FFXIV: summoner, archer – bard?

I’ve been holding off on progression of my main class/job in FFXIV (Summoner) to allow my husband to catchup level-wise and main scenario quest-wise. So all my FFXIV time has been spent doing alt classes, mostly Archer for the cross-class synergy with Summoner.


That said I’ve gotten so used to playing the mobile artillery class that I may end up wanting to main that in future! I’ve just done the level 30 Archer quest, see below, but need to level Pugilist to 15 if I want to unlock the Bard job.

Almost no-one plays base classes after level 30, so playing Archer instead of Bard would be a good way to get hard stares from the veterans in any dungeons.


I think I’ll stick to playing Summoner through to 50 as Azendro is very close to my level now – level 34 and my job is at 39. He needs to do a chunk more main scenario questing, which is a mostly solo task as none of it is repeatable, so perhaps I’ll have unlocked Bard by that point.

I’ve given crafting a brief glimpse, and immediately started down the dark path of wanting to make all the required materials using all the different crafting jobs. That would quickly become overwhelming. I think I’ll save my gaming time and gil for now and just leave crafting as a future side-activity.

It’s looking less likely we’ll be ready for the expansion in time, I’m sure we’ll make level 50, but I hear there are a ton of level 50 main scenario quests to get through before we’ve unlocked the prerequisites for Heavensward. It’s not a big issue, I’m very used to being behind the curve in games and their expansions.

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Story and coop gameplay

The only downside I’m finding to playing FFXIV at the moment is the volume of solo-only instanced content in the main scenario quests. It’s a very common problem in MMORPGs, developers seem to think we should be forced to do story-heavy missions on our own. To be honest if I want to play with friends why should it matter if it’s a bit easier?


Time to stand and wait…

It’s particularly irksome that this includes not using your Chocobo companion and that the game punishes you for having one out if you are running main scenario quests – any remaining minutes on the food buff used to summon it are lost if you put it away to do such a quest!

Not every main scenario quest is solo though, there are ‘purple area’ quests which summon the encounter in the open world, albeit locked to your group. This uses the same tech as the Guildleve system – you can only attack leve-spawned monsters if you are grouped with the initiator. So if the tech exists why do so many missions as solo instances?


Lending some muscle on a scenario quest


It’s the inconsistency that really irks me; not that some things are solo in the game. I have exactly the same problem with mission design in The Secret World since the game does small group play very well in most cases, but then has pure-solo missions that break that flow. Star Wars the Old Republic was possibly the best supporter of group play, even in the class story missions, although I’ve read recent blog entries by Shintar that seem to hint that the newer content is not so supportive of coop gameplay.

I just wish MMORPG developers would put more thought into letting people play with their friends as a priority, it’s the obvious social mode to include!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, SWTOR, TSW | 2 Comments

MMOs and exploring

Massively OP had a post recently to ask about what MMO gets you exploring. I have written posts on exploration in MMORPGs before but nothing touching that topic recently, that got me thinking. It appears I’ve shifted towards the ‘achiever’ end of the spectrum quite a lot at some point since I was playing Rift and Vanguard.

Exploration as a playstyle tends, in my mind, to be a solo activity – think of the fantasy stereotype of the wilderness ranger blazing new trails or watching the forests for new threats. In older games that I mostly played solo I would often allow myself to get distracted, if I saw an unusual tower on the horizon I’d put questing on pause and go find the entrance!

I used to play Everquest 2 in this manner to an extent, I’d start a zone and then just wander around finding quests, gathering materials and doing other activities as I came across them. The knock-on effect of having a heroic character and wanting to reach the cap has been a much stronger focus on level progression, which ultimately turned me off the game somewhat as it seemed to actively resist me levelling at a decent pace without following some narrow, prescribed path such as chrono-mentored dungeon-grinding.

I was playing FFXIV this way, following the main scenario quests sure but also doing a lot of wandering around following FATEs or looking at zone features – several times I’ve had to binge on main scenario quests to catch them up with my character level because I was too busy doing other random stuff. We’re focused now in this game on leveling to the cap because of the expansion so I’m not likely to do as much exploring for a while. But the game seems to offer plenty for level capped characters to do in old zones (hunts and FATEs offer something for level 50s too) so there’ll be time enough to revisit what I’ve missed.

As for solo gaming sessions I’ll need to rethink what I’m doing. I don’t want to be solely focused on progression in two MMOs in parallel, that’s a recipe for burn-out. So I may have to go back to EQ2 with a different view on why I’m playing that game, just getting to cap ASAP to join the masses is less important to me in that game. If I’m going to do endgame in any game, it might as well be in FFXIV with my husband’s character beside me. So hopefully I’ll find my ‘exploration’ groove again in Norrath, it’s certainly a big enough world to get lost in and that’s a good thing!

