This weekend was an odd one, in that I had to devote pretty much all of Sunday to helping set up for the upcoming conference. Since we recorded so late Saturday night, that meant that pretty much as soon as we finished with the podcast I crashed hard. Normally I stay up that night and edit away on the podcast getting it posted round or about midnight generally speaking. What this meant in practice is that my entire day was pushed by by a number of hours yesterday. So by the time I had finished with that, played my SteamPowered Sunday title and knocked out yesterday mornings blog post… it was 11 pm.
At this point I struggled to find anything to settle into, in part because playing Frog Fractions was such a weird experience. Before long my wife and I decided to go run some errands and get lunch. By the time we made it back from that my day had pretty much dissipated. When it came time to finally play something I settled into Final Fantasy XIV and quested my way through the daily hunt. After finishing that I opted to work on my gladiator a bit, which meant trying to remember where the hell the optimal area for level 27 was. It turns out that FATE running isn’t quite like it used to be.
Previously you would jump the gun 25-30 and go straight to Costa Del Sol. The problem with this is that you no longer have the huge wandering mass of players needed to make an army of under level characters work in a zone. As a side effect however FATEs have become far more enjoyable in that running across a zone to get to one is no longer an act of futility. They are no longer up for a matter of seconds but instead feel like real epic battles with big monsters. So for me at least this makes it a far more enjoyable prospect for leveling, in that I feel like I actually have to work to get my experience. The single best addition to FFXIV though is the ability to have your Chocobo out to get it experience, and then turn around and mount it again when you are finished. This instantly improved the enjoyment of the game for me ten fold by no longer having to make the choice of leveling my Chocobo, or moving at a snails pace.
Fear of the Tonberry
Something interesting happened while I was sitting there playing Final Fantasy XIV. One by one various friends opted to download the game or at the very least patch it back up, given that it was a free weekend. Before we knew it we had the beginnings of a group. Tam first started the idea of running a dungeon, and after I had fixed some dinner for my wife and I that is precisely what we did. Sadly at this point Warenwolf had to leave because he gets up at a truly insane hour in the morning, this coming from someone who gets up every morning at 5:30 am. We decided to roll the dice and pug in a fourth player to run Wanderers Palace. This served two purposes, firstly Ashgar needed it for a grand company hunt log and secondly this is one of the easier max level dungeons. We figured it was a good way to break us back into the game.
Surprisingly it went really smoothly, with only one wipe happening… and that was in the not terribly surprising “rush to climb the tower” phase. We had two things happening at the same time that proceeded to make it a difficult thing. The first thing was the fact that for whatever reason myself and Tam were having some massive lag spikes, that even went so far as to cause him… our healer… to disconnect a few times. Secondly I really did not remember how to bard. The muscle reflexes came back instantly for playing a Warrior, since I spent most of my time in this game tanking, but Bard was a relatively new thing and while I had completed up through Hard Mode Ifrit as a bard… it took me a bit to remember what exactly I should be rotating through attack wise.
During the course of this run is when we started to remember just how enjoyable the dungeon content is in FFXIV. Of all of the games I have played over the last few years, I think I have enjoyed these dungeons the most. They seem to be the absolute perfect blend of challenge and reward and are beautifully done. I am sure we will remember why we all faded away from this game, but at the moment all we are able to do is remember just how much fun we had. Ultimately where things will either click or fall apart is if we can manage to find enough things to do to level our alternate jobs. That is the point at which I started to lose interest. I leveled one job through questing, and the second job through FATE grinding… and at that point I felt like I had exhausted all of the ways to level in that game.
The thing is Square has been quietly plugging away on this game in the year we have been gone, and as a result there is a ton of new content. I just hope I can find some mix of it that makes the leveling process enjoyable. There seem to be a ton of quality of life changes, like being able to repair gear to past 100% durability without actually switching to the profession needed to repair it. Also while you are out harvesting nodes you can get treasure maps, which open up a new minigame of trying to find the treasure. They seem to have finally added in some Gold Fountains to counteract the Gold Sinks. The daily hunts for example will earn you a grand total of 7,000 gil pending you do not spend too much of it teleporting across the world in search of the next mobs. In any case there seems to be a way to finally earn some money, instead of constantly being broke. I have a feeling I will be mostly leveling through dungeons, as the overall community of the game seems to have been massively improved.
