• MMOs

    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. :)

     

  • MMOs

    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!

  • MMOs

    State of the Game

    FFXIV

    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.

  • MMOs

    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

  • MMOs

    Together Heavensward

    ffxiv

    Heavensward has been a lot of fun, a lot of it due to the fact that Phil came back to the game and has played through with me. He was the one that introduced me to MMOS back in the early days of vanilla WoW, and I am always happiest when we can play the same game together.

    I admit that I did leave him behind a bit because I made the decision to level my Summoner while he started a new Dark Knight tank, but really…he couldn’t take any time off for the expansion and it was more than I could bear to wait for him to get home so we could play.

    Yep, I am a bad person.

    I would have to say that overall FFXIV is the best, deepest, most polished MMO out there today. Blizzard has alienated a lot of longtime players with recent expansions, GW2 just doesn’t feel like home (although it is undeniably beautiful), Wildstar made the fatal mistake of placing all their eggs in the basket of hardcore raiding, and I personally hated ESO. FFXIV is a very complex game in that it takes time to learn (and is difficult to come back and try to pick up where you left off), but in some respects I think that is a good thing. You won’t be bored by it. I love the instance design, and although normal questing is very kill-ten-rats the main story quests are wonderful. Heartbreaking at times, but still wonderful.

    Currently I have just reached the ilvl needed for Alexander access, and Phil is getting there. For the first time in years I’m pugging instances every night and looking forward to actual raiding, something which I swore I would never do after Warcraft. I love it.

  • MMOs

    Heavensward: Smooth Sailing

    FFXIV Ravana

    I really have to hand it to Squenix, they pulled off an extremely smooth headstart with Heavensward. There have been some of the usually weird lobby errors, but overall this headstard has been as problem-free as possible. I’m currently almost 56 on my Summoner (waylaid a bit because I’ve been watching every cut scene and doing every side quest before I move on). I’ve really, truly been enjoying the new content.

    Juvenile moment during one of the early fates: butt

    Okaaay…

    I am currently the proud owner of a gorgeous new flying machine which I shall post pictures of as soon as I go back to one of the earlier areas where I can actually fly. The area that I’m currently in (Dravanian Forelands, I think?) is so infuriating to try to navigate. I spent an hour running all over the map trying to find objectives, being thwarted over and over again by areas that I seemingly couldn’t reach. I was in quite a frosty mood by the time I logged off. :)

    Instances so far have been fun and relatively straight forward so far. I ran Aery last night, and we had a wipe at the end. The only person who had done it before, the DRK tank, had a hissy fit over it: “I’m doing this as a low-level roulette (really?) for some quick XP and you people are ruining it for me!” This is the type of thing that I’d hoped to avoid by pushing through the content as fast as possible: all the entitled jerks in Duty Finder who have no patience for people who haven’t seen the encounter before. Most of these don’t have guides yet, although they’re starting to pop up here and there. We haven’t even seen actual launch yet, and he’s speed-running instances? I’d like to introduce you to the aforementioned Alaimbert’s butt.

    So, a very enjoyable few days so far, and here’s hoping that there isn’t too much of an influx when the servers go up today for actual launch!

  • MMOs

    Waiting On Heavensward

    FFXIV

     

    Although I didn’t achieve everything that I wanted to in FFXIV: ARR, I’m still ready for Heavensward. My bags are clean (which took a relentless slash-and-burn on crafting materials) and I have a set of armor waiting for my Astrologian. The servers are now down and I’m hoping that we can download the patch for the new client soon.

    Part of the preparation involved an upgrade on my aging graphics card to a new Nvidia GTX 970 card which brought my benchmark score from 7584 to 14,117. With everything maxed the benchmark client looks incredible.

    One of the things I wasn’t able to do was to find a really good guild. The one that Phil and I are in has a small core of people who work their asses off to be welcoming and helpful (which is absolutely wonderful), a large group of people who play completely silently and have very little to do with the rest (not so wonderful) and no use of forums, no planning of events (which is horrible). I always find it really weird and uncomfortable when  guild doesn’t use forums, as it is then almost impossible to plan anything and it feels much more difficult to get to know people. It’s nice to check in on the forums during the middle of a work day and banter a bit. So, still looking for a good guild. I would love to find a good EU-based guild that spans multiple games and has a large, active player base.

