400 Light Solo

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This mornings post is something I have been kicking around in my head for awhile.  If you have read any of my blog over the last few years, you will already know that I am nigh obsessed with Destiny.  I am not exactly sure what it is about this game that draws me to it so much, but I am smitten.  One of the big problems however is that it can be more than a little obtuse for new players.  There are so many things that you COULD be doing… that it is sometimes hard to identify what it is that you SHOULD be doing.  One of the key goals in the game is the improving of your light level, which is for all intents and purposes exactly the same thing as the modern MMO concept of item level.  Higher light level means you simply perform better, in having slightly better stats on your gear… as well as doing more damage.  Your light level also dictates how well you will perform against the various levels of content in the game from Patrols, to Strikes, to Raids each with their own suggested light levels.

Now throughout Taken King I raided with then Axioma Clan and now Tequila Mockingbird, but with the release of Rise of Iron I simply haven’t been able to align my schedule to be available for raiding…  given that for a lot of it I have been raiding in two other games.  That did not however change my desire to keep improving and bumping my gear towards the currently light cap of 400.  Over the break I managed to push my Titan main to 400 light, and my Warlock and Hunter are lagging slightly behind at 399 and 398 respectively.  I managed to do this entirely through doing solo content with a few hours per sitting of time invested, and honestly…  I did it mostly wrong.  The problem with Destiny information is that most of it that you will find are either in insanely long and difficult to parse Reddit posts, or in a plethora of YouTube videos that you have to listen to a few times to really grok what they are saying.  What doesn’t really help is that most of the “get to 400” information is targeted at folks who ground it up as soon as the game came out and are now trying to explain how it was that they got there.  I have the benefit of having just reached 400 light on my Playstation Main…  and am now slogging my way back there on my alternate Xbox One account.

New To Destiny

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One of the problems with Destiny is that it is really bad at on-boarding new players.  At this point there are likely two different categories of players that might be looking at this guide.  Firstly they purchased the game at launch, played it… got frustrated and are now contemplating coming back.  Second is that they never got into it… and want to get started but find all of the options for purchasing the game confusing.  Regardless you are likely honestly wanting the Destiny Collection, which is a set that includes all content released to this point and will upgrade existing accounts to bring them current.  Please note that you absolutely want to be current because honestly Destiny does not function nicely if you are not up to the latest version of the game.  Largely speaking you are simply limited in what you can do… and this guide of sorts is going to focus on players you are caught up to the Rise of Iron release of the game.  The other confusing thing is that long term Destiny players like myself tend to refer to things as years.  So for the sake of clarification…

Year One

  • Destiny Original Release
  • Dark Below Expansion
  • House of Wolves Expansion

Year Two

  • The Taken King Release

Year Three

  • The Rise of Iron Release

Now your first instinct is going to be that you need to play through all of the original content, then all of the Dark Below content, then all of the House of Wolves content, then the Taken King content, and finally end up with Rise of Iron.  On this I am torn because I absolutely think it is worth playing through all of the content available, especially the two expansions from year one because they are going to give you bits of information that will help to fill in gaps in your knowledge as you do various strikes.  However started at Year One and leveling your way slowly to Year Three is probably the least efficient way that you can be playing this game.  From the standpoint of getting to 400 light… literally everything that happens in Year One is going to be of no long term use to you other than taking up space in your vault as a collectible.

The Infusion System

For the most part Year One was full of a lot of mistakes on how to make content that ages gracefully, and with Year Two they introduced the infusion system allowing you to essentially grow your weapons and armor with you by infusing items into them.  Thankfully if you are coming into the game now, you also missed a completely frustrating grind that was the infusion calculation system because during most of Year Two this was an extremely lossy system.  For example if you took a 300 light item and infused a 308 light item into it…  you were likely going to end up with a 304 light item as a result.  With an update in 2015 they shifted this so that infusion was a one for one increase… meaning if you took that same 300 light item and infused a 300 light item into it…  you wound up with a 308 light item.  However this only applies to items that dropped from Year 2 or Year 3 content…  meaning everything from Year 1 will functionally be locked at the gear levels from that era.

Boosting to the Rescue

The other main problem with playing through content as it was designed is that your light levels are going to increase extremely slowly.  Destiny is confusing in that it has physical levels…  and light levels.  When you finish the base game you will be sitting at around physical level 14… and completing both Dark Below and House of Wolves should be able to take you to level 20 without much issue.  Taken King content opens at level 20… and takes you to physical level 40.  However upon exiting the content you are going to be sitting somewhere around 180-200 light.  The Rise of Iron content expects you to be at a minimum of 280 light level, which was the Year 2 floor for being completely outfitted in beginner Legendary gear.  If we imagine that you are at 200 light, it is going to take an awful lot of grinding older content to get to 280 and again… that is largely going to be wasted time since the goal has moved on you and are looking at 400 light as the new target.

Buying either Rise of Iron or the Collection both give you a boost that you can use to take your character to level 40… and also outfit them in a full set of 280 blue gear, instantly giving you access to start the newest content.  If you want to see the older content, I honestly at this point suggest going ahead and boosting and then just playing through it for the sake of seeing the story…  knowing that the only thing of use that you are going to get out of it is some engrams.  For the sake of speed and getting you on the path to 400 light fastest… I also suggest playing through the Rise of Iron story as soon as you reasonably can.  I did it last night on my 280ish geared Xbox One character and had no real problem making it through the missions.  That said… I play a lot of Destiny and there are a few places where the missions can be a little brutal like during the final fight of the opening Rise of Iron mission.  However completing the Rise of Iron is going to outfit your character in a full set of 320 blue gear, putting you on a much better ground for starting the push to 400 light.

Level Plateaus

Another concept that you are going to need to learn is that the game rations how much light you can get from certain content.  As a result I am going to give you some advice that is going to seem counter intuitive at first.  Don’t decode Blue, Purple or god forbid Orange engrams while you are leveling.  The temptation is going to be great to rush over to the Cryptarch and see what new and shiny loot you get…  but that effort is going to be wasted for the most part until you are at least ready to begin the light push in proper.  You are going to ultimately thank yourself later once you reach certain light plateaus that you have a much needed boost waiting for you in the bank.  I am going to lay out the various light plateaus and then talk you through them.

