Archives for category: Postcards from Eorzea


Recently, I wrote about my return to the time-sink that is Destiny after almost two years away from the game, and it seems as if there must be something in the water; just this weekend, I returned to the realm of Eorzea more than three years after I last logged into Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.

Though there are similarities here – both games are persistent worlds that require a large investment of time and a willingness to group up with others – the situations surrounding me leaving each game were quite different: where Destiny disappointed as much as it thrilled, I loved A Realm Reborn right from the get-go. I took part in phase 3 of the game’s closed beta on PlayStation 3, pre-ordered the Collector’s Edition, bought a PS4 almost solely to play the upgraded version, and even had a small series on here, called ‘Postcards from Eorzea’.

But around April 2014 – not long after I’d upgraded to the PS4 version – I just drifted away from the game. From the official launch on PS3, I’d been playing with a good friend, levelling and running dungeons together, spending hours working on our digital avatars almost daily, and eventually, that friend decided that he didn’t want to pay the sub anymore. I understood, of course: a subscription MMO is a commitment, after all, and if you’ve paid for access you feel like you have to play the game as much as possible. These games have a habit of monopolising your time.

After my friend quit, I tried to soldier on for a bit. I had a group of fellow Eurogamer forumites that I’d chat with in our Linkshell, but they were all far more hardcore than me, and so were much further ahead in the game. It just wasn’t the same. So I stopped, and I’ve honestly missed it ever since. I’d still pay attention to news from the game, I’d sometimes look back through my captured screenshots and reminisce over some of the beautiful landscapes that make up the continent of Eorzea, but I didn’t have any plans to come back. So what’s changed?

My interest in Final Fantasy XIV was reignited in a big way when noclip’s excellent three-part documentary covering the game’s development was released just last week. Most people that follow the game will know that the original iteration of Final Fantasy XIV – what Square Enix now refer to as “1.0” – was an absolute disaster, with then-CEO Yoichi Wada going so far as to claim its launch “greatly damaged” the Final Fantasy brand as a whole. Square Enix embarked on an ambitious plan to not only continue to support 1.0, but secretly make an entirely new version of the game under new director Naoki “Yoshi-P” Yoshida, dubbed A Realm Reborn. The three-part documentary from noclip is an excellent, in-depth look at the death and rebirth of Square’s latest MMO, and I’m honestly quite surprised how open members of the development team were allowed to be in their interviews. It’s well worth a watch even if you aren’t particularly interested in visiting Eorzea.

However, the main reason behind my decision to dive back in actually does relate to Destiny, in a somewhat round-about way. If you read my piece about going back to that game (and I am still playing! I’ve recently picked up Rise of Iron and am currently trying to get my hunter up to the required level to do the Wrath of the Machine raid), you’ll remember that I joined a group on the100 – a good group of chaps united under the banner of Town Called Malice. One of the players there has also dabbled in Final Fantasy XIV in the past, and had also expressed an interest in going back. So now I had someone to go adventuring with! I was heading back to Eorzea.

I considered grabbing the Starter Edition on PC, as it’s currently £7.99 in the Steam summer sale; I already have the PS4 client installed (and it took an entire evening to update!), but I quite liked the idea of splitting my play time between the two platforms. However, I remembered that I’d once bought a Square Enix mystery box which contained a Windows license that I never redeemed – I was fairly sure I wouldn’t be playing the game again, back then. So I searched my inbox, and found the email containing my keys from the Holiday Surprise box bought in December 2015. Sure enough, there was a key for A Realm Reborn, but with it being a year-and-a-half old, I wondered if it might have expired. I headed to Mog Station, redeemed the code, and was granted a Windows license and a thirty-day sub! So I’m back in the game without having to spend a single gil!

As my original character, Khroma Midgard, was a male Elezen bard on the Odin server, I decided to roll something different this time. Please welcome Khroma Moonsong, a Conjurer on Louisoix.

I created a pink-haired catgirl. Yes, I know, I’m a walking cliche.

Ahem. Anyway, on my previous character I had played Archer up until Bard (levelling Pugilist along the way to unlock the Bard job, of course), as well as playing Conjurer up to level 17 and dabbling in a bit of Weaving. This time, I want to focus more on healing, so Conjurer is going to be my main class until I can get into White Mage at level 30 (I’ll obviously have to get Arcanist up to 15 as well!). I think playing supports so much in Overwatch has conditioned me to dish out the heals rather than the DPS!

