’m usually far away from that content level-wise. So i can’t complain in that regard, there’s a lot of stuff to catch up with this year. I’m going to take a guess at what needs when to be ready this year.

  • Elder Scrolls going buy-to-play is probably first on the list and the first to “release”. I’m not planning on reaching maxlevel there, though. I just want to enjoy the game a bit prior to the business model change and see how the switch works out in the game myself.
  • Final Fantasy XIV’s Heavensward should be next, releasing probably in april or may. My goal here is to reach 50 at least in one adventuring class. I’ll have to pick up pace to reach that, though.
  • I expect Guild Wars 2 Heart of thorns to release in june, maybe with the third anniversary of the game. I’d like to get one or two characters to 80 by then. The levelling experience in GW2 doesn’t take too long, so it might be that i’ll try and reach this goal first, especially since it’s entirely possible that it releases earlier than i expect it to.
  • Everquest 2, i guess, will release something in november. I’m pretty sure i won’t be anywhere near the level cap by that time, though, but i might try anyway.
  • Wildstar. Yeah, i still expect it to go b2p/f2p this year and as with Elder Scrolls Online, i’d like to be there with the change or shortly before it happens. No plans to reach cap, though. Also, since ESO was first in announcing the change, it seems unlikely that i will pay a sub before the change. More likely, i’ll join the unwashed masses when they come.

Guild Wars 2’s Heart of thorns

GW2 hyped me up before launch. The manifesto appealed to me, very much. Shortly after launch, i was disappointed quite a bit- the events and the world weren’t so dynamic by themselves, after all. The devs tried to bring change via the living story, but that just wasn’t for me in terms of release schedule and content delivery type. I wanted more events to be more dynamic, i’d like to see change in the world made by ingame events.

Some things changed, though
Some things changed, though

Now they announced the first expansion- Heart of thorns and while many of the things they announced don’t get me too excited- jungle, an alternate advancement method, one new class, verticality, there are other elements i like quite a bit.

So you are saying i can become a Druid?

The WoW Druid in his early levels was my favourite class in any MMO, ever. The reason for that is that in the early dungeons, when you didn’t need to specialize, i could be all over the place- as a cat, dealing damage, assisting the healer when he got into trouble or the tank when he lost aggro of a mob. It was great, i switched forms often and felt as if i was supporting my group in a significant manner. Of course, in later levels this playstyle wasn’t viable and with the changes in the class system they’ve treated this game with, nowadays it’s pretty much nonexistant.

Guild Wars 2

But even today, i always prefer going for dps/heal hybrid classes, if they exist, and the class name “Druid” always makes me wish those early days back. While Druids in other games usually aren’t very similar to what i experienced then, they do come as hybrid classes pretty often. So when i learned that Rangers could become Druids, my first thought was that i needed a Ranger at level 80.

The other interesting thing is that Elementalists will be able to use Hammers, which reminds me of something i usually like to play, as well- some melee combat mage/healer. The Sigmar Priest of Warhammer was something like that. So that mechanic also piques my interest.

Other than that, Guild Halls and Guild-vs-Guild sounds very exciting. Unfortunately, i’ll have to look for a guild for that one.

Not impressed, but excited nonetheless

So the takeaway is: while i’m not really impressed with what ArenaNet announced for the expansion i’m still somewhat excited and want to see how it works out. Also, my excitement could rise when more information is released.