Blame Acti-Blizz

Closing in on Turn Nine

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-28 17-42-52-03 Monday night is traditionally the raid night of our static group in the Greysky Armada Free Company.  I had been wondering if we would actually raid since… well the expansion was released and we are all busy leveling.  We were wondering just how a lot of things would work out, how our gear levels would scale appropriately and how effective we would be down leveled back to 50.  It turns out I was pleasantly surprised on almost all counts and we stepped foot into turn nine once more making some of the most progress we have ever made.  We actually managed to make it through a dive bomb phase unscathed, so at least now we know what that feels and looks like.  The problem is shortly after doing so…  we started our normal “death by simple mistakes” meaning we were all getting too tired to continue on.

I have hope however that maybe this weekend or next week we can step back in there and finally get a damned victory.  Right now turn nine is our white whale…  which is ironic in a game that literally has a giant flying white whale for a boss.  This is one of those things that I just want deep down in my bones now, to move past this barrier and be able to say we have beaten it.  I realize at this point it is outdated content…  but that doesn’t matter to me.  What matters to me is taking down Nael and being able to move into the Final Coil of Bahamut.  I am hoping that we will continue plugging forward and taking down this stuff even when it is no longer relevant.  It makes me happy that the game continues to be challenging even though some of our members have long since reached the new level cap of 60.  I however was on my dragoon last night which is still only level 51.

Blame Acti-Blizz

activision-blizzard I was having a conversation yesterday with a good friend of mine, about the 6.2 patch and what has worked and what has not worked.  During the course of this chat, he threw something out there as though it were just fact… that surprised me a little bit.  This friend of mine is as diehard a World of Warcraft fan as they come, and both he and his son play on a daily basis.  So to hear it from him really took me back to an earlier conversation he and I had back in 2008, to the announced merger of Activision and Blizzard.  His comment was, that the current state of the game and the seeming lack of forward momentum… is entirely to blame on the merger with Activision.  Back when this happened he said that his greatest fear was that it would change the way Blizzard interacts with its games and with its players.  Last night he said that essentially all of his worst fears have been realized, and that the game we today is a direct result of this merger.

While we cannot say this with any certainty for me at least Blizzard has been on a downhill slide since the release of Wrath of the Lich King.  That was the last “great” expansion for me personally, and represented the closing of an era when I was completely enraptured by the game.  Granted lots of things have changed, and so many other games have hit the market… but it feels like Blizzard stopped being the revolutionary market leader… and started trailing behind in the days post Activision merger.  My question is more did they simply shift focus… did they no longer care as much about the World of Warcraft community as they did their other product offerings?  It feels like WoW is a game that has been left to largely fend for itself.  There is a large amount of hype drummed up each time a new expansion releases, but then that quickly dies down and we are thrown right back into the cycle of doing just enough to keep hope alive in their player base that things will eventually get better.  The problem is… this sense of hope is fading as players are staring down the barrel of potentially another Siege of Orgrimmar like lapse in content.

Following the Money

HeroesOfTheStorm_x64 2015-06-03 23-26-08-94 I think the problem is that quite literally World of Warcraft is no longer Blizzards most important asset.  You can see that pretty clearly as you look at the attention paid to each of their product offerings.  The favored children of Blizzard right now are Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm, and this is evident by how much attention they seem to be getting by the company.  You have to think about the simple economics behind that decision.  If you can create a game where people will gladly plunk down $4 for five virtual cards, and potentially do so multiple times a month…  what is the pure money benefit of spending much effort on a game where the players are ONLY paying you $15 a month.  Similarly with Heroes of the Storm you have a game where you can churn out multiple new heroes a month and sell them for the priced to own rate of $10 a piece roughly, not including the skins which are also often around the $10 price point.  I saw a recent article stating that it would cost around $1000 to purchase everything that is currently available in the in game Heroes of the Storm store.

Don’t get me wrong… I don’t begrudge them either of these games because I play both of them.  The problem is… if you can churn out a few champions a month, or a new hearthstone expansion… the potential investment of time to the money it makes the company is far greater than spending the year it takes to make a brand new World of Warcraft expansion.  Even factoring in the box sales it is no wonder that the Warcraft team seems to be starved for resources when the rest of this company is thriving.  So I guess I get back to my friends point…  that the Activision merger shifted the focus of this company from making great games “whenever they were ready” to making games to maximize investor profits.  I cannot be so naive as to believe that the Blizzard of old didn’t care about profits, but I think for a long period of time they were simply shocked and baffled by their own success.  I’ve said for awhile that when you start to believe your own hype… you are setting yourself up for the fall.  I think with the Activision merger…  Blizzard saw their valuation and consumed their own hype completely.  Ultimately as I watch the company change, I fear for the state of World of Warcraft, this game that in spite of all of my better sense…  that I still care about.

Shoddy Shipyards

Struggling to Blog

This morning I am struggling a bit to find purpose as I sit down at the keyboard.  As of last night I reached level 58 in Final Fantasy XIV on my Warrior and am not quite to the next level wall.  Things are happening that are enriching the experience, but those same things are massive revelations and spoilers and I am concerned about giving too much away.  As a result I am just not sure what to talk about.  I could break out some more of my existential angst that I can presently only be a tank when someone in guild asks for groups.  I could comment vaguely about how much I am enjoying the story, and how awesome it is going so far.  Neither of which seem all that fulfilling however and as I sit here tickety tacking my keys my mind is a blank page when it comes to other things that I might talk about.

I had these grand ideas that I would stream some more this weekend, but since my wife spent most of her time downstairs… I was inclined to do the same.  I don’t like streaming when I could be disturbing her, so instead I just kept playing.  I really wish Forge did what I wanted it to do… namely that it would take real screenshots to a directory, instead of getting uploaded to the Forge website.  The problem I have run into in the past is that I cannot run Fraps at the same time as Forge, and without Fraps I don’t have my stable source of screenshotting anything that crosses my screen.  I tend to disable the in game screenshot keys and use fraps to dump all of my game screenshots into one standard directory to make pulling from it for blogging purposes easier.  The other problem with forge is that the clip size was too limited to snapshot an entire boss fight.  I also wish there was a way to back up my stream to youtube the same way I can with twitch.  Nonetheless I might give it another shot soon.

