• MMO/Gaming

    Late to the Party: FFXIV

    Note: Updated August 2020

    It’s no secret that a lot of MMO players aren’t happy with Warcraft at the moment, and it’s also no secret that there aren’t a lot of traditional MMOs on the horizon to look forward to: too expensive to create and maintain, to balance, to create new content for. It’s much cheaper and easier to roll out survival sandboxes (“You ARE the story! Create your own content!”) and yet another battle royale than to create an AAA MMO.

    Being very strongly an MMO player at heart, this disappoints me. Being a huge FFXIV fan, though, it’s nice to see a big influx of new players. As long as the famously friendly community doesn’t change, of course – the Warcraft community having a well-deserved reputation for elitism and toxicity. FFXIV is the only game that I pug in – I simply won’t do it anywhere else.

    In any event, this is a TL;DR version of getting around in FFXIV. There’s a lot to do and it isn’t always obvious where you should go and do it. So this is going to be dead basic, for people who are new to the game. It also doesn’t address boosted characters, as I’ve never boosted one and I don’t know how much the game hands you when you do.

    Starting a New Character

    It’s worth setting up a few things before you start to play, and these are a few things that I’ve found makes life easier (PC version, of course).

    • Get your bars set up properly. The game will add skills in a logical progression to your bars, but it helps to add a few things to a secondary bar: Return, Aetherytes, the Emote symbol, the Armory chest symbol, and the Hunting Log.
    • System/HUD allows you to show/hide and arrange your bars
    • In System there’s an option for Expanded Inventory, choose that.

    With the shortened levelling experience you really won’t need to take many side quests, but it’s worth taking them all when you start a character – every one you see in your initial city. You’ll need to do a lot of running around anyway to collect your aetheryte points, so you may as well get any xp and cash that you can. Once you get out of the city, usually don’t bother with side quests. The ones that you need to take are the MSQ (main story quest) icons that have a flame symbol around it, and the quest icons that have a plus mark on them (these will unlock important things). List of icons

    Do your hunting logs as you level, it will give you a lot of XP and you’ll need to be killing these beasties for quests, anyway.

    Content Unlocks – bookmark these!

    There is a lot to do in FFXIV and when you start playing the game it’s easy to miss so much of the important stuff. Bookmark these so you don’t miss anything important. Level 15, for example, unlocks a ton of stuff including dyes, glamours, Hall of the Novice, etc.

    Aetherytes: Getting Around

    The big, blue crystals that you see in cities and towns are the fast travel system. As you explore more areas you unlock more of them. You’ll be able to set three favourite destinations (less expensive to travel to), one free one, and your home point. Generally I set my free one to my main city (Limsa Lominsa), the favored destinations to the other capital cities and the home one to wherever I’m currently questing. Once I’m at max I’ll set my home to the new main city.

    If an aetheryte is glittering, you’ve unlocked it. If it isn’t, click on it.

    Grand Companies

    At a certain level (I think it’s level 20) you’ll be able to choose a Free Company. There are three of them, and aside from PvP there really isn’t much of a difference between them. Choose one that you like the colours of, I suppose, because you can buy gear for each.

    Hall of the Novice

    At level 15 you can do the Hall of the Novice (various locations, but you’ll find them in the inns of the major cities). This is like a new-to-MMO type of tutorial which is worth doing because you get a set of gear for doing it, nice for the level, plus a ring that gives you extra XP as you level.

    Quest Icons: Skip to the Good Stuff

    There are a lot of quests in this game, I mean a lot. The main story is amazing, some of the other quests are amusing, and there is a metric buttload of running around to run errands for people. Here’s how to tell them apart: look at the icons.

    Levelling: So Much Stuff to Do

    Aside from things such as Palace of the Dead that you’ll do when you level up additional jobs (each character can be every class, no need for alts), there are several things that you should do while levelling a new character:

    1. Quests (of course)
    2. Fates: look for the blue circles on the map
    3. Hunting Log: extra XP for killing the things you’re already killing for quests! Bonus!
    4. Instances
    5. Guildhests

    Combat Markers: How Not To Stand In the Fire

    I’m going to link to this thread here on Reddit, because it’s explained very well. One thing about AOE markers: get out of the marked area, but you can go back in when it disappears even though the target might still be casting.

