FFXIV for PS3 Closeout

AggroChat #49 – Road Trip Fantasies Type-0

During this show we are joined by our normal cast of Belghast, Rae, Tam, Kodra and Ashgar as we devote the majority of the show to lots of different things Final Fantasy.  We talk the release of the Final Fantasy XV Demo and how this has sent Tam back into the 90s.  We talk Final Fantasy Type-0 and how we are enjoying this very different Final Fantasy Offering.  We also talk about how the Final Fantasy franchise going to more “on rails” games turned several of us off the franchise for awhile.  Ashgar beats Ori and the Blind Forest and talks a bit about his feelings regarding the ending.  Tam talks about his enjoyment of Dreamfall Chapters and how it isn’t really required that one has played the previous games.  Rae talks about her new Noms website, where they plan on making a recipe a week and reflecting on what the various authors think of it.

I talk about my current funk with my World of Warcraft raid and how the frustrations there are harshing my enjoyment.  We also delve into a deep session once again where we talk about the differences bertween WoW and FFXIV raiding.  We also have a session of “Tam Told us So” now that the news about crafting specialization has taken some of the focus away from us all becoming Omni Crafters.  I talk about my return lately to Elder Scrolls Online and the conversion to a Buy To Play system.  I talk about a game I did not expect to like but find myself begrudgingly enjoying, and that is ZMR:  Zombies Monsters Robots.  Finally we close out the show with some discussion about the League Championship Series and the introduction of the new roaming support champion… Bard.

FFXIV For PS3 Closeout

FinalFantasyARRXIVPS3Yesterday we spent the day mostly roaming around, in an effort to get out of the house more than anything. Tis the season for post Christmas clearance in all the various stores as they start closing out one seasons stuff in preparation for summer.  This is generally an awesome time to pick up all sorts of random bits, but more often than not I am hunting for Legos.  I’ve already found several sets deeply discounted and I have reached the point where I really don’t pounce on something until it is at least half off or more from the original price.  In my journeys yesterday I noticed that it seems like all of the Target stores are closing out their PS3 copies of Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn.  This creates a unique opportunity for players who have been on the fence about playing the Game.  Throughout my journeys yesterday I found it between $6 and $10 for a boxed copy of FFXIV  PS3.  Now if you act very quickly you can turn this PS3 copy into a PS4 copy with several caveats.

Firstly this offer goes away on March 31st, so you will have a limited amount to time to actually do it.  Secondly you have to have a PS3 or access to a PS3 to make this work.  You have to log your PSN account into a PS3 and bind that PS3 to your account.  Then you have to  boot up FFXIV and log into the game, thereby registering your PSN account to your Square Enix account.  Finally you have to go into the Mogstation and you can click the link that should now appear at the bottom of your account screen.  This should give you a code that you can then enter through the Sony Playstation store on your PS4 to get a copy of Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn of PS4.  This is a ton of hoops to jump through but it should allow you to get a copy of FFXIV ARR for really cheap.  There are some caveats here… firstly when you claim your PS4 copy, it nullifies your PS3 copy.  Secondly this does not give your account a PC License, which would be a separate  purchase.  I did this some time ago myself but I had forgotten all of this bullshit that you have to do until yesterday when a friend was trying to make this work.  I normally play on my PC but I like having the option to play on PS4 especially since you can remote play through a Vita or PSTV.  Granted the controls are kinda wonky, but it would be well worth figuring it out for leveling and crafting as such.

City Building

Cities 2015-03-21 11-45-41-43 Another game that I have been playing around with lately is the confusingly named Cities: Skylines.  It seems like I was suffering the same confusion that so many other gamers seem to be… that Skylines was somehow connected to the Cities XL and Cities XXL franchise.  That colon apparently is there to somehow differentiate the games, because they are in fact from two different companies.  I had played XL in the past and was not terribly impressed, so when I say the buzz about Skylines I for the most part ignored it.  That was until I actually watched some game play footage and saw that the game was essentially everything I wanted the last couple of Simcity titles to be.  Overall the game feels very much like a logical successor to Simcity 2000, which was really the last big city building game that I enjoyed playing.  If you take the concepts from that game, and bring them up to modern standards you have the Skylines interface.  The game strikes this balance between trying to have mind bending graphics and being pleasant to look at and play with.

I took this screenshot because I am pretty damned proud of getting my first upgrade.  Apparently in the years since I have played Simcity 2000, I have gotten pretty horrible at city building.  The biggest problem I am having with skylines is that it seems difficult to figure out how best to build the roads and utilities to conserve space for zoning.  The above city is actually my second attempt at creating something viable, and so far it is working okay.  My first city was a complete mess because I didn’t really know what I was doing.  I have a feeling that this second city will also be a learning experience as I try and figure out how best to optimize putting in an electrical grid and such.  All I do know for certain is that skylines is definitely a way to lose an hour without realizing it.  I started playing this as my wife was getting ready to leave yesterday morning, and next thing I know she was ready.  I feel like I need to watch some people playing it to figure out how best to do things again.  The standard grid that I used to build in doesn’t appear to really work here.  If nothing else this feels like the true “next best city building game.

The Guide Program

There are many stories that at the time were frustrating but become more humorous through the lens of nostalgia.  I think we as gamers all have thousands of such tales in us, and with this new feature my goal is to try and devote some time to committing these to paper.  Nostalgia is a powerful force, but one that is fun to wallow in every now and then.

Exeteroth Iceforge

EQpic_LOIOPosingAgain I’ve been sitting here for a bit staring at a blank screen, not quite sure what to write for my Storytime Saturday post.  Which lead m to start thinking about the things I miss in games.  One of the casualties of the whole Daybreak Games debacle was the majority of the in game GM department.  From what I have heard they currently have only a single GM per game, which makes me wonder why there is not talk about bringing back the Guide program.  For those who are not familiar with the concept, the Guide program was a series of player volunteers that gave up some of their in game time to serve as junior GMs on a server other than their own.  These guides took care of a lot of the day to day requests like players stuck in geometry, and minor behavior infractions.  The guide system always felt really cool because you knew more than likely you were getting another seasoned player helping you out, and in part you felt more connected to them because of it.

