bookmark_borderFFXIV: Free Company Housing Get

ffxiv_05282014_224930After working so hard on my relic quest for Zuri, I’ve slowed down a good bit in FFXIV. I do my beastman dailies, and the occasional dungeon or Brayflox run for myth. I ensure I get my ventures checked and do my challenge logs weekly. I’ve been leveling Paladin as a second job on Tai. But I haven’t been breaking my neck to get it all done, and it’s been fun.

One thing I haven’t talked a lot about here is our Free Company, Knights of Memory («Guard») on Midgardsormr. Syn and I have migrated FCs a few times looking for something that would be a good fit for our more casual playstyles.  We ended up meeting this group by accident, and I’ve been pretty pleased. We were there for the guild’s founding, nearly a month ago, have worked to get the guild to Rank 7, helped with the housing fund, and have finally achieved the purchase of a small FC house last night.

Let me tell you, this is no little thing for a group of players who are (for the most part) fairly newish to the game in a FC that is also fairly newish. The cost of FC housing in FFXIV is pretty insane, even for the smallest plots — ours cost us nearly 2 million gil.

It seems that so much emphasis is placed on the initial cost of the plots (since they’re so expensive), that it’s easy to overlook the additional (somewhat hidden) cost of the house building permit itself — another half a million gil! It’s a sad FC that buys the plot only to discover they need to fork over even more just to put the house on it! 🙁

While I like our house, am proud of our accomplishment, and think there’s lots we can do with it, for the price paid, I feel like it’s a tad too small. I can’t imagine what it was like before they granted a basement to the small houses, and they were only one room! IMHO, they should add an upper story as well, and all would be good.

I’m somewhat on the fence about what I feel about FC housing in FFXIV. I’m all for putting a goal out there for your FC to reach for. Making housing a group effort, which was fairly obtainable for us, is a good thing. We also value it greatly due to the time and effort that went into reaching the rank and obtaining the gil to buy it.

On the other hand. Dang. That thing is expensive! 

I sure hope that personal housing is a bit more reasonable.

Fun in the Citadel of Memory

bookmark_borderSims 3: Upping My Game

sims3logoRight on the edge of official announcements for the upcoming release of Sims 4, I find myself lately rediscovering Sims 3 in ways I never have before. This is mostly due to finding the community of Sims folks who share experiences and content through Tumblr. These people often call themselves Simblrs, and the Simblr tag is an amazing array of story, images, downloads and all things that makes a game like Sims 3 flourish.

I look at their amazing fashion and screenshots, look at my paltry images for Time Travel Tuesdays, and knew instantly I’ve been doing it wrong. However, it took me the better part of weeks to learn what they have that I don’t. Most of those are mods.

Before I work through this list of discovered mods and methods, I’d like to note that I have a fairly new and powerful computer that has no issue running Sims at highest settings, even with HD mods. Not everyone can do this, and it’s only something I suggest if your hardware can handle it.

Modding Madness

After lurking around the Simblr tag for a while, I discovered much of the beauty of their work comes from a combination of mods, custom content, poses and photoshop work. I wanted to gather a list of Sims 3 mods that have really made the difference in my game and screenshot quality.

NRaas – I’m going to throw this out there at the top of the list as mods I’ve known and used for years, and simply can’t play without. Especially Master Controller, Overwatch and Story Progression. To some, it may be cheating, but to me, it gives me the flexibility to alter the game in ways that makes it more fun for me. Plus, when glitches arise, these mods can help reset stuck Sims and restore lost Sims.

simphotoHQ Mod – This is the biggie, the High Quality mod that makes all the difference. This is not something you should run constantly unless your computer can handle it. But if you want beautiful screens of high quality sims, this is what you’re looking for. Here’s a wonderful tutorial that got me started.

Base Skins – There’s not much point in making your sims look high quality if you’re using the sub-par default skins. There’s lots of talented people who create beautiful skin blends that you can download and install. I’ve started to use You Are Real as my default and let me tell you… the quality of my sims’ appearance has improved greatly. You just don’t know until you see it! There’s tons of skins to pick from, and many Simblrs create their own, or list their favorite skins in a CC or Downloads section. Pick some that you love!

