I'm really feeling it!
I'm really feeling it!

From Rapture to a Realm Reborn

Illustration for article titled From Rapture to a Realm Reborn

August 2005, Square Enix announced that they had begun working on their next big MMORPG, neither confirming nor denying that it was Final Fantasy related. This project was codenamed "Rapture". June 2009, Square Enix showed off a tech-demo of this project at E3, the first reveal of Final Fantasy XIV. Directed by Nobuaki Komoto, produced by Hiromichi Tanaka, with art by Akihiko Yoshida and music by Nobuo Uematsu, Square Enix's biggest names were thrown into this project. During the course of this production there were many hurdles to be overcome, its successful predecessor the least troublesome among them.

Illustration for article titled From Rapture to a Realm Reborn

During the years leading up to Final Fantasy XIV's reveal, Square Enix had conflicting statements about the platforms their new game would be developed for. Hiromichi Tanaka originally stated that the developers were working toward a worldwide release for "Rapture" for the Playstation 3 and Windows, only to later change his stance and state that it would be released for the Xbox 360 and Windows. In 2008 Square Enix announced that their game would be released on all three platforms and that Mac and Linux clients were in the works. During the E3 reveal, Square Enix officially stated that Final Fantasy XIV was in development for only the Playstation 3 and Windows, the Xbox 360 client being canceled due to complications with Xbox Live.


Final Fantasy XIV entered its first alpha testing in April 2010 with a stated 10% of the complete game available for testing. The closed beta, which was performed in multiple phases, began in July and ended in August of the same year. These invitations were sent out to applicants and the Playstation 3 release of Final Fantasy XIII even offered the chance of beta access. However, when the open Beta phase began in September, the Playstation 3 version never materialised as announced. Only a total of three months, sixty-five active days in total, were spent in the Beta testing phase. It was then that news sources, with tips from the Alpha and Beta testers, began expressing concerns that the game was not ready to go live.

Illustration for article titled From Rapture to a Realm Reborn

Final Fantasy XIV was launched on September 22, 2010 to scathing reviews. Plagued by critical bugs and poorly received gameplay, Square Enix was forced to make drastic changes. Yoichi Wada, president of Square Enix, announced that they would be moving forward with a major shift in development. Hiromichi Tanaka announced his resignation as producer and left the company completely, and Naoki Yoshida was made both director and producer to lead the new development team. Yoshida expressed his commitment to the project and announced that a Playstation 3 version would only be released when the game was fixed. It was at this time that the initial 30-day free trial was extended not just one or two months, but indefinitely so that players could experience the new development team's changes before commiting to the game. Billing continued on January 6th, 2012, over a year since the game's launch.

A much more involved director, Yoshida introduced an official forums in order to receive player feedback and suggestions. Citing interaction and growing closer with the community as high priority, the playerbase welcomed this new stance in development. Begining with patch 1.18, Yoshida started by removing the controversial "Fatigue System" that penalized players who played for long periods at a time. In later patches, the development team introduced new and varied content including Materia, airships, chocobo mounts and battles against Primals, all signature themes in previous Final Fantasy titles that had been lacking. Changes were also made to the system including adjustments to monster difficulty, magic, character stats, and the inclusion of auto-attack functions.


On October 14, 2011, Square Enix announced that Final Fantasy XIV would be relaunched as 2.0. In the months leading up to the shut down of the original servers, a storyline had been introduced. This was the Seventh Umbral Era, an in-lore explanation to the radical changes that would be implemented in the new release, including equipment and achievements that would become unobtainable. The servers for the original game were shut down on November 11, 2012 after a virtual extinction event that later became known as the Calamity. The Alpha and Beta tests for 2.0 began shortly after in December. Yoichi Wada went on to reveal that the development of Version 2.0 was the cause of delay for many Square Enix titles being developed at the time. Yoshida published a new roadmap for beta testing through launch, beginning in February, stating that the team was adamant that it would not go live until the team was sure the game was ready. The game was officially rebranded as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.

Illustration for article titled From Rapture to a Realm Reborn

August 17, 2013, the final open Beta phase before launch saw a record 150,000 users logged on simultaneously. Square Enix had not expected such a large membership at launch due to poor reception of Version 1.0 and this volume caused server issues. Suqare Enix worked hard to create new servers before their intended release, however it would not be enough. Released on August 27, 2013, the players continued to notice server issues. The congestion became worse post-launch due to an "overwhelmingly positive response" and Square Enix was forced to temporarily suspend digital sales. Yoshida profusely apologized during the launch event at Pax Prime and a week later the game received a ten hour maintenance, after which all players were compensated with a week of free play time.

It has been one year since the release of A Realm Reborn. The initial launch included the implementation of a new server system, a new graphics engine, the redesign of all field maps from version 1's eight zones to forty, as well as a new user interface. New playable races including female Hyur Highlanders, female Roegadyn, and male Miqo'te were available from the start as well as the new Arcanist class which would lead into Scholar and Summoner. One on one and four on four player versus player content was also added, and the introduction of the controversial FATE (Full Active Time Event) system. At the time of release, The Binding Coils of Bahamut was the only endgame content.


Patch 2.1, A Realm Awoken, was released on December 17, 2013 and focused on the continued story of the Primals growing stronger. Pharos Sirius, a difficult dungeon that put player skills to the test, was released as well as two Hard Mode versions of older dungeons, Haukke Manor and Copperbell Mines. This was also the introduction of the the 24-man raid, Crystal Tower, based off of the dungeon of the same name from Final Fantasy III. Free Company housing, Duty Roulette, PvP adjustments, treasure hunt, main scenario quests, Inspector Hildibrand sidequests, and beastmen daily quests were also included. During this patch phase the much anticipated Aesthetician was introduced, allowing players to change their character's hairstyle and color.

Through the Maelstrom, patch 2.2, came three months later on March 27, 2014. The Primal Leviathan was introduced as the final boss of this main scenario while elsewhere the mysteries of the Allagan civilization continued with the Second Coil of Bahamut. The Lost City of Amdapor showcased a new direction in dungeons, a very moody atmosphere that quickly became a favorite within the community. Hard Modes of Brayflox's Longstop and Halatali were also introduced. On the questing front, the second episode of Inspector Hildibrand was released complete with the inclusion of recurring Final Fantasy boss, Gilgamesh, and new beastmen tribe quests involving the Sahagin and Kobold. The Glamour system was also released, allowing players to change the appearance of their gear.


