Racing Snail

rift 2016-06-15 19-17-13-84

Out of Advice

This month is of course the rescheduled Newbie Blogger Initiative… and I have been horrible at supporting it so far.  Normally I have filled my blog with various sundry related information about blogging, and if you really want you can probably still take some of that as completely valid.  I know this event works, but the problem is… at this point I just feel like I am out of advice to give without simply rehashing a bunch of old themes.  The truth is I really don’t know what I am doing, and while sometimes I put on the front that I do…  I spend the majority of my time winging it.  Sure before I wrote a single line on Aggronaut, I had planned a lot of stuff like the domain name and hosting provider, but that is not to say I didn’t have a much earlier not fit for public consumption blog on blogger.  Back then… I just started blogging, and it is I feel honestly good to just go make some mistakes on your own without the intervention of others.  My original blog was a semi-private ordeal talking about my life, my family, and all sorts of random events in large part surrounded on our sudden and bizarre desire to start camping.  I say camping… but what I really mean is hanging out at a lakeside resort in an RV.  It was real and snarky and sometimes raw… but it had a very specific audience of folks who actually knew me in real life.  Those people didn’t care about my gaming, and in most part would probably find it strange.

So when I created Aggronaut it was by purpose designed to be completely divorced from my real life.  The idea was I would have the real world blog for people who knew me… and then the other blog to talk about my passions.  That didn’t exactly work because I’ve found that while I can write in a mostly anonymous fashion talking about people and events from my real life setting…  I can’t exactly keep them out of my topics.  I’ve tried not to name names in my blog as a sort of “protect the innocent” fashion in part because my wife works in a very skittish profession.  I never wanted anything I might say to reflect badly upon her.  I would say that I probably filter myself a lot, but the truth is I really don’t have that many inflammatory opinions.  What I personally consider ranting about subject… I’ve often been told is just polite but impassioned discussion.  So as I sit down and try and thing of advice to give a budding blogger, I am really finding myself completely empty this year.  Just because I have been doing something longer, doesn’t mean I have any better grasp on how things should work.  I don’t know what I am doing… and it is perfectly okay to not know what you are doing.  I’ve somehow made that work for over seven years now, and I suppose I will continue to make it work for the foreseeable future.  I lack the ego however to tell you t hat my way is the correct way, because I know I don’t even know if it is right for me.  Next week I might get new information that makes me question everything about what I have done for the better part of this decade, and that is also okay.  Basically if you want to write…  just go write.

A Good Note

Belghast-Faeblight-AspectOfDeath

Over the last few days I have become progressively more active in the Rift community.  There is something comfortable about coming back to this game, and I find myself obsessing with all of these little details.  The experience has been something akin to catching a movie on cable television that you have not seen at decades… and then having a sudden swell of feelings for how much you used to love that movie.  Coming back to Rift this time feels very much like dusting off a favorite tome and reading it again with new eyes.  There are some things I am coming to terms with, namely that unlike so many games… it is unlikely that I will find many of my closest friends interested in joining me.  As I have learned time and time again… Rift is not really their game and especially the AggroChat crew can rattle off a list of reasons why.  That said… it has always sorta been my game, and been something that I supported regardless if I was actually playing with it.  I’ve said time and time again that Rift is essentially all of the features I ever wanted in a video game compiled in one game… and they just keep adding more features as time goes on.  That said it is also a much harder game than I have grown accustomed to, and as a result for the last several years since the launch of Storm Legion I have struggled a bit to find my place in it.  I was extremely slow getting to level 60, and I am just now getting to 65, so the speed and difficulty of leveling was something I had a difficult time reconciling now that I am extremely used to the fast pace and ease of leveling in the “modern” mmo.  I’ve long said that my favorite time period in World of Warcraft was Wrath of the Lich King, and I’ve just realized that Rift is as though you stopped the clock in a time period before content started to get watered down to appeal to a wider audience.  That is not to say that Rift does not have a lot of solo-able features… but if you intend to play at the highest levels of the game you are going to need a group and dedication to your character.

