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.

Starting off in Ul’dah…

After much discussion, Kasul and I decided to start Final Fantasy XIV in Ul'dur (I think that's how it's spelled), me as a Guardian, he as a Thaumaturge. Though I don't think he's created his character yet — he's been fully pulled in to EverQuest, Ragefire style :)

I wanted to get past the newbie quests, eventually ending up in an outdoor zone at level 8 with my second set of armor upgrades. Kasul said the guides said the first ten levels were pretty much solo-only, but I'm already bumping into these Fate events (public quests) and that really sounds like something that indicates I've moved out of the newbie solo stuff.

I don't think it's supposed to be hard to kill things at this level, but there's no harm in waiting. It's discouraging if someone you wanted to group with gets too far ahead — or falls too far behind. Best not let that become an issue in the first place.

Daily Blogroll 1/19 — Game of Mass Destruction edition

I absolutely would love to know how many people people are REALLY playing World of Warcraft vs Lord of the Rings Online vs Warhammer Online vs Total Global Annihilation (Online) and so on. Heaven knows its not in the interest of gaming companies to tell us. To me, it means they have something to hide. Every company is all so excited to reveal their numbers when they are trending up. When they are silent, that can only be bad news.

So I’m a big fan of Openedge’s “XFire Game” that he runs most Mondays. By tracking a game’s performance week to week, you can get a sense for how well its doing. But there’s a LOT of variables! XFire doesn’t track every online game — if it did, Farmville and Scrabulous would be knocking the gnome out of World of Warcraft. Most players don’t have XFire installed. Competing game time trackers like Raptr could be draining numbers from XFire across the board. Some players could decide XFire really isn’t doing much for them and abandon it. Games with both an Asian and Western presence could find their true numbers under-reported. Games that are popular on non-PC platforms, such as DCUO for the PS3, might find their numbers VASTLY under-represented.

We really need a better metric for this. Something like a Nielsen ratings for MMOs, with a bit of code attached to each game that “phones home” when run.

I’m sorry, did I say that DCUO is doing well? It’s going gangbusters! Check it out after the break!
Continue reading Daily Blogroll 1/19 — Game of Mass Destruction edition

The Magic 8 Ball predicts the losers and winners of 2011.

I suck at predictions, but everyone else is doing them. Luckily, I have a Magic 8 Ball. I’m just gonna list some games, and ask the Magic 8 Ball what it thinks of them. Question to the 8 Ball for all of these games: Will this game have a good year in 2011?

Age of Conan: “Outlook Not So Good”. AoC released its first expansion, “Ride of the Godslayer”, last summer, and that’s pretty much the last I’ve heard of the game. I don’t think the Magic 8 Ball is correct; I think Funcom is content to support their current player base without feeling the need to go F2P. Their massively hyped launch should have helped them recoup their development costs years ago.

Aion: “Concentrate and Ask Again”. November saw Aion publish a massive revamp which added more loot to the game. December brought with it a rebalancing of the world PvP via rifts. Perhaps the Magic 8 Ball’s confusion stemmed from the game’s more Asian market?
Continue reading The Magic 8 Ball predicts the losers and winners of 2011.