Guildhalls and Shield Charge



Tonight is the launch of the Destiny 2 console editions.  Technically it is launching on Wednesday but they are starting that clock at Midnight Eastern Time…  which means since I am in Central time I might actually get a chance to poke my head in and check out the game at 11 pm tonight.  I have not plans to do a late night marathon or anything like that, but today I am mostly wanting to show off the new artwork from Ammosart that I commissioned for my blog header.  Since adding “LalaBel” to the header with the launch of Stormblood…  I’ve been plotting to add something up there to balance things out.  With the launch of Destiny 2 and my new love of the Sentinel Titan… I thought it would be pretty great to add a version of me charging with the void shield.  The only problem here is…  Ammo was working off a game that wasn’t out yet.  I gathered up a bunch of screenshots from the PS4 beta, and attempted to augment them with as many relevant screenshots as I could find around the interwebs.  I am super happy with the end result and she did a great job of capturing the whole “covered in void energy” aspect that happens when you are ping ponging between mobs while charging like Captain America.  Now I have a version of myself as a Sunbreaker that she did earlier as my avatar…  and now a really cool version of the Sentinel that emblazons the blogs masthead.  I had hoped she would get it done in time for the launch and like a trooper she pinged me last night with the final version.  I cannot express in words how great Ammo is at this sort of thing.. and like always you should totally check out her website and tumblr for more awesome stuff.  These are of course paid commissions, so please please please don’t go pestering her for free work.


As far as other happenings this weekend… I split time between Guild Wars 2 and World of Warcraft.  In truth I played way more WoW than I expected to be playing, especially working on assorted World Quests and Emissary missions.  That said the bulk of my time was spent working on a bunch of scattered objectives in Guild Wars 2.  About a month ago the AggroChat crew and friends managed to get a guild hall purchased for Greysky Armada the GW2 branch of our FFXIV guild.  The only problem is… saving up the currency and influence was only the beginning because you have to in theory fight to take back the hall from the mo that had invaded it.  We tried this with about five players shortly after purchasing the hall and failed miserably.  I’ve talked about the process before, but functionally there are mobs that spawn in that you have to take out… and you have something like 3 mins from the moment they spawn to defeat them.  The problem is that they could be anywhere on a rather large map.  With five players, if we happened to be close to one of the Maws we could take it out without much problem…  but the run time combined with the time to chew through the copious amount of adds meant that we were always behind the curve.  Each time you fail to defeat a Maw the toxin levels increase… which is functionally a hard timer on how many attempts you have before you have to call it and try again.  Monday afternoon we managed to gather up a bunch of folks and had I believe nine people working on this mission and that seemed to go so much more smoothly.  I think there was one that we failed to get, but shockingly we kept knocking down Maw after Maw until we were rapidly approaching the final boss phase… where you have like 10 minutes to defeat the purple border Legendary mob that you can see me fighting in the above image.


We spent the rest of the afternoon pouring through our vaults and dredging up materials to attempt to purchase upgrades.  By the time we called it a night we had a chest full and ready for a couple more upgrades…  and have the guild sitting at Level 5.  Basically at the moment we are favor locked, which is the currency you gain by doing guild quests.  We did the Trek one yesterday which is pretty simple… and failed miserably at completing the bounty task.  That one gives you 15 minutes to kill 3 mobs that are roaming around the world.  Firstly the mobs are not static spawns and you have to go “find them”, and then some are spawned by doing other activities…  like kicking suspicious barrels in a zone with about 300 of them.  The real challenge though was killing the mobs fast enough because these spawn in as champions… and one of them was absolutely straight up one-shotting me as a Hammer Warrior which is pretty tanky in the grand scheme of things.  Basically this again is a situation where we need more people on at a given time so we can spread out and then coalesce on a target when someone finds one and take it down quickly…  then return to the hunt once again.  I also need to see what the specifics about Hard Weekly Challenges are…  to see if this is a thing we can actually manage to do.  I am questioning it however given that it suggests that we have 15 players…  and so far this suggestion number has been pretty right on the money.


It feels like opening up the Guild Halls has infused me with new purpose because finally I have a reason to be stockpiling all of these materials.  I am just thankful that none of the materials are the ones that I have been needing for pushing Weaponsmithing up higher…  which currently sits at 486.  The other thing about me is I am notorious for taking the hardest route to get somewhere…  and this has been true with Mastery points.  For whatever reason I decided to keep focusing on the Pact Commander tree…  and then once I realized what was at the bottom of that tree I just kept going.  This put me in the position of needing 8 Mastery points to finish it out and gain “Advanced Logistics” that enables the Auto Loot checkbox in the options menu.  What this does is allow you to stop feeling the need to hit F constantly to try and loot corpses after everything you killed.  I know over the years I have left a lot of loot on the battlefield because I get caught in the heat of the moment and am busy whacking things with my hammer to notice that I had a prompt telling me to loot things.  The only negative here is I am afraid this will be one hell of a way to fill my bags…  but then again I have access to Mistlock for selling and banking anytime I like.  Additionally as we build out the Guild Hall it will serve as a similar option some day.  I’ve known for awhile that there were a bunch of Mastery points that I could get by running around Tyria and communing with certain locations.  The problem is I never really did anything about it… until last night when I literally ran around and collected all of them.  This gave me enough Mastery points to earn Advanced Logistics that I was after as well as enough to pick up the next rank in the Fractal Attunement tree.  Overall this takes my Mastery rank to 29…  which still feels like a complete newbie in the grand scheme of things.  Every time you complete one objective in this game it seems to unlock a dozen more that you didn’t even know existed…  which is I guess how it has kept people engaged over these last five years.



