Monday, January 24, 2022

Would You Recommend a Work With a Disappointing Ending?

Over the weekend I read a childrens/young adult fantasy series by Ysabeau S. Wilce, Flora Segunda. I'm trying to decide if I would recommend the series to someone. On the plus side, the setting is really interesting and unique. It has:

  • Set in roughly 1880s California, with that level of tech
  • With interesting magic
  • The USA appears to have never formed
  • The Aztec Empire never fell, and is still full-on sacrificing people to its gods
  • California is a rebellious client-state of the Aztec Empire

The first two books are quite good. The third book, however, is deeply unsatisfying. The main character doesn't really accomplish anything. In fact it feels like she ended the book in a worse place than when she started it. Perhaps the author was hoping write more novels in the series, but never got the chance, so just labeled the book as the ending of the trilogy.

It got me thinking about whether I would recommend this series to someone else. On the one hand, I think you could say to read the first two books only and pretend the third doesn't exist.

But I don't know how that would work for other series. The canonical example in gaming is Mass Effect. I don't think I'd recommend only playing ME1 and ME2. Maybe one could say that you should play the series, even though the ending is very disappointing.

Television-wise, I understand Game of Thrones had a similar issue. I did not watch it, but many fans disliked the last season. Would you still recommend the show?

Endings are pretty important. I am more likely to recommend a series with a rough start but decent finish than the other way around.

Sunday, January 02, 2022

Side Quests in Endwalker

I finished the Tank Job (?) quest line for Endwalker. It was interesting how they paired you with one of the realm leaders, and it looks to be a complementary class. For tanks, it was Kan-E-Senna of Gridania, who is basically a White Mage, and it was a nice look into the workings of Gridania.

I also did some of the side quests in Zone 6. One thing about side-quests in Endwalker is that they are very optional this time around. I think the MSQ by itself gives enough XP, and the side-quests scale for the most part.

Personally, I like doing side-quests alongside the MSQ, as they give you a better picture about the zone, and fill out a lot of the small details. This time around, I did most of the quests as a Paladin, which is what I was doing the MSQ as, but I switched to Red Mage right before turning the quest in. I started doing this in about Zone 4, but I wish I had done it a bit earlier. I hit 90 on the Paladin relatively earlier, and probably could have gotten another couple of levels on my Red Mage. 

The accessory gear rewards also come in a box, so you can switch back to your main class before opening it.

So for those of you who haven't done Endwalker yet, that's my recommendation:

  1. Do the side-quests alongside the MSQ, 
  2. Turn in the side-quests as a secondary class. You'll get several levels on that second class.
  3. Open the rewards as your main class to keep upgrading accessories.

In my opinion, that gives the best combination of story, gear and XP efficiency.

Saturday, January 01, 2022

Gaming Log - January 1

Happy New Year, everyone!

In an effort to get back into the habit of writing posts, I'm resurrecting the gaming logs.

Final Fantasy XIV

Queues are still a thing, though significantly reduced on the holiday weekend. I logged in a couple times. I did a roulette on my White Mage, to start leveling towards max. I'm also just picking up all the quests that were left undone or unlock things.

One thing is that the queues are very hostile to my preferred style of play. I find I don't play long sessions anymore. Instead I'll log in, do something for 30 minutes to an hour, and log off. Then log back in a bit later. This basically does not work any more.

WoW: Season of Mastery

I continued leveling my Priest. She's now level 16, and working on Westfall and Loch Modan quests. I have to do the running around for the Defias quests, but I've been avoiding that.

I've also been leveling professions and made a wand and some cloth armor which has been pretty helpful. One thing about Classic is that loot is pretty scarce, so you're often wandering around with pieces which are quite out of date. So professions like tailoring are pretty valuable while leveling. In contrast, the retail game takes great pains to make sure you get a full set of gear in each leveling zone, making it hard to professions to keep up.

To be fair, FFXIV does the same thing for your run through the Main Story Quest. You get a full set of quality gear every two levels (with accessories if you do sidequests). But FFXIV does nothing on subsequent classes, creating an opening for the crafting classes. (Well, you can purchase normal-quality leveling sets, but you really want the High-Quality stuff from crafters. And I suppose dungeon runs also gear you up.)