Posted in Gaming, Sims 4

Looking Forward to the Sims 4 Seasons Expansion

The newest expansion for Sims 4 — Seasons, is gearing up to drop at midnight EST on this Friday. I’m trying to temper my feelings for the pack, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t pretty excited by what I’ve seen.

In fact, I decided to officially take a vacation day so I could immerse myself in all the expansion has to offer. I’ve learned in the past that Sims expansions require at least a full day of my time for me to feel like I’ve got a grasp on what all they have to offer. Since this releases on a Friday, that lines me up for a long weekend (of Sims).

Traditionally, Seasons has been one of the most popular and requested of the Sims expansions, right up there with Pets. With this version of Seasons, we’re not just getting weather, but a focus on an in-game calendar and holidays.

In the past, Seasons had holidays, but they were usually something quickly done with. This time around, you can make a calendar, create your own holidays and traditions and deck out the house with decorations (other houses in the neighborhood will also auto decorate I heard).

I think this is something you have to set up in advance, but the house seems to automatically remember what your decoration preferences for holidays are. Or, that’s the impression I get.

Not to mention how the world transitions from one season to the next — winter doesn’t just pop into spring, it slowly changes. Also, there’s a huge overhaul in the gardening system that has to take into consideration seasons. That should be fun to learn.

Not to mention, certain places actually have climates — the jungle and desert shouldn’t get snow, for example. And they have their own specialized seasons, too.

Of course, despite all the good things, some folks had to find things to grumble about, like the lack of snow depth . Sims 4 has always been under fire for one thing or another by disgruntled community members. I can’t completely blame them, though, when we’re seeing more stuff packs pop up now than ever.

As for this expansion, I feel the team put a ton of work and love into it. I just hope that the expansion plays well and lives up to the hopes of the players.

I’m probably a lot easier to please than most, but I’m just here to have some fun.

Now, which family should I play?

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: “What We Do is What Defines Us”

It’s odd how one of the most enjoyable parts of the new patch for me is the crafting beast tribe quests. To say that it’s renewed my desire to improve my crafters and learn about crafting in FFXIV is an understatement.

The Namazu quests are the last things you’d expect to strike home in the heart of an artist/creator. But this weekend, that happened for me.

I’ve become more endeared to these quirky little creatures as I spent time helping them rebuild a cultural celebration meant to save their race. I still didn’t expect to be moved by the ending of the final quest the way I was. Especially this:

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Suddenly, I was reminded as an artist… writer… creator… why I should do what I do. And that it shouldn’t matter if someone else sees the value in the act of creation. That’s hard to remember sometimes in the age of the Internet when we’re conditioned to constantly seek out feedback, reinforcement and positive feelings.

For just that moment, I felt like the creators of these quests — the writers, the artists, the musician, the designers… all of them — were speaking to me on a personal, creative level. It’s not always easy to remember the people behind the game and all the time and effort they put into making something for your enjoyment. It’s far easier to criticize a game for what you don’t like (I’m guilty of it, too).

But there in that quest, these game creators were speaking to the players. “Not everyone always sees or values what I create… but there’s something in me that makes me create anyhow.” And that’s a powerful, noble value… that mysterious drive is why we have so many of the creative works we do in this world.

…Not that there was any lack of feedback and reinforcement from the Namazu for your help.

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As a matter of fact, as if all the easy crafting levels, enjoyable quests, and other perks weren’t enough, the Namazu gifted me with something quite unexpected.

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Yep. That’s right. My own wearable Namazu Bell necklace!

This was something I didn’t even know that I needed until I got it. Sadly, a lot of my outfits cover the necklace area, so despite instantly taking it and glamouring it over all of my neck pieces, it only showed up on a few of my jobs.

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I was also being good this weekend and went back to work through all my Alchemist job quests that I needed to do in order to catch up to my current level. Thankfully, I left off at level 53. Most of these were easy to either craft or purchase, so I blew through them, earned at least a level and some for my efforts, and a bunch of Allagan pieces to throw at the Domans on reset.

…But why is it all of the Alchemist quests have to do with either killers or dead bodies? Really?

