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rllmuk

Sprite Machine

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  1. So I reach Thief level 50 and then start wondering why I'm not levelling up any more. Apparently, this game still has level caps, and once you reach level 50, you have to go and do some tedious bullshit fetch quests every five levels in order to keep levelling up. To rub salt in the wound, to get the necessary items, you have to navigate dungeons full of enemies, and none of them give you any EXP! Because you can't earn EXP anymore! I could just about tolerate the godawful battles if I knew I was getting a little character growth out of them, but going through waves of enemies that DO NOTHING AND GIVE YOU NOTHING is the straw that broke the camel's back. I'm sorry, but I'm out. I'm done. This game, man. Fucking hell, it hates me, it's not going to get any less bullshit as it goes on, and it doesn't deserve my time. I genuinely feel like I've wasted 67 hours of my life with it, and as much as I hate abandoning games, I feel a great sense of relief to say a giant "fuck off" to this piece of shit. ------- So, that's FFXI done.
  2. Unlocking the full game experience presents several new plot strands all at once - it's a bit overwhelming! I find out what those gaping maws that I've seen around the place do. They suck me in and take me into a different dimension or time or something. Batallia Downs suddenly becomes much more dangerous and I get killed by a bomb-thing whilst trying to pick off some tigers. I don't know what's happening there. Elsewhere, I'm sent on a quest by Gilgamesh and I meet his daughter 'Lion' in a couple of different spots as we try to solve the mystery of the strange visitor from the future who predicts the downfall of Vana'diel. This takes me to Qufim where I activate a boss battle via a swirly portal thing... and it kills me. Back on the main storyline missions, I travel north towards a glacier but I have to go through some dangerous tunnels. The enemies in there kill me too. Basically, I'm not having much luck and I'm getting increasingly pissed off by how long everything takes, how slow the movement is, how massive and (mostly) empty the world is. It just is not fun. It's such an oddly structured game, too. Important story missions are handed out by random gate guards. The mission to unlock your support job involves talking to some random dude in a little fishing town. Like... why? And as for the support job feature, if you ask me it's just a way to spend even more time levelling up from scratch, and I really can't be arsed. What do I do? Plough on? Give up? It's one of the most tedious games I've ever played, I can't describe how unbelievably bored I am by it. 29 days left! EDIT: If I'm gonna see this through, I'm gonna have to follow a levelling guide and just level the fuck up. Lots.
  3. Going from Rank 4 to 5 only has one mission to complete, but it's quite a long one. It involves searching various evil strongholds for some 'Magicite' stones, but first I have to find a key to unlock each one, and that requires talking to specific people around town and bringing them things they need, including getting into a secret organisation of... err, I dunno, ninja antique dealers or something? It's not a straightforward job either, and if I wasn't following a guide telling me specifically where to go and who to talk to, I doubt I would ever manage it. What the hell did people do before FFXIclopdia was a thing? Just shared knowledge amongst themselves, I guess. But this is hardly some post-game subquest, this is to push on the central storyline! Anyway, actually retrieving each piece of Magicite is fairly simple, except for the last one, which takes me through a very tough Yagudo stronghold. This dungeon is almost as tedious as that tower from earlier. It's not as big, but it sends you back and forth to open some doors, and having to stop and fight birdy-beastmen every five steps of every single corridor is torturous. It takes me an hour to move about four squares distance, and the same going back again. This is one I have to give up on and come back to the following morning, and I still don't finish it until my lunchtime session. I just cannot believe how many hours I'm sinking into this game and yet I feel like I'm hardly progressing at all. Eventually, I get the last piece of Magicite. Retrieving each one triggers a cutscene (flashback? vision? dream sequence?) of different people in each of the nations talking about things. That's awfully vague, but I genuinely don't know who any of them are and I fail to follow what they're talking about, so that's helpful. The last piece of Magicite triggers a vision of the Shadow Lord himself, confirming that the beastmen are indeed trying to bring him back somehow. Meanwhile, there's a subplot with a girl and goblin who are friends, while increasing pressure to expel all beastmen from Jeuno threatens to split the friends apart. And here I am going around and slaughtering all of these dudes. One thing I find quite impressive/fascinating in FFXI, and I suppose it's true of other MMOs, is how the game integrates your own storyline progress with the shared world. Every player sees the public/shared content, characters, areas, etc. But they can't see what you're saying to NPCs, can't see your cutscenes and can't see when you enter a story-specific area or visit a character that might not be there for them. I just find the whole thing logistically fascinating. Like, I know that 99% of the other players in the game have already finished every single story and possibly single-handedly vanquished the Shadow Lord, but that hasn't happened for me, and they don't see my thing happening to them - we're just occupying the same world. It's one big illusion for everybody and that's kinda weird and wonderful. Moving on, then... I learn that San d'Oria has been attacked, so after wandering around