So today is the day of the Endwalker prepatch, which means Shadowbringers is officially over.
It was a weird beginning for me, starting FFXIV in February 2019, staying for half a year, preordering Shadowbringers, then stopping to play at Level 68, so close to the Shadowbringers content that everyone had lauded so much. Not by that time, but the hype was real already. But the MSQ had gotten to me and around fall I simply stopped playing, to return only in summer 2021, basically 2 years later when everyone was already finished with the expansion.
I had managed to finish Stormblood in my 14 day free welcome back trial, then needed around two weeks to get through the Shadowbringers MSQ and to reach Level 80 on the first job and here we are now, 3 and a half months after I started, with 6 jobs at 80.
I think I did a pretty job catching up (and not wasting EXP as they’ll round down everything to just the current level), compared to when I resubbed:
Sure, the optimum outcome would’ve been getting a few more to 80, the 3 melee jobs to 50, and the casters to 60 – but I’m not complaining. I deliberately didn’t powerlevel and stopped when I didn’t felt like it, I’m happy with the outcome.
And so I just desynthesized all my belts, spent all my irregular Tomestones from the event, paid for a 2nd retainer which I can only create on Friday because I want a Bunny Boy and semi-cleaned up my bags. But it’s just too much stuff with leveling gear for all the jobs, so I guess another retainer isn’t the worst choice. Funny how I said I’ll cancel my first paid retainer once I sold all my mats, and then I bought all the Poetics gear for all jobs at 50, 60, and 70.
Anyway, this will be my first expansion launch in FFXIV, and I’m looking forward. I have no big plans, WoW is cancelled, and I even got a few vacation days left that I had to spend anyway. Not on Friday, but early next week.
A few weekend plans got cancelled (not that there’s exactly a lot to plan outside) and so I finally? managed to finish all my Disciple of the Hand quest lines – but I think I started early this week already. Eight times from the Level 53 quest all the way to the end at 70. I think the steps are 53, 55, 58, 60, 60, 63, 65, 68, 70. Some of them are easier than others, some are downright annoying to go from here to there and back again. And again, and again.
They really made them better in Stormblood. In general less travel and especially getting the mats handed to you and not having to buy everything from the market board as with the Heavensward quests. The quest chains are still long enough even without the shopping. Most were really fun.
The only thing left to do for me now are the Stormblood Disciple of the Land quests, all three chains – so I have no idea how much work they will be, but I plan to finish those up before Endwalker launches.
Also nearly two weeks since I posted a general update:
Machinist and Paladin are 80, Dark Knight is 65, Astrologian is close to 60 – and my current goal is to get the melee jobs to 40.
So, Endwalker got delayed for two weeks and I’m not really fussed I guess. Still so much to do and unlike other people I’m not eagerly awaiting the grind, but happily chugging along with my lowbie jobs.
Not that I am glad that it’s delayed, but I’m having fun as it is now, I did make some sort of progress though:
Machinist is really close to 80, Paladin has passed 70, the melee jobs are at 35 and the two big ones – both healers at 50 and all magic DPS at 50.
So Machinist should be no problem, Paladin is doable, and the rest I don’t really care that much – but with duty roulettes and other things, Astrologian might get some more levels.
Oh, and Blue Mage is kinda fun. We did some level-synced dungeons with tank + 2 Blue Mages to grab spells and it’s weird and overpowered and lots of fun.
This morning I got my 500th player commendation. I’ve kept the Battle Mentor requirements in the back of my head and knew it would be impossible to get there until Endwalker launches, but I have all the quests (1 each of Tank, Healer, DPS), 500 of 1500 commendations and 590ish of 1000 instances down, so it’s more than 1/3 but not yet 50% done. Not that I’m working towards this goal, but I’ve found it a good benchmark to measure your experience against.
When Endwalker releases this will almost surely be bumped up again, so you need to finish some max-level quests – either role-based again with 3 of 4 role quests needed like now or like it used to be in Stormblood and earlier (afaik), where you needed to e.g. finish the 70 WAR/WHM/BRD quests if you played my main classes.
My plans seem to have changed a bit since I wrote about hitting 80 on Dancer last week, as I did start to level all the jobs I hadn’t started, at least for a bit:
So Paladin is moving towards 70 with daily MSQ when I feel like it and Kojin/Ananta dailies when I have spares. Red Mage is working on Vanu/Vath rep. Scholar/Astrologian got a few dungeons in, mostly Leveling roulette and then whatever is the highest available dungeon. Machinist is doing the Pixie dailies and Alliance Roulette, Summoner is getting cheated by Scholar, as usual. Pugilist and Lancer are doing some dungeons, and finally I’m doing the Hunting Log on all the lowbie classes.
