3 main topics for today!
I’m not sure how many times I’ll say it but pre-orders suck nuts. Arkham Asylum is such a mess that they stopped selling the game. I know I wanted to pick it up and I heard the console version is great. I also waited 2 days for the PC reviews to come out and I’m now saner for it. At least they’re giving out refunds.
Free to play is coming and with it a whole bag of changes. Stats are being revamped to more simple terms (and balance) and gear is being re-itemized in turn. I’ll be honest, I have to play with a mod to understand heads or tails of all the stats on different characters. This is a great quality of life change.
Dungeons are being scaled out more, so that you don’t see the first one at 20 and hit that wall. Well, protostar games has been in for a bit at level 10 but that’s not really a dungeon as much as a tutorial. This is good news as the dungeons in Wildstar are amazeballs. They are also being rebalanced so that the damage from enemies is going more into telegraphs and less into standard attacks. I’m hoping they tweak the logic of telegraphs though, as the timing on some of them is very hard to avoid. Especially when there are 4-5 effects on the ground at once.
Other items (some currently available as mods) include always-on sprint, world bosses clearly demarked, sell junk button, navigation system, revamp of the tutorials, and neighbourhoods. This last one is pretty neat, where groups of 20 players can decorate together. That’s pretty sweet.
All of this will be on the test realm shortly, in time for the fall conversion. It looks quite promising.
After hoops and hurdles I finally got to play FF14 again. I haven’t bought the expansion mind you, as my white mage was only 43. He’s 47 now and that’s from fate grinds, main quests, levequests (sort of like random dailies) and taking down Garuda. If there was a class that dealt the least amount of damage, white mages would be it. Thankfully I have a tanking chocobo that I can just chain heal and he does most of the work.
From WoW and Wildstar, I’m used to a fair amount of mods. Even SWTOR has a fairly customizable HUD, where you can resize items. FF14…I can move the boxes around but that’s it. Not that I have skill bloat, but there’s some tweaking I’d like to do to real estate. Playing a healer, I’m used to a certain look and feel. The 2.5s GCD is the most glaring change of pace to me and I’ll be honest, I struggle with it constantly. I realize the GCD affects monsters as well, but they are already queued on their next attack before you can start yours. Healing a smart tank is ok, healing a new one is quite painful. The problem seems more pronounced when there’s AE happening, or multiple targets. Triage at 0s is different than at 2s, and you’re 80% of the way through a cast…
I had mentioned this in a previous post and Rohan echoes it well enough, FF14 has a rather unique community. The pace is much slower than other games and the rush to 50 on a new character is not a simple one. There are many cut-scenes throughout and the mandatory dungeon runs put a huge hamper on “typical MMO” progress. Going from something like Wildstar to FF14 is like F1 racing to a buggy cart.
Then you have the actual difficulty of the game, which to be honest, is higher than most other games. The increase in difficulty is gradual mind you, spread over the 50 first levels, but it does get hard. And it’s not like there’s a ton of random stuff to do at max level that doesn’t include group content. It doesn’t take much to develop a reputation on a server and it pays dividends to be nice as you’re going to need them later on.
I’ll give Garuda as an example. I needed to clear that boss to progress and it took at least a dozen wipes and 3 groups to get it done. First group I disconnected from due to a crappy network, but our DPS was too low on the feathers. Group 2, the black mage wasn’t able to get their AE to work properly and again, the feathers. Group 3 the tank was playing more of a DPS role, and was taking at least 50% more damage than the others I had healed and eventually they just quit. The new tank was quite solid and we cleared it on the first try. The entire run through was positive and light hearted. No one lost their cool. There were tips given out “have you tried this?” but never anything I’m used to seeing “oh you suck”. There just seems to be a better level of understanding between players.
If you get frustrated easily, the odds are extremely high that by level 20-30 you’ll have burnt out on the game. If you do manage to scrape your way to end game, you can only do it by having friends. It’s a very interesting model where there’s a constant triage of players and it’s clearly a conscious decision. I wouldn’t call it exclusionary, but more like it’s targeted. Where Wildstar targeted (which they are doing an about face) the 1% of hardcore raiders and WoW targeted the grandmas and teens (which they seem to be focusing on more and more), FF14 seems to be aiming for the people who value strategy and social structures.
A few more days and I think I’ll be in expansion territory.