Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Dragon Ninja

I’m trying to get back into the swing of things after several days of being down with the cold. But during that time, I did make progress on one of my goals for this month – leveling Zemi and unlocking Ninja for him.

You might remember that I started Zemi as a Warrior, but then I decided I didn’t want to go through the MSQ as a tank (even though I probably could just fine). So I asked everyone to vote for what job he should take instead, and the result was Ninja.

The thing is, I left off on the MSQ at about level 27. So I had a ways to go before I could pick that up as a leveling tool again. I’ve been bumming leveling roulettes and PotD runs from FC folks, and had finally gotten his Rogue up to the upper 20s again.

Then, I remembered that dreaded sub-job leveling, which I think is going to be going away with Stormblood. So, I spent most of one of my sick days getting Zemi through the embarrassing pre-teen levels of Pugilist.

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…not one of Zemi’s finer moments….

But that’s all over with now because I got back on the MSQ train and unlocked Ninja for him! Woo!

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The plan is to take Ninja to 50 where I can hopefully pick up Samurai once Stormblood comes out. We’ll see how that goes. I’m not going to stress over it, though, because this is mostly a side project. I just think Zemi would look awesome in Samuari AF!

But for now, he’s moving along as Ninja.

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Much better!

Posted in Art, FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Commissioned Character Artwork!

I don’t often commission artwork, but I do like to support fellow creators and artists, especially when they’re such kind a friend and FC-mate as Bean Baguette.

I was stoked at the opportunity to have her draw my FFXIV character. I requested her wearing the birthday gift I got from my FC – the Eastern Garb. Not only did Bean do that, but she drew some of the other gifts – the Doman Magpie and a pose inspired by the Eastern Dance.

I’m all ready for Stormblood! Woo!

What’s even more incredible is that I was able to watch her stream the art as it came to life yesterday. Just magical. You can check out that stream here!

Thank you so much, Bean!!

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch, Zelda Breath of the Wild

Nintendo Switch Weekend: Zelda BotW & Minecraft

So I spent a good chunk of my weekend playing my Nintendo Switch, and I had every intention to blog about it yesterday. But that was before I came down with this cold/flu business, and before the Stormblood hype took my attention away.

I juggled between Zelda and Minecraft most the weekend, and overall had a pretty awesome time with them both.

Minecraft

Most of what I did in Minecraft this weekend was to take the little village I discovered and start building protection around it. Seen here, it has a nice snowy mountain backdrop and everything.

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I built my own house as part of the town, and tried my hand at actually building something more than a box for once. It’s not fantastic, but functional for now.

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As I started putting a fence around the village and placing torches, I found a hill I decided I wanted to level so I could use the land as pasture or more building space.

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As I started pulling it down, I discovered there was a tiny underground cave with a pool there. I thought that was kinda neat, so I kept the water and turned it into a village swimming pool area. Here’s what it looked like after I got it cleared and fixed up.

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Me being me, I also captured a bunch of horses, including this mother and son pair. Once the son grew up, I tamed him, too!

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I’ve got most of the fencing and lighting complete, and have been testing it at night to see where danger might come from. I’ll be building more houses to hopefully expand the population soon!

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Zelda: Breath of the Wild

I’d wanted to chronicle my adventurers of Zelda, but lost momentum with that back when a power surge took out my Switch’s dock and power supply. I did get this repaired, and actually was able to replace the power supply of all the gadgets I owned, except for my TV (RIP). I ended up replacing my TV with a nice monitor, so all is well.

However, with the Switch out of commission, I didn’t make my goal of defeating my second Divine Beast in Zelda in April. Over the weekend, however, I rectified that!

Warning: Spoilers!

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I went in thinking that Rudania would be as difficult or harder that Ruta. I was really surprised when I breezed through it, including the boss fight. Unlike Ruta, I only got stuck on one of the doors, and it was due to a technicality.

So I beat up the boss there and gained a new protection skill for Link!

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Following that, I cleared a handful of Shrines, and found a new fairy for gear upgrades!

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I then tackled clearing some of the towers, including one up in the north that I’d been puzzling over for a while. This unlocked a bunch of the map I didn’t have before, and I felt pretty darn accomplished. I still have a lot more to go, though.

I headed off to the south west where the land turned dry and desert. Though I’d faced Death Mountain, which required fire resistance, this area required heat resistance instead. It’s still very neat and atmospheric.

