Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV Heavensward: More Dragon Delimmas

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I’ve been a bit lazy about blogging over the holiday weekend, but between Heavensward and the new Alpha 12 of 7 Days 2 Die, I’ve been playing more than writing. Considering Tai is going to (hopefully) be moving into the homestretch of Heavensward story pretty soon, I wanted to do a catch-up post. Probably won’t be too much in the way of spoilers here as I just want to brush over story briefly.

Heavensward Progression

What I’ve experienced of the actual story in Heavensward continues to be top-notch. Some important things happen in Ul’dah to clean up the mess left by the end of the 2.0 patch. Good things happened, and not-good things happened. We’re in a better spot than we were before we fled to Ishgard, but I wonder by how much. Things also happened with the remnants of the Crystal Braves to bring a little closure to that as well. Alphinaud continues to develop into a character that I’m growing to like.

He even sheds a few tears in this scene.
He even sheds a few tears in this scene.

Back in the land of the dragons, we engage inevitable battle with Nidhogg and unlock the cool little manacutter airships here in a neat cut scene.

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In confronting Nidhogg, we begin to learn quite a bit about the true nature of the Dragonsong War and about the dragons themselves.

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The aspect that I enjoy most about the story (especially being a dragon lover) is that dragons are like people in complexity and emotions. They do things for their own motives, and nothing is black and white. There’s no “good dragon/evil dragon” dichotomy, and the Ishgardians are no better than the dragons in their moral choices and actions.

Strangely enough, the more I learn, the more I can see both sides of the conflict. FFXIV puts the player in the shoes of our hero, who is an outsider to this war. We unravel the story and often sympathize the same way as our character does. The writers knew what they were doing in choosing this point of view, and I feel it worked extremely well.

After completing this scenario, we unlocked flying (thankfully) in the Churning Mists and came out of it dressed much better than we were before (also thankfully).

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Dat Leveling Curve

It’s this point in the story where I ran across my first level-gated piece of story. I hadn’t quite reached the level required to continue on, and until I did, the story was locked to me. I remember seeing this happen once during ARR main scenario, probably about level 37-ish. I also remember running a ton of quests around Dragonhead to overcome that, then never seeing it happen again.

If only Heavensward was so kind. As much as I absolutely love the story and could play it for hours, that really isn’t an option. Once you reach your mid-50s, the amount of story provided per level becomes paltry, and certainly nowhere near enough experience to push you to the next level. Even though I’d run a few extra dungeons to help FC folks through, and I did most Fates I stumbled upon, I still had to run quests to hit level 56 and continue.

Once I got to 56, I was able to enjoy about half an hour of story (maybe 1/4th of a level) before I was gated yet again.

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I’m not too keen on running lots of dungeons and roulettes like Zeb does… so Zeb had no problem with gated levels while I struggled to catch up from behind. It took me about two solid days of questing (we had skipped a lot of old quests in other areas) to get about halfway through level 57. I did try some leves, but they really didn’t make much of a dent in my XP bar.

Some of the quests are mostly fluff and standard MMO fare, which is somewhat disappointing. If you hear folks complaining about Moogle Quests, that’s probably what they’re talking about. Coming from questlines, such as the previous area, where we unlocked lore for the dragons of the Trine, earned their trust, and discovered the strange world of the Vath… Moogle quests are amusing at first, but then degrade into a lot of fetch stuff, find lost moogles and kill five rats dragons.

I have also consistently done the hunts that are available for my level (Tier 1 and Tier 2). At first, it didn’t seem like a whole lotta experience. But considering the most you’re doing is killing between 1-4 normal creatures on the map, and the time spent is generally travel time (which is sped up by flying), I started to recognize the worth in them. Plus, we’ll need the Centurio Seals for armor upgrades in the future.

Eventually, I did break level 58 thanks to a combination of hunts, helping FC members with random dungeons, and then Fate running in Blue Fog (of all places). The Fates in the Heavesward area just don’t give enough experience for the difficulty, so you often don’t see folks doing them… despite the fact there are some really cool dragon-related Fates that actually dropped relevant gear!

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The Churning Mist’s Version of Svara

Now that I’ve finally caught up, I’m looking forward to tackling the story again this week! I’m also looking at our options for gearing up at end game and it seems pretty positive overall.