heavensward

Heavensward is an expansion for Final Fantasy XIV.

Wisdom of Nym: The jobs in the middle of the road in Final Fantasy XIV

The first time, it was all about the jobs everyone thinks are garbage now. The second time, it was all about the jobs everyone thinks are great now. And this time… well, it’s about the Final Fantasy XIV jobs no one seems to think about much at all. Or they’re in the middle of simultaneously called spectacular and awful so that it all averages out into the middle. In other words, these are the jobs that tend to escape the notice of players.

That makes these jobs a little harder to talk about, because they’re not in the midst of any sort of perception shift. In at least one case, we have jobs that have basically just maintained their position in the game’s overall makeup across expansions, yet they haven’t seemed to change enough for people to really notice what they’re doing now. Are they good? Bad? Neutral? What’s going on with these jobs? Let’s talk about it.

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Wisdom of Nym: The winning jobs in Final Fantasy XIV right now

Last time around, we looked at the jobs everyone thinks is deep in the loser category in Final Fantasy XIV. Some of them are really in a bad place, some of them just seem to be in a bad place due to perception, and some sort of have both going on at the same time. But now it’s high time for us to look at the other side of the coin, the jobs that everyone thinks are just doing great.

The funny thing is that in this case, I feel there are fewer jobs where the reality is that the job isn’t that good but just gets perceived that way; it’s more a case where some of them are being seen as outright overpowered when they’re really in a pretty good spot. But enough of the hand-wringing; let’s move on to the jobs that everyone sees as being the absolute winners of the expansion thus far, and examine whether they’re really so great.

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Wisdom of Nym: Why does Final Fantasy XIV feel so much better now?

It took me a very long time to cap out everything in Final Fantasy XIV when Heavensward was current. Until the moogle questline was introduced, my crafting jobs languished pretty badly. I could have gotten more materials and worked on them, but some of that required leather, and since my options were farming that myself or sending out retainers on ventures… well, that meant leveling Warrior, I didn’t want to bother, it didn’t happen. It took a long time.

By contrast, right now with Stormblood, I’m already halfway done with the leveling of combat jobs. My overall goal of leveling everything to 70 plus all of my alts should be done by mid-November. I know that later today, I’m going to be getting at least two more levels, maybe more, and I’m well on my way to my goals. And I’m not bored or putting in the time, I’m excited.

I’ve seen this sentiment going around from other people, too. There’s a general sense that leveling and just playing is much more fun with Stormblood. So what’s the difference? Why is it that now leveling up seems like less of a chore, when the usual methods of leveling quickly (FATE trains) have basically dried up to nothing?

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Wisdom of Nym: The losers we see in Final Fantasy XIV’s jobs

The biggest problem with jobs in Final Fantasy XIV isn’t always mechanics. Sometimes it’s a matter of perception. With 15 jobs to play in combat roles, some of them are bound to be seen as worse than others… and it’s really easy to see some of them as worse when they’ve actually been brought closer to the middle rather than being horribly undertuned.

I cautioned extensively against people making balance predictions based on early preview mechanics before, and in the case of the jobs most frequently cried about as being dead, that turned out to be right on the money. (Surprise, White Mage isn’t on this list!) Now that we’ve actually been playing the expansion for over a month and have Savage information to look at, we can make a more comprehensive picture of which jobs are seen by the community as being good, which ones are bad, and which ones… just sort of are still there.

But let’s start with the losers. Because that makes a fun headline. Who’s on the downward path, and are they actually bad/worse, or just not as good as before?

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV issues that don’t exist yet… but will

One of the bright sides of having so many alts (specifically, six of them) in Final Fantasy XIV is that I’m getting a picture of things that would otherwise remain largely invisible. It’s easy to miss certain issues on a character who has been playing since 1.0, simply because… well, at that point you have things. You don’t need to ask certain questions, because those questions have been answered, those problems solved, those bits of content unlocked.

Having characters going through fresh allows me to ask questions from the perspective of someone going through for the first time. And the result is a game that is actually astonishingly well-assembled and relevant at all levels. Heck, the changes to 50/60 roulette and tomestones alone make for a set of relevant dungeons that could easily be consigned to history; I appreciate that immensely.

But having said all of that, I can’t help but notice that there are issues the game is going to have to deal with, probably sooner rather than later. This expansion? Likely not. Next expansion? By that point, definitely. So let’s talk about the problems that aren’t currently there… but totally will be.

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Wisdom of Nym: What happens next in Final Fantasy XIV?

It’s pretty clear that the Final Fantasy XIV team (and the localization team specifically) are pretty huge fans of Hamilton, to the point that I’m surprised that the Emperor didn’t specifically burst into a song from the musical in the ending sequence. Especially because it’s… kind of a relevant question at this point, once you’ve seen the end of the MSQ.

So what does come next?

Obviously, this column will feature spoilers, so consider yourself fairly tagged. But I think this is a relevant question to ask because this expansion is, in its own way, a very different animal from its two predecessors right out of the gate. The relaunch ended its story in a place so open that it could really go wherever without a problem, while Heavensward ended the 3.0 MSQ with obvious points for continuation. (It helped that the obvious thrust of the expansion took a sharp left turn around level 55.) In the case of Stormblood, though…

Yes, I’m avoiding saying more before the cut. Spoilers down below, people.

