My Time at Eorzea, Week Six - Finale

You say that, but the number of times I end up back in New Gridania is moderately embarrassing.
You say that, but the number of times I end up back in New Gridania is moderately embarrassing.

We've done it. We survived. Our 45 day free trial is essentially over. There's one more day left on it, technically, but whatever. I mostly stuck to an MMO for a month and a half and lived to tell the tale. Last week, I switched jobs over to thaumaturge, a wrecking ball of magical destruction. This week mainly consisted of learning more about how the job class actually worked, how to be effective in combat, and lamenting the slower pace of leveling.

I don't think the game does a fantastic job of explaining what the elemental meter exclusive to the thaumaturge does. Last week I implied it strengthened the spell it matched and increased the damage, while reducing the MP cost of the opposite spell. And that's... sort of true, I guess. Umbral Ice also seems to cause your MP regeneration to shoot up, while Astral Fire... just makes your fire spells do a lot of damage. So the combat flow as a thaumaturge can be summed up as dumping as much fire as you can into something until it dies. Unless it lives long enough for you to run out of mana. Then, you use the ability that exchanges your Astral Fire for Umbral Ice and dump as much ice as you can until you have all your mana back, after which, see the first step.

No thanks, my time's up.
No thanks, my time's up.

Over the course of leveling up, I also unlocked the second level ice and fire spells. Maybe it's because I was only fighting enemies in the world and not a dungeon, but they seem a bit underwhelming? Both Blizzard II and Fire II are area of effect spells, with Blizzard II centering on your character and Fire II on your target. Blizzard II seems like a fantastic "I need to get out of this situation" spell, as it inflicts bind on your enemies, stopping them in their tracks, but it doesn't do a lot of damage, even under the effects of Umbral Ice. Fire II does so much less damage than regular Fire that it just doesn't seem very useful.

On the other hand, the supplemental spells seem significantly more useful as a thaumaturge than they did as a ninja. When I was playing as a Ninja, essentially the only things that seemed useful were my basic combo attacks and the mudra system. I had all these other abilities, but it seemed actively lesser to the regular attacks I was doing. Sure, I could throw knives in a circle around me, and that's cool, but it took up the cooldown of my basic combo, and did less damage than the ninja fire I could do. As a thaumaturge, I have spells like Drain and Scathe, quick, simple things that don't take up as much time or MP as the other ninja skills, and provide additional beneficial effects in self-healing and being an instant cast, respectively.

Spoken like an urn what needs to be broken.
Spoken like an urn what needs to be broken.

I didn't quite get as far in the thaumaturge guild's questline as I intended, but what I did get through was at least entertaining. I was convinced that the thaumaturge's youngest sibling, lacking magical talent but overflowing with alchemical talent, would become a ending-of-BioShock magical steroid monster that would have to be defeated. The story took a bit of a different path, and on a quest to destroy a magical voidsent artifact (read: evil demonic artifact), said youngest sibling decided he was going to open the evil urn and got possessed by an evil demon.

So I guess the magical steroid monster isn't out of the question, but now it'd be an evil demonic magical steroid monster. Totally different.

I was hoping to hit level 30, so as to pick up the black mage job class, but two factors made this difficult to attain. One of which is probably not the game's fault, but this week I had a terrible time staying connected to the server. I don't know if it's my home network or an ISP problem or what, but more often than not I would be playing just fine up until suddenly an error would pop up saying I had lost connection to the server, despite no other major downloads or anything happening on my end. When that happens, it's similar to losing connection to an IRC channel. You have to wait for the ping timeout of your logged in character to occur, then you can resume back where you were. It's a bit frustrating. It also goes to show that I'm skeptical of how Stadia would work out where I live. (Topical.)

Secondly: I seemed to be rapidly running out of side quests. I'll admit, this is also probably on me, as I didn't particularly feel like queuing up for the leveling roulette dungeons to try and level up faster. After all, the entire point of me trying out a new class was to avoid having to wait for dungeon queues. There were some alternative ways to level, but even then it just wasn't quite enough to push me to level 30.

Yo man, I just vaped some dank OG bud!
Yo man, I just vaped some dank OG bud!

The main way I spent this past week was tackling hunting log objectives. Each base class (eg: Rogue, not Ninja), has its own individual hunting log, consisting of a bunch of types of enemies out in the world to go and defeat. The experience gained for each completed entry in the hunting log is very similar to a quest completion, so they're a decent way to tackle leveling without touching the dungeons or having main story quests around your level to run through. Unfortunately, even with those, stacking on top the bonus experience I got for playing on a "preferred" world, in addition to the armory bonus, a means to help lower level classes catch up to higher ones by providing an experience bonus, I still only topped out at around level 19 before running out of hunting log objectives at my level, and running out of nearby quests at my level.

All in all, I had a good time playing Final Fantasy XIV, but I can't say I'm too disappointed that my time's run out. I also don't see myself returning to the game until it goes fully free to play, which given the lifespan of Final Fantasy XI, I assume will be some time in the 30th century. MMO's aren't my preferred style of game, and if they aren't yours, Final Fantasy XIV probably won't change your mind. However, free's free, and thanks to the corporate overlords at Square Enix and Twitch for partnering up and letting people give the game a shot.

Fine. Geez. I'm leaving! You don't have to yell about it.
Fine. Geez. I'm leaving! You don't have to yell about it.

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