  • Blue (Rare) Engrams – These Max out at 365 light
  • Purple (Lengendary) Engrams – These Max out at 385 light
  • Faction Package Loot – These Max out at 390 light
  • Orange (Exotic) Engrams – These Max out at 400 light with some caveats
  • “End Game Activities” – Max out at 400 light

The general theory being that you hold all of your engrams until you are at least to the 320 light level that you exit Rise of Iron with.  From there you decrypt your blues and do so in a slow and methodical faction.  Light level is an average, and your engrams will decode to the same light or slightly higher than whatever your current light level happens to be.  So that means as you decode them you want to be doing so as evenly as possible.  So you might decode a helm… equip it, and then decode a chest piece… equip it…  then a weapon…  equip it.  Essentially you are trying to stair step up your light as much as you can before decoding the next engram.  When you hit 365 light in every slot… you start working on your purples and do the same stair stepping manor until you have everything sitting at 385.  Then… you really do not touch your exotics until you have hit 390 loot off of faction packages.  Finally and this one gets awkward quickly… you decode exotics until you reach around 399.  There seems to be a bug in place where once you get past 399 you stop reliably getting upgrades from Exotics.  Sure you can get 400s… but during my most recent slot I would say 80% or so of the exotics I decrypted sat at 399 light instead of going on up to 400 making it heartbreaking.  I saved the remaining exotics for after I actually hit 400 to use as infusion fodder.

Bridging the Gaps

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Quite simply put… there is no way you are going to have enough engrams to get you all of the way through the light leveling process.  This is where all of the other activities come into play.  I personally did a ton of bounties to help start getting me faction packages along the way.  In the above image you see three types of bounties, the first row being the new Strike Bounties that will give you reputation with the Vanguard and your chosen faction that you should have joined by now…  Dead Orbit/Future War Cult/New Monarchy.  The middle row are the traditional Vanguard Packages that can be completed anywhere in the game and these give Vanguard and Faction reputation same as the strike bounties.  The last row are the Crucible bounties that give you reputation with Lord Shax, but pay special attention to these because some of them require you to be a member of a fire team…. and while technically every group is a fire team…  they mean one that you formed yourself.  Here is an attempt at a list of the things that you can do to get past various light plateaus.

365 Light Barrier

  • Blue (Rare) Engrams
  • Siva Crisis Strike List

Side note during this grind…  Siva Crisis Strike list also has the ability to drop Skeleton Keys used to open the Hoard Chests at the end of the strike.  Once again hold these in reserve because you are going to need the light boost to hit 400 and each chest you open will reward you one Legendary and one Rare item up to 400 light.  So start stockpiling keys now as you go through this process.

385 Light Barrier

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  • Purple (Legendary) Engrams
  • Archon’s Forge event in Plaguelands Patrol Zone
  • Heroic Siva Crisis Strike List
  • Normal Mode Wrath of the Machine Raid

While this is a guide largely targeted at soloing your way to 400 light… I did include the raid content in the list because it also bridges the gap if that is something you have the opportunity to run easily.

390 Light Barrier

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  • Package Loot
    • Vanguard – Tower
    • Crucible – Tower
    • Faction (Dead Orbit/Future War Cult/New Monarchy) – Tower
    • Gunsmith – Tower
    • Eris Morn – Tower
    • Variks – Reef
    • Petra Venj – Reef

Now of note… while you are getting to this point you are going to start getting package loot already.  There is no real way to hold multiple packages in reserve, and you need to be watching your faction ranks manually because as far as I know when you gain a new rank… and have not collected the previous faction package it is lost.  Now I have not experienced this personally, but it is the wisdom of the community that this is apparently a thing that can happen.  This is especially important when you are grinding out a bunch of Crucible matches or Strikes in a row… because the faction goes quickly if you are not watching it.

400 Light Barrier

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  • Orange (Exotic) Engrams
  • Archon’s Forge – Ghost and Artifact slots only
  • Crucible Matches
  • Strike Hoard Chests – Requires 1 Skeleton Key each
  • Iron Banner – Monthly Crucible Event
  • Nightfall Strike – Once Weekly Per Character
  • Trials of Osiris – Serious Team vs Team Event
  • Hard Mode Wrath of the Machine Raid

So something important of note…  Rise of Iron came out in September and I am just now hitting the level 400 light cap.  I am slow as hell and I did not do things in the most opportune fashion.  I broke every single rule that I lined out in this guide, because I was not super focused on getting there as quickly as possible.  However expect that each step in this ladder is probably going to take twice as long as the last step, with the last 10 points taking easily the longest if you don’t have access to something like the raid… or a team that can carry you to the tower each week in Trials of Osiris.  Your absolute best bet is going to be something like the Iron Banner which has a really good drop rate for gear.  The gotcha there however is that each month the Lady Efrideet (pictured above) only brings a few items to the tournament.

This past Iron Banner for example she brought Class Items, Helms, Fusion Rifles and Scout Rifles, so when you add to it the chance of an Artifact or Ghost Shell dropping which is always the case with Iron Banner that gives you six possible items you can get at the end of matches, out of the total 10 slots that you eventually need to raise your light.  There are also four bounties that you can complete each time the event runs, and two reward gear drops, and the other two reward weapon drops… that can drop something that in the current months assortment of items.  The absolute best case scenario is that you save these until the end of the week because they will reward you based on your current equipped light levels… and hopefully by the end of the tournament you will have bumped up your light a bit.  There is also a catch up mechanic that makes gaining faction with the Iron Banner faster on your alts, so in theory I try and run multiple characters through at a time to get more than one set of these packages.  However you are going to have to stomach the crucible, so if you are a strictly non-pvp player this might be a step too far for you.

The Missing Pieces

Ultimately whatever path you choose, there is likely going to be a point where you cannot get the drop you need to take you from 399 to 400.  For me that item slot was my Heavy Weapon, and nothing I did seemed to be willing to drop one.  I finally got it from decoding a Legendary engram, which of note… there is always a slight chance that Rares upgrade into Legendary and Legendary into Exotics.  Hell yesterday I even managed to pull a 400 Mida Multitool off of a Rare Primary Engram… so that is also a thing, but just don’t bank on that actually happening.  Where the Hoard Chests at the end of strikes come in handy is that each one of them has a chance of dropping a specific set of loot, with a loot table of generally only a couple of items per chest available.  The below image is from an excellent reddit post where they took the time to format all of the information in which item drops from which Hoard chest in table form.

