I love it. Everything. I feel like FFXIV takes so many GOOD parts from so many different games and not only combines them into one fantastic experience, but improves upon those features in a way that truly makes you feel immersed within your character and their story. With ONE character, I can be anything AND everything. Whatever I want to be, without juggling alts or splitting my time between characters. I am Lumiya Arrowsong, and while I first began leveling archer to become a bard (and just completed my first bard quest, yay!) I’ve missed healing a lot and am quickly leveling conjurer to go white mage as well. It took some getting used to with PS4 controls healing an instance, but after running a few duties, I’m feeling more confident. Also, HELLO INSTA-QUEUES. That’s been refreshing after playing DPS for most of my time so far. But now with one character I can be a fabulous bard OR equally fabulous white mage, just depending on what I want to do tonight and the weapon I have equipped. But it doesn’t stop there… if I wanted to, I could level ALL of the classes along with all of the crafting and gathering classes. And I’d never ever have to repeat a quest to do so. (I think that was part of my hatred for being sucked into the alt grind in WoW. If I had to level one more character through the Barrens…) I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t itching to do a little cooking and fishing in-game, too. Sorry, it’s just what I do. And at some point I will, because I can. And because there’s so much potential for my ONE character to do such a wide variety of things. There’s always something to do in-game.
I heart my chocobo. I know that sounds weird, but the mechanics of stabling and training your chocobo (and that they can have favorite snacks and be not only a mount, but a companion fighting by your side) makes them really feel like a pet. In a game of course, but a pet nonetheless. It’s almost like tamagochi (those little digital “pets” on a keychain from the 90s?) built-in to the game. I can feed my chocobo snacks to change its plumage, level it up with me, use it for a mount, and eventually have it wear various bardings to further customize him. Or her. I haven’t really decided yet. And I’m still waffling on a name. Currently Japegrin is stabled in my FC’s stable, waiting its 6 hours to change from the stock chocobo yellow to a snowy white. To go along with the whole white mage thing, get it? Japegrin was always the default name of my main hunter pets in WoW, but those were always cats and it just doesn’t seem to fit my chocobo, so I’m still working on it. My chocobo just feels MORE like a pet and more useful than any pet I’ve ever had in any other game. See what I mean by taking a mechanic from other games and making it better to make you feel even more connected and immersed? I CARE ABOUT A DIGITAL CHOCOBO. And not just ANY digital chocobo – MY digital chocobo.
I guess it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t mention at least one thing I don’t like about FFXIV so far. After all, nothing’s perfect, right? Okay… so I hate (HATE) the pugilist class. With a fiery passion. And I guess I should clarify that I don’t actually dislike the class, I just hate playing the class myself. Having to level it to 15 for my bard requirement nearly killed me. I’ve found that melee is just not my playstyle. But thankfully levequests really made the 15 levels of pugilist grind go by quickly, and I’m back to having fun. And I use the term grind lightly, so far – I’m sure like most MMORPGs, there’s a bit of a grind in FFXIV. It’s the nature of the genre. But so far I haven’t felt like the game is very grindy. There’s great stories woven throughout, the music is perfect (Holy crap, have I mentioned how hilariously awesome it is that I have my own TRAVELING MUSIC when I’m riding Japegrin around? Makes me kind of wish I had my own personal traveling music in real life.) and wow, is Eorzea ever beautiful. That could also have to do with playing on a PS4 on a big TV vs. always putting my graphics settings low on my PC to have less server lag. But still, the game is absolutely gorgeous. Which reminds me…
Sightseeing log. And hunting log. And every other kind of log. I *LOVE* that there are these logs to help you experience things other than just focusing on killing stuff. Sure the hunting log is a log to provide you with some mobs you should kill at various levels, but that is SO HELPFUL to a newbie OR to someone going to level a new class; you get tons of bonus xp and get a chance to visit places perfect for your level when you utilize the hunting log. The sightseeing log is going to be my favorite past time at some point in the game, when I take a moment to slow down. I’m just too excited to try all of the things and explore all of the stuff to stop leveling a class to pick my job for sightseeing. But I will, because I love that exploration stuff. At some point I’ll also level some crafting and gathering. Have I mentioned yet how much I like the fact that you COULD level crafting and gathering to the cap without ever having to kill anything for XP? This reminds me of SWG where you could be an entertainer and level by dancing or playing music instead of going out in the wild, if you wanted. The abilities they get to allow them to sneak around the world undetected so that they can gather materials is really smart.
