Pretentious Magitek

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This morning my cats are being little butts.  The normally sweet one is prancing back and forth on the keyboard… and the one that is normally a butt just wants me to keep flinging a rubber band for her to chase.  None of this is really conducive to sitting down and writing a proper blog post.  The sweet one has now taken to sitting on the cabinet to the left of the computer and staring…  occasionally meowing.  She is likely afraid that she will waste away to nothingness in the time it takes me to write a post, and believes that I really should stop doing whatever it is humans do and go feed her.  On top of this I am having some hardware issues…  with a box that is not connected to this one but it is frustrating me to the point where I am constantly reaching over to the other keyboard and fiddling with stuff.  This also is not super great for writing a fully functional blog post.  However I still need to somehow push forward and come up with some form of brilliance…  even if that is dollar store brilliance that is on clearance for only 50 cents.

Last night I did not really do much in the way of gaming.  I finally finished watching the last episode of Iron Fist, and while doing so I worked on my baby machinist.  I managed to get back over the 60 barrier and turned my weapon red in the Palace of the Dead…  which makes no difference when it comes to the speed of leveling but feels like it does significantly for your ability to burn things down quickly.  I hit a string of parties with a tank and three dps…. and all things considered they tend to go pretty smoothly.  The only rough spots are when the group decides to fan out and split down different pathways.  In theory this is not a horrible way to approach the dungeon as a whole, but if anyone ends up pulling a mimic it is a certainty that someone will get pox.  As I have spent more time in the dungeon, my focus has shifted to trying to avoid pox at all costs…  at least until we have a pomander of purity waiting to be used.  Most of my wipes in Palace of the Dead have revolved around a bad pull combined with folks having pox.  The absolute worst moments are when a tank attempts to tank….  without having a healer.  I mean I get it… as a tank our instinct is to run in and gather everything up.  However that is just not really a viable option for running Palace of the Dead unless you have a pocket healer going in there with you.

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Another thing that has happened that I have not really talked about is that I crossed the 500 commendation barrier and now have my giant pretentious golden magitek armor.  I admit I was a little disappointed when I found out that the tune it plays is exactly the same as the normal magitek armor.  The weird thing about the commendation system is that it pushes me to be friendly even if I am not really feeling like doing so.  I tend to open every dungeon with a “hey folks” and close every dungeon with something along the lines of “thanks for the run, have a good one”.  I am not sure if this matters but I usually can at least steal a single commendation from each run.  Now my friends who random queue more often have been at the 500 mark for a very long time…  I largely pushed through the last 150 or so while dungeon the deep dungeon.  It feels like “strategic niceness” is a thing, and I feel sorta dirty admitting that sometimes I am just doing it for the sweet sweet comms.  The only problem is… even after having gotten the mount I am still keeping up the practice.  I think at some point it just began to feel normal to greet people when you join a dungeon and thank them when you finish…  so while this largely started out as a way to leech commendations from folks it has apparently become a ritual now for me.  This in part is why I wish other games would implement something like the commendations system.  I’ve noticed that while a lot of groups are completely silent…  that practice of the greeting at the beginning breaks the ice enough to get people discussing things if we run into problems.  Folks seem far less likely to sit on a mimic chest and try and solo it down for example, when they have talked at the start of a run.  It is like the act of a simple greeting makes it perfectly okay to say other things later, and while I tend to zone out…  it is nice to have the occasional line of dialog flying by in party.

Chasing Aloy

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It feels odd that it is Wednesday and I am just now getting around to writing one of my traditional “mixed bag” sort of posts.  Those are generally a Monday thing given that I have a bunch of gaming time to talk about in general, and almost always it is a shotgun blast across a bunch of different games.  However Monday was the anniversary post, and yesterday I wanted to write up my final thoughts upon beating Andromeda… so finally we are where we are writing about the assorted debris of the weekend.  If you had talked to me last week, you would have seen someone who was excited to be finishing up Andromeda so I could move back to Horizon Zero Dawn as my primary game.  While I have played it a few times…  that hasn’t really been what happened because for whatever reason I am having a bit of trouble easing back into the game.  Essentially it feels like the skills I had developed early on are painfully rusty, and the section of the game I am in doesn’t have nearly as much call to purpose so I feel a little bit like I am either stuck in “roam around aimlessly and kill zoids” mode, or trying to force my way through the few story quests I have.  The last town I reached gave me a slew of side quests, so in theory I will probably spend some time doing those to try and get myself reacquainted with the game.  The frustrating part about this is I do not want to be bouncing off of it… but for whatever case it just hasn’t quite fit my mood.  Maybe coming off Mass Effect Andromeda… I just sort of need to play a vastly different kind of game.

