FFXIV: Overcoming Tanking Anxiety With the Alt Experience

I mentioned in a previous blog post how I have been hitting a lull in playing FFXIV lately. With this weekend’s announcement confirming we won’t be seeing patch 3.1 until November, I knew I needed to do something drastic.

The Current Situation

Tai is a level 60 dragoon and currently on the Eso track. This means running daily expert dungeons, and while I’m perfectly capable of doing this, it just wears me out doing it every day. I’m not a dungeon person, and I crave more open world content than the same two dungeons.

I can be working on leveling his alt classes, and I’ve done this a bit. But, again, I’m not a dungeon runner, so that leaves me to run FATEs (which I do enjoy when in a fair moderation). His next highest class is Paladin, at 53, and while I did make a dent in leveling it a bit this weekend, I’m finding it hard to stick to it.

Zuri is a whole different mess. I continue to be disenchanted with the changes to Bard. I did try Machinist for a while… however… I took a few weeks break from running FATEs with Machinist. When I picked it back up this weekend, I found myself totally lost on how to play it and what gimmicks I was using for which skills. Usually, if I put down a class and pick it back up, I can get a decent feel for it in a few FATEs. That just wasn’t happening with Machinist, so I’m taking that as a sign that maybe Machinist isn’t for me after all.

I’m back to being completely undecided in what I want to level for her.

The Call of the Alt

FFXIV is one of the few games where I don’t have a gazillion alts. Because the game lets you do everything on one character, and just the way the whole end game armor progression works, FFXIV actually discourages you to have alts.

I really do love alts, though. There’s nothing like spending time designing a new race/class combo – I usually base mine off of existing characters in my fantasy stories. There’s this new-character smell where you need to unlock everything, have a clean inventory, and all kinds of possibilities just over the horizon.

I generally enjoy playing through the story line multiple times – I somehow tend to memorize the flow of a game’s quest line without meaning to. There’s something comforting about doing something familiar, and blazing through lower levels (pausing to watch the most interesting parts again, of course).

I forgot about this cool cutscene with Midgardsormr!

The one catch with FFXIV is that unlike other games, the story progression requires you to group and run dungeons. This is one thing that has kept me from rolling new characters. It’s much less stressful for me to just FATE grind an alt class on an existing character.

But, it’s more dull, too.

Lately, Syn has been playing an alt she originally rolled to be an inventory mule. She’s heard me rave about how cool dragoon is, and for some reason (despite being an awesome level 60 healer), she chose to level one. She just got through the main scenario this past week, and we both marveled at the kind of loot you get for completing class quests and MSQ after 2.0.

I haven’t even considered rolling an alt until this weekend – I have enough trouble with the two characters I have (not counting the one on Cactuar). But seeing how much fun Syn’s been having and seeing that I’ve been uninspired to play the characters I have, I wondered if a fresh new character could provide some motivation.

Welcome Zemi Alt

It wasn’t very difficult to decide who I was going to roll. Syn decided her alt was going to be an Au’Ra, and rolled Sero Dreigiau (a character in our story). Since all my FFXIV characters are generally small, and I’ve never got to play a taller character, I decided to also roll a male Au’Ra, Zemi Dreigiau (who is related to Sero in our stories XD ).

I’m still not totally sold on the aesthetics of the male Au’Ra – it’s hard for me to make one that I like, or that looks close enough to the character I want to represent. But I did the best I could.

The one catch came when I had to decide what starting class to make him. I had a list of classes I knew I didn’t want to play, or already had a high enough level on another character that it would just be duplicating effort. So, after narrowing it down some, I told Syn to pick a class for me.

She chose Warrior.

Ugh, I thought. This is nuts! It means I have to not only run all those low level dungeons again, but also tank them! And on a tank that I’m not familiar using. 

But I still rolled a Marauder.

I’m nuts.

So, over the weekend, I got Zemi to level 18. I’m at the point of doing the first three dungeons in the MSQ. Last night, I had kind FC folks join up as DPS, and Syn’s Zeb as a healer to let me practice through the first dungeon, Sastasha. Overall, it went well, despite having two DPS who were twice my level with much better gear. Every now and then, they’d pull some aggro, but I was usually able to get it back.

I have leveled Warrior to 36 on Tai, and enjoyed the class then, and have also played through some dungeons on Paladin, so I didn’t go in completely blind to tanking. I’m still going to have to get over my tanking anxiety for this… because deep down, I know I really want to learn to tank well.

It’s going to be an experience, for sure.

Unsynced Dungeon Running

The other thing we tried for the first time this weekend was unsynced dungeon running. Syn was behind on doing dungeons for her Grand Company ranks, so we decided to duo Halatali as two dragoons (level 51 and 60).

We murdered it.

So she was like, “How do you feel about doing something higher level? Like… Quarn?”

Level 35 dungeon, duo as dragoons.

We murdered it.

Then she was like, “Now I need Dzemael Darkhold for the Main Quest Scenario.”

Level 44 dungeon, duo as dragoons.

We murdered it.

I like this. >:D