FF14 – Summoner and Scholar

I’m cruising along in the MSQ, having gotten past the awkward spot where I was high enough level to specialize into a job, but not far enough in the MSQ to be allowed to do it. I reached Sylph-Management at level 33, so not as bad as I originally feared.

Again, I’m doing just the MSQ and class quests, no dallying with side quests for now. I’m on the free trial and I’m heavily leaning towards subscribing, I figure I also want to maximize my trial and reach level 60 on a job!

I was about to take a break from being an Arcanist (and now Summoner and Scholar) and try out Marauder (Warrior) but I talked myself out of it for now. That’s on the todo list but I also want to try healing a dungeon, as well as finish some class quests.

Scholar quests haven’t been a problem, I’m getting to them and finishing. The level 35 quest led to a beautiful fantasy viewpoint, the Floating City of Nym.

However, my Summoner class quest progress is currently blocked. In order for me to do the level 35 Summoner quest, Austerties of Earth, I have to first defeat a primal Titan, and by my count that is 40 (!) quests in the future – Lord of Crags, in order to unlock a dungeon, The Navel.

Of course, the MSQ is supposed to be shortened so I’ll see if it is actually 40 more quests from my current “Highbridge Times” to “Lord of Crags”. Even if it is shortened, I’ll probably attain level 40 before being able to do the level 35 class quest, so I’ll have 2 unfinished Summoner class quests to do.

I suppose this is really a First World MMO Problem: oh no, I’m leveling too fast – due to a xp buff in my free trial – that I’m outpacing the original carefully spaced character skill unlocks. 😉

One nice change since I last played is that Minfilia hands over several “Vesper Bay Aetheryte Tickets”, allowing me to teleport to the edge of Vesper Bay rather than having to go to Horizon Bay and then running over. That was super annoying given how often players have to visit Scion HQ.

FF14 – Level 30+

I’m still chugging along in FF14, and… I don’t want to seem like a complainer, but… well I think the streamlining of the MSQ and so forth could use a bit more fine tuning. Still having fun and have some plans for trying out other classes/jobs.

I appreciate the massive xp bump. I’ve literally only done the MSQ and my class quests for XP (outside one or two quests at the very beginning, city orientation type quests of the “go talk to the vendor” mostly to point out where the market in Limsa Lominsa is). Other than that, I’ve noticed substantial xp from discovering a new zone for the first time. And that’s it. No leve quests, no repeatedly running a dungeon, no grinding, no extra questing, no hunting log, nothing. If I have to kill X number of mobs, I do it and return to the quest giver. I try to aggro as little as possible, get my stuff done, and zip out.

I’m past the Tam-Tara and Copperbell Mines mandatory grouping, reached level 31, but not far enough in the MSQ to unlock jobs yet. Or join a Grand Company. Or get a chocobo mount.

Granted, not having the mount and/or Grand Company is kind of independent of level – if the intent is to quest along and unlock Grand Companies (which the chocobo quest is dependent on) at a certain point, well then I’m on track since I haven’t gotten there yet.

But I was kind of looking forward to opening up Summoner and Scholar at level 30, but specializing into jobs depend on the Sylph-Management quest, which by my count is about 15 quests in the future (unless the MSQ is abbreviated from now on). I might be level 40 by then! 😉 Only half joking.

Again, this isn’t a terrible outcome, but there are perhaps some unintended consequences of doubling xp gain. So far I haven’t noticed an appreciably slimming of the MSQ. One is I’m massively overleveled for the combat. A recent quest had me save someone from undead. The enemies that spawned were level 13. I’m 31. I think there is some downleveling involved but by the time I applied my 2 DoTs on target 1 and switched to the next one, the first one died. This is probably not the challenge intended.

Another example: doing the “Amalj’aa Wrong Places” quest. Thancred sends me into camp to find some information, which is guarded by 2 or 3 warriors. But they are level 18, I’m 31, they don’t even aggro. So I waltz in, grab the papers, and I’m out without even fighting or trying to avoid them. I could start a fight but what’s the point, I’m 13 levels higher.

