Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs, Nintendo Switch

March 2019 Game Goals in Review

I know we still have a few more days left to this month, but since I tend not to blog on weekends, and I’m pretty sure the goals I’ve met today will be the same on Sunday, I’m going to go ahead and call it done. Overall, it’s been a pretty successful month.

FFXIV: Main Character

  • Level Astro 
  • Level Ninja
  • Finish Summoner Job Quests 

I did it! I finally finished those Summoner Job quests! I told you I would. Now, I just have a million other job quests to complete. I’d like to get these done before Shadowbringers, so I’m going to try to double down on these the next couple months.

I poked around at leveling Astro a bit, but hardly worked at all on Ninja. Again, these are things I’d like to change by Shadowbringers, so I’m going to try to tighten that focus in April.


  • Level Carpenter to 70 
  • Level Goldsmith to 50+ 
  • Earn “I Made That V” for Alchemist 

I pretty much blew all of my crafting goals out of the water this month. I finished leveling Carpenter completely. Not only did Goldsmith hit level 50, but it’s currently level 64 and pushing through Namazu dailies.

I’ve been working full speed ahead on Weaver and Blacksmith with both GC turnins and Ixali quests. Weaver just hit 50 a couple days ago, and I’ve been working through Moogle quests for leveling.

Meanwhile, I can focus all Ixali on my final job, Blacksmith. My major goal for April is to get this to 50 so I don’t have to do Ixali daily quests anymore. I’m so done with fishing in the latrine!

After many days of concentrated crafting, last night I finally finished the I Made This V achievement for Alchemist. I forgot when I set that goal that it meant I’d earn the gold Blessed Cauldronkeep’s Alembic tool (pictured above).

But I tell you what, marking crafted items off the list has become more and more challenging! I have 100 more items to craft to reach I Made this VI and earn the real tool I’m after. I don’t know that I’m going to set this to finish for next month, though. I may have to wait until new recipes come out with the expansion before I can complete the number I need — some of the materials required come from airships, subs and Eureka!

Nintendo Switch

Play Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu.

I actually did this! I’m still only 4-ish hours into the game, but hey, I made some progress this month. I played through Mt. Moon and beat Misty for the second gym badge. I know it’s pretty sad for a game that came out in November, but progress is progress. This seems to be the way I clear Pokemon games — I take it one badge at a time, and eventually make it through.

Anyhow, I’m sitting in a good spot for Shadowbringers, and still have plenty to do before the expansion drops. I can see my time shifting away from Amon as I finish up his crafting and move back to my main to finish leveling the jobs and doing quests there I want to mark off my list.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Patch 4.56 – Be the Namazu

If you ever wanted to be the Namazu, you’re in for a treat!

While I did finish the final installment of MSQ for Stormblood last night, I want to give a day or so before I talk about it here. Instead, let’s discuss some of the other content that released yesterday in FFXIV.

Not only did we get a conclusion to the Hildibrand quest line, but we also got the allied beast tribe quest for Stormblood. It feels like the bulk of this patch’s updates provided story and fluff quests — not that I’m complaining about either!

I’ve long been a fan of beast tribe quests, even back when they were incredibly annoying to complete on-level in ARR. Over time, they’ve evolved into a rather fast and painless way to earn a quick daily chunk of XP for battle and crafting jobs.

While I’ve been slacking off on using them to my advantage on my main, I’ve been doubled down on the trio of crafting tribes – Ixali, Moogle and Namazu – on my RP alt’s crafters. As of last night, I only have one last crafting job to pull through Ixali before at least all of his crafters are 50+. And let me tell you, no matter how grateful I am for the XP, I’ll not shed a tear to never need to do another Ixali quest again.

Anyhow. If you were max rank with all three Stormblood beast tribes, patch 4.56 brought the allied beast tribe quest. Like the previous expansions, this features all of the tribes coming together to face off against Nhaza’a Jaab, the villain of the allied tribe series since ARR.