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.


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.

The True Endgame


Wardrobe System


Last night I had a marvelously relaxing evening working on “endgame content” in Rift.  By that I mean the true end game of any MMO… and that is wearing interesting outfits.  There are so many different cosmetic systems out there, but I have to say that in my personal experience Rift has hands down the best one.  How the system works is you have a tab on your character screen labelled Wardrobe, and at the bottom are a number of alternate outfits that you can save.  By default you get one free wardrobe slot, and then up to four can be purchased using platinum, with the second tab costing 10, third costing 50 and fourth costing 100.  If I remember correctly the loyalty system has a number of unlocks that come with various ranks in that, gained through either subscribing as a patron or spending money on the in game shop.  Up to sixty total wardrobe slots can be unlocked however through the cash shop currency, and each of them costs 144 credits which if you base that on the conversion rate for the $19.99 and if my math is anywhere near correct that is roughly 90 cents a slot.  What makes the system so special is that the game saves appearance and dye information at an account level, and simply looting an item into your inventory saves the appearance.  You don’t even need to equip an item to save its appearance, which means if you get a sweet bind in equip item that you are not going to use…  you can sell it and still have saved its appearance data.  Dyes work a little strange in that they are mostly unlocked through cash shop currency… however I believe you have some of the basic colors unlocked for free.  The individual unlocks are at tiers of pricing and are either 90, 270 or 450.  As I am writing this I am realizing that all of my information may be slightly off given that I have the patron discount applied to pretty much everything.  Essentially if you really want a color it isn’t terribly cost prohibitive to get it, however I wish their dyes worked like Wildstar in that they were drops out in the world and not something you simply purchased.


What makes the Wardrobe system so special to me is that for every single wardrobe tab you can save an appearance that you choose from all of the appearances you have collected, a primary and secondary dye color… and even toggle whether or not you want to display that particular slot.  What I love the most however is that you can save an appearance for two one handed weapons, a two handed weapon, a ranged weapon and a shield with every single slot.  That means when you are running around in this outfit and you switch specs to something that uses a sword and board, or something that dual wields… you don’t have jarring change in appearance, nor do you have the odd feeling of running around and fighting with a shield but it still shows your two handed weapon.  When you pick up any item, or look at an item in the crafting or auction pane you see a little note that tells you if you have collected the appearance for it yet.   What makes collecting gear so damned fun for me at least is that they have created this tab called “Appearance Sets” that tells which pieces you are missing from each set.  For the completionists there are a number of achievements tied to the collection of various sets as well.  I have lots of singlets and partial sets but you can see that as of last night I have completed 30 of 323 available item sets.  The only thing that I wish it showed… was where you could actually get that specific appearance item be it crafting or drops.  That said the Rift team gets amazing marks for me in the way this system works and feels to use.  What makes everything better… is that you can use ANY gear type on ANY character…. so I can have my plate wearing warrior in robes, or my mage sitting in full plate.

Bolstering the Sets


So when I say last night that I spent the entire evening working on the true Endgame… what I mean is that I have been on this crafting kick.  Another feature that I love about Rift is that I can pretty much make one character do every single crafting profession in the game.  Granted this is cost prohibitive when it comes to credits, but when the free to play system launched they gave long time subscribers a pretty massive cash shop payout.  This allowed me to add everything but Apothecary and Outfitter to my primary Bahmi Warrior main.  At some point I would love to add those professions as well just so I can have a true omni-crafter in this game and to streamline the creation of items.  I have a max level outfitter on my Rogue, so last night I had to spend a good deal of time swapping items back and forth for the creation of fabric bolts.  Over the last week as I have been out in the world picking up max level crafting materials, I have been spending some time at the end of the evening pushing up my tradeskills and at this point I have several of them at the 450 max or pretty close to it.  This is the point where my brain goes a little off the track here, and shifts goals on me.  When they put in the Item Appearance system, I was a little disappointed because so many of the items left to collect were things that I had in my grubby little hands at one point.  Now I saved the items that really mattered to me, but wound up scrapping the vast majority of the items I handled over the years.  I always had it in the back of my mind that at some point I would start running old world dungeons and crafting old world items to help bolster my appearance collection.