Released on July 8th 2014, Defenders of Eorzea is the most current large patch. Players would be able to challenge the Primal Ramuh during the main scenario and continue with the third episode of Inspector Hildibrand. The second 24-man raid, Syrcus Tower, was also introduced. A new crafting system known as Desynthesis was included as well as the extremely controversial Hunt system based off the one in Final Fantasy XII. A massive Player versus Player system known as Frontlines was also introduced, allowing three teams of twenty-four players to battle against eachother. Hullbreaker Isle and its massive kraken boss may have been this patch's new dungeon, but it was the hard mode of Tam-Tara Deepcroft that stole the show, spurring the development team to consider more horror-themed dungeons. Stone Vigil Hard Mode was also included with its radically different final boss due to the playerbase's desire for random elements in the game. Patch 2.35 has just been released, introducing the Ixali Beastmen tribe daily quests focused on crafting.

The future still holds many things for Final Fantasy XIV. With patch 2.4 growing ever closer, players are excited for the introduction of the Ninja job class and the conclusion to the storyline introduced in the Binding Coils of Bahamut as well as the Primal Shiva. But what about further ahead? Patch 2.5 will conclude the storyline from Crystal Tower and end in a "massive event" similar, but not quite as large scale, to the Calamity that ended version 1.0. Yoshida has also stated in past interviews that the development team had two directions they could take the first big expansion, under water or into the sky. During one of the Live Letters from the Producer, Yoshida announced the direction they chose by revealing the preliminary artwork for Free Company airship workshops and his vision of ship to ship combat in the sky.


But just what has A Realm Reborn meant to the players? Do they feel vindicated after their treatment at Version 1.0's release? Despite their outcry that the game had not been ready, Tanaka's development team pushed forward and it became one of the greatest upsets in gaming history. And what of the new players, those that never played Version 1.0 and aren't classified as "Legacy"? How have they approached this game after the original debacle and how has it affected them? I reached out to the community by means of a short questionnaire offered to members of TAY and by interviewing both strangers and friends alike.

Illustration for article titled From Rapture to a Realm Reborn

Participating from TAY we have JollyBootsOfDoom and Chiisaisuzume, both non-legacy players. JollyBoots plays on the Faerie server as Rayne Ratsbane, a Miqo'te Bard, while Chiisai is on Sargatanas playing a Miqo'te White Mage appropriately named Chiisai Suzume. JollyBoots, a big fan of Final Fantasy and a veteran adventurer from Final Fantasy XI, played briefly when the game was first released in September but has picked up his activity in the last two months. Chiisai on the other hand began playing in September after being inspired by Kotaku's very own Mike Fahey's MMO logs. This was Chiisai's first MMORPG.

Illustration for article titled From Rapture to a Realm Reborn

When asked about their first impressions of the game I got two very different answers. "It's a truly beautiful game with a great soundtrack. I like how each of the classes have their own individual story." Jollyboots gives a simple and concise answer. Chiisai went on to tell me an inpsiring story of a solo adventurer coming out of her shell and going on adventures with friends. "I'd gone into the game intending to play solo, and while that is possible, I quickly discovered that I didn't want to. I learned about Free Companies and was invited into a rather social one during my first week. This was my first MMO, so I was completely unfamiliar with that kind of support structure. There was always help available, and people who were interested in sharing my adventures." She also touched upon the variety of content and classic Final Fantasy references throughout the game.

As a fresh player, Jollyboots is mostly looking forward to reaching endgame content and running the dungeons available to a level fifty character, stating that they're his favorite part of the game thus far. Deeply ingrained in the game, Chiisai looks forward to the ever expanding housing options, specifically the personal housing that is due to be implemented in upcoming Patch 2.38. Needless to say, everyone is excited about Ninja. "I really feel like this is a game I'm going to stay with long term, and I'm eager to see where they'll take it." Chiisai added after her reply, the kind of answer that Square Enix would surely like to hear.


I touched upon the controversial topic of the community, generally regarded as worse than Final Fantasy XI's and worse than XIV Version 1.0's, and was surprised by the answers. "The community is pretty awesome, at least in my experience. I've come across a jerk here and there, but most people are helpful and pretty cordial with each other. My free company is full of awesome people." Jollyboots gives a rather positive response regarding the community, though it could be because of his short time playing. Chiisai goes on to agree, speaking of adventurers helping out less experienced players in dungeons and saving others out in the fields. Though, she does touch on those players that demand "instant perfection" during dungeon runs who leave the duty after some difficulty.

Given the opportunity to touch on anything I had not covered, Jollyboots took the time to speak about the amount of choices available in the game. Whether it was daily quests, dungeons, or crafting, there was always something to do. He also expressed his appreciation for the main scenario. "I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed the main story for this game. I think every person who has been a Final Fantasy fan at one point or another should at least give the game run through of the main story." Chiisai took this time to offer advice that she was given. "My favourite piece of advice given to me was to do my best, and not apologise for being new: everyone had to start somewhere. If you do have a negative experience, try not to let it colour the whole—there are a lot of good people out there! Find a job (or jobs) that work for you, and play at your own pace. Remember to have fun." These are words that everyone should take to heart.


I then performed one on one interviews with strangers on my own server, Balmung. These were candid questions with friends of a friend, players that I had never interacted with before. Both participants were receptive to answering questions and were brutally honest. One player, Adrastos Elpis, had played a little of Version 1.0 and had begun playing again in December when patch 2.1 dropped. The other, Corvis Nocturne, was a veteran of Version 1.0 and has been playing since then. The following are transcriptions from the interviews I performed, edited for spelling and punctuation with permission.

Adrastos Elpis - Balmung Server - Non-Legacy (a little 1.0) - Canadian? - Paladin

Illustration for article titled From Rapture to a Realm Reborn

(Rosalyn Sable) Hello, Darus said I could possibly get you to answer a few questions for an article.

(Adrastos Elpis) Possibly, whats up?

(Rosalyn Sable) I am writing an article for the one year anniversary, and have already covered the game's development from Rapture to now. I was hoping to include a few interviews, and had some general questions for players.


(Adrastos Elpis) I can try my best to answer them.

(Rosalyn Sable) Alright, they're real simple. First question, are you new to 2.0 or are you a Legacy player?


(Adrastos Elpis) I played a little bit of 1.0, but not very much, and started this in 2.1.

(Rosalyn Sable) OK, you got my second question there too. Why did you begin playing XIV?


