Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

September Gaming Goals in Review

I’m not quite sure where this month went, but that’s okay. I’m looking forward to October and everything coming – including lots of Mogtomes, Patch 5.1 and Halloween! But before that begins, let me look back at what I did this month.

FFXIV Goals – My Main

  • Level Dark Knight to 70 & Finish Job Quests 
  • Unlock Gunbreaker, start leveling with Beast Tribe Quests 
  • Level Trusts (with Bard)
  • Work on ShB FATEs daily 
  • Level Goldsmith (Weekly Scrip Turn-ins) 
  • Gear up with new Tomes 

I did a pretty great job of tackling my goals for my main. I did finish leveling Dark Knight to 70, and picked up Gunbreaker. Currently, my Gunbreaker is halfway through level 68, so it shouldn’t be much longer before I finish leveling that to 70.

Not only have I been doing Beast Tribe quests for my Gunbreaker, but I’ve been clearing out all remaining Stormblood quests during the leveling process. I just finished all the level 68 quests last night, so all I have left is a handful of level 69 quests. Looks like I did most of the quests in the Lochs when I came through earlier.

I did finish all Shared FATES in Shadowbringers yesterday, and I’m happy to be done with that. I like FATEs but that was a LOT to do. I also finished leveling Goldsmith to 80 through scrip turn-ins, and will start making progress on my next crafting job.

I kinda fell off of the Tome train at the end of this month, though I have most of my left side complete. I figure I’ll eventually get the rest of it done with just general running, especially with Mogtomes starting today.

Again, the one thing I haven’t started was working on my Trusts. I have a feeling that once the new Beast Tribe quests come out with 5.1, I’ll be picking up Trusts then to work on pushing my level 70 jobs towards level 80. I just felt like it was probably better to focus on getting all jobs to 70 first – I only have Dancer left after Gunbreaker!

FFXIV Goals – Amon

  • Scrip gear for Miner and Fisher 
  • Anima Weapon Progress 
  • Gathering Log Progress 

I really haven’t done a whole lot with Amon this month. I did finish up all of his Scrip gear for his gatherers and started leveling Culinarian with weekly turn-ins. I also earned the Blessed Tools for Botanist and Miner by finishing up some of his gathering log.

I’ve done some work on the Anima Weapon, currently on the step where you’re completing a bunch of dungeons in a row. I have a feeling with Mogtome farming and a new patch coming this month, this project is going to be nudged to the side.

FFXIV Goals – Tai

  • Finish Stormblood 

Yes, I did this! I’m so happy to have Tai out of Stormblood and into Shadowbringers! I’ve made a little bit of progress with him into the new expansion, and will probably keep moving him through next month.

In fact, I got a bit sidetracked because I started to work on getting Zuri through Stormblood as well. She’s currently sitting in Yanxia, which isn’t terrible considering she’d not even been to Kugane at the start of September.

So, I got quite a bit done this month, and I’m pretty happy about the progress!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: The Invisible (Helping) Hand

While I don’t usually blog on the weekends, a lot of unexpected and fun things happened today. I decided that since Mog Tome farming starts tomorrow, I really wanted to knock out the final 20 FATES I had left to do in Tempest today.

I got a late start due to one of the other unexpected fun things that happened (I’ll post about that later). But when I got there, I wasn’t alone. Thankful for any help I could get, I accepted a FATE group invite. We had a few people come and go, and determined that some folks just needed to level while some were finishing up the FATEs in that area.

When the group leader got their FATEs done, I had about 4 or so left to complete, and I expected them to head out. But they decided to stick with me. When I asked “are you sure?” (because running FATEs can get exhausting), they said they needed the experience, and then…

I kept hitting “w” because I was trying to keep up with an escort FATE, and I was super surprised.

Anyhow, best of luck to you Laire on getting your Amaro mount. And thank you again for your unexpected kindness in helping me finish this goal! It was really nice to have a party to quickly blast through the last FATEs I needed. 🙂

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Deepshadow Barding & FATE Progress

One of my goals for this past month was to work on completing the FATE log challenges in every zone of Shadowbringers. This expansion changes things up a little, as FATEs now drop gems which you can trade in for various things across the different zones. There’s three ranks you can achieve with each zone, and it takes 66 FATEs per zone to max it out.

At the beginning of the month, I was Rank 2 with each of the zones, and about 10 FATEs into the 60 I needed to go to Rank 3. I wanted to knock this out on my main, and while I enjoy FATEs, I knew I’d burn out fast if I did too much.

