All I really wanted yesterday was to sit in one spot and play Final Fantasy XIV all day long. While that did not happen as I had originally envisioned I did still manage to get a fair amount of play time. The biggest interruption came early on when I was trying to work on my blog post, and the air conditioning company called to tell me they were on their way over. Firstly I had completely forgotten that I had scheduled our twice a year maintenance for Friday thinking I would be off from work anyways. Secondly… the guy who came over seemed relatively new and manage to take an hour and a half doing what normally takes the guy fifteen minutes to finish. So that was ultimately why I ended up posting so late. By the time that finished we needed to run a few errands, and I spent until roughly two doing that. Finally when I got home however I had a solid block of play time and also a mission set out in front of me.
Tam had apparently been playing since quite literally the servers went life at 2 am pst. As a result he was anxiously waiting on us to catch up so that he could run the very first dungeon. While Dusk Vigil is not entirely gated by the main story, it does require you to have gotten far enough into the story to unlock a specific camp of NPCs. Previously I was getting easily distracted by every single FATE I came across… which was pretty much an endless feedback loop since at any given moment there are a dozen different FATEs up in Western Coerthas. Instead I had to shift to being laser focused on completing the quests. This batch of storyline however deserves some time to slow down and savor it a bit as you quest through it. They have done something that no other MMO has done… picked up the storyline moments after the last quest of the previous expansion. Over the course of “A Realm Reborn” they learned how to extremely effectively tell compelling story, and this expansion just continues that trend. I feel like I am only a little ways in and they have already dropped several big bombshells on me.
Normally I would have told them to go with another tank to Dusk Vigil… even though I love the act of clearing a dungeon that very first time. Problem being at the moment I am the highest progressed tank in the guild and likely the only one who has unlocked it. Around 8:30 last night my wife and I decided to go for a walk down to the local shaved ice place, and I told them that I would run the dungeon when I got back. Upon coming back the new renters across the street were out in the yard and it felt awkward not to go over and say hello. People think it is strange that we don’t really know anyone in our neighborhood… but I have to say this is 0 for 2 when it comes to introducing ourselves to new people. This new one is just as insane seeming and clingy as the last one… now the positive is that there was an Xbox 360 set up on the living room floor with Lord of the Rings movies and Dragon Age Inquisition scattered around it. So maybe just maybe they are going to be cool people? After making them wait half the night we eventually go away from the neighbor and I went upstairs to fight the login boss and get back in game.
Surprisingly I managed to log in immediately and get straight into the server, and got my group invite and we were up and running. The big take away from the dungeon is that much like the overworld… the mobs hit extremely hard. I am an ilevel 128 Warrior, and that first trash pack I pulled was a bit of a wakeup call. The coolest thing about the dungeon however were the bosses which were in essence a remix of mechanics we have seen in some of the raids, but assembled in a manner that felt fresh. I imagine at some point we will have a gear level where we can ignore the mechanics but for the time being… folks have to pay attention. The layout of the dungeon was extremely cool as well and had both a Coerthas flavor and a stone vigil flavor the deeper you got into it. The background music and boss music were both amazing as well… with the zone music sounding like a remix of the Heavensward theme with Snowcloak. The dungeon also dropped some really nice level 110 items that had unique graphics, so I hope to pop back in and try and collect more of it.
Learning to Fly
I have no clue how far a Yalm is, but over the course of yesterday I think I travelled thousands of them hunting down Aether Currents. For the uninitiated Final Fantasy XIV gives you a brand new Black Chocobo just a few quests into the Heavensward Storyline. Also for the uninitiated Black Chocobos old a special place in the Final Fantasy pantheon of being the only breed of Chocobo that can actually fly, and while they often look more purple than black… the one you get in Heavensward is officially a jet black chocobo with pretty cool barding. When you get yours you also get this device called an Aether Compass. In order to fly in a zone you need to track down a certain number of the Aether Currents, and in Western Coerthas this is 10 scattered throughout the zone and 5 that you get from doing quests. If you have ever played a game that has a tracking system the compass works pretty much like this. You click the item and it tells you the direction and distance away the next Aether Current is located. This appears in your quest items tab, but I highly suggest moving it to a hotbar because you will be clicking this thing constantly.
As a result you have to not only try and figure out how to traverse a zone that is extremely difficult to traverse do to some extreme elevation changes, you have to do this while interpreting messages like “381 Yalms to the South East”. Most of the Aether Currents are found as a result of some jumping puzzles, that can either be extremely difficult to get to… or relatively simply if you figure out the path they intended you to take. The worst feeling is jumping down off something and seeing an Aether Current on the way down… that you could have gotten if only you know it was there ahead of time. Once you have gathered up all of the currents you can fly around the zone on your Black Chocobo… and I have to say it feels amazing to finally be able to do this. Sure the whole Aether Current thing is frustrating, but it did an amazing job of teaching me the layout of the zone and it is really the sort of thing that I did not finish until I was already MOSTLY finished with a zone. This is a great compromise for allowing players to fly, but not feeling like you are somehow cheapening the content in the process. Other games should really take note of this system going forward, because it feels like you are really earning your ability to fly each time.