My crazy attempt to catch up in time for Final Fantasy XIV’s Endwalker expansion
endwalker coming and I’m not ready for it. I came to Final Fantasy XIV only this year, tearing through A reborn realm and skyward before you play the game somewhere in the middle of storm blood, which is generally considered inferior to the other FFXIV extensions.
Then news came of a new expansion, rekindling my desire to start my journey over again, hopefully ready in time for endwalker‘s launch. I was under no illusions about my ability to process the content of one and a half expansions before December 8, but I could try, and trying meant getting through storm blood first. So I suggested an experiment: Final Fantasy XIV going for maintenance at 4AM EST in preparation for a new patch and to open endwalker early entry for the lucky ones. If I could finish storm blood before the servers go down I’d be in a good place to get close to the end of Shadow Bringers in time to start end runner, if not on launch day, then that same week. Could I?
Without knowing where I was in the storm blood main story quest and devoted to the silly idea of keeping my tank and healer jobs evenly level, I said yes.
One thing I appreciate Final Fantasy XIV is that it respects your time. If you want to play multiple classes in other MMOs like World of Warcraft – you have to level different characters for each class, often forcing you to repeat the content. Final FantasyThe job system allows you to seamlessly level up as many classes as you want on the same character. I can bounce between my gun breaker tank and astrological healer as I progress through the main story quest with relative ease. I even developed a method to keep those two classes close together. I would pass two levels with my weapon breaker, then switch to my astrologer and catch up, rinse and repeat. It’s not a perfect system. Sometimes in one class I got too far ahead in the main story quest so that when I switched to the other class I didn’t meet the level requirement to continue, forcing me to stop the progress and grind a bit to get it to make up for lost XP.
Now you would think in the crazy dash to end storm blood before server maintenance blocks me out of the game, I’d give up this quirky leveling dance in favor of picking one class and moving on. You would be wrong.
I am, like Thanos, a balance person. If my class levels are too far out of line, there’s a higher chance that one class will be left to toil in pointless side quests to catch up. I hate grinding with a passion. There’s a reason I’ve only made one character in ten years of playing World of Warcraft. I enjoy both classes too much to leave one behind because of my stubborn refusal to grind, and that line stuck even when time was of the essence.
By midnight I had about 700,000 XP to level up my class and unlock the next main story quest. I decided to jump across the map and complete the destiny, these are timed missions with big XP rewards that anyone can participate in. I was alone and completed a lottery ticket when a player joined me. I didn’t catch their name, but when we were done with the lottery, they performed the kiss emote as a thank you. I went to the next lot, and there they were again, and again for the lot after that. I loved it. Our goals were temporarily aligned (they probably needed a quick grinding session like me), and we had this very human connection and collaboration while never really talking to each other, only communicating in emotes. For a moment a bond was forged – and just as quickly as it came, it was over.
Most of my MMO life was devoted to being a damage dealer because I didn’t think I was capable of handling the responsibility that comes with being a tank or a healer. You can generally muddle through with a bad damage dealer, but if the tank or healer is bad, it’s game over. I decided to step out of my comfort zone by playing those lessons in FFXIV, and while my confidence in these roles has improved, I still get anxious when it comes time to do a story dungeon. I spent an incredible amount of time last night trying to get my healer to 70 because even though my tank was already at level 70 and could continue to finish the last dungeon, storm blood with time left, I was terrified to refuel that dungeon. the dungeon a single boss fight was so complex with so many mechanics to remember and watch that I thought I wouldn’t get through without killing the party and wasting precious time. I spent a lot of time that I couldn’t really afford getting my healer to 70 so I could do the much easier (but still incredibly stressful) work of healing.
I hit 70 on my healer at 3am. The servers are going down in an hour, I have tears in my eyes and hunched over my keyboard, but I made it. Once I complete this dungeon, I’m done. And that should be a quick task, because while damage dealers have to wait an extraordinarily long time to get into a dungeon, healers don’t, as they are generally more in demand with a lower supply. I got in line, and I waited.
What I thought would be an instant queue that just kept getting longer because my stupid sleep deprived ass didn’t realize most people are still playing Final Fantasy XIV an hour for server maintenance probably have better things to do than standing in line for an expansion dungeon ago.
lol i really thought i could sneak in at the buzzer
— Ash Piss-crazy Bear Parrish (@adashtra) Dec 2, 2021
I waited 20 minutes – an unimaginable amount of time as a healer – thinking my quest to end storm blood before the time ran out, this would end in failure. Sure, I could come back after maintenance and try again, but I was disappointed because I got so close to reaching my absolutely insane goal. I looked away to tweet my failure, my hand moving to the escape button when I was done so I could log out in shame. I almost missed the “Duty Commenced” box to let me know the party was full and the dungeon was waiting. I clicked “record” almost in surprise.
Turns out my fears about this dungeon were unfounded. My group made light work of the boss, Shinryu, with barely a scratch, let alone a dead one. We just blew through it like wet tissue paper, even though the dungeon guide video I saw that I believed this boss would destroy the party for the slightest mistake. To the seven of you who queued for a storm blood dungeon in the last minutes before the server shuts down, thanks.
Once Shinryu lay dead, and after some dramatic cutscenes, I arrived at storm bloodends with less than 30 minutes left.
I won’t miss it storm blood. It was a typical revolution story that didn’t seem to fit the grandeur of the stories that preceded it. And while storm blood didn’t move me the way skyward and A reborn realm did, this experience certainly improved my overall impression of it. For me, storm blood was an extension about the journey, not the destination, and this time the end of the journey was the best. I will look back on the companions who accompanied me through the last minutes of storm blood loving, even though I’ll never remember their names, nor much else from what happened in this expansion. Now alone Shadow Bringers stands between me and my journey to the moon endwalker, and from what I hear, it’s the best of the best.