FFXIV ACN / Arcanist 1 to 15

tl;dr: WoW veteran plays to level 15 in FFXIV as Arcanist, great experience (pun intended) - concludes that anybody trying out FFXIV should play to Level 15 with the goal of visiting The Hall of the Novice.

Getting into a routine with World of Warcraft (something I personally need; routine - otherwise I'll likely drift off to something else); as the prior blog-posts show: learning Tradeskill Master, learning 3D Modelling with the WoW assets, farming rare mounts etc... - all good: and then I lose access to my Battle.net account for a period of time.

I lost my first month of Final Fantasy XIV due to PC issues; learnt loads in the process of fixing it; all good - but now FFXIV, my 5th attempt to play, 2nd time on PC, 1 attempt on PS3 and 2 attempts on PS4; now that has definitely lost all hope ... until I can't login to WoW.

I'm 24 hours removed from logging in to a fresh character, annoyingly I didn't choose The Ring of Fortune - but I didn't find out until around level 10 - any lower and I'd have probably re-rolled; except I can't because this server rarely allows for new characters (I had to setup a script to watch the servers, and notify me the moment the server was open for new characters: this occupied the first 2 weeks of owning FFXIV!) ... a series of mishaps and misfortune are timed well enough that they keep me playing the game.

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I had to screenshot this; the name of the NPC and it's appearance couldn't be more mismatched... and it reminds me of something you'd see prowling around The Citadel in Mass Effect

Level 15: Milestone

So, having hit level 15... and just started The Hall of the Novice quests, already clued-up on what this meant (a good sign in itself; building momentum and learning the ropes outside of running around and tapping the number keys)... "this is a really good game" ... the thought washes over me and prompts me to write this blog post.

I've seen repeat-stories of people, either in YouTube comments or on Reddit, starting FFXIV but not sticking with it, and then drifting back to WoW most likely... first of all, there's definitely space for both games at this point - not just because of quarantine, but because of the unique state of both games: Warcraft is throwing all sorts of buff and catch up mechanics at the player - meaning your played time can be half as much and you'll get just as much out of the game ... so it's more than feasible to jump between both games and have a gainful experience, but most importantly, a good time... it's not that FFXIV is bad prior to level 15... but I can definitely feel a sudden Eureka moment once you hit 15; you've organically learned just enough to tune you into the frequency the game plays at - this is an invisible factor with games, but it's important... with MMO's it's critical.

Minmaxing XP Gain

If you're thinking about playing, or currently dabbling with, Final Fantasy XIV - I highly recommend playing on a preferred server with the Road To 70 XP buff... you'll get 100% more XP, which is huge.... 5000xp instead of 2500 is a big deal, and a huge time saver. I also have the Friendship Circlet which appeared in my mailbox, which is another 20% extra XP while under level 25... currently I stand in the Hall of the Novice, and when I leave, I'll leave with a ring that grants 30% extra XP while under level 30 (so when I lose my Friendship Circlet buff, I won't notice... I'll still be gaining +30%XP) ... minmaxing the levelling experience, for whatever reason, is a meta-game that I enjoy. Knowing time-spent playing in-game is giving the highest possible return on XP, not to rush through the game - I'm reading around 7/10 of the quests properly - and clicking through some of the more trivial-looking quests. I'm sure Square Enix' writers have put relevant lore references into the majority of the quests, and I might end up overlooking something "important"... but it's hard to see any of the lore as important when I'm really only 1 day into the game...).

Set Goals To Keep the Momentum Up

My other recommendation and this one is more important; simply: play to level 15, and have the Hall of the Novice as your goal for hitting level 15. It's easy to get dissuaded from playing if we don't have goals ... hitting the level cap is a goal, but it'll be awhile before you feel like you're getting close to it, so having smaller goals will keep the sense of progression alive, which is a fundamental requirement for retaining any player in an MMO.

