Posted in Gaming, Mobile Gaming, Pokemon GO

Pokemon GO: Starter Buddy Challenge

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If I haven’t been playing Pokemon Go as much as  used to… it’s not so much that I’m done with the game, but that I’m waiting for the weather to cool down so that I can enjoy my time outside without melting in the summer heat. I really can’t wait for fall to get in swing so that I can catch Pokemon more comfortably.

When Syn visited a few weekends back, I took her out to our local Veteran’s Park and we had a good time as I taught her the ropes of the game. There were happily some lures out and enough Pokestops, one which surprisingly spawned Psyducks consistently (it never had before). She was able to level up to 5, whereupon she chose to go with Instinct of all teams. Ah, well.

But in playing that weekend, I found I was still excited about catching Pokemon and having a good time. That’s why I’m happy I finally got the Buddy Pokemon update yesterday.

Buddy Pokemon

If you haven’t heard about this newest feature, this allows you to choose one of your Pokemon to make a walking buddy. As you walk with them, they will find candy, which you can use to evolve them and make them stronger over time. Different kinds of Pokemon find candy at different rates, with the rare Pokemon taking longer. You can change your buddy at any time, so no worries about picking the “wrong” Pokemon.

I really like the idea behind this system because it does several things:

  • Level up Pokemon when you’ve only ever seen/caught/hatched one of them
  • Level up Pokemon that take a long time to earn candies for (Magikarp)
  • Encourage people to move around and not just sit and farm a few adjacent Pokestops

I knew exactly what I was going to do with my Buddy Pokemon slot.

The Starter Buddy Challenge

I chose Charmander as my starter, just as I did back in the Pokemon Blue days. I’m happy I did because in all this time that I’ve played, I haven’t seen a hint of another Charmander anywhere nearby. Not even a shadow. I’ve caught a Pikachu, Bulbasaur and Squirtle in the wild… but never another Charmander.

This means I’ve never earned any candies for my Charmander, nor have I found a stronger one to replace my starter. He remains in my roster, one of the weakest Poekmon that I own, just like this:

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For me, my starter is special and I’m sorta glad that I haven’t found any to replace him. Because now, with the Buddy system, I can challenge myself to level up my Charmander purely from walking and traveling around with him! I know it’s going to take a long time to do as I’m not always the most active person, but this gives me a goal and an incentive to get out and be more active on top of just catching Pokemon in general.

In fact, I’m pretty stoked about this prospect and hope that I don’t accidentally hatch another Charmander along the way. I’ll let you know how the challenge progresses over time. Don’t look for any updates soon, though. I have a lot of candy to gather…

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Posted in Gaming, Sims 3

Sims 3: World Adventures Continue

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So, I’m continuing my Sims 3 playthrough with very few mods and only the World Adventure expansion installed. The more time I spend with this expansion, the more I’m glad I did try it out. While I still think replayability might be low for some folks, the locations I’m visiting are becoming more exquisite (like the picture above) and the puzzles are growing more tricky and fun to solve.

Lawrence Lum is now an adult and is my chosen adventuring Sim. I like that time stops for him and all Sims while he’s away in distant locations. This gives him a greater lifespan to enjoy days abroad exploring places without missing work or special life events. Not that he has a job… because at this point, exploration brings in a good bit of money.

Back at Home

Though adventuring is my major focus, I do want Lawrence to have a family to continue the Lum line. So, after he became an adult and proposed to River, he and both his parents started getting aspirations of Lawrence marrying her. I took that as a hint, and invited River over for the official wedding. Only… time hadn’t been so kind to her, and she had put on a bit of weight since the last few Sim days Lawrence saw her.

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Lawrence loved River regardless (or maybe it was that she put up with him), so I set them to have a private house wedding. There’s no wedding arch item in game yet (I looked and looked, only to find that it wasn’t introduced until the Generations expansion!), so exchanging rings in the living room would have to do.

Apparently the other Sim doesn’t switch into formal wear — maybe I had to make this a Wedding Party? — but at least River’s mummy t-shirt was relevant to Lawrence’s interests.

