Operation Hey Folks

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For the last week and some change, I have been running at least one dungeon a night.  Often time I am queuing with less than a full party.  This is a situation that generally causes me great anxiety, because I like going into a group knowing that folks I know… outnumber the folks I don’t know.  I said awhile back that I have been trying to force myself to be more cordial in dungeons.  As a result I have adopted my common “Hey Folks” and “How Goes?” greetings.  My friend Grace that I am often dungeoning with has been doing the same.  Mostly we had a discussion awhile back about how this is the common expected behavior in Final Fantasy XIV, and that maybe if we attempted to treat World of Warcraft the same we might get similar results.  Folks in FFXIV are largely charming and willing to help you sort out mechanics that you might not understand, all just because you spoke up and said you were new to a dungeon.  My experience in the past of WoW has not been nearly that charitable, but I was willing to give it a shot either way.  The awesome thing about going in with the majority of a party… it means the moment someone resorts to toxic behavior you can punt them quickly.  All in all I have to say I continue to be pleased at just how well this is going, even in Heroics.  If you present a friendly face, more often than not it has been met with a similarly friendly response.

Last night we had someone drop shortly after introductions…  which I am hoping was just a case of them getting disconnected or being needed elsewhere.  However others in the party not only were cheery but performed admirably.  At the end of the dungeon run we took time to praise the Deathknight for example who did an amazing job of pull casters into the group, and pulled off a clutch rez when our healer inadvertently stood in some “bad”.  All of this is really making me wish that World of Warcraft would adopt a commendation system similar to Final Fantasy XIV.  I think a lot of that culture is based on the fact that at the end of a dungeon run, each player gets a single commendation that they can give to someone in their party.  There is the additional caveat that you cannot give commendations to members of your own guild, meaning you have to be giving random strangers these nods.  To make it something that folks are actually interested in receiving there are a number of achievements based on the number of commendations you have, and some of the rewards are things like mounts, titles and cosmetic items.  Basically the system would port perfectly to World of Warcraft random dungeons, and give some additional reinforcement of good behavior.  Last night for example I greatly wished I had the ability to heap tangible praise on this Deathknight for doing a pretty amazing job all around.  Even the mage that ultimately replaced the dropped Demon Hunter, was deserving of commendations because for the most part everyone “mechanic’d” like a pro.

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Other than dungeons, last night I spent most of my time attempting to catch up in Suramar.  I had been lagging behind horribly in the questing there, namely when it comes to unlocking things in the actual city proper.  I am not a huge fan of stealth mechanics, and it is foreign to me to attempt to sneak around.  A huge part of me wants to simply fight my way from one side of the city to the other… but the sheer mob density here makes that not really a viable option.  Similarly I don’t believe a lot of the quests are actually open to you unless you are wearing the illusion.  As Tam and I have commented… Suramar is like being a High Elf Enchanter in Neriak…  for those who ever had that experience in the original Everquest.  The illusion works most of the time, but occasionally there is someone all to happy to murder you.  As you progress however you start to build little enclaves where you are more or less free to roam safely.  Last nights grind was focused on getting far enough in to be able to start unlocking some of the lucrative world quests, one of which yesterday was an epic trinket.  Before I went to bed last night I managed to unlock the dinosaur quest… which is truly amazing and with it the trinket world quest.  Nothing quite as fun as riding along on the back of a devilsaur and gobbling up demons and evil elves.

