I’ve been happily poking at FFXIV over the last week. It doesn’t have its claws back in me super deep yet, but I have at least been enjoying myself. Part of what’s keeping me from fully embracing my return to the game is that I am once again stuck in a bit of a “gear valley”. By this I mean that my gear isn’t good enough to do the newest content yet, but it is good enough that doing the highest level content I can will only net me marginal upgrades at best.
I’m aware this is often an issue in MMOs but it feels more pronounced in this case. I’m not sure whether it is because my fastest option for gear is Weeping City, which is painful compared to its 2.0 counterpart, or whether it is the fact that the more fun options like Alex have prohibitive queue times. Anyway after playing for a week I’m only a couple points away from being able to run expert roulette. I know it isn’t the end of the world to have this delay but I want to be able to play with my friends and also see the new story stuff that’s such a key part of the game.
To prevent myself from burning out running the same two dungeons over and over for “bookrock” currency I also made a tiny alt. Alts in FFXIV are a terrible idea, since you can of course be every single class on one character without having to start the whole story over. On the flip side, seeing the beginning of the story again after several years has been pretty fun, and wandering around the woods outside Gridania has been surprisingly soothing even if it is full of gross bugs and fungus. It’s been forever since I spent more than 10 minutes at a time just questing in FFXIV, and it has been good for my enjoyment of the game. I’ll probably try to fold things back into my main and maybe spend some time leveling one of my lowest classes like lancer, but for now part of the fun is going back to the start like re-reading a beloved book. It is a nice way for me to remember how much I enjoy the game when I’m not slamming my head against a gear check wall.