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#11947933 Jan 12, 2016 at 04:26 PM · Edited over 1 year ago
Council Member
793 Posts
I bought a humble bundle over the holidays for a dirt cheap amount and got a bunch of squeenix-published games (that Square Enix for the uninitiated). This included the base version of their MMO FF14.

Seeing as I haven't seen anyone else around really and a noodley friend from TSW has been bugging me to try it for ages, I figured I have now run out of excuses. I do only have 30 days to play it as it is a subscription game (boo! hiss!) and a recurring sub isn't financially realistic now. So this stuff will be my first impressions and game overview for anyone interested or curious.

Races & Classes

No dwarfs. 0/10. They have elfs, humans, cat people (it's Japanese after all), giants, and a small, deformed child-like race. It's as close to a dwarf as I could get. There is another race that looks like either demon people or goat people (they have horns), but you can only play one if you have the expansion, which I don't.

You have to choose a class at character creation, but once you reach level 10 in it, you can then venture around and get initiated into other classes. They all level up independently, so if you switch to another class, you start from level 1 and have to run around doing low-level stuff again. You can switch classes on the fly outside combat by changing your weapon. Any other gear you don't meet the requirements for will be unequipped, which is why you see a lot of people running around in their underwear: they didn't keep, make, or buy low-level gear that their other class could equip. Here's a list of classes:
  • Marauder - A 2h axe-wielding tank. More damage, more hp, lower defenses.
  • Gladiator - A sword and board tank. Highest defenses, rubbish damage.
  • Thaumaturge - Basically a black mage, if you know FF. Otherwise, a fire/ice/lightning-based magic damage dealer
  • Conjurer - White mage / healer who has some earth-elemental damage
  • Arcanist - DoT magic / pet class that has some heals
  • Rogue - Dual dagger stealth melee fighter. Cannot start as this one since it was added to the game in a later patch.
  • Archer - What is says on the tin
  • Lancer - Uses a 2h spear/lance and jumps around. The pre-dragoon for any FF nerds
  • Pugilist - Hand to hand fighter, positional based damage
When you reach level 30 in one class and 15 in another, you unlock Jobs, which are basically superior versions of the level 30 class. For example, 30 marauder / 15 gladiator unlocks the Warrior job, which is a more powerful marauder. The marauder and warrior share the same level so you can play as either, but why play as the weaker version? They added 3 unlinked jobs in the expansion, but you must have the expansion (which I don't), must have completed the 1-50 story (which I haven't), and be at least level 50 (which I'm not) in order to unlock.

First Impressions

This game is very Japanese and very Final Fantasy, for good or ill. There's a lot of cutscenes/exposition, the story revolves around crystals, animations are very much not what you see in western games (not bad, but distinctly Japanese), and the writing is...weird. It's hard to explain exactly if you're not big into JRPGs or know Japanese. They use words that you wouldn't normally see in western games because, well, the translators picked really weird translations out of their Japanese-English dictionary. I guarantee you'll learn quite a few new words you didn't know existed. Even I learned a couple. It's very clear they made this "Japanese in English form" as opposed to making it English, which is pretty much what they always do. Also, some of the menu options are unclear. Once you use that option, it'll make you think "Ooooohhhhh, I see what they were going for here. I guess that kinda makes sense," but you wouldn't guess the function just from the option itself.

Swapping weapons to change class isn't bad. It's basically what you do in TSW, to an extent. Plus, this means as long as you have the gear, one character can do every job. FF14 has a completely separate inventory for gear, so it doesn't get all mixed up in your crafting mats, trash, potions, etc. You can also create gear lists (saved sets of gear) and can just use that menu to switch classes rather than manually equipping/unequipping. Taking on a new class will provide you with a starter weapon, but not gear, so you need to hold on to level 1 gear or you'll be running around in your small clothes.

On my first day, I had to put 12 people on ignore ("Blacklist"). Why? Gold sellers. This game is full of them. They not only spam the local chats, but also will send tells to people they find in the search function. Luckily, I got told a wonderful piece of advice. If you set your status to "Busy" you cannot receive tells from anyone, including gold sellers. Problem is you also can't be added to a group or receive tells from people you might want to receive tells from. Sad, really, that it's one or the other.

