Warning: Contains Spoilers for the ending of FFXIV Stormblood.
As the 4th of July is a holiday for me, I was able to buckle down, along with Syn, to make a lot of progress in Stormblood. Not only did I reach level 70 Red Mage, and finish all those class quests, but we were also able to complete the storyline for FFXIV 4.0.
While other people were figuring out Omega, which I’m not in a rush to do, we were hashing out the last dungeon (and first of the Expert Roulette), as well as the final fight in the Menagerie.
Here’s some thoughts on the ending. Complete and total spoilers ahead. Also, probably going to be long.
Woot! Thanks to the help of many folks in my FC, I not only got to level 70 Red Mage tonight, but I also finished the 4.0 story line, the Royal Menagerie included. I was surprised that we managed to one-shot it, but then, most of the people there had already cleared it before, and with a full FC party, it went super smooth.
Of course, right after getting my artifact armor from my level 70 job quest, I got this hat as a dungeon drop. It’s got better stats and… it’s a tough choice whether to glamour or not! I probably will, though because it tends to obscure too much of my character’s face.
Congrats to FFXIV Stormblood. It’s done something that no other MMO has done pretty much ever… It’s intimidated this alt-aholic to the point of not leveling alts.
Let me start by saying this is not a bad thing. But for someone like me, who is known for rolling up characters over and over just for the fun of having different races, classes or aesthetics, this is not a feeling I’ve felt before.
I kinda knew that 4.0 Dragoon wasn’t something I wanted to pursue. Reading feedback from players on the job, I feel my hunch was justified. So, I switched to Red Mage on my main, and decided to give Samurai a chance on Tai.
Only… I’ve had exactly zero motivation to actually play Tai or any of my other alts. Yes, I am engaged in moving through the story on my main, and I’ve been kept busy with that. But even back in Heavensward, I was leveling both characters through the story interchangeably. Both characters have several level 60 duplicate jobs, and finished the expansion in full. Heck, there was a point where Tai was more my main.
However, something about the scope of the Stormblood storyline is stopping me from wanting to go through it a second time. I know this sounds strange… but the story is so vast that I don’t want to spoil the experience by committing it to memory just yet.
I have this strange thing where if I run something in a game 2 or 3 times, it becomes ingrained in memory. This has one of two effects: either making something more sentimental or fun due to familiarity, or making it rote memory and dulling the experience.
Seeing how many alts I’ve run through some MMOs in the past, there are some starting areas I could still run through like the back of my hand, even if I haven’t played the game in 5 or 10 years. XD
Xaa on several occasions has asked me how I remember so much about where FFXIV NPCs are, which dungeons are which, and all the boss mechanics. I laugh and tell him I’ve just done it so many times! It’s like I just inadvertently absorb all this silly and needless MMO information as I play. I wish I could do that with other things in my life!
For this moment in time, I don’t feel like absorbing Stormblood and committing it to memory. I’m playing this a different way, and going into most of the dungeons blind, even. (Not primals, just dungeons.) I might pick up my alts at another time, but for now, I just want the pure experience, straight through to the end.
Wow, it’s been a whole week since I last posted about progress through Stormblood. Rest assured, I’ve been moving through story as best as I can. My Red Mage is currently halfway through level 68, and we’ve just cleared Lakshmi, the second primal of the expansion.
Whoo. What to talk about? There’s so much here that it’s hard for me to condense it all down to one post.
We’ve made a lot of progress through story this weekend in Stormblood, to the point where we may be facing our second Primal this afternoon. But before I get too ahead of myself talking about that, I wanted to discuss gathering progress and the level 65 gathering outfit. Especially the hat!
I wasn’t going to upgrade my gathering gear, because I honestly don’t really need to. The Ironworks gear was equal to or slightly better than this set, depending on the melds. But when I saw that hat and how the outfit came together, I went ahead and picked up the rest of the set for glamour.
I spent a good bit of time yesterday working on my Botanist and Miner, who are now both level 66. I’ve really not done a lot aside from the daily Grand Company turn-ins to level them, so this is pretty good progress.
One thing I did realize is that I hadn’t been doing the class quests along the way. So, I went back to see where I stood on those quest chains, and discovered that I’d never actually completed the level 60 end quest for Heavensward in either class. I did finish it for Fisher, though.
Soooo… my day was going back and picking up the slack, finishing the class quests up to 65. It’s quite worth it, because the skills and passive abilities you get for doing these quests are actually very good!
The level 63 skill improves your High Quality gather boost by quite a bit, depending on your Perception rating. The level 65 reward is a passive that automatically makes all un-reachable items reachable in nodes up to level 60. That’s actually really great! (Especially since I still need to go back and gather for my Blessed Mining tool one day.)
Now, Fishing progress… that’s another story. I’m having the absolute worst luck with it.
Even after upgrading my rod and melding it to improve my Gathering rating, more often than not, fish are getting away. And when fish get away, I can’t turn them in for leves. It’s been a circle of frustration, and one that I’ve actually seen mentioned on Reddit, so I’m not alone.
This guide was very helpful in showing me what I needed to concentrate on… if only I could actually reel in the fish!
