Chasing Aloy

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It feels odd that it is Wednesday and I am just now getting around to writing one of my traditional “mixed bag” sort of posts.  Those are generally a Monday thing given that I have a bunch of gaming time to talk about in general, and almost always it is a shotgun blast across a bunch of different games.  However Monday was the anniversary post, and yesterday I wanted to write up my final thoughts upon beating Andromeda… so finally we are where we are writing about the assorted debris of the weekend.  If you had talked to me last week, you would have seen someone who was excited to be finishing up Andromeda so I could move back to Horizon Zero Dawn as my primary game.  While I have played it a few times…  that hasn’t really been what happened because for whatever reason I am having a bit of trouble easing back into the game.  Essentially it feels like the skills I had developed early on are painfully rusty, and the section of the game I am in doesn’t have nearly as much call to purpose so I feel a little bit like I am either stuck in “roam around aimlessly and kill zoids” mode, or trying to force my way through the few story quests I have.  The last town I reached gave me a slew of side quests, so in theory I will probably spend some time doing those to try and get myself reacquainted with the game.  The frustrating part about this is I do not want to be bouncing off of it… but for whatever case it just hasn’t quite fit my mood.  Maybe coming off Mass Effect Andromeda… I just sort of need to play a vastly different kind of game.

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The game I am playing a truly shocking amount of instead is Skyforge.  Pretty much every night I am at least getting in long enough to run a few missions.  Right now I find the bite sized gameplay appealing because there is no massive overarching commitment.  I can pop in for a few minutes and play a little bit, while feeling like I had a meaningful experience.  I had talked the game up to some of my friends and was super saddened to find out that apparently the female models are a boob jiggle mess.  I mean I knew that was a thing among the South Korean developers… but I didn’t know it was a Russian thing as well.  The other big problem with the game is that you ultimately have a long list of interesting classes….  but no easy way to access them.  You functionally have to start the game as a Paladin, a Smite Nuking Healer, or a Ice Mage… and then work your way to whatever class seemed interesting.  For me this was just perfectly fine given that I really like the Paladin as a class, and ultimately will probably always play it as my main in the game.  However I have a lot of friends who were interested in other classes but are never going to make it through the grind to ultimately get there.  I am shocked that you cannot simply buy your way to freedom in the game and unlock whatever class you really wanted to play…  or better yet allow characters to pick any single class to start with.  I mean the game has some really interesting classes like an Alchemist, the Kinetic, or Gunner…  so there is a lot of interesting stuff going on but unfortunately if you don’t like tank, mage and healer… you are going to bounce super hard before you get there.

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Finally I have been still popping my head into Final Fantasy XIV on a regular basis and working on my overarching mission…  which is to get all of the classes to at least 50 before the release of Stormblood.  I’ve set 50 as the goal because it allows me to jettison the bulk of the leveling gear from my bank vault, and reaching that level seems completely reasonable with Palace of the Dead.  Over the weekend I managed to push the Monk to 50, and am now sporting the full set of Allagan look-a-like gear that I have been picking up through the dank dungeon.  I like the set quite a bit because it is one of the few “armored” looking sets that you can get for a monk.  We had this lengthy discussion the other day about how we each favor different styles, and for me… it needs to be symmetrical and heavily armored to really make me perfectly happy.  What is left on the leveling track is Machinist and Astrologian… neither of which I had even trained in.  I picked up the Machinist from Ishgard and almost immediately hopped back into the Palace of the Dead rather than doing any of the actual class quests.  I have to mention that it was a bit of a chore to sort out what all abilities I should actually be using with that class… and how it functions.  However once getting used to it, I have to say I like it quite a bit.  It is gimmicky and RNG gated…  and I still have no clue if I am actually playing it correctly…  but for casual dungeon running it seems like a lot of fun.

Unlikely White Mage

Agendas

Yesterday a good friend and I were having a conversation and she said a certain phrase I have heard over and over before.  “Everybody has an agenda”, which is something I have just taken at face value in the past.  But this lead me down a line of thought that I had not actually travelled before.  If everyone out there has an agenda…  and this is pretty much just accepted common knowledge…  then what does the world think my agenda is?  I am out and about in the community on a daily basis interacting and mingling…  but I wonder how many people think I have some grand ulterior motive?  This lead me to assess what my actual Agenda is, and the only thing I could come up with is something along these lines.