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If you are interested in which specific drops come from which specific chest… then I suggest you check out this visual guide both of these I am simply referencing for the sake of space and my sanity rather than recreating in blog form.  I have recently been chaining strikes in the effort to get an Imago Loop with a decent roll for example.  Regardless you should be able to target specific strikes in spending those keys that I hope at this point you have stockpiled and get yourself the rest of the way to 400 in no time.

But What About Xur?

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Honestly I largely left Xur off the initial list… because honestly you never know from week to week if he is going to bring something useful.  When you take that can combine it with the fact that for the last two weeks Xur has not brought Three of Coins…  it feels like his purpose is a bit up in the air at the moment.  Previously Three of Coins was a bizarre stacking buff system that made it so that you had an increasing chance of getting an exotic engram to drop any time you killed an ultra, or completed a crucible match.  Traditionally this was the thing that I saved my Strange Coins for… and popped one anytime I was chain running Crucible or Strike content.  It has problems but it is a nice way of increasing the chance especially new players have of seeing interesting loot.  As far as the items he brings, in Year 3 they are all 350 light level and I absolutely abused this fact on my Xbox One account to get a short term boost in light and also provide me with a decent weapon to finish content on.  Each week Xur brings one weapon, one warlock armor, one hunter armor and one titan armor.  The combination of things you can get however are like I said at the start totally random… and some of the exotic rolls are notoriously bad like bringing items with straight intellect or discipline rolls making it hard to balance your gear around that.  They can of course be re-rolled using Glass Needles that he also sells, and recently he has started selling Exotic Shards making upgrading those Exotics lining your bank significantly easier.  Essentially I check one of the many youtubers Xur videos Friday morning, or hit WhereIsXur.com to see what he is selling an determine if I care about it for the weekend.  Traditionally speaking Saturday night after we recorded our Podcast I would pop over and liquidate my stock of Strange Coins into Three of Coins.  He arrives in the wee hours of Friday morning, and disappears in the wee hours of Sunday morning, so you have a limited chance to get items from him, but it is definitely something worth checking out.  I just wouldn’t count on actually getting something you needed from him.

 

Revisiting Old Ideas

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ArcheAge Resurgence

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I have been on quite the Trion Worlds games kick lately after coming back to Rift, and that has how officially spilled over into ArcheAge as well.  ArcheAge and I have a bit of a torrid past, or at least it was not a game that I really latched onto from the moment I first played it.  In fact in those early Alpha and eventual Beta days… the game had a less than stellar community.  That however has changed with time and a significant amount of effort by Trion staff, and the community that exists today is pretty great.  I blame Kiwi entirely for me starting to poke my head back into the game, and right now I am largely focused on leveling.  Right now I am playing a Firran Bloodreaver on Tahyang server, however as soon as the 3.0 patch lands I will largely be restarting as a Dwarf which will place me on the Nuia faction instead of Haranya.  Because of the lag between the South Korean and American versions of this game, we have known that Dwarves and Warborn would be something that would more than likely eventually cross between versions…  so I have been patiently waiting.  Of the starter races the Firrans were by far my favorite…  but if you put Dwarves in the game there is zero contest.  So I will have to bid a farewell to the crazy oriental steampunk land that I have grown up in on my cat, and get used to a more european fantasy setting once again.  Not necessarily a bad thing, just different.

I believe the level cap is somewhere in the 50s, so I still have a good ways to go since I am sitting at only 36 and that leveling in general does not go terribly quickly in this game.  It seems like my return was well timed, given that they gave me some sort of a welcome back package.  It included a quest that opens every 24 hours for various rewards, and a bunch of tokens that can be spent on Mirage Island, but I have not ventured back out there to see what all I can purchase with them.  At this point I am sorta waiting until I hit the level cap before being too tempted by the shiny baubles.  The game has so many little systems and currencies and things that can be done… but I feel like I would need to do a bunch of research to even begin to start taking advantage of half of it.  That is why in the meantime I am largely focusing on the leveling game, because combat is something that I understand… and honestly enjoy quite a lot after settling on the Bloodreaver class that is a mixture of Battlerage, Occultism and Auramancy.  One of the big concerns I can remember having about this game is the fairly open PVP system, but for the last several zones I have been in “High Tension” zones and really have remained largely uninterrupted in my pursuit of leveling.  The ArcheAge community staff deserves some pretty major Kudos for turning the course around in this game, and fostering what appears to be a real sense of community in its players.  Looking forward to delving further into it the longer I stick around.

Working on Something

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Last night was largely devoted to helping a friend of mine get to level 40 in Destiny and through the Taken King storyline missions.  However after I logged out of that game I poked my head back into Rift.  I worry that maybe folks reading this blog are getting tired of me talking about the game, but then again I am certain they also felt that way about Destiny, The Division and Diablo 3…  or any of the other games I have latched onto and obsessed over.  The weird thing about Rift is how much it has felt like “coming home”.  What you have to understand is that there has never been a period of time where I did not log into Rift, but for a good chunk of it I was honestly confused by the options.  What I mean by that is there are just so many different things that you can do in this game, and I felt like I was missing any real sense of bearing.  I would log into the game… see my insanely full bags, see the fact that I was nowhere near the level cap and struggle to sort out exactly what I wanted to do with myself.  Then like a sad little puppy I would log right back out feeling confused and frustrated because I had the desire to play… but somehow lacked the force to break the inertia of standing around in the Tempest Bay Canals district.  Granted right now… I still spend a good deal of my time in that location…  however current it is out of a sense of feeling like I belong there, and not out of a sense of being trapped there.  I go out into the world and explore all manner of new stuff, but I wind up returning back to my home base in the crafting area.