The “plan” is to get everything that is below 50 to 50, mostly to be able to get rid of all the gear and because I was actually nosy how they play. When that is done I will unlock Samurai as well, then it’s back to focusing on the higher jobs. Prio right now are Machinist and Paladin.
Also the mount farming went well, but we spent quite a few hours:
After our 50 odd kills to get everyone the Suzaku wolf we went to Tsukoyomi today and were kinda lucky, after 6 runs we had the few missing ones. Then we went to Lakshmi, where 13 runs where enough, then off to Susano, with 8 kills for the missing ones, and then to Shinryu where we didn’t get a single mount drop in 12 kills, so that will be interesting.
As I wrote I was talked into farming the Wolf pets from Extreme trials and we managed to get a few tries in while learning (it’s fascinating that you still need a few tries for a 70 trial even on unsynced 80 chars, but we weren’t a full party). The first 3 kills yielded 1 flute. Last night we actually did around 4 hours and I’m sitting at 35 Suzaku Totems, which means we did 32 runs last night, I guess. We were 7 people and we’re at 5 flutes, so just 2 people missing. If the drop rate continues like this, that could be another 14 runs, but we’re hoping it’s less.
Anyway, the fight is pretty fun, and we can do it in 4:40 to 4:50 most of the time now. Sure, sometimes someone messes up and dies, but for the most part it’s a simple dance that you learned. The others already got their Tsukuyomi drop but we’ll probably do a few more runs to get us 2-3 latecomers the mounts.
I’ve now also done the 3 NieR raids. They’re… interesting. And weird. Not bad, but if this was a normal fantasy MMO they’d look very much out of place, but it doesn’t seem to be too weird in a Final Fantasy game.
I managed to get to 80 on Dancer, that makes 4 jobs, and I’m focusing on Machinist, Paladin and Red Mage now, although not sure I can really call it focus for the latter two. Playing them, ok. Also trying to do some healing on Scholar, but mostly just the Leveling dungeon roulette. I’ve been diligently handing in my Wondrous Tails diaries and bought some Level 80 gear upgrades.
Also the people I’m running with are planning to do a more casual raid static in Endwalker and I might join. I’m not sure yet if on Bard or Warrior, but as much as I like having one character, in a funny twist currently it’s actually easier for me in WoW to switch between DPS and Tank than it is in FFXIV.
In WoW, my DPS gear is iLvl 236 and my Tank gear is iLvl 233, the major difference is the iLvl of the Legendary, 262 vs 235, most of the slots are shared, only MH+OH are different of course, and a few pieces (rings, trinkets) where I have better defensive stats on them, but I did tank Heroic SoD (and Nathria before) just fine with my DPS gear + 2 mandatory pieces changed + nice to have Legendary changed.
In FFXIV, my iLvl on Bard is 496 now, and Warrior is only on 456 – they don’t share a single piece of equipment (as you hit 80 you may still have the same earring). So in Endwalker that will mean leveling and gearing up 2 classes on their own.
We’ll see. Bard is fun, but I’ve seen my first parse from one of the NieR raids – 3 grey and 1 green. Not that I would’ve expected a lot more when I didn’t know the fights and just got some pointers via voice midfight, and died a few times, of course.
Yesterday I got roped into grinding Hell’s Lid for a bit to get someone their last drops for the Resistance Weapon upgrade (I think) but it was an awesome way to practice WHM healing and in the end I managed to ding 80 as well (after they helped me get the Four Lords quest line done). I might have been conscripted to Hells’ Kier Extreme now, but as they’d already wiped for a bit I’m kinda excited to do something that doesn’t simply fall over when you look at it the wrong way.
Also the plague has hit me (no, not the bad one, just the normal one) and so I piddled around a bit in the evening and this morning and finished all 8 Level 50 crafting job quests instead of doing something that needs attention, reflexes, or a clear head. So I don’t exactly know how much is missing, but boy do these take a while if you do 16-18 quests. Maybe I should’ve done them before I sold off all my spare mats. But I don’t think it cost me that much. Still a bit of Gil wasted. Guess I’ll do the full round until Level 60 then in one sitting another time.
And I finally finished the Shadowbringers MSQ, so technically I am ready now for Endwalker. I have a Tank, a DPS, and a Healer job at 80, all three have their basic Resistance Weapon, the MSQ is done. Everything else now are just personal goals that are nice to have. Well, except a good White Mage glamour, that’s prio #1 now.
