It's very rare nowadays that I feel the need to write much game related content. Back in the early days of WoW I used to keep a blog and write RP stories for my characters yet more recently that has diminished. It's just over a month since I began my journey in Eorzea and I suddenly feel the urge to write about it and share my experiences in the game so far. Please feel no obligation to read what I am sure will be a massive wall of rather poorly written text, but once it's done at least I will know I tried to convey something, rather than think 'oh I could have done that but ... too lazy!'. Also, sadly I couldn't directly embed the short video's I made to illustrate points into the post so I've linked them under where they would have been.

Before I get started, I want to ensure that no one thinks that I'm writing this to slate games like WoW or such. I have and still do hold many fond memories of other games, I just feel compelled to write up my positive experiences with this game, having had such a negative impression with it during my free trial about a year ago. Maybe I will be bored in two months, maybe not, but so far it's going well.

Eek, slow down!
I think my biggest mistake when starting this game for the first time was expecting things to be like every other MMO I've tried and in doing that, blinded myself to what the game was actually trying to show me. With other game start points you are thrown right into your class and told to kill 8 of these, 10 of those. What we have here are directional introduction based quests and at first I didn't really see them as that, I thought the game was needlessly spamming me with courier quests and I just wanted to get out there and use my class spells and kill stuff! It wasn't until later on I realised that there is no rush at all and all it was trying to do is introduce me to the various guilds and vendors throughout the city, which I will be sure to need on several occasions.

Dedication to One
For the very first time in any MMO I've ever played I feel true dedication to one character. It's a rare thing for me as I am always changing my appearances in every other game, never settling. I was really excited to unlock the hairdresser within FF14 as I'd totally missed the highlights section (doh!).



One rather bizarre questline later and I had this option! However, I haven't changed a thing, because it wouldn't be her anymore. Even some of her questionable looking gear has only added to her storyline. This game allows you to build everything into one character, all classes, all professions..everything. If you want alts they are there but I, for once, do not feel any need. Changing your class/job is just as easy as changing your weapon. While on the subject of gear change, I really like the built-in gear management option. It's super easy to use and you can even drag each gear set onto your bar for an even faster wardrobe change.. just incase you need to hop into a bath quickly!

>>Outfit Change Video<<

Hours of Nothing
Never before in a game have I been as content to do 'nothing' as I am here, most of the time I've been the least productive have been the most fun times in game for me.. Watching @Hultay creeping people out with his male Lala in the inn while @Vordt.Ororyu tries to push me off my chair, gatecrashing official weddings with @Lessa, @LunaDra and @torhagen or keeping people company/stalking them while they level.



Sure, idling in your garrison or Stormwind is one thing but here, when I've ended up in a main city between quests and dungeons I've usually run into another Whitestarian and things just tend to go on from there. Even sitting, watching the sunset is beautiful.

>>Limsa Sunset Video<<





The emotes system is quite something too, they've really put some effort into it. Not only can you change your standing pose but also your sitting pose, facial expressions and even make your own custom macros that can chain different emotes in a row.

>>Chain Emotes & Expression Video<<

Each emote feels so much more interactive than any I've experienced in a game so far.







Questing
I am slow. Horribly slow. Does this matter? Seemingly not. I've been honest with my fellow guild-mates about wanting to make sure I take the time to read things and absorb the story as it comes. I was out questing in Gridania and while I was doing a quest I actually got this really weird game atmosphere feeling (so hard to describe!).. maybe nostalgia of some sort or the feeling of being immersed in a single player rpg when not being in one.. it felt like an Ocarina of Time moment... random I know. It was so nice though. I even found myself feeling a little guilty after one of the quests I did.. I've heard from others that the storyline is awesome in this game so I'm looking forward to the future quests.

When I'm on my main story line I prefer to be levelling alone because I feel that would be a totally different experience, even though random visitors have popped up a few times to come visit and watch me while I noob around^^. Not that it wouldn't be nice to have company but I think I'd be far too panicked and it would mean I'd be chatting away with them, worrying about being too slow, trying to read quests too quickly and not being able to immerse myself. I've already been honest with those kind enough to ask me about levelling :) still, that's what other classes are for! My personal story quest is giving me the best XP so I save it for my archer. If I level with anyone else it's far better for me to level my other classes via Fates and the hunting log. It's really nice to have these options! I've had no pressure at all all from anyone and there's still plenty of stuff I can do with guildies whether they level sync or not.



I've only seen one seasonal event so far and it's my absolute almost favourite.. Halloween!! A short set of quests, firstly rewarding an entire outfit set, then a mini-pet followed by a broom mount. There are also some really nice additional items available on the mogstation (store) which are surprisingly inexpensive. I'm in love with the ghost costume, it's so silly and makes me laugh every time I see it.



>>Halloween Outfits Video<<

Gold Saucer
Oh my goodness... SO PRETTY!



I was squeeling lots when i went here for the first time. There's a moogle claw game!!! Wah! Triple Triad, random events pinging up and.. Chocobo racing!! *squee*.





Maps
Finally we come on to something that I have whined on and on about.. MAPS! Good lord these were the bane of my levelling career so far. I'm very, very slowly getting used to them but my main annoyance was that the little Aethernet portals weren't named and you can't click on them via the map to port to them. Grr!