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A little over five years ago when Rift launched I did a series of posts called “Why You Should Be Playing Rift”.   The purpose of these posts was extremely misguided, and was my way of rebelling against “the man” at that time… aka trying to convert the folks still playing World of Warcraft to being Rift players.  It worked for some, and others it just caused them to delete my blog from their blog roll, and un-follow me over on social media.  The other day I started thinking about these posts and what I was trying to do with them, and decided that it might be interesting to revisit that concept.  However instead of writing them in spite, as a way of trying to show the world what they were missing…  the idea this time is for me to tell you all what I see in the game.  Rift is like that friend in high school that you have maybe drifted apart from…  but when you get back together it is like no time has passed.  Except in this case your friend has quietly evolved and developed a bunch of cool new things they know how to do.  Rift has remained trucking along in the background, seemingly ignored by a lot of the MMORPG players as a phase they maybe went through at some point.  It is a game that seems to keep figuring out new quality of life tweaks to make the game more enjoyable.  However it is also a game with a bunch of scary looking monetization methods that I think frighten too many players, and keep them from spending more time and getting to know the game the way I do.  So while I am adopting the same sort of name that I had the first time… as a sort of revisiting effort, the purpose is completely different this time.  My goal is to show you my readers why I feel the way I feel about various aspects of this game.  I am still working on the first part, but hopefully soon it will make its way to the front page and kick off the sequence properly.  More than anything I guess I wanted to warn my long time readers, that you are going to likely be reading a lot more of Rift and ArcheAge content in the near future.

Media Consumption 10/17/2015

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Television Lite Week

This week has been one that has seen me absolutely consumed with Destiny on the PlayStation 4, and as such I have simply not spent much time watching television.  I have however watched quite an excessive amount of YouTube videos, namely as I try to find information about Destiny.  There is this shift that is happening where certain games with certain audiences… simply do not have information blog posts about them.  I’ve gotten spoiled in a world with Dulfy.net and WoWHead.com in that I expect pretty much every game I have to have this quality of resources.  Instead for many games lately all I am ever able to find is YouTube videos on a given subject.  I am sorry to all the YouTubers out there… but I am of a generation where I feel like a video is the least useful way to disseminate information.  I will take a written explanation and some good screenshots any day over a lengthy video walk through.  At some point in the near future I hope to take some of these things that I found frustrating and attempt to write some blog posts outlining how to do this thing or that thing in Destiny.  Granted that is not to say there are not a lot of really good Destiny YouTube channels…  but I would still rather have an informational post.

Destiny Lore

The first time around when the AggroChat crew played Destiny… we joked that it was a game almost entirely devoid of story.  That apparently is not the case…  they just go to strange lengths to hide it from you.  The story of the game is told through a series of grimoire cards, item descriptions, quest text, and hinted at in cinematic scenes.  In fact there is actually apparently a TON of information about the characters in the game, their background, how they arrived at the tower… and all sorts of legends from the golden age, the city age, and the now tower age.  In my search for information about Destiny I happened to stumble across a really awesome YouTube channel called Myelin Game… which is not to be confused with long time friend Mylin1.  The channel is chock full of videos where Myelin digs into the lore of Destiny and connects the dots, weaving all of the known information… and speculated information into a narrative around a certain subject.  I linked the Black Garden video since the game does a pretty poor job to explain what the hell it actually is…  but I also highly suggest the trilogy of videos talking about thorn, last word, and first curse.  I have always guessed there was this rich story somewhere behind Destiny… because the dots connected too neatly at times not to be well planned, but now that I am starting to learn some of the actual story I am loving it.  I still feel it is a strange choice to make players dig for this knowledge, rather than letting you experience chunks of it through the story.  The Fallen King expansion does a much better job of being more forthcoming with information… and it gives characters that previously did not have much of a personality… plenty of chance to show it off.  I’ve spent a lot of time listening to these lore videos while doing other things and I highly recommend them.

Star Wars Minute

Another thing that I stumbled across this week is Star Wars Minute, which is a great YouTube channel that takes segments of the Star Wars universe and condenses them into roughly one minute long narrative explanations.  Much like the Destiny Lore, this feels as much podcast as it does YouTube video because the narrative explanation is the important part… and the images going along with it are nice to have but not 100% necessary.  I ended up finding this as I started doing some googling related to the Star Wars universe, namely for the upcoming pen and paper game that should have its first session tomorrow.  The funny thing about this is how much of the universe I already had a full grasp on but have no clue why.  I guess even though I have been a sleeper Star Wars fanboy since the prequels… I was still subconsciously hungry for knowledge about this favorite of universes.  Star Wars Minute is great to play in the background as you do something else and they release three new episodes a week, so there is a silly amount of content available already.

Arrow Season 3

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Be warned I am going to go into some serious spoilers here, so if you have not watched Arrow Season 3 or if you intend to at a later date…  you might want to skip this section.  Here is the point at which I get really frustrated with this show.  Generally speaking I am all for a television show deviating from the source material to make the universe work better for the TV audience.  For example most of the Batman movies have worked really well… and they are essentially a condensed soup version of the batman universe…  gathering up all the good bits and trying to weave a story out of them.  You have a very limited amount of time on television, and what might work fine to slowly build over the course of several years of a comic run… needs to happen in an under two hour long movie.  Television shows have a bit more leverage when it comes to pacing something out, and this is also cool.  The thing that apparently pisses me off though… is when you take actions attributed to one character and apply them to a completely different character.

What I mean is that this story line that has played out throughout the season around R’as al Ghul didn’t happen to Green Arrow…  ever.  Essentially this is a Batman storyline, and all of the events that are playing out happened at one time or another to Batman.  This caused me to think about Arrow the television show in a different light and realize that essentially… they have been turning Arrow into Batman this entire time.  Maybe it is because Batman has been tagged as a “film” universe and is not available to be done in a Television version that they feel the need to create someone that is Batman-like.  Green Arrow was admittedly a comic that I did not really follow.  I mean I knew that him calling his sister Speedy when that was the character that would ultimately become Arsenal was wrong… and I knew a few other points seemed less than correct.  However I lived in this world of relatively little knowledge about the show so I was able to pretty much ignore any differences… until they started stepping foot into the Batman universe.  THAT is a universe I know considerably more about, and after a whole lot of research and the council of Thalen…  I pretty much determined that nope…  Green Arrow has never really interacted much with R’as al Ghul at all.  So I am sitting here two episodes away from the end of the season… questioning if I care to finish watching it.