Over the last few days I have received quite a bit of interest in this whole Blaugust thing. However along with this has been quite a bit of confusion over what exactly I mean by a new post a day. Since this is coming from the gaming blogosphere, many folks are assuming that I mean it has to be a gaming post. Additionally there has been some discussion in exactly I consider a post. Wilhelm for example keeps a photo blog updated, and he wondered if this classified as a daily post for the purpose of the contest. Now if you wrote a couple of paragraphs about the image, then totally this is a post… if it is simply a bunch of pictures, then no sadly I have to say it doesn’t qualify. I figured I would post some ground rules today. I will be expanding on these further on the Blaugust Anook since that is the official headquarters for this initiative.
Since this is the biggest point of questions, I figured I would get it out of the way. You can write about anything you want to write about. You can diverge from gaming in any fashion you like, and your blog doesn’t even have to be gaming related. Liore for example was talking about making a gaming foodie blog, and that would totally count for the purpose of this event. The idea is to get you used to writing on a schedule, and not so much dictating what you are writing about. Inspiration can be an extremely fickle thing, and if you want for it… there end up being massive lapses in your posts. The idea here is make you realize that you don’t need the muse to crank out interesting posts. If you allow yourself to, your personality with inhabit the writing and inspiration will find you mid paragraph.
- Write a New Blog Post no less than 10 sentences in length.
- Include a link back to the Blaugust Initiative page
- Advertise the post on the Blaugust blog – you will be given permissions to do this
- If you Advertise the post via twitter, please include #Blaugust hashtag
- Over the course of the month, repeat this 31 times.
I will be keeping track of who has posted a post each day during the course of August. On September 1st I will be holding a drawing for several prize packages. Firstly I hope you like games… and want to acquire more of them, because basically that is what is going to happen here. Over the course of a few years of the Humble Bundle series, I have accumulated a bunch of duplicate keys. I can think of no better way to give away some of these, than to reward the hard work of participating in a challenge such as this.
– Grand Prize
I hope you follow me on Steam, because I will be picking a game off your Steam Wishlist and purchasing it for you. In addition to this I will be letting you pick a game from my Humble Bundle surplus list as well. For this prize specifically I will be looking for someone who has actually posted a post each individual day, rather than someone who has posted 31 posts in the month. This prize should represent the truest form of the challenge.
– Three Also-Awesomes
Additionally I will be picking three individuals at random from the total pool of contestants to win the “Also-Awesome” award. To quality for this you have to have started your posting on August 1st, and written a total of 31 posts over the course of the month. I will be having these folks in order drawn pick 2 games a piece from my Humble Bundle surplus list. I am varying the requirements here a bit, to allow someone to have missed a day here or there but posted a catch-up post to still be in the running for something.
– The Catch-Up Artist
Anyone who joins the initiative late, is going to be in the running for this one. To quality you have to have joined after August 1st, but managed to catch up and still write a total of 31 posts in the month. You an procrastinate however long you like, but I am expecting 31 well formed posts to get this one. After the above prizes have been picked from my Humble Bundle surplus list, the winner of this prize gets to nab one of the games for themselves as well. I promise the surplus list is big enough to support all of these people… and still allow them quite a bit of variety in the choices.
– All Participants
I will be crafting some sidebar badges and banners that can be affixed to your website showing the world that you won the Blaugust challenge. Additionally you will be able to bask in the warm afterglow of knowing you accomplished something awesome. Depending on the number of participants I reserve the right to make up a bunch of other awards along the way.
While there has been quite a bit of interest, only a handful of you have actually joined the Blaugust nook. For ease of maintenance on my part, I would really appreciate it if you all went out there and clicked the Join button. This and the whole advertising on the nooks blog thing is going to help me account for all of the posts, and also turn around and advertise them myself easier. I am trying to make this work but at the same time not make August a hellacious month for me. I appreciate the desire to participate, and I appreciate everything you are doing to make my life easier as well. As I said before I will be posting some prompts before the start of the initiative. Right now I am shooting for 60, but that number might change. I look forward to reading all of your entries during the month!