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I got my first glimpse of the next Divine Beast on my list. This looks like it’ll be a doozy with sandstorms and lightning.

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And then, I run into Gerudo Town, which doesn’t allow Link to enter because he’s a guy. Of course, the answer to this was pretty simple.

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Anyhow, I got in to talk to the chief there, and they gave me a quest to recover a stolen artifact to prove I’m really a legendary hero. And…. that’s pretty much where I left off.

Honestly, my quest log in BotW is getting quite long with unfinished quests to the point I’m getting antsy and feeling a bit behind in that area. I know it’s not important and that you can play the game at your own pace, but I don’t like a messy quest log. So I might have to clean that up before I keep moving forward.

Disgaea Disappointment

One last thing about the Switch. Disgaea 5 came out today, and though I pre-order a copy from Amazon a week ago, my copy didn’t come. It seems Amazon had oversold their pre-order stock or something, and they don’t know when they’ll be getting any more in.

Seeing that between the Prime discount and some Amazon trade-in credit I got the game for an extremely discounted price, I’m going to try and wait it out on this. I’ve got plenty enough to keep my attention with Zelda and Minecraft, especially after hearing just how deep down the rabbit hole Disgaea can take you.

If you want to know more, check this out:

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Stormblood Battle System Changes from Live Letter XXXVI

Have you ever gone to write a post about something and realize that the topic is just so massive that there’s no easy way to break it down? That’s how I feel about digesting all the battle system changes the FFXVI team shared in the newest Live Letter.

I wanted to write something more in-depth about it, but honestly, I’m sick with a cold that started last night, and not feeling completely up to par with tackling what would be something huge even if I was feeling well. I’ll say that overall, I feel positive about what I’m seeing.

If you want the Live Letter in its entirety, here you go. Just know that it’s almost 4 and a half hours long.

https://player.twitch.tv/?video=v146267937&autoplay=falseWatch live video from finalfantasyxiv on www.twitch.tv

It might be easier to jump to the information consolidated on this Reddit Megathread.

So, here’s some takeaways my cold-muddled mind has from all this:

  • I’m happy about the job-based skill changes.
  • I’m good with all the attribute changes.
  • I like consolidating skills into one button that changes in function depending on your level of content (ex. Stone, Stone II, Stone III, Stone IV).
  • I’m not sure how I feel about the new job gauges. I understand what they’re trying to do with them, but some of them feel overly complicated (like Black Mage). I won’t know until I actually play the jobs, though.
  • Dragoon is one of the jobs that I’m iffy about the gauge thing.
  • I do like that the job gauges seem to make the classes more varied.
  • Red Mage still has me interested, and the gauge thing seems not too overly complex for that job.
  • I’m more impressed by Samurai than I expected to be. It looks fun.
  • I’m SO HAPPY about the changes to Bard and Machnist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO MORE BOWMAGE! That was all I ever wanted from them in Heavensward.
  • I was also interested by the song job gauge the Bard was using, though I don’t understand what it all means.
  • This is going to make choosing a main job hard. 
  • I’m interested and positive about changes to Healers. I really disliked stance dancing into Cleric Stance to do damage. It was a level of stress that drove me away from the Healer role… I may revisit White Mage now.
  • I’m happy about the buffs Paladins are getting since it remains my tank of choice.
  • I’m okay with the level and story jumping potions.
  • I’m sad I can’t get a leveling potion for Red Mage, because that’s the only job I’d have a use for that on (would love to play Stormblood story through on Red Mage, but doesn’t look like that’s happening).
  • Though I don’t play Summoner, I’m happy they get a Bahamut summon. 🙂

I’m sure there are other things, but that’s all I can muster for right now.

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch, Uncategorized

Disgaea 5 Demo (Noob Vision)

I’ve known about the Disgaea series since the first game released years and years ago, but never played any of it. I even own one on Steam, and was told I needed to play it. It was just not on my radar, not even Disgaea 5, which is releasing on the Nintendo Switch next week.

So, I’m coming into the series as a noob that’s only distantly heard (good) things about Disgaea. I knew it was humorous. I judged that it was probably wild and over-the-top in an anime type way. And while I enjoy good anime, I’ve kinda lost tolerance for crazy eye-roll anime as I’ve gotten older.

I don’t remember what convinced me to try out the Disgaea 5 Demo that came out on the Switch this week, but I’m glad I did.

Note #1: I did not expect to like this game.

