Progress Day: FFXIV, The Secret World, and Diablo III

fairy

Final Fantasy XIV

It’s been about a month-and-a-half now that I’ve been playing FFXIV as my MMO main and I’m generally pleased with the decision. Sure, there are annoyances and the whole game took some time to get used to, but now I’m in a nice groove and genuinely looking forward to logging in every night. I try to run my roulettes while pushing the main story quest further, and that seems to be working for me.

I hit level 35 or so with my Archer, which now became a Bard thanks to backtracking to do a couple of class quests and unlock my first soul stone. Final Fantasy has a passionate, inexplicable love of both stones and crystals in all their forms. It’s kind of a fetish that I think fans politely ignore. I hadn’t heard great things about the Bard, and after several levels with it and looking ahead to what future skills offered, I decided that this would ultimately be a disappointing track.

So I switched up and went back to my Arcanist. I spent my FFXIV time this weekend mostly leveling that class up from the low 20s to 30 in order to pursue healing with the Scholar. It’s weird that I can’t use the Arcanist to queue as a healer, so I have to wait until 30 to be able to do that with one of the class’ jobs. But I’m pretty happy with the decision to go this route, since pets and DoTs are always a safe bet with me. The only downside that I have to the class is the generally unsightly outfits (variations on wearing giant cones and puffy pants) and having a book as a weapon instead of something cool-looking. Then again, my LOTRO Lore-master used a book a lot and I was on board with that.

Last night I got my Arcanist to 30 and tackled the final class quest, which was a doozy of a fight that took me about seven tries to successfully complete. Nice to know that the game can be challenging in a fair way. Following that, I immediately went to get my Scholar soul stone, which apparently comes with Tinkerbell packaged in. It’s not the first game where I’ve had a fairy pet — thanks, RIFT — and as long as she pulls her weight, I’ll tolerate her presence.

Actually, I loved the switch over to Scholar. I jumped right into a guildhest and then a dungeon to give healing a try. Both popped really fast and the guildhest even gave me a nice bonus to rewards because there was currently a need for healers.

Having the fairy pitch in with healing was pretty awesome (especially since I only have two healing skills myself right now). Depending on how each fight was going, I could still toss out some DoTs to keep the damage going. I think I’m really going to like this job, although I’m a little dismayed that at some point I’m going to need to level the Conjurer to 34 to get the stoneskin cross-class skill.

youth

The Secret World

I’d been drifting back in the direction of doing a lot more Secret World, but this past week’s announcement of subscriber improvements actually helped to accelerate that process. I kicked my Secret Adventures series back into gear (as you have already seen) and wrapped up Blue Mountain in a couple of sessions. It was a great time and made me go, “Man, I have *missed* this game!”

So with newfound determination to get my playthrough done before the game’s demise some day, I joined a new cabal and decided to splurge on a grandmaster pack. The GM pack is going away this week and was on sale at 25% off, and since I knew that I wanted to sub up, I ran the numbers and realized that if I got more than 10 months of playtime out of TSW from here on out, I’ll be coming out ahead. Sure, it’s one of those long-term gambles that might have me kicking myself, but so far I haven’t had any buyer’s regret. Those new subscriber perks sound great (and will really help flesh out my AP wheel) and I like some of the loyalty rewards that will be heading my way over the next few months.

Now on to Egypt with my playthrough character! I also want to jump back into Yeti’s shoes and do the latest issue, both the 4 regular missions and the 4 side missions. It’s weird having two characters like this, and maybe one day I’ll abandon one completely for the other, but for the time being she’s all the way at the end and I’ve run her through most everything to date. Would be a shame to give that up now.

Diablo III

Diablo III’s been an on-again, off-again gaming experience. It’s definitely been enjoyable but it’s not always clamoring as loudly for my attention as my MMOs. I’m pleased to say that I’ve now progressed further than I ever have in the game, having wrapped up Act II and started Act III. I’m still experimenting with my build, but mostly I’m using strafe for my main attack complimented by a bat pet and three homing rocket-firing sentries.

The desert wasn’t totally my thing, but man I love the art and detail in this game — especially with the enemy mob models. I’m not quite sure at this pace if I’ll have everything in the season done before it officially ends, but I’m having a good ride and I suppose that’s what matters most.

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10 thoughts on “Progress Day: FFXIV, The Secret World, and Diablo III

  1. lonomonkey February 2, 2016 / 9:09 am

    That fairy heals so good, have seen it steal aggro from tanks 🙂

  2. Daraxi February 2, 2016 / 9:22 am

    I healed everything up to Alexander on Scholar without Stoneskin. Really not necessary. The skill I DID kick myself for not getting sooner was Swiftcast (THM). So useful for a quick in-combat rez.