doing some little side quests for a while like someone who doesn't give a shit that their city is in danger, I decide eventually I will take an airship back home, as I have been given an airship pass at long last. Airships are the classic boat-turned-into-a-flying-boat style of vessel just like the ones from the classic games, with big spinning propellors on top of wooden masts. This is a fun way to travel, though it's probably more fun when you're not the only person aboard. The airship is a real sized location, so large numbers of people can board them at once, walk around inside, and you can go out on deck and watch the landscape whizzing past for a few minutes before you arrive at your destination. The music is quite nice, too - I do love a good Final Fantasy airship. This wraps up my second week with the game. My free trial is just about to expire, and reaching Rank 5, seeing the Shadow Lord, and riding an airship back to my home city seems like the perfect time to end it. I will shortly be activating my full game serial key and then continuing for another 30 days - and I'm looking forward to having all of the inaccessible features unlocked. I will still be bamboozled by the sheer scale and complexity of the game, but I'll be doing it with even more freedom. Onward! EDIT: Highlights + cutscenes (week 2):
  4. And not for the first time, I wasn't supposed to be in the area with the incredibly tough enemies! I hate the way the game lets you just wander into parts of a dungeon that you're not meant to be in. How are you supposed to know which bits you're meant to do now and which bits are for later? Anyway, eventually I make it to the top of the tower and somebody has already killed the boss who has the elevator key so I just pick it up off the floor. There are some benefits to an MMO! Anyway, mission complete. That's rank 4 reached and I'm nearly level 40. There is hope for me yet!
  5. Urgh, Delkfutt's Tower is sooooo dull! Just floors of identical corridors filled with the same monsters over and over again. The battle music isn't bad (there are a few different tunes depending on whether you're battling alone or in a group, outside or in a dungeon), but hearing the same few beats again and again and again every time you get into a fight is soul-destroying. And to top it off, I got right near the top of the tower and then died trying to avoid a fight for a change, running away from half a dozen giants chasing me at once. I must've only been one staircase away from the sodding home crystal when one of them threw a rock at me and knocked me out. No real players around to revive me, straight back to Jeuno! Two and a half hours this evening, that was. Granted, it's good training time (Thief level 37 now) but it's so achingly dull and sloooooooooooow. EDIT: Died again on the top floor, after another hour trying. "Incredibly tough" bats can fuck off!
  6. I do appreciate How Long To Beat; I've been using it for a few years and it's come in very handy. I've got my entire backlog and wishlist in a spreadsheet with the HLTB columns all filled in for every game. This has previously helped me to decide what to play or buy next, but now I'm playing everything I own in release/chronological order so it's all over the place and I don't really care. That said, however... Last week, I started Final Fantasy XI.
  7. Ah yes, that's all I'm doing for now too. Oh, and hello fellow San d'Orian! -------- I skip the fishing mission. Who knew you could skip some missions? I didn't. Well, I did, because I looked it up, but otherwise I wouldn't. Nothing makes any sense in this game. Give a few crystals to the gate guards and your rank bar fills up, letting you choose a better mission instead. '3-3 - Appointment to Jeuno' sends me off to... well, Jeuno. I could make use of the teleport again, but instead I decide to read some maps and trek there on foot. It's not too far, actually - just through Jugner Forest and further east over Batallia Downs. I fight pretty much every monster I come across en route and manage to hold up well. It's not a particularly engaging combat engine but at least I'm not struggling any more. It's nice to reach new places on foot, to see them getting bigger as you get nearer. It gives a sense of scale to the game, and helps me get my bearings a bit. I pass through the gate's guards without issue and arrive in the busy merchant town of Jeuno. This is not a starting city for any players, this is new to everybody who comes here. And it's busy, man! I thought I was on a quiet server, but there's other players in every corner of the place, hanging around home points, running back and forth. Almost every one of them max-levelled and kitted out beyond my wildest dreams, but still. It feels like a busy hub - and as the locals say, all roads lead to Jeuno. The city is laid out into tiered levels, with the wealthy upper palace and gardens levels and the lower market and port levels. The shops stock some much-needed weapon and armour upgrades, but unfortunately they are out of my price range! After exploring a little and activating as many home points as I can find here, I head to the San d'Oria embassy to take on my mission. Unfortunately, the ambassador is away in some place called Delkfutt's Tower, so my mission becomes going there to find her and bring her back. The exit is via the lower level of Jueno and I pass through some caves and out into a craggy landscape filled with monsters. I can still handle all of these and manage to level up again (now I'm a level 32 Thief). I still desperately need that Mythril Knife I saw in the shop, but in the meantime lots of enemies drop chests filled with better armour and gear, so that's a good start. I take some duplicates back to Jeuno and sell them for cash. Not quite enough for my new knife yet but I reckon I can wrangle a bit more out of these monsters. EDIT: Oh yeah, got me a Mythril Knife. Marginally better attack power, here I come!