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The game I am playing a truly shocking amount of instead is Skyforge.  Pretty much every night I am at least getting in long enough to run a few missions.  Right now I find the bite sized gameplay appealing because there is no massive overarching commitment.  I can pop in for a few minutes and play a little bit, while feeling like I had a meaningful experience.  I had talked the game up to some of my friends and was super saddened to find out that apparently the female models are a boob jiggle mess.  I mean I knew that was a thing among the South Korean developers… but I didn’t know it was a Russian thing as well.  The other big problem with the game is that you ultimately have a long list of interesting classes….  but no easy way to access them.  You functionally have to start the game as a Paladin, a Smite Nuking Healer, or a Ice Mage… and then work your way to whatever class seemed interesting.  For me this was just perfectly fine given that I really like the Paladin as a class, and ultimately will probably always play it as my main in the game.  However I have a lot of friends who were interested in other classes but are never going to make it through the grind to ultimately get there.  I am shocked that you cannot simply buy your way to freedom in the game and unlock whatever class you really wanted to play…  or better yet allow characters to pick any single class to start with.  I mean the game has some really interesting classes like an Alchemist, the Kinetic, or Gunner…  so there is a lot of interesting stuff going on but unfortunately if you don’t like tank, mage and healer… you are going to bounce super hard before you get there.

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Finally I have been still popping my head into Final Fantasy XIV on a regular basis and working on my overarching mission…  which is to get all of the classes to at least 50 before the release of Stormblood.  I’ve set 50 as the goal because it allows me to jettison the bulk of the leveling gear from my bank vault, and reaching that level seems completely reasonable with Palace of the Dead.  Over the weekend I managed to push the Monk to 50, and am now sporting the full set of Allagan look-a-like gear that I have been picking up through the dank dungeon.  I like the set quite a bit because it is one of the few “armored” looking sets that you can get for a monk.  We had this lengthy discussion the other day about how we each favor different styles, and for me… it needs to be symmetrical and heavily armored to really make me perfectly happy.  What is left on the leveling track is Machinist and Astrologian… neither of which I had even trained in.  I picked up the Machinist from Ishgard and almost immediately hopped back into the Palace of the Dead rather than doing any of the actual class quests.  I have to mention that it was a bit of a chore to sort out what all abilities I should actually be using with that class… and how it functions.  However once getting used to it, I have to say I like it quite a bit.  It is gimmicky and RNG gated…  and I still have no clue if I am actually playing it correctly…  but for casual dungeon running it seems like a lot of fun.

Mechanics Defeated

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Last night did not ultimately end up like I thought it would, for many reasons.  Firstly this weekend we had a death in the family…  but man is it harder to explain than that.  When you grow up in a small town, families that are connected to each other through a marriage end up mingling an awful lot.  Because of kids birthday parties and school events, you are constantly encountering this whole other family that is not actually related to you.  So when I say a death in the family, it was not actually my or my wife’s family, but instead the father of a brother in law in wife’s side.  So when it happened we made a trip up to Friday night to attempt to offer support, and do our normal thing of bringing paper goods since during a death in the family a household goes through way more of everything.  The funeral itself is today, and because of the weird familial restrictions of bereavement leave policy I don’t get a day off.  Last night was the viewing, which is sort of like a wake but not actually a wake…  and I did not think we were going to go.  However when I got off from work my wife indicated that we probably should at least make a showing.  I thought this largely meant that I would be gone from our normal Tuesday night FFXIV shenanigans.  It was roughly an hour drive either direction, and then by the time we went to the event and ate dinner I fully expected to be about an hour late for fun time.