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Theodore Lum is now at the top of his career level, and has really created a nice little surplus of money for his growing family. But time is passing, and he becomes an Elder.

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With Lawrence’s parents aging, and him now being married, he’s under pressure to provide some grand kids. The one catch is that though River is a family-oriented Sim and loves lots and lots of kids, Lawrence has a “Dislikes Kids” trait, which means he detests the whole kid thing.

I guess he’s in for a miserable family life. Sorry, Lawrence. Meet his son, Colet (random name generator).

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See that smile? Lawrence is really good at concealing his dislike, but his moodlet section in game told me otherwise. Why is it that I always see this as something like this internally…this-is-fine

In the meantime, I’ve been having River get into shape since she wants to accompany Lawrence on one of his trips abroad.

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I’ve also bought her a guitar since she’s an artistic Sim and wanted to express herself musically.

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I let Lawrence hold on to his aspiration to beat up a mummy, and he’s been practicing his martial arts for the day that comes…

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Soon, Lawrence. Soon.

At least he can now meditate and try to clear his mind of the sound of a crying newborn. 😀

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Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Dragoon Relic, Flying Turtles, and Other Tales

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Friday and Saturday of this weekend was spent finishing up the final dungeons I needed to get the Dragoon Relic done (thanks to FC folks for all your help!). I can’t express how glad I am that step is done and how exhausted I am after running so many dungeons. I know that I can’t fully take a break now, but I need to dial back on the content for a bit so I can be fresh for the patch when it drops in two weeks.

Since I already had all the aether oils and items gathered for the next steps of Relic, I pretty much jumped from the ilvl 170 weapon to the ilvl 230 weapon in one shot. It went kinda like this:

The ilvl 200 get…
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Exchange all this stuff…
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For the ilvl 210 get
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Then the super-easy ilvl 230 get (we run Crystal Tower for aether oil every week)…
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I love the look on Zuri’s face. She seems shocked to be holding another Relic. 😀

Gathering and Relic

So now I’m on the stage where I have to gather Esos for Umbrite and various stuff for Sands to upgrade my weapon. I had a few on hand already, so I got a head start. But I’m going to need a lot more.

Feeling pretty worn out from all of the previous Relic activity, I decided to try to slow myself down and gather for my Sands. Specifically, I want to fish a bit.

I noticed that while I was fishing up a number of collectibles for scrips, they were rarely within the required quality level for a turn-in. I inspected my gathering gear (which I’ve been neglecting) and found I was still using the old level 58 set. I had never upgraded because it did what I needed it to do more or less up until this point.

Seeing that I needed more Perception to be successful in my Sand gathering, and that I’m still lacking in proper crafting gear to make such things for myself, I decided it was time to invest in the basic set of level 60 gathering gear.

ffxiv_09102016_175309Now I’m almost broke, but at least it looks pretty nifty.

So, yes, I could have worked on scrips for this and saved my gil, but I don’t like how the scrip sets require you to buy a set for each gathering job. I don’t have the inventory space for that, so it’s a big nope.

Yes, there is much better gear out there currently. But seeing those were going for between 1-2 million gil for each item, there’s no way I had that much to drop on gathering gear. I already spent about 3 million on this set, and between that and Relic, that depleted my gil stash pretty quickly.

If I’m going to put money into gear, it’s going to be crafting stuff. I just haven’t been motivated enough to upgrade for crafting. But if crafting blue scrips ends up being faster to get than gathering scrips, I might change my tune.

That Flying Turtle Mount

I haven’t been paying that much attention to my MGP account at the Gold Saucer, though I do try to hit the daily cactpot when I can. Xaa and I had been discussing the Adamantoise mount and wondering what it was like to ride it when it spinny-flies earlier this week. So, on a fluke, I decided to check and see if I had enough to purchase it. And I did!

So now, I can fly the friendly, spinning turtle!

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Xaa had to come to see it first hand. This screen looks like my turtle would like a marshmellow Lala snack for lunch. 🙂

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A Beast of a Time

My other goal this month is to work on gaining reputation with the two older beast tribes from 2.0 that I never ranked up. I was happy to earn the second tier of rep with first the Amalj’aa, and then the Sahagin this weekend.

