Friday, July 12, 2013

Final Fantasy XIV Beta impressions

In a fit of karmic justice, my main PC's motherboard decided to fry itself. After some troubleshooting and cursing I resigned myself to the fact that I'd be without a PC for a few days while a new mobo gets shipped.

In a foul mood I was browsing through my e-mail and I had received a new one from Square-Enix with the question how I was enjoying the FF XIV beta.

Wait what now? I didn't know I was in the beta?!

A quick search revealed they had sent me an invite for the PS3 version over 2 weeks ago. So some clickety-clack and a 5GB download later and I was in business.

Now my experience with Final Fantasy is extensive having completed pretty much every main series game and dabbling in FF XI on the Xbox 360 back in the day. But I never did get around to playing the original Final Fantasy XIV as tales of its god-awful-ness had reached me by the time I was able to procure it. So I was going in fresh and I must say, so far I'm impressed. Impressed enough to want to sign up for a while when it goes live later in August.

Rolling an Archer I was plopped down into a quaint little town in the middle of a forest and told to pretty much go forth and be entertained. Which 8 hours later I still was. The first 10 levels really breezed by and in a way less linear fashion than games like WoW or even Guild Wars 2. Speaking of GW2 though this game borrows heavily from them with world events and abilities deriving from the equipped weapons going even a step further where your current class is wholly based on what you happen to have in your hands. Letting you swap to any other class simply by picking up a different weapon after having reached at least level 10 in your primary class.

Apart from the combat classes there is an extensive roster of crafting and support classes from staples like carpenter and miner to things like fisherman. If you like crafting you've come to the right place!

The aforementioned non-linearity was a great plus though. At any given moment I could do my class quests or follow some storyline quests (which are okay, but not amazing) or just walk around in the forest doing randoms stuff for random people to get my level up.

If I have one complaint it is that the mission variety is of the same non-variety as other games where it comes down to fetch x, kill x of y or talk to x. I understand this is simply a function of these kinds of games but it seems as if MMO developer just simply burn all their creativity on making these amazing worlds and then go "fuck it" and just have the interns populate it with uninspired quests.

In any event, I had a great time and you might too. the public beta is coming up so sign up at their website now to be a part of it.

Oh yeah, I was playing it on the PS3 and it worked just fine. Controller mapping was pretty inventive so don't let that keep you.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Update: Karma, it's a bitch isn't it. Less than a day after me writing the below SOE finally got around releasing a patch that solved all my problems.
3 hours later, my motherboard died... I'm sure the two aren't related...are they?!

I like Planetside 2, I like it a lot. Having checked it out a few times in the past I decided to give it a proper go this week and I love the epic feel of the battles and the sprawling landscapes on which you and up to hundreds of your brothers in arms fight.

Which makes it all the more frustrating that several serious technical issues prevent me from playing it.

Planetside 2 crashes, a lot. On a bad day it crashes to desktop about once every 30 minutes and nothing I do can prevent that. I've rebuilt the file structure, updated my drivers, removed my overclock hell even underclocked. Nothing seems to be able to prevent this game from just randomly, arbitrarily deciding that I've had enough. It's like Sony has finally started to enforce their "take frequent breaks while playing videogames" policy that I see so often on the PS3.

Then there are the glitches, the worst by far is a constant droning buzz through my speakers. Kind of like what interference sounds like on analog speakers...But they're USB speakers, fully digital, with those buzz only happening in Planetside 2.

After 3 days of getting this all to work. I've given up. There is nothing more frustrating that putting 30 minutes of work in capturing a facility only to have the game crash on you a few seconds before the pay-off. No XP, no nothing and when I log back in I can't even get back to where I was because of the retarded respawn system.