I decided on a multi-prong strategy for easing back into playing FF14. The game is fantastic but I need to refresh how to play my character. Extra complication there is ramping up on multiple jobs.
However, I’ll simplify and concentrate on one for the time being. That would be Astrologian, my highest level non-80. (Arcanist and thus Summoner and Scholar are level 80). Hey, might as well level a job while also working along in the MSQ!
I had left off almost done with the Dragonsong War quests – Griffin, Griffin on the Wall which requires Baelsar’s Wall (dungeon). But before jumping into Baelsar’s Wall, I decided queue up for a few roulettes first.
First up, the ARR MSQ offerings which are either Castrum Meridianum or The Praetorium. These are the infamous dungeons with lengthy cutscenes, a mistake the devs learned not to repeat. (Since these dungeons throttle the MSQ, you have to do them. Over time, players would skip the cutscenes and rush to the next mini-boss and defeat them, triggering the next cutscene. Players who wanted to watch the story – typical if it is your first time through – would end up watching nothing but cutscenes, do no fighting, and complete the dungeon. So they changed it to unskippable cutscenes and a sweetened rewards pot for repeat players. Because of this, these two dungeons are their own little roulette category.)
Anyway, I got Castrum Meridianum, which I prefer because Praetorium is kind of heavy on the cutscenes. I think I timed it as 45 mins to complete, half of which is villain exposition. Although Gaius van Baelsar does pop off one of my favorite evil villain quotes, railing against “creeping mendacity”. hehe. The other annoyance of Praetorium is quasi session-play where you get in an armored tank and have new skills for fighting, for a bit. That’s cool when done well (e.g. LoTRO where you revisit some historical figure and play as them with overpowered skills) but here I get to shoot a laser or throw a bomb. Which is fine but I picked my class/job to play those skills, not armored chicken skills.
One stunner was this was my first group that actually fought every mob on the way, instead of running past all the trash to get needed items and/or fight the mini-boss to advance to the next area. It was quite surprisingly and welcome, because I was also re-acquainting myself with my various attacks and heals.
After this success I queued for a Alliance Raid and got a Labyrinth of the Ancients selection: Syrcus Tower. Whew, I’m glad it wasn’t World of Darkness because Angra Mainyu can be a tough fight.
That went well so I decided to queuing for a leveling roulette, and I got Sohm Al. Here is where my rusty play started to show.
First, somehow my Sect buff got turned off. Astrologians have two skills (Diurnal Sect, Nocturnal Sect) that add an extra effect (regen, shield) to some skills (Aspected Benefic, Aspected Helios). The catch is those skills won’t work unless you are running one of the buffs, and the message you get is something like “skill isn’t ready for use yet” and not something better like “need diurnal/noctural sect running”.
So pretty quickly in the dungeon, one DPS died because I was trying to heal them with a skill that threw errors. It took me too long to remember what the error meant. But, they didn’t say anything when I rezzed them other than “Thank you”. I felt bad, and of course turned on Nocturnal Sect.
Progress went well until the final fight against Tioman. Here the problem was me getting caught in a telegraphed attack. Tioman does a attack called Chaos Blast that I would describe as an asterisk pattern plus small AoE around each player. I positioned myself too close to other players and couldn’t run out of the AoE fast enough and died…. once, twice, three times. Grrrr. First time was a surprise, second time I was rezzing someone and waited just a fraction too long, third time I was stuck in a large overlap and was doomed. Unfortunately my demises eventually lead to wipes since nobody else could heal.
On the fourth time, I hung out towards the edge of the arena, maximizing the area of safety I could run to. And we won. I’m sure the rest of the group was as relieved as I was.
Group was chill the entire time, and I even got a commendation. Probably somebody realizing I was a returning player and a bit rusty. They can tell because I have the “returning player” status icon instead of the “new adventurer” icon (a.k.a. sprout). Plus the game automatically adds you to the Novice Network chat channel when you return as I did, after taking some time off. So I also have the “joined novice network” (sprout with halo) icon.