I also focused my weekly deliveries on gearing up my Fisher a bit so that I’d be in a better spot to try and finish up the level 70 job quest. That’ll knock out another goal for this month.

I still have a long way to go, though!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Level 70 White Mage! …And Leveling Progress.

Yesterday, I reached another goal for this month — to level my White Mage to 70. This one I was glad to get done with since healing is often stressful for me, even in Alliance Roulettes. I haven’t been doing Alliance lately since Syn hasn’t been around, and I don’t like running it on my own (especially as a healer). But I was already level 69 at the beginning of this week, and a few days of Beast Tribe quests got it done.

I’m not real sure what I’m going to work on next… or if I’ll just take a little break on my battle classes. I’m still leveling my Alchemist through Namazu quests every day, and I don’t see the crafting portion of beast tribes going away any time soon for me.

I’m actually doing pretty well on getting all of my jobs leveled at this point:

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Especially if you consider that this was where I was when I started this year:

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I still have an overall goal to get all of those lower jobs to 50 before the year is done. Obviously, heals and tanks aren’t my favorite.

Right now, I’m kinda strapped on Grand Company seals, which are used to pay the squad to run dungeons for fast experience. I spent most of mine on the materials I’ll need to make the Odder Otter Walls… which I haven’t quite done yet, either.

I still need to put some time towards those lower jobs, though, because it’s a huge help to consolidate gear when overlapping jobs are on the same level. It’s part of the reason why all the ranged jobs were leveled first — they use the same gear. Whereas other than Monk and Samurai, the melee often use their own sets of gear. There is overlap on some of the accessories, I suppose.

I guess Astro would be the next logical thing to level seeing that would put all my healers in the same gear at 70. Dunno. I’ll have to see what happens!

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion

It was pretty late for me last night when the Splatoon 2 Octoexpansion released. It was a good chunk of content that took a while to download and install, so I didn’t get a lot of time to play with it before I had to head to bed.

So far, the expansion is much like what I expected it to be… just a bit more lighthearted. The trailers made it out to be dark and gritty, but of course, par for the course of Nintendo, they managed to lighten up a story that has some pretty dark undertones.

There’s still a lot of questions that dive into lore such as… What’s really going on with the Octolings that make them the enemy of Inklings? Obviously, experimentation and mind control of some sort is hinted at. But then, there’s also this underground network in place for the ones who “wake up” and head for the Promised Land.

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Playing a young and mind-muddled Octoling girl or boy, a promised land sounds like the best option you’ve got. So when the train pulls up, it only makes sense to hop on. No one told you there would be tests and 4 thangs (not misspelled) to gather before your dreams could come true.

Tests, of course, are short challenge stages with a specific set of weapons and a goal to achieve.

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I was short on time, so I only cleared the first stage. It wasn’t terribly difficult, which is good considering I’m super rusty at the game at this point.

You get three lives per stage and each stage costs a certain amount of an in-game currency to challenge. Winning nets you more currency to use on future stages. I’m not sure what happens if you run out of currency, though.

Anyhow, these can’t be too neck-breaking difficult, because someone is already an Octoling down in the city as of this morning. Probably someone who had all day/night to play. :p

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Playable Octolings are the reward for finishing all solo content

The overall response in game to the expansion seems positive. There’s certainly a feeling of support for the Octolings who are waking up and coming to the other side.

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I’m looking forward to putting some more time into these missions. If nothing else, they can hopefully help me dust off what little skills I had and maybe get me back into the game where I left off. I really like the idea of playing an Octoling girl, especially that pony tail hairstyle! 🙂

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Posted in Gaming

E3 2018 Impressions

Everyone’s talking about E3, so I may as well jump on the bandwagon. E3 has not traditionally been something that hypes me. I go into it without expectations, and the best that can come from it is unexpectedly being hyped over something.

Last year, the Switch was new territory, so just about everything they announced there was pretty exciting. This year, there’s a lot of things people seem excited about, but very few that have anything to do with me.

