Regularly Playing: July/August Edition

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I just realized the other day that it had been a long while since I had done one of my regularly playing posts.  The general idea is to true up my sidebar list of games and bring it into alignment with the games that I am actually playing on a fairly regular basis.  Some of these might not be every day occurrences but they represent the regular rotation of games you are likely to see me talking about.  At some point however I fell off the wagon and went the entire month of July without any form of an update.  As a result I am doing this to cover both July and August and get me up to date.

To Those Remaining

World of Warcraft

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I am legitimately playing World of Warcraft more actively than I have in years.  More than likely this is the most seriously I have played since before the launch of Cataclysm.  I am really enjoying the game, and the changes to the various specs… and even enjoying the Legion launch event more.  Over the last few days I have been using this event as a bit of a springboard to help level up some of my sub 100 characters because every two events you participate in seems to be roughly a levels worth of experience, even in the 90s.  So I took my Shadowpriest last night for example from 92 to 94 in two full rounds of the event.  As far as the rest of the game there is still a ton of stuff I want to do, that mostly centers around running older content and collecting appearances.  To say I am looking forward to the Legion Launch is a bit of an understatement.

Final Fantasy XIV

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Final Fantasy XIV on the other hand has fallen a little bit by the wayside.  It is that game that I am logging into only to raid… which ironically is traditionally my stance with World of Warcraft.  I am loving the Monday night raid team, and we are now starting to do more serious content.  I still have little to no drive however to level or gear, at least until the content we are doing requires it.  That might be a thing that happens soon because we have pretty much defeated all of the “easy” end game content and are now starting down the path of the more difficult stuff.  However it feels amazing to have “the band back together” and doing raids together  as a team.

Rift

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At the very least right now I am logging in every day to participate in the Starfall Prophecy launch event, which is namely collecting prophecies that I can then later turn in for rewards.  The pre-order bonus means that we will get access to some awesome stuff like the artifact finding mount, and I want to make sure I don’t miss out on any of that.  Otherwise I need to really hunt for a group of players that are more active.  I don’t want to disband the House Stalwart guild or anything, but I might consider moving Belghast off to another guild, because I would like to see Comet of Ahnket before the expansion lands since the lore seems like it will give me a headstart into understanding what is going on.  Additionally I want to spend a sleepy afternoon at some point doing more Intrepid Adventures.  Those things are just absolutely fun as hell and it is a style of “LFR” that I wish more games would look into implementing.

To The Returning and New

Diablo 3

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As stated when I originally removed it from the list, I knew that it would be a limited time thing.  With the beginning of this month came the launch of Season 7 of Diablo 3, and a return of several of us to actively playing again.  This time around we do not have nearly the throng of players that we did with season six, but myself, Grace and Thalen are all fairly active.  This time feels a little cheap though because we all seemed to opted for the fastest possible clearing class…  or at least our view on that.  The Demon Hunter is a powerhouse and one that you can get up and running insanely quickly.  By the time we dinged 70 we were already pushing content hard and fast, and after roughly a weeks time I am now clearing greater rifts in the 50s like they are a cakewalk.  The only question now is just how serious I am going to be on trying to get that extra stash slot.  Right now there is so much going on, that I am afraid Diablo 3 is going to fall by the wayside.

Pokemon Go

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Pokemon Go is something that did not even exist on my radar when I did the last “Recently Playing” and has been something that has dominated my life since.  I have gone through the stages of grief with this game, and have reached a point where I continue to play it without really understanding why.  I wrote the other day about some of my frustrations, and they are very real.  However still… anytime I leave the house I check for nearby Pokemon each time I stop and get out of the car.  As the heat starts to chill the hell out… and we no longer have 100 degree days I will probably start resuming my evening pokestrolls.  However when it is 100 degrees at 9pm at night… it is just too damned hot to go out roaming too far.  I hope this game gets some much needed changes, because the ones thusfar feel like they are taking it in the wrong direction.  Niantic Labs still does not seem to understand that they made a MMO.

No Man’s Sky

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This one is seriously brand new… but I have a feeling that over the coming weeks it is going to be a new obsession for me.  I called it Interstellar Skyrim, and it invokes the same sort of feelings in me.  The problem being… all of this is pending you can actually get it running on your machine.  There are lots of problems ahead of this title before it reaches serious mass adoption, and I hope that in the coming weeks they can push through them.  To say it has performance issues is the understatement of the century right now, and I am questioning my original plan to get this on the PC.  That said I am committed at this point and still very much enjoying the experience.

To Those Parting

Destiny

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I have so much love for Destiny, but for whatever reason I have drifted away from it in the last few weeks.  In both the month of July and August I have not really played much, so I am temporarily removing it from the list.  I know without a doubt in Mid-September when Rise of Iron hits, that I will be back and actively playing it again.  In the meantime however I feel like I have gotten it out of my system for the moment.  However if my friend Grace suddenly decides to start playing again, I will likely be right back there with guns a blazing.  I think a huge part of it is that I really have not been spending all that much time up in my office where my Playstation 4 is, and instead hanging out on the sofa playing on my laptop.  Much like when I remove Diablo 3 from the list… this is absolutely going to change in the coming months and I am sure I will have yet another resurgence.

ArcheAge

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I feel like ArcheAge is a casualty of simply too much other stuff going on right now.  At the beginning of July I had a bit of a renaissance with this game and managed to push through to fourty six… and then the content seemed to dry up a bit.  The quests are still there, but they seem to be generally less plentiful, and the progress I was making felt a bit bogged down.  As a result this sort of just fell by the wayside, and I am sure at some point I will reignite my fires for this game because at the end of the day I still very much like it.  The biggest thing that came from this last journey is that I realized that PVP isn’t as big of a hurdle as I was expecting.  I have technically spent the last dozen or so levels in pvp enabled areas… and really did not run into a single issue.  Flagged players avoided me, and I avoided them and we continued questing along happily.  At some point I am sure I will return, but for the time being I am removing it from my list of “active” games.

Starfall Prophecy

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Expansion Teaser

For a little bit now there have been rumors about the impending announcement of Rift 4.0, namely due to some data-mined zone names floating around.  Nightmare Tide and I had a bit of a rocky start and it was only recently that I managed to level through the content and hit the level cap.  Originally I thought that this expansion might be based on the Plane of Fire, given a few of the leaked zone names.  However it seems like this expansion ties directly into the last raid of Nightmare Tides the Comet of Ahnket.  Based on the teaser information on the Starfall Prophecy promotion page, it seems as though the Comet Ahnket has been picking up bits and pieces of the planes as it hurdles towards Telara, and as a result this inhabitable world has been created that we now need to go to in order to find a way to stop it.  This combined with some of the artwork shown on the site makes it seem like this expansion will be an amalgam of elements, or at least Life and Fire.