So last night while watching The Expanse through the Syfy Roku app… I started in Freemarch and worked my way through the various zones of the Old World collecting ore, wood, leather and cloth and then taking it back to either Meridian or Tempest Keep and crafting item sets.  By the point I had shut down for the evening I had made my way through to Titanium and had crafted the Plate and Chain armor sets for each… as well as the armor bundles that were available at various points.  At some point I will follow up and do the same with weapons, but there are far more items to craft there… or at least it certainly feels that way.  I suppose at some point I will go do the same with my Rogue and collect the various cloth and leather sets, but since I am a pretty plate and chain focused person those weren’t nearly as important to me.  The truth is since this system went in during Storm Legion if I remember correctly, I have most of the post Old World craft-able sets already saved, so that leaves me with Carmintium left to craft of the easy sets.  At some point I would like to purchase the rest of the alloy metal sets like Steel and the rest of the Orichalcum set… but those involve farming up a bunch of crafting marks to purchase the patterns.  In the end I had a blast and knocked out a bunch of those things that I have always said I wanted to do.  I love the crafting system in this game because it is just intricate enough to keep my focus… and not a maddening mini-game that requires me tending it as I craft things.  I like systems that make the acquisition of raw materials the challenge, not the assembly of those things.

Sword Logic

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Conversions Away

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Last night I had every intent of logging into The Division and playing it all night long.  If nothing else I knew I needed to pop in long enough to convert all of my materials to orange or blue quality.  This Tuesday there is a pretty horrible nerf coming down the pipe in crafting.  In the case of high end crafting it is more than doubling the amount of materials needed to craft something through the form of an extremely lossy conversion of materials.  Right now it takes 5 greens to make 1 blue, and 5 blues to make 1 orange crafting material.  Which has always felt like a pretty fair method.  However after the patch it will take 10 green mats to make a single blue, and 15 blues to make a single orange.  To make matters worse they are also nerfing the amount of materials you get off of deconstruction which right now usually yields two materials…  but after the patch it will more consistently yield a single material.  Essentially all of the love I have for Destiny and the quality of life improvements…  I am feeling the opposite for Division and what seems to be some very unfair changes for the casual player.  As a result I highly suggest you get into the game and convert everything you have up to the highest tier of material you can make.

Unfortunately there is no batch conversion option so you will be holding space bar and hitting escape a bunch to burn through your materials.  It took me about twenty minutes to convert everything up because I really did have a lot of materials.  I need to focus on farming some more weapon nodes this weekend so that I can hopefully convert up at least enough to get 10 for one weapon.  Right now high end craftables take 8 orange mats, and after the patch they are going to require 10.  I didn’t notice any mentioned nerfs to the world nodes, so I am wondering if these changes are designed to get players to prioritize going after them instead of simply killing a bunch of stuff to deconstruct.  In any case I know today/tonight I plan on farming as many nodes as I can get my hands on with the hopes of converting it all upwards into shiny orange materials.  In the process of screwing around yesterday I did manage to complete a mission and hit 23 so at some point I really need to make the final push to 30 so I can join in all the fun end game “reindeer games”.

Unintended Exotics

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As unexcited as I am about The Division patch…. I am insanely so about the Destiny patch.  Yesterday I was super pumped to see what the next Playstation exclusives would look like, namely I really really want that new exotic sniper because it has an almost Tex Mechanica vibe.  I also think the new Jovian Guard armor set is probably the coolest Titan armor to date, so I will absolutely be farming up a set of it, which should go a lot more smoothly given that I can infuse things much easier.  On the infusion department there is some conflicting information up on the Bungie site, but it makes it sound like we will no longer get engrams to decode to less light than our converted light total.  Meaning that if you are 309 light when you decode you should get items of level 309 or higher.  What is confusing is this seems like a massive change, but one that I really welcome.  I am sick of getting 260 blues and 270 purples from engrams.  I’ve been holding onto a vault full of interesting weapons, that just need to be infused to use…  so I am amped that this might mean that process becomes super simple.  At some point before Tuesday I really need to sort through my vault and deconstruct all of the lower level items that I was holding onto as stepping stones for leveling higher stuff from 280 and beyond.

I didn’t intend to play Destiny last night, but at some point during the evening I flipped over to the clan messaging app and saw that my friend Jex was trying to get ahold of me.  Now I have needed to finish up the Exotic sword quest for some time, but I wasn’t really pushing the issue.  It turns out that Jex and Squirrel were looking for something to do last night, and thought that it would be the perfect time to work on that quest for me.  The sunless cell is probably my least favorite strike because I don’t like the whole “not being able to see” aspect, and the exploding thralls coming out in close proximity.  That said the worst part about it last night was the anxiety of not wanting to screw up the pattern.  You have to bleed down the main boss to where you can finish him off in a hit or two… and then drop the warden of your elemental type and then within 30 seconds finish off the boss to complete the quest.  The problem being that the flame sword warden is apparently the most annoying because he could almost one shot all of us.. and we were well above the suggested 300 light.  We managed to do it in a single attempt, but with a lot of resurrections in the process.  Afterwards we popped over to the dreadnaught and did some Court of Oryx, with the goal of finishing some antiquated runes so we would each have a stack to go through with the patch on Tuesday.  I know personally I have six, but it sounded like Squirrel had a full stack of them.  The hope is that we can farm up one or more of those 335 artifacts to boost our light level before the raid that same night.  In any case I am super grateful for the group, and my shiny new exotic 310 sword.