Lighting Mods – There are some breathtaking Sims 3 landscape shots as well. I thought that maybe some of it was heavily filtered in Photoshop until I discovered much of it comes from installed lighting mods. Again, the difference it makes is astounding! I chose Perfect Day, created by Tumblr user brntwaffles. You can find a ton of options to download there, or search around for other lighting mods online.

Poses – Sim folks also create custom poses that freeze your sims and allows you to take photos of them in an environment or a photo backdrop. You install these poses just like any other custom content, and must install the Pose Player mod to use them. To make it much simpler, I also installed the Pose Player Interaction Add-On, which allows you to launch poses from the Sim itself, rather than the Pose Player object. Again, you can find poses created by the community — there are tons to install!

Camera Mod – Now you have the poses, let’s get that camera lined up the way you like! Shimrod’s Camera Mod with brntwaffle’s low level zoom is amazing for getting all the shots you need!

Custom Content

Custom content (CC) is another huge part of upping your game. I know some folks only like to play vanilla Sims 3 for fear of the glitches CC causes. This is true — anytime you introduce mods and CC into your game, you risk something being incompatible or glitching. But there’s some truly lovely clothes, skins, poses, worlds and lots that you can add to your game which will make it all the more fun.

Sims 3 cityscape taken with lighting mods.
Sims 3 cityscape taken with lighting mods.

Finding CC – You’ll find that as you start looking for CC, it’s everywhere! You can go to Mod the Sims, The Sims Resource, or a variety of websites that talented creators set up for their downloads. Lately, I’ve been on an indie kick. A lot of Simblrs don’t rely on the big sites to display their gifts and newest work. You can find some of the best things highlighted at the My Sims 3 Blog — it has an amazing daily stream of beautiful content. I really don’t know how they do it!

CC Magic – Then comes the problem of having too much CC. The more you add, the slower your game will launch — just makes sense. I’ve been experimenting with CC Magic, which not only helps you organize new and old CC downloads, but compresses them and helps your game load faster. I just started using this, and haven’t found any issues with it so far, so I wanted to offer it as a possible option for helping folks with huge libraries. This tutorial and this tutorial may be helpful.


With The Sims 4 launching (hopefully) sometime this year, the content and mods for The Sims 3 have come to an amazing height. It’s going to take the community quite a while to figure out Sims 4 to the point where they can create custom content of this depth. I saw the same happen when Sims 3 was launched — Simmers complained about how little content there was in comparison to Sims 2. 😀

So even though new gaming experiences are on the horizon, this is a wonderful time to get back into playing Sims 3. The game is at its peak, and content from the community just keeps coming. I know that I’m having fun with my sims in ways I would have never imagined back when this game first released (and I remember getting it on release day!).


bookmark_borderGW2 vs. Zerg at Crown Pavilion



Rant time warning! 

As I posted last week, my interest in GW2 has been rekindled a bit with the announcement of yesterday’s update – The Festival of the Four Winds. It was nice to see the (short) interactions between Ellen and the Zephyrite elder, as well as the NPC heroes from the previous Living Story. It’s been stated that this is mostly a festival update, so I didn’t expect a lot of story here. It was just enough to give the players an update on what’s happening with the Lion’s Arch restoration and point us towards the two festivals at the Bazaar and the Pavilion.

That’s where the trouble begins.

Anet Fights the Zerg (And the Zerg Loses?)

Anet has done a lot to try and fight the zerg mentality that permeates much of the GW2 community. I’m not sure what they think is going to happen when they throw everyone in megaservers (in order to… you know… increase population per instance), while trying to discourage people from playing together in large groups. It doesn’t quite make sense.

First thing’s first — they eliminated the champ trains that were chugging along in the low level areas. I never took part in the champ trains (missed opportunity?), but I’m actually all for this change. The newbie area is not the place for highlevel character rampages. The fact that people were chewed out by the train for activating champ battles when the train wasn’t there, and that they dictated the flow of events across the whole zone was just not right.

Not only did this teach new players the wrong way to approach GW2, but it also created a toxic environment for newcomers straight out of the gate. Not the kind of thing Anet wanted, I’m sure. And that’s only fair.