I've set another goal for myself, which is to hit 30 for the purposes of completing the Maiden's Rhapsody 2020 event. If you're playing right now; take the goal - try to hit it before the event ends (June 22nd... plenty of time to hit 30, especially if you can hit level 15 with around 6 hours of concentrated gameplay... it's taken me 2 sessions, totalling around 12 hours, with a lot of alt-tabbing, watching YouTube here and there, doing work etc..).

Keeping It Real(istic)

I don't know how much momentum there'll be once I'm looking at hitting level 31... but I can say for sure, that I'm glad I've stuck with FFXIV - it's so developed and in such a mature state at this point, that there's little to be negative about during the formative levels. Compare and despair; just embrace the fact that Warcraft's classes are called Jobs in FFXIV (I think) ... embrace the fact that you can play 1 character, and undertake all of the classes (jobs...). From what I read, it's more common that players only have 1 character in FFXIV (which explains the curious subscription model; at the time I wasn't sure why you could subscribe and play 1 character, or pay slightly extra to play multiple characters...). Embrace the differences, enjoy them, and if you're compelled to wring as much XP out of the game as you can... follow the various steps I've taken ... I'm a novice, so the +100%/+120%/+150% XP bonuses that I've stumbled upon are probably not the only ways to get extra XP... but that doesn't matter because +100% is more than enough to make it fast enough that you don't really pause to feel bored, it just keeps moving...which is exactly what you need if you've not already planted your flag and claimed allegiance to FFXIV.... +100% xp is more than enough to keep your tentative allegiance to the game in-place long enough to have a fun experience leading up to 15, where I believe things start to click and the compulsion to play is galvanized by 15 levels of experience, resulting in an MMO you're up for playing with enthusiasm.

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Only FromSoftware can outdo Square Enix when it comes to cats ... it's hard to beat Persona's Morgana, but these "Coeurl" things come close 🐈

Warcraft Classic: Dwarves, Uldaman, Troggs - Dungeon Diary

If you live on the Internet, you've probably noticed many sites offering their premium services completely FREE of charge due to you know what... if you live in Azeroth...or more specifically Classic Azeroth, you've probably noticed...absolutely nothing.

That's right, no rest for the wicked, and if you're playing Classic, don't expect any shortcuts; if you're running Uldaman then you best believe it's Troggs and Warts'n'all - and I wouldn't have it any other way. Nor would these fellow adventurers:

Perhaps falling slightly short of what's needed for the mighty titan watcher, puppy of the pantheon, blue-eyed brian, mainly known as Archaedas… but, alas this dungeon is massive and spans 10 levels due to it's size, so it's unlikely you won't get a decent chunk of XP if you venture into Uldaman (not to be confused with Uldir, Uldum or .. Un'goro ?).

A bit of house keeping

Before we went in though, we had to get out quests aligned.  Viniki had gotten ahead with one in the Badlands, so we spent a little bit of time getting everybody back on the same page.  That meant finding a dead dwarf then slaying some troggs.

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The troggs are over there

The annoying bit was having to run back to Loch Modan to get the quest update, but three out of four of us have mounts now while the hold out, Moronae, is a druid, which means he has a travel form, so it didn’t take as long as it might of to get the quests set.

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Another week in Uldaman

The missing one was Agmond’s Fate, and it was another “collect a few things” quests, in this case it was four urns.  But like the power stone drops and the fungus, there didn’t seem to be many urns about.

It didn’t help that, once again, things were a bit busy outside of Uldaman.  We were not the only ones sheltering at home.  We did find out way to one quest objective outside the instance, a large stone chest.

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Well, we got this at least

But otherwise we were in competition with other groups for mobs and drops and harvestables and whatever.  The place was stripped clean, like the paper goods aisle at the store.  So the instance seemed to be our best bet.

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So dramatically lit too

Inside we followed what has become the usual path.  We cleared through the troggs, met up with the lost vikings, got the bits for the Staff of Prehistoria, slew Revelosh, and set up to fight Ironaya again, just because.  Seriously, we could just bypass her, but calling her out doesn’t take much extra time and we all live in hope of a nice blue drop.

