Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Whence Relic?

What a year its been for videogames. I have been swamped. I've logged into FFXIV on patch days, done my content and jumped back out. From Persona 5 to Xenoblade Chronicles 2 not a week has gone by where i haven't had something to do. Yet i've had this nagging feeling i've left FFXIV by the wayside the last month or so. Personally? i think it has to do with the Relic.

Anyone who's seen the census numbers has seen a staggering player dropoff rate for Stormblood compared to Heavensward and you gotta ask why right? Great dungeons. Fun events. New things to chase and zones to dick around in. So whats missing? what carrot isn't there for players?

Its the Relic.

Maybe a lack of Deep Dungeon isn't helping. God knows going "i've got to get ALL these jobs AND two new ones back to cap again?!?" won't help but nothing kept folks i know playing in HW like the Anima Relic.
Sure we bitched and moaned about grind elements. Its a cathartic thing for an MMORPG player right? but it was something to do and more importantly something to chase. An increase in player power, a flashy model to show off to let other players know 'yeah i did the thing' and right now? everyones using the same gear and weapons and nobody has a reason to log in beyond slightly higher numbers in Ultimate.

In a year of amazing games to play this is not a healthy thing. It happens to a lot of MMORPGs but usually the cold months are the big playtime period yet here we are with most regions having their active player numbers drop by over 60% and i honestly believe its the lack of a carrot in the Relic and Eureka which is still in a "will we ever hear about it?" state which is giving me Diadem flashbacks.

I'm still logging in to get up some easy levels on my last few classes in bursts but without the chase the rpg kind of loses out to the mmo and for Final Fantasy of all things thats kind of making me nostalgic for the days of farming maguffins for tomes in Idyllshire again.

What about you?

Friday, 13 October 2017

Lets talk about Command Missions for a hot minute.

So in exploring all the content of Patch 4.1 one thing has surprised me by how i have enjoyed it. Namely the new Squadron activities. I remember back in HW Squadrons were a chore us completionist's did to unlock the new rank and then most never touched it again. It was boring. It felt pointless. That isn't quite the case anymore. A quick visit to your Squadron hall will show you dont just send them on missions like a bad clone of WoW's infamously bad Garrison Quest system. You can join them and run dungeons almost like fighting with trust NPC's in FFXI. As well as customising their appearance.

Two positives immediately spring to mind with this. First people afraid to even try healing or tanking in an mmo can now try it without that stress and anxiety of 'letting down the other players' that puts so many off leaving them stuck only in dps jobs forever. Second adding customisation and glamour makes these characters feel connected to you like your retainers. You could even argue now they are even moreso your allies than the retainers were as personalities. My conjurer Cecily is easily my strongest Squad member and is leveling and unlocking masteries fast. This makes me want to give her a cool glamour and take her on more runs. Thats a level of npc party interaction that feels more offline final fantasy in some ways and considering the state of single player final fantasy games right now thats a really neat thing.

So far i've done more Command Missions than dungeons and i hope they add more things to do. Hopefully they one day make them into full Trust NPCs and you can take them out into the world with you instead of your chocobo. Theres always the sincere worry of npcs killing the mmo aspect but as long as they are not part of endgame or simply max difficulty content of any expansions level caps they are really just your own final fantasy party unique to you and now thats all the more so true when you can actively customise them.

Sure they are still a little dumb but for a side minigame this has a lot more legs than Chocobo Racing or Lords of Verminion had even from the outset. Hopefully we get some fun stuff to do with them thats unique in future. Like maybe redesign guildhests so two players and two npcs can team up or something? let you show off your Squaddies you worked hard on to others or something?

Either way its been a pleasant surprise in a very good patch i'll talk about after i've done all the content but for now they took a subsystem nobody cared about and made something fun out of it.

Maybe they should have called it 'a Squadron Reborn' instead? :p

Friday, 29 September 2017

The Legend Returns Trailer Drops!

Finally new content! It feels like forever since i've had something to do besides leveling alt jobs and farming scrips!

Theres not too many major surprises this time since we have all had the chance to pour over the majority of content but 3 things stood out to me.

1. Nashu returns without Hildebrand? Perhaps she is looking for him and he crashed down on a certain islet with two unlikely companions waiting for him?

2. The first shot of the sub-trailer for the Return to Ivalice Raid was some sort of claw holding onto a white soulstone looking crystal. I doubt its going to be anything related to the Sun-Cryst from later Ivalice Alliance games but it would be neat if its not just part of the Tactics Lore but also teasing another job. The Geomancer in the Astrologian already has people thirsty for another job from XI returning in the future.