This freed up the GM staff to do some interesting things like live events.  It was always extremely awesome when something was going on, and it was amazing how fast word trickled through the community.  Players would drop what they were doing to flock to whatever zone something cool was happening in.  The unfortunately thing is it has been literally years since I last participated in something like that.  Modern games seem to have a GM staff that simply does not come out to play anymore.  There was a time when on Xegony in Everquest we knew all of the GMs and guides assigned to our server.  There were so many times they would be hanging out in zone with us as we took down a raid boss, cheering us on.  The problem is there were tales of GMs doing questionable things to help out some of the top tier guilds.   I really hope they were just rumors, because while we might have had GMs in zone with us they never did anything to assist us other than to lend moral support.

Spawn Rights

magiptasa One of the rights of passage in Everquest was the obtaining of the epic weapon.  This was an extremely long process that involved the camping of many rare spawns.  I’ve talked in the past about playing a cleric which was actually one of the less annoying epic weapons to obtain.  The worst ones relied upon steps in raid instances that were extremely rare spawns.  I remember getting home from work, logging in and seeing messages in guild chat that “Pasta” was up, and everyone immediately knew that it meant we were going to the Plane of Hate that night.  Magi P’Tasa was a super rare spawn on what I vaguely remember being a two week long spawn cycle buried deep within the Plane of Hate.  When it was up… it became a race among all the various raid guilds on the server to see who could field a raid first and clear to it and defeat it.  So many times there was a fever pitch battle to try and log people in fast enough, and get us all into Hate in order to grab the spawn rights first.

That was one of the awesome things about Xegony is that for the most part the raid guilds respected each others “spawn rights”.  Meaning that if someone was in a zone, it was more or less off limits to any other guild trying to come up and muscle them out of it.  So whoever gained a foothold in Hate for example, owned Hate until they were doing farming it.  These farm sessions could last days at times, especially on the weekends.  This however was not the case on every server.  Originally I started on Veeshan, the home of the fabled Fires of Heaven raid guild.  They respected no ones “spawn rights” in any form, and there were constantly tales of them steamrolling their way through a zone that someone else was currently farming to muscle through to the spawn they needed.  Often times training mobs on the rival guild to keep them busy while they got what they were after.  I feel like in part the reason why we have instanced dungeons in World of Warcraft, is in part because of these sort of shenanigans.

Murky Depths

Npc_lord_bergurgle The cool thing is that while all of this was going on, it was not unusual for guides and GMs to be hanging out watching the race for the spawn.  I have to say the coolest instance of GM intervention I ever experienced was while I was working on my own epic weapon quest.  At the bottom of Lake Rathetear was a particularly annoying step that involved farming a set of Aqua Goblins until a rare named goblin called Lord Bergurgle spawned.  Like so many of the spawns in Everquest this on was based on a random chance anytime you killed the placeholder.  This often meant spending hour after hour on the bottom of Lake Rathetear which was a slog of a camp because the bottom of the lake was pitch black…. with nothing other than some crumbling ruins to stare at.  During one of my sessions down on the bottom of the lake a random GM popped by and spend several hours just keeping me company as we waited on the spawn.  It was awesome that she was more than happy to chat away keeping a lonely cleric company while waiting on an annoying spawn.

Basically I miss this sort of interaction between the customer support staff and the player base.  During these early days there was so much more cooperation between players and customer service, because it felt like we were in this together.  That we were working together to make this game we both loved all the more awesome.  I am not saying that CS is not doing an amazing job currently, but I miss this era of manual and personal intervention with the players.  The GMs and Guides were physically in the game with you, not connected into it through a chat server in a call center somewhere.  In part it was also cool that “guide robes” were something that was instantly recognizable as a person of authority.  It was like a uniform that every player immediately recognized and respected.  They were the in game security guards and forces of right and good.  I keep hoping now that we have these smaller niche games that they will bring back something like the guide program.  I think it is good for the community as a whole to have representatives in direct contact with the player base on a regular basis.  If nothing else it is fun to fondly remember this era in MMOs, even if I doubt it will ever fully return.  I feel like this is probably something that gets harder to support the larger the game gets.

Pope Belghast

On Spoilers

This week has been an absolutely insane one, and I have had this feeling of constantly being behind the curve.  So it is no surprise that yesterday I was just not getting around to listening to the relaunch of the Contains Moderate Peril podcast, now with the addition Jaedia and Jasyla joining the cast of permanent hosts.  One of the topics that landed on was a discussion about spoilers.  I have this mixed feeling about the concept of information being spoiled, and it largely centers around the fact that I don’t generally mind them.  If nothing else knowing there is a plot twist coming up, only serves to enhance my interest in the product.  I can only think of one instance where a spoiler actually stopped me from watching the show… and that primarily was because the single character I cared about was killed, and I didn’t feel like going through the motions of watching it happen.

All of this said I am super sensitive about potentially spoiling someone else’s experience.  For example on AggroChat when we are about to discuss major plot points, even if it is a game well past the statute of limitations on such things… we still tend to preface it with “spoiler alert”.  All of this discussion however has made me realize how generally awesome my twitter feed actually is.  I can count on one hand the number of times that I have seen information in it that was actually a spoiler to anyone.  Similarly the group of people that I hang around with and game with seem to be equally sensitive to such information.  I just find it interesting that we don’t consider reading the book before going to see the movie spoilers, but when we read a plot synopsis it is somehow different.  I will say that knowing the “Red Wedding” was coming, only served to enhance my enjoyment of that season of Game of Thrones, because I knew at some point this event would happen.  That said… I would have been pissed as hell had someone spoiled any moment of the Harry Potter books for me, so I guess it goes both ways.

Back to Blackrock

Wow-64 2015-03-20 06-34-13-03 Since my world was insane Monday and Tuesday… I ended up missing my World of Warcraft raid group night.  As a result last night was my first time back this week, and it felt a little odd to be back in the game.  It seems on Tuesday they managed to down everything we currently have on farm but the Operator Thogar encounter…  which is fine by me because so far that is hands down my favorite fight this expansion.  It took a few tries but I think on attempt three we managed to down Thogar again.  I was absolutely shocked when I saw loot pop up on the corpse, since we generally run on personal loot.  Our raid leader said that we had very few upgrades that could be gotten so that personal loot was no longer the big draw it once was.  Unfortunately I have to disagree with him as I have not had a single upgrade in going on seven raids.  I’ve gotten nothing but gold, and in many cases double gold since I am spending tokens left and right.  I kept expecting that one of the weeks the slot machine of a loot system would pay out… but I am guessing that is no longer the case.

