Main Story Sidequest
Against all odds, I remain playing FF14. Some days. For about an hour or two at a time.
Had I stuck with the Pugilist, I would have unsubscribed a month ago. Instead, I decided to try out the Archer and… I’m actually having fun. Usually. The mobility of instant-casts makes up for a lot of what I can only describe as the “jankiness” of FF14’s combat system. No attacks seem to have any weight to them – they are all high-pitched squeals and brightly flashing lights.
There is also an extremely noticeable delay in state-based attacks. For example, the Archer has a Kill Shot/Execute ability that’s off the global cooldown which triggers at 20% HP. Which is fine… except that it always lights up almost a full second after the target is below 20%. Combined with the default 2.5 second GCD, and enemy attack animations not being synced with their damage, the game feels like you’re playing with 250ms lag all the time.
I continue to slog through things though, because everyone talks about the fantastic story.
Know what I did on Monday? I /danced with some Sylphs to earn their trust. Then did some fetch quests for said Sylphs. Then helped out a bar owner, which involved talking to half a dozen people around the world to find out where a particular NPC went so I could return an earring. Then I helped the NPC make some liquor as a gift. Then went on a side quest to catch a traitor in the woods, ostensibly as something to do to pass the time. Finally, I found the the missing Sylph elder hiding (spoilers!) in another mandatory dungeon.
Best. Writing. Ever.
It really isn’t. I’m too committed to seeing this experiment to its conclusion, to see for myself if there is any redeeming value in playing FF14 for its story, to quit now. But I really, really want to. I have to imagine that SWTOR would be a better use of my time at this point.
Still, I shall overcome. With active, conscious effort.
Posted on August 24, 2017, in FFXIV and tagged FFXIV, GCD, Main Story Quest, Plot, What Am I Doing With My Life?. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.
I don’t remember it exactly now, but I do recall that ‘break’ in the main story to do that stuff. Wasn’t there good and fast-paced story stuff before that?
Overall I recall the main story in FFXIV going up and down; sometimes it was fast and interesting, and then it would go sideways for a bit (to give you a break or to be boring, depending who you ask).
Nothing has been good thus far. Granted, this has been the second time I had to work through the level 1-20 content (I rerolled on a new server after a break), but if the little Ifrit arc was considered fast-paced, then I’m in trouble.
The story tries very hard to connect grand, epic doings with the thoughts and concerns of little people on the ground. Typically, for example, you, the all-important Warrior of Light, will be made to comfort some wavering soldiers in the aftermath of a major foe’s attack, or randomly check on how the tavernkeep is coping… or go through the motions of earning the trust of the sylphs before you can get involved in dealing with their primal who is, after all, the tangible result of their worship. You’ll remember that unlike the Amalj’aa and the Sahagin, these are the guys whose primal you’re hoping to account for by peaceful means, so the quests try to reflect that. (They also introduce and anchor a faction you may choose to build rep and do dailies for in the future, so there is that.)
Honestly, I quite like the storytelling philosophy behind that, even as the longueurs and walk-over-there quests really get on my nerves, too. All I can say is that while the highs and lows pattern will continue, the maturity of the plot increases a great deal as you approach Heavensward and in HW itself. Fewer cute sprites, more politics.
SW:TOR, my first love, it ain’t, but then SW:TOR itself has leapt off the deep end in the other direction: a ludicrous inflation of the power and importance of the player character and very little side-flavour.
I remember that Sylph segment as one of the highlights of the story as far as I played, which was up to the mid-30s. It’s the portentous main story that I had problems with and from everything I’ve read, the way that finally “gets good” is to become even more portentous and overblown.
What I really disliked about FFXIV’s storytelling, however, wasn’t the writing, which by and large is at least good enough for video games; no, it’s the endless running back and forth between NPCs purely and very obviously to take up time. Nothing in FFXIV ever takes less than two or three times longer than it needs to. I’ve always felt the subscription payment model is no small part of the reason for that.
The running around really borders on self-parody. I’m not averse to MMOs that make their god-killing heroes occasionally pick up poop or whatever – a little levity and humility never hurt anyone. But, yeah, FF14 takes it to a ridiculous level with the “go talk to these six NPCs from around the world before returning to the start.” Especially considering how magic cellphones appear to exist when its convenient plot-wise.
The story stays pretty lacklustre until towards the end of ARR, it goes up massively as you get closer to Heavensward and stays pretty high from then on (still has the occasional fetch quests but nowhere near as frequently).
I’d forget running about everywhere and just teleport, you get more than enough money from the main story quests alone and you will get through them about 10 times faster. Be prepared for a lot of cut scenes though, the main story really is massive (45 minute cut scene on the final quest of ARR).
The storyline, class design, raid encounters and just about everything else really does get better post level 50. It really sucks that they can’t revisit the original levelling content and give it a do-over.
I thought the sylph storyline was just silly as well, you will however get to see one get round-housed later on if you stick around.
Playing FFXIV just for the story is probably not worth it. You’ll get a better story from pretty much any crappy novel or movie with much less effort. I honestly don’t know what people are comparing to when they say that FFXIV’s story is good. Even at its best, the “plot twists” (such as they are) and character development arcs are so simplistic and cliche that they can be seen hours beforehand. I suppose people just like the fact that it does have a main overarching story, instead of mostly independent quest lines as in old WoW etc.
For what it’s worth, and I’m sure you are tired of hearing this, I agree that it gets better at the end of ARR. Though, if you ever get that far, you should probably avoid HW sidequests, especially in Churning Mists. Damn kupo nuts!