It’s all pretty lighthearted, requiring you to run about, gather the aid of various characters you’ve connected to via beast tribe quests, and put a stop to shenanigans. Or maybe… just cause some of your own.

The final reward is the gratuity emote… which… really doesn’t feel like it fits in with the whole thing. But I’ll never turn down an emote.

Upon finishing and ranking up with all the tribes, you also unlock new items at each of the beast tribe vendors. These include new minions, new housing items (both inside and out) and the cosmetic Namazu head.

I know that the Hildibrand questline gets a dance and barding drop this time around, and it’s been a while since Hildi got something keen like that, so I’m not grudging it. I’m still way back in Heavensward Hildibrand quests (a shame, I know), so I need to just finish those up and get on with the new story. Maybe this weekend.

Will talk about the MSQ later. Hope everyone is enjoying the story!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Shadowbringers – Dancer, Crystal Tower, The First, Hrothgar

It was a busy weekend for FFXIV with all the info dropped at the final Fan Fest before the expansion. We had both a Keynote and Live Letter event that brought a few surprises – though not everyone was happy to hear them all.

The First

We’ll be getting more information on how this all ties into the MSQ with tomorrow’s patch, but now we know the location for the expansion is going to be The First.

What exactly does that mean?

Well, Lore says that a long time ago, the struggle between Zodiark and Hydaelyn caused an event that shattered the Source dimension (the world we play in) into 13 copies – making 14 in total. They indicate these by numbers.

So, the First is an alternate dimension, one of the copies of the Source, and was actually the home to the Warriors of Darkness who visited shortly during the MSQ story arc. They told us that their world had expelled Darkness so much, that the Light had grown too powerful and was now destroying the First.

I guess that’s where the whole becoming Warrior of Darkness theme is going to come in for us players.

The interesting thing is that the First has a Crystal Tower, just like in the Source. It was made clear that the Tower did not exist before the dimensions split… so somehow, an identical Tower was built in both dimensions for… well, they said we’d find out how and why!

I’m pretty stoked about revisiting the Crystal Tower because my RP and stories revolve around these elements. I’m totally ready to see it become relevant again and to have fun merging my stories into whatever the team is about to drop on us lorewise!

Dancer is… DPS?

Dancer being announced was expected. Dancer as ranged DPS was not. Most folks (including me) speculated that this would be a healer. It made sense – we’re getting a tank, we just got Blue Mage as DPS, Stormblood brought two DPS… but… well…

Dancer is DPS.

On one hand, I was surprised and a little sad for healers who were hoping for a new playstyle. On the other hand… well… I’d never really play it if it was a healer (I play DPS only, pretty much). I’d planned on switching one of my RP characters to Dancer because it would fit her story, but I had every intention of leveling and leaving it if it was a healer.

So… yeah… it sounds selfish to be happy that it’s a ranged DPS class. But… I’m happy it’s a ranged DPS class. I plan on leveling it and playing it. So there it is.

Sorry, healers. Hopefully the team will have something for you soon! 😦

Hrothgar and Genderlocked Races

Ever since the last Fan Fest, folks have been pressing their faces against the window trying to catch a glimpse of the elusive male Viera. They exist, but Lore says they’re rare. So rare, in fact, that they aren’t going to be playble.


Instead, we get a completely new race – Hrothgar (Ronso). But, guess what? They’re a male-only race. Yep.

We already kinda knew the Hrothgar were a strong possibility due to a coding error that dropped the race’s name in the French version of one of the past patches. Poor FFXIV just can’t release a surprise, can they?

The team claims that the facial features for both new races are very customizable. There’s even a note from an interview that says Hrothgar may have a wolf face. Maybe that one to the left there?

I have to say that I’m curious why we get another feline type race – I know they’re basing them on Ronso, but still. We have plenty of cats.

