Raubhangeddon Over

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Having a birthday on the internet is a really weird thing.  By the time I woke up yesterday morning in our hotel room I already had a flood of messages from folks.  I cannot put into words the warm fuzzies I got seeing that.  I attempted to keep up with thanking everyone individually but as we started roaming around Kansas City yesterday I completely lost track of where I was in the mix.  By the end of the day it was just a daunting task to try and sort out who I had thanked and who I had not.  By the time we made it home I was completely drained and crashed pretty hard.  So if I did not manage to thank you individually I apologize and please know that every single person meant the world to me.  As far as our trip… it was really enjoyable.  Once again we did our thing which is to hit every single Half Priced Books store in the metro, along with a few other stops like Micro Center and IKEA… all things we don’t have in Tulsa.  This is the second year in a row we have done this, and it was largely born out of the fact that getting my wife home after the AP reading turned into a very unpredictable experience.  Functionally when the shindig lets out they are trying to fly a surge of 4000 or so people out of a tiny little airport.  It is roughly a four hour drive from Tulsa to Kansas City with a bunch of variables that could speed it up or slow it down.  The first year she was doing the AP grading there, she ended up getting flown to Dallas and then having a long layover there so that it took roughly 8 hours for her to get home.  Admittedly…  me driving up to get her and driving back home is still 8 hours….  but at least by spending the night it is chopped up in a few segments and lets us go do some stuff in this case Saturday night and Sunday morning.  I always hate it when my birthday lands on Father’s Day because it also means everything is madness.  Micro Center is normally a fun experience, but in this case there were workers stationed every few feet and just walking around the store I wound up getting asked 8 times if they could help me.  I am not exactly sure why I find this so offensive…  but I wish there was a system where you could get a sticker from the first person you meet that says “leave me the fuck alone”.

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The other big happening of the weekend was the Stormblood launch, and in some ways it went really smoothly…  and in other ways it went tragically wrong.  Please note that I love Square Enix and the Final Fantasy XIV team… but you are going to get some salt from me on this post.  On Friday the head start began, which is an event only available to folks who had pre-ordered the game prior to a certain point.  This is really key because it is a fixed group of people, pulled from a known quantity of folks who plunked down money and purchased your game ahead of time.  In order to get into Headstart it means that you needed to register a code that was sent to you by Square Enix via email with the Mogstation.  Over the years there have been a number of events where the team has says that they just did not expect the numbers…  namely at the relaunch of A Realm Reborn and I at least partially gave them the benefit of the doubt in this statement.  However with the launch of a brand new expansion for a game with a known set of players… and a known set of preorders…  that should have given them a head start on trying to figure out how much server throughput they needed for the launch.  They failed this miserably and for all of Friday and all of Saturday…  everyone was stuck on the same quest that required the creation of a solo instance.  That means every player in a given Data Center is fighting for what is apparently a very limited number of slots available for running this quest.  The result was a mixture of reactions from the players…  and the creation of lines as folks attempted to go about this quest in an orderly fashion.  Final Fantasy XIV is literally the only place you would ever see this solution… and it didn’t take long even here before it broke down.  Granted the line concept was some superstitious nonsense given that you were not just competing against your fellow servermates…  but also everyone else in the Aether data center in my case.  So while Cactuar isn’t a massive server… it is large enough, but becomes completely drowned out by the size of the player base of Balmung and Gilgamesh which share the same server cluster.

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Yesterday during the day however at some point they put in a fix and remedied the situation, so last night in my sleepy state I attempted to move forward only to be claimed by sleep and a server disconnect in the middle of a lengthy cut scene.  This morning I popped in with every intent of taking a few screenshots and wound up playing for about an hour popping around and doing quests.  I am hoping we are through the worst of the launch, but I expect another influx of players on Tuesday when the game releases in stores.  Hopefully they have learned their lessons and have spare resources ready to stand up if they run into more problems.  In the era of virtualized servers, leased datacenter space, and all manner of licensing options…  it feels like there is little excuse not to have some resources waiting in the wings to stand up at the first sign of trouble.  I have a feeling there were a lot of design decisions on the infrastructure side that maybe don’t scale terribly well in modern computing terms.  The game is doing some odd things, like it came out during one of the E3 discussions that every time you move in the server… your entire player object is passed around including your inventory and armory chest as part of one huge object.  This came up when they talked about not wanting to expand out inventory space too much because it might crash the server in passing around too big of an object.  This just seems like a weird way of going about things, and one susceptible to memory hacks or at least rollbacks from crashes.  At this point I just need to play catch up because I have Free Company members that are already 66 or higher.