So, I’m going to run down the list of stuff from the Reddit Megathreads and just talk about whatever comes to mind. Those threads are pretty awesome if you need a recap on anything, so I encourage you to check them out.

Not Relevant

So, as I said above, there’s a lot that’s not relevant to me. I don’t own an XBox or a Playstation, so none of that is of any interest to me.

Not interested in anything that EA threw out there, not even Anthem. Absolutely not interested in their Origin Access Premier program. I didn’t even have anything to do with the original Origin Access thing… never been a fan of Origin, and just use it because I’m forced to in order to play Sims games.

Ubisoft... eh. Nothing I really care about there. I own, but have never played, some of the Assassins Creed games, so the new one isn’t a huge deal to me.

Of Some Interest

So Bethesda’s offering.

I know everyone is going nuts about Fallout 76. I’ve never played a Fallout game as the theme of the series just never felt that alluring to me. For those who are excited and concerned about it, I hope it turns out to be more than what you hoped for. I doubt I’ll play it.

Fallout Shelter is now on the Switch. It came force-installed on my tablet, but I never played it there. I might try it on the Switch since I’m getting fed up with Pokemon Quest at this point. That’s a big maybe.

Elder Scrolls Legends for the Switch has my interest. As long as there’s plenty to do without forcing me to play against real players, I might give that a try. I do enjoy card games, I just don’t enjoy forced PvP in card games, and card games that nickle and dime you to build a deck.

The biggest thing for me here is the Elder Scrolls VI tease. It was only 36 seconds long, but enough for me to go, “Oh shoot. I still haven’t finished Skyrim!”

Now, I can’t really be hyped for something that is probably a good ways away, but it was enough to motivate me to crack open my copy of Skyrim on the Switch. We’ll see if I can stick with it in any way.

Square Enix had a couple of things of interest for me.

Of course, there’s the FFXIV and Monster Hunter World crossover event coming up. As someone with no access to MHW at this point, and being uncertain of whether I can afford the time to get into it once it comes out on the PC, can I just say I really want a Palico in FFXIV!

I mean look at this! Warrior of Light Palico!

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*sigh*

If I play Monster Hunter World, it will be for the Palico.

Anyhow, we got also some info on ticket sales for the FFXIV 2018 Fan Fest, though I’m unsure if we’re going this time.

And, other than that, the only bit of exciting info from this was that we’d see Dragon Quest XI in September. Hopefully, on the Switch. Still looking forward to Octopath Traveller, but it was expected, so not a hype thing.

And that just leaves Nintendo.

Nintendo’s Offering

I guess I was hoping for something surprising here, but really, none of it was. Other than the sad lack of a Switch Animal Crossing — I didn’t expect it, but I held out a tiny bit of hope.

I’ve never gotten into Mario Party, so that didn’t interest me much.

The huge thing is, of course, the new Smash.

I wish I could be excited for Smash, but I learned when playing Smash for the Wii U, that there’s a disconnect between where those games are going and my aging gaming skills. The new Smash games just have too much going on, things happen too fast, and I tend to get muddled trying to follow the flow of the battles.

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Too much of a good thing?

So, though I loved the first two Smash games, I actually sold my Wii U version after my sister and I struggled to find fun in it. We really did try.

Of course there’s the new Pokemon, which I’m already sold on. An upcoming Fire Emblem is nice to know about… but only reminds me that I didn’t actually finish the previous one I picked up for the 3DS. Oops.

And, nothing to do with E3, but we found out that the Splatoon 2 Octo Expansion is releasing tonight! I know what I’ll be trying!

So, all in all, E3 has only achieved one thing — encouraging me to play my Switch more! I guess that’s not bad overall. Maybe I’ll actually get somewhere in Skyrim this time (I say that every time…).

 

 

 

Posted in Blogging, Internet, Webcomics, Writing

The Passing of Project Wonderful & A Look at Current Blogging/Creativity

Does anyone remember Project Wonderful?

They are (were) a little company that allowed you to pay into the site and place ads up on other sites in the network. You could also place your own ads up on your page and people could purchase those in return.

