Why Did I Ignore Story And Level Skips For So Long In Final Fantasy XIV
My Final Fantasy 14 community spotlight articles take me to many different servers across many different regions, but this comes with an issue — I have to rely on feeble alt characters that don’t even have the ability to teleport across the three main cities, never mind anywhere else. I don’t have cool gear, I don’t have any funny emotes, and I don’t have the cash to splash on shiny things, either.
With that in mind, one of my new year's resolutions was to ensure I had an adequately levelled character in each region so I could attend more community events. I’m making an effort to replay the whole Main Scenario Quest for my North American character, but I finally gave in and simply opted to use the Tales of Adventure skips for the other regions after the time investment proved too much.
If you don’t know already, Tales of Adventure are digital items you can purchase from the Optional Item Store for real money. You can buy Main Scenario Progression to skip the base game and most expansions, One Hero’s Journey to jump a specific job to 80, or even get a One Retainer’s Journey to bump your retainer’s level to help out with the in-game markets.
You can’t skip straight to the current endgame, tales right now only progress until the end of Shadowbringers, which plops you right at the start of the Endwalker expansion, and even level skips only take you as far as 80. I love that this limit is in place, as it means even fresh-faced players looking to skip to the end have a whole expansion they have to experience, and the journey to level 90 and completing Endwalker will give them time to get acquainted with their job and all the basics.
Just don’t be a muppet like I was. I thought I had to buy a skip for the A Realm Reborn base game and each expansion too, but getting Tales of Adventure: Shadowbringers encompasses every story skip. Luckily, I realised this before buying them all. Simply reading the item description would have helped.
Was I tempted to jump to 80 on some job I had never really played? Of course I was. However, not wanting to be that person that rocks up unprepared for a job they don’t know, I played it safe and went with my old reliable. I purchased One Bard’s Journey alongside my story skip, and I was all set.
The story skip comes with 50 Allagan Platinum Pieces (to sell for 500,000 gil) and ten Silver Chocobo Feathers (to trade for gear) as an added bonus. The level skip also came with another 50 Allagan Platinum Pieces, a Cryptlurker’s Accessories of Aiming Coffer, and dresses your character in some level-appropriate gear.
Interestingly enough, the game does its best to educate you about your newly acquired skills. A prompt for the Hall of the Novice will pop up on the screen, encouraging you to complete a series of exercises to learn your job, battle basics, and how your skills work. It’s essentially a crash course in how to not suck at the job you just bought your way into, though it doesn’t get into the fine details. I doubt you’ll come out of it with as much know-how as someone who levelled manually, getting to grips with each skill one at a time as they unlock, and learning the most efficient rotation as a result. Still, it’s a nice touch to try and avoid players jumping into the deep end without knowing how to swim.
Even though I’m not new to the game — and I’ve definitely paid my dues doing all this content before — buying the skips still felt weirdly icky, as if I was cheating. Maybe that’s a hangup from my Final Fantasy 11 days when players would purchase accounts (which went against ToS), and you’d have end-game tanks who didn’t even know how to play their roles.
Some players struggle with the feeling of spending real money on something that isn’t tangible, but that ship sailed for me when I bought my first minion from the store. I can see how the cost alone could be off putting, with the Shadowbringers Tales of Adventure and any level 80 job skips setting you back £18.50 each. Even if you only want to do this for one character, you’re already looking at nearly the cost of a new game for a shortcut in a game you already own.
Is it worth it? Before purchasing, I wasn’t so sure, and that’s likely why I refused to pay full price for these. The Optional Item Store regularly has sales and so I took advantage of the discounts, paying £12.95 for each skip instead.
I knew the basics of what I was getting. A Level 80 character and all Main Scenario Quests complete until the end of Shadowbringers, and I was happy enough with that idea. If I had done my homework, I think I would have bit the bullet on buying skips sooner. I thought I would have to trawl all over the world and visit every map to unlock every aetheryte, aethernet, aether current, and all that tiresome stuff. I was wrong. All of it was already available!
Side quests that unlock extra functions such as glamours, dyes, optional dungeons and trials, and others were already completed too. There were a few notable exceptions, such as The Wolves Den Pier or unlocking your Chocobo companion — for battle, not to be confused with the mount — but overall, I was impressed with just how much content I had ready to go. I could essentially hit the ground running into Endwalker. I had some gear, one million gil, and enough unlocked to customise my character however I wanted, and it only cost me £25.
The only real annoyance is that I will sit here perfecting my HUD layout and hot bars for ages to get it exactly how I want it, but that’s a small price to pay.
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