    Spiffin’ Things Up

    The FFXIV store doesn’t offer any pay-to-win items, but it does have some great outfits, fantasia (change appearance potions), mounts, vanity pets, and some story skip and level boost potions.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Quick Catch Up

    The days just fall one into the next, don’t they?

    Work has been busy, as always – not being ungrateful (quite the opposite), just a bit frazzled. The weather has been as unfriendly as it always is in February in England, but today was an absolutely gorgeous day and I really should have gone out for a walk. Tomorrow, I promise myself.

    As I always do. :)

    Other than that, we’ve been doing some gaming with the release of Anthem and quite enjoying it. I think I’m looking forward to The Division 2 more, but this is a great game for the four of us to jump in and play. I’ve been exclusively playing Interceptor, which is very fast and flashy and fun – rather like a rogue archetype except without stealth. Jump in, cause havoc, jump away. The only drawback to this is the screen-filling flame effects caused by colossi (colossusses?) on our team with flamethrowers…the world is on fire and I can’t tell right from left.

    I do have a very flashy paintjob currently, though – quite happy with this one.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Ascent: Infinite Realm

    Oooh, this looks interesting: a steampunk/fantasy setting, absolutely gorgeous ships and vehicles, and…well, typical combat from the video. It will probably come with all the baggage that the typical Asian MMO comes with in terms of open-world PvP, cash shop naughtiness and so on, but how pretty!

    Kakao (publisher of Black Desert) will be publishing the game in the West, and I’ve always liked Black Desert. Great game with a minimum of cash shop shenanigans. The developer is evidently Bluehole, which I know of only from Tera. In all fairness, even though I disliked the little-girl white-panty characters enough to refuse to play it, Tera was supposed to be a decent game.

    So fingers crossed and waiting with manageable excitement. :)


  • MMO/Gaming

    Destiny 2: So. Much. Fun.

    We spent a lot of the weekend playing Destiny 2, and after finishing the initial storyline and reaching level cap I have to admit that I really, really loved it. Not being much of a console player, I didn’t play the first one so I admit that I didn’t expect to love this as much as I did.

    The game is gorgeous, and it’s a shame that you have to use third-party software to take screenshots as every vista and environment is stunning. The public quests/events are well done, and the game overall offers challenge without anything insurmountable.

    I’d played as a Titan, and I have to say that punching things in the face is a TON of fun. :D I’ll have to level the other two classes for a comparison, but the kind of super-hero action of the Titan (flaming hammer of DOOM is so over the top) will be hard to beat.

    Not a massive amount of depth, but the main campaign is fun and it will be a good game to pop back into to blow off some steam after work. You know, punching things in the face.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Final Fantasy XIV for New or Returning Players

    I’ve spent some time working on a FFXIV guide for beginner players or returning players, which is located here: Getting Started in FFXIV. You all know I love the game, but there is a lot to it which can be confusing or daunting to players who haven’t tried the game – there is depth and complexity to the game, which I love, but there is a reason all of the “What I wish I knew when I first played” lists exist!

    This won’t help you to min/max a character, or master any of the dungeons or instances, as there are many guides out there written by much more competent players than I. This is more of a dummies guide to things which make the game easier and more accessible.

    Join us…you know you want to. :)


  • MMO/Gaming

    Preparing for Stormblood

    Between workload and some of the recent singleplayer/multiplayer games that I’ve been playing, I’ve fallen out of touch a bit with FFXIV – and that’s a shame. My Summoner is level 60, but hasn’t finished the main story quests and instances, and my Bard (recently transferred to the States in hopes of a bit of RP action) is only 50. I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of things and complete the quests, but damn if the required instances don’t make that difficult.

    I’ve never understood Square Enix’ insistence on doing instances as part of the storyline, and locking new expansions and new classes behind that roadblock. Especially since some of those required encounters are a bit more difficult than the more casual level of difficulty that I think should be required. Seriously…Sohr Khai? As a crafter or a casual player who just likes to quest? Ugh. So, anyway, I’m trying to remember how to play her and work out a viable rotation to hold my own in a dungeon.