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However we opted to pick up some food and eat it while travelling… I would explain what we got but it probably would not make sense to anyone who did not grow up in a tiny town.  I also apparently drove like a bat out of hell, because I made it home and was only about fifteen minutes late… with folks still trying to pull the group together.  With me it meant we had seven people available to do stuff…  and in some quirk of bravado we decided to pug that 8th layer and keep working on “Mechanics: The Fight” or Thordan Ex.  We got a Dragoon that said they had run the fight on a healer before… and we proceeded to start attempting to make progress.  A few seconds into the fight and the Dragoon was already dead.  During that first attempt I think they were rezzed four different times… and more than likely through the entire sequence of the attempts averaged around three deaths per outing.  As if summoned by our tears…  Kodra showed up and we rejoiced and disbanded our party finder group to bring him in.  The hilarious part about this is that we all started talking about how much we had gotten used to having a good Dragoon.  Then a few seconds into the first attempt…  Kodra died in EXACTLY the same manner as our pug dragoon.

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We rebounding from this and started making proper attempts.  The night was mildly stressful because we once again had a slightly different line up than normal.  Muspel was filling one of the slots, and his only level 60 and geared character is his warrior.  That mean’t Ashgar was not tanking along side me and instead running DPS on his monk.  This is not normally a big deal other than the fact that every attempt I have been in the offtank role, and last night was my first night actually tanking the main boss.  It took some adjustment, namely during the dragons eye phase to know that I had to actually step through the boss to make sure I was clear of the effect.  Similarly there was a dance of times I needed to stack up… and then hurriedly run the hell out before he cast a frontal cleave.  I am pretty sure I killed someone at least once during one of these interchanges, or when having to run across the Arena to place to boss so that the dragon eye and boss were in the same orientation.  However on what would have been our last attempt due to the timer, we brought all of these elements together and managed to get our very first Thordan Ex kill.  Now to move on to the Warring Triad Extremes, but hopefully we can keep popping Thordan each week so we don’t actually forget the dance.

Mechanics: The Fight

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In our continued trend of being months behind the curve and happy about it…  last night we worked again on Thordan Ex.  We jokingly refer to this fight as “Mechanics: The Fight” because it this weird amalgam of every mechanic from binding coil and a mix of new ones.  This is a prime example of what I think of as the archetypal Final Fantasy XIV fight… where it relies on you memorizing a DDR like pattern and then everyone in the party completing that pattern flawlessly.  That however is not exactly the sort of fight our group excels at.  When we go up against a “managing sheer chaos” style fight, we tend to be able to pull those out as one shots.  However when you ask us to memorize and execute a specific pattern…  it takes forever for us to memorize the dance.  I am especially bad at pattern matching and memorization…  and as one of the primary tanks this is not exactly a great thing.  We did however get to the point last night where we were getting everyone through the dive bomb phase and through the meteor phase.  There is a whole lot of bullshit that happens at the tail end of the fight and we were noticing that things started to completely fall apart during the pillars phase…. so I feel like if we can get through that… we can get through the rest of the fight.  I also feel like this is the sort of fight that once the pattern is learned and beat into our brains… we will be able to execute it pretty flawlessly from that part out.  Which is a good thing… because there are a lot of us that would like to farm birbs.

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Speaking of Birbs…. I can now poop chocobos.  Right now the Hatching-Tide event is going on in Eorzea, which sort of serves as the Easter celebration.  Lets be fair… that like so many Eorzean Holidays…  Hatching-Tide is mostly nonsense.  The yearly event usually revolves around eggs and spriggans…  that often times steal the eggs or somehow interact with the eggs.  None of this really matters however because the important part is the fact that this year there is a mount.  You can ride around on a giant floating egg… and ejects a baby Chocobo on command.  So I think most of us that completed the event spent a good deal of the evening riding around on eggs and hurling chocobos at people.  This is a prime example of why I love this game so much at times, because it is just down right absurd.  There are so many “why not” moments that the game has where they put silly things in the hands of the players… who then do things like create Fat Chocobo parades.  In Idyllshire last night there were a whole slew of people trying to synchronize the ejecting of Chocobos…  which is an extremely aptly named place now that I think of it since so many people go there to Idle.  For now I have fallen off the “get every class to 50” wagon but I hope to hop back on shortly.  I just have too many games I want to be playing… and as a result am sort of playing all of them poorly.

