Okay, so I feel a bit lame after preparing you all for the nerd edition of a posting yesterday and then completely going off on a different topic entirely. To make it up to you, I am going to cover the super nergasms here today. At the beginning of the post yesterday, I shared a screenshot of our characters from Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn (or FFXIV:ARR), which is a complete overhaul/reboot of the failed FFXIV that I tried when it launched a few years ago. The cool part was that I didn’t have to purchase the reboot over again since I had version 1.0 (as it is referred to now).
As a little back story on my gamer chops, lets just say I have been playing video games (console and PC) for a good number of years now. I still have a classic Nintendo and I could share stories of how I attained a free Dreamcast from Game Stop oh so many years ago, but these days, my attention is quite drawn to MMOs. I got sucked in when FFXI came out and never really looked back; however, in my youth and all the way up to my 20’s, I loved anything and everything from RPG to FPS and even fighters. I played iconic games (Like Golden Eye) and I even played some real guilty pleasures (Spice World to name one).
In the world of MMOs there are not too many I haven’t at least tried either. When FFXI came out, it was the real first for me outside of EQ, but then came a string of others like LOTR, City of Heroes, and more. The only real competition at the time was the release of WoW, which held my attention for a few minutes, but it was back to FFXI where I was established, immersed, and socialized. It’s a funny thing; I think the coolest part of the MMO experience is that you play with mostly like-minded individuals who can sometimes become friends (even out of game). Beyond that, you have things in common and you interact like a team more so than you could find in any corporation. It is the ultimate team building exercise, if you ask me.
Once I went back to WoW after my FFXI experience, I found it to be the most complex in team building because of the raiding system, which FFXI never had. Sure, there was end game Dynamis, but they sucked, were a bit of a lag fest free for all, but the fight mechanics in World of Warcraft challenged you as a team to work cooperatively to win. Some nights would be painful and others would be full of victorious winning.
As someone who works in a world of academia, I have sat through numerous key note speakers who have researched the dynamics of gaming and cooperative play to see how learning could benefit from this kind of structure, so, when I hear people try to bash gaming or drop it into some kind of stereotypical geek box, I tend to ignore it. I have met a myriad of people from all walks of life who still game. It isn’t all full of trolls and child-like imbeciles. Actually, it is a bit like the real world; it is made up of all kinds.
Now, back to the game at hand; FFXIV:ARR is a pleasant mix of elements from games that have already passed the rigors of the MMO fan base. It pulled concepts from WoW, GW, and even the classic FFXI. It has an interesting mix of jobs/classes, the basic races, but with more female and male options (unlike FFXI), more customization in character creation, a main story line, a job specific quest line, kingdom-related quest lines, dailies, dungeons, and world battles called fates.
Another thing that I really am wrapped up in is the crafting system. The crafting and gathering has its own set of ‘weapons’ and they are treated almost like job classes and level just like them. The one drawback is that most of them cross class with items needed to progress and level. This means, you can’t simply be a leatherworker or a culinarian because you may need items crafted by a blacksmith or carpenter to progress into new tiers. I am not too bothered by it since I planned to level them all, it just slows my pace for getting them done.
As we began to play, I decided to break out of my norms and level a spellcaster. During my last 10 years (at least) of gaming, I leaned towards a melee DPS roll. I chose Thaumaturge and the boyfriend chose Pugilist. It worked out pretty well too. Mobs didn’t really stand a chance against a ranged and melee DPS combo. The tricky part came every 5 levels because your job/class specific quest requires a solo fight. Consider it the equivalent to a Maat fight (if you played FFXI you will understand this and if not, Google it) every 5 levels to make sure you are getting your class down pat. To be fair, not all of the class/job quests are difficult, but there were a few I had to challenge a few times before I got the dance down and won.
The silliest screw up to date was accidentally leveling Arcanist to 15 rather than Archer for my Blackmage unlock. The good news was I was planning to level up the Arcanish anyway, but then I had to go back and level the Archer after I thought I was home free. I found the Archer class to be more fun than I was expecting too. Not something I would rush to hit 30, but as someone who doesn’t generally play ranger types (bow class jobs), it was fun. Once I got it up there, I was able to unlock the Blackmage. Interestingly enough, the main class and advanced job are linked. This means that if you level Blackmage, the Thaumaturge job class levels in sync with it.
As Blackmage as my main, we continued through the story line to about level 37. At this point, I began working on Lancer and Marauder so I could unlock the oh so infamous Dragoon class that I am known for. I will go on record and say that Marauder is not a fun way to tank at all. What I mean by this is when you queue for random guildleves or hests, you are plugged into a party role based on the class you are playing. For some very strange reason, Marauder is under the tank class and it is a heavy axe user. To me, that screams damage dealer, but not in the world of Final Fantasy. In order to be helpful up to 15, I had to go back and work on Gladiator just so that I could get the Flash spell so I had an emnity/threat building move for the dungeons. Please also note that Flash is a mana using spell while the Marauder is actually more of a TP using class. Luckily, on my first day tanking, I had mostly good parties and only one real toolbox of a crew before I hung up the tanking gauntlet for the day. I could see leveling up the Gladiator for a true tank spec later down the road, but for now, I think I would prefer to ‘fate’ my levels with the Marauder class.
After all that, I did attain Dragoon before going to bed this past Sunday night. Now, I have 2 level 30+ and a handful that are pretty close. Not bad for 3 weeks of intermittent gamer play. Actually, it isn’t the 30 climb that is tough, it is the 30-50 climb that tends to slow down after the first one since you won’t have story line to complete with additional jobs and classes. That is when fating and dungeon crawling will be the way to level the others. Talk about one was to hone your skills.
As it stands, I have a lot of things to do, and I am not rushing it at all. I craft when I don’t feel like questing or fating, and I sometimes run around and level the gathering when I feel like I want to watch some Netflix while I mindlessly tap nodes. We haven’t joined a Free Company and do not have a Linkshell yet, but at this point we are just dillying around and having a good time. I like to make my friends a bit more organically, so when the time feels right and we meet up with a cool lot, we will probably enlist, but until then, we just roll how we roll.
Now that I got all that nerdy goodness out, it is time for me to get on with my really real day. Actually, I may toss up one short posting with some of my work-out stuff, and then I will get on with my day.
Until I get that last one written…