Social Structure and MMOs

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I’ve talked off and on about Imzy, and how it is filling a niche for me at least that Google+ used to in that it allows for a sort of long winded discussion that twitter just simply doesn’t.  Yesterday I read a post there that made me realize something I had been trying to sort out in my head for awhile.  The vast majority of my gaming time is spent playing MMOs and I tend to have several that I am in various states of active in at the same time.  However I rarely if ever gain any sort of permanent traction in them, and after a few weeks of play tend to fade away again until the whim hits me to fire it back up.  I go through a cycle of curiosity that leads to excitement…  that leads to confusion and disillusionment that ultimately ends with me leaving once more.  I will pick up a game and for a few days to weeks it is going to be the most interesting thing in the world as I get adjusted to the systems and mechanics again.  However I always reach this point where an overwhelming sense of “what now” hits me.  When that happens I wind out going right back to whatever it is happens to be my core game…  which if we are being honest with me is an alternation of World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV.  I have been working on my games played during 2016… and decided to extend that out to all of the games that are easy to track thanks to my blog.  There is a clear pattern of when I start getting super excited about WoW I shift away from FFXIV and versa vicea.  There is of course some overlap, but you can see a back and forth pattern that emerges.

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So the question is then…. what do these two games seem to have that so many others don’t.  The answer was sitting there waiting for me to notice. I often talk about games having great communities…  but generally speaking this is in broad terms and extremely non-specific.  Most games have some excellent niches in them, but in the grand scheme of things that doesn’t really do much to add core enjoyment for me.  I keep returning to World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV… because those are the games that I have established communities in.  There was a time when I was willing to branch out and meet new people…  plunk myself down in a brand new game and start growing an entirely different infrastructure.  The community that I have right now… is in large part the result of me doing this over and over.  Each new game I go into I meet a whole new cast of people…  but at some point that began to change.  As I gathered a larger and larger core of players… I stopped looking outside to the community nearly as much and instead looking to my guild.  While I am still meeting a lot of new people… they are coming with the pedigree of knowing someone I already know and am familiar with…  which of course speeds up the social footnotes that come from meeting anyone new.

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Last night was a prime example of this happening, because we were raiding in World of Warcraft and had someone pop by and join….  that I had not personally played with in several years.  My personal community in House Stalwart within World of Warcraft seems to have this ability to stay evergreen… and always have a certain chunk of the population that is active and always happy to be there.  House Stalwart my guild has existed for twelve years…  in spite of my actions.  When I left WoW to start playing Rift I tried my best to burn down everything about the game… actively recruiting people away to play this new an exciting game.  I did the same thing for Final Fantasy XIV and Elder Scrolls Online… and countless other games.  However at its core… the guild still remains and not only that… but has remained viable for the purpose of doing interesting end game content the entire time. Similarly the Final Fantasy XIV guild… while considerably younger just seems to endure whatever boom and bust cycles we go through population wise, and in both cases….  I know that I can return at any point and will be welcomed back with open arms.  In truth I think pretty much everyone who has touched either guild feels the same way…  which is why folks are constantly showing up from out of the woodwork and reintegrating back into the core at least for a little while.

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So the problem that exists with nearly every other game…  is I just don’t have anything close to this infrastructure…  nor do I really have the emotional or intellectual strength to try and forge it.  There have been House Stalwart offshoots in damned near every MMO that has existed… or at least as a guild community we have chosen a specific server and faction to all roll on.  However for most… these interludes serve as a vacation from the game they were already playing… and after a break most folks wind up going right back to the familiar.  In a traditional MMO I need to have something that I am building towards, and that object on the horizon is usually doing interesting things with my friends.  So while it is absolutely fun to pop in and play Rift or ArcheAge for a weekend…  I find hard keeping motivated when I know I have no real facilities to do any of the big interesting things… other than pugging.  I am spoiled to be honest, and so many years of not having to PUG has soured my experience as a whole.  Any random person I encounter is somehow tarnished by the memory of all of the good times I have had with my guild throughout the years.  After generations of MMOs… this has lead me to be rather insular in my gaming habits and tending to return to the folks I already know and respect rather than trying to create something new.

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So now days I tend to operate in two modes.  I have the games that I am active in and have deep social connections… and the games that I slink off to when I need to limit my social connectivity and turtle for awhile.  I tend to gobble up whatever new content is available, and then happy drop that game by the wayside as I return to active duty again.  Games like Star Wars the Old Republic, The Secret World and Elder Scrolls Online are great for this role, given that they all have deeply engaging stories that you can find yourself completely lost in…  so much so that you forget that you are essentially alone in a crowd of strangers.  There are a lot of games that I think I would enjoy… if I had a similar stable infrastructure.  However at this point… to be honest… folks are pretty stratified in their gaming habits.  I can no longer really make an impassioned argument as to why they should abandon X game that they know and love for Y game that is new and different.  I know this boom and bust cycle all too well at this point… and while it is a hell of a fun ride, to some extent I am getting that fix elsewhere.  For me personally… the Diablo 3 season mechanism perfectly emulates the feeling of “unwrapping” a brand new MMO and rushing with your friends to level as quickly as you can.  This time however we all know it is perfectly fine to fade away once you have achieved your  goals…  because its a game we will all return to again and again as new seasons happen.  I have been the cause of so much frustration and disappointment in my gaming career…  that I guess in some part I would rather slink off alone… than get folks excited about yet another game that I am sure we will all abandon within three months time.  However that same instinct…  is what keeps any of these games from actually gaining traction.  What I realized this week when reading the post on Imzy is just how desperately I need that social infrastructure for me to be able to enjoy a MMO.