(Adrastos Elpis) Cause I missed FFXI, and didnt want to go back to it with all the changes, so came to this one. My friend was also already playing and convinced me to start.

(Rosalyn Sable) What were your first impressions of the game? Any comparisons to what you played of 1.0 you'd like to include?


(Adrastos Elpis) Graphics and physics are wild was my first impression. Compared to 1.0 I like how they brought jobs in like Pld, Mnk, Blm, Whm.. compared to what they did have. What I don't like is how it became more like WoW, but still I think the game is better then it was in 1.0. Like how there are a lot of things that resembles FFXI as well, like notorious monsters, boss fights, some things are named after stuff in XI.

(Rosalyn Sable) What were you most looking forward to in ARR?

(Adrastos Elpis) I'd have to say samurai job, if they ever come out with it. lol


(Rosalyn Sable) You beat me to another question. To elaborate, anything that was already released in 2.0 that you were excited about?

(Adrastos Elpis) Not sure if it was like this in 1.0 or not, but I was really excited about all the Primals, how they are a big part of the story and what not. But mainly would have to be all the jobs like Pld, War, Mnk, etc. They were the best thing, and the artifact gear how they looked was all cool for me.


(Rosalyn Sable) They were all released toward the tail end of 1.x, but it was developed by the current Dev Team. Yoshi.P and his group have been working hard. What do you think is the best addition in the last year?

(Adrastos Elpis) Been only playing for about 6 months but in my time I'd have to say... hmm that'ss a good question. Guess it all works out good, every update I've seen, but I suppose if I were to choose it's the upgrades on the relic weapon, and how there is more to come. I enjoy working on that, but Crystal Tower, Hunts, Primals, everything's been good. Also something I would really like to see in this game, is Sky like from FFXI, or Sea, a place you unlock end game and is a whole new zone of bosses and rewards.


(Rosalyn Sable) So you'd say the variety of content that's available is best?

(Adrastos Elpis) Yeah for sure. And the fact there is a lot of content, you don't get bored of doing one thing.


(Rosalyn Sable) Alright, almost done here since you've touched on a few of my other questions. What are your impressions of the community? Have they changed since you began playing?

(Adrastos Elpis) Well, I noticed the community isnt the same as XI, and supposly better in 1.0 from what I've heard from a friend. The community is a little harsh, people just leave parties and not say goodbye. In it for themselves.


(Rosalyn Sable) That is a problem we've been dealing with lately, but the Dev Team has been working on penalties for players who drop duties or people who grief others.

(Adrastos Elpis) I try to bring back the FFXI ways, congratulating people and all.


(Rosalyn Sable) I played XI for several years. The round of "Congratulations!" upon hitting the next level was always good.

(Adrastos Elpis) Yeah exactly! I congratulate people who finish a fate and level up in /say. haha. Also how people take stuff so serious, some real hardcore players dont give people chances.


(Rosalyn Sable) "Must know fight. Screw up, you're out." is pretty common in the Party Finder, isn't it?

(Adrastos Elpis) Yeah, that's pretty much it.

(Rosalyn Sable)The community isn't all bad though, right? You've got your own circle of friends you do most things with?


(Adrastos Elpis) Yeah for sure. It's kinda like life, some good some bad people. I like to surround myself with the good people like yo said.

(Rosalyn Sable) That's good to hear. I don't want to take up too much more of your time, so we'll wrap this up here. Any other comments you'd like to add or shoutouts?


(Adrastos Elpis) Not right now I don't think, probably think of some stuff an hour later though, haha. Can give a shout out to Darus and his free company, its a great, easy-going good-people company!

Corvis Nocturne - Balmung Server - Legacy - German - Black Mage

Illustration for article titled From Rapture to a Realm Reborn

(Rosalyn Sable) Good evening. Adrastos Elpis said you may have some time to answer some questions for an article.

(Corvis Nocturne) {Hello!} Rosalyn! :)

(Rosalyn Sable) Did Adrastos warn you or have we partied together before?

(Corvis Nocturne) Umm, not sure we've partied. Which content you mean?

(Rosalyn Sable) Well, I am writing an article for the one year anniversary and performing interviews on players. I was directed to you in order to ask some questions to a Legacy player.


(Corvis Nocturne)Oh! That's interesting. Sure for an interview ^^

(Rosalyn Sable) Alright. So you're a Legacy player. When did you begin playing and why?


(Corvis Nocturne) Let me think back when I started to play, looking at calender... Ah, I heard about the game release in September 2011 and started to play in Dec 2011, becasue was still busy for XI. Why I play here, I want to see new things to play and support this.

(Rosalyn Sable) You played XI a lot?

(Corvis Nocturne) Yes that too.

(Rosalyn Sable) How did you feel when you played XIV, compared to XI? The game had a rocky start.


(Corvis Nocturne)Agreed, rocky start, but one good and also best thing is while 1.0 we had strong community and helped each other a lot. Help crafting new gears for newbies, etc

(Rosalyn Sable) The community in XI and 1.0 was rather strong. What do you think of the community now?


(Corvis Nocturne)Now, I would say everyone have own goals and there DF etc, so ... :/ Well, I think my comment will be bad for anniversary article, lol. I'm sorry.

(Rosalyn Sable) Nothing wrong with speaking the truth.

(Corvis Nocturne) Ok ^^ Is there another questions? I cancelled Duty Finder for the interview, heh.


(Rosalyn Sable) Yes, sorry about that. What were your first impressions when you began playing 2.0? How did it compare to 1.x?

(Corvis Nocturne)Good question, let me to think about :D

(Rosalyn Sable) Would you like to skip that one for now?

(Corvis Nocturne)Ah.. The areas and landscape for first

(Rosalyn Sable) I see. The land changed quite a bit from 1.x. We had those huge zones that all looked the same. And the Shroud was a mess.


(Corvis Nocturne)Ya right ^^ Shroud wasn't straight forward and a labyrinth a bit.

(Rosalyn Sable) So what were you looking forward to most in 2.0?

(Corvis Nocturne) More teamwork I guess, lesser vent required.

(Rosalyn Sable) Was the use of a VoIP system an issue in 1.x?

(Corvis Nocturne) {I don't know how to answer that question.}

(Rosalyn Sable) I apologize. Did I misunderstand? "Lesser vent required." Were you referring to Ventrilo?


(Corvis Nocturne) Yes, it's voice chat to play game better. It's a joke.

(Rosalyn Sable) I see. Many of the larger Free Companies do require some form of chat system to join.


