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!

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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 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.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Back in Yanxia

Last weekend, I finally managed to push Tai all the way through Stormblood and get him into Shadowbringers. I thought this would lead into my third foray in the expansion, and I’m sure it will… just… maybe not yet.

While Tai was finishing up Stormblood, my other alt, Zuri, was sitting in line outside of the Sirensong Sea dungeon. It’s always the dungeons I stop at, naturally, as they are forced group content that block me from moving on in my MSQ.

For some reason, I decided to keep pushing forward with Zuri, and though the queue was long and I was running it by myself (I rarely run group content with a full PUG), I got through that dungeon. This finally got Zuri to Kugane for the first time.

Seeing that she’s an RP alt, and her backstory revolves around Yanxia, I was keen to keep her moving through MSQ to open up that zone. I knew that required a bunch of questing through the Ruby Sea, and beating the Suzano trial.

While I don’t hate the the Ruby Sea, it’s not my favorite zone, especially when you first get there. The problem is that it’s just what it says – some scattered land with a huge chunk of water in the middle. Once you unlock underwater swimming and flying in this zone, it’s not a big deal, and the underwater areas are nice. But when you’re on foot and you have to slog across it for quests, swimming slowly on top of the water for long stretches of the area is just a pain.

I still have yet to unlock flying as I haven’t done the dungeon for that zone (might do it tonight). But thankfully, only Suzano blocks the way for moving on to the next zone, which is Yanxia. The fight itself seems to be a coin toss – I’ve had terrible and struggling Suzano PUGs in the past, so I never know what I’m going to get. Last night, the group was awesome and really knew their stuff. I didn’t even have to wait too long in the queue for it.

I don’t know how long my momentum for Stormblood will last now that Zuri has finally reached her homelands. But I enjoy the Dancer job quite a bit, so I’m going to ride this progress train for as far as it takes me.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Third Time on the First

One of my goals for this month was to push Tai through Stormblood and get him to Shadowbringers. With a huge thanks to the help from Syn and my FC, I managed to get all that done over this past weekend. This was super unexpected, but I’m really glad that he’s finally in the First!

I haven’t made much progress with him yet, as I only just got him to the Crystarium. I’m happy that Tai is caught up, though, and on current content for the first time in two years.

A long while back, when Stormblood first released, I wrote about how I struggled to want to go through the expansion again because at the time, I thought it just felt overwhelming. My exact comments were:

However, something about the scope of the Stormblood storyline is stopping me from wanting to go through it a second time. I know this sounds strange… but the story is so vast that I don’t want to spoil the experience by committing it to memory just yet.

Now that I look back, I don’t think this was actually the case. The truth was, there just wasn’t enough of a hook to motivate me to push through that particular type of story and those dungeons all over again. Especially the dungeons.

I don’t feel that way at all about Shadowbringers, which I don’t mind running through a third time. It’s not just the story, but the zones and the world itself that appeals to me.

The Trust system is also the shining savior of this expansion for me. Knowing that I can move through Shadowbringers at my own pace when it comes to dungeons, aside from three trial fights, is wonderful. In fact, knowing that is enough for me to want to push all of my alts who are stagnating at the beginning of Stormblood through to the new content.

Stormblood is really not a terrible experience, though I know I make it sound that way. It’s just that it’s not appealing to repeat yet another time. And it’s rather hard to motivate myself when what I have ahead of me doesn’t feel fun.

That being said, my next alt, Zuri, is paused right outside of Sirensong Sea. I do want to get her through the content because it’s related to her RP story. So I have a bit more motivation to move her along than others. Now that Tai’s in the First, I can concentrate on progressing others, and just enjoy the ride for him going forward.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: A Life of Adventure III

I know things have been quiet around here since the end of Blaugust. We had the holiday weekend, but also had Hurricane Dorian visit us all of Thursday.

The storm wasn’t too bad for us, but what it did earlier when it was a Cat 5 was tremendous and frightening. So, just as with any Hurricane, our week was filled with awareness and watching to see where the storm would go. Now that it’s over, we can relax a bit — hoping those who were in the storm’s path were safe.

I’ve continued to work on my FFXIV goals bit by bit every day. It’s taken this long, but finally, last night my Dark Knight hit level 70. I also earned the achievement A Life of Adventure III (which I didn’t know was a thing until I achieved it)!

Basically, all of my jobs, except for the two new ones that just launched with this expansion, are at 70 now. My goal for this year was to get them to 60, so I’ve way overshot this goal. And with beast tribes coming out in 5.1 and the Trust system, which I haven’t tried yet, moving jobs on up to 80 is quite realistic.

I’m going to unlock the Gunbreaker job this weekend and start that on the next round of beast tribes. I also have a bunch of Stormblood quests I haven’t finished yet, and I aim to clean all of those up since this is the last tank job I have to level to 70. Dancer will be getting the roulette treatment, so I’m not too worried about picking up all the random XP that I can get like with a tank.

Soon enough, I may just earn that Amaro mount afterall!