Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Digital FanFest Incoming! Mog Tomes Event Going!

Click here to watch the FFXIV Digital FanFest – starting Friday May 14 at 8PM PDT.

I’ve been a little out of it the past couple days thanks to my second COVID shot putting me down and out. I’m feeling a little better today, but in the middle of the muddle, I realized I got the days mixed up for the FFXIV FanFest. For some reason I thought it was Saturday and Sunday, when it is actually Friday (tonight) and Saturday.

I’m super excited to hopefully check out the next new job, which I’m hoping to pick up on one of my characters if it’s a cool melee scythe class like many of us are guessing. I’m also hoping to hear more about the Island Sanctuary and the expansion in general.

Aside from that, the digital FanFest goodies are already on sale. They’ll be in the store for a limited time, though they work the same as any other item – so you can gift them.

While they’re no means cheap, S/E already has my money because FFIV is still my favorite non-online Final Fantasy in the series (as those who’ve known me for years know). I’ve hoped and hoped for more FFIV cross-over into FFXIV, so now that we’re getting it, I’m voting with my wallet enthusiastically.

I just hope that we’ll be getting a Cecil minion in the CE of the expansion. He’s the only one of the main cast we don’t have a minion of, and him being the ultimate Paladin, would make sense given the Paladin theme.

I’ve already bought the minions, just waiting for them to be delivered. You know how wonky the Mogstore deliveries get when the system is overworked.

I’ll have to wait until tonight to get the whale though, as Syn wants to gift that to me for my birthday and she won’t be back until later.

Oh, and the new Mog Tomes event is already going. Here’s the official page for that – lots of things I’d like to get this time around! Much Praetorium in my future. 🙂

Posted in FFXIV, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Hopes for the Island Sanctuary

The FFXIV Fanfest is broadcasting this weekend and I have hopes to hear about two things for the next expansion in particular: the new melee class and the Island Sanctuary.

Yesterday, I read an interview with Yoshi-P at MMORPG.com. The most exciting part was what he had to say about the Island Sanctuary vs. housing.

MMORPG: With Ishgardian housing coming as well as the Island Sanctuary, players are wondering — what will the overlap be, if any, between Housing/Estate activities and Island Sanctuary ones?

Yoshida: I won’t say there is no overlap in the gameplay, but they are fundamentally two separate pieces of content. If anything, we plan to incorporate many things that you can’t do within the housing/estate system into the Island Sanctuary. We’ll have more details down the road, so please stay tuned for further updates on this.

-Interview

I’m trying to be cautiously optimistic about this quote, but as a person who longs for the life skills and fluff in an MMO, this could be hinting that FFXIV could finally be working on providing all the things that I find elsewhere (BDO) that I’d love to see in Eorzea.

We all know that the current housing system is rubbish.

People like me who love the game and are lucky enough to own a house still think it’s rubbish.

Oh, the houses themselves are mostly fine. Though I could do with a lot more outside decoration slots and storage since all I could ever get was a small house… and every year, in game events keep piling more cool outdoor decorations on us.

The trouble comes because housing is extremely limited due to the non-instanced nature of the neighborhoods, that you have to camp for hours and pray you claim a spot when you do find an open lot, and the instanced housing we do have (apartments) are quaint but hardly a replacement for the size and functionality of a house.

While it’s cool to have neighborhoods, I think the FFXIV playerbase now understands the value of instanced housing and would be more than happy to take an instanced house with greater flexibility rather than (in many cases) no house at all.

I know I’m not the only one hoping that this new Island Sanctuary might be the instanced housing solution that we’ve needed for years. However, while the above quote could be taken to mean the Sanctuary is filling that blank, it could mean a lot of other things, too.

Saying “we plan to incorporate many things that you can’t do within the housing/estate system into the Island Sanctuary” could indicate that things like animal raising (which was mentioned already) couldn’t be done with the existing housing system but can be done here. It doesn’t necessarily indicate that Island Sanctuary is going to be additional instanced housing that every character can have, though.