I was really hoping this week would be my week to pick up shoulders, since I have been sitting on the chest piece for a few weeks now.  Neither piece is an upgrade unless I am also getting the two piece set bonus for wearing them.  I am annoyed that I still have four slots that are sub 670 gear, but given time I will hopefully find some upgrades.  One of the things I was not expecting is that they bumped Blackrock Foundry gear up by 5 ilevels, which actually makes LFR worthwhile for a couple of slots like my 640 legs.  As far as progression content we worked on the Heart of the Mountain encounter for a bit before popping out of the instance, flipping it to heroic and working on Hans and Franz.  On our best attempt we managed to get them down to 8% but we had various issues.  Largely we were flying without a safety net last night as both our Deathknight and our Healing Druid were not in attendance… meaning we had no battle rezzes at all.  I am getting frustrated that we are struggling with this attendance hump, not quite being able to get all the right classes we need to succeed on at the right time.

Pope Belghast

ffxiv 2015-03-19 22-56-58-83 Before and after the raid I spent time in what has become my more comfortable gaming home… Final Fantasy XIV.  For a period of time I was splitting myself fairly equally between World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV, but honestly at this point I am only actually logging in twice a week because I feel a sense of commitment to the raid.  The thing that has always been missing in every game we have played is a huge thriving community.  Right now we have that in Final Fantasy in spades, and in fact I would say our average player base is easily twice the number of people who are actually online regularly in House Stalwart.  I want to say Ashgar said that over the last few days we had 55 unique players online, and we often top 20 on a nightly basis.  For awhile I was actively recruiting players, but folks seem to keep recruiting themselves once they hear about the Free Company.  All of this makes me a very happy Belghast.

After yesterdays post about being a reluctant healer, Ashgar took it upon himself to convince me to heal expert roulette last night.  I told them this was a horrible idea, but they didn’t really listen and I endangered the lives of not only Ash but also Thalen and Solaria.  It turns out that I honestly didn’t do too horribly.  We ended up getting Keeper of the Lake which is a frustrating instance at the best of times.  We died to the very first boss, but I believe that was the only time we wiped, and I only managed to lose a player once… and that was on the final boss encounter where I swiftcasted a battle rez.  Yesterday after the WoW raid I spend most of the time milling around in the housing district, when we had a brilliant idea.  I have been sitting on the player commendation pope hat for awhile, and with my soldiery healer gear… it just worked too perfectly not to use it.  I even have a proper miter in my hands.  I introduce to you Pope Belghast, the reluctant healer.

Reluctant Healer

Tyranny of Blank Page

ffxiv 2015-03-11 19-16-57-98 I’ve been going through a bit of a spell the last several mornings where I get upstairs, sit down, and stare into the abyss that is a blank screen not really knowing quite what to fill it with.  So this is a post to tell all of the people that read me, that seem to think I have this limitless font of material… that sometimes it runs dry.  In part it feels like I am just not doing all that much of any interest in the games I am playing.  Due to various issues at work my in game time has been very distracted.  Often times I might be at the screen but I am doing a generally poor job of paying attention to the people around me.  Even last night while sitting on Voice Chat, it was like it was filtered and muffled in the background of my mind, taking a few minutes to pull my focus forward and actually understand what someone just said.  Suffice to say it is me, not the games I am currently playing that is causing the problem and in an attempt to make things better I went to bed pretty early last night.

The last few days have just been odd to exist in my skin.  I had a very interrupted weekend, where I did not accomplish much in the way of gaming.  Then each morning my routine is thrown off because my wife is on spring break, and while in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t change my schedule  that much… something feels fundamentally off.  It has been nice having her home during the day because it means I don’t have to figure out something for dinner that can be reheated easily.  Last night she made this amazing batch of Chicken and Dumplings, and from the sound of it the recipe was super easy.  Largely just dump a bunch of stuff in the crock pot and give it an appropriate amount of time.  The thing that frustrates me the most about my current “out of it” state, is that I feel like at any given moment I am letting down five people because I am not doing whatever they need me to do.  Between MMOGames, the fledgling AggroChat site, the insanely growing free company in Final Fantasy XIV, the guild in World of Warcraft and various sundry other side projects I feel pulled in so many places.  When I am “myself” and in my right mind, with the appropriate frame of reference… it all seems to work.  When I am in this current stupor nothing seems to function and I am failing in equal parts at all of it.

Reluctant Healer

ffxiv 2015-03-19 06-33-40-41 One of the more interesting side effects of my current mission to cap poetics every single week, is the fact that I seem to be absolutely rolling in Tomestones of Soldiery.  As a result I have been using it to bolster all of my other classes, and most recently I have been pouring it into my White Mage.  The ultimate irony is that I am sitting at 104 gear score, but have yet to heal anything at level 50.  I have to say I am looking pretty badass though in my daystar gear set.  Overall I am a huge fan of all of the soldiery gear, though I feel like I should probably be spending the points on my Bard instead.  My bard actually gets use anytime we need a ranged dps for something and not a tank.  This doesn’t happen extremely often, but far more often than I would ever consider swapping to heal something.  I have to admit that healing in Final Fantasy XIV was really fun up through Brayflox… and then it is like things got too real for me.  I had too many flashbacks to my early days as a healer, and it stopped being nearly as much fun.

I know I have covered this numerous times but I started my MMO career as a Cleric in Everquest.  For years I had played Clerics in Dungeons and Dragons and managed to turn them into these awesome holy warriors.  Picking the right deity here, and the right spells there… could turn what is usually a support class into an amazing front line battle priest.  Unfortunately this design went against everything that was Everquest, and I spent a lot of my time soloing using the good ole Root and Nuke combination.  Then when it came to raiding… I had to learn about the frustration that is the Complete Heal Rotation, where every 2 to 3 seconds the main tank is getting a full heal, so you have to time the 12 second cast so that someone is always starting up the next one.  All of this makes me really reluctant to heal anything, because I never want to get back into a mode of operation where that style of game play is the normal.  So I guess I have a bit of a mental block towards actually putting myself out there as a viable healer.  I would gladly do it for anyone in the free company, but I just haven’t really made it widely known that it was an option.

