Posted in Gaming, MMORPGs

WildStar: Joining in the F2P Crowd

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This will be the third time I’ve tried WildStar, and they always say the third time is the charm, right?

The first time was during beta, and the game just didn’t speak to me back then. However, WildStar was a different game targeting a different audience and had a long way to grow before it could capture me for many reasons.

Back in April, I picked up a cheap box copy because I had a hunch during its box promotion that it was going to make a transition to either B2P or F2P, though it wasn’t confirmed then. I played a Chua to level 14, checking out all the changes in the game since launch. I concluded that with FFXIV’s expansion coming out and a number of sticking points WildStar still had with me, I still couldn’t justify a subscription at that point.

Things Change

So, now I’m back for the third time with the coming of the F2P transition. This was something I’d planned to do since they finally confirmed the change, though I don’t at all regret the fact I purchased a box copy before the switch – I ended up getting some neat cosmetics, pets and a mount out of it. Not to mention more “free” character slots than a F2P account would have. Character slots always make me happy.

I’ve been keeping up with the information that the W* team has released over the past few months. I’ve liked what I heard, especially where they chose to spend some time fleshing out the story elements and making questing smoother for a new player. This was one of the things that bugged me most about previous playthroughs – I have the feeling that there’s a good story hiding somewhere in the depths of Nexus, but the game never let me sink my teeth into it early on. If this becomes more of a focus, there’s a much higher chance of engaging me from the start.

F2P Launch Experience

I saw that the servers were being slammed on F2P launch day, with lots of queues and issues rolling characters. So I decided to skip my after work errands and come straight home to try to roll a new Exile character before everyone else in the world got home from work.

This… was a fail plan. I got home and the servers were down for maintenance. The message said only 30 mins, but then it got extended a while more. I decided to follow the WildStar Operations Twitter account on my phone so I got the updates as they happened. This worked well, and I was alerted the moment they brought the servers up again.

I rushed in and rolled my new little Aurin Esper on the NA PvE server. I’m still not totally won over by Aurin, but I do like the way they move, and I get to have mouse ears, so it’s as close to a ratonga as I can get in this game. I’m also not sure if Esper will be for me, since I’m usually more of a melee DPS class, but class options for Aurin are pretty restricted (which I didn’t like).

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I was dumb and claimed my special Badlands Velocirex mount on the character before testing the class out, so I’m dedicating myself to play her. I read that Esper is a pretty good solo class that really picks up after level 24. I’m in no rush to level or worry about group content, though, as I’m just here to casually explore.

I was able to get into the game without issues and connect with the Black Dagger Society guild, which was introduced by my blogging friend Chestnut. Thank you!  They seem like fun folks, so I’m happy to join up and have the feeling of other people hanging around as I’m working through my noob levels. 🙂

All About the Story

I did roll an Exile during beta, so I can make some comparisons with the beginning experience. They certainly have put up front the concept that there was some cool ancient race that was doing mysterious things on Nexus for mysterious reasons. I got hints of this when I played on my Chua back in April, but this time around, they’ve really put this in front of me.

This is a much more interesting story (IMHO) than the whole Exile/Dominion struggle. While I think this struggle is important, it didn’t work (for me) to be the main and only focus of the early story. It was hard to be 100% sympathetic to either side. I always felt that it was setting up a transition for your character to question this whole war… because there must be something bigger to this fictional universe.

Don’t tell me if I’m right. But if I’m wrong, I’ll be disappointed at the lost story opportunity.

Anyhow, I’m more curious about Nexus this time around. I still don’t give a flip for the whole Exile/Dominion thing, though. Of course, I only got to level 5-ish last night due to massive lag and numerous server restarts (to fix the lag). So it’s still way too early to judge.

The tutorial did get me in and out to Nexus pretty quickly. I appreciate that they’ve abbreviated the experience and made it more user friendly overall. I almost feel it may have been a bit too disjointed, however, as they were obviously trying to shove a lot of content in a quick little package. But I won’t be too picky.

I will say that I feel more sympathetic towards the Exiles than I did in the past. They did start this thing where I was getting directed between a bunch of new NPCs once I got to Nexus, which gets overwhelming, so I was glad when they brought Deadeye back in as a familiar grounding face. At this point, he’s the only NPC I really know, so hopefully they’ll keep him around for future development.

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I also chose to head to the Northern Wilds as my starting area since I’m pretty sure I was herded into the Grove back when I played this in beta. I have an uncanny ability to remember starting zones in MMOs, so I wanted to be sure that it was 100% new to me so that I wasn’t constantly trying to compare this to a previous experience. I really like that they now offer a choice… especially because during beta, Syn and I were separated from playing with each other simply because we chose different races. 😦

Hopefully they’ll get the servers more stable in the next few days. I don’t know how much time I’ll have to invest in W* but I certainly plan to blog my experiences and opinions on the F2P launch.

