I used to be a bleeding-edge-of-content type. At various points in my MMO-playing career, I’ve pushed hard against the wall of the most advanced content in various games at various times, and I’ve reached a point where I no longer feel the need to chase that. That having been said, I still love the sense of accomplishment of beating something legitimately difficult, even if I’m not doing it the fastest, or the hardest possible way.
Last night, we beat Turn 13, finishing out the Binding Coil of Bahamut in its entirety. Even at the expansion power level, the final boss isn’t a trivial encounter, and took us more tries to beat than the first section of Alexander (expansion raid content, which we did immediately after T13). Part of this has to do with how shallow the power curve is in FFXIV– we’re not looking at orders of magnitude of power increases for the most part. The other part is that the mechanics of the fight are very, very nasty. Even on “easy”, it will happily wreck you if you don’t know what you’re doing.
What I like about this pace of content is that it keeps everything fun. Sure, we’re not going to be the first to beat everything, but we can and will beat it all, and we’ll do it without burning ourselves out. The only time I’ve been fatigued with the regular raid we run has been when we were bashing our heads against Turn 9, and even that was much less nasty than the severe burnout I was feeling doing Naxx40 in Vanilla WoW, or some of the plane raids as they came out in EQ, or hardmode Soa in SWTOR.
this picture is titled “swtor-soa-bug-fix” which should tell you a lot about the frustrations with that awful, awful fight.
I think a big part of it is that I feel like I’m getting a reward that’s more than an item or a title or an achievement for beating a boss. I’m getting a solid, notable chunk of story. The cutscene following the defeat of Arthas in Wrath of the Lich King is basically par for the course for FFXIV raids; every Coil ends with a cutscene like that, and there are also a goodly number of equally significant ones scattered throughout the progression. I’m getting a big chunk of interesting story that means a lot more to me than a fancy new sword or a piece of armor that will be outdated with the next release.
Indeed, at no point while we were raiding Coil were any of the drops going to be relevant for us. They look cool, and that’s about it; we were never going to see upgrades out of there. I think it helped things, and made our experience a lot smoother and more fun. We did each thing as often as we wanted to, rather than grinding them repeatedly just to get drops to gear up for the next one.
As for myself, I got a little burned out getting my gear level up high enough to take on Alexander, grinding Law tomestones to get upgrades. I haven’t had the desire to log in and grind more dungeons, and I’ve been holding off on raiding Alexander on my own until I can see all the pieces of it with my team. I’m looking forward to new dungeons and new story quests to keep moving things forward, but in the meantime I’m branching out into a few other games. I may make a return to Archeage and muck about with that, although as mentioned before I’ve been fairly deep in SAO: Hollow Fragment.
After a fairly long period of being a bit uninterested in the games I had available to me, it’s exciting to have things I want to play again.