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Perfect Ten: 10 little things I love about Final Fantasy XIV

A reader recently sent in a letter asking Justin to explain why he (Justin) had never really connected with Final Fantasy XIV despite giving the game the ol’ college try. I can’t answer that question, obviously; I’m not Justin and don’t presume to know how his mind works, and given his pathological hatred of elves, I’m not sure I’d want to. But I can point out some of the little things that make me fall in love with the game all over again on a regular basis, something that’s hitting me hard as Stormblood ups the bar significantly from the level established in the game so far.

I make no secret of the fact that I’m a fan of the game, and I have been for years. But there are a lot of reasons for that, and some of them are just reasons like these. Every time I duck back into the game (on a daily basis, yes), I notice something I missed before, and half of the time it makes me smile. So let’s look at the little things that make me adore this game.

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Global Chat: Learning from Master X Master

We’ve certainly remarked several times on Massively OP how much like an MMO Master X Master is, even though it firmly checks the “MOBA” box on its census form. With so much similarity and bleedover between the gameplay genres, is there something that MMOs can learn from this title?

Occasional Hero seems to think so and has pulled out three lessons from his experience, including altaholic pride: “As someone who loves playing an army of alts rather than a single character, I really like the idea of a game with a whole bunch of characters that I can switch between as I feel like it. It’s one of the reasons why I love Marvel Heroes so much, despite the fact that the gameplay revolves around doing the same content over and over. And the reason why playing a bunch of different characters/classes is fun in a game like Marvel Heroes or Master X Master is that they each have a unique gimmick.”

Join us for more interesting MMO discussions from gaming blogs after the break, including a strange revival for EverQuest Online Adventures, a new way to experience World of Warcraft, and first steps into Secret World Legends!

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Global Chat: Want to see a Magic trick?

So what does the blogging community think of the first IP-related new MMORPG to be announced in years in Magic: The Gathering? It’s a little more confused than enthusiastic, to tell the truth.

“To me, this announcement is somewhat similar to announcing that they are making an MMORPG out of Poker. Um …. okay?” said Endgame Viable.

“I suspect there are other sets that are more popular or more likely to be chosen as the main basis for the game,” writes Gaming SF, “if Cryptic’s more recent releases for the Neverwinter game are anything to go by then this new MMORPG is likely to feature content that ties into upcoming MtG cardsets to cross-promote both the cards and the game among fans.”

Let’s move on for the moment and look at dueling expansions, Kickstarter issues, and adventuring underwater!

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Final Fantasy XIV opens up the normal version of Omega

The launch of a new expansion for Final Fantasy XIV means that new endgame content is always slightly delayed, giving players a chance to level up without feeling too rushed. But the first bit of time-limited endgame is launching today for Stormblood with the release of the normal version of Omega, sending players searching for the Allagan weapon which has been lost since the end of the Heavensward patches. Clearing the content rewards players with gear tokens and tokens to be exchanged for weapons when time-limited currency gets added in two weeks, so there’s plenty of motivation for players to get in and start clearing.

The patch also adds in yellow scrips for crafters and gatherers and adjusts a number of action potencies slightly, as well as correcting various bugs the game has endured since launch. It’s only the start of the game’s endgame progression, but it should definitely give you something additional to do on a weekly basis if you’re growing a bit tired with the Expert roulette already.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood’s story and the lack of MacGuffins

I think I was about halfway through the Stormblood story when I noticed that it was avoiding more or less every single bit of storytelling in Final Fantasy XIV that I usually dislike. It surprised me, at least a little. I’ve quite liked the game’s storytelling as time has gone by, and I had a lot of praise for the Heavensward story as a whole, but this was pretty unambiguous. Most of my complaints centered around things like “this side plot seems to be overstaying its welcome” rather than “it’s another chase after some magical nonsense with little grounding.”

Obviously, for this column I’m going to be discussing spoilers for the MSQ. I am going to be doing so in a fashion designed to obscure as much information as possible for people who have not yet finished the plot, and I’ll spoiler out any big plot reveals, but be fairly warned as you dip into the comment section. But be fairly warned, there may be spoilers ahead. The good news is that spoilers don’t matter too much because even with them the plot is really good. And not really reliant on shocking swerves.

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Wisdom of Nym: Currencies in Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood

You know, I was going to talk about the end of the Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood MSQ this week, but I decided against it. Not because I don’t have things to shout about when it comes to the expansion, nor because I’ve already done a lot of shouting to some pink-haired cat who helped me along through most of it (a creature of mystery, that one), but because I am probably in the minority in being through the whole thing. So let’s give it another week. It hasn’t even been a week since the actual launch at this point.

Instead, I want to talk about some pretty interesting changes that can easily slip under the radar in terms of currencies. I wouldn’t say this stuff is easy to miss, exactly, but it’s easy to not really think about it when you’re knee-deep in going through the game. So let’s talk about currencies, what you can buy, and what implications this has for the game moving forward.

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Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is everything you expect (and that’s outstanding)

In my mind, Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is all about sticking the landing. After a few years of FFXIV being out, the game has consistently earned high praise from people who play it. Heavensward was recognized as a definite high point for the game, improving more or less everything in the game and adding more besides. So the question was whether or not Stormblood would continue down the same road or try to dramatically upend things, break down what once worked well and lose sight of what people enjoy.

The good news, then, is that it sticks the landing.

Everything that worked well in Heavensward has been brought forward and refined, and the parts that hadn’t worked so well have been trimmed away, repurposed, or outright removed. It feels very much like an expansion to the same core game, but in the process it manages to address almost every complaint I had over Heavensward almost incidentally. And it continues on in the high standards the game has set for itself over the years, resulting in an expansion which I’m already in love with after finishing the main storyline.

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