Kittens and Gaming

TinyBabyKitteh

Tiny Babby

TinyBabyKitteh

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

Forty Five

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

Taming Familiars

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

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

Crafting Away

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

 

Regularly Playing: June Edition

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

Rift

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

Destiny: The Taken King

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

ArcheAge

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

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

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

World of Warcraft

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

Things Removed From List

Overwatch

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

Diablo 3

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

 

Revisiting Old Ideas

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ArcheAge Resurgence

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

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

Working on Something

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

WYSBP_Rift_Revenge

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

Universal Patronage

Account Social Systems

BattleNetInterface

One of the things I have been spoiled on by playing quite a few Blizzard games is the existence of Battle.net as a common backbone.  When RealID was originally released, I have to admit it bothered me quite a bit.  I don’t actually use my real name very much online, and it isn’t necessarily because I am trying to obfuscate who I am… but more that I come from an era in the internet when everyone was their “handle”.  Someones handle is more distinct and meaningful for me… than telling me their real name and oddly enough I have a much easier time remembering it.  For example… I know several dozen folks with the last name of Smith…  but I only know one Scopique.  As Blizz took a step back they created the Battle Tag system and since then I have been happily known as Belghast#1752 making it significantly easier to meet up with people regardless of what Blizzard game they happen to be playing.  This has been the case with most modern game releases, that they have some underlying account based system that allows me to quickly meet up with my friends by giving them a single idea that relates to all of my characters.

The problem is… when this system is missing I really notice it.  It has been a recent struggle while playing Star Wars the Old Republic and the various Trion Worlds games.  Sure it is nice to have disconnected alts that you can go hide on… but I have been willing to give up this for the convenience of being easily available.  The thing that I find confusing with both SWTOR and Trion is that in both cases they have an underlying system that they could rely on for communication purposes.  For SWTOR you have Origin chat… which is pretty horrible, but could at least serve as some common connective tissue.  In the same of Trion Worlds though you have a shared account structure that through the use of the Glyph client gives you access to all of the games on your account.  All that really seems to be missing is a single “Glyph ID” and a chat infrastructure built around it.  The best feature of Blizzard games right now is that you can take your friend list with you into any game you go.  So while I am not playing World of Warcraft, I can still keep touch with my WoW playing friends while I am in Diablo or Heroes of the Storm.  It would be so nice if I could do this same thing while playing  Trove, Rift, ArcheAge or eventually Devilian.  Please make this a thing Trion Worlds!

Universal Patronage

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While I am asking things of Trion Worlds this morning… I thought I would go ahead and throw in another thing.  One of the features of the old Sony Online Entertainment games that I really enjoyed was the concept of the “All Access Pass”.  Where you could pay one premium account price and get subscription level access to all of their games.  I think back in the day it was something like $25 per month for an All Access account, instead of the individual $15 a month for each game.  I loved this concept because it allowed me to pop back and forth freely between their games when I was in the mood to actively play them.  The problem there is that for SOE and now Daybreak games… they are all titles that I play in spurts.  However since the launch of Rift there has never been a time when I was not at least sometimes playing this game.  While I may not play it seriously most of the time, I still keep poking my head in it.  Similarly I am really enjoying the current state of ArcheAge, and I love poking my head into Trove.  With the addition of Devilian to their lineup… it seems that I am ending up with a situation much like that of SOE where there are lots of different games that I wouldn’t mind playing.

The problem being that I simply cannot justify Patron access to ALL of them.  So I have to pick and choose which game I want to activate at a given time.  However if there was some sort of universal patron account that allowed me to pay one fee and gain patron access to all of their games… I would absolutely do it in a heartbeat.  In the long run I think it would be a net win, since I doubt there are many people out there who are actively maintaining multiple patron subscriptions.  You get a little bit per month out of the folks who were already subbing, to give them access to your entire library of games.  This also allows you to do cross promotions between them, allowing the achievements in one game to maybe grant you something nifty in another game.  This is again one of the strengths of Blizzards stable of games is that they are all interconnected at least to some extent.  I feel the same sort of loyalty towards Trion Worlds as others do towards Blizzard, and I just think it would be awesome for something of this sort to happen.  I realize Trion is a weird case in the fact that ArcheAge and Devilian for example are not developed in house…  but my hope is that there is enough control on the back end systems to be able to implement a sort of universal patronage account.

