The Morning Back
This morning is my first morning back to work, and I am surprisingly cheery about it. At the very least I had a pretty easy time waking up. I’m trying to type my morning post with a very attention craving cat sitting on my arm. The cats are still not entirely used to us being back. I can tell they missed us because they are pretty much smothering us 24/7. Now I know our house sitter played with them… because we got text messages talking about how sweet and adorable they were. I guess there is no substitute for mom and dad being home. Kenzie the kitten still acts confused any time she realizes we are not in sight. Off and on during the day yesterday she would come tearing through the house meowing trying to find me… then upon doing so snuggle up tight. I guess it feels good to be needed.
I seem to have skipped the convention plague, or at least I don’t really feel much different than I normally do. The biggest thing I am experiencing is a sort of jet lag feeling. Like my brain is still on convention time and I am not quite used to being back and communicating with other human beings “normally” just yet. As such I spent most of my yesterday chilling out on the sofa, and piddling around in Guild Wars 2. Yup that is right, I downloaded it, patched it up, and spent my day mucking about in it. I enjoyed myself I guess… but I am still in the same phase I always seemed to be with that game… trying to sort out what everyone finds so damned appealing about it. I admit the video and the crowd were enough oomph to get me to give it another try.
During Pax they kept touting their community as the “friendliest” and I feel like that is a bit of a misnomer. Sure when you die people seem to rush out of the woodwork to resurrect you… but in doing so they NEVER SAY A WORD. I feel like GW2 is the friendliest… because it is also the most silent. I wandered about yesterday interacting with several other human beings and not a single one said anything to me, even when I thanked them for helping me out. So I guess they are the friendliest because no one is being an outward asshole? I still say for my money Final Fantasy XIV is a far more enjoyable community, even the gold spammers are polite. All of that said I did begrudgingly enjoy myself, so I might be poking my head in now and again and slowly working my way towards the level cap. Right now I am 53 so there is still a long ways to go until 80.
Mandervilles and Midgardsormr
Last night our normal raid night in Final Fantasy XIV but with several people out that did not quite happen. I spent most of the night hanging out in free company chat talking to various people and working my way through the latest of the Hildebrand quest lines. It was once again completely insane, but as I ran through it I noticed… this quest seemed to make call backs to every single Hildebrand quest line we had experienced to date. It was almost as though the Hildebrand storyline were a television series and the final episode reintroduces all of the themes from behind, wrapping them up in a neat bow. My working theory is that this is the last we will see of Hildebrand before the expansion. For that matter even the main story line feels like it is acting as the precursor to the upcoming expansion, easing us into the world that will be once Heavensward launches. I am absolutely fine with this notion, and eating every moment of it while it lasts.
After a period of time we realized that we had a full group of people on teamspeak to do some of the new dungeons. As with any patch this one introduced three new dungeons, two of which are hard mode versions of existing dungeons… and the third something completely new that fits the current storyline. Since the new dungeon Keeper of the Lake will prevent moving forward in the main story, we opted to do that one. For starters… this dungeon has some of the more difficult boss encounters we have seen to date. In fact I would say this is the first dungeon that we did not really feel overpowered for. The gear that it drops is ilevel 100, but I would hazard a guess that maybe it was designed for players to mostly be in ilevel 120. We however are all in the 110 range so it was a real challenge. One of the cool asides about the dungeon were that a lot of the mobs we encountered were named after ships from the classic Shmup Einhander. A few were references to other shooters like the mobs called the “Silver Hawks”.
We had to do what we have done on so many first runnings of new dungeons… limit break our way through every encounter. The first encounter took two attempts and the final encounter took a lot of luck and two attempts to figure out what we needed to do. It is easily the most difficult of the dungeons to date. Ashgar had run Amdapor Keep Hard and said that this new series had a running theme. Relatively easy trash encounters, that were not likely to kill the party… and really difficult bosses. I honestly prefer dungeons to be this way. Hard trash makes the dungeons frustrating, but when you arrive at a boss everyone naturally focuses on the encounter at hand. Similarly to the Manderville quest line… this dungeon seems to be ramping us up for the end of the expansion, and I believe that these are the last set of dungeons we will see before the spring 2015 launch of Heavensward. I hope to be able to run the other two soon, so that I can start doing hard mode roulette once more. They were worth quite a few poetics, so it should finally be reasonable to gear up in full 120 gear.