FOTM: Final Fantasy XIV

kittenSo as mentioned in my last post, I went back to playing Final Fantasy XIV. I kind of resist admitting to “Flavor of the Month” temptations since it feels like there’s a negative connotation to that phrase, plus it gets thrown around a lot. I hear my friends referring to FFXIV as “FOTM” that everyone is going back to, but at the same time most of the chatter I see on Twitter is about going back to WoW to get ready for the next expansion and from my perspective that’s the game that “everyone” is going back to.

Not that any of this matters. What matters is having fun. If you find it fun to change MMOs twice a week then go for it, flavor-of-the-month or flavor-of-the-week accusations be damned! Anyway I’ve always been fond of FF XIV. Fond enough that I’ve been subscribed since launch even though months went by without me playing it. It was always something I intended to play ‘any minute now’ and so when I saw Dusty talking about the game it finally got me to log in. He was playing on Diabolos, I think, so I decided to roll a new character there. I got my dude just the way I liked him but oops, Diabolos was locked for new characters. So I randomly picked Marlboro.

At the same time Scarybooster was playing and he was determined to get to level 20. Only he was on Cactuar. Meanwhile Dusty went on vacation. So after a couple days on Marlboro I re-rolled AGAIN on Cactuar to lend moral support to Scary. That was Monday the 11th.

When I played FFXIV last Fall I got to about level 18 before running out of steam. My issue with FFXIV is that dungeons are mandatory. Let me explain that. Features of the game unlock as you play through the main story quest, and to do that you have to complete quests that require you to do dungeons. I had originally rolled a Gladiator not realizing it was a Tank (ie high stress) class so I really balked at doing the dungeons. I’m a determined solo-ist and I’m fine with skipping dungeons in most MMOs, but FFXIV pushed me out of that comfort zone.

Last Monday I rolled a Thaumaturge and quickly ran him up to 16 or 17 but I wasn’t really feeling it. I never play casters but I was just trying something new. So I switched jobs to Pugilist and he is now 22 and has done the first three mandatory dungeons. I did them with PUGs and they were all pretty fun once I got in them and got going.

I find that my anti-social anxiety actually peaks while waiting for the Duty Finder to pull together a group. I almost canceled my first dungeon queue several times, but once I got in there the group was asshat-free and it was a good time.

The second one was less so but I found that as a DPS as long as you’re not stupid people at worst don’t notice you. Not stupid, at these low levels, basically means don’t run ahead of the tank and activate dormant mobs, really. I can do that. I got a Player Commendation doing that dungeon so I must’ve either done something right or someone took pity on the new kid (when you roll a character in FFXIV there’s a little sapling icon next to your name so people know you’re new).

But what has really surprised me is that in a week I’ve leveled one job to 17 and a second to 22 and I’ve pushed the main storyline well past where I had it last fall at launch, even though I played for much longer at launch.

I don’t know if Square-Enix has reduced the leveling curve or if it’s because I’m playing differently than I did back then, but I wanted to share my playstyle with others because I seem to level faster than my friends newly come to the game (one evening I was playing at the same time as a friend was and in the time it took him to gain 1 level I gained 4).

My new system boils down to: Don’t be a completionist when it comes to Quests. Follow the main storyline quests and do just enough other quests to keep you at a good level for the main storyline. If you’re level 15 and you’re doing level 10-12 side-quests you’re both wasting your time and you’re ‘using up’ quests you might want if you decide to switch to another class later.

You can get a lot of experience doing Fates and completing your Hunting Log, as well as doing Guildleves the 1st time (you get bonus exp the first time you do them ) and doing them via the Duty Roulette (again, bonus exp for doing them that way). Eventually you’ll unlock the Challenge Log and that’s another good source of exp.

For your gear, keep it upgraded by buying gear from NPC vendors. It’s cheap and you’ll outgrow it really quickly. If there’s a level-appropriate quest that gives you gear you need, by all means do it, but it seems to me quests give you the same gear that vendors sell, at these low levels.