Shoddy Shipyards

Wow-64 2015-06-29 05-59-50-60 Yesterday I spent some time in World of Warcraft, for all the wrong reasons.  The night before I had left my phone upstairs on the charger, and by the time I got situated on the sofa and realized that I didn’t have my phone… and as a result did not have access to my FFXIV authenticator I could not be bothered to get up.  The Blizzard client on the other hand authenticates far less often, when connecting from the same machine over and over… and I was able to get in with just my account information.  As a result I played for a bit, long enough to unlock Shipyards and the first and I think second camps in Tanaan Jungle.  The renovations to my garrison however that resulted in the building of my shipyard however were not quite so successful as I noticed I now apparently have a break in my wall.  It was one of those things that I caught out of the corner of my eye as I rode past, and now I cannot keep myself from seeing it every time I ride to the shipyards to check on progress.

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The journey into the jungle is pretty much the same as the journey out of it.  You complete objectives which moves the storyline further, and unlocks an additional base camp.  I am not terribly far into it at this point so I am not sure how long this mission goes.  It was around the time I got to the second camp that I needed to stretch my legs… and while I was up I grabbed my phone so I could play other things.  I have to give Blizzard credit because they do this moving target as you go through a zone thing really well.  There were several moments like this during the leveling process, where you help this or that base to progress the storyline, and those tended to be the best part of this expansion.  If they had somehow managed to create an entire expansion around moving the ball forward and delivered new content on a monthly basis I think I would be significantly happier than I am currently.  As it is right now patch 6.2 just feels like too little too late for me.  Other than the break in my outer defenses, the craftsmanship of this patch seems to be on par with the rest of the content they have released, so at some point I want to finish to see how things progress.

More Mobile Gaming

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One of my biggest complaints this expansion has been that Garrisons turned out the way they did.  I was hoping for player housing, and what I got instead was a mobile game…  that was not mobile at all.  All of the mechanics that go into the garrison and the shipyard as well are the same sort of ploys that go into getting people to keep playing a mobile app.  I have been playing the hell out of Fallout Shelter for example, and it is the exact same sort of gameplay as you find in the Garrison.  You have abilities that you use and then timers that you are waiting out… so you can do additional things… all the while juggling limited resources and trying to find ways to replenish them.  There is nothing really “wrong” with this sort of cooldown based gameplay, because it seems to work phenomenally well in getting us to keep pushing buttons on our phones.  The problem here however is…  we are not on our phones.  In fact we are having to do this sort of upkeep based gameplay on a client that requires a PC to log in and check.  The end result has been me logging into my characters in the morning and in the evening for most of this expansion to do nothing but swap missions.

Wow-64 2015-06-29 06-04-40-07 I think more than anything… this has been what has grated on my nerves this expansion.  These mechanics place me into the game on a regular interval…  but I am not actually “playing” the game when I am in it.  Instead I am juggling the upkeep of a mobile game, without an easy to use mobile interface.  As I have moved forward into the Shipyards it feels like they are taking the whole follower mechanic to the next level with allowing players to customize the ships…  which means you need to go locate the blueprints to make various upgrades, while also locating blueprints for various ships.  It just feels like this would be a really enjoyable experience had they added it to the WoW Armory app as a mini-game that you could either interface with in game… or through an easy to navigate menu on your phone.  Instead the result is giving us something that feels more cumbersome than daily quests ever did, and at the same time extracting us from the game world… and keeping us holed up in our garrison scheduling this next batch of missions for our dozen alts.  This experience makes me question even further if Blizzard actually understands its player base at all… and what made their game great for all those years.

So Many Sads

Storming the Castle

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-27 23-24-20-51 This morning I admit that I have been struggling to figure out what to write about.  It is not from a lack of material, but a conscious effort to filter myself.  Last night I leapt over a content wall in Final Fantasy XIV and it was quite possibly the best dungeon experience I have had since first stepping foot into Deadmines back in 2004.  It was so over the top amazing, that it is hard to put into words much about it because quite simply I do not want to ruin the story for anyone.   Square Enix has somehow managed to capture all of the magic of Scarlet Monastery, distill everything that made it fun… and then amply that and unleash it onto the world.  The dungeon design is vastly different than anything else I have seen in Final Fantasy XIV to this point.  On one level it almost feels like a kung fu action movie, where you are deluged with impossible odds yet somehow manage to hold things together enough to keep moving forward.  The fourth dungeon in the game is now the pinnacle of “storming the castle” experiences for me.

What makes it so amazing is the fact that the dungeon is set up by some truly phenominal storytelling.  By the time you reach this point in the story arc, you feel like righteous avengers off to save the day.  I had been stalled on this dungeon for awhile, but had been holding back doing it so that I could do it with a full guild group.  Kodra managed to get caught up last night, and the two of us entered with two others that were gleeful in keeping silent about the tactics of the dungeon.  Somehow we made it through, and our raider instincts kicked in enough to keep us from doing anything too stupid.  It is funny how those instincts are now fairly universal regardless of what encounter a game throws at you.  Final Fantasy XIV does an excellent job of messaging things you should avoid or at least take note of… and when it down… get the hell out.

So Many Sads

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Does this picture not just break your heart?  This is the saddest Bel I have ever seen in this game.  So not only does it excel at giving you moment after moment of excitement… it can also manage to punch you in the gut when the story turns in a sad direction.  Things happened…  things that made us sad, and the game is doing an awesome job of letting us know it.  Not to mention me the person behind the screen was effected by these events too, so it feels reassuring in a way to see my on screen facsimile struggling with the events as well.  I cannot expound upon just how amazing the experience of Heavensward has been so far, with the storyline from last season picking up and continuing where we left off.  I call it a “season” because really that is what it feels like.  The original 1.0 launch was Season 1, A Realm Reborn was Season 2… and now we are entering the Third Season of this really awesome television show… where I absolutely cannot wait to see what happens next.  It is a game like this that makes me feel like a game can both be engaging and deeply narrative at the same time.  I feel like I am telling the story… more than I usually do in a story driven experience.  Sure the story is happening to me…  but I identify so completely with my character.

