My Time at Eorzea, Week Two - Walls

Hi, I'm TFP. I spent another week playing Final Fantasy XIV - A Realm Reborn, and I figured I'd continue writing about it until the Twitch Prime trial ended. Last week, I became an adventurer, talked to a crystal, hung out with cool thieves, then became a ninja. This week, I did a whole lot more of the same, except this time with added base-game level cap hitting.

Try all you like, I'll keep writing these blogs.
Try all you like, I'll keep writing these blogs.

The main scenario started for the week, to my understanding, with a bunch of hidden character tests to determine whether or not I was a good enough person to take on the Titan, one of the Primals. The Primals are a bunch of older Final Fantasy summons that just seem to hang out in Eorzea and get worshiped as deities. A rather long quest chain involving running a bunch of errands for people until they all showed up at a party and went "Yeah, we were just doing that to see if you were a nice person. The way to Titan is that way."

The Titan boss fight itself is uneventful, but does have the problem of taking place on top of a pillar of rock covered in ornamental lava that makes the ground glow the same color orange as the AOE threat indicator, which makes it incredibly difficult to tell where you're supposed to stand to avoid said attacks. This resulted in me and my squad killing the boss right as I got launched straight off the platform, resulting in my rather hilarious death.

After that, it turns out the whole fighting Titan thing was mostly a distraction so the evil Empire of Garlemald, a bunch of people who look like Destiny villains could show up and abduct the leader of the adventurer's guild I'm a part of, while also murdering a whole lot of other adventurers. Bummer. The next leg of the story resulted in quests following three general directives. First, the surviving members of the guild had to find any ally they could, most of which centered around a church near a location called Camp Drybone, which unfortunately had nothing to do with skeletal turtles. Next, locating the location of said leader who got stolen by the empire.

Mostly your airship.
Mostly your airship.

The third thing sort of ties into the first two. In meeting up with the church fellows, I ended up running some quests for a dude by the name of Marques. Or at least, that's what he said his name was. It turns out his name is actually Cid, because you can't have a Final Fantasy game without a dude (or lady) named some derivation of Cid, for some reason. Also unsurprisingly, he's got an airship. Somewhere. Luckily, some friendly people up in the snowy region of Eorzea seem to have been looking after it.

Of course, by friendly, I mean almost maliciously unfriendly. Also having their own problems with some kind of dragon cult. Most of what this means is that there's a long chain of quests involving an innocent person being accused of being a dragon cultist while trying to figure out who the actual dragon cultist is. Of course, by the end of this, another queue for a dungeon involving fighting many dragons is involved, but finally, the people let Cid have his airship back.

Tell me about it.
Tell me about it.

Then it was time to actually use the airship. This meant picking up another chain of quests involving getting it ready to fight Garuda, a wind-based Primal located in a violent windstorm called the Howling Eye. I actually had to take a moment to look up why we had to fight this bird lady, and the reason seems to boil down to "I dunno, the crystal I talk to in my head told me to do it". So that's cool.

Anyway, one dead Primal later, and it was time to go rescue the guild lady. One Imperial disguise later, and it's done. The game seems to be crashing into the endgame at this point, which brings us to the main point I want to talk about in this blog post: The Castrum Meridianum and The Praetorium. Or, as I was informed as I was talking to my friends: The Wall.

Too much psych. Waaaay too much psych.
Too much psych. Waaaay too much psych.

After another week with the game, I have stopped bemoaning it for inserting mandatory dungeon escapades with other people. At least they seem important enough by the game's own narrative standpoint, even if I think the game's narrative isn't necessarily outstanding. As the base game started to crash into the ending, starting with the final non-dungeon related "boss fight", in quotes for both the reason of lacking a better term and also for said boss basically just being a regular enemy with a party of people beating it up, the amount of people necessary to queue up for these events jumped from four to eight. consisting of two healers, two tanks, and four DPS players. This already makes the frustrating queue times even longer, but, as informed by my MMO-loving friends, there was another reason this queue takes forever.

Waiting patiently over here.
Waiting patiently over here.

And that reason is "Nobody wants to do these last two dungeons". As relayed to me, because they're so important to the plot of the game, Square Enix decided to make it so that the cutscenes, of which there are many, are completely unskippable. This makes it far less likely for higher level players to queue up for the dungeons, because not only would they get very little out of it, but it would also take forever, preventing them from doing other things.

After doing some research, Square Enix has tried to make it more appealing by providing these dungeons with their own "leveling roulette", a system in place to give players who have out-leveled older content a reason to go back to help out newer players by raising the amount of reward they get for queuing up for a random dungeon. The roulette that targets these specific dungeons apparently give a massive boost to the rewards if higher-level players help out when compared to the general leveling roulette. Unfortunately, it still isn't effective, because the rewards just don't scale enough to the players it's trying to attract who are knee-deep in the expansions.

Which leads to what seems like the obvious question, as someone who still hasn't done either of these dungeons: Why are they forced to be multiplayer at all? The game already has a system in place for instanced combat arenas against "tougher" enemies, where your character is assisted by NPC fighters. If you're that concerned about ensuring the players get your story, why would you force them to get 8 people all at essentially the same point in the story together to do something that could probably just as easily be accomplished by one player and a handful of AI buddies? It seems baffling.

Anyway, queuing up for Castrum Meridianum is where this week's progress has left me. After about 30 minutes of queuing last night, I ended up with a party of four DPS and two healers before the major storm currently hitting the Eastern United States knocked out the internet in my area. If anyone on the Diabolos world or Primal server wants to help me out, that'd be cool. Besides that, if anyone has any hot tips, tricks, or topics they want me to tackle, I'm all ears there as well. After the surprise additional two weeks, I now have about a month left of my original one month free trial, so that's pretty cool.

Goodbye!
Goodbye!

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