What Am I Playing?

Final Fantasy 14

final-fantasyjrpgmmopc

The critically acclaimed MMORPG; I'm taking the VERY slow path through this game as I play along with a group of friends when we have time

Final Fantasy 14

final-fantasyjrpgmmopc

The critically acclaimed MMORPG; I'm taking the VERY slow path through this game as I play along with a group of friends when we have time

Activity

Did finally make it to Shadowbringers...

...and just tore through it to the first dungeon.

People say that the story "gets good" in Heavensward but the pacing doesn't get good until Shadowbringers.

I think they've finally figured out how to use their engine and general setup to draw you in.

I'm excited to see where it goes from here.

Unlocked the last story dungeon of the Post-Stormblood content.

I'm finding myself with a bit of a gear and level problem, though. Thanks to Sage coming with high-level gear when you unlock it, I have the iLevel I need to heal. And I managed to squeak my way to good enough gear to be able to magical-DPS it with my ostensible Red Mage main.

But it'll still need a bit of Tomestone grinding to get my Paladin's gear up to snuff.

And I don't even have a level 70 melee or ranged physical DPS. So at least I don't have to worry about their gear.

There is definite wisdom to just playing through the game with a single job. But that also seems like it'd be a little less interesting.

I wish grinding were not so dependent on the roulettes. I simply refuse. So it's back to the slow path for me.

My static is back from vacations and we've started our weekly sessions again. So we did Castrum Fluminis and now I've got some more MSQ to do.

Here's the thing, though.

I've been playing some really good games lately. It's really hard to put down one of those and go back to the "Thanks for coming to talk to me here. Now go there to talk to me. Then go there to talk to me some more. Finally go there to talk to me and I will send you to someone else to restart this loop with." style of questing.

I'm not sure if it's to prolong the playtime, sink gil, or they just couldn't figure out a better way to pace the story using their engine (since FF16 did the same thing and uses the same engine; although it also uses a lot of the same talent, so it's hard to know where technology ends and personal tastes begins). But I'm definitely over it here near the end of the post-Stormblood content.

It's weird because Trails in the Sky has A LOT of dialog, but it doesn't feel slow or drawn out at all. Trails in the Sky has something to teach every JRPG about pacing, but I think that goes 100x for the more recent Final Fantasies.

Fighting Tsukuyomi this week, I was also really struck by how same-y the fights are. It's all breadth and no depth. To make fights harder, they just throw more mechanics at you to deal with at the same time. But you don't have to learn the systems and figure out the right strategy to deal with those mechanics. You just have to learn which increasingly small non-AOE spot to stand in.

Sure, you also have to master the timing if pushing the buttons. And there's some muscle-memory skill stuff there that can be fun. But is it interesting?

I'm not so sure.

It is definitely a difference from a year ago when I was playing FF14 constantly and having a blast. Maybe I just played too much too quickly and now I'm burnt out?

But I don't think so. I think the game is kind of boring in a lot of the same ways that FF16 was boring. And I don't think that is entirely on me.

I've got a lot of jobs to grind and I'm starting to seriously consider some level skips.

Off work today.

Decided to spend it doing the next class quests for all of my crafting jobs.

All of my crafters are early 70s, but I'm way behind on the class quests because I've found that it's fruitful to be extremely over-leveled for them. Also, doing a complete round of class quests for all 8 jobs takes a solid half-day.

So that's why I spent about 4.5 hours today doing the level 58 crafter quests.

And I'm definitely bored of it, so it'll be another few months before I even think about the level 60 quests.

Finally finished Stormblood.

Of the FF14 that I've played, this is firmly in the middle: better than ARR; not as good as Heavensward.

The pacing of this expansion is super weird. Half of the expansion is a side-quest for the first half. And the way they split the locations so you don't fully unlock the first area until the end just left me unsatisfied.

The game is full of progress bars and number-go-up mechanics so it seems weird to suddenly have a strange non-linear thing all of a sudden.

Still, the characters were great. Some of the dungeons were quite a lot of fun (I'm glad I got to play Castrum Abania before they completely changed the Number XXIV fight this week!). And the Azim Steppe is currently one of my favorite places in video games.

So definitely something of a mixed bag: lots of good, lots of meh.

In any event: onward to the post-expansion patch content and then Shadowbringers!