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I have to say some of the new assets that are seen on the site are really damned cool.  Prime example is that I have zero clue what sort of machine this thing is, other than it seems to be themed with a similar face to the Comet of Ahnket content.  It looks amazing and I will be more than happy to fight it, and I am hoping that this is some sort of zone event boss.  Mostly it seems like this expansion is going to be a huge world with lots and places to explore.  I think one of my big issues with Nightmare Tide is that in the grand scheme of things… the color palette was extremely difficult to get used to.  It isn’t nature to see a landscape of violent purples and oranges everywhere, and trying to read that as something to roam around in.  While places like Goboro Reef eventually grew on me with time, it was a long adjustment period.  This on the other hand seems more familiar, like the same sort of zone treatment we saw in Storm Legion, but this time instead for a much more fire influenced setting rather than death.  Between now and launch however I either need to actually find a group to do Comet of Ahnket raid, or watch a play-through so I can soak up some of the information about what is happening there.  One of the things I love about Rift raids is that they are so full of story, that plays out around you as you move through it.  Unfortunately there is not a “Chronicle of Ahnket” or Intrepid Adventure for it… so that means I will actually have to try and find a pick up group to see the story-line.

New Features

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On the promotion website it lists a whole slew of stuff under the title of “Claim the Power of Ahnket”, and some of them are pretty interesting sounding.

  • Increased Level Cap: 70
  • Legendary Powers
  • New Zones
  • New Dungeons
  • New Raid
  • Planar Assault Adventures
  • Fortress Sieges
  • Looking For Raid
  • Individual Reward System
  • Active Upgrades
  • Eternal Item Rarity
  • Planar Fragments

 

These all sound interesting, but we don’t really have a ton of information to go on yet.  It is my hope that between now and the expansion release, they start showing off various features of the expansion during the Friday streams.  Unfortunately I have other plans today, and the time shift means that it is happening while I will be in the middle of a family dinner.  However I am fully expecting this weeks stream to be epic, showcasing a lot of new features but in limited detail.  Of the above list the two that stand out the most are “Looking For Raid” and “Individual Reward System”.  Now these have caused drama in games that implemented them, but I have to say after having lived with them for awhile…  I’ve become a fan.  There was a time when I was strictly against the whole content of LFR, and probably said some things against it.  That was also a version of me that had a dedicated raid team, and access to the best gear said raiding could provide.  The current version of me however just wants to experience the content and play all of these various games that I want to play.  For example in Rift I don’t really have a large group of friends who happen to be playing the game, or at the very least not in the density that I have elsewhere.  As a result it is extremely hard for me to figure out how to get anything started, and I would absolutely lean on LFR like a crutch the same way I do currently on the Intrepid Adventure system.  Because of this.. the Individual Reward system only makes sense, that way you are not trying to roll against other players but are instead getting your own personalized loot.

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The other things on that list that really interest me are Planar Assault Adventures and Fortress Sieges.  The Planar Assault Adventures sounds like absolutely something that would be down my alley, and I am hoping these are somewhat like chronicles in that they can be completed solo or with a group either one.  I mean I know nothing about it other than the name, but they give me ideas about leading a strike team of NPCs into various planar tears to complete objectives and get back out.  Hopefully the reality is even half as cool as my imagined version  sounds.  Fortress Sieges on the other hand seem like they might be able to go one of two ways.  If they are a PVE siege of a fortified position held by Planar forces, essentially a Planar Stronghold taken to the next level… then they sound completely amazing.  The other direction I could see something named like that going is some sort of open world pvp objective, and that is the point where they would lose me.  I have enjoyed world objective pvp in the past, but generally speaking when a game does this… it almost always degrades into deathmatching and ganking rather than focusing on objectives.  Essentially right now I know next to nothing other than a bunch of names, but regardless I am extremely excited about the prospects of what this expansion might bring.  As you can see from the above image.. I have already proudly put in my pre-order and am now riding around on my very awesome drake mount.

Kittens and Gaming

TinyBabyKitteh

Tiny Babby

TinyBabyKitteh

It was a good weekend, if not a very rainy one as a whole.  This made for an extremely humid evening last night for fireworks and festivities.  Our plans largely backfired because in the past we have been able to see the fireworks from the comfort of our back yard.  This time around however they apparently switched locations, and the bulk of the fireworks were hidden behind a stand of trees.  All of that aside however the highlight of my weekend was the little guy that I am feeding above.  Now to clear up some confusion… we did not adopt him but did however drive like an hour and some change to go up and see him.  My Mother-In-Law found this little guy abandoned, but I am a bit fuzzy on the details.  All I know is zero sign of mother and probably about a week old when she found him.  She has been nursing him with a bottle as pictured, and at this point we think he is somewhere between two and three weeks old.  Completely sweetheart who seemed to really like my beard.  He would curl up under it and start kneading the underside of my chin.  My wife took lots of pictures of me feeding him…  as to why it ended up with me feeding him that is anyones guess.  He seemed to take the bottle better from me, and growing up we had barn kitties… who sometimes were not that keen on being a proper momma.  So I remember occasionally having to nurse a litter by hand so I guess that muscle memory just kicked in.  We have no plans to adopt this little guy because he seems to be in just fine hands already.  Though I will admit… it was hard not to try and take him home with us.

Forty Five

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I spent a good deal of my weekend playing ArcheAge and as of last night I am level forty five.  This means that for the last two zones I have been leveling exclusively in the mixed faction regions that are more or less open PVP.  This was a huge point of anxiety around launch that ultimately I could not hit the level cap without venturing out into zones where folks could gank me.  As it turns out…  everyone seems to have something better to do with their time.  I’ve spent many an hour out in the mixed zones and while I have seen a ton of “red” players not a single one has bothered me.  Granted that might be simply because I am higher level than they were, or it might also be that they are focused on more important things.  So essentially I have leveled the same as I did before, and enjoyed questing…  with just the slightest awareness in the back of my head that I am not entirely safe.  Largely I just shifted to a point of view where if I am going to go afk… I go find a Nui shrine to do so near because of the peace aura surrounding them.  As far as leveling goes… I am slightly ahead of the curve more than likely thanks to the Patron buffs.  I am largely ignoring crafting and spending a meager pittance of labor points on opening lootbags and gear, which has kept me outfitted and is a shocking amount of experience.  I tend to let the bags collect while I am working on a quest hub, and then before moving to the next open them all and stash the crafting materials in the warehouse before moving on.  I had honestly wondered if I would hit a wall when I moved into the open pvp zones, but so far the game is just as fun as it was beforehand and I am moving along smoothly.

