Posted in Gaming

Secret World Legends: Rocky Start

I actually got into the final round of closed beta for Secret World Legends, like three days before they opened it up to all veteran players. I feel special. :p

I didn’t play the beta much at all because I’ve done most of this before, honestly, and I knew I would be moving over my account and making a real character soon enough. I was right about this, but SWL couldn’t have come at a worse time for me. I’m completely immersed in FFXIV: Stormblood right now, and my experiences with SWL have been rocky, to describe it kindly.

While The Secret World was not my main MMO, I was there on launch day and did buy into a lifetime package shortly after the game came out. This has served me well, giving me more credits than I could ever use, mostly which I used to purchase new issues as they came out. I’ve never played any of those issues, yet. Turns out that seemed like a good idea at the time, but with the shift to SWL, all that’ll be free anyhow. Ah well.

I never got very far into TSW — just to Transylvania. It was always one of those MMOs I championed for story, but had to be in the right mood to play. I usually got the itch to go back to Kingsmouth around Halloween time. But I will proudly say that though I knew nothing about making a proper build in that game, I did complete Blue Mountain back before they nerfed it!

Patcher Problems

So, when I read about the account transfer, I knew I had a whole bunch of credits in The Secret World I hadn’t spent yet. If I was going to get a one-time item transfer to SWL, I decided I was going to log into TSW first, and go on a shopping spree.

The only problem was, when I launched The Secret World, the launcher suddenly updated itself and turned that install into Secret World Legends without any warning! I had no idea what was going on, or how to fix it, and the new game had already started patching over the old.

I was miffed. This was not the way to handle a situation that was already somewhat delicate. There are many long-time TSW players who are not happy about the whole SWL thing to begin with. And now, for whatever reason, Funcom just rubbed some salt into that wound, auto-forcing their beloved old game to change into the new one that they may or may not want.

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Kinda like this Templar invitation.

I already had a separate install of TSW on my computer, and by the time I realized what happened, the download was too far along to stop it. So I had to completely uninstall and reinstall The Secret World. This took the whole night, so no transfer for me.

Yet More Issues

Once I finally did get in to TSW and bought all the pets and cosmetics I could, I proceeded with the account transfer. This seems to have gone correctly… at least, according to the website. Except, once I re-created my character, keeping her as close to the original as possible, I didn’t see any of my stuff from the old game.

I logged in looking for only that — confirmation that my stuff had transferred. Days later, I still have no idea if any of it did or not.

I read that you are supposed to get something in your inventory that unlocks all the stuff. I didn’t see anything like that. I decided maybe I wouldn’t get it until after the tutorial was over with.

So…

Problem #1: I can’t confirm if my stuff transferred from TSW yet.

Problem #2: These tutorials are going on forever.

I get that they want to walk new players through all the possible side-quest types. But man… I get thrown into a cutscene, then into a graveyard, then into some fragmented raid-something-something that I was familiar with, but would have been extremely confused by if I were a totally new player. Then more cutscenes. Then London. And now that Tokyo scenario that TSW used to start with. I’m still not out of cutscenes.

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What even is this and why is this in the tutorial?

I’ve logged off twice during this whole endless tutorial thing, and shoved it all aside for a few days. I feel it’s more confusing to a new player than anything else.

And I still can’t find my stuff!

Problem #3: This game performs very poorly on my computer.

It’s like I’m watching cutscenes and moving around in the world underwater. It’s not exactly lag… it’s just that everything… I don’t even know how to explain it. Moves soooo slowly… and I know that’s not how it’s supposed to look. I never had this issue with TSW, and it’s not exactly the most optimized game, either.

I lowered all my graphics settings to nothing, which I never have to do on any game I play. That hardly helped.

I wondered if it was because I was trying to play in windowed mode. I much prefer windowed mode for gaming because I tend to have other things going on that may require me to hop out of a game or respond in another window.

I hate being forced into full screen, but I switched to see if that was the issue. That didn’t help either! In fact, I started having issues where I couldn’t interact with the UI because for some odd reason, the game thought my mouse was somewhere it wasn’t… or something weird like that.

That’s where I closed the game a second time. It’s pretty much unplayable for me.

And I still don’t know if my stuff transferred! So frustrating!

Can anyone confirm at what point they actually got their transferred stuff and the method they received it? That’s really, at this point, all I care about.