Note #2: I ended up really liking what I played of the demo.

Again, this is from someone who knows nothing about the series, and was wondering why conversations on the Reddit about Disgaea all ended in “dood.” I quickly found out (and fell in love with prinnies).

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So, yeah. The game has a zany, take-me-as-I-am feel to the humor that isn’t too overwhelming partly because it seems to be poking fun at itself… or at least, at annoying anime tropes. For example, I’d like to dump Seraphina and her “Ohohohoho!” laugh… but I get the feeling she’s like that specifically because the game wants to point out how annoying this anime character type is.

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All these years, I’ve also stereotyped Killia when I saw him on the covers of these games, imagining him as the annoying, powerful, emo guy who doesn’t care about anyone and sulks through the whole story. And that turned out to be… really not true so far.

He has a bit of that aloof tough-guy act, but at the same time, he goes out of his way to help Seraphina learn how to fight for herself, even if she’s forcing him into the situation.

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He has a logical and mellow approach to most things, which reminds me of one of my own characters (Tai). I think that this helps to off-set a lot of the other more eccentric characters and situations and make the game palpable for me.

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I can sense a deep strategy game underneath all this. I was amused by the combo and throw system, and interested in developing my hired troops. Though some of my pre-made Prinny troops had some… interesting names.

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As someone who knows nothing about how the game worked, the first few battle scenarios did a lot to help teach me some of the systems. I like how the game kept the tutorials in character the whole time, too. This is how you do a game tutorial.

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I have a feeling that I’ve only scratched the surface of the battle systems since I stopped playing the game as soon as I felt like I was sold on it. Good thing that I did, since the demo save doesn’t carry over into the real game when it releases next week. I quickly deleted the demo so that I wouldn’t be tempted to spoil anymore for myself.

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Trading In Smash

I did pre-order this game. While it was fairly expensive from Amazon, I got a nice 20% off the pre-order as a Prime member. I also have started to trade in some of my pre-owned Wii U games I know that I’ll probably never play again, so I had some extra cash from that on my Amazon account.

The game I traded was Super Smash Bros for the Wii U. Gasp and horror, I know. How dare I trade in Smash?

The truth is, my sister and I both tried to play this game together a few years back… and neither of us liked it all that much. The new Smash games are just all over the place. We both felt there was too much going on and it became overwhelming quickly. Plus the bulky Wii U controller really didn’t work well for a battle game for me.

We loved the original Smash and even Brawl, but this new Smash was just not that fun for us.

I picked it up as a Lightning Deal on Amazon around Black Friday, so I only payed about $34 for it originally. But it was still one of those games I had a lot of buyer regret about since I just couldn’t get into it.

Thankfully, I could trade it in to Amazon for $20… so while I did lose some money on the purchase, I felt it was better to trade it towards a game I knew I’d play rather than see it gather dust here to never be touched again. I haven’t sold a physical copy of a game in a very, very long time as I usually keep them for my collection, but this just bugged me, so I pulled the trigger.

Fare well Smash!

Oh, and for the record, trading a game into Amazon was super painless. They even pay the shipping and immediately credit your account for the trade in.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: NA Data Centers Moved, High Pop Servers Locked, Jimmies Rustled

A lot has been going on in FFXIV this week, sending ripples of frustration through some parts of the community. This isn’t so huge that it’s making big news outside of the FFXIV community, but I’ve been a spectator of rustled jimmies all over the place.

So, what’s happened to rustle jimmies? Two things:

I’ll explain what these mean and why people are frustrated in a moment. But, right now, we have four types of FFXIV players:

  • People who are upset because they feel negatively impacted by the data center move
  • People who are upset because they feel negatively impacted by the server locks
  • People who are upset about  both
  • People who were positively effected by the server move, don’t know what’s going on, or don’t really care what’s going on

And, I guess there’s me, who knows what’s going on, wasn’t positively effected by the server move, but didn’t get my jimmies rustled by a slight increase in ping time.

NA Data Center Move

Everything (except the downtime) sounded good about the move before it happened. The idea was that better and stronger servers would impact the game in a good way — especially when we’re looking at no longer routing through the troublesome Level 3 choke points and hopefully strengthening the server for upcoming improvements on game inventory capacity, etc.

Yeah, some of us were without the game for two days, and only credited for one day. I think people were already antsy because of the downtime.

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But what really got people upset about this?

