I hear Dragonflight launched? First WoW expansion I have not touched, nor do I have any FOMO here. I will give some credit, is that WoW in the moment-to-moment aspect scratched a hell of an itch. Outside of that, it’s been on a downward spiral for years.
FF14, in contrast, has a tremendous investment in the relevance of the game, and respect for player’s time and effort. Systems are generally integrated so that progress in one field impacts multiple others. Borrowed power only exists in discreet areas (e.g. Bozja) and is explicit. The is certainly slower, as the GCD is set at 2.5seconds… which is certainly less hectic. I personally enjoy it as it’s much less stressful.
I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to “complete” as many systems as I could. It feels like going to a buffet, being stuffed, and realizing there are 3 dozen more buffets down the line. The main quest line (MSQ) may take nearly 200 hours to fully complete, but that is only about 10% of the actual game content. And most of it stays relevant, due to the Duty Finder system that syncs your level.
As with most MMOs there’s a carrot thing here, a goal of sorts. FF14 certainly has the MSQ and gearing treadmill, giving access to raids. Things that we’ve been told have to be there. And it’s good, don’t get me wrong. But there’s more. Treasure maps are fun. Housing is just stupid awesome in possibilities. There’s a private island for some odd farmville-like perks. Collecting cosmetics is there too. Making a lot of money is always interesting, and way more complex here due to the limits on selling (which is wicked smart). Right now, my goal is just to level up my various jobs.
The crafters are all fine. The combat ones need work. I’ve got bags and bags of gear that I just can’t see to use, so leveling up the characters seems the wises path forward, so that I no longer need the gear. FF14 operates under their expansion levels, with plateaus at 50, 60, 70, 80 and 90. Leveling-wise, the 90 portion isn’t exactly relevant, giving 4 major milestones.
I’m in the general process of getting everyone to 50. Currently 16/19 jobs at 50 or above. I’m in the process of closing off the melee DPS character: Monk, Dragoon, Ninja. This is not a terribly pleasant experience, for one main reason – the general lack of abilities. At max level, there’s nearly 3 hot bars of skills on any given job, plenty of tools for nearly any situation. Most jobs don’t unlock the ability to hit multiple enemies until the mid-20s, and the real abilities only show up in the 50s. To combat this, the Palace of the Dead (PotD) works as an option from level 15-60, effectively putting you with level 60 abilities in a rogue-like dungeon. It’s not hard, though you do get the odd really bad RNG. Heaven on High (HoH) works from 61-70, same concept.
PotD really only works during peak hours, so that the queues are near-instant. If you need to wait 7+minutes, it’s likely better to just solo queue Duty Support (dungeons with NPC support). These are slow as molasses, but better than nothing. Yet you are stuck with relatively crappy tools, especially if you are under level 30.
50+ there are many, many more options present. Hunting Bills are a daily option to kill specific enemies for a good chunk of xp. Beast Tribes are super easy quests for quick xp. MSQ/Leveling/Alliance Raids in the Duty Finder give a few trucks of XP (first time each per day). Wonderous Tails is ~3/4 of a level, but only once a week. Bozja (at peak time) is decent XP from 70-90. Heck, even dungeons are an ok option as your toolkit is more developed.
This gives a sort of time travelling view of the game, where content from 10 years ago still has worth today, as you can queue for a dungeon at level 89 and end up in a level 15 dungeon.
My routine right now is a simple one. Beast tribe dailies (all 12), Duty Roulette if it procs while I’m questing, then the Island Sanctuary to ensure everything is running smooth. Time left over is to get the melee DPS up to 50. There’s a fair chunk to do in that last bit, probably 70 or so runs of PotD. Breaking up that routine is nice.
It’s a welcome distraction.