PS: I don’t like the new battle system, either. The original battle system wasn’t great, but I’m not a fan of the “action” RPG type game that locks your mouse down unless you press the Alt key.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Stormblood Location, Nostalgia and Inspiration

Warning: May Contain Mild Spoilers for FFXIV Stormblood.

I spent way too many hours logged into FFXIV this weekend, to the point my poor eyes were aching from strain. This was partially because Stormblood has been a captivating experience, and partially because Syn and I were working to get through as much story as we could before she was away on yet another business trip.

Between Friday and Saturday, we made a lot of progress. We knocked out the second dungeon, grappled with the first primal, unlocked flying in two zones, and reached the Steppes. I know we have another dungeon facing us in the storyline soon, as well.

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Sometime late Saturday afternoon, story did finally catch up with my levels, and I needed to hit 65 in order to continue. A couple daily roulettes took care of that, though. Yesterday, through a combination of leveling roulette and a few rounds of PvP, I got my Red Mage to level 66…. so I’m hoping that by the time Syn gets back to do story again, I’ll be at or close to 67, and ready to tackle story with no more interruptions.

I’ve also been working on leveling my gathering jobs, mostly through daily turn-ins. Fishing is lagging behind, but Miner and Botanist are getting close to level 64. I also got both my retainers set up for level 61 gathering ventures.

Story & Location

Overall, the Stormblood story has been a pretty solid one, and an experience I’ve been enjoying. There was one little point in Yanxia that I felt a companion was acting out of character, and that my own character was forced into making a choice I wouldn’t have made if given an option… but that’s a minor thing, really, as long as we don’t see a lot more of that.

It was pretty obvious the writers were pushing the story to get us to a specific situation, and once we got to the Steppes, all was forgiven. This is mostly because these last two zones are practically oozing great atmosphere. The design team really nailed it, and the music is superb.

I love Yanxia for feeling exactly like I expected from a Far East experience. The zone’s design, coupled with music that felt pulled straight out of a traditional folk song, make the place a joy to explore.

The Steppes, however, speak to me on a whole different level. Where Yanxia felt somewhat like an enclosed, secret oriental grove, the Steppes became this sprawling plain of tribal culture and mystery. And oh my gosh, the music there!

I was totally channeling the Au Ra culture, and fascinated with the worldbuilding there. It kinda makes me sad that I love my kitty so much… I wish there was something as colorful and interesting for Miquo’te as the Au Ra. I mean, I guess there’s that tribe down in the desert, but… let’s just say, it doesn’t give me the same vibes as the love and attention the Au Ra are getting on the Steppes.

And, then, when you go to meet a key figure on the Steppes, the theme song of pure nostalgia hits you square in the face. I was grinning ear to ear, totally geeking out. FFXIV truly does its tributes to classic Final Fantasy games well.

RP Inspiration

All of this has served to strengthen my desire to get some RP stories off the ground. Earlier, I struggled with how to RP a character that used my own name, and while I tried to spin up something for her, it never felt right. Also, with the coming of Stormblood, there’s no way I’m going to sit through the overpopulated queues on Balmung to log in to document a little bit more story.

(Some fiction writer rambling about to happen, please feel free to skip if this bores you.)

Honestly, the character I’ve wanted to bring into Eorzea has always been Ben. I’ve actually rolled him several times with all intentions to do just that over the past years. Seeing that he’s a dimension hopper from a FF world, and alternate dimensions have been confirmed by FFXIV lore, it would all fit well. It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything from his point of view, so it would be nice to visit with an old figment.

However, the issue always came up that Ben is already an established mage in his dimension, and one who can usually figure out the flow of energies fairly quickly. Dropping him into Eorzea and telling him that he knows nothing more than Ice 1 (when he’s usually a fire mage) was always something that bothered me.

Also, the dark lore around Black Mages (heck, and White Mages) was never very suitable for his character. I could see him backing very slowly away from that strange group of Lalafell who preside over the Thaumaturge guild. On top of that, to unlock Black Mage, you used to have to level Archer to 15… and… well… that didn’t make a lot of sense and it wasn’t fitting to Ben’s character at all.

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Basically, I just wanted to document the story in fiction format, and not have to deal with all the leveling and gear restraints. Also, Red Mage is far more suitable a job for Ben in style and temperament than Black Mage. But you can’t start Red Mage until you’re already level 50 in an existing job.

