I return to Vana’diel after not having played FFXI for over a decade. Here are my adventures!
Those who follow my blogging know that story is a huge part of a MMO’s experience for me. Now, I’ve always heard that FFXI had a top notch story, but I’ve never been able to see it, since I never leveled past 20 with any character.
The hope for this story is one of the reasons I decided to come back to this game again, so I was very pleased with the unexpected “main” storyline that became suddenly present in the game. This is one of the newer pieces of content called “Rhapsodies of Vana’diel.”
I actually got my first cutscene back at level 5 when I entered the city for the first time. I didn’t know what it was, and didn’t expect new content since I didn’t own any of the new expansions. But apparently, as long as you at least have one expansion (which all NA users do, no matter how far back you go), the part of the story associated with the expansions you own are active.
Similar to the main quest scenarios of FFXIV, this story makes it so that it’s very hard to miss. And the rewards they give speed up leveling and progression significantly.
Into the Dunes
So, after completing my first city mission and gearing up, I realized I was really close to level 18. Level 18 is the magic number whereupon you can begin working on gathering items for the very long and very tiring Support Job quest. I know that I’ve succeeded in completing this quest at least twice, and that it was the bane of my existence all those years ago.
Forced grouping was the only way you got this done. And you could group for hours and hours and hours trying to get one of the elusive drops. Some of these are rated a 4-6% chance to drop based on the wiki. So, even with my Trust-buddies, I knew I was going to be out there for a long time.
I was surprised, however, that I completely by-passed the La Theine Plateau in my leveling progression, totally by accident. I was so high leveled by the time I headed in that direction that almost every thing was easy prey to me. I remember so many hours spent out there trying to get to the point where I could enter the Dunes… I guess this was just karma kicking in letting me bypass it all.
So, I headed into the Dunes towards the outpost of Selbina. It was when I first entered the town that the story started.
As I said, FFXI makes sure you can’t miss the Rhapsodies quests. The moment I walked into Selbina, I was in a cutscene that directed me to see the mayor of the town. Now, FFXI is not a game that holds your hand – there are no marks to indicate NPCs with quests, and there’s a lot you have to figure out yourself, so this was a pleasant surprise.
Arriving there, I got another cutscene which actually set up the beginning of a main storyline for FFXI. I was pleased.
Even more, I learned that the reward you’d earn from this, Gilgamesh’s introductory letter, takes the place of all the items you had to grind for to complete your Support Job quest.
Can I get a Hallelujah?
Yes, of course I’ll get your bee pollen for you. Do you want that gift wrapped? I can do that, too!
Quest for Pollen
So, I went out to the La Theine Plateau to hunt Giant Wasps for bee pollen (don’t the devs realize these are two very different types of insects?). I found them very scarce, and after killing everything, wasp and non-wasp, in the area around the crags, I’d only gotten one of the three drops.
Thank goodness for the wiki and forums, which told me that Giant Wasps may be in greater number out in the Konschtat Highlands. I don’t remember spending much time in this area since I usually didn’t roll my characters in Bastok, so it was a new place to explore.
Not only that, but when I found my way there, I realized I didn’t have a map of the area.
Oops. That’s right. You need to buy maps of the different areas in FFXI, or you just simply don’t have them. I made a mental note to check out the map seller once I got back to Selbina and fix that oversight.
Until then, I carefully didn’t stray too far from the zone line in my search for wasps. I didn’t need to because there were plenty around, and I got my drops in pretty quick order.
Support Job Success
Taking the pollen back to Selbina, I got another cutscene that furthered my storyline. Any story with Gilgamesh is a story I can get behind. In this game, he doesn’t appear to be a giant many-armed man…. but a pirate instead. And he has an interesting story to drag you into.
Once done, he gives you his letter and tells you to meet his man on the docks where a boat to Norg awaited me. I didn’t know what Norg was, but I’d certainly take that letter.
Oh yes… yes… thank you!
Oh, right. Before I forget, buy all the maps!
Now I’m ready for this Norg thing! Lead on!