Ballad of Cowboy Ninja

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This weekend largely belonged to Final Fantasy XIV and the brief appearance of the Cowboy Ninja.  One of the huge benefits of leveling through Palace of the Dead is the fact that you end up with a bunch of treasure tokens…  that often times reward awesome cosmetic gear.  Pretty early into my process of pushing the Ninja from 38 to 50 this weekend I stumbled across the above Cowboy hat and from that point out my path was set.  I gathered a bunch of appearance goodies that I had collected from running the dungeon over and over…  namely because my appropriate level gear was a subligar and harness.  The three main appearance items that all came from palace of the dead are of course the Boarskin Survival Hat, Survival Shirt, and the Wind Silk Bottoms which are these bizarro red plaid pants.  Through out the weekend I ran the dungeon wearing this outfit and gathered up a bunch of commendations… I largely believe in appearance alone.  I am still around 25 coms away from my golden magitek mount so… in truth anything I can do to rake them in is a bonus!

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I think another huge factor for getting coms is being talkative in dungeon runs.  While Final Fantasy XIV tends to be a much more friendly experience as a whole than World of Warcraft, it is still a largely quiet one… especially when it comes to grinding Palace of the Dead 51-60 over and over.  Everyone more or less knows their roles and falls silently in place doing them, and I try my best to break up this monotony with some comments here and there.  I always start the dungeon run with a “Hey Folks :)” and finish with some variant of “Thanks for the run. Have a good one!” and then I watch as the coms slowly trickle in.  Sure it is formulaic, but it seems to work…  and the truth is I usually get responses back from the other players which is part of my larger goal of breaking the silence and getting folks interacting.  I mean it is not so formulaic that I have a macro set up or anything…  so there is at least that.  Regardless I hit 50 during Talking Dead last night and started working my way through the Ninja quests.  I had forgotten that I had a full set of high quality level 115 gear sitting in my bank waiting on me, that I picked up while questing my way through Heavensward.  So I also now look like a proper ninja as well.

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The other thing that I spent a significant amount of time playing this weekend was Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.  At this point I have made a proper foothold in the world beyond the plateau, and in my travels I met Hestu.  I am pretty sure he is my spirit animal… and all he really wants to do is shake his maracas for people.  Thankfully by the time I encountered him I already had a few seeds to throw his ways, which I got by uncovering the hiding places of some of the Korok.  I still have this very mixed relationship with this game.  On one hand there are a bunch of things that I would love to change…  and on the other hand I just can’t seem to stop playing it.  There are absolutely things that feel needlessly obtuse and arcane…  but by the same token you feel rewarded when you finally figure out how this or that system works.  In many ways it reminds me of when I first set foot into Minecraft and had no clue how to craft anything at all… and simply started throwing things into the crafting bench to see what I might be able to make with it.  Cooking works exactly this way, and while I have no clue how to duplicate some of my efforts…  every now and then I get something truly awesome in the process.

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Another thing that is needlessly arcane is the process of taking screenshots from the Wii U.  For awhile I have known that you can hit home… click Miiverse and save a screenshot through that method.  The problem there is that there is really no way of actually getting at that screenshot other than looking in your album in Miiverse.  I mean you can share it with other people using Miiverse… but is anyone actually using Nintendo’s pseudo social network?  As a blogger I of course want access to the screenshots for the purpose of posting them on this blog, and in order to do that… you have to follow a completely different process.  The process begins much the same as the Miiverse route, but instead after hitting home you bring up your browser and navigate to this address…  i.nintendo.net.  This process will bring you to a “Nintendo Image Share” page that will allow you to connect to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr and post whatever happens to be on your screen at the moment you bring up the browser.  This in theory works on 3DS as well, but I have yet to test it out.  The images of me in Kakariko Village and of Hestu were snapped in this manor and it seems to work extremely well.  I mean like everything to do with Nintendo it is needlessly complicated… but it works.  As always I configured my Wii U to post to my screenshot twitter account that I have connected to the PS4 as well.  I highly suggest having a secondary account for screenshots… that way you can without feeling bad dump twenty screenshots in a single night.  I do however need to check this out on the 3DS and see if this will finally allow me to get proper screengrabs of the games I am playing there.  How was your weekend?

