Posted in Gaming

2019 Gaming Goals in Review

Welcome to the final day of 2019! It’s time to take a look back a the gaming goals I set at the beginning of this year and see how much I actually completed!

FFXIV – Housing

My first goal was to sit down and work on decorating housing for my Free Company and individual character rooms. Overall, I mostly made this happen.

I did decorate our FC house far better than it started. I also got individual themed rooms for my main, Amon, Zuri, Tai, and Koh completed. I still have a few more rooms I want to work on, with some ideas. I also still need to complete decorating my main’s house! I have ideas for that, too, it’s just taking time to plan it out and make it happen.

So, overall, I’m happy with the progress I made on this one.

FFXIV – Leveling

I completely blew this goal out of the water this year. I’d just gotten all my jobs to 50 at the beginning of this year. The hope was to get them to 60 by the end of this year.

Currently, all but one of my jobs is level 71! And that will be 71 tomorrow.

I think I did quite well with this one! 🙂

Steam – Play the Games I Buy

I actually did a good job of keeping up with this goal this year. I have played every game that I’ve bought, with the exception of one or two (one was a gifted game that I do have installed and intend to play). I haven’t bought a whole lot of Steam games in retrospect this year, so that helps too.

Steam- Play Over 60% of my Backlog

This one didn’t happen. BUT I did move it from 51% to 54% played. Any forward progress is progress right?

It also looks like I only added 11 games to my Steam list this year. I know at least one of them was an old Kickstarter finally coming to beta.

Switch – Backlog

On the flip side… I did awful here. Not only do I still have a lengthy backlog, but I’ve picked up more Switch games I haven’t started. I really want to buckle down on this next year!

So, overall, not too bad on my goals in 2019. I still have plenty I want to get done next year, so look for the new set of yearly goals tomorrow!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming

December 2019 Gaming Goals in Review

I’m going to go ahead and close out this month’s goal post because while there’s still today and tomorrow, I doubt I’ll be working on goals. Tomorrow, I want to visit my Yearly 2019 Gaming Goals and see how I did with them. Then I can look at figuring out where I want to go in 2020!

FFXIV Goals

  • Level Trusts & Alt Jobs (Main) 
  • Level Crafters and Buy Master VII Books (Main & Amon) 
  • Progress Tai through Shadowbringers 
  • Progress Zuri through Stormblood

I did a great job in leveling my first set of Trust characters and getting my Summoner/Scholar to 80. Next month, I know I want to work on taking my second set through, which requires me leveling one of my tanks.

In the meantime, I’ve also been doing beast tribes on each job and getting them to 71, which allows them to have access to Trusts. As of last night, I only have one job that’s not 71.

I finished up getting Master crafting books with scrips for both my main and Amon. I’ve been slowly working on leveling their crafters in the meantime. I’m sure if I buckled down and worked on the Restoration, I could level a lot faster, but I just haven’t had the focus for that lately.

I did progress Tai all the way to the Greatwood in Shadowbringers. I honestly could have gotten even further, but holidays were distracting. I also leveled him to the point that I couldn’t go any further using the Beast Tribes. The game gates you if you haven’t cleared the Greatwood at a certain rank. That’s fine – I’ll get ther eventually.

I didn’t get around to working on Zuri’s progress at all. I didn’t expect I would until I got Tai sorted away. It’s fine.

Nintendo Switch Goals

  • Earn at least one new badge in Pokemon Sword
  • Finish next temple in Link’s Awakening
  • Ring Fit

Nope, didn’t do any of this and it makes me sad. I do have the excuse of getting some Steam games for Christmas that took my attention away. Though I also added three new games to the Switch backlog for Christmas as well! Augh!

I’m going to buckle down on this harder in 2020. Though I have a feeling Animal Crossing is going to sweep away my time when it releases.

Overall, a fine month. We’ll check on the year’s progress tomorrow!

Posted in IRL, Kitty Korner

RIP Sebastian, My Friend

Sebastian has been a part of my family for 8 years. He was a special cat – super social, very dog-like in his desire to please, constantly craving attention and affection, vocal and friendly. I’ve never met a cat quite like him, and I don’t know if I ever will again.

I took him to the vet last week due to lack of appetite and the fact he was lethargic and had been sneezing through the weekend. They said he was running a fever, checked him for anything else, and sent him home with antibiotics.

These seem to improve his disposition for a few days, but then on Monday of this week, he started losing appetite again. I knew my vet was open until noon on Saturdays, so I called and they brought him right in this morning.

At first, I thought this was going to be a blood test and possibly something treatable with the liver. But when the vet examined him this time, she found a mass in his stomach and also ordered an X-ray.

