Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Overcoming Tanking Anxiety With the Alt Experience

ffxiv_09202015_185521

I mentioned in a previous blog post how I have been hitting a lull in playing FFXIV lately. With this weekend’s announcement confirming we won’t be seeing patch 3.1 until November, I knew I needed to do something drastic.

The Current Situation

Tai is a level 60 dragoon and currently on the Eso track. This means running daily expert dungeons, and while I’m perfectly capable of doing this, it just wears me out doing it every day. I’m not a dungeon person, and I crave more open world content than the same two dungeons.

I can be working on leveling his alt classes, and I’ve done this a bit. But, again, I’m not a dungeon runner, so that leaves me to run FATEs (which I do enjoy when in a fair moderation). His next highest class is Paladin, at 53, and while I did make a dent in leveling it a bit this weekend, I’m finding it hard to stick to it.

Zuri is a whole different mess. I continue to be disenchanted with the changes to Bard. I did try Machinist for a while… however… I took a few weeks break from running FATEs with Machinist. When I picked it back up this weekend, I found myself totally lost on how to play it and what gimmicks I was using for which skills. Usually, if I put down a class and pick it back up, I can get a decent feel for it in a few FATEs. That just wasn’t happening with Machinist, so I’m taking that as a sign that maybe Machinist isn’t for me after all.

I’m back to being completely undecided in what I want to level for her.

The Call of the Alt

FFXIV is one of the few games where I don’t have a gazillion alts. Because the game lets you do everything on one character, and just the way the whole end game armor progression works, FFXIV actually discourages you to have alts.

I really do love alts, though. There’s nothing like spending time designing a new race/class combo – I usually base mine off of existing characters in my fantasy stories. There’s this new-character smell where you need to unlock everything, have a clean inventory, and all kinds of possibilities just over the horizon.

I generally enjoy playing through the story line multiple times – I somehow tend to memorize the flow of a game’s quest line without meaning to. There’s something comforting about doing something familiar, and blazing through lower levels (pausing to watch the most interesting parts again, of course).

I forgot about this cool cutscene with Midgardsormr!
I forgot about this cool cutscene with Midgardsormr!

The one catch with FFXIV is that unlike other games, the story progression requires you to group and run dungeons. This is one thing that has kept me from rolling new characters. It’s much less stressful for me to just FATE grind an alt class on an existing character.

But, it’s more dull, too.

Lately, Syn has been playing an alt she originally rolled to be an inventory mule. She’s heard me rave about how cool dragoon is, and for some reason (despite being an awesome level 60 healer), she chose to level one. She just got through the main scenario this past week, and we both marveled at the kind of loot you get for completing class quests and MSQ after 2.0.

I haven’t even considered rolling an alt until this weekend – I have enough trouble with the two characters I have (not counting the one on Cactuar). But seeing how much fun Syn’s been having and seeing that I’ve been uninspired to play the characters I have, I wondered if a fresh new character could provide some motivation.

Welcome Zemi Alt

It wasn’t very difficult to decide who I was going to roll. Syn decided her alt was going to be an Au’Ra, and rolled Sero Dreigiau (a character in our story). Since all my FFXIV characters are generally small, and I’ve never got to play a taller character, I decided to also roll a male Au’Ra, Zemi Dreigiau (who is related to Sero in our stories XD ).

I’m still not totally sold on the aesthetics of the male Au’Ra – it’s hard for me to make one that I like, or that looks close enough to the character I want to represent. But I did the best I could.

The one catch came when I had to decide what starting class to make him. I had a list of classes I knew I didn’t want to play, or already had a high enough level on another character that it would just be duplicating effort. So, after narrowing it down some, I told Syn to pick a class for me.

She chose Warrior.

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Ugh, I thought. This is nuts! It means I have to not only run all those low level dungeons again, but also tank them! And on a tank that I’m not familiar using. 

But I still rolled a Marauder.

I’m nuts.

So, over the weekend, I got Zemi to level 18. I’m at the point of doing the first three dungeons in the MSQ. Last night, I had kind FC folks join up as DPS, and Syn’s Zeb as a healer to let me practice through the first dungeon, Sastasha. Overall, it went well, despite having two DPS who were twice my level with much better gear. Every now and then, they’d pull some aggro, but I was usually able to get it back.