The other thing is the gear I’ve received from my class quests (and dungeons) are outclassing the quest rewards from the main scenario. Minfillia wants to give me a quest reward: a weapons box containing a level 18-21 weapon. I’ll be courteous and avoid trashing right in front of her but I already have a level 30 weapon (book) from a class quest reward. Somewhere along the way every MSQ reward is worse than what I already have, or unusable, so I’ve been taking the Disciple of War gear instead, in order to have some gear for an eventual class/job switch up.

OK in the grand scheme of things this isn’t terrible. It’s just I think the MSQ could be trimmed and aligned better, so that the blocking Sylph-Management quest occurs around the time you reach level 30. And maybe inch the Grand Company/chocobo throttle up as well. Like short circuit most of the stuff after Copperbell Mines to Sylph-Management.

Well I’ll be through this section soon enough. After joining a Grand Company, getting a mount, and unlocking jobs, the next milestone will be much higher, say level 50 or 60. I’m sure the MSQ will catch up, that is, the leveling boost won’t outpace the MSQ so much at higher levels, and it’ll all work out. Certainly the boost is nice getting a first character to Heavensward and further.

FF14 – Sastasha

I had done this dungeon before, and it was next up for me again. After a brief refresher watching MTQCapture’s Sastasha Dungeon Guide, I queued up.

After a wait of about 10 mins – not sure if that is fast, average, or slow – a group formed and we entered.

Since Sastasha is the first dungeon in the MSQ, it is fairly easy and we sailed through with no problems. It was still fun though!

After finishing this, the MSQ had me travel to Gridania and report to Tam-Tara Deepcroft. I remember this a little bit… but I’ll rewatch a video beforehand as well. Since it was a bit of travel to get there and I was out of time, I decided to log out and make my way to Deepcroft next time.

Next time I do Sastasha I’d like to try it as a healer. There is a healing role available to me as an arcanist when I reach level 30 and have the option of taking up the Scholar job. But with the level sync and so on, can a Scholar go into Sastasha, a level 15 dungeon? I’m not sure.

It appears to me the only healing class for Sastasha (i.e. a healer at level 15 ish) is Conjurer, which is a class I wasn’t planning to train. Hmmmm.

I’m also interested in Rogue/Ninja and Marauder/Warrior, so maybe I’ll be back as one of those classes. I’m a bit leery of going in as a tank because I’m not familiar with the route through. But after more runs as other DPS and healer I’ll be more comfortable giving it a shot.

XP boost is still large, and perhaps on top of generous dungeon XP. I leveled twice doing Sastasha! From 22.5 to 24. That was really nice.

FF14 – Return to Eorzea

Azuriel posted about the upcoming patch to FF14, which among other things… makes 60 levels of content available for free.

*wheels turning*

Hm… I played FF14, twice. Once on PC, and then I tried it on the PS4 but for that game, vastly prefer keyboard/mouse. (ESO works well enough with a controller, I don’t mind it. While a controller worked for FF14, it felt kinda clunky).

60 levels is… very generous! WoW gives you what, 20? That only lets you try one or two dungeons at most. You’re barely into your skills. Heck on classic playing a paladin, level 20 still felt like the one-button-class.

Anyway, I decided to roll up a new account, so I created a new email address solely to allow me to participate in this.

After looking over the updated class/job chart on a wiki, I decided to start with an Arcanist, working towards the Summoner and Scholar jobs. I unlocked those the previous time I played. Also available in Limsa Lominsa is Rogue and Ninja, which is also one of my many plans. And perhaps if I also wanted to try tanking I could train Marauder and Warrior, also available in Limsa Lominsa. Not that I can’t eventually travel to Ul’dah or Gridania, but it keeps things simple for now.

The other big decision was what race. I like the looks of the female Roegadyn, and well… not much else really grabs me. So I went with the least bad option and started a male Lallafel. What the heck, I like short races (e.g. Hobbits in LoTRO).

ffxiv_08072020_213004_844

Now, after approximately 5 hours of play over the weekend, i.e. 10 pomodoro chunks of time as explained in a previous post, I reached level 17. I’ve been following the main scenario quests (MSQ) and reached Feint and Strike; meanwhile I’ve also done my class quests, so at level 15 I picked up my topaz carbuncle.

ffxiv_08092020_231010_919

I have skipped all other quests, avoided Fates and Levequests, except possibly one or two very early quests, of the deliver or talk to NPCs standing in Limsa Lominsa variety – basically extended tutorial and/or city orientation quests. The reason I’m skipping all quests other than the MSQ and class quests are to leave them in case I do decide to level an alt class/job.

ffxiv_08082020_210110_333

Reaching level 17 only doing main and class quests (and not even being that far along) is proof the current leveling xp buff is a significant one. I mean Feint and Strike is listed as level 14 and I’m a few levels higher essentially only doing the storyline.  I’m not even far enough along in the MSQ to open travel to the other starting cities! I remember being throttled on my char when I tried previously – I had started as a Lancer in Gridania but wanted to do Pugilist and Monk and had to wait to unlock more travel options.