Dungeons are part of the main story quest. Don't do the dungeon, don't advance the story. Advancing the story unlocks certain things, like traveling between the starting cities (which are based on which class you picked at creation), game functionality like the group finder ("Duty Finder"), and of course the expansion content if you own that. Personally, I don't like this, but I'm contrarian. If you tell me dungeons are optional and give me nothing, I'll probably do them. If you tell me I have to do the dungeons and there's uber loot and huge story payoffs, I don't want to do them simply because I'm told I have to. I've done 2 so far, but they've basically been tutorial dungeons.

EDIT: Forgot to mention that leveling is fairly easy and simple so far. You have the main story, a class story quest every 5 levels, Fates (little zone events), and a hunting log (unique to each class). The log is basically slayer deeds, but so far has only been 3-5 enemies of each type. You get 10 new groups to kill every 10 levels and they provide a ton of XP, plus you get a hefty bonus for completing a group of 10. You can do sidequests, but it's overkill and you're better off either not doing them or saving them for your low-level jobs.

EDIT (cont'd): There is a LOT of back and forth travel, but unlike say, SWTOR, ff14 gives you different ways to get around. Besides on foot, there are crystals you can teleport to after you've found them once. Within towns, it's free. Outside towns, it costs money. If you're a cheapskate like me, you can purchase a ride on a chocobo for much, much, much cheaper. It's not instant of course, but it's 5-15 gil versus 100-400. You can grab an airship (after a point in the story) to go between the main cities for 120 gil, as opposed to 200-400. You have a return spell that takes you to one specific crystal of your choosing for free, but has a cooldown. You can register one crystal as a free transport (if you have a security key...I don't) and can register 3 others as "favorites", reducing their cost.

Lastly, the gcd in this game is 2.5 seconds. That's loooooong. Most games have a 1-1.5s gcd. This makes the game take on a slightly slower pace, but also you have to be very careful and deliberate with your skills. You better be sure you don't need a taunt or heal in the next 2.5s if you decide to go with a damaging skill. If something happens immediately after you use a skill, you might be screwed, so you can't mindlessly spam skills. There is a stat in the game to decrease the gcd, but I don't have enough of it to make a difference at the moment.
Guild Wars, WildStar (exile): Toiben Firehammer
The Secret World: Priphea
Guild Wars 2: Tapkoh.4061
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#11956873 Jan 15, 2016 at 02:51 AM
Council Member
793 Posts
It's been a few days now. I am now a level 30 warrior (marauder's job upgrade). The marauder/warrior is the higher hp / higher incoming heals / higher dps / lower defenses tank. It uses an axe. I had to pick it. My other non-crafting classes are 10ish. I have done 6 dungeons and 1 "trial" (an instanced boss fight). One of our noodley friend's guildmates (for lack of a better term) took me through two of them to show me how to tank them. Other than that, I've run as the main tank. Yes, I pugged.