High Sodium and Paragliding

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This morning I am going to start the blog out with some tales of high sodium content.  It is safe to say that the Final Fantasy XIV “serious gamer” community is grumpy as hell right now.  Essentially the downtime on Thursday introduced the return of the Diadem… which is functionally what Free Company airships are used for… and also something that I have never actually gotten the chance to participate.  My understanding is it is a giant outdoor timed hunt zone of a sort, that has lots of mini objectives that then can reward chests full of loot.  I am always down for Square to revitalize content that has fallen by the wayside… I am looking at you hunt marks.  However why folks are super salty about this is that apparently there is a phenomenally rare chance at getting a 280 weapon to drop while doing the content.  This is of note 5 item levels higher than either the latest relic step or the weapons from Savage Alexander.  Ashgar posted a comment in our podcast slack that I can only assume came from reddit…

Can confirm, am salty.

Then I did some napkin math and if one person of the 72 players who participated wanted to get a specific weapon out of the 13 available, they’d need to do the Emergency Mission 1000 times to have a reasonable (read around 65%) of obtaining it. For a 90% chance of obtaining it, you’d need to put 2200 attempts into Emergency Missions.

If you play the roughly 2350 hours we have until we get early access to SB, you will at one emergency mission per hour, distribute 150 hours of sleep and non FFXIV related over 98 days, lets say you spend 30 min each day on food, personaly hygiene etc. and you will sleep for 1 hour per day. This is, of course, calculated with queue times estimated as 0, which I’m sure they will be. /s

So the thing is… getting one of these 280 weapons is quite literally winning the lottery.  It is not something anyone can reasonably aspire to, but serves as enough of a carrot to get people interested at all item levels of gear to start doing Diadem once more.  This absolutely fits the modus operadi of Yoshi P and crew… which is largely bribing players to do whatever content that they feel is under represented by placing the big new shiny rewards there.  What I don’t get however is the folks claiming they are going to cancel the game over this action.  This has been the way content is balanced from the beginning of A Realm Reborn…  and nifty things through bribery is a constant theme.  This does not however negate the work you put in on either a Alex weapon, or your Relic because nothing can ever tarnish the shine of those memories.  If you are playing a game only to have things no one else will ever have…  then you are probably playing for all of the wrong reasons.  Numerical perfection is a constantly moving target, and one that will be outdated the next time a new patch lands.  However if you just play for the joy of playing… and the memories of accomplishing content with your friends… then no one can ever take that from you.  What I see instead is a company throwing one hell of a carrot into content that would have easily become outdated the second it launched, and more importantly is a way of getting folks geared in 265 gear which will help their transition into Stormblood.

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One again I am super annoyed with having to snag screenshots from the web and use them in my posts when I talk about Breath of the Wild.  The Wii U is so cludgy when it comes to posting screenshots, but I suppose at some point I really need to figure out how to make it work.  Last night instead of hanging out on the sofa or upstairs… I opted to chill in the bedroom and play some more Zelda.  As of the end of last night I have officially left the starter zone, and in truth the biggest thing holding me back… was the fact that I could not figure out how in the holy hell to cook things.  My key problem with Zelda is that things just feel grossly un-intuitive.  For example…  I expected to be able to walk up to a cooking pot… and see a “Press Button to Cook” prompt.  However this never actually happened and instead I had to google it… and then google it again until I found someone who could explain it in simple enough terms to treat me as though I understood nothing about this game.  There are a lot of steps to this process that are not painfully obvious or were not to me.  First off you have to make sure that your cooking pot has a fire under it…  so for me that meant taking a branch…  catching it on fire and then whacking the cooking pot which then lit the wood underneath it.  From there you have to go into your inventory and press X on the materials to “hold” it.  That however is not enough… you have to press A to add the item to your arms…  and you go through and pick out the ingredients you want to cook doing this.

