So, fresh server, new city and a new lease on life for Aqualin. Game play wise, I’ve really come to enjoy the game once I figured out what the hell I was doing. Leveling up is similar to Final Fantasy Tactics where you have two separate levels, your physical level and your class rank. Your physical level determines your stats and resistances (which you assign yourself), while your class rank determines the skills and abilities you can use.
You can change classes by simply equipping a new weapon. Use a cane and be a Conjurer. Equip a spear, and bam you’re a Lancer. You can then assign what actions you can use from any class you have leveled. So if you’ve leveled Conjurer to Rank 4, you have Cure. Then so long as you have the requisite Action Points, you can equip cure on any class. I really like this method better than sub-jobs in Final Fantasy XI. It allows you to be able to customize your character greatly, without potentially having the ‘you need to have this sub-job to make your main job effective’ issue. Also, I’m not yet sure how armor between classes really works at the moment, but I’m not at a high enough level for it to matter.
The crafting and gathering in this game are now also part of the class system. So you earn physical level exp by doing stuff in these classes, in addition to the class skill points you earn. Rather than simply being a simple command or synthesis window, each one has a small mini-game to play in order to get your end result item. This takes more time, but makes the process more involved and interesting. However, currently the only method of selling goods is to either sell them to NPCs, or set them up in a Bazaar on your character or your Retainer in a city market. There is no Auction House style system. This is rather annoying because it makes finding the things you need or want rather difficult by the fact you have to search any character individually rather than being able to search for them.
Another gripe comes from the game’s performance. The mouse for the game is a software mouse, and is tied into the game’s frame rate. So, if you’re like me and the game is running at 10-15 frames, the mouse is really bad. I use a wireless Xbox 360 controller to play, but the interface still has lag issues. It can get really frustrating at times.
Combat is nice and quick paced. There’s no auto-attack, which if you’re used to melee classes in other games can be a major shift as you need to be constantly using your abilities to attack. As a player of mages, this isn’t too big of a shift for me so I find no problems to complain about yet. Overall, I enjoy the combat thus far.
Questing is interesting. You have storyline quests which as far as I can tell open up at certain levels. If you’re a World of Warcraft player and looking for the big exclamation point indicating a quest, you’re going to be sadly disappointed. The game others ‘Levelquests’ which are short missions of ‘kill x of y monster,’ ‘collect items,’ etc. They come in various categories for combat, gathering or crafting. There are only a limited number of levequests available to you, and you can only get new ones 48 hours after you first collected the quest. The limitation is annoying, but overall I find levequests highly enjoyable.
All-in-all, I’ve enjoyed my time in Eorzea quite a bit. I’m going to get my Collector’s Edition, and play the game despite the fact my current machine is not quite up to snuff. It has its issues and I really feel like the game isn’t exactly ready for final launch, but what MMORPG isn’t these days. It has its issues and could use a few more months to simmer and settle I think. I’ve stuck through with worse stuff in other MMOs and if my time in Vana’diel is any indication, I’m really going to enjoy my time in Eorzea.