So while I want to be hopeful for this feature, I’m also being cautious to curb my hopes. What I really want is for S/E to blow my mind when they do release information about the Island Sanctuary. And I do hope to hear more about it during Fanfest – I think they know that this particular feature has garnered interest in the community.

But for now, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what we get this weekend!

Posted in Valheim

Valheim: Swamps Give Me a Birthday Present

Yesterday was my birthday!

While I did get a copy of Monster Hunter Rise (I hope to get into that this week), my request to Syn was to continue our adventures in Valheim. When we last left off, we’d sailed around an entire island and discovered most of the shore was covered with swamp. Our goal was to find more crypts in order to bring back more scrap iron.

During our last play session, we struck out through the long stretch of swamp on the north part of the island and looped around northwest until we reached about halfway down the side of the island, opposite of our little makeshift base. During that time, we ran across a couple shacks, but no more crypts.

This play session, we decided to go the opposite way, to the south and the west, to meet with the point we left off at in the previous session.

It wasn’t long before we found a crypt! However, upon entering, we were disappointed that it was small and only contained a couple of nodes to mine from. Not even any monsters inside!

We took our resources back and upgraded from the bronze pieces that we could. Then, reinforced, headed back into the swamp.

At that point, I didn’t know if a swamp could have more than one crypt – like the Black Forest does – or not. But we still had a pretty good chunk to explore, so it didn’t hurt to look.

It wasn’t very long before we ran across a second crypt – confirming swamps can have more than one. Not only was this a much larger and more dangerous crypt, but it contained a rune stone that gave us the location of the next boss!

The next boss location compared to our first island – it’s going to be a bit of a trip!

We cleared that crypt (with surprisingly no deaths this time) and I was feeling like we had a pretty lucrative session already. We took the iron back, continued to upgrade gear and our forge – we now both had a full set of iron gear, mostly upgraded to the second level.

Feeling even more confident about making our way through the swamp, we set out to clear the last chunk we’d not explored yet. What a big difference it was – from cowering and avoiding creatures to openly, eagerly hunting leeches and draugr for their resources!

Much to my excitement, uncovering the rest of the south swamp revealed more crypts than I could have hoped for!

Holy cow! What a nice birthday gift from Valheim!

We started clearing the southernmost crypt since we finished uncovering everything to the south and were moving back north. This turned out to be quite a large one. We haven’t quite finished it yet, so there’s still more resources to bring back from that and the other two we haven’t entered yet.

To add to it, Syn’s begun to expand and reinforce our original main base with stone structures now that we have the ability to do so.

I’m hoping those additional crypts are large ones with lots of resources to bring back. We haven’t begun upgrading our gathering tools yet since weapons and armor are more important. But if we can bring back enough iron to continue upgrading our gear, we may be able to turn our eyes towards the next boss a lot sooner than I thought possible.

We’re not in any rush, though, and have plenty more swamp out there on other nearby islands if we need them. I also have a feeling the area around the next boss may be swampy as well.

We’ll just have to find out!

Posted in Black Desert Online, Gaming, MMORPGs

Black Desert Online: Forging My Own Way

I’m doing a number of things that I “shouldn’t” be doing in BDO lately. At least, if you were to ask experienced or min-maxing players of the game, I shouldn’t be. I’ve never been a min-maxer and I rarely care about the “right” way of doing things (unless what I’m doing is so far off the track that it’s just making life stupidly difficult for me in a game). I’m more interested in just having fun.

First, I’ve got several small projects going at once, spread across different characters.

For example, I’ve maintained the wagon production in Altinova, which is mostly worker driven. I do need to go mining for rough stones from time to time. I do this on my main because of her gathering level and her ability to easily go to Pilgrim’s Haven on her unicorn. But when I need to gather hides, I do this on my Trainer character since she’s low enough level not to be PKed for picking off a few foxes here and there.

Then, I have one character that’s leveling cooking in Calpheon. This is because it’s in close proximity to the fruit vendor and I have a small group of workers bringing back grain and veggies from nearby nodes. I’ve just started to work on Imperial Cooking turn-ins, but unlike some players, I don’t make this my everyday focus. Yeah, I know I could be making a lot more money every day, but I just hop in to cook a few times a week.

