By TheFakePsychic 1 Comments
We're just about over the hill in terms of my writing about Final Fantasy XIV - A Realm Reborn. Which is good, because there's not only not a lot of free time left from Twitch, but I'm starting to get a little tired of the game as well. This entry may be a bit shorter, as a result, as I didn't really play that much over the last week, between both real life events and a general lack of interest. It's not really any fault of the game itself, outside of the final two dungeons of the base game which we'll get into, more of a personal taste thing, but as long as I still have access to the game, I'll keep playing and writing about it.
Anyway, last week I mentioned hitting "The Wall", the final two excruciatingly long dungeons that were included when the original, disastrous Final Fantasy XIV gave way to the A Realm Reborn reboot. Having now actually experienced the content, the point from last week's blog still stands. It just seems like there's nothing unique enough about them to require gathering seven other people to run the dungeons with you, and there are enough named NPCs who are even present during the dungeon's long, unskippable cutscenes that you could probably make it work as a single player instance section, with an optional full party dungeon for the players that want it.
To briefly sum up the dungeons: The evil empire composed of Destiny villains decided to harness the power of the Primals, those big evil summons that had been tormenting Eorzea, in order to fuel a very large mechanized weapon. An Ultima Weapon, if you will. Cid, the character who shows up so you know it's a Final Fantasy game, used to work for the evil Empire as a scientist and engineer, and they're not exactly thrilled about his defection. Therefore: you, the other 7 players, Cid, as well as a bunch of members of your adventuring guild then run through a dungeon and a half of fighting people until Ultima Weapon shows up, unleashed by the leader of the invading force of the Empire who, I swear, just looks like Dominus Ghaul.
But then it turns out the actual final boss wasn't the Ultima Weapon, it was your possessed ally from the adventurer's guild who became inhabited by some kind of evil other-worldly force called an Ascian. And then you fight him in the biggest anti-climax fight that there's ever been, especially after Ultima Weapon. But hey. Credits roll! There's also a sort of neat part of the credits where they just list the character names of literally everyone who played pre-A Realm Reborn Final Fantasy XIV. It's a neat way to acknowledge "Hey, we kinda screwed the original release of this up REAL bad, didn't we?" while giving the people who dove into the pool too early a little recognition for their efforts.
I expected this to be the end of the story I could play, since I have next to no interest in buying the expansions. However, in order to bridge the gap between the base game and Heavensward, the first expansion, Square Enix patched in a series of quests to players, as both a narrative continuation, and a bit of an upsell, like "Hey, there's still more, and you can see how it ends if you buy the expansion!" type thing.
Anyway, it turns out repelling a massive invading force and turning a corner of a region into a smoldering crater following the destruction of Ultima Weapon makes it a bit hard to stay in the shadows. In order to cope with the newfound political pressures, your adventuring guild/secret society decides to relocate from their home to a new place in the realm of Expansionland. While I could take or leave most of the writing, one thing I will give the writing team on FFXIV is that they do at least try to give in-universe explanations to most of their weird design decisions. I had complained to my friends about the zone where the adventurer's guild is not having a fast travel point, instead requiring you to fast travel to a nearby town and walk the rest of the way, and then it turns out the reason it's like that is the guild wouldn't do political favors for the town they were in.
It's things like that that remind me of me and my friends doing game design in college, going "That's not a glitchy effect, that's just interference from the main character's blaster messing with the projectors." when a professor asked why shooting a force field we had set up resulted in significantly more hit effects than it should've in a sci-fi game we worked on. It's also why while I may be getting a little tired of playing FFXIV, it's not like I'm not still enjoying my time with it. The issue lies more with me having a distaste for being forced to party up for main story content, which I realize is entirely on me. In fact, when I left off before writing this blog entry, the next quest is a boss fight against a new primal.