Welcome to February in review! I actually completed all of my goals this month, even going beyond what I set for myself in a lot of ways. Let’s take a look:
Steam Personal Challenge
Play at least 2 new games from my Steam Backlog ✓
I did this. In fact, I completed the games I started, too! Granted, they were on the short side, and I picked them because they were. The first I completed was Seasons After Fall, and the second was A Bird Story. I blogged a bit about both of them.
Complete the storyline ✓
It took me until the last weekend of this month to finish this, but I did. I still have things I want to do in Pokemon Sun, but the overall story is complete.
Final Fantasy XIV
Upgrade Dragoon Gear ✓
Upgrade Bard Gear ✓
Continue Relic Weapon ✓
Finish Summoner Job Quests ✓
Level Paladin ✓
Meld Crafting Materia
Earn at least 1 Crafting Master III Book ✓
A lot is going on here. I am running the weekly Dun Scaith hoping for Bard drops, and upgrading that gear when I do get it. I have about 3 pieces left to get, so drops are harder and harder to come by, thanks to RNG. Whenever I get enough Scripture for an accessory upgrade, I do that as well.
Each week’s Dun Scaith completion also allows me to upgrade a piece of Dragoon Scripture gear. I’m on track for all of that.
I have continued to plug away at the Umbrite step of the Relic Weapon, which just got nerfed today. I’m pretty burned out on Relic, and starting to regret the massive amounts of Lore Tomes I’ve thrown at this thing, but I’m going to finish this step, at least.
I was good and finished all my Summoner Job quests, while cleaning up other quests I’ve discovered along the way.
I leveled Paladin this month, far beyond what I expected to. I started out at something like level 34, and am currently level 53 and rising. I do want to get this job to 60 eventually, but it’s now kinda in that level 50-60 void that I loathe so much.
I didn’t meld any crafting materia. In fact, I removed that goal from my list. I sat down to do it, but then decided that I’ve never actually crafted anything that requires the stats that materia give. So, I decided just to save what I’ve gathered and re-access the situation later.
And, finally, Crafting Master III books. My goal was to obtain at least 1. Instead, I earned them all! Part of this was because I discovered that my Squad could bring back crafting scrips, sometimes in a large number. So, using that, I was able to purchase all the Master III books. Now, I guess I need to look at Master IV stuff, especially with the new Deliveries system added to the game.
I had what I like to call a bit of a hermit weekend (very little MMO gaming), which was a nice change of pace that allowed me to recharge. I also got a lot of stuff done around the house, and things done on single player games.
The first thing I wanted to tackle was to finish the story for Pokemon Sun. This has been a goal of mine since January, and while I was on the homestretch, I didn’t get any of it done last month. With the Switch coming out this Friday, I knew that I needed to finish this up before I get sidetracked by other Nintendo gaming (Zelda!), so I did.
I have to say that Sun had some pretty impressive cutscenes for a Pokemon game. I was already somewhat spoiled on what was going to happen, but it was still neat to see where the story went in the end.
It took me 100+ hours to beat the game. But that’s mostly because I was dabbling around in breeding, trading, the Islands, and the Festival Plaza. I’d say that I got more than my money’s worth, and I still have more to do.
The game instantly launched me into another storyline about capturing Ultra Beasts. I’ll get through that on my own time. Until then, I have a bunch of Pokemon I’m training for evolution on the Islands, and more to trade for. My Pokedex is 77% complete. So I still have a way to go, but I’m content on my progress overall.
I’m kicking around the idea of Pokemon Bank, which I don’t yet have an account with. Not so sure I want to transfer my Pokemon to Sun, though, since they get stuck there if you do.
Overall, Pokemon Sun was an enjoyable experience! Probably the Pokemon game I’ve liked most so far.
The Switch is now a week away from release, and I’ve been sampling information about it from sources around the net. I’ve stumbled upon what I consider to be one of the system’s best features, and with all the cool things you could say about the system, it’s probably not one you’d be thinking about.
It’s the new Capture button.
The Importance of Screenshots
So, I’m a blogger, as you probably know. 😉 I blog about my gaming experiences. That means that I’m constantly walking a line between being immersed in a game and thinking, “Oh, man, I need to get a screenshot of this for tomorrow’s blog post!”
Screenshots are a pretty big deal to me. Even when I’m not using them as a supplement for blogging, I’ve always taken screenshots of awesome moments in a game just to hold on to the memories.
This is an area where Nintendo has failed me in the past.
