I feel like I have always been a bit weird when it comes to MMOs. I like underwater content… pending I don’t have to care about breathing. I took the Vashjir path in World of Warcraft and I enjoyed for the most part the underwater sections of the Nightmare Tide expansion in Rift. So it is little surprise that I am really enjoying the underwater sections of Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood. I feel like they made a strong decision not to force us to screw with breath bars, and I love that they implemented surface swimming in lots of old world areas like Costa Del Sol. The real part that I loving is the fact that there are cities in giant bubbles on the ocean floor, and while sure they couldn’t help but make a slight Gungan reference during one of the quests about speeding us on our way… overall I am loving it. More than anything I feel really happy to be in love again with Final Fantasy. The rough few days at the start of this expansion really made me second guess whether or not I would actually get that magic back. For awhile now FFXIV has been a game I felt like I should play… but just wasn’t into. I would log in and go over to the Gold Saucer to play my daily scratch off cards… but then quickly log right back out. I has this hope that when the headstart began we would all get enthralled in the game once more and start playing it as our primary MMO. However in those first few days when it seemed like everything was shit, and we couldn’t move forward the MSQ… I was starting to doubt myself. I am thankful that I was not in fact wrong and I am setting dozens of happy people gobbling up content in the free company every night.
The only negative is however… that I am functionally one full day behind everyone else. That would not seem like much but it feels like I am habitually one full zone behind the rest of the crowd… or at least the folks I traditionally run dungeons with. Now because of the first timers bonus everyone is more than happy to help someone through a dungeon. Last night Void needed Xelphatol one of the 3.4 dungeons and I managed to get a sizable chunk of experience at level 63, so doing any dungeon content with the bonus is really worth it. The biggest problem I have is that I see all of the (!) icons and feel like I need to do them all. I remember going through the same problem with Heavensward and it taking one full zone before I finally realized that I should probably not do all of them and instead just focus down on the main story quest line. Now that I have shifted to a MSQ and unlock only approach I am starting to gain ground once more. At this very moment my MSQ is gated by the first Primal encounter, but I hit it at around 10:30 last night… and just didn’t have it in me to attempt to pull together a group to get it done. Today however once I get time I will probably do just that and get rolling again. All in all I am loving the expansion, and in truth it feels more “Final Fantasy” than FFXIV has at any point because we finally have a real danger in the form of the Garlean Empire. We had a few spats with them in A Realm Reborn, but that was functionally finished the moment we cleared the launch content… and while there has been a flirtation that more was to come we had not really seen it until the precursors leading up to Stormblood. Fighting against an Evil Empire is the core of the best Final Fantasy experiences for me, and I am super happy to finally have that feeling back in FFXIV.