I’m finally back from my weekend-long journey in Heavensward where I spent most of my time taking in the new world and exploring various changes. My previous posts were short overviews since I wanted to stay focused on the game and didn’t want to post spoilers too early on.
Now it’s time for a real post.
The FATE Train is Real
I’ve spent just as much time… maybe more… riding the Coerthas FATE train to level up Machinist and Dark Knight. I have them both at level 36 (on different characters), and am starting to form opinions about the playstyles.
I’m really enjoying Dark Knight. It’s pretty much what I expected it to be – a blend of Paladin and Warrior with some DPS capabilities. Having only leveled a Paladin tank, I find myself more engaged with all the things Dark Knight offers so far, especially in the stances and MP management tools. It’s going to be fun to go back and trash some old dungeons solo with this class!
I’m still up in the air about Machinist. I know the class probably needs more time to come into it’s own, but with so many classes to level across two characters, I’m having difficulty wanting to invest in it. To me, it feels slower and weaker than Bard at this point. It could be a low-level thing, but don’t remember Bard feeling this way in the mid 30s.
I’ve heard some back and forth about the new Bard skills, too, which has made me hesitate on whether to focus on moving Zuri into the new content. However, last night when we were challenging Ravana, I found myself wishing several times that I was on my Bard for the fight… which tells me that I should get my butt in gear and just do it.
I want to confess something. I am a bad Bard. My lancer is only level 23, which means I don’t have the Blood for Blood cross class skill like I should. One of my goals is to fix this (I really should have done it before Heavensward), so I’m trying to go back and put some time into leveling lancer to improve my playstyle. No one’s ever commented on it in all this time, so I guess I’ve always done a good enough job. At least I sing songs in a party!
Oh, and thanks to now having three Cactpot tries a day, Zuri now has her full Gambler outfit! Now for the barding!
Learning to Fly
I’ve heard folks grumbling a bit that learning to fly makes you jump through so many hoops before you actually earn the right to flight. “The zone is almost done before I can fly in it!” they say.
This is true, if you don’t take into consideration that future patches will likely send us through these areas again and again, just like quests did in 2.0. I think there will be plenty of time to use flying mounts in Ishgard.
It feels like FFXIV took a page from GW1 and GW2 in the hunt for aether currents. Somewhat like hidden vistas, there tends to be a bit of a puzzle and sometimes some jumping to locate and attune to them.
Syn and I have enjoyed challenging ourselves to uncovering the fog of war from each map completely in our hunt to locate the currents. It really feels as if FFXIV is encouraging exploration, which you don’t really need to encourage in Syn. She’ll uncover a map just because it’s covered. We’re feeling that old Cartography achievement itch from GW1 rising again. 🙂
When we finally do fly, it’s implemented well. I feel in control of my flying mount and see a number of mounts out there to choose from. You get the Black Chocobo as part of the normal story questline, and doing the I Believe I Can Fly quest unlocks the ability for other chocobos to fly. I know the personal airship comes from finishing main story quests, and I’m assuming the dragon mount does, too.
Give Us Story!
It’s no secret that I’m playing FFXIV primarily for the story. I have to say that the story as I’ve seen it this far has been very well written. I remain impressed! So far, it’s of the same quality, or even better than, the 2.0 storyline.
The game does well to introduce us to the new lands and the lore of Ishgard. It also gently introduces us to new (and old) characters, never leaving me feel overwhelmed by names or personalities.
While the dark undertones of the plot are there and keep interest, I was surprised that the city of Ishgard is anything but dark. I expected some Gothic type atmosphere, and what it delivered was a much lighter feeling city (despite being war-torn and class-prejudice), which has quickly become my favorite. It helps that I really love the theme music for both areas and for both day and night times!
It’s not long before we become caught up in a storyline that, surprisingly, leads us to brokering peace with dragon-kind. I was very pleased to see that the dragons aren’t just mindless war beasts, but actual sentient creatures. We got a glimpse of that when we met
Mr Snark Midgardsormr, but we see it all the more in meeting the other dragons at the Trine.
