19 December, 2013

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn - Play Diary #4 - A Realm Awoken

   Patch 2.1!!!! The very first patch for FFXIV: A Realm Reborn!
THERE ARE A LOT OF NEW STUFF!!!! AND A LOT OF FIXES!!! Seriously, every little thing my wife and I whined about got fixed! To get my point further across, we care about details down to the weathering on armor, cuts in clothes and Eorzean star allocation, not to mention how much I care about gameplay mechanics and lack of variety in apparel so this is a great fudging step in the right direction!

   I'll start by listing the higher priority fixes and new features implemented in this patch.

   Alright, they added new story quests. I haven't personally finished the story yet (I like to take my sweet time) but it sure is nice to have an extended story to play later on.

   They added two new Trials (which are Primal battles), Good King Moggle Mog XII and the destroyer of worlds...Ultima Weapon! I was seriously scared when I saw Ultima, I was like "oh no there is no way in hell we are fighting this cheat of a boss!" So! Right now I'm all excited and pumped up to fight it and make sure it’s properly acquainted with either my shield or axe.

   Also, they have added new Extreme difficulties to previous Primals. I'm also seriously looking forward to fighting my favorite primal Ifrit in Extreme Mode. I hope they have armor drops though…Armor that looks like Ifrit, maybe? (Monster Hunter vibes kicking in)

   As for FFXIV 1.0 veterans, I've got awesome news!

   HILDEBRAND IS BACK! He IS BACK! He's so macho, awesome and his smile would bring the bane of Ultima Weapon to a halt! I can't wait to meet him again, adding the realism of my Hyuran blood rather than the cuteness of old Cheese-kun.

   There will also be a new dungeon added and two new difficulties for two old dungeons. The new dungeon is called Pharos Sirius, at the end of which we'll face the song that controls the dead that lay beneath old Limsa Lominsa. I'll let you guess who the boss is. I'll just give one hint...UMBRA!!! As for the two dungeons with new hard modes, they are Copperbell Mines and Haukke Manor.

   Alright, now for all the mechanics, there will be a new Raid system, which will utilize the Alliance system, and the Raid stage will be the cursed Crystal Tower (FFIII fans, weeeeep with me...) There will be several bosses in the Crystal Tower, one of which will be Acheron! good ol' Acheron's back! Also King Behemoth! Who has Zinogre all over him (Gotta fight him with Zinogre's battle theme!)

   PVP players and supporters, rejoice! Wolves' Den will be up in few hours. Fight your friends, fight your blacklisted players or whatever and just let off some long pent up rage in the Arena. Along with the PVP area, there will be PVP-exclusive equipment you can only get with designated points collected from your battles. This new currency will also buy you exclusive skills that can only used in the PVP area. Seeing all these new skills gave me a huge GOTTA-CATCH-EM-ALL urge since there are so many of them. I'm not too big on PVP but I support such sport for the challenge of it, but play nice people. Not everyone can afford to play ALL the time and get competent enough gear ;) (PVE players should have more support too!)

   There will be a new kind of quests called Beast Tribe Quests. It'll be divided into two kinds, daily and main quests. Each tribe has a main storyline quest and daily quests which are like regular levequests but limited to 6 a day (3 from each tribe). Each tribe will also have a reputation gauge that you can fill up doing these daily quests.
When you increase your reputation with a tribe, you can gain access to tribe vendors; you'll get minions for each tribe, a mount, and furnishings for the new housing system, which I'll talk about iiiiin right about now!

   HOUSING SYSTEM!! Yaaaaaaaaaay! we can have a house! if you can't buy one in real life, you can always buy one in Eorzea! But there's a catch! you can't get your OWN house, it'll be more like a communal Free Company fraternity/sorority affair, so freelancers! horde around and join a Free Company! First you'll have to buy a plot, then you can build a house. There will be ranks to both plots and houses; small, medium and large houses on 1 to 5 star plots. I guess the stars indicate the quality factor of the plot, from a poor view to waterfalls and spectacular scenery. Each group of servers will have different prices for plots and houses; Legacy servers will have the highest prices since FFXIV 1.0 characters already had the time to accumulate a lot of Gil. Quite fair, I'd say.

   There will be a new system for the Duty finder, dubbed the Duty Roulette, which lets you join a random Duty with the added bonus of increased EXP, more drops and rewards and Allagan Tomestones. This is most likely for bored people who want to help others in their free time.

   The Treasure Hunt system is implemented too, which is a feature exclusively for disciples of the land. When you mine, for example, occasionally you'll come across an item called Timeworn Map. Get it and it'll guide you to a certain area in which you'll find the treasure. It'll have a lot of EXP and nice rewards.

   As for Traps and others with a particular obsession with vanity, the aesthetician, who's even more peculiar and epic than Hildebrand, will highly interest you in this patch. Oh yes, there will be new hairstyles and you'll be able to change your hair color, eye brows, eye color, tattoos, tattoo color and facial hair.

 For people who finished Chapter 1 of the Lightning Strikes event, you'll be able to get Lightning's hair for females, and Snow's hair for males. Keep in mind that Snow's hair comes with the bandana rather than how it looks in Lightning Returns.

   And finally! *drum roll*......Sorting is available!!! you can finally sort your items automatically! Just right-click an item, click sort and, lo and behold, all your items are *gasp* fudging sorted! It's really great news for disciples of hand. also the Lightning Strikes event gear can be deposited into your Armoire, there won't be circles under your target when you hide the UI for screenshots, which is pretty annoying, guildleves have an increase in EXP, Gil and rewards, many skills have been buffed for some classes and nerfed for others, like White Mages... Seriously, they're the most overlooked class in the game. They are treated unfairly to a ridiculous extent. It's a class specifically meant for healing and what few attacking skills they have got nerfed. Plus, their MP consumption is just...sad. I just hope they cut them more slack in upcoming patches. Just a quick suggestion. Just like how Black Mages are specialized in DPS and they have all their skill properly facilitating the process of dealing proper powerful damage, White Mages should have their full rights as healers!

