Posted in Gaming, Xbox Game Pass

Trying Out Xbox Game Pass for PC

I’ve never owned an Xbox system – in fact, all of my consoles since the PS2 have been Nintendo. Most of my heavy gaming I do on the PC, where I tend to amass more games in my backlog than I can hope to play. Even on the Switch, I have a backlog now. So I can’t imagine picking up yet another console to do the same.

However, when I heard about the Xbox Game Pass for PC, I got curious. I knew this was a thing for the Xbox consoles, and heard good things about it. But I guess recently, this subscription service (I see it as a Netflix for games) has extended to PC now.

You see, I’ve got a terrible habit of playing a game that I bought for a handful of hours, then getting sidetracked by something else – usually a game that I’ve put more hours into, such as a MMO.

I put the game down, then the next thing I know, months have gone by and I don’t remember a whole lot about what I played – certainly not enough to pick it back up in an unfinished state. Neither do I want to go back and completely replay the what I’ve already played, so I usually just file it away under a “Want to Play Again Someday” folder in Steam.

And that’s how my backlog goes.

So why am I interested in something like Xbox Game Pass?

Well, I know that I have a habit of trying a game out and getting distracted. What this offers is a low monthly fee on a library of games with the option to buy if you really become fond of one.

This appealed to me because there’s no backlog — you don’t technically own the game unless you want to. So my habit of buying a game, playing a few hours, and filing it away is actually more pricey in the long run than a $10 subscription that allows me to do the same thing with a library of games that changes from time to time.

Not to mention, there are actually games in the library that I’m interested in buying and even have on my Steam wishlist. Now I can quietly remove them from my wishlist and try them here instead.

So what actually tipped me into trying the Game Pass?

I was on the fence about trying this for a while until I logged into Discord the other day. Apparently Nitro folks get a free three month trial. So, absolutely, sign me up!

I’ve already downloaded Crusader Kings III (which I’m looking forward to!), Slay the Spire (which I played on Steam a while back, but returned for some reason, don’t remember why) and Astrologaster (which looks interesting).

I also finally tried out Hatoful Boyfriend – a game I’d likely never buy, but saw that it was being rotated off as of yesterday. And you know what… I really enjoyed it (blog post coming soon)! But I would have never played it at all if it wasn’t for this.

So I’m trying something new with this, and I feel like overall, it might be a really good direction for me based on my gaming habits. I certainly won’t be giving up my Steam library for anything, but going forward, for a blanket cost, I can “rent” a whole library of games without the stress of feeling a backlog growing around me.

I like that!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, Steam Gaming, Xbox Game Pass

December 2020 Gaming Goals

Happy December! Welcome to the final month of 2020, and to the Holiday season! I’ve got a bit of vacation at the end of this month to look forward to, but lots of goals on my mind as well!

In FFXIV, we have a patch incoming, which always means taking time out for story and whatever goodies the patch brings. Folks in my FC have been dabbling in Blue Mage lately, and this brings yet another level cap increase for that job.

FFXIV Goals

  • Finish leveling Warrior to 80 and do job quest
  • Level Gunbreaker via Trusts
  • Clean up quests in the First (to level tank)
  • Level BLU when patch drops
  • Cap BLU skills
  • Work on crafting Relics for Main and Amon

This time around, I really want to finish leveling the last of my Trust members to 80 for the achievement. This will also coincide with leveling one of my tanks. Once Warrior and Gunbreaker are done, all I’ll have left is Paladin to have everything to 80 and the Amaro mount.

I really, really need to work on crafting relics! This next patch is going to drop an update to them yet again… ugh. Not to mention I didn’t even start on the gathering relics. I’m so behind. : /

MISC Goals

  • Continue to level Taming in UO
  • Continue playing Steam Games
  • Play Switch Games
  • Play 3DS Games
  • Play Xbox Pass Games

So I have a few very loose goals here. I do want to dabble in UO again this month. I don’t want that falling to the wayside.

I have a handful of Steam games I’ve been putting time into that I’d like to keep my momentum with, if only a little. I also need to blog about them!

I also dusted off my old 3DS system — there’s so many games there I haven’t touched/finished that it’s a shame. I need to blog about that, too! 🙂

And finally, I really want to put some time into some Switch games other than Animal Crossing. I just need to nail down which one I want to make my focus.

