Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

July Gaming Goals in Review

Naturally, July was all about FFXIV Shadowbringers and making progress in the new expansion. I set very light goals for this month, and am actually surprised at how much I managed to get done, even outside of the goals I set.

FFXIV Goals – My Main

  • Complete Shadowbringers MSQ 
  • Level Red Mage to 80 
  • Level a gatherer 

Not only did I get Red Mage to 80, and finish Shadowbringers, but as of last night, I also finished leveling Miner. This means both Miner and Botanist are at 80, and I’ve been working on white scrip gear for them. I haven’t started Fisher, but that’ll be next.

I did make a little progress on my main’s crafting – I chose to start with Carpenter, but haven’t hit max level on that yet. I have, however, been dutiful with daily Beast Tribe quests, which has consistently (if slowly) leveled my Warrior.

It’s a little over halfway through 69 at this point, and I have a number of job quests I haven’t finished up for it yet. So I can probably knock that out tonight. That will put me starting the same progress on Dark Knight for August. Eventually, I’ll unlock Gunbreaker, too, but right now, I’m leveling what I have.

I should also be able to get Bard to 71 tonight, which will allow me to start leveling my Trusts. I haven’t worked on that at all, and that might have actually turned out to be a blessing. Tuesday’s patch significantly boosted the experience Trusts get, making it faster to level them.

Side Goal – Tai’s Stormblood Progress

While I’m nowhere near finishing Stormblood on Tai, I did make some progress through the MSQ and in leveling. He’s at level 58 now, and I think he’s coming close to taking on Castrum Abania next. I’m not a fan of most of the end dungeons and trials for Stormblood, so while I did get him all the way through Yanxia and the Steppes, it’s going to be a challenge to motivate myself through this part.

I did find that I enjoy the new Dragoon. It feels pretty strong DPS-wise, and they smoothed out a lot of things that made it frustrating to play. The last time I actually played Dragoon with any attention was back in Heavesward, so I’m actually looking forward to continuing to level Tai to see how the job expands.

Unexpected Leveling

Part of the reason I didn’t make more progress with Tai is because I unexpectedly picked up Amon and got him all the way through Shadowbringers MSQ. I also leveled Amon’s Botanist and Alchemist to 80 – both unexpected.

I guess I enjoy Shadowbringers so much (and the addition of Trusts help a lot), that it wasn’t very hard to get another character through it. It’s tough because I have a lot of character stuck on the Stormblood MSQ, and I have so little desire to play through the previous expansion. I’m hoping the lure of Shadowbringers will be enough to nudge me to getting them up to date.

Also a reminder that tomorrow, Blaugust starts in earnest! If you’re interested in checking it out, click here for all the information you need!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Shadowbringers Complete, Again

This weekend has been one of making progress in Shadowbringers… my second time through. Friday I focused on getting through the final dungeon of the MSQ. I did this with a Trust, as I’ve been doing all the dungeons, and was quite surprised when after the final boss, the chest dropped the Shoebill minion (pictured above).

It was completely unexpected, and has become the minion I keep out and about. This is mostly because it doesn’t give a flying flip. Whenever you zone in or stop moving about, it will stand absolutely still… and it refuses to care to follow you until you get to the absolute max distance away from it, which sends it flying after you.

I find this hilarious, especially since if you enter a small house, it will remain at the front door all the time… because no where that you walk within the house is far enough away to trigger it to follow you.

Anyhow, I got that dungeon done and finished the final boss trial to complete MSQ for a second time. It was still as emotional as the first time through.

Since then, I’ve started gathering tome gear and upgrades for Amon, though I don’t know that I’ll work too hard at gearing him up to the next level of tomes coming out tomorrow. It all really depends on how the gear looks, to be honest. 😉

Level 80 Alchemist

I’ve also leveled Amon’s Botanist to 80 last week, and was working on Alchemist. While I’ve never really been a fan of crafting leves, there’s also the reality that if I don’t get a crafter and a gatherer to level 80 before 5.1 drops, I lose my Mentor status. I mean… I don’t really use it for a lot (sadly), but I did work to earn it to begin with (especially on my main), and don’t want to lose it.

So, I kicked myself into high gear this weekend, figuring out the whole crafting leve thing. In the past, I’d just craft a bunch of stuff, not caring about the quality, and dump it all on the level person. I know that’s not how you’re supposed to do it, because this burns a ton of leves… it’s just… no effort, costly in materials, and very slow. This time around, I did things the way that was expected.