I understand that we could use another beefy race, since Roes are all we have to represent that. But when you hold the race up to other games, the first thing they make you think of is Charr, to be honest. And sadly, I admit, I like the designs for the Charr better than the prototype video I’ve seen of the Hrothgar.

But the real sticker is the community’s uproar in the face of gender locking the races. I’m not going to get into this debate here, because I really don’t have a horse in this race. I can feel for the folks who wanted their male bunnies and female Ronsos, but I’m of the mind that the best we can hope for is possibly a future inclusion of the missing genders.

I’ll play around a bit with the character creators when the benchmark releases. I can see myself playing a Viera, likely. A Hrothgar? I don’t know. I’d have to find something I really, really liked for that. But maybe if the lore was appealing enough, I could be swayed to add another character to my stable. Especially with World Visit dropping in late April.

Patch Schedule

Speaking of that, here’s what we’re looking at for the future patch releases.

We’ve got the last story patch dropping tonight/tomorrow. The FF15 collaboration event coming April 16. World Visit and Crystal Data Center opening for us in the US on April 23 — two weeks of free character transfers after that.

Some other something something patch in May. Then the Early Access of Shadowbringers on June 28.

This is what the future of FFXIV looks like from where we’re standing. I’m ready for tomorrow’s story patch – bring on the Crystal Tower!

Posted in 7 Days to Die, Gaming

7D2D: Disturbing Grace

Over the weekend, the Posse decided to fire up a new game of 7D2D. So, Syn spent Saturday afternoon setting up the server and, we gathered around to poke at zombies for the following two nights.

The game started out fairly friendly compared to some of our last few starts. All of us players spawned in pretty close to each other (compared to the times it took the first 2 days to find each other and then find a place to hole up in). And we had some pretty interesting biomes/townscapes to explore all within reach.

As a builder, I’m still experimenting with ways to deal with the fact that we no longer have large wood spikes as sturdy traps to use against the hordes. I think I kinda overcompensated with my first attempt at building a funnel system that is meant to direct incoming zombies straight into trapped areas. I have yet to really test this on a horde, so we’ll have to see how it works.

This is also the first time we’ve been able to create bicycles (as opposed to mini bikes), and everyone seems to really enjoy them as a far better method of getting around.

Hills can be a bit of trouble, though.

I know that the devs at 7D2D said they were going to focus on putting paths and stories into the different houses and POIs you explore, and this weekend was a grand example of this. I wish I’d gotten more pictures of things, but I was too caught up in the exploration than thinking to write about it.

So, someone discovered this farm. One half was a building called Bob’s Boars. The other half was marked as Carl’s Corn.

Knowing from the DogSnekPigMan house that signs can be quite literal in this game, I warned that there would be pigs inside of the boar house. Sure enough, there were.

Seeing that we were somewhat low on meat as we’d hardly seen much game in the area, and pigs at this point can be deadly if you’re solo, we rustled up a team to go inside and clear it out.

Some of the pigs were wandering about, some were attacking zombies, some were still in cages. Thankfully, pigs don’t attack you until you attack them, because there were quite a few of them. And then, when we got to the lower area, there was quite a gruesome scene.

Stripped carcasses everywhere.

I don’t know if this was for decoration or if these had once been living pigs (in the gameplay sense). But following the path outside, I emerged next to a very very large open cage with the name GRACE over top of it. Inside, there were mattresses and hay bales – things that indicated that this Grace was a prized pig (I assumed).

-Image source-

I was a little disturbed by this, but we didn’t see anything else in the area, so we went about our business for a few more in game days. That’s when one of the guys went and started exploring the Carl’s Corn area of the buildings.

He went through what he described as a dungeon of sorts, and discovered at the bottom in a cave, a giant green pig:

Note the mattress next to her is man-sized. And those are the bones of either people or zombies scattered around.

He started exclaiming about the giant green pig he’d found over voice chat. And while it took me a little bit, it suddenly all clicked.