Well. Ben reading a certain Tales of Adventure took care of all those problems. 😉

Now I just have to figure out how to organize the project. I’d like to make it so that I can write from the point of view of any of my Wayrift characters, since I do have a number of them in FFXIV. I’m just hoping to get back into the swing of fiction writing for fun, because I do it so little anymore, and that’s sad.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Under the Sea

Warning: Mild Spoilers for FFXIV Stormblood.

So after a few scuffles and misunderstandings in Kugane, we finally got out of the city and into the Ruby Sea. I was itching to get out and unlock a new zone, especially since I want more options for my gathering jobs, and I was looking forward to progressing to new areas.

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While the zone itself has some interesting areas, inhabitants and unfolding story, I have to admit that one of  the features I’ve looked forward to is diving (and eventually spearfishing).

Swimming in MMOs… has rarely been one of my favorite things, and underwater battle rarely takes full advantage of what it could be (GW2, I’m looking at you). I’m not much of a swimmer IRL, so I hate games that have a breath meter and drowning as a mechanic. Thankfully, FFXIV gets around this with a neat questline and Ninja Turtle ritual.

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And now, I can happily swim under water with no fear of drowning ever again! Not only that, but we get to ride cool (temporary) mounts.

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Along with cities on floating islands (which they’ve already done), underwater dome cities are another one of my fantasy favorites. So I’ve been in a happy spot seeing sights like this.

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I reached level 63 RDM just before the quests started asking for the level, so I still feel like I need to be working on some PvP or something on the side. We’ve been hitting up FATEs as we find them, but not doing many of the side quests yet… until Amoon mentioned that some of those side quests leads to Aether Currents (doh).

I wanted to save some of the content for my second job, but I guess it doesn’t really matter in the end. The content and leveling will all get done one way or another.

I have an itching feeling we’re creeping up on another dungeon or our first primal, though. So, I’ll see where the story carries us tonight.

Other than that, my Squads have dutifully brought back enough Crafter Scrips for me to buy the last Master IV crafter book that I needed. I still need to go back and work on the Master II books I don’t have yet, and maybe work on some of my desynthing, which I haven’t touched in a long time.

I’ve not touched my crafters at all yet, since I only just got to Kugane last night, where the leves are located. But I have already spent some time looking at the leves, the materials required, and the guides players are making for leveling. It’s on my mind, I just haven’t sat down and organized things for it.

And then there’s this little guy…

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Thanks to Reddit, I have a good idea how to get this minion. I just have to get my retainers the gear to do it. That’s going to be a work in progress this weekend.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Arriving in Kugane

Warning: Mild Spoilers for FFXIV Stormblood.

I’m still behind on story at this point, so I don’t know how much of a spoiler this will be to those who are dedicated to getting the expansion done. We got a good chunk of story completed last night, though, and I finally got to see Kugane is person for the first time.

My instinct was correct in thinking that after a defeat in Rhalgr’s Reach we’d be heading off to far away lands to find help from our companions. It makes sense to rally forces on both sides of the Empire to make a push, especially when it’s obvious that taking the enemy alone is not a good or feasible  plan.

This required a long boat ride (and a short Aetheryte warp once attuned), which was interrupted by the first dungeon of the expansion, Sirensong Sea.

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Syn and I went in blind with a PUG, and despite having a rushing tank, didn’t have any problem dealing with it. There’s some mild boss mechanics, but nothing harrowing, and the location was pretty interesting overall.

Once that was cleared, we finally earned our way to the first big city, Kugane.

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Here, we were greeted by rather dubious new company and an interesting twist of circumstance. We were given the grand tour, took some time to explore the city and attune, and checked out the housing plots.

Overall, Kugane may be the most impressive city I’ve experienced in FFXIV so far. Ishgard was pretty big, but it was also divided into zones, like the ARR cities. It was also rather confusing to navigate in some areas.

Kugane feels just as vast, maybe because of the vertical building, is much more colorful than the snowy Ishgard, and has a great sense of atmosphere. It also has a good layout with a nice central marketplace, and a great spot for crafters to work on leves. I am looking forward to doing some leves here soon!