I found a guide that said the triple 74 leve turn-in for Competent Craftsman’s Syrup was relevant all the way from 74 to 80. Seeing that the required gathering wasn’t terrible to do, I buckled down, did the math and went out to gather everything in high quality. Bringing that back, I managed to craft all the components in HQ as well, and put it all together for the HQ turn-ins.

I did this over the course of a couple days, and it shot me from 73 to 80 on Saturday.

I picked up a set of white crafting gear (pictured above), and turned my attention to trying to do something similar on my main. I’d been leveling Carpenter first on her, since I wanted to be able to craft housing items. This won’t be quite as simple as Alchemist was, but I’m sure I’ll get through it.

In the meantime, I continue to inch towards level 70 Warrior on my main by doing daily beast tribe quests, and getting closer to finishing up Miner on both of my characters with GC turn-ins. I haven’t even touched Fishing yet, but thankfully that has its own role quests, which should be helpful in the process.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: It’s the Little Things

I’m still settling into a routine for Shadowbringers at this point. I’ve almost finished the MSQ on my RP alt, almost leveled his Botanist to 80 (hope to have that done tonight), and still working on Miner leveling through Grand Company turn-ins for both characters.

One of the things I had been doing while leveling Amon was the daily Nuts hunts. This was partially because it gave a decent chunk of experience, and partially because I wanted the above Nu Mou minion. The minion cost 800 nuts, so it took a bit of time to complete. There’s a second minion at the same cost and a music scroll that I’d like to get, so I’m not quite done with hunts yet… and then I want to get them on my main, too.

Speaking of my main, this week’s Scrip turn-in netted me the Botanist gear from the new White Scrips. This set was relatively cheap and easy to get, which makes me think we’ll be getting an upgraded version of gear sooner rather than later. I’ve never been overly concerned about having the latest and greatest when it comes to crafting/gathering gear, so I’ll just enjoy this for now. Eventually, I need to focus on my crafting leveling again, which I’ve allowed to fall to the wayside the past couple weeks.

I also got to take part in my first special FATE last night, and helped to take down Formidable. I got 6 of the cogs as a drop, which means I need 6 more yet to get the little mechanical frog mount. I really would like to get the frog outfit just for kicks, but I’ve never been around to hear when that FATE’s spawned. Hopefully one day!

I also need to finally get some secondary job to 71 so I can start leveling my Trusts. I’ve just been lazy at working on that. Still too much to do!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Shadowbringers – Second Time Through MSQ

On Sunday, I got my RP alt, Amon, to level 80 Bard. Yesterday, I unlocked the final zone of the expansion, worked through all his role quests, and got his set of Bard Artifact armor, which he’s pictured here wearing.

While I’m not quite done with the MSQ yet, I’m getting pretty close! Working through Shadowbringers a second time, I spent some time doing things like side quests and hunts, as well as daily GC turn-ins for his gatherers.

Some parts I spent a little longer with than others – I did a heaping share of cutscene skipping this time, unless I really wanted a refresher on the story. I can always go back and watch them in the Inn if I really want to.

Despite being level 80, I still have a slew of side quests I didn’t complete, which I’m regulating to his secondary job. I also played through all of the dungeons with Trusts this time, trying that system out for the first time, and really liked how it felt. A few of the boss fights that I had trouble with the first time I played through made a lot more sense when I was able to watch the Trust team handle the mechanics.

On the flip side, both of the trial fights required at least 4 wipes before my teams were able to get them down. Compared to the first time through, folks seem to be having a bit more trouble with mechanics and DPS checks. I was hoping at this point that we’d be getting people who were familiar with the fights, but both times, half or more of the team were new to the trial. I’m not sure how that bodes for the final battle, but I’m not going to worry about it too much at this point.

Not that the second time through was all business either. I spent plenty of time chasing glamours – there’s still some dungeon sets I’m interested in. And other silly things.

I haven’t touched any of the new raids yet – I’m not super interested in dealing with that pain until the next set of Tomes drop (next week?) and people are a bit more geared and practiced with the fights. From what I have seen, I doubt it’ll be a series I farm for much of anything, but more of a story clear.

In the meantime, I have a ton of stuff I still need to do for gathering and crafting on both of my characters. That, along with earning tome gear and leveling alt jobs, will be my focus once I get my second MSQ clear.

