Final Fantasy IV wasn’t the Ticket
I was hoping, more like praying, that FFXIV would fill the void. It did for a short period of time. It’s a gorgeous game! I enjoyed the crafting and promise of player housing. My class quests were VERY interesting and fun. The main storyline quests are too. Unfortunately, that’s not the vast majority of leveling content and the rest is an utter bore. Ugh, so uninspired. The WORSE ESCORT QUESTS OF ALL TIME!! Escort quests are bad enough with NPCs who are in dire trouble yet walk slowly and deliberately into every dangerous mob they can find. FFXIV takes the cake however, because the NPC requires you to use the beckon emote every few steps to make them follow you. OMG, who thought that was a good idea??? I’ve done way too many emote quests, some back to back which makes me feel like they couldn’t even bother.
Fates had so much promise but they are the watered down budget basement implementation of what started in WAR and was refined in Rift. For the most part, there’s little to no strategy. Large amounts of NPCs attacking in hordes where they are each easily solo’d. There’s absolutely no challenge for ranged classes. If don’t cast spells the second one spawns, it’s usually dead before your 1.5 second cast timer completes. Hooray for [Tab] spamming DOTs. Fates were so meh, I avoided them along with all escort quests that didn’t prevent me from progressing in a storyline.
Besides the main story and class quests, the instances were very good. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough of them and wait times are too long to use them as a source for the other XP you need. A less than stellar launch combined with these other issues, I bailed at level 35/20 on my Arcanist.
Returning to the Scene of the Crime
I feel burned out on my favorite gaming genre. In the 5 years since I retired from WOW, I’ve played every AAA fantasy title and have only lasted to end game in two. In Rift I completed two max level characters and ran T2 dungeons on one. I have two max level characters in GW2. I completed all the story mode dungeons on one, 5 max level crafting professions and some adventure mode dungeons on the 2nd max character. And that’s it. The rest of the MMOs I’ve played all fell short of expectation before hitting max level. WAR was close but the level 35 to 40 grind bite me in the ass at 36.
I considered returning to EQ2 where I have half dozen prestige homes in various stages of completion and a regular home in most of the major cities. But it takes too much time and when I have an hour to play something, I want a less burdensome activity. So I’m back to playing The Sims. Yes, that’s right, I’m playing The Sims 3 and enjoying myself.
Over the years, Maxis/EA has experimented with adding more directed play features (quests) with various degrees of success. For most of the franchise’s history, players have concocted their own version of quest objectives and goals by creating challenges that are documented and shared within the community. TS3 has incorporated a better method than previously designed that feels a bit like questing. The combination of Lifetime Wish, Ambitions and Opportunities gives me options for game directed objectives/achievements which feel like progression. Each of these provides very specific tasks that must be completed if you want to “win”. Lifetime Wish and Ambitions are long term goals – they are like maxing your character or reaching end game. Opportunities are random and occur throughout the characters lifetime. Combined these give me a direction for my character to follow that is intertwined with my sandbox game play. I love them! For those who don’t, all of these features can be completely ignored without disruption. *smile*
More Crafting in Real Life
Instead of corrupting more young souls into becoming gamers, I’m converting them to crafters. My experiment with offering a Saturday Kid’s Craft Club is going very well. The parents say their kids are so excited to come each week, which warms my heart. Children tried to bail on their schools annual carnival because it conflicted with the crafting class that week. That made me smile ear-to-ear. I don’t know if I would have ditched a carnival for art-n-crafts when I was their age. *smile*