Smart. That’s how I’d describe FFXIV and my experiences so far. The way everything is set up seems so smart, to really keep people coming back and love investing in their main character. You can customize anything and everything to play the game exactly how YOU want to play, without being locked in to one thing or even one playstyle. Some examples that come to mind? Having an armory and being able to switch gear sets when you change classes without having tons of armor taking up precious inventory space. Having a retainer store things you want to keep AND sell things for you so that you can keep adventuring. All of the different journals, levequests (for battle AND crafting or gathering), guildheists, and the duty finder for forming instance or event runs. Everything just feels smart.
Let’s talk about the community. While I miss having a zone-wide “general chat” to get into random conversations or ask questions and meet people, (and therefore it sometimes seems really quiet) so far everyone I’ve encountered in pick-up groups or as I stand around town has been so NICE. Really. We had a tank who was clearly new to the whole concept in an instance run the other day. As the healer, I was pulling so much aggro because he wasn’t using his skills to pull enmity, or even switching targets. As we were trying to explain this to him in party chat, someone else in the group went to look up the skills he needed and politely told him which abilities to use, he apologized for being new at it, and everyone else just kept encouraging him and being understanding. By the end of the run he was doing a pretty good job keeping most things off me and actually switching targets and pulling aggro back from party members. And then at the end he thanked all of us for being patient with him and helping him get better. And this wasn’t the first time I’d seen a similar situation like this while in a random pick-up group. So far people have been really forgiving and understanding, and more interested in helping instead of berating. It was refreshing. (I love that I can give props to a group member that stood out at the end of each instance run, by the way. I always do.)
I mentioned at the beginning that this is the first FF game I’ve ever played. I’ve seen references to a lot of iconic names and characters that I know I’ve seen referenced in real life before, but never got because I’d never played anything in the FF universe. Because my experience has been going so well, I’m of course eager to look into more lore and history of this universe. I want to learn more about Eorzea and how we got to this point in the story. I want to read more about the Calamity and learn more about the dynamics between the different races and such.
Can I also mention how much I like that when I’m logged in to the official website, I am accessing content and posting as my in-game character, with the ability to blog AS my character? Again – another smart way Square Enix has really made you feel immersed in your character and the time you’ve invested in it. I’m guessing RP fans really love these touches, too. I don’t know if I’ll blog there as Lumiya, BUT I think this is a great outlet for sharing my experiences. I’d cross-post here, too, of course. It’s been so long since I’ve had this much fun in a game, or TIME to spend playing. To be fair, it’s been a long time since a game has made me WANT to login in and play. With a level 30 bard and level 24 conjurer going white mage, I’ve barely BARELY scratched the surface. Every day I uncover another game mechanic that surprises and delights me, and I’m looking forward to what else Eorzea has in store for me and seeing how my character will continue to develop.
Happy New Year! It’s been almost 2 years since my last post; are you surprised? Does anyone even follow anymore? According to statistics, I still get quite a bit of traffic here on my blog for some of my older content (that’s way outdated) and since I’ve recently picked up my first console in six years, I thought it was time to update a few things.
It’s been a long time and I’ve missed gaming a lot. Shortly after my last post we found out we were expecting my daughter. Gaming fell by the wayside as a new school year started and we prepped for a new geekling. The beefy laptop I ran World of Warcraft on died, and I opted for a lighter, smaller laptop that just didn’t have the hardware (or space, seriously, 100gb is just not enough for everything anymore) to run MMOs, my preferred genre. Fast forward awhile, and my daughter is now 10 months old and I’m starting to find some ME time for gaming again. I changed jobs this past school year and am a middle school technology teacher now, which I love. A lot of my students were going on and on about Minecraft, so I gave it a try back in October. It was really addicting, I admit! And was something light enough to run on my laptop, thankfully. It was better than nothing, though I only played alone so it wasn’t quite the MMO experience I craved.
