My screenshot journey through Heavensward is far from done. The game keeps being breathtaking and it’s not just that it has pretty graphics because many MMOs nowadays do. No, there’s something about the settings in FFXIV, the atmosphere, the light that swallows you whole at unexpected times, and you seemingly transcend the boundaries between the real and virtual without effort. I can smell the brisk morning air in Idyllshire as I stare into an early campfire and ponder, what will the future hold?
I am in love with Eorzea; the snowy lands beyond Coerthas, the forests of the Black Shroud, the windmills of La Noscea. The sense of scale and immersion created in the zones of FFXIV are only matched by LOTRO. And some of them are unrivaled entirely. I didn’t expect to ever find a “go-to MMO” again after WoW, a game that I will log on to after an exhausting day just to unwind and find comfort in its world. FFXIV is that for me.
My journey through Heavensward has been rather wonderful up to this point, both in terms of traveling around as well as following the engaging storyline. I have taken around 900 screenshots of this expansion alone. There are so many favorites that I decided just picking a few and uploading them somewhere won’t do – this time, I’ll showcase them a little differently than usual.
Slideshow clips aren’t my favorite thing on youtube but in this case I felt it was a perfect way of arranging and uploading quite a lot of screenshots that are also tied together storywise and for the most part, in chronological order from lvl 50-60. For those who aren’t playing FFXIV or haven’t been to Heavensward just yet, my tribute will be less meaningful than for me maybe and other HW players. I get incredibly sentimental watching clips like this but I hope it can serve as a worthy teaser too for someone who’s never been to Eorzea, showing them a few of the most wonderful moments and sceneries to be encountered in this MMO. Enjoy!
P.S. Yes, I like my dragons, what can I say!
My High Adventure journey through FFXIV continues. I’ve been spending more time in Alexander again this past week and look forward to the next content drop. There’s only so many times you want to repeat the same dungeons in MMOs. Sometimes it’s important to take a break and watch the fireworks.
Happy weekend everybody.
Important info: as of now, my MMO music quiz is still unsolved. That means you still have a shot at winning a copy of The Witcher 2 and be declared glorious victor of this formidable challenge! Head here for the quiz! (winners who already own the game may have it gifted to a friend.)
My fifth screenshot in the High Adventure series for FFXIV is one of snow. I love snowy maps in MMOs and winter themes. Heavensward is full of cold and dark places but there’s brilliance in winter too and solace.
Back in primary school we used a lot of watercolor and Neocolor wax crayons in art class. I remember when our teacher showed us a special (and messy) technique one day, in which you started off covering an entire leaf of strong paper in all the different colors of the rainbow, wildly mixed. This first layer would either be normal crayon or water color.
Once everything was dry and finished, a second layer of thick black Neocolor would go on top and completely cover up the entire page. Such a smeary affair it was that we all looked like chimney sweepers afterwards, with black wax covering our hands and faces and god knows what else. But that’s when the real fun started and we finally got to carve out the actual image with a piece of wire or a spatula-like instrument, by scratching away fine lines out of the wax to reveal a magical world of colors underneath. I absolutely loved this technique for its wondrous effect and that negative contrast.
This fourth pick in my ongoing FFXIV “High Aventure” screenshot series is therefore an homage to those early days of creative experimentation. I think am gonna call it Cloud Watcher.
It’s handy to have a screenshot series going during events such as blaugust and while these don’t tend to spark discussion, I hope someone is enjoying them. The whole idea behind High Adventure is that I pick my favorite FFXIV screenshots from Heavensward and then tweak them to look like they came out of a picture book or children’s tale. I’ve mentioned on the blog before that I grew up with a lot of stories – fairytales, folklore, mythology, you name it. They were and are an important part of who I am and some defining choices I’ve made along the way.
If you live in my hood of central Europe, the Grimm’s Tales are every child’s standard source and early inspiration as far as the classics go. There are the cautionary adventures of Wilhelm Busch’s Max&Moritz and of course Hans Christian Andersen’s work – melancholic father of the Little Mermaid, the Ugly Duckling or the Snow Queen. When you read the original texts of his more popular tales, you realize how they are way more heart-breaking than their mainstream adaptions and there’s rarely a happy ending. Already as a young child, I was profoundly moved by the difficult emotions therein.
At some point I dove into a collection of greek myths and from age 12, latin and everything about Roman society (who have basically adopted Greek mythology) became part of my school curriculum. I went from Hercules to Thor and Siegfried with some Sindbad in the mix. Mythology is pretty gruesome stuff actually but nothing ever scared me more than this guy, so as far as I was concerned the eagle eating Prometheus’ liver, every day, was okay.
Considering this path and my big audiobook collection of illustrated international children’s tales by grandpa, it made perfect sense that I ended up reading D&D-based fantasy novels and Tolkien as a teenager. I remember my enchantment by Larry Elmore’s cover on the first edition of Dragon’s of Autumn Twilight, which I am keeping on my shelf to this day. I own illustrated versions of most of my favorite books and stories, if such a thing is available and I completely freak out if one of them is missing. There’s a story about a certain nervous breakdown that shall remain untold.
I will continue this topic next time around to talk about some of my favorite book illustrators, new and old. My third screenshot from FFXIV was taken in Aziz’la and this time I went for a more ink&spatter feel –
Happy Friday everyone and keep that blaugust spirit up!
Over the years, I have spent a good while searching for perfect screenshot moments in MMOs but it’s rare for a scene to come together this well, all by itself. When my black mage entered Matoya’s cave for the first time in Heavensward, no stage designer nor dramaturg could’ve conceived the scene better; the strange magician with her pointy hat speaking to the resident frog servant, with tomes of magic piling up in the background and animated broomsticks sweeping the dusty floor. For a moment, I was the magician’s apprentice rather than a wayward Au’Ra, chasing the next chapter of Square Enix’ storyline. For a moment, I was a character in a much bigger story than the one that’s been told.
This journey through Heavensward has been a spellbound tome of wonders for this fairytale child. I have found myself philosophizing with the goblins, negotiating with old witches and their chatty broomsticks and conversing with dragons, fighting for dragons, flying on dragons – so many dragons everywhere.
What a delight this expansion is. The dialogues, the locations, the magical creatures may as well spring straight from the pages of the Grimm’s Tales or Edda or Tolkien’s works. As always, Square Enix are borrowing everywhere but brewing their very own enchanting concoction. That way lies greatness – that way lies high adventure. I have not experienced so many memorable moments in an MMO since forever. It’s been nothing short of inspiring and I realized, I really need to do something with all my screenshots!
Thus beginneth my High Adventure screenshot journey through FFXIV – A Realm Reborn.
I hope you enjoy and if you haven’t yet, give this MMO a go sometime (or again)!