Hello from home! I had a nice time visiting Manhattan (for fun) and Halifax (for a family wedding), but I have to admit that after 10 days on the road I was pretty excited to come home and play video games while wearing comfy pants.
I have some travel thoughts that I want to include in their own post so let me just say one thing now: air travel is bad and airlines should feel bad. It’s been a while since I’ve flown on a national air carrier, and I was shocked at how terrible it all was.
Charging people $50 to check a suitcase is crazy and contributes to the mess of people trying to shove their whole lives into the overhead compartment, which in turn made just about every flight run late. On top of that, despite booking our flights together my travelling companion and I were informed at the airport that we had to pay an additional $300 per leg of the trip if we actually wanted two seats next to each other.
It’s bloody airway robbery, it is. And I’m not buying that whole “air travel has tiny margins” nonsense — the price of fuel has dramatically decreased in the last decade and the average airline ticket price has correspondingly been reduced by 75 cents. It is a shame that we have no other choice for fast global travel.
Okay, rant over. You’re on notice, AIRLINES. *shakes fist*
In less angry news, over the long weekend I finished up the level 50 main story quests which means I am officially in Heavensward! I’m actually quite pleased to only be a couple of weeks behind the official launch, and I’m pretty sure I can meet my goal of at least keeping up with the story patches that come out every three months or so.
Without going into spoilers, I am impressed with the quality of story-telling in FFXIV. There is action and drama. There are triumphant victories and surprise betrayals. I am actually excited to start the main story quests in Heavensward and find out what is happening with my stalwart companions and the terrible political machinations that are tearing apart the land of Eorzea. (I don’t think I’m giving too much away when I say that one of the main baddies is of the short Lalafel race, and every time they appeared in a cutscene the feller and I would look at each other and solemnly say, “That is a very bad potato.”)
Final Fantasy 14, a.k.a Stoic Nodding: the game
— Space Jerk Jessica (@heyitsliore) June 20, 2015
I mean don’t get me wrong — it’s still goofy MMO writing. Your main character has no voice acting, so the cutscenes have a lot of serious nodding occasionally interspersed with happy nodding or the even more exotic frowny nodding. It’s entirely likely that any given scene will end with every single character on the screen nodding in turn.
And the cutscenes… good heavens. Make sure you have a cool drink with you when you finish the level 50 story, because you are in for a 20 minute movie. I mean, the animations look great and the plot is interesting, but it still feels a little strange to take a short break in your MMO playtime to watch a film.
After opening up the first zone in Heavensward I was able to enter the city of Ishgard and quickly find the trainers for the new jobs. Obviously I had to try out the new healing class, Astrologian. I only had a couple of hours to play around with it last night, but it is very pretty and I have no idea what I am doing.
Astrologians have a number of spells that are similar to White Mage, such as a defensive cleanse and an array of small and large heals. However, the unique central gimmick to AST is the card draw, which lets you randomly select (draw) a short friendly buff every 30 seconds and apply it to yourself or a party member. For example, by hitting the Draw button once I could draw a “card” that will buff someone’s attack speed for 10 seconds. I apply it by targeting a party member and hitting the Draw button a second time. The random nature of the card Draw means that I spend a great deal of time at the moment reading mouseover tips trying to determine who could make best use of whatever I’ve just obtained. I imagine that will get faster with practice.
The Draw mechanic along with the supporting Arcana buffs, which are six different short-term buff options, leaves me with the initial impression that the AST is one of those support classes that will take practice and skill to play well but will be absolutely essential in any serious content-clearing team.
My only concern is whether AST can stand on its own as a healer in a small party. I love playing support classes, but they shine when they have a team to support, not when they have to handle sole responsibility for a corner of the holy trinity.
I suppose I had better get into a dungeon and find out. Until then… spin those cards!