On top of that, I have another character stationed in Grana working on leveling my alchemy. Here’s where I committing a number of “mistakes.”

First, I hear not to invest and live in Grana. The CP for storage there is way too high and it’s too far away from everything else.

This is true… but I personally really like Grana. It’s quieter than most BDO cities, I can fish safely there if I want, my main house (mansion) is located there, and I just like the atmosphere of the Elf city for my Elf fellow, Amon. It’s the city that makes me feel most calm and at home, so I choose to find alternatives to do what I need to do.

I also hear alchemy is a waste of time and effort. Just do cooking for money.

Also probably true. But I found a guide on leveling alchemy, and alchemy fits Amon’s character type. So I decided to explore it some and see what it was about.

But wait… don’t I have a Shai that already has Professional 1 Alchemy and Gathering? Yep.

Did I use that Shai for alchemy? Nope. I decided to do this on Amon.

Another point that players would think I’m crazy for. Why am I not consolidating everything on one life skiller? Why not use the character who already came with things partially leveled?

Well now, Amon has Professional 4 Alchemy, despite starting from the beginning, and Skilled 9 Gathering. So he’s almost caught up there, too. It wasn’t really that painful to do and I’m not in a rush.

Not to mention I have fishing split between two characters… one that’s under level 50 so I’m not afraid of taking her out into the ocean. The other is Amon… because after a day of gathering, he needs to AFK that energy back up somehow. And there’s fishing in Grana.

Adventures in Gathering

Working on alchemy means that I’m out gathering at least one or two of the items needed for potions at any given time. However, BDO is different from games like FFXIV when it comes to gathering and nodes.

For one, if a node is taken by anyone, it’s taken and put on cooldown – I’m not exactly sure how long that cooldown is.

For two, there are things known as “rotations” for gathering, just as there is for battle. These are spots popular for ease of gathering and to butt into someone’s rotation if they’re already there is not just extremely rude, but can possibly get you PKed if someone wants to be nasty about it.

There’s one such places outside of Behr, where wild herbs and deer are plentiful. This is known to be the best spot for speed leveling gathering on wild herbs due to the number of them and how easy they are to spot. But in my case, I actually needed some plants from the herbs for my potions, and that was just the best spot I knew to go to in order to find them.

There’s two issues with Behr for me. One, it’s quite a ride from Grana. Funny enough, wild herbs don’t really grow throughout the Elf forests. You’d think they would, but nope!

The second issue is what happens when someone is already gathering there. This wasn’t an issue when I went to gather in the past because I usually did it earlier in the day. But then, one Saturday night, I decided I wanted to grab some herbs outside of Behr, and this is how the story went.

So I arrived at the herb spot on my normal server and no one else was there. I gathered a bit, and then needed to take care of something IRL (move laundry over or something). I left Amon in town to do that, and by the time I came back, I saw someone ninja-jumping at amazing speed out there gathering the herbs I just came from.

Welp… someone swiped my rotation because I wasn’t out there.

I switch servers.

I head out and start gathering… not knowing someone else was already out there. Not until they come up to me, stand in front of me, and then the chat indicator appears above their head. I didn’t know what to expect, but they weren’t PKing me, so that was a good thing.

They said exactly two words: “Hello, taken.”

This was a gentle warning that these herbs were taken and I needed to move along. It might have been a pre-warning to being dueled or PKed for the spot as well.

I did the polite thing, apologized and left the area. But that means I was twiddling my thumbs for the next 15 minutes as I waited for the server change to be open again… or for that person to leave. That person didn’t leave.

Finally, after 15 minutes, I changed servers again. What do you know. There was someone gathering the rotation on this server, too!

By that point, I was done with Behr. I’d just wasted a lot of time trying to even get close to gathering the herbs I needed, and I wasn’t about to sit around another 15 minutes and wait some more.