To take a screenshot on the Wii U or the 3DS, you have to jump through so many hoops:
First you have to pause your game
Then you have to leave the gaming software and wait for MiiVerse to load up
Then you have to select the image you want to save, and confirm
All this takes a few minutes of your gaming time. But the real problem is it removes you from your game. Instead of you just pressing a button to take a screen and continuing to game, you have to stop everything you’re doing, likely in the middle of a cool cutscene or important moment worth capturing, wait forever for the MiiVerse to load, then return to the important moment in your game after your immersion has been demolished.
I can’t begin to tell you how bad this is for a gamer like myself.
Then, you can only retrieve your images by logging into the MiiVerse. Not to mention, the images weren’t the best quality or size. And MiiVerse also limited the number of shots you could keep there.
There are a few 3DS games where taking screenshots are built in, such as Animal Crossing. But this is rare. And they’re not high quality screenshots, either.
It also requires you to pull the SD card out of your 3DS and place to transfer them to your computer if you want to use them for anything. This isn’t a big deal to players who have the old style 3DS, but the New 3DS requires you to open the back plate to access the SD slot!
NO! Bad Nintendo!
This is the reason I will never upgrade my old 3DS!
Oh, and let’s not talk about the games that DON’T let you save screenshots, even to MiiVerse.Pokemon, I’m looking at you. WHY?? I have to stop and grab my phone every time I want to take a picture of something important in my Pokemon games, and that’s a crying shame.
Screenshots and Social Media
I can’t help but wonder if this plays a little part in how the Wii U struggled to find a hold in the gaming world. Like it or not, gamers are probably on the Net, on social media, and want to share their experiences through it. But they couldn’t share Nintendo game shots without jumping through so many hoops.
Even I kinda gave up on blogging my Nintendo experiences because it was just so difficult to record cool moments. The way they designed it made it so that I ether just played the game without screenshots, or interrupted my experience to capture the game. And that’s not fun.
I guess the concept of MiiVerse (and I do like some things about it) is that it is a Nintendo-safe social media-ish outlet to share these things. For some people, that works. But let me tell you, I sent out a call for folks to friend me on MiiVerse when I first got my Wii U. I still don’t have a single friend there. I rarely use the forums. I don’t share screenshots there. I want them on my blog and my Twitter account!
I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way… and I bet the lack of sharing tools to more traditional outlets can’t have helped Nintendo in the age of social media.
Switch Switches It Up
I didn’t mean to write a whole essay on my frustrations with the Wii U and 3DS screenshot systems. I guess I had more to say about that than I realized! While the previous systems and their attachments to MiiVerse was annoying, I was overjoyed to see that Nintendo has taken that into consideration and fixed it on the Switch!
In fact, they’ve turned it completely around. There’s a Capture button on the left joy-con that instantly takes a screenshot. In the future, I’ve read, it may be used to capture video as well!
These images are saved to the system instantly. There’s no messing with MiiVerse. No pausing a game during an important moment. It’s as it should be.
Now, I don’t know if the screens go to the system’s internal memory or to the SD card. I do know that there’s an option to share screens, I’m assuming to social media. If the images are saved to the SD card as well, that would offer a way to transfer to a PC for saving, editing, etc. I also don’t know the quality of the saved images, but from the video I saw, they seem much improved over Wii U and 3DS.
Sometimes, it’s the little things that count. In this case, it’s a big win for those who like to share important gaming moments. Most of all, it’s a win for Nintendo… because the more that fans share, the more other people will be exposed to the games, and the more likely they will convert new fans and prospective buyers.
I promised I’d share a bit about the process of noob game creation with RPG Maker, so here’s the newest Nefol Dev Blog about my mis-adventures with events and switches (and I don’t mean the Nintendo Switch)!
The Nintendo Switch is releasing next Friday. I want so much to be a Nintendo Switch fangirl.
I grew up as a Nintendo kid, with my first exposure being the original NES. Through the years, I maintained a soft spot for Nintendo, even after investing in systems like Playstation and Playstation 2. When PC gaming came into my life during my college years, the consoles saw less and less of my time, but I always managed to own the relevant Nintendo systems and handhelds… even when I haven’t invest in Playstation in over 15 years, and Xbox pretty much never.
Despite this, I have never purchased a Nintendo system at launch. Putting in a pre-order for the Nintendo Switch is the first time I’ve done such a thing! So far, the preorder seems to be fine — I’ve also never preordered from Best Buy before, and I know there’s always the chance they’ve oversold or something. I’d hope by now I would have seen a cancellation if so.
Right now, my plans are this:
Friday March 3 I have taken a vacation day from work. I plan on picking up my Nintendo Switch from Best Buy as soon as I can. I have a pre-ordered copy of Zelda: Breath of the Wild that should be coming in from Amazon that day as well. I may or may not pick up another game… it all really depends on what’s available at launch. Hopefully everything will align so that I get a little bit of time with my new system that day!