The fact that signs point to the new location (which S/E kept secret) is in Sacramento California, on the opposite coast of the original location. What players were hoping for was a more central location. So, people got to pinging the new servers, and some folks discovered a much higher ping than they used to have, especially those in Europe and South America.

I have no idea what my ping used to be, but seeing that I’m on the East Coast, I’m sure it went up. I did play around a bit in PotD last night, and didn’t see any unusual lag or antics. But this wasn’t anything heavy or taxing. I’m also not a cutting-edge player, so people like raiders are the ones who would see the effects of these things more so than I would.

I’m sure that there are many people out there who are having a rough time with the server move. It’s hard to say if it’ll shake itself out in time or not.

Server Population Balance

It’s pretty well known among NA players that our two highly populated servers, Balmung and Gilgamesh, are both on the Aether Data Center. This also happens to be the home of my server, Midgardsormr.

I remember how at Heavensward launch our Data Center in particular became impossible to log into, and I’m going to guess it’s partly due to having two very high pop servers on it. In order to make things a bit smoother for Data Centers for Stormblood’s launch, S/E has preemptively taken action.

This makes it kinda sucky to be on a high pop server right now. First of all, no one can create a character or even transfer a character (temporarily) to these servers as of yesterday. Second of all, once Stormblood launches, “login restrictions will be put in place on highly populated Worlds which may result in players having difficulty logging in.”

Yikes.

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However, there is a light at the end of this tunnel. Here’s some good incentives S/E are giving for people to move to low pop servers when Stormblood arrives:

  • Because all servers are high pop in EU, they’re creating fresh new servers for EU for Stormblood!
  • They’ve significantly increased how much gil you can bring when you transfer to a new world
  • Free world transfers to specific new and low pop servers (this is across all data centers, including NA)
  • Experience bonuses on those chosen servers
  • Free game time and gil awarded to newly created characters on those servers (who reach a specific level)
  • Reimbursement for people who currently own a house, for the cost of the house and furnishing
  • Support for Free Companies who are making the move together

This all sounds pretty nice to me. But, of course, there are folks who are still very unhappy that their servers have been locked, and with no prior warning. I see this especially from those on Balmung, where most of the role players congregate.

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An actual Tumblr post

Right.

Now, I don’t have anything against Balmung — I have a few alts there myself. And I totally understand why people who RP want to be on the same server as other RPers. However, I’ve never felt like this was a healthy balance, not just for the server and technical side of things, but also the community.

When new people came to the game, and they asked, “What’s the most active server? Where should I roll?”

The answer usually was, “Balmung or Gilgamesh are the most active, but both of those require a transfer.”

Yuk.

If you’re a role player who wants to be involved in the community, you didn’t have a lot of choice but to move to Balmung. There’s never been a chance for strong RP communities to form on other servers because the general populace would tell you that Balmung was the only place to go for your RP.

Honestly, while I’m sure there are plenty of great people and RP opportunities there, I’ve also seen the kind of non-RP discussions that happen in open chat in the cities there. Some people see it as a stage to say just about anything that comes to mind, no matter how lewd it might be. And they consider it normal, funny and a part of their server identity.

I would love good, clean RP with friends, but I don’t want to see that kind of discussion in the streets of my starting cities. So while I’m sympathetic to people who are upset about the server locks, I also hope this is an opportunity for the RP community to find a new place to migrate and grow, hopefully without all that baggage following along. That was never going to happen as long as transfers to Balmung were open.

This will also give more people a chance to enjoy features, such as housing, which is nearly impossible to get on the larger servers. So my final thought on this: it’s a good thing.

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch, Uncategorized

Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition

One positive aspect of having only just played Minecraft for the first time last year is that, unlike some folks, I haven’t already invested in the game on a million different platforms. That, and, the fact that I can still play vanilla Minecraft and be blissfully unaware of all the mods that are out there.

I do love my PC version for all the mod potential that it has. I bought the Wii U version on a whim, but struggled a bit with the console controls. In fact, the console controls were one of the reasons I almost didn’t pick the Switch edition.

However, several things happened this weekend that pushed me into the impulse buy:

  • I had a 4 day weekend thanks to it being my birthday last week
  • I learned you could select from different control schemes on the Switch (this may have been true for the Wii U version as well, but I never thought to look)
  • The worlds are larger than the Wii U version
  • Easy to take and share screenshots
  • I had more than enough gift card cash on my Nintendo e-shop account
  • I had a “lack” of games on my Switch screen
  • I decided this is probably the best portable version of Minecraft you can have (supports both controllers and touch pad)
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A “lack” of games on my Switch screen prompted a re-purchase of Minecraft.