“That must be Grace!” I exclaimed, thinking back to the giant cage with her name printed over it. I wasn’t sure about it, but later on, we confirmed that this was indeed, Grace.

The guys went back and took her out – the image above was taken by Amoon before they fought her. They said she provided something like 90+ pieces of meat. Good eating. Someone joked that “we’ll be full of grace” pretty soon.

Apparently, Grace has been in game since fall of last year. This is just the first time we’ve run across her. Makes me excited to see what all else we’ve never discovered about the new betas of 7D2D!

Posted in Fiddle Progress Report

Progress Report: Two Months of Fiddle

As of tonight’s practice session, I’m happy to announce that I’ll have practiced violin every day for two months. Let me tell you, that hasn’t been easy to meet every day, for sure. Many of the issues that I struggled with during my transition period of the first month have been resolved. This means that my practices are much more focused on playing than troubleshooting.

I have three different lesson books, all that say they’re geared towards beginners. While I’m sure two of them could work alright if you had a teacher, only one of them really does the job of walking me through concepts in bite-sized chunks:
Essential Elements for Strings – Book 1 with EEi: Violin. I know that I’ve continued to praise this book and all of the online learning tools it provides (at a super low cost), but I really feel this method has been key to progress that I’ve made on my own over the past two months.

My Progress

I’m a little over halfway through the first Essential Elements book now. This week, I’ve played up to exercise #102, which incorporates two new elements for me: the G string and 4th finger on the G string. This being the lowest string (but the highest on the finger board) is the most challenging for me to play due to my small hands and short pinky finger combination. Here’s the newest exercise I’ve played:

Here’s a teacher playing this version of the song:

Honestly, the song itself isn’t that hard — it’s just the 4th finger that makes it that way for me. Playing on the G string makes most of the tunes I’ve played on the D and A string feel so much easier. In fact, I keep going back over many of the tunes from #89 up to #102. This includes tunes like Bile em Cabbage Down, Lightly Row, English Round, and Baa Baa Black Sheep.

Probably the most complex tune I’ve picked up (and really enjoy the challenge of) is the Can-Can.

I’m really focusing on learning how to bow straighter and to cross strings cleaner. I have to admit that though the G string is tough for me to play, I really love the deep tone it produces on my violin. It has a certain thickness that I don’t hear on the other strings. Could be the kind of strings that came with it — I’m going to ask for a new set for my birthday (in May) and try other brands to see how they sound. 😉

Keep playing!

Posted in Gaming, Second Life

Second Life: Animesh Water Horse Mounts

About a year ago, I returned to Second Life and marveled over the changes in technology – in the form of Bento avatars – that had taken place since last I visited the grid. I spent some time learning to build and design coats for the Water Horse Bento Riding Horses last year, and had a lot of fun with it!

You may not have noticed, but earlier this year, I consolidated a lot of my Second Life posts into this blog. I originally had a separate self-hosted blog for my stuff at Wren Works, but due to hosting issues, I closed that blog and moved relevant game-creative-type posts here.

Anyhow, back on topic. I’ve been a little quiet in Second Life lately, but I was still following the development of the newest technology – animesh. To put this simply, it’s giving a rigged mesh object the ability to animate, similar to an avatar. The tech behind this is a bit hard to explain, but you can read more about it if you’re interested here.

For a while, the Firestorm viewer only had animesh in beta, but has recently updated to push that live. So, my first ever exposure to animesh has been the Water Horse ridables. These have been on display at the Water Horse sim for a while, but were finally released for purchase and testing last night to the creators/vendors.

I waffled on whether I wanted to pick one up as they’re a bit more pricey than the original Bentos, but I’ve a bit of L$ stashed away due to coat sales, so I splurged. Keeping in mind these are all in beta testing, so far, it’s been a good experience and I’m happy I gave it a try – if nothing else, to test out my existing coats and confirm they work with the new horse.

First Impressions

Though I already have a Warmblood bento, I picked up the Warmblood animesh as well. I went back and forth on which one I wanted, but stuck with what I knew.