Guild Tanking

ffxiv 2015-03-19 06-43-48-08 Instead I am far more comfortable taking up the mantle of a guild tank.  In my current daze I have probably missed a half dozen opportunities to tank for guildies.  Last night I managed to catch one of these as Solaria  and her daughter Isalenne needed to run Haukke Manor.  I would have tanked anything for them, but it so happens that Haukke is probably one of my favorite dungeons in the entire game.  I love the whole Castlevania feel to the place, and while leveling my healer I seemed to get that place almost every single time I popped into the low level roulette.  As a result I have pretty much every pull memorized, and Isa commented on just how relaxing the run was compared to the average duty finder one.  I actually got into a discussion on twitter yesterday about DPS queues and class balance and I realize that I am 100% part of the problem.  I will happily don the mantle of the serious tank when it comes to my friends…   but when I solo queue for the duty finder… I do so as a DPS.  I’ve never really learned how to turn off that part of me that takes total responsibility for the success or failure for the group when I am tanking.  As such I am willing to take that burden for my friends, but cannot bring myself to do it for strangers.

The problem is I know deep down in my bones how generally awesome the Final Fantasy XIV community is.  I know that I have tanked for random strangers before while leveling… and actually enjoyed it.  The problem is I have this mental wall that I struggle to get around.  Since the introduction of the Ninja, the DPS queues in Final Fantasy XIV have been completely out of control.  If you do a low level duty finder you can be sitting in that queue for over thirty minutes as dps, and if you are a ninja… it trends extremely close to infinity as the game seems to try to stick a ranged and a melee in a group if at all possible.  The end result is a lot of frustration for newer players that just need to get dungeons running.  As such I try my damnedest to intercept people needing dungeons and make them happen among free company members.  The problem is… not all of my friends are on Cactuar, and not all of them are in our Free Company.  I really should be a better person and do more “charity queues”, which is a term we came up with shortly after release when everyone seemed to need Ifrit but no one could get a group.  Various members of our free company would queue for Ifrit and help a bunch of people through that obstacle.  I remember one Black Mage had been sitting in that queue for three hours, so really I need to step up to the plate and do more random tanking.  Knowing this however is slightly different from doing this…  but I am going to try and force myself out there.

Disconnected Dragoon

Missing a Raid

WoWScrnShot_031815_063013 Yesterday was one of those days when I felt like I was moving through molasses the entire day.  In part it was the whole staying up late and babysitting servers bit, but also we had so much stuff going on during the day connected to the two outages.  It turns out that after much research they were not actually related.  I knew I was not exactly in “fighting shape” so I let my raid leader know that I would not be attending the WoW Raid that night.  This is in part a good thing because they were apparently talking about having to do a paired down raid due to limited healers, and it is probably a good thing to rotate folks a bit.  At this point I would never mind having to sit out for a night because I have so much other stuff going on that I could be doing.  When I got home I took a nap and that helped quite a bit, or at least made me feel something vaguely human.

I asked my wife not to let me sleep more than an hour, since I generally struggle with the concept of napping.  If I take a nap, it means I am not likely to get a good nights sleep.  My body plays this game with me, where it only wants to get five to six hours of sleep a night.  When I nap, it means I am going to have this massive bout of insomnia that night.  Thankfully the short nap managed to do what it needed to do and I was still able to sleep fairly well as a result.  I spent most of the night hanging out on the couch catching up on Better Call Saul.  The irony of be getting into this series is the fact that I have never actually watched Breaking Bad.  I mean I have watched the first episode, but since my wife showed some interest in the show I didn’t really want to start it on my own without her watching along.  Otherwise there would come a point where I would have to start back from scratch and watch everything over again.  I managed to catch up through episode seven, and that show is just  becoming more interesting as it goes.

Disconnected Dragoon

ffxiv 2015-03-04 19-29-18-85 When it came to actual gaming last night, I was a bit more distracted.  I spent some time logged into Final Fantasy XIV because our Free Company is just insanely vibrant, but I really didn’t do all that much gaming.  I ran a few roulettes, and managed to get yet another piece of 130 gear thanks to another carbontwine, but mostly I just spent a lot of time hanging out at the free company house when I got up from my nap.  It really is surreal to see the number of people online… and at some point I need to catch up with my whole guild census project and record all the new people in our spreadsheet.  One of the problems with FFXIV is that there is no good guild notes functionality so we are having to keep an external list of which character belongs to which personality.  Its tedious but for whatever reason I struggle to relate in game names back to twitter and blogger names.  I spend a lot of time thinking “I think  that is this person” but never fully committing because my memory is extremely fallible.  That is my deep dark secret, that in other games I remember everyone… because I can check the officer notes.

I am not sure how I really made it through the sequence of Labyrinth of the Ancients, Syrcus Tower and World of Darkness… but I am guessing at this point I can just do those on auto pilot.  I am hoping I was not “that dragoon” in most of the instances, because I managed to get several commendations.  Generally speaking if I go in, and manage not to die… I get commendations.  I should have spent the night working on botany, but instead I mostly stood around a lot staring blankly at the screen.  I feel like over the last several nights I have been particularly antisocial.  Largely when I am watching something on Television I stay off voice chat, and go for large periods of time without reading free company chat either.  I know at some point Arkenor asked for a group, but it was not until it had actually formed that I noticed.  I have been a less than stellar “Bel” lately, and I am hoping tonight I will be feeling back to my normal self.  I feel like I have missed a lot of what is going on, and I am hoping to remedy that.

Time to Landmark

EverQuestNextLandmark64 2014-02-17 17-36-42-66 It has been well over a year since I last played Landmark in any fashion.  That game has evolved in such a way that if you are not playing constantly you fall behind in the number of changes.  At this point I simply feel behind the curve and it has been a real barrier from me jumping back into the game.  This morning I read something interesting however, that Landmark plans to have one more major character wipe before opening its doors to the public.  My theory is that this might be precisely the ideal time to pop my head back in and see how the game has progressed.  Right now this wipe is slotted for sometime around April 29th.  So my hope is that I can pop in and experience all of the new content fresh and not be so entirely out of touch with it.  Honestly the most enjoyment I had in the game was the process of “leveling up” which was completing a series of arbitrary goals to keep moving up through the different types of picks and tools you can create.  Once I had access to everything the game quickly became stale for me.

For reference when I last played the game… the Caves system was not yet patched in.  So this means I have that and all of the player combat to experience fresh.  The problem is I am torn on the whole Daybreak thing.  I am still rather pissed about the layoffs, but at the same time the folks who are still on staff there are struggling to make this whole thing work.  My Landmark account is a sunk cost as I purchased it so long ago.  I might as well get some use out of it, and see what this game has become in the months since I let my claim get repossessed.  There was a point where I realized I was only logging in just long enough to mine copper to pay the upkeep on my claim.  This is one of the things I don’t like about upkeep systems.  If you are only playing the game to pay upkeep, are you really playing the game at all?  I am actually looking forward to the character wipe now and hopefully I will be able to reignite the spark I once had for this game.