Walking Dead Season 6 Premiere

WalkingDeadSeason6

Thank god Walking Dead is back.  “Fear The” was such a pale imitation of Walking Dead, and I am exceptionally happy that they chose to back up the start of Season Six to the end of the first season of Fear.  I do have to say though that it makes me extremely happy that Talking Dead has been pulled in officially for Fear as well, because for me at least that has become so much of that experience.  This is one hell of a first episode, and I really liked the way they handled Flashbacks in this episode by making them Black and White.  That is always the challenge with a show, how to visually tell the watcher that the events they are seeing are not happening in real time but instead an imagined replay.  When you are dealing with older characters and younger characters, it works naturally… but when you are dealing with only a few hours or days passing… it becomes much more challenging.  So the choice of black and white gave a nice clear demarcation point between the two time-frames.  As to the rest of the episode…  Rae sent me a text as the show as going on that simply said “Nosh Pit”.

The premise of the show has to be one of the most Rube Goldberg style plot devices I have seen in awhile.  To figure out a way to draw the walkers out of the pit and along a fixed path to get them away from Alexandria.  The parallels to herding cattle…  was extremely strong in this episode.  They even managed to draw them down a chute just like you do cattle for a period of time… and then cleared out the farm supply store just to make sure nothing would spook them and draw their attention away…  kinda like you do cattle.  The slightest noise can distract cattle and get them to move in a different direction, and that apparently is the case with walkers.  The thing is… going into this episode… you knew something was going to go wrong.  There were scenes in the Season 6 preview show of Walkers in Alexandria or at least the hint of that happening.  This show is really good about misleading us, for example the above poster would seem like we are heading towards some central conflict between Morgan and Rick… and in truth… it seems like Morgan instead manages to back Rick down from the ledge a bit.

The-Walking-Dead--Daryl-Zombies

As far as the walkers…  when they are nearing the clear zone…  someone sets off a horn in Alexandria, causing the mega horde to turn that direction.  So the question is… who did it.  At work the popular theory for awhile has been that Enid is a spy from the Wolves, and that the scenes of her in the car with the walker outside…  hint that she set off the horn.  My personal theory is it is Father Gabriel once again trying to destroy everything around him.  He wanted to go out on the mission to herd the walkers, but Rick shut him down immediately.  My theory is he is vindictive, and after being shut down by Andrea as well…  he is still on some mission to destroy this community and in the process allow himself to be kill in some sort of twisted act of contrition for letting his parishioners die.  In truth it could be the wolves themselves, who have been watching everything happening and see this as their opportunity to let the zombies batter down the defense of Alexandria and allow them to come in after they are done… and loot the resources.  If nothing else this episode explained why Alexandria had been left fairly unscathed… because the giant pit of zombies had been drawing in more zombies and keeping them away from the town.  It is going to be interesting to see how the next few episodes play out, and who we lose in the process.

 

Final Fantasy XIV Minion Guide

I Love Mini-Pets

ffxiv 2015-02-22 10-52-44-08 One of my favorite things in any game is the collection of mini-pets and in Final Fantasy XIV they have a truly silly amount of them.  In talking to a guildie today I realized just how contorted it is to try and figure out how to get each of them.  They come from vendors, achievements, quests, an random raid and dungeon drops.  I thought for today’s post I would attempt to pull together a rudimentary list of where you can obtain which minions.  This will likely not be a complete list, but it is a good first attempt.  I will try and update it for new data as I find what I am missing.

Purchased Minions

This is probably the least complete of the information I have, but if you really want to find out how to get each of the minions, click the link and follow up to find out where the vendor is located.  Some of these require you to complete certain FATEs to get the vendor to show up. Anything marked Special event means it is from a holiday event or similar limited time happening.

Beast Tribe Purchased Minions

This next batch are vendor purchased, but require you to gain a certain amount of faction with a given beast tribe to access the minions.  It looks like each faction has two different minions.

Crafting and Harvested Minions

This category of minions is obtained either through a crafted pattern or through harvesting.  Click through to the minion to find out specifically what it takes to obtain each.

Quested Minions

There are a number of minions that can be obtained through the completion of quests.  Here is a list of those that I know of, as well as the quest that goes with them.  Be warned looking at the quest might be a bit of a spoiler at times.  Anything marked Special event means it is from a holiday event or similar limited time happening.

Achievement Minions

There are a number of minions that are associated with the completion of an achievement.  I’ve attempted to link the achievement to help you figure out what it takes to get each one.  Some of them are extremely involved.

FATE Minions

There are a number of minions that are obtained through the completion of specific FATEs.  Generally speaking these require you to get gold completion on the FATE in order to earn the minion.  These drop each time you get gold, meaning they are often extremely cheap on the market board.

Treasure Map Minions

With the introduction of the treasure map system, there are a number of extremely rare and highly sought after minions that come from completing these maps.  From what I understand it is a sub 1% chance of getting one of these minions, because of this… they go for millions of gil each.  Good luck!

Gardening Minions

When the housing garden plots were introduced, there are a number of minions that can be in essence grown.  Each of them requires you to do some truly contorted things to get a rare seed… that will then grow into the minion.  I don’t know the specifics but hopefully you can research how to do this elsewhere.  I am just providing a list of minions.

Retainer Venture Minions

Similar to the Treasure Map minions… there are minions that have an exceptionally rare chance of being returned from Retainer ventures.  Most of these come from exploration ventures of specific gathering types.  The rarity causes them to generally be priced in the millions.  Hopefully you will have some extremely good luck.

Dungeon Drop Minions

There are a number of minions that can be found as somewhat uncommon drops in various dungeons.  Several of these started as 100% chance drops, but as the market was flooded, Square decided to dial back the drop chance making them significantly rarer.  The best option for these is to farm them by running the dungeon multiple times.

Raid Drop Minions

A Number of the raids and trials drop minions.  Generally speaking when a trial drops a minion it is dropped every time you successfully complete it.  When a raid drops one, there is a chance it may or may not drop the minion.  The problem with raid drops is you are having to roll against potentially 24 other players… which means you need to roll exceptionally well to have a shot at walking away with it.

Veteran Reward Minions

Final Fantasy XIV has easily one of the best veteran rewards programs, rewarding players for subscribing to the game with various items.  At each step you get a minion, so I have jotted down the minion and the number of days subscribed you have to reach to earn it.

Mog Station Purchased Minions

Recently Square Enix introduced a number of RMT minions available through the Mog Station.  Each of these runs roughly $5.  So far these are limited to the various scions apart from Minfilia that comes from the yearly anniversary event.