I’m curious what streamlining the patch will bring when the game is back tomorrow!

FF14 – Console Learning Curve

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.

Komorebi Tian 11/27/2017 18:01:28

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.

Komorebi Tian 11/27/2017 18:46:58

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!

Mini break

I had some out of town visitors last week, so I didn’t do much gaming. It is interesting to me what games I thought about and was eager to get back to, and which ones were bucketed into “eh, I can wait”.

BDO – I just can’t get into. It offers a lot to do, but it turns out I’m not all that interested in lifestyle skills, simulating a trade empire, fishing or raising horses. What it does have going for it is exploration…

…which brings me to EVE. One goal there is to wander the universe in a cloaked ship, exploring relic/data sites as I come across them. This playstyle doesn’t have a direct analogy to other games with exploration (GW2 for instance) so EVE bumped up on my interest list. Of course, while away with my visitors I kept my skill queue full and working on my behalf. 🙂 I probably still can’t reliable make corp/fleet activity, but I think I can get my monthly sub fee’s worth of a few hours on the weekends.

GW2 moved back into interest. I saw a giant patch containing tons of fixes, most of which probably don’t effect me. However, one thing did – a level 80 boost. Earlier I mentioned the one thing I’d change about my char is switching races Norn to Asura. Well, this is my chance! I have a level 80 elementalist, guardian, ranger, level 60 mesmer, and I’ve tried thief and necromancer and didn’t really like them. That’s fine, there isn’t a game out where EVERY class appeals to me. Closest would be GW1 where I did actually play all classes through all storylines except one… the elementalist. That’s because my GW1 elementalist was my mesmer, who freely swapped skills between professions, and had fast casting instead of energy storage.

I used some level 30 boosts on an engineer and revenant, and a level 20 boost on a warrior. So basically, I have a level 80 boost to use on either a ranger, which I know I like but would like to switch races on, or on an engineer, revenant, or warrior, which are fun but unknown. I’ll think about this and maybe play through the first chapter of the storyline on the engineer and revenant and see before going with another ranger.

LoTRO also moved back into interest. I’ve taken breaks from the game, none lasting too long. My guardian Naerys can level from 100 to 105 now, but I had another project in mind: starting a new minstrel. Which I did and puttered around a bit. I’ll post on that later.

ESO also remained of interest. Zenimax is adding some really interesting DLC (the recent Thieves Guild and upcoming Dark Brotherhood); the game is fun and has beautiful graphics; I like the skill system which lets every class train every weapon, armor, and crafting skills, while retaining 3 skill lines unique to the class.

TSW as well, I want to press along in the desert and not spend ~2 years wandering very slowly around before the next new zones, like I did with Kingsmouth – Blue Mountain.

What fell out of interest was FF14. It isn’t a bad game game at all; I’ve enjoyed all 5 mandatory dungeons I’ve done; the class system is the best. The playerbase seems friendly, the storyline is bizarre but fun to follow. It comes down to the sub fee – given my rather haphazard play schedule, it doesn’t make sense to sub to multiple subscription games. So in the contest between EVE and FF14, right now EVE wins since the play style EVE offers, that of the stealth explorer in dangerous territory, well that doesn’t exist elsewhere. The others are B2P or F2P, and I do support them by making store purchases from time to time. I like this model since whatever I buy doesn’t come with a time limit like game-time with a sub fee does, and I don’t feel as much pressure to play to a quota each month.

There is probably a “fantasy game overload” thing going on as well – EVE is a sci-fi universe while LoTRO/GW2/ESO are fantasy. So FF14 as a 4th direct fantasy game, let’s just put TSW into a different category, is maybe too much for me.