Gigantic Codes

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I have been sitting on an email that I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do with it.  Gigantic is finally leaving its Alpha process and entering Closed Beta, and with it they are loosening the restrictions a bit and handing out friend codes to a lot of the folks who have been in the closed process for awhile now.  There are some constraints on these however and I think it is important to mention that.  Right now Gigantic is exclusive to Windows 10 and Xbox One, which I find mildly frustrating since it ran perfectly fine on Windows 8 up until this latest push.  This however is a listed requirement, and since I have not been actively testing of late…  I have to assume it is probably a legitimate requirement.  If you are interested in checking the game out you have to hit the link below and redeem one of the codes I am posting.  This is of course a first come first served sort of deal, but I figured the best option was to share them with my readers.

https://www.gogigantic.com/redeem

  • Key 1: 4GB2KE5-I5FBYD-G433KKI-KN723Q
  • Key 2: BSKA5FG-SOFHUL-CCVNKBD-WLBRHQ
  • Key 3: ZIBOYHQ-ZQVHHX-FC3JL5T-6CMMKQ
  • Key 4: 3ML4C2H-RXJD5N-DRCJX3T-I5PAVU

Good luck! Hope to see you in game in the near future!

[Edit] and those went WAY faster than I expected them to.  Hopefully you all enjoy closed beta!

Pax Prime Hopes

The Big Show

It feels like we live in this world where there is always another big games show around the corner.  I remember when quite literally all that existed was the Consumer Electronics show, at least for the United States.  Now we have dozens of shows sprinkled throughout the year, all of which vying for exclusive announcements.  As a result companies have to trickle information out so that everyone that attends one of the shows feels like they are getting to see something unique or special.  This weekend of course is Pax Prime, and I had hoped this year I would be attending.  The truth is however that Pax Prime will likely never be in the cards, as the husband of a teacher…  August is a HORRIBLE time for me to be travelling.  During this month my wife is in full on panic mode as she gets adjusted to another school year, and while for a bit I was bummed at not being able to attend, I am realizing it was ultimately for the best.  As a result I will be a loyal yearly Pax South attendee and pretty much brush aside the thoughts of doing the Pax Prime thing.  Instead at some point I will just go out to Seattle to meet my friends that seem to be pooling there, instead of trying to make one big combo trip.  Having been to a Pax, I have to say in truth the folks at home have a much better view of what is going on there through the live stream.  As a result I am looking forward to spending much of the weekend watching as much as I can.  Which gets to the point of this mornings post.  I thought I would talk a bit about the various things I am hoping to get out of Pax Prime 2015.

Final Fantasy XIV

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The thing that I want this weekend… is a release date for 3.1.  I know we are getting close, but I want to know a firm release date so I know just how long I am going to have to wait.  Right now Final Fantasy XIV is going through a bit of a content lull much like it did after the release of A Realm Reborn.  Quite frankly at this point I am tired of running Neverreap…  since that seems to be the dungeon I get most often.  Two dungeons in a roulette rotation simply is not enough, and I am honestly a bit concerned with the news that 3.1 is only going to add two more as well.  My hope is that they create a four dungeon expert roulette instead of moving Neverreap and Fractal to Hard Roulette and making expert just be the two new dungeons.  The other piece I am really looking forward to is the next 24 player dungeon the Void Ark, aka the creepy airship you sometimes seem flying around in the Sea of Clouds.  The game needs a shot in the arm of content, because folks are starting to slow down… myself included.  More so than this… I would like to see some future vision type stuff for 3.2 and beyond.  In the past we have usually had this list of things that Yoshi P had promised for “future” patches and we are a bit low on that right now.

Wildstar

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Similar to FFXIV…  and honestly a lot of the things I am going to talk about this morning….  I just want a date for when the Free to Play conversion will happen.  They keep putting new patches on the test server and it is starting to feel like maybe they are close, but what I need from them is a date.  I am enjoying Wildstar so much more than I have at any point in the past, and a lot of the changes that are coming in with the free to play conversion are going to be generally good for the game as well.  Past the free to play conversion… I would like to see some information about what their long range plans are.  I don’t even know if they have a presence at Pax Prime this weekend, but even if folks don’t they tend to time announcements around major shows as well.

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns

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Since the expansion announcement at Pax South, I have had a strange connection with this title.  Traditionally speaking I do not really enjoy Guild Wars 2 that much.  That said I have to say the revenant looks more interesting than any of the previous classes. I fully expect that I will be picking this title up when it launches if for no reason other than the fact that it is once again “buy to play” and I have gotten my original purchase out of the game.  This has been the year of announcements completely unfettered by timelines, and it is starting to get frustrating.  Once again we have a big title looming on the horizon with zero date announced for when we will be expecting to play it.  I am expecting that this one is going to be a lot like Heavensward was, where they announce the launch date and it is only a few months away.  My hope is that Pax Prime finally is going to be the show where they talk about this at.  Give your fans some firm dates.

