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Archive for the ‘FF14: ARR’ Category

Doby is free!!!!

It is done… after 71 hours, a break during which I played Until Dawn from beginning to end, and many dead aliens later, I have completed XCom2 on the commander-ironman difficulty. I had highs, lows and moments where I came close to just ragequit (lost a campaign in the very last room) but I prevailed and managed to complete one of the best games I played in a long time. When I did finish, it was with a mixed feelings of elation for beating the game but also for being free of the grip it had on me. Doby is free summed up my feelings pretty well.

I don’t want to dwell too long on the game itself except maybe to tell everyone that Psi-operatives are your best friends for that last mission. Get them, use them and abuse them. I’m also not a fan of the final fight which I feel is way too luck based in a game where everything can go to hell pretty quickly if the RNG doesn’t like you.

That anima weapon grind…    

On the FF14 front, I’m slowly working my way toward finishing the “build a new weapon” step of the new anima weapon grind. I have bought most of the required items at discount by watching prices and I have enough money to buy the remaining 4 Adamatite Francesca when I’ll need them. On the token part, I’m missing 57 tokens which is worth 38760 tomes… a lot but less than the 50k + that I was looking at when I began.

So right now my FF14 playing is mostly doing roulettes and beast dailies to lower that ridiculous number and at the current pace I should be done somewhere in may maybe… wish me luck…

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Hello old friend, been a while since I wrote anything here but this place has always been a good one to sort my thoughts so today I’m breaking the silence to write about that joyous mess that is my MMO life at the moment.

2015 has been a very insightful year for me as far as MMOs goes. First I learned that the old hardcore guild still existed out there and that it wasn’t for me anymore. Then I rediscovered thanks to the Greysky Armada crew that a great group of people makes any game a thousand times better. I was also reminded that I’m in a weird place when it comes to raiding. On one hand I love to raid with those people but on the other I can’t really commit a lot of time to it.

Lately, the Greysky gang is split up over a multitude of games since FFXIV is having trouble at keeping our interest and I find myself without really a game to latch onto. I tried going back to WoW for a whole 20 minutes before deciding that I’m truly done with the game, Swtor failed to hold my interest past Dromund Kas, I just can’t seem to latch onto Wildstar and now I find myself enjoying short sessions of The Secret World here and there and I’ve started anew in Lotro just to enjoy a good dose of Middle-Earth lore.

So to start off the New Year and stealing from Belghast style, here’s what I’ve been up to lately.

FFXIV

That game is currently on hold despite being pretty much my favorite MMO out there at the moment. The simple truth is that I’ve run out of content to do and right now I’m faced with either leveling classes, grinding dailies, grinding for the new anima weapon or finding a raid group to do savage content with. All time consuming tasks that frankly don’t motivate me to log in at the moment. So I’ve put the sub on hold until the flame is lit again and I feel like diving back in.

LOTRO

That one is a bit of a surprise but here I am. Every so often the urge to explore Middle-Earth strikes and I find myself back in Lotro, a game that’s incredibly slow paced, has clunky mechanics and overall has aged pretty terribly. Still, it does the two things I love the most incredibly well, exploration and lore. This time around though, I’m playing without any particular goal other than enjoying the lore and it’s been a pretty enjoyable experience.

I’m currently sitting at level 12 and finishing up quests around Combe, the first area outside the human starter zone. The Blackwold gang is still messing up things after all these years and yet again brave adventurers must put an end to them.

The secret world

Speaking of playing games for the lore, I’m back again in the secret world and I’ve been having a great time, so much so that I’m real hopeful to make it past the Blue mountains this time around. I’ve even been doing the Investigation quests without cheating! It may have taken me 2 hours to decipher a bit of morse code but the feeling of doing it was awesome! Speaking of morse code, I now have a profound respect for anyone who can do it live without having to listen to the same part over and over again.

I’m progressing fast in the zones because I’m spending all that time going after lore but I’m not in a hurry so it’s all good. I’m working on finishing up the haunted amusement park of the savage coast and should move to the school pretty soon.

And the rest…

Remember at the beginning of this post when I talked about loving to raid but not having time for it? That’s still the big unknown for me. With Lotro and TSW it’s pretty clear I’m not going to be raiding anytime soon and the bug might back to bite me anytime. The best case scenario would be Greysky starting up again in FFXIV but when is another topic entirely.

I also played quite a bit of single-player games over the holidays, one of which was Undertale, a game I’m reserving a post for tomorrow.