Taming Familiars

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Another game that I have been poking around in is Riders of Icarus after talking about it over the week with the AggroChat crew.  The character on the right is my Beserker, and the character on the left is Tamrielo’s rogue of some sort.  It is shocking how when left to our own devices… we end up creating pretty similar looking characters.  In both cases we even purposefully decided to go with a hairstyle that is unlike what we normally choose…  yet we still seemed to have chosen the exact same alternate appearance.  The game as a whole is doing some interesting things, with the central feature that makes it special being that you can go around taming mounts and combat pets.  Unfortunately unlike ArcheAge you cannot have both a mount and a combat pet at the same time… or at least I couldn’t figure out how to make that work.  There are certain aspects of the game that remind me of a whole slew of other games, but more than anything they seem to be focused on the player fantasy of mounted combat…  namely mounted aerial combat with a crossbow or lance.  This so far is the least enjoyable part of the game for me, because well… so far I suck horribly fighting in the air because it feels like I lose all situational awareness and often back into another mob while dancing around the one I am currently fighting.

Launcher 2016-07-04 23-39-04-29  Last night I managed to get to some sort of a proper dungeon and was pleased to see that you could complete it in a solo fashion, or with a full group.  The feel of the zone is extremely similar to Ragefire Chasm in World of Warcraft, but nonetheless fun and interesting.  I am wondering if on higher difficulties you have more than the single boss at the end of the cavern which is the golem pictured above.  I’ve played this game quite a bit and I am still not sure if I like it or not.  I think I might need to play the Guardian tank class a bit to see if that is maybe more my speed, because generally speaking I enjoy playing dps… but my heart is never really in it.  The game can be set up to run in a traditional action bar combat method or through left/right mouse button action combat style.  What I find personally works best is a bit of a hybrid between the two… namely setting the game into Action Mode but also using hotbar combat.  The biggest challenge for me right now is the fact that all of my attacks are fairly slow… and animation locked so dodging and avoiding attacks becomes a challenge.  I am enjoying the game enough to keep playing, but just not sure if it is different enough from the other games I am playing to keep my attention for the long haul.  If you are out there playing Riders of Icarus feel free to throw Belghast a friend invite.

Crafting Away

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As for Rift I am stuck in a bit of a holding pattern for the moment.  Each night I focus largely on completing all of the daily crafting quests for the various purple, blue and green currencies.  However I guess I have reached a point where I should probably venture into the world for real.  Over the weekend I managed to cap both the purple and blue currencies, and even though I spent them down a bit… that tells me that maybe I have focused too intently on this one aspect of the game.  I’ve been making almost nightly trips out into Goboro Reef…  that I found out from Captain Cursor I have been calling by the wrong name all of this time.  The zone was one that I did not really like a first, but for Karthite and Sarleaf farming I find it extremely relaxing.  At some point I need to just break the pattern and focus on pushing my way further into the Planetouched Wilds.  Either that or start up with the running of experts again, because I am still far from ideally geared.  However I am not sure if Experts or Intrepid Adventures are the better option at the moment.  I am really looking forward to the change to the Warlord soul that is up on the PTS, because I have always enjoyed playing it… at least significantly more so than the Paragon soul that I am currently using.  I always liked the rhythm of landing Piercing Thrust after a combo point dump attack.  It feels good to see a single attack deal that sort of damage, and supposedly the PTS changes restore the soul to general viability, which I am absolutely looking forward to.

 

Regularly Playing: June Edition

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Back in May I decided to make a monthly ritual of “truing up” my “Regularly Playing” widget on the sidebar to more closely represent the games I quite literally was playing on regular rotation.  Given that it is that time again… here is the list of things for June.  I added a few new games into the mix and also removed a few more… even if one is really only temporary.  Doing the thing where I write a blurb about what I happened to be doing in each of them.

Rift

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In a weird bit of nostalgia, I decided to come back to Rift and give it another push.  There has never really been a period of time when I have not actually at least dabbled in this game, but so many times I failed to gain traction.  This time around I somehow managed to push from 61 to 65 and have started on  this mad mission to raise all of my tradeskills.  Now having almost accomplished that I will be pushing into the Planetouched Wilds and giving it a real amount of effort.  On top of this I am focused heavily on my crafting dailies, which often times means I need to venture out into the world in search of Sarleaf and Thalasite.  With the shift of WoW to the Garrison for most of your farming needs… I had forgotten just how much I really did love going off and ore farming.  There is just something relaxing about wandering around a zone with a purpose, looking for the next ore pop and trying to get to it before anyone else notices.  It is this weird game within a game that actually seems to work well for me.  I spent many an hour flying circles around Icecrown or Sholazar Basin in Wrath… and now am loving doing the same thing for Gelboro Reef.  Largely I am focused on that zone since, firstly I know it pretty well… and secondly the mobs are low enough level that I can go afk as needed and make it back to the keyboard before something actually kills me.  I am certain that I could be farming ore while wandering around the Planetouched Wilds, but the mobs out there are truly brutal.  Whatever the reason… I am deeply invested in Rift and its community once more and loving it.

Destiny: The Taken King

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While I have slowed down considerably in this game, there are still regularly sessions of it… namely because I have been trying to get fellow AggroChat member and good friend  of mine Grace settled in game.  Monday night we managed to get her to level 40, and pushed through the Taken King quest content… which means that there is an entirely new world waiting for her of endgame stuff.  With Iron Banner going on this weekend, I highly expect that the two of us will be working on that or at least attempting to show her the ropes of the event.  We also have several more steps in the recruit a friend process, but as we get her gear level up there it should get easier to do cooler stuff.  Other than that other games have taken priority over the last few weeks, namely with my return to active duty in FFXIV and running stuff in Rift.  Hopefully the Iron Banner will be a good event to get me back into focus and moving forward in Destiny once more.  I feel pretty disconnected, and I miss the Thursday night Challenge of Elders stuff horribly, I just had a few crazy weeks with the St Louis trip, and Kansas City trip… and a bunch of other random occurrences that knocked me out of my schedule.  Hopefully I can start to rebuild said schedule and get moving forward once more.