So my goal was to do at least 10 FATEs in a zone per day until I completed that area. I’ve been able to do that (and a little more) to finally reach this point last night:

Finishing up the Lakeland area gave me access to purchase the Deepshadow Barding for my chocobo. I wish I’d tackled that one first, because the barding is pretty spiffy, and a nice change of pace from the Yo Jimbo set I was using before. I like that set, but it really doesn’t fit with the feeling of the First.

Needless to say, this has been a pretty drawn-out undertaking. Usually, I’m the only one out there doing the FATEs since most folks are either done with this, or done with leveling and just don’t need it anymore. I was off doing other things while people were rushing the FATEs during launch, so now I’m dealing with that trade-off.

Because it takes so long, and because I’m the only one out there most the time, I learned really fast that taking a sub-80 class in hopes to level with FATEs really doesn’t work well. I mean, I can do it in the lower level zones, but it makes it far slower and there’s no promise that you’ll be able to take the NM FATEs at all.

So, I did all of this on my already leveled and mostly geared Red Mage. It’s sad that all that experience went to waste. But the trade off was time for me, and given that I want to do other things in a night, losing the experience was what I sacrificed.

I’m in my final zone now – leaving Tempest to last. I’d really like to get all of this finished up by the end of the month and just put it behind me. Especially since the Mogtome event starts on the 30th, and I want to focus on that. So, I’ve been doing a bit more than 10 each day to put me on track to be done by the final day of September.

Eventually, I might do this again for Amon. But if I do, it won’t be for a while. I’m ready to take a break from FATEs!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Mogtomes Return!

Right before Shadowbringers launched, FFXIV introduced the first Mogtome event (that’s not the official event name, just what I like to call it). Rewards included several mounts, such as the Pegasus, some easy to get ponies and some easy to get birds. I farmed Syrcus Tower super hard to get my Pegasus on two characters, and I still don’t regret it.

Fast forward to today when the second Mogtome event was announced. I had a feeling that we’d see it return, and am pretty darn stoked to see what they’re doing this time around.

Last time, running ST for 2 tomes was the most economical way to get things done. This time, MSQ Roulette is going to be your friend. Praetorium drops 10 tomes and Castrum drops 7! For the time spent, really, these are your best bets, even with the long cutscenes you have to deal with.

Considering there’s the Sophia and Thordan birds up for grabs for 50 tomes each, I’m totally on board. I also plan on snagging some ponies for my main since those are only 30 tomes each – not having to farm Titan and Ramuh works for me. It’s interesting that they also included the Falcon mount – if you didn’t get that before, snag it this time around.

I might get a few of the orchestrion rolls as well. Just depends on how I feel once I get there. I wanted to run stuff to level my Dancer on my main anyhow, so MSQ is as good as any roulette.

Looks like this event is going to launch next week and likely run until about the time patch 5.1 drops.

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Switch: Link’s Awakening Remake

Last Friday, I felt a little itchy to pick up something different to do for the weekend. Two pretty important things released that day in the Nintendo world – the new Switch Lite, and the remake to Link’s Awakening.

I’d not even considered the Switch Lite until release day. But then, hearing everyone discussing it and seeing the pretty teal colored model started to get me interested in it. Even though my current Switch is perfectly fine (and hardly played as much as it should be), and I only partially spend time playing it in handheld mode as the TV mode is really what I’m interested in.

So it seemed really counter-intuitive to buy a whole new system for… what reason? Just because I got hyped?

Anyhow, Syn talked me out of spending the money there. But I still felt like I wanted something new to mess with this weekend. So, instead, I dropped by Target and picked up a copy of the remake of Link’s Awakening. I also got a couple of really cute promo pins for being one of early purchase people at Target, which I didn’t even know about until the guy added it in.

Hardly a History

I was a Nintendo kid through and through. However, I admit that the one system I never had growing up was a Game Boy — not until Pokemon Blue released and I bought the Game Boy Color for it.

Truth was, I wasn’t really much into handhelds. It wasn’t until later years, when I really started enjoying my 3DS that I actually got into those smaller platforms.

Despite that, I do briefly remember playing Link’s Awakening, and I swear it was on the original Game Boy. It might have been at a friend’s house. It’s really fuzzy, but I do recall the whole trading item for item thing and playing a strange Zelda game where Link’s washed up on an island.

Needless to say, I never finished the game, even if I did play it. So, even if this version was exactly the same as the original, it would have still been like a brand new experience for me.

Just Fun

I generally enjoy the oldskool Zelda experience – an adventure game where you wander around, put the pieces of the story together, and slowly build up items that give skills that unlock more areas to explore.

