I read via Bhagpuss’ blog that this past week was a ‘welcome back’ week to Final Fantasy XIV players who are currently unsubscribed, in part to showcase the new casino-style content patch.
I thought I was going to log in and try the Manderville Gold Saucer content but as I stood there looking at my character and his various classes I couldn’t resist picking up where I left off with leveling Arcanist. In one pretty lengthy evening session I got him 5 levels in this class, up to level 20 from 15. That meant heading back to Limsa Lominsa (darn it but I have to look the spelling of that place up every time I mention it in a blog!) to the Arcanists’ guild to pickup the class quest (there’s a new one every 5 levels). It’s not pictured here but I’ve just got the upgraded tanking pet so I need to give that a try if I have time for one more go before the free week ends.
Playing Arcanist is actually rather enjoyable, very reminiscent of playing Warlock in World of Warcraft, I get my combat chocobo and my summoned pet carbuncle and I can drop 4 or 5 different damage-over time spells (some are cross-class) on the enemy while my pets keep it distracted.
I alternated between doing quests I’d thus far ignored while leveling Conjurer/White Mage and doing the repeatable content in the zones I visited – FATEs and Levequests. This is where this reborn MMORPG shines in particular compared to the competition. The combination of repeatable public content, level-sync and high level content mixed in with the leveling zones means that zones are generally lively when ever I’ve logged in. It’s a rare MMORPG that manages to keep the game world feeling inhabited, one that doesn’t fall into the trap of over-concentrating the player base in endgame zones. FFXIV does a great job of this.
All the FATEs I did had other players already involved or joining after me – I didn’t need to solo one single event. There’s a lot to like although the game isn’t without its flaws. Certainly there’s a lot of clicking to get through dialogue – sometimes I feel like telling NPCs to get on with it! That might be because I’ve been playing The Secret World so much and I’ve gotten used to voiced cut scenes. There’s a fair amount of avoidable attacks in the combat: FFXIV doesn’t claim to be an action combat game but this need for movement makes the lack of a dedicated dodge ability a noticeable omission (WoW has the same issue for me these days).
The Heavensward expansion comes out in June; the new classes coming with it could well be enough to persuade me to come back for another spell in Eorzea. The graphics for the Astrologian in particular looking very interesting indeed.