    I’m still rethinking which job I’m going to want to level. I’d originally planned to switch to Astrologian, but the RNG element to healing makes me nervous. I may just level either Summoner or Bard and treat the new healer spec as an alt class until I decide. Either way, I am really looking forward to a proper gaming marathon again. Bring it on!

  • MMOs

    FFXIV: Ready for Heavensward

    Just a side note: I finally completed the storyline in FFXIV in preparation for Heavensward! Thank goodness for the nerfing of Steps of Faith, which was an incredibly stupid cockblock to place in a main storyline, preventing anyone who hasn’t completed it from playing the expansion content. I don’t believe in nerfing endgame content, but main storyline stuff really needs to be accessible for all players: casual players, non-raiders, crafters, people who just like to dink around doing quests and exploring rather than doing instances. So stupid.

    But anyway, I finally did it. I also levelled Bard on my main character and yesterday hit 50, which is my fifth level 50 and my second Bard. Yep, did it on another character not realising what a huge PITA it was going to be to go through all of the instances and so on at the end, so I did it all over again on my WHM/Summoner/Scholar. /sigh

    I’m totally addicted to the game at the moment, although I don’t get a chance to play as much as I would like. I don’t think I’ve been as addicted to an MMO since my Warcraft days. Really looking forward to Machinist. Or Astrologian. Probably not an Au Ra, as below – I like my sassy girl too much.

     

    ffxiv_au_ra

     

  • MMOs

    FFXIV: Noob Moments

    FFXIV

     

    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.

    ff2

  • MMOs

    Blue-Arsed Fly

    Autumn is always the busiest time for me, and this fall was hellishly busy. I love the work, of course, but the stress of having so many covers to do simultaneously is horrible. At the moment I’m booked into February and hope to be able to have a bit of downtime around the holidays in order to recharge the batteries and do some personal artwork. Perhaps even some writing. (Along with drinking holiday Baileys and eating pannetone.)

    But this was supposed to be a gaming post. It’s liable to be a very short one because I haven’t had a massive amount of free time and being tired makes me feel cranky and unable to concentrate on anything…rather like an exhausted two-year-old, it’s neither a pretty sight nor pleasant to be around. :)

    I finally cancelled my subscription to ArcheAge, and Phil and I sold our farms. Our lovely, lovely farms ideally situated on the coast, near the crafting stations. The things we’d worked so hard during headstart to get. I still love the game, but two things were wearing me down: one was the open-world pvp, which mainly means that you get ganked by zergs. It’s the ideal game for PKers, which are people who don’t have the guts or the skill to go off and kill enemy faction but instead prefer to hide and prey on members of their own faction who are just trying to move a tradepack from here to there. Bottom-feeder pvp.

    The other, more important, thing that was bothering me about ArcheAge was the Trion/XLGames situation. XL seems reluctant to make any changes to their poorly-designed game in order to combat hackers and bots. It’s a beautiful, immersive game – they did an amazing job there. It’s also coded so that much of the game is client side. Even someone with zero technical skills can adapt a config file that ensures all packs are worth more money, for instance. Packet spoofing abounds, leading to hacks such as the land-grab hack which allows individuals to snap up any free land before a player can claim it without even needing to be online at the time. Bots teleport underground, create items to sell from no actual materials, and teleport to turn in trade packs.

    Trion, who seem to have treated this game from day one as a massive cash grab, try to ignore the issues. GMs close thread after thread on the forums and customer service is next to non-existent. The final touch was when I went to cancel my subscription to the game…THE CANCEL BUTTON HAD BEEN REMOVED. It used to exist, but is nowhere to be seen now. There are very long threads on the forums confirming the same thing. I placed a ticket (which remains unanswered to this day), deleted my credit card information and mentally gave them two fingers as I logged out. My, how the formerly mighty (and well-respected) have fallen.

    What have I been playing? I updated FFXIV for the free weekend, started a baby rogue and enjoyed it so much that I resubbed. I also have a sub to Warcraft, which I am currently not playing until Warlords of Draenor comes out. Really looking forward to that one. :) And Rift a bit, mainly for minions which are very addictive.

    The holiday period, and having some free time, is going to be wonderful.