Current thoughts
  • There is waaaaaaay too much back and forth. It's fast to do and there are convenient ways to go about it, but there's still too damn much of it.
  • Leveling has slowed down a lot at this point. Logs, class quests, job quests, and the main story aren't really doing it anymore. I have to either farm some Fates, go exploring, or do sidequests.
  • The melee classes (marauder, gladiator, lancer, pugilist, rogue) are all very similar in low levels. Really, they're almost identical in how they play. I'm told it's not really until you get their Jobs that they truly differentiate. Kind of sucks.
  • I don't particularly like the archer class
  • I found the downside to Jobs. As a "regular" class, you can use any cross-class skill (some skills you learn as class A become available for use even when you switch to class B-Z). As a marauder, I can use Protect and boost my defenses a little or a heal spell (pointless, but I can). Jobs lose access to most cross-class skills in exchange for granting you extra skills (like my tanking stance).
  • I have a chocobo mount that I can summon to help me fight in battle. Mounts all move at the same speed, unlike in other games, so that's cool. For combat, it's like my own personal companion / hero / skirm soldier. I can set him to tank, healer, dps, or do whatever you want modes. He "ranks" up (i.e. levels) as we fight and gets skill points I can assign to make him a better healer, tank, or dps.
  • I have not touched crafting yet and I probably don't want to. It's extremely slow and/or tedious to level gathering and crafting classes. Yes, they are classes just like the combat ones. However, you obviously cannot use them in combat so no combat XP. You have to craft, gather, do special quests, or turn in generic sidequests as that class to get the XP. You can't do Fates or dungeons. On the flip side, if you do manage to level one up, you can get rich on the market. Most people don't put up with the leveling process.
  • Dungeons have been way too easy. Mostly tank and spank from my POV. The DPS / healer have other things to do, like burst down certain targets, take care of adds, or click on things. I've had issues tanking in general though. You see, each dungeon has a minimum level to enter and a max level you can be. If you are above that max, you get scaled down. You lose all skills (temporarily) that you acquired after that level, but you still retain your overall potency. So level 50-60 characters can join and be paired with a fresh level 15 tank. Makes for some aggro issues. -___-
Guild Wars, WildStar (exile): Toiben Firehammer
The Secret World: Priphea
Guild Wars 2: Tapkoh.4061
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#11957626 Jan 15, 2016 at 08:05 AM
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143 Posts
Thanks for the write-ups Toiben. If I had any time, I might actually look into it just for curiosity's sake.
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#11970795 Jan 19, 2016 at 03:16 AM
Council Member
793 Posts
I'd prefer your curiosity about other games extend to Guild Wars first. ;) That said, FF14 does have a free trial. Dunno anything else about it though. Hit up Brother Google. In case I have opportunity to stick with this (I still have 20 free days) and people want to find me, my character is on the Primal data center (server cluster) - Diabolos server specifically and his name is Great Dwarf. If there's anything anyone wants to know specifically, I can endeavor to find out.

I am now level 47, 3 from the cap of the original game. Houston, we have a problem. I said leveling was becoming more difficult before, but now it's become a huge hassle.

For the 30s and 40s thus far, the pattern has been...
1. Do a handful of story quests. End XP result is about 1/4 to 1/3 of a level.
2. Grind out of the rest of the level in order to unlock the next story quest.
3. Repeat.

The last story quest I had was for level 46. The next one unlocks at 49. Yup, I now have to gain 2 more levels to unlock the last bits of the main story of the game. I had a fairly angry reaction when I hit 47 and went back to pick it up only to find out it was 49, not 47. Unlike other games, you cannot take quests you don't meet the level requirement for (there are a handful of exceptions, but the story quests are not among them). Even if you could, you would not be allowed to enter dungeons you don't meet the minimum level for anyway. Considering the story quests are prerequisites for almost all dungeons and many important sidequests, this is annoying.

For the last 17 levels, I've had to find ways to grind out XP.
  • Story quests give out roughly 2x the XP of sidequests at the same level, but these are obviously finite and I'm out of them for now.
  • Sidequests give comparably little XP, but decent money. Finite as well. Usually only a few will be around any given hub. Definitely not enough to level up with.
  • Challenge Log: These are weekly mini-achievements that can give massive XP bonuses. These include things like do 3 random dungeons, do 10 total dungeons, do 5 Fates in different zones, do 20 total Fates, etc. Finite, some are not easily done, but they do reset weekly and they reset about an hour before I posted this, so yay.
  • Daily Random Dungeon: The game picks a random dungeon out of the ones you have unlocked and you get massive XP for doing it. You get even more bonus XP if you queue as a role that's in short supply (according to who's queued atm, obviously it's tanks and/or healers all the time). Between this and the XP from the dungeon itself, I get about 1/3 to 1/2 a level, but you only get the huge bonuses once per day.
  • Daily quests: These give about 3/4 of the XP other sidequests give, but they are the rep grind quests and give gear barter currency, so might as well do them.
  • Fates: Fates at my level give out as much or more than sidequests, plus they give special currency now. These spawn all the time and repeat. This is what you grind when you've run out of everything else.
For actual numbers, it's going to take me about 450-500k XP per level for the next couple levels. Story quests were giving 20-25k, sidequests and Fates 10-15k, daily quests 9k, daily random dungeon about 150-200k, and challenges are now giving me about 50-70k each. It's going to take a while. :(

