FFXIV: The Rising 2017 – A Nostalgic Trip

You can probably tell by the topics I’ve been blogging that I’ve been taking it easy in Eorzea since finishing Stormblood. I’ve made peace with the thoughts that there’s really no reason to spend my time repeating Expert Roulette for tomes for gear that I’m going to be quickly replacing or earning the equivalent of next patch.

So, I’ve logged in for a run of Omega 4 each week (though I don’t know why, I won’t get the tomes I need for the weapon even if I have the drops), do my duty to keep things running smoothly in the FC, and have spent more time on my alts than I have my main.

Still, I was dearly hoping for one of the seasonal events to renew my interest in FFXIV, and I was not disappointed by The Rising.

There’s just something about the anniversary event that always feels personal in FFXIV. It’s a time when breaking the 4th wall is completely acceptable. Players often get thanks and messages from the dev team, and Yoshi-P himself.

This year was not an exception.

Nostalgic Trip

If you haven’t done this quest for yourself already, go do it! It’s short. It’s fun. It had me grinning and eager to repeat it on all my alts.

There will be spoilers from here on out!

A few years back, The Rising included a FATE where you had to assist the Minstrel (a representation of Yoshi-P in game) in fighting off some bugs. These bugs obviously represented actual software bugs.

This year, the bugs return. And this time, they’ve trapped the Minstrel in a mind-maze. He can’t warp out, so it’s up to you to solve the puzzle to set him free.

And what is the puzzle?

The Cheap Dungeon!

You think I’m kidding? It really is the Cheap Dungeon!

This is a 2-D sprite maze, something like you’d see in oldskool NES RPGs, such as Wizardry. Thankfully, as you move through it, it maps itself. So put away that grid paper. 🙂

The basis of the puzzle is that there are two floors: one with numbers and one with letters. You match the numbers to the letters in order to reveal the scrambled password at the end. So far, I’ve had about 4 variations of the password, but there could be more.

While you make your way through the maze, you “hear” snippets of dialogue that can only be from the dev team themselves. These are funny things such as “When was our deadline again?” “There’s no end to these bug reports!” or “Man, I hope the players like it.”

All which goes to remind us… there are people behind the game with thoughts, feelings and hopes. These snippets were meant to be funny, but working in R&D myself, they hit close to home. I really do feel that the FFXIV team is hard-working, passionate about the world it makes, and cares about the players.

If that’s not enough, a fantastic 8-bit chiptune version of the Azys Lla theme plays throughout. It really is a blast from the past.

Once you free the Minstrel, you come face to face with Yoshi-P himself. He expresses his gratitude and talks about the struggles of the past 4 years. I’m not quite sure who the knights were around him, though.

Anyhow, the event rewards two minions, a music scroll and the Cheap Dungeon as a game for your Toy Box. You can also buy another music scroll and a rising balloon housing decoration from the vendor.

The biggest reward of all, though, was the feeling of connection between players and devs, and just knowing the team was grinning deviously as they patched in the Cheap Dungeon for us old skool players.

While I still don’t plan on doing dungeons for tomes, I do feel rejuvenated and ready to play FFXIV again. Inspired by the event and rested from a bit of a break, I spent a lot more time in Eorzea this weekend than I have in a while.

I think I’m finally starting to find a balance between end game activities and making progress on alts. I know that even after almost 4 years of subbing to FFXIV, I’m still committed for the long run. And this is why.