Oh, and Xbox Pass… I’ll… talk about that later.

That’s a lot of gaming! Thankfully I have a week off.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

November 2020 Gaming Goals in Review

It’s hard to believe this is the last day of November, much less that Thanksgiving is done and gone. I’ve actually been able to complete most of my goals this time around, which is good given the next FFXIV patch drops on December 8 – which was earlier than I expected!

So here’s what I got…

FFXIV Goals

  • Finish leveling Dark Knight to 80 and do job quest 
  • Clean up quests in the First (to level tank) 
  • Finish Red Mage Relic for Main 
  • Finish Relic for Tad 
  • Finish leveling Tad’s Fisher 
  • Gear up Tad’s Gatherers with scrip gear 
  • Work on crafting Relics for Main and Amon
  • Gear up Koh’s 60 Summoner and do job quests 
  • Finish getting YoKai Minions 

I finished getting shiny relics for all of my characters this month. I also finished up leveling all of Tad’s gatherers and getting them geared up.

Alongside of that, I finished my first tank to 80 on my main, which meant more role quests, and the final quest that comes from finishing all role quests! I’m looking at 3 jobs left to have everything to 80 at this point.

The only thing I kinda mostly didn’t do was work on crafting relics. I did a little crafting here or there, but for the most part, it’s hard to find time and stay motivated on it. I’ll keep trying.

MISC Goals

  • Continue to level Taming in UO
  • Continue to play Steam games 

While I did continue to play a handful of Steam games that I really need to post about, I somewhat let UO slip by the wayside this month. Seeing that UO is free to play, it’s not a big deal. But I do want to continue my adventures there! So I’m going to make that a goal for next month.

Hope you all had a great November and wishing you a safe and happy December!

Posted in FFXIV, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Puppet’s Bunker = Glamour Central

Puppet’s Bunker is the second Alliance raid in the NieR: Automata crossover series within FFXIV. I meant to write about it back when it first came out, but now is just as good a time as any.

I’ll sum it up by saying: I ran it once just to see the story, stayed for the glamour.

I’ve had a long history of frustration with alliance raids, dating back to just about everything that came out after Void Ark. I felt like what was once somewhat more casual 24 man content suddenly took a turn for the quite difficult. And no longer was I confident to introduce just about anyone to this type of content (as I was in Crystal Tower), because I often found running them a chore.

The NieR: Automata series didn’t really change that for me. Factory was one of those instances where for one dumb reason or another, I died at least once during a run just about every time. This wasn’t the norm for me, and a lot of it has to do with the raid outstaying its welcome in length, especially the last two boss fights.

Now days, I tend to survive that raid a lot better since there’s a higher gear rating in general. But I still have to turn off all the battle effects of everyone else just to be able to see the bosses to respond to directional mechanics. This is the only raid I’ve ever needed to do that for.

Going into Puppet’s Bunker the first time, I told Syn I was planning on running it once. Only on my main. And just for the story clear. I’d seen pictures of the gear drops (shown all in black) and didn’t really pick out anything that appealed to me enough to want to run this alliance treadmill again.

That all changed when, somehow, on that very first run, I lucked out and got the caster chestpiece for my main (Red Mage). This didn’t really phase me when it happened, and it wasn’t until after the frustration of my first Bunker ran off that I thought to see what the piece looked like if it was any other color than black.

The nice thing about the raid gear is that it’s all dyeable (the first I think for any alliance gear). So when I previewed it in a nice teal color, I suddenly realized…

Dang. This gear looks good in a different color.

That was the beginning of the end.

Female casting set, minus the hat and gloves, from Bunker.

I started previewing other sets and realized that I really, really wanted some of this gear on my RP alt. In fact, I wanted two sets for him, plus the caster set for my main.

My main already had gear that was superior in stats, so running this was totally for the glamour. There were some weeks I ran 4-5 times just to get a drop. Any drop. On my alt, this gear is actually an update in stats for me, so it was worth it.

But now I finally have the glamour sets I want…

Male casting set, minus hat and gloves.
The aiming coat, meshed with other glamour pieces for my bard.