Posted in EQ2, FFXIV, Gaming | 2 Comments

TSW: mounts to be added to the game

A reddit thread has the breaking news that mounts are coming to The Secret World, a dev on a livestream off the new Tokyo patch content throws in, casually, at the end the image of two different characters astride different motorcycle models. That’s pretty exciting news, although I’m in two minds about how it will affect the ambience of the world. It makes perfect sense to have vehicles in this modern-day MMORPG but, knowing that certain type of player, it will mean ‘bunny-hopping’ and engine-revving motorcycles circle-straffing all over the Agartha and main cities.

Funcom DevStream image

Funcom DevStream image

The dev (Tilty?) mentions that it’s a way to customise the current sprint mode – that sounds to me like the mounts may be purely cosmetic with no additional increase in speed over our current max-speed sprint. More details are to follow in a press release that was also mentioned in the stream.

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Playing a tank as a solo character

I was going to write a post some time ago about Everquest 2 with a title along the lines of “why did I boost a tank of all characters?” My experiment with instant high level characters in this game started with the slightly random selection of a Shadowknight as my first high level character. I’d played a Shadowknight at low levels a long time ago as part of an abortive duo-team.


I enjoy the classes mix of melee and spell abilities and the graphics and playstyle are fun – lots of area damage abilities and spells to spread damage-over-time diseases about. The strange thing about all this though is I that of the three standard ‘holy’ trinity roles for MMORPGs tanking is easily my least favourite. I’ll note here that I’ve played tank so far in The Secret World in a casual trio context but that doesn’t mean I’d be happy to be tanking world bosses or dungeons with random players. Beyond that I’ve not tanked much since my WoW years when I always kept a Protection Paladin alt geared as a backup character should the guild need a tank for heroic dungeon runs.


My new-found appreciation for tank-style characters doesn’t come from wanting to play that role necessarily in group content, but rather from their general survivability and power in leveling content. As a solo leveling character a tank is often very viable with self-heals and defensive cool-down abilities to help you deal with unexpected challenges. Tanks often have good group-damage abilities also to deal with groups of foes all at once. It may not be the original intention for the role but in modern MMOs tanks are expected to do average-to-good damage as well so it’s not the slow and dull leveling experience it once was (leveling as a Prot Paladin in the Burning Crusade era was not advisable).


There’s an irony to this however that I end up with a character/specialisation at the level cap that I am unlikely to want to play in group content given the expectation that I should actually fulfil that character’s expected role. I may have to be more conscious of the grouping implications of choosing to level such a character in future. Despite this I do have a renewed appreciation for defensive melee archetypes, after years of mainly focusing on ranged spellcasters. Maybe I should be leveling Paladin in FFXIV next…

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It doesn’t take much – inspirations to return to a game

I’ll admit it, I’m a bit fickle when it comes to what games I’m currently playing. I like variety in my gaming mix and I get bored quickly if there’s too much grind involved in progressing story or my character. I’m very happy playing The Secret World with the husband and a friend. I’m excited to be leveling towards the current cap in Final Fantasy 14 and to join the rush into the expansion content when Heavensward launches.

Two things have messed up my plans for concentrating on just these games though. Firstly I popped my head back into Everquest 2 to play some during the bonus XP week and was reminded how much I like the storytelling and the housing system. I get fed up with the slow leveling pace if I play it too intensively but then I’ve not much interest in the end game anyway so does that really matter?

This Freeport quest offers some rather dark choices...

This Freeport quest offers some rather dark choices…

Then more recently we sat watching the third Hobbit movie (The Battle of the Five Armies) and suddenly I really wanted to be leveling one of my low-level dwarf or elf characters (the elven minstrel or dwarf hunter perhaps) once more.


I’ve a gaggle of low-level characters that sit untouched and the low-level content, especially everything up to level 50, is so good that I’m more than happy to repeat it. The later leveling seems so intensive and there’s so much of it that I start to feel weighed down by the amount of levels that I need to get. But the early game is so good it’s always tempting to pop back into Middle Earth.

What inspires or tempts you to return to an MMORPG that you’re not actively playing?

Posted in EQ2, FFXIV, Gaming, LotRO, TSW | 2 Comments

Guest Post : Garrosh’s Adventures in Outlands – Part 2

[Hi! Meznir here – Telwyn’s hubby. Today I’m doing a guest post about WoW. Telwyn quit the game a few years ago as he hated the direction the game was going, but I’ve been carrying on without him. We had the idea of me occasionally posting about WoW so that the blog still covers that game.]

In Part 1 I started on my mission to find out what happened to Garrosh in The Burning Crusade (because woe betide Alliance players should be told the main story in WoW!), spent a good while doing Prerequisite quests and catching up with Lantresor of the Blade.

But finally I got the quest chain I was looking for: A Visit With the Greatmother

Garrosh is in a grumpy mood...

Garrosh is in a grumpy mood…

Continue reading

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