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Off Like a Herd of Stressed Turtles

July 24th, 2016 by

…or something like that, anyway. :) Leaving early tomorrow, having accomplished only a small amount of everything that I needed to before I left. I’ve been throwing things into my suitcase without my normal planning, so I will probably end up with fifteen black shirts and no pants or shoes. I just remembered to pack underwear this afternoon. Anything I miss, I guess I can hit Walmart for once I get there.

Don’t have too much fun while I’m gone… :D

Getting Started With FFXIV

July 11th, 2016 by

Recently within the space of a day or so I talked to a very lovely author whom I’d worked with who said that she and her husband were starting FFXIV (unfortunately from the US, boo!) and a good friend also decided to give it another try. And yeah…by another try I mean that he finally gave in to my near-constant badgering just to shut me up. :) I know that a lot of people bought it for the first time when it was on sale during the Steam sale as well, and I thought it might be a good time for a beginner’s guide post.

First of all, excellent choice. I honestly think this is the best MMO out there at this time; it’s certainly the closest game to provide that “old MMO feeling” that many of us are so nostalgic for. You know, that golden time (probably during Vanilla WoW or EQ2) when you first really got into MMOs, when you lived and breathed them and it was glorious. The community is awesome, for the most part, and players are helpful. Instances are the best I’ve ever seen in terms of mechanics, story, and sheer gorgeousness.

Starting Out

This is how I start characters. I’ve rerolled a million times, and also started quite a few on my home server before Heavensward was released and Squenix made it very, very clear that they wanted you to do everything on one character rather than having alts by gating the new content to completion of the storyline.

I like running around and getting all of the initial city quests done first. You’ll get xp, a bit of cash, all of the aetherytes unlocked, and so on before you start running out to do quests. SE likes you to do a lot of running around, oh my yes…get used to it. If you pass an aetheryte and it’s not sparkling, click on it to unlock it. You can choose a number of favoured destinations (which will be cheaper to travel to) and one free one. Set your free one for your home city, and the two favoured ones for the other two cities. Then you can move your return point to a quest hub as needed.

Put things like autorun, your armoury chest, the hunting log, and the emote button on your bars. Lots of quests require emotes, so it’s easier. Rearrange your UI as the default setup sucks.

Kill things in groups if possible, do every fate you stumble across, and do your hunting log as you go. Hunting log gives great xp, as do fates.

That’s it, basically…just enjoy, it’s a lovely world. Don’t skip the storylines or cutscenes, as there are stories here to make you giggle and also break your heart and make you cry. The first time you run a dungeon just tell everyone that you’re new and won’t be skipping the cutscenes – they’ll deal with it. :)


Beginners Guides

Fate Locations

Hunting Log Locations

Progression and Level Locked Content

Dark Days

July 8th, 2016 by

In a couple of weeks I’ll be going back to the States for a visit, for my daughter’s wedding. It’s been several years since I went back (just before my father died) and has been fourteen years since I moved to the UK. I’m nervous about going back.

I miss everyone, of course. I miss my daughter every single day, I miss the rest of my family, and I even miss the country that I grew up in.

That country, of course, isn’t the same one that I’ll be going back to…and that scares me.

Everyone seems so very…strident, to say the least. I’m sure there were almost as many misogynists and racists when I lived there, but most people knew enough to keep the worst opinions to themselves. Not now, though. Everyone is flying their freak flag, bolstered by the approval of other neanderthals on their social media home of choice. It’s bad enough that presidential candidates are running quite successful campaigns based on hatred, and their supporters hail them as “straight-talkers” who aren’t afraid to speak their minds. In other words, this guy is saying what we think. Yee fucking hah.

I’ve lost most of my family over recent years. The intelligent, intrinsically good people that I loved have turned into raging God-n-Guns “make America great again” conservatives and gradually I’ve muted them, slowly shutting them out of my life. I love them, I would give a kidney or my life for them…but listen to a constant stream of nastiness via social media? Ugh. Life is too short to wallow in that kind of cesspool, so I let them slowly slip away.

And guns, lord the guns. Astronomically more massacres by gun in the US than anywhere else in the world, classrooms of kids being slaughtered, people at church, you name it. Just this week, black men shot dead by the police in two separate murders, and last night five cops were killed (presumably in retaliation). Guys in beards, beer guts and Dixie flag tshirts walk around carrying assault rifles openly. It all scares me. This is my home, the country I grew up in…and I’m terrified to go back.