Guar Wrangler

Horrible Night

1685929-797522_xo_manowar___bws_super Last night was supposed to be our guild attempt on Turn 9 again in Final Fantasy XIV.  I logged in ready to go, and then all hell broke loose.  We had two servers go down at work, and I spent my night working with a coworker trying to bring them back online.  While all this was happening, the guild rightfully filled my spot and the show went on without me.  It sounds like maybe they got through another phase but I was not paying that close of attention to what was going on in Teamspeak.  I spent most of the night watching those servers, trying to make sure that they were not going to go down again.  I got a 9:30 pm call from my boss which freaked me out, because my mind immediately jumped to the conclusion that something had happened again.  Turns out he was just returning my call from earlier in the evening that apparently he missed.

The problem is as stressful as my actual evening went… it apparently spilled over into my dreams.  In my dream I was interviewing Robert Downey Jr. and he was extremely agitated.  He was pacing around the room, and I kept trying to the bottom of why.  Suddenly he got mad with me and transformed into the Ironman suit from his briefcase.  He fired a shot at me, and I responded by turning into the X-O Manowar suit.  We battled back and forth in this conference room.  One of his repulsor beams blew a hole in the wall and outside I could see the Ultramarines fighting some sort of giant Kaiju.  Finally they defeated it and stormed into the building to assist me.  Moments from capturing Robert Downey Jr. turned Ironman…  I apparently woke up.  It was a strange night.

Capping Poetics

ffxiv 2015-03-16 19-51-15-65 While semi-afk and working on servers I happened to notice movement in my game screen.  It turns out the entire guild was swarmed around me trying to lure me back from wherever I happened to be.  Unfortunately it didn’t work and it took another thirty minutes or so before things were finally restored.  Since I missed the boat for raid time… and quite honestly I didn’t feel like I should get involved in something that serious I opted to run hardmodes for poetics.  I went into the night sitting around 200 poetics of the 450 cap.  Through a series of hard modes, trials and a random expert with guildies when the raid was over I managed to get within a single point of capping.  This meant I was within a single trial of cap, so I stayed up and did just that… managing to get the most frustrating Ifrit Hard mode I have ever experienced.  The tank failed to have shield oath up, which meant that the white mage quite literally tanked Ifrit for most of the kill.

If nothing else capping poetics was a bit of a silver lining to an otherwise shitty night.  Right now I am very much in this mode of trying to cap every week so I can finish gearing out my main the Warrior.  As far as pieces to purchase, I need a couple of pieces of jewelry, the belt and the chest piece… and then a bunch of weeks to past to get the necessary carboncoat and carbontwine to upgrade them to 130.  In any case there is still a lot of upgrades ahead of me, and my hope is to get to as much 130 gear as I can before the release of the 2.55 patch which is supposedly March 31st.  That seems really damned soon considering we just recently had the Golden Saucer patch, but I guess they are wanting to give players time with that patch to finish things up before June 19th and the Heavensward headstart.  I guess now that I think about that, it is only giving players a month with 2.55 which makes sense as something that they would want to do.

Guar Wrangler

eso 2015-03-16 23-59-44-25 After the night that I had I should have just gone straight to bed.  The problem is I was still very much still “worked up” over the events.  I likely could not have slept if I had tried, so throughout the night I had been patching up Elder Scrolls Online, and decided to pop my head in.  It turns out that they flipped the switch for Tamriel Unlimited a bit early, and folks were able to log in and play last night.  Overall the transition seemed smooth enough, and all of my pets and such got sucked into the new collections system.  Similarly I was granted 4500 crowns to spend on the in game shop, and with that I picked up the stealth armor pack that had this very cool covenant armor set, and the guar that I am riding on.  I also picked up the Wildhelm dog pet, because he looked adorable.

As far as the game itself, I had been popping my head in Tamriel once or twice a week for awhile now.  After the change I didn’t really detect anything to strange other than the fact that I now had a champion point to spend, and had to respec my character completely.  That was the hardest part, trying to decide and remember what I had before.  I feel like I probably ended up with a similar build to before… but I can’t be too certain.  I am still heavily sword and shield dragon knight, and that seems effective.  I wandered around and managed to take out a world mini-boss at some ghost pirate camp without much issue, so I am happy with the results.  I look forward to getting more time to explore the Aldmeri Dominion now that the champion system feels like I am actually making forward momentum again.  Now I just have to live with the consequences of having limited sleep.

Warrior Milestone

Tired of Selfies

Wow-64 2015-03-16 06-13-12-31 This weekend while out running around in Joplin I kept myself entertained thanks to my twitter feed.  Among the constant stream of updates was a series of posts from Alternative Chat, where she attempted to tell a story through twitter and succeeded beautifully.  The only problem is that in the weeks since the release of 6.1 I have developed a knee jerk negative reaction to seeing a wow selfie posted in my twitter feed.  It was a real struggle for me to look past the medium of the pictures to peer at the underlying story.  Largely my problem with selfies is that they are this distorted caricature of what our avatars actually look like.  The angles are all distorted, and it is impossible to control your facial expressions as they go through a series of seemingly random contortions.  Like I had said before I thought that with time folks would get bored with them, and move on… but as the weeks continue it only seems to be more prevalent.

Wow-64 2015-03-16 06-12-59-40 Don’t misunderstand what I am saying, because I still love taking photos of my characters.  I just prefer the picture above to the selfie I lead off the first paragraph with.  There is just something much more visually appealing to being able to see more of your character than simply your face, torso and part of your arms.  The biggest problem I have with selfies is the fact that it becomes hard to take in the entire picture.  During Alt’s twitter story, it was as much about the places she was at rather than her character.  I struggled to see enough of the elements in the background to immediately indentify where she was actually standing to take the picture.  I realize that for the purpose of that story it was in an almost travelogue format, but the times when she broke from it and took a traditional screenshot were my favorite segments of the story.  Not that I expect this to change anyone’s practices, but I am just saying now that I have a major preference towards traditional screenshots as compared to the distorted version that is a selfie.

