Good morning you happy people in the wondrous digital frontier. Today is yet another day marred by these horrible allergies. I am so ready at this point for a hard rain or even a minor freeze to clear the crap out of the air. I feel like I am having to deal with a full summers worth of allergies all within in few weeks. Right now the ragweed count is off the charts, and this has always been one of my worst allergies. Odd thing is… my wife has always gotten sick and lost her voice right after the start of the school year, but we never really figured out why. Signs are pointing to ragweed induced hay fever, and so far treating it like that is seeming to work. But the over the counter stuff we are using is making both of us massively drowsy… but it is working well enough.
Cousin it’s your Cousin
The other day my friend Rae linked me this video… and it has been stuck in my head ever since. I find myself constantly singing to myself “Niko it’s your cousin, why don’t you take me bowling”. I had not been introduced to the Miracle of Sound before now… I think maybe I had heard a few of the songs but they are all pretty amazing. Essentially it is yet another ubiquitous YouTube star and similar to Malukah he writes songs almost exclusively based on video games. Many cases he takes dialog from the game, and remixes them into really catch tunes. One of the best tracks though is inspired by Game of Thrones called “Halfman’s Song”. The guy is super talented and definitely worth watching more of the videos and subscribing to the channel in general.
Now comes the deep dark confession… that I have never played Grand Theft Auto IV. So having played many of the games up to IV… I totally understand the type of character Niko’s cousin is… but I’ve never actually played the game or any of its expansions. I played several of the others quite prolifically but the problem I run into each time is that the world feels dead to me. Sure it is cool to roam around causing mayhem… but I always think it would be much more enjoyable if I could do it with friends. I have this problem in a lot of games that feel like they SHOULD be MMOs. While I adore the Elder Scrolls games… I have always longed to have friends with me in that world instead of more NPCs to interact with.
Lord of Ifrit
One of the cool features of Final Fantasy XIV is that every bit of instanced content has automatic scaling built into it. As a result it is super easy to tag along with friends when they reach points you have already finished. For example yesterday there were a few friends who had not passed the “Bowl of Embers” trial that as I have said before acts as a roadblock from you getting to new content. So they needed an additional dps, and I tagged along as my Dragoon. The only negative is that it will cause you to lose any abilities you did not natively have at the level it scales you to. So you will find yourself adjusting to playing in a fashion you may not be used to.
In the case of my dragoon… I lose the ever amazing jump ability, as well as the third part of my combo chain. So I had to revert to the older playstyle of flanking to get the buff then switching to impulse drive backstabs. I wish they had gone with the more common scaling down abilities option rather than the old style EQ2 lose abilities method. So far it has not been nearly as game breaking as it was in EQ2… since you lost access to newer versions of spells… causing you to have to go rifling through your spell book to find the ones that WOULD world for the instance.
Additionally I tanked the three dungeon sequence of Sastasha, Tam-Tara Undercroft, and Copperbell as a Gladiator. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at just how differently tanking as a Gladiator feels to tanking as a Marauder. It is a more strategic feeling combat, more slow paced and deliberate. Whereas the Marauder feels like an all out rage fest as you try and get as many mobs as you can in your overpower cone. I can definitely see some merits in the other tanking style, and at some point I figure I will finish leveling gladiator to 30, and conjurer to 15 so I can pick up the Paladin soul. My big disappointment is that you cannot change classes in a dungeon. My hope was that I would be able to switch back and forth between Paladin and Warrior based on the requirements of a given fight.
Requiem for Kill Quests
One of the other disappointments so far with Final Fantasy XIV is it has roughly half the number of quests I would like it to. The best means of gaining experience seems to be doing normal quests for NPCs. The problem is there are only enough of these quests in the world to really support leveling a single class. As a result for my sub classes I am forced to much grindier methods… such as fates, leves, and the occasional guild dungeon run. I feel like this is a growing problem in games as they are trying really hard not to do “Kill 10 Rats” quests. For whatever reason… these are now out of vogue with the player base in general… and as a result game companies are trying to scrub their games of them.
Thing is… I love kill quests. One of my favorite things in Dark Age of Camelot was the kill quest givers. They would send you off to kill random mobs, only giving you the direction from them for guidance. I wish modern games had an NPC like this called a Huntsmaster that literally just sent you out into the world to kill X number of mobs. Thing is… I naturally have an extreme bloodlust when it comes to carnage in a game. I like killing things, and my friend get annoyed with me at times because I can only go so long without engaging in combat. So if we are running to a dungeon… there will be numerous stops along the way for me to randomly charge a mob. Having a kill quest gives me a way to focus this bloodlust towards what feels like a larger purpose.
I realize that I am in the minority… and most players seem to want deep and meaningful story content in the form of quests. While story quests are fine… I honestly don’t really like them that much. As I am playing a game I am building a narrative in my head… that is often times at direct odds with the narrative that the game is trying to tell me. So as a result when I enter one of these story quests… it forces me out of my own little world that I am building for myself… and into the world that the game designers have deemed for me to participate in. Like I said… I realize I play games in a largely different way than most players do. I think I have developed this reaction after having spent years doing kill, escort and fedex quests… and as a result I have started building storyline to make all of them important to me.
I guess at the end of the day, I hate that these short bursts of purpose are now out of vogue with the player base. I liked them especially because there was a clear end in sight. With so many story quests, you never really know how many actions you are committing to upon accepting the quest. You could be accepting a quest that would be three short steps all within the same zone, or an epic sixty step quest that involves travel through half of the games content to complete. Ultimately I guess I don’t like the not knowing how much of my time I just promised to an NPC. I hate abandoning quests, but there are times where I just don’t have the patience to jump through that many hoops at a time. As a result I have always favored the super simple kill X quests as a way of getting in and doing something that feels like it means something in short bursts.
Well time for me to wrap things up. They are having cake for my grandmother back in my home town this afternoon, so I am trying to figure out if I can realistically commit to going or not. Additionally today will be laundry day so I will be spending most of the day swapping out loads. All of this while fighting the allergies and the strong desire to just go back to bed… is going to make a less than enjoyable day. I hope you all have a much better day ahead of you, and I hope that the start of the week is relatively smooth.