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Two weeks have come to pass and Alexander, Heavensward first raid has been out since Tuesday and has been conquered in the very same day. Myself I cleared it yesterday and I took notes while I was in there so I could share them with you today. Overall, Alexander is a pretty fun raid and I can’t wait to see the rest of it. I want to say that the difficulty is on the easier side of things, at least for the first two floors but then again it’s hard to evaluate difficulty this early since the Duty Finder crowd at this moment is anything but standard. Alex F4 (or A4,still not sure on the nomenclature) is a good challenge for sure and it felt to me like they structured the raid a bit like Coils was, meaning that F1 to F3 is a bit easier and F4 acts as a gate keeper for the next part.

Alex F1

Real easy strategy that reminds me of Coils Turn 1. Nothing special there except maybe a bit of a dps check at the beginning. Took me a few tries to get a group that could pull it off despite the simplicity. I think a few too many people got in there with the idea that it was going to be Crystal Tower and were surprised when we wiped because they ignored mechanics.

Alex F2

Unending trash gauntlet boss. Really not so bad as long as the tanks are on the ball and split the adds so they don’t explode to damage. Had one of the most awful tanks I’ve seen in a long time in there and the guy had “The Final Witness” title. Sad proof that being in a group that can kill one of the game thoughest boss is not a guarantee of talent.

Alex F3

The first actual proper raid fight of the place. The boss has three phase with varying mechanics for each phase. Phase 3 in particular gave us the most trouble since there’s movement involved combined with a dps check plus having to watch tethers and debuff. Real easy to get tunnel vision, miss a mechanic and wipe the raid.

Alex F4

This is a boss that I think will become easier with an FC group. This guy deals absurbs amounts of damage and the fight is pretty much about being smart when dealing with all the incoming damage. I lucked out with this boss and got a great group on my 5 or 6th attempt but this boss actually made me reach for the Party finder and pre-made groups.

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Endgame and whale hunting

Warning! This post might be considered spoilery. I won’t go into details of the story but there’s going to be a few things so fairly ye be warned.

The big rush is over, I’m level 60 and I’ve completed Heavensward main story as of last Thursday. It was an awesome expansion, better by far than anything else I’ve got to play in an MMO in a very long while. Anytime I though the story was slowing down it would surprise me with something new and I’d just want to see the next part. People have compared Heavensward to the second season of a good TV show and I’ve definitely been binge watching it.

I don’t wanna delve too deep into details but The Vault is probably the most awesome dungeon I’ve done in an MMO and the end dungeon turned everything up to 11 and at some point we were joking that we were in fact playing Dragonball Z, the MMO. You also get to meet a particular NPC from FF1 that I just loved and lastly the post credit scene just got me super pumped about the upcoming content patches. It’s so classic Final Fantasy stuff that I can’t wait to see how it goes.

To keep the series analogy going can’t wait to see the next episode.

It’s endgame time!

So the story and leveling part were awesome and probably the best thing since sliced bread. That’s all good and great but what about endgame? The part where things tend to break down?

At the moment of writing, endgame consists of two dungeons, two extreme mode trials and some hunts. There’s the first part of the Alexander raid coming in about a week so we’ll get four of five fights and then two week later, the savage mode of the same. Also add crafting and the new relic weapon grind coming out soon and I think you got most of everything. It’s not a lot to go on and it’s jarringly similar to what we had when Realm Reborn came out.

The gearing set-up this time is that you do roulettes,hunts and dungeons for law tomes and then you can upgrade the items with hunt seals. There’s no weekly cap on seals or tomes so you’re speed of progression will be up to you and how much grinding you can stomach. Myself I’ve been grinding pretty hard for tomes and now I’m about 600 tomes away from finishing which means about a day of roulette plus one or two extra runs. The tome part is not too bad to be honest and someone dutifully doing their roulettes everyday should be done in about 8 or 9 days according to the math and depending on new player bonuses.

The part that I find a bit shoddier is the hunt side of things. In order to upgrade your tome gear you need hunt seals which are acquired either by doing clan hunts (go kill X monsters) or by killing rare mobs. Of all the endgame activities this is probably one of the most divisive. Some people love it and enjoy hunting for rare mobs and others find it to be a pain. There’s a lot of unwritten rules set forth by the hunting community and it can feels sometimes like a closed club. Not helping is the instancing mechanic which means the hunt target is in another instance of the zone. The whole focus on hunt is likely part of Square plan to get us to try out the different endgame activities but I could have done without that part. At least the clan hunts are an alternate source of seals that is painless so at least there’s an alternate way to get the seals.

