Posted in Technology

Windows 10 Upgrade

windows10

 

Ffffppppbth. Managing it? Days? Weeks?

Whatever. wuauclt.exe/updatenow 

I already upgraded 2 days ago on my home laptop (not my main machine) and will be testing it out some this weekend. So far, I haven’t seen any issues. In fact, it looks pretty darn close to the same as 8.1 except for the start menu and having to clear clutter off my taskbar.

That laptop came with 8.1 pre-installed so I figured I wasn’t losing much by making the switch.

Still not updating my Windows 7 machine, though. :p

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Dragooning (Finally) on Cactuar

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While I remain at a loss for what to level for Zuri (though I’m now leaning towards Monk thanks to a conversation with Curious Cat – thanks!), I’m 100% sure I’m leveling Yet Another Dragoon  on Cactuar. This week, I’ve given high end content a bit of a break and pushed on through the final level of Lancer (thank you Halatali) and the 15 levels of Marauder I needed to unlock that last night. Finally!

The best part of hitting level 30 is unlocking my chocobo companion. I’d totally forgotten that I’d originally named him Spoony’bird back when I expected to be playing another Bard on this server. It’s cute, so I kept it.

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Since I unlocked chocobo stables as well, I headed over to investigate the Greysky Armada’s FC house for the first time. It’s quite lovely – someone has good taste in decorating! I poked around the FC chest and saw they had fruit for recoloring my chocobo, but I didn’t want to take any without permission.

Luckily, I ran into Bel at the house – I think it’s the first time I’ve seen his character in person!

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He said it was cool to color my chocobo, so I set out to obtain a nice snow white bird. Only, it didn’t quite turn out as I hoped (as you can see in the first picture above). The first try, it came out to a dull yellow bone white. Bleh.

So a few fruits later, I came back to a lotus pink chocobo. OH NONONONO!

I went for one last try, and ended up with an ice blue chocobo. Since my other chocobos are blue and green, I was hoping for something different this time. But seeing that I was using up fruits and just missing the mark every time, I decided to settle. Close enough to white, I guess.

Once I finished up all my Maurader levels, I happily kicked it with the introduction to Dragoon quest. Here, I went back in time to re-live meeting Estinien for the first time. He was a butthead back then, too. Said with all due affection.

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Anyhow, unlocked Dragoon and learned my first Jump. Yay!

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While I was around Dragonhead and revisiting old times, I decided to stop in and see Haurchefant. Even back before he knows anything about your character, he’s a welcoming guy. 🙂

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Oh, Haurchefant, do not look at me so. A smile better suits a hero!  ❤

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The fun part of replaying all this is that I get to pay more attention to certain characters in the storyline. I’m going to enjoy looking back on the Ishgard folks knowing what I know now.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Bard Woes & Cactuar Progress

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Pretty much ever since Heavensward released, I’ve been in a state of uncertainty with my Bard, Zuri. Though she’s supposed to be my main character, I’ve put much more time and effort into leveling and gearing Tai, who is now at end game running Expert Roulettes and upping his ilvl.

During all this, I’ve left poor Zuri on the curve while piddling around with leveling gathering classes. This week, I dinged level 55 miner and botanist, and I knew there would come a time soon when the gated content was going to prevent me from moving on even in daily gather turn-ins. Well, that hasn’t happened yet, but I still felt like I needed to just pick something and roll with it to at least unlock the Churning Mists.

I started leveling Ninja for a while, but having to push that up from a scratch level nothing to 50 is a bit more of a time sink than I want to indulge in right now. So, I buckled down and decided to push forward with Bard, seeing I was partway through the Dravanian Forelands. I was also only level 53, so I had not yet earned Empyreal Arrow to see how it felt to play in Wanderer’s Minuet.

So, I quested on through, beat up Ravana, and dinged 54 for Empyreal Arrow. By that time, I really wanted to unlock flying in the Forelands, so I pushed through the main scenario quests and jumped into the Sohm Al dungeon. It didn’t help that the party was a bit messy in composition, but my first dungeon run using WM with Empyreal Arrow left me feeling not just slow… but rather ineffective as a DPS.

I know the playstyles are very different, but compared to my dragoon, I couldn’t feel any of the damage I was doing, aside from the occasional buffed triple Emp Arrow spike. With dragoon, I’m bringing it fast and furious and I feel it. With bard, I’m more of a casual string-puller, almost as slow as casters. I’m also starting to understand why people are complaining about the lack of flow in the bard rotation.

I’m just not sure how I feel about it, still. I read plenty of “just keep playing and you get used to it” posts. I may just put up with it to complete content on easy mode (it’s far less intense than playing dragoon, that I’m certain of).

