Posted in Final Fantasy

FFXIV: Massaging an oily Hildibrand

Well, it had to happen sooner or later in Final Fantasy XIV: I met Hildibrand.

I didn’t go into this completely unwary and uninformed; I had heard of the legend of this bizarre character for a couple of years now and had made a mental note to do his quests if I ever came back to the game. Well, I’m back and am giving myself a break from the elves and dragons of Heavensward by running through some of his quest lines.

I wasn’t unwary. But I wasn’t fully prepared, either.

To those who haven’t played FFXIV, Hildibrand might charitably be described as a private detective who serves as comedic relief. More accurately, he might be described as some sort of LSD-injected Scooby Doo dream that will pretty much leave your jaw unhinged and your eyebrows permanently raised during any encounters. I mean, I thought I was inoculated against Japanese weirdness, but that country keeps on surprising me.

I ran through the first four quests (Patch 2.1) last week, meeting up with Hildibrand (or “Hildy,” as my guildies are wont to call him) as he begins the series dead in a grave but not really dead because he’s a zombie but not a normal zombie no he’s a GENTLEMAN zombie who is influencing all of the other zombies to dress and act well. Also, he’s not a zombie, he just thinks he is. He also has an ADD assistant who is, for some reason, obsessed with pumpkins and explosives.

During this introduction, I found myself absolutely flabbergasted and unable to fully process how I should feel about this. I mean, half of me felt like this was the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen in an MMO. The other half was strangely amused and even laughed on occasion. It’s just so… so… cheesy and cartoonish as it breaks the fourth wall of the game and embraces slapstick comedy with wanton abandon. I was kind of impressed at all of the expressions and actions that the devs worked into these cutscenes.

The running joke is that Hildy is a buffoon and a completely ineffectual investigator even as he somehow stumbles into success time and again. It’s not new territory (see: Pink Panther, Inspector Gadget, etc.) but it does give a different approach to this fantasy world. And the player is allowed in on the joke by enjoying the comments of everyone around this character who keeps calling him out on his inanity.

Although I really, really, really could have done without the quest during which I had to keep rubbing oil onto Hildibrand’s semi-naked body so that he could go for a dip in a one-foot-deep pond. Could have done without his comments, too.

Probably the weirdest thing about him is that he keeps striking these two muscle flex poses that are used over and over again (if nothing else, this game does love reusing poses). I asked a friend why he does this, and I was told, “If you got it, flaunt it.” OK then.

The rewards aren’t great, at least not so far, but I’m willing to forgo monetary compensation if I’m given a good story. And so far, at least I’m not bored with this jackanape.

4 thoughts on “FFXIV: Massaging an oily Hildibrand

  1. Hildy is….. definitely weird. I had much the same reaction as you — I thought I was inoculated against Japanese weirdness and found out that no, I am actually not.

    He actually isn’t really a thing you do for rewards — you just do his quests for the wonderfully weird story that is told. Eventually the quests stop having any combat at all and simply are all story, so you’re just along to watch.

  2. I should probably note though…. in the 1st series — the 2.x stuff, anyway — there is combat and eventually even a trial or 2, so it’s worth doing for the play too 😉 There are minions to get, after all!

  3. Minions, a dance, an outfit, and even the flex emote, to add to Pkudude’s comment! It’s 100% fluff stuff rewards for a fluff questline.

    I also came into this the same as you. I didn’t know how to feel about Hildibrand for the first quest series. I warmed up to him in the second quest series. Now I whole-heartedly encourage people to try them because they’re just some of the silliest fun I’ve played in an MMO.

    I think that Hildy quests, on top of some of the seasonal quests in FFXIV, really do teach players to sit back, enjoy and just let go. It’s almost like the devs are trying to make a point… trying to see how strange and absurd they can be… just because we sometimes take our games way toooooo seriously! Once I figured that out (some of the first seasonal quests in FFXIV also took me off guard), I was okay with pretty much anything the game has to throw at me.

    Also, just wait until you meet the rest of the Manderville family. 😉

  4. Keep going and eventually there is a big payoff in the form of a very unexpected battle (or maybe not so unexpected if you know your FFs).

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