Final Fantasy XIV is… different?

Final Fantasy is such a different experience, that a bit more than a week in, I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I do LIKE it… but… wait, a little background.

I've had this sudden insight lately that what I like best about MMOs is the leveling up. The max level grind doesn't interest me at all. It used to, back in the EverQuest days. Back then, I loved seeing dungeons and raids again and again because each time, I'd be better at them.

Neverwinter recently raised their level cap to 70. I happily logged in and got my main character up to 70 as quickly as I could. But the new high end game was just the old high end game, just made a little tougher. And grinding to replace all my old gear so I could be ready to grind for more gear later on just was so uninteresting to me, that I stopped logging in except for Foundry Night. And now, not even then.

Final Fantasy XIV is a game that is pretty much all about the leveling. With a huge number of jobs and subjobs, all of which must be leveled from level 1 (leveling boosts aside), means there's an immense amount of gameplay inherent in just the leveling process, especially since the story quests that lead you through the process the first time don't seem to be around the next times. That means going further afield for levels.

My FFXIV character is a Gladiator, not too different from my Neverwinter Guardian Fighter. The Gladiator job leads naturally into the Paladin subjob. That requires fifteen levels in Conjurer, a kind of healing mage (and also a requirement for the iconic White Mage subjob). Once I had my airship license on my Gladiator job, Kasul and I went on a whirlwind (airship, wind…) tour of Eorza and picked up all the jobs in the two other cities, pausing in Gridania to level up Conjurer.

But I'm still eager to get more familiar with the Gladiator, and this is where the trouble starts. I'm playing with a controller, and I'm having trouble doing my job. I like playing guildhests, random battle instances. My job, as tank, is to keep aggro and let the DPS do their work. Problem is targeting. I just am not able to target correctly in the heat of battle, and it's really affecting my enjoyment of the game.

Last night went so poorly that I felt like apologizing to my group. Nobody died — we're all still doing very basic guildhests, so there's not a lot of danger — but I was not controlling the fight at all. The Protect spell I got from my Conjurer job makes me pretty resilient, but if stuff isn't hitting me, it's not doing anyone any good.

More disappointment in myself than anything in the game. I'm still very much liking the differences. I just feel that I am fighting the UI to some extent.

The mouse/keyboard combo may be better. I'll have to take a careful look at the key bindings.

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Tipa

Web developer for a Connecticut-based insurance company that's over 200 years old! Also a bicycler, a blogger, a kayaker, and a hunter of bridges.

4 thoughts on “Final Fantasy XIV is… different?”

  1. I’ve been playing and blogging about starting out in FFXIV myself and I experimented with using a joypad to begin with, too… I found much the same thing, it felt clunky and I was always targeting the same thing. Switching to keyboard and mouse made it feel very much like the stock EQ/WoW/every MMO ever, but at least I was confident with what I was doing again. If its an option, I couldn’t see the benefit of not using keyboard and mouse on PC.

    I’m really enjoying the fact so much of the game is vertical — or at least lots of threads of horizontal gain side-by-side. Lots of the content is available without being at level cap, and I like that things that are typically at the levelcap — or that I wait to do until I’m there — are available straight away: tradeskills, side games, currency/gear grinds. Things I like doing at endgame that aren’t specifically the raid tier treadmill.

    ((Slightly off-topic, I’ve been away from blogging and the MMO blog community for a while, but I was so happy to see you’re still going, I’ve always loved WestKarana and your writing!))

  2. I do like that I can work on the group content stuff from the very beginning. All the MMOs I’ve really ever spent time with, let you start doing the fun stuff as soon as possible. A week and a half in, and I’m tanking dungeons, learning my group role (well, been playing tanks as main since EQ2, so I know the general role). Even the early dungeons have had tricks, but I have no trouble explaining this is my first time in a new dungeon, and people will explain the gotchas.

    My problem arises, now, whenever I look at the FFXIV subreddit, and get overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I still have to learn.

  3. I’ve seen videos of tanks using controllers, so I know it’s possible to do, but I’ve never actually liked console controllers anyway so I don’t even have one, so I have no tips or tricks to offer you there.

    I have run into a problem in a dungeon 1x where the healer was using a controller and couldn’t figure out how to target me (the tank) becuz it was the 1st dungeon, so he’d never had to target a party member before. He was able to keep me alive with the AE heal until we downed the critters and then he was able to work out the in-group targeting and we were fine after that.

    I’ve got an IRL friend who recently started playing too and he wanted to use the controller, but also said he had trouble targeting anything, but he’s sticking it out and will eventually learn it, I assume. I assume that you will do the same ;-)

    FWIW, I did a quick search and found this article on Reddit that might help: http://www.reddit.com/r/ffxiv/comments/2a1x0v/guide_targeting_with_a_controller_general_tips/

  4. Thanks for the link! I decided I didn’t want to put in the time to learn how to use a controller 75% as effectively as I could use a keyboard, so… I spent some time relearning how to play with a keyboard, and have been having a rather more standard MMO experience since. I used to play FFXI exclusively with the PS2 controller without any trouble. Darned if I can remember how I did the targeting back then, but it didn’t seem to be a huge issue. Then again, I wasn’t playing a tank so it wasn’t that critical. All I had to do as a bard or red mage was to make… the… combo. The whole combo thing is so barely there in FFXIV that, lots of times, I don’t even remember it exists. Same with party limit breaks.

    FFXI had a lot of soul-destroying bits, but I kinda liked the combos.

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