rift 2016-06-15 19-17-13-84

All of this aside I am in this position where I am really enjoying the depth of this game, and finding myself with this entire list of things that I want to accomplish.  One of the best parts of the game for me personally is the way that they have changed the wardrobe system.  Now when you pick up an item, you collect its appearance and can then assemble outfits out of these appearances without needing to fiddle with any of the actual loot.  The fact that there are also zero negatives like a gold sink associated with it, means I am constantly changing my wardrobes around, and I guess at times this is a positive.  Within the Rift forums and Discord there was a contest called “Planetouched Style”, the idea being that you assembled an outfit that represented a certain planar theme and then went out into the world and found a location that fit the theme to take a screenshot.  The first image was my entry, going for a sort of “Papa Legba” feel for it… and then finding an area out in Seratos that really shows off the deathyness.  Much to my shock… I apparently nabbed second place in the contest.  So I am now the proud owner of the 5th Anniversary edition racing snail…  completely with flames decorating the shell.  This goes nicely with my 4th Anniversary mount that I already spent damned near all of my time riding.  I am excited and humbled to somehow have managed to win, but it was a great note to end the day on yesterday.

 

Building a Better Wardrobe

Allergy Apocalypse

I have been more than a bit out of it over the last few days.  Here in Oklahoma every allergy index be it mold spore or tree pollen has been through the roof.  This means that I have been living in a permanent daze.  The frustrating thing is that sooner or later it starts to piss off my Asthma and over the last few days that has finally happened.  It is extremely hard to keep a constant thread going in my head when I am in this situation so I want to thank you all for bearing with me.  I am sure I will be making the occasional unintelligible statement.  I promise the things I say make sense in my head, but often times there is a translation layer that gets obliterated by the allergen haze.  The frustrating thing is I am quite literally taking as much as I possibly can to combat it.  I am not really sure why things are so bad this year, but even people who do not normally have problems are struggling.

So for the time being I am going to keep pushing forward and trying to write posts that make sense.  Sometimes this will work, other times it will very much not work.  Unfortunately this same stupor has been extending to my gaming.  All night on Tuesday night I felt like I was disconnected from reality, and it was significantly more than just being in a funk with Warcraft.  My reflexes are much slower than normal, and I get frustrated with myself when I don’t perform at the level I have come to expect.  My instinct is to hide away for awhile and simply not group with other people, but I am going to try and fight that since my guildies are extremely understanding individuals.  Hopefully this will pass soon, and I will start to feel like a human being once more.  In the mean time…  this really sucks.

Building a Better Wardroberift 2015-04-16 06-04-09-97

Yesterday I vented some of my frustrations about the reported 6.2 content patch in World of Warcraft.  The bulk of my frustrations centered around the timewalking system, and how I expected it to finally be a mentoring system.  I was reminded in the comments however that there is another game out there with an extremely robust mentoring system.  So as a result I patched up Rift yesterday and poked my head around it once more.  It turns out that yesterday just happened to be the day the latest patch dropped.  Among other things this introduced an extremely robust wardrobe system,  one that I would honestly call the best available currently.  If you have read my blog for any length of time you will know just how important cosmetic systems are to me.  I like swapping the appearance of my gear, and I tend to collect looks to reuse later.  In fact my bank in most games is full of items that I thought might be interesting to use eventually.

rift 2015-04-16 06-05-00-63 What makes the system so awesome is that as you are out in the world each time you pick up a new item you collect its appearance.  Guild Wars 2 and Diablo 3 have similar systems, but what sets the Rift model ahead of these two is the fact that you can swap your items around freely without a currency or token expense.  Another nice feature is that in Rift you have forty wardrobe slots that can be unlocked allowing you to create a vast array of interesting looks.  While the wardrobe system had that functionality before, what it adds is the ability to also control the dye options at the outfit level.  It seems like I got a basic set of dye colors with the ability to unlock more.  Also an improvement is the removal of the item appearance system and inclusion of it into the wardrobe system.  Instead of having to use a bauble to change the look of your weapon you now just item slots that allow you to pick from the weapon graphics that you know.  To make all of this more awesome, the unlocks happen at a region level meaning you have access account wide across all of your characters on that server region.