I have leveled Warrior to 36 on Tai, and enjoyed the class then, and have also played through some dungeons on Paladin, so I didn’t go in completely blind to tanking. I’m still going to have to get over my tanking anxiety for this… because deep down, I know I really want to learn to tank well.

shia

It’s going to be an experience, for sure.

Unsynced Dungeon Running

The other thing we tried for the first time this weekend was unsynced dungeon running. Syn was behind on doing dungeons for her Grand Company ranks, so we decided to duo Halatali as two dragoons (level 51 and 60).

We murdered it.

So she was like, “How do you feel about doing something higher level? Like… Quarn?”

Level 35 dungeon, duo as dragoons.

We murdered it.

Then she was like, “Now I need Dzemael Darkhold for the Main Quest Scenario.”

Level 44 dungeon, duo as dragoons.

We murdered it.

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I like this. >:D

 

Posted in Gaming

FFXIV: I Rolled Yet Another Alt

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I just haven’t been feeling the desire to do much in FFXIV lately, but seeing Syn leveling up her Dragoon alt made me think about rolling another myself. I know that I’m still an undecided mess about Zuri… And probably the dumbest thing I could do is roll a tank alt – I’ll probably chicken out of running dungeons when I finally get there.

But I still rolled a Zemi tonight.

Don’t think that he looks as cool as above, though. This is him in actuality.

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I’m not sure that I’m sold on him being an Au’Ra, though. I do like having a larger character (for once — all my others are so short), and I do like the race’s animations. But it’s hard to make an Au’Ra male that I really like, and there’s a lot that just doesn’t match Zemi at all in the way this looks.

For instance, he always seems so serious and grouchy. Though I guess if I was stuck wearing something like below, I’d be grouchy, too.

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I got to level 13 tonight, but we’ll see how far I get with this, I guess. I always enjoy the story and the solo bits, it’s just tanking the dungeons that freak me out.

Posted in Gaming

EarthBound: That Darn Pencil!

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It’s been a few days since I’ve picked up EarthBound. Every time I do, I keep telling myself I forgot how tricky this game actually was. Maybe back then we were used to games that required you to grind to gain levels even from the start or something. But, man, I’m only in the second town and this game keeps kicking my tail.

So I explored the whole town over, heard about a kidnapping, beat up a crime boss that’s the patron of the local flea market, and financially supported a couple of child inventors. I also met a mouse with no name.

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I felt a tad lost at that point, but saw the game was trying to nudge me to check out the area leading to the next town, Happy-Happy Village. It was a little confusing that I just got to town and now they wanted me to leave town, but there you had it. Along the way, I beat up one of my favorite enemies from years ago. The New Age Retro Hippie!

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The problem started while I was trying to make my way through the two caves over the small cliffs to an area that should lead to the next town, but is instead blocked by a giant metallic pencil. Yeah, you read that right.

The goal was to go and inspect the pencil blockage, then make it back to town where you’d trigger an event that would help you remove it. However, be it just that I was under leveled, under geared or just didn’t have enough hamburgers in my inventory, I kept dying before I could actually get back to town. Every time I died, it sapped all my magic points, so I couldn’t cast healing spells. That meant I had to keep spending my money on healing items, and eventually cold medicines, because the UFOs that attacked me out there kept shooting lasers that inflicted me with nighttime stuffiness. Yeah, you also read that right.

It took me several tries, and some abuse of the Wii U’s save state feature to finally progress past this point. I did eventually level a few times, but dang, I’m not looking forward to Happy Happy Village. I remember that being one of the harder challenges from years ago… whereas none of this was any trouble at all. Ugh.

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Posted in Videos, Writing

Nefol Introduction: Visual Novel Style

Young Jin Art From The Video
Young Jin Art From The Video

Earlier this week I mentioned I was using RPG Maker VX Ace to attempt to create a visual novel style video of one of our script-based stories, Nefol. I’m pleased to announce that after a lot of stumbling through technical things, the Introduction has been posted!