I’ve already purchased a micro SD card, which will arrive this afternoon. So, I should be set for storage space. Thank you so much for using SD cards with this system, Nintendo! It’s much better than having to hook up an external hard drive to the Wii U.
I Want to be a Switch Fangirl!
Now, back to the title of this post.
I really enjoy my Wii U. I think it has a lot of great features, and I don’t regret buying it. Despite all that, it was hard for me to be too much of a fangirl for a system that clearly was going to have a shorter production life than it should have. As much as I wanted to support it, the writing was on the wall.
However, I originally had no plans to jump to Nintendo’s next system so soon. My Wii U has plenty of life and gaming left in it!
That changed when I saw the concept behind the Switch. The mobile/console hybrid was exactly what I’ve been looking for. In fact, when I chose to buy the Shield Tablet in December 2015, it was expressly with the idea that I could game on my TV.
The Shield does a fantastic job for what it is — quite impressive, actually. But to see a Nintendo console that takes that idea, and ironically builds off the same sort of Nvidia chip as the Shield contains (but probably more powerful), spoke to me. Knowing what I know about my Shield’s performance, I was instantly on board for the Switch.
So, all that being said, I want nothing more than to be blown away by the Nintendo Switch. I’m a jaded and aging gamer who wants to find that kind of excitement in a console again. I want it to convert me into a Switch fangirl! I’m completely open to this… my current expectations are actually on the shelf, and I’m in hopeful wait-and-see mode.
I’ve been waiting a long time for something in the console world to really sweep me away like I was in my youth. I know that’s probably a hard thing to ask for, since we always have over-inflated memories of what we loved in the past. But hey, I can hope, right?
Have you ever really wanted a system/game to make you a big fan?
How’d that turn out?
Until next week, when I finally take a day off for the Nintendo Switch release on Friday (yay!), work is going to be pretty crazy for me. Due to that, I’m trying not to do too many stressful things when I sit down to game.
So, last night, when Syn asked me what I wanted to do, I suggested that we catch up with the Hildibrand quest line. We haven’t played in several patches, which is a sad thing for two reasons: I genuinely enjoy Hildibrand and the zany humor, and I LOVE Vivi from FFIX. There’s really no reason for me to NOT have played these quests before.
So, anyhow, we played through several patches of the Hildibrand quest line last night. We haven’t quite finished it, but I think we’re on the newest quests finally. I really want that Vivi minion — they even had him adjusting his hat in game and so many Vivi mannerisms. So cute!
Aside from that, I’ve been working on leveling my Paladin. Last night, I got from level 50.5 to level 52!
“But, Wren,” you say, “I thought you were taking it easy?”
I was! I was really surprised at how easily these first two post-50 levels came. I know that changes as time goes on, though.
I ran one Leveling Roulette, which pushed me the half level I needed to 51. I then hit up all the beast tribe quests, which netted me another half level. From there, I worked on Fates in Coerthas Western Highlands, which pushed me up to 52.
I was doing FATEs for two reasons. First, it helped me level. And second, I am truly starting on my fourth Anima weapon. While I have the quest activated on Monk right now, I’m gathering crystals for the Paladin Anima weapon. I plan on dropping the quest once Paladin gets to 60, or I get all the crystals. Whichever comes first.
Yes, I was serious about that Anima weapon for Paladin glamour. I’ll probably not get it until after Stormblood releases, but I’m going to work on it! I got my first three crystals last night, so it’s off to a good start!
This was a weekend of exciting announcements for FFXIV players, and lots of random gaming for me. There’s so many small things going on, but nothing huge, so it felt right to make a highlights post today. I may go into detail on some of these later!
FFXIV: Treasures and Tanking
This weekend marked our FC’s first organized Treasure Hunt night. We’ve been running the Aquapolis from time to time, when people remembered. Folks are having so much fun, and there are still some who have never tried it, so we put it on the calendar as a light event on Friday nights.
We had such a turn-out that we had to organize two groups to accommodate everyone who wanted to run. And while our group didn’t have the best luck getting the portal to open, when we finally did, we reached Chamber 7 again this time (as did our second group)!
As I announced earlier this weekend, I also finally leveled my Paladin to 50! I got some Ironworks gear for her, and I have to grudgingly admit that I think Paladin looks good on my character.
This weekend I also co-tanked the Labyrinth of the Ancients raid in Crystal Tower, which is the first time I’ve tanked a raid of any kind. I was mostly playing the off-tank, just trying to get a feel for how things worked from a tank’s point of view. But it seemed less stressful overall than tanking a whole dungeon where all the pulls rest on your shoulders.