The horses look very similar to the Bento horses, and even use the same image maps for skinning, which is nice. Anytime you have backwards compatibility, it’s great. The one difference is that the mane for animesh is in two parts, so you’d have to update mane textures to ensure compatibility between the two.

The major difference is that the animesh horse is rezzable. You can drop it out on your land and allow it to wander around. Sit on it to ride it, like a vehicle. It takes up about 38 prims in all, and the rezzed version uses the same texture HUD as the ridable.

The reason I was sorta iffy on animesh is because I really like that Bento can be worn directly out of your inventory, since it’s part of your avatar. I didn’t want an object I had to rez (which means you have to have rez rights at your location), and the issue of losing vehicles as you cross sim lines and stuff like that.

However, I was pleased to discover that while animesh is rezzable it’s also directly wearable on the avatar! So, just like a Bento attachment, you can right-click and Add the horse to your avatar. This means that you aren’t force to rez the horse to ride it, it can all be done from the inventory.

Not only that, but you can make copies, place some on your land, and then use one from riding in your inventory to your heart’s content. So it’s a lovely object for your stables as well as avatar attachment. It really serves two purposes!

Rezzed animesh horse, and the same horse attached to my avatar (different coat).

As far as things go in Second Life, this is a pretty novel idea. The horses look and animate nicely. The only thing I did notice is that when riding, it seems to have less stability than the Bento horse did. That’s due to the nature of vehicles in Second Life… I see a lot more drift and effects of lag on the animesh horse. I’m not sure there’s much that can be done for this, or if it’s a product of beta and will improve. Update: Yep, they sent out a new version of the animesh horse with bug fixes and this one seems to move much more smoothly. I still think the Bento is slightly more responsive, but this is better!

The other thing I noticed was that the animesh horse comes all in one piece.

The Bento horse included a body and separate objects for tail and saddle and mane, etc. This made it somewhat confusing since you had to attach a whole folder of objects to your avatar in the right places for it to work. The animesh horse is one object, right-click, Add and done.

What I’m not sure about is how this effects customization. Because the Bento horse came in pieces, you could do things like switch out tails and manes easily. I’m not sure how that, and attaching accessories, work on the animesh horse just yet. There might be a perfectly easy way, though. I’ll have to look into it. They sent out a notecard tonight about this very thing — there is a way to remove pieces attached to the horse and replace them, but it seems rather complex.

Overall, it’s a nice quality horse with a lot of good features. I’ll be testing out my existing coats and updating my sales displays once I’ve confirmed they all work fine. I also have some other coats I need to work on eventually, as I’ve left a certain line of products go unfinished over the past year.

Overall, the animesh Water Horse should spark a renewed interest in the horses overall. I’m totally on board with that!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: A Small Ball Room

It’s more of a dance room than a ball room… seeing that ball rooms make me think of huge open areas, chandeliers and sweeping curtains. But, when you’re decorating a small private room in a FC house, you do with what you can.

Dancer hasn’t been confirmed officially as a job for the Shadowbringers expansion just yet. But we all have our suspicions and we think it’s probably going to be a healer. I’m not stoked about the healer aspect, but from an RP perspective, I might be unlocking it on my character, Zuri.

She’s currently a bard, but I have a lot of them across my stable of characters. Dancer would make sense for her. So, in looking to the future, I decided to make her private chambers in the FC house a small dance room.

Syn and I have discussed using our private rooms as themed locations for RP purposes. A couple of different times, we’ve tossed together backdrops for our RP posts from random furniture in a character’s room. But, really, we want to expand on this more.

So far, we have a secret lab and an infirmary (being built by a fellow FC member). We have ideas for a library, kitchen/dining room, maybe a garden, an art room, a music room… those sorts of things.

Part of my goals for this year is to really dive into themed decorating for all off my characters. I keep putting off my main’s private house, but am enjoying working on these smaller projects when inspiration strikes.