/endcrying

Some other random things:
  • I have yet to have a bad group while pugging. I've had a couple people who sounded stuck up and a couple groups who haven't said anything the whole dungeon, but nobody has been outright jerks and no bad players.
  • You can log out in an Inn. If you do so, your character will plop on the bed and fall asleep as your screen fades out and you quit to desktop / go to the character select screen. When you log in again, your character gets out of bed and stretches. There's no in-game benefit to it. I just think it's kinda neat.
  • Your class determines what you queue as in the group finder. I'm a warrior so I'm always queued as tank. I cannot queue as DPS even though warrior is the "high" damage tank. So if you don't always want the pressure of healing or tanking, level a DPS class.
  • The voice acting is horrible. There are a few lines where things sound natural, but almost all sound slow and awkward. This is mostly because they tried to fit English lines to Japanese lip sync. Japanese and English sentences saying the same thing are almost never the same length. I could go into great detail about the differences and the translation process, but I shan't.
  • I have blacklisted 44 gold sellers so far. I have 2 people on my friends list. The trend continues!
Guild Wars, WildStar (exile): Toiben Firehammer
The Secret World: Priphea
Guild Wars 2: Tapkoh.4061
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#12023872 Feb 03, 2016 at 01:07 AM
Council Member
793 Posts
Update time.

Just as I was finishing leveling up to 50, the expansion went on sale for $20 so now...I'm level 58. It's been quite some time since I last shared my thoughts.

The main scenario questline (MSQ) that launched with the relaunch of the game, in other words the 1-50 story, kinda sucked. It started out well enough, added some mystery to the game, but then in turned into doing errands for NPCs until they did what we wanted them to do. It was a lot of quid pro quo and "earning their trust" busy work, from a narrative perspective. The last two dungeons of this part of the MSQ had a dozen cutscenes each throughout the duration. Two endgame dungeons with 25 cutscenes between them. What were they thinking?

The MSQ between the end of that and the beginning of the expansion wasn't any better until the very end. It got very Game of Thrones-y. However, once you start the expansion, the MSQ falls back on the familiar tropes. I've actually grown to hate one of the NPCs just because he's the one always bossing me around.

The expansion brings with it the ability to fly. Well, for most mounts, not you personally. Sadly, this is unlocked on a zone by zone basis and you literally cannot unlock it until you are essentially done with the area. There are two parts to this. First, you have to wander around and click on various things in the environment. That's the easy part that you can do as soon as you get the ability to see these points. The second part however is unlocked by doing very specific quests. These quests have prerequisites (including the MSQ) and one of these quests has invariably been the LAST MSQ IN THAT AREA. Flying is basically for retreading the zone, finishing sidequests you skipped earlier, and so on. Flying is significantly faster than ground-mount speed though.

Some specific sidequests and class/job quests have been far more interesting to me than the MSQ. There was one sidequest chain in particular that was done entirely for comedy. Granted, it's very Japanese in its humor, so if you're unfamiliar, you are going to not notice much of it and not understand what you do notice. I am famiilar, did notice, and did understand, but there was still enough in there to get some laughs out of me despite that. Plus, there was some Final Fantasy 6 nostalgia in there.

I've been leveling other classes when I get bored of the MSQ. Partly this has been so I have options. I like options. But it's also partly been to unlock cross-class skills that are required once you reach a certain level. If you're a level 50+ healer without the level 26 thaumaturge cross-class skill, people are going to be pissed (if they find out). I have a mid-level healer (white mage), but I can't seem to find a DPS class I like. The two classes I am drawn to aesthetically are both tanks. All the actual DPS classes have one or two things that seem interesting and one or ten things I don't like.

One thing I discovered by leveling other classes is that my impression of groups in dungeons was very much skewed. Now that I've experienced other tanks...yeah, not so favorable. People are still (mostly) polite, but boy, there are a lot of people playing tank classes that have no clue what they're doing. I have a few horror stories to tell now, but I won't here. You'll have to get in Discord to ask. :p When I've been tanking on my own, there was only one incident that was horrid and it was fairly recent. While sharing tanking duties, it's been mostly ok.

Speaking of dungeons, one neat thing Squeenix did is that Hard dungeons are not just the original dungeon with tougher enemies. Hard mode dungeons are entirely different dungeons. They take place in the same general area, but are a different part of the map or you go deeper into the tunnels or it just happens to be later in the storyline. In any case, new enemies, new bosses, higher difficulty. Trials (the one-off instanced boss fights) just have new mechanics in Hard/Extreme, but are the same fights essentially.