YoshiOnFFXIV The thing is this feeling we are having is apparently completely intentional.  The above quote is from a ZAM video interview with Yoshi P from E3.  It is very clear that he feels like he is stilling one large episode of the same story, and as a result all of the little elements and people that you meet along the way have a lasting importance.  Just because you go several levels without seeing someone, does not mean they will not show up at some point in the future.  The characters in this world have their own destinies and do not just support that of the main character.  Everyone has an agenda and are given the latitude to shift in and out of the focus of what we ultimately view as the “main story”.  Ashgar and I were talking for a bit last night and he made the comment that there is enough story content in here to make an actual “traditional” Final Fantasy game.  Thinking about this I absolutely agree and in many ways this sort of storytelling that we are experiencing is the same sort of storytelling we saw in Final Fantasy VI for example… where characters shift in and out of your party but you are constantly moving forward towards an end goal.  This time we the player character are the constant in a world that is constantly changing around us.AggroChat

AggroChat 63 – There Came an Echo Show

therecameanecho 2015-06-27 12-11-53-85

Last night we recorded the sixty third episode of AggroChat and the fifth AggroChat Game Club game show.  This time around it was Kodra’s pick a quirky voice controlled story driven RTS called There Came an Echo.  My experience was vastly different than the rest of my co-hosts, but it seems that pretty much everyone other than Kodra and Tam had some measure of technical difficulties with this title.  For example Thalen, Ash and I were all missing significant UI elements during our play throughs.  Several of us had to content with moments when the game seemed to just stop accepting voice input commands as well.  I however had the most issues with the game constantly crashing on me.  There was no point when I was able to actually load anything without the game going unresponsive and having to hit the “wait for program” button in the hopes that maybe just maybe it would wake the hell up and start working again.  As I said I was the only person who had issues quite that severely, and I am hoping that maybe this is just a bad patch as they recently rolled one out.

The positive however is it has good enough story and voice acting to make me futz with this game for two hours trying to make it work for me.  During the course of they show the folks that did manage to beat the game exposed all the spoilery content and I got enough of a feel for how the story goes that I really want to see it play out.  At the very least I am planning on watching a play through, and preferably one without much streamer dialog to preserve as much of the voice acting experience as I can.  The one I was watching for a bit yesterday kept talking over the character dialog… which kinda ruined the experience.  This game feels very much like a tech demo with good story and voice acting… and I would love to see this same level of effort taken and expanded into a more traditional game experience.  Sure this voice control thing is somewhat neat, but I hate talking to devices.  Devices like the Amazon Echo, Siri and even my own Google Phone experience are lost on me… because the last thing I want to do is talk to my device to have it do something for me.  The voice control was deeply awkward for me, but your mileage may vary…  Kodra and Tam both seemed to enjoy it greatly.

Pre-Ordering Games

Long Winded Answer

FFXV_Accordo Over on MMO Games we have a column called FAQ where during the course of the week someone proposes a topic, and we have until Friday to send in our responses to chime in on it.  While I don’t exactly think the name FAQ really fits anymore… since we aren’t really posting any “frequently asked questions” I do think the format is pretty cool.  Friday however was an exceptionally busy day for me, and I never got around to sending Ardua my paragraph on this weeks topic.  Part of the problem was that the question while pretty straight forward didn’t have a straight answer to it for me.  Or at least my response would have ended up far more long winded and nuanced than a simple question and answer column needed.  So I thought today I would use this prompt for my morning blog post.  The question seemed pretty simple and straight forward: “Do you Pre-purchase/pre-order MMO Expansions?”

The only legitimate question that I can answer is “sometimes”, which in itself is deeply unsatisfying.  I feel like I need to delve into my changing feelings about pre-ordering things in general.  There was a time when I thought anyone who pre-ordered anything… was a chump.  I used to look at the folks at GameStop and EB Games with derision as they tried to get me to pre-order the next thing on the horizon as I held in my hands the current “hot” thing.  I viewed it as a heinous form of up-selling product and nothing more.  Once upon a time I used to get a rush from going out on opening day to try and find a copy of whatever game I wanted to play.  I can remember a time when working at the mobile development company, when we called around to a bunch of stores trying to find enough copies of Battlefield 2 to purchase for the team…  so we could death match it later that evening.  I remember the adrenaline rush of checking the stack of games in the store to see if that one title you wanted was available.

Pre-Ordering Games

Ultimately what ended up changing this dynamic for me was the MMO.  These games marketed towards a niche of extremely devoted fans, that absolutely had to at all costs have a copy of the latest expansion in their grubby hands on release day.  After all we all know that anything less means you are going to get a late start and struggle to keep up with your friends and guild members.  There were several close calls in the past, like when I tried to get a copy of Planes of Power expansion for Everquest and had to go to four stores to be able to find it, or when I quite literally bought the last copy in Tulsa of Dark Age of Camelot: Trials of Atlantis.  The game that ultimately changed things for me however was World of Warcraft and the fact that quite literally if you did not manage to get your copy on opening day, it ended up being a month before more copies were circulating on store shelves.

I walked into Wal-mart at midnight on the night the game was released, and while there was a line wrapping around the corner at GameStop down the street…  I was able to pick up a copy without issue from a massive display.  I thought those folks who pre-ordered and were waiting in line were chumps.  That was until at least half of my local friends were unable to find copies at all, because they didn’t preorder and didn’t go searching for copies that night.  It was awkward having to try and catch them up when they finally got their hands on a serial code.  If this lesson was not enough, I saw the same thing happen during Burning Crusade, which ultimately shifted me to the side of the “pre-order”.  Something was different about the MMO and its player base, they were more dedicated… more rabid… and those previous expansions became harder to find.  Something else changed…  quite honestly I got older and less willing to go through frustrations in order to get that thing I am looking for.  I simply wanted to be able to get my game, on time, and have it there ready to go when the servers come online.

Definitely Sometimes

Now if I am deeply into a game franchise or playing an MMO… I will pretty much always pre-order the game.  Where the sometimes comes into play is largely based on what a company is willing to give me to buy that game ahead of time.  Most games that I play that are non-MMOs I will divide into three categories.  There are games that I want to play the moment it is available, and will likely pre-order no matter what.  There are games that I want to play but whenever I get a chance, without much pressure… these games I will likely not preorder and will almost certainly wait until they go on sale… probably not even interested until they are at least 30% off the launch price.  Then there are games I am vaguely interested in and would only be willing to pick up for $5-$10 on a whim.  Where a game company can change this equation is by giving me exclusive stuff that I will only ever see if I pre-order the game.  The problem here however is that almost all of the time…  companies ultimately release whatever bauble they are “gifting” players as a DLC that can be added at a later date.   This DLC also tends to go on sale just like the game does on Steam…  pretty much destroying the allure.