    I do love this game, though. It gives you an immensity of things to do, a wonderful crafting system, and some of the best designed instances I’ve ever experienced. I would love to see a bit of the depth of (for example) Black Desert’s graphics, but even lacking that it is a wonderful MMO. And I adore the sense of humour that pops up every now and then. It’s probably my all-time favourite…even if I have to re-learn everything each time I go back!

  • MMO/Gaming

    State of the Game


    I’ve been an MMO serial monogamist for years. I get passionate about a game, either brand-new or one that I have played off and on for years, play the hell out of it, and then sneak off for the stereotypical pack of cigarettes in the middle of the night, never to be seen again. It’s probably a character flaw.

    Legion was one of the best Warcraft expansions that I’ve ever seen, and everything was a huge amount of fun. I reached cap on my hunter and then…just kind of gradually petered out. I suppose it’s my usual performance for Warcraft xpacs, mainly due to the fact that I don’t raid (which makes it all seem a bit pointless). Raiding definitely falls into that second-job territory, and although I’m a bit ambivalent about committing to raiding at all in any game due to the time suck factor, if I did it would be in FFXIV as I think the content is more interesting.

    Playing at all with the ongoing problems in my hands, wrists and lower arms has been tough. I’ve done a lot of fishing in FFXIV as a result – it’s the only thing that I can do with minimum stress on tendons. Boo suck.

    Recently I started playing Overwatch, which I haven’t played since beta. I suck, but I’m having a lot of fun. At my age, my reflexes will never be able to compete with teen FPS players. Should I be playing on teams that I won’t be able to give my best to? I must be a bad person because I am, and I enjoy it. I keep voice chat off as I’ve no desire to be cursed at by eleven-year-olds of course…they can all kiss my ass. Yeah, I’m a bad person. :)

    Halloween is coming up and in October I plan to dive back in to The Secret World, longtime love and the absolute queen of horror games. I used to be religious about buying and loving all new issues, but as content got less and less forgiving for solo-only players it got tougher to justify. It’s a shame. Tokyo was such a slog as a solo player that I haven’t played much since.

    That’s pretty much it. I’m a lonely MMO vagrant, just looking for companions along the way.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Legion…Pretty Damn Fine

    Well, again it’s been a month since my last post (my bad) but finally I’m starting to see my way clear to the end of the year. Note to self: never, ever, ever take on more work than you can actually handle. Not a good experience either for me or for the people that I work with. That was definitely a life experience. :/

    In other news I’ve been bouncing back and forth between work and trying to spend some time playing with friends in Legion, and I have to say that all is forgiven. This was a really well done expansion, and I’m having a lot of fun. The zones are gorgeous, the class halls are helpful without being the overdone timesink that garrisons were. Professions are back (having been basically killed off in the last expac) and have their own quests which you do as you level – wonderful. I do skinning and leatherworking on my hunter, so of course I’m loving the Nesingwary quests which basically amount to “Welcome to this lovely land, and our bountiful animals. Now go forth and kill them all.”

    Blizzard has taken a tip from FFXIV in that they have worked instances into the actual storyline for each zone (although not to the extent that FFXIV does). Although I’m almost 108 I’ve only done one, and I have to say that that one was really trash heavy. I notice this specifically because, as a Marksman hunter, my AOE can hit things in the far distance. Other tightly packed group of mobs, animals, even birds and dragons from the sky. In their current state hunters are designed to give tanks and healers a nervous breakdown…and I love it. *evil grin*

    Well, back to work. I’ll have to post some screenies later on after I figure out how to keep Bitdefender from preventing Warcraft from saving them. I think it’s something in ransomware protection. Sigh…

  • MMO/Gaming

    Getting Started With FFXIV

    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. :)

    FFXIV Dorks

    Beginners Guides

    Fate Locations

    Hunting Log Locations

    Progression and Level Locked Content

  • MMO/Gaming

    Horse Breeding Blues (Pinks, Greens), Part II

    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