This morning is a rough one, more than anything because I don’t quite know what to say but at the same time feel like I need to say something. It is unlikely that anyone was not touched by at least one of the many faces of Robin Williams. You had the coked up version from Mork and Mindy, the family friendly version from Aladdin, the bawdy rapid fire version from Good Morning Vietnam and finally the extremely gifted and serious one as seen in movies like Goodwill Hunting and the Fisher King. There was a Robin Williams for everyone, and he was absolutely adept at switching to just the right version of himself for the role. Throughout the evening last night, folks kept popping onto TeamSpeak and announcing the news with shock that the words themselves were rolling off their lips. In many ways it will be hard to envision a world without him, because he has been such a comedic force of nature my entire life. He was like the tidal forces… just a thing that existed and we were quietly enriched for the presence.
He of course was a very public proponent of gaming, supposedly naming at least two of his children based on game characters. The most famous of these was his daughter Zelda, because he was supposedly “playing a lot of Zelda” at the time. He also struggled with all manner of addictions, so much so that I cannot think of cocaine without thinking of him at least in passing. Brilliance often burns bright by standing far too close to the flame. It is also reported that he struggled with depression, and I know specifically what that feels like. You develop all sorts of coping mechanisms to push away the bad thoughts but they never actually leave you. They are unrelenting in their pursuit of you and constantly gnawing away at the best of days. I don’t really believe there is such a thing as a “cured” state, just “functioning better”. So I choose not necessarily to wallow in the memory of this mans greatness, but instead to salute just how long he managed to chase his demons away before they consumed him. At the same time I wonder just how long I will be able to accomplish the same.
A Room of my Own
On a far lighter note, I thought I would show off my new room in the guild house. Granted I don’t have much of anything in it yet, and primarily the things that I do have, I purchased because they were cheap. It just felt wrong to own a private room but not have anything in it. Tam has this glorious room with all sorts of rare items that he has crafted through goldsmithing, but since I have avoided crafting like the plague in this game I have very little to show myself. The room was purchased with my recent wealth generated by the sale of some Materia that I got through questing. Two of them sold for 100,000 gil a piece and the third sold for 500,000 gil giving me some money finally to play around with. The private room in the guild house costs 300,000 gil but unlike other games there are no upkeep mechanics. So even though it is crazy expensive to get housing, it is at least a one time expense.
At some point I need to dip my toes into the crafting system, because it seems like all of the really cool housing stuff is crafted. Unlike some games there really doesn’t seem to be a ready made drop component here. Like in EQ2 you could go clear specific dungeons and walk away with pieces of furniture or statues, but here you walk away with rare crafting materials. In fact this has been the point of much disappointment as the last several bosses of most of the hard mode content drops nothing but crafting mats that are then turned into some of the best in slot items. This was part of my major disappointment the first time playing the game, that nothing ever really dropped interesting gear out in the world. I think maybe if I learned to appreciate the crafting system I would “grok” why I should care about getting that high quality Pieste Skin.
Revenge on Pharo Sirius
Last night for me was mostly a night to catch up on the main storyline quest. There are a number of trials that are unlocked post 50 through continuing down the main storyline. Each time they add a new patch they add new storyline content, and at the not so subtle constant nudging of Tam I worked my way to getting caught up on the King Moggle Mog encounter, which is the first of these new trials you get to. The problem is it causes you to run a series of dungeons and guildhests that no one actually wants to run ever. As a result I had to queue for Sunken Temple of Qarn, aka the dungeon with the bees that one-shot unsuspecting players. Overall the dungeon went extremely smoothly in part because as a Dragoon I could sit on the bees and interrupt them as soon as they went to cast the final sting spell. After this I had to run through a couple of guildhests with amazing names “Hero in a Half Shell” and “More than a Feeler”. The best thing about FATEs and Guildhests are the awesome puns.
After I finished my guildhests we decided to go off and seek revenge on Pharo Sirius. I guess at some point after patch 2.1 my friends had tried coming into here and gotten absolutely wrecked. So it has been both revered and feared since, and they wanted to get revenge. At this point we have significantly better gear, as at that time none of us had our relics and at this point most of us also have a good deal of gear to back said relics up. While there were some extremely tricky parts, I have to say overall the dungeon went pretty smoothly. They remembered enough of the pitfalls from before to keep us from getting hung up on them again, yet the boss encounters were still fresh enough that we had to do a good deal of thinking on our feet. We beat the dungeon with plenty of time still left on the timer, whereas the first time they were here they hit their 90 minutes and simply ran out of time to continue trying.
Mammets of Halatali
After clearing up our revenge issues with Pharo Sirius we opted to move on to Halatali Hard Mode. Essentially we have been working our way through unlocking the various dungeons so that each of us can begin doing Hard Mode roulette in the duty finder. Similarly we have a whole slew of trials to unlock before we can do those as well. As of last night I am missing Hard Mode Stone Vigil, Hard Mode Haukke Manor and Lost City of Amdapor before I can do the hard mode roulettes, and I think Tam and Ashgar are just down to two of those. The tentative plan is to run the missing ones tonight, and if not I can always directly queue for whatever ones I happen to be missing. I would just rather experience the new content as a guild than with a bunch of random strangers. Although I doubt we will have enough people to actually do the trials at any point soon, so I probably will go ahead and queue for Moggle Mog and Battle at the Big Bridge to get through those trials so that I can move on in the storyline.
Just like the other hard modes, it seems things have changed since we last were here. After working so hard to clear out the dungeon the first time, it seems as though a series of “friendly” gladiators have taken up residence in the dungeon and are prepared to challenge us to a series of difficult encounters. I say friendly in quotes because each time you get near one of them they seem to heckle you with random sayings. The whole dungeon reminds me a bit of the Crusaders Coliseum in World of Warcraft, and in fight you end up pushing your way through a bit of trash before coming up against another big boss encounter. There were some extremely interesting mechanics, and in a few places we took some deaths… but managed to spring back and figure out the “thing” we needed to learn to defeat whatever horrible attack they were throwing at us. As a whole I feel like this could be a dungeon run extremely quickly now that we know the mechanics. All in all it was a pretty great night, and I managed to catch up on the storyline… and hopefully tonight we can unlock the rest of the dungeons. I still have yet to set foot in Crystal Tower, but if all else falls through I might do that.