But then, they start messing with other things, such as the Crown Pavilion. That’s where my grump comes in.

Changes to the Crown Pavilion


I’d like to argue that a little bit of zerg isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, I enjoy zerging from time to time, as long as there’s a balance of content to do. In my mind, that’s what the original Crown Pavilion was for. On the lower level, the zerg had their fun by stomping randomly spawning bosses and picking up loot from daily chests and boss drops.

On the upper level, those who wanted challenge and tactics could try their mettle against the tougher bosses one on one. While I have no interest in the gauntlet at all, I totally enjoyed running around the Pavilion, bringing my lowbie mesmer alt in to level him. I’m pretty sure I spent hours there, scoring decent drops and cash, and leveling him a good 10+ levels the first time around.

I picked up the very same mesmer (who I haven’t leveled much since then) and headed back to the Pavilion yesterday with high hopes. Only to see the mess that’s been made of the bosses on the lower level.

This has now become a tactical event that you have to pay to launch. All bosses spawn at one time, with the idea that everyone on the map should break into little groups to take on the bosses within a certain amount of time. This wins the higher prize… I guess. I don’t know. I never saw it.

This… did not work.

Instead, you get folks zerging a single boss, which ramps them up to incredible difficulties, and utterly destroys any enjoyment I had in the original version of the Pavilion. Not only that, but bosses are now gimmicky with their own little tactics you have to figure out in order to beat them. Some of those gimmicks weren’t readily apparent — when you see a healing turret, yes, you kill it. But what the heck am I supposed to do with piles of bird seed?

A common view for me last night. Stupid centaurs!

Tip: If you’re going to put tactics in the fight, don’t make it so I need to read a boss guide before coming to the supposedly “fun” event just to know how to live through the fight. That’s not fun.

So, instead of having a well-organized  approach to a 7 minute event and earning gold… my instance had a zerg mess that took over 20 minutes to down Boom Boom Baines alone. I spent over two hours there to complete my boss achievements and only saw the event completed twice. Both times, it was well outside the time limit, and the rewards you get were crappy. Bosses and enemies no longer drop any loot, and there’s no daily treasure chests anymore. So, if your instance doesn’t finish gold or silver, it’s honestly not even worth the time.

And the frustration? If I wasn’t getting trampled by (unavoidable?) herds of centaur, I was getting my face ripped off by birds with retaliation. Half the time, I didn’t know what was killing me! I was heard saying repeatedly, “What? This is just stupid!” I gained all of 2 levels in that time… and for the frustration I earned, I should have just spent it doing personal story for the same amount of experience and probably better drops.

I got my boss achievements, didn’t stick around for the lesser achievements, and logged off to work on less stressful character advancement in FFXIV. I have a feeling you won’t see people sticking around once achievements are done. A lot of folks were already leaving last night out of frustration.

Who’s to Blame?

I’m not placing the blame on the folks who tried to zerg it. I was there to zerg it, too. In this situation, I don’t think it was a bad thing. It was supposed to be a fun, care-free event where you melt down bosses for loot. Right?

Sad Zerg is Sad

I honestly do understand what Anet is trying to do with introducing tactics and incentive to organize in the Pavilion. But unlike Escape from Lion’s Arch, this doesn’t have a good blend of content for those who enjoy a bit of zerg and loot, while mixing it up with a bit of organization to get the best rewards. That was a win-win (and a nice place to level alts).

Instead, zerging in this event means everyone just loses.

Realistically? Anet has this expectation that the average player can (and wants to) work in an organized setting. Only, by design, GW2 just mashes a lot of disconnected people together into now random servers… and hopes that they somehow communicate and connect? In our instance, we were lucky to have a single commander to lead the flow of battle. It’s only natural that when there’s a single tag visible on the map, people follow that one tag.

In my experience last night, it’s not happening. I hope Anet realizes it’s not happening. If they don’t get it, I really hate to think what’s going to become of other fun zerg events, such as the Mad King’s Labyrinth this year.