3. It looks like the Summons from FFXII maybe be showing up with the exact same effects that they had at the time. In XII they were either protecting things connected to the Dynast King or lurking in areas rich with a raw Aether called 'Mist' that were patrolled by strong monsters usually filled with ruins as the indigenous people had to up sticks and abandon it because of the mist intensifying over time.

Considering the relations to XII and how XIV's devs have always skirted around Ivalices Connection to Eorzea its going to be interesting if this is just Eorzea side Alt universe or a Deep Dungeon style 'through a Thinny' alt world jaunt. The final Boss of D.D's Floor 100 suggested some weird beyond the grave shenanigans going on in Ivalice so time will tell.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Patch 4.1 The Legend Returns live letter

So heres a thing.

I was honestly taking a break just to wait till 4.1 hit. Write up a take on the whole 4.0 experience from launch day to its update to sum up my thoughts on the 'base' story and experience of stormblood.

Buuuut as a huge Ivalice fan i really had to put this up in the interim. The latest Live Letter has gone live and man did we get some stuff to talk about.

So coming October 10th 'The Legend Returns' is the first big content update to FFXIV's Stormblood expansion and it appears to be the 'give something for everybody' patch games like World of Warcraft have failed to pull off for years. No matter what your focus in game there is something for you, 'course this means there might not be enough of certain niche's but there isn't going to be anyone left going "but i have nothing to do in this patch!" which for MMORPG's is super rare.

So lets do the rundown:

Glamour will unlock at lvl.15 and not lvl.50 - Not a huge change in the grand scheme of things but for convenience, quality and life and letting beginners have more to do this is a great change. It sucks to get some really ugly gear and be stuck for hours. Especially if you bought a few months gametime or took part in an event for lvl.1 cosmetic gear with no stats that you simply cannot use until ARR's endgame. Now everyone can clownsuit and slutglamour, viva choice!

Royal Menagerie Extreme Mode - You know who is getting the Thordin treatment and i think everyone was expecting this and i look forward to the fight. God knows over two months of just Lakshmi and Susanoo was getting real tired.

Bards can perform music with notes on a hotbar - Now i know the LOTRO crowd are perking their ears up at this one. I fully expect the 'jazz for your soul' lalafell videos and post wipe respawns having an 'ooo watchu saaaaayyy' macro at the ready in alliance raids. Another example of the devs doing things neat that most studios would consider a waste of resources. But i'm sure the A Stage Reborn people are freaking out right now.

New Hildibrand and beast tribe quests - Side content is always good and hildibrand and more ease for levelling alts all the more so. Given the nature of the Kojin i would imagine this may be our moogle equivalent for crafters which right now have Leves and little else to do.

Pvp Content: Wild Wings - Essentially competitive boss rush speed run raiding. Another push for a streamable, competitive format i think. Not my thing but theres a fair few other MMORPG's chasing the esports bux with worse ideas.

New Dungeon: The Drowned City of Skalla - A new dungeon set in a sunken city. Perhaps in the Ruby Sea? or maybe another Sirensong Sea style dungeon out in the ocean? maybe its on the way to a new location? people have been eyeing Thavnair for ages and they do have a consulate in Kugane.

Alliance Raids added to a new Alliance Roulette and party member size limit removed for 3.X content - Not much to say about this you can't already infer. An alliance roullette is a good way to keep the numbers up for people still doing the storylines or farming glamour gear and gives everyone more rewards and things to do. Not terribly exciting but a welcome change.

The Lost Canals of Uznair - Further exploration to deeper canals can be accessed by finding another map inside the instance. Perhaps this is a little more Deep Dungeon than just another Aquapolis like folks assumed?

Adventure Squadrons update - Not the most cheered for update but your squads level cap has increased, you can glamour their gear and they have new dungeon missions to run. Hopefully with rewards that make it worth actually doing after you unlock your Grand Company Promotion this time around.

Expanded Cross World systems - Now including Raids, Custom PVP matches, Friend lists and tells. Hopefully tells doesnt mean the Gil Spammer containment isnt broken and we get everyones spam at the same time. Beyond that playing with your friends even if you are on different servers is always a good thing as long as the server community doesnt die. We will have to wait and see on this one.

New higher Raid Difficulty - Ultimate - Starting with Ultimate Coil, maybe its Neo Bahamut this time around? we are getting that post savage raid content the hardcore crowd wanted. Ultimate Ozma when?