Warrior Milestone

ffxiv 2015-03-16 06-29-15-12 This weekend I did not manage to get nearly as much playtime in as I had hoped.  Saturday we spent pretty much the entire day until about thirty minutes before podcast time running around.  We ended up having to go visit my Mother-In-Law and made a day trip of it meandering our way there and to Joplin through a series of small towns.  My wife and I both have this thing where we like to go hunting for interesting items on clearance, and I have managed to pick up quite a few awesome Lego sets for less than of their original price.  This weekend however, I found a ton of sets… but nothing that I really could not live without.  Ultimately my vice is Star Wars and Space/Futuristic themed sets.  My most recent find was three of the sets from the “Agents” line at a local target for slightly less than half off the original price.  Needless to say I did not really get much play time in Saturday.  Sunday until 4pm I ended up helping my wife with a few things around the house, namely putting together a large cubical storage unit and a smaller bakers rack unit for our closet.

So by the time I finally got logged in downstairs and was able to play Final Fantasy XIV I felt under the gun to help make up some ground.  At this point I am sitting at 254 poetics out of 450 for the week… and all I have is tonight to somehow manage to cap.  I don’t have a feeling that I am going to make it, because we have a raid.  However when I get home from work I am going to try my damnedest to get it through a combination of duty roulettes.  I did however manage to run through the three Crystal Tower instances and get another Carbontwine allowing me to upgrade my Helm from 120 to 130.  Similarly I managed to get enough Poetics to buy another piece of jewelry, so that I could use one of the Carboncoats I had laying around.  This took me to 120 ilevel which for me at least is somewhat of a mental milestone.  There is something about breaking another 10s barrier in my gear score.  I am now sitting at just over 11,000 hit points, which is only going to serve to make my healers complain more strongly about my health pool when I am fully buffed.  It makes me feel useful though the more gear that I can manage to pile on.

Foraging Slowly

ffxiv 2015-03-16 06-27-56-61 One of my hopes this weekend was to spend a good deal of time on the sofa watching television and working on my Botany.  This never actually happened, for various reasons.  I spent a bit of time  yesterday morning watching a movie and importing by hand 48 episodes of Aggrochat into the new Aggrochat.com website.  I did however manage to work on botany some during the recording of this weeks AggroChat, and at this point I am level 16.  The brute force leveling is finally starting to slow down, but I keep telling myself that every level that I can gain in this fashion is going to let my level allowance build back up so I can push through the levels more quickly later.  When I pushed mining I managed to drop down to 30 leves left, and over the last few days it has managed to regenerate back up to 65, so when it caps I will begin pushing Botany a bit harder.

I had honestly wondered about stopping Botany for a bit to get fishing up to 15 as well.  That way I can start getting rid of all of this gathering gear that I have clogging my banks.  Since I only have Fishing and Botany left, my hope is that I can maybe stair step them both up together pushing it up 5 levels at a time so I can shed a bunch of gathering gear in the process.  That really seems to be the ideal way to level classes in general.  I have four retainers and they are all full of gear that I think I will use at some point.  I turned in a bunch of the Syrcus Tower dragoon gear last night for company seals,  and I need to really spend an afternoon identifying the stuff that I want to keep and sorting it out from the stuff I don’t want to keep.  All of the Scylla’s healing gear for example is prime territory for giving away… considering I am slowly replacing it with soldiery items to help burn down my tomestones.  Honestly as soon as I have Soldiery equivalents all of the gear from Syrcus Tower is suspect because I consider every single set “ugly”.

Cleansing Lunari

AggroChat #48 – Ori and the Sad Sads

Ori 2015-03-12 11-52-32-79 Last night we embarked upon another journey through that weekly tradition we call the AggroChat podcast.  Things are a little different sounding this week because I finally got a proper microphone.  Positive is I can have my fan on me while we record without it picking that up… however it seems to pick up my mouse clicks like insanely bad.  Last night we dedicated the show to the ultimate Pi day, and Kodra was celebrating with a bunch of tiny pies.  The first game we talked about in depth is Ori and the Blind Forest which is so many sads out of sad.  The game is a gloriously animated and beautifully done…. but has the saddest intro I have ever experienced in any game.  We talk about how the hopeful tone of the rest of the game, doesn’t really fit with the intro sequence.  From Ori we move into the pitfalls of the Final Fantasy XIV crafting system, and why all of us are trying to become Omni crafters for the sake of our free company Airship.  This makes Tam exceptionally sad because all he really wants to be is a good goldsmith.

I talk about my guilds progress in Blackrock Foundry and some of the drama that happened as a result of us needing to pair down our dps in order to conquer the content.  Most of the guilds I know have been struggling with keeping enough healers this expansion, and because we are habitually short that limits the number of dps we can realistically bring on fights.  Since we are getting into harder content we had to bench a few people, and one of them took offense enough to rather dramatically guild quit during the middle of the raid.  Tam went into a interesting discussion about the new Infinity rules and how they will change the way gameplay happens, by shifting focus away from combat to instead be focused on objective completion.  Finally I talk at length about my experiences playing the Steam beta of Moonrise…  but I will go into that in more detail below.

AggroChat Dot Com

aggrochat_screenshot A few weeks ago I had a bit of a brain storm…  or at least a slight drizzle.  The revolved around the idea of trying to apply to get press passes for the AggroChat folks to Pax Prime.  It made me realize that between all of us that do this podcast on a weekly basis there is quite a lot of content that we are producing on a regular basis.  I write Tales of the Aggronaut daily, Tam writes Digital Initiative, Ashgar writes Ash’s Adventures, Kodra the Keen Gamer, and Rae does Little Rae of Sun.  What if we pulled all of this content together in one place, and then augmented it with some of our other friends that maybe don’t want to take the time to maintain a full blog of their own, but have the occasional post in them.  The end result is AggroChat.com and while it is not finished and still very much a work in progress, I feel like it is “done enough” to start talking about it.  Right now the big daunting task that is ahead of me this morning is pulling together all of the content from AggroChat into the site.  This means manually creating entries for all 48 of our episodes so far, but it is well worth it to make sure everything works correctly.

There are a few outstanding issues, like why exactly Ash’s preview images are broken.  Other than that I think things have come together rather nicely.  I still need to do a “real” logo for the site pulling together the awesome Chibi versions of ourselves that Rae created, and I still need to get bio information from all of our bloggers for the individual author pages.  However I am pretty pleased with how things are shaping up.  The color scheme was intentionally obnoxious in some what of an honorific of Kodra… who we honestly thought was color blind for the first several years of gaming with him.  He puts together some pretty outrageous color schemes, and I figured because of this our website needed to be equally insane.  Let us know what you think of the site so far.  Hopefully more bloggers will be coming on board the site within the next few days as I sort things out.  My hope is that this will push all of us to create more interesting content.