End Rant

This was the patch that I hoped would bring me back to GW2. So far, the Pavilion is the only thing I’ve attempted, and I was not pleased. I’m holding out hope that the Bazarr, which I also loved the first time it came, will help ease last night’s frustration. Sadly, I heard they nerfed the event level down to 16… which means no alt leveling happening there, either. Another set of group events that I enjoyed kicked to oblivion. *sigh*


bookmark_borderSims 4 is on the Horizon – Here’s a Video to Prove It!



I was first introduced to The Sims back in my early college years, when I was working at EB Games. A co-worker started going on and on about this great new game, the idea of a household simulation instantly taking my interest. I’d played Sim City and such before, so I knew Maxis put out good games. I wasted no time in bringing this one home and now, several game generations and all expansion packs later (I don’t do stuff packs), I can still pop in a Sims game and have fun.

The Sims 4 is on the horizon. We’ve been getting trickles of information here and there, though the launch date was pushed back to fall of 2014. Every time they release a new version of The Sims, it’s hard to think of things that could improve above and beyond the current version (aside from faster load times).

The newest video, highlighting Sim creation, shows a lot of promise.

The scuplty-type creation tools are very nice, and remind me a a far more advanced version of Spore’s tools. It’s nice to dump the sliders and be able to interact directly with a Sim to shape them the way you want.

I also took note of the small look at house building at the end. I know that it’s been confirmed that you can pick up and move whole rooms in Sims 4, with all the items included. This was a feature I saw back in Sims Social. And while that game no longer exists, I thought it was an excellent feature, and I’m happy Sims 4 will pick it up.

I’m keeping my eye on the news and developments for this game. In the meantime… I’ve just got an itch to pick up Sims 3 for a while.


bookmark_borderJust Not Feeling the Hype: ESO & WildStar

hypetrainThe last major MMO I’ve felt hyped up about was Guild Wars 2. And that was… two years ago. Man, was I super hyped about that game! I launched a fan Tumblr, made lots of GW2 friends even before the game was released, set up everything for the little guild I was launching, introduced friends and family, co-oridnated servers for release night, and was in game before midnight on the night of pre-release, capturing all the names I wanted to use.

It was an amazing time and a great feeling to have something to be excited about. And that excitement carried through all the beta weekends and stress tests and months into playing the game after release. (I long for the days when I felt GW2 could do no wrong… but that’s another story.)

I enjoy being hyped up about a game, I won’t lie. But I’ve also become more attuned to my own tastes over the years, and a bit more sensitive to design and story elements in games when I test them out. Gone are the days when every new MMO release was a hype train for me. There’s just too many games and not enough time.

No Modern Motivation

I guess you can say I’m a bit disappointed that all the shiny and new (ESO & WildStar) just aren’t pushing the right buttons for me. I have enough games to play already, but I’m always open to trying something different. I love being whisked away to new worlds, rolling new characters, and experiencing new places and stories. I love sharing the fresh and new game feeling with everyone else at launch — there’s nothing quite like it! I’m not an end game player or raider, so a game holds on to me through the journey and exploration. Being a casual player, this journey often takes me far longer to complete than most folks… if I reach level cap at all. I own several MMOs where I’ve not even come close to level cap, even after playing on and off for 5+ years!

So, I’m sad to say that neither ESO nor WildStar really hit it off with me. Sure, my experiences with the games were limited to betas. However, while games can and do grow beyond their beta state (I tend to see about year 2 of a MMO as the point they begin to mature), the base of the story, world and feel of the game should already be well represented at that point.

I was very glad that beta was available for both games. I was able to judge them and come to terms with the fact that neither game was for me.

ESO Woes

About as hyped as this logo.

I knew people who were quite hyped for ESO for different reasons. I wanted to be, too.

But when I actually played it, I knew it was lacking in the things that mattered most to me (immersion, story complexity, the way the story is presented, questing, NPC character development, ability to play and share the game’s story with friends). Come to find out, these things weren’t fixed at launch, and now other folks are catching on to what I sensed during beta. Now that the first month’s shine is wearing off, I’ve read that plenty of folks are starting to voice their doubts and disappointments.

I’m glad that I followed my head and didn’t follow the hype. I feel like I dodged that bullet.