Once you start doing the dungeons you’re likely to get gear from them that is better than solo quest and NPC sold stuff, and you get tons of exp doing those things. So you might want to re-run them (again, using Duty Roulette for bonus exp).

In addition to gaining levels there’s a bunch of stuff you can unlock as you go. I found this great list at GamerEscape that tells you when and how to unlock stuff. Via that link I was prompted to go unlock the silly dances, the wolf and coerl (cat) minions (non-combat pets) and the oh-so-flamboyant Aesthetician (Barber). Not only are these unlocks pretty easy and a fun diversion, they also give you experience.

Basically it feels like everything you do in FFXIV is giving you experience and quests are only one of many ways to earn it. So don’t bother doing quests that are lower level than you unless they unlock something specific you need, and you’ll level up like the wind!

Clothes make the (wo)man

Earlier this week I was playing some Final Fantasy 14 and chatting with friends when Scarybooster, who is new to FF14, got his subligar. The subligar is the bottom half of a gladiator get-up. You can learn (a little) more about subligars in the real world on this Wikipedia page about the history of the bikini but for the purposes of this post, let’s just say it looks like leather underwear.

Of course Scary being Scary, hilarity ensued as he went on about his butt cheeks hanging out of his underpants and so forth. Another friend, Oakstout, who was hanging out in chat but not playing, said that he wasn’t sure he could play a game where you had to wear such ridiculous gear.

I am ~almost~ in agreement with Oakstout, but not quite, and I think I’m exactly who the subligar was designed for. I wear it because when you get it, it’s the best armor for that level. But I hate how it looks, so that gives me an incentive to level up and get better gear to replace it.

In general FF XIV goes old-school with gear. You are ‘born’ wearing decent looking street clothes but soon you find yourself in what are essentially burlap sacks (‘hempen’ clothes) and oven mitts and stuff like that. But then you see a level 50 person strut by looking really cool and you have this aspirational moment of “Whoa, I gotta level so I can look like that.”

I feel like this method of coaxing players to level up used to be a lot more common than it is now. Just one more way FF 14 is a bit retro. I kind of dig it, but I also completely understand folks like Oakstout who aren’t interesting in spending $$ to look like a fool in a game.

Then there’s also the issue of gender. I am guessing that people who frequently play female characters don’t give the subligar a second thought. Female characters so frequently wind up wearing ‘armor’ that barely covers anything that the subligar (it is a ‘unisex’ bit of gear) probably seems conservative in comparison. That’s just a theory. Would appreciate comments on that.

Here’re a few subligar shots… when paired with a war harness they do look slightly less ridiculous then when you’re wearing one with a leather jacket or something:

FF XIV: Pushing me out of my comfort zone

I’m not much of a joiner. Although I love MMOs I don’t often join guilds or groups since I don’t like feeling obligated to others. I’m pretty selfish when it comes to my leisure time and want to do what I want to do when I want to do it. Yeah I’m kind of a dick. I’m also a classic introvert and I find that spending time with people drains me, even when I’m having a lot of fun doing it.

When FFXIV launched I chose the Gladiator class because he was a melee class, and I enjoy a good dust-up. I don’t remember if I even researched the job enough to know it was a Tank class; when you solo all the time “role” becomes pretty meaningless.

But Square-Enix fooled me. They built a game where grouping is required, assuming you ever want to unlock everything the game has to offer. At level 15 your “Story Questline” takes you to your first instanced dungeon, and completing the story questline leads to unlocking things like mounts. My first thought was that I’d just grind levels until I was over-powered and then solo the instances, but you can’t (at least I don’t think you can) because you get scaled down to an appropriate level when you enter them.