Freeing Bank Space

rift 2015-04-16 06-28-35-38 Since I had collected weapons and armor that I happened to like the appearance of over the course of my time leveling in Rift, I had stacks of the stuff in my bank.  With the addition of this new wardrobe system it meant that every last bit of it could be removed either through selling it or what I ended up doing… salvaging it for crafting materials.  The problem with the implementation of this system coming so late is that I have gotten rid of so much already.  The cool thing is that I am a high level crafter for pretty much every armor type, so at some point I want to burn through some of my old materials crafting sets of stuff just to get the appearance unlock.  This seems like potentially the easiest and least expensive way to get lots of unlocks quickly.  For the time being I have enough items to give me a wide range of options to swap back and forth between.  I especially like having access to some of the gear sets I purchased for my rogue, letting me mix things up a bit with the heavy plate gear my warrior wears.

rift 2015-04-16 06-33-09-55 Admittedly one of the biggest things that keeps me from playing Rift is the fact that my inventory is out of control.  I cannot bring myself to get rid of anything… and thanks to the Minion system I am absolutely swimming in dimension items.  The vast majority of the items in my bank are somehow related to the dimension system.  At some point I need to actually start working on a zone.  For the time being I have a Stoneflask Tavern instance loaded with lots of other big objects that I have picked up along the way.  Right now I have something like six additional buildings that I picked up along the way and added to the instance.  The problem is it makes no sense currently, and I will need to spend some time making it make sense.  I really like the large prefab buildings, because it gives you a lot of space while only consuming a single dimension item slot.  I keep thinking this is going to be a weekend project, of working on my dimension…  but that never actually happens.  In fact Rift as a whole has been one of those games that I wanted to return to, but find myself just not logging into it.  There is so much interesting stuff going on, I just wish it grabbed my attention more often.

Lalafell Rescue Squad

Rubber Snake Attack

Instead of coming home and gaming like normal last night, I actually went out and did something sociable with actual living and breathing people!  I know it is a shock to the system to fathom the ramifications of that statement.  Several months ago a group from work attended the live RiffTrax showing of the Matthew Broderick Godzilla and it was an absolute blast.  I have been a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 since college, and RiffTrax is essentially the same folks doing the same sort of thing…  without the robots and a guy trapped on a space station construct.  During that they previewed the next movie and at that point we decided that we had to attend again so we could see Anaconda…  a movie that I did not remember being as cheesy as it actually was.  Thankfully we learned a lot from the first time, and arrived at the theater considerably earlier.  Last time none of us actually got to sit together, but instead ended up having to pair up to get us all seated.  Last night we at dinner at a restaurant in the same parking lot as the theater so we were able to walk over and got there well before they even opened up seating.

Anaconda…  was seriously worse of a movie than I remember, and even at the time I thought the snake looked nothing like an actual snake.  The cast was disturbingly “star studded” for as bad of a train wreck as it ended up being.  You had Jon Voight, Eric Stoltz, Owen Wilson, Ice Cube and I believe this was the movie debut of Jennifer Lopez.  At the very least it was before I was actually aware of who she was, as I don’t think she had released her first album yet.  There were just so many cheesy things about the movie… like the fact that every single time that we see J-Lo on screen it is apparently super cold in the Amazon because they make a point of lingering on some massive nippledge going on.  Aside from the snake being horrible…  it looked like they recycled a ton of footage.  The Rifftrax guys pointed out a moment near the end of the movie where the waterfall is going backwards…  as they quite literally just reversed a shot from earlier in the movie.  Similarly they seem to keep passing the exact same snake idol a half dozen times.

I did not however attend to watch the movie, but instead listen to the RiffTrax crew tear it apart.  The Godzilla show was great but this one took it to all new levels.  In fact I would have to say this is probably going to go down as one of their better performances.  There was just so much to make fun of in this movie, and the fact that it had both J-Lo and IceCube in it…  basically gave them free reign to mix in lots jokes about their careers as a whole.  This is starting to become a regular thing that we do as a group.  They previewed the next show coming up December 4th which is a strange rendition of Santa Claus from the 50s.  The trailer bits they showed looked absolutely insane…  Santa Claus in space…  fighting and army of dancing devils.  Hopefully we can once again muster the troops and go as a group.  Not sure we get much “team building” done, but it is a really fun time nonetheless.