The Madness Continues

AggroChat #58 – Eight Is Enough?

This week we explore the age old question of podcasting.. just how many hosts can you have before a show descends into madness? As the title suggests we ended up with eight hosts on this weeks AggroChat and I think for the most part we exited on the other side with our sanity still in place… or what little we actually had of it to start. This week Ashgar and Kodra are both travelling, and as such I made plans to cover for them if they were unable to make it for the show. However because they are the consumate professionals that they are… they figured out a way to podcast remotely. This left me with the choice of either backing out on the folks I had arranged or just push forward into madness. Like usual I chose the path of madness.

This week we have quite possibly our longest show to date as we aske the question if Eight is Enough? This week we talk about Kodra’s trip to Canada, and his descent into Pathfinder Online. This spurs a discussion about the recent crop of MMO nostalgia titles and how they all somehow miss the boat on what made those early MMOs so interesting. Since all of us literally are playing Final Fantasy XIV we spend a good deal talking about our two groups working on turn nine of the Second Coil of Bahamut, as well as contrasting WoW and Final Fantasy raiding experiences. Grace talks about her experience leveling a ninja and how this game causes us to play things we didn’t think we would ever like playing. I talk about my complete and total embrace of the black hole that is the crafting system and how I have managed to push all classes to fifteen this week.

On top of this we talk Sword Art Online in both the Anime and Game forms. We talk a bit about how each of us is trying to wrap up our time in Shadowrun in preparation for next weeks show. We talk Mad Max Fury Road and to a lesser extent Orphan Black. Ashgar talks about his continued experiences with Radiant Historia, and Thalen ventures into Broken Age. Dallian and I talk about our experiences this week playing Witcher 3, and how the Hearthstone mobile app doesn’t work nearly as well as we would have hoped it would. Finally we wrap things up with some discussion about Moonrise and the impending steam early access. It was without a doubt one of the biggest shows we have recorded but also extremely enjoyable to participate in. It seems we somehow were able to juggle eight people on a show without complete chaos.

The Madness Continues

ffxiv 2015-05-19 19-04-12-406 The insanity that is the Final Fantasy XIV crafting system continues.  It was a rainy day here in Oklahoma so I spent most of it curled up on the couch watching television and banging away slowly on crafting.  As of yesterday evening I had managed to push every single crafting profession to fifteen, which essentially signals the end of “easy mode” crafting.  During those first levels everything you need can be purchased off of a vendor and it is simply an act of brute forcing your way through the levels.  Now I begin a trek through the dark territory that involves copious farming of materials.  Last night while podcasting I farmed up three stacks of allumen and aldgoat skin for the purpose of leveling leatherworking.  I was not sure just how much Aldgoat Leather I would ultimately need to get through to 30 but I suspected it would be quite a bit.  Towards the end of the podcast and while editing I crafted up the entire stack of materials, making some 410 Aldgoat leather and it pushed me from level 15 to level 21.

In theory if I can just find something like this to farm at each step of the way I might make it through the 50 levels of crafting with ease.  It seems that in leatherworking at least there is an item like that every 10 levels that can be mass farmed and crafted up.  The ones that I worry the most about are Alchemist and Cullinarian because they seem to be the most fiddly of the professions.  Right now I am farming up Limestone and Fine Sand to make a ton of Mortar because I actually need some to hand off to Cylladora to craft a Moogle themed wallpaper for me, for my personal room.  Yesterday in the mix of things that I ran I helped some guildies get through Good King Moggle Mog and managed to get the rare crafting material to drop.  Who doesn’t want Moogle themed wallpaper for their personal room?  Anyways I am finding the whole crafitng thing oddly soothing but it has absolutely consumed every last moment of my play time.  Now that I am having to farm up materials however I am at least venturing out in to the world some.

Poking My Head Out

ffxiv 2015-05-23 17-12-44-17 Yesterday was quite literally the first day I have done something other than craft for the last two weeks.  Maybe it isn’t quite that drastic, but the majority of my time in game has been working on some craft or another.  Yesterday I ran Haukke Manor with some guildies and got to play my rogue.  I have to say that class is just fun to play in that the animations are amazing.  While it is only 28 right now I am thinking it might be the next class that I push to 50.  A huge chunk of this desire admittedly is the fact that I have a pair of Moogle themed daggers waiting for maximum level.  Mog weapons make everything more enjoyable, as I am using the mogfork on my dragoon and mogaxe on my warrior.  Other than Haukke I ran an expert with Grace and Tam, and then later that night ran the Battle at Big Keep and The Chrysallis with guildies.  It was good to actually stretch my warrior muscles a bit after all of the crafting.  I feel like at this point I have more than I could ever actually accomplish still to do before the launch of Heavensward.  There are only twenty six days until the Heavensward head start, and there is no way in hell I am going to finish a lot of my side projects before then.

