After playing Final Fantasy XIV for quite a bit I found my initial impressions about patch 1.9 changes to be inaccurate. Fortunately it wasn't inaccurate in a bad way, quite the contrary. I am finding myself getting more and more hooked into the game.
Before getting into all that though, allow me a side note (which is getting too common in my posts....):
Massively is doing a "Choose My Adventure" series with Final Fantasy XIV. If you don't what that means, it is like a "Let's Play" where instead of just reading about a players experiences as he/she plays through the game, the readers can vote on what should the player should do before the next post. So if you are curious how Final Fantasy XIV is from the eyes of a newbie starting on the game now, you can start reading it here.
Well, ok, technically that is not the start, it is already the 3rd post with this particular author. The first one was to choose the game (which turned out to be Final Fantasy XIV) and the second was to choose the gender, race and starting town for the character. The post I linked is him actually starting to play the game. :p
Alright, with that done, back to my own experiences with the game....
Last time I posted about patch 1.9 I was planning to slow down a little and catch up with my non-pugilist classes. Well, I did a slightly change of plans for a short while. See, when I did that post, Foundation Day was going on. That was an in-game celebration to mark both the game's release anniversary as well as the formal in-game introduction of the Grand Companies.
From what I understand of the game's lore the Grand Companies are sort of a legendary army that was created ages ago in each of the 3 city-states. However they all disappeared over time. Foundation Day marked the resurrection of those Grand Companies by some very respected people from each city state. Each one had their own reasons to do it though they all have the open recruitment of adventurers as a common trait.
During Foundation Day, if you had the levels for it, you could do a quest to meet the founders of these resurrected Grand Companies. Oh, you also earned double the Grand Companies marks while doing quests for them too. >_>
Since things were going so well I thought I could get some levels pretty fast a pugilist then get to meet those founders. Their profiles in the Lodestone, the official community site for Final Fantasy XIV, makes them look like very interesting people. The fact I could earn the marks faster to buy my permanent chocobo was also another incentive.
My mistake was thinking the event would go until the end of the month. When I checked to see when it would end it was already the day before the last of the event. By then it would be pretty much impossible to get all the levels required to do it. End result: I got my pugilist class to level 16 while all my other classes fell far behind.
I only hope next year I can get the chance to meet the Grand Companies founders though. Not sure if it will be possible since it seems with version 2.0 of the game a lot of the current stories will be gone or changed as a new storyline takes place. We'll see...
Still this wasn't a waste of time though. Besides getting the levels, it allowed me to test how the new levequest system works, to test the limits of my current gear, my abilities as a player and a few other things.
The first thing I found out is that now you can set up the difficulty of the levequests by raising the level of the mobs. This was something that already existed in a way before, but the different difficulties were setup for different group sizes. Now the different difficulties levels raise the target mobs by a certain level, regardless if you are soloing or doing it in a group. It still up to you to choose which difficulty you want to do it a though. If it is too hard you can go back and set it to a lower difficulty level too.
The interesting thing I found out is that as my levels got higher I was still being able to perform relatively well, even though a lot of my gear was starting to become obsolete. The battles became harder too though. To the point where if I didn't play my cards right I could easily die (and did a few times).
Another thing I found out during all that leveling up was that the rented chocobos aren't as slow as molasses as I thought. Sure, the permanent ones you buy from the Grand Companies can easily make them eat dust, but the rented chocobos still beat running on your own two feet. They, and the flying ships, aren't as pricey as I initially thought either. I've been earning more than enough through levequests, side quests and guild tasks to easily cover my expenses with those.
My other wrong impression was with the recipe revamp. There are still a few recipes that require items with a level far higher than the recipes themselves. I don't know if this was intended, something they missed or if it will be changed in a future patch. I also noticed the recipes for all the crafted jewelry is gone. Again, I don't know if it is intended to be like this or if it will be changed in a future patch.
The thing that bothers me about not having crafted jewelry anymore is that, as far as I know (which isn't much), there aren't any other places to acquire it. So you either make them with the old recipes, which should be gone by next patch, or find yourself stuck with the ones you have now without any prospect of upgrading them. If there won't be any new jewelry recipes it is possible they want to get rid of jewelry as a gear. If so they will probably give ample warning in advance, explain why they are doing it, give some compensation to players and let everyone give their feedback.
Guess we'll have to wait for the next patch notes to find out.
I think I am understanding how the gathering works better too. At least I feel like I am doing better at getting the materials I need. The fact I found a site. called Disciples of the Land, that tells where to find each material also helped. :p
Oh, I did do some catch up with my classes levels too! After Foundation Day was over I went back to my original plans. My main focus was on the Culinarian class as it was the only one of my crafting classes that I never touched. I brought it up from level 1 to level 10. A few other crafting classes that were below level 10 were also brought to that level. The War & Magic classes didn't receive as much love though. They are all over the place, with most of them being below level 10. This will probably be my next focus.
I also crafted some much needed new gear. However nothing that was relevant for my pugilist class. It will help my other War & Magic classes but I really wish I had the proper gear for the pugilist class. This way I could continue to progress through the storyline without much worry. There are also a bunch of sidequests around level 15 I took that I am avoiding doing until I get all the proper gear upgrades. Mobs from side quests are usually tougher so I don't want to risk.
Granted, I probably could just buy the gear for my pugilist class from other players but I just prefer to craft everything myself. It is cheaper plus there is that whole pride feeling of what you make thingummy. :p
Anyway, I probably said this before, but the game actually feels enjoyable before. Yoshi-P defined patch 1.9 as being 50% towards the goal of making Final Fantasy XIV a game that can be really considered part of the franchise. After these last days playing it, I definitely agree with him. The game is much better than on release day. Feels a lot more sane.
There are still a lot of rough edges tough, specially in the UI. But I am sure those will also be resolved in due time. 🙂
EDIT: Ops! Forgot to mention. There seems to be more people around lately too. I wonder if it is because of the announcement of the free play period ending in two months. There might be a few new players too. At least I did overhear someone's conversation, where one person claimed to be completely new to the game, coming from Final Fantasy XI. She was wondering if the game deserved all the bad reputation it had. The other person in the conversation was a guy who stopped playing back in release and decided to come back to check the changes. I hope both found something to enjoy in the game as it is now. 🙂