Finished Patch 2.5 content, so only 2.55 left to do. I will say that as the game progresses, the content gets better. The story is more engaging and the dungeons/raids are a heck of a lot more crazy. Each Patch seems to unlock 1 dungeon and 1 raid, plus some neat story bits.
Patch 2.4 gave me Snowcloak and Shiva to run through. Snowcloak was a pretty neat dungeons, especially the bigfoot fight where you hit him with snowballs. The entire group was new to the dungeon and we decided not to read up on it. After about level 40, there are no more tank and spank fights. If you don’t catch the mechanics, eventually you’re going to die. But the ramp up time to learn is fairly lenient. Learning on the fly is fun, even more so when the mechanics are intuitive enough to grasp – at least in dungeons.
Shiva was a quick run, though there was a wipe due to not killing the adds. As a general rule in raiding, it’s “don’t step in the bad stuff, stay close to get an AE heal and kill the adds”. At least of the majority. I will say that that fight was incredibly neat to watch, and her ultimate is amazeballs.
To start 2.5 I needed to clear Ifrit, Titan and Garuda on Hard Mode. I guess these guys were hard at some time, because they were each twice as easy as when on normal mode. More skills available makes a heck of a difference, and item level too I guess. Once that was done, I gained access to Keeper of the Lake and Crysalis.
KotL was pretty neat for the first 2 bosses. The last one, holy kidney beans, AE city. A massive dragon head, the floor nearly permanently on fire and then 2 smaller (still large) dragons to take out. It was the best fight I’ve had in an MMO in a long time. Superb.
Crysalis though, that thing is a pain and extremely dependent on player awareness. Massive hits on the tank that I needed to pre-cast for. Then about 30 floating balls everyone needs to tag, in a specific order to avoid taking too much damage. If not enough are flagged, then the boss does a massive AE (again, need to pre-cast). Then more AE from the boss, so everyone needs to be fairly close to take the AE heal (which most ranged classes don’t get and stay super far away). Finally, he teleports you into some odd version of the moon, where meteors hit the ground for ~75% of my hit points, so the 2 tanks needs to run under them and take the blow. Miss 2 and it’s a wipe. It took a long time for the tanks to coordinate this properly. Nearly 10 runs. People were chipper throughout and very happy when it was cleared. (Can I say how rare that is? 8 anonymous people and no one was a jerk?)
It was a sad ending to this chapter though, story-wise. There are clearly some set-up elements in place for 2.55 and I am super hyped to go through that part.
Content Stays Relevant
I think one of the highlights of FF14 design is the duty roulette system. Every piece of group content shows up in this LFG/LFR system after you’ve completed it once (and 90% of it has to be completed in the story). It’s split up across low level, high level, elite, trials, story and guildhests (learn-to-dungeon), with each giving a significant exp bonus every day, and some currency for gear to boot. This means that all the content remains relevant to everyone. You might have a level 59 in a level 20 dungeon (scaled down of course) because he wanted the EXP bonus for doing it. This also means that the queue times are fairly steady, depending on the role you run. Tanks are instant, Healers are near instant for dungeons, ~4m for a raid. DPS, well I feel sorry for you guys.
And there’s no dev resources to re-jig something to stay relevant. I don’t get served some sort of warp-of-time dungeon like it was new content I should be happy about. Instead, they make a new dungeon.