Lalafell Rescue Squad

ffxiv 2014-10-30 21-57-36-339 This RiffTrax overall seemed a bit shorter than the last one, and as a result I ended up getting back home at a decent hour.  I decided to pop into Final Fantasty XIV for a bit and see what all was happening.  After milling around a bit in the housing district a few of us pulled together a run for the new Sunken Temple of Qarn Hard mode.  This was one of those dungeons that we avoided like the plague because of its frustrating “one shot death” mechanics, so I think as a whole we were at the least concerned when we saw it would end up as a hard mode.  Thankfully the mechanics are not that cheap this time around.  Not to spoil this for anyone, but there are no bees this time around.  What is there instead is a continuation of the original story.  When we cleared the dungeon the first time, it apparently made the place safe enough for groups of adventurers to begin exploring it.  However a group of tomb robbers triggered yet another trap, and you are going there at the bidding of a brother who wishes you to go rescue his sister.  Adorable Lalafell needing rescuing…  that sounds like as noble cause as any…  my people need me.

ffxiv 2014-10-30 22-28-29-285 I am not as geared as I could be, but I am no slouch overall.  The bare minimum for the dungeon is ilevel 80 and I went in there last night with 103.  Overall I think I was managing the damage pretty well, but it definitely put our healer through a workout.  I think in part he was just used to healing Paladins with their significantly smaller health pools.  With group buffs I was over 10,000 hit points, and a comparable Paladin would be around 6,000.  So when the final boss hit me for 2,000 it really didn’t feel that significant, however with a paladin that would be 1/3rd of their available health pool.  I think Tams complaint was that it felt like his heals weren’t doing much, but that is primarily because a percentage of my health bar is quite a bit more hit points than a percentage of someone else’s health bar.  In any case we made it through the dungeon without any wipes and only I believe a single death.  The content is hard enough to be challenging, but not so hard that it becomes punishing.  I feel like Pharo Sirius is still a rougher dungeon than this one for example.

ffxiv 2014-10-30 22-39-49-231 At the end of the day we finished the run, beat the big bad end boss and saved the adorable Lalafell Adventerer.  I feel like it was a good way to end an already awesome night.  One of my favorite things about the new dungeons is that they drop these tokens that can then be turned in for any ilevel 90 class piece of armor.  So while they did in fact remove these from the Tombstone and Hunt vendors, you can still get the gear.  The fact that they shifted it to  a token system means the mobs have a more shallow loot table, and as a result each individual piece is more useful.  I feel like I will enjoy picking up a level 90 set way more by running these three new dungeons than I ever would by simply grinding tombstones or hunts until I had the necessary currency.  This is fine and dandy for experienced players, but I still feel like this patch and its changes made it significantly harder for a brand new player to gear up.  Granted maybe they did that on purpose, so players would have to spend a bit more time running dungeons before leap-frogging into end game content.

Dimension Goodies a Plenty

rift 2014-10-31 06-55-10-080 With all the Final Fantasy XIV goodness, I am still playing some Rift Nightmare Tide… it has just taken a back seat.  At the very least I am logging in a few times a day to make sure my minions are running the 8 hour long missions.  These reward some crazy stuff, and so far as a result of all of my minion missions I have literally three 28 slot bags full of nothing but dimension stuff.  At some point I need to sift through it all and see what I can actually use.  You get a pretty broad mix of things from basic building blocks to intricate items like the Infernal Dawn Cannon.  The 8 hour long dimension missions have a chance of rewarding these chests that each have half a dozen items in them…  so it feels like buying those grab bags off the store.  I really like the Rift dimensions system for player housing, so at some point I really should work on building a proper home.

Rift is more than likely going to be a weekend game for me as I do laundry and watch stuff off netflix or the DVR.  The pace works well there and the fact that I can pop to the guild dimension when I afk, and return exactly to the point where I last left off is a really nice feature.  The content in Nightmare Tide is significantly more enjoyable for me than Storm Legion was.  At some point soon I want to try out one of the new dungeons.  I dinged 61, so have made some forward momentum, but still have not really touched even half of Goboro Reef.  While there may only be three new zones, each of the zones is absolutely massive in scale.  I’ve not actually done any of the instant adventures, mostly because it seems like an excessive amount of area to try and cover rapidly.  In any case I am still enjoying the game, but just playing it as a side venture with Final Fantasy XIV being my primary focus.

#RiffTrax #FFXIV #Rift

New Kind of Creepy

Extra Life Hangover

Yesterday was a really strange day for me.  In part I am simply not used to staying up as late as I ended up doing for my leg of the marathon.  When it came time for me to get offline and got to sleep around 2:30 in the morning my time, I found that I couldn’t do it.  I tossed and turned trying to calm back down enough to actually sleep.  It might have been the monster I had about midnight, or it might have just been the adrenaline of having streamed, but in whatever case it took me until probably 3:30 to finally sleep.  When I got back up around 9:30 that morning I was feeling groggy as hell, but also feeling like I should attempt to get up and around for the day.  Everything about the day just felt “off”.  By the time I got out of the house to get breakfast, they were out of sausage rolls.

