Titans and Skywhales

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Two Worlds

Badass New Speeder and Armor Theme

Last night was a bit of a mixed night, in that I logged into Final Fantasy XIV early in the evening… and then spent most of the night with my chair turned to the side playing Destiny instead.  I largely logged in when I did to be available for any raid shenanigans later that evening and also be available for various folks who were wanting to get friends invited to the guild.  So I sat there with my headphones on attempting to monitor both games at the same time and doing a fairly poor job of paying attention to guild chat.  I gotta say I am enjoying the Titan again now that I gave up on the whole defensive thing and went back to striker.  There is something gratifying about doing Fist of Havoc in the middle of a pack of mobs and walking away to tell the tale.  Largely I spent my evening working on quests and bounties.  There are a handful that I cannot for the life of me figure out how to complete…  what the fuck is an “attachable grenade”?  I thought at first it was the lightning grenade that “sticks to any surface” but after a bit of reading this morning apparently it is the FIRST grenade option… which I don’t think sticks to anything.

Can’t Go Wrong With Black

At this point I am level 30, which I have to say really quickly how much nicer it is to have a simply leveling curve instead of that light bullshit.  Having to sift through items and find the one with the highest light amount…  was maddening especially when it often meant you were maybe turning down an otherwise superior item.  The only thing I question at the moment is the fact that all of this “leveling” gear is upgradeable…  whereas I am swapping out gear pretty much every single time I go out into the world, so upgrading it really is meaningless.  The only thing I am still holding onto right now is my exotic gun, and that is simply because I have not found anything with higher damage.  The moment I find a hand cannon with better stats, this exotic will likely get chunked in the bank for nostalgia reasons and I will happily use the next gun with better stats on it.  I am still fairly firmly attached to a Hand Cannon as my primary weapon… or as they for some reason occasionally refer to them as “Sidearms” instead.  As far as secondary and heavy… I am pretty partial to the Sniper Rifle and the Machine Gun because that combo gives me a strong way to pick mobs off at range… with a heavy with some serious stopping power.  Stopping power that you need for the Taken invasions that seem to spring up at random in every single open world zone in the game.  I stuck around on Mars long enough last night while working on a “kill champions” bounty last night, that I got to fight the same event several times in a row.  The giant Taken Vex Minotaur thing… is freaking brutal.  I don’t think it is quite as bad as a spider tank, but still pretty horrible to content with especially when there are not a ton of players around.

Taking Down Skywhales

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While fiddling around with Destiny a large gathering of folks started showing up in Final Fantasy XIV.  After a bit Kodra being the awesome person that he is, took it upon himself to try and make a group happen.  I am super thankful that he did… because I was absolutely not paying a whole lot of attention because I was busy trying to headshot Taken.  It turns out we had a few people who had not managed to get Bismarck Extreme yet, so that set our course for the evening.  Learning nights are interesting when you are teaching a handful of people a fight, because it ends up shifting the balance for the rest of the group as well.  Players who were the newbie last time, step up and become the experts and I saw that happening quite a bit last night.  Bismarck Extreme is still serious business even though we have downed it several times now, and I went into it knowing that it would take a few tries before we finally got it down.  On our first attempt we predictably missed the back on the first try, but after that we adjusted and started hitting that first hurdle pretty reliably.

The hardest hurdle as always is getting down the two snakes in time.  The challenge there was simply a matter of keeping all of our dps alive and busy killing sky snakes because during that phase if you lose a single player it is highly unlikely that you will be able to pull it out.  We are quite simply not geared enough to be able to carry that objective too hard.  In truth we downed the boss the try in which we kept everyone alive.  That just happened to be about 15 minutes before the instance timer ran out.  I think it was a pretty great night though all things consider and we broke a few more players into the rigors of end game Final Fantasy XIV content.  For the time being Monday night raids are on hiatus until November when the 3.1 patch lands, and I think in the mean time we are going to use Monday nights as a sort of “get stuff accomplished” night for whatever anyone happens to need.  I would not mind farming more Bismarck or even getting a group back into Binding Coil of Bahamut.  Cosmetic gear is always a strong draw to get me back into a place.