I’d really wanted to do my own art for the intro movie, but it would have taken all that much longer to complete and would likely never get done. I’ve actually tried to make this into a movie before and have failed several times. So, while it’s not the most amazing video out there, it’s much more what I had in mind when I posted the Nefol scripts.

I don’t know how long it will take to make Chapter 1. Again, I have no art assets for it, so all that will need to be created from scratch. Not to mention much more sprite scripting and animation. We’ll see what comes of it, but for now, I’m happy to have one video finally out there (even if it is short).

 

 

Posted in Gaming

I’m RPG-Making a Possible Visual Novel

nefoltriocover

Update: You can find my first short video here!

I’m not sure what bug bit me – maybe it was a combination of playing oldskool games like EarthBound on top of Super Mario Maker. Maybe it’s just fall is coming, and I tend to be more creative in fall and spring for some reason. Add to that the fact that Bundle Stars had an amazing bundle sale on RPG Maker VX Ace DLC, and I suddenly found myself breaking out my Steam copy, which I’ve owned for a good while.

BTW: I’ve got an extra Steam key for RPG Maker VX ACE and the DS Resource pack if anyone feels creative and wants it. Just contact me. First come first serve. 

Visual Novel Aspirations

Interestingly, I don’t want to make a RPG with this just yet, but rather I’m looking for ways to tell existing stories (Nefol) in a more visual style. Earlier this year, I got the idea to create a game with nothing but cut scenes (think a Visual Novel), most which run themselves. I wanted to record it and post it to YouTube… since videos seem to be more the thing now days. I wondered if people would pay more attention to a short story video than reading our script-writing?

For whatever technical reasons, I put the project aside. We chose to release Nefol as a sprite script project earlier this year (I never mentioned my RPG Maker aspirations to Syn), and while it’s cute, I never felt 100% content with the outcome. I had to do some crazy layout tweaking to get the sprites to work… and I just feel like a different format would have suited it better.

So, now, I’m going back to that old idea and trying it again. I don’t actually have anything to show here – I haven’t got any art assets complete. But once I do, I’ll be sure to post about it!

A History of RPG Making

This isn’t my first foray into RPG making. Back in 2000, I got my hands on Don Miguel’s translated version of RPG Maker 2000. I remember self-learning a whole lot with that system and making a fairly complex intro scene for my original fantasy story RPG called Teyrnas. It was a pretty basic game maker, and I didn’t have the art tools to work with sprites, so most of my sprites were edits of the existing RTP files.

teyrnas

Don’t laugh. I literally went and found the original sprites I made in 2000.

Gosh, you don’t know the nostalgia. I really want to write Teyrnas some day, and I keep brainstorming up world building and ideas for it… but that’s another story for another time. 

Needless to say, this game never got released, and I don’t believe I still have the game files (though I kept a lot of the sound and art assets).

Wayrift RPG

wayriftrpg1Then, 2003 rolled around and Wayrift was still in its early days as a webcomic. Don Miguel also translated the newest RPG Maker: RM2k3. This remains one of my favorite versions of RPG Maker due to the side battle options and the larger, more expressive sprites. Believe it or not, it’s now translated and on Steam!

And… oh wow… it’s still being updated! *boggles at the Steam page* I really need to get a copy of this. 

If I were to ever make a playable RPG Maker game, I’d probably still use this over RPG Maker VX. Anyhow, back when Syn and I had more time on our hands (and game development takes a TON of time), we actually created a small Wayrift RPG using RM2k3. Back then, you had to do a lot of tweaking with fonts and stuff to get it running, but we had several folks download and play over the years.

It was  a pretty crazy project and I remember rebuilding Crystal Rooms and Castle Baron block by block… and being quite proud of the likeness to the original FFIV!

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The game featured characters from our Wayrift webcomic and my Darkstar fiction, and we really learned a whole lot about sprite art, switches and the basics of RPG Making logic.

I don’t know that we’ll ever add more to this game, though I do still have all the old game files. I wonder if they would be compatible with the Steam version of RM2k3? I might have to test it one day. 🙂

Have you ever dabbled in RPG Making?