Blizzard Titles

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I am honestly not expecting anything new to come out of this conference from Blizzard.  They did their big reveal of the World of Warcraft expansion at Gamescom, and I fully expect that with Blizzcon coming up in November that they will be holding everything else closely waiting on their big show to reveal it.  I fully expect that they might announce a new Overwatch champion at Pax Prime, and potentially some more Heroes of the Storm champions or maps.  What I am really wanting from them is an announcement for when Overwatch testing will begin and a beta key delivered in my mailbox.  Everytime I launch the patcher and see that Overwatch button at the bottom of it…  I get a little sad in side.  I really want to play this game, and I sincerely doubt I will be doing so anytime soon.  Over the last few weeks I have come to the realization that I still very much love Blizzard games… it is apparently only World of Warcraft that I am on tentative terms with.  I would love beyond love them to announce something for Diablo 3…  like maybe another expansion?  They have already hinted that they might be doing a Warcraft RTS after they wrap up with Starcraft II… so that alone has me pretty pumped.

No Man’s Sky

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I am so irrationally hopeful about this title, even though I keep telling myself that there is no way it can deliver on everything it has been promising.  I love exploring new areas, and I love killing strange and interesting creatures.  No Man’s Sky promises to give me a procedural generated world where I can do this… over and over again throughout the galaxy.  On top of that the graphics are kinda cool as well with their hyper saturated version of reality.  Again…  all I really want from Hello Games is a release date.  I have a feeling that we will have an announcement for some sort of beta testing to begin soon.  Supposedly Amazon UK is already taking pre-orders so hopefully we will get a date this weekend.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

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At this point I just want more information on this title.  We saw a short trailer from E3 and I have been wanting more information since.  Once again I have no clue if there will be a presence at Pax Prime, but I am hoping!  I want to know more about the nuts and bolts of how this title is actually going to work.  I want to know if there is going to be a multiplayer aspect, or if this is just one big single player skyrim-esc sandbox.  I also want to know more about the world that surrounds the game.

Devilian

DevilianKorean

With my recent foray back into Diablo 3, it has made me extremely interested in Devilian a Diablo like Korean game that Trion is going to be publishing.  I know Trion is going to have a good presence at the show so I am hoping we find out when the beta process is going to begin.  I ended up with a key from Gamescom and I keep checking my Glyph launcher expecting it to show up in the list of games that are playable at some point soon.  While on the topic of Trion Games, it is too soon to hope for a Rift expansion but I would still like to get more information about where that game is heading, and some more detail on the future plans for ArcheAge.  The folks at Trion Worlds are awesome so I am always interested in what they have to say.

 

 

Blaugust Games of Week – Week 2

Another Week Down

EverQuest2 2015-08-07 06-27-43-01 One of the things that I find easiest to blog about is when I am experiencing a new game, or re-experiencing a game after some time has passed.  As a result last week I started doing the Blaugust Games of the Week thing, and for the first week I posted  three vastly different titles.  While Marvel Heroes 2015 has been in my gaming rotation for some time now, Everquest II and Dirty Bomb were not and as such I spent a bit of time this past week playing both.  While I didn’t really talk much about any of the games this week, I hope some of you out there at least gave them a shot.  I spent the most time playing Everquest II on the Stormhold Time Locked Server.  It has been so strange starting from scratch without having some of my favorite leveling spots.  The later leveling zones like Darklight Wood and Iceclad Ocean are just better designed than the original Everquest 2 leveling process was, and as a result you could tear through them so much more quickly.

As of last night I hit level 10 on my Iksar Shadowknight, and in part I think I was doing things the hard way because I stormed right out into the Commonlands and attempted to start leveling off the mobs out there that tend to be significantly higher than my level.  One of the things that I had forgotten about the Commonlands were all of the Small Chests that drop additional quests.  At this point my quest log is full of level 15-20 Far Seas supplier quests that essentially ask you to kill X of a thing and then turn in the end result at an NPC.  I remember these being the bread and butter of early leveling, but I have to say the thing I miss is all of the individual neighborhoods of Freeport.  I think it was a huge disservice to the game when the revamp of Freeport got rid of these completely.  They are now instanced zones that you can only enter on specific quests, but I have to say these zones made up a lot of the feel of both Freeport and Qeynos and did a good job of explaining why the cities were the way that they were.  Of the three titles from this week, this is the one that I am most likely to keep playing because I am finding an odd enjoyment out of retracing my EQ2 roots.

Trion Theme

Since it is once again Friday it is time for me to pick another three games to talk about and suggest.  This time around I decided to go with a theme and as a result I am picking three games from Trion.  Again I am limiting my selections to games that you can download and start playing immediately without having to purchase a game client or pay a subscription fee.  My goal is to make it so folks who are stuck and in need of inspiration can pop into one of these games and get instant “blog fodder”.