Return to Ivalice - Oh Boy here we go.

So there may be some players to young to remember, or simply didnt play games at the time, to know there was a series of Final Fantasy games that were not stand alone self contained universes. Including title's like FF Tactics, War of the Lions, Tactics Advance, Vagrant Story, FF12, Revenant Wings and more eventually this series of games all set in the same world albeit in some cases centuries apart was known as "The Ivalice Alliance". Unlike other attempts to make a sub series like 'Project Fabula Nova Crsytalis' however this did not fall through. It never really lead to insane sales like the main series games but on the whole the world of Ivalice is easily the most fleshed out Final Fantasy world other than Eorzea and Vanadiel.
And now we are going there, only things like a bit more 'Dark Souls 3' than we remember. Written by Tactics creator and 'father of the series' Yamui Matsuno this is the next 'Crystal Tower' or 'Void Ark' 24 man storyline for this expansion. So expect revisiting this place a lot on alts and when grinding the new maguffins for your 4.0 relics.
Not much on the story right now but knowing XIV its either going to be one of the other worlds getting ready to collapse into void, a storybook ala FFTA or an Alt Ivalice native to Eorzea from a pre calamity age. Our last main villain was listed as 'having trained as a Samurai in Rabanastre' after all.

There are still more tidbits coming in as translators work their butts off to get through a wealth of infodumps but on the whole im ready for new content and have been for maybe a month even. Plus i just really, really hope Ivalice gives us some Vagrant Story love. Of all the Ivalice games its the one that needs a little love the most.

So start counting down kids. Just a mont to go!


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

A Realm Reborn and the End of an Era


 Here it is. The day before servers go down for the 4.0 24 hour maintenance. Which means that this is the final 24 hours of life for the Playstation 3 client for Final Fantasy XIV. It feels like its come so fast, i played on pc but the PS3 beta was actually what sold me on the games rerelease after the initial reputation put me off like so many others.
Its a bit strange to look at my shelves of games and in the Final Fantasy section my FFXI discs are all fine and can be used for the same game i played almost 14 years ago yet these ARR discs i bought what feels like only recently but was already a good 2 or 3 years ago at this point are useless for any purpose beyond collecting's sake or should i desperately need a good drinks coaster. Yet its happening tomorrow. The PS3 players that lived through the calamity of Bahamut and the fall of Dalamund now have their very real final day ahead of them tomorrow. Thats such a rare thing for mainstream games but there are people that cannot afford a PS4 or a gaming PC so for them this is sadly the end of Final Fantasy XIV.

 Its not as though it wasn't needed though, thats really the saddest part. The previous console generation lasted so long that the hardware is roughly 12 or more years out of date. The game chugged along at the best of times but in heavensward it was a nightmare i played through for the first few months before i got a PS4. Void Ark crashed the client, zone transitions loaded so long that you would get a DC for being inbetween areas too long and Alexander hard locked the whole console to name just a few issues. King Behemoth and Odin was an infuriating exercise in watching players models pop in attacking something you could not see or target and it was over a year between King Behemoth Spawns on a couple of servers. That was a horrible state of affairs.
But for all its problems i made it through it all. Beat Coil, got all my classes to 50 and so on. I platinum'ed the game essentially 'beating' ARR such as you can and i can't imagine how many hours i put in as this poorly running PS3 client replaced World of Warcraft as my MMORPG of choice. I had a good time and my memories of the experience overall remain fond ones.

But they are just memories as tomorrow this version of the game dies and of course 4.0 means so many other little things are changing with it. You can make a pun about a 'storm on the horizon' but i feel sorry for the people being left behind. Surely there are some casual players who have no idea about Stormblood, let alone that after tomorrow their discs simply will not work. They will just wake up to find the game they love is over. For them at least.

Its a reminder no game lasts forever and online games are all the more often a victim to sinking without a trace.

So enjoy it while you got it folks, and feel sorry for the Warriors of Light we leave behind who no longer can.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Time to clean up those hotbars!

Here we are with 12 days to go till Stormblood Early Access. Which means its house cleaning time! One of the best tips i learnt when i was getting into my first mmo expansions was the sage wisdom of "empty your questlog, clear out your bags, organise your banks and sell what crafters need now before demand drops" and in cases of class changes "sort your hotbars out now rather than waste time on launch doing it".
With the Job changes coming in 4.0 i feel that one in particular rings the most true and important after the media tour info has come out. So heres a very brief note of what skills you can delete from your hotbar/crossbar to set it back up for the new 3-5 skills coming between 62-70 in Stormblood.