Communications & UI
Another for the 'not accustomed to yet' list. I'm used to the chat system in WoW and this one feels clunky, however, that's most likely down to me! Once I have more time I will have to look into it and see if there is a way I can set this up to make it more intuitive.
Hm, what can I say for the UI... Cluttered but functional! I've seen others rearrange theirs into something cleaner so... I should add this to the list!

You can move pretty much everything it seems!

In The Details
One of the things that makes me appreciate this game more and more are the tiny details, some people may not even notice them but each time I find a new one I'm super happy. For example, when you are in a building and it switches from night to day, the windows glow with the sunlight, when you run over wood then metal detail on the floor the sound effects change, and when you step out of water you leave wet footprints on the floor! My favourite though, has to be the wind. If you are in an area where it's windy the gust will actually blow your hair and robe in the appropriate direction and when you turn your character, it blows the robe against you rather than away.

>>La Noscea Gales Video<<

Oh and the mini pets interacting with you is another really cute feature! Shooting stars and twinkling stars in the night sky.. There are so many more things!

Crafting
Can't really comment on this yet, all I know is that the carpentering dude leader tricked me into nudity! Since then I haven't gone back!! :D

Don't trust this man!

Gear
As much as some of the gear in Final Fantasy might be deemed as questionable *cough* .. There really are some lovely, detailed gear sets. It seems that they stagger the good looking items between dungeon levels so for example you are new and see the Foestriker set which belongs to the first set of dungeons so you work towards levelling enough to get there. The next level is not so good looking with the Toadskin or something..goodness now I can't remember the name, I've been wearing it long enough! I don't mind it all that much but there are certain *cough* guildies who find it horrid! Then then following on from that there is the Infantry set, which I'm collecting at the moment and looks really pretty! Even comes with a free giant purple ribbon, hooray.

Here's my Amu crafted starter gear (bottom left, along with various other outfits I've had along the way so far.. couldn't fit them all in though!



A few more from the guildies..



Class & Playstyle
At first I wanted to go with what was the most straight forward.. Archer it is then! Then I found out that at level 30 you had to level a Pugilist to level 15 so that you could become a Bard (one of the Jobs) as levelling Archer all the way up would put you at a significant disadvantage.



I got a bit confused and frustrated. Why can't I just play the class I picked at the start? At this point (level 26) I thought that Bard would be very different and so I went to look for a spell caster class. Seeing as the Archanist gets a very awesome little blue Picachu (Blupachu hereafter!) pet, I was sold!



Levelling felt a little slow as I didn't have the xp bonus from having a lv50 character and my main story quests were being saved for my Archer (these would have only commenced at level 26 anyway), so I used the hunting log and fates to get her to 26 along with daily roulette. In dungeons I literally felt all I was doing was dotting things and seemed rather slow so I went to reassess the Bard play, watched some videos, read some posts and went back to finish the Archer..sacrificing beautiful Blupachu for a little while. I'll be sure to go back to the Archanist and convert over to try Summoner once I've progressed a little more on the Bard. Decisions are clearly not my strong point. Combat still feels a little slow because of such a different GCD than WoW but I've heard this gets shorter based on gear and level. I'm still just a newbie really so again, I can't judge too much yet!



Even though I found it frustrating at the time, I like that running into a camp of mobs kills me (unlike WoW where I can just AoE them down) or that I can still die in my personal story instance because I'm not doing it as it should be done.



Community Matters
The community in this game has been such a shock. So-many-nice-people!



When I was maybe a week old in the game a player randomly ran past me and gave me my very first fawn mini-pet..too cute! People randomly hug me or wave while I'm questing.



The other day I was looking at the Halloween decorations in Gridania for screenshots and I got a whisper from a guy sitting by the display 'would you like us to move?'.. I mean, how nice is that? So polite. Later that day he invited me and my group along to one of the Ceremony of Eternal Bonding (which is an official wedding thing with proper cutscenes and everything!) it was just.. mad!



The dungeons have also been really nice with everyone bar ONE person being super nice, and this one person may have just been expressing 'help' in an odd way so it wasn't that bad. No swearing or yelling or berating! There's also a nice player commendations system within the dungeons and I think when you get so many you are rewarded with a mount (or something!), such a great initiative.

And of course, the best part of the community is my guildies. Even through the rain and the poop, they've been there.



Oh and I almost forgot the guild house! So pretty.. had a very fun night pretty much playing the Sims or some odd version of the chuckle brothers with @Xera, @Hultay and @torhagen.

>>FFXIV: Whitestar Guild House Exterior & Interior Video<<
>>FFXIV: Whitestar Guild House Interior Decorating<<

I've written way too much already so I'll stop babbling now! There is so much more I would want to mention but for now I will leave it! Just want to say a big thank you to @Vordt.Ororyu, @LunaDra @Hultay @Xera @Acharial @torhagen @Lessa @Cornilius @Baggie and all other Whitestarians for making my time in game so great and for all the help so far! Also a super big thank you to @Firkan who generously offered this game up as a prize and I feel so lucky to have won it!



Please ignore all the mistakes and typo's in this post, it got too long and I've read it too many times to know what's what! Sorry!