bookmark_borderFFXIV: NA Data Centers Moved, High Pop Servers Locked, Jimmies Rustled

A lot has been going on in FFXIV this week, sending ripples of frustration through some parts of the community. This isn’t so huge that it’s making big news outside of the FFXIV community, but I’ve been a spectator of rustled jimmies all over the place.

So, what’s happened to rustle jimmies? Two things:

I’ll explain what these mean and why people are frustrated in a moment. But, right now, we have four types of FFXIV players:

  • People who are upset because they feel negatively impacted by the data center move
  • People who are upset because they feel negatively impacted by the server locks
  • People who are upset about  both
  • People who were positively effected by the server move, don’t know what’s going on, or don’t really care what’s going on

And, I guess there’s me, who knows what’s going on, wasn’t positively effected by the server move, but didn’t get my jimmies rustled by a slight increase in ping time.

NA Data Center Move

Everything (except the downtime) sounded good about the move before it happened. The idea was that better and stronger servers would impact the game in a good way — especially when we’re looking at no longer routing through the troublesome Level 3 choke points and hopefully strengthening the server for upcoming improvements on game inventory capacity, etc.

Yeah, some of us were without the game for two days, and only credited for one day. I think people were already antsy because of the downtime.

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But what really got people upset about this?

The fact that signs point to the new location (which S/E kept secret) is in Sacramento California, on the opposite coast of the original location. What players were hoping for was a more central location. So, people got to pinging the new servers, and some folks discovered a much higher ping than they used to have, especially those in Europe and South America.

I have no idea what my ping used to be, but seeing that I’m on the East Coast, I’m sure it went up. I did play around a bit in PotD last night, and didn’t see any unusual lag or antics. But this wasn’t anything heavy or taxing. I’m also not a cutting-edge player, so people like raiders are the ones who would see the effects of these things more so than I would.

I’m sure that there are many people out there who are having a rough time with the server move. It’s hard to say if it’ll shake itself out in time or not.

Server Population Balance

It’s pretty well known among NA players that our two highly populated servers, Balmung and Gilgamesh, are both on the Aether Data Center. This also happens to be the home of my server, Midgardsormr.

I remember how at Heavensward launch our Data Center in particular became impossible to log into, and I’m going to guess it’s partly due to having two very high pop servers on it. In order to make things a bit smoother for Data Centers for Stormblood’s launch, S/E has preemptively taken action.

This makes it kinda sucky to be on a high pop server right now. First of all, no one can create a character or even transfer a character (temporarily) to these servers as of yesterday. Second of all, once Stormblood launches, “login restrictions will be put in place on highly populated Worlds which may result in players having difficulty logging in.”

Yikes.

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However, there is a light at the end of this tunnel. Here’s some good incentives S/E are giving for people to move to low pop servers when Stormblood arrives:

  • Because all servers are high pop in EU, they’re creating fresh new servers for EU for Stormblood!
  • They’ve significantly increased how much gil you can bring when you transfer to a new world
  • Free world transfers to specific new and low pop servers (this is across all data centers, including NA)
  • Experience bonuses on those chosen servers
  • Free game time and gil awarded to newly created characters on those servers (who reach a specific level)
  • Reimbursement for people who currently own a house, for the cost of the house and furnishing
  • Support for Free Companies who are making the move together

This all sounds pretty nice to me. But, of course, there are folks who are still very unhappy that their servers have been locked, and with no prior warning. I see this especially from those on Balmung, where most of the role players congregate.

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An actual Tumblr post

Right.

Now, I don’t have anything against Balmung — I have a few alts there myself. And I totally understand why people who RP want to be on the same server as other RPers. However, I’ve never felt like this was a healthy balance, not just for the server and technical side of things, but also the community.

When new people came to the game, and they asked, “What’s the most active server? Where should I roll?”

The answer usually was, “Balmung or Gilgamesh are the most active, but both of those require a transfer.”

Yuk.

If you’re a role player who wants to be involved in the community, you didn’t have a lot of choice but to move to Balmung. There’s never been a chance for strong RP communities to form on other servers because the general populace would tell you that Balmung was the only place to go for your RP.

Honestly, while I’m sure there are plenty of great people and RP opportunities there, I’ve also seen the kind of non-RP discussions that happen in open chat in the cities there. Some people see it as a stage to say just about anything that comes to mind, no matter how lewd it might be. And they consider it normal, funny and a part of their server identity.