ArcheAge

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In a similar fashion to Rift, I have suddenly become involved and attached to the ArcheAge community as well.  Right now I am largely focused on leveling, but at some point I plan on doing all the tradeskilly things in this game as well.  Last year the AggroChat crew made a serious push into this game, and while we faded into the background… I still found it extremely enjoyable.  Additionally like I said yesterday, many of the early toxic aspects of the community as a whole seem to be gone.  Right now I am trying to get back in tune with the game and try and remember how the hell to do half of the things.  On the positive as I grind away at questing I seem to keep getting really nice drops for weapons and armor…  however I remember that most of the best stuff I had was crafted.  I just happened to time my return to coincide with some welcome back campaign, and I keep accruing rewards into my inventory that at some point I will figure out how to use.  Mostly I would like to hit the level cap before worrying too much with them, but I believe some of them are xp bonuses that I might as well use now.  If you are actively playing I am Belglaive on the Tahyang server, but I am not sure what all it requires to actually friend someone in game.  I am not sure if cross server friends lists are a thing there like they are in Rift.

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

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I spent most of the month deeply frustrated with this game, namely because I was sitting at what felt like an artificial gear cap and being prevented from progressing in the story.  Since then however I managed to get a Void Ark run with some friends and got over whatever anxiety I happened to have about tanking it.  As a result I am now sitting at 205 gear score, and bumping up against the Nidhogg trial in the story.  It is my hope that at some point this week I can get a few friends together and run this and hopefully complete the 3.3 patch story.  I am still enjoying the game, but I lack the drive to play it… that I have in say Rift or ArcheAge right now.  For at least the foreseeable future my activity in game is probably going to be limited to our Tuesday night activities, or the occasional expert or other event that I organize with friends.  I love playing this game… but right now I only seem to love playing it with a group of friends logged in at the same time.  It is still an amazing game, but it has shifted into the sort of role that World of Warcraft has been in the past… that game that I only played when there was an organized activity.

World of Warcraft

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This one admittedly is barely making the list, and keeping its space on my sidebar.  Right now I am occasionally logging in to run Garrisons and get my free gold, but not doing much more other than that.  There has been talk of myself, grace and a few others doing random old world content for transmoggy bits and honestly…  that right now is about all I am interesting in World of Warcraft as a whole.  I feel like I am in a “desperately waiting for the Legion pre-patch” mode.  Largely because I am tired of not having any bank space, and removing any of my outfits is simply not an option.  I am not joking when I say that right now the only important thing to me in this game… is looking cool with my collection of old raid gear littering my bank vault.  If the new transmog system were actually patched in… I would more than likely go through a flurry of activity as I once again do awesome old world content for cool threads.  However I quite literally have hit a point where I maybe have 15 bag slots total between inventory, bank and void storage…. so I simply cannot play Belghast anymore without risking removing something.  So instead… I run the occasional garrison mission as I alternate through my army of alts… and then log out once again.

Things Removed From List

Overwatch

Zero clue why on this one… but the game released and I just have had no desire to really play it.  I am amped about just how excited everyone else seems to be about this game, but honestly it feels like I am more interested in talking about the world and the characters… than actually playing it.  If the player versus bots game were more compelling I would likely play it more often, but right now it feels like to enjoy it I need a group of friend to play it.  Ironically I have a huge group of friends playing it… but I think I am going through a “quiet time” phase where I just want to piddle around on my own in games rather than do a lot of organized play.  The few nights I rode along with people… I lasted 3 to 4 games before feeling the need to run and hide again.  I am certain at some point I will once again get the Overwatch bug, but the truth is I am just not that into competitive games.

Diablo 3

Removing this one again temporarily because well…. the season is over.  I have accomplished everything I could ever hope to accomplish, and now is the quiet time until the next patch.  This will be returning once again as another season starts and we all go through the crazy happy madness that is a season launch.  For a bit I was still farming for pets and such, but with the addition of several games this got removed from the docket.  I still very much love this game and look forward to adding it back to the list, but for the moment we are in the off season and the game for me at least is dormant.

 

Revisiting Old Ideas

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ArcheAge Resurgence

ArcheAge 2016-06-27 06-11-47-14

I have been on quite the Trion Worlds games kick lately after coming back to Rift, and that has how officially spilled over into ArcheAge as well.  ArcheAge and I have a bit of a torrid past, or at least it was not a game that I really latched onto from the moment I first played it.  In fact in those early Alpha and eventual Beta days… the game had a less than stellar community.  That however has changed with time and a significant amount of effort by Trion staff, and the community that exists today is pretty great.  I blame Kiwi entirely for me starting to poke my head back into the game, and right now I am largely focused on leveling.  Right now I am playing a Firran Bloodreaver on Tahyang server, however as soon as the 3.0 patch lands I will largely be restarting as a Dwarf which will place me on the Nuia faction instead of Haranya.  Because of the lag between the South Korean and American versions of this game, we have known that Dwarves and Warborn would be something that would more than likely eventually cross between versions…  so I have been patiently waiting.  Of the starter races the Firrans were by far my favorite…  but if you put Dwarves in the game there is zero contest.  So I will have to bid a farewell to the crazy oriental steampunk land that I have grown up in on my cat, and get used to a more european fantasy setting once again.  Not necessarily a bad thing, just different.

I believe the level cap is somewhere in the 50s, so I still have a good ways to go since I am sitting at only 36 and that leveling in general does not go terribly quickly in this game.  It seems like my return was well timed, given that they gave me some sort of a welcome back package.  It included a quest that opens every 24 hours for various rewards, and a bunch of tokens that can be spent on Mirage Island, but I have not ventured back out there to see what all I can purchase with them.  At this point I am sorta waiting until I hit the level cap before being too tempted by the shiny baubles.  The game has so many little systems and currencies and things that can be done… but I feel like I would need to do a bunch of research to even begin to start taking advantage of half of it.  That is why in the meantime I am largely focusing on the leveling game, because combat is something that I understand… and honestly enjoy quite a lot after settling on the Bloodreaver class that is a mixture of Battlerage, Occultism and Auramancy.  One of the big concerns I can remember having about this game is the fairly open PVP system, but for the last several zones I have been in “High Tension” zones and really have remained largely uninterrupted in my pursuit of leveling.  The ArcheAge community staff deserves some pretty major Kudos for turning the course around in this game, and fostering what appears to be a real sense of community in its players.  Looking forward to delving further into it the longer I stick around.

Working on Something

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Last night was largely devoted to helping a friend of mine get to level 40 in Destiny and through the Taken King storyline missions.  However after I logged out of that game I poked my head back into Rift.  I worry that maybe folks reading this blog are getting tired of me talking about the game, but then again I am certain they also felt that way about Destiny, The Division and Diablo 3…  or any of the other games I have latched onto and obsessed over.  The weird thing about Rift is how much it has felt like “coming home”.  What you have to understand is that there has never been a period of time where I did not log into Rift, but for a good chunk of it I was honestly confused by the options.  What I mean by that is there are just so many different things that you can do in this game, and I felt like I was missing any real sense of bearing.  I would log into the game… see my insanely full bags, see the fact that I was nowhere near the level cap and struggle to sort out exactly what I wanted to do with myself.  Then like a sad little puppy I would log right back out feeling confused and frustrated because I had the desire to play… but somehow lacked the force to break the inertia of standing around in the Tempest Bay Canals district.  Granted right now… I still spend a good deal of my time in that location…  however current it is out of a sense of feeling like I belong there, and not out of a sense of being trapped there.  I go out into the world and explore all manner of new stuff, but I wind up returning back to my home base in the crafting area.