Had a little discussion on Twitter lately and maybe it’s time that I write down the things that annoy me with FFXIV, as of course not everything can be great. I guess all my posts in the last two months were mostly positive and showed how much I like the game, so here’s a bit of the other side.
First of all, I’m 78.8 ish on White Mage and I don’t see any feasible way to level quickly now until I can do MSQ duty roulette again tomorrow. I guess I could manage the 3 Pixie dailies as well, been doing them on Dancer at the moment. I also did my dungeon “Leveling” roulette today, but there’s no real way to do anything but heal dungeons. Not even for a missing 20%. Mayyybeee FATE spam, but even those are hard to solo. Why o why do those damn side quests not give at least “ok” XP, I’m not even saying they should be good XP. Just enough to be worth doing. But the same is really true for Dancer. I seem incapable of finding activities I like that get me some XP. I don’t like PotD/HoH, I don’t want to spam dungeons. I like dailies, but there are never enough for a given level range, etc.pp.
While I am a fan of the Armoury Chest, it drives me nuts that I can’t filter in there and of course there’s not enough space to separate stuff in the four courners or whatever. I am honestly so annoyed right now, if this was WoW, I’d be writing an addon this weekend to just finally solve this problem.
If there’s a way to cancel a cutscene and be able to restart from the beginning, I’ve not found it (mostly when getting a pop). So either it’s not there or it’s one of those undiscoverable things.
Many people are saying they like how it encourages people to do old content, for example with poetics. But from the other perspective, why is it worth to me running the MSQ duty roulette every day, but only on the role that has the benefit. On my data center it’s feasible to check it every few minutes while playing and always queue as tank or healer, depending on the bonus. So much that it feels not worth doing it with the wrong role, and basically never as a DPS. I could use some variety here.
I’ve had a lot of fun healing for the first 70 or so levels, but the meta seems to have changed and the higher towards “current” content you get, the more tanks are doing the wall-to-wall pulls. Yes, even the tanks you have to absolutely spam heal. Not sure who like this, but it’s completely not enjoyable for me. Also you don’t actually learn to heal because I hardly can use a variety of spells or even dare to try to use them. I need to use the 5 buttons that I know will keep the tank alive, no clue if it’s optimal. No chance to learn, just run and spam. I’d actually say for me there’s currently no middle ground between “terribly boring” and “painfully difficult”. Maybe the only way is to read up more and talk to a White Mage main, but learning by doing with medium difficulty? I don’t see how.
The ingame map. Why does it have to be so horrible? Again, I don’t love the WoW map, but would it have been so difficult to let me zoom out three times via right click? Zooming in via left click works! And I get that not all major zones are connected, but why do I have to select Norvrandt or Othard from the menu every day? Why could I click on the Yanxia map to get to the Doman Enclave a while ago and now I have to use the Teleport menu?
Why are the Gathering Job Quests so horribly boring? Port around 5 times, then collect 10 of some HQ materials. Some are more terrible than others, but only the first one or two were “good” in a sense that they were at least new?
Why is it so hard to deglamour a piece of equipment?
Why am I a Storm Captain of the Maelstrom and the highest 8 ranks have never been put ingame, but also not removed from the GC ranks tab?
So yes, a lot boils down to maybe being spoiled by switching specs and being able to get some XP on Healers and Tank as DPS, like in WoW. But I sometimes like to do solo stuff and still progress. And yes, the last few points were a bit petty, but I didn’t even have to think hard about any of this.
Maybe I shouldn’t be comparing all the things to WoW, because overall I think the systems are implemented in a better way and WoW has structural problems, while FFXIV mostly has annoyances and systems that are badly explained. But many of WoW’s small annoyances can be fixed with addons.
And yes, overall I’m still pretty happy. I think I have one thing to finish for the last quest of Shadowbringers’ 5.55 patch, I’m very close to 3 jobs at 80, I am 90% ready for Endwalker and looking forward. But some things could be so much better, especially if you want to level in bursts and not trickling every day. WoW may waste a lot of my time, but I have the feeling I can optimize a few things a lot better.
After finally finishing the Ivalice raids (not a huge fan of the story, we’ll see on repeat clears about the raids themselves, but wasn’t impressed so far) I went to unlock Bozja and got my first Resistance weapon, the 485 bow Brilliance.
Then I actually had enough Poetics left to also grab the 485 Axe, Skullrender.
White Mage is very close to 77 and Dancer is nearly 76 so I guess I can start buying mats for those 2 as well. It’s nice that you can get those so easily, even if they are “only” 485 iLvl.