Today not a rant, but it WILL be a long read. Get a drink and something to eat.
I think I’ve complained about WoW enough that people understand that I’m just really passionate and want the game to do well. I hope 8.2 is everything people wanted and more, and that classic will carry Blizzard back out of their current issues. Have fun!
On to FF then. Where do I start really…let’s just take it from the top with a review of every expansion so far, with my personal experience at the end:
The early levels (1-30):
My pc died the same day I downloaded FF, and it originally turned me away simply because of that annoyance. Thankfully I came back after it got fixed, and began my journey, on which my friend Shensu had already started a bit. I joined him on his server, and made a Miqo’te (what a surprise) Pugilist (the monk of FF, again, what a surprise.)
Early quests already set a nice tone for what would be the standard “adventurer does big thing x5” that Final Fantasy games are known for, and the world felt very alive with the amount of players I encountered on the way. You also get your first mount at around 30.
The middle school of hard knocks but mostly running back and forth (30-50):
And when I say 30-50, I mean Pre-Heavensward included.
Have you ever wanted to run all over the world for hours on end?
Do you like watching a movie during your gameplay, that lasts for up to an hour if not longer if you’re a very slow reader?
Do you like being emotionally distraught?
Do you like catching a cold from walking in the snow?
Do you like headaches?
If so, these levels are your home turf. Yet none of these are actually cons to me, aside from the first one. At 30, your class “evolves” into what it’s supposed to be, for example, Thaumaturge becomes Black Mage, and Pugilist becomes Monk. With this change, your class quests also evolve, and to me, some become worse, and you might lose interest. At the same time, the MSQ does the same, telling you to run all over the place multiple times to talk to different NPC’s. The story REALLY slows down here, but is worth your time to do regardless. Your character has its fair share of visions in this time, but again, invest time into reading the cutscenes, and in time you’ll feel rewarded for it. The story picks up again when you near level 50, and you get put into two Main Scenario dungeons that last anywhere from 20-35 minutes for the first, to 40 minutes AT LEAST for the second, followed up with an EPIC FINALE, after which…you slow down again. Many more tedious quests await you before you get to sink your teeth into Heavensward, and this might be where people give up or get bored. Bite through this part, and you will be rewarded with one of the best bits of story-telling the first expansion had to offer: the quest named “The Parting Glass.”
If you paid attention during the earlier quests, you know what happens here before it happens. But it somewhat takes you by surprise anyway, and many other things happen as well. The player’s world is turned upside down to say the least. During a 45 MINUTE CINEMATIC, your emotions are thrown around like a ball of yarn, or perhaps a pinball. Make sure to get some popcorn!
Afterwards, your character finds themselves in the next chapter of this game’s story, with eyes turned heavensward.
The breaking of the soul, among other things, like the heart (50-60)
Remember when you ran across the continent five times all the while beastmen were summoning their god and people refused to help you before you finished running around?
Well guess what pumpkin, no one here knows that you did that. Go chase some heretics! All in all, Heavensward was a wild ride, from the uncanny start to the amazing final steps (of Faith, ha) toward the next chapter.
Straight out the gates you get thrown into a harsh, unkind environment, but not without friends along the way! Just like before, the main character is surrounded by a cast of colorful, living creatures that breathe character. From the corteous Count Edmont to the Dragoon Kain-wannabe Estinien, this story brings with it many more characters which you will come to both love and hate, in the most relaxed to the most intense scenarios thus far. It is also important to note that, at this point in the story, your gear probably isn’t the best. Mobs WILL be tougher. Be careful, but don’t let that stop you from advancing the story bit by bit. Being an expansion, Heavensward only covers levels 50-60. Flying is also introduced, but needs to be unlocked per zone in which it is available, and will make for a nice distraction for those that need it. Once finished with this storyline, you will go on to a little Pre-Stormblood questline, setting up for its story, before charging right into battle.