I always learn something new about how decorating works. This time, I discovered you can use something (like the curtain below) to hide the doorway, but still leave the exit click-able. The Hingan style door just didn’t fit with the aesthetics I wanted in the rest of the room, but covering it like this worked great!

I still have many characters and many rooms to decorate in the future — that’s not counting if I decide to buy apartments for some of these characters on down the line. For now, this is more than enough!

Posted in Fiddle Resources and Tools

Buying a Violin Online: Clearance Violins

While I did post about why you shouldn’t buy a cheap violin as your first instrument, I’m still all about saving money if I can. While I was shopping around for my improved violin, I discovered that a few places online provide clearance sales on some of their instruments. I did some looking around, and found a couple locations – Shar Music and Kennedy Violins.

When I purchased my Bunnel, I was drawn to the idea of picking up a deal in exchange for a slightly less than perfect instrument. Clearance violins are functionally the same as a full-price instrument — they sound the same and perform the same. There’s simply some cosmetic imperfections in the make. Maybe the finish isn’t perfect, or there’s a tiny dent that doesn’t change the way the violin sounds (as was with mine). Whatever the reason, it cosmetically did not come up to the maker’s standards, so rather than trash it as a failure, they sell it at a clearance price.

Shar Music

I’ve not purchased from Shar, but I’ve heard lots of good things about them. They’re one of the online sellers who provide pre-setup violins, and they also have a clearance section on their website. In the case of Shar, they offer an upgrade/exchange system if you buy a new instrument through them. This means that you send in your used instrument (as long as it meets their resale standard) and put it towards the cost of an upgrade.

Their clearance section often provides the pre-owned instruments at a discount, along with blemished brand new instruments. Because of this, the stock you’ll see on this page varies, so keep checking back.

Kennedy Violins

My second violin was a Kennedy Bunnel Premiere, which I bought on clearance from Amazon. I was a little antsy about getting something on clearance, but overall, for the the cost in savings, I’m very pleased with the instrument I got. I had to actively look for the blemishes on my violin — they were nothing you’d outright see if you weren’t aware of them. And I figure, over time, I’ll probably end up nicking it here and there, anyhow.

There’s a couple places to browse the clearance violins from Kennedy. You can do it from their main website here, or you can look for the items marked as clearance on their Amazon storefront. I picked the Amazon store because of the fast Prime shipping, and because Amazon is pretty good about refunds if anything big happened to go wrong. Unlike Shar, I don’t think Kennedy sells pre-owned as clearance, so all of these are blemished new instruments.

So far, I’ve had my Bunnel for about a month, and I’m quite happy with it overall. I’d like to change out the strings on it eventually, but it’s exactly what I was looking for in a lower-range priced violin.

If you’re violin shopping online, keep an eye out for clearances – don’t dismiss them as they can be great little instruments for a lower cost! There may be other makers who provide something similar, but in my searches, these are the two I found. Good luck!

Bunnel I bought on clearance

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Summoner Job Quests Complete!

I told you in my goal post for this month that this would be the month I finally get this done! I don’t know why it’s been one of those goals that I kicked back month after month, even to the point that I finished Dragoon instead of Summoner one month.

It’s done now, and was both enjoyable and interesting. I still have no idea why I kept putting it off. But now, I have a slew of other jobs at 70 that I need to finish… so no rest for me!

I’ve also been pushing forward on leveling my Astro — I hit level 53 this weekend, which got me to the point of doing Sohm Al with my squad. I heard the level 50 dungeons were annoying for the amount of effort to put into them, so I skipped them by doing beast tribes. Sohm Al wasn’t too bad.

I also earned my ilvl 390 weapon on my RP Alt this weekend – yes, he has it and my main doesn’t. She hasn’t finished Alphascape yet. ><

Ah well. It’s the end of the patch cycle anyhow. No real need to struggle too hard at gearing up, right?