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Bear and I are finally reaching the end of the main story quest line of Final Fantasy 14: Heavensward. It kinda sucks to feel so close to the end, especially since the story is one of the main draws to the game for me and the next plot installment won't be coming out for another month.
Aside from the exciting plot, going through the story of HW was an interesting experience since so much of how it's built is so different compared to A Realm Reborn. A lot more of the main story is more concentrated, thus main story quests having a lot more relevance to the over-all story; not so much running back and forth, being an errand boy/girl like in ARR. I know some people who've expressed their frustrations about those parts of ARR, but I still think it was pretty nice because it gave nice breaks between serious events, like the ebbs and flow of energy in story-telling. The lesser parts can sometimes make the stronger parts that much greater, not only that, but there are some really nice, fun, light hearted moments. =) Having to travel back and forth around Eorza, I think, also allowed players to develop more of a familiarity with the land and its landmarks, thus letting them become more attached to the world. I'm not saying that the concentrated linearity of Heavensward's story line was necessarily bad, but it did make it feel like there was less story content than in ARR, not only that, but it also resulted in some rapid and oddly paced level requirement walls for story progression. '_'
Heavensward seems to work very much like a traditional console RPG that you can play with other people. Zones are unlocked according to story progression; they are done so linearly and throughout the story. And unlike ARR in which you pretty much worked alone the whole way, you are often accompanied by party mates and travel as a troupe. Between quests, your rag tag group will interact and react on story events, allowing players to see them more as characters rather than two-dimensional npc's; I really enjoyed it. =D I do admit though that some character back stories felt a little awkwardly forced into the player's face, but I suppose for those specific characters, there weren't many opportunities in the plot for the creators to delve into them. o_<
Though Bear and I will probably be wrapping up the last of the story within the next week or so, I'm eager to see what else the game has to offer; there is still so much of it we haven't seen yet. I'm not really sure what to do about my hunger for narrative though. I'm sure that some of the optional side quests will be fun and interesting (like the reknowned Hildabrand quest line), but then what? I keep feeling that I'll have to eventually look elsewhere to get my emotional narrative fix. >.<
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