Splashy Pony Brothers

Thanks to my Friends

This morning I had every intention to sleep in, but I guess my body the way that I have trained it over the years conspired against me.  I woke up moments after the alarm would have gone off normally, and then stayed in a sort of half sleep half awake state until I finally gave up around 6:30.  Now an hour later… I am finally pulling myself away from my insanely scrolling twitter feed to attempt to write a blog post.  I guess I had forgotten just how overwhelming being on twitter can be on your Birthday.  I love each and every one of you, and maybe this year more than most…  which is something I will elaborate on shortly.  June is the travel season for my wife, and each year she has a series of conventions and other events that she travels to.  This has been a thing for several years, but no matter how often it happens…  you never quite get used to it.  During the month of June she will be gone for a week, home a few days, gone another week etcetera.  So the best Birthday present I could possibly get right now is her flying home today… and I am really hoping that her plane is not delayed by the remnants of the Hurricane.

Now in the past I have struggled with this existence of being alone for the better part of a month.  This has generally been the time of the year when my depression flares up the most, since I am generally speaking sitting alone in a house with my thoughts and a menagerie of animals.  This year however has been different, and I think it is thanks to all of you out there that relentlessly check in on me.  I feel like I am surrounded by so many awesome people that seem to love me that I am never really completely alone.  There is always a message waiting on my response somewhere, or someone looping me into a conversation.  The AggroChat crew especially has become this second family that hunts me down if they don’t hear from me in a few days, because they know my tendencies to cocoon when the depression starts.  I want to thank all of you for essentially keeping me from dropping into my normal yearly funk.  My friends and my free company have been this offsetting force of amazing in my life and as a result have kind of made every day my wife has been away more tolerable.

Splashy Pony Brothers

ffxiv 2015-05-04 21-02-18-84 I spent my final night in FFXIV before the downtime the same way I have spent many nights, hanging out on Teamspeak and helping folks do content.  It seems so strange that last night was the end of one era of Final Fantasy and tomorrow morning will begin another.  In a way I kind of like the fact that we have this entire day outage, because I guess in some way it makes the whole process seem more real.  In some games I have literally logged out of one client and back into a brand new one over the course of thirty minutes, and it always felt strange.  I am sure there are people out there that are frustrated by being locked out of the game for this period of time, but I guess for me it makes the experience more meaningful.   I am just hoping that I can get to sleep early tonight and that the excitement won’t be too overwhelming, because in many ways it feels a bit like Christmas Eve and I am five years old.

Last night we managed to down Odin with a batch of new people, and in the process met a really nice White Mage on Cactuar, that I have subsequently friended.  I am consistently surprised by just how nice people generally are when we find them through the server party finder system.  In fact this one gets bonus credit because we screwed up and originally thought we needed another dps.  Upon explaining our screw up she was cool and said that she also could heal the fight.  Moments later we were making attempts on Odin and shockingly I think it only took us three tries  before we defeated him.  After that we attempted to sort out what we were doing next, with many people mentioning Titan…  but in the end we wound up going to do Leviathan Extreme instead.  This is one of my favorite fights, but this time they needed me to be a Paladin and do the stun lock thing.  I am just not comfortable tanking as a paladin and the whole experience felt frustrating, as compared to my warrior.  However I managed to do a decent enough job that we pushed through and got the defeat.  To make things even cooler a pony whistle dropped and now Mor and I can be splashy pony brothers!

A Strange Birthday

FFXIVisPatching So now that I am wrapping up my blog post I need to hurry around like mad.  I need to be at the airport to pick up my wife around 1:30, and in the meantime I need to attempt to pick up the house.  While it is not exactly in bad shape, because really I haven’t done anything that crazy since she has been gone…  it needs a round of sprucing up so she has a nice place to come home to.  Additionally I need to gather up the information I need to get my car tag, since she mentioned maybe doing that on the way home today so that we don’t have to get out of the house and do it tomorrow.  So while I would love to hang out in my pajamas and play video games all day… I suppose I will have to go off and be and adult.  It is going to be awesome to have my wife home again, but it is also a strange experience getting used to not being the only person in the room.  Unfortunately it will be a short lived experience because if I remember correctly she is heading back out again on Sunday, but this time for a much shorter trip.

In the meantime my Final Fantasy XIV client is patched, and I am floored that it was only 4.3 gig.  From what I am hearing this morning however they have apparently been patching in assets for months.  Supposedly half of the zones that we will be exploring have been in since the launch of A Realm Reborn.  I hope this all means that tomorrow is going to be an extremely smooth launch, but I still need to get my laptop started patching as well.  I am sure there will be some sort of a final patch when the servers come back up from the downtime that lets the client know it is time to be Heavensward, but I am hoping it is a small one.  I guess in theory this game is scaled to work well over consoles, so it makes complete sense that it would have really tight patches.  So far I am impressed and I am hoping that feeling continues through the launch.  This game had an exceptionally rocky start with the relaunch in August 2013, and I am hoping they have learned their lessons.