As soon as I left Ul’dah the game started to come alive. There were fantastic beasts, far horizons, and plenty to explore.
Unfortunately the weather went downhill rapidly, and my screenshots suffered accordingly – please excuse the dim light. As posited yesterday, I think it would be better design to start players in one of the small settlements outside the city (there’s even a cute one called Stonesthrow which is within…well, you get it) and work your way to the more established locales.
Naturally, we also get our first taste of combat: it seems pretty fun and looks nicer than your average MMO. There are great lighting animations to show sword sweeps and special moves, which I’m sure must be spectacular in mass group combat. The global cool down seems pretty mellow, so it’s a lazy style of attack. Having said that, I soon discovered that you can have weapon combos, which is a fun mechanic – time your second ability that has combo potential right and you deal more damage. I wonder how complex that gets, it could be quite a dance.
I’m not sure yet if there are telegraphs and dodging required from enemy attacks, so far it’s simple hotkey abilities and timing – my preferred style, I think, though I’ve not been exposed to much else. There also appears to be auto loot, I haven’t had to manually pick up anything from a defeated foe yet.
The minimap and map are very informative, though I was led slightly astray by what looked like a path to another zone along a railroad. Turns out it was a no through tunnel – the real zone links come from the larger red arrows on the map. Again a little surprised at how small the zones are before you need to load the next set of assets.
There are public quests or FATES in FFXIV terminology (the rather uncomfortable acronym Full Active Time Events), which appear as icons on the minimap. I was too low level to join any, but look forward to seeing how they work when compared to GW2. I was expecting to see people advertising for assistance in chat, but so far I haven’t seen a single chat message, whether in the city or the wilds of Thanalan where I’ve been exploring. I suspect that means I’m doing something wrong, though I haven’t changed any settings.
One final observation for the day is that the inventory system is very generous. I seem to have four storage bags with 140 slots total, plus a ‘Key Items’ bag for quest items, and an ‘Armoury Chest’ with 20ish spots for each gear slot. It even has a neat UI data visualisation of the spaces in your bags, and which slots are taken.
Quite a change from the normal MMO experience of eeking out precious space – it’s certainly a boost for the ‘one character’ philosophy!