Ninja: Kiss of the Viper, Kiss of the Wasp, Mutilate, Sneak Attack and Dancing Edge.

Dark Knight: Scourge.

Astrologian: Disable, Combust 2.

White Mage: Stoneskin, Aero 2.

Scholar: Sustain, Miasma 2.

Bard: Swiftsong, Wide Volley.

Summoner: Miasma 2, Spur and Sustain.

Warrior: Bloodbath, Fracture and Mercy's Stroke

Machinist: Lead Shot, Grenado Shot.

Monk: Featherfoot, Haymaker and Touch of Death.

Dragoon: Feint, Keen Flurry, Phlebotomize, Power Surge and Ring of Thorns.

These skills are all gone completely, so cut em loose and forget em! BUT its not all that clear cut. Some existing skills are going into the updated cross class system to pick and choose and some you may want back and others you may want to replace so when updating your hotbar for the removed skills bare in mind the following is now cross class:

Ninja: Goad.

Dark Knight: Dark Dance, Shadow Skin, Low Blow, Reprisal and Delirium.

Scholar: Virus.

Summoner: Eye for an Eye, Virus.

Warrior: Brutal Swing, Foresight.

Monk: Second Wind.

Paladin: Provoke, Rampart and Convalescence.

Dragoon: Leg Sweep, Invigorate.

Lastly here is whats known right now about the new 60-70 abilties going on your hotbars instead and with a few 30-50 for a few select classes getting a minor rebalance like PLD.

Ninja: Hellfrog Medium, Bhavacakra and Ten-Chi-Jin.

Dark Knight: Delirium, Quietus, Bloodspiller and The Blackest Night

Astrologian: Earthly Star, Malefic III, Minor Arcana, Sleeve Draw, Lord of Crowns, Lady of Crowns and Undraw.

White Mage: Thin Air, Stone IV, Divine Beacon, Plenary Indulgence.

Scholar: Excogitation, Broil 2, Chain Stratagem, Aetherpact and Fey Union.

Bard: Perfect Pitch, Troubador, Caustic Bite, Stormbite, Natures Minne and Refulgent Arrow.

Black Mage: Between the Lines, Thunder IV, Triplecast and Foul.

Summoner: Ruin IV, Aetherpact, Bio III, Miasma III, Summon Bahamut, Enkindle Bahamut and Devotion.

Warrior: Onslaught, Upheaveal, Shake it Off and Inner Release.

Machinist: Cooldown, Barrel Stabilizer, Rook Overdrive, Flamethrower, Heated Spirit Shot, Heated Slug Shot, Heated Clean Shot, Rook Overload, Bishop Overload.

Monk: Riddle of Earth, Riddle of Fire, Brotherhood, Earth Tackle and Wind Tackle.

Paladin: Total Eclipse, Intervention, Holy Spirit, Requiescat and Passage of Arms.

Dragoon: Doom Spike, Sonic Thrust, Dragoon Sight, Mirage Dive and Nastrond.

So yeah quite a few new skills to take up those lost ones based on class huh? Folks are still trying to break down the rotations based on the not quite 1005 finalised tooltips but for now at least you can start getting all those hotbars ready for the new rotations and just fill in the blanks as you level. Get it done now and thats one less boring chore when the expansion drops week after next!

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Press Embargo lifted, class changes and my first thoughts

Eighteen days to go till the release of Stormblood, two weeks for early access to boot. This means the media campaign is moving into full swing and the first big reveal has been a number of websites and youtuber's being invited to SE to test the 4.0 builds of all the jobs and the changes that are coming to each class. Naturally this has some players overjoyed, others saying this is it the game is ruined forever. Change is not something the mmorpg player craves more often than not but as is the nature of a persistent game change is inevitably going to happen. So i'm just posting a quick rundown of all the jobs and my thoughts since a full ramble about each would take pages of test to get out :p

So starting with my favourites:

Ninja - is my main job and thankfully its seeing no big shakeups. As i predicted they are streamlining some of the armour crush style abilities but other than that sneak attack and poisons are the only notable loss in the NIN skillset. These spaces on the crossbar are being taken up by new skills that focus more on the 'ninjutsu=ninja magic' idea like the new ten-jin-chi ability that makes Jutsu more than just a rotational filler/upkeep buff so overall it looks like i'm not going to be relearning the job and i don't particularly have any complaints.

Dark Knight - Unsurprisingly they are trying to nerf the button bloat, theres been some slight nerfs and the changes to Darkside are interesting but again beyond that i dont feel like one of my main jobs is getting some massive overhaul and dont think i'll struggle to adapt.