The X-ray revealed a cancerous tumor in his stomach. They showed me the results and it was almost as large as my fist. He wasn’t eating because he couldn’t… and I was given the choice to take him home with appetite simulators (so I could “spend time with him”) or say goodbye.

I took this picture of him in the vet’s office, joking that he was “unhappy” to have another visit. I never imagined it was his last picture or that I was going to learn something so serious.

Though he didn’t seem to be in terrible pain, I was warned the tumor could rupture, which would be horrible pain for the cat. And while having more time with him was an option, I knew that it would just be a lengthening of a tearful situation that was meant to comfort me… not to see to the good of the cat.

No matter what I did, it didn’t escape the fact there was nothing to treat this. Whether it be today or next week, I’d have to put him down. The thought of that lingering sorrow and anxiety for days was (to me) worse than simply making a clean good-bye.

So spoiled with PILES of toys

And though my words here are somewhat making light of it, it hurts more than I can really express in writing. Sebastian was an empathetic cat, in tune with emotion and truly loved people in a special way.

I decided it was best not to delay what I couldn’t change and said good-bye to him at the vet’s office today. They allowed me to be there, and he peacefully passed away mere seconds after the injection.

I know it was the right thing to do – even the vet said that it would be her choice – but I have a lot of grief to work through. His loving presecnce at the window when I come home from work every day and first thing in the morning at the bedroom door, and how much he loved to share laps for hours… the way he “talked” to ask me for things, and just his companionship overall… I know I’m going to miss that for a long time.

I hope the Rainbow Bridge does something nice for the Holidays, Sebastian.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Summoner/Scholar & Trusts Ding 80!

The Starlight Festival is in full swing in FFXIV this week, and while I do want to talk about the event, more importantly, I hit one of my most important monthly goals last night.

I started a few days before December, and have been doing one run with my Trusts per night. I’ve worked on the same job every day — Summoner/Scholar — and finally hit 80 on both my job and the first three Trust members I’ve been leveling.

So this didn’t take quite a month to do, even with the Trust members leveling at the same rate (and at one point outleveled me) as I did. But it still came pretty close to a month’s work.

I picked Summoner because it was the last casting job I needed to level to get all of my casters wearing the same gear. This let me clean out a significant chunk of my inventory, for which I was pretty happy!

As an added bonus, this allowed me to level my first healer – Scholar – to 80 as well. This means that once I figure out how to play the class somewhat, I can take on the Shadowbringers role quests for that job. I haven’t done these yet on either of my characters, and I do want to finish this all on my main for every role eventually.

So. As you can see, I still have three more trust members to level. Because none of them are a tank, my next goal is to take my Gunbreaker through the Trusts as my first tank. In the meantime, I’m still using Beast Tribe quests to nudge each of my jobs up to 71 to allow them to access Trusts. This has been working very well. Here’s where I’m sitting at today:

Right now, I’m about halfway through 70 on Dragoon. Then all I have left is Ninja and the rest of my tanks. That’s a lot of jobs! And at one trust a day, even if I didn’t skip a day, that’s going to be a lot of work for next year!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Live Letter LVII – Patch 5.2 Info Roundup

This post is late, seeing the Live Letter happened almost five days ago, but life has been crazy in the final work week before the holidays. I get a vacation starting this weekend, and boy do I need it!

Anyhow, I just wanted to touch on the highlights of the Live Letter, which gave us a look at what’s coming in patch 5.2, and talked way too much about virtual butt sizes.

It’s a sad age when 10 minuets of broadcast has to go into discussing the technical aspects of why an outfit’s butt size wasn’t working as intended, was nerfed, only for it to be given back due to public outcry. It was pretty funny to watch Yoshi-P make butt shapes with his hands, however.

Borrowed from Polygon because I needed this image on my blog

For those who are concerned, the B2 outfit butt size will be restored in patch 5.18 (releasing Dec 24). Merry Christmas!

Patch 5.2 – Echoes of a Fallen Star

So what can we expect from the upcoming patch – which is due to be out late February? Here’s a quick list:

  • New MSQ story
  • New Beast Tribes – for gathering only
  • New Dungeon – Anamnesis Anyder
  • New Trial – Ruby Weapon
  • New 8-man Eden Raids – Eden’s Verse
  • Relic Gear quests begin
  • More Ishgard Restoration
  • Diadem returns as gathering location for Restoration
  • Further Crafting & Gathering updates – Especially Fisher
  • New Tomestones
  • Free Company rank increase (!)
  • Groupable Deep Ocean Fishing (!)
  • Umbrellas (?)