For reasons, I haven't been sleeping well the past few weeks. So it's not uncommon for me to want to find something a little casual, mindless, and meditative to want to do with my non-work awake-time.

Fortunately, gathering in FF14 fits the bill. So it's not uncommon for me to just put on a podcast, do a few laps of the Diadem, and zone out for a while.

Which is why I somehow now have a level 80 Miner (with a Botanist not far behind), even though I'm still in Stormblood.

It's silly since it's just an electronic diversion and I pay a subscription fee for the privilege, but...I am grateful that this game has so many ways to play and so many varied things to do.

Spent all day yesterday running around in Hydaelyn. Unlocked the Namazu quests and, perhaps most importantly, finished ranking up with the Kojin. I love my fake-turtle friends and the manta ray mount I got for my troubles.

It's time to conquer Doma Castle, but it'll probably be a bit before my static is ready for it.

That's good for me: I need to level up Summoner/Scholar so I can play all the roles when we're ready for it. Right now, I'd have to tank with Paladin. But I like being flexible for the group.

I really wish 8-person trials were not a required MSQ thing.

I don't mind screwing up with my static. We just laugh and try again.

But knowing that I'm inconveniencing 4 strangers who are just trying to roulette...I hate that feeling. Which just makes me nervous and I screw up more.

It's a whole thing.

Still slowly working through the MSQ with the static and leveling other jobs.

But at this point, my main goal is to just climb to the top of the tower in Kugane.

Though if I ever do get to the top, I might not want to leave. It might be time to create a new alt at that point.

My static was finally able to tackle the next dungeon and we moved into Kugane.

I am really loving this environment. Kugane is gorgeous, the theme song for Kugane is gorgeous, the loading screen for Kugane is gorgeous...it's just 10/10 all around.

Now that I've arrived, I was able to spend a very cold Christmas Eve working through some more MSQ and also just leveling my Warrior a bit by grinding Sohm Al and then The Aery over and over again. (I really love the Duty Support system and need them to expand it just a little bit faster than they are. As slowly as I'm moving through this game, they're going even slower with Duty Support. My timing sucks.)

Did the Starlight Celebration.

Really enjoyed the extra bits of wandering around and meeting some "familiar faces".

At one point, a character from Heavensward showed up and I wondered what they did for players who haven't finished that expansion.

Through the magic of ~buying two of them~ having a low-level character on a different server I haven't thought about in a while, I discovered that they just don't give you the option to go to that location.

So I suspect there are scenes that I didn't see because I'm just starting Stormblood.

That's movie magic for you, I guess.

Had intended to log in for just a bit and do the Starlight Celebration event.

Instead, I got distracted by a bunch of unfinished hunting logs.

I finished the Marauder log (and got a level to boot) and then did all of the Archer, Pugilist and Rogue logs that I'm currently able to do. (All of the rest are finished out)

In the process, I did another job quest for Warrior (now 52) and Bard (36), and Ninja (35).

I just need 43k more XP to get Monk to 35 (and the next job quest) but I think I should call it a day for now.

Still need to come back and do the Starlight Celebration, too. I'm very much looking forward to the reindeer mount.

Played "The Vault" a few dozen times and made it to 60 with my Black Mage.

I think I'm going to like the Stormblood BLM class quests. There's a lot of mystery and intrigue here and it seems like it'll be some good fun.

Spending some time leveling my Black Mage while waiting for my static to unlock the Sirensong Sea.

Keeping track of the salient differences between Blizzard, Blizzard II, Blizzard III, Blizzard IV, and Freeze might all be beyond me.

It's been a minute, but my static has been dutifully working our way through the post-Heavensward patch content.

I finally got into Stormblood this weekend and have been having fun exploring the first two areas. The environments in this expansion are really quite pretty; the team levels up their environment design each expansion and it's fun to see the accelerated evolution as I work through them.

It's definitely getting to a point where the EXP curve is flattening and I'm starting to wonder about the sustainability of having so many jobs. But also, I like them all and don't want to choose!

At the very least, I need to pick one in each role. But the choice is tough.

Worth an update of its own, the cut scene leading into The Final Steps of Faith trial was one of the best I've ever seen in any game.

It made me feel things.

I have not been not playing FF14, but I have been too tired to talk about it.