Right now I’m thinking weddings, and love, and hugging my daughter again. Everything else can slip away.

Horse Breeding Blues (Pinks, Greens), Part II

May 6th, 2016 by

Quick recap of my horse breeding success in Black Desert…or decided lack thereof. My hands are still preventing me from doing any gaming despite the splints and pills, so I’m auto-levelling horses as I work on covers.

Tah-dum, tah-dum, tah-dum.

After getting my super-fugly red-white-blue horse and the Greenbean, I acquired an even fuglier one with a short tail in bright blue. My latest results, and my highest-level horses to date given my almost total lack of mares, are a pink-and-purple Clydesdale type thing and an even uglier yellow and orange streaked one. Yaay.

I used to think that RNG in games meant that sometimes you got lucky, sometimes you didn’t, luck of the draw. I now understand that it actually means that some other bastard gets lucky while there are players out there who are designated soakers of bad luck. The short stick brigade. I hate RNG with the power of a thousand suns.

I’m going to start my Fugly Horse Ranch (“Ugliest Horses on the Planet! See ‘Em to Believe ‘Em!) and hope that perverse fate decides to go the other way for once. Hey, it’s all I have left. :D


Black Desert Horse Colors

Horse Breeding Blues

April 27th, 2016 by

I haven’t been playing much lately due to a massive amount of work and also some odd problems with my hands. It may be carpal tunnel (what gamer doesn’t have a touch of carpal?), but it came on very suddenly a couple of weeks ago. Initially it felt like I’d sprained the ring and little fingers on each hand -possibly from the damned cover or vault action in The Division- but now I feel as though I have a pair of broken lumps for hands. Not great for an artist or a gamer.

The Division has been irking me a bit because of the massive amount of cheaters and hackers in the Dark Zone. Seriously, what fun is that, either for the poor saps playing the game honestly, or the guy on God Mode who is teleporting and untouchable by anyone? Bah, no point until they address that.

As a result I’ve been levelling horses in Black Desert. I’ve always wanted an MMO that allowed you to tame wild horses, train them, breed them and train and sell the foals…a bit like a grownup version of a horse game. I adore this. The RNG is horrific, as you kind of expect in an Asian MMO, and some of the colours are…well, see for yourself:

Black Desert Horses

My first attempt resulted in a blueberry mare with pink mane and white tail. My second attempt resulted in Greenbean, my green hulk horse. Meh. Phil (ever the lucky bastard in every game we play) bred his horses once and got a stunning golden palomino mare with white mane and tail and white feathers on the legs.

Levelling horses for breeding actually takes a lot of work, albeit afk work as the horses autoloop for hours and days. I am working right now with the soporific sound of galloping hoofbeats in the background, tah-dum, tah-dum, tah-dum. I’ve learned to never just leave it running while I go elsewhere, as the horse will automagically die for some reason, even if on a loop that has been working safely for hours.

So, I am currently playing a game by proxy by letting it afk loop. This is what we have come to. :)

I’m Alive!

March 15th, 2016 by

Wow, it’s been…let me see…a very long time since my last post. After being offline for so long I was really snowed under with a lot of work and things just slid. As they do unless one makes an effort, which I shall have to.

Aside from work I’ve been doing a bit of gaming and pretty much fuckall otherwise. Black Desert came out, which I’ve just scratched the surface of due to The Division also launching. I got addicted to The Division, I admit. It is so much fun, and simply one of the most gorgeous games I’ve ever seen.

Character creation still kind of sucks, and I’d hoped for more. Still the default faces and hairstyles and not a lot of choices which is a shame for an otherwise amazing game. I’d really, really wanted to do a version of Carol from The Walking Dead for my character (since, although I have a massive girlcrush on Michonne, Carol is the most badass), but I had to settle with the character that I’d chosen in beta.

We’ve been mostly running in groups of four with some good friends, which makes encounters and (fer shure!!!) the Darkzone a lot easier. A lot of it isn’t tuned to be too easy, so you can’t faceroll most of it which I like. It’s a challenge without having stupid don’t-stand-in-the-fire dances. Mob AI is extremely well done. The few cutscenes are nicely done, voice acting is great, and as you piece together the story you come across funny, profane and absolutely heartbreaking moments.

Huge /applause on this one – if you haven’t tried it, you so very much should!



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