 

Ravana Attempts

Unbreaking Google+

Last night I had a message from a long time friend of mine, asking me why I was no longer posting my daily posts on Google+ to which I kinda gave a head tilt and went “huh”?  I had certainly seen my posts making their way to G+ anytime I checked my messages over there.  Then I took a closer look and saw that they all said “shared only with you” which kinda defeats the purpose of syndicating posts in the first place.  It turns out that nothing I have posted since July 28th has made it to G+ which is more than mildly frustrating.   I un-linked my account from Jetpack Publicize and relinked it a few times, but I never saw the prompt that I once saw asking me to select what type of sharing level for my posts.  So I took to the search engine to try and figure out what was happening.  Sure enough it seems like Google did something to change its policies with what level of access external apps have access to your account.  You apparently need to go into Settings > Manage Apps & Activities and then find the WordPress app or whatever else you are using for syndication.  This will allow you to edit the permissions for how it will be sharing to your feed, and like I said before apparently the new default is “Only You”.

After posting about this last night it seems that this pretty much happened for everyone universally.  I thought I would take a quick moment and at least explain how to fix it.  As far as syndicating my posts… I tend to take the approach of broadcast what I write pretty much everywhere.  Each of the social networks kinda has its own vibe and while I greatly prefer using Twitter, there are folks that read my content that equally greatly prefer G+ or Facebook or even Tumblr.  My goal has always been to deliver my content as in as painless of a manner as possible for folks to read.  I personally am not a huge fan of Facebook, and in fact I went through the crazy process of deleting my personal account once upon a time because it annoyed me.  However when I started blogging I signed up for an account just for the purpose of reblogging my content because I know there are people who do prefer to use Facebook.  Granted it might get annoying as shit if you follow me on multiple platforms to constantly see duplicate postings, but I guess that is a chance I am willing to take because I don’t want anyone to feel excluded or left out of the process.  Maybe this is strange but my daily posting thing… feels like all of us are taking a journey together and I don’t want to leave anyone behind.

Ravana Attempts

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As is always the case last night was we gathered up the Monday team and did some eight player content in Final Fantasy XIV.  We started the evening by burning through all four parts of Alexander Normal for the folks who are not running it and capping out early like I am.  At this point my Warrior is sitting at level 190 and I have everything I can get out of Alexander other than the chest piece.  So as of today I will be largely running the place to help out the gear on my Dragoon.  At some point I hope to get the chest piece but largely for cosmetic reasons because the Alexander gear set looks amazing.  Last week we managed to burn down Bismarck Extreme and now both the Monday and Wednesday teams are keyed for the next primal encounter.  As such instead of beating the sky whale again we decided to make attempts on Ravana Extreme.  Now going into this place we had heard horror stories about how rough the encounter was and how it was another Titan Extreme where you had to move exactly at the right time and keep repeating a pattern.  Honestly I didn’t see that at all.  Instead I saw an encounter with a repeatable pattern but significantly more wiggle room  to adjust as we went.

We made some serious progress last night, and I think more than  likely we will be able to defeat him next week.  Each attempt we kept creeping closer to the goal, and essentially what is going to be the make or break moment is dealing with the Final Liberation phase.  If we can learn that particular dance we will have the encounter, and it honestly did not feel like we were too terribly far off from that process last night.  Granted at this point we are significantly better geared than the first groups that attempted the fight, but my hope is that we can get in and start farming this guy so that folks can get the really awesome weapons.  In truth I hope that we can farm both primals because there are absolutely weapons that come from both of them that I would like to see.  We had the two handed sword drop from Bismarck last Monday and it looked amazing.  It is the stupid things like getting glamour items that motivate me, and at some point I want to organize 2.0 extreme primal farming runs so that we can start to get folks their ponies.  As it stands we only have a couple of ponies in the guild, and I think my Leviathan pony was the first.  We need to figure out a method because really I would like to make sure everyone gets at least ONE primal pony before other people roll on it.  Granted eventually it would be awesome to have people get a full set, but I would be happy with having everyone with just one as a starter.