Upon doing some research I found that consoles like the PS4 and XBOX One had an MMORPG title or two available or coming soon, and I was intrigued. I didn’t know what to expect of an MMO on a console. Would the controls translate well or even in a way that I would enjoy? I admit one factor I considered was that an MMO on the TV vs. a little laptop monitor sounded pretty great. After thinking it through, a console made more sense for our family than replacing a practically new laptop with a more expensive laptop just so I could have something that could handle WoW or GW2. I’m not going to go into all of the details about how or why we went PS4 vs. XBOX because there was a lot of research and considerations made, (one being games available and the types of games I liked), and I’m really happy that we went with the PS4 so far. Previous experience? I’ve always been a Nintendo girl so this was a big step for me.
Since I was looking for an MMO experience on a console and we’d selected a PS4, Final Fantasy XIV was on my list. I was happy to see a free trial/demo available in the Playstation store, so I had nothing to lose. I did only a little reading ahead of time to get an idea of classes and races, and as soon as I saw that I could be a bard, I was sold. More games should have bards, by the way. I last played one in EQ2 I think, as a wood elf. Speaking of races, are you saying the FFXIV lalafell race meant I could be a super adorably short, almost gnome-like character? DONE AND DONE. It’s like this game knows me too well. It was worth trying, right?
So now I’m four days in, and while I do love my archer -> bard, what I love even more is that I really only need one character, because in FFXIV you can have one character be EVERYTHING. I can level up all of the other classes eventually and switch to be any other class in the game just by changing my equipped weapon. How awesome is that?! This solved a common problem I have where even though I feel like I know what class I should play (bard, duh), the healer in me REALLY wanted to see if conjurer was right for me, too. Then I end up rolling a bunch of alts. So whew, I like that mechanic. And you can use some cross class abilities, too. Cool! I’m only level 14 and like I said, only four days in, but I’m starting to get the hang of the controls. I admit it’s smoother than I was anticipating the translation of MMO controls to console to be, but I still feel a bit awkward sometimes. I’m sure that will get better in time.
It’s not perfect, but it is a lot of fun so far. One thing I’m wondering about is the lack of conversations. There’s a general chat tab, but I never see anyone using general chat. There are a ton of people running around, but I never see conversations other than the occasional emote like /wave or /smile at each other. Is this because a lot of people may be playing from a console? FFXIV realms are populated cross-platform, so you have PC users as well as PS3 and PS4 console players all in the same world. There’s no way I’d have much of a conversation using my controller and the on-screen keyboard, so I can understand why console users may not visibly chat much. Are they all using microphones? I don’t imagine speaking aloud with mics in general chat with hundreds of people would work, so that can’t be it. I have a mini wireless USB keyboard that I can use if I need it, and have planned to pick up a full-size wireless keyboard soon, though I’m not sure if it’s necessary since I don’t see anyone typing out chat. I haven’t joined a guild yet (FC?) so maybe people chat more in guilds? Is it my realm? Is the lack of chatting just a console MMO trait that I’m going to have to deal with? If so that’s too bad; I enjoy MMOs for the social aspect, and my only complaint so far is that it doesn’t feel very social right now. Again, something else that I need to look into more and see if that changes over time or if I’m just missing something. Time will tell.
So it’s not just my first MMORPG on a console, it’s also the first time I’ve ever played any of the games in the Final Fantasy series. Really! I’m not sure how that happened, but I don’t feel like I HAD to have previous series knowledge to dive right in and have fun in FFXIV. However, because I’m enjoying the game and the story, I’m naturally curious about the history and lore of the universe since I know there’s so much that has come before this game already, and am eager to learn all that I can. Go big or go home, right? That’s kind of how I feel about this whole new gaming adventure after being dormant for nearly two years. Though I will continue to be classified as “casual” and will only be able to get in a few hours in the evenings and weekends, I am excited about the whole new world of gaming that the PS4 has to offer because this is pretty different for me. This is just the beginning and I can’t wait!
If you’re interested, you can add me on PSN as geeksoap. In FFXIV my character is Lumiya Arrowsong on the Brynhildr realm. I’ll be updating the site here soon to add a FFXIV section and a few screenshots, and to update my character information since a lot of it is for WoW and GW2, which are both inactive indefinitely. I’m also playing the PS4 version of Minecraft now, too, though I still just play it in my own private world.