To which I was immediately accused of being a cult leader…  but really isn’t every good group at least slightly cult like?  While I won’t be trying to convince everyone to wear matching tracksuits so that we can ride a comet…  I am trying to convince people that it is cool to hang out with friends and share these games we way with one another.  I feel like all of this starts with the fact that I grew up the only child of extremely busy parents.  I am exceptionally good at entertaining myself, but I always felt jealous of the kids that had close neighbors, or siblings to play with.  These days I try and surround myself with as many awesome people as I can find, and build a giant extended family of sorts.  Being the whirling dervish of social media interaction that I am sometimes… folks could get the wrong impression that I am “up to something”.  However in truth, I am just looking to hang out with interesting people.  I approach every interaction like this person could be a new life long friend, rather than someone who could bury a dagger in my back.

Unlikely White Mage

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Last night I had but one mission to accomplish.  Upon logging out Tuesday evening, I was sitting roughly one third of the way into 49.  White Mage has been the hardest class for me to level in Final Fantasy XIV in part because it is the least like the sort of character I normally play.  I set down the path of leveling a Conjurer so that I could become a Paladin, and then just kept up with the process thinking that I had 2 tanks, 1 ranged dps, 1 melee dps…  and the only thing I was really missing role-wise was a healer.  Originally I simply kept leveling Conjurer so that I could get to level 34 and get Stoneskin… which is extremely useful for soloing as a Paladin.  From there I figured I was close enough that I would go ahead and push for 50.  Additionally over the course of running so many dungeons and casual raids in this game, I had accumulated quite a bit of healer gear simply by greeding on it.  The final incentive came when I needed to spend down some of my soldiery tokens and opted to go ahead and purchase the level 110 White Mage weapon pictured in the image above.

As a result of all of this I got on last night, ran a guildhest, and two low level duty roulettes and finally reached my level.  After sifting through my bags I managed to equip enough gear to get me to level 85, which is not too shabby gear wise.  The hardest part of course was figuring out what my White Mage outfit would end up looking like.  I finally settled on the Loyalist Bilaud dyed Morbal Green, with gloves, pants and boots from the Acolyte set and the awesome shades Cylladora made for me ages ago.  I felt like I needed to go with something non-traditional since the white mage 110 weapon is a giant war mace…  and I happen to like it.  The end result is my take on a final fantasy battle priest, which is fitting considering I seem to spend as much time casting Stone II as I do healing.  Largely I am just happy this push is over, because leveling as a Conjurer/White Mage is slow going.  Chewing through every mob simply takes more time that I am used to from playing anything else.  My only suggestion for future CNJ/WHM players…  run it up first before you realize just how slow it kills things.

Ninja or Monk

ffxiv 2015-02-05 06-52-56-42 At this point I am not sure what my next Final Fantasy XIV project will be.  Right now my Rogue is 15 and my Monk is 33.  Both classes are extremely fun to play, but I think I will probably spend more time at max level playing the Monk than I ever would the ninja.  The Mudra system seems interesting, but it also seems like something that is extremely fiddly and likely to just piss me off… especially combined with just how “weak” survival wise the ninja ends up feeling.  Mostly I am biased against Ninjas after spending so much time running raids and dungeons with random ones.  Ninjas seem to either take no damage at all… or all of the damage at once.  Healing Ninjas as my White Mage has been the bane of my existence over the last few weeks, and I really don’t relish putting anyone through that.

ffxiv 2015-02-05 06-54-22-92 So you would think the decision is all wrapped up and I would be leveling Monk right?  Well not quite that easy.  Up until this point I had felt like the pugilist/monk play style was far less interesting than say a Dragoon, which is the reason why it has been lagging so far behind my other melee classes.  On top of this…  almost all of their gear sets look silly to me.  If I played a monk, I would ultimately be stuck wearing the Infantry set for the rest of his life, because I really have not cared for any of the other sets I have seen.  There is a set from Labyrinth of Ancients that looks amazing, but it is also one of the most hotly contested item sets in the game.  Last night I ran a guildhest with an adorable Lalafell ninja…  which got me thinking that since my goal in playing a Lalafell is to be adorable all the time…  maybe Ninja is in my future.  I guess time will tell which one I actually start playing.  In any case I would love to finish out my Disciple of War classes so I can clean all of that gear out of my banks.  Months ago I said I would like to hit 50 on all classes before the expansion, and with my raid schedule in World of Warcraft that is never going to happen.  Maybe I will set that goal a bit lower and target finishing out all of the Disciple of War classes before the expansion.

Faffing in the Fjord

Losing Time

It seems that no matter what I do to prepare for it, Daylight Savings time still kicks my ass every year.  This go round I purposefully started trying to get more sleep from about Thursday onwards, in an attempt to get used to the earlier bedtime.  Saturday night I even started referring to things based on EST instead of my normal CST time… to attempt to trick my brain into thinking that was normal.  So last night… I hoped above hope that my brain would be able to power down and go to sleep at a decent hour.  But instead there I lay in bed trying to get to sleep.  I ended up taking some nyquil and playing Bravely Default in bed until I fell asleep.