Entering Whitevale

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This morning I am having one of those mornings when I am easily distracted.  The cats are tearing through the house chasing each other like they have gone mad.  There is a dog barking and it sounds like it is coming from my back yard… even though it is really across the green belt.  I keep flipping over to twitter, and having to force myself to put my fingers back on my keyboard and type in my WordPress window.  Largely since this is Blaugust I wanted to include this little tidbit because it absolutely happens to me too.  There are days when you cannot keep your train of thought, and I have learned to just go with it.  Start writing the things that seem most natural and eventually somehow you will get back on track.  Last night was one of those nights for me as well, and I flipped back and forth between games quite a bit as the evening wore on.  Before the raid I spent time over in Wildstar with the purpose of trying to “finish Galeras”, which is a bit of a daunting task because there are a silly number of quests in that zone and many of them you will never actually find unless you go wandering around aimlessly.  Bit by bit however I explored the regions of the map that had yet to be explored and I am now relatively confident that I have at least gotten most of the quests out of the way.

That now means the moment I have been dreading is upon me…  and I had to take the flight out to Whitevale.  I guess in part the reason why I have been avoiding doing this is that Whitevale ultimately was the zone that broke me when I played the game at launch.  I am not sure entirely what it is about the place, but it felt like moving slowly through molasses.  I think in part it was due to the fact that Dominion side there simply were never that many players in the zone, meaning that I could never get a group to do any of the group objectives, and the mob density meant that it was super hard to move anywhere without having to fight a dozen mobs.  The zone also seemed to have a higher concentration of the challenger and superior difficulty mobs than the other zones.  It seemed like I could not move anywhere without seeing one of those horrible flashing red shielded mob types that I had to try and chew through in vain.  As a result I have honestly been scared of getting to this zone because it was my fear that once again it would break me.  I have actually been enjoying the content so far, and finding playing the game refreshing.  So hopefully maybe I can make my way through Whitevale because supposedly everything on the other side of it… is significantly better.

 

A Quiet Night

Second Time Just as Sweet

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Every now and then things get left on the cutting room floor for one reason or another.  For example I really wanted to make my post about the possibility of making our own convention…  but I had lots of other things to talk about as well.  In Final Fantasy I am presenting sitting in this interesting position being a part of two very different static raid groups.  Last week in the Wednesday night group we managed to get Bismarck Extreme, and I was absolutely over the moon about it.  This had been one of those challenges that we had struggled with over the course of a few weeks, namely in getting enough geared people online at the same time to take it down.  That has been the biggest challenge for Wednesday nights honestly is getting people to commit to regular attendance.  With my original raid group on Monday nights, attendance was never the issue.  The struggle there was mostly gearing, or at least the fact that we did not have two geared tanks for awhile.  However that changed as soon as Ashgar got his Paladin to 60, and geared it in record time.  Over all the gearing levels of Monday still lag behind Wednesday, but we found out this week that it apparently doesn’t really matter all that much.

Last Monday we finished up turn 13 of the Final Coil of Bahamut and started the first turn of Alexander Normal.  This week I figured the plan was to run all four phases of Alexander normal, mostly to help folks get some gear pieces.  I did not realize that we had intended to do attempts on Bismarck at the end of the night.  After struggling so much to get through that fight on the Wednesday group, I honestly expected us to walk away with a lot of experience but no kill under our belts.  I was absolutely wrong, and I am shocked at just how amazing getting a first Bismarck kill felt with my second raid team.  In the past in World of Warcraft, the first kill of a boss is special, but additional kills feel significantly less so.  I remember getting my first 10 man Arthas kill several months ahead of us getting it as a 25 man raid and that blunted the excitement considerable.  I have to say getting through Bismarck Extreme a second time is just as sweet as it was the first time.  My hope is that both groups can start doing this on a semi regular basis which will give me access to so many expanse totems.  Now I guess I really do have to get serious about the Ravana Extreme fight.