Rift

rift 2012-05-31 20-38-58-07 Considering the announcement of the World of Warcraft expansion yesterday, I thought it was fitting to lead off this morning talking about Rift as it was the first game to actually pry me away from the WoW Juggernaut.  The game is designed in such a way so that in theory you can play one character and provide every possible role in the game.  This was not necessarily the case at launch but over time they have provided additional talent trees or “Souls” to help flesh out the missing abilities.  So now you can absolutely be a healing warrior or a tanking mage.  This game has an absolutely phenomenal early leveling game, and the first fifty levels are an absolute joy to level through.  The expansions however are a completely different thing.  I personally found both leveling in Storm Legion and Nightmare Tides to be extremely tedious, and found myself wishing they had not abandoned the early game that I enjoyed so much.

The core of the game though is great, but there are various things you are going to have to content with especially along the lines of ability bloat.  One of my key complaints about Rift has been that you end up with a lot of abilities where ability 2 and 3 are absolutely better than 1… but have long cool downs.  The end result is that you usually end up macroing all three together, which can lead to some fairly uninteresting game play.  That said the game excels at letting you literally branch out in any possible direction and build a character out however you want to.  There are some less than optimal options, but in theory any combination of three Souls will make a potentially viable character, which gives you a lot of freedom to customize things as you see fit.  Fortunately the game has an excellent set of prebuilt specs to at least get you going in the right direction.  As far as the free to play goes… it is among the least restrictive and there are not really any pay walls standing in your way.

Steam DownloadDirect Download

Trove

Trove 2014-09-25 19-18-33-410 I was lucky enough to get in on the first wave of Alpha invites for Trove and having played it that long… has been an interesting experience.  The game has changed massively in that time, and the key elements have shifted and morphed but the basic game is still the same.  I tend to think of Trove as Minecraft meets Diablo, and my recent Bel’s Big Adventure series of Minecraft videos has made me appreciate how important this really is.  Minecraft has a fairly horrible combat system, that is passible but frustratingly bad if you are going to spend much time fighting anything.  Trove on the other stand decided to go in a direction that allows you to pick one of several classes that each have their own built in abilities and a MOBA style character design.  I tend to have a natural synergy with the base Knight class, but have spent significant amounts of time playing the Gunslinger and Neon Ninja as well… and they are all extremely well built.  The core gameplay loop in Trove centers around going out into the world and fighting baddies to find interesting stuff in level ranged based worlds that steadily increase the challenge.

On top of this however there is a very awesome building system where you can build extremely complex custom worlds for your “Club”, or you can build out your cornerstone which is a traveling spawn point that you can move with you as you go out exploring the world.  I love this aspect of the game because it feels like I am able to take all of my most important resources and keep moving my base of operations as I go exploring.  The other thing that makes this game amazing is the community support, and the vast majority of the weapons that you will get were created by fans just like you.  The game has a silliness to it that is contagious, and I will forever cherish my Dapper Raptor mount that you can see above.  Another favorite of mine is the ability to collect item appearances and then make ANY piece of gear that you get look like that, so as you keep exploring you just keep opening more and more unique looks for your character. If you have never played Trove I highly suggest you download it and give it a shot.

Steam DownloadDirect Download

ArcheAge

ARCHEAGE 2015-06-18 11-13-03-53 ArcheAge and I have an extremely checkered past.  I was in the early Alpha process of this game and found the community to be among the most toxic I have ever experienced in any game genre.  As a result I pretty much actively ignored the game for some time.  However with some of the AggroChat folks started testing the waters and playing it… I decided to give it another shot.  The end result has been a pretty enjoyable leveling experience and allowed me to see just how subtle and nuanced the game really is.  I am not a fan of open world ganker style pvp… and early in the game that seemed to be extremely prevalent.  More so than that, the players seemed to revel in griefing others in non-combat ways as well.  If you AFK’d in town, someone might come along with a tractor and push you out into the middle of a dangerous area just to watch you die.  However all of those elements seem to have gotten bored and moved on, and what is left seems to be a bunch of generally nice folks.

The game play itself is also rather good, and while the quests are pretty basic the world is gorgeous and huge, and the class designs are really interesting.  While Rift has an issue with duplication of abilities, ArcheAge seems to be designed in a way so that there is natural synergy between talent trees without giving you a bunch of abilities that you will never actually use.  I have gone full circle on my opinion of this game and you can track the progress if you flip through some of my blog entries.  The game is absolutely playable on the free to play model, but there are some serious constraints.  Namely it is very difficult to do more than just one thing as a “free” player because every action is throttled by your abysmal labour points.  As a Patron player your labour regenerates when you are offline… as a free player you have to be logged into the game waiting on your points to come back.  The other huge constraint is that free players cannot own land, which means if you get very serious about this game you are likely going to end up subscribing.  However in the meantime the free model does allow you to get your feet wet.

Steam DownloadDirect Download

Games I’m Not Playing

Too Many Games

Skyforge 2015-07-17 06-26-06-26 Right now I am suffering from a problem, in that there are just too many games that I want to be playing and simply not enough time in any combination of lifetimes to actually play them.  Last night I downloaded and installed Skyforge, and gave it a quick spin this morning… and as interesting as it seems I just don’t know when exactly I am going to fit it in.  For the first time in years I have been relatively monogamistic in my gaming, and with the dropping of World of Warcraft I pretty much have all of my focus on Final Fantasy XIV.  Last night I ran dungeons with the guild and after doing my hunts managed to push my Dragoon to 56.  As a result the desire to get that job to 60 is real, because I desperately want to be able to fill more than one roll when it comes to grouping.