It’s been many years since I’ve played a game where gathering nodes were put on cooldown because someone else took them. Part of me was a bit irked that another player can just walk up to you and tell you something like a gathering node is taken and that you need to shove off. On the flip side, if I were there first, I’d be annoyed at someone butting in on my rotation so…

There’s just not a way to win that one… except not deal with Behr at all.

So, I got on the road to Grana, and I did some investigating. After a little bit of exploring, I eventually found a location a bit closer to Grana that had consistent herb spawns. Not as nice or easy to gather as the Behr rotation, but I doubt many people are going out that way for wild herbs.

I also found another spot to gather from deer – again, slower and not as plentiful as Behr. But I’ve never seen anyone out there, so it’s worth it to me just to avoid the annoyance of rotation all together. BDO is a big world, so there’s plenty of other options… just not the quickest or easiest ones. And that’s fine.

Posted in Gaming, Valheim

A Return to Valheim (Plus)

I haven’t written about Valheim for a while because it’s been a bit since we last played. I know that just about everyone is far beyond this point or has “finished” what the game has to offer in terms of boss progression, but Syn and I left off in the Swamps.

So we’d just beaten the tree boss a while back and decided to do some exploring of the nearby swamp area on the second island we’d found. We knew that we needed iron next, so we did an extensive search for iron nodes (we didn’t know) in the zone.

Of course, since there are no iron nodes (we didn’t know), we came up completely empty handed. Not only that, but the Swamp handed us our butt over and over again to the point of frustration.

There were no Crypts in the swamp on that island to boot – we did know that we had a key to enter Crypts, but didn’t know how that worked. So after a fairly frustrating couple of hours – thankfully we didn’t lose anything – we put it away and just haven’t come back to it.

I broke my non-spoiler pact with this game to read up on where iron nodes were (oh…) and to find tips on how to survive the Swamps better. But neither of us were motivated to come back to the game at that point.

Fast forward to this past weekend. I’ve been having an itch now and then to return to Valheim, but I knew the frustration we’d dealt with in our last play was a bit of a turn off for Syn (and even myself a little). We talked about it and I said something along the lines of: “It’s too bad there aren’t modifiable difficulty settings on Valheim like there are for 7D2D.”

That’s when Syn brought up the idea of game mods. We’d heard about the mods that gave more gear slots and that sort of thing, so we went on a hunt to see what was out there. And we found Valheim+.

Now, to our credit, we didn’t do anything to decrease the difficulty of the monsters as we didn’t want to make the game too easy. But we did add a lot of convenience to the game – crafting out of containers, more space in our inventory and less stamina usage so that we weren’t completely crippled and unable to do things every couple of minutes of gameplay.

This has made the game so much more enjoyable for us, while leaving the overall challenge of figuring out how to navigate the land and fight of monsters. Each section of the mod is something you can turn on and off at will – so, for example, if you decide less stamina usage is taking the challenge out of it, you can turn that off.

Valheim+ is very, very flexible and I really like it.

So, inspired to try out this new mod, we set sail for a new island to the south, where I knew I’d seen a patch of swamp before.

This time, we found our Crypt! And while there were still a few deaths (thank you, two star Draugr), we had a good bit of fun mining the iron and finally getting much-needed gear upgrades. Of course, one Crypt isn’t enough to outfit and upgrade for two people completely, so once we’d explored the length of that Swamp, it was time to hit the boat.

Neither of us had really sailed much in Valheim, but we picked it up pretty quickly. In fact, Syn did most of the sailing as we scouted out the perimeter of the nearest two islands – both abundant in swamp land.

We did dock and take on a second Swamp area – and met up with the scary nasty things that come out at night there! – but haven’t had any luck finding another Crypt. I can say that with our new gear – even partial and not upgraded – our survivability in the Swamp has increased immensely. Not that we can’t still die there – oh yes we can – but we have a bit more confidence in our ability to explore and make our way through the area. Which is all we really wanted from the start.

Oh and… opps!

I told her not to chop that tree so close to the boat!

Don’t worry, the boat was fine.

Posted in Black Desert Online, Gaming, MMORPGs

Black Desert Online: Wagon Works

See that picture above? That’s my poor exhausted Shai after a day of gathering and processing.

