Making Story Matter

The First Trial

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-20 20-47-09-89 Today begins the third day so far with Heavensward and I am feeling so completely behind.  This is of course something I am doing to myself, as I am still significantly ahead of several of the other free company members, but I have this sense of falling behind.  I guess it part it comes from the fact that expansions are by nature a reset.  On Wednesday night I was that guy that had two max level and well geared tanks, a max level and well geared healer, and both a ranged and a melee dps also max level and well geared.  I could literally fill any role I needed to fill in a party, and this gave me a great sense of confidence knowing that I could also we be useful in some way.  Now as of Friday all of that is gone… and I am back to clawing my way uphill to try and arrive at that position of comfort again. I am focusing on my Warrior and as a result I can ONLY  tank an instance.  So that means I either fill that role or I have to watch from the sidelines as people have fun without me.

That is the stress of an expansion, the immediate feeling of inadequacy that only goes away with copious amounts of time spent pouring levels into all of your characters.  It is a real struggle to keep myself from powering through everything so that I can reach that point of safety faster.  Like in the back of my head I have this order in which I intend to level things to get back there, but if I am not careful the whole thing can be overwhelming.  Everything is new and shiny and I am sure I will have plenty of time to level and still experience all of the content as it was intended.  Right now I am held up on the first trial encounter, so I am hoping that as soon as I finish writing up my blog post I can pop in and try and defeat that so I can move forward in the story.  The thing I find interesting is that they have apparently skipped “normal” mode entirely because this first trial is flagged as “hard”.  I guess it makes sense as it happens post 50, but in the grand scheme of things I feel like maybe “leveling” content cannot really be deemed “hard” modes.

Making Story Matter

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-20 19-28-17-63 The story is getting extremely good, and that is the thing that I am the most impressed with.  Usually when an MMO expansion happens, there is a resetting of things to square one and the world essentially forgets what its last state happened to be.  I’ve always found this frustrating because I want the world to remember where it has been before.  I want things to change and that the NPCs that I spent time working with, will remember who I am when I meet them again.  One of the single most immersion breaking moments for me is when I encountered Alexstraza in Twilight Highlands and she had no memory of working with me at Wyrmrest Temple in the Dragonblight of Northrend.  Sure years have passed by I was set up as a big damned hero through the events, and I am still the same big damned hero today.  She should have embraced me as a friend based on those past events, not as another nameless and faceless NPC.

More than anything Final Fantasy XIV seems to do an excellent job of working with your character being the badass that it supposedly is.  The reactions that you get are extremely human.  Some people fear you for your power, and others seek to test their mettle against it.  But regardless of their reaction…  there is no NPC that at this point does not realize you are the “Warrior of Light”.  The storyline of Heavensward takes place literally moments after the final events of 2.55, and while sure it would be frustrating to a new player to be told that they cannot enter the new content without catching up in the storyline…  this is because the storyline would seem unintelligible if you did not experience the events of “A Realm Reborn”.  This is really a new experience for me when it comes to MMOs and I have to say I am absolutely in love with it.  Square Enix has figured out how to make MMO storyline and lore matter… and I am so damned thankful they did.  I just hope that other games see how well it works in Heavensward and start adopting it in their own games.

AggroChat #62 – Flight and Chocobos

ffxiv_dx11 2015-06-19 23-50-32-16 I originally thought that when we set down to record this episode of AggroChat we would end up putting aside all pretense and simply talk about the Heavensward expansion for Final Fantasy XIV.  However what happened in reality is we ended up recording an extremely length show where we basically did that… AND a normal show as well.  While many or our weeks revolved around the launch of this new expansion…  we had to do something to bide our time until the Friday launch.  Grace has apparently been completely hooked on Marvel Super Heroes so we talked about that for awhile.  The other game she has been playing is Wildstar, so we spent a good deal of time chatting about how that game has been progressing.

In Final Fantasy XIV before the outage we managed to take down Shiva and Odin once again so we talked a bit about that.  Then myself, Tam and Kodra have been playing an awful lot of ArcheAge so we talk again about that and our progress so far.  Then finally when we start talking about Heavensward we get sidetracked on a lengthy debate about the merits of flight in MMOs and whether or not it is simply GM cheats.  Each of us brought our own perspectives to the conversation and quite honestly this could have been a show topic in itself.  Finally we talk about our experience so far with the Heavensward expansion to close out the show.  It is an extremely packed show, and clocks in just shy of two hours.

Night of the Atmas

One Last Try at Turquoise

ffxiv 2014-09-05 06-23-11-309 Yesterday the fruit that I planted in our guild hall garden ripened and I suddenly had 36 Mamook Pear (+green) and 36 O’ghomoro Berries (+blue) to play with.  So last night I thought I would try and jump around the less than accurate flowchart by feeding my Chocobo 10 each still in an effort to get to turquoise.  This morning once again I was excited to wake up and see the progress, only to find that once again I had simply jumped from Celeste Green to its next door neighbor Sky Blue.  I am afraid I will be stuck in a rut where I jump back and forth between those two colors indefinitely.  The problem is… Celeste Green is just too light for what I really want.  My ultimate goal is to eventually get the tidal barding, and Turquoise will match with that so much better.

