Warning: May Contain Mild Spoilers for FFXIV Stormblood.
I spent way too many hours logged into FFXIV this weekend, to the point my poor eyes were aching from strain. This was partially because Stormblood has been a captivating experience, and partially because Syn and I were working to get through as much story as we could before she was away on yet another business trip.
Between Friday and Saturday, we made a lot of progress. We knocked out the second dungeon, grappled with the first primal, unlocked flying in two zones, and reached the Steppes. I know we have another dungeon facing us in the storyline soon, as well.
Sometime late Saturday afternoon, story did finally catch up with my levels, and I needed to hit 65 in order to continue. A couple daily roulettes took care of that, though. Yesterday, through a combination of leveling roulette and a few rounds of PvP, I got my Red Mage to level 66…. so I’m hoping that by the time Syn gets back to do story again, I’ll be at or close to 67, and ready to tackle story with no more interruptions.
I’ve also been working on leveling my gathering jobs, mostly through daily turn-ins. Fishing is lagging behind, but Miner and Botanist are getting close to level 64. I also got both my retainers set up for level 61 gathering ventures.
Story & Location
Overall, the Stormblood story has been a pretty solid one, and an experience I’ve been enjoying. There was one little point in Yanxia that I felt a companion was acting out of character, and that my own character was forced into making a choice I wouldn’t have made if given an option… but that’s a minor thing, really, as long as we don’t see a lot more of that.
It was pretty obvious the writers were pushing the story to get us to a specific situation, and once we got to the Steppes, all was forgiven. This is mostly because these last two zones are practically oozing great atmosphere. The design team really nailed it, and the music is superb.
I love Yanxia for feeling exactly like I expected from a Far East experience. The zone’s design, coupled with music that felt pulled straight out of a traditional folk song, make the place a joy to explore.
The Steppes, however, speak to me on a whole different level. Where Yanxia felt somewhat like an enclosed, secret oriental grove, the Steppes became this sprawling plain of tribal culture and mystery. And oh my gosh, the music there!
I was totally channeling the Au Ra culture, and fascinated with the worldbuilding there. It kinda makes me sad that I love my kitty so much… I wish there was something as colorful and interesting for Miquo’te as the Au Ra. I mean, I guess there’s that tribe down in the desert, but… let’s just say, it doesn’t give me the same vibes as the love and attention the Au Ra are getting on the Steppes.
And, then, when you go to meet a key figure on the Steppes, the theme song of pure nostalgia hits you square in the face. I was grinning ear to ear, totally geeking out. FFXIV truly does its tributes to classic Final Fantasy games well.
All of this has served to strengthen my desire to get some RP stories off the ground. Earlier, I struggled with how to RP a character that used my own name, and while I tried to spin up something for her, it never felt right. Also, with the coming of Stormblood, there’s no way I’m going to sit through the overpopulated queues on Balmung to log in to document a little bit more story.
(Some fiction writer rambling about to happen, please feel free to skip if this bores you.)
Honestly, the character I’ve wanted to bring into Eorzea has always been Ben. I’ve actually rolled him several times with all intentions to do just that over the past years. Seeing that he’s a dimension hopper from a FF world, and alternate dimensions have been confirmed by FFXIV lore, it would all fit well. It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything from his point of view, so it would be nice to visit with an old figment.
However, the issue always came up that Ben is already an established mage in his dimension, and one who can usually figure out the flow of energies fairly quickly. Dropping him into Eorzea and telling him that he knows nothing more than Ice 1 (when he’s usually a fire mage) was always something that bothered me.
Also, the dark lore around Black Mages (heck, and White Mages) was never very suitable for his character. I could see him backing very slowly away from that strange group of Lalafell who preside over the Thaumaturge guild. On top of that, to unlock Black Mage, you used to have to level Archer to 15… and… well… that didn’t make a lot of sense and it wasn’t fitting to Ben’s character at all.
Basically, I just wanted to document the story in fiction format, and not have to deal with all the leveling and gear restraints. Also, Red Mage is far more suitable a job for Ben in style and temperament than Black Mage. But you can’t start Red Mage until you’re already level 50 in an existing job.
Well. Ben reading a certain Tales of Adventure took care of all those problems. 😉
Now I just have to figure out how to organize the project. I’d like to make it so that I can write from the point of view of any of my Wayrift characters, since I do have a number of them in FFXIV. I’m just hoping to get back into the swing of fiction writing for fun, because I do it so little anymore, and that’s sad.