Last night was as the post title might give away… a really good night. Lately in Final Fantasy XIV I have been caught up in one of two different grinds. The first being getting everyone to 50 by running floors 51-60 over and over again in Palace of the Dead. The second being leveling crafting through the use of the Ixal beast tribe quests… which is significantly more time consuming that it initially seems. There have been so many nights I have completely squandered the entire evening trying to get that last high quality item needed to turn in a quest. This past evening however we ran group content, and actually had a full team of eight players. Granted at some point during the evening we lost Mor, and Neph is in Iceland and unable to game with us… but we have built back up to a large enough group that we can do things together without queuing in randos. Not that random players in Final Fantasy XIV are ever really a problem… it is just nice to not have to explain that we are hashing things out on a voice chat that they don’t have access to. The prime target of the evening was Zurvan the last of the warring triad. While I was not really a huge fan of Sephirot… I have to say both Sophia and Zurvan are awesome fights. Zurvan is a bit more of a good old fashioned avoid the shit fight… but still very fun to tank at least.
After finishing up Zurvan we got another person keyed for the last part of Alexander by running them all in sequence. I have a feeling we are ultimately going to be doing a lot of this at some point given that both Stormrazor and Muspel are coming up through the ranks. It sounds like at some point we really need to run the early Alex for Storm, which is absolutely a thing we can do. All in all the Alex fights are extremely fun… except for maybe that middle section. There are definitely some memorable encounters, but I simply don’t like it nearly as much as I like the first four and the last four. I actually managed to roll lucky and walked away with an accessory and a belt, which takes my total item level up to 247… which I am simply hoping is high enough to avoid another gear wall during the next batch of content. That has been the problem with Heavensward and one I am hoping they are fixing for Stormblood… the hitting of walls that are not super easy to get to through casual content. I still feel like they need to be doing a round of hunts each item tier to help folks catch up in a solo manner as well as through doing group content. Final Fantasy XIV as a whole is a weird social experiment… of applying pressure in one direction and rewards in another direction to try and influence player behavior. Sometimes it works out perfectly… and other times it feels cludgy as hell. The gear barriers are one of those rare occasions in this game where I feel like they made the wrong choice. That said it was a really great night of running stuff with friends, and now that we seem to have a regular group of eight people… so many other options open up.