Cleansing Lunari

Moonrise 2015-03-12 17-41-25-69 One of the games I talked about a little bit in my day one PAX South wrap up post was Moonrise by Undead Labs.  I had a lot of fun playing the game and being shown the ropes by Richard Foge, even though he kicked my ass in PVP numerous times.  So as exciting as this game was, because it reminded me so much of Jade Cocoon…  it really fell in the realm of “not the key demographic”.  I am not really much of a mobile gamer, while I own tablets and numerous handheld systems…  I don’t game on them very often.  In fact right now I think the only mobile game I have installed on my phone is Final Fantasy Dimensions.  As one of the few people on the planet that do not have an iPad the game fell in that category of “really excited to see it” but probably not for me.  All of this was until the other night when I happened to click through to a twitch stream posted by the Undead Labs account.  It turns out the game is coming to Steam Early Access soon, and this immediately changed my perspective on it.  To make things even cooler I managed to score a closed beta key, and have been playing quite a bit of the game since.

Moonrise 2015-03-12 23-27-25-60 I have a more proper preview post in the moderation queue on MMOGames.com, which should be releasing Monday or Tuesday, but I wanted to take a few minutes this morning to talk about this game and why you should be excited about it.  First off the game is a really enjoyable art style that reminds me so much of Free Realms.  I have always liked that sort of “realistic cartoony” feel to games where I can create something funky without it feeling like I am no longer actually connected to reality.  The game centers around the event called the Moonrise which normally happens for only a few days, causing normally peaceful “Solari” to turn into ravening corrupted “Lunari”.  The problem is this Moonrise has been lasting far longer than normal and seems to only be growing in strength.  You play the role of a game keeper like Warden, and your job is to go around the countryside cleansing the Lunari of their sickness by engaging them in battle.

Moonrise 2015-03-12 17-36-03-21 Immediately the game has some characteristics that feel very Pokemon like in that you are sending your pets out to do battle with other creatures.  Where this whole equation gets turned on its head is the fact that it is happening in real time, and you are battling with up to two Solari at a time… out of a stable of six that you have “at the ready”.  So if this were not frenetic enough, you also have the ability to do battle yourself, with your warden earning various abilities as you level up.  When it comes to Warden vs Warden combat, you have two win conditions.  Either you can knock out all of the enemy Solari… or you can instead use abilities that focus the enemy Warden directly.  When I fought Foge at Pax South I seemed to do just fine at whittling down his Solari, but he would do a better job at focusing me directly and knocking me out as a Warden.  The game itself is extremely enjoyable with a combination of lobby areas with open hunting zones and dungeons to explore and treasures to find.  When this goes to open access I highly suggest you check it out, and I am sure over the next few weeks I will be posting more about it.

The Tower Guardan

There are many stories that at the time were frustrating but become more humorous through the lens of nostalgia.  I think we as gamers all have thousands of such tales in us, and with this new feature my goal is to try and devote some time to committing these to paper.  Nostalgia is a powerful force, but one that is fun to wallow in every now and then.

Ignorance is Bliss

The original Belghast the Celt Champion I’ve told bits and pieces of my time in Dark Age of Camleot in the past, but today I thought I would delve further into what was ultimately the second MMO I played.  I remember being in the beta process and thinking that the game seemed so much more advanced than Everquest that I had been used to.  However I did not really play the game seriously until the launch of Gaheris the co-operative server.  Most people think fondly upon Dark Age of Camelot of the realm versus realm combat, for me however it was all of the interesting PVE things that I did with my friends.  At that time we had an extremely small and close knit guild called the Whispers of Legend.  In fact the only real remnant of that guild is a posting on Zam’s for an item I submitted under our guild name.  One of the best things about Gaheris was that we could literally play any class in the game together, and explore any realm freely.

Our motley group consisted of a Dwarf Warrior as the main tank, me on my Celt Champion as dps and off tank, a Lurikeen Enchanter providing dps and crowd control and a Celt Bard being dual boxed by our warrior providing all of the healing and song twisting.  Much later on I picked up a second account and ran my very own bard, but much of the content that we experienced we did as a trio, with my friend Shadoes playing both the role of main tank and main healer.  This game was also the very first appearance of me using the name Belghast, so even if I could never actually return to playing it… it will always hold a special place in my heart.  There were so many times we ventured someplace we should not have been only to end up trying to fight our way back to our tombstones, more than anything to prove to ourselves that we could do it.  It was a different time in online gaming, when more often than not we were playing with people we were able to lay our physical hands on in the real world.  On average the three of us would get home from work, and log directly into Dark Age of Camelot for that nights adventure.

The Tower Guardian

alb-tower-guardian The adventure that most stands out in my mind was our finding of the Tower Guardian.  When the Shrouded Isles expansion hit we spent a good deal of our time wandering around its wilderness looking for interesting things.  With that expansion a number of named encounters were introduced and spread through out the world.  So it became our mission to try and find all of them… and farm them for every last bit of loot.  In fact the item that I talked about submitting… I am pretty sure came from one of these such trips.  One night while wandering the Dales of Devwy we stumbled upon this giant clockwork golem looking creature that towered over even the trees.  I think at the time it conned purple to our group, but we decided to give it a shot anyways considering the area around it was difficult but easily huntable.  While it took several attempts we managed to down it and got some really nice loot.  So we proceeded to farm it, each time getting better at the process until we had it down to a science.

A few days later we happened to be in a local game shop, that had several folks that played Dark Age of Camelot far more seriously than we did.  We were talking about our fun farming the golem, and the shop keeper had a somewhat stunned look on his face.  I turns out that apparently this encounter was designed for a raid to take it down, and while it took upwards of thirty minutes for us to actually defeat it… we managed to do it with four characters, two of which were being played by the same person.  While games have evolved to have hard requirements on what you need to bring to be successful, I have never forgot the lessons that we learned playing this game.  That while you might not have the optimal grouping, you can sometimes persevere through sheer force of will.  There have been many times I’ve tried to do things in an unorthodox way, but no game has rewarded it quite as much as Dark Age of Camelot did.

