This morning I am feeling relatively miserable. In truth I have felt extremely lousy since mid way through last week. The hacking and coughing and clearing of my throat just wears me out, and as a result of all of it my lungs are extremely pissed off at me. That said since the weather outside is brutal with lows in the teens each morning… I am perfectly content to stay bundled up inside. Yesterday it was my hope that I would be playing Dragon Age Inquisition, but even with a driver update there are still some issues. The issue I am having is that the game will quite literally be running at a locked 60 frames per second… then all the sudden it will freeze for a moment causing everything to stutter including the audio… then resume back at 60 frames per second as though nothing happened. The game is still playable, but extremely annoying since this seems to happy about once a minute.
The most frustrating thing is that it doesn’t seem to be settings related. I have dialed down the game to extremely low settings and the hitching still occurs. This means that essentially I am not able to join in any reindeer games for the time being. My hope is that an early patch will either come out for the game, or another updated Nvidia driver that resolves the issue. If it is not fixed by this weekend however I am likely to just such it up and deal with the pauses. The game itself, what little I have seen of it… seems really cool. Overall it feels far more like Dragon Age 2 than it does Dragon Age: Origins… which itself is a mixed bag. I wish my character had been silent, because it doesn’t really feel like my character at all… when there is a voice talking instead of me. That is just one of my personal quirks however, but I figure most people prefer to have a voice acted character. Ultimately when I play games like this it is all about the big damned hero fantasy, and saving the kingdom… not the narrative of the actual characters.
First off I have to say that I love this screenshot. It does not give away any details about the quest chains in Talador other than the fact that Blackhand is involved. However if you have completed the quest chains in the zone you know exactly what this screenshot is from. In any case I am happy that I managed to catch it at just the right moment. Yesterday I was contemplating just completely skipping the quests in Talador to move forward into Spires of Arak. My friend Rylacus begged me not to do this, because there was a moment in the game that I just had to see. Thankfully I followed his advice and man… that zone was freaking amazing. Granted there was a lot of faffing about in that zone unrelated to anything… but the four chapters were all excellent. Terran Gregory and team have don an amazing job with the cinematics in this expansion… and I am constantly floored at how nice everything looks. When one of these scenes cuts in… it manages to make me forget this is a decade old game.
Now I have another dilemma to decide. Once again I am at the breakpoint of a new zone, as last night I managed to ding 98. I have all of the precursors leading into Nagrand, or I could go start the Spires of Arak. In either case it will ding me, but Nagrand will actually give me gear that I need to get into normals and heroics. That said… so far each of the zones has provided important bits of the puzzle letting me understand more of the expansion as a whole. The Spires however are the zone that everyone seems to think drags a bit… and just in the look of it, it reminds me so much of Blades Edge mountains… which had massive pacing problems thanks to the horrible terrain. Part of me wants to jump straight to Nagrand, since it was my favorite zone in Burning Crusade. However the other part of me realizes that if I don’t do Spires of Arak while it is relevant… I will never likely go back and do it because the terrain looks frustrating. At this point I am just not sure which direction I am going to go… but in any case I am only two levels away from 100.
An Excellent Moment
I’ve talked at length about just how phenomenal the Final Fantasy XIV community is, but when I have concrete examples I still feel like I need to share them. Monday before our 8 man raids, I was attempting to cap out my poetics earned for the week, and as such decided to run a completely random expert roulette. Now I queued as DPS, and was shocked at just how fast the queue actually managed to go. We got into the instances and everyone said hello as is the FFXIV custom, and then some actual chatter started up. Things seemed to be going smoothly but within a few minutes the healer asked us if we were experiencing any lag. I was not but as the run progressed I started to see small bits of it with my actions. However I have totally seen times where even among our little circle of friends… one of us was experiencing some crushing lag.. and everyone else was just fine. During a pull the healer disconnected and the ninja and I managed to hold out just long enough after the tank died to finish off the pack.
Now were this any other online game, when the healer got back… they would have been chewed out by the players and called horrible for having a “bad” internet connection. I’ve seen that play out many times in the past in several different games. However in Final Fantasy XIV the healer came back, apologized and the general consensus of comments from the group was “stuff happens” and “thanks for trying”. As the run progressed the were several moments where the healer lagged out of disconnected, often times causing the tank to die. In every single time the tank took it with grace and thanks the healer for fighting through the issues so we could keep going. Upon completing the run everyone thanked the healer for valiantly “sticking it out” and I am certain that I was not the only person to give her my commendations. She sounded thoroughly frustrated by the events, but every player in the instance was supportive of her situation. What other game have you ever seen where that happens?
This morning I am thankful for an awesome boss. As I write this… I am feeling absolutely horrible, and have sent my boss an email saying that I would not be in today. That I would be taking the day and resting. I’ve had bosses in the past that would have had a problem with this, bosses that the only thing that mattered was that I was sitting at my desk during the hours of 8 to 5. I am very fortunate to have a boss that is more family than administration. Prior to this current environment it had been a very long time since I had anything resembling a work family. Maybe it was the fact that my first environment straight out of college was so close knit, but it essentially spoiled me for other places I worked. While I still feel close to a lot of the people I have worked with over the years… in part it was either through shared interests or shared struggle in horrible situations. This team that I am part of now… I feel like I belong to something bigger than myself and it is entirely thanks to the support of our boss.
Previously we were a group of self starters, and functioned well as independent islands more or less left along by every boss we had been under. Our current boss was a member of that team, and saw the disconnectedness of the group as a whole as something of a challenge. Over the last several years he has worked to bring us all closer together, and as such make us mesh more tightly. I know that I can go to any one of my team members with a problem and they will do everything in their power to fix it, and they know the same is true for me. Its the stupid little things like bringing a cake to our staff meeting on the months we have a birthday, or going out to see a movie together as an after hours team building activity. All of which by themselves are silly or minor… but adding up to be an awesome environment to work in. So I am thankful I have such a great environment to call my work home.