My Beta Khajiit
My Beta Khajiit

WildStar Woes

Okay, so with ESO out of the picture, I should be excited for WildStar instead, right? Nope.

Again, I wanted to like WildStar. I loved the idea of mixing quirky space-cowboy tropes, the crazy cartoony art style, a strong sense of humor and a brand new IP to boot. With player housing being stressed and lots of playstyles to choose, including explorer types, you’d think that something about it would have resonated with me.

This guy looks like he's got a headache, too.
This guy looks like he’s got a headache, too.

I played it (both factions) and it didn’t. The game’s art style is to be lauded, but it’s just too busy. The UI pop-ups and constant bombardment of light and color might be reaching for excitement, but becomes too muddled for me. I wanted a cartoony character in a vibrant cartoony world… instead I got too many things trying to clamor for my attention at once, leaving me exhausted from the environment alone.

Add to that a combat system that focuses solely on telegraphed attacks for both you and the enemy, and it’s headache-inducing to me. I’ve had more than enough circles on the ground from FFXIV and GW2. I don’t want to make my own circles or squares or trapezoids or whatever just to fight common forest creatures.

The game is touting itself as “hardcore” in it’s end-game raid focus, too. While that might excite the 2-5% of the game’s population it’s aimed at, I’m not a raider and I can only wonder what’s for the casuals come end game. That’s one thing that I laud FFXIV for — they release a continuous balance of content for those who enjoy the challenge of raids as well as for normal folks, like me, who just want to log in, have a little stress-free fun for the night.

Taking a look at WildStar’s new raid video (I know they’re very proud of their raids), it just gave me yet another headache. Telegraphed insanity everywhere. Totally not for me.

Is it for you? Are you hyped? That’s great! Go for it! I’m not saying you shouldn’t!

I’m just not feeling it here. It’s a personal thing.

Maybe my heart is drawn to sandboxes now days — give me Landmark development. Give me ArcheAge or Shards Online. These are concepts that stir something in me that may, perhaps, become hype one day. I’m waiting for that feeling. I really am.

bookmark_borderLandmark Beta: Improving Usability & Steam Launch


Landmark released some interesting changes this week, most of which will assist new and existing players by providing more direction in the crafting process.

Improving Usability

Previously, a new Landmark player was dropped feet-first into the world with no idea of what to do. I remember my first time, and my first question was “How do I zoom out so I can see?” Answer: Shift + Mouse Wheel

So, as a new user, you know there’s a way to claim your own land. You just don’t know how to do that. If you’re lucky, you’ve gleaned from the official art that you need to craft a claim flag. But what do you gather and where do you go to do that?

Thankfully, Landmark’s newest update provides a pop-up tutorial for new users that tells them everything from how to craft a claim flag, the game’s controls (including the notorious zoom control), to how to find and make your first claim.

Landmark64 2014-05-14 17-27-27-37

While this is just one long scrolling window of instructions, it’s far better than the previous experience that had no instructions whatsoever. Hopefully, in the future, we’ll see these first steps supplemented by quest series of some sort, similar to what Starbound does.

This update brought plenty of good stuff for existing players, too, in the form of a recipe journal. Instead of wondering if you have all the materials to make that next pick, and running all the way back to the hub or opening up a wiki to check, you can now open the recipe journal at any time, no matter where you are. This tells you what materials you need to craft something, and how close you are to crafting it.

Taking it a step further, you can also choose to track your progress on a craftable item by clicking a button in the journal. This places a little gathering list box on your screen that tells you how close you are to having all the materials you need for an item. This may seem like a small thing, but it’s a HUGE improvement that will make crafting much more efficient and less confusing.

Steam Launch

Landmark has also launched as early access on Steam. You can choose from any of the three early access packs at the same price as has been offered through the Landmark website. The difference? Steam, of course.



I read that there were a few glitches the first day of release, but they’ve been patched and the game should launch properly now. Still, you may want to give SOE a bit of time to work out any more bugs before you jump on this. Also, existing players only have the option to add Landmark to Steam as a non-Steam game. No Steam keys in sight, though folks are clamoring for them on the official forum thread!

bookmark_borderLet’s Craft the World: A Review


For my birthday, my sister gifted me the indie game Craft the World from my Steam wish list. I’m not sure where I first heard about the game, which is still in early access stages, but I was stoked to try it out this past weekend. Not sure what to expect, and having really not delved into any tower defense type games, I found it to be a charming and addicting game worth recommending.