My friend Ash had mentioned a simulator of sorts that allowed you to pick a start color and a target color and add fruit until you get your end results in the “Current Guess” column.  So this morning I dug the spreadsheet up and decided to make one last attempt at Turquoise.  If I can’t hit it after this I will just live with Celeste Green or honestly whatever color of green I end up with.  If you are curious what all of the Chocobos look like dyed in a certain color… I also have this nifty link that gives previews of each.  As you can see to the left side, that is the target color I am going for… as it is significantly richer and more vibrant than the washed out Celeste green.  According to the simulator by feeding 20 pears at a time I should hit my desired color.  Here is hoping!

Night of the Atmas

hardnightsatmas This ladies and gentlemen represents my haul for the night.  I went into the evening with five Atmas and excited with a grand total of eight, and a good number of beast tribe currency as well.  At this point I am definitely too close to give up before I hold Bravura Atma in my hands.  Honestly who is kidding, after I got my second Atma there was honestly no return for me.  After Warenwolf finished his in a weekend, it ultimately sealed my fate and meant I would be grinding out the rest of mine over the coming nights.  Currently I have Central Thanalan, Eastern Thanalan, Southern Thanalan, and Western Thanalan so all of Thanalan is officially done now.  Additionally I have the fluke drop in Central Shroud and have then started working on La Noscea having Outer, Western, and Lower so far.  Currently I am working on Upper and Middle La Noscea to complete my sweep of that area before starting in on the Shroud region.

I started my evening like I had several nights by porting out to Southern Thanalan.  I had originally chosen Thanalan as it had some of the more annoying zones to traverse.  About the time I got out there a guildie of mine Cav showed up both on teamspeak and next to me at a fate so we joined forces and ground FATEs for a significant amount of time.  Luckily we managed to get the Atma of the scorpion off the same Fate, so we opted to take a brief break and continue on in Lower La Noscea.  While on break we were joined by Ashgar and we continued our FATE grinding machine, and moments later I got the Atma from that zone.  Originally I was just going to break the party and leave the two to their grinding…  but they opted to follow me instead.  We made our way out to Outer La Noscea and spent the next hour or so running all around that zone.  As you can tell by the haul of Kobold quest items, we got at least five different boss fates down in the mines region.

When I got my Atma the two of them decided it was time for them to call it a night as well.  I feel horrible that I was the only one who managed to get any Atmas other than Cav also getting the Scorpion.  That said however I am only four away from the weapon turn in.  Granted I am sure I will probably grind out an Atma weapon for my dragoon as well, but I have a feeling I will be putting some space between the two Atmas by finally working on my White Mage.  I already have the precursor for the relic weapon crafted and the materia melded to it and everything.  Honestly after all of this FATE grinding I could definitely use the slower pace of leveling a healer.  The one massive positive about all of the FATEs is that I am getting tons of Grand Company seals… which I can then turn into Vetures for my retainers.  That is a fun little minigame that tends to either reward really interesting stuff, or fish glue…  with no real middle ground.  Last night I got a level 50 conjurer staff, fish glue, and some cooked accuracy fish.

Dodo Earrings

As of yesterday the Tokoyo game show is under way and I am hoping we see some more information about the 2.38, 2.4 and beyond patches to the game.  Unfortunately it seems as though most of the Square events are not happening until Saturday and Sunday, the two public days of the convention.  One of the cool things happening this year is that much like the previous year they are having a raid challenge.  Anyone who goes to the show can join together with a random group of strangers to complete the Lord of Levin encounter… aka Ramuh.  Each time someone defeats the encounter they pick a random server and then ALL players on that server get a bonus item.  Last year they gave away Cactuar Earrings for each server, and then when ALL servers earned the reward we got a bonus set of Bomb Earrings.

While they don’t seem nearly as cool as say a Cactuar… it is still pretty damned cool that they are doing them again.   Being a loyal Cactuarite I thought it was pretty cool that the reward last year worked with our server.  I makes me wonder what exactly  the bonus reward might be this year, as generally speaking given the popularity of this game…  every server should reasonably see this reward.  Especially given that at this point most players have done the Lord of Levin encounter more than a few times.  The information I think we are all waiting for is more news about the Rogue class and Ninja job.  All signs point to the Ninja being another dps, but in truth I would love to see the Ninja be another tank.  This game like so many is constantly in a desperate need of tanks, and you can turn a tidy profit by tanking random dungeons and getting nonstop bonus rewards for doing it.  In Final Fantasy XI the Ninja ended up being an evasion tank, but they never actually intended for it to be one.  As such I think more than likely they will make it a proper dps this time around.