Of course, this game has that, and it has charm in spades. I don’t know how much was changed from the original in terms of story and script, but it’s just downright fun. It doesn’t take itself seriously, and that’s what I enjoy most about it. Several times, it’s made me laugh out loud or just grin because of its gentle sense of humor.

I wasn’t sure if I’d get on board with the art style at first. But I watched a few videos and thought it was pretty cute. Now that I’ve played it, I think it meshes really well for what it is. Sometimes the characters and objects in the world strike me as adorable little toy figures, especially when seen from afar. And then sometimes you get lovely scenes like this:

The only minor gripe I have – and it seems this is experienced by many – is the moment or two of slowdown you get sometimes when crossing area lines or when you move into a screen where there’s a lot of monsters. It’s just for a second, but I noticed it as soon as it happened the first time.

This is no game breaker, and I’ve accepted that’s how its going to be.

So far, I’ve cleared the first three dungeons, and I just finally saved up enough to buy the bow, which will allow me to defeat the sub-boss and enter the next shrine. You know, I love everything I just said in that sentence, because it has the feel of good oldskool Nintendo gaming!

Things don’t have to be complicated or fancy to be fun. This remake, whether you’re a long-time fan or someone who never really played the original, is just plain LoZ fun. And seeing the number of folks who were on my Switch friends list playing this over the weekend, I know I’m probably not alone in feeling that way.

Posted in FFXIV, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Blessed Tools Revisited

A few months back, I discussed getting blessed tools for my gathering jobs on my main. This week, I’ve also achieved this on my RP alt, Amon. At least, the first set of gathering tools – the gold ones from Heavensward. The purple tools are the Stormblood versions, and I’ll have to do a bit more work to earn those.

One of my goals for this month was to go through and work on some of Amon’s gathering logs. I noticed that I’d skipped a few gathers in the lower levels, and had a feeling I was pretty close to getting these achievements. I just didn’t realize how close (it was embarrassingly close).

While he doesn’t have much in the way of timed nodes gathered (something I want to work on in the future), it doesn’t take a whole lot now that there’s three expansions worth of gathering out there. I went out to do my normal collectable gathering for my weekly turn-in, and accidentally came upon a node that I’d never harvested back from Heavensward.

Pretty much immediately, harvesting those items earned me the blessed tool for my botanist.

This took me by surprise, and nudged me to look at how many more gathers I needed on my miner. Seeing it really wasn’t a lot, and that I’d missed a number of easy gathers in ARR low level zones, I went about cleaning that up, and got my blessed pickaxe.

Gathering in FFXIV is something I generally do enjoy. Knowing that some improvements are coming with the next patch, it wouldn’t be unlikely that I might take another character through the leveling process just to see what the changes are. I know that Tai actually has some basic levels in all of the gathering jobs (like level 12ish). I’m also considering leveling fishing with Zuri just to make her retainer a fishing retainer – that’s the only kind of retainer I don’t have on any of my characters.

So, we’ll see what the next patch brings!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Patch 5.1 Live Letter Info

This past weekend, FFXIV held a Live Letter that discussed some of the changes and content coming in patch 5.1. Though we don’t have an exact date, we do know it’s set to drop sometime late October.

New 24 Man Raid

Of course, the biggest selling point for this patch is that the new 24 man raid is being create in conjunction with folks who made NieR:Automata. For me, it’s not that exciting of a hook, though. I’ve never played a NieR game (gasp!) and though people shout from the rooftops how good they are, the aesthetics and basis for the game just don’t appeal to me.

Already we’re seeing screens of the raid with machines, dull-feeling metal backdrops and things that just don’t spark interest for me. If you happen to be a fan of the series, I’m sure there’s things to enjoy about it, but I’ve never been into heavy machines/robots/android type environments.

Not to mention that I just haven’t found most of the 24 man raids all that fun since Void Ark. The fact that these raids are complex enough to need voice chat to ensure everyone’s on the same page… but then that’s impossible since you’re just randomly lumping together 24 people. It just leads to frustration. Ask anyone who has had to run the Monastery lately (except for Syn… she likes the pain for some reason).

Anyhow, not to start out with a downer, but just wanted to establish that the thing they’re making the most fuss about is the thing I’m least excited about. I’ll run it because it has upgrade tokens for my gear. I’ll see if it feels more fun mechanically, and I will try to be open minded about the setting. But I’m in a huge wait-and-see mode with this content.

Blue Mage Updates

I haven’t messed around with my BLU in a while, so this is a good excuse to do so. We’re getting a level cap raise to 60, new skills, new quests and a BLU log.

From what I understand, this is kinda like a weekly challenge log just for BLUs to group up and run party content. Since BLU is not a party-oriented job, this tries to make up for that… but I’m not sure if enough people that I know run BLU and would want to do logs. We’ll see.