Still in between Heavensward and Stormblood (still taking the slow path).

In between, I've been leveling crafters and other jobs. Red Mage is still my favorite to play, but I'm doing less and less DPS to let my static level their DPS jobs.

Still haven't finished the non-Vath tribal quests.

Finished Heavensward last night.

That was a good expansion. I might have to NewGame+ it at some point to get the story a little more coherently (and not spread out over several months).

I was extremely disappointed in the final trial, though. I'm not sure what it was like originally, but now it's been nerfed to the point that it's barely a game.

It looked pretty and was great to watch but that just goes to show: it should have been a cut scene. Indeed, a cut scene would have been better because they could have had anime moves and things!

As the final climax of the entire expansion, it really undercut the experience. That said, I'm trying not to let it spoil everything that came before because the rest of it was really quite good.

Finished the Vath quest line.

Still got a fair bit to do for the Vanu Vanu and Moogles. They're never satisfied.

I was very amused that the final Vath quest was "Go talk to the leader" who told me what a great guy I am. Quest complete.

Decided to play a bit on my Steam Deck while we watched TV. I forgot that my gearsets don't sync over and didn't notice when I switched jobs that I no longer had the assigned gear.

The screen is so small that I also didn't notice that I spent about 40 minutes running around naked.

It's Eorzea so I'm sure the other players didn't even notice. But it certainly explains why I was suddenly so bad at crafting!

I really applied myself and spent several hours doing all of the GC crafter turn-ins and Zhloe Aliapoh's collectable turn-ins.

This is called "productivity". At least as far as Sunday is concerned.

After a solid day of downloading, I did manage to get the game running on my Steam Deck. It's very cool, although I continue to find that the PS4 controller is really just perfectly balanced for this game.

As heavy as it is, the Steam Deck is not perfectly balanced for anything.

Still, it is a nice novelty if nothing else. Looking forward to leveling some crafters while watching TV.

Utter failure today. My controller keeps glitching out, the game keeps crashing, and I don't have enough internal SSD space to even try to get it running on my Steam Deck.

It is definitely not an Eorzea day for me, for whatever reason.

I've completed the BTN and MIN quests for Heavensward. Gathering is so much more pleasant than crafting. (Except for fishing. I am just about completely over fishing.)

Starting to think about leveling my crafters again. Started trying to do some of the GC turn-ins and ended up spending an absolute fortune on Wind Crystals.

It's probably worth it, but funding issues will keep this at a pretty slow pace.

Half of my static is on vacation for a couple of weeks, our Heavensward journey is paused.

Instead, I've got SMN and SCH to 60 so I can heal in any content we'll come across before the next expansion. With my 60 PLD and RDM, I've now got all the roles covered.

First-World Hack: If you have two sets of Air Pods, pair one set with your phone and one set with your gaming PC. Put one bud from each set into your different ears. Then you can have podcasts in one ear and epic Soken music in the other.

Yes, this is obviously an extravagance.

Unlocked The Aetherochemical Research Facility yesterday; just about done with Heavensward. I wasn't going to play today, but actually ended up dipping my toe into the Moogle quests. That's inspired me to start leveling my crafters again so I did the GC delivery quests for all of them. Kind of a pain, but I got a level for each of them.

Sunday was also for playing this game like it was my job. Did the level 60 job quest for PLD, got to the next job quest for SMN and SCH, and spent some time just working down the hunting logs for...well, everyone. I've neglected them, but you get achievements so I might as well. Also did all the quests to unlock the Moogle Beast Tribe quests. I knew they were crafting quests, but I still ended up disappointed about it.

Saturday was for playing this game like it was my job. I unlocked the next MSQ dungeon, did the next class quests for BTN and MIN, turned in my first collectables for scrip, unlocked the Vanu Vanu dailies, started to unlock the Moogle dailies but balked at needing to do 19 side quests to get there, did do all 7 side quests to unlock the Allied status for the beast tribe quests in ARR, and even sold some maps on the market. Time to do something else now.

Got to Matoya's Cave today. OMG: The music! The brooms! I just adored everything about it. What a delightful treat.

Looking forward to finally unlocking Idyllshire so I can progress with my gatherers. They've been 60ish for so long now.

Waiting for my static to get ready to go fight a space whale, I've been leveling alt-jobs. Just about got my Paladin to 60.