Monday, May 8, 2017

You're Not Going Out Dressed Like That! : FFXIV, EQ2, LotRO, SotA

The combination of GW2's latest Living Story episode and my running out of unused vacation days from last year put a somewhat abrupt end to the MMO juggling act I'd been keeping up for the last couple of months. I haven't set virtual foot in Norrath, Middle Earth or Aetherion (which is, apparently, the name of the world in Twin Saga) for over a week now.

Tomorrow sees the postponed Spring Update for EQ2, featuring, among other things, familiars and yet more free level 100 characters. The familiars are a permanent addition but the boost is a limited-time offer that runs from May 9th to May 22nd so I need to log every account in for that because free stuff!

Meanwhile, the tenth anniversary celebrations in Lord of The Rings Online are well under way. The keystone event there, a scavenger hunt, doesn't end until July 13th so there's not quite the same urgency. From what I've read, there's an awful lot of running around.

No-one told me I'd have to share the room. I'm going to be awake all night...

Travel in LotRo can be slow and difficult and Syp suggests that options for characters under level 40 are limited. Since my highest is only around 42 or 43 I might skip the entire thing and just read Ravalation's round-up of LotRO's first decade instead.

As for Twin Saga, I was going like a train until I hit level 50, then I seemed to run smack into the buffers. No idea why. Seems to happen to me in every Eastern MMO for no reason I can pin down. I'm playing every day, having a really good time, no intention of stopping and then one day I just...don't log in any more.

I felt really bad about killing these guys.
So did the NPC who sent me.
I blame whoever wrote the damn thing.

I did fire up Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn last night. That seems to be my current relaxation game, the one where I'm not trying to achieve anything in particular and where there's no timer of any kind on anything I might decide to do.

Mostly I just roam around the forests outside Gridania, the area known ominously as The Black Shroud, randomly slaughtering wildlife while jogging from FATE to FATE, all too frequently arriving just as the curtain comes down. I've been taking quests as and when I come across them but only if they don't involve any long runs in to the city and back.

I even did a few Guildleves. They seem to have been tidied up somewhat over the years. They were almost enjoyable.

It's a slow way to level but I was trundling along quite happily until I stumbled back onto the main quest path by chance. Once tasted, it's a flavor that's hard to resist. Not only does each step seem to provide a major gear upgrade but the xp is disproportionately large for the often minimal effort involved.

There's a good reason: to quote this handy New Player Guide, "With the release of the new Heavensward expansion...every main story quest has had its experience reward doubled". I thought I didn't remember it being this generous last time round. I wonder if they'll bump it up even more when Stormblood arrives?

Of course, climbing back on the main quest train means losing control over your appearance. Much has been written about FFXIV's predilection for cast-offs from Vivienne Westwood's wardrobe. I'm just pretending it's not happening.

Miss! Miss! The fetish club is this way!
I did get a pair of brass-rimmed spectacles from one quest. They have the wrong stats for the job I'm doing (Archer) but who cares? It's a pity you can only really see them in extreme close-up.

As must be evident from the illustrations to this post, most of my adventures in Eorzea seem to happen at night. FFXIV has one of the better night-times in MMOdom, I think, but unfortunately the impressive lighting effects don't seem to capture well in screenshots. Perhaps it's because I'm using FRAPS.

Anyway, FFXIV should continue to be fun so long as I can avoid getting swept down the rapids of the storyline. I might try a trip to The Golden Saucer or even this mysterious Palace of the Dead I've heard about. Both are available for non-paying scrubs like me I believe, although this being FFXIV, I dare say there are pre-reqs to fulfill before I'm allowed through the doors.

Last and probably least, while I was composing this I was also downloading Shroud of the Avatar, which has a lengthy "Free Trial (Test)" coming up. The restrictions are fairly extensive but you can at least log in and have a poke around for no money for three weeks beginning on the tenth of May.

It was a very quick download and a very smooth installation so let's hope that bodes well for the game itself. I've long been curious to take a look at it even though most of what I've heard from those who have has been lukewarm at best.

I'll probably give it a run this weekend. News as it happens.


  1. In addition to having fantastic nighttime visuals, there are some wonderfully ambient weather effects such as Tension which manifests when Odin is about to make an appearance. I took far fewer screenshots in FF14 than I did in GW2 or TSW, but those moments I did capture more often than not feature nocturnal weather.

    Subligars, though, are right out. Not sure what the obsession is with those things.

    1. I really love weather effects in MMOs. I'm a bit of a weather obsessive in real life, so I guess that's not surprising. I remember the sand storms from FFXIV as being particularly striking. I really should do a whole post on weather sometime...


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