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My Return of Sorts to FFXIV

Between all of the games I'm playing, I had an itch to pick up FFXIV again and see how the game has evolved.

I last played back in patch... I think it was 2.1? It was basically right before the King Moggle stuff came out. I played at launch for about 3-4 months. I did the first raid. I was in that stage of grinding for gear. The game sorta sucked in terms of content. It was rather a dull grind of the game long and rather boring dungeons.

Fast forward just under 4 years and here I am back in Eorzia.

First things first, I decided to play one of the newest jobs: Red Mage.

Red Mage are typically pretty interesting to me because they mix melee and casting. Having played for a few hour already, I can tell these RDM are far more caster. I'll write up some thoughts on the class in a future poast.

What I want to focus on today is the return experience.

I'm completely lost.

I logged in and had absolutely no friggin idea what I was doing. I had no idea where to go. I had no idea how to unlock RDM. I didn't know what any of my abilities did (on my 50 White Mage).

Returning to a game like FFXIV isn't easy, but neither is returning to any MMO 4 years later.​

With the help of some friends, I was able to figure out the very, very basics. I found out where I left off in the story, and I'm pretty much just questing through those main story quests (MSQ's) as I learn the ropes again.

I was able to get a Duty group for the Good King Moggle event.​ That was sorta fun to just jump right in and kill him.

According to the FFXIV Wiki, I'm a really... really... long way from the  Heavensward and Stormblood expansions.​ I'm on the Still Waters quest. That means I am exactly EIGHTY (80) quests away from the Heavensward expansion. 

The story is incredibly confusing. I'm not the best reader to begin with, and having so much unvoiced dialog is a little tedious. Add in the lore (which I don't understand) and the names (I don't remember and can't pronounce) and it's all a little overwhelming.

Do any of you play FFXIV? Can I skip the next 80 quests? Should I? I'm worried that I won't have the stomach to push through them. I don't want the game to feel like a quest grind where I'm running from one point to the next ad nauseam.

I'm feeling a little defeated knowing that I'm still hundreds of main story quests away from even the most recent expansion.​

What I really like:

  • Sense of story in the world (despite having a hard time figuring it out)
  • The quality of life changes like pushing a button to equip your best gear
  • Hardest content in-game is done with 8 people​
  • Novice Network (channel to help returning/new players) is really helpful. Reminds me of old school MMO people being helpful.

What I wish I knew more about:

  • How to get a house - is that even something to worry about at level 50?
  • Grouping for content - is it just queueing up in the duty finder? What should I be doing if anything?
  • Best way to tackle these MSQ's and level up (so far exp at 50 isn't moving at all on these ​7th Astral Era (Patch 2.1) quests that I'm doing.

I know this post was all over the place. Sorta matches how I feel about the game right now. I welcome our insight and help as I try and make my way through these expansions.

I'm quite intrigued by what I see so far, the Red Mage class, and have hopes that at max level the end-game content has improved since launch.

  • Unless they changed things, you need to grind through em.
    (That is also basically where I faltered in FFXIV, the mass of story quests that were below level and massively tedious but I had to grind through)

    • Getting past them is definitely going to be an exercise is patience, casuality (is that a word?) and perseverance.

  • Pretty sure all the main quest is obligatory. #1 reason I quit after the free month that came with the box.

    I enjoy FFXIV a lot more now I play on a F2P account, capped at 35. Played seriously, it’s one of the grindiest MMOs I have ever played, and in the worst sense of “grind”, too. Played ultra-casually it’s fun.

    • I’m hoping that I can play it to see all the content without a grind. For me these are the levels of play from most casual to most intense:

      1. Dabble – Might not even hit max level
      2. Casual – Hits max level but rarely does more
      3. Serious – Does all the content
      4. Hardcore – Does all the content quickly, cares about getting good gear and progression

      I made those up on the fly right now but I think that encapsulates my tiers.

  • Getting through the MSQs can be a bit tedious at times, but to me, the payoff in terms of story is incredibly well worth it, particularly leading up to the end of the ARR story prior to Heavensward. So, definitely keep on chugging.

    For running group content, you’ll hit the duty finder. Can be done solo, or if you have folks to go with you, you can still queue for it that way.

    Last, housing. Don’t worry about it. Personal housing, at least the last time I checked(it’s been a couple years now, so things may have changed) isn’t expensive on the low-end tier of personal housing. However, there always seemed to be a shortage of those houses, and what was left was crazy expensive by comparison. So I wouldn’t sweat that until you’re level capped and have a decent income.

    • Good to hear the story picks up.

      Thanks for the info on housing. I think I’ll just wait until I can actually make money. I have 200,000 to my name right now.

