Today in Rants: FFXIV and the Endgame Gear Grind [#Blaugust 10]

For those of you not familiar with FFXIV’s endgame, it consists largely of this:

  • Hit max level
  • Do all the dungeons and trials to unlock roulette LFG and hardmodes
  • Farm roulettes for marks to raise item lvl
  • Farm more roulettes for higher item lvl
  • Farm raids for even higher item lvl
  • Do story quests and trials after content patches

If you’re a WoW player then this sounds very familiar, only in FFXIV the grind for marks is even more straightforward in my opinion. There’s all this gear available at the endgame hub from the getgo and from there it’s basically chain-queuing LFGs for this week and that week, racing through different gear sets. You can solo your way through, as in no guild required, and it’s rather fast. That’s why SE limit the amount of marks/week for the higher tier gear and also the weekly drops from the new raid instance. When I re-joined for ARR this February, none of these restrictions were in place anymore for the old content, which made chasing up that gear ladder even more bewildering. I guess that’s what happens when you insist on item-lvl restrictions for content.

ffxiv_09082015_201250

Oh hai, we’re here for that gear!

I must say, am a little peeved at the whole thing. I can’t bash WoW for its linear, uninspired endgame grind and turn a blind eye to FFXIV at the same time. Eorzea certainly has more to offer besides just dungeons to explorers, there’s some side/holiday-activities and the regular content patches with updates to the storyline (although that usually sends you into dungeons) – nonetheless, I would have expected Heavensward’s endgame to take a different, more refreshing approach to group content and raids. Idyllshire, which replaces Mor Dhona as the highlevel hub, is conceived in the exact same way and centered around the vendors that trade marks for gear and upgrades. Everyone’s favorite lootz NPC Rowena even moved over from Mor Dhona because this is “where all the business is”.

Now to clarify, it’s nice that there’s all this gear and cosmetic choice in FFXIV and I dig running different dungeons. It really wouldn’t hurt making the acquisition of high-level gear a bit more varied though and the gear itself more “meaningful” – I don’t have a better word for it. At least the dungeon sets you can collect while levelling up need to y’know, drop from different dungeons. I am crushed that even my unique BLM class set is part of the same mundane marks grind in Heavensward! Already the first time around, we got our sets completed when dinging level 50 in ARR and from there I probably wore my Wizard’s attire for about 2.5 seconds before it got replaced by the first tier of marks gear. One more for the cosmetics tab which never happened – it’s too much hassle glamouring gear all the time and it’s not exactly free either.

Guess that’s where SE did change things up a tiny bit in Heavensward, since the new class sets can only be bought for second tier marks (currently). That is still one tragic case of missing a great opportunity because unique questlines and challenges in MMOs rock! Heck, I would’ve been happier with a set of individual achievements (*gasp*) and dungeon runs for my set over this exercise in boredom.

And yes I know, I obviously don’t have to do all of this; I can just wait until it becomes even easier to get all the gear and speed through all dungeon content, with overgeared groups, just so I can follow the storyline. What a great prospect.

/rant out

8 comments

  1. I’d love to see solo and duo versions of older dungeons for max levels. Even if it just taps into the same progression system, it’d be a refreshing alternative. In general, I don’t think the big MMOs worry enough about group sizes smaller than dungeon enough. That’s one of DC Universe Online’s biggest strengths since it does have a ton of options for solo and duoing, even if it isn’t really best for much.

    1. More options are always good, although grouping never seems an issue in FFXIV. It was a problem in WoW because LFG is bloody horrible there, but in FFXIV I enjoy 98% of my runs with PuGs. It’s just not very inspiring to keep doing it for marks, marks marks.

  2. Yoshi P did at one point state quite plainly that old dungeons would one day be soloable (or solo+choco). Mrs Bhagpuss and I took that quite specifically into account when we decided not to carry on after the free month. I believe, though, that although he didn’t give a timescale he was thinking more in the order of 5 years than after the first expansion.

    If it ever happens I might come back. Otherwise, from my perspective, FFXIV is basically all the gameplay I most disliked about WoW, on steroids, with a prettier wrapper. I like to do dungeons once. They’re like chapters in a story. After a good while has passed I might go back and do them again, like re-reading a book I enjoyed. Doing them over and over and over to gain tokens to buy gear is not playing a game or living in a virtual world. At best its a job and I already have one of those.

    I do think that, for once, SynCaine may be right. After a decade of companies trying to copy WoW and create the WoW-killing MMO I think SE might just have done it on the sly.

    1. I’d pick FFXIV over WoW any day. I don’t have an issue with dungeons not being soloable because LFG in FFXIV is great at least. It’s the repetitive activity in itself that bugs me – soloability wouldn’t change this.

  3. I’m with you on being tired of the old gear treadmill. Most of my FC has hit the point where you can only improve your main Job with weekly capped tomes/Alex normal drops. After that if you like to craft and gather or level up and gear out other jobs.

    It is my understanding that you can go solo/duo all pre-Heavensward dungeons right now. At least last night a FC member said they just got done soloing Brayflox Longstop.

    What bothers me most about Heavensward is there is no actual new type of DoW/DoM content. It is the same old run dungeons, collect capped Tomestones, buy gear that will be obsolete in 3 months. DoH and DoL at least had a new collectibles system and the introduction of new types of nodes and their own currency.

    What we have is good but I feel like they could give us more.

    1. Absolutely. I’ve not tried soloing old dungeons yet, am kinda fed up with them right now. Imagine it’s also a bit dependant on what class you are.

  4. Agree completely. I’m sure this will cause me to burn out on FFXIV sooner or later. But, for now, it’s fun to run content with friends.

    I posted on my blog on Saturday that one thing that really disappoints me is how much FFXIV sticks to the WoW model, even with the glaring flaws. I wish the grand successor to WoW had taken a different path.

    1. Indeed….altho I do wanna give them credit for doing story about 500 times better than WoW. There’s also not the daily-mania. Instead, we have dungeon-mania and hunts. :P

      The whole token thing upsets me anyway, I’ve written about these kinds of substitutes in MMOs and blargh.

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