There’s something incredibly fascinating when you find a game (or even a movie, or a TV series) which captivates you to a point where you feel a physical change when something happens. For example, when there is a cliffhanger is put into the end of a tv episode and all you want is to know more and more about what happened. Or if there’s an emotive section of a film which brings you to physical tears. For me; the launch and early access of Heavensward was so exciting that I couldn’t physically sit still, or think about anything else, or do anything else, apart from install what I could in preparation for that moment it would be available to play. It felt like I was waiting to get tickets to a gig I desperately wanted to go to, knowing it’d sell out in minutes, so I’m sat at the computer refreshing the page constantly until it gives some sign of life.
A game that can encourage this essence of anticipation and excitement seems to be rare for me. Sure, there are many games out there which I say ‘I cannot wait for’ or ‘I’m psyched about’ but that’s quite different than having such a happy, positive reaction to it. I can only think of a handful of games coming out in the next year that I am that excited for where this might happen again and that’s not even guaranteed.
With this reaction, I can almost guarantee and speak with confidence that this game, since my early documented adventures on it, has truly captured my heart. I have still only reached one level 50 character in the ‘main’ game, which is my Dragoon class. I have a Fisher, a newly levelled up Warrior and I started the Gladiator classes; of which I was hoping to unlock some of the cross-class abilities. I have this desire to continue levelling other classes, to try each one out, to improve and progress and become ‘good’ at the game. I want to experiment with all the crafting, unlock all the sightseeing points, find all the fish and learn to go ‘big fishing’. I have a desire to try and obtain as many of the minions and mounts as I can within my abilities.
None of these are actions I have to do, or which is mandatory to the storyline of the main game or Heavensward; not at all. In fact, a number of these projects I’ve seemingly taken on are additional quests, other tasks and actions available in the game outside of the storyline progression. Do they help with the levelling up of classes and characters? Absolutely. But they aren’t necessary to the point where you are forced to say, go around and find all 100 sightseeing points. Perhaps this is just how MMORPGs seem to work in the games world, perhaps there are always this many additional quests and items and skills to learn in every MMO out there; as someone who took on FFXIV as one of their first, it would be wrong for me to do any form of comparison at all… but to say what I see is something different. There is a lot to do in this game. There is so much more than I feel I will ever catch up with, especially as the development team are always adding in new seasonal events and new areas in patches.
In my last article, I was working towards my very first relic weapon which was for Dragoon called Gae Bolg. I am still technically working on it, having started the third book and only needing to do the dungeons in that one. I have felt since starting Heavensward that there hasn’t really been any need for me to continue levelling or working towards the next level of my relic weapon, although deep down I do wish to. I would love to say I’ve done my relic weapon fully, even if there isn’t really a need to. I’ve not discovered yet how to level up my weapon in Heavensward (perhaps because I have yet to finish the main story) but whilst I am still going, I’d like to take some time to do this.
In addition, I had progressed further with Marauder but had not yet made the skill level leap to Warrior – I have done this now, after levelling my Gladiator class to the relevant level. I have to admit, whilst Warrior has some neat buffs which I’d like to use on other classes, I have found Gladiator to be simply more entertaining in terms of combat and progression. Seeing as both are ‘tank’ positions and knowing that my skills as tank do need some heavy improvement prior to become really reliable in any form of dungeon or trial instance, I’d probably pick Gladiator over Warrior simply for efficiency and entertainment values alone. I found it much easier to get into the combos and the buffs/attacks for Gladiator and can easily return without worrying about deciphering what each skill is again. I’ve been talking about this as if this is unusual and I guess it must be; my partner plays as a Warrior and can’t understand my choice, plus when I am playing in dungeons and trials, the tanks within them are more often than not Warriors.
I also hadn’t quite completed the whole of the main storyline (which was from A Realm Reborn, and the relevant patches subsequent to the initial release) of which I have now. I would highly recommend making time to enjoy the cutscenes as they are nearly an hour in length (each) and they are really quite interesting. After all, if you’ve played through up until this point just to rush through, you’re missing such huge enjoyment from the game. The best part for me about just recently finishing the main storyline is that it is so prevalent in the front of my mind about what happened, all the drama and plot twists, so to then go into Heavensward and just straight into the next part is fantastic. I cannot imagine if you’ve been playing this game for many years, like so many have, whether or not I would remember the finer intricacies of the storyline. Reassuring, I could progress through and just understand everything that seemed to be going on with relative ease.
