Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Playing the Alt Game

Despite focusing mostly on my new Nintendo Switch this weekend, I also spent some time burning through quests and leveling my little Lalafell alt, Hedge Mouse.

I know that I don’t really need yet another character in FFXIV. I keep rolling and deleting Lalafells, though. I want one, but I’ve been fighting with myself to justify yet another character. Last week, I decided to take a plunge and just do it.

Part of this was encouragement from Xaa, the new playdead emote, and a little to do with Syp’s experiences leveling an alt Hobbit in LOTRO. I know that Lalafells and Hobbits have little in common aside from size, but it’s nice to know that I’m not the only person who just enjoys going back to the early zones to experience a more laid-back game.

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All low-level melee must endure the subligar right-of-passage.

Guilty Pleasures

For a long time, rolling an alt has been a guilt trip in FFXIV. I am an alt player at heart. But the game goes out of its way to discourage alt gaming, mostly at end game. I’m still struggling to find purpose for poor Tai (though I did dust him off and unlocked PotD for him this weekend).

Despite this, I still get the inspiration to roll alts. This is mostly because something in me desires a laid-back experience, and I don’t often get that at end game. I also like to try out different character races and styles just for the fun of it. So this is something I’ve been sorely missing in FFXIV.

But why? The game doesn’t prevent me from rolling an alt, afterall.

I guess it’s all in my head. I know that I’ll never be able to sustain alts at end game. I’ve tried. It’s just stress-out city.

That’s when I stop myself and ask, “So what’s changed so much in my gaming mindset that endgame overshadows the fun of rolling a random alt?”

Ah.

Here’s Mouse

So, I did it. And I’m enjoying it. But I’m not taking my time at all. XD

Firstly, I wanted to get Mouse to level 15 so she could unlock the path to all the different city-states. This is important because it allows me to do seasonal quests, such as the current Little Ladies’ Day, that require a level 15 character and the ability to travel to all the cities.

Second, it also unlocked the Aesthetician. I really wanted to use the Samsonian Locks from the PotD on Mouse, but you can’t access it (funny enough) through Fantasia. You can only do that at the hairdresser.

Yes, I did break down and Fantasia her once (I still have another free in the storage), because I finally figured out how I wanted her to look. It turned out vastly different from my original character roll.

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I decided to go for darker skin tones for a more brown, mousey look. I also gave her subtle whiskers. 🙂

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My ultimate goal for her? Depending on how it works, I’d love to make her a Samurai once Stormblood releases. So, I’m leveling monk, aiming towards 50, hoping that makes the unlock.

Right now, though, she’s just hit her first trio of dungeons, and I’m working through that towards a chocobo. This has all gone fairly quickly since I’m no stranger to the leveling path in any city in this game.

It’s kinda nice to sit back and do my own thing while I see the rest of the FC hustle and bustle around me. I don’t know that most of them realize that Mouse is my alt yet. Maybe that’s a good thing! XD

Tai Time

This also encouraged me to bring out Tai a little this weekend. He’s stuck in a dead zone of ilvl 220-something. Not quite high enough to take on the new content. Part of this is because his weapon is still i210. Part of it is because I have no desire to farm for Tomes while struggling through Relic on my main.

So, I decided to unlock PotD for him to work on the glowy blue Dragoon spear (and earn Tomes on the side). I really like the way it looks (not so much the red upgrade), so I think I’m going to keep it that way once I get it. I don’t really need to upgrade it all that much more since my only goal is to get him through the final story content.

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I figure that he’s close enough to being done (just a few patches behind) that it doesn’t make sense not to at least finish out Heavensward with him. Once Stormblood hits, I know I’ll probably be able to either buy or quest for gear that’s just as good or better than what’s dropping at end game now. So, I’m not going to work too hard on him.

It may end up that Tai becomes my main Dragoon character, though, depending on how much I like Red Mage when that’s released. We’ll have to see how it goes.

But for now, I’m content to work on my alts a bit here and there again. It feels pretty good.

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch First Weekend Impressions

So I’ve spent a weekend putting my new Switch to the test and forming an opinion on the system as a whole. I’ll preface this by saying that I’ve read a number of instances of people having issues — from scratching the screen while docking to dead pixels to blue screens of death and skinning messing up the system’s finishing.

These are all really unfortunate situations, but I will report that on my end, I haven’t seen any of these problems. I’ve been super careful while docking my system, and have already purchased a screen protector (which should arrive Wednesday). I’ve played my Switch several hours every day, and thus far, everything has gone just fine.

Switch Hardware

The Switch itself is just a tablet with a dock and the ability to hook up to controllers on either end. While this is exactly what I expected, it’s still a little amazing what this tablet does. Just like in the ads, sliding it into the dock projects the game on my TV (though with a few seconds of lag), and pulling it out of the dock instantly projects it on the tablet.

I’m using it primarily as a TV gaming console, so that’s the focus of my review. I’m happy that it offers portability, however. I’m just being super careful with the system when it’s out of the dock until I get that screen protector!

My biggest concern going into this was with the joy-cons and their design. They just didn’t look at first glance to be controllers that could handle heavy game play or be real comfortable to play for hours. I was convinced that I’d be rushing out to get a pro controller the first day.

I was wrong about this. 

I stuck the joy-cons in the the controller grip, and it felt every bit like a solid controller. Putting many hours into Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I never once felt like the joy-cons couldn’t do the job. It’s also much more comfortable than I expected. Keep in mind, though, I have small hands, so a controller of this size fits me perfectly.

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I also didn’t have any issues with joy-con connectivity. I’ve read folks with issues, especially with the left joy-con, but did not experience this myself. Granted, I’m sitting about six feet away from the system and have it up on a shelf with nothing blocking the signal between myself and the Switch.

The one small complaint I have about the joy-cons is the tiny little release button you have to hold to slide it out of the grip or the system. Its location is kinda wonky and I find myself accidentally clicking all other kinds of buttons on the controller as I attempt to slide it out. It’s not a game-breaker, but a slight annoyance.

I also had initial confusion with the dock itself until I discovered it had a back flap which was covering the location of the plug slots. Once I found that, though, it was no big deal.

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System Setup

The Switch software setup was quick and painless. I had it out of the box and running in less than 10 minutes. Most of that time was spent puzzling over how to plug in the dock (which I did figure out fairly quickly).

The Switch found my Internet connection without any trouble. It connected to my existing My Nintendo account for the e-shop like a boss. It had two short updates that downloaded super fast. One was for the system itself. One was for when I inserted the micro SD card the first time. Zelda also had an update, but that took no time at all to complete.

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Friend me if you’d like! 🙂

The system has a wonderful, clean UI and a very uncomplicated operating system. And, as I hoped, it saves screenshots to the micro SD card, which means I can pull the card out to transfer images to my computer. Thank you!

I’m also happy about the Friends section. I know that some people are grumbling about having friend codes, but it’s really not that big of a deal.

I was able to connect with my sister and brother-in-law using their friend codes. However, the Switch also recognized and recommended friends that I’d connected to through playing Miitomo. This was very cool because I could invite folks that I probably wouldn’t have even known had a Switch.

In fact, I have more friends in the first three days of owning a Switch than I ever did using the MiiVerse on the Wii U.

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It’s interesting how most of my friends have still chosen to create a Mii when given a choice.

This isn’t saying anything about the experiences I’ve had playing Zelda yet — I’m super impressed with this game and plan to have a solid playthrough series of articles for the game starting soon.

As of right now, I’m very much on board with the Switch. No regrets!