  • In terms of storyline, it is required — unless you want to pay to buy the story skip item in the cash shop, but I really think that it will make things more confusing to do that! I want to say that skips all of Heavensward, too. So if you want to experience that expansion, it’s probably not a good idea.

    Hang in there! If you just defeated King Mog, you’re getting to the point where things start to pick up plotwise, and the story gets more interesting than what you’ve done before (IMHO). You’ll see more voice acted parts, too, from here on out, which may be a big help.

    Red Mage is a great job – I switched to it, and there’s no looking back for me. It’s pretty straight-forward once you get the hang of the mana gauge, and a good job for someone coming back in at level 50.

    If you want a house, consider getting an apartment to try out the system (they cost 500,000 gil, I think). Or, if you’re in a Free Company that has a house, you can buy a personal room within the FC house for about 200,000 gil. Actual houses cost in the millions, and are very cool, but if you just want to dabble with the system, the FC room is the cheapest way to go.

    Good luck!

    • Red Mage does seem like a good job, and a good one to jump into as a new player. I do like the straight forward-ness. I’m a little worried it’ll become too prescribed. I look forward to seeing what happens with it as I level more.

      Good info on housing, thank you!

  • All of the MSQ quests award exp, if you are not getting experience that means heavenward/stormblood is not applied on to your account and you are currently level capped at 50, you should be about level 54 before you get to heavensward content.

    Also the story picks up after 2.3 with most of the MSQ voice overed after that point and the plot in 2.5/2.55 gets really exciting! and hyped you up for Heavensward

    • I’m getting exp, it’s just almost non-existent. 10 quests gave me 2.3% of my level. 😛

      Content being voice-overed is going to be awesome.

  • The post-50 MSQ up through the 2.55 patch does award a little bit of XP, but not much. Once you get into the 3.0 MSQ in Heavensward then the XP picks up a TON.

    I was able to binge my daughter’s character from the end of 2.0 through to Heavensward in a single weekend of doing nothing but the MSQ, but it was a couple of fairly long days and I skipped every single MSQ cut scene since I’d already seen them all on my main character. Even though the XP awards were small I still was level 53 or 54 when I got to HW, and as a result I was able to level from there to 60 in Heavensward using just the MSQ and no side quests (other than those needed to unlock flying) at all.

    Since the character is really just for her to fly around on, I didn’t “keep up” on the MSQ with it either, so with SB and her now wanting to fly around in the new zones (and swim and dive too) I started up again. Catching up the MSQ to get her in to SB took her to almost 62, and then the SB MSQ quests in the 1st 2 zones took her well in to 62, so she’s on pace to enter the 3rd zone the next time I play it.

    TL;DR — the MSQ is a lot of quests, but if you just focus on them it should take you less than a week to get through them. MMO’s are marathons not sprints, so what’s a week, right? And if you find yourself not caring about the story, by all means skip the cutscenes!

    • I totally 100% care about the story. I think that I should just power through them but still read/watch as much as possible.

      For me, FFXIV has to be at least 20-50% story driven. If not, I’m just playing a themepark gear grinder.

  • I mean, the MSQ is the best content in FFXIV, especially the later original stuff you are in or approaching, so if it feels like a grind rather than something enjoyable, I’m not sure FFXIV is for you.

    • It only feels like a grind in the sense that I want to get to the newer stuff that everyone is constantly telling me “is better” but I have a huge mountain in the way. One of the main contributors to my impulse buy was the “you’d be amazed how far FFXIV has come.” I want to get there! 😛

  • I don’t like the MSQ at all, and if I were starting over I would buy the items in mogstation to skip ARR and Heavensward MSQ without hesitation.

    Returning for Stormblood and not being able to advance due to not having done the patched in Heavensward content was such a burden for me. I only realised I could pay to skip it when I was already half way through it all, so I just buckled down and ground it out.

    On the XP conundrum, it really is a non-issue given that the fastest way to XP is PvP or Palace of the Dead PvE. Once you get past floor 50 in PotD, you can just keep repeating floors 51-60 for large amounts of XP every 15 minutes due to instant queues with no requirement for healer or tank.

  • There are parts of the MSQ from the original game that were clearly filler quests (to bulk out the long delays between patches) but I would say from near the end of the original MSQ and through Heavensward, the story becomes much more engaging. The only points of annoyance for me is that Alphinaud and Minfilia both need to die in such a horrific way that they can never, ever return and also the Crystal Braves plotline had me facepalming so hard that I nearly knocked myself out.

    If I could offer any advice though, I would say dont rush through the MSQ and ignore everything else. There are so many fun diversions along the way and its not a race. Try and find the Inspector Hildibrand questlines (very silly, funniest quests in any MMO), go mess about in the Gold Saucer, craft if you want to make some cash, run the side dungeons that are not MSQ linked.

    It is a steep learning curve to get back into the game but I got back into the groove after a few weeks.