Sunday, August 18, 2019

I Was Looking For A Job...

Final Fantasy XIV continues to shine in the free trial version. I enjoy it so much more than the original, full version, the one I bailed on after the first month back at launch. I strongly suspect the same would be true of all major MMORPGs, were they only to stop taking themselves so seriously.

In large part it's the absence of the stultifyingly dull Main Story Quest. When I first played, the MSQ was a nagging presence dominating every aspect of gameplay. What with mysterious, enigmatic and frequently offensive strangers telling me who I was, where I should go and what I should do, endless overwritten cut scenes all seemingly playing out in slow motion, not to mention the relentless running back and forth, hither and yon, merely to hear a couple of lines of tedious dialog, it's a miracle I lasted the thirty days.

The MSQ still exists, of course. I'm just having nothing to do with it. Or not much. I've done a bit along the way. At half way through Level 33 my current MSQ quest is the Level 23 "Never Forget". Between that and the last MSQ I can theoretically take when I hit the free trial cap of thirty-five, there are sixty-five more stages. I hope to do as few of them as humanly - or Miqo`tely - possible.

Instead, I've been doing something I never did the first time round. I've been hoovering up every starter Job quest I can find as well as chasing down every unlock. When I was trying to play properly I did exactly the opposite. I was worried about losing focus and spreading myself too thin. I stuck to one class and fishing, nothing else.

Today I joined the Blacksmith, Armorer, Culinarian, Leatherworker and Fishing guilds and the Rogues Guild, too. I remember turning down the Rogues years ago on the grounds that I don't like thieving in any game and it might get me into trouble. I was suckered by the self-conscious seriousness of the Main Story Quest. I believed my character had a purpose.

I realize now that that's not how it works. Nothing really makes any difference other than having fun. The rogues aren't really rogues, either. They're just playing at being pirates. No class in FFXIV should be taken seriously. It's all children playing dress-up.

Talking of dress-up, I also unlocked Glamours. I'm sure this would be a fine system if I could understand it. I can't. I tried to glamour (I hate that stupid "u") my character's annoyingly short Brand New Skirt with a nice, respectable pair of Weathered Shepherd's Slops, only to be told "Base item cannot be lower than that of the glamour cast".

Seriously, why? In almost all MMORPGs I've ever played the best-looking gear is the low-level stuff. I would almost always want to overwrite the higher-level, overwrought fancy clobber with the simple dress of the common person. Apparently that's not allowed.

Or possibly I just don't understand how it works. I read all of this and lost the will to live.

Luckily fishing is a lot easier. I enjoyed it a lot the first time round and the moment I was accepted into the guild I took out my rod and bait and got to it. Of course, all my clothes fell off.

FFXIV has always had serious issues with clothing and partial nudity. Leaving the lubricious dancing catgirls aside for a moment, I'm not the first to notice the inconsistencies. There is no rational or gameplay reason for characters to be stripped to their underwear in public every time they take up a new career.

Yes, characters need to get new gear for their new jobs but the choice not to provide basic clothing as a default is one hundred per cent down to the peculiar predilictions of artists and designers. Not only is there no lore or in-game cultural explanation or excuse for crafters running around in their skivvies, it flies in the face of the evident social norms. NPCs don't do it so why should players?

It's a shame because in almost every other way Eorzea is a gorgeous and convincing virtual world. Making good on my intent to travel from The Dark Shroud to La Noscea by way of Thanalan I spent some considerable time questing in the desert. The skies were blue as a butterfly's wing, the sand glowed gold and the sun scorched so hard I could feel it on my skin.

At Level 33 I had no trouble buying a ticket in Western Thanalan for the ferry to Limsa Lominsa. Whatever prevented Pete from travelling didn't stop me.

I've always liked Limsa Lominsa best of the three starting cities. It's a thrilling seaport with a raffish air. You can smell the ozone. It's also a nightmare to navigate. It took me nearly half an hour just to find an Inn, which is how I ended up starting all those new jobs.

When night fell the sky filled with fireworks. I didn't remember that from any of the other times I'd been there. Rounding a corner I came face to face with a plethora of glowing paper lanterns. The Moonfire Faire was in town.

Well, the barkers and hawkers are. The Faire itself is in Costa del Sol. I was hoping there'd be transport but I couldn't see any. I'll have to take a run over there, see what's going on.

Always something new to do. The fate of the world can wait. Forever, for all I care.


  1. FFXIV does provide you with a set of starting gear, the gear you started the game with. You can keep that in your inventory and use it when you switch to a new job. Or you can use one of the other zero-level cosmetic sets that you get from events every so often.

    If you sold off your starting gear, there's a vendor in each of the starting cities which sells the sets for a few gil.

    1. Yes, there's no issue with having gear to put on. I did that easily enough. It's the designers' decision to make the default semi-nakedness that I have a problem with. The default should be normal clothing. Anything else is just weird!

    2. Oh, so I can glamour my Mi'qote starter gear and buy another set? Yay :) I was disheartened thinking I'd lose my only set.

  2. There's a ferry NPC who sends you directly to Costa del Sol or Aleport for a few Gil. It's not the one where you go to Thanalan, I believe he's right outside the fisher's guild standing at the dock there.

    1. ha! Thanks! I wasn't looking forward to runing all the way there!


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