While our quests haven’t taken us out to the Ruby Sea just yet, we’re moving that direction. Instead, we spent some time running a Leveling Roulette, which netted me a much-needed level 62 Red Mage. I’m a tad concerned about falling behind on levels for the MSQ… but I guess I can just PvP if that ever happens.

Oh, and Alphinaud is a better artist than I am…

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Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Red Mage Main – Level 61 Ding!

It feels like it’s been a long road from 50 to 61, but finally, my Red Mage is on level to where I left off with my Bard. I didn’t go very far into the story because I wanted to use Red Mage as my main for the MSQ, and also because Syn was out of town for work, and I’d like to duo the story with her.

The story roadblock kept us from getting very far over the time we did have this weekend… but despite being behind most my FC, it might turn out to be a good thing. This way, I don’t have to keep playing catch up with my Red Mage, which is the job I want to main for sure.

I thought I was going to spend all weekend in the PotD for leveling, but that really didn’t happen. I did run a few 51-60 floors, but for the most part, doing Leveling Roulette, daily Beast Tribes, daily hunts, and a bunch of PvP got me through.

I had so many various ways to make it that, while I didn’t do it in a day or anything, I never really felt bored by repetition. FFXIV now has a pretty good spread of leveling options… I just need to finish getting my last few jobs up to 60 to call that a done deal. 🙂

I haven’t really put together a glamour for her yet — I just picked the Augmented Cashmere Robe of Casting I’ve had on hand due to the neat particle effects and glamoured my easily-bought Augmented Shire Rapier with the CE Chicken Knife cosmetic.

I took a look at all the neat primal rapier glamours, and I’m especially taken with the Manipulative Moggle Mogfoil (less for the moogle, but more for the neat music note particle effects). However, while I have the recipe to craft it myself, the materials aren’t cheap, and neither is the blade on the marketboard. I don’t have 5 mil to my name, and certainly not to spare for glamour, no matter how cool it is.

Maybe one day.

Making Stormblood Progress

(Story talk follows, only mild spoilers.)

Syn did have a little time and a decent enough hotel internet connection last night to work on some of the story with me. Up until now, nothing much had happened around Rhalgr’s Reach aside from us just helping out NPCs and gaining their trust. Well, that changed pretty epically.

We made it through the second point that was a story roadblock for players over the weekend, an instance that you entered by talking to Pippin. I can certainly see how this complex instance (which I didn’t fully expect) could have hung up the servers. It was much longer than the previous one, and had a ton of cutscenes and action.

I won’t give away too much, but I’m pleased with how Stormblood has set up an antagonist that’s a true threat to the Warrior of Light. Especially after the disappointment that was the Warrior of Darkness. After so many major successes, and thinking she’s so powerful, my character just got schooled in a one-on-one.

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I like it. Even if she doesn’t.

The Empire isn’t something to mess around with before you understand what it is. This has made it very clear. The team has lost valuable people and resources, so I’m going to assume this is where we reach out to Doma for help.

I’ll hopefully see soon enough!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: PSA – Frontlines PvP is Fun and Fast Leveling

Here’s something I never thought I’d write: Frontlines PvP is fun. It’s also a fast and low stress experience.

Alright. The sky is falling now.

The one good thing that happened during the great Raubahn block this weekend was that it nudged people in my FC to look into alternate ways of leveling. MSQ was a no-go, and one could only run FATEs and PotD so much. That’s when someone noted that Frontlines, with all its changes for 4.0, is a good alternative.

At first I was Noping right out of that. But the Posse gave it a try, and came back with good reports. So, I decided to try it. And while I won’t say I’m addicted to it (like Vix is), consider me pleasantly surprised.

Casual PvP

My experience with PvP stems back to two games. I first tried to PvP (poorly) as a Witch Hunter in Warhammer Online. And then, I did some casual PvP in the Moors in LOTRO with the Posse years ago. And… that’s it.

However, I’d consider Frontlines to PvP what Crystal Tower is to Alliance Raids – something low-stress, quick to pick up, and easy to do.

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The cool thing about Frontlines is whether you win or lose, you get rewarded. Of course, the reward is better if you win. But losing isn’t a big deal, and the experience is still really good for the time it takes (matches are quick, usually about 10-15 mins). Queues are really short (a few mins), and it doesn’t matter which Grand Company or job you’re using.