This seems like a pretty wide variety of content, even if this is just the first glimpse of what we’re getting. I find it amazing that MSQ story is back on the list of exciting things in each major patch because we all want to know what’s going to happen next!

I’m super excited to see what the next phase of Ishgard Restoration with the Diadem will be like. Also the changes to fisher, including the deep ocean fishing sound amazing. I’m curious what perks the next Free Company rank increase will bring. I think this is the FIRST increase I can remember we’ve had since the game released!

The new dungeon looks a lot like something connected to Amaurot. As long as it kicks actual Amaurot out of the Expert Roulette, that’s all I care about. If I ever have to run that place again, it’ll be too soon.

They did note that from here on out, we’ll only be getting one dungeon per patch because the team is focusing on bringing out a variety of content. I know for some people that’s a bummer, but I don’t mind at all. Dungeon running is still not my preferred content, and if there was a better way to earn Tomes, I’d be doing it in a heartbeat.

If it gives us more variety per patch, I’m all for it. So far, this little sneak peek had a number of things I’m curious about. But really, why does the new beast tribe quests center around gathering? It’s so easy to level gathering as it is. And why umbrellas? What are the functions of umbrellas? I guess we’ll find out.

If you want more details about content of this Live Letter, check out this Google doc.

Posted in Gaming, Steam Gaming

Steamgifts: Giving it All Away

One of the first posts I wrote when this blog was still young was about Steamgifts. This is an online community that creates a massive number of giveaways of free Steam games/keys.

I wrote about how all that works in that post, and while I haven’t been actually entering that many giveaways since then, I have recently been using it to purge my Humble Bundle library.

One of my gaming goals for this year was to play over 60% of my Steam backlog. While I’ve inched that up to 53% played this year and have played almost everything new that I’ve bought, I won’t be hitting that goal, and I pretty much know it.

However, this number is somewhat misleading because I have a ton of games from bundles I purchased that I’ve never claimed on Steam yet. The last bundle I ever bought was in 2017 when I realized I was just stacking on a bunch of games that I may never play.

This is also why I never subscribed to that Humble Choice or whatever it is now that dumps even more games on you every month. My backlog is too large to handle already. I don’t need all that!

In preparation for the new year, one goal I’d like to set is to is bring in some of these unused bundle keys into my account for the games I do want to keep. So I’ve been massively sorting through games and figuring out which ones I just wouldn’t spend time with.

These are the games I’ve been tossing out on the Steamgifts site. And I’ve had quite a number of them! Not done yet, either.

It feels good to get these keys out of my inventory and hopefully in the hands of someone who really does want to play these games. Then I can focus on claiming the keys I want and hopefully trying out some of these games. I have the whole series of oldskool Sierra adventure games, for example, that I really want to play.

The Steamgifts site has been hosting a pretty fun holiday event where you can open 5 random gifts each day and choose whether to take up the giveaway. While I don’t really need any more games, I have entered a few that have been interesting to me. Doubtful that I’ll win, but it’s still fun to do.

Posted in Ukulele

Welcoming the Uke!

Oh, Christmas Uke!

It has arrived – my blue ukulele!

And no, before it’s even asked, I’m not giving up on fiddle or replacing fiddle or anything of the sort.

This was an unplanned sort of thing, but the way that it sounds, uke is a far more casual instrument to plink around with. So I don’t see it competing with fiddle for real hardcore practice time.

Even though this wasn’t a planned thing, I think it was something I was working up to without knowing it. Back in high school, I used to mess around on my acoustic guitar – which I still have! – and really enjoyed playing what little I did learn of it.

However, the stopping point for me was when chords became a thing because my fingers were frustratingly short to reach the notes. It’s the same sort of problem I have playing a full sized violin.

I’ve wanted to pick up my guitar again, and even bought some new strings for it, but then I remembered the troubles I had, and the pain of working up the callouses on my fingers for the metal strings. For some reason, I’ve not had that issue with violin like I did on guitar.

I don’t remember how I got around to looking at ukes this past weekend. But it almost feels like the energy and expectations around ukes are the exact opposite of someone new to violin. It’s easy to play from the start, inexpensive to pick up a decent starter kit, and the attitude for learning is – just have fun, even if it’s just 5-10 mins a day! As long as the uke is tuned, you make a nice sound out of the box.

That’s much different than some of the violin folks I’ve seen online (fiddle folks are a bit more laid back) who tell you to get a teacher before you even buy an instrument, spend at least $300+ on your starter kit to get something playable, and put in a good chunk of time practicing every day. Only to struggle to make a good sound.