By the same token I really would like to give some time to Skyforge so that I can give it a shot for free, before plunking down any money on it.  I watched a bit of the MMO Show stream the other day as Jabberant played the game and I have to admit it peaked my interests.  Playing this morning it feels like a better version of Neverwinter, because the janky control scheme of that game was always a major detractor.  So now I get to juggle competing desires and figure out how to spend my weekend.  So this morning I thought I would write about the games that I am wanting to play but just can’t seem to find adequate time to devote to them.

Star Wars the Old Republic

swtor 2013-08-13 23-38-38-65 I have this strong desire to go back and experience the storyline that I have not yet.  Essentially I have not really played my main in this game, a Jedi Guardian… since launch.  Each time I go back I always end up playing alts because I am finding it really hard to get back into the swing of playing a level 50 character.  I know there have been numerous expansions since launch, each with their own storyline content… and I am struggling to get back into the swing of doing it.  Instead I mostly spend time playing my Light Side Sith Warrior, who has been stuck in the hell hole of Balmorra for at least two years.  So one of my gaming regrets is that I have not figured out how to make progress on my main and see the Makeb and beyond storyline.  Additionally I have this nasty habit of paying for a month, and then playing one day and never returning to it.  I’ve gone through this sequence at least a half dozen times since we left this game.  The draw of Final Fantasy XIV is always too strong to keep me playing there for long.

Wildstar

WildStar64 2015-06-06 17-47-43-40 On my second attempt at playing this game I reached a point where I really was enjoying what I was doing.  In fact there was a stretch prior to the launch of Heavensward where I was playing this one more than just about any other game.  I have an awesome group of friends in this game and I love the Black Dagger Society guild that I am in.  I had a blast roaming around the zones and taking down world bosses with them on a few occasions.  For whatever reason however I am just not logging in right now.  Once again the draw of Final Fantasy XIV is too strong, and maybe I just love our guild there too much.  This is on the list of games I absolutely want to keep returning to, but I doubt I will until a bit more of the shiny has warn off from Heavensward.  Right now I am in this push to reach a point where I have multiple useful jobs to help people with, and I think until I get there I won’t be happy playing much else.

The Secret World

TheSecretWorld 2012-08-07 20-41-26-17 I am woefully behind in my Secret World content, because the last update I think I played was the whole “Last Train to Cairo” sequence.  I know there have been multiple updates since then but I am just not logging in and playing them.  There are problems I have with this game that preclude me from really digging into the end game content.  However I have loved all of the story mission content that I have played and I keep meaning to poke my head in and do them.  I’m a life time subscriber, and I should have tons of goodies waiting on me… but generally speaking what happens is I log in and buy a nifty new outfit… then log right back out.  Of all of my gaming regrets this is one of the strongest because I really would like to find a way to play this game in addition to whatever game I am “maining”.

ArcheAge

ARCHEAGE 2015-06-14 14-36-32-10 Just prior to the launch of Heavensward there were several of us on the AggroChat cast that had a brief love affair with this game.  I want to find a way to return to playing this game on a regular basis because I don’t feel like I have consumed all of the good that I can get from it.  This is the game that I was told once I reached level 30 I would be in forced pvp areas.  While we are playing on Tahyang the supposed roleplaying server, I am 38 and have yet to encounter even another enemy player.  There is a lot of great PVE content in this game, and we found the dungeons to be among some of the rougher we had experienced since say Dark Age of Camelot.  I’ve logged in a few times since the launch of Heavensward, but never for terribly long because I keep feeling like I really should be in FFXIV gearing or helping other people gear.  I still have things I want to do here, so I need to figure out a way to play it as well.

Skyforge

Skyforge 2015-07-17 06-07-54-37 I talked about this as the start of the blog post, but I really do want to spend some time getting to know this game.  At face value it didn’t seem like it was going to be anything I would be interested in.  However after playing a brief few minutes this morning I think I might dig it.  It is action combat that still feels like an MMO.  Honestly I put Neverwinter in that same category, however there the combat just felt forced and janky.  The proof will be in the pudding as to how the Paladin feels once I progress it a bit further.  I admit the whole “switch roles at any time” thing is a huge draw for me, after getting used to that in Final Fantasy XIV.  I doubt this would ever be a primary MMO for me, but it might be a fun weekend diversion.  Ultimately I keep looking for a solid secondary game to have the duality that I did with Final  Fantasy XIV and World of Warcraft.  I have yet to find the game that seems like the perfect match, but who knows this might be it.