  3. tithian February 2, 2016 / 9:28 am

    There are 2 ways to heal as a scholar:

    a) The easy way, letting the fairy do as it pleases. Highly inefficient.
    b) The hard way, macroing the fairy’s spells on your skills, giving you the option to heal 2 targets at once (with a MouseOver macro) or 1 target for twice as much. This also involves manually placing the fairy near your teamates since some spells are centered on the pet.

    Also resource management is mandatory, since the scholar’s are generally expensive.

    Finally, it’s highly recommended to wait until 35+ to queue as a healer, since at 30 you lack almost all tools for healing a group.

  4. Aywren February 2, 2016 / 10:01 am

    The 30s is when FFXIV starts to open up to you, so congrats on hanging in to get there! It keeps getting better from here on out (IMHO). You will also want to level Thaumaturge to 26 for Swiftcast as it’s very useful for quickly rezzing someone during battle. At end game, it’s a lifesaver (no pun intended).

    I’ve been learning how to heal on my White Mage lately (I do also have a Summoner/Scholar at level 40), and healing is pretty rewarding to me. It’s a different mindset from DPS, for sure, but healers are always in need!

  5. lonomonkey February 2, 2016 / 10:06 am

    So more serious answer. I main White mage (I think we’re even in the same guild? Greysky) but I’ve been healing lots and the question you have to ask yourself is how serious you are about healing and if you want to try the harder content like hard modes, extremes and other 8 man content. If you want to try these, then yes going after cross class skill will be needed at some point.

    -Swiftcast (Thaumaturge 26): This is really a requirement and even more so than Stoneskin. It allows battle raises and it’s a great way to get big heals out rapidly after certain boss attacks or someone making a mistake.
    -Stoneskin (Conjurer 34): It’s less of a requirement than one would think but it has it’s place in certain fights to help with certain attacks. Many bosses have predictable. phase switch high damage attacks and stoneskin can help with easing the transition. A few fights in the higher difficulty levels require it.
    -Surecast (Thaumaturge 8): This is more of a cornercase ability but it still has it uses to time certain spells with phase transition attacks. For example, you can make sure to land a big heal straight after Ifrit inferno but starting your cast before the attack goes off. Without surecast, you have to wait for the attack to land and then start the heal.

    Swiftcast + surecast can effectively allow you to time two big heals to land right as a boss attacks hits, on the harder fights this can make a difficult phase a lot easier.

    TLDR: If you don’t plan on doing extreme modes or harder content, you’ll be fine with only class abilities. However swiftcast is really awesome and I can’t see myself without it.

  6. Tyler F.M. Edwards February 2, 2016 / 11:23 am

    I’ve been getting back into TSW a bit the last few days, too. I’m less entranced by the new subscriber perks (though I’m certainly not gonna complain), but the new dungeon finder has given the game a new lease on life for me, as you’ll have seen if you follow my blog.

    Anyway, I think you made the right call on the GM pack. I’ve had mine for a year or so now, and never once regretted it. Excellent value.

  7. pkudude99 February 2, 2016 / 11:23 am

    Tossing my hat onto the “Swiftcast is FAR more useful than Stoneskin” bandwagon. Stoneskin has always been a bit iffy for anyone other than a WHM, and since Heavensward came last year and nerfed the WHM version of it (WHM used to have a job trait that made it a 19% shield, instead of “only” 10% like it is for everyone now) it’s actually considered by the “elite of the elite” (on reddit, anyway) to be a complete waste of mana 99.8% of the time. Swiftcast + Resurrection, though……. yeah, that’s a macro you want.

    Fun fact — Summoner can also use Swiftcast + Resurrection during combat, and if you do that your healers will love you since Rez is a HUGE mana cost, so when you save them the need for that, it’s a big boon to the group. Plus SMN has no mana problems, so it really doesn’t hurt you at all to do it, just an 80 potency Ruin cast which isn’t a big deal at all.

    Anyway… as a scholar, popping a SS and an Adloquium on the tank before a pull can give you the space you need to be able to cast 3 dots and Bane them to the entire trash group while in Cleric Stance for a big dps boost to your team before needing to drop out of CS and start healing in earnest, so it’s not a bad thing to have. On the other hand, a good tank who’s rotating his cooldowns properly won’t need the SS, and will be just fine with just the Adlo or even nothing at all. . . .

    Also as a semi-reply to Tithian up there — I’ve always found that it’s best to keep control of Eos when using that fairy, but that you can leave Selene on Sic without any noticeable loss of efficiency. Eos you want to control when she’s tossing her AE heal and defensive buffs, though, else you do lose a ton of efficiency with her. I’ve never really used Eos much — Selene has always been just fine for me.

  8. Syp February 2, 2016 / 2:40 pm

    Thanks for all of the Scholar advice! That’s all really good to know.

  9. Dahakha February 4, 2016 / 4:58 am

    To make up for my Arcanist wielding a book instead of something more impressive, I always imagine she shouts “stand back! I’m going to try science!” at the start of every combat.

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