Breaking Silence

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After the challenges of last week, this past weekend was largely a time to chill out and relax.  On the “paw” front I am pleased to announce that the round of IV antibiotics seemed to work pretty well given that the swelling is largely down as is the redness.  There is one spot that is a bit troubling, but we are watching it.  I am guessing that the location went a little deeper than the rest and as such might take a little longer to recover.  There is always the fear that the bite penetrated a tendon or something else, but we will continue to watch it as it hopefully heals.  On the gaming front… I had all of these grand ideas about running nonstop dungeons, but what happened in reality is that I wound up chilling with the wife downstairs and watching various stuff on the television.  It felt like it would be an invasion of the peace and quiet to get on voice chat and start talking “strategery” and such.  What happened instead is that I queued up a few times as a pug dps, and spent time working on older stuff in the meantime while waiting on that lengthy queue to pop.  Of note on the Ruin server group, the queue time for a DPS is about 45 minutes, which means I had plenty of time to work on other objectives while waiting on the queue to pop.  I spent some time in Warlords farming spawns attempting to get my Shatari Defense reputation up… because I am admittedly a bit jealous of Grace and her amazing fire mammoth mount that she keeps running around on.  The only problem there is it seems with the opening of Tanaan Jungle at least one of the farm spots has been nerfed into the ground… and Shattrath city has spawns really far apart making it hard to gather things up and AOE them down with whirlwind spam.

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Another queue I wound up spending on the Isle of Giants in Pandaria where I learned a few key things.  Firstly once again it is hard to gather everything up and AOE it down… because my aggro radius is minuscule now with the dinosaurs.  Second I can apparently now easily solo Oondasta as Fury, so that is going to go on the mount farming list.  The white raptor mount has been something I have worked on for awhile, and yesterday I ground out the last 2000 bones roughly.  The queue popped before I could actually turn in, so I had to finish things up after the dungeon.  The real takeaway from the weekend however is…  my theory of treating World of Warcraft like Final Fantasy XIV seems to largely be working.  Upon entering a dungeon, be it as tank or as dps… I do my customary “Hey Folks” which seems to unjam the conversation mechanism.  Then throughout the dungeon folks tend to be willing to talk, but if I don’t say anything… it seems like folks are willing to just ride along in silence because there has always been the wowism that silence is preferable to dealing with assholes.  The thing is… I think we can do better and a lot of the negative opinion folks have of this community is due to the fact that folks are willing to either put up with bullshit in dungeons because they want it to be over and don’t want to have to deal with another 45 minute queue.  I am not sure if it is going to help, but I am absolutely making an effort to talk to people be it in my Class Hall fielding questions like I did yesterday… or running a dungeon, or even out in the world while doing an objective.  I think most of us just simply assumed that no one was willing to have conversation, and I am trying to flip that assumption on its head.

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The other big thing from the weekend is that I started work on my second character.  Some time ago I started Exeter my Paladin off by getting Lightbringer.  However after swapping Belghast to tanking, I am finding it way easier to quest like a madman in that mode.  So as soon as I hit 102 I did the quest chain to pick up the second artifact, and had been holding artifact power items in reserve for awhile.  Unlike Belghast I have a clear path that I am planning on working towards first, which I guess makes the experience feel more purposeful.  On the Warrior protection tree there were so many cool things that I wanted, but none of them seemed to be clearly better than any of the others.  Paladin it feels like there is one right choice for survival, and I am going in that direction first.  Largely I devoted the time spent during the podcast to working on this guy, and by the end of the night I had hit 102 and was off into tanky land.  I apparently also unlocked one of the appearances so I quickly swapped to the purple look and used it as an excuse to rock my purple judgement set.  The one set that I wish existed in game is the yellow judgement set that you see one of the NPCs wearing.  As it stands I have normal, Blue from the opening of Wrath event, and purple from the BC era heroics.  This really is the best looking tier set in the game, and I wish more recolored sets would show up in dungeons, which reminds me… at some point I really need to work on farming up the turquoise wrath set.  In any cases it was a good weekend and fairly relaxing, but it is my hope that with the week I will be back doing dungeons with friends again.  I am now up to 823 item level on Belghast, which means I need to be hitting up those heroics.