Astrologian - Can easily be summed up as "the same, but cooler" with abilities like drawing 4 cards, cleric stance becoming a cooldown, way higher regen/potency, sleeve draw and the lord/lady adds more tarot deck flavour i already love to the job. Honestly it just looks like more fun from the same job and i really have no worries or complaints about this one at all

Red Mage - The standout for the two new jobs i am actually interested in playing. So far it looks neat. Building white and black meters to dash in and fence then dash out with a holy or flare finisher. My only worry is this will turn out to just be another umbral/astral ice/fire balancing of BLM in another skin and personally -and BLM was my main job for ARR- i got tier of that real quick.

Favourites aside the rest i need playtime with. PLD finally seems to be getting some love and BRD might be really fun in 4.0 But then there are things like WHM that look, for lack of a better term redundant and a lot of SMN players are unhappy with the nerfs even if the Bahamut summon looks rad.
Naturally i'll expand on them with hands on experience in a few weeks but for the jobs i play and the new one i have interest in i can't say i have complaints overall. The big question is will i finally be interested in jobs like MNK or DRG that i got to 60 but never really had interest in playing in the longrun.

Times gonna tell i guess.

Friday, 28 April 2017

And so the Benchmark trailer dropped AKA The thirst is real!

So there i am getting over a nasty flu and a break from XIV when i check my twitter. Through my fugue state i see the official XIV twitter mention "Hey don't forget to check out the new Stormblood trailer in the Live Letter!" which was a bit of a surprise. I thought we were not getting SB related live letters for a while to go now. What we got was surprisingly long. New locations, new gear sets and most surprisingly: New Abilities.

Some of it is solid info, some of it guesswork based on what we have seen but a rough list of info so far can be summed up with the following.

  • DRG now appears to have a skill where it burns off Blood of the Dragon as a ranged burst damage spell
  • DRK appeared to use Shadowskin on the SAM, perhaps an on ally version of PLD's 1 physical block skill?
  • AST has two new cards in their tarot, The Lord and The Lady
  • BRD fires a flurry of magical homing arrows at once
  • MCH has a flamethrower skill
  • NIN has a new skill to summon a giant fire breathing Toad
  • WAR appears to have a new downthrust charge similar to DRK's current ability, possibly a new cross class skill?
  • SMN appears to fire off a new spell reminiscent of ravana's wings, not unexpected considering 50-60 brought an emphasis back to SMN using the powers of primals.
  • PLD appears to have a small holy style aoe.
  • SCH now appears to show an ability to link Eos or Selene directly to a targeted party member, probably as a more direct healer instead of an aoe turret its used as now.
  • MNK appears to shift into max Grease Lightning level instantly
  • RDM appears to use a combo on one enemy then the chainspell finisher on another suggesting it is a 'counter' tied to the player not an enemy upkeep.
  • WHM appears to have another group wide heal or buff
  • BLM shows a dark purple stabbing graphic spell not dissimilar to the AST weakening debuff. Painflare perhaps?
As well as these teases we also received concrete info that the TP cost for Sprint has been removed entirely, Crafting Specialisations will have more weight on crafting choices now (glad i picked those up for BSM, LTW and CUL) and now would be a good time to cap Poetics -yes Tomestones of Poetics as they will be exchanged for a new currency used for progression in 4.0. Perhaps as an all purpose low tier with the mid and endgame tiers remaining the same for now instead of the mid current replacing poetics as tiers upshifted in the past? for now they just recommend 2k poetics will be a nice "ahead of the curve boost" for whats coming in 4.0.

Aside from this its mostly tidbits. the initial inventory boost will be 10 extra slots for every page of the armoury and 40 for inventory to test server load and a much larger increase after should it take properly. Flying mounts will swim underwater and some current ground mounts like Sliepnir will fly. New hairstyles are coming to nobodies surprise and the SAM Limit Break is a move some FF fans will find quite familiar.

Overall a nice bit of info in a time where the Heavensward content is running tired and Idyllshire is getting real empty this time of year. Now its just time to rewatch the trailer to see what tidbits i missed and get back to the countdown, just 52 days to go...

Friday, 7 April 2017

The lonely Easter, or 'Ten weeks to Stormblood!'

So its that time again. Not Easter i mean. Well yes technically its also Easter but thats not what i'm talking about here.

-But go to Gridania and get your egg mount. Takes like 10 minutes tops.