Sometimes We Failed

sshot_11sshot_15 I won’t lie and say that things always worked out in our favor.  In fact I have quite a number of  screenshots like one above, with us dead in fairly horrible places.  However we always seemed to manage to pick ourselves back up and keep trying long after others had given up.  This trip down memory lane would not be complete without a photo of Shard our Dwarven Warrior main tank.  The thing I find so odd about this game is that our experiences and our memories are so vastly different from most players that wax nostalgic about it.  This was not a pvp game for me, but instead a game that let me explore freely every corner of three vastly different and exception realms.  This was the game that really cemented in my mind how poor of a design decision that hard faction walls really were.  Dark Age of Camelot went from being a lackluster experience, to one of the most memorable with the simple addition of the co-operative play server.

Do you have any memorable stories of games that you and your friends maybe played in a less than suggested style?  I would be curious to hear some of your stories of times you entered something vastly unprepared but managed to pull out a victory nonetheless.  One of my fondest memories from World of Warcraft for example was the time we took nothing but hunters into Upper Blackrock Spire and timed our aimed shots on the same target, just watching it explode before our eyes.  It was like we were a walking firing squad, slowly mowing down our targets or burning it down while one of us kited the pack.  Sometimes unconventional play can be extremely rewarding.  For years I’ve found myself getting caught up in trying to do things the right way for the sake of speed and efficiency.  Sometimes however you just have to break the rules and play games in a manner no one in their right mind ever planned.  I freely admit that I still wish there wa such a thing as a melee hunter.

Raiding Drama

Eleven Sads out of Ten

Ori 2015-03-12 11-52-32-79 Yesterday I ended up running home over lunch to fiddle with a server here at the house that was no longer responding.  While here I decided to boot up Ori and the Blind Forest and play for a bit while I scarfed down my lunch.  I had been prepared slightly for this intro by my friends and by watching the video from e3.  In truth I still was not quite prepared.  If you do not cry through this intro, or at least get really damned close to crying…  you likely have no soul.  We have joked a bit on the podcast that the video game industry seems to only really know how to do rage fueled revenge and soul crushing depressing sad as far as an available emotional range.  This game is most definitely in the crushing sads territory, and I would give it eleven sads out of ten as the title goes.  Quite honestly the best comparison I have is the introduction to the Disney film Up.  It manages to be so touching and adorable… and at the same time so unfortunately depressing.

The positive is however that once the game proper starts and you manage to get through the introduction… the tone does get quite a bit more hopeful.  The game itself is this wonderfully animation quality experience.  At its core the game is very much a metroidvania, and it is quite clear early on which obstacles you can pass and which you cannot.  Additionally the game has some interesting combat in that you have a light spark that follows you around and ends up flinging fireball like things that lock onto your target.  So this is vastly different from the traditional mechanism of slashing things with a weapon or firing directly at your enemies.  The game right now is $20 on steam, and as little as I have played of it… I am already hooked.  If you like beautiful games with excellent narration… of the metroidvania genre…  I highly suggest you check it out.  I will more than likely be streaming some of this over the weekend and playing a good deal more of it.

Raiding Drama

Wow-64 2015-03-05 21-06-19-69 We had a bit of an incident happen last night, and I have to say it was primly surreal to experience it.  Over the years I have been the guild leader of most of the guilds I have been part of, and even when I was not… I still was treated as such by most of the membership.  However for the past year in both World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV..  I am not leading anything.  I have taken up the role of cruise director and recruitment…  but have not been doing any of the heavy lifting that comes with the crown.  Apparently over the last several months I have finally gotten used to that role.  One of our problems over the course of this expansion has been a lack of critical lack of available healers.  For the most part we have struggled through, but are starting to get to content where we need the intended balance of dps, tanks and healing.  As such our raid leader opted to bench a few people of our dps to try and get our ratios more in line with what they should be.  Unfortunately it seems that at least one of our players took offense to this.

During the middle of the raid one of the players chain logged in all of his characters and de-guilded them one after another.  I have to give him credit for saying a rather nice farewell message when he got to the last one…  but all of this felt a bit over dramatic.  Normally I would have been tracking that player down, and trying to talk them off the ledge.  Last night however… I was content to watch the events play out in front of me, as I realized…  this was no longer my problem.  World of Warcraft is a game that comes with more than its fair share of drama, especially when it comes to raiding.  However I am not the guild leader any longer, nor am I responsible for raid leading at all… and I can simply sit back and watch the events unfold in front of me without feeling any guilt in the situation.  I have to say that was a pretty awesome feeling when I finally realized that I was fine with someone else dealing with things.  It sucks when anyone leave the guild, but I have to accept  that people are going to ultimately do whatever the hell they want to do.  I have a feeling the person in question will cool off and come back, but if he doesn’t it is not really that big of a deal anyways.

Thogar Down

Wow-64 2015-03-12 20-26-53-85 On the positive side of things, pairing the raid down to a more reasonable ratio of healers to dps…  did manage to improve our performance.  Before last night we had really only spent a single night of attempts on Operator Thogar in Blackrock Foundry.  For those unfamiliar this is the “train” fight and it takes place on a series of four tracks.  During the fight a dance happens of moving back and forth between the different lanes to avoid the oncoming trains that buzz through.  If the player is hit by a train it seems to reduce their health by a specific percentage, leaving the player on the edge of death…  but not quite oneshotting them.  Previously our big issue was that in two places during the fight… the entire raid needs to split into two groups.  The problem here is there is a fairly hefty tank swap mechanic so that the tanks need to time this swap in such a way so that the fresh tank is taunting Thogar as they are moving to the new position.  The margin here is super slim, and both sides have to burn through their adds extremely quickly so that we can join back up and let the then free second tank taunt back the boss before the damage gets to great.

Last night we managed to do all these things right, and very quickly got to the second one of these swaps.  Within another try or so we managed to push through the fight and down Thogar.  One of the things that made last night extremely difficult was the fact that we essentially had no battle rez.  Our druid healer was out for the night, as was our Deathknight DPS… meaning our only option was to have the bear tank stance dance and someone get a rez off before dying to the boss.  Needless to say we largely did this without a rez, and I have to say I am pretty damned proud of how fast the progress happened.  We spent the rest of the night working on the Heart of the Mountain event, and I feel like we need to sift through the logs and see exactly what was going wrong there.  It is one of those events where there are dozens of mechanics happening at the same time… and while we could consistently push into phase two without issue… we struggled to get elementalists down.  I have a feeling that we are going to have to split into teams and each focus on a finite number of mechanics.  Drama aside it felt like a really good night of raiding.