 

Love Our Guild

Unlocking Dungeons

ffxiv_dx11 2015-07-12 20-42-09-53 This weekend was a little bit split as far as gaming goes.  I spent about four hours in SkyForge and the rest of it wandering around in Final Fantasy XIV.  I had a bunch of side projects that I never really got off the ground.  One of the things about being a tank is that you are constantly getting called on to do tanky things.  Last night for example, I had all intentions of simply wandering around the new zones doing hunt mobs, but I ended up getting drafted to tank both Neverreap and Fractal Continuum for a friend who just dinged 60.  Since this would allow him to unlock the content, and be yet another possibility for a daily expert roulette, as well as providing three of us in the dungeon run some tasty tasty first time bonus, I did not mind giving up my relaxing evening of hunting to help out.

Both runs went fairly smoothly other than Warenwolf falling off the side of the final boss in Neverreap.  Luckily we had the stamina to go ahead and finish that boss without him.  Fractal Continuum went extremely smoothly other than some annoyances with bomb placement on the final boss.  Luckily the loot gods seemed to be at least a little favorable and Waren walked with a bow and some other items helping him inch towards that all too critical level 170 mark for Alexander.  It is my hope that in this last week we will have increased our item level enough to be able to put a good attempt in on Bismarck Extreme tonight.  I found out that apparently the dps constraint is that you be able to break the spine in a single attempt without also blowing every cooldown.  Wednesday we were able to break the spine, but it was a “just barely” situation and we absolutely had to abuse every cool down available to get there.

Love Our Guild

ffxiv_dx11 2015-07-13 21-28-49-98 Last night I had a moment when I was overcome with warm fuzzies.  Folks were doing what they always do and filling my screen with green happy spam, and somehow it came around to the discussion of the free company.  I am not sure if I remember who started it but someone made the comment that they were happy that I had recruited them into the guild, because if not for that they probably would not be playing.  Then in a burst of activity a bunch of people chimed in with pretty much the same thing.  So I wanted to talk a bit this morning about how much all of my guildies mean to me.  There are so many days where I have had a rough patch, that I can log into our free company and within moments of seeing the cheery conversation I am in a much better mood.  Having a happy guild family is ultimately what helps me keep returning to one game over another, and ultimately is what keeps me engaged in Final Fantasy XIV.

Sure the game is awesome, but having this big group who is willing to drop what they are doing to help someone else out, makes the experience so much better.  Yesterday during the evening I worked through a backlog of dungeon runs that I had recorded, and came across a video that didn’t turn out quite as intended.  Since the launch of Heavensward the guild crafters as lead by Solaria have been working away on making us an Airship.  When it came time to launch it for the first time a good chunk of us gathered in the workshop basement of the guild hall.  In part we hoped a cut scene would happen, and as a result I had OBS rolling away in the background recording the event.  While the event did not turn out as I had expected, looking back on the footage it makes me exceptionally happy to see so many of my guild members roaming around in one place.  I love the housing district for the constant flow of guild members popping in and out as they go off to other adventures, and this moment was probably the largest meeting of sorts we have had.  It made me realize that we need to do something like this more often.

More SkyForge

Skyforge 2015-07-19 13-57-50-17 The SkyForge open beta finishes up this Wednesday and in the mean time I plan on playing for a little bit each night.  I have to admit while there are still problems with the game for me, it is growing on me in ways I can’t quite fathom.  During yesterdays run I finally figured out something that had been bugging me.  I said in my videos and in my blog posts that it seemed like the combo system was largely ineffectual, and for the most part this is true.  However I noticed on my character to the right of the health bar was a charge counter of sorts marked with a lightning bolt.  This is directly above the dodge counter that shows how many times in a row you can dodge, and how long before the counter regenerates when they are all spent.  This lightning bolt number tied to the special combo attacks, and if I use a combo while I have a charge available it does significantly more damage.  However any additional combos while that charge is regenerating end up being largely useless.

