In so, so many ways does FFXIV keep reminding me of Lord of the Rings Online (for the record, Hobbits > Lalafell any day). Back in LOTRO’s day, you couldn’t progress all the way through the epic story without hitting a few speedbumps in the form of group-mandatory instances or missions. Those were pretty annoying to hit because there weren’t great tools in place to help you find others on the same part of your quest chain, and eventually LOTRO revised its entire quest chain and got rid of them.
As I’ve discovered this week, FFXIV is fond of this approach with its main story quest, as I wasn’t even level 17 before I was slapped in the face with a quest that basically said, “Go run this dungeon with a full group.” That made me sit back and go, “huh,” because I’m not really used to MMOs telling me that I need to run dungeons before the end game, and particularly not as part of the game’s central storyline. And when I finished one, I was almost immediately instructed to do a second. I kept wanting to tell the game that I hadn’t even hit level 20 yet and I was unsure that it knew that.
Fortunately, FFXIV didn’t make it as difficult as it used to be in LOTRO. For starters, there’s a good group finder in place that got me into these dungeons in under 10 minutes. I’m guessing that the level syncing tech also helps to throw players together of varying level ranges, which opens the field of potential dungeoneers.
I can NOT be the only player who sniggers whenever the game flashes this “DUTY COMPLETE” message. All I can think about is that these four people have had a great collective poop and are very happy about it.
Purile jokes aside, the dungeon runs were more or less standard fare. Straight-forward and visually interesting, although I found myself getting tunnel vision as a lancer, focusing on a single target until it died without much thought about what was going on with the rest of the fight. Good XP, although the dungeons were a little on the long side — about 40 minutes, more or less. I might sound whiny here, but anything over a half-hour for a dungeon feels long to me these days. Especially for intro dungeons.
In both dungeons I got a really nice gear upgrade. The first one gave me a miniskirt, which both raised my stats while it lowered my modesty. Nothing like being a front-line fighter in a skirt that would look short on a cheerleader.
But the second dugeon spat out a really awesome-looking piece of chest armor that you can see above. Unless this is a super-common look, I might be saving it for glamours when I get to 50. I finally feel like my character is starting to look cool.