Elder Scrolls Online

eso 2015-03-16 23-59-44-25 The game that I least understand why I am not playing it… is The Elder Scrolls Online.  Everything about this game should be squarely in my wheelhouse considering the number of hours that I have spent playing games in the Elder Scrolls universe.  I have access to it both on PC and on PS4, and I had this idea that the console client would somehow revitalize my interest in the game.  The problem is… it hasn’t at all.  I feel like the problem I have with this game is that even though I have people moving around me… I feel like I am ultimately alone.  The other players are just a backdrop in part because I never see their names.  I think in part I am experiencing Beta regret, because after testing this game for a year there are previous incarnations of the game UI that I just enjoyed more.  If I could go back and play THOSE incarnations… I would probably be enjoying myself still.  When names over the top of mobs went away…  the world felt like it shrunk for me, and the game became more or less a single player experience.  I still would love to find a way to make this game that at one point I was so devoted to still feel enjoyable, but I just have not found it.

It’s Finally Here!

Birthdays are Weird

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Having a birthday and being an active member of social media… is a strange thing.  Yesterday I was completely overwhelmed by the number of birthday wishes that came flooding through.  I tried to respond to all of them and thank each person individually…  but I am almost certain I missed a few people in the furious scroll.  I have to say how special all of you guys made me feel yesterday, and more importantly how loved.  It made an otherwise stressful day seem more manageable.  I had taken the day off from work, but also my wife was to be flying in mid day.  I talked about this a bit yesterday but she was off grading AP exams again, and we were both concerned that she would get delayed by the weather.  Technically this did happen but she was lucky enough to make the connecting flight in Dallas and got home on time.  However about the time I picked her up is when the worst of the weather starting hitting.  I am not used to this whole gale force winds and pouring rain thing, so I have a whole new appreciation for the folks that are used to riding out tropical storms.

We made it home safely however and eventually changed into dry clothing.  We grabbed a whataburger on the way home, and almost immediately after eating my wife was conked out on the sofa snuggling with all three cats.  I put Venture Brothers on Hulu and broadcast it to the television via chromecast and continued my leveling in ArcheAge.  The more I delve into this game the more it reminds me of older games.  I absolutely found a Kithicor Forest last night, and for those who are not familiar with that name… it was a forest in Everquest where during the day relatively harmless and non-aggressive mobs spawned, but at night large amounts of max level undead spawned and roamed.  In this case in ArcheAge I happened to find a rice paddy that by day had some crocodiles but nothing major, however when the sun sets, a whole slew of skeletons spawned in.  While they were not max level they were however damned near instant spawn making it extremely easy to get overwhelmed.  I am still very much enjoying this game and even though Heavensward is happening I still plan on poking my head back in every now and then.

Sleep Won

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-19 06-46-13-61 I had all the intention in the world to get up this morning at 4 am and begin playing Final Fantasy XIV Heavensward as soon as the servers came online.  However when it came around to last night, and heading to sleep around 9 pm, I opted that I should just sleep in.  Systems are always glitchy when they first come online, and instead I got up around 6:30 and after getting out and getting breakfast started streaming around 7 am.  I have to say so far everything has been going pretty smoothly all things considering.  I had to fight the login boss about five times, but eventually I got to the character load screen and managed to do the introduction quests that got me into Ishgard and house Fortempts.  I have to say the new city is gorgeous, but confusing as hell to navigate.  This one has tons of ups and downs and it seems like the quest you need to get to is always on the wrong level of the zone.

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-19 06-51-31-66 With this said it is going to take a significant amount of time before I can navigate it near as well as I can any of the existing cities.  However I would put it along the lines of Limsa Lominsa as far as frustration taken to learn the layout.  I had similar issues rolling a Marauder and starting there originally.  As far as the expansion it seems to have completely cured the DPS queues, with everyone rolling Dark Knights.  Apparently folks are reveling in the fact that they can now instantly queue as any dps class, and I have to admit it is giving me pause and making me want to level my ninja a bit.  Instead I am forged ahead with my plan to level the warrior first.  I have to say I am impressed with the difficulty of the mobs.  The early quests in Ishgard reward level 115 gear and I am rolling into the expansion with 127 combined ilevel.  Things hit hard, and take a long time to take down…  so I cannot imagine coming straight to  Ishgard after leveling through the original storyline.  I guess in a way this might be why they are forcing people to defeat 2.55, because in order to do that…  you have to have gotten your ilevel up significantly.

It’s Finally Here!

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-19 08-15-59-02 Right now in Coerthas Western Highlands, the fates are rolling nonstop, and I have to admit a big part of me wants to take advantage of this while I can.  As a warrior I can pretty much cheese my contribution and get gold rating almost 100% of the time.  Earlier on the stream I rolled up on a FATE that was 90% complete and managed to generate enough threat to get to gold before it despawned.  Right now it feels amazing to see that experience bar moving again and so far I am really happy with my choice.  As far as what the future will bring…  I just want to play the game 🙂  I am not in a massive rush to get to 60, but I also want to be able to experience the dungeons with my friends.  Here is hoping that I can unlock the first dungeon before too much long and check it out before the end of the day.  In the mean time I am going to cut this blog post short and wish you all a great day…  I know I will be having one as I explore Heavensward.