Now that I’ve achieved many of my horse breeding goals, I’ve started to turn my attention towards more hands-on projects in BDO. I’m not much of a grinder, so I’m looking at other ways I can produce for the community and make some money in game when I’m actually playing and not just AFK.

Thus, the crafting projects were borne! This week has been one of learning about setting up workers and workshops for long-term projects.

I have two projects I’m working on. First, I’ve set up wagon production in Altinova. This one has been relying on workers for the most part with my Shai coming in to level processing to create the needed end materials for the wagons.

The second project might be out of my league, but I discovered a daily quest that gives a Design for Epheria Sailboats. Though you need 20 of them (which means 20 days) to make the ship, it’s actually all the wood that you need that’s going to be the huge undertaking.

However, what better way to start leveling gathering than just jumping right in over my head? Since my main is a Shai and she started out with Professional 1 gathering, it made sense to use her as my main gatherer/processor.

I’ve learned a lot about both of these tasks this week, as well as the use of energy points, which hasn’t been an issue for me since my AFK activities don’t take up energy. So, this has sent me on quests to find question marks and talking to unknown individuals across the world in order to expand my knowledge to increase my max energy. I have a long way to go with this… but this has taken me to some interesting locations…

Climbing High!

Last night, my research and work in Altinova paid off as I produced my very first merchant wagon! Though I’ll eventually be making these to supplement my own horse training – being able to make my own wagons will save me millions since I won’t need to plunk down silver to replace my wagons when they break down.

But for now, my wagons are in decent condition, so my first crafted wagon went to the marketplace where it sold in less than an hour for 5 million silver (well, the marketplace took a bit out for taxes but…).

This was my very first crafted profit I’ve made in BDO! And now that I’ve crafted one and I have a good idea how it works, the next wagons shouldn’t be too hard to sustain and keep producing.

Now that ship… that’s a different story. But as I keep leveling my gathering and processing, it might slowly become more and more accessible, though never as easy as the wagons. Not to mention the ships can be repaired and the wagons can’t. So that means wagons will always be in need and ships are generally not going to be a fast seller… so…

Poor Shai, I’m putting her to work!

Posted in Black Desert Online, MMORPGs

Black Desert Online: Tips for Training Horse Skills

I thought I’d used up all of my luck on awakening my Dream Horse on the first try. Seems maybe not. Once I earned all the skills that I really wanted while leveling up my unicorn, I turned to finishing up leveling my line-bred T8 female.

She was just two skills short of a Courser, with 16 skills at level 27. I had about 6 skill change coupons left over, and I knew it was going to be a stretch at this point to try for Courser – just from my experiences with my first Courser.

But what do you know… 6 coupons turned out to be just enough! I now have my second T8 Courser and she’s on the long track towards Dream Horse!

This time around, I really, really doubt it will be as easy as the first. I’m slowly getting the things I need for my first attempt through quests, gathering and Imperial Horse Trade. Since I already have one Dream Horse, I’m not in a huge rush to get a second. It would just be a very nice to have.

The other streak of luck this weekend… I bred Kizmit and her daughter turned out to be my second bred T8 female (pictured above). Then, in exchanging a T6 and T7 after that, I earned my first T8 male!

Anyhow… this isn’t about my luck at breeding. This is about what you have to do when you get a keeper horse – training the horse skills themselves – such as Sprint and Instant Acceleration.

Tips on Training Horse Skills in BDO

Your horse has a chance to learn a skill every time they level up. Some come pre-learned 100% but the important ones, you have to train.

You can see skills by pressing “P” on the keyboard while mounted.

Skills that aren’t fully leveled

To level skills, you basically just have to use them over and over until they get to 100%. So, to level Sprint, for example, you must have a saddle equipped (and it must not be broken), and you press W when riding to Sprint.

At a low level, the skills have a chance to fail. When this happens, you have to stop everything and play this mini-game where you press W and S to regain control over your horse. If you fail, you’ll get thrown from the horse.