I generally edit AggroChat Saturday night and upload it, so instead I had to do all of that yesterday morning.  By the time I posted my blog post it was around 1:30 in the afternoon.  I started laundry and attempted to chill out playing some Rift, but it seemed before I even turned around that it was time for Walking Dead, and ultimately bedtime.  It felt like the day was going in fast forward, or I was stuck in slow motion one of the two.  I cannot imagine how yesterday must have felt for the folks who actually did do the entire 25 hours themselves.  I feel like I am extremely old at this point, because there was a time not too long ago that staying up til 3:30 in the morning would not have had this sort of massive negative effect.  Hell there were many times while playing WoW that I did just this for one reason or another.  All of this makes me all the more impressed for everyone who managed to complete the entire thing.

New Kind of Creepy

rift 2014-10-27 06-23-52-745 One of the things that Rift has excelled at over the years is introducing extremely creepy gameplay elements into the MMO genre.  Sure Ct’hun was a giant eyeball with tentacles…  but it never felt unsettling.  So much of the things that you end up fighting against in Rift just feel wrong somehow.  Storm Legion for example had all of these strange machinations that looked to be knitted out of mismatched piles of flesh.  Even the agents of Crucia in their gleaming storm trooper armor… felt somehow unnatural.  So when we move to the Nightmare Tide expansion you see this landscape that should be friendly.  Full of pinks, blues and greens in all manner of pastel tones that should signal something relaxing…  but trust me that just makes it all the more creepy.  Especially as you hear these disembodied siren songs echo across the zone that remind you of the mermaids song from Harry Potter gone horribly wrong.

The storyline of this expansion once again involves multiple threats forcing their way into our world.  One of the threats is familiar, the forces of Maelforge are draining the Plane of Water and invading it.  As you wander around Goboro Reef you encounter their devastation as large sections of the realm are already dry, and you help the inhabitants deal with the consequences.  This however is just the most obvious threat.  There is an undercurrent of madness as well as you start to encounter the Akvan, nightmares taken shape and form.  They follow the dark god Demogos who appears to be the embodiment of the nightmare.  This expansion seems to be taking us past the bloodstorm and into something more sinister, making the players realize that the dragons were far from the worst threat we had to face.

Wandering with Style

rift 2014-10-26 20-39-03-28 The gameplay style seems to have improved greatly over Storm Legion.  While they have still stayed far removed from the very quest hub based leveling of the first 50 levels, the replacement this time around feels far less grindy than it did in Storm Legion.  All of the Carnage quests have been reduced in number it seems, so instead of having to kill 10 to 20 of a thing, we now only have to kill 4  to 8 to get completion.  Right now my focus has not necessarily been on quest completion but on exploration.  Goboro Reef is huge, and is full of little nooks and crannies where all sorts of interesting things are hidden.  I went up into a fissure under water, that originally I thought might have just been a place where the terrain didn’t quite match.  Instead I found that it was very much a purposeful gap, because at the end of it I found a treasure chest of sorts, in the form of a lost clutch.

I like that the zones allow me to wander about without feeling like I have to be focused on this thing or that thing.  My focus right now is on getting as much Thalasite as I  can, since I have so many tradeskills to level that all require large amounts of it.  Thankfully it is fairly plentiful on the reef, but you often times have to leave the immediate clear path to find it.  Often times you have to leave dry land and go swimming into the walls of water to snake your way up onto platforms where the ore sits.  This is the process I am enjoying, the slower pace of discovery that makes this an enjoyable game to play while going through my most recent netflix binges.  Yesterday I wandered around the zone while finishing up the second season of American Horror  Story, and I found the whole experience enjoyable… both in the game and in the show.

Addicted to Minions

rift 2014-10-27 06-17-35-954 Part of what is making the piddling so damned enjoyable is the introduction of the Minions mini-game.  In essence this works similar to Crew Missions in Star Trek or Crew Skills in Star Wars the Old Republic.  You collect these cards, that represent creatures that you can then send out on missions.  You start with a single mission slot available, but you can unlock additional slots through the spending of credits.  As you can see here on the right hand side of the screen I currently have five minions going at the same time.  Each mission takes a fixed amount of time, and costs a certain amount of stamina which is the number shown with the little lightning bolt like icon on the left side of the mission and minion cards.  I am uncertain how fast stamina is recovered, but generally speaking I have been able to keep sending out minions while I play.  When a mission is completed a little demon head icon appears in your notification pane, next to the time.