Final Fantasy XIV Merchandise Bonus Minions

There are a handful of items that can be purchased that have a pack in code for a specific minion.  These are all exclusive and cannot be obtained through other means.

Eternal Bonding Ceremony Minion

Finally there is one other very specific minion that can only be obtained through attending an Eternal Bonding ceremony.  Having not actually done this myself yet, I am uncertain how this process works but I would assume it becomes purchasable after you attend.

Thats All Folks… for now

ffxiv 2015-02-23 21-43-30-57

That ladies and gentlemen is all of the minions that I happen to know about.  As they add more to the game I will try and keep this guide updated.  Tomorrow the 2.51 patch lands and with it I am sure more minions.  Also if there are other minions not included in this guide that you know how to get, please let me know and I will copy over the information.  Hopefully someone out here will find this information useful.

#FFXIV #Minion #Guide

Easing Into Eorzea: Advanced Leveling

Advanced Leveling

Yesterday I covered a whole bunch of options you have while leveling, but I left out one of the more interesting but unusual systems.  Today I am going to delve into the “Log” system as well as provide some guidance for dungeons from the lowest levels all the way through the current content and how to unlock them.  Once again it is my goal to make this information far easier to find for new players.  Each of us has spent quite a bit of time crawling various sites to gather information about this game, and my hope is to lay things out plainly with the western MMO player in mind.

Logs

There are several very similar systems in Final Fantasy XIV that are collectively grouped in the logs menu.  Each of them involve you somehow exploring the world and performing the tasks mentioned in the logs.  In all cases they are worth significant amounts of experience and often times gil as well.  Similarly completely them can often times have other rewards as well which I will go into in a bit.

Hunting Logs

EIE_HuntLog When you talk to your class guild master and accept the introduction quest, you will gain something called a hunt log.  The hunt log can be seen on the right hand side of the page, and is a collection of various mobs out in the world that you need to kill along with a number that you need to kill to get full credit.  Each time you accomplish a step you are rewarded with a boost of experience.  When you complete the entire log for a given level range you get an even larger experience reward.  As you move through the game you will get a new set of logs for each 10 levels and you only get the next 10 when you have both leveled into that next range and completed the previous one.

When you join your Grand Company of choice you will get an additional log.  These however are less level range based and more based on your rank within the Grand Company.  Hunt logs in general only require you to fight encounters in the open world.  The Grand Company logs however often times include encounters in dungeons.  When you have gained enough rank with your Grand Company and are eligible for a promotion, you will often have to have completed a specific log step before being able to promote to the next rank.  As far as hunting logs go, when you have completed all of the hunts for a given class you are rewarded with an ilevel 70 class specific ring.  While you are going to upgrade out of it pretty quickly, it definitely helps in getting your ilevel up for later content.

Challenge Logs

EIE_ChallengeLog In the 2.2 patch they added a whole new log system into the game, and for the most part many of us missed it for awhile upon returning.  It was not until a guild member talked about waiting for the challenges to reset, that we really grasped what he was talking about.  Upon completion of your level 14 main scenario quest, you can go to the docks of Limsa Lominsa and get the quest called Rising to the Challenge.  This unlocks the challenge log system which provides a series of relatively simple challenges that reward a significant amount of gil and experience for completion.  The challenges are good for a week, and reset each Tuesday morning at 1 am PST.  Generally speaking I manage to get a few of the steps completed each week, but it has not been something I have really gone out of my way to accomplish.  The Companion steps however are extremely beneficial for leveling purposes.  These involve fighting mobs of your level range while having your companion out… which is something you are likely going to be doing anyways.  When you complete a step both you and your companion get a much needed experience boost.  Since I mostly level through running dungeons, you can see that my dungeon challenges have already been completed, and I am getting very close to reaching my beast tribe dailies.

Sightseeing Logs

EIE_SightseeingLog Another interesting system that arrived while we were not playing the game is the Sightseeing Logs.  This system is unlocked by completing the level 20 quest A Sight to Behold.  While technically not a “leveling” system it is one of the log systems so I thought I would go ahead and mention it.  Essentially you are given a block of text as seen above and from there you have to figure out WHERE in the world that location is, as well as what time of day and weather conditions you need to be in.  When you find one of these locations you are prompted to use a /slash command generally /lookout but various ones will require various commands.  When you perform the action you get credit in your log.   There are 80 entries in total, and when you have completed them all you unlock the Fledgling Apkallu pet as well as bragging rights for having completed it.  Even if you are using some sort of a guide, getting all 80 locations is a labor of love given they are time and weather specific.

Beast Tribe Dailies

As you move through the world you will encounter various beast tribes that hold fealty to one of the primal forces.  Generally speaking these are bad people, that you want to shoot first and ask questions later.  However within in each of the races there is a rival faction that is friendly to players.  After completing an introduction quest you unlock the ability to do daily quests for them allowing you to gain favor with their tribe.  There are many reasons why you would want to do this, but the most obvious are that they unlock interesting pets, mounts and cosmetic gear.  Each player can only complete six daily quests per day, and these reset around 11 am CST from my experience.  At the lowest rank with each tribe you can only complete 3 quests per day, but upon unlocking the next rank you start receiving the full compliment of 6 quests.  Currently I am working on the Sylph tribal quests myself for the ability to get my own Goobue to ride upon.  Here is a quick rundown of the various tribes, and the location and start of the quest chain.

As I mentioned as a footnote above on the Ixali quests, they are almost entirely crafting level dependant.  I believe you need to have a combat class around 40 to gather some of the materials needed for the quests, but for the most part they are going to require you to craft various things.  In any case the beast tribe dailies are an excellent way to boost your leveling post 41 by completing some quests worth a decent chunk of experience.

Dungeons: In Depth

As I have said a few times, my personal favorite way to level is through dungeons.  For me at least it is the dungeon content where this game really shines.  The encounters are interesting and difficult, and at the same time highly rewarding in both gear and experience.  The vast majority of the dungeons are gated through the main quest line, however there are a number of dungeons that are considered “optional” and unlocked through other means.  My hope is with this list to compile in one place how to get into each of the dungeons and what their level range is.

