-No spoilers, just thoughts.-
I usually don’t run the new Alliance raid the week of release. I’m not sue why I did this time around, and I did it as a healer on the first try to boot – healer was my only job with a high enough ilvl at the time.
I’ve been slacking on gearing up this expansion… just call me a little tired of expert runs every day. Thank goodness for crafted battle gear you can buy off the marketboard! But… that’s neither her nor there.
Not only did I go in as healer but I went in mostly blind. As it was the day after the raid’s release, there weren’t any full guide videos at the time – the first one I saw was released the day after I first cleared it. And thankfully, I could watch that video before I ran it the second time on another character.
Most folks know my stance on Alliance raids by now and are probably tired of hearing it. Gone are the days of encouraging casual folks to do these raids and helping them get through. S/E has proven time and again that after Void Ark, Alliance raids are just not content for truly casual players – I’m talking folks who don’t have a strong grasp on how to pick up mechanics and respond to things quickly.
This raid was no exception. It’s learnable for sure, but a lot of things are not intuitive, no matter how much the raid bosses are designed to “teach” you mechanics through experience. The third boss, especially, left me in a state of “what just killed me?” pretty often until after I watched a video to better understand how the mechanics are put together.
Basically, I tell FC folks to watch a video rather than die a million deaths on this. I’m sure in a few weeks, things will settle down, but this first week has been a doozie.
Glamour… Rather Not
And the gear design this time around? Let’s just say, the main reason I ran Bunker as much as I did was to farm for the glamour. I even admired the gear from Factory enough to push through it several times.
On the flip-side, I find the gear this raid to be either mostly uninspired or just plain something I would never use. Not to mention, the male version of certain sets are just… awful (IMHO).
Example: Here’s the female aiming set – a shot taken from this video.
For the males….
What even happened here? Compared to the elegant female gear, this is awful unless you want a military-looking set for a bard or dancer (machinist could pull it off, maybe). And I don’t.
In fact, I got those pants above as my first drop and glamoured over them immediately. Just yuk.
The main kicker for me, being someone who has not played Nier, is that the story just went down some crazy rabbit hole that I gave up trying to follow. You have a bunch of angry dwarves that are supposed to tie into this alien android plot and… the story just left me far behind in the series of quests between the second and third raids.
I got that there were good androids and bad androids, but we never got to know the good androids for long enough for me to feel anything for them by the end of the storyline. In fact, I don’t recall spending all that much time with them at all outside of the raids. I’m never paying much attention to NPCs and their chatter when mechanics are flying around during fights. Smack dab in the middle of a boss fight is the worst possible time for a game to try to make me connect to characters!
So it really felt as if the story was certainly trying to connect to the folks who already cared about these characters through Neir. And not so much to anyone who had no clue as to why we should be caring about these characters in FFXIV.
I know that I’m not the only one who didn’t “get it.” There was a post on Reddit, which apparently got removed (huh), that discussed disappointment with the raid storyline. Though the original post isn’t in tact, the follow-up comments nail a lot of my feelings on this.
I knew going into this raid series that the concepts and aesthetics for Neir generally don’t appeal to me (I will say that I do have it free on the Xbox Game Pass, so I might still try it to see if it changes my mind). The one thing that folks who enjoy Neir say is the story is amazing – and I’m all about story.
So maybe that’s why I was disappointed that there really wasn’t anything all that gripping, thoughtful or mind-bending about the raid story itself. The boss designs were meant to make you go “huh,” of course. But I was expecting something deep and engrossing when it came to the plot.
Of course, there’s these follow-up weekly dwarf quests that we’re getting that might help explain some of this(?) I plan on doing them to see what I can learn, but I hope it’s worth the annoyance of the game sending me back into the Factory or Bunker to run around and pick up trashed technology for the fifth or sixth time.
I know this sounds like a relatively negative post and I’m sorry for that – I hope that for whomever this raid is geared toward, you had fun with it. I’ll continue to run it on my healer mostly because this is the most challenging content I’ve attempted during my healer practice, and I have a lot still left to learn. Plus, even if I think the gear is ugly, it’s still an upgrade for my bard and I can always glamour over it.