Then, I made the mistake of rolling randomly for the Dragoon coat on my main (since I’d already gotten everything I wanted for casting). And went…

Dang. This coat is perfect for my actual Dragoon alt, Tai.

And so it begins again. I unlocked the raid series and ran it for the first time as melee last night. Much to my shock and excitement, the Dragoon coat dropped!

Just the coat, but a great start!

Running melee is a good deal more challenging than ranged or caster. Therefore, you don’t see a lot of Dragoons in these raids. Running ranged or caster, you almost always have competition for the drops… not so much as Dragoon. But still, I was stoked to get the coat the very first run.

My Thoughts on Puppet’s Bunker

So after having played this raid for a few months, I feel like Bunker is shorter and (once you learn the raid) easier than Factory. However, some of the mechanics in Bunker are not as intuitive – meaning, they’re harder to pick up on first glance and are things you usually learn from watching someone else (or a video).

Going into Bunker the first time, I watched a video beforehand. But that still wasn’t enough to get me through without lots of death. After my first run (when I determined I was going to run this more due to glamour desires), I watched about three other videos to piece together all the information on things I did wrong that lead to my demise.

It took several runs, but I can say that I mostly have a solid idea of how to play the raid. I usually don’t die, but sometimes random mechanics (usually on the last boss) can cause complications. With a good party of folks who know what they’re doing, this is often a smooth raid to run.

So overall, I haven’t minded running Bunker as much as I have to get the glamour and gear that I want. There’s mostly just a bit of a learning curve at the start to overcome.

I swear, though, those casting gloves do not exist. I’ve been at this for many, many weeks and still have not seen those gloves drop yet. They’re the last piece I need…

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: First Art Party!

Most folks know by now that I’m a super shy person, and that often extends into interacting with people in games. I won’t go into a bunch of details, but it does make things like in-game events, especially of the role play type, frightening to me.

However, when a group of friends I knew on another server were hosting a Free Company “art party” this past weekend, it sounded tame and safe. Suffice to say, I had no idea what an art party actually was…

In my head, I envisioned a small group of people sitting around, socializing a little bit and drawing sketches of whatever they were working on at the time.

The reality was…

…So many people (not pictured) in this large mansion that the house could not physically admit any more people inside and the zone outside had become just as busy!

Rocking out to this tune for hours…

I was absolutely taken aback at the response to this art party. So then I started to try and figure out what this gathering actually was.

Art parties IRL are defined as:

An Art Party is a unique experience where a group of adults get together to enjoy each others company, drink wine or cocktails if they choose and create their own work of art with some guidance and encouragement. 

https://www.iloveartparties.com/faq

In FFXIV, it takes on a slightly different context. So, you have a bunch of characters sporting their favorite glamours all coming together to hang out.

Here, there is some socialization, but it’s not really a role play atmosphere. There’s mostly lots of dancing, chatting, goofing off and meeting people. But the focus of the art party is artists (both those who draw and create screenshots) finding other characters that catch their eye, and drawing/screenshotting them.

Then, these pieces of art are put on display using a specific hashtag, mostly on Twitter. So all the art and the screens and the interactions are shared across this hashtag.

I was too overcome by the actual party aspect to get into the art part of it. It wasn’t until I actually saw art of my character popping up in the tag that it clicked. Sometimes an artist will directly message you with the URL of a piece of art. Sometimes you just have to keep an eye on the hashtag scroll on Twitter and discover the art there.

It’s very exciting to know that your character stood out to other people enough that they’d want to draw you! I was really delighted to see all the creations! Not only that, but during the time spent at the party, I whisper chatted with a few folks, and met a number of people that exchanged follows with my character’s Twitter.

Most of my development for interaction about this character has been on Tumblr, but I have wanted to find a way to connect more on Twitter as well. This really helped me reach out to meet new people.

Not to mention my persistence of dancing next to the the stairs by myself ended up turning into this dance group before the night was done:

We had everyone from Ascians to Allagans to Scions to Sin Eaters and Flame Generals!

This was great fun, and I intend to join the second part of this party this upcoming weekend (held at a better time for our European friends). I’ve also learned that this is actually one of many such parties going on!

This Twitter account is dedicated to getting the word out about FFXIV art parties on all data centers. If all of them are as fun as this one was, I’ll be looking forward to joining more of these on down the line!