I remember clearly when I hit this quest. It was late on a Saturday night back in September or thereabouts. I thought “Well it’s almost 2 am… I probably don’t want to get involved in this tonight, I’ll do it in the morning.” Sunday came and “something came up” and I did’t play FF XIV. Monday came and something else came up. Tuesday thru Thursday came and went. Then October, November, December and January came and many things came up and I never went back to do that quest. Every month Squenix sent me an email saying “You’re going to be billed for a month of access in a few days” (I wish more MMO companies did that!) and every month I’d think “I really want to get back to FF XIV…I’ll keep the sub.”

A week or so ago I finally bit the bullet. Of course by this time everyone else doing these instances has done them a dozen times and they expect everyone to know what they’re doing. I admitted this was 1) my first time doing the instance and 2) my first time tanking (in FFXIV…in the past I’ve tanked with friends in other games), and I could hear the groans flowing over the internet. Fortunately one of my groupmates was patient and gave me advice and we got through the instance with no deaths, but the whole time I knew I was doing a crap job of tanking. By the time we finished I was so stressed I was sick to my stomach. And then I realized another dungeon instance followed. So I logged out.

But I really wanted to see more of this game. So I came up with a new plan. Be a brain-dead DPS. There’s not much stress on a DPS as long as they don’t do something actively stupid and I figured even I could avoid that. So I switched jobs to Archer and started leveling that up (FF XVI lets you do all jobs on a single character).

You really can’t do any grouping until you hit level 10. Well I guess you could form a group but there’s no real point to it. At level 10 you unlock Guildhests which are repeatable group quests, like mini-instances I guess. As soon as I hit level 10 I started queuing for them with my archer. Sadly until level 15 there are only two of them to queue for (that I’ve found anyway). But the levels go very quickly.

Last night I repeated these things 4 or 5 times, and I think this was a good decision. Standing in the back firing arrows let’s me get used to reading the Party Window and target windows so I can quickly see who has aggro and who is in danger of getting/losing it. I’ve been playing around with the various markers and setting up some /assist macros and things like that.

I’m also getting used to the idea of just joining 3 random strangers to enter a battle. Sometimes everyone says hi, sometimes no one does. Sometimes people chat a bit at the end, usually they don’t. But so far no one has been an ass, and that’s important to me too. If I have enough good-neutral experiences in random groups, when I run into a bad one (and we all know that’ll happen eventually) I’ll at least be able to have good experiences to compare it to.

Now I’m actually looking forward to hitting level 15 so I can go back into that dungeon I did as a Gladiator. And I’ve been thinking about switching back to tanking at some point, too. This is way outside my comfort zone but so far at least, I’m enjoying myself. And I’m kind of vaguely proud of myself for overcoming my reluctance to do group content and trying to embrace the fun of it.

Heck I have half a mind to actually join my friends in some kind of multiplayer game!

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FFXIV – Another free month

So a new post at the Final Fantasy XIV Lodestone says that Square-Enix is giving subscribers to the game another 30 days of free trial.

However I haven’t seen this mentioned at any of the gaming blogs, and in particular Massively has been mum on the topic, which has me second-guessing my understanding of what’s going on. Or maybe I’m just reading the wrong blogs.

The post is dated today and specifies that it applies to “All users who registered a FINAL FANTASY XIV service account and purchased a character by November 19, 2010.” so unless I’m missing a loophole it means that everyone is getting another 30 days, gratis.

November 25th is the tentative release date of the next big batch of improvements (details here) and maybe S-E just wants everyone to see where the game is going…I dunno.

I’m happy though. Now I can keep dabbling for another 30 days without spending any additional cash. So yay!

To MMO or not to MMO; that is the question

First of all, I wanted to thank everyone for their thoughts on my “Age & Blogging” post. I’m going to keep that topic here but I’ve kind of paralyzed myself now… so many people chimed in that I feel like I have to come out with a strong post to start off the series! LOL But it’s slowly been forming in my head, so please bear with me.