What is Craft the World?

It feels like a blend of several types of games. You have the gathering, crafting and exploring elements of games like Starbound and Terraria. There’s a command system that reminds me vaguely of one of my old favorites, Majesty. Then there’s the tower defense elements,  which come on a timer or at night, enough to give a little challenge without overwhelming the crafting/gathering/exploring elements.

I think that the blend of elements work very well. I never found myself without something to do as I lead my ever-growing band of dwarves through their day to day life. Despite the various gameplay styles, I never found the game to be confusing or inaccessible.

Building my dwarf house.

General Impressions

There’s a tutorial. You just have to look under “Notes.”

At this point, being early access, I didn’t find an in-your-face tutorial. Similar to Starbound, the first thing I noticed was a book that contains a list of quests for you to complete. Finishing these quests pushes you in the proper direction to progress through the game.

However, I didn’t notice until much later that the book also contained a section with all the gameplay information that would help a new player get started. I discovered much of this on my own as I played the game, so the game is pretty intuitive, with the exception of what the game defines as a complete house (I had to Google this, not knowing it was contained in the book).

Building a complete house is important — only then do the dwarves have something to protect them, and a place to sleep to recover life points. The house must have  fully-built back walls, side walls and a roof. Once you have that, you can place beds inside to allow your dwarves to rest.

Once I was on that page, the game started moving more smoothly for me. I began to concentrate on building up this house (you can eventually upgrade to more sturdy walls and structures) and defending it from attacks at night and during the timed enemy invasions.

Crafting Trees!

Crafting trees are a nice touch. Similar to tech trees in Civilization, after you craft enough items within one branch, new branches open up. This gives you the ability to craft more advanced weapons, food, skills and housing items/structures.

The overall gaming experience is really smooth and polished overall. I wouldn’t have known this was an early access game from just playing it! The art style is charming and expresses lots of personality. While there’s only a couple tracks of music, I didn’t find the tunes annoying, even after hours of play. Sounds were quite good, and I especially enjoyed the dwarves’ funny war cries as they charge into battle.

Final Verdict

This is a fun and excellent little sandbox/adventure/defense game with lots of promise and a blend of gaming elements that come together in a pleasing way. I look forward to putting a lot more time into this game and seeing how it develops in the future! If you’re looking for something new to pick up, and you enjoy this style of gaming, Craft the World may be a good purchase for you!

bookmark_borderGiving Guild Wars 2 Another Shot

Upcoming Festival of the Four Winds

It’s no secret that I’ve been grouchy at Guild Wars 2 lately. Before launch and the first half year or so, I was a big supporter of the game. Then came the Living Story, which didn’t quite pan out the way some of us hoped. I went from logging in every day to being disgruntled at too much temporary content crammed together and not enough time to soak it all up (go figure!).

I’m still not a fan of timed content that’s completely gone when it’s gone, in the Living World style. I’m not a fan of the way some characters have developed, and certainly not pleased that the city of Lion’s Arch was leveled (though playing the scenario was fun at first, I’ll admit).

I keep saying that I feel bad to feel bad about this game, a game that actually does so much right, and which I once completely enjoyed. I hate to be as critical as I have been. But when a game jumps the shark in a Scarlet way, that’s really not something I can get behind.

I’ve been looking for a reason to fall in love with GW2 again. I want Anet to reel me back in and wow me. I’m willing to give the game another chance. I need them to heal the divide that the hectic living story craziness caused between us.

What’s the first thing they do? They offer the Festival of the Four Winds, where the Zephyrites have returned and are assisting Lion’s Arch. 



This’ll do as a very good place to start the new season.

I spent a lot of time in the Zephyr Sanctum when it was first released last year. In fact, of all the releases (aside from SAB), I have to say it was one of my favorite. I love the atmosphere and the mystery. I enjoyed the racing (surprisingly). And I really like the idea that the Zephyrites are going to play a part in reaching out to heal the damage done to Lion’s Arch. That just seems right.

