Saturday night was a rather different one for fans of Square Enix’s most recent entry in the MMORPG market, Final Fantasy XIV. That night, at a place called ‘The Nerd Cave‘, a rather packed out meetup took place between fans where we could engage and interact with each other while playing some FFXIV, and some of the many other games present at the location. It would prove to be a fun night with activities, pizza, booze and more.
Officially, there is a Final Fantasy XIV group for Australians and New Zealanders to join on Facebook, which is where we found out about the event. Despite working with the PR company in-charge of looking after the Final Fantasy XIV brand, I had never actually heard of the group until accidentally stumbling upon it somehow. But joining this group has been pretty cool, being able to discuss the game as a regular gamer, rather than as a media person has been rather enjoyable. I think that’s what made the meetup so engaging for us, just being there, being a fan of the brand, and being surrounded by people that also enjoy Final Fantasy.
The beginning of the night was pretty fun for me, we started with some bourbon and then played some arcade games. After a short while of that, some of the computers had freed up so I was able to login to the game and do a dungeon run or two. However, the night didn’t really begin until we did the new Deep Dungeon content in the Palace of the Dead.
For those unfamiliar with the Palace of the Dead content, it is essentially pretty similar to the tower thing that I forget the name of in Final Fantasy X-2. But if you don’t have the point of reference, basically, as a party, you need to work your way through groups of 10 floors within the palace, 10 floors of randomly generated content, to take on a boss monster. Defeating these monsters will allow you to save your progress and advance another 10 levels within the palace. What makes this interesting is that players are given these new kinds of weapons and armour called Aetheryte Armour/Weapons. They basically overwrite your mainhand and ignore equipped armour that your character is equipped with, replacing them with their own stats, leveled through blue chests within the dungeon.
Unfortunately, thanks to a rather large oversight over at the Final Fantasy XIV department at Square Enix, I had to wipe one of two save files to run in Palace of the Dead with friends. This is a pretty bad decision, considering that you get locked to a floor per save file, and locked to a class on that save file as well. This would be a better system if there was at least one save file per class, or the ability to start on any cleared 10th (multiple) floor on a new save file. Your Aether gear saves even if you wipe the save, why can’t the floors as well? I think this unfairly punishes players that have more than one main group that they play with.
Anyway, besides the save file hassles, the content within the Palace is actually really fun to run. Like, really fun. I swear, Square could make their next MMO entirely like this, but maybe larger in scope, have some villages on every 10th floor and just add 500 more floors per expansion pack and it’d be a pretty solid game. However, those Minotaurs on floor 20-30. Mate, those things, I swear. About to clear a room: “Oh, hey guys, we’re just 3 more Minotaurs! Death to the healers! Death to the DPS! Death to the Tanks!”. Please don’t change this, I enjoy the challenge.
After playing through 10 floors or so and some wipes, it was time for night to finish up. We were all huddled together for more booze and a group photo. This was to commemorate such an awesome night. There were also some really cool promo shirts floating around too! So definitely some extra value for fans of the games!
I would definitely love to see more of these kinds of events from Square Enix, or the people doing the marketing for this game. It’s great just getting together with other fans and discussing the game, seeing how they have their hotbars setup (to that one guy with all the Cleric Stances, lmao!) and just having great fun. If you haven’t already joined the fan group and are in Australia and/or New Zealand, definitely do so.
Image swiped from the FFXIVAU&NZ Facebook page.