I also like how the PvP skill bars are consolidated versions of outside skills — this reminds me a lot of what Guild Wars does. What’s super cool is that when you use a skill, depending on which one it is, it sometimes turns into a follow up skill. So all your combos are on one button, which really keeps things easy and fast. I don’t think I’ve seen this done in a game I’ve played before, and I was impressed by the idea.

How It Works

I’ve only played the Fields of Glory (Shatter) so far, as that seems to be the one that’s most popular. After unlocking it, it becomes part of the PvP section on your Duty Finder, and you enter it just the same as any other duty.

This is a 72-man deal, so you’re running with an Alliance of 24 others, representing one Grand Company. The basic idea is to score points for your GC.

You do that primarily by doing damage to crystals, known as “ice.” There’s small ice and then there’s big ice. Big ice, obviously is worth more points to damage than small.

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Ice, ice baby. (sorry)

I like the idea of ice mostly because it prevents turtling. It puts pressure points on the map that all teams want to take, and PvP happens naturally over the course of the match.

Killing other players, while satisfying, is not as lucrative as destroying ice. Taking a base is helpful, too, but also not as good as destroying ice. Dying only has minimal impact on your team’s score, so there’s really not a ton of pressure. Just do your best to support your team and everyone will get a reward when its done.

Other Thoughts

I’m really not so great at PvP with Red Mage, but that’s what I need to level, so that’s what I’ve been using. I tried once with Bard, and I know that’s much more my playstyle — I like the mobility to it.

However, despite not being practiced and not on a class I’d normally choose, I’ve gotten the triangle icon that indicates “Battle High” a few times. Reading the guide, I discovered that meant I’d killed 4 players consecutively. Have no idea how.

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Proof!

I can foresee myself continuing to use this as a supplement to leveling in the future. I’m even working on a set of the Garo armor, and possibly may be shooting for the mounts somewhere down the line.

tl;dr: If I can do PvP, and I don’t think it’s too bad, it’s probably not too bad. Give it a shot if you need a change of pace and see if you like it!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Stormblood Tidbits

I have a bunch of little things that I wanted to mention, but don’t really have a place for them. They’re too short to have their own posts, so here they are as quickie tidbits.

Tai’s New Hair

I knew from the benchmark that I would be changing Tai’s hair for Stormblood (as seen above). I did play him past the first story roadblock last night, and I got him some fairly nice Dragoon armor.

However, I just don’t know if I have the interest in playing Dragoon beyond this point. The more I read about the changes to it, the less I want to play it. I did start unlocking Samurai for him, but I’m way too focused on playing Red Mage to want to work on it.

This may be the point where I end up retiring Tai for good. I’m much too involved in Red Mage, and I really don’t have the energy to keep up a second alt. I won’t set this in stone, but it’s my general feeling right now.

FATEs Have Returned

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I was so excited to see people running FATEs in both Heavensward and Stormblood areas. I’m happy for the perks the new FATEs have, and glad that they’re getting a bit of a boost to encourage people to play them again.

I took part in some of the early Heavensward FATE parties while leveling my Red Mage, just for old time’s sake. It didn’t take me long to out level that area, though, but it was fun to see soooooo many people out there on Friday.

Hunts Have Returned

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Buying mount speed upgrades requires hunt seals. Hunts also give good experience for level 50-60 characters. So I’ve been back out there doing my daily hunts and Beast Tribe quests again.

Above, I saw Void Ark in the Sea of Clouds while on a hunt. I always screenshot Void Ark.

Fokelore Books

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I finished my weekly gathering turn-ins only to be shocked with the fact that the cost of Heavensward Fokelore books have been halved. I was only hoping to buy the final Botany book I needed, and ended up buying one of the Fishing books, too.

It seems there are also new Fokelore books for Stormblood at the same price. I’ll be working on those, and the final Master IV crafter book I need to get.

Leveling Gatherers

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I’ve also been back on the leveling boat for my gatherers. Doing the GC daily turn-ins will see me reach 62 tonight on miner and botanist. Fisher is a little slower, however.

I haven’t been putting full focus on this, but I am working on it as time allows.

Free Company Participation

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Our FC participation this weekend has exploded! We reached an all-time high of 51 people logged in at the same time. Boy has it been busy. I screenshotted above where we had 50 folks online, but then, later we broke that record. 😀

It’s been a pretty incredible weekend, crashes and issues aside. Looking forward to this week!