Final Fantasy XIV- The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Over the weekend, on what I can truly label as a whim, I signed up for a two week trial of Final Fantasy XIV.  I’ve been hearing some good things as of late, and the game itself seems to nod more in the direction of the older titles.   I was hopeful enough that I dusted off an old alternate email for the trial, figuring I would snag a referral code with my main email/account once I bought the game, which was 50% off over the weekend and started up my sub.

So things went both better and worse than I anticipated.

The game is *beautiful*.  The graphics are great, the anime style isn’t too over the top, and they got ocean and the beach done pretty well, which is always high marks in my book.

I was not disappointed by the scoring either – queues from the original FF games can be heard throughout and got me pretty excited – as did this class system that harkens back to some of what is, to me, the high points of the series (especially Tactics).

Character creation is a gem as well – lots of choices, but I dont have to input hex-a-decimal codes or determine how many centimeters of jaw line I want.  Preset options, but lots of them for lots of different areas.  Heck, I was feeling good enough, and open enough, to try something new for me – I created a cat character.   I never create cat characters.  My gut reaction to SWTOR adding Cathars was to throw up a little in my mouth.  But variety is the spice of life, and so I took the plunge.

I wasn’t disappointed once the game started either!  My own narrator?  How many MMO’s give you your own action-movie narrator to tell your story?  And how many of them drop you directly in a capital city where you can explore immediately and not have to wait until some later level?!  Good stuff all around.

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IN A WORLD…where HZ finally breaks down and plays a cat girl…

I would like to be dramatic and tell you that it was hard to put my finger on where it all went south for me, but that just wouldn’t be true at all.

I know the exact moment it went south.  And that was when I put my head down on the table and sighed, because six hours later I was still in the capital city, running around doing errands for random people – fetching this, dropping off that, filling up lamps with oil.   And not so much that I had to do those things, because I learned the city really well and it was a nice change of pace, but because after six hours of doing all that, I still hadn’t hit level 10.  I probably wouldn’t have cared about that particular level itself, except that after another hour I decided to go buy and axe and try being a Berserker for awhile.

(Because I was tired of mashing the same two buttons representing the only abilities I had access to…)

But, since you can’t change classes until level 10, that was a bust.  And a pretty big disappointment.  So I headed over to do the level 5 housing quest!  That will spice up life a little, would love a little beach bungalow.

Well, turns out there is a limited number of plots (all of which were full), you have to be a high level character to buy one, and they are not cheap at all.  See, any one of those would have been a substantial enough barrier, but hitting me with all three at the same time, while labeling it a “level 5 quest” was just a jerk move.

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Even the NPC’s try to rub it in…

And that wasn’t the only “what the hell” moment I had.  In fact, it wasn’t even the biggest.   The biggest was when I got a level 6 quest that spawned a level 12 monster and an NPC to help me.   The NPC said, “don’t worry about healing yourself, I will take care of you, just hit them” or something to that effect.  It was stupid, because I died.  It was ironic because she uttered that line right before she let me die.

And then there was the moment when I realized that I was drawing arcane geometric symbols to cast my spells, and that I was apparently able to do so even though I was wearing mittens.   Wait, why the *@#$ am I wearing mittens?!

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Anyway, at some point 8+ hours in, grinding away at level 9, with the same two damn abilities (well, I had a third now, but it was on a 60 second cooldown), I just kinda gave up.

I mean, I *want* to like the game.  Everything is there that I would normally want and love in an MMO.   Except that I just can’t hack the madness of the ultra slow pace.  Especially when I start thinking about cross-class abilities and stuff, because one of the big draws, for me, was not having to have an alt, but being able to play everything.  Now I don’t want to play any of those because the idea of mashing the same button over and over again (in between the constant running of errands) for multiple nights just to unlock a single cross class ability leaves me with a “nope” feeling.

I guess its not a total loss.  My open mindedness has been rewarding I suppose, because that cat girl was really starting to grow on me.

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Me-ow.
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8 thoughts on “Final Fantasy XIV- The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

  1. Jidhari

    The leveling is fairly fast. In 8 hrs you should have had twice that progress at least. The combination of hunting logs, main scenario quests, a couple class quests and maybe a couple sidequests should have gotten you there quickly. Along with guildhests and such from lvl 10. Not sure how on earth after 8 hrs you are only lvl 10. In 8 hrs I can get to at least lvl 17 or higher with dungeons.

    And yes the housing is awfully implemented. Quite the disaster.

    1. That’s for people who know about hunting logs, guildhests, FATEs and so on. First time around, a couple of years ago, the first thing I did was disable the #)(*@)(*# popup tutorial thingies because they appear IN THE FREAKING MIDDLE OF THE SCREEN right when you’re trying to do something else.