WYSBP_Rift_Revenge

A little over five years ago when Rift launched I did a series of posts called “Why You Should Be Playing Rift”.   The purpose of these posts was extremely misguided, and was my way of rebelling against “the man” at that time… aka trying to convert the folks still playing World of Warcraft to being Rift players.  It worked for some, and others it just caused them to delete my blog from their blog roll, and un-follow me over on social media.  The other day I started thinking about these posts and what I was trying to do with them, and decided that it might be interesting to revisit that concept.  However instead of writing them in spite, as a way of trying to show the world what they were missing…  the idea this time is for me to tell you all what I see in the game.  Rift is like that friend in high school that you have maybe drifted apart from…  but when you get back together it is like no time has passed.  Except in this case your friend has quietly evolved and developed a bunch of cool new things they know how to do.  Rift has remained trucking along in the background, seemingly ignored by a lot of the MMORPG players as a phase they maybe went through at some point.  It is a game that seems to keep figuring out new quality of life tweaks to make the game more enjoyable.  However it is also a game with a bunch of scary looking monetization methods that I think frighten too many players, and keep them from spending more time and getting to know the game the way I do.  So while I am adopting the same sort of name that I had the first time… as a sort of revisiting effort, the purpose is completely different this time.  My goal is to show you my readers why I feel the way I feel about various aspects of this game.  I am still working on the first part, but hopefully soon it will make its way to the front page and kick off the sequence properly.  More than anything I guess I wanted to warn my long time readers, that you are going to likely be reading a lot more of Rift and ArcheAge content in the near future.

Of Obsessions

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In Search of Trays

I could start this post off with a grumpy rant about changes to a game that I found out about over the weekend.  However that would just end up creating a general down point for the coming week, so instead I am opting to try my best and push it out of my mind.  Instead I am going to focus on the fun that I had this weekend and the positive points.  The weekend also involved quite a bit of chasing wild geese, which in itself was a little interesting.  My wife is of course a teacher, and over the summer she does what I figure most teachers do…  obsess about the upcoming school year.  For the last several years Target has had some multi colored trays that serve well as hand in baskets, but unfortunately the last set became brittle after sitting in the incoming sun for an entire year.  So one of the things we have been watching for is them to start stocking them once again, and while we were in Kansas City we found two of the six colors, but did not end up picking them up because we assumed they too would be plentiful in our area.  That however was not the case and this past week over lunch I went to check a few Targets, ultimately finding none.  Saturday we wound up at our own local store and they happened to have four colors, allowing us to pick up most of a set.

The challenge with the Target dollar spot… is that every teacher ultimately stocks their classroom with the stuff located in it.  That meant that we had a very limited window to be able to get the last two colors of trays.  So Sunday after my wife got back from church we went roaming around the Tulsa metro area hitting quite literally every single Target store looking for a yellow and a purple tray.  Fairly early on we found the yellow tray, but it was not until the very last store we went to that we managed to find purple.  Ironically it was at the last store… the one furthest away from us…  that they happened to have all six colors in one place.  Had we reversed the order it would have likely been the one closest to us that had all six.  As I commented this weekend on twitter, this is the life of a Teacher’s spouse.  I cannot count the number of times we have made such trips hunting for this specific item or that…  be it office supply stores, dollar stores or in this case a Target.  Over the years I’ve spent many an hour sifting through disheveled bins of stuff looking for that one item that matches whatever other item we happened to be looking for.  The sheer dedication that the average teacher has is just phenomenal, and even more so is the rapid sharing of tips that happens when you get two together.  In Kansas City we rolled into the Target dollar spot and found the obvious signs of other teachers… and before we knew it folks were sharing tips on best ways to clean white boards or where you could find this or that item at a better deal.  Long story short… we managed to complete the set of bins which marks this mission off the list…  which I am certain will only be replaced by a dozen other similar adventures before school starts back up in a month and a half.

Of Artifice

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As far as gaming goes I spent the bulk of my weekend running around in Rift, shifting back and forth between several different activities.  Out in Twilight Highlands there was a limited time event called Arclight Ascendancy that allows players to run a couple of quests to get a currency… that can ultimately be saved up to purchase an Arclight Rider or Lifter mount.  At some point I have apparently completed this event… either that or some account entitlement gave me a slew of currency.  Essentially this event allows you to slowly gather the currency needed to purchase what would normally be a store only mount.  In the past I have participated in similar events for the Budgie mounts, and in the grand scheme of things these are not intended to be completed in a single pass but instead over the course of multiple events.  The interesting thing about them however is that one of the daily quests requires you to mentor down to within the 25-30 level range to accomplish it.  As far as that goes Rift’s implementation of that system is probably the best I have seen because you simply right click your name and choose a new level… and then bam you are functioning at that level without having to give up any of your abilities.  The other thing that I am enjoying about doing the quests is that it puts me back in Twilight Highlands and Scarlet Gorge on a daily basis… two zones that I absolutely loved from Telara.

The other big thing that I worked on this weekend was leveling my Artificer skill.  This is of course slowly bankrupting me, but nonetheless I still felt the desire to keep pushing forward.  I spent many an hour this weekend roaming around Gelboro Reef doing quests that I never finished out there… and farming up Thalasite ore and Sarleaf that would ultimately be converted into fuel to feed the fires of industry.  Yesterday evening I managed to push ahead and get to the current level cap of 450.  Now will I actually do anything with that level other than daily crafting quests?  I honestly am not sure… I’ve never had a max level artificer before now.  At this point in the cycle I doubt there is anything I can craft that is not better than the gear I can get from a combination of weekly patron chests and instant adventures/experts.  However having a whole slew of crafters means that I can rapid-fire through the crafting dailies and get patterns quickly.  I need to some time researching what if anything I can craft that is a damage upgrade… or more importantly a hit upgrade.  Now that I have finished with another crafting obsession I really need to get back into the process of digging into the Planetouched Wilds.  That area is huge and full of all manner of weekly quest opportunities, and I have barely scratched the surface.