Quite literally I feel like I could take a month off and focus on nothing but Final Fantasy XIV and still have things that are left unfinished before the expansion.  Right now it seems I have opposite problems between Final Fantasy and World of Warcraft.  In Warcraft there is nothing I really want to do, but in Final Fantasy I have what feels like dozens of competing desires.  It is actually hard getting used to the notion that I will be going into this expansion with a lot of unfinished baggage, but I guess in the grand scheme of things that gives me reason to keep poking my head back in on the old world.  The things that I absolutely want to finish before Heavensward is that I want to complete the Post Moogle storyline.  I feel like I really just need a good afternoon to work through all of that content, so I am wondering if maybe that is going to be my mission on Monday.  Put on Orphan Black on the television and quest my way through to one of the coolest hats in any game.  Even writing this… I am realizing just how much content there is in this game yet to do.

Madness Intensifies

No Getting Used to It

ffxiv 2015-05-17 22-31-40-498 By the time yesterday afternoon rolled around I had well passed my stress quota.  If I were a pinball machine the tilt sensors were going off.  The previous week had been one of the more stressful experiences in part because I don’t really handle change as well as I could.  That said my workplace right now is in a constant state of flux as we are going through a fairly massively floor rebuild.  We have folks tearing down one cube only to take the pieces that were used to make it, and use it to build up a brand new cube.  The positive is that I now have a pretty sweet set up with a more private cube that has an entrance hall of sorts, but getting to that process involved moving out of my office before going to lunch one day… and moving back in a few hours later.  When you combine the fact that we had to cram all of the mothers day festivities into this weekend, we had car troubles, and had at least one partially sleepless night due to dodging tornados by the time Sunday afternoon rolled around I had just checked out.

So as I was sitting there on my sofa mindlessly crafting away last night it was pure dumb luck that I happened to look down and notice that the tell I had just received was from an actual person and not another gold spammer.  It turns out that I happened to be sitting there crafting in the Alchemists guild in Ul’dah next to someone who was apparently an avid reader of my blog.  I’ve been lucky enough to experience this a few times now, and each time it is this mixture of pride, awkwardness and confusion.  I have somehow lulled myself into this state where I feel like I don’t actually have any readers, so when I write my post each morning I can be just as open as I want to… because I am ultimately just talking to myself.  So when I am confronted with the fact that this is absolutely not the case I never know quite what to do.  I snapped a photo with my reader and told him that he would have to be less of a stranger in the comment thread, also threw out a friend invite and said to holler if they needed anything.  My friends joke about me being “THE Belghast” but man…  that is not a thing I will ever get used to.  I’m just a guy who does a few different things and tries to squeeze as much enjoyment out of the games I happen to be playing as I can.  The big point of pride however came when my reader said that I was for the most part the reason why they were playing Final Fantasy XIV right now, so if my joy can be infectious then maybe I guess it is okay.

Madness Intensifies

MadnessOfBel_11s The only real concentrated playtime that I had this weekend were either during the podcast on Saturday evening or starting about 4pm on Sunday afternoon until I went to bed.  During that time I focused on getting all of those tradeskills that I managed to get to level 5/6ish the other day up to 11.  At the point of going to sleep last night I had managed to get all of them up there except for Culinarian, which I will hopefully take care of tonight.  I will say that so far I definitely agree with the notion of this being the ideal way to level tradeskills, but man…  it also means that my entire life right now is pushing tradeskills.  There is no way in hell I am going to cap my poetics especially since they have now doubled the cap to 900 per week.  The positive however is that I am actually finding myself really enjoying the black hole known as crafting.  I like the fact that I am for the most part relatively self sufficient.  This was always the big reason why I pushed crafting up in other games is that when I wanted something for an alt… I didn’t want to have to pester someone else to make it for me.

It is going to be so amazingly nice to be able to repair my gear while we are in instances, or knock out random glamour prisms as my whims suit me.  Right now I am taking no small amount of pride in the fact that I have been crafting all of my upgrades WHILE working on crafting.  The cool thing is that each time I hit a plateau I can have a fire sale of everything that I used to get to that point.  So when I finally bring Culinarian up to level 11 I will be shedding all the early level crafting gear that I have laying around.  The other nice thing about doing it this way is that I have been able to select the cash reward item from each of my crafting quests.  The negative is…  that I am struggling to remember which quests I have actually completed.  I am pretty sure there are one or two of the level ten quests that I still need to go back and do.  I am really enjoying the chill nature of crafting, and I am liking that it gives me plenty of time to watch some Orphan Black.  I managed to watch through the first seasons and just started the second season last night before stopping to watch Game of Thrones.  I doubt I will make it to cap before Heavensward but I am hoping to at least get close.

Forced Engagement

ffxiv 2015-04-25 20-53-28-59 The biggest problem with crafting right now is that it is feeding my instincts to check out mentally.  When I am stressed I tend to disengage from the world, and while I am so focused on crafting my way through the levels…  it is all too easy to simply not watch free company chat or anything else for that matter.  One of the things I am going to have to work on this next week is trying to find a happy medium between my super engaging “lets run all the things” side and my “lets just nest and craft” side.  I am hoping that now that my group at work is done with the moves that I can start to chill back out once again.  The fact that every single day my world was changing significantly made me want to cling to something calm and relaxing in my game world.  Tonight will be a return to my raid schedule so that should help significantly.  There is still some stress in the real world around a potential car purchase that might be happening, but hopefully the big stressers are past me.

