Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Yesterday was raid night with our buddy Turn 9 and now that I had the chance to sleep and think some let’s get into it. Yesterday raid was one of “those” raid nights. The ones where everything seems to be a bit harder than it has to be and where there’s a general feeling of meh. At least it was for me but maybe the rest of the group loved their evening but it’s not really the feeling I got.

Objectively, we made progress in what is arguably one of the hardest fights of the game right now. We got more reliably to the second meteor phase, we saw the Heavensfall part a few times and we hammered some execution details of the first phase. We’ll likely change how we handle the second set of meteors so we get more reliable results but at least we were getting there without much issue so improvement!

But I was dead tired and it made the whole thing feel so much harder than it should have been. I’ve been assigned to a rush project at work and as we enter week 4, it’s starting to take its toll. Long hours, impossible deadlines and lots of expectations all around and while we’re pulling through it does tire me and I tend to be in bed pretty early.

I was looking forward to raiding to change my mind but we had to struggle again to get the group together and we did get going but with a half-hour delay. I was stressing about having to pug T9, I was stressing about the other people in the group leaving or hating their raid night which would mean more trouble to roster next week and ahhhh…

If you want to know what turns me off raid leading and what part I hate the most is, rostering a raid is pretty much there at the top of the list. But anyways, nobody left and we made progress so knock on wood I suppose.

Anyways trying to get back to positive. We did get going without having to pug, we did made progress and I think we’re headed in the right direction for next week. We can do this!

Resident Evil: Revelations 2
System: PS3, PS4, PSVita, PC, Xbox360, Xbox One
Release date: February 24th, 2015 (Playstation version)

A bit over two years ago I embarked on a gaming marathon to complete the whole of the Resident Evil series following the sequence of events as they happened in the series. You can find my adventures through the eleven games on this blog by checking the posts tagged Console Gaming.

Now that a new game is out, it’s time to add a new entry to the marathon.

Previously on Resident Evil

Last time we stepped in the RE universe, things were pretty much a mess. Wesker, the series main supervillain has been defeated but now there’s a few madmen running around with viruses creating chaos all over the world.  Revelations 1 and RE6 dealt with such threats and so does Revelations 2. The zombie poo hit the fan and it’s up to you to uncover what happened and save the day from a new megalomaniac, which happens to be Albert Wesker daughter (no huge spoilers here). So with her and Jake Wesker from RE6 we’re now up to two Wesker kids which honestly feel weird given what we knew of the dad. In fact I would not be surprised at all if we learn in later games that there’ cloning shenanigans at work here.

When last I reviewed the series, I was saying how the series needs a new villain to fill in the gap left by Wesker death and the way things are headed now I would not be surprised if they took the route of cloning the man and bringing him back to life. I sincerely hope they do not go that way since it’s feels like an easy out but still, the series needs to find a new antagonist to go up against.  In any case, the next game needs to get things really moving again.

Edit: So I might have gotten the relationship between Alex and Albert Wesker wrong. They are not father / daugther but siblings according to the RE wikia. Still I’ve seen some debate on the topic so it might be one of these lost in translations things. 

But what about the rest?

Story is all good and nice but it’s not the only part of a game after all. I can’t comment much on the episodic format because I waited till it was all out to play it but the chapter structure worked well to tell the story so I think the format has merit in this case.

The game itself leans more toward the classic survival horror side of the series and the game is stronger for it. I did find myself scrounging ammo and avoiding fights to preserve resources and that’s the way a survival horror game should work. I also liked that the story was more self-contained and didn’t deal with world ending cataclysm.

Grahics and controls are standard for the genre so nothing really to write about but they do the job well enough so nothing really to complain about.

Overall, it’s a fun game that won’t blow anyone’s mind but does the job by entertaining us for a few hours, something a lot of games seems to have issues accomplishing lately.

Toward RE7 ?