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Again, this was a case where I’d worked on this with Tai in the past, but not on Zuri. So I remember what it was like to do these quests on a fresh level 50 character. It is so, so easy to do on a level 60 – almost trivial. Not that I’m complaining. It used to be a real pain in the tail when everything in those areas aggroed.

Aside from a few CT raids, some FC treasure hunts, and an epic wiping session on T9 last night, that pretty much sums up my weekend in Eorzea. I’m going to try to purposely sit back and relax some from here on out. Maybe work up a little Lore for when the patch drops, but that’s not a priority.

I need to investigate some gil-making ideas to restock my coffers after the gathering gear upgrade. I might also investigate crafting scrips and see if I can find a faster, painless way to earn Sands.

Still got a lot to do, even with most my September goals met!

Posted in Gaming, Sims 3

Sims 3: World Adventures

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As I previously wrote, I’m going back to play the Sims 3 expansion by expansion as vanilla as possible. The idea behind this is that I don’t feel like I spent enough time with these expansions back when they first released.

This week, I put about 7 hours into messing around with the Sims 3 base game with only the first expansion, World Adventures, installed and minimum mods. I was quickly stricken by how barebones Sims 3 was, even with one expansion. Folks who complained about the lack of content of base Sims 4 really didn’t remember how few options we had at Sims 3 launch. Man, the hair selection really needed help.

I also realized that…

I’ve Been Spoiled by Sims 4

It’s been so long since I’ve played any Sims game aside from Sims 4 that coming back to Sims 3 was an adjustment. I’m not just talking about the UI (which I actually find easy to use) or graphics.

The Sims 4 has really simplified (I’m tempted to say dumbed down) gameplay for the series. I did miss the cool Sims 4 features, such as being able to just drag rooms to make them larger. But I completely forgot that in order to fill my Sims’ needs in Sims 3, I had to manually interact with them.

Yeah, I’m kinda laughing about that. I actually have to… you know… play the game in Sims 3.

In Sims 4, if your Sim is hungry, you can click on the fridge and pick a meal for them manually. But you can also just open up the needs panel and click on the Hunger stat, instructing that Sim to go to the fridge and automatically take care of themself. And they do.

There were other things that were somewhat easier in Sims 3, though… like moving up the career track. I hardly had to work at getting my Sim to the highest level of the business track. Now he’s making big money.

Starting Out

So, to start with, I just grabbed one of the random Maxis-made families, the Lum family.

screenshotDon’t they look just thrilled to be the chosen ones?

I didn’t want to get distracted by Create-A-Sim, and I probably would have been frustrated with the lack of hair options anyhow, so I just snagged the first family that looked easy enough to play. I didn’t want to deal with kids or babies, but a teen like Lawrence gave me some time and leeway to somewhat develop a younger Sim as I wanted.

I moved them into the cheapest lot with the most extra room to build, Shotgun Style.

I put Theodore straight into the business career, which he very quickly progressed in. I guess his schmoozer trait was a good fit.

His wife, Lily, has a bit more trouble progressing because not only is she a snob, but she’s also mean spirited. She ends up turning people off more than anything else. But I did get her to slowly progress in the scientist career.

While the parents are out making money, my real focus is on their son, Lawrence.

Since I want to play with the features within the World Adventures expansion, as soon as Theodore got a challenge to travel abroad, I sent Lawrence along with him. Their first stop was France.

Exploring Cultures and Ruins

One neat feature of this expansion is that visiting other countries allows your Sims to learn and bring back pieces of cultures, such as songs. They can also teach other Sims these things. I made sure to teach Lawrence as many songs and gestures as possible. I love how he now sings these songs when taking showers and such.

The major addition brought by World Adventures is, obviously, the adventure system. This is a series of quests you can launch from the adventure board next to the home base. These quests sends you out to complete objectives from other Sims, often sending you into crypts and ruins.

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Making your way through ruins is mostly about clicking stuff and working through minor puzzles and traps. The most dangerous part of crypt exploration is running into a mummy. If attacked by a mummy, your Sim can be stricken with a curse that will eventually cause death if not cured.

