Now that that's out of the way, head on past the cut to read about Alira's first few days of adventure in Eorzea!
My journey to Limsa Lominsa began on a boat, and my poor Miqo'te was awoken by what she thought to be a woman's singing. But when she woke up, there wasn't a singer in sight. Spooky! The mysterious singing was soon overshadowed by a raging storm, accompanied by a legion of sea creatures called Aurelias. After I was given a brief combat tutorial, the Aurelias were dead and I was treated to a rather lovely cutscene in which a gargantuan sea-serpent leaped over our boat to dramatic music. Those sea-serpents sure know how to make an entrance.
My first stop was Camp Bearded Rock, a camp just outside of Limsa Lominsa. I will say this about the city: As much of a pain as it is to navigate, with its sprawling, multi-tiered docks and piers and bridges, it's absolutely gorgeous to look at. If there's one thing FFXIV isn't lacking, it's gorgeous sights.
My first task -- appropriately and somewhat condescendingly named My Very First Adventure -- tasked me with eliminating three plague rats. I was relieved, as I thought I was going to have to kill the adorably fluffy sheep I saw on the way to camp. I don't know if I have the heart. But rats? Ew. With the plague? Double ew. Let's rumble. Time to initiate that levequest.
Levequests come in five difficulty levels (represented by stars), with each step up increasing the target mobs' levels by three. That is to say, if a levequest lists the target mob's level as one, then the one-star difficulty will have you up against level one mobs. The two-star difficulty increases that by three, pitting you against level four mobs, and so on. In this way, you can adjust the difficulty based on your character's level and the number of players in your group, ensuring that there's always a challenge to be had. I'm assuming raising the difficulty of a levequest also increases the rewards you reap from it, though I wasn't able to find a party for Baby's First Levequest, so I couldn't confirm this just yet.
After initiating the levequest, an arrow on my minimap pointed me toward my targets, which were highlighted in red as well. Simple enough. Time to stick 'em with the pointy end! Regrettably, even the plague rats are pretty adorable, so I still feel kind of bad making rodent kabobs with my spear, but the game told me to do it, so I push the guilt caused by their dying squeaks to the back of my mind for now.
Combat is about what you'd expect from most MMOs, but with a bit of a twist, I suppose. Autoattacks build a resource known as TP, which is then consumed in order to execute special abilities. I only began with a single ability, which allowed me to do damage to a target as well as all enemies unfortunate enough to be in between my target and the pointy end of my spear. The ability proved a bit difficult to line up properly, as there's a delay between when you press the hotkey and when the ability actually activates, providing mobs with ample time to reposition themselves to avoid being run through. Perhaps it's something I'll get used to with time, but for this first combat experience, I found myself frustrated and eventually gave up trying to hit multiple targets altogether.
A quick chat with Baderon advanced my quest and earned me a new weaponskill, Heavy Thrust. How bawdy. Apparently done with having me impale helpless creatures for sport, Baderon instead decided I need to take in some local sights. First I'm to scamper on over to the Culinarian's Guild, known locally as the Bismarck, in order to sell off the balloonfish gathering flies in my pack. I could use some gil, and the fish was starting to smell a bit ripe anyway, so I wasn't about to complain.
Wait, yes I am. I've made it this far without whining too much, so here's where I start. The game's interface is positively archaic. Minor tasks such as opening the journal is tedious, and while the game allows you to bind keys to perform such actions, there doesn't seem to be a way to unbind keys outright. This results in playing a game of musical keybinds to get the results you're looking for, as I first had to unbind my j key from rotating my camera by binding page-up to it instead, and then binding j to open my journal, then rebinding a number of other keys until finally things were set up. Worth the trouble, but way more of a hassle than it needed to be. Also, quest locations are not marked on your map by default. Instead, you have to open your journal, select the quest, and press the map button on the journal entry, and that gives you the map showing the objective locations for the selected quest. Again, it's not mind-blowingly difficult, but it just seems like it would have been considerably simpler to just show quest objective markers on the map by default.
Ahem. Rant complete and moving on! During my time at the Bismarck, the head chef divulged a bit of a local folktale regarding the sea serpent that attacked the ship at the beginning of the game. Apparently the creature was supposed to guard a mountain of treasure, and whoever found that mountain of treasure would become ruler of the seas. The plot thickens! At any rate, I got my gil and shoved the stinkin' fish off on someone else, so I was off to continue my sight-seeing tour. After a quick stop at the Musketeer's Guild and the Fishermen's Guild, I was tasked with escorting a Lalafell to a lighthouse that had recently come under attack by the fishlike Sahagin...
Matt Daniel is in a bit of a slump. You see, he's between MMOs, and he needs your help in deciding what to play next. Stop by every Wednesday for Choose My Adventure and tell him what to play, how to play it, and what color underwear to wear. No guarantees on that last one, though.