So the big question is whether or not we’re getting a RE7. The story certainly seems to be headed in that direction but it’s hard to say with the current game line-up shuffling at Capcom. I have the nagging feeling they’re headed toward resurrecting main villain Wesker and I hope they don’t. As for the style of the game, I still stand by my previous comments that the series does better when it sticks closer to it’s survival horror roots and Revelations 2 only proves that point.

Time for some FF14 adventures update! Since we’re getting real close to that one month mark, I figure this is a nice time to revisit my pre-expansion goals.

  • Black mage to 50. Done!
  • Finish Zodiac Weapon. Done!
  • Extreme Primals. Done!
  • Coils of Bahamut: Working on Turn 9.

And to that I’ve since added

  • Finish relic step of Black mage zodiac   Done!
  • Get Quelling strikes. Errr… working on it? Maybe?

So overall I’ve done pretty great progress on all my pre-expansion goals and while I might not have cleared Coils I was expecting this result. That said, there’s still a few weeks to go and I’m confident Monday’s group will get it down soon and my own static on Wednesdays has been making pretty fast progress so there’s a good chance we get it done just in time. That would leave the final turns for post Heavensward launch and I’m ok with having something to do while we all level our characters and get ready for the new endgame.

As for the Quelling strike issue I really should buckle down and get to it but I keep getting distracted by crafting. Last time I was speaking about how I was standing on the edge of a bottomless abyss and now I can say I fell in and will likely never get out. Since I’m in no hurry for crafting I’m taking the long way and leveling all the classes at the same time so I can be self-sufficient. It’s slow going but it has the merit of actually netting me some money and it’s a pretty absorbing game in itself.

For the leveling itself I’m working in 5 levels increments and trying to craft one of everything in the crafting log. At the moment I got everything to at least level 7, a few to level 10 and above in the case of Weaver who’s getting close to 15. My gathering professions are leveling themselves nicely so it’s all working out so far. Might not be fast but it’s progress nonetheless.

So the plan for the next few weeks should be to buckle down on getting Quelling strikes and keep crafting until the end of times!

Ok, so today I’m taking up the NBI talkback challenge and I will speak about how the famous GamerGate has affected me. By doing so I will be breaking a lot of my own rules about blogging, namely to not engage in issues in which I feel I have no real say and issues which are virtual landmines fields. I will likely offend people with this post and I do apologize for it but if you chose to not ever talk to me again then so be it. With that preamble out of the way, let’s get to offending people.

So the question is: “How did Gamergate affect you?”. The short answer is, I was terrified to death of it and did all I could to not be dragged into it. The long answer has a lot to do about my own personal experiences with volunteer work, past involvement in social movements and life philosophy. If the long answer interests you, read on!

Once upon a time…

… I was a teenager, had excellent grades and was a major nerd. My good grades got me in an International Education program which offered more advanced classes to us since they assured us we were destined to be future world leaders. The whole program was overseen by the UNESCO and as part of the plan to make us great humanists; we had to take part in mandatory “volunteer” work in our local communities.  Over the years I’ve served meals to the poor, spent time with terminal patients, shifted through piles of old clothes, cleaned shores and many other tasks all in the name of involving us in our communities and helping our fellow man.

I’ll give it to the program; it was a life changing experience.  It opened my young eyes to a lot of social issues and problems that plague our societies that most often we have no idea about. I’m still haunted by the week I spent with a lady dying of lung cancer who only wanted some company, I listened to an abused wife try to justify her husband actions because she was afraid he might go after the children next and I’ve been thanked by 6 years old children for giving them soup because their family couldn’t afford it.

We all know or heard of these stories but to experience them firsthand is something else entirely.  It grips you, makes you sad and angry at the same time, it changes your values and the way you look at the world. Mind you, volunteer work wasn’t always perfect and there was often some petty politics among the volunteers but overall I felt it was worth it because we were helping.