  8. I return to town to stock up / train before attempting the dragon boss again, however I soon discover that teleporting around all the time can cost a bit of money. I get stuck without a quick way back to the Palborough Mines, forget where absolutely everything is, and spend a good 45 minutes running back and forth across the various plains. Eventually, I return to the boss fight and beat it. The Dark Dragon dies and its summoner, a monster called the Seeker who has been leading the various beastmen recently, reveals that he was sent by the Shadow Lord, a being who was thought to have been vanquished in the war 20 years earlier. All the nations of Vana'diel will have to put their differences aside to beat him again if the Shadow Lord really has returned. I take the proof of my successful mission back to the consulate and return to San d'Oria to receive my Rank 3 upgrade. This allows me to go to Curilla of the Temple Knights and add her as my fourth Trust. I can only summon three at once, but it's an extra choice. I also go to Windurst to unlock the second Trust there and at some point I'll go back to Bastok for the last one. In the meantime, I have another mission to do: Infiltrate Davoi. So I totally forget the route, obviously, but eventually I remember where Davoi is and find that the Orcs in there are not as tough as they used to be. I spend a while fighting and levelling-up before completing the mission and taking the intel back home. The next mission doesn't show up, so I figure I have to donate some crystals first? According to a guide, I also need to catch a fish. This proves tricky, as my fishing skill is nil, I can't afford many rods or good bait, and the damn things keeps breaking. Oh well, apparently I can skip the mission anyway, or buy a fish from the auction house. Except I can't use the auction house yet as I'm still on the free trial. *elongated sigh* Time for bed. --------- So, I've got a few NPC Trusts now and they seem to be doing quite well for me. I'm managing to take on enemies that are considered 'tough' or even 'very tough'. I've levelled up to 28-ish I think. I can run through areas that were previously unpassable and whip through monsters pretty easily. It's also much quicker to fight with four than it is one, so battles aren't so tedious. So, when you say the end of the "main scenario", do you mean your nation's ranked Missions (1-9)? I tried running the game through Windower to allow these mods but something went a bit wrong. The game wouldn't display in HD without the UI being tiny, so I gave up. I think I can live without the mini-map. An auto-stacking inventory would be lovely, mind.
  9. A change of scenery can do you the world of good, and this mission to Windurst and Bastok is the most I've enjoyed the game so far. It's just nice to see different landscapes, different styles of archetecture, and so on. Where the Federation of Windurst is a wet and woody forest environment, the Republic of Bastok feels like it's been carved into the rocky earth itself. If this game had dwarves in it, this is where they'd live. But it doesn't, so here live the human-like Humes and the hulking Galka, and I talk to as many people as I see so I can get a feel for the mood of the place. At the port, I see a large airship sailing in the water and then launching into the air, which is quite a spectacular sight to happen in realtime right in front of me. I should say, I didn't arrive by ship or on foot, I teleported to both of these nations. I don't actually know how they connect to the wider world and I've probably somewhat spoiled the majesty and wonder that early players would have felt reaching these big cities for the first time. I believe the cheap teleport options are a 'quality of life' feature that was added to the game later, but I could be wrong about that. At some point, I will venture out into the wildlands surrounding each nation and see how far it goes. It's interesting to wander around within the walls of both of these different nations and see their equivalents of what I have in San d'Oria. Every player starts with the same sort of missions no matter what nation they choose, but I definitely think I picked the most boring home of the three, aesthetically. The only thing I will say about San d'Oria is that it's easier to get around - Windurst and Bastok's layouts are kinda confusing. So, I have made a bit of progress. I've only levelled up once but I realised I could collect two more Trusts, one from each nation. So now I have three NPC 'alter-egos' running around with me, thereby reducing my need to find other players to join me. The first part of my 'Journey Abroad' (Windurst) is finished when I take a ceremonial shield to the bird-like Yagudo people, while the second part (Bastok) takes me into the Palborough Mines to fight through the hordes of Quadav, armadillo-like warriors. The vast majority of these are far below my current level as it keeps telling me they're "too weak to bother with", so I basically just slip past everybody and make my way to the end. I call it a night when I reach my first boss fight - a Dark Dragon. This is a fight to finish the mission and reach rank 3, but it's pretty hard. I see some other players hovering around nearby but they've hidden their stats. Maybe if somebody's still there when I next log in, I can ask for help. If not, and I can't beat it, I'll have to wander around and level-up some more. At least there's a home point right next to it. Tentatively enjoying myself a bit now, despite being frequently confused, lost, overwhelmed and frustrated. EDIT: And I'm now half-way through my free 14 day trial.