What i'm talking about here is that its the 'pre expansion lull' again, yay! or something. I guess i could be more bummed but after putting up with the "we beat the big bad... now lets settle with NOTHING for the next 18 months!" level of content updates between final patch and next expansion i did back in my WoW days. Waiting 2 and a half months isn't looking too bad.

Still what does it mean right now? Well it means a huge amount of fantastic games have just come out and Nier Automata, Zelda Breath of the Wild and especially Persona 5 (which is fantastic btw) have decimated the FFXIV population in this period where the story and content updates are done with till those ships to Othard make ready to leave in June.
So while this does mean longer queue's it also means a lot less competition on the market board and maybe your chance to pick up a free housing plot to boot. One thing folks have to learn if they are new to mmo's like this is that this is the perfect 'cleaning house' period. Farm gil and get your inventories cleaned up and so on.

Though it is always a little bit of a downer at these times to barely see anyone outside Idyllshire even when a seasonal event is on its always good to take a break to avoid burn out too. Stormbloods just around the corner so its always nice to have some time to take it easy i guess.

-Or go crazy buying and selling on the marketboard. Y'know. If so inclined.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017


 And so the story comes to a close for now. Two years ago we left Uldah in a hurry and wound up in the downtrodden alleyways of the foundations of Ishgard. Today the story finished and we now have the 12 week wait for the gates of Othard and Ala Mhigo to open to us.
Its a little bittersweet as all endings are. The Far Edge of Fate quest is probably the last time the 'Ishgard Fanfare' variant will play upon a quest completion, no doubt to be replaced by a more Othard sounding equivalent and places like the Sea of Clouds will probably be put on the backburner to become another ghost town zone like Southern La Noscea or Coerthas in general.

Still i can say i have had fun from start to finish (bar the umbrite step of the relic mind you, still not finished my second on that particular hump!) and honestly compared to the recent mainline release of Final Fantasy XV i can honestly say this was the more enjoyable experience. I loved the locations, the boss fights, the story. Going through the Void Ark, fighting Ozma, the Griffin atop Baelsar's Wall and so on were a truly enjoyable experience. Both as an MMORPG and as a mainline numbered Final Fantasy experience.
It was not perfect mind you and my own enjoyment doesnt speak for all the players who seriously had a problem with the new raid structure that again is changing in Stormblood but this was an expansion that just never let up on fun things to do and personally i just felt it needed a few more post launch dungeons if even just a new hard mode or two even if that potential list is running short. Perhaps Copperbell Mines Extreme next?

All in all the final update was very short, perhaps an hour of content max. But there is at least one
twist of something dating back to the Calamity i won't reveal here. Needless to say it important and in a way what most of us kind of expected. The reveal of the Primal as Shinryu suggests our first update primal fight -or perhaps the bend of time raid is not fighting Omega but fighting with it to finish off this 'Doman Bahamut' who survives to fight another day -though thanks to coil we know that doesnt always mean intact does it?
Gosetsu was a nice character to join the main team. I expected the reserved yet stern sage-master kind of trope. Instead he seems to be the as yet unseen masters underling and just Yugiris superior in a 'loud mouthed, brave yet rash older brother' sort of role and its always nice to get new Roe' characters with a bit more personality to them. Though personally i feel like a certain former XIVth Legion higher up last seen at the Crystal Tower steals most of the scenes of dialogue, though i'm not sure if the Elder Seedseer and Cid have had a voice actor change again though the rest remains the same. Odd but could just be me hearing things i suppose.

 So now we have reached the end of a very enjoyable expansion and reach the calm before the storm. Which in a period of some of the best games thus far this gen releasing like Nier Automata, Horizon Zero Dawn and Nioh to name a few its the perfect time for the Warriors of Light to take it easy and sit for a spell.
My advice is make sure you have some 50-60 BLM gear for RDM and MNK gear for SAM just in case you havent actually levelled BLM/MNK so you can play catchup easier. Never hurts to be tomecapped and same with company seals and of course you never can have enough gil. Beyond that this is the perfect time to check off what you do or dont need to do. I'm probably not going to finish any more relics right now and i have every class levelled up and the beast tribes all at max. My goals right now are just to get my DRK relic past the Umbrite stage since its almost finished and sell all my crafting materials for HW recipes while the gettings good and folks are leveling their last crafting jobs. Always someone that forgets to just use the moogle tribe.

For now though it doesn't really matter what you do its just that rare period to take it easy and enjoy the sights and get some other games out of your backlog. All the while counting the days left till the Stormblood Early Access goes live, of course.