Right now I have encountered four basic kinds of missions.  The first kind rewards some form of crafting material, and there are multiple flavors of these “Hunting” or “Harvesting” missions.  Certain minions have icons on them relating to one of these skills, and if you match a minion with a mission card you have a better chance of success.  Similarly there are Diplomacy missions that return items that give you notoriety with the various factions in the game.  Some of the missions are searches for Artifacts, and I have had one of these reward as many as a dozen different artifacts from any manner of zones in the game.  My personal favorite are the dimension missions, because they reward random dimension goodies, that can be anything from simple building blocks to actual dimension keys.  There is another type that is called Assassination, but I have not actually encountered these, so not sure what exactly they reward.

So as I quest around and hunt for ore I keep sending my pack of critters out on missions, and every few minutes I get rewarded with all sorts of random goodies.  One of the things about me is that I love RNG elements, especially ones that have a potentially awesome payout.  I love sending out my retainers in FFXIV on ventures because of the random and interesting things they bring back.  Minions are like this on steroids, because the payoff can be extreme.  There are 1 minute, 5 minute, 15 minute, 8 hour and 10 hour missions that I have encountered so far.  The 10 hour missions require that you either spend adventurine or credits as well as the normal minion stamina cost.  Right now I don’t have a clue how to get adventurine other than the small amount that I have gotten from purchasing the expansion, or buying a minion starter kit.  In any case this definitely fuels my “Faff” and gives every little bit of aimless wandering more purpose, because I am letting my minions go find goodies for me.  I really hope the minion game ends up getting added to the mobile application.

#Rift #ExtraLife

Catastrophic Rollback

Extra Life is Go!

aofa_banner_trans This morning team alliance of awesome has been streaming for awhile by the time I write this post.  This means the Extra Life marathon has been kicked off and the thunderbirds are go!  So I highly suggest you tune into the Alliance of Awesome team and see how all is streaming.  I personally won’t be coming on until significantly later in the day where I plan on playing a brand new Secret World character named “Belstream” on the Arcadia server.  I’ve gone through the character creation already and am sitting at the very start of the New York zone.  I went Illuminati this time, because with all of the “conspiracy” floating around in the gaming community it seemed rather fitting.  The Secret World is one of those games that I love but don’t end up playing all that often.  I am a lifetime subscriber, and I still consider that money well spent.

One of the interesting challenges today is trying to fit in the recording of a podcast around the various stream times.  Kodra and Hiddenwings stream before our normal recording time, and I stream almost immediately following it.  I will be going from 11pm EST to 3am EST, and then after me is I believe Scarybooster and then finally Cav will be finishing off the entire process.  From what I understand both Stargrace and Braxwolf intend to do the entire 25 hours…  so during a lot of the stream there will be multiple channels on Team AofA that you can be watching.  When I last tuned in, Stargrace was streaming some Divinity Original Sin, so you should see a wide variety of titles today.  I personally am mostly going to stream MMOs.  I had originally planned on streaming some Destiny, but with my current frustration with the game that probably isn’t the best idea.  Maybe going to substitute in some Rift Nightmare Tide if it is behaving.

Catastrophic Rollback

rift 2014-10-24 23-19-33-340 The last few days I have been sick, as I said in my blog my lungs pretty much betrayed me.  As a result I spent a lot of time sitting on the couch poking around in Rift Nightmare Tide.  Over the course of Thursday I watched one and a half seasons of American Horror Story, made it about half way through 60 and made some significant progress on several different tradeskills, finally crafting myself a nice set of blue weapons.  Then something bad happened.  When I was working on my blog post yesterday the Faeblight server was completely offline, and while I thought this was odd I just went on with my business of writing a normal blog post.  Later in the day on twitter I heard that Laethys, Faeblight and Wolfsbane were all offline and that there had been something that happened to the hardware for that server cluster.  When I got home the server was back online, and I logged into my character only to notice that I had lost an entire days worth of play time.  My character was sitting back at 1% experience into 60… pretty much the point at which you normally zone into the zone.