A Quiet Night

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I had every intent of coming home and working on getting my Alexander drops for the week, but that didn’t really pan out.  I hit somewhat of an irrational low spot yesterday, and as a result I didn’t really feel like being around all that many people.  As such I avoided logging into Final Fantasy XIV and instead played a few other games.  Mylin started a discussion over twitter about the Everquest II Time Locked servers, which I guess was responding to some comments I had made earlier in the week.  The problem being that I was spending the evening downstairs on my laptop, and I guess I had never actually installed Everquest II on it.  There is a streaming client for these occasions, the problem is that the EQ2 streaming client is horrible.  The performance halts every few minutes as the game downloads more assets, making the game experience nigh unplayable.  I should have simply waited the thirty minutes to an hour that it would take to download the full thing…  but I was being impatient.  The end result was a frustrating stutter stop experience as I attempted to quest my way through Freeport.  Honestly this is a dual problem for me, because no matter what I try the new Freeport always performs like shit.  I really miss the old multi-zone Freeport because I never had these issues back then.  Now I generally want to avoid going to that town like the plague.  I noticed both the Neriak and Gorowyn ambassadors were offering me a switch in my allegiance, but I was uncertain if Gorowyn even existed in this version of the game.

Ultimately I need to do some reading because I will more than happily pop to the Darklight Woods starter experience if given an option.  I consider it the absolute best starter zone in the game.  I’ve burned through my stockpile of station cash and I feel made some awesome decisions.  I ended up picking up a handful of the bags that are being offered since I did not really want to go tailor just to make bags, and I ended up picking up a set of shadowknighty looking cosmetic armor.  I have long felt that if you look good you feel better about playing your character.  Finally I spent the last of it picking up the tanky rhino mount, but I’ve never really cared for the way mounts look in this game…  so I tend to have it permanently hidden.  As a result I feel like a bard in that I am just running irrationally fast for no apparent reason.  Mounts can make moving around cities awkward as you ultimately end up blocking some of your view as you try and get into buildings and such.  I am still only level 11 because really… I had forgotten how slow progression used to go in this game before all of the assorted experience bonuses.

Saving Farmers

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I could only handle the stutter and stop gameplay of the streaming client so long before I jettisoned Everquest II for favor of Wildstar.  This is a game I want to devote more time to playing because I am really enjoying myself.  It scratches the World of Warcraft style game itch pretty well, and playing the Exiles has this fun firefly vibe to it.  Quite honestly I think had I started Exiles I probably would have stuck around longer than the initial month.  I was not a huge fan of the Dominion, but the Chua made playing them tolerable for awhile.  Personally I still think red versus blue faction divides are extremely dumb, and this game is just another reason.  My friends wanted to play Dominion, so I joined them there and had a fairly miserable time being a cartoon bad guy.  If I could have grouped with them on my Exile it would not have been a problem.  Instead there was a faction wall, and I am pretty much universally against faction walls.  The difference this time however is that no one I know actually plays Dominion on Entity.  This is actually somewhat sad as I can log into my Chua and the Dominion capital city is an absolute ghost town.  I roamed around for a good ten minutes one night before seeing a single other player, and when I finally did it was because there were a few people hanging out at the bank.

