[FFXIV] The Manderville Golden Saucer
The 2.51 patch dropped last night, so this morning the “MGS” is now available. To get there you must be level 15 and visit the access quest giver that you pretty much trip over at the Ul’dah Aetheryte. Once there your senses.. well… vision and hearing, anyway. . . are assaulted with a riot of color and sound. I think this is going to be the social hub of the game going forward as well, since there’s no downside to being there and it’s got some distraction for while waiting for dungeon queues and whatnot.
So anyway, you get there and get the quest to tour the place, so you run around to all the areas to see what they’ve got, get seeded with a little bit of “MGP” (Manderville Gold Saucer Points) so that you can play the mini-games and you’re on your way to building a stash of the new currency. The mini-games cost 1 MGP to play and tend to pay out 2-5 in return, depending on your ability to anticipate the moving bar you have to click to stop. They’re really all the same, they just try to hide it by “click when the bar’s at the end” vs “click when the bar’s at the middle” vs “the spot to click jumps around.”
There’s a daily scratch-off lottery ticket that you can buy where it’s a sort of Sudoku puzzle. 1 spot is pre-scratched and then you pick 3 more spots. Based on the 4 numbers showing, you then guess what numbers are missing and where they are and pick the corresponding row or column, hoping that you guessed correctly and you get a total that matches a good payout on the right of the screen. I got lucky on my 1st try and got a 3600 MGP payout, so I was pretty happy with that.
Triple Triad is interesting, and a bit frustrating at 1st as well, since it’s got some semi-complex rules. It sounds simple, but the different tables have slightly different rules, and learning those nuances is what makes it semi-complex. There was a lot of zone-wdie chat going on explaining the various rules to people, with links to screenshots of examples of what makes a “Plus” or an “Ascension” work. I lucked into a plus win with me owning 8 of the 9 cards at the end, so I won a card on that hand, but I lost more than I won. In a loss you get half your MGP stake back, in a draw you get your stake back, and in a win you get 22-150, depending on the table you’re playing at.
I’ll play it more, I think, but it’s also kind of frustrating to have cards with scores ranging from 2-5 and clustered at 3-4, while your NPC opponents have cards from 2-9 clustered at 6-7. It’s probably just a matter of learning what moves the AI is prone to play, and then mastering when you can do a “plus” or an “ascension” if you’re playing at one of those tables, but for now while I don’t know how it all works quite yet it’s a bit off-putting.
The GATE event I was a part of seemed to be completely done by random chance. You talked to the npc and got up on the stage, then Typhon randomly appeared on it and randomly did a cone, column, or pbae sneeze. You are rooted when he appears, so you can’t dodge if you happen to be in the telegraphed area. He sneezes 5 times in total and you are scored based on how lucky you were at avoiding the sneezes. I avoided all 5 so I got max payout of 1600 MGP. I don’t know what the lesser payouts for getting hit are, nor if it’s an auto-fail if the sneeze knocks you off the stage, but I expect I’ll find out eventually. And I’m sure there are other GATE events as well, so I’ll eventually see how they go too.
And finally… Chocobo Racing! This one actually is deceptively simple. You run around the track on rails, but there are invisible lanes on it. Hitting the left or right buttons will change the lane that you’re in, so hitting or avoiding the buffs/penalties on the ground and picking up the treasure chest for your weapons to slow the others (or possibly a short speed boost) is really just a matter of reading the course to see which lane the thing is in and then moving to that lane. Since the course does meander, it can be a little difficult to tell, but’s it’s really quite straightforward.
You gain xp for the chocobo as you complete races — more xp for better finishes, and as you rank up you can buy training books to increase your chocobo’s attributes. The books cost 1100 or 2700 MGP, though, and a race win is only worth a hundred or so, so unless you want to “grind” a lot of races you’ll probably be supplementing with scratch and mini-game winnings from the other areas too. Since I had close to 6000 MGP, though, I bought a 2700 point speed book and went from 11 to 14 for my speed attribute. I guess that’s nice, but my time to finish the next race only improved by 3 seconds on a 145 second race, so the percentage increase wasn’t much. But hey, every little bit helps, and I can see myself getting lost in the races for quite some time. Yeah, the races are already “doing it” for me.
My overall impression of the MGS is quite favorable. The mini-games aren’t really a big deal, but I can see Triple Triad and the Chocobo Racing as being “big things” for a lot of people, myself included. Happy gaming out there and I hope to see you at the Saucer!