 

 

Scrap Collector

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The Wastelands

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The Rift resurgence continues and this time around I find myself working on tradeskills.  Every so often I find myself stuck in a loop, that winds up with me leveling one thing like mad.  The focus currently is pushing as many trade-skills up as I can manage…  and honestly afford.  I went into this little mission with roughly 1600 platinum, and as of last night I had dropped under 500.  Please not this is just on reagent costs and pattern training costs, as I have been going out into the wild to gather materials on a pretty regular basis.  The above image was taken on one of these many trips, this time to find Rhenium nodes in the Steppes of Infinity.  I am not sure if this is even the best place to look for these, but I figured the highest level zone in Storm Legion would probably have the highest chance of these nodes.  Currently I am working on Artificer which as of last night is I believe sitting at 360 of 450, but thankfully it was one of my lowest trades.  When the game went free to play, one of the things that I spent a bunch of my “free” currency on was adding tradeskill unlocks to my main.  The goal is to eventually turn Belghast into an omnicrafter, which is a term that is common in FFXIV but not possible in most games.  Currently my trade-skill load-out looks a little something like this…

  • Armorsmith – 450
  • Butchering – 450
  • Foraging – 450
  • Mining – 450
  • Outfitter – 450
  • Runecrafter – 450
  • Weaponsmith – 450
  • Dream Weaver – 390
  • Fishing – 375
  • Survival – 375
  • Artificer – 370

So like I said Artificer is the lowest of my skills or at least the last of my “make gear” skills so I have been focusing on it.  Fishing and Survival hopefully I will be able to level in tandem as I have done in the past.  Dream Weaver I probably have more than enough material to start pushing it up there in level given that I salvage every single artifact that I get that I already have…. which at this point is a considerable number.  The worst part of the artificer grind right now is trying to acquire gemstones which is namely why I am out in the Steppes farming Rhenium for those every so lucrative Heavy gem nodes.  The only problem I foresee however is that a some point soon I am simply going to run out of money, probably long before I actually hit the goal of leveling all of these things.  I am also lacking one tradeskill on this character, and that is Apothecary the one I have never actually successfully leveled on any character.  At some point I will end up picking up one more tradeskill unlock and start working on that, but I think that will ultimately happen at a later date.  The only real disappointment so far is that apparently this awesome 38 Slot Cosmic Bag pattern that I picked up can only be crafted with a drop from Tier 3 raid bosses, with no other way to acquire it.  That is a bit of a kick in the pants…. but hopefully they will add it to the cash shop or something at a later date.

Low Key Activity

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I think that after coming back from our whirlwind birthday weekend… I have just needed something super chill to do and crafting became that activity.  The biggest problem is that if I keep on this course I am going to ultimately bankrupt myself.  Tonight is going to be a night of fiddling with my desktop upstairs, because in theory I should have a shiny new graphics card to install.  If I can manage to get that done in time I will probably end up participating in the FFXIV pony farm and miscellaneous activity night.  If I do not get finished with machine upgrades until after the start time, I will likely just piddle around in Rift.  I need to get back to doing some Intrepid Adventures because it turns out that they are still a pretty damned good source of upgrades.  I also need to get some more Expert dungeons in, as in a perfect world I would do at least seven a week so that I get all of my currency bonuses.  As far as raiding goes I am still up in the air as to what I want to do there.  There are supposedly a good number of pick up raids, and I would love to see some of the content at least once… namely the new Comet of Ahnkhet raid.  I would also love to get some of those bag reagents to craft up a few 38 slotters… but I would imagine that even now those items are in high demand.  I wish they dropped form the Mind of Madness bosses in Intrepid Adventure, but as I have not seen one yet… I would assume that is not something that happens.  For sheer gear acquisition Hammerknell seems way faster for getting cache drops, but then again that could simply be that people are just more used to those encounters.

At some point I also want to begin leveling my rogue, but in the past my key reason for doing this… was to have a bag maker.  Since going all omnicraftery that reason went out the door so ultimately I need to find a spec that I can really enjoy.  I somehow down the “grandpa build ” is still as effective as it once was for soloing content.  For doing Instant Adventures I am currently running around as Marksman, because standing back and plinking tends to require less focus than getting up close and personal with the mob encounters.  Similarly at some point I do want to level a character on the European servers, and I have gotten my Zaviel character up to 22.  Right now I am largely just opening patron caches on him every day in the hopes of getting extra loyalty, but at some point I want to start pushing him in levels again.  At some point I left the tracks and entered the Instant Adventure zone and it is unlikely that I will ever return to proper leveling with quests on that guy.  The IA is a bit of a trap… in that the experience you gain seems so much faster than anything you can get while questing…  but as a result it ends up with you being severely under-geared for your level.  It also make sure that your tradeskills are woefully behind, and at some point I will have to go on a gathering binge to even begin to catch up.  In any case…  its been a little over a week now since my return to Rift and I am still finding so many of the things compelling.  Even more so I have dove back into the community and am hanging my hat on discord, so if you have any interest in Rift I highly suggest you check it out as well.

 

The True Endgame

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Wardrobe System

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Last night I had a marvelously relaxing evening working on “endgame content” in Rift.  By that I mean the true end game of any MMO… and that is wearing interesting outfits.  There are so many different cosmetic systems out there, but I have to say that in my personal experience Rift has hands down the best one.  How the system works is you have a tab on your character screen labelled Wardrobe, and at the bottom are a number of alternate outfits that you can save.  By default you get one free wardrobe slot, and then up to four can be purchased using platinum, with the second tab costing 10, third costing 50 and fourth costing 100.  If I remember correctly the loyalty system has a number of unlocks that come with various ranks in that, gained through either subscribing as a patron or spending money on the in game shop.  Up to sixty total wardrobe slots can be unlocked however through the cash shop currency, and each of them costs 144 credits which if you base that on the conversion rate for the $19.99 and if my math is anywhere near correct that is roughly 90 cents a slot.  What makes the system so special is that the game saves appearance and dye information at an account level, and simply looting an item into your inventory saves the appearance.  You don’t even need to equip an item to save its appearance, which means if you get a sweet bind in equip item that you are not going to use…  you can sell it and still have saved its appearance data.  Dyes work a little strange in that they are mostly unlocked through cash shop currency… however I believe you have some of the basic colors unlocked for free.  The individual unlocks are at tiers of pricing and are either 90, 270 or 450.  As I am writing this I am realizing that all of my information may be slightly off given that I have the patron discount applied to pretty much everything.  Essentially if you really want a color it isn’t terribly cost prohibitive to get it, however I wish their dyes worked like Wildstar in that they were drops out in the world and not something you simply purchased.