Ultimately to answer the question properly in the form that it was posed…  Yes I usually preorder an MMO Expansion…  with some conditions.  Firstly I play a lot of MMOs, so in order for me to snap it up the moment it comes out it has to be one I am excited to be playing, or that I expect to be spending a lot of time in.  Secondly it has to provide me something that I could not normally get if I did not pre-order.  Everquest II was the king of this, by offering limited time pre-order bonuses that you quite literally never saw again.  I am still kicking myself on missing out on that white snow wolf mount that they gave out with the preorder of velious.  So basically if they have some exclusive item that I think I will regret not having preordered to get… then I go ahead and do the deed.  The big thing I do these days however is I never pre-order physical copies of anything.  Digital copies are just nicer, because they do not rely on the mail to deliver.  I am looking for the method of acquisition that has the least pain points, and a digital code that is often times automagically applied to my account is the clear winner.

Chain Run Dungeons

Worst Party Comp Ever

FFV_HorriblePartyTime Last night I was feeling more than a little out of it, or at least too out of it to actual do much of anything meaningful in Final Fantasy XIV.  So after finishing my hunt quest and randoming my way into an Aery dungeon group…  I opted to just log out for the night.  For a period of time I considered simply going to sleep… and this is honestly the option I should have taken.  The Four Job Fiesta is like a religion to my good friend Ashgar, and until the night before last I had not actually even registered for it officially.  So as I sat there swaddled in a comfy blanket on the very comfy sofa… I opted to dig the xbox controller out of the console beside me and officially start my fiesta.  The rest is history as I was up fairly late getting my start in the world.  In past Fiestas my party comp has not been terribly horrible… or at the very least I have bought my way to freedom using the Jobfair donation system.  This time however being I think my fourth year participating…  I am just going to let it ride.

So when the game assigned me monk for my Wind job…  I didn’t think much about it.  I figured that would be an easy beginning to the game.  When it gave me Berserker for my water job however…  I started to dread this decision I had made.  Then when I was assigned Beastmaster as my fire job… I realized this was going to be a really odd ride.  I figure the answer to my freedom will once again be out level the content, and I have already gotten a start on that notion as I just defeated the Library of Ancients at level 21 which is about five levels or so off the normal pace I believe.  Next time I play I will be going after my earth job.. and wondering if it will be salvation or another nail in the coffin on this horrible party.  Admittedly I have never actually used the Beastmaster but I always hated how fiddly Gau was in Final Fantasy VI and never actually used him as a result.  In theory this is going to be a return to that sort of thing, but I need to do some serious research on what all I need to do and when I need to do it, especially as I am just about to get an airship for the first time giving me a wider range of freedom to go off collecting abilities.

Chain Run Dungeons

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-23 21-11-03-54 In part the reason why I opted to log out last night instead of play is that I am sitting on a strange wall.  Right now I am about half way to level 57 and I have a bunch of options on how to get there.  I could go do all of the quests that I missed doing while skipping my way around the world and ignoring most of the side quests.  I am sure that Square has intended me to level using these, and the fact that I am largely ignoring them is completely breaking their content design.  I could always go join a FATE train somewhere, as this has always been a viable method of leveling especially now that so many people are doing it and there are almost always FATE groups in the party finder.  It seems that Northern Thanalan is once again an active hotbed of FATE running, and in theory this would even be good experience for a Heavensward character.  I am doing my daily hunts but they are honestly more for the currency provided and while they each provide a decent chunk of experience… there are far better and quicker ways to get it.

All of these are completely viable options, but I would far rather just run a bunch of dungeons.  The problem is that my preference will always be to run dungeons with the Greysky Armada folks.  Unfortunately they are either quiet about what they need for dungeons, or have not unlocked a given dungeon yet.  I’ve run a few groups a night for the last several nights, but if I am going to rely on dungeons as a means of leveling I am going to have to step out into the larger community and just start random queuing.  Now we get into the dilemma last night…  I could have tanked a run for the guild, but I did not have the presence of mind to do so with strangers.  Don’t get me wrong I love the FFXIV community, but dealing with anyone that I don’t already know inflicts a mental toll on me.  My default and original state is that of an introvert… and over the years I have forced myself to be more extroverted…  but doing so…  drains me.  Last night I was an energizer bunny that had wound down, but tonight hopefully I will begin chaining dungeons once more in order to get the last of my level so I can move forward in the story again and hopefully unlock dungeon four.

Unusually Trying Week

Not really sure why but this week has been a really rough one for some reason.  In part I think it is because at the start of the week I had to deal with the being alone, as my wife was once again travelling.  Thankfully only for a few days and as of Wednesday she should be home for the rest of the summer.  It just seems like everything has been stressing me out far more than it should.  I labored over the decision to go ahead and cancel the World of Warcraft account, just to keep it from auto renewing.  I have stressed over a dozen different small issues at work, and I have been stressed that I no longer have the ability to do everything in Final Fantasy XIV.  Right now I am a tank… and if the group already has one of those it means I have to sit out and watch from the bench as the group goes off and has fun.  I liked that I could work my way into any group and fill whatever slot they happened to need, because in truth…  running things with my guild is always the thing that I love to do the most.

The problem is that I will get there once again, but there is an almost insurmountable amount of leveling standing in the way.  I have this odd relationship with grinding… I enjoy it, but only when I don’t realize it is there.  If I am grinding towards a goal of some sort…  then I realize how much work is going to be needed to get to where I want to go… and simply start to shut down.  When I am just grinding as part of my default state of running around and attacking everything in sight… it becomes a happy and carefree place instead.  The problem being that right now I know the end goal… and for whatever reason I am having trouble compartmentalizing and ignoring the finish line.  I think I am just wired strangely… because so long as I don’t know where the finish line is I will keep pushing ahead blindly until I finally accomplish whatever it was that I wanted to accomplish.  However once I know where the boundaries are, and what it is going to take to get there…  the game changes and in a strange way goal setting de-motivates me.  So long as I am on this fun romp of discovery, life is grand…  but right now I need to somehow figure out how to ignore the goals and go back to playing everything for sheer enjoyment.

Content Walls

A Different Dark Knight

ShippingPC-BmGame 2015-06-24 17-38-36-07 So here is the point where I admit that I have never actually played any of the recent crop of Batman games.  I own I believe all of them other than the latest one that just came out, because I keep thinking that they are games that I would really enjoy, but for whatever reason like so many games in my Steam backlog I never end up playing them.  With all of the hype surrounding Batman Arkham Knight lately I have had this massive desire to delve into these games and see exactly what they are made of.  Last night was an odd night in that I got home relatively early, but knew I would have to leave and go pick my wife up as she was getting in from our last trip of the summer.  I knew I had an hour or so to kill so I opted to delve into this game and see how far I could get.  So far there is a lot to like but some things that are a little bit maddening at times as well.  Combat seems to take place in a three dimensional “final fight” style manner.  NPC bad guys approach you in waves and you can beat on them to turn them away from your position.