Now that I’ve introduced art parties to you, you can keep an eye out for one on your data center, too!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Bozja Relic Weapon Complete!

While I’ve already finished my first relic on my RP alt, and had finished the first step for my main for a while, last night I finally got the shiny version of the 5.3 Bozja relic for my Red Mage. While these aren’t terribly difficult to get, and I have the base weapon on several of my main’s jobs, I think this will be the only one I progress on for now.

I had three of the Bitter Memories that I needed for the second step already – two from leveling roulettes and one that dropped as I finished up the mettle I needed to get to Rank 10 in Bozja last night. So, thanks to my FC buddies, they ran me through three Anti-Towers to get the rest done.

I was skeptical of the Anti-Tower method to begin with. But as long as you have a tank/healer friend to speed up the queues, you really can knock one of these out in 10-12 minutes each. Compared to the drop rate of memories out in Bozja, it feels far faster.

I am done with seeing this fight for a while, though.

Why does one of the few FFIV references in FFXIV have to be this fight?

Anyhow, I do have one more relic I want to finish for sure on an RP alt. He’s on the second step, but has a ton of ranking to do in Bozja – he’s only just rank 5. So I might just tough it out in Bozja as long as there’s still folks out there. Last night, there seemed to be, and even enough to pop the Castrum.

Castrum is the next step for the storyline for me in Bozja, do hopefully I won’t lose too much experience in dying to that fight. Because, what I’ve heard at it, it can be difficult! XD

Posted in Second Life

Second Life: Thanksgiving House

I knew the holidays were going to be fun for decorating my Linden house in Second Life, and I have been right. While it’s no where as fancy as what I had for Halloween, I’ve pulled down the spooky and put up the turkey.

I had almost no decorations for Thanksgiving upon looking at my inventory, so I went out and did a little shopping on the SL Marketplace. One of the things I knew I needed was a live turkey in the front yard, preferably one that wanders.

The Jian turkey fit the bill, though it’s a bit high in prims. This creator always makes lovely animals of all types, so I was willing to sacrifice a bit of room for a really nicely animated turkey.

Aside from that, I pulled up all the flowers and put down leaf covering. I can’t control the color of the grass, so scattered leaves for the fall feeling is the best I can do. I suppose I could put down a large mega prim and texture it, but that would lose the natural feeling of the area around the house. So leaves and various other decorations it is!

Pulled out the Japanese maple and the leaf emitters to have a falling leaf feel.

Inside, I added some decorations…

But mostly the standard food-type things.

This was a carry-over from Halloween, but still very fitting!

I have had some visitors at my Linden house the past month as the Posse has been back into playing dice games. I already owned a Greedy Greedy, but then came the request for a Pentadee table as well, so I picked one of those up for the backyard deck.

Just rolling some dice!

I might add a few more things to the house decoration-wise, but they would have to be very low prim if I did. I think most of this is going to have to do for Thanksgiving. Absolutely looking forward to what I can do with it for Christmas!

Posted in Gaming

November 2020 Gaming Goals

We’re getting closer to the holidays and to the end of this year. It’s been a crazy one, for sure! This month, I’m looking at a lot of little odds n’ ends I want to get done. Some of it should be quick to finish, some not so quick.

FFXIV Goals

  • Finish leveling Dark Knight to 80 and do job quest
  • Clean up quests in the First (to level tank)
  • Finish Red Mage Relic for Main
  • Finish Relic for Tad
  • Finish leveling Tad’s Fisher
  • Gear up Tad’s Gatherers with scrip gear
  • Work on crafting Relics for Main and Amon
  • Gear up Koh’s 60 Summoner and do job quests
  • Finish getting YoKai Minions

MISC Goals

  • Continue to level Taming in UO
  • Continue to play Steam games

I toss this out there because I want to be mindful though casual of playing other games along side of FFXIV. I’ve been playing games like House Flipper and Barn Finders last month, and have had a lot of fun doing something a little different. I also want to keep making progress on skilling up in UO, though I don’t want to make it an official goal as I want it to remain pretty casual.

Aside from all this, I have a few art projects I’m working on for the holidays and things like that to stay busy. Hope November is a good one for all of you!