But for today I’m back to gaming and wanted to share a dilemma. Square-Enix sent me an email this morning warning that my free trial period to FF XIV is about to end. First of all, a big kudos to them for drawing my attention to this fact. I can’t tell you have often I’ve forgotten to cancel MMOs I’ve stopped playing and then had them auto-renew: money out the window.

I like FF XIV and as I mentioned here before, I bought Crysta to pay for a month of subscribing (this was before S-E gave us an extra 30 free days). So I’m set to pay my way…

Except ever since we brought the puppy Lola home, I haven’t really touched any MMOs. Life was busy before she joined our household and she makes it busier (though generally in a good way). This past weekend I had some free time and I could’ve logged in, but instead she and I (and Angela, on Saturday) went for a couple of long walks in the nearby state park.

When I do have some time for gaming I’m never quite sure if it’s going to be for 10 minutes or an hour. So logging into an MMO feels too time-consuming. I want to play something I can jump into and have fun with in the first few minutes of firing up the game.

Now that Lola is getting into some patterns of behavior that ‘chaos’ in my day is easing somewhat and I could probably go back to MMOs, but now there are all these single player games that I’m interested in. (I mentioned on Google Buzz that I have a bad habit of buying too many games when I have no time to play…as if buying a new game could somehow scratch the itch of wanting to play.) So I have Fable 3 and the rest of Undead Nightmare in Red Dead Redemption and Rock Band 3 w/Keytar and The Shoot for PS3 Move and Amazon had a great deal on Enslaved: Odyssey to the West… all of that purchased in the last month or so. And of course Minecraft.

So it makes no sense to spend my Crysta on a month of FF XIV now; I have all these single player games that I splashed out for, after all. But on the other hand I don’t want the game to vanish while I’m waiting to find time to play it. That happens to me all too frequently. Gone are the days when one can assume an MMO will be there when you find time to get back to it. Today it’s play it now or accept the fact that you may never play it again.

Smart money is on canceling FF XIV and if I get an MMO itch, going to LOTRO or DDO or something… a game where I don’t need a monthly sub, so if I play for 20 minutes/week I won’t be wasting cash. But man, when I was playing FF XIV I was *loving* it. But it also occupied all my time…it’s a time-sink of a game, unlike more typical ‘bite-sized experience’ MMOs that we see today.

I’ve got a couple more days to ponder this decision… but I really think I’m in the mood to play a game that has an ending, just to get some stuff off my plate. Here’s hoping FF XIV will stick around long enough for me to find time to go back to it!

Chainmail appears (FF XIV)

One of the fun (for me anyway) things about getting in at the start of an MMO with a player-based economy is watching the economy advance.

For the first week or so of FF XIV everyone was wearing their starter gear (which can serve you well for quite some time). Then as the crafters got better at their, uh, crafts, that started to change. First you saw bandanas and various hats and masks. Then you saw an influx of cowls, giving FF XIV an Assassin’s Creed vibe for a while.

The other day I noticed fighting-types had begun to wear plate helms with their leather or cloth armor.

And last night I noticed chainmail for the first time. Now I missed a couple days of play due to being busy, so I probably missed the gradual adoption of it, but, particularly with those hulking Roegadyn, the sparkle and shimmer of a coat of chainmail was hard not to notice.

So far, at least, gear in FF XIV isn’t fantastical like it is in some MMOs. But the game looks so good that even something as ‘basic’ as a suit of chainmail just seems magical the first time you see it. There’s so much detail to the world…it’s just jaw dropping at times.

Of course, dumbass me forgot to take any screenshots!!! LOL

I bought Crysta (FF XIV)

Well, yesterday I took the plunge and used PayPal to buy 2000 Crysta to pay for my FF XIV account with. For those playing along at home, that’s $20 worth. It still bugs me that if I cancel after that month I’ll have left-over credit, but it doesn’t bug me enough that I’m not going to play, and I’m more comfortable with buying Crysta via PayPal then I am with signing up my credit card to that ClickandBuy system. Plus this way if I get distracted and stop playing I won’t auto-renew since I won’t have enough Crysta.