Overall the endgame part of Heavensward is pretty standard MMO fare. It all comes down to whether or not you can enjoy a good grind or not. It’s not a painful grind but it is a grind and those looking for an alternate type of endgame will be disappointed.

Call me Ishmael

With two extremes modes out at the moment, I wanted to see if I could take them out now that I’m more geared. The first one is Bismarck Extreme, a giant flying white whale of death who is prompting many Moby Dick quotes.

The first good news is that healing wise it’s not too bad and doable. There’s a lot of moving parts to be sure but nothing insurmountable if you’ve done things like Titan Extreme or Turn 5 when they were bleeding-edge content. Where others fights are healer or tank checks, this one is focused on testing the dps. Can you output great numbers while paying attention to your environment and boss debuffs to make sure you don’t kill yourself?

This fight feels very much like a hidden gating mechanism in the sense that it’s a check of whether or not you’re good enough to go do the big boy raiding. In the past it’s been a pretty good strategy to make sure everyone is on the same level and I don’t disapprove. I still have to find myself a group that can take the beast down but I think it’s only a matter of time.

So that was a pretty long post. I hope you’re all enjoying Heavensward as much as I am.

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Legends speak of a fabled beast, the WoW-killer that is prophesized to one day come and steal away all the WoW players to a terrible and dark place where they would have to play some other game. Luckily, a group of players, the WoW-knights, are ever vigilant against such threats and have in the past led many crusades against such terrors. So far they’ve been mostly successful and WoW has remained the king.

Lately though, we have seen the rise of the dreaded Final Fantasy XIV beast. A monster of 4 million players (and climbing) that is snatching away players and even worst, keeping them !!! Tales of woe have reached my ears that even the new WoW content did not bring back the wayward sheep. Whether or not this beast is the fabled WoW-killer remains to be seen but for the first time in a long while, WoW is threathened and the knights are taking notice.

As usual, the first strategy put forth by the Knights was to ignore the FFXIV beast, thinking it was feeding off attention and thus, would die from starvation. It’s a proven strategy that has worked in the past but this time it failed. The FFXIV beast is from an old lineage and it can draw on the followers of its predecessors for sustenance. This beast does not require WoW players to live and that makes it that much more dangerous. Now one would think that since it doesn’t need WoW players both can live in harmony but the beast is hungry and it wants more! Even worst, it offers a lot of things that are similar to WoW so that it can drag away unsuspecting players to their doom.

So the Knights reverted to their second strategy, try to exorcise the beast by recanting the holy incantation of the WoW-clone. Since FFXIV includes so many of WoW features, surely it is but a pale copy. Players would always prefer the original that had been refined over many years to perfection. Sure FFIXV could hide behind the illusion of New but such things past and once people curiosity had been satisfied they would return to the original, better game.  The WoW-clone strategy is a proven one that has seen success many times in the past especially when it’s combined with the New Content superweapon. Let the New illusion fall off, launch New Content superweapon and every goes back to normal.

To everyone horror however, for the first time ever a game has not only resisted but prospered despite these attacks. Even worst, FFXIV has launched its own Heavensward new content weapon recently and the damage is telling. Players not coming back to WoW, some even leaving to go join up with their wayward friends. Guild groups have died, raid bosses stand undefeated… it is a dark time.

Desperate for a new strategy, some Knights are now studying the FFXIV beast in the hope of stealing away what makes it so attractive. There’s clearly something else at work here and it’s just a matter of figuring it out. Once that’s done they can take away the features, include them to WoW, people will come flocking back and everything will go back normal.

We can only hope so.

This part is for anyone who might be a bit too confused by the above. FFXIV might or might not be the WoW-killer, time will tell.

What it is however is a game that has combined the better aspects of WoW with the better elements of the storied tradition of Final Fantasy and added some features that the developer felt would make the MMO better. Kinda like WoW combined the best parts of Everquest and Warcraft lore while adding some improvements to make WoW.

FFXIV is not a WoW-clone. It’s a variation on the MMO genre that WoW helped define. Most people playing it enjoy it for itself and not because they want WoW with a Final Fantasy theme. If you ask FFXIV player why they play that game they will give you a range of reasons but none of them will be “because it’s like WoW”. In fact many might answer “because it’s not WoW”.

So here’s the big secret for all those WoW players who are looking at FFXIV and wondering what features they should copy to bring back the players. FFXIV is not stealing players away from WoW, these players are actually enjoying FFXIV for being FFXIV. World of Warcraft is losing players who are tired of playing it.  

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FF14 raiding log, turn 9 continues

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!

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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!

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