I switched Tya back to her true form, and changed her hair again. She looks a little older and wiser now, maybe even a bit world-weary after all of her trials and tribulations. I changed her voice too, but the new “hiyah” when she’s firing arrows isn’t much better than the old one. (It would be nice if you could preview that when you’re selecting the voices.)
Halfway through level 54, it finally dawned on me that I was due for a new Bard ability, so I went searching for the Bard quest giver. This turned out to be more difficult than I expected, because I had no memory of who I was supposed to talk to, and there wasn’t anything in my quest log about it. I ended up using Google to track down the guy. Oddly enough, the guy you have to talk to is carrying a big spear. I don’t remember why that is. It’s probably been about a year since I last talked to him.
Anyway, I got a new ability called Empyreal Arrow* [“the jumpy new arrow shot with the blue effects”] which looks to be a pretty hard-hitting shot, but there’s a catch. You can only use it under the effect of Wanderer’s Minuet [no key], the level 52 Bard song, which is what fundamentally transforms the Bard from the old, fun to play, high-mobility class into the new, meh, rooted-to-one-place class.
I won’t go into how much of a bummer that change is, since I’m sure there are millions of words floating around the Internet on that subject already. But now that I have an ability that depends on the Minuet of slowness, I guess I need to start embracing the new and improved Bard. (I’ve been ignoring it.) I’m trying to get used to it, but it’s like playing in really deep mud, or underwater, or on a 4800 baud modem.
(Allegedly, at least according to the tool tips, the lack of mobility is a tradeoff for increased damage. It’s hard to tell in FFXIV though, since there aren’t any handy damage meters, unless you find a log parser (I assume those are still a thing?), which feels about as modern as installing a telegraph.)
Upon reaching level 55, the Main Scenario took me to The Aery dungeon to fight Nidhogg, and instead of pulling my usual trick of putting it off for six months, I boldly jumped right into a PUG without even watching a video beforehand. (Okay, I did put it off for a day.) I only got one tip about moving to a pillar on the first boss, but otherwise nobody talked. We got through it without any wipes or deaths though, and I was treated to about 4 hours of cut scenes afterward.
Not that I’m complaining. The story in Heavensward is surprisingly good. I like how you (ie. your character) aren’t the central focus of the story. Instead you’re more of a witness to the grandiose events that are happening. I’ve always thought that’s how MMORPG stories should be, to avoid the “you’re the chosen one, just like everyone else” problem. (For example, instead of you finding the Great Artifact Of Bad-Guy-Killing, you instead tag along to help an NPC get that Artifact so he can use it.)
Completing The Aery unlocks about 50 million more Moogle quests in the Churning Mists, but instead of tackling those I decided to re-run The Aery a few more times. I wanted to accelerate my leveling because I ran into another Main Scenario gate, and I wanted some of The Aery’s gear. In the end I got a nifty new bow and pants, and made it to level 56.
It was about halfway through level 56 that I remembered, again, that I was due for another Bard ability, so I tracked down the spear guy (this time I found him all by myself). The Song of Oblivion remains elusive but I got a new ability Iron Jaws [“the new one”], which refreshes the DoTs of Windbite [“the blue-white looking one that is usually the second shot after opening with the pink one”] and Venomous Bite [“the purple one that is usually the third shot unless I remember to hit the red one that’s off the GCD first”]. It sounds pretty handy, if I can remember to use it.
After The Aery, the Main Scenario turned away from dragons to a direction which I’m still struggling to understand. Something about a “Mongrel” in the slums of Brume. My attention wandered a bit at the beginning of this plot turn and I missed the back story. Regardless, I won’t be able to continue with that until I get to level 57, which, after a couple of random duties last night, is just a stone’s throw away now.
* Yes, I had to look up the names of all of those Bard abilities. In brackets I included the more familiar nomenclature by which I know them.