Still got emotions after that last quest? Good. Zenos will have what’s left. (60-70)
Stormblood wasn’t exactly my favorite, but it’s hard with stories being shorter because of expansions. At this point you’re in too deep if you care about story, so you can’t escape anymore anyway. The character once again takes some heavy hits to their persona, as well as the player taking heavy hits on their emotions again. Stormblood was tedious at many points, but it all depends on what you find more interesting. The journey takes you to the land of Ninjutsu and the ways of the Samurai: Doma, but also back to places that were always a goal to many characters you’ve met so far: Ala Mhigo. Many more, new characters take to the stage, prime among which is Arthas…sorta. The story jumps back and forth between the two places, and that’s what annoys me a little. I don’t want to stop my intense story here to go somewhere else first. While it made sense from a story’s perspective, it still kinda sucked for me personally. Luckily, both stories overlap and work together towards the amazing ending, with plot twist after plot twist.
Which brings us to Shadowbringers, set to release in 5 days from now for people with early access.
I can only wish Square Enix the best in their journey as developers of this game, and the same to the players, on their journey to discover the truth behind everything they’ve been told up to now. Even I have questions I want answers to, and I hope Shadowbringers will give me that. Here’s hoping.
⬇MY OPINION AND MASSIVE SPOILERS DOWN BELOW, RUN NOW!⬇
You’re still here?
Let’s start out with ARR, then. Here’s Hildi warning you to avoid spoilers.
I started playing FF about 4 months ago from writing this, bit more or less. Being stuck at home and jobless, I had loads of time to eat this story up. Now, quick reminder, I’ve played other FF games (3, 6, 7, 8 and 13), which resulted in me sorta knowing the main red thread that works in all FF games: Light and Dark need to be balanced. The first part, which is to say, all of Realm Reborn, teaches that to the player, among other things, like politics and quarrels of each main city. Regardless of what city you started in, it will always gravitate towards Ul’Dah’s story after a while. I tore through this part with relative ease and quickness, enjoyed the highs and despised the lows, but kept on going to see where it was all going. and boy, what an ending. At this point I was hooked enough to already have bought both Heavensward and Stormblood, so I was able to dump Monk for Samurai at 50, just before doing Realm Reborn’s final bits, facing off with Nero, Gaius, and the Ultima Weapon. The ending cinematic was long, but worth watching. everything was good that day…for a moment, the world knew peace.
And then it all came crashing down.
The forming of the crystal braves, only to be betrayed by the corrupt among them.
The poisoning of Nanamo, before she was able to step down as Sultana.
Raubahn nearly dying.
The Scions going MIA.
Hydaelyn’s blessing being sealed away by this wannabe god called Midgardsormr.
And after all of that, you’re stuck with crybaby Alphinaud (yeah you got backstabbed get over it) and Haurchefant, also known as that guy that has a massive fetish for you in the Japanese version, regardless of your gender (respectable), and Midgardsormr in whelp-form. What a dream-team. You lost everything. It was as if the whole world renounced the Warrior of Light.
And yet Heavensward would blow your god damn pants off.
The Fortemps Family. Aymeric’s hunger for lasting peace. The Pope’s betrayal. The death of Iceheart. Estinien losing himself to the eyes of Nidhogg. The Warriors of Darkness. The return of Scions presumed dead. A friendly face-off with Raubahn. The final steps of faith, where Hraesvelgr fought fang and claw to defend Ishgard from the mad spirit of Nidhogg, at which point…my pc hard crashed. IM NOT KIDDING! THE MOMENT THEY CLASHED UNDERNEATH THE BRIDGE, MY PC FROZE AND I HAD TO RESTART. When I came back, I had to go rewatch the cinematic at an inn first. I wasn’t gonna miss out on the conclusion. You felt like a god yourself by the end of Heavensward, and rightfully so. You’ve saved Ishgard, stopped the Pope from becoming a tyrant to his people, brought peace between mankind and dragonkind, convinced the Warriors of Darkness to stand down, and killed THREE Ascians, thought immortal before, among which was LAHABREA, one of the three Paragons of the Source.