Skyforge 2015-07-19 09-53-56-71 Knowing this is a thing, made combat feel more purposeful.  Essentially I had one special move to use every 30 seconds or so, because that seemed to be roughly how long it took to regenerate a charge.  When that ability was not available however I could happily wail away on the target then set up for the next special attack.  This little bit of information seemed to dynamically change the way combat felt.  Additionally doing the more open world zones, seemed much more enjoyable to me given that if I started wailing away on a boss, chances are someone would come along behind me to help me finish it.  Running around with a group of other players also made me realize just how little damage the paladin does comparatively.  In all honesty… I might end up playing quite a bit more of this game because it feels like I am starting to grasp the reason why it does the things it does.  It is not the sort of game I would ever play as a primary mmo, but I have been enjoying playing it in these short bursts, where I complete a single objective and then log back out for awhile.

More SkyForge Thoughts

Controller Support

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One of the questions left unanswered from yesterday was whether or not the game had controller support.  On a whim I picked up my controller towards the end of one of yesterdays streams and I noticed that I could in fact control my character with it.  Today I popped into game with the mission of trying to test this theory out.  It seems that maybe they are working on controller support but that it does not actually work fully.  I could control my character perfectly using both of my analog sticks, and if I hit the A button on my XBox 360 controller I could perform any of the normal actions that require the spacebar.  However it did not actually seem to interact with the world, and pressing A when not hovering over an objective did not perform the jump action, which is normally the default action for spacebar.  I went so far as to go into the keybindings section and it would not let me bind anything to controller presses.

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Now of course if you wanted to go so far as to use Xpadder you could easily get this game up and running.  It takes care of the toughest part which is getting the analog movement feeling right.  My hope is that in subsequent patches it is going to add full controller support, and then this game is likely to increase significantly in enjoyment.  Left button spammy attacks feel less spammy when done with a controller button.  Since writing yesterdays post I have added another few hours worth of gameplay, and I have to say my verdict is still very mixed.  I even talked about it a bit on last nights podcast.  On some level I am feeling about this game much the same as I felt about Guild Wars 2 when it was in testing.  There is something that compels me to keep trying to figure it out, but at the same time I find it extremely easy to stop playing after completing a single mission.  The act of running a mission just wears me out, in a way that content in Elder Scrolls Online used to wear me out.  Things are so ridiculously tightly packed that on normal solo missions you spend so much of your time mindlessly grinding through huge encounters.

Isola Digs

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This morning however I ventured into what seems to be another large shared cooperative zone, much the same as the very first mission in the game.  It involved a series of around 25 smaller objectives that were scattered throughout the map.  The frustrating thing about this zone in particular is that the objectives were super linear, meaning when I tried to do my normal thing and hop off the path…  I missed an objective that I then later had to double back through the entire zone to go find again.  As a whole though I have to say I like this style of zone so much better than the little instanced mini dungeons I had completed more recently.  The game also feels better when lots of other players are wandering around, which greatly speeds up the amount of time it takes to burn through the various health bars of the bosses.  This tells me that a lot of my frustrations was simply that I was soloing content designed for groups to take down.  The fact that I could fairly easily solo content as a paladin, maybe points to that class being a little overpowered for this sort of thing?  Then again tanks in most games are adept at soloing bosses that were originally meant for a group to take down…  I am looking at you Deathknight.

SkyForge_FireWardenBoss The other cool thing about this region is that it seemed to be full of boss encounters that did not seem to be tied to a specific objective.  There may be a quest that I missed somewhere that opened these up, but from what I saw there was a fire, water and wind warden.  Above you can see me taking on the fire one.  The only thing missing elemental wise is earth, which I did not really see while wandering around.  I managed to get a few greens off these bosses, so my theory is they are just there to make your experience more interesting.  The boss fights with other players helping were significantly more enjoyable, but I could still shield up as a paladin and whittle them down until I succeeded.  There was only one single encounter where I even came close to dying.    At the last minute a wave of players rushed in and helped me finish the boss off.

