final fantasy xiv

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february 18, 2024

i had a few hours to spare still but i took the night off beforehand, as this warning speaks nothing of the emotional time investment needed afterwards

according to my achievement list i sat through the Bad Banquet in october 2016. of course Heavensward was out by this point and i'd bought it before completing the post-ARR story so upon opening up the game i was treated to a cool 2015 Best Spoilers Compilation (which is partly why i still haven't bought Endwalker). anyway this is usually regarded as the point where the story "gets good", though it's been a few years and things are fuzzy for me which is why i started this garrgantuan new game+ journey in the first place also that was originally a typo until i realized i could keep it and pass it off as a pun

i watch all the cutscenes with japanese audio because the english voice acting is bad. i hear it gets better in Heavensward but i briefly looked up a video of this scene in english and it's real bad and i don't want to sit through 45 minutes of bad. apparently in ARR hardly any of the voice actors were actually british, which usually would be a plus except in this case when they have to do british accents. Raubahn's original VA was great here but in english it sounds like something i can only describe as "a guy doing a raubahn voice"

unfortunately this means despite wanting to sit back and enjoy this like the movie it is, it's 45 minutes of having to manually advance dialogue. that's unless i want to constantly worry i'm not reading fast enough, lest i frequently miss something and have to pause to check the dialogue window. and the japanese dialogue is almost always totally different from the english so it's impossible to use that as a cue. especially when i don't know japanese

i enjoyed A Realm Reborn, and i enjoyed the patch quests. i didn't play 1.0, i never met her, but i can only imagine ARR was weighed down a fair bit by having to accomodate for it. any perceived slog this game's story has in the beginning i can forgive for it having to play cleanup. after the base game when it's for the most part done (re-)introducing things, the bulk of the responsibility of engrossing me stops falling to lore and exposition, and we can finally get to things happening. and there's a lot of things, and they're happening a lot

Alphinaud sucks in A Realm Reborn. i would have been annoyed if the Crystal Braves didn't turn out to be a disaster, and we had to continue putting up with this arrogant teenager, making a sport out of embarrassing outbursts during meetings. for some reason i remembered him getting a stern talking to at the end but it turns out it was just from himself, which is less fun

now i am a wanted man, and this being an MMO that would not do well to restrict what i can do and where i can go at any given point, i wanted to see if anything would happen if i went back and danced in front of military personnel. understandably every NPC i could talk to either didn't care, was secretly on my side, or only knew that the "Scions" were wanted, not necessarily that i was one. then there's this guy who knows i'm a Scion and could not have been closer to the action

new game+ is pretty restrictive with who it lets me talk to, and there's clearly a lot of work done to make sure their dialogue aligns properly with where i am in the story and what i've done. but sometimes things slip through the cracks and the quest NPC i just met for the first time who asks me to kill a boss, upon talking to them again will say "wow thanks for killing that boss again on HARD mode this time!" so chalk it up to that or whatever

ok here's the thing. it's "heavens-ward", as in toward the heavens, because one cutscene is like "the warrior of light traveled heavensward" or something and also because i can fly now and stuff. but there's also the Heavens' Ward which is a thing in Ishgard, but that's a totally different "ward". you say it differently than the other ward. so which is it. i mean obviously the first one it's just i've always said the second one so i guess i wrote this out to make myself feel like i'm not that stupid for it

february 22, 2024

finished. pretty short expansion

that was a joke, originally. but i have in fact since finished the damn thing for real. i was sick and got carried away with playing, because the video game is good and i like it. on the bright side getting to play Dawntrail on release now seems surmountable since downgrading my ambitions to merely being caught up story-wise as opposed to everything-wise

on the bleft (opposite of bright) side i worry i'm taking things too fast now. part of my reasoning for Chronology Quest '23 was so i could slow down and let things sit for a while. i think during Heavensward (my first time playing it) there were a few points where i stopped for up to a year at a time, then came back and had no idea what was going on in the story. it pretty much became a ritual for me every time i came back to this game to spend a couple hours reading a massive recap to figure out what the hell "Thancred" is

even replaying it now, i didn't remember much of what happened save for the bigger moments like Haurchefant teaching me how to smile or whatever. and there was one point where i started playing on a new day and already wasn't sure where i was at, having to take the big lorebook off my shelf and flip through it to remind myself. some people would say it's a blessing to forget their favorite stories so they can experience them again but not so much when it's a hundreds-of-hours-long story that's still ongoing

starting the Heavensward MSQ it was pretty quickly apparent it was in a weird middle point between the retroactively-streamlined ARR quests and when they actually started to tone down the fetch quests. also being able to fly off the bat was even better here because everything is so spread apart now. i've always thought this, when FFXIV introduced flying it really seemed like they thought bigger meant better. zones aren't even just functionally sparse, they're visually sparse. so many stretches of just nothin going on

i have my gripes with open-world games on a fundamental level. by trying to make worlds more immersive they end up making them less so by scaling things down and making everything seem small out of necessity. and FFXIV doesn't really have an open world, it just sort of acts like it does ever since Heavensward by way of continuing to have these very disconnected zones but now having them be Large

i didn't give myself any time to comment on the story at all because i was too busy gamin. i've also been taking far too many screenshots because there are far too many cool moments in this expansion, and because i've given into using the in-game screenshot button for convenience sake. so forgive the watermarks on every image i have a deal with Square Enix where i promote them and their game and they repay me via questlines involving moogles

i'll get up to 3.3 and finish off this pesky dragon war, and use that as a point to cool it on the story briefly since that's really the end of Heavensward, not that fake ending with evil pope jones. that's also where the first Encyclopedia Eorzea leaves off so i gotta buy the second volume after that because i hate having money and bookshelf space

it may take generations. it may take three patches

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