A thread on the forums confirmed the issue, that there had indeed been a rollback.  The goofy thing is it seems to be an uneven rollback.  I have all of my Planar Attunement experience gained, as well as all of my Minion experience.   My character however was completely rolled back, including the fact that I no longer had the spec or macros that I set the day before when I started to level the character.  The biggest problem is… I spent a lot of platinum training various skills… and all of THAT seemed to be missing like I had in fact trained the skills but had nothing to show for it.  As an IT professional I have had things like this happen to me too.  A backup is only as good as the time you need to restore it… and it is often times impossible to tell if a backup is actually going to work correctly.  Having been in the shoes of these folks before myself…  I feel generally horrible for the stress that they are going through.  Supposedly Faeblight is hit the worst and they are having to manually go back through logs to try and figure out what all was actually lost.

rift 2014-10-24 20-43-08-161 I can take this with a grain of salt, knowing that sooner or later Trion is going to make things right for me.  They always have in the past, and I have a feeling they will during this time.  I mean this is probably the most catastrophic rollback I have experienced since the ill fated launch of Horizons back in 2003.  Unfortunately rollbacks were something that happened during those days, so we accepted it at face value and moved on.  Rollbacks these days however are almost unheard of, and as a result the players on the forums are out for blood.  There are some players who had power leveled themselves to 65 and maxed out several of their tradeskills… and all of that effort was completely lost.  I am super thankful I have been playing the expansion extremely casually at this point.  All of this said I am certain that Trion will make things right in the end, the biggest frustration for me was setting back up all of my hotbars and my new spec again.

ArcheAge Update

archeage 2014-10-13 06-17-56-723 I have not been playing much of late, especially with all of the other games on my plate.  However I felt like I needed to post an update.  I have been pretty down on ArcheAge as a game from my pretty horrific experiences with the Alpha/Beta community.  In part I think a lot of those early players were Streamers and did horrific things to other players to entertain their audiences.  I can remember one incident where I had to cross a bay in a rowboat, and folks were lined up trying to capsize and subsequently drown us as all of the little newbies tried to cross the open water.  Coming back and playing on the Naima server at launch…  I have to say I have not experienced any of this non-combat griefing.  I have gone afk in town numerous times, and have not found myself pushed out into a bunch of mobs and dead on the ground…  this was something that happened constantly in alpha.

The game is still compelling, but I have yet to actually make it to the contested zone levels this time around.  I am still in my early 20s, but I hope to make a push at some point to see just how the open pvp areas feel.  If the early game is any indication, maybe the production player base is more reasonable than the barbaric alpha playerbase was.  I can deal with danger, and I can deal with the possibility of death…  what I could not deal with was the constant jackassery that I experienced in the alpha community.  This is still not my primary game, especially with all of the exciting things happening in FFXIV this week, and the launch of Rift Nightmare Tide.  However I still have a large number of friends playing the game, and it has been nice to pop my head in and talk to people I have not seen in years.  Unfortunately the guild I was planning on joining imploded this week, and has been replaced by another one.  So I will have to make the necessary inroads to get invites there.  Also unfortunately it seems they might not be as casual friendly, which would be unfortunate… because for each of the serious players I know playing the game, they have a couple of not so serious friends that are also playing with them.

#ExtraLife #Rift #ArcheAge

Bel Folks Stuff Debut

An Evening With Syl

cropped-belfolksstuff_banner A few weeks back I talked about a new kind of podcast I was planning on doing.  Where I grab one of the very interesting members of our community and chat with them a bit.  Somewhat of an informal interview podcast.  Thankfully everyone I have talked to about this idea thought it was cool and has been willing to volunteer for the process.  Since my friend @Gypsy_Syl and I have notoriously struggled to find time to actually hang out together on voice chat, I figured it would be awesome to start this entire process with her.  Thankfully she graciously accepted and last Sunday at noon my time which was 7 pm her time… we sat down to record a show.  I am really pleased with how it turned out, and while I still feel like I am absolutely “winging it” I can see how this is going to work with other “Folks” as well.