I would love good, clean RP with friends, but I don’t want to see that kind of discussion in the streets of my starting cities. So while I’m sympathetic to people who are upset about the server locks, I also hope this is an opportunity for the RP community to find a new place to migrate and grow, hopefully without all that baggage following along. That was never going to happen as long as transfers to Balmung were open.

This will also give more people a chance to enjoy features, such as housing, which is nearly impossible to get on the larger servers. So my final thought on this: it’s a good thing.

bookmark_borderMinecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition

One positive aspect of having only just played Minecraft for the first time last year is that, unlike some folks, I haven’t already invested in the game on a million different platforms. That, and, the fact that I can still play vanilla Minecraft and be blissfully unaware of all the mods that are out there.

I do love my PC version for all the mod potential that it has. I bought the Wii U version on a whim, but struggled a bit with the console controls. In fact, the console controls were one of the reasons I almost didn’t pick the Switch edition.

However, several things happened this weekend that pushed me into the impulse buy:

  • I had a 4 day weekend thanks to it being my birthday last week
  • I learned you could select from different control schemes on the Switch (this may have been true for the Wii U version as well, but I never thought to look)
  • The worlds are larger than the Wii U version
  • Easy to take and share screenshots
  • I had more than enough gift card cash on my Nintendo e-shop account
  • I had a “lack” of games on my Switch screen
  • I decided this is probably the best portable version of Minecraft you can have (supports both controllers and touch pad)
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A “lack” of games on my Switch screen prompted a re-purchase of Minecraft.

New Minecraft Adventures

Anyhow, it’s always fun to start a new Minecraft adventure. Also, this time around, I figured out how to select a proper skin for my avatar, as well. The Switch version came with a number to choose from, but I went with the Knight.

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The game started me out on a savanna, though the biomes on this map changed very rapidly and were somewhat crammed together. Of course, they teased me with seeing a lovely horse within the first few minuets of spawning.

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Sadly, this was the first and last time I saw this pretty horse. I’m not sure what happened to it. 🙁

I built the normal beginner hut and started putting up fences and lighting. Somewhere along the way, I managed to pick up some bones and tamed a wolf. I’ve tried taming wolves before in other games, but this was my first successful attempt — on the first bone!

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I want to take note of the Achievement system. I don’t recall seeing this on the Wii U version of the game. I know the PC version has something similar, but not quite the same in-your-face achievements.

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Once I got the standard housing set up, my big goal was to find a saddle because the game kept teasing me with the horses that were roaming around. I did some fishing (needed food anyhow), but eventually decided to explore and work through some caves.

My adventure took me further than I expected…

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A tree that caught fire from the lava being too close, I guess.

And before I knew it, I was totally lost.

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One thing I had never learned about in Minecraft was the mapping system. It seemed confusing back when I first started playing the game, so I ended up adding a mini-map mod to my game on the PC.

That wasn’t an option here, so if I were to find my way back to my cozy little box house, I knew I had to learn how to map.

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After uncovering as much map as I could find, I realized that this one map did not, in fact, cover all of the world. It was only a small part of the area! Unlike the PC version where you can add to a map to make the original larger, it seems the console version requires you to just make another blank map to start mapping the new areas.

Maps require a good deal of cane to make paper. This was pretty rare to find during my exploration, so I ended up making a bunch of cane farms each time I stumbled upon a new zone of the world.

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While I was waiting for cane to grow, I spent the time fishing for food. Sure enough, luck was on my side, and I fished up a saddle, right near a horse spawn!

I wasted no time selecting a nice black horse and taming him.

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This made all the difference in my exploration. I don’t know what I would have done if I’d had to walk that entire map on foot. Riding and mapping was so, so much better.

Not to mention, as far as horses go, this one was quite nice — look at all those hearts!

Anyhow, it took many hours before I actually found my way back home. I had no idea that I’d walked two full maps away from my original spawn point! Since I had a lot of iron, nice gear, a saddle, and a horse, I was totally motivated to get back in one piece.

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Here’s my fine horse, who carried me home, finally taking a well-earned break. 🙂

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Not only that, but I discovered that just to the west of my base, and not that far away, is a village. I’m excited to start building a road out that direction, set up some defenses for them and build it up some.

Impressions

A quickie review of my impressions — obviously, I had a lot of fun with this version of Minecraft. I spent a number of hours with it, and it played just as well docked as it did in handheld mode.

I didn’t expect to need to play it handheld, but a set of nasty storms rolled through my area on Friday night. I was stoked that I could just undock my Switch and keep playing even while the rest of my electronics were unplugged and turned off during the storm. If I had lost power that night, it wouldn’t have stopped my gaming, either.