(Corvis Nocturne) I've played a lot with Japanese gamers in 1.0, we never used this and it was fun. And also successful. Before we explained a bit about strats at start or at end boss. Great times.

(Rosalyn Sable) Moving on, what are you looking forward to in 2.0? Anything short term like what's coming in 2.4, and anything longer term that we may not have even heard about?


(Corvis Nocturne) New areas to explore and also open world 24-man content

(Rosalyn Sable) So you're hoping for some raid content like Crystal Tower, but out in the world rather than an instance?


(Corvis Nocturne) Correct.

(Rosalyn Sable) What do you think has been the best addition in 2.0 in the last year?


(Corvis Nocturne) Syrcus Tower is an exception, rest is meh.

(Rosalyn Sable) So you haven't enjoyed any of the new content compared to 1.x?

(Corvis Nocturne) Unfortunately not much, but I have to join though. XD

(Rosalyn Sable) Alright, we've pretty much hit everything I needed. Were there any other comments you wanted to add, or any shout outs?


(Corvis Nocturne) Well, more teamwork of player base and I hope for open world content.


These interviews were eye-opening. Corvis Nocturne's blunt answers regarding the community and his preference for the way things were in Version 1.0 was a shock after the mostly positive reception I had received from my questionnaire participants. Even Adrastos Elpis had commented that he spent his time with friends who were "easy going" and "good people". Corvis did bring up a good point though, that the community had changed dramatically since Version 1.0 and it's predecessor, Final Fantasy XI.


To finish off my interviews I gathered up some friends and we sat down in a private room and had a round table discussion regarding the game. I tried to touch upon the same topics I brought up in the one on one interviews, but also wanted to let the conversation flow freely and see where it lead. This ended up giving the participants the opportunity to express at length their feelings until I brought them back on topic. Included is the transcript in its entirety from our one hour discussion, edited for spelling and grammar.

Oliver Koenig - Balmung Server - Legacy - American - Warrior

Sorasha Ashi - Balmung Server - Non-Legacy - American - Black Mage

Azarashi Asha - Balmung Server - Legacy - American - Dragoon

Illustration for article titled From Rapture to a Realm Reborn

(Rosalyn Sable) This is going to be an informal discussion on one year in Final Fantasy XIV: ARR.

(Rosalyn Sable) If you've got a comment, go ahead and add it.

(Rosalyn Sable) We'll start off easy. When did everyone begin playing and why?

(Oliver Koenig) We're talking ARR or FFXIV from 1.0?

(Rosalyn Sable) From 1.0, because I need opinions from Legacy players still.

(Oliver Koenig) I got into the closed beta initially while playing FFXI.

(Azarashi Asha) Played XI and saw XIV as an HD XI so wanted to play.

(Oliver Koenig) Then bought the CE of 1.0 on release, and played the two simultaneously.


(Rosalyn Sable) I was in the Alpha test initially, though my laptop pretty much exploded before I finished installing it

(Oliver Koenig) I still preferred FFXI, but XIV had some promise.

(Oliver Koenig) The graphics for one where a huge appeal.

(Oliver Koenig) Since XI was getting pretty dated.

(Rosalyn Sable) Are you disappointed that the graphics were reduced in 2.0?

(Oliver Koenig) The difference is negligible to me.

(Azarashi Asha) I hoped it was gonna replace XI so i got the CE too

(Azarashi Asha) Slightly, but no.

(Oliver Koenig) The framerate increase was well worth the slight downgrade.

(Rosalyn Sable) You'll hate me for this, but I bought my 1.x CE for 10 bucks after the debacle that was release.


(Azarashi Asha) The 1.0 CE was a joke anyways, its just a nice box.

(Azarashi Asha) There was the paper you can get but that's the only good out of it.


(Oliver Koenig) I had a pretty good PC, but could barely run XIV 1.0 at 25 FPS

(Rosalyn Sable) The in game items, man, the, in game items.

(Oliver Koenig) With many options turned down.

(Azarashi Asha) Mine hardly ran it, it was an average PC.

(Oliver Koenig) The initial menus were insanely clunky and laggy.

(Oliver Koenig) It was infuriating.

(Oliver Koenig) I tried the 2.0 beta, and was pleasantly surprised.

(Oliver Koenig) The controls were so much smoother in 2.0.

(Oliver Koenig) The UI was more intuitive.

(Azarashi Asha) Loved it. Looked and played like 1.0 should have been for the most part.


(Oliver Koenig) Everything was more responsive.

(Oliver Koenig) Right, agree with Az.

(Oliver Koenig) It's what 1.0 should have been.

(Oliver Koenig) I was surprised with the mouse play.

(Oliver Koenig) Because 1.0 still favored the controller setup.

(Rosalyn Sable) Was there anything from 1.0 that you miss though?

(Azarashi Asha) I didn't play a lot of 1.0 but...

(Oliver Koenig) Well, overall, the difficulty and danger of the world was drastically reduced.


(Oliver Koenig) Basically, everything got easier.

(Azarashi Asha) 1.0 was a lot like XI in terms of "difficulty" and I could enjoy that with some polish.


(Oliver Koenig) Which is good for people who don't have the patience for a hard game.

(Sorasha Ashi) As an outsider who moved from XI to this, it feels very dumbed down, but it has to be for the game to be a success now a days.


(Oliver Koenig) But I miss XI for the sense of accomplishment.

(Rosalyn Sable) We came from XI though, we were used to hard content

(Oliver Koenig) right

(Rosalyn Sable) Three words: Duty Roulette Dynamis.

(Rosalyn Sable) It wouldn't work.

(Azarashi Asha) 1.0 honestly was HD XI and I wanted that but the graphical issues and lots of game play ideas were not fleshed out right in 1.0.


(Oliver Koenig) Right, but I'm okay with the lowered difficulty if it keeps the game alive and the server population high.

(Azarashi Asha) 2.0 brought in a new community for better and worse.

(Oliver Koenig) People coming from other games were too accustomed to having everything handed to them.


(Azarashi Asha) I don't agree with the attitude of most 2.0 players sometimes

(Rosalyn Sable) Everyone I've spoken to has said that the community in 2.0 has really declined since 1.0.


(Oliver Koenig) So it would have driven too many away.

(Oliver Koenig) I think the community is better now than at 2.0 release.

(Rosalyn Sable) Do you think it has something to do with the additional content that's been added since then?


