Detour from the Hundred

Last time I provided an update on propelling myself through the Horrible Hundred, Rakuno suggested that I take a look at the Crystal Tower raid when I got the chance. As it turned out, I’d already completed most of the attunement quest so, ‘Why not?’ I thought and trotted my way out to Mor Dhona.

I only had to collect one more piece of aethersand — this one wind aspected — for Cid to refine into tools to smash down the ancient barriers protecting the tower. As a refreshing change of pace from the Horrible Hundred, the actual ‘work’ part of this quest all took place within a single area with no real backtracking to speak of. Please Square, more of this.

These sentinels have stood guard over this place for an age. We understand very little of what is going on here or the technology inside. …. Let’s smash ’em!

Seriously, the critical thinking skills forced upon us our MMORPG characters often makes me shake my head in wonder.

The barriers in place here are deadly, and it is openly acknowledged that the sort of technology in here is well beyond our understanding. There is a talk on how disastrous it would be to have it fall into the wrong hands. So of course what we need to do is:

  • Take down all the protections we can find.
  • Allow someone who until very recently was a sworn enemy, to come in and look around.
  • Have no-one watch this person while we’re otherwise engaged.
  • Trust another pair we’ve never seen before but we know lied to us to also come in and poke around the place.
I have Monster Hunter World to thank for making me not look like a complete scrub on this fight.

Final Fantasy XIV is far from the only MMO (or hell, RPG full stop) guilty of this, but come onnnn.

Rakuno advised me not to look into spoilers for this place ahead of time, which turned out to be good advice. For as much as I mock the story points above — it is otherwise quite awesome. And I haven’t even yet reached the later parts of the story that will tie back to this.

Following in that vein, I’ll not be spoiling anything significant to the story of this place either.

The queue times were surprisingly good, even coming at this from a purely DPS class. Six to eight minutes on average, which is better than queuing for a dungeon much of the time. I’m unsure whether there is a Roulette for this, or whether it is simply a strong enough source of Allagan Tomes that people of higher levels are keen to do it regardless.

Visually, each wing of the raid looked neat. And despite being a continuation of the same storyline managed to have quite a distinct aesthetic from the part before.

This one — the many, many heads not withstanding — looked kinda nice. Shame we had to fight. But… Since you are now defeated… Loots?

No single part overstayed their welcome and were quite brief to finish. The tuning was again similar in feel to a WoW LFR, although perhaps slightly less forgiving. There are a healthy helping of one-shot mechanics which to the untrained eye can be difficult to immediately spot.

Although I laughed in joy at the King Behemoth fight, when it became clear that the crossover event with Monster Hunter World had put a version of the same mechanics into play. So when I saw the comets strike the ground, I knew what was coming next — and sure enough, not too much later in Meteor was cast. Thanks to seeing all this in an entirely different game and playstyle I was able to avoid looking like a scrub.

Hehe. Puns.

Although on the very next boss (and the final for this wing) I did manage to get hit by an extremely large, extremely visible telegraphed AoE though. Noticed it just a liiiiittle bit too late and couldn’t get clear and into the shielded zone in time.

I wasn’t the only one though and as it turned out, this boss gave me my one and only wipe experience for the day.

All in all, I’m glad Rakuno made the suggestion of checking this place out. And even more glad that I actually did so. I had started the day on The Horrible Hundred and had made some OK progress there too.

Not quite to the end of the 2.3 patch content — but close. I’d been sent on my way to parley with Rahmuh for peace. This didn’t… exactly work. But I felt better about this one even so, as compared to the battle with Leviathan.

There was another wave of exposition after this, but it was actually intriguing this time. There was additional insight offered into the Ascians for one.

Hmmm…

I’d say that I’m perhaps halfway — or almost halfway overall. If the story can continue with the pace and interest of the latter parts of 2.3, it might yet turn into something other than a slog.

When I first started playing this morning I started to seriously consider putting FFXIV away in favour of ESO again until the streamlining patch.

Today managed to win me back again, but we’ll see how it goes from here.

Battling Leviathan

Yep. An honest to God post about a game. I feel like it’s been a while! So I jumped back into Final Fantasy XIV last night, cracked my knuckles, and prepared to continue playing Courier Conversation Quest. (Yeah, I’m still working my way through the 2.x post-ARR content).