So far I’m still in Gridania, and it feels like the pace of levelling has been increased somewhat – after just a few hours I’ve already hit level 10, and though the last time I did this was almost four years ago, things do seem to be moving at a much faster pace than I remember. I’m guessing this is done to help newcomers get up to speed for the recently-released Stormblood; now that Final Fantasy XIV is two expansions deep, I suppose the dev team want to offer new players an easier ramp up to the late-game content and encourage them to get into the newer stuff.

I don’t know what’s possessed me recently and made me dive back into two games that demand so much of your time, especially when I’m struggling to get through single players games (I still need to finish Nier Automata, Mass Effect Andromeda and Breath of the Wild) and my backlog continues to grow (Oh hi Valkyria Revolution!), but right now, all I seem to want to do is wander through these populated, persistent worlds. Hopefully this time, I’ll actually be able to make it through the base 2.0 storyline, and then I can think about moving onto Heavensward! This time, I’m planning to stick with it. And who knows, maybe I’ll even revive Postcards from Eorzea!

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I’ve never really managed to get my head around Limsa Lominsa. I know my way around my forest hometown of Gridania and I’m sure of my surroundings in the desert city of Ul’Dah. But every time I find myself in the whitewashed, watery environs of Limsa, I’m constantly checking my map. Sure, it’s a bit of a tangle of elevated walkways strung between towers that jut proudly from the sea, but I shouldn’t find it as confusing as I do. I don’t know why I can’t seem to learn it’s layout, but I never feel at home.

It sure is pretty, though.

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I’ve always loved the way Limsa looks. In fact, I think it’s the most beautiful of the three city-states in the game, which makes it all the more bizarre that I just can’t seem to get used to it. However, much of my time since getting back into the game has been spent travelling around the more familiar locations, seeing how shiny they now look on PS4, so perhaps I’ll get used to it sooner rather than later.

After all, I can’t continue the game until a certain friend gets back in game and we can run Haukke Manor together. Miqo’tes eh? They come and go as they please.

Feel free to share your own postcards from Eorzea, and let me know in the comments what you think of Naoki Yoshida and his team’s world. I’ll share another of my shots next week. To browse through this and previous editions of Postcards from Eorzea, click here.

Wow, it’s been some time since my last Eorzean postcard! My last entry in the series was back in November! Unfortunately I drifted away from the game for some time a few months back, just after finally advancing to the bard job class – I’d just bought both an Xbox One and Wii U, and so they were claiming all of my gaming time.

Funnily enough, it’s another console purchase that brought me back to the game today, as my PS4 arrived this afternoon – just in time for the start of the platform’s early access period for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. After transferring my PS3 license (for free, I might add!) to the PS4, all I had to do was install the client… which took almost three hours. But anyway, once that was all done, I spent a few hours getting reacquainted with the world; at first, I thought I’d completely forgotten how to play the game, but it all came back to me as I spent a couple of hours touring Eorzea, revisiting my favourite haunts and seeing how they looked on PS4.

With that in mind, here’s a call-back to one of my previous postcards – a nice view of the Shroud’s Little Solace, temporary home of the Sylphs, only this time in shiny PS4-o-vision.

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(you’ll have to excuse the renegade mouse cursor – I need to get used to that Dualshock 4 touchpad and stop accidentally brushing it with my finger).

BONUS ROUND!!

Seeing as it’s been months since my last series entry, let’s celebrate the impending launch of the PlayStation 4 version with a couple more screenshots. First up, here’s a nice colourful pic of Nophica’s Altar in Gridania. Notice the easter eggs scattered around on the ground – it’s Easter in Eorzea, and that means it’s time for the Hatching-tide festival!

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As part of the Hatching-tide quests, adventurers are given fetching egg-themed headwear. Here’s my Elezen bard modelling one of these handsome adornments.

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And last, but certainly by no means least, here’s a pic of the game on my Vita, running via remote play.

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I was in a room directly below the room where the PS4 was, and while the remote play connection wasn’t as stable as my Wii U, it was generally very responsive and playable. Controls are somewhat compromised, given the lack of buttons relative to a controller, and while I certainly won’t be running dungeons on my Vita it was a perfectly good way to spend a couple of hours in front of the TV doing some crafting. I’ll certainly get some use out of it for the slower-paced, more considered side of the game.

That’s it for this edition of Postcards from Eorzea. I promise not to leave it so long next time.

Feel free to share your own postcards from Eorzea, and let me know in the comments what you think of Naoki Yoshida and his team’s world. I’ll share another of my shots next week. To browse through this and previous editions of Postcards from Eorzea, click here.