(Oliver Koenig) The people who would burn through content and flame anyone who couldn't keep up have already moved on I think.

(Oliver Koenig) And the people who couldn't cut it at all or take any content seriously have left as well.


(Oliver Koenig) There's still some of this, but not nearly as much.

(Oliver Koenig) In terms of capability and niceness.

(Rosalyn Sable) Would you say the community is "toxic" still? I use quotes because this is a word that is flung a lot around the forums.


(Oliver Koenig) The player commendation helped a great deal.

(Azarashi Asha) There is still this residual player base that wants everything quick and easy vs taking longer to work at it.


(Oliver Koenig) Overall, no, not toxic.

(Azarashi Asha) Not toxic so much as entitled.

(Azarashi Asha) To some extent.

(Oliver Koenig) Yeah, there's certainly still that.

(Oliver Koenig) People in duty finder who expect a win on the first try.

(Oliver Koenig) And will pout and leave or vote kick to get out of it.

(Azarashi Asha) The average person is fine but there is still plenty of people who are toxic in a different way in what they expect.


(Rosalyn Sable) Common problems a lot of people seem to have.

(Azarashi Asha) But if she went into Titan HM and was like "I didn't watch video I wana learn as we do it" everyone would leave instead of exploring it together.


(Oliver Koenig) Besides Second Coil, everything's in Duty Finder and can be accessed by anyone at the touch of a button.

(Rosalyn Sable) There's quite a disparity between difficulty in content though right now. Second Coils is difficult. The people who are clearing completely tend to forget that they butted heads with it for hours on end.


(Oliver Koenig) So it's hard to have really tight knit groups of friends anymore.

(Oliver Koenig) Or statics to clear or farm content.

(Azarashi Asha) If it wasn't for you guys, Sora and I would have jumper servers already, lol.


(Oliver Koenig) So you're always rolling the dice on content.

(Oliver Koenig) No one really wants to commit to anything.

(Oliver Koenig) Because everything can be accessed at any time.

(Oliver Koenig) It makes it easy for content to be accessed.

(Rosalyn Sable) But if you're not concerned with being at the forefront of content, you really shouldn't care if you're not clearing everything immediately, right?


(Azarashi Asha) If you haven't noticed I'm super casual with the game I play it at my pace.

(Oliver Koenig) No, but I enjoyed needing to actually party up for story content in XI.


(Azarashi Asha) Just like XI I have 1 job mastered really right now and I'm OK with that for now.

(Oliver Koenig) I would have liked to have an LS static for story and other content.


(Oliver Koenig) But there's really not much of an incentive or need to.

(Rosalyn Sable) I don't look down on anyone who plays casually, but I do find myself getting frustrated when people make poor mistakes in dungeons.


(Azarashi Asha) Yah being stuck to solo only story content is meh for me.

(Oliver Koenig) Since we can all work independently at our own pace.

(Oliver Koenig) I only get annoyed when people make the run harder on purpose.

(Oliver Koenig) And refuse to listen to advice.

(Azarashi Asha) The dungeons and fights are very structured there isn't much random things that can happen.


(Rosalyn Sable) The worst are the players who don't listen.

(Azarashi Asha) So everyone is expected to know the exact order.

(Rosalyn Sable) I did a Tam-Tara Hard the other day and the Bard was only using Venomous Bite and Wind Bite. Nothing else.


(Azarashi Asha) And if one person isn't good at that it can ruin it.

(Oliver Koenig) Yes, my #1 gripe with content in ARR is the rigid structure.

(Oliver Koenig) Right, there's no variables.

(Oliver Koenig) There's no thinking on your feet.

(Azarashi Asha) XI had a structure but there a lot of "wild cards" in the mix

(Rosalyn Sable) What about that last boss in Stone Vigil Hard? Monster Hunter, much?


(Oliver Koenig) It's all just memorization.

(Oliver Koenig) I was disappointed with the new dungeons.

(Azarashi Asha) I hate it honestly, I don't enjoy fights like Titan.

(Azarashi Asha) I hate having to memorize patterns like that.

(Oliver Koenig) They're fine I guess, but they were way too easy.

(Oliver Koenig) Titan I only dislike because there's no room for error.

(Rosalyn Sable) I don't think we'll ever see a dungeon as hard as Pharos Sirius was.


(Azarashi Asha) Yah.

(Oliver Koenig) And losing even 1 person can make the run fail.

(Oliver Koenig) Pharos was awesome.

(Azarashi Asha) I enjoy hard content but Titan felt artificially hard.

(Oliver Koenig) I enjoyed the difficulty so much.

(Rosalyn Sable) It's sad now, really. Was ever since they "fixed" it.

(Oliver Koenig) Like the end boss of Stone Vigil requires no strategy.

(Oliver Koenig) It's not even a dps race.

(Rosalyn Sable) Titan and any fight with instant kill mechanics do feel artificially hard, but beating it that first time for relic weapon was still pretty great feeling.


(Azarashi Asha) Its not Maat fight, I'll say that. lol

(Oliver Koenig) Yes, Titan and Coils were so gratifying the first time.

(Oliver Koenig) But I agree that Titan felt cheap.

(Rosalyn Sable) That dps race at the end of Tam-Tara... people cannot seem to clear that easily...


(Oliver Koenig) I've only had one party that couldn't swing it on the first try.

(Oliver Koenig) Or the 10th.

(Azarashi Asha) There hasn't been as many OH MY GOD YES moments in XIV for mas as much as there was in XI. I hate comparing the 2 games but I feel like I have to.


(Oliver Koenig) For me that was Turn 4 and Turn 5.

(Azarashi Asha) And I know there isn't even an expansion yet, but so far if they keep on this path the gameplay will feel stale.


(Oliver Koenig) Because my static group had such a huge problem with them.

(Rosalyn Sable) So, we've talked a bit about what we don't like. What do we like though? What's the best thing we've gotten in 2.0's lifetime?


(Azarashi Asha) I enjoy the world, the look, feel the visuals. Its gorgeous.

(Oliver Koenig) Just want to throw this in there, I really need to see a randomized dungeon like Nyzul.


(Rosalyn Sable) Sora's answer is probably "the ladies", right?

(Azarashi Asha) I love to explore and come across new areas when they come out and XIV didn't disapoint.


(Oliver Koenig) The world is smaller than it was in 1.0.

(Azarashi Asha) Yah, it is.

(Oliver Koenig) But it has more detail.

(Azarashi Asha) But each 'zone' has more personality.