It also encourages me to imagine what the city could look like with some Zypherite touches — floating ships, anyone? Could it be possible that a rebuilt Loin’s Arch could become even more beautiful that it’s previous incarnation?

I’ll still be sad, though, if we’ve lost the sunken ruins of old Lion’s Arch for good.

Anyhow. It’s in your hands, Anet. Impress me. I’m waiting to return.

bookmark_borderFFXIV: Relic Reborn, Legendary Weapon Quest

duty complete

Earning my relic weapon in FFXIV was my big gaming accomplishment this past weekend (I took a long weekend off work due to my birthday). I want to note that I haven’t started with the upgrade quests for this weapon, so this post is just looking at the Relic Reborn questline by itself.

Artemis Bow
Artemis Bow

The relic weapon in FFXIV is the  iconic legendary weapon that you can earn for each class. My first class to 50 was bard, so I was working to earn my Artemis Bow, which looks like a combination of a harp and a bow.

The thing I enjoyed most about the Relic Reborn concept was that it gave the feel of a truly epic, multi-tiered quest, each challenge pushing you a little further than the last. You seek out what remains of a legendary relic of the past and bring it to the once-legendary weapon’s crafter, Gerolt. He sends you on a long quest line where you find a new base to merge the weapon with, bring items to empower your weapon, use it against fierce enemies, and put your skills to the test. 

Now, before I started this quest, I knew what I was up against. I knew I’d have to tackle two large trial monsters, a high level dungeon and three hard mode primals. For a fresh level 50, this requires some upgrades to armor, which either come from running other dungeons, or amassing tomestones to pick up better artifact armor. I’ve been saving tomes for quite a while now, and have upgraded several pieces of armor over the past few months. I talked to folks in my Free Company, and they assured me I was where I needed to be to take it on.

So I did. And I succeeded!

For people who are fully geared with high level armor, these trials are yesterday’s news. For me, it was all scary and new. I did surprisingly well, just reading up and watching a few videos. While it helped that most the folks in my parties were experienced and well geared, I did everything I could to pull my weight and earn my weapon.



One of the cool things about the relic weapon is that it is, and will continue to be, upgradeable through future questlines added in patches. It’s sorta like LOTRO’s idea of legendary weapons… except done right. (Sorry LOTRO folks) Now, I do know there’s some controversy about the whole grinding Atma thing from patch 2.2. I’m one of the few people that don’t have problems going back to do FATES for things like this — I see it as helping to populate areas and assisting lower level players who need a hand with this open world content. I guess I’ll have to see where I stand with it when I get there, though.

This was a big enough accomplishment to hold me for a while, though. I’ve decided to spend time and tomes towards upgrading my accessories first before pursuing more weapon upgrades. Once I feel I can pull my weight in Brayflox HM runs, I’ll turn my thoughts back to saving for Relic +1.

Gotta get that Shikaree set!

bookmark_borderChecking in with Landmark Closed Beta


It’s been a while since I’ve written about Landmark Closed Beta, mostly because the game has been slowly tweaking small stuff up until now. This week, however, the first phase of oceans and water saw the light of day. Now, rather than all maps being a square, the islands are truly islands surrounded by oceans. Water isn’t interactable yet — no swimming. In fact, water is treated like a regular surface, which you can walk on. This will change eventually, of course. But for now, we’re treated to the lovely view of lapping waves against the shore.

This was enough to inspire me to pick up my claim and move to the beach. I found a lovely little cove near the mountains, and have been working on a beach house design. I love how the beach has sand, shells and starfish as decoration. These are now props, too, so you can add more if you like.

Speaking of props, it’s been a while since I’ve seriously built anything in Landmark. So returning, I found a ton of great new props to use, including glass windows. Glass isn’t a building material (sadly), but work well enough when you insert it into your existing builds.  Also, Landmark has tweaked the field of view by allowing players to zoom out super far. Quite helpful for those large builds!

I’m still awaiting the upcoming release of caves for more in-depth exploration. There will be a claim wipe based on the forum announcement, so be ready to scramble for your claim if you have one that you really like. Or, you can do what I did and move to the ocean!