A Short Look Back

pwadI used Project Wonderful quite a bit for various old blogs, writing sites, but especially for our webcomic, Wayrift. In fact, I think a high number of our long-term readers at Wayrift came from discovering us through Project Wonderful. For a small webcomic, it was an affordable option, and it really did connect a lot of the comics together.

At the height of advertising on Wayrift, I was not only breaking even, but making a little extra here or there. I won’t say that traffic was flooding in, but it wasn’t terrible, either. It was a pretty viable way of getting fresh eyes on our content. But for some reason, it fell out of practice for us to use it.

In fact, I haven’t used it a whole lot in the past 5-6 years. I did try a short stent with it last year, but didn’t really see a ton of results, and I was putting more money than I was getting views for. But even so, I never guessed it was on its last legs.

Relevance to the Blogosphere

Project Wonderful sent out an email yesterday (see it here) to inform all of us that this is the end. It said a few things that were relevant to how I’ve been feeling about the small websites, our blogs, and the health of the blogosphere. While this may be on the negative spectrum, I do think it’s relevant, and what I wanted to repost here:

…in the past several years, the internet has changed. Large sites like Facebook do all they can to keep readers on their network, rather than sending that traffic out to individual websites. As such, many readers – who used to visit dozens if not hundreds of websites a day – now visit only a few sites, and things like the indie “blogosphere” (remember that?) are disappearing. We’re hopeful that individual creators can adapt – either by embracing these walled gardens in a way that protects themselves, or by finding other ways to draw attention to their work – but as a network founded on supporting independent websites, our options were limited.

It’s certainly no secret that I’ve seen less and less in the way of active blogging as the years go by. There’s a certain set of writers who are either too stubborn, too dedicated or too frustrated to fold up shop and stop posting. But aside from those folks (thank goodness you’re here!), I’ve seen things slowing down as the years pass.

If we’re getting new folks in this space, they’re either hard to find, they don’t know the channels it takes to reach out and be heard, or they simply fizzle out after the magic of the new-blog smell wears off.

nbi_supporter_badgeThe NBI used to help a lot with that, but even that had trouble drumming up the energy and time to run. There wasn’t a whisper of it that I heard last month. I can’t say a lot because I’m in the same boat — with work and everything, I just don’t have the time to organize something of this magnitude. But it’s still a sad thing.

Interestingly, when I went to Google NBI, I found that there still appears to be a NBI Reddit out there that sometimes people post to, even recently. I wonder if that’s a tool that could be used for something more than it is now.

Anyhow, I’m starting to ramble. I don’t know that I rightly have the words to express my thoughts. I came from the early days of learning rudimentary HTML code in order to build your own free GeoCities site… because if you wanted to put your work out there, that was the best option you had. Due to that barrier, if you consistently made something good, it was noticed.

As the Web has grown, our options for communication have gotten wider to the point that everyone can easily spin up a site or a blog and share their thoughts. But just as many options as we have to be individuals online, as Project Wonderful has pointed out, with social media, our communication-vision has begun to grow narrower…

You can’t blame people for wanting to go where they think everything is (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, Wattpad, etc.). But where does that leave all the creatives on the fringes? The new blogger. The new online web novelist. The uptsart webcomic. The digital artist…

Folks who are developing a craft and trying to find an audience? They don’t have much of a choice but to go where they think that audience is. Even if that means that they’re straying far from home into the sometimes scary world of social media. Even then, that doesn’t promise they’ll be seen or heard.

These thoughts are nothing new. They just keep getting stronger as the years go by.

I dunno. What do you guys think?

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Making It Rain… Goals

Last week, the Make it Rain event started in FFXIV. This doubles the amount of MGP you win for things in the Gold Saucer and gives a huge bonus for doing well (and just dropping by) the Fashion Report. There are also cosmetic items on discount during the event.

While I enjoy this event, I wasn’t super excited for it this year. I’ve already gotten my Fenrir. Though, there are plenty of other things I could save up for.