Just 79 days to go. Spend it well folks and see you in Stormblood!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Fan Fest Europe: A Realm Expanded.


So yeah. Bit of a surprise this one eh? We expect the full trailer to get a bit of the Far Edge of Fate story they couldn't spoil yet -outside of a title in game that is- and we get a massive world map expansion in this, uh, expansion.
What does it mean? well the Garleans are fighting a war on two fronts now. The Eorzean Alliance takes back Ala Mhigo and Yugiri and her master Gosetsu will be leading the warriors of Light to retake Doma and the continent of Othard. 

Not exactly what we expected eh?

So first heres the trailer:

and yep thats SAM confirmed alright. Red Mage and Samurai. Both DPS which has some folks going into nuclear meltdowns over. Because forget PLD desperately needing a once over, we needed another tank just because right? sheesh.

Surprised no Red Mage in the trailer, but also no RDM info at all thus far. We know SAM shares gear with MNK but thats about it. We have our second new race and their primal:

The Kojin: a race of Turtle-like Beastmen that live in edo period looking towns in bubbles on the floor of the Sea of Jade and The Ruby Sea.
They are traders, craftsmen and believe everything in the world has a spirit/god inside it known as a Kami. They recruit adventurers to collect these Kami by bringing in rare treasures from the Sea floor and mainland Othard.

Which says to me this is our new Crafting/Gathering Beast Tribe.

and then we have their Primal - Susano, Lord of the Revel. Another new Summon for the franchise. Looks cool but at the same time its a shame its another dude with a sword like Ravana.

But at least we have the launch tribes and primals locked in info wise, shame the rest is a bit confusing still though.

So what else did we learn about?
-A 4th housing Area with an Edo era Japan style but not available at launch so theres no mad day 1 rush when servers will be rocky.
-Blitzball might be happening
-Garo gear will be put on the Calamity Salvager so you dont need retainer slots for 13 sets of pvp gear
-DPS jobs were added because few none tanks and healers took up the new tanks and healers in HW and the payoff for work put in was not worth it when classes like PLD suffered from problems they didnt have time to fix because of it.
-We will be visiting the Steppes of Othard the Au Ra call home. Called the 'first wide plains zone' which reminds me a lot of FFXI areas and the Calm Lands from FFX

Sadly thats really it. There was a lot of tidbits like Yugiri wearing the NIN AF3 gear in the trailer but other than that very little information about the expansion itself. Whats the combat like? no clue. How does gathering and crafting work and what does it drop that didn't in HW? no idea. Thats basically been the experience which is a bummer. The reveals were great and the world size is amazing but we still no very little about the mechanics of Stormblood at this point and with less than 4 months till its hitting retail thats a little worrying.

But this is the mmo with no public PTR style testing so i guess par for the course?

Regardless the fan fests are over and the countdown to launch begins. Till then its time to wait on the final updates to Heavensward to see it to its conclusion and i'm pretty excited for that coming soon.

Friday, 3 February 2017

The Far Edge of Fate review

So the Christmas break is over, our Stormblood pre-orders are out and the finale of Heavensward has begun. For the first post of the new year i thought i would go over my basic thoughts on the content so far while trying to avoid spoilers -a shame that a certain main story quest title could not avoid doing the same eh?

So for story:
Main Story Quest: Honestly i can't say i was surprised this time. The Warriors of Darkness ended all too briefly but what happened and why remained a pleasant surprise. This time however i called on twitter exactly what would happen and lo and behold it was exactly what i expected. It was not bad mind you, but part of the trouble of an expansion with more set up on the horizon means a lot more blanks get filled in for the inbetween content in a way usual patches mid expansion cycle don't have.
I liked it, the story was interesting, not too much 'go talk to different npcs for 2 hours' for once and it resulted in one of the most satisfying boss fights since Ozma. However considering the trailer was name dropping the Omega Weapon and its a no show i can't help but feel a little unsatisfied. Still at least this means Omega shows up in March.

The Scholisticate: I am going to be brutally honest here. I didn't care. I just did not care about the Scholisticate. I am a lore nut. I have my Encyclopedia Eorzea next to me as i type this and i never skip quest text ever. This was the one quest line where i came real close though. The characters were so bland i could sincerely not tell some of them apart, the story across the patches felt like a waste of dev time and on the whole it felt like doing it just for completionists sake.
That said the actual final quest and the reveal of what the scholisticate was and more history of the dark past of Ishgard actually ended up being one of the most interesting bits of lore for the patch. Considering i had written off Ishgard as 'done now, off to Stormblood set up content!' i really did not expect one of the most interesting moments/reveals of the patch. Still on the whole not especially interesting.