I am sure Daylight Savings time made sense when we were primarily an agrarian society, however I have no clue why it still exists.  Why do we as a country do this to ourselves each and every year.  To be honest I do like having a lot more sunshine in the evenings, but since that is the case why not stay offset an hour permanently instead of shifting back in the winter?  I mean the days are so short that it really doesn’t matter at all in November if we offset back or not.  For whatever reasons even falling back and gaining the hour still seems to screw with my internal systems.  I realize that bitching about it will do exactly nothing…  but it makes me feel better.

Faffing in the Fjord

So yesterday thanks to the time drain I was feeling a little bit out of sorts.  I got up like I do every Sunday morning and played through my Steampowered Sunday game pick for a few hours, then wrote my review of sorts over it.  This week was of course Brutal Legend, and if you were interested in winning your own copy… make sure you click the extremely obnoxious vote here button at the bottom of the review.  Once I got finished up with all of that silliness I began the massive chore of laundry for the week.  Actually in truth it had been a few weeks since we had done laundry, so I knew I needed something that I could walk away from and check on the loads periodically.  Generally speaking solo leveling fits the bill perfectly.  I am not sure exactly why, but I decided to fiddle with FFSplit and try and figure out this live streaming business.

Normally speaking I always end up leveling my characters through Northrend in Borean Tundra.  While it is extremely boring and grindy, it just seems quicker.  The zone itself is laid out in more of a hub and spoke pattern and you can progress your way through the zone without a ton of travel time.  However since I had not done so in a really long time… I opted to move my little dwarven Warlock to Howling Fjord.  A few hubs into the zone I remembered why I stopped doing this…  so much travel time.  I figured I would share my pain by streaming it so the world could see.  The above video is not terribly interesting, but is me spending my afternoon… or at least roughly two hours of it going through the paces of leveling a warlock in Howling Fjord.  You can watch me playing video games badly!

More than anything I used this as a way to test how well streaming directly to Twitch.tv works, and then using that to upload to Youtube.  So far so good, but I kept my microphone muted during this trial.  I was feeling fairly antisocial, but at some point soon I hope to livecast something meaningful.  I still need to figure out a good size to put my postage stamp video feed into the stream.  At this point I am juggling back and forth between 320 wide and 240 wide, but before I do this for real I want to pretty up my twitch stream a bit with some artwork.  Right now this is just stock FFsplit with no real alterations.  However credit goes to Scopique, who told me this would be a much easier way to record videos…  it just took me months and months to actually fiddle with it.

Belazon Lives!

Diablo III 2014-03-08 18-41-05-93 The other big thing to come from this weekend is that I managed to push my Barbarian to 60 in Diablo 3.  The irony of this is thanks to a certain drop, I have completely shifted focus in the way I play it.  Previously I had been all about dual wield and cleave, using rend to soak back up some health.  However it was either Friday or Saturday night that I got a truly amazing drop that caused me to completely change my build for it.  I ended up getting the level 59 version of the “Three Hundredth Spear” to drop, which buffs my throwing damage by 55% and my ancient spear damage by 59%.  So as a result I completely rearranged my abilities to be able to use this and now I am more of a hoplite build with spear and shield.  Funny how my pure melee class ended up turning into a ranged.

Overall it works extremely well, and I can throw out some truly silly damage on a boss fight.  At one point Saturday the trio shown above were working our way through the various bosses in the game, letting Ashgar get the achievement for killing them all wearing nothing but blues.  At this point I was using the Boulder Toss rune for Ancient Spear, and it was insane to watch the bosses health move significantly each time a boulder landed.  The only problem with this rune is that it changes the functionality of ancient spear significantly.  The thing I like the most about it is that it acts almost like a League of Legends skill shot, in that if you can line up a bunch of mobs in a “wave” you can burn through them quickly as your ancient spear will hit each of them in a row.

Diablo III 2014-03-08 22-42-21-30 I was never really a big fan of the Amazon in Diablo 2, but so far my Belazon build seems to be pretty enjoyable.  While on a “role”-bending trick, I decided to start a baby mage and attempt to go for the melee mage build.  While functional, it just doesn’t feel like a class I would really enjoy.  I don’t really like feeling like a glass cannon, and apart from a few shield abilities the class has really weak survival.  In my few minutes of playing with my friend Tibuant, I died several times… when I have maybe died twice in total on my Barbarian.  I think it might be a class that is enjoyable to solo on, because many of my deaths were simply because Tib and I were not really in sync while playing.  He would be off in one direction and I would be off in another, which always ended up with me getting swarmed.  I think until the Crusader actually gets unlocked I will mostly piddle around on my Monk and Barbarian attempting to get paragon levels.