I’m subbed for another cycle under FF14 so I’m not vanishing instantly, but I’ll be thinking about whether or not I want to keep working on my summoner/monk versus exploring null sec in EVE.

Anyway, I’ll see how ESO, TSW, ramping back up in GW2 and LoTRO, and EVE go. 5 games is still 3 too many. 😉

FF – Haukke Manor

Once again, I reached a dungeon in the main storyline quest – Haukke Manor. And once again, the amazing Mizztek provides a great overview because I hate going into group content with no idea what’s coming.

It looks straightforward so I queued up as a Summoner when I had some time. When I’m more familiar with the fights I may try queueing as a healer (i.e. Scholar). But I need to sort out some stuff first, get familiar with the skills, etc. before going live with other players. 😉

20160410190854_1

The fights went very smoothly, we hit no issues other than our tank disconnected before we had to go upstairs. She was waiting up the stairs by the time she reconnected and the rest of us ran back… it almost seemed like this was planned as a way to respawn at the start without travel. But probably not.

20160410192126_1

The final fight wrapped up and I was slow on the screenshot button so not pic of us with the boss down to the last few percentages of health. Oh well, perhaps I will remember next time.

I got a few equipment upgrades but nothing significant enough to bump my gear level – it is 26 and holding. I seem to do fine in dungeons, really the only difficult fight so far has been against the first Primal. That’s fine, I’m enjoying the content provided so far and have no complaints.

While advancing the the storyline more I’m going to take a minor detour and finish off my Great Company hunting log, so I can get a promotion.

FF -Three Jobs

So… along the way of the crafter I hit a snag.

I leveled up Culinarian and Alchemist to 15, did the new class quests, and picked up a new round of tradecraft levequests. I noticed that unlike the previous lower level recipes, the new level 16-20 recipes (and hence levequests) called for ingredients that weren’t for sale from the guild supplier. Of course, this makes sense in retrospect. It shouldn’t be possible to craft everything just standing in the guild hall, buying all ingredients.

So I went to the market board and checked to see if what I needed was available. It was, but prices were high, at least proportionally according to my current wealth. I needed 3 ingredients, and they were for sale but in stacks of 10 for 5000 gil. This probably isn’t too bad for the convenience, but I only had ~70K gil. I could afford 15K but that’s a major chunk of my money and not sustainable.

I bought those ingredients, so I’ll be able to finish off several days of levequests, but if I really want to level up Culinarian (for example), I’ll probably need to take up Botanist in order to get my own ingredients. It’s a gil-sink that I don’t need right now, since I’m not exactly floating in wealth.

While I ponder that, I decided to take another course again: Thamaturge. With a level 30 Arcanist,  I’ll be able to open up Scholar job since I reached level 15 as Conjurer… and paired with that same level 30 Arcanist, I’ll be able to open the Summoner job too after I reach level 15 as a Thamaturge. I figured, why not, getting to level 15 doesn’t take too long.

With some new short term goals in place, I reached level 30 as an Arcanist and completed the quest to unlock the Scholar job.

20160323123953_1

After a bit more effort, I reached level 15 as a Thamaturge and unlocked the Summoner quest. This class quest was tough – I failed it twice! – but the third attempt was successful. The battle involved defeating a summoning fire spirit and adds, and I failed it because I wasn’t taking out the adds quickly enough. One set of adds were summoned pillars that amplified the fire spirit’s power if left up too long. The third time, when the pillars appeared I fought them exclusively.

20160326185627_1

With those pillars out of the way, the rest of the fight was straightforward and soon I unlocked the Summoner job.

20160326185824_1

Finally, I reached level 30 as a Pugilist which allowed me to quest for the Monk job.

20160327115151_1

I thought this screenshot humorously captured the Monk class quest – I’m fighting everything and the quest giver is talking about what great data he’s gathering! 😉

Anyway, with 3 jobs available to me now, I’ll have good variety going forward. Part of me wants to level as a Rogue in order to unlock the Ninja job at level 30. But I’ll make that a low priority additional activity, since I just now hit level 30 on Arcanist and Pugilist and I’ve been playing 2 months. At that rate it would take me another month to level up a Rogue and right now I’m going to move forward in the storyline.

FF – Crafting (again)

For a bit of variety I decided to check out crafting again. But a production craft, not a gathering craft like I tried previously. I was interested in alchemy or culinarian, so I figured – why not try both?