I didn’t think to get any screens of it since I was too busy figuring out my role, but I wouldn’t be against trying it again sometime. Aside from that, I’ve been doing beast tribe dailies and some random FATEs, continuing to level Paladin on the side. At this point, Beast Tribe quests actually give a good chunk of daily experience, while I am working on earning FATE crystals for my Paladin relic by activating the Monk Anima quest instead.
Minecraft: Finding Fishing
Minecraft remains that game that I play for short bursts when I have some down time or just want to chill. I have been working on expanding my island base with actual dirt blocks to allow the grass to grow there, as I mentioned earlier.
I also learned that there is fishing in Minecraft. Anyone who knows me knows that if there’s fishing in a game, I’m going to be doing it! Especially since you can cook the fish and use it as a food source. Even better, there’s a chance at reeling in treasure — I especially have my eye on finding a saddle.
I haven’t seen a horse in game yet, but when I do, I want it so badly! So, for now, I’m exploring fishing in the little oasis pond next to my Dune Village.
7D2D: Tri-Biome Home
This weekend, our Posse decided to restart our game of 7D2D. So we seeded up a new map called “Spriggan” after my kitten, and that went just about as well as it sounded like it would. This map dropped us in a pretty harsh environment with a lot of mountains and desert. Not to mention, our trader quest took us two days away from our first house find.
Thankfully, there was a little house fairly close to this trader, and it has a very interesting placement.
As you can see in this picture, I’m standing in a green forest biome. This transitions into desert, where the house is actually located. But to the right, both green forest and desert turn into snow biome!
This makes for very interesting weather patterns. If it’s raining in the forest, you can stand on one side of the base and get rained on, while moving towards the desert side makes the rain stop!
I had a horde approach the house from the back, where desert and snow met, while there was a snow storm happening in the snow biome. It looked like this:
If I were to take a few steps to the left, you’d see the snow stop, replaced by desert instead. Very trippy! XD
RPG Maker Saturday
While this isn’t really playing a game, it’s a good chunk of time Syn and I put towards spinning up the beginning of our Nefol RPG. We haven’t put as much time towards this as I’d like, but I feel like we made up for that this weekend.
We scripted up the introduction, and I got to work on relearning how to script events in RPG Maker. I’d forgotten a lot, including how to properly use switches, which led to hours of time trying to debug events that did exactly what I was telling them to do, but not what I was hoping. I’ll write a longer post about this on the Nefol page… but in the meantime, I wanted to close with this demo screen of our heroes in a boss fight. 🙂
So, tonight after a leveling roulette and a few rounds of PotD, I was sitting at halfway through level 49 Paladin. That’s when I realized that I haven’t touched that class’ hunting log since I was something like level 11.
That’s pretty laid back and enjoyable, so I got to work on it. Not long after, I’d scored my level 50 Paladin, and still have a lot of hunting left over!
I had a stack of Poetics sitting in the bag, so I picked up some tank armor. I already had a Wootz scimitar that a retainer brought back, so I decided to put that to use, too!
It’s been about a month since I’ve seriously played Pokemon GO to any extent. I was mildly interested in the Valentine’s thing, but had other things on my mind at the time, so it passed me by.
I did know, however, that a few things were going on this week. First, Gen II Pokemon were released yesterday. This was the big thing everyone has been waiting for, naturally.
To go along with that, they also cut the cost of the Pokemon storage upgrade in half. Seeing I don’t have that many coins since I’m not a very competitive player, I was happy to pick up the first upgrade at 100 coins.
On my lunch break today, I decided to see what new Pokemon I could wrangle up. This was my first Gen II:
What I found interesting here was rather than just needing candy to evolve, this Pokemon also requires a Sun Stone. Looking around, I read that these are new drops at Pokestops. I like this idea, as long as they aren’t too hard to get.
I then caught a:
Then, something completely unexpected happened. I tapped on a Sentret with the thought of “Ooh, Gen II!” in mind. I noticed that it was kinda pink in color, but didn’t think much about it (I’m not super familiar with Gen II).
Turns out, Sentrets can be Dittos in disguise! And yes, this was my first Ditto, after all these months of Pidgies and Rattatas.
The rest of my lunch break went like this:
So there seems to be a pretty good selection of Gen II out there even in what you’d consider the “normal” spawns.
I also noticed the other week that the Sprint/Radio Shack store in our local mall now has a new Pokestop. This makes me super happy, because our mall was, strangely enough, a dead zone to Pokemon unless you were in the parking lot. This made no sense at all, and was super discouraging because I was looking for a cool place to walk at the end of last summer, and had to rule the mall out.
Now, not only does it look like we have spawn there, but a Pokestop as well. I really need to start walking and catching Pokemon again!
Oh, I also noticed they significantly changed my trainer’s outfit!