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February 2021 – Kalen Lu

Playing Apex Legends For The First Time Since 2019

Earlier this week, I tried playing the battle royale game Apex Legends for the first time since 2019, and I was really surprised how much things have changed. When I stopped playing, the game had just started its second season, but right now, its already at season eight. A lot of new legends and weapons had been added since then, as well as lot of other features.

The first thing that I noticed when launching the game was how there were now multiple different gamemodes. Previously, there was only one gamemode where you had to queue with three people, on one map, started with no loot, and was not ranked. However, now there is now the addition of a trio, duo, and ranked queue. From my understanding, the new ranked gamemode is the original one but now with an added ranked ladder. The new trio queue now has two maps in rotation and when you drop you already start with a weapon and armor. The duo queue is just the new trio queue but with two players per squad. Additonally, there seem to be limited time event gamemodes that come and go every few months.

In terms of the gameplay was that the shields were completely different than they used to be. Before, there were four different tiers of armor. The first tier gave two shield slots, second gave three, third gave four, and fourth also gave four with an extra perk. However now, those tiers of armor are no longer in the game except for the fourth. Instead, there’s now an evolving shield that players start with in each match. The more damage you do, the more shield slots you’ll fill up. From my experience, this makes playing out late game fights a lot longer since people can usually take more damage. Still, it’s interesting to see how players who engage in more fights are rewarded now, even if they don’t go looking for the best loot.

I also noticed that some legends that were previously considered to not be that good like Caustic are being used a lot more. Apparently, there have been lots of changes, but I’m not too sure about the specifics. There have also been several new legends that were added. For most of them, I have no idea what their abilities do, so that adds a few more things to learn about. Lots of new weapons have also been added as well as new attachments. I’ve tried a few of them, but I still feel more comfortable using the weapons from season one. Unfortunately, some weapons from season 1 like the Peacekeeper have been removed from standard loot and can now only be found in supply drops.

Overall, the game has changed a lot since I’ve last played. The second map that was added now has vehicles and portals, and so many legends and gameplay changes have been made it’s like playing a new game for the first time. Even though my friends and I haven’t been winning too many of our games, it’s still some good casual fun anyways.

FFXIV Early Game

A few days ago, I started playing FFXIV on a free trial and have played through a few hours of the early game content. I haven’t explored too much of the content, but I’ll write about what I’ve experienced so far.

The game starts with a cutscene of the main story before you create a character and choose a starting job. Since the game originally came out in 2010, the graphics aren’t exactly the most cutting edge, but they’re still quite good for an MMO in my opinion. The character customization options are a lot more limited compared to something like Black Desert, but I think it’s also comparable to other games like Kurtzpel. After creating your character you can choose from multiple different starting jobs that you’d eventually convert into main jobs. The one I chose was Thaumaturge which later goes into Black Mage.

Most of the actual game content for me so far has been compeleting the main story quest which gives you a variety of different tasks and also showcases a few cutscenes. The quests in the main story can range from simply delivery items across a town or having to defeat enemies and retrieve an item. However, I’m finding the actual story part of the game to be really difficult to follow. Especially with the cutscenes not fully explaining a lot of the stuff that’s going on.

Some of the things that are a bit annoying when first starting was that the default HUD was really cluttered and takes up a lot of space on the screen, so it took a few video tutorials to get that cleaned up. Additionally, some of the quests require you to navigate buildings that have multiple different floor levels, and it isn’t always clear what path you have to take in order to reach the required endpoint. A few times I found myself going in circles for different quests in the exact same building.

Since I’m not that high of a level, most of the combat I’ve done hasn’t been to exciting. Personally, the early usage of the same three to five skills kind of reminds me of playing League of Legends, but I know that the combat does get more interesting later on in the game. However, comparing FFXIV to a more action combat system like Black Desert leaves FFXIV’s early game a bit lacking.

Overall, FFXIV has been a new experience for me, especially since I’m trying more to understand the story. Supposedly it gets much better later on, so I’ll see how I enjoy it. The free trial for the game has not time limit, and is only content restricted. However, the amount of free content that they have available is quite extensive, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to get a lot of hours out of the game.