ShippingPC-BmGame 2015-06-24 18-02-56-67 The problem I have however is that the game employs a “bullet time” mechanic that I seem to have no real control over.  Sure it looks cool to zoom in as your fist cracks against the jaw of a bad guy, but it is jarring in the same way that slow motion kills in Fallout 3 were.  It pulls you out of the action and forces the entire world to slow down for a moment before unfreezing and expecting you to pick up combat where you left off.  Hopefully this is something I will just get used to, as I didn’t make it terribly far into the game last night.  I have to say the storyline and the plot are compelling enough to make me want to keep playing.  I’ve always been a fan of Batman, and the dynamic between him and joker have been the stuff that has driven me to read more Batman comics than I can recall.  Harley Quinn is another of my favorite characters in the universe, and she seems sufficient so far… but really I have not gotten to interact with her terribly much.  Yes I realize at this point that this game is pretty “ancient” but I am going to enjoy it nonetheless.

Content Walls

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-23 21-13-11-19 I am still very much loving Heavensward but I wanted to take a moment to talk about my biggest frustration with the game so far.  This game has some phenomenal story that makes you want to push forward so that you can see what happens next.  The problem is quite frequently you hit a wall where you must be the next level in order to continue the quest chain.  The red quest icon taunts you until you have managed to push through that next level…  only to grant you access to a few more steps of story before locking you out again.  I realize as I leveled my way through the original story in A Realm Reborn I experienced this…  but it has been almost two years so I guess my memories had faded.  Partially I think this is the fault of the way that I am currently playing the game, where I mostly focus on the Main Story, hoping to leave a lot of the side questing for secondary classes to get some experience off of.  Unfortunately I think the designers intended you to do all of the new quests that open up in each area to help you push forward into the next content goal.

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-21 17-02-44-44 Thankfully I have dungeons to augment my leveling process, and since everyone seems to be comfortable asking me to tank for them… I am getting quite a lot of access to running these dungeons with my free company.  The only problem being that I never know exactly how I want to level when I am left to my own devices… and have run out of story.  I absolutely love FATEs but the problem being that they simply do not seem to be worth the effort.  We have a running theory that they have watered down the FATE experience in an effort to force players to complete their main story content, rather than simply FATE grind their way through the levels.  The whole FATE grinding to the end thing happened a lot in A Realm Reborn, and I could see them wanting to maybe nip that in the bud at least for the early players.  The problem being that side quests, really don’t reward that much experience either.  I’ve recently unlocked the second their of Clan Hunts, so I will have to see if they reward significantly more experience than the first tier that unlocks at 53.  As it stands right now… I am hoping the first major patch gives FATEs a significant tweak as far as XP goes so I can return to doing those for my alts.

In That Old Place

Wow-64 2015-06-11 21-14-01-64 This coming Tuesday in theory marks the end of our World of Warcraft raids break, and as I find myself moving closer to that date I realize…  I am just not ready to resume raiding.  In fact I am not really ready to play World of Warcraft right now on any level.  So for the time being I will not be rejoining them in raiding, and more than likely won’t be playing at all for some time.  I feel like my primary issue right now is there really isn’t anything other than the raiding tying me to the game.  Sure I had some fun faffing about trying to farm mounts or doing old raid content for cosmetic gear…  but that ultimately has a limit to just how long I can do that without something else keeping me rooted in the game experience.  I’ve explored the new areas, and pushed three characters to the level cap in Warlords of Draenor.  While the content was extremely fun to level through that first, second and even to some extent third time… the whole experience feels extremely disposable because it is also exactly the same each time you do it.

WoWCancelledAgain2015 In many ways this expansion reminds me of the way I felt after leveling my third character in Star Wars the Old Republic.  While the individual class quests there were excellent, it was all the other content that I kept having to repeat that ultimately wrecked my enjoyment of the experience.  I thought walking into Draenor I would be awash with nostalgia about how much I enjoyed The Burning Crusade…  and to some extent that worked for a month or so.  The problem is it is like going back to your High school twenty years after you graduated…  while some of the aspects are similar it is still very much a brand new place that does not synchronize with your memories of it.  The reboot timeline just feels wrong, and with this patch and the reintroduction of Hellfire Citadel, I just find myself not caring anymore.  Arthas and Illidan were bad guys I could really get behind taking down… a constant parade of grim dark future orcs…  not so much.  I made the mistake yesterday of checking my account to see when it would renew, and when I saw September I went ahead and cancelled it.  I figure if the game has not grabbed my attention and made me want to play again in that time… it will just quietly close the door on another chapter of my own personal Warcraft timeline.

The Aery

Login Boss Slain

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-23 20-36-42-03 I will admit that last night I was fully expecting to spend my night playing a lot of ArcheAge.  All signs pointed to World of Warcraft 6.2 being a buggy mess, and after all of the issues that we had during the head start with the Aether Data Center and not being abler to log in..  I had set my expectations pretty low.  So when I got home I started something cooking in the oven and wandered upstairs in order to attempt a login, while waiting.  Much to my surprise I got right in and the servers were joyfully painless.  In fact around 9:30 pm last night folks were still saying they made it through without an issue.  It seems that Square Enix had something up their sleeve and actually did put a fix in place even though it did not make it into the patch notes.  Once upon a time I said that I had faith that they would learn from their mistakes seen during A Realm Reborn, and it seems that sure enough they did.  While we are only a single day into it, I have to say that was one of the absolute smoothest “official” launch days I have experienced.  Things just worked, and I was able to keep trucking along and progressing forward.

HeavenswardFirstRMT Once upon a time there was an initial crush of new players on opening day after the headstart finished.  I am wondering however if this is actually the case anymore, or if now that we are so familiar with doing so… everyone just preorders to make sure they get access to the game as soon as possible.  For most of the headstart my screen had been blissfully absent from gold seller spam, but I have to report last night…  I got my first third party RMT message.  The funny thing about it is that it was far less intelligible than normal, so I am wondering if somehow they have upgraded their filters and the spammers have had to figure out new methods around it.  The reality is that hopefully the fact that they have to have completely the 2.55 storyline will deter some of the popup spam accounts at least while in the Heavensward content.  Ash was saying they placed some additional restrictions on trial accounts, so in theory that might be helping as well.  In any case my screen is no longer filled with a constant stream of spammers so whatever they did the improvement is appreciated.