Combat Still Repetitive

SkyForge_PaladinFinsiher2 All of this said… my problem with the combat still exists.  It just doesn’t feel like I can do anything interesting with the encounters.  I did add a new combo attack to my repertoire, and while I abused the hell out of it.. each individual fight still seemed to take a little bit longer than they should for the game to feel really “fun”.  The mobs still suffer from the same problem where they tend to be one trick ponies, and keep using the same attack sequence over and over.  There is almost always one thing that you should dodge out of, but other than that it is grind them down with your main attack until they are gone.  There are a lot of things I do like however when it comes to the interactions with other players.  This seems like a game where everything is open tagging, and if you are in an area and have dealt any damage to a pack… you seem to get full credit for the entire pack.  Similarly if there is an objective, it seems like everyone can click said objective, and that seems to have changed from one of the closed beta streams I happened to watch.

SkyForge_CryomancerHelp As a result I found myself wading into a lot of fights that I did not strictly need to just to help out the other players.  Unfortunately not a single one of them did I actually communicate with.  There are a lot of ifs about this game, and I am not quite certain how much I will be playing of it.  In theory I kinda dig the model of purchasing classes or having a slow tedious process of unlocking them.  To some extent I wish I had gotten in on the ability to play the Berserker, because I think that might be a class I would really enjoy.  I have heard that you can go to the training center and test drive all of the classes, much like you can test drive champions in a moba, so that might be one of the things I do next.  At this point I have played around five hours of the game, and I have enjoyed it just enough to keep me coming back to try and find the secrets that I seem to be missing as to why this game is really fun.  Ultimately there will be a point where I just give up on it, but I have not quite reached that yet.  After all it gives me a bit of a diversion from leveling my Dragoon and gearing in Final Fantasy XIV.  If you want to check out the last two videos I have posted since yesterday I will be embedding them below.

Port Naori – Instanced Dungeon-like Mission

Isola Digs – Open World-ish Shared Zone Mission

(was still encoding at the time of posting this… so might have to check back later)

The Gearing Game

False Starts

Yesterday I made an attempt to go to work, but ultimately was told to head home by my boss.  Over the last few days I have been pretty much living on the couch with my leg slightly elevated and alternating icepacks on it.  The problem being that I don’t exist like this in the real world, where sitting at a desk generally requires that your feet be on the ground.  While I love the arrangement of my cube at work, it really does not allow for me to elevate my leg at all.  Not surprisingly within an hour of being at work my knee was swelling something fierce.  So I headed home and started the process of icepacks over again until it started to behave somewhat normally.  The positive is however that the area that is actually swelling is rather small and contained as compared to the day the fall happened, so I guess I am recovering quickly.

The biggest problem, the one that effects this blog is the fact that my wrist has hurt an awful lot.  After struggling through yesterday mornings post, I was pretty much typing one handed for most of the day.  I wore a brace most of yesterday and as of this morning it is feeling much better.  It is still extremely tender when I move my wrist too quickly or to any extreme of motion…  but overall it is more functional.  Hopefully this means I can return to normal typing instead of this frustrating one handed mess that I dealt with yesterday.  Since it is also my “mouse hand” that is effected I have been surprised that really using a mouse doesn’t hurt much at all.  I guess in general I am used to keeping my mouse sensitivity so high that I barely have to move my hand at all to send the cursor flying across the screen.  Hopefully today will be a much better day and I will continue to mend quickly.

The Gearing Game

ffxiv_dx11 2015-07-07 20-00-37-22 Like most players in Final Fantasy XIV, my life revolves around the acquisition of Tomestones of Law.  To get a full set of “law” gear it takes roughly 3500 and they have given us many options on how to get them.  Firstly there are three dungeons that reward 80 tomestones each, and an additional 40 if you can manage to catch someone who still has their first time bonus or “virgin bonus” as we have taken to calling it.  In addition to that you get 100 tomestones for both a low level roulette and a high level roulette each day, and an additional 60 for a trial roulette.  The one that surprises me however is that Expert Roulette is only worth 80, but I guess in theory it has a face value of 160 to 200 since you are getting stones from the dungeon proper as well.  In order to get into Alexander, the raid that just opened players need to reach a combined ilevel of 170 which also happens to be the level of the tomestone gear.  So in theory you need a full set in order to step through its doors.

