Let’s assume you’ve just recently gotten to the level cap in Final Fantasy XIV
and you’re ready to start in on catching up to the main scenario before Heavensward
drops. Where do you start?
I don’t really agree with the official decision to gate people out of Ishgard if they haven’t cleared the story up through the 2.55 patch, but it was made and I didn’t get a vote there, so it’s kind of academic. The point is that if you’re hitting that level for the first time, you have five major patches of stuff between you and getting to Ishgard in June. So how do you make sure that your fresh character can get all the way up there? Is it even possible?
The answer is most definitely yes, but you’re going to have to put some time in. Most of the gating you’ll have to deal with, though, is a matter of getting the gear you need to take on the later challenges that the story throws at you.
Let me warn you upfront: If you have not yet finished the last major story patch of Final Fantasy XIV
and you want to make sure not to see or read any spoilers, please, do not
read this article yet. There will
be spoilers. Spoilers will flow fast and furious. Your desire to not be spoiled is both entirely understandable and one that I wish to honor as much as possible, so please, turn back now. I won’t be offended.
That having been said, it’s past time to talk about what happened during the last patch. I made some predictions, and several of them were wrong, but what we were left with is downright fascinating. It gives us a framework for what comes next in the story while also dramatically changing the landscape of the game, and while there are some people with a great deal of irritation at the story’s twists and turns, I don’t share that dissension. I am psyched.
Again, spoilers past here. You have been warned.
I honestly hadn’t expected to learn quite this much about Heavensward
this soon. I don’t know why
I hadn’t expected this, to be fair; we’ve got 67 days as of this writing before the expansion launches, so now is definitely the time to start learning all of these important details of Final Fantasy XIV
‘s first expansion. But somehow I suppose I expected the development team to be close-lipped for a little bit longer, to really build up the mystery, to keep it vague until there was literally no other option or something.
We didn’t learn a lot of details. But the shape of what’s coming is much clearer now than it was before the live letter, and we have a baseline for what to expect in the game when we step through the Gates of Judgement in June. There were some interesting revelations and a few that I think rather flew under the radar, so let’s start looking at where we’re going from here and what we can reasonably expect.
It happened, just as expected. A day after I posted a lengthy column discussing Final Fantasy XIV
‘s last big pre-expansion patch, that patch dropped, and wouldn’t you know it, nearly every single thing that I predicted turned out to be largely wrong, mostly because of carefully constructed misdirection, which is a trick I respect immensely. It made for a more and less
surprising finale, that’s for sure, even as someone who was doing the whole thing on the day that the content game out.
Yes, all of it, on the same day. I was just that tedious.
Obviously, there are several people here who have not gotten through the story just yet, due in no small part to the trial before the conclusion. Since it’s been less than a week, I want to minimize or wholly avoid spoilers in this piece, so I won’t be discussing the details of the story (I’ve got an entire spoiler-heavy podcast to do that), but I will be discussing the Steps of Faith. And even if you don’t like being told the mechanics of something beforehand… well, you should read it anyway.
There is a crack in the foundation of Eorzea’s defenders, and it’s been there for a while. For all of Final Fantasy XIV’s
operation, we’ve been able to ignore that fact, to pretend that it isn’t there or that we’re not really facing something horrid just over the horizon. We’ve faced down one threat after another and convinced ourselves that the land is at least relatively safe. But we’ve never faced a threat like the one about to hit Ishgard.
We spent so much time defending against other threats that the Dravanian Horde never got its due.
The last part of the 2.5 cycle goes live tomorrow, and with it comes the conclusion to the entirety of the relaunch storyline. We’ve already made some pretty big strides, but it’s time to look at what we know will come next, what we believe will happen, and who will be left standing after everything goes cross-eyed. Fair warning: There may be spoilers ahead, so tread carefully if you’re afraid of those.
It’s all over for Final Fantasy XI. Or it will be, anyhow.
It was hard to imagine that the big Final Fantasy XI conference was going to end in a whole bunch of good news for the game. The game has been running for half of forever, and it’s not as if it coincided with a big event that would make an expansion or the like sound reasonable. So what we actually got was…
Well, all things considered, it was intensely positive.