Can we quickly talk about that dinner with Aymeric right before Stormblood? Was this some kind of troll, Square Enix? Respect to my character for not sweating bullets, but I was like: “Any moment now one of us is getting poisoned. Or an explosion happens. Or another pair of Nidhogg’s eyes gets found. Or an Ascian comes in to blast the waiter for no apparent reason.”
Then, right at the end of Heavensward, Potato Jesus sacrifices himself to pull a Louisoix and tries to seal away Shinryu. Cid and Nero (welcome back!) team up to find and send out a machine called Omega to deal with this issue of Shinryu breaking out of the cage he was put in.
And then we meet Zenos, and my latest kink I didn’t know existed: Mechanical Scabbards that rotate and probably weigh a ton. Seriously, if you didn’t think that looked cool, IDK what to say. Anyhow, Stormblood IMO missed the mark a bit. The early bits in Ala Mhigo are just boring and the slaughterhouse that followed was a much needed break from all the bullshit. Also nice to see my character finally getting her ass destroyed by an RP WALKING BADASS. Then, we go to Doma, pretty nice place, my hunger for all things Japan is sated quickly and me and Shensu can finally get ourselves an apartment in Shirogane. We’re still saving up for a house, but that’s just a matter of time.
And then…we took a dive into Eureka.
This place, by itself, deserves a spotlight. While the system itself is kinda flawed because you ride in a FATE train for hour upon hour, the progressive system and rewarding items made more than up for it. I did the whole thing in about a month, from Anemos to Hydatos. Community took main stage here, which I can only applaud. There’s nothing quite like tackling a FATE boss with 144 people, with half of them getting oneshot by any AoE, but that’s beyond the point. It just felt special, being together in an instance with all these people.
For those of you that want to ever tackle Eureka yourselves for the weapons, here’s my advice, which might become outdated in two months, but I’m doing this anyway because I CANNOT find a proper full guide anywhere:
Step 1: You start in Anemos. Do your challenge logs, look for people who are also around your level, and team up. Level to elemental level 10.
Step 2: FATE Train. All the way to 20, and then some to get your weapon upgraded to its Anemos stage. Finish up your quests, and head into Pagos.
Step 3: Fate train to 35. Grab your kettle to collect light as soon as you can, and hand the light in before you hit 10 on the counter. Repeat until you have 31 light crystals, finish your elemental weapon, and on to Pyros.
Step 4: Fate train to 50. Give 0 fucks about the quests outside of the base until you get to 50, and then get a few friends (that you’ve hopefully made through your journey in Eureka so far) to lend you a hand to complete the last parts, unlock Hydatos, farm any remaining crystals needed for your weapon and get ready to relax.
Step 4.5 (Optional): This is for the people who want to the get the shiny Elemental Armor. https://ffxiv-eureka.com/logograms is your best friend for this. Hope you can miss a couple Million Gil, because HOO BOY this shit is tedious and frustrating. Make sure you don’t overspend your cash if you care about your money / don’t want to spend more than needed. Get ready to teleport between Eureka and Kugane/Limsa a lot.
Step 5: HYDATOS PIZZA TIME. This place is heaven, with many open areas, and very little risk to die unless you’re auto-running while alt-tabbed. Fate train to 57, then you can either continue that to 60, or start reflect farming. I recommend doing that, but it’s by no means necessary. If you have some days off, you can do all of Hydatos and grab your final weapon in about 2 days, given you have other players also doing this.
That’s it! At this point it’s just farming crystals and hoping to catch Provenance Watcher twice, or, if you don’t want the glow on the weapon like me, you don’t even need him! Hydatos is still a great source of income, with the mount from the boxes netting you many millions!
As a community-based piece of content, Eureka did a great job of staying relevant until the end of Stormblood. I’m looking forward to the next expansion, and hope it’ll be as good as my experience with the game so far. Here’s to Shadowbringers!