So now I ask – anyone playing FFXIV? Thoughts on the game? What PS4 titles are you looking forward to in 2015? I heard that the Elder Scrolls Online is another MMORPG that will soon come to PS4 and XBOX (Its December 2014 release was pushed into 2015) but I haven’t decided if I want to check it out or not. I’m REALLY looking forward to No Man’s Sky, still in development. Are there any other games you think I should check out?
My tauren monk (Amoodala, queen of the Namoo!) has been level 90 for a week now, hooray! In a lot of games, (and in my previous experiences of hitting the level cap in World of Warcraft) hitting the highest level and end game feels like the “end,” especially if you’re not into raiding. You get the “now what?” feeling, and then start leveling an alt. Or maybe that’s just me.
But I think I’m even more in love with my monk at this point, because I feel like life in Warcraft is just beginning for her now. There’s a lot that didn’t become available to me until I hit the cap, and I like that. Though I hated the fact that I couldn’t work ahead on rep for groups like the Tillers or Cloud Serpents until I hit 90 while I was leveling, I appreciate it now. And yes, while rep and daily quest “grinds” can be monotonous and of course repetitive, I like that they were fresh at end game because it gives me a purpose while I wait to raid or do heroics. And there’s so many different dailies and reputations! I also love scenarios, which I didn’t stumble upon until recently. I feel like there’s definitely been an effort made to keep end game busy these days compared to what I remember about end game back in vanilla or even some of the early expansions. I also LOVE that you can queue for random heroics, scenarios OR raids. That makes raiding a little more accessible for me, even though I’m in a guild. I have a ton of achievements I want to complete, too.
There’s also lots of reputations I want to work on, but this past week I focused on the Anglers, Tillers, and Cloud Serpents. I absolutely ADORED the little quest chain to pick out and hatch my cloud serpent hatchling, and that it “grew” with me as I grew my rep with daily Cloud Serpent quests. I also like that some of the dailies for various reputations involve my chosen professions – so I can cook, use first aid, and fish for additional Cloud Serpent daily reputation gains, too. (In addition to doing the normal cooking & fishing dailies.) Neat! I’ve also noticed a variety in the types of quests to make them a bit more fun – they’re not all just “kill x number of y mobs” … for example, to find a prize chicken in Valley of the Four Winds, I may end up having to punt or dip several chickens in a nearby lake first. Too funny. Yesterday I hit exalted with the Anglers and Cloud Serpents, so now I’m going to finish off Tillers rep and start hitting Shado-Pan and Golden Lotus.
I’m continuing to heal on my monk, and after hitting the cap I began playing around with my talents to change things up a bit. I’ve been doing some extensive reading on rotations to make sure I’m getting the most from my abilities, and learning as much as I can about being a good raid healer and raid healing specifically. While I’m not currently actively raiding yet, I’ll be queueing for LFR this week and I haven’t yet tired of doing heroics, either. I’m in no rush to raid hardcore, and am pleased with my current gear progression in heroics, what I can get in LFR, and weekly world boss kills. I helped down Oonasta for the first time last week, and it was a blast. And reminded me that I want to start working on getting a triceratops pet and mount. Let’s add that to my to do list now, too. while I’m at it.
Maybe it’s because there’s so much to do now that I’m 90, but either way, I feel differently at end game in Mists of Pandaria than I have in previous expansions of the game. I haven’t had the urge to even LOOK at any of my alts yet, though at some point I’ll probably want to level my druid up from 85 to 90 as well. (She’s already maxed alchemy from my monk sending her herbs for elixirs and potions to help leveling, hehe.) And I’m starting to itch to try out some PvP on this character… yet ANOTHER thing to keep me busy.
If you’re in game, you’ll find me as Amoodala on the Emerald Dream realm. You can also friend me on Raptr, and I’m open to exchanging realID friend requests, too. On Twitter I’m @geeksoap – let’s chat sometime!
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FFXIV Online: A Realm Reborn Character
Lumiya Arrowsong, Lalafell archer on Brynhildr. Going ARC -> BRD main, CNJ -> WHM secondary. No FC yet - looking!
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