The expected hate has arrived in spades and I’m trying my best to avoid it. A lot of it is coming for common garden variety trolls, but even thoughtful people seem unable to parse the idea that there are people who are genuinely enjoying FF XIV. People whose opinions I usually respect, like Justin Olivetti (you may know him as Sypster) are jumping on the anti-FFXIV bandwagon, saying I’m getting the feeling people are defending a really bad game in FF14 because it’s Final Fantasy — would they put up with this elsewhere? (via Twitter).

People said the same thing about LOTRO when it launched: that only reason people liked it was because they were Tolkien fans.

So these people (the trolls I mean) who don’t like the game take every opportunity they can to mock it or trash it, of course. It’s as if the existence of a game they don’t like offends them in some way.

Maybe FF XIV is a really bad game for Justin. That doesn’t mean it’s a really bad game for everyone. I’m having fun and it doesn’t have anything to do with it being Final Fantasy. I’ve finished exactly 1 FF game in my life (X) and I didn’t like FF XI much at all. What I do like about it is the freedom it gives you. You can be any class, and you can (slowly) respec at will; so far the only real limits have had to do with inventory capacity.

Does it have some horribly broken parts? Absolutely. Virtually every MMO launches with something broken. FF XIV maybe more than most games; if you’re looking for polish then give it some time before trying it. Actually I strongly urge almost everyone to wait until there’s a free trial to give it a shot anyway. Most modern MMO players aren’t going to like it because it is very different in a lot of ways.

But it also has something that’s pretty rare these days: a rich crafting system and player-driven economy. If you love your monsters to be loot piñatas you’re going to be *miserable* in FF XIV. Virtually everything is player-crafted. Seriously. So if you want to made a grey leather item (a leathercrafter skill), you need grey leather, right? To make grey leather you combine a sheepskin (combat drop), some willow chips (carpentry, comes from a willow log obtained by a botanist) for tanning, and grey leather dye. To get grey leather dye (alchemy) you combine linseed oil with some slate-grey bugs (yech) that you may find while mining. You get the linseed oil by harvesting flax (botany).

If that process sounds appealing to you, then you might be a FF XIV candidate. This kind of stuff tickles the hell out of me. It’ll drive most casual MMO players batshit crazy. You can do all of those steps yourself if you want to level all the jobs, or you can trade/buy sub-components from other players. Some sub-components can be purchased from NPCs, but most of them can only be obtained via player-crafting. Sadly one of the horribly broken systems is buying and selling, so a lot of dealing is done the old fashioned way…by talking to other players *gasp!* There’s a first pass at a revamp of the bazaar system coming soon but I suspect they’re going to need more than one before they’re done.

If you aren’t interested in crafting, then again, this is probably not your game. There’s such a heavy emphasis on crafting that you’d be missing more than half the game if you didn’t partake.

Y’know what else is funny? Remember everyone screaming bloody hell about the fatigue system? No one who is playing is complaining about that now, because it’s almost impossible to hit the limits. Ditto insta-travel. The teleport system uses “anima” which regenerates over time, another fact people were freaked about before launch. Well it turns out you start with 100 anima and short ‘ports use 4, so you could do 25 short-distance teleports in a row before running out. I don’t know why you’d want to do that.

I don’t know if longer teleports cost more; I assume they do but I’m not sure how much. No one seems to be complaining that they’re running out of anima, though.

I’ve been playing with a controller lately, which is a godsend given that Minecraft borked my shoulder (I have an on-again, off-again problem with my left shoulder…maybe bursitis or something). It’s a very comfortable game to play.