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 2019 – Festival of Blogging

It’s almost that time of year again. The summer is heating up and August is quickly approaching. And for bloggers, that means it’ll once again be time for Blaugust!

If you run a blog, or want to start up a blog, it’s the perfect time to do it! Here’s what you need to know.

About Blaugust

Blaugust is the brainchild of fellow gaming blogger Belghast, who originally started it as a blogging challenge during the month of August. The idea was to try to write a post for each day of the month. However, as the face of blogging has changed over time, so has the structure and goals of Blaugust.

I think he says it best, so I hope he doesn’t mind if I quote him:

We live in a time when blogs are going dark and the hope is to keep infusing the community with a fresh lease on life. Those of us who have been doing it for over a decade now can easily lose hope. It sometimes takes a fresh batch of whippersnappers to keep us engaged and interested in making sure that the community thrives.

If you have a blog that is waning in frequency, or if you ever thought of creating one… this month is the perfect time to put those plans into action.

Last year, I took on the role of mentor for Blaugust, and joined the Discord group. However, timing was rough for me as I had just spun up my FFXIV RP blog on Tumblr and was heavily into fiction writing. Sadly, I didn’t feel as if I gave Blaugust the attention it deserved, but Bel seems forgiving of that.

This year, I’m going to try and make up for it. Though I’m not a super active Discord user in general, I’m already planning posts and topics I want to talk about next month. There’s also a handy-dandy schedule, which is there to offer suggestions on what to write each week. You don’t have to follow it, but it gives loose topic ideas if you find yourself grasping for a post.

There’s plenty of time to get involved and start planning. You can find the sign-up sheet, Discord join link, and more information on the main Blaugust post here.

So if you’re a long-time blogger, a blogger who hasn’t written in a while, a new blogger, or someone who just wants to try blogging for the first time — you’ll find new connections, blogs to read, suggestions/help/inspiration, and readership here!

Hope to see you in Blaugust!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Shadowbringers – Embracing My Inner Elf

One of the fun aspects of Shadowbringers is how the world building team took the familiar elements of the Source world and twisted them just slightly to populate the new dimension we’re exploring in the First. Part of the amusement was to explore all the little nuances of how the two mirror worlds evolved differently. This includes the races that live in the worlds.

Each major race has a counterpart in the First, some being more different than others. All races have a different name — the peoples of the First seem to be a bit more based on your stock high fantasy races including your expected Dwarves and… yes, Elves.

Where the elf-like race in Eorzea is called Elezen, in the First, they are simply Elves. And while I never intended to play the Elf-Archer-Bard trope when I was developing my RP character, boil it down and that’s what Amon is. An Elf Bard.

May as well embrace it.

Making Progress a Second Time

Though I’ve only freshly finished Shadowbringers on my main, on Friday night, I started it all over again on my RP alt. I’ve not been rushing through stuff — in fact, I spent more time talking to NPCs and doing all the side quests since I’m not so worried about leveling alt jobs on Amon. When it comes to main story, some cutscenes I rewatch, others I skip past. Just depends on my interest level on that section of the story.

But I’m still making good time, and entered Rak’tika last night before I went to bed. I spent most of yesterday out in the fae lands of Il Mheg, where I obtained the most Elf-Archer-Bard trope gear from the quests I did out there. This is just the basic level 72 ranged melee set, but when I first saw it when looking for glamour on the marketboard on Friday night, I knew it was my goal to go as wonderfully cliche as I could.

Last night’s Titania clear was a bit painful seeing that half the party was completely new, but we did get past it at 98% on the DPS check on the 4th run. IMHO, that’s the most difficult trial in this expansion — it might be easier if you had a party of level 80s with full end-game gear who have done it before. But going in directly on-level, it can be a tough fight.

The Trust System

Thanks to the lovely Trust system, that was the very first fight I actually had to group up for to progress through the story. When I did it on my main, I ran everything with Syn. Because Trusts are solo completely, we weren’t able to test it out and had to take a party. So, for me, part of replaying the expansion is to try out the Trusts with the various NPC characters.

The system is slow, but it works well enough to get a clear. In fact, the Trust AI is so good that I often use them to know where to stand during boss fights and learn mechanics. It’s like having your very own tutors along for the ride. That’s not to say I’ve never seen them make a mistake, but it’s far less often than a real player.