The Aery

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-23 20-37-44-32 My goal for the evening was to be able to get through the third dungeon called The Aery, located in the Churning Mists.  This location of the map as Kodra and I talked last night seems very much like the Netherstorm region of The Burning Crusade.  The main difference being that instead of being an area where the land simply doesn’t exist… this is a series of floating islands high in the sky presumably over another land mass.  Traditionally I have been nabbing Tamrielo to do these dungeons, but since last night was a class night for him… I had to wait around until enough other willing participants showed up.  While I have generally felt like I am behind the curve it seems that in reality I am actually ahead of several of our guild members.  Eventually I was able to gather up Mor, Kodra and Liyhe and tackle the dungeon.  I have to say that once again I really enjoyed the experience of pushing through this instance without much prior knowledge about it.  I knew that it was essentially a giant nest of dragons, and I knew that at the end I would more than likely face off against Nidhogg…  but everything in between was new and fresh to me.

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-23 23-10-19-26 My bags are quite literally loaded down with spare white mage and ninja gear, because it seems like that is the only sort of thing that I can make drop when doing instances.  Last night however I finally got something else to drop…  apparently a tanking skirt.  They call it a “Longkilt” but in reality it actually is a skirt…  but a skirt that was a significant upgrade both in ilevel and stats so I am rolling with it.  I figure I will not likely be wearing it long enough to warrant spending a glamour prism on it.  Most of the gear upgrades I have been getting have been coming from side quests at this point.  I have had pretty abysmal luck with dungeon drops, which is unfortunate considering that there is at least theoretically a lot of really cool gear that comes from these leveling dungeons.  I figure at this point I am hopefully going to be running these places quite a bit for various guildies as they reach that point in the story.  Right now I am pretty much offering my tanking services to anyone who wants to take me somewhere.  I have yet to resort to actually random queues, not that I have a real objection to them… I would just still rather run with my free company over just about anyone else.

The Other Game

Traditionally my morning blog posts have this three section approach, but this morning I am finding myself struggling to put anything here.  Right now when it comes to Heavensward content I am just overwhelmed by the amount of new things to do and experience, and if I had limitless time I would still feel like I need more of it.  As for the other major item that released yesterday the World of Warcraft 6.2 patch…  I admit I logged in, got the quest in my garrison to go to the Iron Docks…  apparently took the wrong flight point and after running around for a few logged right back out.  I lacked the drive to go back to the flight point and fly somewhere else.  I guess part of me had hoped that I would simply log in, start my shipyard building and be done with it.  Unfortunately it seems you have to go through a series of quests to be able to unlock this feature and right now that might be a bridge too far for me.  Its like right now World of Warcraft is a packaged Oreo cookie…  good on its own right, but I have a piece of homemade pecan pie with whipped cream on top staring at me…  and that Oreo just doesn’t look as tasty compared to it.

With the raid seemingly in a state of flux, and my return to it uncertain…  I am starting to wonder how long it will be before I go ahead and simply cancel my World of Warcraft account once more.  It is a perfectly fine game, but lacks whatever it is that I am looking for in a game.  I always find myself back at this point, where the little things about the game end up annoying me.  Each time I go through this song and dance however it ends up being less passionate.  There was a time when I would write fiery posts about how wrong Blizzard was about this or that, but in the end much like the name reclamation thing…  I am just finding it isn’t worth the effort.  I feel like World of Warcraft is on this course to a destination that I just am not interested in going.  The ride itself is comfortable enough, and there are interesting people to chat with on the train…  but eventually you realize that you don’t actually want to go to the same place they are going.  I will admit this last week not having a raid to go to on Tuesday or Thursday has been like a weight lifting off of my shoulders.  This alone makes me think that more than likely I simply won’t be returning from this sabbatical.

Goodbye Names

Preorder Announcements

Gw2 2012-09-16 16-09-42-21 This is a topic I have mulled over for several days, and am just finally getting around to posting.  I have had a fairly rocky relationship with Guild Wars 2 that started with me bowing out of their alpha program and ended with me finally finding my groove a few months back and getting my first character to 80.  The game is enjoyable but honestly it is not the kind of enjoyable I had hoped it would be.  Which was all the more surprising when I found myself oddly riveted to the presentation at Pax South in January.  I thought maybe it was the energy of the crowd, but whatever it was I found myself actually looking forward to the Heart of Thorns expansion.  I have always liked Dark Knight type characters, and the Revenant looked very much like a character in my wheel house.  So as we moved into E3 I was looking forward to seeing more information about the game, namely about the release date, pricing information, and what the guild hall system would end up being like.  In all cases I pretty much got what I was hoping for, but upon seeing the pricing something struck in my craw.

As I looked through the options available on the website… the Standard, Deluxe and Ultimate versions all included the previous game.  I kept looking for the versions of the game for players who bought the game at launch and had no need for the base game.  Problem is there wasn’t one, and there was not planned on being one.  Ultimately what I was looking for was a $10 or so price break on purchasing the game, to acknowledge the fact that I have owned their game forever now.  The funny thing is… had they not mentioned anything about the core version…  it probably would not have annoyed me at all.  I guess I am not alone in my frustration because yesterday Arena Net announced that they would be giving Veteran Players an extra character slot to make up for the fact that they have owned the game so long.  This is a nice gesture, but for me… who already has two empty slots because I don’t care enough to roll more characters…  it still rings a little hollow.  For the time being I won’t be pre-ordering, and honestly not even sure if I will be playing…  just depends on what else I happen to be doing at the time this game launches.  If nothing else I am sure it will go on sale at some point and I will be able to pick it up then.

Goodbye Names

WoWScrnShot_110512_200150 I guess this morning is going to be a mixed bag of commentary from me, because another thing that mildly frustrated me yesterday was the announcement that World of Warcraft would be releasing all character names that had not logged in since December 7th 2010.  While 2010 is a very long time ago… I also happen to have a bunch of characters.  In fact I have a grand total of four different World of Warcraft accounts, and my primary and active account has managed to hit the maximum number of fifty characters.  I have characters spread out on dozens of servers that I have no clue when the last time I played on them.  So last night when I saw this news I had resigned myself to spending two hours logging every character on and off to make sure I reset the timer.  Apparently the plan going forward is to do this release of character names each time Blizzard releases a World of Warcraft expansion.  Personally I think that simply having an active subscription should be enough of a toll to pay to keep your names from getting the axe… but it seems that is not the case.

