FFXIV: Hollow victories

lala0

Well, I did it. I beat A Realm Reborn.

I know this because I saw the end credits. So I guess it’s time to uninstall? For those keeping track at home, it took me about two and a half months of casual play — and not just a little bit of sidetracking with alts — to get to this point.

The big 2.0 story finale actually started last week for me as I hit level 51. The evil Empire created an ultimate weapon (what made it “ultimate,” I have to wonder?) and the good guys spent a half-hour moping around a table contemplating surrender. That is, until Minfilia and her inspirational midriff came in, gave everyone a little pep talk, and suddenly we were all at war. So THAT’S what she’s for! I’ve been wondering for weeks, now. It’s not like she’s shown any actual leadership or abilities other than getting easily captured in her own home base.

The whole climax of the story took place as a multi-pronged offensive against the Empire in an attempt to penetrate its key fortress and take out the ultimate weapon — which hadn’t been used on anything, by the way. They just kept in the garage to polish it, but here they have a fantasy death star and didn’t go on a rampage with it. Truly a waste.

Let’s take a brief intermission for a Lalafell that’s undoubtedly two minutes away from his own demise:

lala1

Lalafell are cute and full of personality, but this game asks too much for us to take them seriously as warriors. My three-year-old could sit on one of these guys.

Anyway, eventually I was queuing up for the big story dungeons for the finale, which was kind of exciting. I might be a little snarky at Final Fantasy for it’s strange choices, but at least it focused down on this attack and kept the pace going well.

I’m calling this post “hollow victory” for a few reasons. One, the good guys’ success was far too easy — they never showed anyone getting killed and as far as I know, every single offensive action was perfectly executed. It didn’t feel like a war; it felt like a paint-by-the-numbers cartoon.

But even more than that was the fact that I didn’t get to participate in any of the major end fights. The issue was that both big groups I got put with had obviously done these dungeons before, so they were speeding through them. Meanwhile, I got bombarded by a nonstop series of cutscenes, some lasting several minutes. So as I’m watching them (with my team’s blessing), my team is racing ahead and beating bosses left and right. That created the hilarious situation in which I’d get a cutscene introducing a boss with a long monologue, during which the boss would be killed by my team, so the second that cutscene was done I’d get a second cutscene showing the boss falling over. From my character’s perspective, they were just dropping dead at her feet for no reason.

lala3

By the end, I’d destroyed the ultimate weapon, axed Gaius, blown up the fortress, and escaped — all without using a single combat skill. Then the game decided that it would just switch into full TV mode with long cutscenes after long cutscenes. It’s usually at this point in a Final Fantasy game where I start to disconnect from it, because Square Enix can’t help but take an interesting story that has two feet on the ground and eventually transition it into slightly silly, quasi-mystical nonsense featuring Large Crystals. But hey, we won the day, so there’s that.

Then, as the end credits rolled, the game had to eat up a lot of time, so I got treated to the leaders giving the most redundant, drawn-out speeches. Yes, it’s a new era. Yes, we’re all united. Yes, let’s cross our weapons and hope that pistol isn’t loaded as you’re pointing it at the other leader there, Admiral. Then… a SCARY ROAR!

lala4

“Start wearing battle-appropriate outfits? Perish the thought!”

I’m actually pretty happy to be moving into the 2.x content — feels like I’m making progress of a sort. I know it’ll be a while until I get into Heavensward, but at least I have forward momentum. It even looks like the Scions might be moving their HQ, finally, to a place that I can port to.

I have a lot to do — the main story quest, some side quests (need to start on those Hilde quests everyone seems to gush about), keeping up with job quests, unlocking dungeons, and figuring out what I should be doing to gear up. I felt a little embarrassed that I had forgotten to do my job quests for a while, because when I did them the other night, I got a ton of great gear upgrades at level 45 and 50 that I could’ve used. Pretty much doubled my HP, for starters.

I’m excited to see where the story goes from here. And who knows? By summer’s end, I might be caught up with the rest of the crowd.