Thus I enrolled as a culinarian and an alchemist and found myself enjoying both of these more than the botanist. Part of it is these crafts makes things more obviously useful to me -potions, food. Another is I don’t have to hunt for materials, so far I can generally buy what I need from at the respective guild supply officers.

It’s a sign I’m enjoying a game when I get into crafting. I’ve tried it in almost every MMO I’ve played. Some systems are simple, basically gather stuff and craft (e.g. Guild Wars, where you really aren’t the crafter – you collect materials and an NPC uses them up to hand back the crafted item; so it is really just trading materials for items), some are a bit more complex (e.g. WoW or LoTRO, but both of these games have a “craft into the garbage” vibe, where nearly everything made that isn’t max level is generally useless, and progressing to max level in crafting means creating a heap of vendor trash.)

EVE has complicated crafting, almost repetitive-stress-injury inducing crafting. You had to hunt down available production lines, import materials to that particular station, obtain blueprints, etc. It was almost too much, given I didn’t want to produce items full time. Even planetary interaction lost its luster after a while; too much time spent fiddling with extractors and then hauling goods to market.

TSW crafting is interesting in that the crafting levels work differently – you don’t have to keep crafting the same thing to incrementally get better (e.g. LoTRO) until you unlock the next level. In TSW, you break down items to get components, then with the appropriate quality level tool kit and items, arrange those into patterns to make any weapon or jewelry. What is awesome is how some missions use crafting as necessary steps to solve puzzles (see Gravity, a fantastic quest). I’m pretty sure if you have the appropriate quality toolkit and materials, you can craft any item of any quality level at any time.

I haven’t really crafted much in ESO so I can’t comment.

And in Black Desert Online, let’s just say I just figured out how to tan hides and make beef jerky – that is I know nearly nothing. 😉 I read about all this complex crafting others are doing so the game is apparently deep in that respect.

Anyway, in FF14 I reached level 10 in both culinarian and alchemist, which lets me grab tradecraft levequests – and these reward a lot of experience! By doing a few of those I was able to hit level 12 in both crafts.

Crafting here involves gathering the ingredients and then using some trade-only skills. Every time you perform a step, the durability sinks and if it goes to zero the overall production fails. As you level, you get a few skills to bump quality chance, restore durability, give a better chance of error free steps, etc. There is something to do to create the product (besides clicking “craft it” and waiting out whatever delay the devs put in) which I suppose could be spun as a positive or negative – if you want to mass produce a bunch of items, this is bad (although if you are creating something you’ve made before there is an option offered to “mass synthesize”); but for attempting to make a few items as high quality as possible, this is good.

I do realize at level 12-ish I haven’t learned skills which might add even more to the crafting experience.

20160321005635_1

I probably won’t invest giant chunks of time into crafting, but I do like what I’ve seen so far and it’s another thing to do when I want a break from leveling a combat class.

20160321005713_1

I find that it is handy to level 2 crafting classes together, because that lets me grab more of the crafting gear from class quests! I wanted the gloves and robe from the level 10 quest, so I took one from the alchemy class quest, and the other from the culinarian class quest.

The subtle appearance above shows my alchemy outfit, which is identical to my cooking outfit except for the class item and offhand. As a cook, the offhand is a knife but as an alchemist, it is an alembic right now.

FF – Into the Beast’s Maw

More progress in FF14 – the next dungeon in the main scenario questline: Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak. Once again, to get an idea of what I would be dealing with, I watched MTQCapture’s great summary:

 

I’ve had a switcheroo on my character – since Arcanist is higher level than Pugilist, I decided to go in as a spell caster instead of melee. I do like fighting at range since it lets me see more of the fight.

20160315214304_1

The Arcanist is a DOT class so I summoned my DPS pet instead of my tank pet, and dotted everything up in rotation. The run went very smoothly and we were fighting the end-boss Graffias in no time at all.

20160318185138_1

Later I did a few grand company levequests to upgrade my uniform; I thought this shot of 3 sweet tooth goobue’s standing next to each other looked funny. I’ve been switching off level Pugilist by doing a few levequests as well – I don’t want to let too much of a level gap in.

I’m looking forward to reaching level 30 on my Arcanist and opening up the Scholar job, and then reaching 30 on the Pugilist and opening up Monk.