Something I've neglected to mention thus far is the music. It's amazing. Squeenix pulled in a lot of heavy hitters (including the famous Nobuo Uematsu) to do music and it shows. It's not just boss music either. Mounts change the background music (which is cool), but sometimes I'll go on foot just because the music in a particular area is just so damn fitting. I'll list some samples, but be aware that some are spoilers for bosses in the game and may/will show the boss fight itself.
  • Torn from the Heavens - The "important fight" music. Plays in many places. Also exported as the FF14 music for other Squeenix games/events.
  • Sylphlands - The BGM for a mystical forest area inhabited by little plant fairy-things called Sylphs.
  • Garuda - Probably the most popular boss music specific to one fight.
  • Good King Moggle Mog XII - I don't particularly like this one, but after this fight, this was stuck in my head all night. Suffer with me.
  • Terra - FF14's take on the FF6 tune that plays as the BGM when you are riding your Magitek Armor mount.

I think that about covers it for now.
Guild Wars, WildStar (exile): Toiben Firehammer
The Secret World: Priphea
Guild Wars 2: Tapkoh.4061
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#12061015 Feb 13, 2016 at 05:58 AM
Council Member
793 Posts
Finally to 60. The expansion was definitely better overall than the original reboot of the game I think. Voice acting wasn't nearly as bad, story was a little more coherent (which is huge for anything Japanese), and dungeons were a tad more involved. Since it is endgame stuff though, I had very highly geared players showing up in my runs and making me fight tooth and nail for aggro...and sometimes still losing it.

Overall, I'd give this game a B/5 thumbs up. I've played way worse. Sucks that it's subscription-only and that's very unlikely to change. FF11 came out before WoW, is still going, and is still sub-only. Squeenix won't embrace F2P or one purchase & done models as long as subscriptions are getting them money.

***
Here are a couple of items I neglected to mention before, too.

Crafting "classes" are actual clases with skills, traits, stats, etc all their own. In addition, every time you craft something, you play a mini-game of sorts. There are 3 numbers you have to balance.
  • Progress: This bar is filled by "Synthesis" skills. When it fills up, you've crafted the item.
  • Quality: This bar is filled by "Touch" skills. This determines your chance to "crit" (get High Quality (HQ) items). It's not linear though. Filling up this bar 1/2 way will only give you about 10-15% chance. Filling it up 3/4 of the way will get you 40-50% chance.
  • Durability: Each time you use a Synthesis or Touch skill, this number goes down by 10 (barring any buffs you have). If this number reaches 0 and the Progress bar isn't filled at the same time, you fail and lose some/all of your materials.
So the trick is to try to fill up Quality as much as possible (ideally to 100%) while allowing enough leeway in Durability to get Progess filled at the same time. You eventually will have crafting rotations, if you can imagine that. What makes this worse however is that no skill is guaranteed to work on its own (although some can be buffed to do so by other skills). The most basic skills have a 10% chance to fail, reducing Durability while giving you nothing in return. This makes crafting a gamble nearly every time.

The last thing I want to mention is that FF14 has built-in aggro monitors. There is an enemy list featuring all enemies you have any kind of threat (FF14 calls it "enmity" but I think that's dumb) with. Next to each enemy's name however is one of 4 icons.
  • A flashing red square means you have aggro. You better be the tank.
  • A flashing downward-pointing triangle means you are losing threat compared to whoever is #1. This is great for everyone but the tank.
  • A flashing upward-pointing triangle means you are getting close to overtaking the top aggro person.
  • A small circle means your aggro level is negligible.
On top of this, any time you target an enemy, a bar will appear under the class icon for everyone in the party. This bar shows how much threat you have in relation to other players. The tank wants this bar filled up entirely all the time. That means they have aggro. If DPS/healers' bars are filling up, that means that they are closing in on the threat the tank has. If their bar fills up, they take aggro.

See this accompanying picture.

