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.
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.
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?!
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.