FF14 Addendum

So further to the previous post, I redid a dungeon run with some different folk. I changed nothing on my end, same healing pattern and skill set. The tank was amazing. Not so much in terms of damage mitigated (marginally better) but in overall understanding of the role.

Taking that in for a minute, FF14 does not suffer from the heroes curse. SWTOR exemplifies that problem by having every fight be against 4-5 people, even in solo fights. There’s just no skill involved. Press buttons for pew pew, they die or you die. The go-go runs in Wow are the same.

FF14 only puts you against multiple targets in group settings and rarely more than 3 at a time. A pull of 4 targets takes a lot of group skill. As a White Mage, I need to CC (sleep) most fights to reduce overall damage since I can’t heal through. It means that every action is weighed against another and that you need to understand core battle strategies to succeed. If you zerg, you will die.

I try to compare the combat to Neverwinter, in that movement is key but the speed of combat allows for more complex situations.

It’s like comparing Hungry Hungry Hippos to Chess. Both are fun but rarely to the same audience.

Neverwinter – Tanks but no Tanks

Le /sigh, horrible pun.

Given that there wasn’t a dungeon delves active last night during my session and I had sat in the queue for 15 minutes as a Healer, I swapped to my second character, Asmira the Guardian Fighter (/tank).  I used the Gateway service while leveling and once you hit level 10, you can craft.  Getting to level 10 takes about 2 hours from creation so I did that a while back.  Crafting has one particular field, Leadership, which gives in-game experience, cash and rough astral diamonds.  People who hit 60 on day 1 used Leadership (plus real money to speed up the training) to get there.  Leadership can also give you access to crafting materials that sell decently.

On top of it, after level 11, you can pray to the gods every hour.  This gives you some experience and every day, 2 different types of tokens.  If you miss ~48 hours of praying, you lose all of 1 type of currency (which has a max of 7).

Right, so I play my cleric almost daily.  During that time, I also log in the tank to pray to get the tokens and for the experience.  Realize that I did not kill a thing or do a single quest after level 10 and using this daily prayer and Gateway/Leadership, my tank was sitting at level 22 last night and had ~100K in Astral Diamonds.  Sadly, he had no cash so no mount.

The advantages to leveling offline are pretty clear, you skip a fair amount of content and the early levels, especially before 30, are somewhat unbalanced due to a lack of skills. I can live with that.  The downside is that you are undergeared by a fair amount.  As a ranged player, this ins’t a big deal.  As a tank – not only are you taking way more damage than you should but you’re hitting with a toothpick at the same time.  Not a great combo.  Thankfully the AH is there and people post at stupid low prices.  Quick gear up.

Now for actual play.  Oh wait, I need to assign 12 skill points and redo my layout.  I like that part. Do I ever miss the old talent trees of WoW, where each level you actually got something, even if it was a small increment in power that nobody noticed.  I got to press a button!  I digress.  The tank needed to get a companion, so a healer was in line.  Off I go into the wild!

And then I died.  Forgetting about combat advantage (don’t show your back), how to block properly, how to NOT knock people into another side group and a bunch of other details that I never really needed to worry about as a ranged healer.  I dusted myself off and went back to work.  This time I pulled everyone to me, circle strafe and all that jazz to get them lined up, then AE attacks for the win.  Worked out pretty good if I do say so.

Small instance was next and these always end with a boss.  Bosses as a healer are fun, you just sit back, heal from time to time and whack a mole.  Adds come around, tank picks them up, you AE or knock them into some hole.  Bosses as a tank are a test of patience.  You’re dealing little damage, the companion ain’t much better and once the adds spawn (they always do), you need to take them down before they take down your companion.  I think this is a good thing, in the end, as it forces tanks to understand HOW TO TANK multiple creatures at end level.  I remember leveling my cleric and I found that the higher I got, the better the tanks got.  As if the leveling process weeded out all the bad ones.  It’s just not possible to reach max level as a tank without a solid understanding of the mechanics.

It’s certainly a different paradigm.  My Cleric, as per the videos I’ve posted, does everything to avoid the big hits and red circles.  My tank however, is so damn slow, she needs to block to get through them.  Going from “get these damn things off me” to “why won’t you attack me you bum!” is a fun change of pace.

Now if only the game could find a way to teach DPS to play smart. -er.

Neverwinter – Cleric Fight Video

I did a bit of questing last night and the final solo boss of the zone was this guy.  The video gives you an idea of what mid-level Cleric combat looks like.  It’s much, much more active than any other MMO you’ve likely played.

Group combat is very similar, if not more active due to threat issues.