Anyway, I played last night until about 2 am and was up at 8 am to play more; I can’t remember the last time an MMO hooked me like that. Today I finally did the big road trip to the other starting cities to tag the stones there so I can teleport around. There’s a ferry ride along the way that was just stunning (though I’m sure I’ll never take it again since it did take about 5 minutes). I don’t know if it’s always like this, but when I took it night had fallen and there was wild thunder and lightning storm; some of the best weather I’ve ever seen in a game. When Limsa Lominsa finally loomed out of the darkness looking like some ancient broken volcano, lightning forking down around it, it literally gave me chills.

So yeah, I love this game. I might hit a road block and lose interest next month, this afternoon or in two years. Who knows? But for now I’m enjoying myself and am contemplating a second account for two-boxing. I’m really looking forward to seeing what improvements and additions Square-Enix adds over the coming months and years.

Oh, one last thing…for all the hate, the game seems to be plenty populated. At least the Besaid server is. So I’m not the only one enjoying myself.

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If…you become naked (FF XIV)

There’s a Beatles reference that’ll fly over most of your heads, but anyway…

So all my armor and clothing are “broken” but I’m too damned stubborn to go to an NPC for repairs! I’ve stripped down as far as I’m comfortable doing, but in terms of actual protection I’m totally naked even if I still have on an undershirt and pants.

So this weekend I’ve focused my time on Botany (to harvest fibers) and Weaving & Leathercrafting. My short term goal is to be able to repair my starter gear.

That’s turning out much easier with my cloth-based gear. “Hempen cloth” comes, ultimately, from Moko Grass which I’ve found plenty of. I just only now realized it was the base ingredient for hempen yarn.

So tonight my goal is to repair my hempen undershirt which has a durability of 1 (out of something like 10,000!!) right now.

I did make my first bit of gear: A straw hat!

Leatherworking is turning out to be more difficult. I have a bunch of sheep skins (quest rewards from local levequests) but to turn them into sheep leather I need willow chips. So far I haven’t logged any willow. I’m not yet sure if I’m chopping the wrong trees or if I just need to level up botany some more. I also found those bizarre little mushroom men sometimes drop willow logs so I’ve been attacking them as I run back and forth, but so far no joy.

So that’s how things stand now. Jack-of-all-trades, master of none. Inventory is now a big problem… while in theory you can play every class with one character I’m finding inventory spaces could limit that. You have 80 slots, plus you can get a retainer for another 80, but tools count towards inventory when you aren’t using them. So when I grab my sword to fight, my 14 (so far) tools are considered inventory items. Then you start collecting things and you get a moko grass and a moko grass+1 and a moko grass+2 etc etc.

Anyway I’m maxed out on inventory and need to head back to Gridania to contact my retainer and offload some of this junk onto her. And I haven’t touched any combat class but Gladiator, nor Culinarian or Alchemist.

And when I start wearing meaningful armor and need different sets for different classes? Sheesh, I wonder if I can get a 2nd retainer to hold my stuff!?

Another day in… FFXIV: Levequest tips

Hmm, I was going to title this post “Another Day in [the name of the world FF XIV takes place in] but y’know, I can’t remember what it is. That’s probably a bad sign, right? I just seem to have a block when it comes to the names in this title.

And yet I still enjoy myself. Last night I spent the last of my gil on a tool to start leathercrafting, then grabbed a bunch of Local levequests. I ended up completing 3 and failing 1.

A few (maybe obvious) things I learned:

1) When you accept a levequest and are asked if you want to Activate it, say yes. Saying no just cancels the transaction. Activate is basically a confirmation dialog.

2) You can gather the materials for several levequests at once. The materials don’t show up in your inventory but you can see that you have them by looking at the levequest in your journal. So grab a bunch of stuff and find someplace quiet to do your crafting. Make the stuff for several levequests then run around and deliver them.

3) The item you have to make for a local levequest is a valid recipe, so make a note of it. I’ve started a spreadsheet to track recipes (which is geeky fun to me) but I’m sure soon enough all recipes will be on one of the many database websites out there. So if you get a levequest to make a square maple shield, by examining the materials that pop up in the crafting panel you’ll see what the recipe for a square maple shield is.