New Minecraft Adventures

Anyhow, it’s always fun to start a new Minecraft adventure. Also, this time around, I figured out how to select a proper skin for my avatar, as well. The Switch version came with a number to choose from, but I went with the Knight.

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The game started me out on a savanna, though the biomes on this map changed very rapidly and were somewhat crammed together. Of course, they teased me with seeing a lovely horse within the first few minuets of spawning.

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Sadly, this was the first and last time I saw this pretty horse. I’m not sure what happened to it. 😦

I built the normal beginner hut and started putting up fences and lighting. Somewhere along the way, I managed to pick up some bones and tamed a wolf. I’ve tried taming wolves before in other games, but this was my first successful attempt — on the first bone!

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I want to take note of the Achievement system. I don’t recall seeing this on the Wii U version of the game. I know the PC version has something similar, but not quite the same in-your-face achievements.

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Once I got the standard housing set up, my big goal was to find a saddle because the game kept teasing me with the horses that were roaming around. I did some fishing (needed food anyhow), but eventually decided to explore and work through some caves.

My adventure took me further than I expected…

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A tree that caught fire from the lava being too close, I guess.

And before I knew it, I was totally lost.

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One thing I had never learned about in Minecraft was the mapping system. It seemed confusing back when I first started playing the game, so I ended up adding a mini-map mod to my game on the PC.

That wasn’t an option here, so if I were to find my way back to my cozy little box house, I knew I had to learn how to map.

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After uncovering as much map as I could find, I realized that this one map did not, in fact, cover all of the world. It was only a small part of the area! Unlike the PC version where you can add to a map to make the original larger, it seems the console version requires you to just make another blank map to start mapping the new areas.

Maps require a good deal of cane to make paper. This was pretty rare to find during my exploration, so I ended up making a bunch of cane farms each time I stumbled upon a new zone of the world.

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While I was waiting for cane to grow, I spent the time fishing for food. Sure enough, luck was on my side, and I fished up a saddle, right near a horse spawn!

I wasted no time selecting a nice black horse and taming him.

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This made all the difference in my exploration. I don’t know what I would have done if I’d had to walk that entire map on foot. Riding and mapping was so, so much better.

Not to mention, as far as horses go, this one was quite nice — look at all those hearts!

Anyhow, it took many hours before I actually found my way back home. I had no idea that I’d walked two full maps away from my original spawn point! Since I had a lot of iron, nice gear, a saddle, and a horse, I was totally motivated to get back in one piece.

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Here’s my fine horse, who carried me home, finally taking a well-earned break. 🙂

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Not only that, but I discovered that just to the west of my base, and not that far away, is a village. I’m excited to start building a road out that direction, set up some defenses for them and build it up some.

Impressions

A quickie review of my impressions — obviously, I had a lot of fun with this version of Minecraft. I spent a number of hours with it, and it played just as well docked as it did in handheld mode.

I didn’t expect to need to play it handheld, but a set of nasty storms rolled through my area on Friday night. I was stoked that I could just undock my Switch and keep playing even while the rest of my electronics were unplugged and turned off during the storm. If I had lost power that night, it wouldn’t have stopped my gaming, either.

I really like having full controller support for the handheld version of the game. I haven’t played the pocket version, but I’ve heard people say that the touch controls are not always idea for Minecraft. I could see that happening. I did use touch controls very sparingly, mostly during crafting and moving inventory around, and was happy that was an option.

I also always love how the console version makes crafting much simpler than the PC version. Sorry. I have so much trouble remembering recipes… it’s more of an annoyance to have to open a wiki to figure out what the pattern is for simple crafting items. The console version just auto-makes things for you if you have the materials in your inventory. I appreciate that a lot!

I know that you can play with your Minecraft friends easily, just by joining their game on the Nintendo network, which is another plus for those who want to play multiplayer online. You can also play with others on local split-screen.

So, is Minecraft Switch Edition worth getting? It was for me. But again, I’m not someone who already has 5 different copies of the game and years of experience playing it.

I think it’s a solid version of Minecraft. I think for someone new to the game, or someone who wants a good portable version of Minecraft, this is a good buy. Or… if you just want another game to add to your Switch screen. Yep.