  10. I finish the Davoi Report mission and am able to select the next one, Journey Abroad. Although nobody tells me how I'm supposed to get to Bastok and Windurst, the Moogle near the living quarters is happy to teleport me to either location for a small fee. Thus, I leave San d'Oria behind me for the first time and travel to Windurst. This is a delightfully different setting from the drab castle walls of San d'Oria - a naturualistic and foresty capital with a woody soundtrack to go with it. The citizens are the childlike Tarutaru and the catlike Mithra, though many other travellers wander the area. I go to the San d'Oria consulate for my mission, to deliver a shield to some beastmen. I haven't levelled up much lately, I don't know whether I should focus on that for a bit. Actually, I don't know what I should be doing full-stop - the whole game feels like a collection of side quests and open-endedness.
  11. I'm really struggling with this. I don't think I've ever played a game that is so laboriously slow. Even the combat is just standing there and attacking slowly. I finished the mission with the bats in the tomb, then did another mission where I rescued a kid from some orcs. This gave me an increase in my "rank", which, as I understand it, is some sort of San d'Oria-specific prestige. I could really do with unlocking a second Trust to follow me around, however I can't until I reach rank 3. But the next mission is really hard and so I don't know if I can do it on my own with just one. I've got to sneak through some caves, avoiding bats, goblins and slime things, looking for some knights lost on a training mission or something. But as I get further into the cave, the enemeies get really tough. I'm on level 20-ish now, so I should be able to do this, but levelling up takes so long, battles take so long, dying and retrying and unloading inventory and visiting shops - everything just takes so long, and not one single thing I've done so far has been fun. Not one. I can't even buy the next dagger in the shop because it costs too much and I haven't got the gil. It's not even a particularly good weapon, it's just slightly better than what I've got. At this point, I'm not sure I'll even play past my 14 day trial, never mind activate my 30 free days afterwards. Should I just "shout out" to the few remaining experts on my server and ask for a helper or something? Can I just let an uber-player follow me around and kill everything for me? Do I need to join a party? I don't understand any of this and I'm not enjoying myself. EDIT: Oh hang on, I don't actually need to go deeper into the caves? Then why the fuck did the NPC tell me to? Oh, I'm so confused.
