The First Trial
Today begins the third day so far with Heavensward and I am feeling so completely behind. This is of course something I am doing to myself, as I am still significantly ahead of several of the other free company members, but I have this sense of falling behind. I guess it part it comes from the fact that expansions are by nature a reset. On Wednesday night I was that guy that had two max level and well geared tanks, a max level and well geared healer, and both a ranged and a melee dps also max level and well geared. I could literally fill any role I needed to fill in a party, and this gave me a great sense of confidence knowing that I could also we be useful in some way. Now as of Friday all of that is gone… and I am back to clawing my way uphill to try and arrive at that position of comfort again. I am focusing on my Warrior and as a result I can ONLY tank an instance. So that means I either fill that role or I have to watch from the sidelines as people have fun without me.
That is the stress of an expansion, the immediate feeling of inadequacy that only goes away with copious amounts of time spent pouring levels into all of your characters. It is a real struggle to keep myself from powering through everything so that I can reach that point of safety faster. Like in the back of my head I have this order in which I intend to level things to get back there, but if I am not careful the whole thing can be overwhelming. Everything is new and shiny and I am sure I will have plenty of time to level and still experience all of the content as it was intended. Right now I am held up on the first trial encounter, so I am hoping that as soon as I finish writing up my blog post I can pop in and try and defeat that so I can move forward in the story. The thing I find interesting is that they have apparently skipped “normal” mode entirely because this first trial is flagged as “hard”. I guess it makes sense as it happens post 50, but in the grand scheme of things I feel like maybe “leveling” content cannot really be deemed “hard” modes.
Making Story Matter
The story is getting extremely good, and that is the thing that I am the most impressed with. Usually when an MMO expansion happens, there is a resetting of things to square one and the world essentially forgets what its last state happened to be. I’ve always found this frustrating because I want the world to remember where it has been before. I want things to change and that the NPCs that I spent time working with, will remember who I am when I meet them again. One of the single most immersion breaking moments for me is when I encountered Alexstraza in Twilight Highlands and she had no memory of working with me at Wyrmrest Temple in the Dragonblight of Northrend. Sure years have passed by I was set up as a big damned hero through the events, and I am still the same big damned hero today. She should have embraced me as a friend based on those past events, not as another nameless and faceless NPC.
More than anything Final Fantasy XIV seems to do an excellent job of working with your character being the badass that it supposedly is. The reactions that you get are extremely human. Some people fear you for your power, and others seek to test their mettle against it. But regardless of their reaction… there is no NPC that at this point does not realize you are the “Warrior of Light”. The storyline of Heavensward takes place literally moments after the final events of 2.55, and while sure it would be frustrating to a new player to be told that they cannot enter the new content without catching up in the storyline… this is because the storyline would seem unintelligible if you did not experience the events of “A Realm Reborn”. This is really a new experience for me when it comes to MMOs and I have to say I am absolutely in love with it. Square Enix has figured out how to make MMO storyline and lore matter… and I am so damned thankful they did. I just hope that other games see how well it works in Heavensward and start adopting it in their own games.
AggroChat #62 – Flight and Chocobos
I originally thought that when we set down to record this episode of AggroChat we would end up putting aside all pretense and simply talk about the Heavensward expansion for Final Fantasy XIV. However what happened in reality is we ended up recording an extremely length show where we basically did that… AND a normal show as well. While many or our weeks revolved around the launch of this new expansion… we had to do something to bide our time until the Friday launch. Grace has apparently been completely hooked on Marvel Super Heroes so we talked about that for awhile. The other game she has been playing is Wildstar, so we spent a good deal of time chatting about how that game has been progressing.