Final Fantasy XIV Heavensward Log One: Finally

Final Fantasy XIV Heavensward Log One: Finally

I'm trying to write my initial Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward expansion MMO log in such a way as to minimise my time away from Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward. This is a good sign.

Early access for the first major expansion pack to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn launched on Friday, June 19. I finally began accessing the expansion pack content on the afternoon of 24 June, one day after official launch.

Yes, I spent nearly six straight days working through my backlog of Final Fantasy XIV story content, the completion of which is a requirement to access the new lands and jobs of Heavensward.

I loved every minute of it.

That arduous trek through upwards of 100 quests merely served to bolster my opinion that no other MMORPG does story like Final Fantasy XIV. I'd only finished the story from the original release of the game. The tale that unfolds through the post-launch, pre-Heavensward content is as intricate and layered as that of any major numbered Final Fantasy release. I'd only wish I'd completed it sooner, so the spectacular finale would have had more time to sink in.

My advice for those looking to return to the game now that the expansion pack is out, my advice would be to take your time. There's no rush to hop into the expansion if you've not finished the story -- outside of the new race introduced there's really no reason to. Savour those moments.

Final Fantasy XIV Heavensward Log One: Finally

My "Finally made it!" tweet received a response that sums up the early moments of Heavensward quite succinctly -- "prepare for the fetch quests." My first steps into the Holy See of Ishgard, a frozen, intrigue-filled city on the brink of both civil and draconic disaster, we're a bit of a slog. Go here, meet this guy, bring this thing to that person. For someone who'd been immersed in mostly meaningful story quests for the past week, the sudden return of "kill three bird creatures" tasks is jarring and tedious.

Eventually the player is given two tasks that will take them outside of the city, and things start to brighten up immediately. Well, I supposed it all depends on which task you undergo first. One brings you here:

Final Fantasy XIV Heavensward Log One: Finally

Another snow-filled land, much like the one we'd just left at the beginning of our Heavensward journey. North is cold. Well, at least North is cold on the ground. This land of the ice and snow is but one option. The other is a completely different sort of '70s rock reference.

Final Fantasy XIV Heavensward Log One: Finally

What's that, Heavensward? You want me to adventure on the back of a magical chicken through a series of Roger Dean's Yes album covers?

Final Fantasy XIV Heavensward Log One: Finally

This is something I will gladly do.

Sprawling, towering, hanging spires in the sky -- this is pretty much everything I dreamed of as a young lad listening to my brother's progressive rock collection in my grandmother's musty attic. If I'm going to have to collect the wings off of flying cats or investigate that massive flying whale seen in all of the expansion pack trailers (you can call him Biz), then this is the proper place to do it.

The tedium is light, assuaged by the new sights and gorgeous new music, and as soon as the story kicks back into high gear the standard quests are once more a lovely bit of respite from the massive set pieces and powerful drama.

What I'm really loving about the expansion pack is the way the older zones are being re-purposed. Rather than leaving them abandoned to the slow trickle of lower level players, Heavensward utilises these lands in interesting ways

For example, two of the three new adventuring jobs -- Machinist and Astrologian -- get their start via entertaining quests in older zones -- handy considering each new job begins at level 30. I'll have more on those two and the new Dark Knight class in a later log. Let's just say I've already picked a favourite.

Final Fantasy XIV Heavensward Log One: Finally

Beyond that, there's plenty of unfinished business to attend to back in Ul'dah, Limsa Lominsa and Gridania. One particularly clever bit of story took place in the dungeon of Hatalati, an instanced dungeon normally meant for a group of players, re-built into the setting of an extended solo story quest. What a brilliant way to re-use existing assets.

Obviously I'm early in here, having only seen one massive city and portions of two massive new zones. I've only just gotten my Black Chocobo and set about performing the quests and collecting the items required to grant him flight. I've reached level 53 -- I hit 51 while playing catch-up -- and outfitted myself in easy to acquire gear better than anything I'd had previously. I've barely scratched the surface of the new jobs.

That said, I've already encountered story hooks and new characters I know will keep my playing until the very end. The new lands compel me to explore every inch by land and -- eventually -- by air. I unlocked my first new dungeon about two hours before writing this log, and I cannot wait to see what lurks inside.

In fact I think I'll hop into a queue now. We'll talk next week.


Comments

    The story is amazing and it feels like a final fantasy game with a cast of interesting characters adventuring alongside you, progressing into unexplored lands and fighting the big bad guy in the forbidden place of forbiddenness. Even compared the original content and the patches thereafter, I have been more engrossed in the chain of events in heavensward than I ever was in 2.0+ (with the exception of the post xpac climax, that was pretty awesome). There is also so so much fan service without it feeling shoehorned in and the last trial of the story is just bonkers, go in blind and enjoy, do not read a guide

    I missed out on Early Access ( Pre-ordered the darn game atEB, only then to be told that they'd run out of codes...) but I've been playing a fair bit off Heavensward since it's official release. And it's awesome! So... much... stuff... to do...!
    It feels like FF14 felt at the beginning, where everywhere you turn you can see new places to explore, new quests to undertake and (most importantly) new stories to take part in.

      But this time with less teleport options.

    How solo-friendly is FF14? I remember trying to get into FF11 back in the day but the group component of it was very much required.

      FF14 is completely different to FF11 - you can solo pretty much anything beyond the dungeons/raids. You get access to use your chocobo mount as a companion and can tailor its stats and skills to assist you - make it a healer if you play a tank. Want to be a squishy mage? Then make your choco a tank bird and let him take the flack while you blast things :)

        Nice, that sounds pretty good. I might check it out.

          Jump on Tonberry server if you are an Aussie - technically a Japanese server but its the unofficial Aussie one. The one thing that is a pain is that due to latency you really need to invest in a 3rd party optimiser like BattlePing or WTFast - there are telegraphs on the ground that you need to dodge abilities, and with our pisspoor connections you think you dodge them but you will still get hit. The optimisers aren't too expensive, its like $5/month, but its a godsend.

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