As of last night I dinged twenty two and finally can use a spiffy sword that I had been holding in my inventory for awhile.  There is just something about a weapon upgrade that is special.  I could be wearing ten levels lower of gear in every other slot, but if I have a current weapon… I feel good about my life.  There were some oddities going on with the server, because it seems like the opening of the free to play beta made more people realized that the game still existed.  I admit I am guilty of forgetting to log in.  I get caught up in Final Fantasy XIV and doing Eorzean things, but I think I am going to make an effort to start logging in more.  Since I have friends playing over there already it might be easier to remember.  I am trying my best to push through the Galeras content as fast as I can because I am just ready to see new areas.  I did move into the desert region of the zone so that was a bit of a welcome change, although as of last night I was back in rolling hills and farm lands.  At some point I need to do the two dungeons I recently unlocked to see if I can get any spiffy upgrades.  The highlight of the night however was getting to the next Shiphand mission, because so far those are my absolute favorite part of Wildstar.

 

 

Extreme Whales

Last night I got a little piece of advice from Syp, who said that I should take care of myself and that no one would care if I took a few days off.  I greatly appreciate the sentiment, and while I feel like this is probably the most brilliant idea…  I am not likely to do it.  In part this “every morning” thing is a much needed routine in my life.  Much like dreams are a way for us to sort through the days events, in many ways this morning blog post is a way to reorder my thoughts before I start a new day.  While it started with the goal of “write more content” It has wound up somewhere in a therapeutic space.  Getting up every morning and writing something…  is important to me in ways I don’t fully grasp.  Additionally I have now done this two and a half years roughly, so another part of me simply does not want to “break the chain”.  I am however likely to fiddle with my format a bit until my wrist is fully healed.

Extreme Whales

ffxiv_dx11 2015-07-02 19-43-23-05 Right now we are in this limbo area where people are still in the process of gearing in order to be able to do higher level content.  To do Alexander the first raid you must be ilevel 170, which means you need to have a full set of Tomestone of Law gear with at least one upgraded item.  Since I only hit 60 a few days ago I am not quite there yet.  As of last night I managed to hit ilvl 166 and in theory should be able to upgrade another piece of gear tonight if I manage to get any play time.  For awhile now I have filled in for the Wednesday night raid group, which was admittedly a bit of an imposition when I was still raiding in World of Warcraft…  but now is not so much.  Wednesday night is generally speaking a pretty good night for me to raid considering that my wife is off at church for a large chunk of it.  So as we move forward into Heavensward I am probably going to offer myself as a more permanent part of that group.  Since we could not do Alexander we set our sights last night on Bismarck Extreme, which only has a requirement that individuals be level 60.

The fight is in essence a series of dps checks, because apparently the island we are standing on gets more and more battered as the fight goes on.  At a base level the fight works pretty much the same as it does on hard, except for the fact that you realistically need to get down the back scale during the first chain phase.  I feel like Wulf and I made a lot of progress on learning this fight as tanks, with the hardest part being the elemental snake swap.  The snakes send out a debuff that makes it so that players need to be dpsing the snake of the opposite color of the buff they currently have.  This means tanks also need to swap targets, and at first we were trying to meet in the middle and trade off, but it seems that quite honestly this is a job for provoke.  Right before a potential swap Wulf and I would target each others snakes and then hit the taunt if we saw that we needed to.  Thankfully it seems to work magically, because normally speaking “just taunting” has minimal effect in this game when it comes to swapping targets.

ffxiv_dx11 2015-07-07 17-46-06-52 While we beat the first dps check, we consistently failed at the second one… which is burning down the elemental snakes before hitting the point of no return where the skies to dark… and Bismarck nukes us into oblivion.  Thankfully each of us still has a lot more gear we can get so we are simply hitting a gear wall.  I think if we get enough upgrade pieces in the next week we will totally rock this fight and down us the first extreme primal of the expansion.  Then we will move on to Ravana Extreme… that happens to drop the best weapons in the game currently.  I have to say I had a blast with the fight, and it was awesome working with Wulf.  The few times I had tanked for the WoW raid, it was when he happened to be out for the night, so I think this might be the first time we have actually worked together in progression content.  In part I somewhat hope we have the people to pull this together for an attempt on Saturday during the pre-podcast raid block.