Finally when you exit the menu… you see the prompt to cook the items link is crudely holding…  and you are treated to maybe the most magical tune ever.  Like I am already hooked on cooking because I want to hear that tune over and over and over… and I tried cooking damned never everything in my inventory that looked even vaguely edible.  There is a completely magical remix that blends the tune with the Carmen Sandiego theme.  The cooking gave me access to frost resistance food… which then in turn gave me access to the last two shrines which allowed me to leave newbie plateau.  I feel like maybe I am starting to hit my stride with this game, and maybe stopping the comparison with Horizon?  Probably the highlight of last night for me was finding the Great Plateau Steppe Talus and then defeating it…  after so damned many deaths.  One of the things that I like about this game is that the auto save points seem to be sprinkled around just often enough… that you are really never losing too much time in making an attempt.  So for the Steppe Talus, the save point was just outside of the little valley it is in so I could quickly run back and keep trying things until I finally defeated it.  The trick for me was to try and stay on at all costs which meant sometimes crawling back down into climbing mode, and other times just simply running around on top to make sure I didn’t get knocked off.  The hardest part however was once again the fact that no one weapon would ever last more than a handful of swings so I literally killed it…  with a single weapon left in my inventory.  This made it extremely awkward trying to kill a handful of skeletons that spawned as I was walking out of the valley.  Whatever the case… I think I see the potential now for what boss fights might be like and I also sort of get the reference to souls games.  That term gets thrown around way too much lately, but in this case I think they largely mean the need to keep learning new tricks to defeat overwhelming odds.  In the case of the Steppe Talus, if I got hit once… with a solid enough hit it was simply over.  So I very much had to stay ahead of the combat, and only through not making any mistakes was I really able to defeat it.

A Good Night

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Last night was as the post title might give away…  a really good night.  Lately in Final Fantasy XIV I have been caught up in one of two different grinds.  The first being getting everyone to 50 by running floors 51-60 over and over again in Palace of the Dead.  The second being leveling crafting through the use of the Ixal beast tribe quests…  which is significantly more time consuming that it initially seems.  There have been so many nights I have completely squandered the entire evening trying to get that last high quality item needed to turn in a quest.  This past evening however we ran group content, and actually had a full team of eight players.  Granted at some point during the evening we lost Mor, and Neph is in Iceland and unable to game with us…  but we have built back up to a large enough group that we can do things together without queuing in randos.  Not that random players in Final Fantasy XIV are ever really a problem… it is just nice to not have to explain that we are hashing things out on a voice chat that they don’t have access to.  The prime target of the evening was Zurvan the last of the warring triad.  While I was not really a huge fan of Sephirot…  I have to say both Sophia and Zurvan are awesome fights.  Zurvan is a bit more of a good old fashioned avoid the shit fight… but still very fun to tank at least.

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After finishing up Zurvan we got another person keyed for the last part of Alexander by running them all in sequence.  I have a feeling we are ultimately going to be doing a lot of this at some point given that both Stormrazor and Muspel are coming up through the ranks.  It sounds like at some point we really need to run the early Alex for Storm, which is absolutely a thing we can do.  All in all the Alex fights are extremely fun…  except for maybe that middle section.  There are definitely some memorable encounters, but I simply don’t like it nearly as much as I like the first four and the last four.  I actually managed to roll lucky and walked away with an accessory and a belt, which takes my total item level up to 247… which I am simply hoping is high enough to avoid another gear wall during the next batch of content.  That has been the problem with Heavensward and one I am hoping they are fixing for Stormblood…  the hitting of walls that are not super easy to get to through casual content.  I still feel like they need to be doing a round of hunts each item tier to help folks catch up in a solo manner as well as through doing group content.  Final Fantasy XIV as a whole is a weird social experiment… of applying pressure in one direction and rewards in another direction to try and influence player behavior.  Sometimes it works out perfectly… and other times it feels cludgy as hell.  The gear barriers are one of those rare occasions in this game where I feel like they made the wrong choice.  That said it was a really great night of running stuff with friends, and now that we seem to have a regular group of eight people…  so many other options open up.