Interestingly, if your Sim has enough athletic and martial arts skill points, they can actually fight and beat up the mummy. After seeing his first mummy, Lawrence got it into his head that he wanted to beat one up. So I had to send him to China to get him started on his martial arts skills, also another feature added to this expansion.

screenshot-16If I were a mummy, I’d be scared of that.

You can also become a mummy, though it sounds really annoying…

Mummies move incredibly slowly, and thus will limp from location to location.

So I don’t really have any desire to have Lawrence become one. Besides, he just got engaged to another pre-made Sim, River McIrish, and there’s no Lum kids yet. That would kinda be a bad move to end the family legacy so soon.

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There are a few other neat systems that come along with exploration. One is the visa system. Your Sim’s visa begins to level up as you complete adventures and tasks in a country. This allows them to stay abroad longer and purchase items from the Special Merchant (yes really) using Ancient Coins. Most of these items help make adventuring easier.

I also know you can buy a vacation home in another country once you get a high enough visa. I gave Lawrence the Adventurous trait once he aged up to help speed up this process.

So, honestly, this expansion does give a good bit of content to play through and earn. It’s kinda a bummer that the visa only pertains to one Sim in your family (though ancient coins are shared by the household). It also seems like each Sim has to progress through the same quests and ruins every time. These aren’t randomly generated, so if you’ve done them once, you’ve done them.

Right now, my goal is to work up Lawrence’s visa as much as I can, progress through the quests, experience the ruins, and see if I can’t earn a holiday home for the family. Meanwhile, I’m taking advantage of the fact that his parents are at the top of their career ladders, and that he has a fiance waiting in the wings.

Seven hours in, and there’s still a lot left for me to see. So I’d say this is a pretty good sized expansion despite the lack of replay-ability.

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Posted in Gaming, Geek Stuff, Internet

The Internet’s Wasteful Things

wasteful-thingsBanner created with Make it Stranger. Thanks to Xaa for bringing its existence to my attention.

The Internet is full of wasteful things and folks who are caught up in acts of virtual hoarding… myself included.

It’s easy to do because the things we hoard aren’t physical. They don’t take up tangible space that we can see, so it slips by. We purchase another Steam Humble Bundle or add another free ebook to the ever-growing backlog. And then, one day, we wonder why these digital creations have so little worth and how it got so far out of hand.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for having a variety of cool stuff to pick from at a low cost. I love me some Steam sales. There’s some kind of momentary euphoria gained when you find something on sale or for free and you drop it in your backlog… be it a game, an app, digital music or an ebook.

But on the flip side, it’s easy to forget that there were people… creators, artists, coders, musicians… who put their heart and soul into these bits and bites. They spent untold hours pouring everything they had into creating that game, book, app or song.

And what do I do with it? I plop it in the backlog and forget about it.

As a creator myself, this makes me feel bad. I’m so… so… so… guilty.

steamgamesMy Steam library. This doesn’t include my GoG backlog. Or what I have on Origins. Or the multitude of MMOs I have installed…

Because as a creator, I know how it feels. I know how it is to put hours of my own free time into writing and art each week only to feel like that work is drown out by the endless cacophony that each person on the Internet is subjected to in an almost constant stream. There’s just so much vying for every inch of our attention, and it’s not humanly possible to give that attention to everything.

We learn how to selectively block things out. We become less sensitive and assign things less attention-worth because we have to. But what’s the results of this?

Loss of Passionate Creation

I think it hits the creators hardest. Yesterday, I read this post called When Everyone Is Special, No One Is. It focuses on this issue from a novelist’s point of view, but the same can be said for game designers or any kind of creator who wants their works to have some worth to the world. Even this writer has fallen to the ways of an overgrown book backlog.

Now days, anyone with the right tools can toss an ebook up on Amazon to sell it (spoken from experience). Or code a game and somehow get the concept passed into Early Access on Steam. There’s no one culling these things or checking them for quality, and just so many more appear day after day. And granted, not all of them are good or worthy of the price tag placed on it (sorry creators).