New Game +

I have way too many alts stuck in past expansions to be excited about this. But for folks who aren’t alt-crazy like me, this is a great way to go back and play old story content. Interestingly, ARR content is not listed as re-playable, which hints at the overhaul that’s supposed to be coming in 5.3 (if I remember rightly).

Crafting and Gathering Updates

Now here’s where you start to earn my excitement. The thing is, I want to enjoy crafting in FFXIV. They have a lot of neat ideas, and I have two characters who have at least all crafting jobs to 70, some to 80.

But what really frustrates me is the complexity of having massive sub-combines for finished items. A sub-combine here or there is fine, but some of these just get way out of hand. I never know what I need to craft and what mats I need to finish the job.

Thankfully, they’re going to be giving us a crafting tree. While this doesn’t cut down on the pain of the sub-combines, at least I don’t need to go to an outside webpage resource just to figure out what mats and sub-combines I need to craft the final item!

It sounds like they’re also going to be streamlining the whole crafting system (which is much needed) and making it easier to get into crafting as a new player (also much needed).

Gathering is also going to see some nice improvements, especially dealing with unspoiled nodes. Unspoiled nodes are my least favorite part of gathering, and really turned me off when I finally did get to end-game gathering in ARR. While they’ll still be on timers, I assume, at least now you’ll always be able to detect them and items will never be unknown or out of reach.

Also, Stealth is turning into Sneak. This works mounted and doesn’t slow your movement speed anymore. Thank you!

All of this is building up to…

Restoration of Ishgard

We still don’t know a ton about it, but I’m really on board with this. It reminds me of the building projects we used to work on as a server to unlock things in Istaria. I love those projects!

And the fact that there might be housing eventually unlocked is doubly exciting. I don’t have any characters who would seek out a house in Ishgard, but I know plenty of people who really want their character to live there. At this point, any new housing we get is a blessing.

Other Stuff

There’s a lot of other little things that are exciting, too. Sitting while eating (finally), a new GATE in Gold Saucer, new beast tribes and custom deliveries! Also, a neat update to Bard performance that looks like a rhythm game?

And check out that picture. Not only is a new horn instrument sound added to the game, but we actually see the Bard holding and playing the horn – unlike some of the other instruments that are represented only by a harp. Awesome!

Anyhow, there’s a lot to see from the Live Letter. If you want to check out all the slides, here’s an Album made by a community member. There’s certainly plenty to look forward to in patch 5.1.

Posted in Fiddle Progress Report

8 Month Fiddle Progress Report

This progress report is both happy and a little sad.

On one hand, I’m happy that I managed to pick up my fiddle and start playing again. In the past month, I only missed one practice day, which is amazing! On top of that, there were a few days that I didn’t quite make the full 30 mins allotment, but for the most part, I did. Also amazing!

It’s a little sad because I feel like after falling out of practice for two months, I rolled back to starting from the beginning again. Okay, so not the very, very beginning. I did retain some information – like holding the violin, the bow hold, and a bit of built-up stamina that was still there. So it wasn’t completely back to nothing.

Starting over, however, let me jump into practicing a completely different method with different goals. After a full month of doing this, I feel like this was a good move to make. I’m much more focused on learning by ear and picking up new songs more slowly.

Part of this is because I’m really working to know that I’ve not just memorized a song but that it sounds at the quality level I want (more or less) before I pick up something new. The tunes in the EEI book were shorter, somewhat less complex, and focused on learning to read notes rather than memorize the tune.

I feel this new method is more challenging, but more rewarding. I’m having days where I’m drilling the same songs, working to get certain passages to sound well, playing slowly and working up in tempo… and I feel like this approach is more what I should be doing. I also feel like the songs I’m playing are actual songs. Not just children’s jingles (though there was Twinkle in there, of course).

The truth is, to make that switch, I would have needed to start over again and make a major shift in my playing perspective. So maybe this was all for the better.

I’ve spent time setting up an online practice log and a tunes list on this blog last month. Both of these are great tools. The practice log has been doing its job to keep me recording thoughts and goals, as well as keeping me publicly accountable for practicing consistently.

I’ve also finally pinned down a single date when I’m going to note my progress “anniversary” each month. Previously, I tried to count four weeks off to say “Hey, it’s been another month of playing.” And this just got too complex.

Since I started playing around January 14-15th of this year, I decided to set the progress day for each month on the 15th – which was yesterday. Interestingly enough, I started back playing on the 15th of last month, so this seems like a good plan.

Goals for this month?