      Which is a shame, because those tutorial thingies have a lot of information, including about FATEs and getting out of town and the fact that you don’t have to be in your capital forever.

      it’s a very fun game, but the game-newcomer approach could be a lot better. Of course, FFXIV isn’t alone in this regard. Most everyone forgets what it’s like to be a real newb to something they know well. (Including most writers of user guides, for that matter.)

  2. Guess I dropped the ball on meeting you there, sorry 😦 I’ve been having a few RL health issues and it’s affecting my desire and ability to spend lots of time online.

    Let me know what server you ended up on in case you come back. 🙂

  3. My 1st foray into the game was pretty similar. I felt like the leveling was really slow, too much running around with Fedex quests — stuff like that. To quote my linked blog post there “Right now FFXIV isn’t truly grabbing me either, so this “nomadic” install may not last. Time will tell.”

    Plus I tried to start into crafting right off also and that’s a big grind in the low levels when you don’t know what you’re doing too. I managed to make it through about 2 weeks of playing, but I think my highest job level was level 18 when I drifted off.

    3 or 4 weeks later I decided to give it another go — I wanted to get my chocobo mount, if nothing else. And somehow it hooked me that time. I’ve been mostly just playing it ever since and loving it. Had some recent “gear apathy” but took a break from the daily dungeon running grind for that for the past couple of months, and it was fun again when I tried some of the dungeons for it this past weekend.

    If you ever decide to give it a go again, and I can help, I’d be happy to do so. If not…. good on ya for giving it a try 😉

  4. I think it’s a weird rite of passage to really struggle with this game out of the gate — to want to like it and to be turned off by some of its design and not quite understanding all of its systems. Like some of the above posters, I had to come back for a second try before it clicked for me and I went from grappling with the game to really enjoying it.

    The mittens are dumb, tho. And totally agree about the housing.

  5. Well I’m not giving up yet. I will certainly go back in and give it another shot. There was enough things they got right for me to feel like I owe them (and myself) more time in the game.

    @Jidhari – I’m not sure what to tell you. I did every quest I came across (taking the advice of the Adventurer’s Guild Master/Barkeep in the beginning). To get from 9 to 10 is ~7500 XP. I did every Hunting Log check off I could and got maybe 1500k total for all of them and I had already finished them before I hit level 9. FATE’s have been giving me between 50-500 xp per encounter, and I have done every one that I came across. The only quest I haven’t done is the instanced one that I died on, I will go back and give that one a shot, because I think its the storyline quest. Even doing that one though, I will still be several thousand XP shy of level 10. I also need to stress that the kids were away and the wife is in bed, I had no interruptions and didn’t bother with crafting or sightseeing. I packed those hours and I still feel like I’m moving through quicksand. By contrast I spent half that time in SWTOR the other night and leveled from 53 to 55. I just dread the future of say, 20-30, if 1-10 is this time consuming. But maybe I am missing something somewhere.

    @Ysh – No ball dropped at all! I was so eager I dove right in and did the alt email because I figured it would be awhile before you saw my question about referrals, so you were not holding me up or anything.

    @PKDude – Just read your post, and yes, your thoughts mirror my own. The pet dps just does not seem to balance out the long casting time wet noodle that is only direct damage option. I may need to switch classes, but I am a big pet guy and so I would still want something that forked back into Summoner at least.

    @Syp – Its encouraging to hear that my experience at least isn’t too far off what other people have gone through. If its just the particular peccadilloes of this game that I’m wrangling with, then its definitely worth spending some more time with it.

    1. Well if it’s any help, I main as a Summoner now, and I do a LOT of damage, even though my 1 direct damage spell is that same 80-potency thing. The pet does feel like it does better, the dots take off big chunks of enemy health every tick (especially when you have all 3 running) plus after level 30 you get Fester which also does large chunks, and post 50 you get Painflare and Deathflare, so… Sure, you still have to ramp up to get your dots rolling, manage your aetherflow stacks, and all of that, but you can really lay on the hurt to the enemies.

      I’ve just been re-reading my early FFXIV posts, and even 3 months after I started playing I was talking about not logging in for weeks at a time, so…. it definitely was a slow burn for me to really accept the game. And right now, I was just getting over a small burnout phase when they announced a change that made what I was doing in my “recovery” completely moot, so now while I’m still interested in the game, I’m still not actively logging in on weekdays anymore. But after the Feb 23rd patch, I’ll probably play more again. We’ll see.

  6. C Kenney

    Yeah, I’m sorry to say you picked the absolute worst starting class – while Summoners and Scholars are absolute BEASTS later on, they pay for it by being a poor hybrid as Arcanists until they get some of the DoTs up. Direct damage isn’t their bag, and they don’t get interesting skills until much later.

    And yes, one of the things the game could stand to be better about is letting you know what you’re getting into early on.

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