 

Falling Crows and Ghost Moose

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This weekend I largely set out to do one sequence of things… but instead of actually accomplishes it I spend a good chunk of the weekend piddling around in the Palace of the Dead.  For those keeping score at home I am on a mission to get all of my classes to 50.  Last week I pushed Summoner/Scholar and Black Mage and as a result this weekend I started in on my Dark Knight in an attempt to shift things up a bit.  Originally I was not super keep in Dark Knight as a tanking class, but I have to say after having played a lot of it during this grind it is definitely growing on me.  Last night while watching Talking Dead I managed to hit level 46 which means I have roughly 8 more runs of floors 51-60 before pushing this class to 50 as well.  Up until around 42 I seemed to still be getting most of a level every single trip into the dungeon, but at that point it shifted to getting roughly half of a level so I guess that is something to note as you push your own characters.  After the Dark Knight I am more than likely going to start up with the Ninja given that it is my next highest class sitting at 38.  That will leave Monk, Astrologian and Machinist…  the later two I still have yet to even accept the introductory quests.  In part I am focused on the goal of 50, because up until that point the levels in PotD seem completely reasonable.  The 50-60 grind however seems to take almost as much time as the 1-50 does, so in theory…  when I actually pick up doing that side of the equation I will begin with my Bard who is already sitting at level 55.

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In other weird weekend news… I apparently am now in the Crowfall pre-alpha?  I talked a bit about it on AggroChat this week, if you are interested in more of my thoughts.  Normally I would be posting a “Crowfall Impressions” post, because that seems to be the sort of thing I do when I get my hands on a new game.  Unfortunately I am not really sure if I have a full post worth of feelings about the game.  It is very alpha for start, so it feels like it isn’t exactly fair to really give the game anything resembling a review.  That said… they are doing an alpha with zero NDA so I feel completely free to at least talk a little about the game.  As I described it to my friends…  Crowfall is in fact a piece of software that I installed and that offers the ability to launch when I click in the patcher.  Past that I am not exactly sure what is going on in the game, and I am not really sure that I felt anything close to fun during the hour and a half that I spent grinding away to make a basic set of armor and weapons.  It doesn’t really feel like there is much game yet, and maybe the murder box that is the PVP servers are more enjoyable.  However based on the apparently cross shard server chat, it sounds like there is just a lot of spawn camping and ganking going on there.  The big challenge I had was that there was simply not much to actually fight in the PVE server, and when I did find a boar or a bizarre crystalline cat my hud would lock up on loot allowing other players to come swoop in and harvest the leather and meat on the thing I just killed.  Right now the game feels less fleshed out than Landmark did when it opened its doors to early access.  It feels like it is trying to do a lot of things but I am not entirely certain if those things blend all that well.

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Now in the “I want my Sunday back” territory…  I logged in yesterday morning to work on my Archaeology questline in World of Warcraft.  Of note… it has been 181 days since the launch of Legion according to the handy google “days since” query ability.  The last two weeks have been the very first occasion to actually complete the Laying to Rest archaeology quest that rewards the Spirit of Echero mount.  The last thing I really wanted to do was go grind arch nodes until I collected 600 moose bones…  but then again I thought to myself if I ever wanted this mount I should probably do it now, since who the hell knows when it will be available again.  I am not really sure how long it took in minutes… but I started watching Sword Art Online again somewhere during the first 100 bones… and I was able to watch three episodes in their entirety and started the fourth before I collected number 600.  It was a slog of a grind, and while I am happy it is done…  it feels like maybe a waste of time given that I am never likely going to ride the mount anyways.  I chock this one up to simple and honest fear of missing out… because if I didn’t get it there might be a version of myself someday that wishes I had.  Regardless it is done, but the second I turned in the quest I stuck around long enough to take the above screenshot and then bolted quickly from the game.  In other happenings at some point during the grind I hit 800 Archaeology so that was at least something cool that happened as well as finishing up the Handle With Care achievement.

Tiny Black Mage

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My madness continues… and last night I joined in with Grace and eventually Storm and Muspel to do some Palace of the Dead.  Essentially PotD is the new FATE grinding, and while it can be sort of repetitive, I never seem to get tired of it.  I mean I thought Tam was insane when he went through his own period of time where he lived in dank dungeon, but now I finally get it.  What I am loving about it is that I can just hop in… run a bunch of Palace of the Dead…  mentally be somewhere else like watching a movie or a television show and then still feel like I made significant progress at the end of the night.  The first goal has been to catch up my classes to 50, because it is going to allow me to have a massive house cleaning of everything that has been clogging my retainers.  I have a problem with gear, because I know that eventually I would love to have every single class to the level cap.  That is just the sort of person I am.  In World of Warcraft I actually achieved this goal prior to the launch of legion and had at least one of every alliance character sitting at 100, and three horde characters as well.