Now that doesn’t make me love my fiddle any less. It’s just a very different instrument with different demands.

In fact, I didn’t really take the uke seriously for a long time as a possible mini-guitar. But then you see things like this that show me how it could really be played.

Dang! That’s beautiful! I want to learn that one day.

Anyhow, the resources for learning and play alongs for Ukes are all over the place, and it just seems like something I could dive into and make good progress with. I already got my uke tuned up and have been strumming that C chord that seems to be the first thing you learn.

I’m pleased with the style and design of the instrument. Unlike violins, where you’re warned away from using painted on or colored woods (effects sound?), Ukes come in a variety of colors and styles. I immediately went for this Blue Hola! Concert Uke, which actually has a bit of a teal undertone overall.

The concert uke is apparently the mid size instrument, with a soprano being smaller. So I could have went even smaller than this, but to be honest, seeing it in person, I think this is the right size.

Testing my fingers on the fretboard, I can already tell this is much smaller than a guitar, and more feasible for me to play. Not only that, but it’s comfortable for me to hold even without a strap.

And most importantly, it doesn’t send my cats into a fit when I play (violin does – even a good violinist playing solo on a video does). Which means I can keep it in the front room and plink around on it at my main desk.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Leveling Trusts

Happy Friday 13th to everyone. Hopefully it will go smoothly for you!

I’ve not posted in a while because I’ve not really had anything exciting to post about. I’ve fallen into a pretty basic routine in FFXIV, mostly having to do with leveling my Trusts, and leveling alongside Trusts.

On my main, I’ve still been doing Pixie beast tribe quests on jobs that are under level 71. It takes about 3 days (and an extra quest) to take a job from 70 to 71. The reason for the 71 level mark is that you can’t run Trusts with a job until you’re 71. Kinda odd, but that’s how it goes.

So far, I’ve gotten Gunbreaker, Astrologian, Monk, Samurai and Dancer to 71 this month. So all of those jobs are ripe for the picking when it comes to pushing forward on Trusts.

In general, it takes about 6 runs of a dungeon to level the Trust through it to the next dungeon. Each dungeon spans two levels. So, Holminster Switch covers levels 71 & 72 (which takes 6 runs), before you move up to Dohn Mheg for 73 & 74.

As to not burn myself out (because I’m going to be running these a lot to level all of my jobs), I’ve chosen to do a Trust a day. So it takes a little less than a week to move through 2 levels.

At this point, I’m taking my first trio through on my Summoner – Thancred as the tank and the Twins as DPS and Heals. But once they hit 80, I’ll switch it out to Tank through the series on my Gunbreaker for the remaining three characters. By the end of it all, I’ll have all of my Trust leveled, earn the achievement/title, and have max NPC characters for the rest of my own job leveling.

It’s all just going to take a while.

I’ve discovered some dungeons are more of a pain than others. The Switch isn’t difficult, it just feels very long. Dohn Mheg is my least favorite due to boss mechanics – it’s the only one I’ve died in so far. The Qitana Ravel is my favorite so far – I really dig the music there, and don’t mind the bosses. Malikah’s Well – I just ran for the first time with this group last night – is really slow to start out, and I’m not a fan of most of the bosses.

I am having a bit of fun learning the new Summoner job, though. I was never much of a Summoner player before this, so spending a lot of time on this job has earned a new appreciation for it. I don’t think I’d ever raid with Summoner, but I do think it’s a really strong job to take through Trusts. Especially since they hardly do any AOE damage, and Summoner can make up for it quite a bit.

Not to mention leveling Summoner means I’m also leveling Scholar for free, and will enable me to do the Healer class quests to get one step closer to seeing all of that story.

I’ve actually been pretty lucky in getting minion drops from these Trusts. The Switch hasn’t dropped the dog minion (though I have one already because Zeb gave me hers). But the other two dungeons have dropped the minion at least once. Other than the Well, since I’ve only run that one time so far.

Anyhow, that’s pretty much what I’ve been up to in FFXIV. We’ve got Starlight coming up next week which looks like it will be fun with new holiday barding as a reaward. I’m also trying to work on getting Tai through Shadowbringers, but that’s been slower going.

I did some redecorating outside the FC house with the new housing items from 5.15.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Copied Factory Impressions

So, I’m going to start this off by saying I’ve never played a NieR game. The first time I’ve ever heard of the series was due to people talking about NieR: Automata. I’ve mostly only heard positive things about it, and apparently it’s a really great game for those who enjoy the kind of game it is.