Mostly I want to apologize to anyone who was looking to run anything this weekend.  I managed to run a Sunken Temple of Qarn with Liore, but past that I pretty much ran nothing at all.  I had all these grand hopes of doing some pony farming, but that fell through when we tried to cram a visit with my folks in Friday night.  Saturday was pretty much an entire lost day other than rushing home to podcast under the threat of severe weather.  Hopefully as the week goes on I can do more fun stuff with the Free Company because I could use the activity to get my mind off other things.  As we talked about on the podcast Saturday night, I really hope we down turn nine tonight… but in the grand scheme of things I think we are still a few weeks away.  We are just now consistently getting to the dive bomb phase, now we just have to figure out what to do with the dive bombs.  On our best attempt I think we  got to around 35% which isn’t too shabby.  I hope you all have a great week, and please if you are an avid reader of the blog…  don’t hesitate to ping me in game sometime and say hi.

Hardcore Mining

Quest for Airships

FF14-Airhship Since the detail was first teased during the Las Vegas Fan Festival, our guild has been focused on making sure we can get a Free Company airship.  The biggest concern however is that when Yoshi-P calls something “prohibitively expensive” it gives us serious pause.  This is the man that thought 6-30 million gil for housing was “reasonable”, so if something is prohibitively expensive…  what in the world could that be?  Over the weekend a Polygon article came out with some quotes from the man himself, and I talked a little bit about this yesterday.  Unless you did not have time to read the article, let me focus in on the part I am actually interested in.

“Once you have the workshop, you decide on what you want to make,” Yoshida says. “For example, if you’re going to build an airship, you go part by part. You start with the engine. Your free company teammates gather the materials necessary to build the engine. The crafters within the free company form a party, and then it’s a group effort to build the engine.”

Yoshida says the free company crafting system will grow and expand throughout content patches for the expansion — what he is calling the “3.X series of updates.” To create their ship, free companies will have to combine different engines, bodies and other parts. The ships will have different stats depending on the combinations made, leading to unique ships for different groups depending on their focus.

“Having as many options as possible is a good thing,” he says with a smile.

So our biggest concern with this statement is the fact that he says that you will need a party of free company crafters to complete some of these actions.  Now currently we have at least a “light” party worth of Omni crafters, meaning that they have every single profession to max level.  But since he doesn’t specify my concern is that it might require a “Full” party of eight crafters to do some of the things related to crafting airship bits.  If that is the case we are pretty screwed, because while some of our members have embraced the rabbit hole that is crafting, there are players like me that have completely avoided it.  I guess for me my reasoning was that I wanted to make sure I got my combat classes up and geared before diving too far into the crafting system.  That said I have WAR, PLD, DRG, BRD, and WHM all geared to ilvl 100 or better… so I guess I have done what I set out to do.

Hardcore Mining

ffxiv 2015-03-09 06-05-19-72 So this weekend I embarked upon the mission to finish leveling mining.  At the beginning of the weekend I was sitting around level 30, and last night before going to bed I had just hit 44.  My hope is that maybe I can finish leveling to 50 tonight before raid time.  Right now I am out in Coerthas doing mining leves, and the leveling is going fairly quickly.  My goal is to finish leveling mining and then start in on another Disciple of the Land class probably logging next.  My original plan was to level all of my harvesting classes to 50 before setting in and actually leveling crafting proper.  I thought this might make life a lot easier to funnel resources into the “making things” professions.  My goal is to be able to help the guild craft that airship, and while it is probably going to cots me several points of sanity…  I care that much about the end result.

Mining is pretty much pure tedium, in that it involves a lot of running around and clicking things repeatedly.  As such I opted to hang out downstairs on my laptop and catch up on various television options while I repeated the same process over and over.  Yesterday was all about watching the various episodes of Star Wars Rebels that I had missed.  I have to say that show is absolutely phenomenal, and if you are not watching it yet… I highly suggest you do so.  I am pretty happy with Disney’s leadership so far of the Star Wars brand.  That show is chock full of really interesting characters, and it gives this whole guerilla fighters against the empire feel which is excellent.  The danger of their situation is constant, and they managed to create an extremely insidious villain in the form of “The Inquisitor”.

Quietly Amazing

ffxiv 2015-03-09 06-00-21-64 This morning when I went to log in and take a screenshot of me in my awesome mining regalia, I was greeted by this screen.  Yup it looks like Cactuar was in fact full at 6 in the morning, and I am thinking this is pure insanity.  I know for some time Cactuar has been locked from the creation of new characters during prime time hours.  However I wonder if we are starting to reach that state of permanent lock status?  That is going to be horribly unfortunate for anyone wanting to join our Free Company and the great little community we have built there.  My hope is this is some sort of fluke, and they were doing maintenance on part of the servers in our cluster.  I know our Free Company and me specifically has been the cause of a bunch of recent transfer and new character creation activity on our server, and I don’t really see that as something that is going to change.  I love our folks, and they have been so amazingly helpful to the new people starting.