belghast_appearancesets

What makes the Wardrobe system so special to me is that for every single wardrobe tab you can save an appearance that you choose from all of the appearances you have collected, a primary and secondary dye color… and even toggle whether or not you want to display that particular slot.  What I love the most however is that you can save an appearance for two one handed weapons, a two handed weapon, a ranged weapon and a shield with every single slot.  That means when you are running around in this outfit and you switch specs to something that uses a sword and board, or something that dual wields… you don’t have jarring change in appearance, nor do you have the odd feeling of running around and fighting with a shield but it still shows your two handed weapon.  When you pick up any item, or look at an item in the crafting or auction pane you see a little note that tells you if you have collected the appearance for it yet.   What makes collecting gear so damned fun for me at least is that they have created this tab called “Appearance Sets” that tells which pieces you are missing from each set.  For the completionists there are a number of achievements tied to the collection of various sets as well.  I have lots of singlets and partial sets but you can see that as of last night I have completed 30 of 323 available item sets.  The only thing that I wish it showed… was where you could actually get that specific appearance item be it crafting or drops.  That said the Rift team gets amazing marks for me in the way this system works and feels to use.  What makes everything better… is that you can use ANY gear type on ANY character…. so I can have my plate wearing warrior in robes, or my mage sitting in full plate.

Bolstering the Sets

belghast_bahmi_outrider

So when I say last night that I spent the entire evening working on the true Endgame… what I mean is that I have been on this crafting kick.  Another feature that I love about Rift is that I can pretty much make one character do every single crafting profession in the game.  Granted this is cost prohibitive when it comes to credits, but when the free to play system launched they gave long time subscribers a pretty massive cash shop payout.  This allowed me to add everything but Apothecary and Outfitter to my primary Bahmi Warrior main.  At some point I would love to add those professions as well just so I can have a true omni-crafter in this game and to streamline the creation of items.  I have a max level outfitter on my Rogue, so last night I had to spend a good deal of time swapping items back and forth for the creation of fabric bolts.  Over the last week as I have been out in the world picking up max level crafting materials, I have been spending some time at the end of the evening pushing up my tradeskills and at this point I have several of them at the 450 max or pretty close to it.  This is the point where my brain goes a little off the track here, and shifts goals on me.  When they put in the Item Appearance system, I was a little disappointed because so many of the items left to collect were things that I had in my grubby little hands at one point.  Now I saved the items that really mattered to me, but wound up scrapping the vast majority of the items I handled over the years.  I always had it in the back of my mind that at some point I would start running old world dungeons and crafting old world items to help bolster my appearance collection.

belghast_bahmi_planaradventurer

So last night while watching The Expanse through the Syfy Roku app… I started in Freemarch and worked my way through the various zones of the Old World collecting ore, wood, leather and cloth and then taking it back to either Meridian or Tempest Keep and crafting item sets.  By the point I had shut down for the evening I had made my way through to Titanium and had crafted the Plate and Chain armor sets for each… as well as the armor bundles that were available at various points.  At some point I will follow up and do the same with weapons, but there are far more items to craft there… or at least it certainly feels that way.  I suppose at some point I will go do the same with my Rogue and collect the various cloth and leather sets, but since I am a pretty plate and chain focused person those weren’t nearly as important to me.  The truth is since this system went in during Storm Legion if I remember correctly, I have most of the post Old World craft-able sets already saved, so that leaves me with Carmintium left to craft of the easy sets.  At some point I would like to purchase the rest of the alloy metal sets like Steel and the rest of the Orichalcum set… but those involve farming up a bunch of crafting marks to purchase the patterns.  In the end I had a blast and knocked out a bunch of those things that I have always said I wanted to do.  I love the crafting system in this game because it is just intricate enough to keep my focus… and not a maddening mini-game that requires me tending it as I craft things.  I like systems that make the acquisition of raw materials the challenge, not the assembly of those things.

Racing Snail

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Out of Advice

This month is of course the rescheduled Newbie Blogger Initiative… and I have been horrible at supporting it so far.  Normally I have filled my blog with various sundry related information about blogging, and if you really want you can probably still take some of that as completely valid.  I know this event works, but the problem is… at this point I just feel like I am out of advice to give without simply rehashing a bunch of old themes.  The truth is I really don’t know what I am doing, and while sometimes I put on the front that I do…  I spend the majority of my time winging it.  Sure before I wrote a single line on Aggronaut, I had planned a lot of stuff like the domain name and hosting provider, but that is not to say I didn’t have a much earlier not fit for public consumption blog on blogger.  Back then… I just started blogging, and it is I feel honestly good to just go make some mistakes on your own without the intervention of others.  My original blog was a semi-private ordeal talking about my life, my family, and all sorts of random events in large part surrounded on our sudden and bizarre desire to start camping.  I say camping… but what I really mean is hanging out at a lakeside resort in an RV.  It was real and snarky and sometimes raw… but it had a very specific audience of folks who actually knew me in real life.  Those people didn’t care about my gaming, and in most part would probably find it strange.

So when I created Aggronaut it was by purpose designed to be completely divorced from my real life.  The idea was I would have the real world blog for people who knew me… and then the other blog to talk about my passions.  That didn’t exactly work because I’ve found that while I can write in a mostly anonymous fashion talking about people and events from my real life setting…  I can’t exactly keep them out of my topics.  I’ve tried not to name names in my blog as a sort of “protect the innocent” fashion in part because my wife works in a very skittish profession.  I never wanted anything I might say to reflect badly upon her.  I would say that I probably filter myself a lot, but the truth is I really don’t have that many inflammatory opinions.  What I personally consider ranting about subject… I’ve often been told is just polite but impassioned discussion.  So as I sit down and try and thing of advice to give a budding blogger, I am really finding myself completely empty this year.  Just because I have been doing something longer, doesn’t mean I have any better grasp on how things should work.  I don’t know what I am doing… and it is perfectly okay to not know what you are doing.  I’ve somehow made that work for over seven years now, and I suppose I will continue to make it work for the foreseeable future.  I lack the ego however to tell you t hat my way is the correct way, because I know I don’t even know if it is right for me.  Next week I might get new information that makes me question everything about what I have done for the better part of this decade, and that is also okay.  Basically if you want to write…  just go write.

