I’ve recently started playing MMOs again in preparation for my Warcraft Iron Man Challenge, any practice is good practice, unless you decide to play a Blue Mage in FF14. I don’t know if you’re familiar with how Blue Magic has worked in the past, it’s been used in a variety of ways, but they all lead to the same thing – study an enemy, learn its move, and in the process probably take a kicking. A few examples of how its worked previously are:
- Final Fantasy 5: Take a hit from certain enemy skills
- Final Fantasy 7: Equip Enemy Magic Materia THEN take a hit from certain enemy skills
- Final Fantasy 8: Take a hi…. Use an item dropped from certain enemies
- Final Fantasy 9: EAT THE ENEMY
As you can see, being a Blue Mage is all about getting your face pummeled until you suddenly learn a skill that will probably be awful for most of the game. It’s the equivalent of the scene in Captain America: Civil War, where Iron Man’s suit learns how to fight against the Captain… but instead of learning some kick-ass counters, you most likely get a skill that allows you to blow bubbles.
As I play through this character I thought I’d share my journey with you, a journey of my self inflicted peril.
We begin logging in to my old account, that had an amazing looking max level Red Mage, of course, nothing made sense on the character, I had a bar full of skills that mean NOTHING to me anymore. Fortunately the quest to become a Blue Mage was right in front of me, so embarrassment was short lived.
The quest itself is straight forward; talk to this guy, talk to that guy, follow that guy, cut-scene of you smacking a giant squid with a cane, learn squids water gun move, use water gun on npc that quite frankly did nothing wrong.
From here on, the world is my oyster, but not really, because I’m in a level 13 area, at level 1, and I can spit long distances.
Things look bleak, but we continue.
Fast forward to me realizing the game chooses not to tell you what enemies give you skills, and spending 35minutes getting beaten to death by small fish for no reason, I load up FFXIV wiki that tells me where to go (don’t judge).
With the assistance from the wonderful interwebs, I manage to gather roughly 14 spells, all of which quite frankly, suck.
My favourite of the lot however happens to be Final Sting which as the name suggests, (but I refused to believe) is indeed… the final action you can take. Leaving this on my bar and hitting it accidentally was not my finest moment, but probably one of the funniest to watch as I scream in slow motion watching the cast bar fill.
Unfortunately this is where I hit a massive wall. Questing has slowed to a crawl, my gear is behind due to a lack of main quests (from levelling other classes), and having just found out I can’t queue for dungeons(??), tired/grumpiness has gotten the better of me.
After a few days, I decided to pick up my good friend Blue. A moments respite is exactly what I needed to continue my journey of self hatred.
I managed to push through the wall that had been placed, and figure out that if I attacked a higher level enemy, pulled him toward some NPC guards, and let them take the brunt of damage, I can learn the coveted spell 1000 Needles.
First of all, I was overwhelmed by the sheer power of this skill at such a low level, 1000 damage at level 16!? DREAMLAND. To begin with I didn’t even notice the 5 second cast time, but then it dawned on me, five.second.cast.time. Every time I wanted to kill something, I needed to stand there, for 5 seconds, and pray I wasn’t interrupted
However, the fearful feeling of interruption at 4.59 seconds was soon washed away by the handy little spell Mighty Guard.
On the surface, this spell was awful: Damage Taken/Dealt reduced by 40/70% and you cannot be interrupted. The little damage I did, really, really, did not need to be reduced any further, but then, a light-bulb moment.
If you checked out the description of 1000 Needles, you’d see that this spell is fixed damage, it cannot be decreased, or increased. This means I’ll receive all of the benefits of Mighty Guard, and none of the negatives, as long as I spam this spell until the end of time.
The first 5 minutes (60 spells… I counted) were brilliant, destroying anything that I came across. I was overpowered, a Blue God.. Again this was short-lived. An average fight on a standard class could potentially last longer than 5 seconds, but had variation, a back-step, a combo of spells, a heal. Not my Blue though – just.one.spell. (two if you got spanked by an enemy, causing you to White Wind).
Levelling became unbearable again, nobody wanted to do dungeons without queuing, I couldn’t use The Palace Of The Dead (another quick way to boost some levels), and I had learnt all the spells upwards of 10 levels from my current.
I put out a final party request out of desperation; “Somebody PLEASE help me level this Blue Mage”. Prayers were answered.
Some heavenly soul, showed me a.. not-so-legit way of levelling. Using the ridiculous power of my Red Mage, I could kill an enemy of around level 50, and instantly switch back to the Blue Mage specialisation, before the game even picked up the experience gain.
I caved, I used this all the way up to level 30, it felt good. Finally I had a way of getting to a point where I could equip more powerful gear, and deal damage to enemies even with the Water Pistol spell.
I gathered as many spells as possible in this time, and began the quest to get Mind Blast, a spell that can only be learnt by the level 16 dungeon Tam-Tara Deepcroft. I prepare my action bars and begin the descent.
It’s refreshing, I used multiple skills to survive, and take down the enemies around me. Granted, WAY over levelled, but it was still nice to feel like a “real” class for once. I Needle my way through the crowds and toyed with the final boss before stealing his lacklustre skill.
Lacklustre, I feel like this has summed up my overall experience with the Blue Mage. I wanted it to be great, I went in without reading a thing about the class, similar to the way I mentally prepare myself for a film I can’t wait for, as an example The Joker that’s being released soon, I watched the initial teaser, and now refuse to read anything more, I want everything to be a surprise, spoilers are too easy to come across.
However, I wish somebody stopped me, I wish they held me and explained that the game gives you such a fantastic idea of a class, but strips you of almost every aspect of an MMORPG that makes an MMORPG, an MMORPG.
So here I sit, wanting to go back, waiting for the day they “introduce dungeon finder”, so that Blue Mages too, can join in with the games mechanics. I can’t bring myself to gather the next set of skills that reside in Raids, Dungeons, and Heroic Dungeons.
So for now, this will be the end of my Blue Mage journey, I don’t want to end this on a bitter note, so allow me to summarise my journey in a less woeful sentence.
The Blue Mage gave me the experience I’m yet to get from another MMORPG, but took too much for it to be worthwhile my full investment.
To Be Continued?