(Oliver Koenig) So I'm okay with it.

(Oliver Koenig) Yeah, exactly.

(Rosalyn Sable) And, please chime in any time you like Sora. No pressure here.

(Oliver Koenig) But sometimes I feel like the teleports, while they're handy, make the world feel so much smaller.


(Azarashi Asha) Would love larger zones but so far im fine with how it is. Some are pretty big like Southern Thanalan.

(Rosalyn Sable) Southern Thanalan is too big if you ask me. It's missing something... golden... and saucery...


(Azarashi Asha) Hah, yeah, teleports are so nice and convenient but its too convenient.

(Azarashi Asha) When you first played you used choco taxi.

(Oliver Koenig) Yeah, the choco taxi's are totally worthless.

(Oliver Koenig) There's a few things that have become pointless with new content.


(Azarashi Asha) But about what we enjoy... lol

(Oliver Koenig) XI wasn't like that as much.

(Rosalyn Sable) Yeah, I thought we were talking about what we liked!

(Azarashi Asha) The world just in general feels very rich and alive

(Azarashi Asha) A lot, I mean A LOT, of MMO's put me off. I'm extremely picky.

(Oliver Koenig) Yeah, well, the game is crazy convenient.

(Rosalyn Sable) The story has gotten so much better. It was rather muddled and non-existant until Yoshi.P came along. It was even picking up well in 1.x.


(Oliver Koenig) You can hop on for 5 minutes and get something done.

(Azarashi Asha) The look and feel of XIV drew me in and the gameplay is fun.

(Oliver Koenig) Oh for sure, the ARR story is incredible.

(Oliver Koenig) In 1.0 I didn't even start paying attention til 1.6 and Dalamud started to fall.


(Rosalyn Sable) Speaking of stories, are you guys caught up on Crystal's Call? *Insert shameless plug here*

(Oliver Koenig) Then it was like "oh shit..."

(Oliver Koenig) I am not, but I'll fix that this weekend.

(Rosalyn Sable) Hah.

(Oliver Koenig) I really appreciate the non-serious additions too.

(Oliver Koenig) Like Hildibrand.

(Azarashi Asha) Oh yah, I love him.

(Rosalyn Sable) Hildibrand is the best thing in this game right now if you ask me. He's hilarious.


(Azarashi Asha) And of course the dark story of Edda.

(Oliver Koenig) All of the jokes and puns hidden in quest names and references in dialogue.


(Oliver Koenig) Damn right Edda too.

(Azarashi Asha) Hildibrand and Edda's story actually brought a lot of freshness to the story.


(Rosalyn Sable) Edda's story ended up quite tragic, didn't it? Though, where we left her off before wasn't much better...

(Oliver Koenig) It makes you want to actually read NPC text and listen to cutscenes.


(Rosalyn Sable) You never know when SE is going to bring someone back.

(Azarashi Asha) I skip a lot of text, even main story stuff.

(Oliver Koenig) Yeah, the attention to detail within the world is far beyond any game I've played.


(Rosalyn Sable) Yoshi.P said the new dungeon was going to be about Edda on April 1st and people thought it was a joke.

(Azarashi Asha) Yah its impressive, I wish I knew a lot of the story stuff but I don't have the attention span for a lot of it. lol


(Oliver Koenig) They make a lot of referencese to things you probably didn't notice the first time.

(Oliver Koenig) They're very internally consistent.

(Oliver Koenig) And it references itself quite a bit.

(Azarashi Asha) Yah its impressive, I have to read reddit to keep up on certain things.


(Rosalyn Sable) When writing the Crystal's Call I realized that the dialogue isn't suited for a silent protagonist though. Cid is actually pretty funny.

(Oliver Koenig) You get more of the feeling that the NPCs around are more important than just backdrop.


(Oliver Koenig) The world feels more "alive" than any other MMO I've played.

(Rosalyn Sable) So what are we most looking forward to in the future? In before Ninja.


(Azarashi Asha) Yah all the random NPC text is great.

(Oliver Koenig) And seeing things like Revenant's Toll building up over time is impressive.


(Oliver Koenig) I really hope though that they keep finding ways to make content useful.

(Oliver Koenig) And not just outdate it with each patch.

(Oliver Koenig) Hunts disappoint me with this.

(Azarashi Asha) I want them to add in new mechanics, I'm worried they are digging them selves into a hole.


(Rosalyn Sable) Hunts are... let's not delve into that topic.

(Oliver Koenig) A new level 50 can spam them to catch up, and never have to touch any of the older dungeons.


(Oliver Koenig) Like the i55 dungeons are totally pointless now.

(Azarashi Asha) lol. The hunts turned out how I expected they are. NM's. But with how people are, I'm not surprised.


(Oliver Koenig) You don't even have to do them as progress.

(Rosalyn Sable) Perhaps Square will go back and add completion requirements to them for future dungeons?


(Oliver Koenig) As far as 2.4, marriage is a big one I'm excited for.

(Oliver Koenig) I would much prefer that.

(Azarashi Asha) yep same here obviously.

(Oliver Koenig) You should have to work your way through content.

(Oliver Koenig) Not skip over it.

(Rosalyn Sable) We gonna have two weddings in a row, or are you guys going to double wedding?


(Azarashi Asha) I'm ok with 'side dungeons' but not to the point where the drops are pointless.

(Azarashi Asha) Naw I wont take away from theirs.

(Azarashi Asha) No doubling up at the same time.

(Oliver Koenig) Yeah, I don't think there's any way to pull that off any way.

(Rosalyn Sable) Sora got a knife to your throat, Aza?

(Oliver Koenig) I'm happy doing them a week apart or something.

(Sorasha Ashi) hahaha

(Oliver Koenig) I'm really excited for the two person mount.

(Oliver Koenig) I wish there was a way to get that one without having to sign up a friend.


(Azarashi Asha) Sora is too, she hates auto following.

(Rosalyn Sable) I'm either going to be a bachelor for life in game or marry a friend.


(Oliver Koenig) I'm not paying $60 for a mount.

(Azarashi Asha) Casual...

(Sorasha Ashi) lol, a lot of people did, but not I.

(Oliver Koenig) Haha.

(Rosalyn Sable) Agreed. $50 for a soundtrack and a minion.... yeah.

(Sorasha Ashi) As lazy as I am...

(Azarashi Asha) I'm not a completionist. lol

(Azarashi Asha) Like those people that get ALL Mounts in WoW

(Sorasha Ashi) I'd prefer if my peas-err boyfriend take me where I need be.