So while I was extremely frustrated when I first read that…  my frustration faded as I came to the sad realization that there are very few characters in World of Warcraft that I really care about anymore.  I have only had one foot in that game for the bulk of this expansion, and last night I realized I would far rather spend my hour making progress in Heavensward than logging characters in and out to make sure they did not get squashed.  Today should be a big day for World of Warcraft with the 6.2 patch content being released…  but I am finding myself not excited about it at all.  I have too much new and shiny going on in another game, and while at some point I will log in and get my Naval missions going, for the foreseeable future I am not planning on raiding.  That was really the last thing keeping me connected to that world was my raiding, and when it started to feel stale and forced…  I felt it was time to start quietly fading into the background.  So I guess at this point I am come around full circle, if someone really wants to be one of my old character names…  then awesome go be it, because I won’t be using the name.

In Other News

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-22 22-46-13-35 Last night was a pretty great night… once I was able to get through the login boss mind you.  I have some serious fears as to what tonight is going to hold in that department, unless Square Enix has something up their sleeves to make that problem magically go away today.  For most of the night I was held up in the main storyline trying to get to level 55, so immediately upon logging in I started trying to arrange some dungeons.  However other people in the guild needed stuff, so we arranged a very quick Shiva Hard trial for one of the guildies.  It is amazing how “easy” this fight is, but then again my scale is greatly skewed from having just finished the Shiva Extreme battle last week.  From there we ran another round of Sohm Al, which again dropped some nifty stuff for our alts.  I  think I managed to add one more piece of the cosmetic set to my inventory, which is awesome… because I absolutely want to complete the full set.  Ashgar mentioned earlier in the evening that he needed the first primal encounter, and we also had several others nearing that point… so we hung out for a bit letting them get caught up before taking on the primal and defeating it rather brutally.  That fight with a full guild group is a very different experience than with random players.

From there… we were bad people in that  we decided to  try and plant the seeds of raid addiction in a friend of ours.  Lately Shiana has been leveling in game, and he was our raid leader back during Vanilla WoW and has raided off and on since then.  I am not sure if it was Tam or myself that suggested it last night, but in either case we were both in collusion to get him into raiding.  As a result we started last night on Binding Coil of Bahamut Turn 5, and while we had two new players to the fight… we managed to get through it without much issue.  It was helped massively by the fact that both of the players that we grabbed were seasoned raiders in other games.  From there we moved into Second Coil of Bahamut aka Turn 9 and we struggled a bit.  Firstly with Ashgar gone by this point, I had to take over and learn the main tank role on the fight.  In my experience each time you change roles on a fight, it is like starting back from square one and relearning everything.  Then we had Shiana for whom this was just his second FF raid experience…  but all in all we managed to make what felt like a bit of progress.  At the very least I think I could fill in for Ash if I needed to, once I got over the whole Ravensbeak straight up murdering me bit.  It was a great night of gaming… and tonight I am hoping to get a run of the third dungeon in… that I just unlocked.

Lord of the Hive

Fears for Launch

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-19 06-47-05-93 All in all it was a pretty great head start weekend, but there was one big problem that I fear is only going to get worse as we move forward to the official launch tomorrow.  Right now the initial datacenter login procedure is having some major issues.  What is happening is that several of the highest population servers are all on the Aether data center that I also happen to play on.  When you attempt to connect to that data center, if it cannot find a slot the client times out… throws a nasty error and exits.  This is like the worst possible way to handle this error, and my hope is that we see a patch soon at that at least takes you back to the start screen allowing you to attempt to connect again.  Normally speaking it takes a half dozen tries to get past this screen before getting into the login server queue… at which point you have won and get to play the game.  Last night I opted to switch machines and got stuck behind the login issues for roughly fifteen tries before being able to make it into the game.  If we are running into these problems on a Sunday evening… I feel like life is going to be unbearable come Tuesday for the official launch of the game.

I love Square but sometimes they just make horrible design decisions when it comes to infrastructure.  The way the client works is that you log in on the launcher, and then it launches the game passing in an encrypted token with your authentication information.  As a result if anything goes wrong with the client, it essentially crashes back to desktop and to the launcher forcing you to log in again.  If you have the mobile authenticator this means entering another one time password and beginning the entire process over again.  If you remember the above image from the original launch of the game… and all the infrastructure issues we had to deal with.  They all came from the fact that they launched the game without any form of a queue system.  The positive is that they have fixed that issue and for the most part the game has been stable if you can get past the Data Center gates.  I had some initial lag on the first day, but after that the game has been flawless…  once you get logged into it.  My hope is that with the launch of the game we see a small patch that changes how the client works, in that it no longer drops back to desktop on timeout errors, but instead allows you to attempt a reconnection.

Lord of the Hive

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-20 20-47-42-97 Yesterday was a big day of taking on new content, and potentially there will be some story spoilers here, so apologies ahead of time.  When I wrote my last blog post I mentioned that I had unlocked the first trial and yesterday after dropping my wife off for her next trip I managed to attempt it.  Ravana the Lord of the Hive appears pretty quickly through the story as being the primal associated with the Gnath, an insectoid beast tribe from the Dravinian Forelands.  Instead of waiting around for a full guild group, I queued for it and managed to get a group relatively easily.  In the group was a paladin tank that had apparently done the fight a few times, and helped us through the various pit falls.  It was decided that I would end up tanking, since the Paladin was wearing mostly strength gear and since Ravana hits extremely hard.  This fight like so many other primals has a hard wipe mechanic that if you do not dps down the adds fast enough a saber falls to the ground.  Towards the end of the add phase he sucks the entire group up into a whirlwind and they take damage for each saber that is left on the ground in this fashion…  in my experience more than one… maybe two is a full raid wipe.

Now with the Free Company I have, my point of view on dps is a bit skewed.  Most of us rolled into this expansion in most of a full set of level 130 gear, and most of our dps do silly amounts of damage.  We were flat out failing at the dps check mechanic, so I suggested that I go into my new deliverance stance and help with the adds.  That seemed to make all the difference in the world as I was able to shred the adds pretty quickly in my new pseudo dps stance.  We made it through the encounter, but took long enough to get a limit break three, and another limit break two…  and the group was getting precariously close to a second “saber” phase.  I didn’t realize our dps was that low, and honestly I walked out of the fight thinking it was just “that hard”.  Later in the evening yesterday we walked into the encounter with seven of eight members of the group being from our free company.  We did not manage to get a limit break three at all before he died, and during the add phase he didn’t even get a single saber to hit the ground.  With that sort of dps… the fight was actually really easy, but I still am concerned about what the fight will be like on extreme mode.