However, as I stated before, the aesthetics and concepts don’t really appeal to me. I have an appreciation for science fiction in small doses, and prefer less gritty and more fanciful elements mixed in my sci-fi.

Shadowbringers, in contrast, is an expansion that feels quite high-fantasy. The world of the First has a lower technological level than the Source due to the devastation the world’s undergone. So meshing something of dark sci-fi into this world seemed a very odd choice. I was originally worried that it would be so out of place and overly dark, despite the fact that the devs worked to make it the ultimate highlight of 5.1.

I think for people who understand the world of NeiR, this raid was very significant and well received. I have no emotional attachments and don’t even understand any of what I’m seeing beyond the story that FFXIV presents, so you’re getting a completely unbiased set of thoughts here.

Setting and Story

First, I was pleasantly surprised with how the teams meshed the Copied Factory into the existing world. As stated above, the First just doesn’t seem like the place for dark sci-fi to exist. But they managed to make it happen in a way that felt believable.

Not only that, but their choice of the side characters who lead you through the raid added just enough humor and whimsy to keep it from getting too dark.

Yes, I’m wearing a Halloween glamour in these shots. That’s how long ago I unlocked it.

The Factory setting itself was a lot of metal and machines, as I expected. But, for some reason it didn’t feel too imposing — I was concerned it would be super dark and dreary and edgy. In fact, there’s an area at the end that’s so bright that I often get a bit of eyestrain because of all the white.

As for the story… well… I don’t really get much of the significance of it. Androids are fighting bad machines to save the world. And… that’s really all I took away from it. I’m not entirely sure why they are in the First or what connection they have to the past of this world… or why there’s even a huge buried factory to begin with.

Maybe the further story will tell us? I’m not super invested in it, though.

But that’s okay, because there’s raid drops and playability.

Raid Mechanics & Rewards

Unlike all these folks out there who are drooling for a B2 glamour crate drop, I really don’t care that much for the outfit. *gasp!* Did I just say something unpopular? Ah, well.

I don’t care for it, and everyone wants it or is wearing it. So I’ll be glad when that fad eventually heads for the sunset, as they tend to do.

However! I do think the normal gear drops there – which are all dyeable for a change – are VERY nice to look at. I actually opened the raid on my RP alt because I was after the aiming coat in particular (finally got it last week). So thumbs-up on glamour design for normal drops.

I’ve yet to get one of the pod minions, but I think they’re cute, and do want one. I also think the music is pretty nice there, and got the music drop that people seem to really want last week.

As for how the raid feels and the mechanics…

Folks who know me know that I have been disgruntled with the difficulty level of Alliance Raids since Weeping City. I feel that on release, most of these raids have been way too difficult for the average player who doesn’t have a guild on voice chat to learn. This can be seen in the fact that the Monastery was later edited to have an automatic echo buff applied to it… likely just so people didn’t drop upon seeing it in roulette.

The direction the Copied Factory has gone in is a lot better. I actually say that while dying more often in this raid than I did in previous raids. Which is funny. I find it an accomplishment each time I manage to stay alive a whole boss fight.

However, the fights are much more forgiving, even to full party wipes. I think that there’s only been one run that we’ve had a raid wipe, and that was because we had a new tank that didn’t realize he needed to spread the adds on the boss.

When I go as a Red Mage, I do a lot of rezzing, and get my share of rezzes, but the raid as a whole seems pretty stable to carry on despite players taking a few hits along the way. That’s not to say that wipes aren’t possible, but it seems like the community in general really farmed this raid for drops the first few weeks, and mostly have an understanding of mechanics due to that.

The one major complaint I have about the boss fights is an odd one. Whereas I felt some of the bosses were a bit too large in previous raids (I’m looking at you, Yiazmat), in this one, a few are just too small (or need to be elevated above the particle effects).

The final boss in particular has several laser moves where he shoots beams to the fore/aft or sides, as well as a laser directly from the front. I find it really difficult to see which way he’s pointing because the machine looks similar on all sides and the model is so small it gets lost in the battle easily. It’s frustrating to know what I need to do to avoid the mechanics, but still die while shouting: “I couldn’t tell which way he was pointing!”… and this happens at least once every run, if not more.

In general, though, it feels like the pace of this raid is a bit more laid back than the previous raids. There are mechanics that overlap, but not to the point of insanity. Even the boss battle music is rather chill, as I die to the slowly…. moving…. pink bubble…. that I just didn’t see as it crossed the screen.

Oh, and I will note that I liked how you could do a little explorable mission into the Factory after clearing the raid. And you can go back in there anytime you want. I don’t exactly understand what any of the significance is, but I appreciate that it’s there.