Since the last article, I’ve also made an effort to continue with my beast tribe dailies, finishing off and becoming trusted with the Sylphs now, in addition to the Amal’jaa. I’ve also started the Sahagin and the Kobold missions, with the Sahagin in the lead (as I unlocked further levels first) and looking to hit that trusted status in the next few weeks. So that’s two new beast mounts and minions that I will be able to add to my growing collection! With Heavensward now being live, there will be additional beast tribes added in soon on a new patch, so I’d like to try and get as much done so I don’t fall too far behind. With the recent increase of the allowances for beast tribe dailies (increasing from 6 to 12), I have started to make some serious progress, which I’m truly thankful for as it would have taken so much longer! I am also a little nervous to start my Ixali beast tribe quests as well, primarily because I haven’t started crafting with any class and there are far more levels to ‘trusted’ status with them than the current beast tribes I’m working on. Still, I’m not going to hide away from the challenge, so hopefully soon I will have some tales of learning to cook, or learning to leatherwork!
I’ve also altered the way my retainers work – I had a total of 1 retainer in the last article, called Buttstallion (a playful homage to Borderlands), but I’ve seen gotten a second called Snookums who was primarily a retainer I would send out on ventures. So far, the goodies from her Warrior adventures don’t seem to be really fascinating or intriguing in any way, but as she levels up and equipment becomes better, the rewards are slowly getting there. I’ve also started to store items such as food and dyes on this retainer, so I always know where to find them. With Buttstallion, I’ve kept her storage as primarily weapons and armor, plus anything else I happen to pick up along the way. I’ve only just started sending her out on fishing ventures, which has seen some good fish rewards (it seems fish tend to sell for decent amounts on the marketplace) which is quite reassuring. I hope to keep levelling her up and provide some tales of minions to you soon!
Wow; this has got to be the most progression I’ve ever managed in between blog articles, which just shows how much I have enjoyed the game so far. Well let us move on and start looking at the new content; the wonderful new and first expansion pack, Heavensward!
Heavensward is set in the fabulous lands of Ishgard and opens up more of the Coerthas Highlands – a snowy and seemingly war riddled locale. It also opens up really green and colourful areas such as Sea of Clouds and Chocobo Forest, which has been some of the prettiest places to complete missions. There are a whole variety of brand new enemies and bosses, as well as new dungeons. These areas are accompanied hand in hand with the new flying mount ability – which was something that was really incredibly exciting on the run up. You will have to complete a number of tasks prior to being able to fly – for example, you will have to continue the main story until you get the black chocobo mount, then ensure you’ve completed all side quests which unlock an aether current, as well as running around the map collecting those that can be found with the compass. Once you’ve attuned with every single aether current, you are then able to fly in that specific area with the black chocobo mount (or any other flying mount if you pre-ordered and got extra goodies) until you do the “I Believe I Can Fly” side quest. This then enables you to fly with your grand company chocobo, or even more hilariously, with your fat chocobo mount should you have one. The little details included in the game – such as changing the gysahl green on the rod to a piece of cake on the rod to get fatty to fly, is just really nice to see and shows how much time, effort and pride Square Enix put into the game.
I am hesitant to ruin the main storyline up until this point, in case anyone reading this has not got that far into it yet. So aside from the main storyline, there are hundreds of brand new side quests to undertake, new challenges, new dungeons and trials, new sightseeing logs, new clan marks (which seem to be the new ‘hunting log’ components), and of course, a new max level of 60! So there is plenty to do. I have really taken my time with the game, integrating loads of side quests at the same time as fates, hunt marks, beast tribe dailies and main storylines, which has seen me be able to continue the main storyline somewhat smoothly. I have heard from other friends that they have rushed through the primary storyline and have always been stuck grinding for levels to try and reach level 60, or to reach the next main quest level which is level locked. I am just not the type to rush; I just paid a considerable amount of money for the expansion on two different platforms (well, that’s a bit of a fib, as the steam copy was a gift from my partner) and I want to be able to take my time, really enjoy the environments, try each of the fates and get to learn the areas, rather than just storm my way through it. I have no financial incentive (all the minions I want to get are not worth the insane prices they are going for on the marketplace, and all the ones through traders I have). So, there’s no need for me to rush through, to learn crafting and sell as much as I can on the marketplace before everyone else… because I have nothing I really want to buy in the game as it is.
So to conclude on my adventures, I am at these class levels:
- Level 55 Dragoon
- Level 23 Gladiator
- Level 31 Marauder
- Level 34 Fisher
And other stats of interest:
- 2 Retainers; Buttstallion (Fisher) and Snookums (Warrior)
- 45 Minions
- 9 Mounts
- Trusted Level with Amal’jaa
- Trusted Level with Sylphs
- Recognised Level with Kobolds
- Friendly Level with Sahagin
- Never once won anything on the Cactpot (not including the Mini Cactpot, or Moogle Paw which I am a GOD at)