November 15th, 2018
|07:42 am - Recordkeeping: Final Fantasy XIV, Everquest 2 ONGOING|
So as you might've surmised, I've hurled myself into the deep pits of Final Fantasy XIV again. The game is very quiet right now, as we're deep into a post-expansion realm and most people have finished up the story mode for right now and tucked the game aside, but since I slept through all of Stormblood this is all new to me.
Actually, I'm not even at Stormblood yet. I'm leveling Summoner to 60 in prep for buying Stormblood. Summoner may be my favorite class to play of the several I've tried (Monk and Warrior, with dabblings in others) although I do love all the different class mechanics and gameplay. That said, Summoner gets to make their summons look like fuzzy little monsters called carbuncles (do not search that word without some kind of Final Fantasy tagging appended to it) and as they approach level 60 get to call more and more on the power of Bahamut the great dragon via a power called Dreadwyrm Trance.
Entering Dreadwyrm Trance turns your basic bread-and-butter spell into an instant cast and boosts the power of several other spells, so fights go from "engage, place damage-over-times, cast what's on cooldown, damage spam, manage pet's damage" to "engage, activate Dreadwyrm Trance BLAM! STATUS EFFECTS DAMAGE DAMAGE DAMAGE AHAHAHA AH'M NIGH-INVULNERABLE WHEN AH'M BLASTIN'!" followed shortly thereafter by the post-high comedown of "oh shit boss mechanics I am not actually nigh-invulnerable run run RUN AWJLF" and then you flail around until you can Trance again and start cackling insanely again.
Whenever the summoner is NOT in Dreadwyrm Trance, the summoner will be asking "When is my next Dreadwyrm Trance?" It's the closest thing to City of Heroes brand Scrapperlock I have ever felt.
At level 58, I can't even summon mini-Bahamut to Deathflare my enemies yet. Soon, soon. 60 is almost there.
So... it's safe to say that this is the first time I've really ENJOYED higher-level gameplay in an MMO. Usually I feel it gets overly complicated and unfun as the levels pass, but in this case it's so empowering and so delightful to ramp up into a SUPERPOWERED MODE and just start blazing away that it's revitalized my enjoyment of the entire game a bit. The game may suddenly feel like I've cross-classed into THE MIRACLE PIANO TEACHING SYSTEM but I'm really eager to start passing into the Stormblood content.
-- and of course, FFXIV is still FFXIV, there's still cutscenes and walls of text and NPCs I remember and love.
I've also been dipping back into Everquest 2. A friend suggested we try it -- no, I lie. The conversation went more like this:
Them: "I'm thinking I vaguely kind of sort of want to dip back into Everquest 2 maybe."
Me: "I HAVE ALREADY REINSTALLED AND MERELY AWAIT YOUR CHOICE OF SERVER."
I may have press-ganged myself into their experience a little tiny bit.
So we've been romping around my favorite decade-plus-year-old MMO, discovering new things (like which walls you can just walk straight up at a 90 degree angle for a better view of the zone) and learning old things and just having a great time. It's a vastly different style of game from FFXIV, but I'm not prepared to say either is better or worse.
Even better, with two people, their mind-slaved charm-pet, my hired mercenary, and a couple of familiars out we can actually make progress in EQ2's vicious open world dungeons. We're exploring Fallen Gate, you guys! Not the progression server, the actual dungeon! I'd never been in there before, it's dangerous as hell, but this is a dungeon from (as far as I know) the actual game-launch content that I had NEVER SEEN before. I'm holding myself back from looking up guides because so far there's been a surprise around every corner.
It's a very warm feeling, learning about all this stuff. Online games may be inherently finite, but they give me a sense of wonder that I haven't matched with anything offline that isn't retrogaming as hell. There's nothing like stumbling upon a piece of content you know nobody's touched in half a decade to give you a sense of archaeological discovery.
Plus Everquest 2 just dropped a new expansion AND FFXIV is about to have their Fanfest gathering which will tell us all about the wonders waiting in the future. It's a really, REALLY good time to be in love with MMOs.
I'm just delighted the gaming world is diverse enough to support both FFXIV and EQ2 AND other people's favorite games too, really.
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