There was a point yesterday when I realized something that somewhat shocked me. I have been back in Final Fantasy XIV for longer than the combined time my guild was active in both The Elder Scrolls Online and Wildstar. There has been a trend over the last few years where when we move into something new we last around two months and then move on again. Elder Scrolls lasted roughly two months, and Wildstar in truth less than a month before folks petered out. For Final Fantasy XIV I have been going strong since July so this will be going on four months. In truth this is the longest I have played any game in awhile without pause. I am not sure if Rift counts since I tend to always be playing that game off and on, and the period of large amounts of activity last year only lasted a few months at most before it was back to me and a skeletal crew logging in periodically. Another thing I have noticed is that I tend to turn the lights off when I finally go, meaning that I am one of the last people to leave.
In Elder Scrolls Online this was maybe a bit different, since Sig and PK were both active considerably longer after I stopped logging in on a regular basis. I however only recently actually went through the process of cancelling my account there. Wildstar on the other hand I was all too willing to cancel my account, but sadly by the time I did the entire guild was completely toast. I guess I wonder what has made us grazers of MMOs rather than large scale consumers. For awhile I thought it was just the ramifications of coming from a multi-year game like World of Warcraft, and being unfettered and experiencing some kind of options overload. I still feel like there are so many good games out that to be played, and just not enough time to really experience them. I wish I could realistically play FFXIV, Rift, EQ2, LoTRO, TSW and Landmark all at the same time. The problem is when I rampantly multigame like that I get absolutely nothing accomplished in any of them.
Slow and Steady
Right now I am enjoying making slow and steady progress in all of my endeavors in Final Fantasy XIV. Last night I managed to hit 108 ilevel on my main job which is the warrior, and in part that is because of the 2.4 patch. There is a big of a paradox going on after the Dreams of Ice patch. Unlocking the loot in Syrcus Tower means that it has gotten significantly easier to farm the ilvl 100 gear drops and the Sands and Oils of Time needed to upgrade level 100 soldiery gear to level 110. The problem is that it feels like it is significantly slower to grind out Tomestones of Soldiery than it was to get Tomestones of Mythology. So as a result I am sitting on several unused Sands of Time and a couple of unused Unitentified Allagan Tomestones because I lack the Soldiery “bookrocks” to purchase either a weapon or another slot of gear to use the sands on. At this point I am closing in on the 1300 Tomestones of Soldiery needed to purchase a level 100 weapon, which I will then turn into a 110 weapon with one of the sands, finally giving my Dragoon something decent to poke things with. Before this patch I never would have spent soldiery on an alternate job, so it makes me happy to finally start progressing my Dragoon again.
The other side effect of the patch is that it seems to have become significantly harder to gear your very first character. Previously you could hop on the “hunt train” and farm up enough Allied Seals to purchase a full set of ilevel 90 gear within a few hours. For 270 Allied seals you could purchase an entire set of gear for a new job, which in the grand scheme of things even if you didn’t do the insane hunt process was only about a week of doing the daily hunt quests. This was a huge benefit to getting new players into the game quickly. This has slowed down considerably because all of the level 90 gear is gone from the hunt vendor and replaced with the level 100 Soldiery equivalents. Unfortunately this also means that the items themselves have gone up massively in price. The pieces can be purchased for 660, 400, and 300 for the various slots adding up to a grand total of 4020 allied seals for an entire set of gear. Right now this just seems absolutely insane to me. I feel like a later patch is probably going to reduce this price but that for the time being they are trying to make it easier to get soldiery gear… but not so easy that we can cap out over night and run out of things to progress.
Active Free Company
Another awesome thing about the 2.4 patch is that it has seemed to revitalize our server as a whole. Cactuar has sprung to life as so many players I think had taken breaks before the launch of this latest patch and all of its goodness. Granted a flurry of the activity has been leveling rogues, but that seems to be slowly tapering off. Similarly there has been a resurgence of activity in our guild as folks have joined up to start working on characters on our server, or returned from their own pre-patch absences. At several points yesterday we had around a dozen players online, and that still is not including some of our more active members that were curiously missing from the fray this weekend. I know Rae was off doing work related stuff, and Kodra was sick most of the weekend… and Ashgar busy packing for his move. With all of those things factored in it seems even more impressive that we were able to field the numbers that we did. I ran several of the new dungeons with groups of friends, and have yet to actually make my way into the expert duty roulette without a premade group.
Granted I am fully expecting that the upcoming launch of Warlords of Draenor will pull a few players away here and there, but I think the majority of our group is well insulated against the effects of WoW at this point. I am generally the one who returns, and right now as it stands I have no plans of playing at launch. In fact were it not for the level 90 boost that we got from preordering so far ahead of time… I doubt I would have even purchased the expansion this time around. I kinda wish I could claw back that purchase to be honest, but I guess that is the problem with preordering going roughly a year before the release date. That seems so long ago at this point, especially considering the short periods of waiting for new content I am getting used to in Final Fantasy XIV. This game is rolling out a new major patch each quarter, and a minor content patch on a semi-monthly schedule and I hate to say it… but you get spoiled. I don’t think I could return to a game with a year between content patches again after this.
As I said yesterday this month I am trying to come up with something each morning that I am thankful for, turning it entire an entire month of “Thanksgiving”. This morning I am thankful for my “Fuzzy Children”, aka my pets. My wife and I have no intent of ever having human children, so our babies are as close as we will get to having kids. Presently we have three cats, one kitten, and two ferrets and they are all awesome. Each of them have their own personalities, and each of them their own routines that I would not change even if I could. Animals have a way of enriching your life for just existing, and while I might complain about this or that I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I wouldn’t know what to do without one animal at my feet and another on my lap… and another wandering around my office knocking stuff over. I am thankful for my fuzzy warm bundles of happy, and the joy they bring.