I must have stopped at a reasonable point last time around though. Because while there was certainly a fair share of this and running back and forth between the same areas, I actually got to fight some things. Sahagin mostly.

Sahagin? They’re basically Naga. They’re the dead things on the ground in this shot.

The storyline goes to lengths to remind you though, that you’re not necessarily defending the good guys in this battle. There is a lengthy discussion on the morality of the Limsa Lomasin admiralty in their having broken the truce first.

The Sahagin are in the process of summoning Leviathan in the hopes that their spawning grounds can be saved from the continuing encroachment of nearby settlements. The tensions had been building here for a while before it turned to out and out open hostilities again.

For all that, there are still civilians to consider who are not necessarily responsible for how things have unfolded. So you go in and save the day. Become the hero in one story, and undoubtedly a parent-slaying, land invading villain in another.

Anyway.

This all culminates in a raid / trial. Visually it’s a pretty good encounter. It has some mechanics, but I couldn’t really tell you what any of them do. The difficulty was tuned somewhere on a par — possibly even a bit under — the difficulty of a WoW LFR run, so they didn’t much matter. But given the necessity to PUG it to get through the storyline, I was more than OK with this.

There was a bit where Leviathan smashes down on one end of the platform you’re on at sea, sending all players hurtling down that way. Prior raid training suggests that whenever you’re forced to a certain place you should make every effort to vacate said place ASAP. So I did, and it looked like at least some of the others in the party did too. I couldn’t really say if anything bad happened to those who kept fighting from the spot they’d been unceremoniously dumped onto though.

Leviathan defeated once more in this cycle.

And so wraps up the end of the Patch 2.2 content. Just.. 2.3, 2.4, 2.5 and 2.55 to go.

If you hear any sobbing from out back, just ignore it — it’s nothing.

Starting The Horrible Hundred

The Moogles are coming! Run for the hills, the Moogles are coming! (One of my friends almost refused to engage in this, believing there was no such thing as a bad Moogle. Hah.)

Eeesh. So not too long ago I finished Final Fantasy XIV’s ‘A Realm Reborn’ (or 2.0) main story. I discovered that there were a hundred quests standing between me and the next expansion — Heavensward. Each of those quests can have multiple parts, too.

Since then I learnt this stretch has a name. ‘The Horrible Hundred’ is what the community lovingly refers to the ARR post-game content as. It’s a rite of passage. A trial to be passed to earn your way into the much nicer content that follows. *sigh* Yep. I recognise the sentiment. Right now in the thick of it, it’s enough to at least make me rethink the position. How I’ll feel on the other side of it with some time gone by? Hard to say. The rose-tinted glasses may come into full swing. ;)

Although if I’m being honest, I’ve been in a sort of middle space between pushing on and procrastinating. I’ve absolutely been playing more Final Fantasy, I didn’t go back to avoiding logging in. But I started working on unlocking a bunch of the level 50 dungeons and collecting a full set of Bard Ironworks gear (including the bow! Woo.)

The gear is significantly higher ilvl than what even the post-game quests are providing (ilvl 120 on the Ironworks, I’m being offered ilvl 70 otherwise). It makes the content amusingly easy for the time being and this does at least help speed it up.

Learnt to Love the Journey Yet?

Thinking on it, and the experiment I set myself to try appreciate more of the MMO experience — the low and mid-game experience in particular — instead of just pushing hard for the endgame I wouldn’t say has been a failure per se.

But I wouldn’t say it has been a resounding success yet either. I think the mere fact I was able to step off the train for a while to get gear and unlocks that I know to be completely unnecessary and serve no purpose toward the current endgame to be a positive indicator.

At the same time the drive to simply get through it all and reach the end hasn’t gone away. If anything it is increasing as that point gets closer. To be fair it’s not 100% about getting to the very end, a large part of it is also a drive to reach the new (and new to me) content… Still.

I guess it would be fair to say it’s still a work in progress. I’ve completed 20 / 100 of this quest chain, so another 80 in which to practice! (And of course the expansions to follow.)