Ill Mornings & MMORPGs

“Ill morning” not to be confused with morning sickness. I have woken today with a terrible cough and a sore throat (possibly from coughing). Yesterday, I developed a stuffy nose. So that means I am becoming ill. Likely with a cold, because the symptoms are coming on slowly, I have no fever, and I don’t feel fatigued at all.

On the plus side, I just made the perfect cup of peppermint tea. I don’t believe peppermint assists at all with colds, but the warmth eases my throat and it tastes delicious. Later, I’ll likely make some jasmine tea. Or I may experiment to see whether Earl Grey or Irish Breakfast taste alright with some honey and lemon, as I know the honey-lemon combination is wonderful for coughs and sore throats. While we do have a jug of cold lemon tea that I could warm up and add honey to, it has been in the back of the fridge for an unknown time. I don’t trust it.

In other news, I’ve taken to keeping a journal and pen beside my bed so that when I wake from dreams I can quickly write them down before they’re forgotten. My ability to remember my dreams is already increasing and I’m hoping, with time, I can remember enough detail to truly decipher them all, look for patterns, perhaps see how my hormonal balance or even what foods I eat affect my dreams. Anything to get a better nights sleep. Gleaming some enlightenment from my subconscious would also be a perk.

I’ve also recently gotten into Final Fantasy XIV, the mmorpg version of the games. It’s a delightful change from the typical WoW formula. Not that it’s strikingly different at its core, but the love is in the details. Blizzard can spend all the time they want writing storylines–and do not misunderstand me, they are wonderful stories–but FFXIV has an attention to tiny details that I didn’t know a mmorpg needed until I finally had them in front of me.

I was told that a lot of people claim FFXIV is “just WoW with a FF skin.” Well, as someone who has played WoW for the past 9 years I can say with confidence that the people who say that have not played both games, only one or the other.

All mmorpg’s have some core mechanics that are common to all of them. Accept quest, kill and/or collect things, turn in quest, receive rewards, take next quest. Repeat until max level, adding in dungeons, raids, and PvP as you like. In WoW, that is literally the entire game. Only in the past three recent expansions have they added more into the game other than that. They’ve added unique quest styles, dungeon and raid finders, personal instanced areas and scenarios, as well as missions and followers through the garrison in Draenor and the Class Halls in Legion. Again, all awesome! Well, except for garrisons, they were kinda meh. They were experimenting, though, so it’s forgivable.

Now, before I write this next paragraph, there is a disclaimer: “Prior to Legion.” Basically, prefix most of what I say with those three words, okay? Okay.

Outside of the main storyline, there are no phenomenal, amazing, thought-provoking, world-altering quests. There have been a few over the years… a lot of which were removed in order to move the timeline forward… but for the most part, no. The main stories, the ones where big name characters become involved, are the ones with the most intrigue and the most work put into them.

From what I’ve seen of FFXIV thus far, at least 75% of all quests are treated with the same attention and detail as the main storyline. There are, of course, still simple kill quests and fetch quests, but they aren’t the bread and butter of the game. As well, the main storyline begins right from level 1 and builds all the way through to max level! So no matter what level you are, if you’re starting out or in the middle somewhere or at level 50 (60 in the new expansion), you are directly involved with the big happenings in the world.

For example, let’s take the human starter zone in WoW: Elwynn Forest. There are two storylines that capitalize the others in this zone. The Murlocs and the Gnolls. If you play every quest in the zone, you learn that on the east side of the forest there’s a problem with Murloc infestations that are ultimately tied to the Defias Brotherhood, which leads to dealings in Westfall. On the west side of Elwynn, there’s a Gnoll problem which reveals the bandit pack leader, Hogger, is up to no good and it ends with his arrest after a more difficult battle than you’ve faced prior. This story leads to the dungeon in Stormwind, the Stormwind Stockades.

While these are indeed large problems for the “people” that inhabit that area, it has no impact on the rest of the world at all. You do get a glimpse of the Blackrock Orcs in the area that’s level 1-5, but otherwise, there’s little mention of the war, of the current events, of anything going on at all. On one hand, that can be good because then you can’t glimpse the future of the main storyline and get any spoilers. On the other hand, it fails to build your concern or connection to the characters. Unless you’re a long term player of any sort, you’re not going to really care for the characters when you’re introduced to them.

I brought a friend of mine to WoW a few months ago and we’ve played off and on ever since. They played Warcraft 1-3 but had never made the jump to WoW. While they enjoyed the game tremendously, they found themselves growing more attached to lesser characters because there was far more interaction with them. They knew who all the big names were and were familiar with their backgrounds, was interested to see how they’d changed since the original series of games, but the connection was not nearly as deep.

Fast forward to present time, the same friend has now introduced me to FFXIV. We are, in fact, currently allowing our WoW subs to run out without care in favor of playing FFXIV.

From the moment I stepped foot into the game, I felt a connection to the character I had created. I was delighted and intrigued with the interesting setting. I immediately developed a great fondness for a “mother figure” character that I visited frequently. I was astounded that nearly every quest had tremendous amounts of conversation. Not merely quest information and/or orders to carry out, but a conversation like one would read in a novel. And so many of the quests have cutscenes. I was even informed that endgame content has full-length movies played in the game, some lasting an hour or more. As if that wasn’t dedicated enough, the Square Enix crew that work on FFXIV have added stunning amounts of detail to playable characters. Emotes are not merely silly or random things you perform when typing a command. There are interactions between characters, emotes that include more than one person. For Pete’s sake, when you click on someone you actually look at them and they look at you in return!

I feel I could go on endlessly about the intricacies of this game and all the features it has that WoW does not, but this post is already quite lengthy. So here is a quick bullet list:

  • Superior combat system that is actually fun regardless of class
  • The ability to play any class on one character, so long as you do the quests
  • Vastly superior crafting system that requires time, patience, and decision-making
  • “Fate” system that allows you to join random events nearby with anyone (the same as GW2 and ESO)
  • Level syncing so that all dungeons and raids can be done at any level and still provide challenge
  • Level syncing also allows high-level players and low-level players to stay together throughout the game
  • Superior HUD that is completely customizable without need for third-party add-ons
  • Unique dungeons and raids with many different types of boss battles

Azeroth shall always be home to me, but until Blizzard steps it up a lot more, I believe I shall be spending my time on Hydaelyn.

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