I really like having full controller support for the handheld version of the game. I haven’t played the pocket version, but I’ve heard people say that the touch controls are not always idea for Minecraft. I could see that happening. I did use touch controls very sparingly, mostly during crafting and moving inventory around, and was happy that was an option.

I also always love how the console version makes crafting much simpler than the PC version. Sorry. I have so much trouble remembering recipes… it’s more of an annoyance to have to open a wiki to figure out what the pattern is for simple crafting items. The console version just auto-makes things for you if you have the materials in your inventory. I appreciate that a lot!

I know that you can play with your Minecraft friends easily, just by joining their game on the Nintendo network, which is another plus for those who want to play multiplayer online. You can also play with others on local split-screen.

So, is Minecraft Switch Edition worth getting? It was for me. But again, I’m not someone who already has 5 different copies of the game and years of experience playing it.

I think it’s a solid version of Minecraft. I think for someone new to the game, or someone who wants a good portable version of Minecraft, this is a good buy. Or… if you just want another game to add to your Switch screen. Yep.

 

bookmark_borderFFXIV: Level 50 Black Mage & Reaching Goals

Though I haven’t been working overly hard on my goals for this month, I managed to knock out a few of them in my FFXIV play session last night.

The one goal I have been moving towards was reaching level 50 on my Black Mage. This is mostly because I want to share gear with Red Mage once that’s released. However, I’ve found that I’m starting rather enjoy Black Mage as a job now that I’ve played with it some.

I sorta wish I’d played it more back in ARR, before level 60 rotations made it more complicated. I still don’t know a whole lot about how Enochian and stuff actually works, though I’ve looked up rotational guides and all. Hopefully, from what I’m hearing about the battle revamp, that will see some changes.

But until then, I’m going to keep leveling on towards 60!

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In the crafting department, I’ve continued to gather Scrips from my squad each week. This has been enough to allow me to unlock all but two of my Master IV books so far. Almost there. I still need to go back and work on some Master II books as well.

As for gathering, between my squad and the weekly gathering deliveries, I was able to purchase the first of my Botany Fokelore books last night!

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I doubt I’ll be able to get my Blessed tool for Botany before Stormblood drops if it requires all the Fokelore books like Mining did. But I’m still going to make it a goal to work on since it’s just cool to have gathered everything in the game and have that achievement. I’m a long way from it, though.

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I guess I better get working on that. If I do a little bit day by day, it’ll get done soon enough!

bookmark_borderEQ2: Free Level 100 Boost

Some kind of big release went out in EQ2, so they’re offering folks free level 100 boosts to a character of choice. I’m so very far behind in content (I actually have never done any content beyond the 50s in that game) that the content itself doesn’t concern me one bit.

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However, I have a stable full of alts that for some reason I can’t let go of. They all have huge undecorated houses, even the whole Isle of Refuge, and vet rewards for over a decade, still 5K Station Cash Daybreak bucks (whatever) and yet, I sadly let them gather dust.

Maybe I’ll make it a goal to spend more time exploring EQ2 this year.

Anyhow, despite not actually playing the game, my ears still perk up every time they give away a character boost. I’ve actually boosted 5 characters (including the one I just did last night) over the years, at varying levels.

Last time they offered this, I put out a poll on who I should boost because it’s a hard choice! My little Fury Rawring won… but I actually never played with him after I boosted (figures).

This time around, I knew there was no question who I wanted to boost. My Froglok monk, Chirrupp, is the only character who didn’t have access to a flying mount (which I love so much in EQ2). All my other characters may be low leveled in their battle classes, but I spent a LOT of double XP weekends grinding their crafting classes to 90, soully for the flying mount, back when I was actually in a guild and had the means to.

What I didn’t know was when I boosted her, that she’d not only get flying without having to go through the flying quest (yay), but that she’d also get this… whatever it is… dragon-like flying mount. (Faeralith, The Obedient One)

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This is also good, because while I have other flying mounts she can use, I think this one fits well, and is really the only character of mine that it would fit. I just don’t see Ratongas flying around on things like this. 😀

So, yeah. Free level 100 boost.

If Daybreak is trying to remind me there’s a game where I put a lot of time and money and have a huge amount of alts and content I’ve never seen… I guess it worked. I always feel a little ashamed that I haven’t done more in EQ2 than I did.