I’m also trying to dabble with spear fishing, but again, more often than not, I don’t catch anything. Even though Sea Pickles are fish set for my level of leve.
Nevermind. I figured out what I was doing wrong with spearfishing. You have to wait until the node bubbles to strike it, or you will get nothing every time. Somehow I missed that in my excitement to unlock it. Reading comprehension FTW.
Now that I know THAT, experience has been quick to come and Sea Pickles are rolling in. I’m really enjoying spearfishing! XD
Don’t pay mind to what the video above says about the price of Sea Pickles, btw. They were hardly selling for 1000 gil on my server, and other servers are reporting price drops.
However, I do have a stack of HQ fish that I’ve been sitting on from Heavensward from back when I was fishing for Scrips. I had no idea they’d turn out to be worthwhile to keep, but those have been turning a lot of gil for me right now. I think they’re probably a level 60-61 Grand Company turn-in, so I’ve been unloading my stack on the AH a few at a time over the weekend.
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.
So after a few scuffles and misunderstandings in Kugane, we finally got out of the city and into the Ruby Sea. I was itching to get out and unlock a new zone, especially since I want more options for my gathering jobs, and I was looking forward to progressing to new areas.
While the zone itself has some interesting areas, inhabitants and unfolding story, I have to admit that one of the features I’ve looked forward to is diving (and eventually spearfishing).
Swimming in MMOs… has rarely been one of my favorite things, and underwater battle rarely takes full advantage of what it could be (GW2, I’m looking at you). I’m not much of a swimmer IRL, so I hate games that have a breath meter and drowning as a mechanic. Thankfully, FFXIV gets around this with a neat questline and Ninja Turtle ritual.
And now, I can happily swim under water with no fear of drowning ever again! Not only that, but we get to ride cool (temporary) mounts.
Along with cities on floating islands (which they’ve already done), underwater dome cities are another one of my fantasy favorites. So I’ve been in a happy spot seeing sights like this.
I reached level 63 RDM just before the quests started asking for the level, so I still feel like I need to be working on some PvP or something on the side. We’ve been hitting up FATEs as we find them, but not doing many of the side quests yet… until Amoon mentioned that some of those side quests leads to Aether Currents (doh).
I wanted to save some of the content for my second job, but I guess it doesn’t really matter in the end. The content and leveling will all get done one way or another.
I have an itching feeling we’re creeping up on another dungeon or our first primal, though. So, I’ll see where the story carries us tonight.
Other than that, my Squads have dutifully brought back enough Crafter Scrips for me to buy the last Master IV crafter book that I needed. I still need to go back and work on the Master II books I don’t have yet, and maybe work on some of my desynthing, which I haven’t touched in a long time.
I’ve not touched my crafters at all yet, since I only just got to Kugane last night, where the leves are located. But I have already spent some time looking at the leves, the materials required, and the guides players are making for leveling. It’s on my mind, I just haven’t sat down and organized things for it.
And then there’s this little guy…
Thanks to Reddit, I have a good idea how to get this minion. I just have to get my retainers the gear to do it. That’s going to be a work in progress this weekend.
It feels like it’s been a long road from 50 to 61, but finally, my Red Mage is on level to where I left off with my Bard. I didn’t go very far into the story because I wanted to use Red Mage as my main for the MSQ, and also because Syn was out of town for work, and I’d like to duo the story with her.
The story roadblock kept us from getting very far over the time we did have this weekend… but despite being behind most my FC, it might turn out to be a good thing. This way, I don’t have to keep playing catch up with my Red Mage, which is the job I want to main for sure.
I thought I was going to spend all weekend in the PotD for leveling, but that really didn’t happen. I did run a few 51-60 floors, but for the most part, doing Leveling Roulette, daily Beast Tribes, daily hunts, and a bunch of PvP got me through.
I had so many various ways to make it that, while I didn’t do it in a day or anything, I never really felt bored by repetition. FFXIV now has a pretty good spread of leveling options… I just need to finish getting my last few jobs up to 60 to call that a done deal. 🙂
I haven’t really put together a glamour for her yet — I just picked the Augmented Cashmere Robe of Casting I’ve had on hand due to the neat particle effects and glamoured my easily-bought Augmented Shire Rapier with the CE Chicken Knife cosmetic.
I took a look at all the neat primal rapier glamours, and I’m especially taken with the Manipulative Moggle Mogfoil (less for the moogle, but more for the neat music note particle effects). However, while I have the recipe to craft it myself, the materials aren’t cheap, and neither is the blade on the marketboard. I don’t have 5 mil to my name, and certainly not to spare for glamour, no matter how cool it is.
Maybe one day.
Making Stormblood Progress
(Story talk follows, only mild spoilers.)
Syn did have a little time and a decent enough hotel internet connection last night to work on some of the story with me. Up until now, nothing much had happened around Rhalgr’s Reach aside from us just helping out NPCs and gaining their trust. Well, that changed pretty epically.
We made it through the second point that was a story roadblock for players over the weekend, an instance that you entered by talking to Pippin. I can certainly see how this complex instance (which I didn’t fully expect) could have hung up the servers. It was much longer than the previous one, and had a ton of cutscenes and action.