Cactuar Almost Dragoon

ffxiv_07282015_224339Meanwhile, on the Cactuar server, I pushed through the main scenario quests to level 29. It’s probably because I switched classes when I was almost level 25 on archer, but this character is lagging behind in experience badly. Three times last night on my trip from 26 to 29, I was gated out of the story until I hit quests and Fates to make up for it. I’ve never had that happen with the other two characters I leveled.

Now, I’m early level 29 and gated until I hit thirty. Ouch. I’m thinking maybe I’ll run a side Halatali just to get some of my GC hunts done and see how much that gives me. I also have regular class hunts I need to clean up. Plenty of options to get that level, so I’m not worried about it.

I still have yet to level my sub class to unlock Dragoon, too, but I’m getting closer! I really just want that level 30 chocobo companion unlock! 🙂

I decided if I am going to be running most of these dungeons anyhow, I may as well unlock Triple Triad, so I stopped by the Gold Saucer last night for that.

I did complete Haukke Manor for the first time on that character, and can confirm the DPS queue was less than 3 mins(!) So, they really do seem to be giving first-timers the head of the queue on dungeons. The dungeon itself was a standard PUG run with a tank who was too hesitant, a black mage who was too assertive and a healer who refused to lift a finger to turn off the lamps for the final boss mechanics. Ah, well. Got through it and that’s all that matters.

Right?

Gotta love that Gold Saucer cutscene if you approach it at night.
Gotta love that Gold Saucer cut scene if you approach it at night.
Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Expert Mode Unlocked!

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My Au’Ra is now an official Lancer!

We made a lot of progress in FFXI this weekend, starting the first stage at our attempts at earning some Eso Tomes for end game gear. But aside from even that, I’ve been knocking out a lot of side goals.

Cactuar Adventures

Aywren on Cactuar finally reached level 24 with Lancer, where that overtook my Bard levels and I was able to once again start up the main scenario to continue advancement.

The first order of business was to take on Toto-Rak, and to test whether it really is true that queues are faster for a player attempting a story dungeon for the very first time. Seemed to be working as intended as my DPS queue didn’t last but 3 mins before getting in.

It was a neat old-skool run where only two people were down-synced and only one person was higher level, but not even that high a level. Pretty fun flashback run, and everything was smooth. I dinged 25 before the end of the run and all is well. 🙂

Continuing DPS Crisis

FC crafting group
FC crafting group

I’m still indecisive about what class to level to 60 for Zuri. I thought I might have settled on leveling Ninja, and actually got my Rogue up to 16 this weekend. But then I saw almost everyone in my FC had decided to level Ninja for some reason… so… I may just tough it out and keep leveling Bard.

I’m still not thrilled with what I’m hearing from high-level Bard players, but it’s going to get to a point where my gathering classes can’t progress until I unlock areas through the story. I did get nudged to speed-level my Armorcrafter to 52 this weekend to contribute to the FC airship. I’ve been so very lazy about doing any high level crafting, and it doesn’t help that Zuri is totally broke. I know… I know… high level crafters and gatherers aren’t supposed to be broke, but I am. XD

Speaking of our FC, times have been real good lately. We’ve had a few new folks join just before and during Heavensward, and they’ve all turned out to be assets to our group. We’ve done a number of officer promotions this weekend, and have watched as members have gone out of their way to assist people leveling through Heavensward and unlocking end game content. There’s been a lot of good feelings going around (at least that I’m aware of), and we have a nice little FC dynamic at the moment.

Expert Roulette Unlocked!

I have a dirty secret… I never unlocked hard mode or expert roulette in 2.0 content. I never even considered the possibility of grinding tomes to cap. I probably wouldn’t have at this point, either, but dang that AF2 Dragoon armor looks nice! Plus, the FC has a pretty solid group of folks who is also running this content, so it makes it easier to learn and jump into.

Though we were nervous, Syn and I gathered a few FC groups to take on Neverreap and Fractal Continuum in order to unlock Expert Roulette. I feel like Fractal is a bit more difficult final-boss-wise of the two, though both dungeons have their particular frustrations and moments. We’ve been reassured by FC members that our skill outweighs our confidence when it comes to playing higher level content (though we still doubt ourselves), as we had few moments of tanking, DPSing or healing the floor in our runs (with the exception of that final Fractal boss… dang mechanics).

We picked up some useful ilvl 160 drops to replace the old ilvl 145 stuff, and continue to work at pushing the ilvl higher!

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I got a pretty incredible run of Steps of Faith last night as well. Seems like most people are so over geared for the trial, they ignore the cannon and dragonkiller mechanics now. I did rush up the tower to strike with the first DK, but for the majority of the time, we just DPS Vishap down without a care, and much to my shock, won it easily on the first try. It’s always fun to do the Dragoon LB3.

