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FFXIV: Noob Moments

April 20th, 2015 by



Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve updated this blog. I’ve been struggling with health issues and also a metric ass-ton of work. So, yeah…poor neglected blog!

I have been playing a lot of Final Fantasy when I can find the time, and I must say that for a game which was virtually unplayable when first launched, it is now a really stupendously great game. Maybe a “forever” MMO, as Warcraft has been for me.

I have, however, made some really stupid mistakes.

I know that Squenix really wants you to do all jobs on one character. Although they allow you to create alts, with all of the cross-class skills it’s kind of obvious that they want you to level all the jobs on one character. However, that means grinding fates and so on, so I thought “Hey, it would make ever so much sense to do all of the Disciple of Magic classes on one character, and the War classes on a second one, so I can do quests on both.” Amiright? Not so much, as it seems: I had a level 50 White Mage, 50 Scholar and Summoner and 40 Black Mage on one character. The alt had a level 50 Bard, 40 Paladin, etc. And then (as I started through the post-50 quests on the first character) I realised that I’d hit a Giant Wall O’Suck. I was never, ever going to want to do that grind on my Bard as well.

Now, I quite like playing Bard and was considering making that my main class. But levelling it up by grinding fates on my main character? It makes me lose the will to live.

Which brings me to something that I wanted to say about FFXIV: I understand about wanting players to play through the entire storyline before allowing them access to anything in the Heavensward expansion in June – fair enough. But why make it so damned hard? I would hazard a guess that casual players make up the bulk of the customer base for any MMO. They may not be a progression raider or an elite min-maxer; instead, they’re exploring and doing quests and crafting and just enjoying the ride. They really care about the story, where your elite types probably don’t bother much with story or lore. (I’m saying that based on the fact that I’ve had to skip every damned cutscene since I hit the post-50 content to avoid being kicked from groups. You speed-running bastards.) Why force those players to have to make it through hard modes and things like Steps of Faith? Why not make the storyline involve less hardcore instances? I’ll do them, of course…but I’m fully expecting it to be painful. It just seems like a very odd design choice.

Oh, I almost forgot: my other noob moment? Dyeing my chocobo. I spent about a bazillion gil on the food to get soot black last night and fed them all to my bird per the advice on the color calculator. This morning? I have a parrot-green bird. Fracking hell. Now I have no idea how to actually get to black from there, and I’ve spent over 100k to do it. :(

And yet…I love this game so damned much.


Farewell to WoD (For Now)

January 28th, 2015 by

I just decided to cancel my Warcraft subscription again. I fully admit that I am one of “those” players, the ones who come back for every expansion, play to level cap, and then eventually quit. I no longer raid, and there just isn’t enough to hold my interest without raiding.

There are garrisons, to be sure, and they were a lot of fun in the beginning on the first character. Third alt in? Not so much fun, as it turns out, as well as being a massive timesink. Of course you don’t have to do anything with your garrison…but after you have them it seems a bit silly to not gather those resources.

I miss professions. On my leatherworker I hate the daily wait to have someone else create mats for me. I like levelling professions, and in the past have spent hours happily grinding for leather and so on. This isn’t as much fun.

It always makes me a bit sad to cancel as Warcraft has been a part of my life (on and off) for ten years. Who would have imagined spending so much time in a game? I’ve had marriages that have lasted less time than that. :D

Farewell, Space…At Least For Now

January 11th, 2015 by

I woke to this depressing news this morning: The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee today announced who will chair its subcommittees in the 114th Congress.   Ted Cruz (R-TX) will chair the subcommittee that oversees NASA, while Marco Rubio (R-FL) will chair the one with jurisdiction over NOAA.

I don’t make a lot of political posts here, although those of you who know me have a pretty clear idea of where my beliefs lie. I don’t think that science is scary or knowledge is bad. I don’t think that climate change is a lie or a hoax. I don’t believe in hating anything or anyone different from myself. I believe in science (which conflicts in no way with my belief in magic), and from the time I was a very small girl I’ve had a passion for space travel. I totally and completely believed that it would happen in my lifetime. That hasn’t exactly happened, but I still want to believe that it will. We need that dream, it is important to all of us as human beings.

There is a phenomenon called The Overview Effect, which Wikipedia describes as: ‘a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts and cosmonauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from orbit or from the lunar surface. It refers to the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, “hanging in the void”, shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. From space, astronauts claim, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide people become less important, and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this “pale blue dot” becomes both obvious and imperative.’

The conflicts that divide people become less important when you start thinking globally rather than on a very micro level (people who vote the same way that I do, people who follow the same religion as I, people who fit my extremely narrow world view). We need this so badly.

Don’t take away our dreams.

2015: Obligatory Resolution Post

January 1st, 2015 by

I always fail at New Years resolutions. I’m not unique, of course, everyone does…and if you don’t, well, whoopie-frickin-doo. *thumbs nose at you*

This year I’ve decided to set a more reachable goal: do better. Be better. Be healthier, more creative, do something new. I need something new so badly.