  12. This game is driving me nuts. It eats into my time and gives me nothing back. I've spent a whole evening just going through King Ranperre's Tomb, which is only the second Mission in the game, without a fucking clue what I'm doing. I've made basically no progress, save levelling up a couple of times. "Go and kill some bats and report back", was the instruction from the mission-giver in town. Okay, I found the tomb, killed some bats, came back, gave him the bat wings and fangs I'd collected from them. "I don't want this!" he screamed. So, back I go to the tomb, further inside this time. I bypass a maze area and keep going into another tunnel. Enemies get harder, eventually I die. Return to the mission-giver, no response. None of my treasures make him change his tune and my inventory is overflowing because the game hates me and I can only hold 30 things, so I sell or chuck a load of stuff away if it doesn't look remotely useful. Back I go to the tomb. This time, I stop at the maze area and find the hidden grave site, watch a little cutscene, but am left with nothing afterward, so I carry on inside, make it a little further but then die when the enemies become "very tough". Back to town, mission-giver still doesn't take anything I give him, still gives some vague clues about what I'm supposed to do in the tomb. At this point, I've spent a couple of hours doing basically sod all. So, back I go to the tomb again! This time, I discover there's a second hidden area inside the maze section, which has some skeletons and more goblins, and there's a hidden portal that goes inside to another floor of the tomb. However, the enemies in here are sensed as "incredibly tough", so I figure that's a mission for later in the game and leave. Round and round I go, until I eventually I get tired of guessing and check what the fuck I'm supposed to do on an FFXI wiki site. Right, apparantly, the Orc Mail Scales armour that I picked up from the skeleton enemies is what I needed to show the mission-giver back in town! Which is all well and good but I fucking chucked the fucking thing away and then killed all the skelelons! Maybe they'll respawn if I leave the area and come back again? No, of course they don't because it's a persistent online world shared with everyone else! The only other enemies that drop the armour are Ding Bats, but they only appear at night and I've just missed the night/day cycle, so I have to log out of the game and try again in the morning, just for a piece of fucking orc armour that I didn't know I needed, and at this point I've spent three hours doing fuck all! I'm not an especially impatient person. All I'm saying is, if this was FFVII, I'd be speeding out of Midgar on a fucking motorbike by now.
  13. I've tried to get the hang of drifting in the RR games before R4, and I just can't. Not in the original, not in RRR, not in Rage Racer - I just cannot take corners reliably. I over-drift or fail to regain grip or don't quite slow enough to drift in the first place - it's almost sim-levels of tricky. R4 is a dream in comparison, the cars effortlessly slide around the bends. Easy to learn, difficult to master.
  14. Er, I had the aspect ratio wrong for six hours. It seems changing it to 16:9 in the title menu config doesn't actually change it in-game. And now my Elvaan doesn't look stumpy any more! It's not a bad looking game for its age, all things considered. Right, I think I'm starting to get the hang of things slightly. I did have to do a bit of Wiki-searching to find out how to activate my first Trust (who to talk to, etc.) and now that's done I have an on-call NPC following me around, so most fights are much more managable! It's not quite the MMO experience I was hoping for but it'll do for now. And I've realised what the difference is between Missions (important story things) and Quests (less important side jobs), so I've started doing some of the former. I feel like I've got a bit of direction, and I've got some new armour so I could ditch that horrible grey undersuit thing. Kinda getting into it a little bit now, but it's still really slow-going. I also saw a couple of other low level players wandering around. I tried to talk to them but I think my conversation (/tell?) commands are restricted in the trial version. I dunno, man. Now I'm just constantly thinking I should have picked the busier server when I had the choice. Can I transfer? Or is it too late?
  15. Out of curiosity, I did a "search" of the San d'Oria area and there were only two other players online. And both of them were maxed out 99/49-ers. I chose the Ragnarok server - I have no idea if that was the right choice in terms of player population. I did meet one other player earlier who was a lower level than I, but surrounded by NPC helpers (Trusts?) and they seemed to be busy so they just 'bowed' and left. (I need to look into how to summon Trusts. And also how to bow.) A little more solo-ing, then, and I'm starting to fight a wider variety of monsters, but it still feels like a grinding for grinding's sake. The world can feel absolutely massive and desolate, vast fields and cliffs stretching out before you, and I like that you get time of day and weather effects. It's almost the complete opposite of Final Fantasy X's world of 'corridors' and menus, this feels like it fulfills the promise of the PS2 generation. I suppose it should be no surprise that FFXI features a lot of 'firsts' for the series. Random battles are gone and monsters now roam the world in sight. There's still battle music when you commit to attack an enemy, but the victory fanfare is reserved for level-ups only. The game has an intro FMV with a backstory, but I don't believe it has any central plot or main characters in the game itself. Being an MMO, this is obviously a huge departure for the series. The amount of in-game content and activities is bewilderingly huge and I doubt I'll even see a fraction of it. The world map shows how far away the other two starting countries are, and also shows which surrounding outposts are controlled by which country, so I guess there's a whole lot of territory-based missions to capture places? I haven't got my head around any of that yet, I'm still just wandering the landscape, trying not to die. Oh, I got a free chocobo voucher, so I had a little ride on one. It ran away when I got off. If anyone else plays this game and wants to join me on the Ragnarok server, help a newb out, show me the ropes, or whatever... feel free! My "handle" is Dandroid and my H-ID is 00-4992848. I don't know how this works. I will try to stream as much of my playthrough as possible, but it makes for really boring viewing!
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