But the biggest problem is that with so many titles constantly flowing in, a small talented beginner, someone worthy of attention and money, may find it almost impossible to get noticed. You could have the most awesome idea ever embodied in type or code, but unless you get the right breaks, or somehow manage to go viral, who is going to hear about it?

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Pattyd

Then you start seeing the desperate free book weekends on Amazon or Steam sales and huge game bundle sites… which probably don’t generate much more attention (unless you get really lucky).  It just lowers the worth of the product overall.

Maybe a consumer picks up the book or the game, only to toss it over their shoulder into the backlog and never look at it again. There’s no worth to that item… it’s just one of many already accumulated. This is the consequence of the Internet’s wasteful things.

Eventually, sensitive creators and would-be hopefuls start to get discouraged. Why should they bother putting their time and effort into something that it feels like no one cares about? There’s already so many games/books/apps/blogs/art out there, what’s the point in making another?

Bummer… but I understand that feeling too well.

Sadly, I don’t have an answer for it. I just know I feel guilty when I don’t give a game the appropriate time and attention that it probably deserves. There’s only so many hours of free time in a day.

Still, I can’t help but think about the creators.

Posted in Gaming, Sims 3

Sims 3: Time Locked Progression

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Okay, yeah, I know that Sims 3 isn’t a MMO that can have a legit Time Locked progression server. But the idea behind it is very similar.

While I still enjoy the Sims 4 very much, I was eyeing Sims 3 in my Origins library this past weekend. I was thinking about it and realized that though I own all the expansion packs, I didn’t spend a lot of time with them individually.

I’d buy an expansion pack, and mess around with it for a few days before putting it down again. Then, when the next expansion came out, I’d do the same thing. Only, I still had all that content from the previous pack I had never fully explored. After 11 expansions, that started to add up until there was just so much content that I could never fully experience it all, and it all started to get jumbled together in my mind.

Heck, I didn’t even remember there was an Island Paradise expansion… beyond the knowledge of the fact that we had houseboats. I believe that Pets and Into the Future were the only expansions I spent significant time with. I still feel like there’s a lot I haven’t done with the pet system, too.

Therefore, I have decided that I’m going to go back and reinstall The Sims 3 one expansion at a time and play until I feel like I’ve got a pretty good grip on what each expansion had to offer. I’m going to try to play it as vanilla as possible — I remember my previous version of Sims 3 was heavily modded with way too much custom content. I might install a few things, but overall, my concentration will be on exploring expansion features to the fullest. I’m even planning to start with a Maxis pre-made family for this experiment as to not get too distracted by making my perfect family.

So, to begin, I’ve installed the base Sims 3 and the first expansion, World Adventures only. And though these are both 7 years old, I hope to blog review my experiences with them as I go along.

~♪ Sul Sul!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Second Coil Clears and Other Weekend Highlights

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I did have a long weekend thanks to Labor Day, and Syn was visiting most of the weekend. However, we still put a good bit of playtime in on Monday.

FC folks in KoM have been motivated to clear Coil lately. Not quite sure why other than the fact we’ve heard that clearing Coil gets different dialogue in patch 3.4.

In the past, I’ve cleared up to T9 on Tai, and T8 on Zuri. Our runs have all been unsynced, but I still find this content more challenging than the Alexander normal raids. Many of us were clearing it for the first time, and while it was exciting on one hand, it was also exhausting to me on the other. We all did our best despite most being completely new to the runs. Those of us who had done it before had only ran it a few times, and didn’t really know all the mechanics, but we still made it through.

The highlight for me was the first time we got the boss of T9, Nael Deus Darnus, past the golem stage. As a group, we’d battled her down to about 4%. Then something (have no idea what) happened and wiped everyone in the party except for our Ninja and myself. I think most the party didn’t expect us to pull through, but the Nin-tank lasted enough to get her down to 1%. I just so happened to have all my buffs off cooldown, so I was able to Bard burst her down for the win!

It was exciting because I’m usually not the last one standing as Bard. (Though I really couldn’t have done it without our Nin-tank.) I wish I’d thought to take a screenshot during the fight, but I was too busy trying to dot her up at the end. I did get this fun screen!

