Yesterday I was whining about the end of Final Fantasy XIV free-to-play (which was never intended to begin with, to be fair). It annoyed me because I have been in a no-MMORPG mood lately and felt forced to play to make sure I would still want to subscribed. Well, after playing the game today I am glad for it. I haven't had this much fun with Final Fantasy XIV since the game was released when everything was still new and shiny. Before getting into the why though let me just add a side note.
Before that announcement Yoshi-P wrote a developer's letter where he goes pretty much on what he thinks the nature of a modern MMORPG is and what are his plans for the future of Final Fantasy XIV. It is an interesting read and for those who are curious you can read it by yourself here. Now, I said this before and will say again. Even if I don't agree with the final product, Yoshi-P will have my respect for what he is trying to do. This letter cemented that feeling even more.
He is the type of person who knows what he wants, knows how to communicate it and apparently knows how to listen to what others are saying too. Also, big kudos for Square-Enix to be keeping up with their promise of keeping the channels of communication as open as humanly possible. For those who play american MMORPGs and speak english fluently this may not seem as a big deal. But as someone who played a korean MMORPG it is very easy to have the feeling that your suggestions and complaints aren't being heard, even if that may not true. The team of Final Fantasy XIV is japanese and I doubt most, if not all of them, don't speak english fluently. So there is a lot of translation work being done both ways to keep players and developers in touch with each other. Once again, big kudos to everyone keeping those communication lines open! 🙂
Alright. With that said, on with the show....
The first matter of the day to be taken care of was my gear. I have been wearing pretty much noobie gear since the beginning of the game and it was starting to get in the way of my leveling. Before patch 1.19 I was able to make myself some new armor at least but no weapons. The required materials were levels away from what I could actually gather. Buying the materials from other players was also pretty expensive. That was for the weapon I wanted. There was a slightly worse weapon I could craft but I don't think I had much luck crafting that one.
Patch 1.19 brought revamped recipes so the first thing I tried was to make that new weapon. Long are gone the need to do a dozen or so crafts so you would end up six components before you could actually craft what you wanted. Now there is only a couple component types so much less crafting to get those components. The components required are also much less specialized than before patch 1.19 hit.
Another thing I noticed is that crafting is also much easier. From what I read though the downside is that getting something with a High Quality (HQ) tag to it is much harder now as all components need to be HQ too. To me the HQ changed is not a big deal. Not something that should influence my gameplay.
Oh, and no more materials that are far above the level of whatever you are crafting either! So the crafting system is way more sane now. Now it just need that recipe book to be perfect... Perhaps with the revamped UI that should be coming sometime in the future they will add that.
I tried to make some new armor too just to move away from the potato sack look. I just made one shirt (pictured to the left) which had the possibility of using a brown dye on. That was another change that came with patch 1.9. Before that, to have a dyed piece of gear, certain components had to already to be dyed with the same color as the final product. That increased the required material complexity and all in all it was just a big mess. With patch 1.19 you craft the gear first then if there is dyed option you use the gear and the specific dye as materials and do another craft. It is a much more simple system and less aggravating system.
The problem happened when it came to get the brown dye. I wrongly assumed that the basic dye required could be bought off the NPC. That was not the case. I went off to check the Market Wards then assuming it was probably a crafted item. There only two of the damn thing and they were way too expensive. It was time to google it then and find out how to get it with my hands. Turns out the dye required for this shirt is actually harvested.
To summarize the rest of the story I went on a big goose chase trying to harvest it trying to harvest it due to me misreading the googled information. In the end I gave up. I figured brow clothes weren't that much an improvement over potato sack clothes.
All that wasn't a total loss of time though. I got my miner class to level 10 in the process. I also got to experiment the flying ship travel between the city-states. Like the rented chocobos it is a bit pricey for my perma-noobie pockets but I liked the the little cut scene of embarking/disembarking it. Yes, yes, I am a big dork. 🙂
I also bought a fishing hat (also shown in the screenshot) from a NPC in the middle of all that. Stat-wise it is not better that my current coif. In fact, I doubt it will be useful outside fishing. But at least it looks better than the coif. So it is something to use while running between places.
By the end of this little adventure I was itching to test my new knuckle weapons. My first test was with a side quest that pre-patch 1.19 I just couldn't complete. Back then my attempts looked more like my weapons would just tickle the mob while it ripped my head off. Today though the tables were reversed! The damage I did was what I would expect to do to a mob close to my level. While the mobs barely did any damage to me.
I had similar success with two more side-quests although the mobs did more damage to me on those. On the second side-quest I even died a couple times due to connection problems on my side and poison. Levelquests that used to give me trouble also went much better.
All that brought my pugilist class, the one I have the highest level with, to level 13. That opened another quest in the main storyline. Without going into spoilers, all I can say is it was friggin' cool! There were some plot twists I didn't expect, some pretty emotional moments and the plot just started to get thick!
The only sucky part is during the combat part my connection decided to act up. The lag was so bad that I couldn't even see the NPCs or the mobs involved on it. In the end one of the NPCs did all the fighting while I stood there hoping for my connection to get better. 🙁
Oh, well. Still it was pretty fun and this is was what I was hoping to see again for a long time. Next quest in the main storyline will only happen when I get one of my classes to level 18 though. Not sure if I will work towards it right now or try to level some of my other classes. Most likely will do the latter as I want to do some catch-up with them. Specially the crafting ones as I want to make sure I have level appropriate gear when the next quest comes.
In any case this was a very good playing session. I am very, very happy with Final Fantasy XIV right now. 🙂