Keep practicing the songs I’ve learned already, for one. I also really want to fix my squeaky bow issues when playing Cripple Creek, and bring it up to tempo. I don’t know why this tune is giving me so much grief, but it is!

The next song on the list to learn seems more complex than any of the others I’ve picked up so far. There’s less repetition, it’s a longer song, and some of the fingerings seem fast. I’ve only watched the play through video in making this judgement, but I have a feeling that between that and Cripple Creek, those may be the only two songs I work to master the next month. Or I may get a major breakthrough and find myself pleasantly surprised.

I’ll check back next month and let you know!

Posted in Gaming, Steam Gaming

Steam Games: Kind Words

I saw that Bel at Tales of the Aggronaut also wrote about this “game” today, but I haven’t read his post yet. I wanted to come at my own post with fresh thoughts first. Still, I’m glad to see other people picking it up in the blogosphere!

I first heard about this on Friday night from a Kotaku article. I don’t usually jump right out there and buy a game on impulse these days. And I even hesitated on this one before I picked it up.

Then I took the plunge, and I’m glad I did. For $5, Kind Words on Steam is totally worth it.

What Is Kind Words?

I hesitate to call it a game. It’s more of a social interaction platform for giving and receiving support and good vibes.

Everything you do is completely anonymous – interactions are only signed with the user’s first initial. And there’s no back and forth in this, so it’s not meant to be a conversation or a dialogue.

To break it down in simplest terms, you read “requests” which are short notes sent by other players. You choose whether to reply to those posts. The idea is to comfort the person, answer questions, give advice, or just let them know they’re not alone.

I’m giving advice to someone who gets overwhelmed with completing tasks.

You do all of this in a quiet, comfortable virtual environment that takes place in a single room with chill music playing in the background. Each day you participate, you unlock new songs to add to your virtual playlist.

When someone gets your response, they can thank you by sending you a collectible sticker. This sticker is an object that you can place as decoration in your room. You can also put them on your letters and share them as thanks to responses to your own requests. It’s a neat little collection meta-game, but not the central point in any way.

When you’re not reading or responding, you can chill out in your room. From time to time, paper airplanes fly across your screen that you can click on. These carry real time encouragement and messages from other players. I was surprised at how downright wholesome and thoughtful some of these could be!

A deep message from a paper airplane

You can send your own paper airplanes with quotes, good wishes, good vibes, whatever you want to say to people. It’s a nice place to find a pick-me-up if you’re feeling a bit bummed and just need to hear something pleasant.

I passed this game along to my sister and brother-in-law, and they were (as I expected) right on the ball in answering questions and sending out their own prompts. Rather than send requests about worries and concerns, I like to send questions in the disguise of looking for advice.

“When you need to concentrate on getting something done, what kind of music do you listen to? I’m open to suggestions!”

Things like that. It gets people talking and responding about something positive that they enjoy, and it actually does get a number of replies! I figure that’s within the realm of what requests can be used for, because who doesn’t get some good feelings from listing their favorite books, or music or talking about how they first started gaming?

Anyhow, I spent way more time in Kind Words over the weekend than I have any other Steam game I can think of recently. I’ve made it a point to check in for a bit every day, answer a few requests and bask in the good vibes.

I think it’s a neat little social platform, a cool experiment, and so far, I haven’t run across anyone trying to spoil things for others. If you’re curious about the game, and it sounds like something interesting in any way, give it a go and brighten someone’s day.

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch: Ring Fit Announcement

Last week, Nintendo teased this weird ring-like joycon addition which absolutely had to have some sort of fitness gaming connection. Yesterday, they finally announced the Ring Fit Adventure.

Back in the day, I was a fan of the Wii Fit. It was a fun little system, though at times I did wish for something other than a balance board (which required more batteries to power and had to be synced to your Wii/Wii U).

Though this Ring Fit seems strange on first glance, it appears to be far more flexible in what you can do with it since you’re not locked into a balance board for measurement. The only thing I’m not quite sure of is the leg strap — I’m a bit concerned about my joycon getting wrecked if something unforseen happens.

Long trailer with super smiling people…

Overall, I’m interested in this, even if it does look unusual. I’ve been hoping for some sort of workout system to come to the Switch, and I’m even more pleased it would be in the form of an adventure game. I certainly could do with some get-up-and-go, and launching in October is a good time of year, when the weather starts to cool down in my area.

It is a little on the pricey side, but so was the Wii Fit, if I remember correctly. The response to the announcement is typically uncertain – some folks really like the idea while others see it as silly. But I might just get in on this simply because it looks like fun and it certainly couldn’t do me any harm to try. As much as I love my Switch, it could do with some more play time.