Where you can cheat a bit is through those ubiquitous “Clan Hunts” that I have been using as filler leveling.  It turns out all of the items needed to upgrade your gear from 170 to 180 come from Centurio Seals.  Hopefully you have been doing these religiously because in order to get a full set of gear upgraded to the next step it is going to take a grand total of 2795 seals.  Now granted you can hop on the hunt train like you could in the previous expansion and in theory grind this out in a weekend.  Personally I happen to find the daily hunt mechanic rather relaxing, as I can log in… fly around the gorgeous zones and pick off the mobs one at a time.  Right now I have four pieces of gear… chest, helm, ring, and weapon.  Currently I have upgraded the weapon and ring to 180, and am saving enough hunt marks to upgrade the chest piece next.   There will come a time when I stop messing with anything other than three star and elite hunt marks, but for the time being they also serve to help level my dragoon for the lower level ones.

Dragoon Dungeoning

ffxiv_dx11 2015-07-07 21-59-43-32 Right now if there is a moment when I am not engaged doing something else, or tanking something that can gain me law stones…  I am pretty much in the dungeon queue on my Dragoon.  Right now the dps queue seems relatively manageable sitting around the 10 minute mark for “leveling” dungeons.  As a result it is my hope to ride this queue for as many classes as I can manage.  After running a couple of max level dungeons, I settled into a couple of quick runs on the dragoon who is now up to “Sohm Al” level.  I have to say I find this pretty relaxing as well, because I can just sit back and poke things with a stick.  I opted to go ahead and record my dungeon run to add it to the stack of dungeon videos I have on my youtube channel.  I had not actually recorded any when I was not currently tanking, so it gives a slightly different perspective of the fights.  I have to say I am really digging the “tribal” look that comes from Sohm Al.  That helmet is freaking amazing, and is likely going to go in my glamour bin for future usage.  At this point I am roughly halfway through 53 so I figure it will take two more dungeon runs to hit 54, and then five to six past that before I can do the next dungeon at 55.  Embedding the video and cutting this post short today without a second paragraph.

Thriving Community

Oklahoma Conventions

superbitcon Pax South was my first real gaming convention, and I have to say I had an absolute blast there.  Don’t get me wrong I had been to a few conventions in the past, even worked a few comic book conventions when I worked at a comic book shop, but they were nothing like Pax.  This got me thinking about what I might be missing out on here locally.  It turns out we have a not insignificant number of conventions that happen within a short driving distance.  In fact at the tail end of this month a pretty big retro gaming convention is happening in the Oklahoma City area.  As you can see from the handy little button thing on the right it is happening March 28th and 29th at the Oklahoma Expo Hall of the Oklahoma State Fair Park in Oklahoma City…  Oklahoma.  Yeah that was a lot of Oklahoma in a row, even as a lifer I thought it was a bit excessive.

Super! Bitcon is going on its second year, and seems to be a pretty cool place to go especially if you are into “retro” gaming…  or as I like to call it “my childhood”.  They have several well known guests on the docket like Smooth McGroove, Alpha Omega Sin, and Patrick Scott Patterson.  They also apparently have a fairly large exhibitor hall with several local and regional companies showing off the games they have been working on, as well as a free play arcade and gaming museum.  There is this #IamSuperBitcon thing from social media where folks talk about their experiences last year that is really interesting to watch as well.  The absolute best part of all of this is that you get a two day pass for only $10 and for this… I thought it would be a sin for me to pass up going.  Oklahoma City is only an hour and a half drive for me from Tulsa, so not a big deal at all.  One of my new goals this year is to try and hit up as many of these smaller conventions as I can to tide me over until the next Pax.  As we get closer to time I will talk about the Heartland Gaming Expo and the XPO games convention both in the Tulsa area.  It just excites me that we have this thriving games culture seemingly in my own back yard.

