Last week I uninstalled WoW and D3. I tend to keep my desktop icons relevant to the active games that I play, or at least indicators of those that I should be playing. WoW has been on the desktop since beta. Looking back on my posts for WoW, aside from really liking the world/art/music, there hasn’t been a positive post on the state of the game since Legion. Cripes, that was nearly 5 years ago! The whole ABK was just that larger realization.
I figured I’d give FF14 a shot again. The irony here was that I had not played since just before Legion, so just before the mid-pack of Heavensward. Playing 2 MMOs at the same time, in the way that I play them, required just way too much time. Sunk cost in WoW and all… FF14 went on the shelf.
Getting back into FF14 meant a choice – start anew or where I left off. Having completed 2 entire expansions (and ARR is quite long), I figured I could better use that time with an account restore. To do so, I needed to remember my old password. Let’s not shy from the fact that Square-Enix has invested a total of $10.25 in web UX design. Finding anything that makes sense here is an exercise in frustration.
I did finally find the password recovery page, which has security questions. 2 days. That’s how long it took for me to enter the correct answer to the security question. The button for “forgot security answer” doesn’t go anywhere. The answers appear to be case sensitive. And it would appear that I was forced to reset my answers in the past, as this is the only place, across all similar questions, that I put in that specific answer (which came to me while doing something else).
With the account restored, I needed to figure out the rest of the bits and bobs on the account. Back to bad UX design, actually getting another expansion is a 3 step process. First, I need to figure out which one to buy… Endwalker says it includes it all, but you can’t actually access it until the game launches later in the year. Fine, base version of Shadowbringers it is (making sure it is NOT the Steam version, which I don’t think you can buy anywhere but Steam). Buy that, then realize that it isn’t linked to my account. I need to find the game key, then add it to my account. Ok, done. Now to add game time, which is another weird process (since there are 2 levels of accounts, one which supports alts, which are an insane option in this game).
FINALLY, all the bits in place to actually log in!
Did I mention that this meant multiple downloads? I get a quick start download to get the client running, but it’s multiple large Gb downloads after that. I can’t think of any other game or platform that does this. Sure, maybe you’ll get a day 1 patch after you’re pre-loaded the game. But this is not pre-load, and we’re at the tail end of the current expansion. ARGH.
This time, I’m able to log in. Brynhildr is where I set roots long ago. I log in to a barrage of visual spam. Where WoW is a ghost town in almost every area that isn’t the current expansion’s capital, FF14 has people a plenty. The neat part here was that it automatically prompted me to join a “returning players” channel. That was a nice surprise, and woooo, were there things in that chat which were helpful! Still, as much as I liked that character (and time invested) I wasn’t interested in staying there. I logged out and went through the relatively simple (again, horrible UX) process of transferring to another server – Cactuar.
That took about 15 minutes to process, and I was finally off to the races (or perhaps, re-learning the races). If I exclude the time it took for me to restore my account, getting the rest all set up was about 2 hours of work. Perhaps this is a relic of the Playstation UI to help players get in the game. Still, with a few month’s work and a relatively small investment, the UI for the store/account system could be dramatically improved. This feels like the same comment I made way back when. One can hope!
Next steps are all about following the MSQ through the 2 expansions. I don’t think I can get all of that done before Endwalker comes out. Where I could plow through WoW’s content in less than a week to get to end game, it’s more like 40+hrs per expansion here. Let’s see how much fun this ride can deliver.