Hildebrand: Honestly this was brief, cliche but ultimately fun stuff. It was a different side to the character and Gigi was a nice reference to one of my favourite FF games. The storyline started weak in 3.1 but on the whole it was a nice send off and i eagerly await more in Stormblood.

The Warring Triad: Zurvan was a joke. I'm sorry but Sophia should have been the finale not 'generic monster with generic adds'. Disappointing boss fight aside it was interesting to get our young assistants backstory reveal even if it did feel like something more Kingdom Hearts then Final Fantasy. Regulus was more General Leo than the Kefka people expected but on the whole was a character i wish we got more of. Not a huge finale but its a better side story than a lot of the Ascian stuff near the end of ARR.

Beast Tribes Finale: It was a silly, charming send off with some neat rewards. That did not surprise me. What DID was that nobody i know has done it. Because not one of them finished any of the Beast Tribes in HW up to rank 8. Vanu and Gnath i could understand but i really am surprised how few did not use the huge boost in xp and gil the Moogle quests rewarded you. Honestly i would not be surprised if by 5.0 we have a pve beast tribe just because and a crafting beast tribe as the main focus for a small niche and it gets regarded as a bit of a failed experiment with increasing diminishing returns on their dev resources spent on them.
Still it was nice to be reminded that in some places we are leaving Ishgard and Dravania in a better state than we left it.

Dun Scathe: Hard to talk about without spoiling the ending to the raid but on the whole it was great. No Ozma style really high point but for the final raid of the expansion we got a pretty satisfying final boss and i really hope we don't just see the Sky Pirates as the intro to the new Diadem. I would love if they are part of the next Relic quest and aiding us in exploring Eureka the Forbidden land. Great raid, little easy when you get the small list of abilities down but visually fantastic and the lore implications of 'Hollow' Voidsent gets the mind racing, especially after the triads reveal of what voidsent are to begin with.

All in all a mixed bag but nothing i hated. So now theres the new timesinks.

Anima: I ran 100 A1 Savage party finder runs for 2 hours a day over 3 days. I got my ilvl270 Relic and got to work on my DRK's Umbrite step. An extremely easy light step. Possible the easiest step for the entire chain really. So naturally i fear the final step coming in the next update.

Garo PvP event: That went live? you might ask. Because it has no quests right? well there aren't any. Go to the Wolves Den for a new NPC. All you do is spam Frontlines and the Feast, buy a full class set and weapon and talk to her. You now have a title to equip and use in pvp. 10 Frontlines wins gets a mount, 30 Feast wins gets the second and a total of 60 wins in total in anything gets the third.
Honestly the combination of this and Frontlines Freelancer options has revitalised PvP to the extreme. Ques are near instant. Matches are much more even and everyone is rolling in marks and some of the new sets look fantastic. My only complaint is A: no reward for getting all the sets like the Youkai but its around for 6 months and B: can't store it in the inn and 7 pieces for 13 jobs is a LOT of retainer space nobody has 3 years in! Roll on the inventory expansion come Stormblood.

New Dungeons: This is just straight up night and day. Baelsar's Wall is excellent. Neat mechanics, cool set pieces and the finale boss is easily the best dungeon boss fight in the expansion to my mind. Satisfying to fight and a real test of reflexes. I imagine on keyboard and mouse some of the sequences could be a bit of a nightmare for the more casual player.
Then you have Sohm Al Hard Mode. AKA "Heres some Snowcloak style teasing of models in the upcoming expansion, have fun!" only its hard to have fun when you have a dungeon more boring than Neverreap. The final boss is 'okay' and just okay. Everything else is mindless. Its a loot pinata to let people gear up in the new metal gear looking Fillibuster sets and just feels so uninspired bar the final volcanic cavern stretch. Really disappointing honestly.
So one great new dungeon one not so great. New dungeon set is really cool looking for most classes and the music and art is superb. However i cannot see them really being something people are excited to run 3 months from now. Feels like Neverreap and Keeper of the Lake all over again in that regard.

 So thats my brief reaction to the content. I'm working on pvp sets, some alt relics and tweaking my NIN best in slot gear for the expansion. On the whole a very fun variety of content but story wise it really feels like they kept my most wanted points for the second half of the patch coming after fanfest. So at least i have something exciting to look forward to next month after fanfest and the totally not happening reveal of Samurai.