(Oliver Koenig) I hope to get it some day, but I gotta get a friend to sign up.


(Azarashi Asha) Or pets.

(Oliver Koenig) And I don't have any friends.

(Rosalyn Sable) It's only right for a Queen, right Sora?

(Sorasha Ashi) indeed.

(Azarashi Asha) I drive her around IRL anyways so its fitting.

(Oliver Koenig) Man, a mount with a carriage would be awesome.

(Oliver Koenig) Like for a light party.

(Rosalyn Sable) {Please look forward to it!}

(Oliver Koenig) 1 person driving, 3 riding.

(Azarashi Asha) AIRSHIP

(Sorasha Ashi) You know one thing I wish they would add?

(Oliver Koenig) Omg, pls airship.

(Rosalyn Sable) Well, you know that we are getting FC airships at some point, right?


(Azarashi Asha) Oh. I know just depends how they implement it.

(Oliver Koenig) You guys know that we're gonna get one, I will sell my soul.

(Sorasha Ashi) If they are determined to have a gil sink in repairing gear, at least give us slow beating on our gear with rips and stains or dents.


(Azarashi Asha) It better not just be a damn teleport vessel like the ones in the cities

(Sorasha Ashi) Kinda like how we get wet effect for rain

(Rosalyn Sable) Yoshi.P teased that the next expansion is going "into the sky" and they showed off a FC workshop to build your airship.


(Azarashi Asha) Not only that.

(Azarashi Asha) But the Ixal quests.

(Azarashi Asha) Mention a sky continent.

(Oliver Koenig) Yeah, the city airships, like the choco porters, are completely pointless.


(Sorasha Ashi) Genbu, pls.

(Azarashi Asha) Which not only in XI, but there were sky contents in other FF games


(Rosalyn Sable) It's pretty much as commonplace as chocobo and moogles now.

(Azarashi Asha) And they did mention flying mounts.

(Oliver Koenig) I really want to see a tiered forced pop system.

(Azarashi Asha) Yes.

(Oliver Koenig) Like ZNM/Sky.

(Azarashi Asha) They did mention wanting to do an open world dungeon.

(Oliver Koenig) Treasure hunts could end up being this.

(Rosalyn Sable) I'm surprised Hunts weren't like that, to be honest.

(Oliver Koenig) Get a random chance at a higher tiered map each time.

(Oliver Koenig) I know, hunts being FFA was just too open.

(Oliver Koenig) There's no skill involved whatsoever.

(Rosalyn Sable) We do have Unhidden Leather Maps, but they're solo compared to the four-man Piesteskins...


(Oliver Koenig) It's very rewarding, but with zero effort require in gameplay.

(Oliver Koenig) Right, it's a joke.

(Oliver Koenig) I want hard, 8 man maps.

(Oliver Koenig) That take 30mins to complete.

(Rosalyn Sable) You know what else is a joke? Relic progression.

(Azarashi Asha) I hope Odin gets a story.

(Azarashi Asha) Dungeon even.

(Oliver Koenig) I thought Animus / Novus was a pretty good wall.

(Azarashi Asha) lol. Yah its a good wall and, lol, its kinda like XI relics.

(Rosalyn Sable) If you had the cash, Novus is stupid easy.

(Oliver Koenig) Up to Zenith now is very easy, but I did it when it wasn't as easy.


(Rosalyn Sable) Titan was a wall for a long time for most people.

(Oliver Koenig) Alexandrite was the hard part of Novus.

(Rosalyn Sable) You could do it the slow way, or grind mythology to help. But now with Hunts...


(Oliver Koenig) But I liked having the option.

(Oliver Koenig) With Novus on stats.

(Azarashi Asha) As much as I hate animus I'm ok with it to some extent it makes it a good feel achievement.


(Rosalyn Sable) This is starting to turn into it's own article right here. We've hit the high points I wanted to cover. Is there anything else we want to touch on?

(Oliver Koenig) Hm, new job speculation?

(Oliver Koenig) in 3.0?


(Rosalyn Sable) The gunner better not be a healing class.

(Oliver Koenig) I'm really believing in Templar.

(Azarashi Asha) I'll be honest if they fuck up RDM im done with the game.

(Oliver Koenig) I'm totally okay with the gunner class having a healing Job.

(Oliver Koenig) I really want to see more classes with 2 jobs.

(Rosalyn Sable) I'm not. I've been teased by Musketeer since the 1.x in Limsa's opening quest.


(Rosalyn Sable) It better not be a healer.

(Oliver Koenig) I will be happy with chemist as a job for musketeer.

(Oliver Koenig) If they do that.

(Rosalyn Sable) There's going to be a huge job overhaul come 3.0 according to Yoshi.P.


(Azarashi Asha) I want a dungeon that requires a DoL or DoH

(Oliver Koenig) As well as a ranged DPS like Corsair as a job.

(Rosalyn Sable) We may not even have a system like what we have anymore.

(Azarashi Asha) Like a miner has to clear rocks while you proect him.

(Rosalyn Sable) Kind of like Hamlet, Aza?

(Oliver Koenig) Yes, more content that includes crafting/gathering.

(Oliver Koenig) The new Ixali quests are a breath of fresh air.

(Rosalyn Sable) Well, the Ixali quests are a step in the right direction.

(Azarashi Asha) I understand not wanting to force people to play crafting or gathering but I want them to be used


(Oliver Koenig) And not just for money making on the market.

(Rosalyn Sable) Just hit rank four and they require DoL to complete.

(Oliver Koenig) Yep, was surprised to see that.

(Oliver Koenig) I would like to see berserker as a job for warrior.

(Oliver Koenig) Straight DPS.

Illustration for article titled From Rapture to a Realm Reborn

(Rosalyn Sable) Well, I suppose we should wrap this up since Sora's spraying us. The people reading the article will just have to speculate at the meaning of that.


Illustration for article titled From Rapture to a Realm Reborn

It's night in Limsa Lominsa, there's a sea salt swept breeze in the air that takes the edge off the warm night, and festivities are in full swing. It's been one full year since my return to Eorzea, mine and the other Warriors of Light, six years for everyone else since the Calamity. This night in the middle of the Moonfire Faire was dedicated to those warriors who had been lost in time only to return when Eorzea needed them most. Tonight is The Rising. And though I wish to join my friends in the revelry, I'm tracking down a man I had met before.

