Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: My Personal Endwalker Expansion Hype

There’s a lot to be excited about even from the little information we’ve been given in the announcement showcase. Of course, the thought that we’re going to finish up the story arc about Hydaelyn and Zodiark is pretty exciting, but it’s not what’s got me MOST hyped.

Island Sanctuary

I already noted that I was totally ready for the Island Sanctuary content, so I’ll just say it again.

I adore games like Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing. So if you can mix that kind of “slow living” (they kept using that term) into my MMO which usually has everyone pumped up to run-run-run dungeons/raids/content, I’m there for it.

Seeing that the official tweet said this is something that will evolve over the length of the 6.0 expansion cycle, I’m keeping my expectations down for release. I know how the FFXIV team works – they release a foundation for a feature set and don’t always give everything at once (how could they?). But the ultimate vision for the feature is much larger, and by the time it’s all done, you understand what they were shooting for.

So yes, I’m excited for this, but I’m not hoping for TOO much at first.

Thavnair

I’m more excited that we get to finally go to Thavnair in this expansion! It’s a place we’ve heard of since 2.0 but have never seen. I even kinda guessed that this would be one of the places we’d go to due to that… also due to the fact that we don’t have a lot of Middle Eastern inspired locations in game yet.

What makes me most excited about it is that I’ve written it into my main character’s backstory that she’s of Hannish descent. I looked into what little lore we had about Thavnair when trying to develop her backstory, and have been looking for a way to expand on that more over time.

Being able to go there might be the inspiration I’ve been looking for to develop her story a bit more! So this is the main reason I’m especially excited about Thavnair.

New Job

I’m not talking about the Sage.

Sage looks cool and all, but barrier healers and I aren’t a great mix. I’m happy for those who are excited for Sage, but my hopes are really riding on this OTHER unannounced job.

All we know about it is that it will be melee DPS. And that Yoshi-P’s t-shirts consistently depicted a death-like scythe-bearing character on them during the announcement and the Live Letter.

The one he wore during the Live Letter

Some folks are speculating Necromancer. But Necromancer (unless they shake it up quite a bit) doesn’t hit me as a melee DPS class. Some folks are calling it a “Reaper,” which I’m a bit more inclined to believe.

Either way, I’m hoping for a very cool scythe-wielding melee DPS class because…

It is all that my alt, Tai, has ever really needed in FFXIV.

He’s currently a Dragoon who uses Edda’s Scythe as a glamour over his polearm. But to actually get a scythe weapon job in the game would be AMAZING. Also, if I could hope that it shares maiming gear with Dragoon, that would be INCREDIBLY AMAZING…. because I really want to keep this coat that he’s wearing up there if possible.

In fact, this got me so motivated that I finally pushed Tai through the last two patches of Shadowbringers over the past weekend. Thanks to Syn who helped me out with Elidibus! Now he’s fully caught up with the end game story along with the rest of the characters I have at that point.

So for me, those are the points of the expansion that have me hyped.

Well that and all of the FFIV references I’m seeing. Did they hint at a Hummingway beast tribe on the Moon? I would adore that! Yes, please!

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Endwalker Expansion & May Fan Fest

Find the official Endwalker Expansion website here!

So the FFXIV Announcement Showcase had a lot of exciting information about the upcoming Endwalker expansion. You can see the teaser trailer here below:

Featured within the trailer is the first of the two new classes — the Sage. This is a new healer role class that acts as a barrier healer. We know that healers are going to be adjusted to be grouped into either pure healers or barrier healers – sorry Astros, you’re getting put in the pure healer camp.

There was a bunch of talk about the story and some of the new areas we’ll see. I kinda expected us to finally visit Thavnir and Raz-at-han since we’ve heard about the place since 2.0 but have never gone that direction. Garlemald was another expected stop, but not so was the state that the capital was in depicted in the screens.

The moon was a little unexpected, but gives me all sorts of FFIV vibes, which is fantastic!

Of course, folks were waiting for the announcement of the new housing in Ishgard. Took them long enough!

We’ve also got a PS5 beta coming on April 13, which is the same day that Patch 5.5 is dropping! What’s nice of them is that if you already have the PS4 version and you’ve kept your sub going, you don’t have to purchase the PS5 version. You just get an upgrade for free!

Also unexpected but greatly welcome is this new Island Sanctuary. It sounds like everything I needed in FFXIV but didn’t quite have. They described it as a place for slower living including things like animal husbandry, farming and the like. I will totally take a Stardew Valley update to my FFXIV, thank you!

