Choose My Adventure: Meet Alira

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Choose My Adventure: Meet Alira
Meet Alira!
Everyone, I'd like you to give a warm welcome to my brand-new Final Fantasy XIV Choose My Adventure character, the Miqo'te Lancer Alira Zhyn. Before we get down to the nitty-gritty, let me go ahead and address the fact that yes, the top vote for gender was male, while the top vote for race was Miqo'te, and it's not possible to roll a male Miqo'te. I made an executive decision to allow race to override gender, as I feel race is a bit more of a deciding factor when creating a character than gender is.

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.

Now safely out of the storm, we arrived in the port of Limsa Lominsa, where a rather crass pirate by the name of Baderon gave me a few pointers about the city. He told me to find a guild and noted that a balloonfish I scooped up off the deck in the wake of the sea serpent's jump could fetch a pretty penny from the right person. He also gave me a linkpearl, which can be used to contact him from afar if need be. Pretty handy! So off I went to make a name for myself.

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.

After a short jaunt through some lovely grasslands, I reached Camp Bearded Rock and gave the camp's aetheryte shard a poke. Apparently aetheryte shards serve a multitude of purposes within the game; from fast travel (you can teleport to any aetheryte shard you've visited) to initiating quests, they're your go-to place for a number of important things. And speaking of initiating quests, Baderon apparently has some nimble fingers, as he managed to slip a levequest in my pack without my noticing. Convenient!

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.

You also begin with 200 favor with your guardian deity of choice, and at the beginning of a levequest, you can choose to spend 10 favor in order to receive a boon from your god or goddess. I, of course, chose to do so because hey, what good are gods if they don't help you out, am I right? For my piety, I was granted increased experience point gain for the duration of the levequest. Sweet!

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.

Eventually my goal was complete, and the poor, adorable rats were all dead by my hand. An aetherial node materialized next to me, and interacting with it provided me with a summary of my performance and granted me the opportunity to teleport back to camp, which I accepted graciously. My journal then notified me that Baderon wanted to have a word with me back in town, so I decided to give teleportation a go because I'm lazy. Sue me. Teleporting costs anima, of which I had 100. Teleporting back to town requires two anima, while a future teleport back to the camp will cost me four. I'm not entirely sure how anima regenerates or at what rate, but for now I just don't care. Laziness reigned supreme once again, and I'm sucked through the aether back to Limsa Lominsa.

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...

... And in appropriate cliffhanger fashion, I will allow this week's adventure to draw to a close here. It's up to you to decide how I should spend my next week of gameplay, so listen up and listen well. Should I continue on this main questline so that we can see how my Miqo'te's arrival in Limsa Lominsa develops? Or perhaps you'd like me to provide you with a better feel of combat as a Lancer? Maybe I should try my hand at crafting. That's for you to decide, my friends! So head to the polls below and plan my week for me. %Poll-70166% And while you're at it, go ahead and decide which crafting professions I should take up. While there's no limit on the number of crafting classes a character can pursue, I've been told that three is a decent number, so for the purposes of this CMA, I will choose the top gathering class and the top two manufacturing classes and focus on them when the audience wills it. %Poll-70170% %Poll-70174% Until next time, everyone!

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.
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