Amnesty  and true horror

I was about a month away from high school graduation when I was approached about volunteering for Amnesty International. I was doing volunteer work at a food drive at the time and someone I was working with was also volunteering for Amnesty and thought I’d like it there. It would also be the first time I’d be volunteering on my own and not as part of my school program so I was pretty excited.  After the first few orientations meetings for new volunteers I was assigned to the group whose task was to greet newly arrived refugees. Set them up with a place to live, food, facilitate contact with the authorities, etc…

And this is where I met true horror.  Every time a refugee would come in there would come a moment during the first few days where they’d  tell their story. Stuff of nightmare that I don’t even want to write down on this blog. It’s one thing to read about genocide and another to have someone sitting across the table from you at a McDonald tell you about how his entire family was murdered in front of his eyes.

The reason I’m writing about this is because I want to get across that it made me acutely aware of how privileged and lucky I was to live in my small Canadian town where my worst problems where about my grades, finding a girlfriend and getting a well-paid summer job.  I didn’t learn the lesson right away but over time it drove the point that I have no right to speak about problems that don’t directly concern me. Who the eff am I to go stand on a soapbox and talk about refugee and immigration issues when I never even had to really fear for my safety? I have no right, none at all and anything I will say is ultimately the speculations of a privileged North American white boy who had it pretty easy all things considered.

And then politics happened

Getting involved in student life and committees was a natural extension of what I felt at the time was my duty to make the world a better place. We didn’t call it as such but there was a group advocating for just about every single social justice issue out there and I got involved with a lot of them. I had good intentions like most of the others but we were all a bit headstrong in our arguments. We thought we knew better and we wanted to let everyone know about it. Often time a bit too forcefully. The old ones are probably smiling a bit right now because it’s a phase I think most of us go through around college time when we want to change the world.

But I found out at the same time that I’m good at making arguments and winning them. So good in fact I was spotted by a few political parties. I learned that for the political parties recruitment begins in college and I had a lot of positives going for me. I came from a good family, had great education, lots of volunteer work to my name and I could win arguments. I didn’t know it back then but I had been marked as a potential and the gears started turning.

This was when I was introduced to the awful world of backroom politics. I was invited behind the curtain and told that we, the students, needed to make sure this or that manifestation happened because it’d be good for a certain politician. About how to avoid certain issues or how to push for others, how to manipulate a student assembly so the vote would turn out a certain way… It disgusted me. Worst, I found out that a lot of the people responsible for groups I had volunteered for where part of the system. Sure they helped out but they would also make sure that certain parties would benefit from it.

Food drive needed? Sure, but let’s hold it in a certain part of the city that happens to be a friendly politician neighborhood. Also, let’s buy the things we need from our friends to thank them for the help during last campaign.

It disgusted me, still does and ultimately it drove me away from anything that has politics involved in it. I might have been naïve but to see how people turned very real issues into opportunities for personal gain just… it still makes me go insane. How can someone dare to take a problem like someone not being able to eat and make helping them conditional to whether or not they profit from it?

And we get around to Social Justice

So here’s the thing, I do not trust people who take it upon themselves to be social justice warriors, doubly so when the issues don’t concern them directly. I’ve seen firsthand just how often there’s hidden agendas behind these issues and how ultimately the real goal is not about how to solve anything. When I look at Gamergate, I can’t help but see politics on both sides of the argument. There’s a very real issue that needs fixing but yet again it’s been hijacked by people with agendas.

I’m not arguing about the existence of the issues, I’ve seen their effects firsthand. I’m questioning the people arguing about them, whether for or against. I do want to help get them solved but I don’t believe arguing about them in a public space like the internet is the best way to go about it, especially when it’s issues that don’t concern me directly. I’m doubly suspicious whenever broad generalizations are made or when someone tries to solve all the world problems in a blog post.

You can’t solve every gender issues in less than a thousand words. It’s impossible, it’s stupid and if you try to do so I’m going to be reading real close to see what’s the real message you’re trying to get across, who are you working for?

And now Gamergate

So why did Gamergate terrorize me? Because I value my blog as this place where I can nerd about games. Just like Belghast it’s a happy place, somewhere I share my passion for games. Issues like Gamergate too often have this way of polarizing people. I respect that some people feel they have to fight for a cause whenever and wherever they can.  More power to them but like I said, I can’t help but feel that there might be a hidden agenda.

