Sunday, September 1, 2013

I Know I Don't Look Busy, But... : FFXIV, GW2, EQ

Thanks to Square Enix's ingenue startle at the prospect of someone actually paying them some attention at last  I really don't have much time to dissect the slew of hard news and scuttlebutt about various MMOs of interest that scudded across the media battlefield this week. The only day Mrs Bhagpuss and I managed to get onto Goblin at the same time was Wednesday and today and tomorrow are the best opportunity we're likely to get, so it's a choice between Play or Pontificate for the next couple of days and Play will win. Probably.

When I've been able to get in I've been having a rare old time in Eorzea. The world turns out to be a lot bigger than it looked from the maps in beta, with convoluted, layered topography and dense concentrations of interest scattered all over. Explorer heaven, at least at this early stage, and stunningly beautiful. The art direction is what really makes this world shine. Everything just looks right. The settlements have function, the NPCs have life, the views all have true perspective.

Towards Sunset
Day and night both last a long time and graduate. The way the light changes throughout the entire cycle is wonderfully subtle. The shadows lengthen, the colors change, all the good stuff. At night it gets proper dark and night-time lasts long enough to be uncomfortable. Wonderful.

Eorzea both looks and feels like an actual place. Many, many screenshots have been taken. It feels more like going on holiday than playing a video game, which along with the miserable log-in issues is probably while I'm still only level 15 in a single class while everyone else is thirty or more in many.

Outside of FFXIV so much else is happening on the MMO front, demanding attention it's not going to get, at least from me. The layoffs at SOE are worrying but can't really be unexpected. When Smedly said they'd been holding these off for a year my thought was "and the rest". Two, three years ago even, my concern as a longtime fan of SOE's MMOs, if not always of their handling of them, was how long they'd be around to play. It's magnificent that they've kept Vanguard running, that there are still seventeen Everquest servers, that you can still play a ten-year old iteration of that game on your Mac. Is it financially realistic, though?

After Dark
This is the week we find out. There's supposed to be a statement on the future of the MMOs in SOE's stable. Can't imagine it will be good news for anyone.

On to GW2, where neither profitability nor population would seem to be an immediate concern. The Clockwork Chaos update appears to have been a resounding success. The servers are popping and I say "servers" because I've been on Overflow as often as not all week. John Smith the innocuously-named in-house ANet economist poked his head out of his office to issue a warning of imminent market disruption.

Globs of Ectoplasm, everyone's bellwether of choice and already climbing fast from the rain of rares, jumped from 22 silver to 34 silver overnight. Not seen them at that price this year. I'm sitting on the best part of a thousand of them so Go Ectos!

Especially so since I'm unlikely to be taking part in the new tier of crafting that's coming and which is causing the price to leap. It looks insufferably grindy on paper. The detailed explanation in ANet's article is too dense and dull for me to parse but the gist appears to be a nest of time-sinks requiring both extensive gathering and farming but with the added minus of time-gating on top. And all to make a new range of pink stat items that I certainly don't need.

New Morning
At least I don't need them now. But look, what's that coming over the horizon? Is it a bird? Is it a Pact Copter? No, it's the all-new revamped Tequatl, landing in a swamp near you on September 17. Good old Tequatl. He's coming back as the Undead Santa with a sack full of Ascended weapons and minis of himself. I haven't watched the Twitch TV reveal yet but everyone was talking about it so much in Map last night it feels as though I have. Apparently he'll take eighty people to kill him (don't say the "R" word!) and he'll be so tough we'll get rewards just for knocking his health down because we won't be killing him very often. ANet devs themselves haven't been able to do it in testing (yeah, right...).

My Life With The Goblins
No doubt he's the first of many such revamps as we see the inevitable second year MMO power creep in action, this time without the benefit of the traditional expansion. Will Ascended gear become a requirement to compete rather than the affectation it currently is? Wait and see, but I smell gear grind on the wind.

Expansion. Now there's a dirty word. Or maybe not. This sounds like backtracking to me. Interesting that IGN chose to go with the "No expansions planned" headline rather than the more newsworthy "Expansions are definitely something that we’ll potentially look at in the future" quote from Colin Johanson. That seems a lot stronger than just "never say never" to me.

Oh, and the Super Adventure Box is coming back. Yay! Or not. Gives me the excuse I need to skip a couple of weeks. Let's hope Square get their act together sooner because I've got a date with Tequatl later. 


  1. I love that they kept the goblin model from FFXI. these scared me to death back in the days but it appears you found some friendly ones. :D

    It is a very beautiful game, that's for sure. I am grumpy with it at the moment and playing at launch was already a bad idea for FFXI - but over time they will polish and balance more things, so here's to hoping. I guess if I manage to borrow your potter's hat sometime, I might be back at some's going to be a long winter for me before all the 2014 releases.

    1. I only played FFXI for about a month but the Goblins were one of the things I never forgot and I was so pleased to see them come back. Even better, for all the talk of threat posed by pesky/evil Beastmen and their dreaded Primals, lots of the non-player races turn up around the cities and in the outposts as traders, questgivers and just as NPCs living alongside Humans, Lalafel and the rest. I love seeing the various sentient races integrated into the mainstream community i these worlds. Going to do a post about that if I get the time later this week.


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