Right now the plan is to do this as a semi-monthly show, because quite honestly with daily blogging and weekly podcasting with AggroChat, I don’t feel like I can really add much more to my schedule.  Naming a thing is always the hardest part, after some time I landed on more of a statement of what the show was… than an actual name.  “Bel Talks To Interesting Folks About Really Important Stuff That They Enjoy Doing”.  This however was way too long to be the title of anything… so I just shortened it to “Bel Folks Stuff”.  It’s quirky I know, but I figure the folks that will be listening won’t care much about the title… but will instead be tuning in to listen to someone from our community talking about stuff that they enjoy.  So please tune in and enjoy “An Evening With Syl” the very first episode.

Gobbie-Boom

ffxiv 2014-10-24 06-14-29-107 Last night I spent most of the night working on my Monk, trying to push him ever higher in level.  I was happy the other night to graduate from Totorak to Haukke Manor as it is a considerably more enjoyable dungeon.  My friend Ashgar likes to refer to Totorak as “The Thousand Yawns of Total-Nap”.  For me, I don’t mind the dungeon that bad but it does definitely seem to drag on, especially in that section where you keep having to bust poison balloons and move through the green sludge.  Last night however I got to move into one of my favorite dungeons…  Brayflox’s Longstop.  The reason why I like Brayflox is simple…  it has some really awesome sets that come out of it.  While tanking the place I had managed to gather up a full set of Cavalry, and while healing I had managed to gather up most of a full set of Battle Mage.  However every time I ran the place, either Infantry did not drop… or someone else was with me that wanted it far more.

As you can see from the above picture, last night I managed to get the Infantry Chest to drop.  So far I only have legs, hat and chest…  but I figure I will be running a lot more Brayflox.  One of the things that I didn’t really cover in my guide is that every night I always do at least one completely random dungeon run.  This is worth a massive amount of xp even if you end up getting one of the primals… that normally rewards next to no experience.  After that I tend to just queue for whatever the highest level dungeon I can run happens to be… especially if I am playing DPS.  Nothing sucks worse than wading through a thirty minute dps queue, only to end up getting Ifrit.  So I expect over the next few days to queue up for Brayflox, and then run FATEs while waiting on the roulette to pop.  The only thing I wish is that you could queue with your chocobo out, because this greatly lowers my survival in FATEs to have to run without him.

Using My Boost

rift 2014-10-23 06-27-53-875 This morning Faeblight appears to be down, so I can’t actually log into the game and take any proper screenshots.  As a result you get a shot of my menagerie of characters.  This is fitting because in reality I was going to talk to the boost to level 60.  As you can see I have a whole slew of characters that I could have used this on.  Mostly I struggled with a choice between boosting Belgrenth my Dwarven Mage, or Belgaroth my Bahmi Cleric.  Belgrenth is still stuck down in his 20s, but overall I enjoy questing on him because the launch content feels better to play than the Storm Legion content.  Belgaroth however I had just started the Storm Legion slog with, and felt like I was making no real progress.  So did I go for maximum number of free levels… or did I go for helping me skip the content I wanted to skip on an otherwise really enjoyable character.

As I am sure you can tell from my lead up… I ended up using it on the cleric because skipping Storm Legion sounded like an awesome deal.  Unfortunately I didn’t really have a good use for the free boost to 375 crafting, so I ended up spending it on survival…  something that I struggled to level on my other characters.  If I had been thinking really I would have used it on fishing… because as time goes that one seems to take significantly longer to level.  The other big news from yesterday is that I think I figured out a pretty decent leveling build for Belghast.  All of the warrior builds I was using when I last played have seemed to have gotten nerfed significantly.  Once upon a time I could farm things with impunity and keep myself at nearly full health.  Those days were long gone as upon starting the Nightmare Tide content it was a struggle just to stay alive.

I landed upon a thread on the official forums by a guy named Inny proposing his leveling spec for 3.0.  You can check out the full magelo build here but essentially it is a 42 Warlord, 34 Champion, 0 Liberator build.  So far it seems to be working pretty well, and the combination of a few minor heals and the combination of Weapon Defense and No Permission to Die allow me to stay alive in most situations.  No Permission to Die need some really specific timing to make it work, as it heals you to 50% if you receive a killing blow in the time that the buff is up.  The biggest boost to my survival was crafting a new set of weapons.  Thankfully it was pretty easy to gather up the materials to do that, but unfortunately I have pretty much burnt through all of my available platinum on tradeskills.  Hopefully that will start to regenerate as I quest, so I can do the same for Armorsmithing as I did for weaponsmithing.  All in all the content is enjoyable, or at least significantly less grindy feeling than the Storm Legion content was.