In the specific case of Gamergate, I simply have nothing relevant to say about it. I’m an outlier in this case. I’ve read and listened to both sides of the argument, made up my mind where I stand but I won’t share it with you.

Why? Because I’m a privileged white boy who has no idea of what women really go through so instead I’ll share my passion about gaming and leave it at that.

A belated update post today simply because work has been utter madness and since I usually do most of blogging while drinking my first coffee at work it got kind of tricky this week. But here we are and there are a few things to talk about, most of them about raiding.

I spoke before of my efforts to get a static off the ground and yesterday it finally felt like things are starting to fall into place. There’s still a lot of work to be done I feel and I want us to be better at starting on time, have a full roster get people settled into their roles and a lot of other small details but it’s hard not to be positive this morning. We cleared Turn 7 and 8 in a single night with over half the group who had not cleared those fights before. Plus we had a few attempts on Turn 9 to get people situated. It was an awesome raid night, people had fun and it feels like we’re headed into the right direction.

It’s also a big relief after last week where we hit a small bump in the road. It’s not that last week was awful but you always wonder if it’s just a bump or if it’s a sign of deeper issues. Thankfully after last night I think it’s the former.

So now we’re headed firmly into the dreaded Turn 9 and I can’t wait to see how it goes.

Building

And this is where I’m going to shock everyone by saying I’m not especially interested in clearing Turn 9, I’m way more interested in doing Turn 9. The ultimate goal of the static I’m building is to have a good team to attempt harder content with. I want it to be a group where I don’t have to do a lot of handholding and where people are pretty good at raid awareness and thinking on their feet.

But between here and there, there’s a lot of ground to go over and I know it’s not going to happen overnight. There’s going to be though nights, some drama, people moving on cause of real life or interests some will want to switch classes, we’re going to have fights that will be the nemesis of someone in the group and I’m sure a ton of things I haven’t even thought about yet. At this moment, we’re not even a full group yet so like I said, lots of road ahead.

So why again am I not that interested I clearing Turn 9? Because I see more team building value in practicing the fight than in clearing it. If ever there was a raiding exam this is it and I think it’s going to do wonders to help us practice working as a well-oiled team. Eventually the end result should be a kill but I treasure more the experience we’re going to gain doing it.

Being thankful and paying it forward

I want to take a moment to thank my FC, Greysky Armada for making this possible. Tamrielo, Belghast, Ashgar, Solaria, Tyauv, Cylladora and many others have helped us over the weeks get things off the ground and without them I wouldn’t even have gotten started. So a big thank you everyone. Also, a special thank you to the guild as whole for having such a great atmosphere and having this focus on being helpful to one another.

It’s a rare thing to find a guild that says they want to help their members and actually mean it. It’s something I treasure greatly and something I want to bring over to my static. Yes I want us to be efficient and clear hard content but I also want us to be doing it while having fun and being helpful to others when we can. It’s why whenever we’re missing someone I’ll always favor picking someone from the guild no matter their experience and it’s also why on Mondays I do my best to be online when the other static starts raiding just in case they need extra hands.

Ultimately, once the static gets rolling I’m hoping people in it will keep logging and helping out the other members of the guild with their own raids and dungeons and not become one of these groups that only show up at raid night and that you never see the rest of the week. Just as clearing a hard fight is fun, it can also be fun to just carry someone who’s been struggling to clear a hard fight and I’m hoping this is something we’ll be able to do in the future.

This post is running long so I’ll end by saying thank you everyone. There’s still a lot of work to do but I think we can do it.

Yesterday, our budding static group got to go to the second coil of Bahamut: turn 1, more commonly known as Turn 6.  The Rafflesia Reaper, a giant flower is one of those bosses that are part of a group that I consider the “not fun but essential” bosses in the sense that it sucks but it teaches important raid skills. In this case, this fight is all about reacting to everything the bosses do. Deal with debuffs, deal with changing posisiting, deal with boss casts, just be on your toes. It’s not that hard once you master it but it can be really frustrating getting there since the tiniest mistake will make everything spin out of control.