   There are a LOT more of details on the 2.1 changes but I listed what I could remember from the wall of news. I hope to see everyone soon once the patch is done, and have great time together in Eorzea, Rock on people!!!!

15 December, 2013

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn - Play Diary #3 - May the Twelve Guide Us

   It seems the better part of FFXIV's life cycle now is all about troubleshooting, which isn't so unorthodox for a young, teenage MMO; you deal with all sorts of existential crises.

When 2.0 was first launched, there was so much traffic and server congestion that Squeenix had to take such frowned-upon measures as character creation restrictions and withholding digital sale so new players couldn't get in and old players already in endured incessant server PMS. Even the best of my leniency to Square failed me and I almost quit myself when I had persistent logout and lockout issues. Well, I lost it for like half a day and went "Well, Squeenix, yuuuu SAKKU!" and literally 4 hours later, the issue got fixed and all was well with the world.

   Traffic eventually smoothed out due either to more worlds having been added or that many players simply ragequit altogether, apparently forgetting the fact that the game was not only an installment of one of the most popular franchises in the history of gaming but also a multiplayer online one and initial server issues are therefore a matter of course. My point is, whenever these issue surface people's first reflex is to point fingers at the development team without stopping to think for a second about what they went through to bring this game to life! they only think about their own immediate, selfish pleasures nowadays....the best word to describe what I feel about it is mou!! It's Japanese for...I don't know, frustration at the injustice of the world!

   So we played the game, marveled at the marvels and ranted at the inconveniences like everyone else. Wifey was a zealous disciple of the hand and the lack of a sort function drove those players in particular over the edge of tolerance. We also struggled during mid-level dungeons with connection lag, particularly those that required impeccable timing like the Temple of Qarn and Cutter's Cry. Popular FATEs and sanctuaries were equally hellish in terms of crowd lag.


   Every single thing we did was so much bloody fun! From hardcore dungeon runs, tanking like a pro, helping people out, to crafting for our Free Company, enduring a certain bossy Falafel ordering us around to eat this meal, do that provisional quest and take that levequest, linkshelling with the most wonderful players (and the less wonderful..), even just hanging around and ogling/screenshotting each other and everything else while walking through town was absolutely addictive and I've got screenshot folders by the goobbueful to show for it. Of course, it was another perk that Squeenix kept seducing us with all these features coming up in only a few days.

   Ya did well, Squeenix! Looking forward to the upcoming patch that'll hopefully iron out whatever kinks left and add SO MUCH MORE CONTENT, I mean just look at this script from the last letter from the producer. :O

10 December, 2013

FFXIV: A Realm Reborn - Play Diary #2 - Lightning Strikes In Eorzea

   From November 14th up until December 9th, dearest Squeenix decided to hold what was evidently a most strategic marketing campaign for their most recent Final Fantasy XIII installment, Lightning Returns, which was released in Japan late November and is scheduled to be released in the U.S. and Europe by February next year. They managed to carve up a nice little niche for Lightning to crash in the world of Eorzea and, by some clever plot manipulation, have it show us a glimpse of what Lightning’s journey was going to be about in the upcoming release while still preserving the integrity of our beloved Eorzean lore and the players’ immersion into FFXIV. At least, so I believed. Everyone seemed to spare no effort giving their two cents and a scoff-to-go on the matter but in the end we all went and played through the campaign!

   The campaign comprised of four individual quests spanning the entirety of Lightning’s appearance in Eorzea. Each started at a later date and had a higher initiation level and all four would reward us pieces of the full outfit of either Lightning for female characters or Snow for male characters. An extra perk was that, by completing the first quest, we were given access to Lightning’s or Snow’s hairstyles later on when the aesthetician feature is implemented on the 17th of December as part of the major patch designated FFXIV 2.1: A Realm Awoken. I cannot wait for Snow’s hairstyle! It’ll look epic with my paladin armor <3 which will hopefully be a full Gallant armor by then!

   We didn’t have the time or a stable enough connection to start playing until the later half of the campaign as I was busy at the time with work, home and the studio and wifey with midterms and essays. Nevertheless, with the help of my trusty brother in law and his all-powerful, all-too-adorable Falafel, we managed to beat all four quests in a couple days, which would’ve taken even less time under more forgiving circumstances. That is to say there was nothing challenging about it whatsoever. You basically camped at spots around the world where particular F.A.T.E.s spawned that had Lightning randomly show up, save the day from evil FFXIII mecha mobs, look melodramatically into the distance and stroll right off in the crowds of paparazzi-players moshpitting at a chance to take a screenshot with her like the fangirls we all are.
By the end of it, we got some appealing and equally useless LVL13 (go figure) gear sets, including weapons for all six battle classes, some of whose names happened to be the FFXIII characters’ first weapons in the game so that was pretty neat.

   In the end, I sympathize with some players’ complaint that “if Squeenix had the time to do a Lightning cameo in FXIV:ARR they could’ve solved the more pressing issues we have with the actual game” but here’s the thing: they already are! It has been almost 3 months since the official launch of FFXIV 2.0: ARR and so far we’ve had THREE events (Bomb king, Halloween & Lightning Strikes) and an upcoming major patch before the month is over! One event for every month! Do you realize how much work that is in an MMO? They promised you your sort feature and PVP arena and guess what? SO BLOODY MUCH MORE! If I were you I’d do less complaining and more campaigning ‘cause after 2.1 you’ll have a whole lot more to do.