I have this weird mix of excitement and apprehension over the early-access launch of FFXIV Stormblood this weekend. On the one hand, I’m always glad when the stars align and all or most of my friends are actively playing the same game at the same time. On the other hand, I’m feeling pretty apathetic about FFXIV and MMOs in general lately. Sure, I had a brief burst of enthusiasm after the last live letter when we got to see cool things like the summoner getting to summon MFing Bahamut. However this has been tempered by the usual mix of positive changes, nerfs, and sidegrades that mean I’ll be relearning whatever class I decide to main. Because of course I still have not completely decided whether to be a scholar or astrologian this time around.
I wish I could steal some of the excitement my friends are feeling about this expansion. The sad truth is that I care even less about the Garlean empire and Doma than I did about the annoying pompous elves of Ishgard. I’m cautiously optimistic about the underwater content that’s been previewed. If you have been reading this blog for any length of time you know I’m a sucker for beautiful sea creatures and underwater zones. The general consensus in gaming, though, is that underwater zones are really hard to get right, and a lot of people hate them. Hopefully FFXIV does them justice.
I’ve been playing tons of WoW lately and you might think that means I’m not excited about Stormblood because I think WoW is “better”, but you’d be completely wrong. WoW is currently scratching an itch that is more about nostalgia and inertia than any sort of compelling gameplay. In fact the most joy I’ve gotten out of it recently has been from ignoring what I’m “supposed” to be doing and just faffing about on alts. This makes me suspect that my return to FFXIV could be smoother if I try not to care about getting through all the content quickly and instead focus on enjoying whatever happens to capture my attention. Unfortunately if I want to capitalize on the brief time when all my friends are around and active, I’ll want to level quickly and be available for dungeons, trials, and raids. I don’t want to miss out on that all-important first-time-seeing-the-instance fun. That fear of missing out doesn’t mean I have to power level, because my friends are mostly adult people with jobs and families and things that mean we can’t all play for a week straight. It does mean I should probably pick one job and move through the leveling story with a purpose so I don’t get left behind.
There’s no easy choice for me between SCH and AST but at least I know I’ll still be maining a healer either way. And regardless of my apathy about the expansion itself I am genuinely excited to hang out with my friends and kill internet dragons or whatever their Doman equivalent is again.