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9 thoughts on “FFXIV: Hollow victories

  1. lonomonkey March 10, 2016 / 9:09 am

    I was sadly expecting this post. Both endgame dungeons are farmed at this point for tomes by people like me who are working on grinds like the anima weapon grind. It’s a great idea in theory to give incentive to older player to rerun this content with people who need it and it works well for most other content but for these two it doesn’t work so well.

    The good news is that SE learned from that and they isolated big story fight for the rest of the content moving forward so that particular situation wouldn’t happen anymore.

    Hope you enjoy 2.X content. I know I did!

  2. Tommith Redfin March 10, 2016 / 10:30 am

    As a new FF14 player one of my free company mates told me you can watch the cutscenes later in your inn room (book on the dresser by the bed). Now when I do new content I just skip the cutscenes and watch them later. Allows you to keep up with the go-go-go crowd. Thanks for the post!

  3. David Bass March 10, 2016 / 10:40 am

    I’ll be so excited to read your 2.0 – 2.55 experiences… I made the unfortunate decision to rush my way through all the expansion content the week before Heavensward came out, and it really ruined my experience of Heavensward since I was pretty much burnt out by the time it released. Taking your time through it should be much more enjoyable (plus you have the advantage of being able to continue leveling through it vs doing it at the then-level cap).

    Good luck!

  4. SynCaine March 10, 2016 / 10:57 am

    Small but nice detail; they explain why the old HQ didn’t have a travel point.

    Also yea, the inn for the cutscenes is nice for those final dungeons, since people do rush them and its cool to at least see the fight. That said they are super-easy to rerun, so if you watched the cutscenes the first time, the second you can see the fights.

  5. Hugo March 10, 2016 / 11:04 am

    Almost feel like playing the game by reading your stories… Have fun with 2.x and maybe some day ill resub and catch up to you 😉

  6. Aywren March 10, 2016 / 11:11 am

    It’s always a sad day when I have to warn a new player that they can choose to either watch those cutscenes or get left behind… or watch cutscenes later and fight fights for reasons they have no idea of. These two dungeons were poorly designed, and FFXIV has never done this again since – I think they realized it was a huge mistake to toss long cutscenes of important story moments in a dungeon other people just want to farm.

    Anyhow, a lot of the characters get new outfits in Heavensward, so there’s that!

    I personally feel that once you get past the 2.1 patch content, they start to get in the groove of the story content. I have no idea what they were trying to do in patch 2.1, with making you go back to do guildhiests (which I had never done before that point) and older dungeons. It was just silly. So, push on into 2.2 stuff and things get much more interesting.

  7. pkudude99 March 10, 2016 / 11:41 am

    I just barely did all the 2.x to 2.55 content on my daughter’s a couple of weeks ago and I had to go back and do Qarn, but that was it. No guildhests, and just the one dungeon. What was jarring to me was that I was tooling along through the MSQ and I was level 52 and the next quest marker was red. I know I was overleveled, so… what? And I looked at it and it told me I had to go do the 3 Hard Mode primals for Ifrit, Garuda, and Titan. Completely out of nowhere. sure, I did them and kept moving on, but it was a bit odd.

    BTW, Syp — the MSQ will continue giving you blue-quality i90 and eventually i110 gear as you progress through it, so you don’t need to use the Market Board to buy the i115 stuff if you want to save your gil.

  8. Flimflamberge March 10, 2016 / 1:38 pm

    Two corrections about the Ultima Weapon! First, they didn’t make it, though they were attempting to replicate and mass produce copies, they dug it up from Allagan ruins. Remember the name of that civilisation, you’ll be hearing about them a lot.

    Second, they totally did use it! The big initial reveal of it came after you fought Garuda; they showed up and used it to absorb her as well as Titan and Ifrit. The first phase of the Ultima Weapon battle is all about you purging the thing of the Primals so it can’t tap into their power any longer.

    (Also, Main Story Roulette is a great source of Tomestones of Poetics, which are a great source of gear before you get into Heavensward.)

  9. Syl March 10, 2016 / 7:28 pm

    “Lalafell are cute and full of personality”

    SCREENSHOTTED

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