This is a real pain in the tail, and quite time-consuming. So, I did some searching to find some better ways to go about this and found these things…

So the most important takeaway from this video is that you can train a horse against a wall. As long as you are using the skill, you don’t have to be running all around to get this done.

But the bad advice in this video is the keep jumping, especially with the Streak Jump skill enabled (you can go into your skill area and click the lock icon to disable any ability you want). Do not follow the advice about constantly jumping with Streak Jump! You will eat through your horse’s stamina so fast (faster than a carrot cooldown) that you’ll be paying out the nose to restore their stamina every few minutes.

The second video I found has better advice on jumping, especially for Instant Acceleration.

In fact, this would have been perfect if it hadn’t been for all the running around. So here, I combine tips from these two videos!

1- Find a corner inside of a building to train your horse

Find a corner in a building in a safe location (any city/town/settlement), away from other people so you don’t annoy them. Then shove your poor horse’s head in it for a few hours to train. You can expect it to take that long, even when using this method.

Racing into the Corner!

2- Stock up on Oasis Carrots

This was all I needed to regen my horse’s stamina during training. You can pick these up for 1 silver each from the same vendor that sells the Oasis Gear – Ellie – who is usually near the stables in big cities. Hugely cheap!

3- Use the Jump Technique

Check out that second video up there on how to use the jump technique to interrupt the failed skill horse game. If you jump at the right time, you’ll bypass the fail game all together and will save a huge amount of time and sanity. Especially if you need to train Sprint and two forms of Instant Acceleration!

If your horse has Streak Jump, lock it down to turn it off so that you won’t be eating through stamina faster than your carrots can restore.

As you use the skill, even when it fails, you can level it. As you level the skill, it gets to a point where you hardly ever fail up in the higher 90s. But still be ready to jump just in case.

Fail Game Tips

I also learned that if you do end up having to mess around with the fail game, being as hands off as possible is the best way to deal with it. Tap only lightly up or down. In fact, there were some games I removed my hands from the keyboard and won by doing nothing.

I know the jump method works for Sprint and the Instant Accelerations, but for other skills, like Drift, you may have to deal with the fail game. Thankfully, most of those skills I’m not too worried about just yet!

Posted in Fiddle, Fiddle Progress Report, Fiddle Resources and Tools, Learning to Play Fiddle

Net Fiddler – I Bought a New Bow!

Note: This is not a sponsored post by FiddlerShop or anything like that. I just love the shop and their products!

I haven’t been writing a whole lot about my fiddle practice and progress lately. That’s because things have just been moving slowly but steadily lately with nothing earth-shattering to speak of. I’ve settled into a slightly less consistent practice schedule than last year (you can only practice every single day for so long). It’s pretty comfortable to practice after work every day and then take the weekends off.

That being said, I’ve had a little influx of cash coming my way between the stimulus check, an anniversary bonus at work and the tax return. So I’ve been looking at some new fiddle gear lately.

About Bows…

In particular, I was looking at bows. To be honest, the quality of your bow is almost more important than the quality of you fiddle (though having a good and well set up fiddle is very important). But as the sound and technique all come from the bow, having a well-balanced and easy to use bow is right up there.

I own three (usable) bows. My very first was a Christmas gift from Syn – it’s a carbon fiber Fiddlerman bow, and it has served me well for the 2+ years I’ve played with it. Seeing I’m still an early student, I’m not particularly rough on my bows yet. So it still has most of its hair, still has good buoyancy, and plays just fine.

I have a second carbon fiber bow that came with my Bunnel violin. I just never cared for the weight and balance of it. It’s also harder to tighten and loosen – it’s never felt right – so I keep it as a backup. I’ve used it a few times, but it doesn’t compare to my Fiddlerman bow.

I also have a wood bow that I picked up from Fiddlershop just out of curiosity of trying a wood bow. I got it on sale, and I don’t think this one is offered anymore at that price point. It’s a little heavier than my carbon fiber but also a nice bow for the price (under $100).