Thriving Community

ffxiv 2015-02-18 18-07-31-65 One of the topics that I have been mulling over in my head is why exactly we have manages to stay happy and engaged with Final Fantasy XIV for the better part of this last year.  So often we pop into a MMO and last a few months only to flit off to another title a month later.  At the same time I have been examining why I stayed in World of Warcraft for over seven years, and continue to return to it.  I think the answer to Final Fantasy XIV is two fold.  Firstly we returned to the game after a sequence of boom bust cycles in MMOs like Elder Scrolls Online and Wildstar.  I was personally looking for a place to “settle down” for awhile, and Final Fantasy XIV had been the only title that all of my friends seemed to leave “on good terms” with.  So we set down roots, and I started getting involved in the Cactuar community as did the rest of my guild.  This process was aided by the fact that we had nothing on the horizon to draw our attention away from the game.  As such we have been able to play the game without the distraction of shiny new objects and their promises of a better gaming experience.

I think this lull in MMO releases has helped a lot of games that were stable get more so.  When I came back to Final Fantasy XIV last July they were at I believe 2.5 million subscribers, and last week they announced that they had blossomed up to 4 million subscribers.  That is a fairly significant growth over what is essentially two quarters, and I think that in part it has a lot to do with the fact that there is really nothing out there to pull attention away from it.  Don’t get me wrong Warlords of Draenor happened, and I have been playing it…  but that is only a draw to players who still have warmth in their hearts for the World of Warcraft franchise.  I think the answer to why we have stayed is that we were given enough time to set down roots.  We not only have friends in our free company, but are members of several active linkshells that give us access to raiding and grouping beyond our own numbers.  This sort of environment is contagious and has made recruiting more members to the fold exceptionally easy.  All of which builds upon itself giving me the piece the kept me coming back to World of Warcraft all of this time…  a stable and thriving community.  The awesome thing is… I can have my cake and eat it two, because at this point my community in World of Warcraft is vastly different than my community blooming here in Final Fantasy XIV.

The Botanist

ffxiv 2015-03-12 06-46-29-58 I had every intention to come home and have a quiet night of powering through the early levels of botany.  In fact that is precisely how my evening started, with me brute forcing the level 10 trees near Bentbranch in the Central Shroud.  Right now I am working towards the level 10 quest, which will require 99 Crow Feathers.  My goal is to be able to have 99 waiting and ready for when I ding 10 and can immediately turn in that quest and move on to the next sequence.  However last night it was only a matter of moments before someone in guild needed something… and the adventurer inside me leapt at the chance to do something “not crafting”.  My friend Arkenor needed a run of Haukke Manor, and another group needed a run of Copperbell and thankfully we had the right mix of people to make both happen.  I tanked Haukke on my Paladin and another run when smoothly.  I have said this before, but I keep having to say it over and over.  I love how damned easy and rewarding it is to run lower level content with your friends.

Once the crafting thing was tossed aside I spent most of the rest of the night running content.  We moved from Haukke into a random Expert Roulette picking up Cav to add to Ash, myself and Thalen.  Once finished there I ran a few trials roulette and a hard roulette… and before I realized it was 9:30 and I was starting to get a bit tired.  This is the way an evening can evaporate in Eorzea, with a bunch of chain events that make you wonder where the time went.  So sadly I did not make much progress on Botanist, but I am feeling that Sunday I will have another “catch up on television” day downstairs on my laptop and push forward again.  At some point I need to run a good deal more content however because I would really like to cap my poetics this week, and I have barely put a dent in them.  If I keep running a few roulettes each day, I should be able to do it without much difficulty.  The only monkey wrench in this plan is the fact that most of Saturday I will be out of town, leaving me only Sunday to really work on such things.  In any case… I had a fun evening with my Free Company and have zero regrets of not making any flower picking progress.