This week has seen the release of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII in Japan, but the game’s pink-haired heroine has been pulling double-duty, turning up in Eorzea to fight strange, bio-mechanical beasts. Of course, the realm’s adventurers aren’t about to let her fight alone.

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Lightning’s appearances form a four-part series of quests and FATEs that take place across the land. I’ve only managed to complete the first two parts, as the latter pair are out of my level range (I’m currently Lv31), and I doubt I’ll be able to finish them by the time the series wraps up on December 9th. Luckily, the quests will be making a return to celebrate the February release of Lightning Returns in Europe and North America, so I’d better get to work!

Feel free to share your own postcards from Eorzea, and let me know in the comments what you think of Naoki Yoshida and his team’s world. I’ll share another of my shots next week. To browse through this and previous editions of Postcards from Eorzea, click here.

Welcome back to Postcards from Eorzea! It’s been a couple of weeks since my last update as unfortunately I haven’t had a great deal of free time to put into Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn recently – those Games of the Generation posts have really been eating into my free time! So here’s a callback to one of my earlier postcards, where I grabbed a nice image of my character running through La Noscea on a rented chocobo. Here though, I have my own steed!

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Mounts become available once you join one of Eorzea’s three Grand Companies and then accrue 2,000 company seals to pay for your licence. I went with the Gridanian Company, The Order of the Twin Adder, because Gridania is my hometown and I just love the place. If I’ve been away for a while, returning to the leafy environs of the forest nation feels like coming home.

Once you’ve got your licence, a chocobo is yours. Of course, you’ll have to name your mount, and this can be done only once, so choose wisely! I named my glorious steed Belius, after a character from Tales of Vesperia. Because they’re both yellow.

BONUS ROUND!
Here’s a bonus pic of my other mount, my Coeurl that I got from the collector’s edition of the game. As much as I love its design, I prefer Belius, as unfortunately your company chocobo is the only mount you can name. Still, it looks damn cool!

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I’m going to have to put a bit more time into the game – soon enough, Lightning will be arriving in Eorzea. The final two parts of the quest, at levels 38 and 45 respectively, are currently out of my level range, so I’ll need to get levelling!

Feel free to share your own postcards from Eorzea, and let me know in the comments what you think of Naoki Yoshida and his team’s world. I’ll share another of my shots next week. To browse through this and previous editions of Postcards from Eorzea, click here.

It’s Hallowe’en in Eorzea!

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Well, it has been for about a week now. And to celebrate, A Realm Reborn‘s development team have added in a few short quests that do… well, something. I don’t know what yet, as I’ve only done the first phase (which netted me a lovely spooky costume fit for the occasion). I’d better hurry up and finish the quest string, as I believe it ends tomorrow. The only problem is that I can only do it between 6pm and 6am Eorzean Time, and I keep missing out!

The picture above was taken in Mih Khetto’s Amphitheatre in Old Gridania, so here’s a bonus wider shot of the area and all its décor (and a better look at my spooky attire).

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Things like this are a great selling point for persistent world online games; they give the players a chance to see the familiar world around them grow and change, and offer developers a chance to inject fun little things like this and play around with the date. I can’t wait to see Eorzea draped in virtual tinsel for Christmas!

Feel free to share your own postcards from Eorzea, and let me know in the comments what you think of Naoki Yoshida and his team’s world. I’ll share another of my shots next week. To browse through this and previous editions of Postcards from Eorzea, click here.

It’s been a little over a week since my last postcard from the fantasy realm of Eorzea; I haven’t been online a lot recently to take snapshots. I’d bitten off a bit more than I could chew in terms of games recently, but having finally finished the excellent Tales of Xillia a few days ago, I should now have more time for Final Fantasy XIV!

So to celebrate, today I have a picture I took just last night. I present ‘Little Solace by night’.
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Little Solace, in the East Shroud region of Gridania, is home to a small Sylph encampment. Worshippers of the lightning primal Ramuh, the Sylphs are technically one of the beast tribes, though they are relatively peaceful if a bit mischievous. Recently, however, the encroachment of the Garlean forces into the Black Shroud has soured their view of others, making them distrustful and meaning I have to spend hours /dancing to win them over…

Bonus Round!

As it’s been a while, enjoy a shot of my black Chocobo chick minion.
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Feel free to share your own postcards from Eorzea, and let me know in the comments what you think of Naoki Yoshida and his team’s world. I’ll share another of my shots next week. To browse through this and previous editions of Postcards from Eorzea, click here.