When someone asks for a dungeon, it seems like people stumble over themselves ready to help them out.  At one point earlier this weekend I was going to DPS one of these dungeons, until another member who was working on their first character said they could use it too.  I bowed out of the run to let the folks able to get experience that really matters get in on the fun.  That seems to be the Final Fantasy way, quietly and unassumingly… being awesome.  I mean at this point Final Fantasy is the second most popular MMORPG of all time… and it just kind of happened without folks really realizing it.  Having over four million active accounts is a pretty great feat in this world where supposedly Wildstar didn’t even sell a million boxes at launch.  Sure the expansion was pushed back a little further than I would have liked it, but I love the fact that there is content planned to cover that gap.  Now that I am embarking on the madness that is crafting, I am also admittedly looking forward  to having more time to work up crafters before the expansion hits.

#FFXIV #Mining #Cactuar

Accidental Achiever

Outside is Evil

Yesterday we recuperated from the whirlwind shopping trip around Joplin Mo.  It was a pretty glorious day to be honest, because we were both in hibernation mode.  We talked for a bit about getting out, because it really was a lovely day.  But when it came to actually getting up and doing it… we both failed the willpower check.  Personally I am completely fine with this notion, that we both stayed in, ate three meals in, and overloaded on relaxation.  I hung out in my fuzzy blanket cocoon on the sofa and she upstairs in her loft of power (that you all will remember once it was my game loft). 

I have a feeling that once summer happens the roles will switch with me inhabiting my office and the loft and she the downstairs, but it is cool that we have our own places and are still within vocal range of each other.  I played a ton of World of Warcraft, attempted to play a closed beta I got into… but suffered from severe graphical issues that made it completely unplayable, and snuggled with my ferrets each and every time I passed their cage.

Accidental Achiever

2013-12-29 11_15_32-Achievements - Community - World of Warcraft 

I rarely if ever set out to master a tradeskill in a game, but instead it is a thing I usually do out of an odd sense of commitment more than anything.  Lately I had been on a mission to level my rogue so I could get a transcriptionist up high enough to be able to start making living steel.  I want the 30 bars that it takes to craft my Sky Golem pretty badly.  So yesterday I was not paying much attention was I was pushing my way to 600 alchemist when immediately after getting it, I also got the Master of All Achievement.  Sure enough… now that I think of it… I do have a max crafter of every profession.  The only disappointment is you get exactly nothing for it… except for 75 achievement points.

This is a pretty massive undertaking if someone was to actually set out specifically to do this achievement.  I think it is worthy of a crafting tabard, mount, or at the very least a title.  I feel like this is a pretty massive oversight on the part of blizzard.  Then again crafting is kind of its own reward.  Being completely self sufficient feels amazing.  Additionally you end up needing to hit the auction house far less often because your army of crafters can make damned near everything you would ever want made.  It is a pretty great feeling knowing that you can make an entire set of gear for a friend, as I did for Scarybooster yesterday.  In a matter of moments I had a starter set of gear for level 85 ready for him, and I did the same thing for my rogue Gloam.

A Vicious Sneak Thief

Wow-64 2013-12-29 11-40-19-19

Speaking of my rogue, I am roughly halfway through Jade Forest and as of yesterday am about halfway into 87.  I should finish up and ding 88 before I finish the area, and will likely skip Valley of the Four Winds entirely and go straight to Kun Lai Summit.  When I am trying to power my way through to 90 the path I tend to take is to milk every last drop of experience from Jade Forest, transition to Kun Lai immediately after and then transition to Townlong as soon as you get the quest starter to go there.  Finally this ends up with you either dinging 90 in Townlong or doing so just inside of Dread Wastes.  Granted this is complete shit for your quest completion, but I figure it also gives you a lot of “questing to make gold” time if you so choose it at max level since xp gets converted up to gold.

Granted I have yet to actually do that one of of my 90s… since as soon as I hit maximum level I start going through the paces of trying to gear out the character and such.  I am such a sucker for getting my characters those purples and am willing to sit through all manner of horrible LFR experiences just to do so.  I should however have most of a set of timeless leather stocked away and ready for this guy when he needs it.  I will just have to figure out how best to get the weapons.  This time around I will likely just craft him a set of 463 agi swords and call it good until I can get something decent from LFR.  Once I finish his leveling the characters I really need to work on are Belghast, Exeter and Belgarou as they are woefully behind Tallow and Belgrave in gear levels.  Oh well… the faffing about with my characters never seems to end.

Hole In Itemization

Just Too Good to be True

WoW-64 2013-12-18 06-08-04-66

I set out on a mission to attempt to earn a 498 pvp weapon last night through the justice point to honor conversion.  For the most part it went easy enough, and while there were plenty of mouthy folks in LFG the instance runs themselves were smooth enough.  I just kept my mouth shut and did my job as dps and pushed through it.  It is amazing how much it defuses a troll when no one at all in the party responds.  They make a few comments then quiet down themselves because no one is feeding them ammo.  For awhile last night I was thinking that this was really going to be an awesome way to earn starter weapons.  Unfortunately like so many great ideas this one had a massive flaw, that comes from the fact that I do not PVP… nor I understand how the PVP systems in any game work.

