We've started playing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn on the PS4 here at Short Pause, and we want to tell you, our fair reader, all about it! Every copy of A Realm Reborn comes with a free 30-day trial of the subscription based MMO, and we intend to put ours to good use. Over the next 30 days, we intend to chronicle our exploits in the land of Eorzea in explicit detail, regularly updating you of our progress and where we stand, before eventually delivering a verdict as to whether it's worth it to start paying for this game via a monthly subscription and continuing to play. Today, we catch up with Ben, and his Arcanist Donner Kohl, as he continues to grind his way towards a fabled airship pass of his own.
I'm not playing this game right.
As Kandy Kane and The Ammazon continue to travel the world, I'm still stranded in Limsa Lominsa without an airship pass. In a bid to try and join them as soon as possible, I've basically been running around Eorzea with Donner Kohl like a chicken with its head cut off. "Hey, there's an enemy! Let's fight it!" or "Ooh, people in this area have exclamation points above their heads!" I guess you could say I've been a bit of a lost soul; a novice adventurer caught up in the wiles and mystique of Limsa Lominsa and its surrounding areas. A rebel without a cause. A doctor without a patient. A raccoon wit.... *ahem*... As I was saying...
Last time we left our intrepid adventurer, if you remember, he was lying face down on the outskirts of the Zephyr Gate; a victim of a failed attempt at conquering a high level FATE. I left that battle obsessed with leveling up and getting stronger, with the thought continuing to linger in the back of my mind that I needed to catch up to my Short Pause comrades. Upon arriving at this revelation, my thought was that I can level up quickly by just grinding out experience battling monsters. Even though I was still a low level spell caster, I had a few offensive spells at my disposal, and I was now starting to learn healing spells as well. This gave me the ability to confront enemies slightly above my level comfortably; should I find myself in trouble I could simply cast a healing spell to recover and finish the fight. This is one of the great advantages of the Arcanist class, and I continue to exploit this ability as much as possible.
I even got bold and took on a Mossless Goobbue. Sure, he was quite a few levels above me, but I slew the giant beast as if I had fell a dozen before him.
This was a satisfying victory.
I've also discovered that Carbuncle is pretty bad-ass; a feisty summons who deftly charges headfirst into any River Toad stupid enough to cross my path. While my Wind-Up Moogle merely looks on, content to fulfill the game's cutesy quotient and seek out any other would-be Moogle pets with which to dance, Carbuncle is a fiercely loyal warrior, determined to protect Donner Kohl no matter the cost. Plenty of battles would have been far more grueling without Carbuncle's contributions. Thanks to the acting guildmaster of the Arcanists' Guild, Thubyrgeim, for the tip in regards to using Carbuncle!
As I grew in rank, it became clear that simply grinding enemies to level up was not the best route to follow. That leveling bar at the bottom of the screen was getting longer with each successive beast slain, and I could see my goal of quickly leveling up getting further and further out of reach. Logically, from here I decided, "Well, I better start knocking some of these quests out!"
I had been largely ignoring characters with exclamation points above their heads — the game's way of indicating they have a quest for you to complete — for a few hours as I focused on beast slaying, but I had been keeping mental tabs on where they were located. From the plains of Summerford to the rivers of Moraby Bay, I sought out anyone I could find who was willing to pay me for work. For hours I performed generally menial tasks for in-game NPCs, typically involving delivering something to someone or killing a specific number of creatures to either rid a citizen of a problem or procure an item from the animal. My plan was working, I was leveling up and creeping closer to being able to tackle the level 14 quest to obtain an airship pass.
Then something happened. I had taken a quest, at the edge of the Summerford area if I'm not mistaken, and in this quest, I was led to visit the Mist area of Eorzea. Mist houses the residential district in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, and it's a magnificent sight to behold in all of its sprawling glory. Tutorial prompts were popping up on my screen to teach me about housing, free companies, owning land, and other cool stuff associated with this. Visiting Mist, I realized there was so much about this game I didn't know; there was so much about this gigantic game and this enormous world that I had absolutely no clue about. It wasn't because the game wasn't trying to teach me or encourage me to explore; I just wasn't even trying myself. My singular focus was leveling up in the quickest way possible, and I was missing everything that was happening around me.
This revelation hit me hard. It was a figurative strike to awake me from my Final Fantasy XIV stupor. After this, I was wandering around one of the areas in or around Limsa Lominsa, and I realized I had no idea what I was doing or what was going on. I hadn't the slightest clue why I was doing what I was doing, other than to get an airship pass. I thought back to some of my earlier training in the game, and I finally remembered that NPCs with a red exclamation point above their head house story missions; I hadn't seen or participated in a story mission since I first landed in Limsa Lominsa. I racked my brain for a minute. I had just helped quite a few people around the area, and not one of them had a red exclamation point. I pulled up the map to see what I could find.
This brings me to a point of contention I have with this game. While my reading of it is improving as the hours progress, the map in the game is quite unwieldy at times. It seems to me that I should be able to pull up the world map and be directed towards the story missions at all times. But alas, this is not the case, as in order to find story missions you are required to scan the area while keeping vigilant watch for red exclamation points. I would love it if, at some point, we have the ability to pull up the map and immediately know which direction the next story mission is located. Luckily, I remembered talking to the acting guildmaster of the Arcanists' Guild early in the game, at which point she noted she would have some more tasks for me once my level was a little higher.
I found Thubyrgeim in the Arcanists' Guild, and sure enough, I was off on a story quest! I completed the quest — I had to kill a certain amount of creatures to show my improvement as an Arcanist, if I remember — obtained the loot I was tasked with finding, and then something happened which I hadn't seen since I first started the game: a cutscene started playing! Here, I met the incredibly gorgeous cat lady, K'lyhia, and after learning she was observing and assessing my budding Arcanist skills, I was bestowed upon with a brand new Grimoire, upping my magical abilities! Cool! I think I can get used to these story quests...
My next Arcanist quest is available at level 10 (which I'll be arriving at shortly), and I remain determined to catch up to my more powerful friends. Newly focused, I continue on my adventures, eager to see where the story takes me next.
Oh, and I think it's about time I got into all of this crafting business...