Currently I have my Warrior sitting at 60 and he is my only viably geared character for doing big kid stuff.  Then you have my Dragoon that I also leveled to 60, but promptly abandoned because playing that class in Heavensward was just so much less enjoyable for me than it was in ARR.  When I was last furiously playing the game I was working on my Bard, which had become my defacto dps class for awhile and I managed to get it up to 55.  Then we drop down to my 50s which are Paladin that I have not touched since Heavensward because I simply don’t really like playing a Paladin tank.  We have my newly raised trio of casters in the form of the Scholar, Summoner and Black Mage all sitting at 50.  Then we drop down to some 30 somethings with Ninja at 38, Monk at 33, and Dark Knight at 33.  I have yet to even pick up the quest to be a Machinist or an Astrologian but at some point I probably need to do that so that I can weave those into the rotation as well.  Now I am sort of torn as to what I should pick to level next, but for the moment I am leaning towards either the Dark Knight because I miss playing heavy armor classes… or the Ninja because they are just really fun to play.

The other set of goals that is staring me in the face is that when I last left my crafting… I had managed to push everything up to 21… with mining and foraging sitting at 50.  At some point I really want to start this grind again and push everything up to at least the point where I can make glamour prisms.  In theory I should be doing my beast tribe dailies to use those to level my crafting, but I just haven’t reached a point of getting back into the game enough to sort everything out to be able to do that.  Once I finished with the Sahagin I sort of let the beast tribe thing die once again…  but in theory should be doing the Ixal at least for crafting levels.  Whatever the case it seems like I have been assimilated back into Final Fantasy XIV, and have more goals than I can realistically accomplish.  My Warrior gear could also always be improved, but I am just finding PotD a relaxing way to spend my evenings…  but sadly one that is not terribly interesting to write blog posts about.

One Hundred Floors

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So yesterday I mentioned that I had plenty of Aetherpool to get a weapon, but found out that I apparently needed to have completed the full 1-100 Palace of the Dead experience to purchase it.  Confession time here… before last night I had never actually completed any further into PotD than floor 70.  Most of my running lately has been resetting and running 51-60 over and over which tends to give between 1/2 and 3/4 of a level worth of experience depending on your level.  I am sure this slows down in the post 50 grind, but regardless considering how fast most of the runs go it is well worth my time.  Given how fast the queue is… I am guessing the community as a whole has also decided it is well worth their time.  For the moment I have been focused on getting up my characters to 50, which would allow me to clean out a significant amount of gear from my extremely clogged retainers.  Last night I hung out in a holding pattern until my wife got home, and then we both walked to dinner and finally around 7:30 I had arrived at a place where I could get committed to running something serious.  I mentioned that I really needed to get to floor 100 and within moments Tam, Ash and Grace had volunteered for the run.  All told it took roughly 2 hours to get through the 51-100 content, which no matter how you chop it is a raid like effort of sitting still in one place for a long period of time.  As far as experience goes I went from 33 to 37 and am just barely shy of dinging 38 so just a little less than a half level per flight of floors.  I also managed to bump my Aetherpool up to 85 weapon / 87 armor as seen in the final score shot from the dungeon.

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The first five sets of floors were pretty chill, but quickly things kinda turned to madness.  We had a sequence of floors with just a silly amount of Chimera and Dragon on them, and in truth we pomander of rage’d the last three floors just to go quicker.  We picked up plenty of silver chests and exited with 9 treasures…  but we didn’t exactly go out of our way to do full clears either.  If we had unexplored rooms and the portal activated… we were far more likely just to hop straight in than to spend any more time.  This become more so as we got into the last few flights and it was clear that we were all getting tired of the run.  I am super thankful to my friends because I probably would not have successfully pugged my way through that one.  I have had great luck with 1-10 and 51-60…  but pretty much any other set I try they end up failing miserably and I am just out thirty minutes worth of frustration in the process.  Grace on the other had has somehow managed to pug her way to 100, and I salute her.  Her intestinal fortitude for dealing with strangers is so much stronger than mine.  After running 1-50 for Muspel over the weekend, and then running 51-100 for me last night…  I think it might be a long while before I sign up for another complete run of Palace of the Dead.  I greatly prefer speed running the first flight over and over to trying to do the entire thing in a single sitting.