Bismarck Harpooned

Depths of Madness

As I warned you all, I am writing this the night before I intend to post it…  at 11pm after a fairly long day of working on our little side projects.  Essentially the offices of both myself and my wife need reorganizing in the worst possible way.  Neither has really been torn apart and put back together in a very very long time.  In fact a good chunk of today was spent shedding documents…  from 2005 or so that we kept for god knows what reason.  I had forgotten just how many bills and statements used to pile up from the mail… that are now delivered electronically.  So I spent my time alternating between shredding documents until the shredder overheated…  and boxing up things I no longer needed or wanted for Goodwill.

The problem being that I feel completely overwhelmed in how much is still left to go through.  I am horrible about just boxing things up to get it out of the way… so I have several of these boxes loaded with miscellaneous stuff.  So this whole mission is part de-cluttering but even more important a sifting of things back into logical bins.  At the same time I am trying to make my computer space more friendly, and have a better option for hooking up my console systems and still being able to capture footage from them through my computer.  Another thing I am trying to do is to give myself a workspace where I can fiddle with computers or more importantly assemble the mountain of Lego sets I have.  Then I am trying to free up some additional room to have places to display said Legos when I finally get them together.  Needless to say the next few days are going to be busy.

Bismarck Harpooned

ffxiv_07022015_200623 If you have ready this blog for any period of time, you will know that I am pretty much willing to get drug into anything if a guild member needs it.  There are some exceptions that I avoid like the plague…  I am looking at you Aurum Vale.  However if the need is great enough I can always get my arm twisted enough to run whatever it is.  Bismarck on the other hand is an encounter that I truly enjoy, so the moment someone mentions that I almost jump at the chance to run it.  What makes Bismarck so interesting is the fact that it is a vastly different style of primal fight.  While you are ultimately in a fight against the giant flying whale, you are having to deal with a lot of different elements rather than fighting it directly.  The goal is to fire two giant harpoons into the whale that allow you to wench it to the side of the island you are standing on.  From there you can dps down its weak spot.  To make things more interesting you have to deal with all sorts of weather effects, different sorts of adds, and the whale itself slamming into the platform periodically.

The funny thing about pugging a Primal encounter is that you never fully understand the mechanics at work unless someone actually takes the time to explain them.  One of the mechanics that we did not grasp completely was what exactly to do with the water globules during phase three.  It took us three attempts to get through Bismarck because we were essentially having to figure out what exactly to do with them.  The first time we killed the adds and died to lightning damage, the second time we left the water globs up… and then took a massive  burst of damage when they exploded.  The real mechanic is a bit more subtle.  If there is story weather happening, you leave the water globs up to soak the lightning damage which will ultimately kill them.  If the skies are clear however… you kill the adds before they explode.  Once we grasped this more clearly we wrecked this primal.  I have a pretty nice video of our kill above that I edited out of my stream.

Finally Fifty Nine

ffxiv_06302015_202857 The bulk of my evening was spent wandering around trying to find ways of getting experience.  After having pretty good luck with Clan Hunts Wednesday night, I started off my evening getting a new set and working through those.  It seems like they provide about an eighth of a level upon completing the first two tiers, which is nothing to sneeze at.  After finishing these off I went back out to the Hinterlands to do quests for the crazy goblins within.  These quests involve more than your normal amount of running around as you help them build their new perfect society.  I managed to just have enough quests to push on through to 59 without any further dungeons or fate running.  Now I am in the final stretch to 60, and I have heard it goes considerably faster.  I also just unlocked the next dungeon, and I have been looking forward to running it since I first heard about it.  Hopefully tomorrow before or after the podcast I will be able to pull together a group and run it.  In the mean time however… I need to head to bed because we have to get up early tomorrow to deal with more cleaning.