Returning to XIV

In my last post I talked about why I ended up leaving FFXIV. In this post we will look at how another game series led me back to Final Fantasy XIV a few months later.

In that post I mentioned how that was the final time I played the game on Playstation 3. I’d kind of fallen out of love with console gaming at that point, I bought an Xbox 360 around that time hoping to find something to play that interested and hooked me but I barely ended up using it and both consoles sat around gathering dust whilst I played 90’s PC games on my aging desktop and underpowered laptop.

I did still read gaming sites at that time, mainly looking out for news of Final Fantasy Versus Xiii which promised a return to the grand operatic nature of previous Ff’s (ha!). However at E3 2012 it wasn’t FF but another game, Watch Dogs, which stole my attention.

In Ubisoft’s stylish reveal, Watch Dogs, was shown to be a revolutionary open world game with a completely interactive environment, excellent graphics and intuitive and innovative controls and promised an engrossing and original story playing on modern fears of data protection. I think I discussed in an earlier post how for me story is key and the dystopian sci-fi plot really spoke to me. I would have watched this story as a TV series or movie (it probably would have worked better) and would have read it if it was a book.

On the strength of the above initial video and a few subsequent trailers I decided to buy the brand new PS4, which released in February 2014, selling my 360 in part exchange in order to pay for it. The console was delivered on 03/04/2014. The only problem was I couldn’t afford to buy any games once it got there.

Enter Final Fantasy XIV. Square Enix were releasing a PS4 version and generously allowing owners of the PS3 version to upgrade free of charge. There was a beta test for the PS4 version which started in February 2014 so I hopped on board as I wouldn’t need a subscription whilst this was going on. It didn’t take long before I upgraded to the PS4 version on 11/04/2014 and since this was the only full game I had access to on my new console I had no choice but to pick up my character where I left off and get to work on catching up.

It’s funny looking back now because I remember certain sporting events which took place around this time and those memories are linked with those of XIV. I remember, for example, that on the day of the Bahrain GP, on 06/04/2014, I was in camp bronze lake running up Zelma’s Run, ready to fight Titan. I also recall being in Coerthas when the UEFA Champions League Final took place on 24/05/2014. And I remember being in Northern Thanalan and reaching level 50 whilst doing FATEs as Brazil got humiliated 7-1 in the World Cup Semi Final on 08/07/2014.

Looking back at the dates of these events there is a three month period between the Bahrain Grand Prix and the semi final of the World Cup. It took me three months to do 15 levels worth of content. This would now take me about a week, possibly less, even if I watched all the story scenes. Of course at that time the game required you to grind a lot more than it does now. There was no newbie bonus or EXP boosting accessories. There was less EXP rewarded for each quest than there is now, and not enough quests to get from one level to the next. There was also a big gap with almost no quests between level 45 and 49 (this still exists but due to the extra EXP earned elsewhere is no longer a problem). The game basically required you to spam dungeons in those early months in order to level (I don’t even think there were daily roulettes at that point either) and due in part to my earlier experiences in the game I was extremely reluctant to do dungeons unless absolutely necessary.

It was for these reasons therefore that my progress may have been stunted. I do remember however that I finished the main story on a Sunday afternoon, probably the day after that World Cup semi final. The main story of A Realm Reborn finished with two eight man dungeons and these contained several long story scenes and I will talk about my experiences with those in my next post.

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