I was excited to see that the upcoming May Fan Fest is going to be free to everyone online to attend, including the concert.

Being a HUGE FFIV fan, I was super even more excited when they announced that the Fan Fest Commemorative items are FFIV based. For a long time, I’ve wanted to see more FFIV content in FFXIV… so finally, here it is.

They haven’t announced the pricing on this, so I’m wincing a bit in anticipation. Seeing that the Whale is an 8-person mount, I can only imagine how much it’s going to cost… and I can’t see it as being cheap.

BUT. This is FFIV and I’m not going to pass by such an iconic mount because that’s how it is.

Anyhow, there was a lot more announced than just this, but these were the slides that excited me most! More announcements to come at the totally free Fan Fest in May!

Posted in Black Desert Online

Black Desert Online: First Level 50!

One of my unspoken goals for this month was to get my two newest characters – Aywren and Amon – to level 50 in BDO while I still have access to the Olvia server and all the boosts due to the account transfer.

The highest I’ve ever been in BDO was 34 on my Tamer – who is now regulated to my horse trainer and will remain under level 50 so that I don’t have to worry about PKs while training horses.

Last night, my Shai hit level 50!

She’s currently running around the big city Calpheon doing quests and learning about the world there. I’d made it to Calpheon before, many years back, but hadn’t really tried to explore or gather knowledge there yet. So this has been a fun experience.

In order to even level to 50, you have to accept and complete a quest (which is just using an item put in your inventory). This quest warns you that once you complete this and reach level 50, you will unlock open world PVP.

I have heard that there’s actually not all that much random PVP that happens in this game. Not being a fan of gank-PVP in general, I’m still giving this a try due to this. Mostly because I’m interested in seeing my Shai’s Awakening!

On top of that, it appears that my ideas of what BDO becomes after level 50 was skewed due to outdated information from back when I played it years ago. In my mind, I thought that there was nothing but constant grinding and struggle to upgrade gear after that point. It appears that maybe that was right… many years ago.

Huge thanks to Mailvaltar and Naithin for leaving so much good updated information in my comment section on the last post! This made choosing to progress to 50 and beyond a much more exciting prospect for me.

Indeed, the quests haven’t run out and I’m still doing what I did pretty much pre-level 50 — questing around, beating up monsters when directed and gathering knowledge of the world. I might need to adjust my goal for this month to see just how far I can get with what I have.

In the meantime, I’ve shifted back to leveling my archer, Amon. He was level 22 when I logged in last night and level 28 by the end of the night.

If he follows any of the patterns that my Shai did in her leveling curve, it shouldn’t be too difficult to reach 50 on him if I just have some time to dedicate to it. It may be even faster because I already know the quests and the objectives this time around.

I might venture out and work on leveling my Tamer up to 49 if I have the time. I also have a low-level Wizard at 17 that I can try to boost up. I heard Wizard is a strong class to play.

The thing with both of those characters is that they were rolled before the Remaster of the game, so it seems they’re still on the old questlines used at the game’s launch rather than the new more streamlined quests. I don’t know if there will be a spot where these quests merge eventually, but it feels a little more tedious when I was leveling my Wizard just to see how it works.

Anyhow, progress made and progress to be made! Good times!

Posted in Black Desert Online, Gaming

Black Desert Online: I’m on a Wagon!

My stay in BDO seems to be a thing as I’ve been taking every advantage of the 30 days on the welcome-back server to do some leveling and work on my horse training/breeding.

Last night, I finally invested in a wagon so that I can train four horses at once. This is something I’ve been wanting to try for a while, and seeing I have more silver than I know what to do at this point, I straight up bought one.

And what do you know? The day after I did, they started an event that increases horse leveling. I’ll take it!

For a short bit, I was trying to level my Shai (who is now my main Aywren) to catch up with my ex-main in terms of battle and horse training. But then I discovered that the riding outfit I picked up for my ex-main (she’s now taken the name Zuri) long ago is bound to her and she has Professional level training.

So instead of trying to surpass that, I chose just to leave Zuri as my main trainer. This works as that means I never really need to level her beyond what she is now, or beyond 49 if I feel like I want to push her that far, and she’ll always be safe to AFK train without worry of PK.

My new Shai main just got her name switch today after maintenance.

It’s odd how BDO does name changes. You can roll another alt with the name you want and purchase a name switch – which does just that – switches the name between the two characters.