Leveling Dungeons

  • Sastasha Seagrot (15-18) – main scenario
  • Tam-Tara Deepcroft (16-19) – main scenario
  • Copperbell Mines (17-20) – main scenario
  • The Bowl of Embers (20) – main scenario
  • Halatali (20-23) – Hallo Halatali in Vesper Bay
  • Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak (24-27) – main scenario
  • Haukke Manor (28-31) – main scenario
  • Brayflox’s Longstop (32-34) – main scenario
  • The Navel (34) – main scenario
  • The Sunken Temple of Qarn (35-37) – Braving New Depths in Vesper Bay
  • Cutter’s Cry (38-40) – Dishonor Before Death in Uldah
  • Stone Vigil (41-43) – main scenario
  • The Howling Eye (44) – main scenario
  • Dzemael Darkhold (44-46) – Fort of Fear in Coerthas
  • The Aurum Vale (47-49) – Going for Gold in Vesper Bay

Max Level Dungeons (Level 50)

  • Wanderer’s Palace (50) – Trauma Queen in Vesper Bay
  • Castrum Meridianum (50) (8 player) – main scenario
  • The Praetorium (50) (8 player) – main scenario
  • Amdapor Keep (50) – Ghosts of Amdapor in Vesper Bay (must complete main scenario)

Hard Mode Dungeons (Level 50+)

Wrapping Up

Hopefully that gives you an idea of some more leveling options.  In a later post I will get into raiding and how the various gearing systems work for end game content.  For the time being I am going to close off this post for the day.  I am hoping you are finding them useful, and please let me know if there are other things you would like to see.  Tomorrow will be a normal Aggronaut post and I will likely be taking a break from this guide series until later in the week.  Thanks for reading!

Easing Into Eorzea: Classes

A New Guide Series

With so many new people coming back to Final Fantasy XIV, some of which my doing… I thought it might be useful to start a new guide series to explain some of the concepts of the game that do not quite map up to the western MMO traditions.  Simply put there are some ideas in this game that just are not obvious at first glance.  My goal with this new series is to help a player “ease into” the game by presenting the concepts as simply as I can.  Today I will be addressing the first real decision, which generally speaking is what class to play.  If you are familiar with Final Fantasy 3, 5 or Tactics… you will have a basic understanding of the Class and Job system at its most rudimentary level.  Today I will delve into some of the ideas and try to iron out the rough spots.

What is a Class?

The class is the most basic unit of the Final Fantasy XIV job system.  These are the things you start the game as and represent the building blocks for larger concepts.  Each class and therefore job is represented by a single weapon type.  When you equip that weapon you become that job, additionally the user interface provides a simple way to swap between weapon profiles and these can even be hot keyed.  Every player can ultimate learn every class, but each time they start with a fresh class they go back to level one.  This means you should probably hold onto your starter gear, as each time you reset  back to level one you will need it to equip.  The classes are loosely grouped into larger entities known as the Disciples of War and the Disciples of Magic.  Similarly the crafting professions are grouped into Disciples of Hand and Disciples of Land… but I will get into crafting at a much later discussion.  You will often see large blocks of these classes referred to in game by the abbreviations of DoW or DoM.  When you see this, it means all classes within that larger family can use the item.

Starting Cities

One quick note is that the various Classes are scattered around in three different starter cities.  At around level 15 in your main storyline quest you will unlock the ability to travel between the starter cities through Airship.  Additionally if you are stubborn and determined enough they can be travelled between over land routes, however at very low levels this becomes a dangerous proposition.  For sake of giving an idea of the layout of the classes here are the starting cities and which classes begin there.

Gridania
  • Archer
  • Conjurer
  • Lancer
Limsa Lominsa
  • Arcanist
  • Marauder
Uldah
  • Gladiator
  • Pugilist
  • Thaumaturge

What is a Job?

Jobs can be thought of as the evolved state of a class.  At level 30 each of the classes evolves into a larger role, gaining new abilities every 5 levels.  As you level your base class continues to level with you, but through the equipping of a Job Soul you also inherit new abilities.  This is somewhat of a double edged sword as these new abilities give you much more power to fill a role your class was designed to accomplish, however at the same time it greatly limits the ability to use cross class abilities.  Each Job is a made up of a recipe of two classes, for example Warrior is a combination of 30 Marauder and 15 Lancer.  In order to quality for the quest to unlock warrior you need to have leveled both jobs to the required level before the new jobs master will speak with you.

Disciples of War

Gladiator

The Gladiator is your traditional sword and shield tank.  They focus on mitigating large amounts of damage, but tend to have significantly lower hit points to compensate.  They can be one of the more challenging classes to level in that they get most of their really class defining abilities significantly late in the game.  While most classes have a complete combo chain by the time they begin dungeoning around level 16, the Gladiator does not complete theirs until 26.  However for those who master it, it becomes an extremely formidable class.

Class Weapon:  Sword and Shield

Starting City:  Uldah

Primary Stats:  Vitality, Strength

Natural Exit Job:  Paladin (30 Gladiator, 15 Conjurer)

Cross Class Abilities:  Conjurer, Marauder

Secondary Exit Jobs:  Warrior (30 Marauder, 15 Gladiator)

Marauder

The Marauder is the two handed wielding tank.  They focus on having a massive hitpoint pool coupled with some ability to regenerate that health to tank.  They however have significantly fewer ways of stopping incoming damage to compensate.  They are one of the easier classes to level due to the fact that at low levels they have both extremely solid damage dealing ability and high survival.  Additionally when they evolve into a Warrior the get a threat generation and health increasing buff that as well as a rage generation mechanic allowing them access to special abilities at the cost of 5 rage.  From 30 until the Paladin gets their tank buff at 40 they become the strongest tank, and then that evens out during the 40-50 level climb.

Class Weapon:  Two Handed Axe

Starting City:  Limsa Lominsa

Primary Stats:  Strength, Vitality

Natural Exit Job:  Warrior (30 Warrior, 15 Gladiator)

Cross Class Abilities:  Gladiator, Puglist

Secondary Exit Jobs:  Dragoon (30 Lancer, 15 Marauder)

Puglist

The puglist is your traditional hand to hand combat fighter.  While they technical use a weapon, these are an assortment of often wicked looking fist weapons.  They are likely one of the more difficult classes to play in the game, in that they use a complex combo system that takes some ramp up time to reach its crescendo.  Additionally several steps in the combo have a positional requirement of either being to the side of the encounter or behind it.  As a result it takes serious dedication to be able to play the puglist and later the monk with proficiency.  However to those devoted to the class they can do amazing things with it.