4) As a reward for completing a Local levequest you’ll get another recipe followed by “First Item: ####, Second Item, ####” etc, where ### is the name of a component. This is just describing the recipe you got… you’re not getting these items as loot. All the actual loot items you get are listed before the recipe.

5) You get enough materials to make more items than you need to complete the levequest. Make them all; you’ll still get exp and skill points from making the extra items. I’m hoping in my heart that when it comes time to turn in the materials the game takes your best results into account.

6) Speaking of which, take the time to make good quality items. I’ve seen some places say to just spam the Rapid Synthesis because quality doesn’t matter, but it seems to me I got better rewards when I turned in better quality items.

7) Which leads to my final bit of advice which is to stick to easier levequests for a while, at least if your goal is to earn gil. I think that making good quality items on a Skill level 1 levequest will reward you better than making shoddy items on a Skill level 5 levequest.

Um, take that last bit with a grain of salt though. In fact take this whole post with a grain of salt as I’m still figuring things out.

There was a patch yesterday and my Raptr client didn’t track my play session last night. I fear those two facts are connected, which is going to make tracking FF XIV a pain.

I actually drew my sword last night, for the first time in days… I think this weekend I might focus on combat jobs for a bit.

Here’s my character. He’s (at the time of this writing…this sig file is supposed to update automagically) physical level 9 and he is level 6 Botanist (harvesting plant materials, including lumber jacking), level 5 carpenter, level 4 blacksmith, level 4 Miner (harvesting rocks and minerals), level 3 gladiator, level 3leathercrafter. Not shown is level 3 fisherman.. I haven’t worked on that since day 1 so maybe the sig maker only lists the 6 most recent updates?

Bracing for impact (FF XIV)

Final Fantasy XIV continues to grow on me. In fact it was a bit later in the day that I wrote my last post that I kinda fell in love with it, warts and all. Part of the ‘challenge’ to enjoying the game was letting go and playing the game Square Enix’s way rather than trying to play it like it was a Western MMO. Shocking to imagine, but the blank notebook that comes with the Collector’s Edition is actually an essential game tool. You need to take notes while playing this game. And then compare those notes with others in order to find patterns.

Anyway, so I accepted FF XIV for what it is, which means I slowed down, stopped worrying about levels and experience and started thinking about how I’d make myself some new gear. I’ve been studying Carpentry and Blacksmithing, and harvesting everything I see as I run back and forth delivering the goods I’ve made. This takes a long time but.. y’know, it takes as long as it takes. Last night I logged in about 10 pm and between then and midnight I managed to do one single levequest. I had to deliver the goods to a camp I’d never visited before and the run out there was interrupted frequently by sparkling nodes that needed harvesting.

So I’ve made my peace and am ready to buy some Crysta soon. I’ll play for at least another month.

The one thing I’m concerned about is the launch on Thursday. The hate is bad enough among CE buyers (who, one would suspect, are people that researched the game before buying). When stacks of boxes show up on retail shelves tempting impulse buyers looking for a break from WoW while they wait for Cataclysm…things are going to get UGLY.

The community is going to be vile for a month or so after launch. I’m half-tempted to put the game aside for a few months, but the last time I did that the game folded before I had a chance to play much. The other alternative is just to stick my head in the sand and ignore everyone else, but we, The Community, are deep in the ‘figuring out how this game works’ phase and so I really *need* fellow players at this point.

I guess I’ll just have to thicken my skin and persevere.

If you’re thinking about trying FF XIV, I urge you not to. Instead, wait for a free trial or something. I think most people who try it are going to hate it, and the rest are going to LOVE it. In particular if you’re a theory-crafter who needs to min-max characters, stay far, far away. There are a lot of systems here that are not explained by SE and might never be; it’s up to the players to figure out how the world works. On the other hand, if you’re someone who loves tinkering and figuring out how things work then this might be the perfect game for you.