I also got Sohm Al as my roulette dungeon, and I only mention it because this is the first time I’ve seen the catbat minion drop. My roll was low and it went to the tank… who had not been a very good tank throughout the run (wiped us in the last boss because he refused to move when tons of meteors are dropping on his head). I was pretty crushed… 😦

At the end of the day, I had enough tomes and seals to pick up the ilvl 180 Law chest piece for Tai. Doesn’t quite go with the rest of the armor… yet. I guess I’m going to have to fix that!

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Operation Clean Up Old Quests Continues

I’ve also been pretty successful in my goal to clean up all the old quests while leveling Tai’s Warrior. He is officially a Warrior now, having just dinged level 35 last night. I’ve cleaned up all quests under level 34 that I’ve been able to find so far, and old maps are looking much better for it. I’m also continuing to be pleased with my Warrior, which I’ve solo-battled almost on-level FATE bosses (with chocobo heals, of course). That would have been a lot more difficult for me on other classes, but Warrior seems to have a good balance of damage and survivability.

Plus, I’m running across all sorts of quirky quests I’ve never seen before…

Uh... Godbert? You okay there buddy?
Uh… Godbert? You okay there buddy?

I’m looking forward to making Warrior my second level 60! 🙂

Posted in Gaming

Peeking in at ESO

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Last night, right after I managed to unlock Warrior for Tai, the FFXIV servers went wonky. So, I decided to take a break from FFXIV… and chose to pick up the copy of ESO that I bought, and play it for the first time since beta.

My very first impression of ESO was, “Wow, this is one HUGE patching game!” It seemed that every time I tried to launch it, the patcher would barely get 1-2% before I needed to turn it off and do something else. The patcher (like the game) seems to hog a lot of my computer’s resources, so I couldn’t leave it running if I wanted to play another game or do something CPU intensive.

I eventually gave up and left the computer on overnight to let it download… something I haven’t had to do with a MMO for years. Lucky that I did, because it was all patched and ready for me to try it out last night.

I sat down and did some quick research on classes and races that were meant for soloing well. Seemed that DK and Templar are well-liked, and while I usually go full on DPS, I chose Templar for my first character.

I read all about the differences between stamina based and magic based Templars and what race was best for them (I was reading wood elves). However, when I got to character creation, I found I still can’t stomach the way elf races look (sorry to those who like them). So I went back to my Khajiit kitty, similar to what I played in beta.

Screenshot_20150723_222921Took me a while to come up with a character that I liked, but I finally did, and was off to the introduction. This introduction has been quite streamlined since I last played (over a year ago). I notice there’s a lot less gogogogogo and more battle tutorial and teaching. It even spent some time teaching me to sneak and to pick locks.

The old tutorial I remembered was littered with tons of chests and urns to loot. They cut back on this significantly, too. However, the chests and mobs I did loot scored much better and more useful items (armor and weapons) compared to the urns that used to give a ton of crafting material and did nothing but distract me from moving forward in the story.

The story itself was largely unchanged. Again, mostly just streamlined with less annoying little objectives, getting you much more quickly to the point. I also noticed that NPC cutscenes have added some minor character animation. While this is still no match for cutscenes in FFXIV or Guild Wars 2, it’s far better than it used to be, when I felt I was talking to a wooden pole NPC who had good lip syncing to mostly mediocre voice acting.

Once I got back to the living world, I was deposited in a boat in Auridon. A few quests in, I was then diverted to Khenarthis Roost instead, which used to be the old beta starting point for new players. I think players gave a lot of negative feedback about the area (though I never had any issue with it), and it was completely removed during the last beta I played. I was surprised to see Khenarthis Roost returned to the game, and thought it was a bit odd that they sent you back there via quests. Why didn’t they just start us there in the beginning was strange.

I didn’t get much further in before I got sidetracked by installing add-ons (yay for a mini map!). But I was happy to see they decided to keep Razum-dar’s little storyline, since he was one of my favorite NPCs from beta. When they completely cut the Khenarthis Roost scenario, they ended up cutting a lot of the friendship-bonding my character had with Razum-dar… so I was all for returning to the noob island.

Speaking of which, though it’s a real pain not being able to see floating player and NPC names (is there an add-on for that?), I could tell there were a lot of low level players in the intro areas. I was quite surprised with the activity I saw there. I have no idea what server I’m on (is it a mega server?) or anything like that. But it looks like at this point, there’s a healthy low-player population, even on a random weekday night.

I don’t know how much I’ll get to play ESO, since FFXIV still remains my main MMO. But I’ll try to put some time into it and see how it’s changed over the past year or so.