Thursday, August 15, 2019

If I Can Help Someone Along The Way

I've been playing FFXIV all afternoon. Played the way I'm playing it now, it really is a delightful game, gorgeous to look at, fascinating to explore, very relaxing.

After my brief discussion with Pete in the comments to yesterday's post over whether it's possible to travel overland or by ferry to La Noscea from The Dark Shroud, I set out to ride my chocobo into Thanalan.

On my first attempt I didn't get far. As soon as I zoned into South Shroud I saw a bunch of quest markers on the map. I couldn't ignore the opportunity.

I'm thoroughly enjoying all of the side quests. Far from being the tedious filler many people take them for they seem to me to be the meat and potatoes of a proper virtual world. I get to speak to ordinary Eorzeans living their regular lives. They tell me about convincingly straightforward problems, the kind you might imagine any rural or scattered village society to be concerned about.

They ask me to do manageable tasks that make sense for a travelling adventurer to take on. There's no overarching narrative or portentous plot, no mysterious strangers who know more about me than I know about myself. No worrying secret societies trying to recruit me. Just some solid work-for-hire.

This, to me, is what an MMORPG should be about. A living, breathing world to explore and get to know and live in. Ignore the Main Quest and that's what you get in FFXIV.

I have no time for the MQ itself but I do like the way various perks and upgrades are acquired by means of what the wiki calls "Content Unlock". Now I've twigged that the blue symbol with the plus sign indicates an unlock I make for those like a guided missile whenever I see one.

In South Shroud I picked up one such quest that unlocked the abilty for my Chocobo to fight alongside me. That meant some backtracking into Central Shroud but it didn't take too long to complete.

From my first run back at launch I remember being very unimpressed indeed with the fighting ability of a chocobo. I recall it being basically useless. Not any more.

Fighting alongside me my chocobo seemed to do some very good damage indeed. Fights went much faster and I got hit less. I kept him out and pecking for the rest of the afternoon and I plan on doing that regularly in future.

I cleaned up a few more quests then I set off once again for Eastern Thanalan. As soon as I arrived I picked up more quests and got started. I placed scarecrows and killed Nannies for meat and picked flowers. It rained, hard. I thought it was supposed to be a desert.

One quest offered me spectacles as a reward. They were a downgrade but I took them and put them on. Style over substance. I love my characters wearing specs or shades.

Eventually the sun came out and the desert scrubland glowed. I ran into a Lalafel handing out Leves so I took them all and did them. They were Level 15 and my Archer is Level 32. They were easy and fun and they gave me plenty of gil and ticked the xp over nicely.

I even did the annoying one where you have to /beckon a merchant for a mile or so. I was cooking a pizza at the time so I kept leaving him standing by the roadside. I left him there while I ate and came back to find us all still alive with four minutes left on the Leve. I got him home with ninety seconds to spare.

After three hours or so I stopped to write this post. I could easily have carried on for a couple of hours more. I'm no wiser about whether I can get to La Noscea without using an airship but that can wait. There are people to help along the way and I plan on being the one to help them.


  1. That's what those blue quest markers mean?! In those times when I'm not powerleveling, I avoid them, because I thought they were MSQ.

    1. Ys, I had to look it up. FFXIV has about half a dozen quest markers that mean different things but none of them is remotely intuitive.


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