I dropped in for the Fashion Report on Friday since it was paying out well, did the event quest… and suddenly I found myself rushing in on all my alts to do the quests, unlock the Fashion Report, pick up any hairstyles and cosmetics I wanted and…

Yeah, that was an unexpected use of a Friday night. And while it was all silly fluff, I found myself enjoying it greatly. In fact, the momentum from that carried over into the next day, where I found the energy to push through several of my monthly goals.

Crafting… Crafting Everywhere

You can say that the Namazu quests have me fired up for crafting…

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I’m not the only one!

I’m still finding these quests extremely enjoyable. The fact that it shot my Leatherworker up to 70 so painlessly is a huge perk. I was a good crafter and actually stuck by all of my Leatherworker job quests straight through the end of the level 60-70 quest line. So there, job quests done!

My plan was to pick up Armorer next, since that was always one of the jobs I knew I’d neglected, despite leveling it to 60. I just had no idea how bad it really was…

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Holy crud! I hadn’t done any of my Armorer job quests since level 35!!! 

That’s awful! I’ll blame it on the Moogles for being a bad influence!

Soooo… I sucked it up and got to work on slashing away at these old quest lines. Some of the lower level ones I had the mats for, and just crafted. Some of the more annoying ones I straight out bought. But, there were a few that buying wasn’t an option.

All in all, it took me several hours to finish everything. I wasn’t too engaged in the story at first, but then it became more interesting after the level 60 quest line started. The level 70 quest line has some promise, too.

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I’m happy to report that I did catch up on all my Armorer quests in the end… and even netted a level and a half from them all. This put me at level 63.

I also started in on my old Fishing job quests. I’ve finished those up to level 70, and just have one final one to go to complete them all.

Shifting Goals

So, I discovered I was capped on Creation Tomes this weekend. I don’t really have a lot of need for them in the armor department, so I asked Syn what she’s been using them for. She noted that you can buy crafting materials with them, and sell those for profit… so I went to check it out.

That’s when I learned that these materials were what you needed to make the level 70 omni-crafter gear. This is something I eventually do want to try to do, so I did some research on what that requires.

While a few pieces require something from a metalworker, just about all of them require stuff from a level 70 Alchemist. Bleeeeh… mine’s only level 60.

So… despite all that work I did to catch up with Armorer, I decided to shift my Namazu leveling to Alchemist so I can work towards crafting some of this gear. I know that I at least finished the level 50 quest on Alchemist (I faintly remember the storyline), but it’s another job I know I haven’t progressed on job quests in a while. So, I’ve got my work cut out for me… again.

Other Achievements

One of the nice things about finishing so many job quests it that it showers you with Allagan silver and gold pieces. These have been fantastic at helping me max out my Doman restoration project this week, with lots left over for next week.

In fact, that’s a huge encouragement to get me to go back and do some of these quests as I’m honestly curious what’s going to happen with rebuilding the Doman Enclave. I mean, they already have a plushie store…

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I’d totally buy some of these IRL. Just sayin.

I did complete the first phase of restoration and moved into the second. The bonus you get for selling to them increases, which is nice, too. I wonder what they’re going to make this place into in the end, and whether they’ll keep expanding it after this patch cycle. I hope so. I’ll start saving all my stuff for selling to the Domans! 😀

Now, for an achievement that’s not mine.

Syn got her Parade Chocobo mount for earning 3,000 commendations this weekend! 

Dang. As a DPS main, I’m lucky to break 300, much less 3,000.

She’s been actively working at it, throwing her healer into the worst of the alliance roulettes night after night, looking for souls to save. Sure enough, she made it to 3,000 and above.

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It’s the first thing she actively ever farmed, and first time she’s wanted to get a fluff mount. What’s funny is that I encouraged her to play the Fashion Report this week, too, and she even sat down with the Glamour Commode for the first time ever, and made some glamour plates for Zeb.

Uh oh… Amoon and I are being bad influences on her! 😀

The way I see it is… if you’re not having fun in an MMO, what are you having?

Right now, I’m having fun again. I have a whole lot to work towards, and I feel like I’m making pretty good progress. I’ve also been taking time out to do fun stuff in Second Life on the side, and figuring out how to balance the two. But that’s a post for another blog.

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