However, this doesn’t go into place until the game comes down for maintenance, which I find odd. So, I’ve been waiting for the name switch since last week, and finally it just happened during maintenance today!

I’m in love with my Shai and I’ve been working diligently on leveling her. Though, this is going far faster than I ever expected.

I logged in last night at level 27. I had a few hours to dedicate to leveling, and my hopes were to get her to 30 at least. By the end of the night, she’d skyrocketed to level 41 instead!! And I wasn’t working very hard to make that happen!

My goal has been to get my two new characters – Aywren and Amon – to at least 49 before I no longer have access to the Olvia servers. At this rate, I shouldn’t have any problem doing that, it seems.

Amon is sitting at level 21 right now. I invested in a nice costume for him because it’s everything that he needs to be in BDO.

Not to mention, I earned the Bard title. So while he can’t actually be a bard in this game, he can at least wear the title for it.

I know that in the higher levels things change in this game drastically. But for now, I’m just cruising through the main storyline (which I still find interesting even though it’s not well written) and leveling my horses AFK throughout the day.

Once I’m at 49.999, I’ll make my choices on what to do with my characters. I’m not sure that I’m that worried about battle life after 50 just yet. I’m also interested in looking at the Season Characters once the spring season opens up. It just depends on how much time I want to put into the game at that point.

Right now, I’m having fun with what I’m doing, though. Hoping to breed some T6 horses this week!

Posted in Fiddle, Fiddle Progress Report

Fiddle Progress Report – January 2021

I don’t have a whole lot to update about things in January, but what I do have is something very important!

Of course, my 2 year anniversary of playing fiddle arrived in mid-January, which is one thing to celebrate!

Secondly, as of February 1, my quest to maintain consistent daily practice also hit a 1 year mark. I did pretty well, too! Out of 365 days, I missed exactly 6 days of practice. Not quite a week out of one year, which is great!

I’ve been giving myself a lot more wiggle room to miss practice this past month because I’ve seen that I can bounce back and not let that effect my overall consistency in daily practice. Part of this is because I’ve got practice planned out well enough that I know exactly what I need to be doing every day.

Going forward, I’m going to continue striving for daily consistency, but also be more flexible in allowing myself days off when things get busy or I just can’t quite make time for it. I’m not going to let it become a habit, mind you, but I’m also not going to beat myself up for missing a day (which usually happens on the weekend).

I finally said farewell to Russian Folk Song (IEE) and Amazing Grace this past month. I didn’t have the Russian Folk Song down perfectly, but I’ve spent so much time with it and I was only seeing minor improvements, so it was time to move on. Amazing Grace was a tune that I was pretty comfortable with, so I didn’t see that drilling it was getting a lot in return.

The most important thing that happened in January 2021 for me was… actual music.

In exchange for Amazing Grace, I brought back in the Skye Boat Song that I’d practiced earlier last year. I’d improved a LOT on this song, simply due to practicing long bowing on Silent Night. So while it’s not perfect, it’s much better than it was before.

I realized that my Fiddle & Song book also had Skye Boat Song included, though a more advanced version. Most importantly, it had a really nice backing track on the CD.

The one thing I love about Fiddle & Song is that the CD tracks are like playing along with a band and the backing tracks are amazing. Though I was playing a much more stripped down version of Skye Boat Song, I found that I could still play it along with the backing track.

Then, suddenly, one day of doing this, I was struck by actual emotion while practicing. And not the emotion of frustration with my poor playing, either. Actual emotion that I was playing (decently) music to a lovely backing track and for a song that I really love.

Oh my gosh. It’s an even better feeling than I expected!

Again, I don’t play it beautifully, but it was good enough to sound alright along with the backing track. For the first time, I actually felt like I was playing true music on my fiddle rather than just drilling an exercise and being frustrated with my sound.

That was something I’ve been working up to for two years now. It may sound silly but it’s the biggest breakthrough I’ve had so far, and it helps to bolster my confidence that with time and practice, I can start to play things I like to hear.

Posted in Gaming

February 2021 Gaming Goals

Welcome to February!

I’ve got a few light goals this month, but most of what I want to focus on is games in my backlogs. For once, FFXIV doesn’t have quite as much to work on since I’ve finally put my leveling goals to rest.

FFXIV Goals

  • Work on crafting relics
  • Clean up Rak’tika quests
  • Finish up to patch 5.4 on Tai

And really… that’s it. Though the crafting relics alone will take hours to gather and work through, so though this seems short, it’s not.