But there are just too many games!! I guess the reality of it is that I’ll probably keep the client updated, but log in next time they give away another free character boost. Eventually, I’ll get all my characters leveled that way if I’m patient! 😀

bookmark_borderMaking Birthday Bank

Back when I was a kid, birthdays were a big thing. Even though my family wasn’t wealthy by any means, we always had many presents, a cake and good memories. Then, when you get into the adult world, you get things like… a flamingo light placed on your desk at work to announce it’s your special day. 😀

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This is really a thing in my office.

Well, this year, friends and family made sure I was super spoiled on my birthday. Thanks to everyone who sent good wishes and gifts. I wanted to share some of these, because they were so cool!

Ori

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Ori has been a game that’s been on my Steam wishlist since before the definitive edition existed. I love the art style, and it looks like it’ll be a whimsical game to experience.

Thank you so much, Al!

Nintendo Gift Card

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My sister (Vix) knows I want eShop cash for my Nintendo Switch. In particular, I’m hoping for a digital release of Stardew Valley for the system this summer.

Which is ironic, because last year, she bought me Stardew for Steam for my birthday. So that means she’ll technically be getting it again for me on Switch. I’m excited to see what it’ll play like on Switch (even though I love it and have played it so many hours on Steam). Plus, multiplayer is coming up and we want to share a farm!

Cat-opoly

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My brother-in-law (Xaa) decided that I really needed Cat-opoly in my life. I didn’t know that I needed it, too, until I got it. It’s been a long time since I’ve played any kind of Monopoly game, and this version looks like it’ll be fun! Can’t wait to bring it down during the holidays to try it out.

KoM Free Company Gifts

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Completely unexpected, a group of FC friends – shown here on the right as Bean, Talo, Arky, Arny, Lyra and Quezette – surprised me with not just a fun piece of artwork that I will treasure (thanks Bean!), but a whole treasure trove of cosmetics and fun things in FFXIV.

This included:

  • Eastern Garb for Women
  • Doman Magpie
  • Panda Cub
  • Eastern Dance

I don’t tend to buy myself cosmetics from the Mog Station, so while I really loved all of these, I didn’t own them. I always thought the Eastern Garb was pretty elegant (if not a little leg-showing).

Not all dresses look good on my character (Yuna’s Attire), so I was really pleased with how lovely this one did. I just put a pair of Thavnairian Sarouels that I’ve been saving for glamour purposes under the dress, and dyed it all my favorite metallic sky blue.

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I took a lot of fun screenshots last night. Now, I just have to decide what job gets this pretty outfit. It looks a lot like something Monk would wear, though Amoon suggested that if I mixed and matched, I could make the top work for Red Mage. That’s a possibility!

Or, perhaps, I’ll switch this to my Bard (depends on Amon’s Hat compatibility) and the red robe glamour to my Red Mage… so many thoughts. 😉

Anyhow, thank you to everyone who made my birthday fun and exciting! I really do appreciate all the good wishes and the unexpected gifts!!

bookmark_borderRPG Maker: Nefol Dev Blog – The Rai Caves

So, with Chapter 3 scripted, it’s finally time to venture into some new story and environments. This also means we need to create a bunch of new assets and art for various situations.

The first of these assets are sprites with closed eyes. We need these for a few situations, but mostly because there’s a scene coming up where the characters will be sleeping. This week, though, I only needed to finish the sprite for Jin, so that’s who I worked on.

Work in progress!

And then I made sure the new edited sprite was lined up properly on the same sprite sheet as the original sprite like this.

With all that done, I was able to move forward in coding some of the new scripted parts!

Lighting the Caves

This story eventually takes the party to a place known as the Rai Ancestral Caves. This is an important place to the clan to store supplies, and because a network of hot springs run through them. This makes a welcome resting point in a cold, harsh climate.

I knew I wanted to work with lighting and atmosphere in the Rai caves, mostly some glows and maybe some steam/fog. So I went on the hunt for a plugin that would help me create these effects, and I found Khas’ Advanced Lighting and Fog. It was a small learning curve, but by the end of the afternoon, I had a grasp on making crystals glow, torches flicker and water have a somewhat magical look.

Work in progress of the Rai Caves.

Next weekend, I’ll work on the steam effects. I also need to figure out how we’re going to depict bedding (like animal skins and sleeping rolls) for the party. But I’ll tackle that when I get to it!