Sohm Al

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-21 16-50-14-53 The second bit of content that I got to experience new yesterday was the dungeon of Sohm Al.  You reach it very shortly after finishing the first trial encounter, and it happens to act as a gate keeper for your final Aether Current that you get upon completing the quest.  Thankfully as soon as I got there in the content I had healers and dps ready to go with me, so I was able to get a full guild group for my first experience in there.  I have to say I am really liking the dungeon design so far, in that they are extremely fun experiences to go through.  They remind me very much of the last set of dungeons that they released as far as difficulty level.  Additionally so far they seem to be dropping some interesting looking gear, that I hope to collect a full set of.  The tanky set that comes from Sohm Al looks like the armor that the Lucia wears, so it might be my next appearance set that I wear for a bit.  The new crafted gear that you get from quests however appears to be influenced from the Varlet set that comes from the previous 2.55 expert dungeons.  I’ve expanded the number of retainers that I have once more, and now I am feeling less constrained about the awesome things that I am collecting.

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-21 17-13-47-77 When the game released originally I did what I always do in MMOs and tried to complete every single quest objective that it places in front of me.  The problem being that in Final Fantasy XIV there are a fixed number of quests available for ALL of your jobs.  This meant that after my very first job… I was forced to grind them up using FATEs and dungeons with zero quest support.  This time around they seem to be flooding us with quests, but I am tackling them in a very methodical method.  Essentially I am following the main storyline until I reach a level gate, meaning that I have to have progressed another level to get the next step.  At this point I go back and start working my way through the side quests looking for any that unlock Aether Currents, and after I have completed those, I start doing a bare minimum needed to get to the next level threshold.  The goal is that I save plenty of side quests for when I start working on my dragoon, and hopefully that eases that process at least a little bit.  Last night I hit another level gate in the story content, but thankfully I have maybe an eighth of a level to go before hitting 55 and progressing again.  I am not sure if we are going to raid tonight or not, but in any case my hope is to push through to the next level and continue the story, because it is getting really damned good.

Making Story Matter

The First Trial

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-20 20-47-09-89 Today begins the third day so far with Heavensward and I am feeling so completely behind.  This is of course something I am doing to myself, as I am still significantly ahead of several of the other free company members, but I have this sense of falling behind.  I guess it part it comes from the fact that expansions are by nature a reset.  On Wednesday night I was that guy that had two max level and well geared tanks, a max level and well geared healer, and both a ranged and a melee dps also max level and well geared.  I could literally fill any role I needed to fill in a party, and this gave me a great sense of confidence knowing that I could also we be useful in some way.  Now as of Friday all of that is gone… and I am back to clawing my way uphill to try and arrive at that position of comfort again. I am focusing on my Warrior and as a result I can ONLY  tank an instance.  So that means I either fill that role or I have to watch from the sidelines as people have fun without me.

That is the stress of an expansion, the immediate feeling of inadequacy that only goes away with copious amounts of time spent pouring levels into all of your characters.  It is a real struggle to keep myself from powering through everything so that I can reach that point of safety faster.  Like in the back of my head I have this order in which I intend to level things to get back there, but if I am not careful the whole thing can be overwhelming.  Everything is new and shiny and I am sure I will have plenty of time to level and still experience all of the content as it was intended.  Right now I am held up on the first trial encounter, so I am hoping that as soon as I finish writing up my blog post I can pop in and try and defeat that so I can move forward in the story.  The thing I find interesting is that they have apparently skipped “normal” mode entirely because this first trial is flagged as “hard”.  I guess it makes sense as it happens post 50, but in the grand scheme of things I feel like maybe “leveling” content cannot really be deemed “hard” modes.

Making Story Matter

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-20 19-28-17-63 The story is getting extremely good, and that is the thing that I am the most impressed with.  Usually when an MMO expansion happens, there is a resetting of things to square one and the world essentially forgets what its last state happened to be.  I’ve always found this frustrating because I want the world to remember where it has been before.  I want things to change and that the NPCs that I spent time working with, will remember who I am when I meet them again.  One of the single most immersion breaking moments for me is when I encountered Alexstraza in Twilight Highlands and she had no memory of working with me at Wyrmrest Temple in the Dragonblight of Northrend.  Sure years have passed by I was set up as a big damned hero through the events, and I am still the same big damned hero today.  She should have embraced me as a friend based on those past events, not as another nameless and faceless NPC.

More than anything Final Fantasy XIV seems to do an excellent job of working with your character being the badass that it supposedly is.  The reactions that you get are extremely human.  Some people fear you for your power, and others seek to test their mettle against it.  But regardless of their reaction…  there is no NPC that at this point does not realize you are the “Warrior of Light”.  The storyline of Heavensward takes place literally moments after the final events of 2.55, and while sure it would be frustrating to a new player to be told that they cannot enter the new content without catching up in the storyline…  this is because the storyline would seem unintelligible if you did not experience the events of “A Realm Reborn”.  This is really a new experience for me when it comes to MMOs and I have to say I am absolutely in love with it.  Square Enix has figured out how to make MMO storyline and lore matter… and I am so damned thankful they did.  I just hope that other games see how well it works in Heavensward and start adopting it in their own games.

AggroChat #62 – Flight and Chocobos

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-19 23-50-32-16 I originally thought that when we set down to record this episode of AggroChat we would end up putting aside all pretense and simply talk about the Heavensward expansion for Final Fantasy XIV.  However what happened in reality is we ended up recording an extremely length show where we basically did that… AND a normal show as well.  While many or our weeks revolved around the launch of this new expansion…  we had to do something to bide our time until the Friday launch.  Grace has apparently been completely hooked on Marvel Super Heroes so we talked about that for awhile.  The other game she has been playing is Wildstar, so we spent a good deal of time chatting about how that game has been progressing.

In Final Fantasy XIV before the outage we managed to take down Shiva and Odin once again so we talked a bit about that.  Then myself, Tam and Kodra have been playing an awful lot of ArcheAge so we talk again about that and our progress so far.  Then finally when we start talking about Heavensward we get sidetracked on a lengthy debate about the merits of flight in MMOs and whether or not it is simply GM cheats.  Each of us brought our own perspectives to the conversation and quite honestly this could have been a show topic in itself.  Finally we talk about our experience so far with the Heavensward expansion to close out the show.  It is an extremely packed show, and clocks in just shy of two hours.