A Good Note

Belghast-Faeblight-AspectOfDeath

Over the last few days I have become progressively more active in the Rift community.  There is something comfortable about coming back to this game, and I find myself obsessing with all of these little details.  The experience has been something akin to catching a movie on cable television that you have not seen at decades… and then having a sudden swell of feelings for how much you used to love that movie.  Coming back to Rift this time feels very much like dusting off a favorite tome and reading it again with new eyes.  There are some things I am coming to terms with, namely that unlike so many games… it is unlikely that I will find many of my closest friends interested in joining me.  As I have learned time and time again… Rift is not really their game and especially the AggroChat crew can rattle off a list of reasons why.  That said… it has always sorta been my game, and been something that I supported regardless if I was actually playing with it.  I’ve said time and time again that Rift is essentially all of the features I ever wanted in a video game compiled in one game… and they just keep adding more features as time goes on.  That said it is also a much harder game than I have grown accustomed to, and as a result for the last several years since the launch of Storm Legion I have struggled a bit to find my place in it.  I was extremely slow getting to level 60, and I am just now getting to 65, so the speed and difficulty of leveling was something I had a difficult time reconciling now that I am extremely used to the fast pace and ease of leveling in the “modern” mmo.  I’ve long said that my favorite time period in World of Warcraft was Wrath of the Lich King, and I’ve just realized that Rift is as though you stopped the clock in a time period before content started to get watered down to appeal to a wider audience.  That is not to say that Rift does not have a lot of solo-able features… but if you intend to play at the highest levels of the game you are going to need a group and dedication to your character.

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All of this aside I am in this position where I am really enjoying the depth of this game, and finding myself with this entire list of things that I want to accomplish.  One of the best parts of the game for me personally is the way that they have changed the wardrobe system.  Now when you pick up an item, you collect its appearance and can then assemble outfits out of these appearances without needing to fiddle with any of the actual loot.  The fact that there are also zero negatives like a gold sink associated with it, means I am constantly changing my wardrobes around, and I guess at times this is a positive.  Within the Rift forums and Discord there was a contest called “Planetouched Style”, the idea being that you assembled an outfit that represented a certain planar theme and then went out into the world and found a location that fit the theme to take a screenshot.  The first image was my entry, going for a sort of “Papa Legba” feel for it… and then finding an area out in Seratos that really shows off the deathyness.  Much to my shock… I apparently nabbed second place in the contest.  So I am now the proud owner of the 5th Anniversary edition racing snail…  completely with flames decorating the shell.  This goes nicely with my 4th Anniversary mount that I already spent damned near all of my time riding.  I am excited and humbled to somehow have managed to win, but it was a great note to end the day on yesterday.

 

High Center

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Gear Barrier

ffxiv_dx11 2016-05-22 15-14-36-09

For months I struggled to find meaning in MMORPGs and wrote about my feelings a little over a month ago.  Then something changed, and I am not exactly sure how or when it did.  Now I am suddenly finding myself caring an awful lot… and even more than that thinking about what I am going to be doing that evening.  The only problem is… I have found myself struggling nonetheless.  Life was going rather peachy in Final Fantasy XIV that is…  until I started trying to catch up in the patch content.  Last week they released 3.3 patch content and I happily quested my way through both the tail end of 3.2 and 3.3 until I hit a road block.  That road block being that in order to do the first dungeon introduced by the new content… I have to be sitting at 200 item level.  Now when I took a break several months ago I was sitting at 190 item level and that was just about as good as was humanly possible to get at the time, or more so as good as you could get without the really painful grind.  Upon coming back I have been having a blast farming ponies with the guild and slowly working my way through the relic weapon quest.  I’ve also attempted to keep running experts but failed miserably at doing them on a regular basis.

The end result is that I have managed to pull my item level up to 195 but 200 still feels like it is a very very long ways off.  One of the problems is in the past when they have introduced a new item cap like this to continue the quest, the previous set of dungeons provided gear that was of sufficient level to breach it.  However the last set of dungeons in this case only dropped 195 level gear, which were upgrades in a few slots but in no way good enough to bring me up to fighting levels.  The answer of course is to run Void Ark over and over until my eyes bleed, however I find myself struggling to do that when I don’t have anyone else to run it with.  Tuesday is the night we run group content as a free company, and on that night the guild is active as can be.  The only problem is the rest of the week it is a ghost town.  So I struggle to push myself to do activities with strangers, which is going to be a common theme in this post.  My entire time in MMO gaming I have always had this wonderful social support structure, from the moment I set foot in Everquest to modern times.  If I needed something done there was always a ready supply of friends that I could pester to come do it with me.  When I am missing that I am finding that I don’t exactly know how to function.

Social Barrier

rift 2016-06-13 18-29-46-20

This brings us to game two that I am struggling with.  Over the weekend in a fit of nostalgia and such I dove head first into Rift and am having a really great time.  I’ve started participating in the Rift discord community, and picked the brains of several friends as to all of the things that I should be doing now that I am back.  The item that kept getting mentioned is that I really should start working on the weekly quests out in the Planetouched Wilds area.  So being a dutiful follower of instructions I wound my way through the quest content and hit a big stubborn wall.  There was a quest on top of Lantern Hook that involved killing a bunch of mobs essentially before they killed me, and quite frankly I was overwhelmed.  I tried it in a few different specs before eventually asking for some help.  The only problem is by that time in the Discord community, everyone was busy doing their own thing and not watching chat…  so I got nothing but crickets.  The challenge with Rift is that it is not that I have minimal social structure in that game like the way I do in Final Fantasy XIV…  it is that I suddenly have none at all.  Over the years all of that structure has eroded to where I am left with just one single channel that once or twice a night has another person in it with me.  The majority of the time when I say hello to said other person in the channel I get no response telling me… that it probably scrolled by so fast on their screen that they didn’t even notice it.

Rift does a great job of providing a ton of things that I could be doing solo, but unfortunately there are still times where I absolutely need other people to do content.  What I ultimately did was start watching the level 65 channel until I saw someone that seemed nice enough and that was playing on the same server as me.  I pushed myself so far out of my comfort zone and asked them for help…  to which I was shot down.  However I politely thanked them anyways, and about thirty minutes later while I was still sitting there struggling to figure out a way to do the quest by myself…  I got a message from them again saying that they were finished with their raid and that they could come help me.  So massive thanks to Domasca from Faeblight for assisting with the quest and pushing me past that obstacle.  I continued on about my business and finished another set of quests only to return back to Lantern Hook to be handed yet another quest that I had no way of soloing.  It was at this point I gave up for the night and went to bed, frustrated.  Basically I am already standing on a precipice with this game and have a handful of choices in front of me.  Either I can start rebuilding my social network within Rift a single player at a time, and in doing so force myself into anxiety ridden territory.  I can research specs and try and find that one magical spec that lets me solo silly hard content like I have done in the past.  Then of course there is always the option to just quit the game again… which is the one that I am trying to avoid as hard as I can.  Rift is this wonderful throwback to an era in MMO gaming that I miss greatly… the only problem is that era is one when you needed lots and lots of active friends to support you through all the random things you needed to accomplish.  So in truth… I need to figure out how to meet new people in this extremely well established and already stratified community.