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.
Sometimes when you’re staring down a long wait until a much-anticipated expansion, the only thing that will help you keep your sanity is to indulge in as many videos as possible. Drink up, friends, for Square-Enix
has released an eight-minute benchmark trailer for Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward
that’s all about the expansion’s lucious visuals, intense combat, and exhilerating flight.
For fun, we’ve also tacked on a cheeky “ultimate fight” video that the studio put together to tweak the competition’s nose. It answers that age-old question: What would Final Fantasy XIV look like as a fighter game? Turns out, it’d be pretty rad.
I didn’t know hybrid classes were a thing, really, until I picked up classic EverQuest way back in 1999. Most of the roleplaying games I’d played until that point, including pioneering sandbox MMO Ultima Online, were skill-based, and so I more or less picked skills that I liked without worrying about hybrid penalties. (In classic UO, pretty much everyone was a mage, after all!) EQ introduced me to those stock Dungeons and Dragons concepts, however, and the majority of subsequent MMORPGs have clung to classes to make life easy on the designers tasked with balancing player power.
Hybrid penalties or no, a lot of people really still love the idea of being a jack-of-all-trades, of having a variety of skills and playstyles all on one character, and penalizing players for picking non-pure roles has long fallen out of fashion. Skill-based sandboxes, of course, still allow players to pick up swords alongside their shovels, but themeparks like RIFT and Skyforge and Final Fantasy XIV also let you swap around your subclasses so much that pretty much everyone in the game is a hybrid.
Are you ready to have you mind absolutely blown open? Because I have an astonishing truth to lay at your feet: While doing this job, I visit a lot of official game sites. A lot of them. Pretty much constantly.
Here’s an equally astonishing truth: Most of them are terrible. And I’m sure basically every person out there who has been forced to navigate through official MMO sites would probably agree with me. Like designers of many other websites, the designers seem to be absolutely certain that I want one thing when I go to the site when what I really want is something entirely different.
Let’s codify this, then. There are a lot of features that every game’s official site should have that very few of them actually do; today, let’s talk ten features that pretty much every official MMO site ought to have… which a depressing number of them lack, sometimes for really incomprehensible reasons.
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 won’t pretend that I’m one of the biggest fans of the game, but I’m really glad that Triple Triad is a thing in Final Fantasy XIV. I’m also super psyched that World of Warcraft has its various Darkmoon Faire diversions (though they should really be around more) and I’m even keen on the absurd little pattern-matching Dilithium mining in Star Trek Online. Put simply, I’m a big fan of having some minigames to take part in as I play.
Minigames that aren’t tied to fighting or crafting or the like are, to be fair, not part of the core design of a game. They’re extraneous side ventures, and it’s very common for them to either be far too rewarding or not rewarding enough. But I like the fact that they exist, and I’m always willing to at least try a new minigame or two. What about you? Do you like minigames, or would you rather that developers focus more efforts on core gameplay?
Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
The official teaser site for Final Fantasy XIV
‘s first expansion, Heavensward
, has gotten a big update today
. If you’ve been sitting on the edge of your seat hoping for more information about the Au Ra, you have it today; the isolationist Raen secure themselves behind mountains in eastern Othard, while the nomadic Xaela tribe carries the banners of the ancestors and keeps to the old ways as they roar across the steppes.
Dark Knights, Astrologians, and Machinists get more elaboration as well. Machinists are Ishgard’s attempt to deal with the intensifying Dragonsong War, wielding fierce new weapons inspired by the Garlond Ironworks. Dark Knights serve as champions to the Ishgardian smallfolk, hunting down those knights and inquisitors who become corrupt, bearing no mark of allegiance save their swords. Last but not least, Astrologians practice ancient Sharlayan arts allowing them to alter the future rather than simply predicting it. If you missed it, we’ve included the most recent expansion trailer past the break, but be warned that it contains spoilers for the end of 2.55’s story.
This week’s Massively Overthinking question is posed by Kickstarter donor Winterskorn, who wants to talk about something getting less and less love in MMORPGs lately: PvE.
“There are currently a lot of PvP-centric MMOs cropping up. But when companies talk analytics, they always indicate PvPers are small percentage of the population. So the question is why are there no PvE centric MMOs — solely PvE with no PvP attached?”
I polled the Massively OP writers for their take. Is Winterskorn’s perception accurate, and if so, where are the purely PvE MMOs?
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’s been a long tradition (from before my tenure) to use a black-and-white version of the first picture of the week for the header here at One Shots. It’s interesting to me to see how much a screenshot changes when the color is stripped from it; sometimes it becomes more interesting and sometimes you lose the lustre that color imbues.
This is my roundabout way of saying that today’s EverQuest II picture goes from being so-so to vibrant when you transition into the colorized version. Reader The Lurker says that he took this on during a sunrise ride: “Here I am heading to Qeynos early in the morning and taking a shortcut over the fields. Hopefully no angry farmer will see it and give chase — it’s a gamble!”
So what does it look like when our Massively OP interns get finished coloring inside of the lines? Let’s find out!
We’re going to tell you this right up front: if you haven’t yet done the patch 2.55 story quests and don’t want to be spoiled, do not
watch the Heavensward
trailer past the break. It’s very closely tied into the end of Final Fantasy XIV
‘s most recent storyline and reveals more of what players can look forward to in the journey to Ishgard and beyond. Consider yourself fairly warned before you watch.
You can safely take a look at all of the information revealed during today’s live letter with producer and director Naoki Yoshida, though. There are no spoilers, just a general preview of what’s coming in Heavensward including the new scrip system for crafting and gathering, new Allagan tomestones, eight new dungeons, new looting systems for high-end content, and more. It should be more than enough to make Final Fantasy XIV players quite happy and excited, even if we have to wait until June to try all of it out for ourselves.
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.
Today’s Kickstarter-begotten Massively Overthinking question arrives from donor Ravenwynd, who writes,
I love control type characters in mmos. City of Heroes’ Mind Controller could lock down entire groups; EverQuest Enchanters mezzed and controlled entire groups and trains. But as devs have added PvP and tried to balance classes in their games across the genre, it seems this playstyle has gone away. You can’t have long control powers as the PvP has to be quicker, so the control powers are super short. Given the hassles of trying to balance classes for both PvP and PvE (and the nerfs to one side when balancing the other), do you think more games/studios should strive for trying to do one or the other to their best ability versus engaging in that constant balance fight?
I polled the MOP staffers for their opinions on Ravenwynd’s topic.