This mysterious minstrel had appeared before me twice already, should he be the same. Once before the Calamity when he spoke of prophecies and strange visions of another realm, and once again in Mor Dhona while he spun tales of my adventures. He was a flamboyant man in goggles and red and black Bardic attire, bejeweled wherever he possibly could be and smelling of scented oils. He was wanted by the Yellow Jackets and notorious across the realm, but that was not why I sought him out tonight.


"Fancy meeting you here, Rosalyn," the minstrel says as I approach him. He's found a perfect vantage point in the Aftcastle for the fireworks on display. He doesn't turn away from the brilliant lights in the sky. "I am on a pilgrimage of a sort. I travel from city to city in remembrance of the Calamity, sleeping during the day to witness the fireworks by night." He turns to me now and smiles. "A rare and beautiful sight are these fireworks, like all night-blooming flowers. That should be the sigil of adventurers, were you a house instead of a guild. Your greatest feats are done out of sun and sight, and smell the sweeter for it." He reflects upon my presence for a moment. "Do you seek me, good adventurer?"

"I am in search of the mysterious minstrel," I announce softly.

"Ah, that is a name I answer to, though most call me the Wandering Minstrel. Since the Calamity, I have traveled the land celebrating the exploits of adventurers. There is fire in the sky again where once death burned so brightly. I go from one remembrance to the next, singing of valor that aspires not to glory. I sing of you and yours."


"You are the same man from before, aren't you?"

He smirks. "There are no coincidences left - not in this time of stealing shadows. You and I are in the right place at the right time. Come, Rosalyn, tell me your tale, and I shall sing it to all the realm."


And on into the endless night I speak to the Wandering Minstrel, telling him of all the journeys I had undertaken. All of the hardships and trials, laughter and tears. Every glancing blow and grievous wound. The joys of victory and the shame of defeat. The whole time the Wandering Minstrel listens intently.

"In the shadow of shadows, the commonfolk look to the adventurers," he says after I finish. "Have blade, will travel! No job too small, no danger too great! You are the gallants of this new and uncertain age - the lords of the road. Your tale is the thread from which I weave my verses. A roving tale, to be sure, in need of many hours on the loom. In its stead, let me share with you the words of Louisoix Leveilleur..."

Illustration for article titled From Rapture to a Realm Reborn

The Wandering Minstrel draws his harp and runs his fingers across the taut strings. The sound of the chord sends my head spinning and I stagger backward, wincing. When I open my eyes I am standing in the black. The realization that I'm not alone hits me and I turn around to see the Wandering Minstrel seated in a chair, lovingly holding his harp. He plucks the strings and words flow from his mouth.


"Lances of light herald the dawn,

Beckoning shadows deeper still.

Splendor dances with shades

Unsheathed, a rime-kissed blade

Spills crimson o'er fields of white."

The words echo in the void for a moment, fading away with the sound of his harp. The Wandering Minstrel smiles to me. "How did the Seventh Astral Era dawn but through the intervention of the Warriors of Light - "lances of light"? You are the lances of light, the sword of the morning - you and all adventurers. Who better to lead Eorzea into the future but adventurers? You are the "lances of light", make no mistakes about it. But Archon Louisoix warned us that shadows will accompany the coming of dawn. In answer to ascendant light, darkness will gather in opposition... or so I interpret his words. What 'a rime-kissed blade' signifies, I cannot yet fathom. But I have heard that roses of blood are blooming in the white fields of Coerthas, in ever greater profusion." The Wandering Minstrel shook his head and sighed. "We are come to a strange harvest, adventurer. I fear the lances of light are destined to cross this rime-kissed blade. Pray, hearken to these next words of mine, that you might be kept from the encroaching shadows." The Wandering Minstrel plucks at the strings once more.


"A growing light o'er all the realm,

Fingers bright on highlands white.

In an instance, a blade that smites the night.

But ill winds rise as the great gate yawns.

Hope rides to meet what naught can cheat

An old despair astride a new-shod mare."

The Wandering Minstrel smiles once again. "And thus do I wander and spin my words, for all the glory of the Warriors of Light - or should I say, for the glory of you? I have walked the four corners of Hydaelyn, from the Gardens of Xarakish, to the floating lakes of Voor Sian Siran, but never in my travels have I borne witness to tragedy such as that which befell Eorzea. In the days before the Calamity, I glimpsed a world beyond the void - a new world birthed from the ashes of the old, delivered from the darkness by the Bringer of Light. The giver of hope. You." He waves with his hand, motioning behind me. "See how many look to you for hope, for the promise that night will end and dawn will come."

Illustration for article titled From Rapture to a Realm Reborn

I turn, and standing before me is everyone I have met throughout my journey. The Scions of the Seventh Dawn, the leaders of the three city-states, and many countless others. They are all looking to me, smiling.


"See how many look to you for hope, for the promise that night will end and dawn will come again. What are you but a growing light, the hope that rides against despair? The rebirth of this realm is entirely because of you, the Warrior of Light." My friends begin clapping in response to the Minstrel's words and I fight the tears welling in my eyes. "We who gather to watch the fireworks - we are of one mind. We are not beaten. We live in a world of unimaginable loss and overwhelming suffering, yet we have hope. It is our light in the darkness - a light with which you blessed us. And for that, you have my undying thanks, Warrior of Light. Mine and many others'."

I turn back to facing the Wandering Minstrel who is now rising from his seat. "It is always darkest before dawn, they say, and we will not see dawn for a long time yet. For every day without care, you will see three where the weight of the world will be upon you, for that is your destiny.. and your hero's journey. And when your journey comes to an end, who will you be? Though my heart longs to know, my own journey may take me to another land, down that nameless corridor of shades and sprites..."


I gaze back at the vision of my friends as the Minstrel's words crash over me like the waves under Limsa Lominsa. "Let me, then, leave you with a gift. Never forget what you are. The dawn that breaks over a realm reborn, the hope of Eorzea, the Warrior of Light..."

I turn to face the Wandering Minstrel once more and I'm standing back at the Aftcastle, the smell of sea-salt invading my nose and the sound of fireworks in the sky. I gaze up at those fireworks lighting the sky like night-blooming flowers, tears rolling hot down my cheeks as I reflect on the Minstrel's words, a haunting melody singing softly in my ears.


And to the Wandering Minstrel, wherever he may be, I say to him with my deepest gratitude, "Thank you."

Illustration for article titled From Rapture to a Realm Reborn

Share This Story

Get our newsletter