Another exciting thing — Syn and I have been talking about a logical place to make a story break for this introduction part of the game. It looks like after Chapter 3 seems to be the best spot. This means we’ll be able to release the actual first part of the game itself soon! So, if you want to play it, rather than watch it on video (the actual game looks so much better in person), you’ll have that chance!

Just have to get through this section!

bookmark_borderAnother Year Gone By

Google always remembers my birthday. 🙂

This is the last year of my 30’s. I was going to spend some time browsing back over memories and accomplishments of the past 10 years… or what I could remember of them. There are a fair few.

But I’m sleepy this morning, and I don’t have the energy to drone on about RL stuff, which is usually not all that interesting. I’ll sum it up by saying that I’m sitting in a pretty good place in life right now, with lots to still work towards. My health and fitness could use a lot of work, and I have a feeling I’ll be thinking more about that this year (I say that every year, but maybe this time it will stick).

Anyhow. Just being thoughtful right now, and thankful to see another year on this earth. As always, I’ll try to make it better than the last!

bookmark_borderFFXIV: Black Mage & FC Fun

A lot happened over this weekend, mostly dealing with folks in my FC. But let me start with the more boring stuff first — my progress in leveling Black Mage!

My goal is to hopefully get to level 50 this month, and I’m well on my way. Last night, I got to level 46, struggled through my level 45 quests, and unlocked the first part of my artifact armor.

Yay for pointy hats!

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Now for our Free Company fun!

First, on Friday night, we held an Aquapolis run to help earn funds for our upcoming FC house upgrade and move. We ended up having two parties treasure hunting before the end of the night, earned a good bit of Gil, and even cleared the 7th floor more than once!

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On Saturday, two of our FC members held a wedding event. It had a pretty great turnout!

Vix, Xaa and I spent time figuring out what we were going to wear the night before.

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The night of the event was fun for all!

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And the bride had some tricks up her sleeves for us.

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But most of all, we were there to have a good time.

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After the event, we all got on our egg mounts…

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And stormed Quarrymill!

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Zeb’s Hairdos

Though, I really think someone should take away Syn’s right to aesthetician. So for the night of our FC Anniversary glamour event, Zeb turned up looking like this:

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And then, later that night like this…

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For the wedding, she dyed Zeb’s hair blue and orange (the wedding colors) and gave him a goatee.

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bookmark_borderMay Gaming Goals

Welcome to May! In 8 days, I’ll be celebrating my birthday! In about a month and a half, Stormblood will rain down on us in FFXIV. I’m taking some time off of work for both occasions, and I can really use it!

In the meantime, I have a few small goals to work towards this month. Nothing serious because I honestly have both my main and Tai sitting right where I want them to be for the expansion.

Some Future Plans for Stormblood

After the excitement of the Live Letter on Friday, I’ve come away with a few new ideas of my approach to the expansion. I’m really happy about the AF armor characters will get at level 70, and seeing the set Dragoons get, I know I’ll be leveling Tai first through the story.

My main will go Red Mage, which starts her back at level 50, so she might not see the story as early on. I debated what I wanted to do, but I think I’ll take her through the game second so that she can go Red Mage all the way, rather than doing it halfway with Bard and catching up with Red Mage and yadda yadda.

The Actual Goals

But those are goals for June, not for May! So let me get back on track!

Final Fantasy XIV

  • Level Black Mage to 50 ✓
  • Level Zemi’s Ninja ✓
  • Buy Fokelore Books ✓
  • Buy Master Crafting Books ✓

This is a pretty lax list, to be honest.

I’ve been leveling Black Mage on my main, and she’s just shy of level 42. So I should be able to get her to 50 without issue. I may even get her beyond that. But we’ll see.

I just picked up Zemi again this weekend, inspired by the Samurai in the Live Letter. I think it’ll be a good job for him, but I need to work on getting a job to 50 first (I think) to unlock that. A long time ago, I held a poll on what job I should change Zemi to, since having a tank main isn’t my cup of tea, and it ended up Ninja.

So I’ve been leveling Rogue on Zemi, and just got him to 18 last night with much thanks to Amoon. Zemi is really starting to grow on me… I especially love his splat-sit emote. When he does smile (Au Ra guys are so serious looking!), it’s endearing.

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See… look at that!

I’ve kicked around the idea of an RP blog for Zemi, because he’s usually fun and good-natured to write for. But I’m lost as to where to start since he’s already a good ways into the MSQ in terms of story.

I know I’d like to write a RP blog for one of my characters sometime. I just never get around to figuring out how I want to approach it!

Alright, enough rambling from me! Hope May is a good month for everyone!