Similarly I want to hear about other jobs that might be coming down the pipe.  I really want to see Dark Knight and Samurai go in, as those are two of my favorite jobs from other Final Fantasy games.  Ashgar theorizes that more than likely the Dark Knight will be the DPS class for the Marauder job, and quite honestly I am completely fine with this.  Similarly the Samurai could be the tank job on the rogue class.  More than anything I would love to see more Jobs get fleshed out since currently only the Scholor/Summoner combination have the 2 jobs per class theme that they had originally intended.  In any case I am hoping for good news to trickle out of Tokoyo this weekend.  Unfortunately with the time shift it means that more than likely I will find out about the Saturday news on Sunday, and the Sunday news on Monday.  I feel like at some point Saturday evening though we will start to see earrings showing up in the mailbox.

#FinalFantasyXIV #FFXIV

Chocobo Madness

AggroChat Episode 20

Last night we recorded our 20th episode of aggrochat.  Quite honestly it doesn’t feel like it has been long enough for us to rack up 20 weekly episodes.  Rae was off traveling to visit some friends for the Labor Day weekend, so that left us with myself, Ashgar, Kodra and Tam.  We started the show by bidding a fond farewell to Blaugust since today is the final day of the month long blogging initiative.  Some pretty awesome content has come out of it, and as of last night we still had 29 people who had posted something each and every day of the month.  That is pretty impressive when you consider just how much content was churned out as a result.  Not everyone has posted daily on the Blaugust nook… myself included but still we have over 700 posts there during the month.  In total I believe we had 52 different participants that in some way joined in the fun, so I a wholeheartedly applaud everyone on the job well done.

After that we started a discussion about trash mobs, or more so why exactly we refer to non-boss encounters as trash.  It hasn’t always been the case there was a point at which we just referred to everything as encounters, and in part I think that is because over the years the care and thought that went into non-boss encounters was lacking.  We reminisce about some of our favorite non-boss encounters and talk at length about how we feel that encounters in general can be improved.  I really enjoyed the discussion last night, so hopefully you all will as well.

Chocobo Madness

With the 2.35 patch Final Fantasy XIV introduced ways to dye your Chocobo unlike quite any other dye system I have encountered.  Generally speaking in other games, you buy a dye or you pick a color from a selector and you end up with your color relatively simply.  It might be cost prohibitive to get the color you want, but there is very little guess work.  Final Fantasy XIV on the other hand introduced a system that is sheer madness.  First you have to purchase seeds for various fruits that can be found on vendors.  The seed is then grown in your garden and over the course of two days ripens.  You can shorten this time by doing various things and the yield can be increased based on the type of soil that you use and the fertilizer.  Where the madness goes into play is that these seeds increase or lighten various color sliders starting from the base yellow.

rgbcymk_chocobo When the system was originally patched in, the forums were of course a buzz with trying to figure out the formulas for each of the colors people might want.  After lots of trial and error it has pretty much been agreed upon that the two types of fruit… the fruit that darkens a color and lightens a color are essentially on two different color mixing systems.  The darken fruits are on RGB and the lighten fruits have the side effect of increasing CMY.  This makes trying to mix a specific color absolute insanity.  The end result are several different guides for mixing colors and others that list supposed recipes for specific combinations.  The problem with all of this is that it doesn’t seem to be an exact science and there is a large random element to just how much a given fruit effects the end plumage.

The Results of Madness

ffxiv 2014-08-30 10-34-22-578

So entering into this I knew I was fairly insane.  My ultimate hope was to arrive at turquoise so I fed my chocobo 15 Doman Plums and 10 Mamook Pears as a start.  Doman Plums being the fruit that lowers the red value and at the same time raises the Cyan value, and Mamook Pears being the fruit that raises the Green value.  The problem with this system is that you have to stable your bird and wait essentially six hours to see what the final result was.  The new color is revealed to you as part of a cut scene.  So before I went to bed Friday night and hoped I had made a good combination of fruits.  Saturday morning I got up fairly early and was excited to log in to see exactly what the end result was.  It turns out that I was pretty close and ended up with Celeste Green (R:144,G:184,B:180) which is really close to the shade of Turquoise I was actually after.

So now I have the hard decision of do I leave well enough alone for the time being, because I am actually rather fond of the color.  Or do I go for broke and try and push Celeste Green to the next step which would be Turquoise the shade I was actually after.  The problem is I have no clue if I just feed doman plums in the hopes of getting there, or do I need to feed O’Ghomoro Berries and Mamook Pears in the hopes of darkening both blue and green at the same time instead.  For the time being, and since fruit is so insanely expensive right now I think I am going to leave things alone and just be happy I got close to the color I wanted.  Now my attention turns to trying to get the Tidal Barding to go with the new color… but that is a whole different rabbit hole for another day.

#FFXIV #Chocobo #Dyes