First flaw in the plan was the listed conversion rate was not 375 Justice Points to 250 Honor, but instead 500 Justice Points to 250 Honor.  This was manageable but basically meant that you had to earn 3500 JP to be able to get a weapon.  I did that last night without any real issue in a matter of hours.  Second flaw… and this one is the fatal one.  Apparently in order to purchase weapons with honor points, you have to have PVPed enough during the current season to earn 7500 honor.  Since I have not PVPed at all on any of my characters during this expansion, let alone the current season I simply cannot purchase weapons.  I have no desire to PVP enough to gain 7500 honor, which would be roughly 30 battleground wins.  In fact that sounds like just about the worst possible way to spend my time I could imagine.

Jewelry Is Nice

WoW-64 2013-12-18 06-18-07-16Since I had already taken the hit converting 3500 Justice to 1750 honor… I really had no desire to take the hit again and convert 1750 honor back to 875 Justice.  Other than weapons I have had a few glaring holes in my gear.  I was still using a crafted 450 necklace and a 450 ring.  While the weapons all require honor earned during the season to purchase, the gear however does not appear to have a similar requirement.  As a result I picked out a fairly decent neckpiece from the vendor for I believe 1250 honor.  This got me one step closer to my overall goal of being able to queue for Siege of Orgrimmar.

WoW-64 2013-12-18 06-24-20-30At this point I flew out to the Shadowpan Assault quartermaster in Townlong.  Sure enough they had a decent ring as well.  After plugging these two holes in my itemization and after picking up a slightly better weapon in the heroics I ran to get the stockpile of honor, I am now finally able to queue for Siege of Orgrimmar.  While I didn’t necessarily get what I wanted out of the nights activity…  I actually still got what I needed.  Maybe the rolling stones were right all along.

Hole In Itemization

WoW-64 2013-12-18 06-30-45-24

So after all of this, I return to the original thought process that there is a massive whole in itemization, at least from the standard late expansion “catch players up” mentality.  I got into a bit of a discussion of an aspect of this yesterday over on Twitter.  In previous expansions, there existed higher tiers of heroic level content.  The prime example of this was Trial of the Champion that helped catch players up in gear, both on normal and heroic modes.  Then later in the expansion you had the three instance story arc of Forge of Souls, Pit of Saron, and Halls of Reflection that ratcheted up the difficulty level as well as the rewards.  I can remember Halls of Reflection heroic still being a significant challenge in Icecrown raid gear.

While I love the concept of the Timeless Isle, and the whole explore to find nifty things ideas… they are quite literally giving us epics in the process.  This is extremely friendly to altaholics like myself, and has allowed me to gear out an army of 90s…  but I feel little to know sense of accomplishment from doing so.  The Wrath era sequence was probably my ideal for gearing. It felt significant gearing from heroic, to the trial 5 man and then finally being able to queue for the Icecrown 5 mans.  Additionally the gearing seemed far more complete, since each 5 man tier dropped a complete set of gear including workable weapons.

Now it feels very much like, “Gratz on 90, here is your epic gear” but while you can queue for these raids…  without having a way to get a decent weapon you become an instant drain on any group that ends up getting you.  There are weapons you can get on the Timeless Isle, but like I said yesterday they are cost prohibitive (20,000 coins for a one-hander, 40,000 for a two-hander) and at 476 they are simply not worth the effort and do not provide enough of a bump over 463 crafted/heroic weapons to make it worth your time.  Now that I can queue for Siege however I will hopefully get lucky enough to pick up a weapon that way.  Additionally I will continue to run my nightly Heroic Scenario, as the potential 516 weapon would be well worth the time spent.  Additionally these scenarios when run with a guild group put money in the guild coffers and count towards the weekly.

Crafting Hates Enhancement

My general theory is that this glaring hole was intentional… and by making it they did not want to devalue completely the 502 crafted weapons.  I have my own opinions on the whole “crafting should be best” line of thinking, but I can see why they would want this.  The problem however with this line of thinking is that there are simply not weapons available for every itemization.  For enhance… they tend to favor slow weapons… so that rules out the daggers.  That leaves Fist, Mace and Axe that are all usually 2.6 speed.  In the 502 weapon itemization there is not a Fist, Mace or Axe that is agility based.  The “rogue” weapon that is craft-able is a sword, which shaman simply cannot use. 

I know in the past this has happened with Druids and other “weird hybrid classes”, but the fact that other players can nod and say “I know that feel bro” doesn’t really make it any better to try and work around.  At this point I will start queuing my way through Siege LFR each week and hopefully in the process I will luck my way into a weapon.  If not hopefully one of my nightly guild heroic scenarios will pay off and I will get one or more 516 random stat weapons.  No matter which path I take however, my shamans fate is now in the hands of the random loot gods, which is never really a fun place to be.