Be warned… this is one of those mornings when I just don’t really feel like doing a blog post. It isn’t necessarily that I don’t want to write… it is that I don’t feel like I have anything really exciting to share with the world. But several months ago I made a commitment to blog every morning or evening, and I have not dropped that promise yet. Though quite honestly the timing of the evening posts has been a bit odd and something I need to work on.
Searching for Something
Most of yesterday was spent in some fashion roaming around town. At first I was on a mission to hit a bunch of used bookstores, namely the largest ones here in town looking for something I could not quite describe. Essentially I am doing a lot of pre-writing for my attempt on NaNoWriMo this year. I am one of those people that I don’t feel like I can write about something, without knowing more about the world itself. The world I have built in my head is extremely intricate and as a result I am having to do quite a bit of research.
The only problem is I cannot put my finger on exactly what I am looking for. I have been searching for ethnic folk tales, lore, and even role-playing game books that are set in non-European/American settings. I feel like in those two realms I have a fairly firm grasp on the classical lore, mythology and cast of creatures. Where I am really lacking is China and the countries of the former USSR. Additionally I could definitely use some more information on the creatures of the African continent. I know some of it, but not nearly the clarity I would like.
Essentially I am trying to build political struggles, kingdoms and relationships between various groups of magical creatures. I have a lot of things in place, but I want more resolution and granularity of who lives where and controls what. The irony about this whole thing is… that the story I will likely weave through this world will only touch a tiny tiny bit of it. But I feel like I need to know what the topography of the world is like before i can populate any part of it with characters.
This is also why I am getting started this far ahead of November, trying to weave together a world that makes sense to me. One of the things I hate about a novel is when it feels like there was no master plan to the world, or that when a big reveal happens. it is a massive let down because it doesn’t make much sense. Since this is a hang-up of mine… I feel like I have to build the world first and then write about it. I thought that maybe I might stumble onto a collected book of folklore or something like that, but at the end of the day I pretty much came up empty. I got one very thin children’s book that collected some non-traditional mythology… that will mostly be a point of reference as I look up all of the tales it mentions online.
Sense of Humor
The one overarching thing about Final Fantasy is that at no point can you really take yourself too seriously. For a good chunk of yesterday when I was not out and about searching for whatever I was looking for… I ran around looking like this. This is one of the few times I wished I was colorblind… this was all bought off the same vendor mind you. Not sure how a red horned helm, green hauberk, pink gloves and white/yellow pants go together… but man is it colorful. That is the thing that makes Final Fantasy so different that most of western games, is that it is over the top absurd at times… in the character designs, the bosses and monsters, and even the dialog.
To some extent this makes the game play more enjoyable because you are unable to get completely focused in on the mission at hand. I find I have done a lot of “stopping to smell the roses” in this game so far as I haphazardly roam around the countryside looking for whatever I happen to need for a quest. There are a ton of intricate systems in this game, and most of them are not well explained to the player. I stumbled onto a hunting system that seems to involve you killing a certain number of mobs with a “cheese wheel” icon on their head. These are lumped into ranges and there is some kind of reward for completing a difficulty tier.
Additionally I figured out that the “Golden Pretzel” Icon I kept seeing is actually anytime you are gaining experience. This is no lie… I seriously kept trying to figure out how I could spend all those pretzels I was gaining. Upon second look… I am guessing it is probably a golden cherry blossom or something of the sort. But to me it looks like a pretzel.. and the advance dialog icon still looks like an ice cream cone. I can tell this game as a whole was not designed for western eyes. Like I am sure not everyone sees a pretzel when they look at that icon, that for someone else it would make a lot more sense.
One of the other cool things I stumbled onto was what I am calling Story Quests for lack of a proper term. Essentially every so often you will get a quest that involves you going to investigate something. When you do it will launch into a short cut scene, and then usually a pretty epic battle that is sometimes assisted by NPCs joining your fight. From what I understand these are unique to your class, so that the ones I am getting are for marauders alone. They remind me a lot of the SWTOR class storyline in that you have an opening cinematic/dialog the fight itself and then a resolution cinematic/dialog after it is over.
Some of the battles like the one above are just absolutely insane. Essentially me and the party of NPCs had to deal with wave after wave of giant crabs, each wave including smaller mobs and big boss mobs. From what I can tell the secret seems to be.. focus on the smaller adds and let the NPCs deal with the big guys for you. Once they have solid aggro and you have finished off the trash waves, you can help them burn down the big guys. I’ve done three of these so far, and that seems to be the rule for each. How you can generally tell is if the boss type mob is a significant number of levels higher than the trash mobs.
So far I am still enjoying myself playing the beta. I still feel like there is a ton that I just do not quite understand yet… but overall that has not prevented me from enjoying the game as a whole. This is one of those games that is deceptively simple at face value, but seems to have a ton of different and intricate systems once you get engaged with it. This should help to keep players hooked on the title for the long haul. I did not experience the 1.0 version of Final Fantasy XIV but the 2.0 version seems like it is something that western audiences will really enjoy. I hope you all have a great weekend, as right now I am cutting this off and going to go play some more.