kinda. no videos or music, but thats not a thing, because i didnt make any videos or music. so NYAH.
warning: im rather enebriated as i write this, so take that into account as you continue onward.
Quor's Marauder (and a bit of miner and smith) impressions from beta phase 2
First off, the highest I was able to get before the character wipes was physical level 14 and marauder rank 7.
For those who don't know what that means:
Physical level refers to your characters actual level. Every time you gain experience, no matter what it is you're doing (be it marauding, mining, botany, conjuring or what have you) said experience goes towards your physical level. Typical values that I saw in beta were about 1k per enemy kill (1010 to be exact) and an identical amount for successfully mining a mining node. Gaining physical level allows you to distribute six stat points into the stats you want (str, dex, vit, mnd, int and piety) while also allowing you to distribute elemental affinity points (again, six per level, between earth, fire, wind, water, ice and thunder). There were caps each level; i.e. you couldn't just shove all six points into str or dex each level; at a certain point it would be hardcapped. The same went for elemental affinities. I imagine this is to prevent extreme stacking of stats regardless of level.
Physical level differs from your class rank in that class rank goes up as you use your class skills. So each time you attack as a marauder you gain axe skill, which increases your axe skill rank (aka marauder rank) just like experience increases your physical level. As you gain higher ranks, you gain access to more skills and better gear. At marauder 7, I had access to four skills:
Light swing: standard single target attack. Consumed about 1/4 of my total stamina gauge.
Broad swing: multi-target attack, cone-shaped AoE. Consumed about 1/3 of my total stamina gauge, attacking targets in a cone for slightly less than light swing (in other words, worse for single target, better for 2+ targets).
Trunksplitter: TP attack, consumed 1000 TP and about 1/3 of the stamina gauge. A strong hit that dealt extra damage to seedkin-type enemies. A good, soid WS attack that I used pretty much whenever I could, since it was stronger than light swing.
Brandish: TP attack, consumed 1000 TP and about 1/3 of the stamina gauge. PBAoE in a circle around the player. Dealt damage to all the enemies engaged in an area around the player. Damage was less per-hit than Trunksplitter or light swing, but vs 2+ targets it was a better use of stamina and TP than trunksplitter would be (unless you really wanted to kill a single target seedkin asap).
Bloodbath: activated ability. Makes the next attack heal a percentage of damage done as HP to your character. A good skill all around, it uses stamina to activate (kind of a "boo" in that regard) but it worked with any skill I had. A Brandish that crit on 2+ targets would heal me for 1/3-1/2 of my life, and a critical Trunksplitter would heal me for a good 1/4 of my life. One minute cooldown, made soloing as a marauder much easier compared to what it could have been.
It should be noted that TP gain is MUCH different than it was in 11. Typical light swing or broad swings hits (my two starter skills) rewarded about 300-400 TP. Getting hit typically rewarded about 100-200 TP. This meant at least every three successful hits would allow for a TP attack, significantly higher than was seen in 11. My typical solo fight would go LS > LS > LS > Trunksplitter > LS > LS > Trunksplitter > mob death.
That's as far as I personally got, and once I get home and can hit up some beta 3 I'll add more as I'm able too.
There was another thing that I never really figured out; as you stand still for a certain amount of time (about six seconds or so), you gain a buff "You become one with your weapon." As long as you don't move after gaining the buff, the buff won't disappear. I'm not 100% sure what the buff does, but I imagine it's a good thing. Greater accuracy or damage maybe.
Guildleves are pretty awesome. They're basically solo or group-oriented quests that change based on your group. For instance, if it's just you, you can opt to do a leve solo. If you have two friends, you can instead opt for the three-man version. And of course, if you have five, you can do the five-man version. But every quest (that I saw anyway) is designed to be beaten by a single person, with a scaling difficulty accomodating up to five people at a time. Pretty **** awesome.
Rewards are also improved; by the time I finished with the first four leves I could acquire out of Limsa Lominsa I had about 3k gil stored up. By the time I had hit marauder rank 7 (and miner rank 7, and blacksmith rank 3, and phyiscal level 14) I had about 8k gil saved up, and I hadn't bought a thing. I hadn't needed too.
From what was present in the beta, there is encouragement to do things aside from just straight level your "main" job, whatever that is. I ran out of combat leves for my marauder, so instead of going out and grinding I went and bought a mining pick (120 gil, a piddly price) and took up some fieldcraft leves. By the time I was done with the two leves I was given, I had gained another 3 physical levels and was mining rank five, with enough copper ore to make it to smith rank three. At that point, the available battlecraft leves had reset, letting me go back to marauder and hit physical level 10 in no time. After that, I headed over to the physical level 10 quest hub and started to take on things there.