MISC Goals

  • Switch: Progress on Link’s Awakening
  • Play at least 1 new Steam game a week 
  • Play at least 1 Xbox Game Pass game 

I’m currently at the boss for Catfish’s Maw in Link’s Awakening, which is further than I’ve been before in the game. Maybe about halfway done? Anyhow, I don’t want to lose momentum since I finally just got the hookshot, which is super nice.

I hope to keep making progress on trying games out in my Steam backlog in particular. It was nice to finally budge my percentage played to 55%. I still have a number of games in the “Clear” section that I could nudge out of my backlog before I actually get to games I want to try for a period of time.

So, overall, it’s a light month for goals. Which is fine. I’ve got plans to kick around BDO a bit on top of all this, too.

Posted in Gaming

January 2021 Gaming Goals in Review

It’s a little hard to believe that January is done for this year. But at the same time, it felt like a long month, too.

Anyhow, in terms of reaching goals that I set out to do, I’m pretty pleased with everything I managed to do. Especially getting that one big goal out of the way!

FFXIV Goals

  • Finish leveling Paladin to 80 via Beast Tribes & Quests (and do job quest)
  • Finish leveling Gunbreaker via Trusts (and do job quest) 
  • Finish leveling all Trust characters 
  • Earn Amaro Mount! 
  • Clean up quests in the First 
  • Work on crafting relics 
  • Finish up to patch 5.4 on Tai
  • Finish up to patch 5.4 on Tad 

I finished leveling the last two jobs on my main to 80 in FFXIV, so now I’ve earned my Amaro mount and I can take a break from daily beast tribe quests. It’s been a long road getting there, but I got there. Just in time for the next expansion announcement, right? Or so we hope!

During that process, I managed to clean up the quests across several zones. However, I hit level 80 before finishing two of the zones… so… I kinda took a break there. I still want to finish cleaning that up, though. I might make some of that a goal for next month.

I did start working on my crafting relics and finished one. Yeah. Just one. However, I learned that the gear I have allows me to macro and burn through a lot of this crafting faster than I expected. So if I buckle down to get it done, it shouldn’t be too bad…

…Just in time for the next phase of crafting relics to pop up next week. I’m so behind. 😦

I did finish working through all of 5.4 on Tad, but didn’t get around to pushing through on Tai. He’s a couple patches behind, which means I’m putting off running Elidibus yet again. That’s the one fight that’s making me procrastinate – I can do it, but I just don’t enjoy it. The rest I can do with Trusts, thankfully. Will try again next month.

MISC Goals

  • Play at least 1 new Switch game 
  • Play at least 1 new Steam game a week 
  • Play at least 1 Xbox Game Pass game 

Not only did I finish a major goal for FFXIV, but I did a good job of reaching my other gaming goals.

On the Switch, I actually finished Coffee Talk – the first game I’ve finished in a while. I restarted Link’s Awakening, and I’m now further into that game than I was my first play through. I think next month’s goal will be to continue to make progress on it.

I did “play” several new Steam games this month, too. Most of these are on what I call my “clear” list. These are games that I have an idea I probably won’t play for very long or get too involved in. So I download and launch them and try to play a bit, mostly just to get them off my “unplayed” backlog statistic.

This was actually successful because now I’ve moved from 54% played games to 55% played games! That’s a happy thing! I will keep trying to do this next month.

I also played games on my XBox Game Pass this month – three, in fact. One of which I finished – woot, that’s two finished games in one month! Two of the games were titles that were leaving soon, and I wrote about one of them. The other I’ll blog about next week.

I’m not fully sure what next month is going to look like for me. I have some goals I want to reach in FFXIV, but now that most of the leveling goals are done, I’m not pushing for anything in particular.

I also picked up BDO again, and have been enjoying that. I do not want to set any goals for that game, but I do want to try to level as much as I can while I still have the returner bonus. We’ll see where I go with all of this next month!

Posted in Black Desert Online, Gaming, MMORPGs

Returning to Black Desert Online

It’s been almost four years since I last played Black Desert Online. Wow!

Thanks to some posts at Time to Loot and Inventory Full I learned that in order to keep your BDO account, you need to make an account transfer. Instantly, I hopped off to do just that, which made me realize that even though I haven’t played the game in a while, I actually do value my account and progress there.

I remember really liking the life skills, the horse taming/training/breeding system and other things about the game. So in knowing that you’d get some rewards for transferring early, I decided to patch my client (which was no little thing) and see what BDO was up to lately.