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Fighting Ironaya again

I like that screen shot because Ula’s spell is in flight and because I got off a disarm on Ironaya, which always pleases me for some reason.  Ironaya’s revenge was to drop some mail bracers, and nobody in our group needs that.  Her chamber was, as usual, empty.

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Again, the paper goods aisle at the store…

I like that they went so far as to put cobwebs on the shelf to emphasize their emptiness.  I was hoping they might at least have an urn.  But we were denied.

We carried on, following the left wall mostly, taking down Galgann and Grimlok in their turns.  We bypassed the Ancient Stone Keeper and went from Grimlok straight to the Hall of Crafters.  It was time to get things cleared for the big fight.

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All those groups in there again

Here is where a couple weeks of practice began to pay off.  After all of the fights… and a few deaths… last week, we had finally settled on a routine that worked for us.  The rhythm for these groups was for Viniki to engage and get aggro and Moronae to call the target marker color the the current DPS focus.  Previously we had tried targeting off of Viniki or having me call the target, both of which have problems.  I use push to talk on coms, and mid-fight my fingers are sometimes too busy to get that extra key, while targeting off of Viniki can fall apart because he has to change targets to hold aggro on whole bunch.  But Moronae taking the lead on that made everything much smoother.

So we plowed through the three groups in the first room, did the golem event easily enough, then did the next set of groups, all without any major issues.  That brought us to Archaedas again.

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There he is

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Ready to start Archaedas

The whole thing nearly fell apart seconds into the event.  We started the event and then paused to make sure Archaedas would follow.  As it turns out, the doors to the chamber close and we just barely managed to squeeze out through them.  I believe you can open them up again, but I didn’t stick around to check and even if you can, doing so with Archaedas beating on your seemed like a bad plan.

And then, with Archaedas hot on our heels up the stairs to the golem room, he began beating on Skronk.  Skronk was losing a lot of health and Archaedas seemed to be able to shrug off my taunts.  Somehow we managed to get up to the top of the stairs and into the golem room and get things sorted.  The fight began.

On the plus side Ula, Skonk, and Moronae all leveled up along the way before we started this fight, so we were better equipped.  But being away from Archaedas’ room only slowed down the arrival of the first add.  After that it was the same routine, hitting Archaedas, swapping to burn down the latest add, then on to Archaedas again.  There was a question as to if we would know when we should go all out on him, but his shout of “To my side, brothers! For the Makers!” seemed to be the hint we were looking for.  We focused on Archaedas and were so very close as the big golems arrived and started pounding on me.

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Getting so very close

And then he collapsed and the fight was over.

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Almost over, one non-elite arrived late

Strewn about us were the corpses of many adds… though they seemed to fade quickly even as the fight was going on.  During the fight we pulled out all the stops.  Moronae hit Skronk with innervate part way through the fight and I managed to consume three superior health potions along the way.  Not a short fight.  So we lined up to take our screen shot by the fallen Archaedas.

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in Uldaman

That accomplished, it was time to run back downstairs to the treasure room.

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The treasure room has opened

I have to say, the treasure room in Uldaman is one of the biggest teases in the game.  You run into that room and see a giant chest and piles of gold and gems and what not, but what you walk out of there with is… not much.  You go through the final quest bit, get a bit of lore

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Ding! Your discs are ready!

The chest contained a couple of leather items, and Moronae only wanted one of them.  Our loot drops for the run were not great.  But we finished the instance, killed the boss, and got into his vault.  One last screen shot there, then it was back to Ironforge.

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The treasure is so bright we have a backlighting problem

Back in Ironforge, after a bit of run around, we got the real prize for the whole venture… a 14 slot bag! (Plus some potions to replace the ones from that last fight.)

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The best quest reward

And so we were done.  Viniki still has two unfinished Uldaman quests in his log.

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Urns and fungus

But I am not sure either is worth finishing up.  After three weeks there it might be time to move on.  Next on the list is Zul’Farrak, home of the famed Carrot on a Stick trinket.  I think I still had that and the Argent Commission in my trinket slots well into The Burning Crusade.