I won’t give away too much, but I’m pleased with how Stormblood has set up an antagonist that’s a true threat to the Warrior of Light. Especially after the disappointment that was the Warrior of Darkness. After so many major successes, and thinking she’s so powerful, my character just got schooled in a one-on-one.
I like it. Even if she doesn’t.
The Empire isn’t something to mess around with before you understand what it is. This has made it very clear. The team has lost valuable people and resources, so I’m going to assume this is where we reach out to Doma for help.
I want to start this post by saying that while it’s sad that Stormblood EA didn’t start smoothly, this wasn’t something I didn’t expect to happen. It’s the risk you take when you buy into Early Access, and I remember quite well the Heavensward EA… and how the data centers crashed repeatedly.
I took Friday off with the hopes of playing as far into story as I could this weekend with Syn. We’ve duoed every storyline in the game, and this wouldn’t be an exception. She has a business trip, and is flying out today, so the idea was that we’d see as much of Stormblood as we could while she was still around. However, that didn’t happen.
Bottle Necking Story
Friday morning was uneventful, and we got plenty done. However, as more people joined the expansion, a few very painful bottle necks began to appear in the MSQ.
The first happened when you needed to enter a solo instance, Best Served with Cold Steel, by talking to Raubahn. You’d go through the cutscene, and then the game refused to load the instance. You’d just get kicked out back to the map with an error.
As time went on and more people attempted to enter, it looked something like this:
And this was just 1 of 3 instances of this map…
Apparently, to prevent the servers from crashing under the weight of the solo instances, they severely restricted the number of players who could access it. This meant that the servers stayed up, but the story was stuck (in two places).
Some lucky folks did get through, but the rest of us, me included, sat there and hammered the quest, skipped the cutscene over and over and over again, and prayed RNG loved us enough to let us in. I’d do this half an hour at a time, in between leveling and other stuff, but I’d have to say I spent at least 3-4 hours of EA trying to get in.
Yeah, I’m stubborn.
Of course, this caused a lot of frustration, which gave way to memes and jokes on Reddit while we waited and failed to gain entrance. Poor Raubahn was the center of the jokes, and apparently, he was even trending on Twitter a while.
Another thing that FFXIV is trying and not doing well with are creating instances of the same zones. This is new to FFXIV. It reminds me of what they do in Guilds Wars or Guild Wars 2. But GW2, this system is not.
It’s nice that they’re trying to prevent maps from bogging down. However, they didn’t think the feature through. Whenever someone in your group gets kicked due to server issues, the game does not look to see which instance their group members are in, and dumps that person in the instance with the lowest number of people automatically.
This means, they usually don’t end up back in the same instance with their party. Also, there’s no easy way to choose which instance you are put in aside from zoning out and zoning in again.
After several such happenings, and spending more time trying to get in the same instance as each other than finishing the quests, Syn and I gave up and just did the quests separately.
What I did get to see of the new zones was exciting, though!
Another issue for people who actually got past the MSQ roadblocks was in battling the first primal of the expansion. Apparently, if you win the fight and go to exit, some people were getting completely locked out of their characters. I mean, seriously could not log back in again at all.
This was apparently caused by people using emotes, such as /sit or /doze, while queuing up for the fight. Seems like S/E support is manually helping folks out who have this issue.
I woke up early this morning, feeling a little sick to my stomach (I’d eaten something that didn’t go well with me), and I knew I wasn’t going back to bed. So, at 6:30 AM EST, I got up and started clicking Raubahn until I was sleepy enough to finally lay down again.
It didn’t seem to matter that it was early morning, the crowd was still huge and I had no luck getting in. So, I gave up at 7 AM and went back to sleep. I slept in later than I meant to, and when I finally woke up and showered, I found chaos.
First, I saw my sister had tried to call me 17 times this morning (not including the number of times Syn tried to call me). Then I saw I had a bunch of text messages and Discord was pinging.
Huh?? What’s going on?
Syn tried everything to get my attention while I slept. XD
Note: I never keep my phone in my bedroom when I sleep. Even on vibrate, it would wake me up.
I love my friends. ❤
Syn was so frantic because she thought, at first, the reason we were getting in was because Balmung and Greg were down. This could have been a real possibility. Instead, S/E actually did finally get a work-around going.
Anyhow, I called my sister, she told me the quest was working and to get my butt online. I did just that and was thrilled to see I could, indeed, progress into the instance.
The battle there was actually fairly lengthy and complex. It wasn’t just a quickie thing to jump in and out of the instance for, and it had more than one part to it. I can see why it was taking people so long to get through.
So I beat it! I’m past the first bottleneck… just in time to see Syn off on a plane. *sigh*
Anyhow. The FFXIV community is rejoicing.
Despite the issue with the Cold Steel quest, I am having a ball in Stormblood. I know it sounds strange, but I have more excitement and hope now for my time in FFXIV than I have in years.
I’ll talk about that tomorrow and the next day, though. Today, I just wanted to chronicle the Rise and Fall of the Great MSQ Bottleneck. 🙂