I finally bought a PS4 Pro last Friday – Black Friday – along with a few games, including 2 MMOs: Elder Scrolls Online and Final Fantasy 14. It took a while to install (downloads on the console seem throttled) so I let both complete overnight after putting the console into “rest mode”.
I started up ESO first, but it requires a PS+ membership. Those are $60 a year, currently on sale for $40 a year, but FF14 doesn’t have the same requirement. So I switched over to FF14 instead. I’ll get to ESO later.
Rather than use my old account, I started a new one. Establishing an account was awful on console – doing all the “enter name, password” fields using the controller made me want to get a small keyboard to use.
But I made it through and created a Lalafell character because I like short/tiny races.
After a bit of fumbling around I figured out how to take screenshots and transfer them over to my PC using a USB stick.
I also started on a “new” world, Adamantoise, and as a bonus I’ll get a 100% xp bonus to level 60 (or until the population stabilizes). I hope to benefit from this boost for a few weeks!
Last time I played FF14 I started as a Lancer and then changed classes half a dozen times until settling on Arcanist (eventually opening Summoner and Scholar). This time I just picked Arcanist with the plan of opening up Summoner and Scholar in the future. I’m also interested in Rogue -> Ninja and maybe even Pugilist -> Monk but for now I’ll be good with Arcanist -> Summoner and Scholar.
Using the controller took a bit of getting used to. I was very grateful for the slow ramp up in FF14 – having a choice of several tutorial quests that involve moving around the city, talking to NPCs, fetching items and handing them over, interacting with the environment, attuning to an aetheryte crystal, etc.
You know, the annoying quests I take for granted in most MMOs I’ve played, irritated that I have to do this stuff rather than fight monsters and level up!! Here, every one of these quests let me practice using the controller to navigate and interact with the world. Even the initial combat quest was welcome as I picked on ladybugs and sheep while building some muscle memory on how to do it via controller.
So far so good, the only thing I’ve noticed is that selecting monsters to fight (basic targeting) is clumsy. I need to rotate my view plus hit the left/right arrow keys on the d-pad and I still don’t quickly target what I want to fight. I was thinking that the tab/shift-tab from a keyboard should translate well to left/right arrow keys but somehow I wound up cycling through nearly everything in radius before targeting what I wanted. I’ll poke around some docs and see if I’m missing something. Maybe I was cheating by using a mouse click to select when I played with keyboard/mouse on my computer.
The good news is combat feels pretty good. Holding the L2/R2 button pulls up a cross overlay (seen above with the tan background and the blue words sprint/auto-attack/return/teleport) that lets you use skills by pressing buttons (triangle/circle/cross/square clockwise from the top). So for instance if I wanted to cast “return” I’d hold L2 and press “cross”. As a low level Arcanist my combat rotation is currently Bio and Ruin so combat is basically L2+circle and L2+cross. Obviously as I gain more skills to use I’ll have more buttons to press.
Hitting the regular R/L button cycles hotbars, which currently is how I get to my pet bar. So far I’ve been ignoring my carbuncle and just relying on it auto attacking whatever I’m fighting.
The other way combat feels good is that my hand and knuckle doesn’t cramp holding a controller. Draping my hand over a mouse for an extended period makes my knuckle lock up and get really stiff. I have to do stretches (tight fist, open hand and spread fingers, repeat) periodically if I play for any amount of time using a mouse/keyboard.
Meanwhile playing with a controller on my PS4 means I can sit on my couch and be far more comfy. I’m liking that a lot!