This is reset day in WoW, and in an hour I’m checking gear vault, jumping into another (hopefully reduced) raid runs.
As I’ve written in my previous post, I’ve finished my raid/renown duties by weekend this time. This left me with playing FFXIV and also made room for the annoying – at this stage of repetition – 9.1. campaign on alts which had to be done for a nice chunk of anima and completionist reasons.
I wonder if you’ve noticed, but Blizzard already goes at great lengths with making alt experience less tedious and more diverse considering replaying lore. Threads of Fate was a revolutionary addition in Shadowlands, as you could skip the whole leveling zone content whatsoever. In 9.1., we could skip the Korthia intro – 3 chapters! – and in 9.1.5. we get a long requested Maw intro skip. You only need to do one Taza’vesh attunement questline so the flight path got accessed by all alts, and so on. Still, I had to replay 9.1. chapter 4-9 on all alts – even if it was not required in terms of my raiding, growing character power and access to 9.1. and upcoming 9.2. content.
Even in previous expansions I have defined that my repetition limit is 2-3 lore content re-runs. First time you get acquainted, read everything slowly and get all the emotional blast and plot twists that were woven into stories. Second time you run through it faster, but also notice smaller details as you already have a bigger picture. Third alt’s experience carves lore in stone of your mind and memory – and that will suffice.
Alt four and on lore replays are simply a tedious activity. Even if you know the paths perfectly – for example, now I know exactly which tomes to pick during Huln’s exploration of Sepulcher tower without picking the wrong ones and suffering HP penalty, or the perfect path with Cudgelface and Moonberry picking the stone sigils, and you skip all the cutscenes, but it’s still a total bother.
So something I would demand from Blizzard is going all the way to the end. Every alt after your lore pioneer must have an option of “I heard this tale before” and skip everything, every single lore and attunement piece. Your alt must be able to level and gear up in world content, dungeons, Torghast-expeditions-warfronts – starting to earn currency and endgame perks right on spot with so much as a talk-and-skip with an NPC.
As I said, Blizzard already made surprisingly big steps in this direction, even before “stop crawling out of the windows” 9.1.5. patch. But I want them to walk this path till the end, with both lore and attunement to gameplay systems. Moreover, rewards: if unique mogs or big chunks of anima/other currency are involved, they should be earned immediately and drop into your bags, so that this was not a reason for replay. Of course, if you could earn these mogs or a comparable amount of currency via other path you choose, it’s ok, but it’s something I would think about.
Anyways, my campaign grind is done on all alts, about 3k worth of anima per character earned and used, and this step of 9.1. is now finished – yet again, releasing my gaming time for other activities. After raid/renown duties this week I think I may already start farming anima and Grateful Offerings which I put off for later. Now I have 4 conductor spots running on all alts, so this already would quite suffice. In short, I can finally start earning the now-fixed 9.0. content rewards system :)
I’m turtle slow with FFXIV, and happy about that. Nothing whips me up, I’m playing exactly the amount of time and exactly in what pace I pick at the moment. Still, I made the progress: the main story of Heavensward is now complete!
Few patches follow, I know, but at least on paper the list of quests doesn’t look as terribly long as A Realm Reborn appendix. Mind you, I’m not in a hurry to hop to next expansions, and always eager to get a new piece of story.
We got Y’shtola! Super moving and beautiful moment, and one of my favorite Scions is back.
They actually killed one of the good characters, irreversibly. That was sad, he was a good guy and was with us long enough. And it was not really required by plot.
One of the best things in Asian MMOs and other Asian game genres is their unconventional thinking (compared to Western mind). This results in absolutely hilarious, flashy, enormous and over-the-top bosses. This is what I want to fight when I hear about Asian MMOs, and Final Fantasy never ceases to surprise me in a good way, always exceeding expectations. Just look at the eerie book boss in a library dungeon:
Music is super important in games in creating the atmosphere, this is what makes me cry in tears in cutscenes – and not just from sadness, but epicness and a whirlwind of emotions too. And music is so much more important if visuals lack to be desired – as is the case with FFXIV. Luckily, the composers are perfect and deliver – I can’t help admiring them in this game. Even if they went heavy with bagpipes and pipe organs in this expansion (the two instruments I barely stand hearing, along with operatic singing voices), the soundtrack is still diverse and offers too different range of genres and melodies not to find something for yourself.
As a piano/keyboards player myself, I acknowledge and bathe in heavy use of piano (not uncommon in all Japanese media in general), and their electronic pieces make me think of my childhood NES experience. I would especially mention Order Yet Undeciphered (aka Azys Lla theme) and The Mushroomery (aka Matoya’s Cave) masterpieces, it’s something I could listen to for hours out of the game. Ishgard city theme is also great.
The story as a whole is fine, I guess. I mean, Y’shtola and Nanamo parts, the Archbishop and Ascian arcs were all logical and great, but I still don’t buy the dragon/knight conflict.
Ok, the story here is simple: dragons and humans (well, local elves) lived in peace, when a human king of old decided to commit a treachery, ripped off some dragons’ eyes which are a source of immense power, and so the thousand years of revenge war began. It is stated specifically that dragons live forever (until killed), so these events happened as if yesterday to them. Humans, led by your party, now approach dragons with a desire to make peace, but of course they would, dragon attacks are devastating. They did almost nothing to quell the rage or pay for their ancestor crimes – if anything, we killed more dragons and their angriest leader in process. Dragons are not bent to forgiving, not in the slightest, so what our actions were all about and what exactly was the plan is still a mystery. Yes, humans said they wanted peace, but of course they do, and dragons don’t. Eh?
I’m still to play through Heavensward patch stories, but so far what we were busy with dragons did not make much sense in my opinion.
Well, all in all it was fun nevertheless, and I’m eager to learn about new stories. So far, so good.
P.S. From the gameplay perspective, I’m starting to struggle with the abundance of my dragoon’s abilities and rotations – it’s too many buttons to care about :) I was happy with my rotation, I don’t need more abilities, come on! :)