Because I don’t need to worry about when the next MSQ dungeon is going to force me into a group, I’ve been far more relaxed in playing through Shadowbringers. I used to sit there and try to anticipate and dread the next dungeon. Because these instances are wedged into the story, to enjoy the rest of it, you have no choice. But with Trusts, I simply don’t worry about it anymore.

In fact, I’m excited to push my alts through Stormblood (where I left most of them because I dread doing all those dungeons and trials again), just because I know that once I get to Shadowbringers, I can make my own time. Well, aside from three trial fights. But that’s okay… I can live with that.

Oh, and here’s what happens when Syn buys the music for Rak’tika Greatwood for the FC house:

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Shadowbringers – Level 80 Botanist!

I don’t have any fancy new gear to show for it yet – my scrip gear got me all the way without a problem – but I finished leveling my first gatherer to 80 last night! While I’ve been casually working at this on and off throughout the week, I had no real intention to complete this goal so quickly.

Here’s some things I learned along the way:

  • Do the daily Grand Company turn ins
  • Do the weekly scrip deliveries
  • Keep up with the Crystarium deliveries as you level
  • Do the leves in the Crystarium to fill in the gaps

None of that is really a surprise. But I do want to talk about the Crystarium deliveries for a moment.

Crystarium Deliveries

These are a series of level-based quests that give almost a full level of experience if you turn them in at high quality. In fact, I suggest to always make sure it’s high quality, otherwise, you’re doing yourself a major disservice.

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to gathering Crystarium deliveries:

  • They are a one-time quest (not a weekly reset)
  • They cover both Botanist and Miner

I know that the crafting deliveries cover Carpentry, Weaving and Leatherworking, for example, require you to craft something from each of these jobs in order to finish the product. But sadly, only one of those jobs reap the rewards of the turn-in. So, this may be something to plan around while leveling your jobs.

Thankfully, Fishing has its own delivery system. So that should make working through the last couple gatherer jobs faster in the end. I was also able to plan ahead and pick up the first of my Fokelore books using Yellow Scrips. So I’m well on my way!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Shadowbringers – Leveling Gatherers & Earning Blessed Tools

Now that I’ve completed the Shadowbringers MSQ, I’ve turned my attention to leveling gatherers. Thanks in part to the good chunk of experience that Crystarium turn-ins give, it’s not been that hard to push my Botanist to 76 over the weekend.

The one thing to note is that the Crystarium turn-ins are a one shot thing (as far as I can see). So while it’s been a boon for my Botanist, helping me skip over a few levels, my Miner is going to have to do things the normal way. This is a little prickly where it concerns crafting jobs, but I won’t complain about getting free levels where I can.

One of the things I set out to do this weekend was go ahead and clear out my gathering log for Shadowbringers. This is not something I’ve typically done in the past, but since I’d only had a small chunk of things to gather from 70-75 (before I hit 76 on Botanist), it felt manageable. I even went through and gathered all the timed nodes.

During this excursion, I earned two achievements, which I must have been only shy of getting. I’d not finished all my gathering logs from Stormblood (I’ll probably go back and do that now), but finishing the logs in Shadowbringers got me both the Blessed Mineking’s Pickaxe and the Blessed Fieldkeep’s Hatchet.

Note that the hatchet is actually the Heavensward Blessed tool because I am a lot further behind on my Botanist logs for some reason.

Blessed Fieldkeep’s Hatchet

I remember working really hard to get my Blessed Minekeep’s Pickaxe back in 2017. The fact that gathering a few nodes in the new expansion dropped the newest version in my lap was logical, but also pleasantly unexpected.

Small changes to the gathering logs in game have made them a bit more useful. And while I haven’t tried out the in-game alarm, I have a feeling I’ll be making use of it in all due time.

I guess I better go back and do some gathering logs for Botanist now!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Shadowbringers MSQ Complete

Though we had a few setbacks – such as Syn’s net dropping out at about 3% on the final boss fight – we made it through the MSQ for Shadowbringers this afternoon! Above, our characters in Red Mage and White Mage AF armor.

There were a few weak plot points in end that I could pick at story-wise. But overall, the rest of it was so solid that really, the few flaws I could find are pretty insignificant. In fact, I hear a lot of people say Shadowbringers was the best Final Fantasy game we’ve had in a very long time. I’m inclined to agree – from start to finish, it is a full, whole and wonderful offering to players and fans alike.