When looking at bows this time around, I considered some of the more expensive options. Even from the Fiddlershop, you can see that bows can vary in cost quite a bit – jumping from the hundreds to the thousands of dollars! I considered a more costly bow for a while, but then I got an email from Fiddlershop earlier this week…

Oooh… I thought. That snakewood frog (the frog is the name of the part of the bow where you grip) looks really sharp on a carbon fiber. I wonder what that would sound and feel like!

The cost was a little higher than the original carbon fiber, but seeing that I was curious, I liked how it looked, and I was of the bow-shopping mentality, this email hit right when and where it needed to.

My bows have served me well, but I was just reading up on how you should really be rehairing them every 6 months to a year for best playability. I’m sure this is more along the lines for the violinists who play a lot more than I do and are more rough on their bows – as I said, my bows are still in good condition and I’m not sure they’re in need of a rehair.

Even if they were, the cost of a rehair would be more than the cost of the bow originally. So it makes no sense to rehair when you can just replace it with a new bow and keep the old for a backup.

Still, I haven’t rewarded myself for consistently practicing in a while, and the cost of this bow wasn’t going to break the bank. So, I bought myself a new Fiddlerman carbon fiber bow with the snakewood frog.

Now, carbon fiber don’t generally have the same quality sound as a premium wood bow. But if you want a bow that’s durable, not susceptible to humidity and moisture, and that you can tote around without fear of breaking something that cost you twice as much… A good carbon fiber bow is a great investment that you’ll get a lot of mileage out of for the price.

Anyhow, I got my new bow yesterday, rosined it up and I’m quite pleased with it! It feels on par with the balance and weight of the original carbon fiber bow I’ve owned – so there’s not been much variation in make since I got my first bow two and a half years ago.

In fact, I don’t even think I need to say anything like “it’ll take me time to get use to this” because it feels so similar that I can just pick it up and play as normal. Or hopefully better than normal… I’m trying to get a little better every day!

Posted in Black Desert Online

BDO: Saying Farwell to Mystical Ellie’s Water Festival

Though achieving my first dream horse in BDO was the biggest excitement in Black Desert Online, I’ve actually put most of my time towards Mystical Ellie’s Water Festival the past two weeks. This was because of the fishing event at Terrmian Beach – the location of the festival – where you can fish up koi and golden sea perch.

Each koi is worth 500,00 silver and each sea perch is worth 10,000,000 silver. No typos.

Considering top gear and mounts in BDO can be in the billions of silver, this isn’t as much as it seems. But for a player who still hasn’t established a financial foundation just yet, I jumped on the event as quickly as possible.

I got there right after the server came up from maintenance, and actually saw when there were abundant fish at the festival fishing spot. It didn’t take long before people flocked in with horses and camps as far as the eye could see, lending a further festive feeling to the location.

I already really liked the place due to the lovely ocean view, rainbow fountains and capering baby elephants. The music there is pretty nice, too. So it’s been a good place to fish just for location.

It got crowded pretty quickly!

Needless to say, I had no idea how much of a money maker this would be for me. I went in with about 10 million silver on my character – oh how proud I was of that! – and at a lowly level of fishing.

Thanks to the 100% xp lifeskill boost, my fisher gal is now Artisan 4 and has made over 400 million silver from this event! I honestly don’t know exactly how much she’s made since some of the profit came in terms of crystal shards that went instantly to the warehouse storage – but seeing as that’s also 400 million silver or so, it’s been a good haul!

I did a few of the quest, in particular, the quest to get the elephant statue for my Grana mansion. My poor giant house is so empty that anytime furniture is offered, I’m seeking it out! I don’t even care what it is at this point. 🙂

Cute though!

Anyhow, today is the last day of the water festival, so I’m trying to make what I can of it while it’s still out there. I haven’t been able to keep up with all of the BDO events since so many seem to come and go, but this one was worth the time!

Now I have an artisan 4 fisher in my ranks with a number of new fishing titles I’ve earned, too! Once the event rolls off tomorrow, it’ll be back to training my horses again, which is just as exciting.

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Tower at Paradim’s Breach Alliance Raid

-No spoilers, just thoughts.-

I usually don’t run the new Alliance raid the week of release. I’m not sue why I did this time around, and I did it as a healer on the first try to boot – healer was my only job with a high enough ilvl at the time.