Class Weapon:  Fist Weapon

Starting City:  Uldah

Primary Stats:  Strength, Critical

Natural Exit Job:  Monk (30 Puglist, 15 Lancer)

Cross Class Abilities:  Lancer, Marauder

Secondary Exit Jobs:  Bard (30 Archer, 15 Puglist)

Lancer

The dragoon is relatively heavy armored spear wielding combatant, that has been represented in many Final Fantasy games through the Dragoon.  They are known for intense single target burst and sustained damage through a combination of dots and combo attacks.  Similar to the monk however they have a number of these attacks that require either a side or back facing component.  However unlike the monk they are not as tied to this mechanic and can alter their rotation to fit moments when they simply cannot be behind or to the side of a target.  The weakness of the class is they get relatively little AOE damage until very late in the  game, and even then they come with some constraints.  Most players take the Lancer class in order to evolve into the Dragoon, with their iconic jump attacks.

Class Weapon:  Spear

Starting City:  Gridania

Primary Stats:  Strength, Critical

Natural Exit Job:  Dragoon (30 Lancer, 15 Marauder)

Cross Class Abilities:  Marauder, Pugilist

Secondary Exit Jobs:  Monk (30 Puglist, 15 Lancer)

Archer

The archer is your traditional bow wielding hunter or ranger type class.  They have a series of dots and bow strikes that whittle down the target.  The true strength of the class is they have the ability to move and cast at the same time.  This means that even though a large number of the archer attacks have a cast time they can do so while moving, making them the ideal class for kiting or the ability to move while dpsing.  The weakness however is that they are relatively light geared and the Achilles Heel of the class is that they lack a DPS limit break like the Puglist and Monk have.  Once they become a Bard however they more than make up for this issue with the ability to play songs that regenerate Mana or TP depending on which your party make up needs worse.

Class Weapon:  Bow

Starting City:  Gridania

Primary Stats:  Dexterity, Critical

Natural Exit Job:  Bard (30 Archer, 15 Puglist)

Cross Class Abilities:  Lancer, Pugilist

Secondary Exit Jobs:  Black Mage (30 Thaumaturge, 15 Archer)

Disciples of Mind

Arcanist

The Arcanist is an odd bag of tricks at the beginning of the game, and I easily consider it the most difficult of the classes I have personally tried to start.  That said they become immensely powerful and have the benefit of being the only class with two natrual exit jobs currently in the game.  The slow start comes from the fact that this is a pet class, and the pet that you receive early on is not your tank pet.  This is a similar dilemma to starting a Warlock in World of Warcraft, and much the same you end up “tanking” for your pet early on.  However once the Arcanist does get a tank pet they have the ability to fight multiple targets at the same time with ease.  At its core this is primarily a damage over time class with a large bag of tricks that allow them to wear both the hats of a healer and a dps for a good amount of their playtime.  It is personally not a class for me, but those who love it do so immensely.

Class Weapon:  Book

Starting City:  Limsa Lominsa

Primary Stats:  Intellect, Piety

Natural Exit Job:  Scholar (30 Arcanist, 15 Conjurer), Summoner (30 Arcanist, 15 Thaumaturge)

Cross Class Abilities:  Scholar (Thaumaturge, Conjurer), Summoner (Thaumaturge, Archer)

Secondary Exit Jobs:  White Mage (30 Conjurer, 15 Arcanist)

Conjurer

The Conjurer is your traditional full time healer class.  At low levels it is the only class that can actually queue as a healer, and it offers the strongest brute force healing throughput of all of the classes.  This comes at a few costs however.  Firstly the class has very limited offensive capabilities until late in the game when they get one of the better AOE attacks in the form of Holy.  Secondly they will suffer with issues regarding mana efficiency and while they can brute force heal through most anything, they can only keep it up for a short period of time.  This means to heal as a Conjurer means you need to heal strategically without actually spamming needless heals.  Being the “full time” healer class means they have a pretty broad palette of abilities to help them mitigate incoming damage.

Class Weapon:  Staff

Starting City:  Gridiania

Primary Stats:  Mind, Piety

Natural Exit Job:  White Mage (30 Conjurer, 15 Arcanist)

Cross Class Abilities:  Thaumaturge, Arcanist

Secondary Exit Jobs:  Scholar (30 Arcanist, 15 Conjurer), Paladin (30 Gladiator, 15 Conjurer)

Thaumaturge

The Thaumaturge is your traditional MMO glass cannon.  They have amazing damage throughput at the cost of having little to no defense.  One of the issues with playing most offensive spellcasters is the problem with mana.  This class gets around it with a unique fire/frost system allowing them to switch elements to frost to regenerate their mana quickly before going back to fire for quick damage output.  They offer some of the best and most reliable AOE damage in the game, and early on they were the kings of FATE grinding with the early access to Blizzard II.  If you like to live on the edge in a “burn the target before it hits you” style, then this is the class for you.  Additionally they get a lot of nice abilities like Quick cast that let them turn a lengthy cast time into an instant.

Class Weapon:  Rod

Starting City:  Uldah

Primary Stats:  Intellect, Piety

Natural Exit Job:  Black Mage (30 Thaumaturge, 15 Archer)

Cross Class Abilities:  Arcanist, Archer

Secondary Exit Jobs:  Summoner (30 Arcanist, 15 Thaumaturge)

Summary

Hopefully this little guide will have helped you figure out which class you want to play.  The important thing to remember is that in Final Fantasy XIV you are deeply benefitted by having lots of different classes.  Personally I have a high level Warrior, Dragoon, Bard and am working on getting up a White Mage so that I can do pretty much every role that might be called upon me.  This is one of the great freedoms of the game, the ability to switch things up and try out new things.  Like I said once you get to the point at which you unlock airship travel, you can move around freely between the three capital cities and try all of them out.  If you have any direct questions, let me know and I will try and cover the topics loosely in future guides.

Additionally if you have always wanted to give Final Fantasy XIV a shot, there is a free 14 day trial that should allow you to test the waters.  Of note my characters are in the Aether Data Center and on the Cactuar server.  Feel free to drop Belghast Sternblade a line and say hello if you make it into game.