Thursday, June 25, 2009

My first days in Windurst

Hi. Here's a recount of my first few days in the game getting from lvl 1 to 13.

Race and starting city: I was pretty set on playing either a Galka or Taru Taru, but I forgot how cute the Hume starting outfits are! After playing around with the character options for a few minutes I was pretty set on a Hume female with mid length brown hair. I think for the most part the Humes are the least interesting of the races. The others are just so much cooler. But.... I really like my characters smile, and the way she looks kind of shy.


I decided to start out in Windurst simply because I'd already seen San d'Oria, and Bastok just didn't sound appealing. Unfortunately, Windurst is huge and fairly confusing! It's taken me several days to even begin to get used to the city.

Why I choose White Mage: Actually, I choose Red Mage! I knew I wanted to play a healer of some kind, but I was afraid that I'd end up soloing too much to make White Mage viable, so I started out as a Red Mage. But before I ever left Windurst I changed my mind. I really, really want to work with other people as much as possible, and I think if I had started out playing it safe with the idea that I could still solo easily, I'd be giving myself an out. Giving myself permission to not party! So I found my Mog House and switched my job to White Mage!

Getting started: I was a little surprised by how little instructions or directions I was given at the beginning of the game! There was a nice little cutscene that directed me to one of the Cardian guards, who gave me some money and told me that I could leave the city to fight monsters by going through the gate. But that was pretty much it.

I put off my trip to the gate and instead did some exploring, looking for the auction house and my Mog House. I'm embarrased to say that I got lost pretty quickly! After talking to a few townsfolk and familiarizing myself with at least part of the city (Windurst Woods and Port Windurst, which I now think of as my neighborhood), I set of for the nearest gate.

At the gate I met a War Warlock who told me all about Conquest and gathering crystals (which I later discovered could be sold for a good price at the auction house!). I agreed to have a Sigil cast on my, and stepped out into the wilderness for the first time!

Exploring, fighting and leveling: As soon as I stepped out into East Saruabaruta I ran into a floating book, which offered my some kind of training options. I'm still not really sure what that's all about, but I accepted and set out to kill some Bumblebee's and Tiny Mandragora's. I learned some lessons really quickly. First, it's a good idea to check the toughness of a monster before you attack, and a monster marked Decent Challenge or Even Match is not actually either! I got eaten twice before I decided to stick to Easy Prey.

It also took me awhile to figure out why I didn't seem to know any spells. I had assumed that I'd start out with one or two spells. Turns out that the spells come as scrolls that have to be learned.

I fought through the first few levels fairly easily, and came back the next day ready to try some tougher enemies. I discovered that one of the characters at the gate I was using could give me Missions. I completed my first two missions that evening, leveling up to lvl 9 in the process! These missions were a lot of fun, and really let me explore both the city and the surrounding areas as well as the history of the game. I went back for the third mission the next day (which was a little tougher), but was then surprised to find out that I couldn't get any more missions until lvl 20!

What I'm doing now: At this point I'm not really sure what to do next. I finished my last mission at level 11. I've explored East and West Sarutabaruta pretty thoroughly, and I've just started poking around in Tahrongi Canyon. It seems like my options are:

-Explore Tahrongi canyon, leveling up while fighting Goblins, Rarabs and little plant monsters.

-Hunt around Windurst for more Quests.

-Go to Valkrum Dunes.

The last option is the one I'm the least sure about. Every guide I've read says that Valkrum Dunes is the place to level from 10-20. It took me awhile to figure out how to get there, but I took the very long trip out there and was surprised to find that every monster seems to be either Very Tough or Incredibly Tough. I explored for about 15 minutes before dying to a Goblin. My assumption is that I'm supposed to team up with some people and tackle these monsters as a group, but I'm wondering if I should level up a little more before I do this? Are there other places to level from 10-20 besides Valkrum Dunes? Like maybe places that aren't all the way on the other side of the world?

I'm also wondering if maybe I'm missing some stuff. It seems like the plot of the game is mostly explained through missions and quests? Are there other missions and quests that I can be doing at this level? I feel like I kind of stumbled on the missions I've done by accident, and I'm wondering if there are more out there I can do.

What I like:

-Windurst and Sarutabaruta are very pretty. I especially like the quiet desolation of Saruabaruta, with it's ruined magical towers.

-Windurst is big and fun to explore. There's all kinds of people to talk to and plenty of things to see.

-Missions are a lot of fun. I really, really enjoyed meeting the different characters in Windurst, then going off to explore the magic towers and Giddeus. The is was my favorite part of the game so far. Unfortunately I did all that by level 11, and I was really disapointed to find out that I couldn't get another mission until level 20!

What I don't like:

-I really, really wish there was one large map of Windurst, so I could see how the city connects. It took me forever to find a few of the buildings for the missions!

-The controls are awful! I can't understand why the game seems to start with the gamepad as the default controller setup, but offers no instructions for switching to a keyboard setup. It took me close to a half an hour to figure out how to switch it! The keyboard controls took some getting used to, but I'm fairly comfortable with them now.

-I wish there was a little more direction. Or rather, I wish I knew what I was supposed to do next. I don't want a linear track like the classic FF games, I'm just not sure where I'm supposed to go or who I'm supposed to talk to.

Next post: I think I'll talk about trying to find a party, meeting people and selecting spells and equipment.

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