I’ve been slacking on gearing up this expansion… just call me a little tired of expert runs every day. Thank goodness for crafted battle gear you can buy off the marketboard! But… that’s neither her nor there.

Not only did I go in as healer but I went in mostly blind. As it was the day after the raid’s release, there weren’t any full guide videos at the time – the first one I saw was released the day after I first cleared it. And thankfully, I could watch that video before I ran it the second time on another character.

Most folks know my stance on Alliance raids by now and are probably tired of hearing it. Gone are the days of encouraging casual folks to do these raids and helping them get through. S/E has proven time and again that after Void Ark, Alliance raids are just not content for truly casual players – I’m talking folks who don’t have a strong grasp on how to pick up mechanics and respond to things quickly.

This raid was no exception. It’s learnable for sure, but a lot of things are not intuitive, no matter how much the raid bosses are designed to “teach” you mechanics through experience. The third boss, especially, left me in a state of “what just killed me?” pretty often until after I watched a video to better understand how the mechanics are put together.

Basically, I tell FC folks to watch a video rather than die a million deaths on this. I’m sure in a few weeks, things will settle down, but this first week has been a doozie.

Glamour… Rather Not

And the gear design this time around? Let’s just say, the main reason I ran Bunker as much as I did was to farm for the glamour. I even admired the gear from Factory enough to push through it several times.

On the flip-side, I find the gear this raid to be either mostly uninspired or just plain something I would never use. Not to mention, the male version of certain sets are just… awful (IMHO).

Example: Here’s the female aiming set – a shot taken from this video.

That top is alright and I could get behind it!

For the males….

What even happened here? Compared to the elegant female gear, this is awful unless you want a military-looking set for a bard or dancer (machinist could pull it off, maybe). And I don’t.

In fact, I got those pants above as my first drop and glamoured over them immediately. Just yuk.

Story? What…?

The main kicker for me, being someone who has not played Nier, is that the story just went down some crazy rabbit hole that I gave up trying to follow. You have a bunch of angry dwarves that are supposed to tie into this alien android plot and… the story just left me far behind in the series of quests between the second and third raids.

I got that there were good androids and bad androids, but we never got to know the good androids for long enough for me to feel anything for them by the end of the storyline. In fact, I don’t recall spending all that much time with them at all outside of the raids. I’m never paying much attention to NPCs and their chatter when mechanics are flying around during fights. Smack dab in the middle of a boss fight is the worst possible time for a game to try to make me connect to characters!

So it really felt as if the story was certainly trying to connect to the folks who already cared about these characters through Neir. And not so much to anyone who had no clue as to why we should be caring about these characters in FFXIV.

I know that I’m not the only one who didn’t “get it.” There was a post on Reddit, which apparently got removed (huh), that discussed disappointment with the raid storyline. Though the original post isn’t in tact, the follow-up comments nail a lot of my feelings on this.

Pretty much this… -source linked-

I knew going into this raid series that the concepts and aesthetics for Neir generally don’t appeal to me (I will say that I do have it free on the Xbox Game Pass, so I might still try it to see if it changes my mind). The one thing that folks who enjoy Neir say is the story is amazing – and I’m all about story.

So maybe that’s why I was disappointed that there really wasn’t anything all that gripping, thoughtful or mind-bending about the raid story itself. The boss designs were meant to make you go “huh,” of course. But I was expecting something deep and engrossing when it came to the plot.

Of course, there’s these follow-up weekly dwarf quests that we’re getting that might help explain some of this(?) I plan on doing them to see what I can learn, but I hope it’s worth the annoyance of the game sending me back into the Factory or Bunker to run around and pick up trashed technology for the fifth or sixth time.

I know this sounds like a relatively negative post and I’m sorry for that – I hope that for whomever this raid is geared toward, you had fun with it. I’ll continue to run it on my healer mostly because this is the most challenging content I’ve attempted during my healer practice, and I have a lot still left to learn. Plus, even if I think the gear is ugly, it’s still an upgrade for my bard and I can always glamour over it.