As a raid leader however I was dreading it because I knew it was one these fights that can get people on edge. I was also really looking forward to it because it was our first fight in the second tier of content and I wanted to see how it how group would handle the increased difficulty. In the end we killed the flower a bit under 90 minutes, including replacing a pug, which is blinding fast considering the fight but in the process tensions rose a bit and the evening turned out to be not so great for everyone, a point that does not sit well with me considering that Belghast has been real helpful to us.

That said, people did not start screaming at one another and I think that by the time we started turn 7 everyone was in a much better mood so it might end up just being a tiny bump on the road but it’s something I’ll watch out for going forward.

The one thing that really made me happy however was not the killing of the boss itself but two very important behaviors I saw displayed yesterday that I feel are necessary for successful raids. First, at one point we stopped calling the vines in order to clear up Teamspeak so it was up to everyone to be on point on that aspect of the fight. It worked like a charm and everyone was breaking their vines without having to be told so. Second, and this one happened all by itself, when someone would get caught in a bad position due to devour, the rest of the group would react accordingly and move out of the way even if that wasn’t part of the normal fight dance.

More than the killing of the actual boss, seeing that raid awareness in action was the real victory for me and it gives me great motivation to keep moving forward.

Crafting and me always had a weird relation when it comes to MMO. Back when I started playing WoW seriously I was all about crafting and I would hunt down every single recipe. I spent hours farming Azshara giants so I could complete my StormShroud set even though I didn’t really need to craft it. I wanted to be able to craft it all whenever someone needed something and I took pride in that.

But as I started raiding more seriously and getting into the “proper” endgame, I found out that crafting was more often than not a waste of time and effort compared to the other more productive activities I could do to improve my gear. Sure you needed enchants and potions it was often more efficient to grind money and pay for those services rather than going after them yourself. Of course, having maxed profession was often useful for one specific item or improvement but beyond those very specific items, no real need to do it. My stance toward crafting changed, get it to max level, get the special improvement, move on to better uses of precious time.

Other MMOs seemed to follow the same pattern of crafting and I discounted it as a side activity that required too much time for too little reward. It doesn’t help that most MMOs also have pretty boring crafting systems, gather mats, press button, obtain item. So with FF14 I did the exact same thing I did before, ignore crafting, level to max and go grind dungeon and raids for gear which has worked out pretty good so far.

But as I was doing my Zodiac weapon chain I came in contact with the crafting world a few times. I needed material melded, I needed crafted items and I needed to sell stuff to crafters so I could make money. Altough I didn’t quite understand all that I was reading in guides at the time, I got a glimpse of high level crafting in FF14 and got the impression that it had its own endgame with special unlocks, 4 stars crafters and quite a bit of mystery about crafting rotations of all things.

The abyss

These past few weeks as I was getting close to finishing my zodiac I started looking at those 8 crafting classes I had on my character sheet and wondering what it would take to level them before the expansion hit. I knew that crafting in FF14 is like another whole game, complete with gear, achievements, quests, skills and rotations. That high end crafters can make tons of money and have the same amount of respect we give people who have cleared all the raids on hard mode. It got me curious.

So yesterday with nothing much better to do I figured I’d dip my toe to see how things would go and I found myself very quickly get suckered in. I started with Weaver and saw that to make pants I’d need linen which is made from grass that botanist gather. So off to become a botanist to gather grass. Then I needed leather so I also took up leatherworking and used up the animal skins I had gathered so long ago. But I saw that leatherworking could make belts which my weaver could use so I wanted that but it required a bronze ingot so miner and goldsmith got added and down goes the rabbit hole.

This morning I checked a crafting guide which went into a bit of detail and I realized just how deep the hole goes, a black abyss from which there is no return and I’m standing right on the edge. Do I dive in, forget reason and see what happens? I’m very tempted to do so but it all seems so insane…

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 39 other followers