Good job KoM! 

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In Other News…

I’m still slowly chipping away at earning items for my Relic. I also spent some time working up reputation on old Beast Tribe quests (it’s a goal to get some of that rep up this month), as well as clearing away old 2.0 quests on my Warrior. Between hunts and a few old quests, I leveled Warrior to 35 on Zuri!

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She’s quickly approaching my highest level Warrior, which is on Tai, level 37. It would be nice to have a solid tank option on Zuri, so I’m happy to be making progress on this!

Speaking of Tai, I ran Tai and Zemi through The Rising this weekend to get their minions and music.

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I do kinda miss playing Tai a bit, but I know I need to stay focused on Zuri’s progression right now. Maybe, in the future, when the lull between 3.0 and 4.0 expansion comes, I’ll catch Tai up again. But, for now, I’ve been happier staying focused.

Also, Syn and I helped Vix and Xaa finish Dusk Vigil and unlock flying in their first Heavensward zone. Congrats!

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I still have way too much to do this month, and I’m feeling pretty motivated about getting things done before patch 3.4 drops in a few weeks! Heck, I even said that I’d run the new Alex with folks in the FC… I must be sick. Or maybe a few days off this weekend helped revitalize me.

Hope your weekend went well!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Relic Status and Tantalus Attire

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Zeb with his new i240 Cane of the White Tsar Relic. Zuri with the in-progress Brionac Awoken.

So after pestering my friends to help me make a choice between Bard and Dragoon Relic, I’ve finally decided to take Dragoon relic to i240. I’ve also glamoured Zuri’s Dragoon gear to use the Tantalus Attire for reasons of cuteness.

Syn finished up Zeb’s i240 White Mage relic, as pictured above, this week. Meanwhile, I finally finished my FATE running for crystals and have moved on to completing the loooong string of dungeons.

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Yeah, I know, Zeb. That’s how I feel about the dungeon run, too.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to rope Vix and Xaa into unlocking and running a lot of the Hard Mode dungeons unsynced, which is a whole lot more fun than running them via Duty Finder. I’ve already knocked out the first 4 dungeons, but will be setting it aside this weekend since Syn is coming to vising me for a few days IRL!

In the meantime, I’m using Beast Tribe quests to gather the last bits and pieces I’ll need to upgrade my Relic when I get done with the dungeon stage. At this point, I have everything but 5 seeds, so I’ll probably be done with gathering the items before I get done with the dungeons!

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As you can see, I’m also stashing the Umbrite and Sands ahead of time for the next phase. I doubt I’m going to finish this before 3.4 comes out, but at least I have plenty to work on before the next patch!

I’m also geeking out over the Tantalus Attire, which almost seems to be made for Zuri! It helps that I really love FFIX, and don’t mind looking like a femcat Zidane one bit. 🙂

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Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

September Goals

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Wow, it’s September already! This marks 6 months of me experimenting with making and trying to keep goals in gaming. Overall, I think this lends me some structure I might not otherwise have, so I’m going to keep doing this.

We’re looking at the next FFXIV patch releasing at the end of September, so I have a lot of things I want to get in order before that drops. Specifically, I want to catch up with Zuri’s Dragoon Relic and save up enough Lore to dump it all on armor for Dragoon.

So what do I want to accomplish this month?

Earthbound

  • Play some!

Pokemon X

  • Earn the next gym badge ✓
  • Get badge after that, too ✓

FFXIV End Game Stuff

  • Unlock Level 60 Roulette on Zuri ✓
  • Finish 2nd Stage Dragoon Relic ✓
  • Finish 3rd Stage Dragoon Relic ✓
  • Finish 4th Stage Dragoon Relic ✓
  • Start 5th Stage Dragoon Relic ✓
  • Finish Gearing Up Dragoon (Patch 3.4)

FFXIV General

  • Level Warrior ✓
  • Clean Up Old Quests ✓
  • Gain reputation with Amalj’aa ✓
  • Gain reputation with Sahagin ✓

Creative

  • Work on creative/RP blog for Zuri – I’ve set up SongSpear for this  ✓