I won’t go into any spoilers in this post, but I’ll just express that in the week I’ve put into playing it, I’ve enjoyed everything (except a few dungeon fights) immensely. Still, I know that it’s not completely over – though FFXIV did a good job in encapsulating the story within the walls of the expansion itself, it’s hinted at plenty more for us to do.

And I haven’t scratched the surface of crafting, gathering, Trusts, leveling other jobs, finishing side quests, or unlocking Expert just yet. Not to mention all the alts that I really want to eventually get to the First!

Overall, Shadowbringers has been pure excellence, and I’m positive I’ll be putting a lot more time into it going forward!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Shadowbringers First Impressions (No Spoilers)

As of last night, I’m level 76, quickly closing in on 77, and I feel like I’m on the other side of being halfway done with the MSQ. I’ve seen all of the zones that I’m aware exist in some form or another. And I’ve been in deep when it comes to story.

What can I say about this expansion without spoiling anything? Quite a bit, actually.

I was looking forward to Shadowbringers before release. But now that I have it in my hands, I hate having to put it down for anything else. It’s been a long time since a game has captured my attention, much less a MMO, with a story line like this.

To measure it against previous expansions:

  • Heavensward was pretty good
  • Stormblood was mediocre
  • Shadowbringers is amazing

I honestly haven’t found much at all to nit pick about anything. The story makes sense, even with the odd dimension-hopping we’re doing. I care about this world and the characters – even the side characters. The story isn’t afraid to get gritty and grim when it needs to, and it continues to unfold and entertain. I hear the ending is just as good by those who have completed it.

Story Thoughts

The story is heavily locked into this new world we’re exploring. The First feels like, to me, that the team has gone all-out embracing the freedom they have in creating lore and setting that isn’t locked to anything from 1.0 and beyond. They’ve made it their own, and it really shows.

Here, the team can draw on the familiar to create the fantastical. I adore the high fantasy feel and all the very different creatures and races we learn about. There’s just enough tension in how sin-eaters are developed to give a supernatural sense of urgency – something I didn’t feel much in previous expansions.

Heavensward had dragons. Stormblood had the Empire. But the sin-eaters are almost feral things that can’t be reasoned with, are an immediate danger in the way they kill and spread, with a nature that remains fairly unknown.

Character Thoughts

The antagonists are interesting. And then they pay the we’re-not-sure-if-we-can-trust-this-guy game with another antagonist, which I’m fully enjoying, and want to see more of.

Characters make sense. Their actions, reactions and development is logical while still being emotional. You can see how this world had changed some of them, and a lot of thought has gone into where each character stands on certain issues.

Culture Thoughts

There are just as many side characters that really shine, as well. I’m quite taken by the plight of the different peoples of the First. We see how pockets of society have formed and how they deal with the apocalyptic nature in different ways. Some fight against the end times while others only look to seek worldly comfort until their end.

These cultures raise lots of moral questions and musings. I enjoy thinking things like this through, and am glad to see some of these undertones tackled in the development of the story.

Music Thoughts

Oh, and I can’t close out my first impressions without talking about the music. I immediately noticed that we’ve been getting a lot more in the way of overworld music that includes vocals. Maybe this is because the lovely chorus of the Steppe was looked upon favorably. But Shadowbringers pushes this up a notch.

For example, check out the tune for the Rak’tika Greatwood – don’t watch it if you don’t want to see a zone spoiler. Just listen!

I’m a fan of a great many of tunes I’ve heard so far – I could just chill in the desert (yeah, irony) or zone out to the EQ2-invoking sounds of the fairy lands. I also really like the boss battle theme this time around… though the overworld battle theme is a bit jarring with all its heavy 90’s pop guitars.

Dancer

Oh, and one last thing before I close this ramble out. I haven’t tried the Gunbreaker, but Dancer is incredibly fun as a new job, and feels really good to play. We’ve already had one FC member who dropped Samurai for Dancer, and I don’t blame him one bit. In terms of damage output and what you bring to the party, I expect to see a lot of people playing this job going forward (hope it doesn’t get hit with nerfs).

The only other job I’ve spent time with is Red Mage. Not enough has changed for me to really notice, outside of a change in AOE rotation. So far, so good.

Now, with all that being said, I’m looking forward to diving back into this game, especially with the holiday weekend coming up. Hoping to finish off MSQ, but still have tons of things to level and explore (crafting/gathering) in the expansion.