Notice how I have the upward arrow on my enemy list? My healing was getting me close to stealing aggro. You can confirm this through the list of players. My name is at the top and you can see the bar under my class icon is nearly full. The tank's bar is still full while the other two don't have any bar yet because they haven't hit the enemy yet. This was our last target in a group, so they tank had AoE'd it and I had been healing. Anyway, this helps you as you cycle through targets. You can see when someone is about to pull aggro and hopefully stop it and in theory, the DPS/healer can see they're about to pull and back off momentarily. In theory.

It'd be nice if more games added this functionality to their UI. Tanking shouldn't be a guessing game.

This is probably my last post on the matter unless someone has any questions. By this point, I think I'm well-versed enough to answer just about any general questions.
Guild Wars, WildStar (exile): Toiben Firehammer
The Secret World: Priphea
Guild Wars 2: Tapkoh.4061
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#12314431 Apr 22, 2016 at 07:23 PM
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793 Posts
Just thought I'd share an image of my character in his tank gear. I know, I know. Super intimidating, right?
Guild Wars, WildStar (exile): Toiben Firehammer
The Secret World: Priphea
Guild Wars 2: Tapkoh.4061
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#12417653 May 28, 2016 at 06:51 PM
Council Member
793 Posts
Their free trial will allow you to reach 35 instead of 20, thus allowing players to acquire jobs and not just regular classes. Dunno if they changed it now or are waiting for the patch on June 7 to do so. Just thought I'd throw it out there.

Other restrictions:
  • Cannot use /shout (zone chat basically), /yell, or /tell chat channels or trade with other players
  • Cannot join guilds ("free companies"), but can join "link shells," which are custom chat channels
  • Cannot use the market board, "banks," or "mail boxes"
  • Limited to 20,000 gil (not a lot)
  • Cannot invite others to your party, cannot use the party finder (LFG tool basically), but can use the Duty Finder (sign up for dungeons and it automatically puts you in groups)
  • It lasts 14 days from the time you make your account. You have 90 days after it ends to upgrade to the full game or you lose your character(s).
Guild Wars, WildStar (exile): Toiben Firehammer
The Secret World: Priphea
Guild Wars 2: Tapkoh.4061
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#12420372 May 29, 2016 at 11:50 PM · Edited 1 year ago
Council Member
261 Posts
Just DL game will give it a try tom....




Buromier - Champ-DPS & Tank-
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#12420845 May 30, 2016 at 05:00 AM
Council Member
793 Posts
Cool. :D

They cycle what servers are available to create characters on in order to keep populated servers from filling up. This is on a 5-hour cycle. When you start the launcher find the "Regarding Character Creation Restrictions" under News/Special Notices for a list of where you can and can't create someone. You might have to log in at some weird time to try to get on my server since it's a popular one. :( Assuming you want to be on my server anyway. You can dink around on any server you want. :P

I'm on...

Data Center: Primal
Server: Diabolos
Character name: Great Dwarf

If/when you get on my server, let me know your character name.

In case you are wondering, racial stats don't matter in the long run and your starting class is irrelevant as you can be any class eventually. All it does is lock in your starting city and that version of your level 1-15 main story quest.
Guild Wars, WildStar (exile): Toiben Firehammer
The Secret World: Priphea
Guild Wars 2: Tapkoh.4061
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#12457114 Jun 12, 2016 at 02:17 PM
Council Member
261 Posts
My FFXIV trial ended, I didnt have alot of time to really level up and try out any dungeons, but I did like the feel of the game combat was a bit slow with that 2.5sec GCD, esp for a mellee class. I don't think I would invest the intial cost plus monthly sub, but if it went FTP or Buy to play I would pick it up again to level up and get a better feel. Think my toons are good for 90 days or so before they delete them...




Buromier - Champ-DPS & Tank-
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#12458019 Jun 12, 2016 at 09:41 PM
Council Member
793 Posts
#12457114 Buromier wrote:

combat was a bit slow with that 2.5sec GCD, esp for a mellee class.



To be fair, you had like 3 attacks to use at level 8. :P This becomes far less noticeable for casters (your cast time is roughly the gcd anyway), for a couple classes with an attack speed buff, and as you reach higher levels since then you have more off-gcd skills to weave in. It takes a while to get there, I will grant.

And the game will never go f2p. That's really not how these guys do things.
Guild Wars, WildStar (exile): Toiben Firehammer
The Secret World: Priphea
Guild Wars 2: Tapkoh.4061
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