I find myself very interested in the history between dragons and man, and the depths of betrayal the dragons feel that drive them to war. I also think it’s interesting how a previous enemy has become an ally, and a pretty dedicated one, at that. You’d be surprised what you could accomplish by just asking nicely, I suppose.
I’m a little iffy about the whole St. Shiva and Hræsvelgr backstory. I know it’s legend and all, but it was still a little odd how their relationship ended… or rather didn’t end. Also, Ysayle pulled out some troubling transformations I didn’t expect. I wonder if she’s going to explain herself.
I was a little surprised that I began replacing my end game armor and weapons from 2.0 so quickly. Granted, I never got beyond my Atma phase for my relic, but walking up to a merchant in Tailfeather and picking up a white weapon with better stats was a bit sobering. I was never one to grind out Poetics because I had a feeling things were about to get easier with Heavensward. I guess being a lazy casual has it’s payouts sometimes.
So now that Zuri is full level 50 in all crafting and gathering, I’m trying to find my footing on where to go from here. I haven’t had time to actually finish all the class quests for my crafters, so I worked on that some yesterday, earning my blue crafting tool for as many classes as I could.
I also have no gear for my gatherers, and was waiting to see what Heavensward brought before I dumped what was left of my savings into it. I spent yesterday learning about the spawning nodes around Falcon’s Nest, discovering the stuff I needed to start crafting gathering gear I couldn’t start gathering until level 51.
So I did my daily turn-ins and worked on a few leves to level up. Here’s a PSA: those new leves that require 10 leve credits to run? They were not worth it! I could have gotten the same amount of experience by doing 2 or 3 leves for a much lower cost. Sure, it’s a time saver, but if I’m using up 10 leves, then I darn better well get something near to 10 leves worth of experience for it!
In the end, I gathered enough mats to craft my first pair of end game gathering gloves. I sold the excess materials as they’re going for a good price on the AH right now, too.
Trail By Fire
So, Syn and I, along with two FC tanks, challenged Ravana for the first time last night. And we lost. Repeatedly. In fact, we lost every attempt all the way up until the timer pretty much ran out.
We were all learning, and everyone was super patient and pleasant. We worked very hard to learn and overcome the mechanics of the battle. But time and again, we just kept failing at it.
My impression of the fight is that there are a LOT of mechanics to learn. I’m not going to be a whiner and say it needs to be nerfed, but I will stand by my feelings that in the third phase, there were so many mechanics being thrown at the party, and some of them were not obvious at all to me.
As a melee DPS, I never knew when standing near to the guy was about to get my butt handed to me. Due to that, me and the other dragoon were almost shy of getting in there, and I know that had to hurt our DPS in the long run. Our poor healers were working overtime to keep the party alive, and we sometimes died simply because they were out of magic – hence my wish I had been a Bard. I think a Bard in that party could have saved it.
We came very close to beating him once – like 4% health – but had to give it up for the night. I guess we’re going to have to try again tonight, after I study up on these mechanics a bit.
The interesting thing was that no one walked out of there specifically frustrated or angry. It’s been really refreshing doing new content for the first time – and my first time ever experiencing that since I didn’t join ARR until weeks after launch. In a previous new dungeon, most our party members came in blind to the mechanics, and our tank even wanted to stop to read all the creepy journal pages lying about.
It’s so nice not being expected to do speed runs on these things yet, and not dealing with rage-quits because most of us are new to all of it.
Update: We beat Ravana last night with a different party makeup. Was still a challenge, but we did it!
Aether Data Center Woes
I won’t say everything has run perfectly. If you’re one of the servers on the Aether Data Center, logging in after a certain time at night has been a challenge. We get hit with the 2002 errors repeatedly, and once I’m in, I don’t dare log out, not even to switch characters… which is a real pain.
Support doesn’t seem to want to make a move to fix the situation, and have just told us it is congestion, and please be patient. What I’m worried most about is that Welcome Back Campaign… which is certain to make things all the worse for us. I doubt error 2002 is going to look enticing to returning players, too.
No matter, though. I’ll keep trying to log in and keep enjoying my time in Heavensward!