So, Seekers of Adoulin. Where to begin eh?
Final Fantasy XI's fifth expansion, released five years since it's previous one, Wings of the Goddess.
I've been playing XI since the EU release, but times have changed greatly since back then. The game got much easier with the introduction of Abyssea and the increased level cap from 75 to 99.
Well, Square Enix kind of caught on, and did everything they could to make Adoulin hard as shit.
Incredibly high level enemies, coupled with limited exploration and a handful of reported 4-5 hour boss fights, it looks like I'm going to need a whole bunch of new friends if I want to be able to continue my adventures!
As for the battlefields, I can't exactly say I've experienced much of them. This is due to the "limited" exploration I mentioned earlier.
While it is possible to get to areas much further away from the city, unless the world's "colonization" rate increases and outposts are created, hiking there by foot is your only means of exploration. But with incredibly high level, true sight enemies everywhere, one slip up and you're right back at square one.
There are shortcuts, though! In order to advance through the new areas quickly, you can team up with other players and demolish fallen trees, roots, walls of enemies, or cavern walls that uncover shortcuts. However, these "Rieves" respawn every 15~ mins or so, which means it's completely possible to stuck without a way home unless you bring a method of warping!
Currently on Sylph, the colonization rate is about 25% for each of the starting areas around Adoulin, and waypoints are available at the outposts. This makes getting to the connecting areas a little easier.
Unfortunately, it's those connecting areas I want to explore! Even if I got there, without a map I would be completely lost! So how the hell do I get maps?!
These mini-quests are much akin to Campaign Ops from Wings of the Goddess, and increase your standing within each Coalition.
For example, accepting quests to "clear the way" from the Pioneer's Coalition, then smacking those pesky roots and trees out of the way to make shortcuts for other players, grants you respect and rewards within that Coalition. Charting certain areas from the Scout's Coalition, and delivering goods needed to build waypoints further away from the city through the Courier's Coalition allows you to purchase new maps, and eventually the ability to warp to new areas without having to go there by foot. Sounds fun, right?
The only problem is, these new "perks" such as battlefield waypoints, maps, and more are calculated every earth week and are determined by how many players cooperate to raise the "Rank" of each Coalition per server.
Currently on Sylph, absolutely nobody is working for the Scout's or Courier's Coalition, therefore no new maps or warps are available for anywhere except the starting areas. On other servers, they are. So get your fingers out, guys! For the sake of pioneering!
However, when tiny pink butterflies can also kick your ass, you know Square Enix aren't fucking around.
Recently, SE have had a ton of fun giving every new enemy Area of Effect spells and abilities. From Voidwatch to Meeble Burrows, everything wanted not only you, but all your friends dead as well. They said they would calm down on giving enemies overpowered abilities with the release of Adoulin, but I have still to find an enemy that doesn't tear me a new one upon engaging it.
Even those pesky butterflies have this horrible move called "Black Out", which inflicts AOE silence, paralyze, and blind!
The localization team were really on the ball with some of the translations, and as always, NPC dialogue is funny as heck. I've done about half of the new quests, and loved every second of them, despite how pointless and unrewarding most of them are!
But, we'll just have to wait and see. Perhaps the old Legendaries will get a new coat of paint through updates, or perhaps these new weapons will get patched. Ah, the fun and grinding of an MMO never gets tiring, does it?
I guess I should mention the other gear you can buy straight off the bat from NPC is also very good and well needed after the flurry of situational side upgrades we've been feeding off of through Salvage II, Voidwatch and Meeble Burrows.
I took Geomancer to 59 recently, and must admit it's quite fun. You can cast AOE elemental spells on yourself that inflict damage on nearby enemies while not harming you, and cast an arrays of "auras" around yourself or at a fixed point on the battlefield that give bonuses to party members, or detrimental effects on the enemy.
As for Rune Fencer, as I mentioned in my last entry, I am staticing it with some friends from the UK! It's currently at level 40 and so far...eh. It feels like a gimpy Dark Knight subbing Red Mage, and nothing at that low a level casts magic that can potentially hurt, nor do I have access to any ground breaking job abilities yet. The fun thing is, it's a light armour job that has an A+ ranking in GREAT SWORD.
What the fuck were SE smoking on that day, I wonder? Either way, I am looking forward to getting it to 99 purely to see my character swinging that giant thing around while wearing Thaumas gear. Since we are exping normally via Fields of Valor, it might take some time, though.
For someone who plays casually and only with 2-3 other people, it's not exactly the best expansion so far, but hey! These things take time. I said the same thing about Wings of the Goddess and it turned out to be a huge laugh! Campaign was fun as heck! The same goes for Abyssea. I was incredibly wary at first (a public timed event with crappy exp, poppable NMs and low drop rates, are you insane?!) but look how that turned out in the end! I go there almost every day now!
So yeah, not great, but not bad. It rekindled my desire to explore again, but I just wish there wasn't so many methods of cock blocking me from doing so.
Thanks for reading!