Being healthier is the first step, as I spent most of 2014 feeling really, really ill, which affected my work and my home life. I (who never go to doctors unless I literally think I’m dying) have spent so much time at doctors’ offices having tests and appointments with very little to show for it. Palm-sized hemorrhages on my arms, hair falling out in strands. Exhaustion, feeling like I’ve had a lowgrade case of the flu for a year. All the doctors can do is shrug and say that I have some kind of auto-immune condition, it’s a mystery, don’t know what else we can do. One offered me anti-depressants because “they make everyone feel better.” I was raging at the end of that appointment.

So fuck ’em. I’ll get healthy on my own. I’m trying to cut down on the amount of work that I have so I can just get out and walk, building up strength to do other things. I used to be an athlete and feeling like this is the most horrible thing. I’ll be better.

I’m going to art harder this year. I’ve raised prices a bit, and I’m trying to cut down the amount of work that I do on a weekly and monthly basis because I want to be better. Yes, I can do production work and churn it out to meet deadlines, but I want to be better than that. I want to do more painting and illustration and I want to do more creative covers. I don’t want to be pushed into doing bad covers, because you would be astonished at the number of authors who micro-manage covers to the point where they’re much less than they could have been. I don’t want to be the person doing that work.

As for something new? I don’t know what that will be yet, but I’ll make damned sure that it will happen this year. New job, going back to school, trying to find a way of financing my love of travel…who knows? For certain I want to write more this year. (Another reason for wanting to do less cover work.) There are so many ideas bubbling away I feel as though I could explode. I’m going to jump and just do it.

Here’s wishing you all the best in 2015. Art harder, whatever it is that you do.

Freelance Angst

December 17th, 2014 by


I just answered the door in sweats and pink fuzzy socks, with a dish towel over one shoulder because I’d been washing lunch dishes. I have a feeling that my hair was tangled, as I don’t remember brushing it this morning, but I’m afraid to look. I signed for the packages (hurrah for holiday consumerism) and then realised how I must have looked: like a housewife. Like someone who doesn’t get up and go to a damn job every day.

I mean, I actually do. I have a freelance business that, while it definitely doesn’t keep us in champagne and whatever weird things people more affluent than I eat, still brings in some money. I work twelve-hour days, I work weekends. I still feel guilty. Isn’t that odd?

I’ve been the breadwinner most of my adult life, and I’ve held some relatively highpowered jobs. I managed projects worth millions and large teams of people. I held videoconference meetings with people all over the world. I was on the board of directors for a social media startup. I dressed like a grown-up in suits and skirts and heels. Sometimes I even wore pantyhose.

I try to remind myself that I am not my mother. Even if I work from home I still have a job and the services that I provide are valuable. I have a mind…even if there is no one but the cats to talk to during the day.

Yep, me and my bunny socks. Working away.



Warlords of Draenor: First Weekend

November 17th, 2014 by

I was bad this weekend: I didn’t check email at all until Sunday, early evening, and then had a total panic. Aside from that it was a wonderful weekend of pure slackage, a jump back into a world that I have loved for ten years, and quite a lot of frustration.

The frustration part had to do with the massive queues on Argent Dawn, my server of choice and the location of my main characters. I’d paid to move every single one there at great expense because I’ve always loved the community there. The server is highly populated, the focus of RP events for the EU, and generally a pretty nice place to call home. Come the expansion, however, and there were queues of 3k to 4k starting from midday until late…yep, three and four hour queues if you were lucky. Garrisons were also a bit shaky the first weekend and quite often you would get “stuck,” unable to actually play your character until things reset.

So, I scrapped my plans to level my warlock main. Also my Horde warlock. Also my newly boosted monk. Instead, my hunter Kitsune and I got re-acquainted back on Aggramar and I levelled her instead. Not entirely a bad thing, as new pets to tame was a huge draw. A few thoughts about the weekend:

  • Garrisons are awesome.
  • Garrisons should have been beta-tested a bit better, as they were buggy as hell.
  • Instances are fun again. No iLevel epeen and being forced to group with the GoGoGo guy. No snarky comments because you didn’t happen to know the instance inside and out the first time you run it. Just pure fun and exploration. I actually had to crowd control again…I can’t tell you how many years it’s been since I needed to do that. No grabbing everything in the entire dungeon and AOEing it down, just having fun. Awesome.
  • Armor is still fugly. I’ve always hated Warcraft’s armor design.
  • Seeing timelost versions of familiar areas was fantastic. There were a lot of very emotional scenes, and the voice acting (for the most part) was well done.
  • Everything was a bit too easy – all mobs could have been tuned up a bit. If an encounter says that it needs three people, you shouldn’t be able to solo it without your health ever dipping, that’s just not a challenge.
  • There were still a few really stupid bottlenecks. Remember in MoP, the scroll that everyone had to click on in the panda starting area? Why on earth would you not learn from that? Bad, bad, lazy Blizzard. Shame on you.
  • Gorgeous. Everything is gorgeous.
  • I still haven’t gotten used to human female’s faces. The expression “surprise buttsex” comes to mind. You know what I’m talking about.
  • I thought that it would irritate me to not be able to fly…but so far it’s not.
  • Did I mention how much I love garrisons? :)

Here are a few shots from the weekend:


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