I didn’t get much time to play anything yesterday, but I did briefly log into FFXIV where I discovered that I’d missed unlocking a dungeon, Halatali. I was surprisingly happy: it means the world of Eorzea is big and rich enough that you can’t just rely on the Duty Finder to spoon-feed you all the content.
I’ve been ignoring as many side quests as possible while I’ve been leveling, concentrating on getting my XP from the main scenario quest, Leves and the Duty Finder. This lead me to completely miss the quest to unlock Halatali until I noticed I needed some of the monsters in there for my Order of the Twin Adder hunting log. To me, this is one area in which FFXIV really shines as an MMO: the Duty Finder lets me quickly jump into a group, but there’s still content out there in the world that needs discovering through questing and exploration.
When the cross-realm Dungeon Finder was added to World of Warcraft, it quickly became the only thing I would do. I don’t particularly enjoy questing — there’s only so many times I can kill ten rats or fetch five doohickeys before I’m bored — but I could quite happily chain run dungeons as a healer all evening. My play style for leveling a new character became a case of equipping a set of heirlooms, then sitting in an inn and hitting the dungeon finder over and over. I could do that in FFXIV, but the main scenario quest and a big new world to explore keeps me moving. I still love hopping into small group content with the Duty Finder, but I do it far less often than I would use the Dungeon Finder in WoW.
So how was my first Halatali? Not bad. I don’t think it’s ever going to be one of my favourites, but I did have a couple of things that might have coloured my first impression:
- I was playing as an Arcanist, and I’d much rather be healing in a dungeon than dealing damage. Just two short levels until Scholar unlocks!
- Our tank struggled to keep aggro on everything during packs of trash, which made things a little more chaotic than strictly necessary. He wasn’t bad, just still learning, so we stuck by him, and a more experienced tank offered some advice during the run.
Still, it was a pretty perfect package for a short session. I discovered a new dungeon (and unlocked it in the Duty Finder for repeat visits), completed it with a friendly group, and checked off the last items on the first section of my Grand Company hunting log. Not bad at all.