Posted in Gaming

Earthbound: Welcome to Happy Happy Village

My weekend goal in Earthbound was to finally rescue Paula from Happy Happy Village. I started this by erasing that weird pencil that stood in my way.

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Turns out, the pencil statue was the least of my worries. On the other side of the bridge, between me and Happy Happy Village, were all kinds of enemies that made my progress a painful journey. I managed to snag some of the treasures that were out there, including a new piece of headware, but eventually I fell to the onslaught. Some of those areas were really dense in enemy spawn, even when I tried the refreshing screen trick.

I did gain a level for my efforts, so this time, before I went back out there, I spent some time beating up on random enemies in Twoson. I remembered there was a piece of protective gear I didn’t have enough money to buy yet, so I saved up and bought that before gathering the gear to go back out in the field again. Continue reading “Earthbound: Welcome to Happy Happy Village”

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Tanks in Spaaaaace

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Okay, yeah. Zemi didn’t really go to space, but the atmosphere in Ifrit’s ring of fire really feels otherworldly. I think it’s the whole black sun thing.

Last night, I took several detours to clean up a few things I wanted to unlock: opened Leves, unlocked Ventures, unlocked Aesthetician, and unlocked Gold Saucer. I then pushed through some more of the MSQ stories to the point where I finally unlocked Ifrit in the DF. Funny thing was, not but a moment later did another newer FC memeber drop into the same instance, so we formed a full FC group and took down Ifrit together.

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I’m finally getting to the point where I can choose my Grand Company, which means I’ll be getting my chocobo soon! Yay! Really looking forward to not running everywhere on foot.

I also accomplished level 22 Marauder last night, which means I’ll probably be going back and leveling Gladiator a bit to pick up some cross class skills soon. At least to have Flash, if not Provoke, before the next dungeon. I’m happy to slowly be upgrading my gear where I can, too.

Unsynced King Mog

So last night, Syn’s Sero needed to beat King Mog HM. This fight is generally one of my least favorite primals because doing it in DF can sometimes be an exercise in patience. So I said, “What happens if we try it unsynced?”

We tossed the idea out to FC members and picked up a group of level 54 Dark Knight, level 52 Dragoon, level 60 Dragoon and a fresh level 50 Ninja who just came back to the game last night and needed to beat it, too. The result was…

King Mog murdered us. 

Okay, well, he didn’t actually murder us. We did well enough all the way until the second stage, actually. Once King Mog appeared and we had to fight all the moogles at once, we started losing party members quickly. So, we decided it was possible, but we needed heals.

Lo and behold, one of our high level White Mages happened to log in. So we roped him into the experiment. The Ninja had to log for the night, so we decided to 4 man it. And…

We beat it! 

I won’t say we murdered it because it still had some difficulty. But we did beat it!

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We also learned that if you leave an unsynced dungeon, you don’t get a 30 min penalty like you do if you leave a DF party. I’m glad of this because it allows you to experiment with the system without punishment.

We will very likely continue to push the limits of what we can beat unsynced in the future!

Manderville in the moogle ring!
Manderville in the moogle ring!
Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Low Level Tanking – The Struggle is Real

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Last night, my baby Maurader, Zemi, tanked through the final two of the level 15 dungeons in FFXIV: Tam-Tara and Copperbell. This was done with the aid of FC folks as I’m still too shy to tank these things in a PUG. FC folks have been very kind and helpful in getting me through the low level dungeons.

However, seeing that they are all much higher level than I and better geared, I struggled with every ounce of TP I had in my lanky tank body to hold aggro, but still lost it more frequently than I wanted to. The final boss in Copperbell, I lost it to the level 40 Black Mage about halfway through and simply never got it back no matter what I did. Of course, we were in burn mode, ignoring mechanics because we could.

Now, losing aggro never once resulted in anyone coming close to dying, thanks to awesome DPS and Syn’s healing. But it’s really been an eye-opener playing a low-level, newly-rolled tank in lower level dungeons. I can only imagine what it feels like to a totally new player tanking dungeons for the first time, especially if they don’t know the mechanics.

As a high level DPS player, I want to apologize to any low level tank I’ve rouletted with and pulled aggro from. When I dragoon, I don’t intend to pull aggro, and do try to back off when I see that I am. But still, it’s a different story when you’re tanking it and dealing with the frustration of mobs flying everywhere despite your best efforts.

Of course, my FC teams didn’t care one whit. They were probably having fun nuking things, and found it amusing that they were strong enough to pull aggro (I feel that way sometimes as a dragoon). But I’m here to practice to perfection, darn it!

I got Zemi to level 20 last night through the dungeons alone. Once I get about level 22, and unlock my chocobo, I can see myself going back and leveling Gladiator to pick up Flash and Provoke, which should be a big help. For now, I’m just happy to be past those first three dungeons – I never did understand why FFXIV felt the need to introduce a new player to dungeons in the MQS and then throw three of them in a row like that.

Oh, and have a screen of Tataru singing Trolololo. Because I remembered to take the shot of it this time around. 🙂

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