Grouping would make things a lot easier. With a tank to keep the mob in place, getting our class buff going and keeping it up would be infinitely easier. Bottom line is, we hit hard using big axes, and near as I can tell no one has the reliable physical AoE that we have, giving us a nice niche. Also, marauders in general seem to be pirates by and large, and pirates are awesome.
Mining and smithing:
Mining (and Botany) were the two available gathering professions. Miners used a mining pick as a primary weapon and a sledgehammer as a secondary (this is used to quarry stone, the pick to mine ore). Botanists use a hatchet to harvest lumber and a scythe (secondary) to cut grasses and herbs for usage. NPC dialogue in game gave the impression that a
"herding" or shepherd's profession might be added, or was planning on being added.
Mining and botany, like battlecraft stuff, gave experience and skill points. Each successfully mined node gave both skill points and XP, while an unsuccessful attempt resulted in just skill points. In the span of doing the two available fieldcraft mining leves, I was able to procure enough copper ore for two levels of smithing, and gain about four mining ranks and three physical levels as well.
Smithing was a bit of a challenge, but after asking other PC's around the smithy, a rather helpful galk....er, roegadyn suggested I start with 4x copper ore as my main synth until I hit level five. I did so, and managed to hit smith rank three before running out of fire shards. Further inquisition towards the helpful smith led to a location of easily farmed fire shards for my level, and I swapped to marauder (literally as easy as putting on your axe) and went on my merry way. One marauder rank and one physical level later, I returned to the smith (took me about 30 minutes total) with a healthy supply of fire shards to level my smithing. I continued to make copper nuggets out of my 4x copper ore synth until I ran out of ore.
About the synthing process: there are four kinds of synth "actions" you can take. Standard synthesis, rapid synthesis, bold synthesis and wait. Each brings it's own benefits, with rapid allowing for faster progress at the cost of lesser quality, bold bringing higher quality at the cost of progress and durability, and standard being a mix of the two. You start out with an empty progress bar, and each time you synth, be it successful or not, the progress bar increases. You also have two other values; durability and quality. Bold synthing, if successful, results in a great increase in quality, presumably increasing the chances of +1 and other HQ synths if applicable. Rapid synthesis sacrifices quality for a greater increase in the progress bar. 3-4 successful rapid synths fills up the entire progress bar, and even a failed rapid synth increases the progress bar as much as a successful bold synth. Standard synth, again, splits the middle, finding a medium between quality and progress.
Waiting is the odd man out. As you synth, sometimes the action of sything causes the energies inherent in the crafting to go haywire. Waiting it out is sometimes the best idea, as futher action could result in a great loss of durability or flat out failure (losing too much durability, i.e. once your dura hits 0 also results in failure, since your product is now nonexistent).
It was a fun little mini-game that took some of the tedium associated with crafting out of the picture. Early on it doesn't mean much. Whether or not I used rapid or bold seemed irrelevant; I always ended up with six copper nuggets at the end of the synth. However, I can see the benefits of both. Want to go for HQ's? Risk a lot of bold synthing to make sure you get the best quality item you can, just be sure you don't blow all your durability. Mass producing potions or maybe arrowheads or some other consumable? Then rapid might be the way for you. Want to play it safe? Good old standard synthing will give you good progress and good quality, but nothing exceptional one way or the other. And there's nothing to say you can't change how you want your synth to progress as time goes by. Go for quality the first three or four times, but after that if durability is running low then swap to rapid to make sure you don't get a total loss.
The mini-game for mining (and what I presume would be for botany) is also somewhat entertaining, even after doing it over and over again. It's a somewhat specialized game of hot-and-cold. What I'm about to tell you is strictly in regards to mining, but I assume botany isn't much different. For mining ore, you start off by choosing how close or how far you want to strike near the exposed ore. After choosing that, you then are presented with a second meter, a strike meter. This meter is a circle that expands and contracts at equal intervals, with a larger circle resulting in a stronger strike. This is where the hot-and-cold comes in. You initially start off knowing nothing as to how hard you should strike. You take a blind guess. I typically opt for maximum power or minimum power. You are then given a comment regarding the status of your strike:
You feel nothing promising.
You feel like you are getting farther from the mark.
You feel like you are getting closer to the mark.
You feel like there is something there but you cannot extract it yet.
Each result denotes how close or far you are from success, with the bottom result meaning "you're on the right spot and power, just hit it again."
Not hard by any means, but engaging enough to keep me from falling asleep while I did it. As a bonus, at miner rank four (easily obtained) I learned a skill that not only allowed me to locate nearby mining nodes, but also sped me up if said nodes were beyond a certain distance from me, a much appreciated addition.
Questions or comments? Leave them and I'll get back to them after the Jager and Apple Schnapps wear off!