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-19 07-59-51-12

Delving the Sewers

Bloody Happy Place

ARCHEAGE 2015-06-14 01-03-43-47 Last night we were down a handful of people with Thalen and Grace being gone, but by that same token it is mostly a cast of original AggroChat folks.  Kodra is back from his traveling and it was awesome to get to spend the night hanging out with him again.  We have all been spending quite a bit of time in ArcheAge as we have been taking a break from Final Fantasy XIV right before the launch of Heavensward.  We talk about our further impressions of the game, and Kodra talks about his since he quite literally just started today.  From there we talk about our expectations for the coming launch of Heavensward and how Ashgar and I apparently have enough faith in the release of this expansion to have taken the day off work.  From there we meander into talk about the upcoming Four Job Fiesta, and how all of our listeners should really take Ashgar’s money, since he has put up $5 for every AggroChat listener to defeat the game during the event.  There was talk of Wildstar and Tam injuring himself, but we had a grand time just chatting about the games we had been playing.

As promised in the show I also posted a picture of the absolutely amazing Fred from Scooby Doo cosplay by Kodra over on AggroChat so you should totally check that out.  The title of the show comes from the fact that I am apparently a sick and twisted bastard.  One of the happiest moments I have in video games is when I am zoned out and just mindlessly slaughtering stuff for loot and prizes.  This is the reason why I have always been able to grind up levels in video games so effectively and why I so insanely over leveled the various JRPGs I have played.  Last night while recording the podcast I found myself cheerfully wrecking undead for a good hour of the time we recorded.  I slip into this mode from time to time and just got lost in the motion of combat, and as a result I end up over leveled almost all of the time.  It is a happy place…  just a very bloody happy place.

Beach Racing

ARCHEAGE 2015-06-13 14-13-28-18 ArcheAge is this collection of really strange systems, and I feel like I have only scratched the surface of figuring them out.  Yesterday my friends and I took a trip to Mirage Island, which is this strange second life esc showroom allowing you to buy crafting patterns for all sorts of random stuff.  The awesome thing about it however is that you can test drive most of them.  So Tamrielo and I went off on a tour of the island on the roadsters.  The only problem you have a very limited around of time to use it….  and we did not realize that before running off out into the ocean.  There is a giant track around the island… and part of it is a sandbar that cuts out into the middle of hte ocean.  The problem is…. this island is really freaking huge.  I crashed out of the game that apparently dropped me out of Mirage Island, but poor Tam I don’t think he made it around the sandbar before it despawned the roadster.  Luckily we had mounts so at least we didn’t have to walk back home if we got stranded.

The biggest problem I am having with ArcheAge is it seems like there are dozens of currencies that I am accumulating but I have no clue where to spend them.  I thought maybe Mirage Island would give me some idea, but I didn’t really find any traditional vendors.  Some of the kiosks required various currencies that I had not found yet, but I didn’t find any that took any of the ones I actually had.  The takeaway is that ArcheAge is a really strange game.  I am still liking it but I don’t feel any closer to actually understanding it.  The system I want to try and figure out how is that supposedly you can tame named bosses in the world and turn them into combat pets.  There is a tiger in one of the zones I have encountered and I am kinda hoping I can figure out how to trap it.  I remember in alpha I got some sort of a fox pet as a drop and it was insanely fun to run around with.  Not that it was sturdy enough to tank for me, but it did add some additional damage.  Who doesn’t like additional damage right?

Delving the Sewers

ARCHEAGE 2015-06-13 18-12-38-83 A few days ago I stumbled into the first dungeon of the game in the sewers under the City of Towers.  I managed to sneak my way through the dungeon, carefully pulling mobs and cleared my way to the first boss…  only to get my face rocked.  However the trash leading up to that boss dropped some really nice items.  Since I have massively out leveled my friends I figured I would revisit the dungeon when some of them got closer to my level.  So last night after the podcast we thought we would give the place another shot.  Unfortunately after getting Kodra and Tam out there, it looks like the 3 man dungeon had a minimum level requirement of 18.  So at this point I was sitting at 27, and Tam at 20… so we decided to try and work our way through it.  The first room or so was pretty easy because both of us are dual wielding blenders.  The first boss however…. ended up to be just as much of a challenge with the two of us as it was solo.  We managed to make it through it however with both of us extremely low in health.

The second boss was significantly easier mechanically, but involved me running around like a madman and kiting him for a bit while Tam finished him off.  Then we got to the final boss… and quite frankly it rocked our worlds.  It took lots of rethinking the situation and a series of I think ten attempts before we finally just barely managed to defeat the encounter.  Quite honestly I have no clue how someone would manage to do this dungeon at 18 with three people, when we technically over leveled the hell out of it.  This makes me super anxious however to try the next dungeon, because it was an awesome challenge.  The dungeon design like much of the game reminds me of an older era of MMOs.  There were moments when I was taken back to the mob density and layout of the dungeons in Dark Age of Camelot.  We had to very carefully pick our way through the targets and use line of sight to pull things back in order to make sure we only got the one target we needed.  The game is far better than I gave it credit for… and I am hoping to piddle around on the side for awhile.