Don’t misunderstand me; I’m sure that pretty much everyone who still plays the game and several people watching from the sidelines would prefer that FFXI continued getting big updates and improving forever. But realistically, this is what’s best for the health of the game and the playerbase. Yet I’ve already seen more than a few people taking umbrage with it, complaining and raging that this is some betrayal or that it shows Square-Enix has no idea what it’s doing, accusations that are almost comically misplaced.
The last part of Final Fantasy XIV
‘s pre-expansion storyline is going live on March 31st. That’s about two weeks away. And while you’ll be able to do such things as “no longer worry about the weekly lockout on World of Darkness” and presumably “buy those Ironworks weapons from the CT weekly,” you’ll also be facing the last dose of content from the game until the expansion drops on June 23rd — or June 19th if you have it pre-ordered, which will almost certainly be the case for the people who are reading this column with the intent of actually playing the game. But that’s still nearly three months without much new to do.
I’m going to assume that no one needs any suggestions about finishing the content that’s already available in the game; if you haven’t done the Hildibrand story yet, well, there’s enough content to keep you occupied for a week or so right off the bat. But let’s assume that you’ve kept up with the story and within a week of the second half of this patch, you’ll know what there is to be done. What can you use to fill in the gap other than grinding?
After a madcap week, I got to come home to the Gold Saucer. Traveling to Seattle on short notice was a mixture of the good and the bad, and I was certainly happy to be back home, but I was all the happier when I had Final Fantasy XIV
‘s den of gambling-but-not-really to look forward to upon arrival. What could be better?
Well, a system that was actually ready to account for the vast influx of people who wanted to take part in the minigames would have been a good idea, but let’s not get crazy, hmm?
Thematically, the Gold Saucer comes at a highly inappropriate time, since Eorzea is kind of tearing itself apart at the seams while people gamble ceaselessly. But it’s also something that’s both fun and almost infinitely expandable, a feature that will fit well into the game after the initial rush has worn off. So let’s take a look at the Saucer, the many games therein, and how everything shakes down on the average.
All right. The end of last week’s column
did not, in fact, finish starting new in Final Fantasy XIV
. It brought you up to the point where you could no longer really be considered starting
, but there’s so much more to do. So while I could leave it there, I think we should at least learn how to unlock Jobs before the expansion.
So let’s keep rolling on, assuming that you’ve been progressing along in the main story to unlock the other two “intro” dungeons. These three dungeons are all a bit on the tedious and tutorial side, but they at least unlock your low-level roulette (immensely valuable) and start you down the road to understanding the game’s dungeon mechanics. It’s a game of easy enemies and hard bosses, and the next leg of the journey demonstrates exactly how much emphasis is placed upon the boss battles.
Starting out fresh in Final Fantasy XIV
can be pretty intimidating, I freely admit. I find it all old hat at this point, but I’m coming at the game as someone who has leveled every single available class to 50. It would be more surprising if I were still starting out and wondering when I can get my first mount or when I’m allowed to completely ignore the story and just craft forever if that’s more my speed.
The answer to both is largely level 20, for the record.
Let’s assume, then, that you’re starting the game new for the first time. Once you’ve made your character (and your birthdate and starting deity have minimal effect upon your character, so don’t sweat them) and watched the far-too-long opening cutscene, you’re dropped into a quick series of tutorial quests. What do you do from there, where do you go, and how do you make the most out of your time in Final Fantasy XIV when we’re on the cusp of the game’s first expansion?
Don’t call it a comeback; I’ve been here for years.
Last week, I wrote a farewell, and I wasn’t happy to be doing so. I knew that I would still be playing and thinking about Final Fantasy XIV, but I also knew that I was done writing about it for the same reason that everyone else was done. I certainly didn’t imagine that a week later I’d be preparing a new column with a new name and a new lease on life on the same topic after you wonderful folks smashed the hell out of our Kickstarter goal.
But here we are, and I’m happy to be here again. I’ve got a new column, I’ve got a new lease on life, and it seems that today is the best possible time to talk about Final Fantasy XIV‘s fantastic endurance, and not just how it’s managed to take a game that was widely panned and bring it back as a surprise hit; that much is a given. No, I’m talking about how the game keeps winning converts, entrancing new people, and pulling players back time and again.