There have been a LOT of changes. That’s an understatement. On top of that, there are a lot of new classes to try, too!

I may not have played BDO in a while, but I’d kept up a little bit on some of the updates over the years. I knew about the Shai race, which I was interested in – and almost returned to the game at that point. I also discovered there’s a pretty cool Elf Archer class, which instantly got me thinking about rolling an Amon character there.

So… that’s what I did.

I also think the Shai is adorable in every way, and based on the Foundry’s information, is supposed to be a lot easier to play than the original classes were. After trying one out, I really felt the pull to make her my main. I never got super far in leveling my original Tamer character. But I also don’t want to delete my first ever character who does have some cash shop stuff that’s bound to her.

I rolled a new Shai, anyhow. I had some Pearls in my inventory to spend, so I bought a name transfer scroll, and pretty soon, my new Shai will become “Aywren” on BDO. Problem solved!

Basically, I’m semi starting over in BDO. But, the experience boost I have due to everything stacking up as a returning character is insane. I should easily catch up with my original character and, if I stick with it, easily surpass her. It’s pretty cool that Shai start out with Professional rank Alchemy and Gathering right off the bat, too.

The one thing I need to earn back are all my horse training levels. Now, those actually mean something as an update has added bonuses to things like taming, training speed and breeding based off your training mastery. That’s another change that brought me back to this game.

I still have a bunch of my Teir 6 horses on hand – I’ll have to look and see if I still have that breeding spreadsheet I made all those years ago. One way or another, I’m happy to work on my horse lineage again.

I did notice that the new player questline and story has been altered a bit from what I remember. If anything, it’s more streamlined than before, which is a good thing. I haven’t gotten too deep into the story yet, and I don’t remember much about where I left off with the story before this. So, I’m just along for the ride when it comes to progressing through the quests in BDO from the beginning again.

Posted in Gaming

The “Leaving Soon” Motivator

Am I the only one who feels motivation from seeing a game or movie in a streaming or subscription service is “Leaving Soon”? Things that were only passingly interesting to me suddenly end up at the top of my watch or play list.

This is the case for games on the Xbox Game Pass for me. I noted, for example, that the only reason I tried Sea Salt was because it was leaving soon. Though I haven’t written about it yet, I’m playing Gris for the same reason. I only have a few days left with that game, so I better get to it!

This is the same for seeing shows on my Watchlist suddenly flagged as “Available until (date)” on Netflix. I’m not much of a binge watcher, and usually like to take my time with shows and movies. However, I’m currently watching through as many episodes of Bates Motel as I can because after next month, it’ll be gone.

I don’t respond that way to everything, I notice. There was some other Netflix series (I can’t remember what) on my Watchlist that was flagged as leaving the same day. Seeing that Bates Motel has 5 seasons, and the other was fairly long, too, I knew due to time constraints, I’d have to choose one or the other. So I removed that one — which must not have been a big deal because I don’t even remember the name. 🙂

Anyhow, being new to a subscription games-as-a-service, I kinda like the motivation that “Leaving Soon” gives me to try something out. I find myself checking back on the Xbox app for not just what’s coming in but what’s going out and adjusting my choice of games based on that.

I still feel as if the Xbox Game Pass is a good setup for someone with my sort of gaming habits. I haven’t actually started paying for it yet, seeing I had a 3 month free trial, but when I do, I hope to get value from it for a while.

What’s your experience with games or movies that are “leaving soon?” Does this motivate you to play or watch stuff you might have only been mildly interested in before?

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming

FFXIV: Earning the Amaro Mount – All Jobs to 80!

At the beginning of 2019, I had just finished leveling all of my FFXIV jobs to 50. The straggler jobs were my tanks, jobs that I really had no intention of ever leveling. Most of my tanks were sitting in the mid-30s during 2018, when I first decided… Yeah… I’m going to make an effort to bring all of my jobs to level cap. And I’m going to do it without any boosts or skips from the Mog Store.

As some folks know, I’m generally okay to play most DPS jobs in groups. But when it comes to tanking and healing, I’m not so comfortable. That means that leveling all the tanks and healers was done solo and outside of roulettes, which is one of the faster ways to level.

Let me just say… Beast Tribe Quests.

Years upon years of Beast Tribe Quests. And I’m not exaggerating. There have been very few days in the past 3-4 years that I’ve not logged in to run my battle Beast Tribe Quests for whatever job I was leveling, at whatever stage that was in.

Granted from 30-60 I had help from running Squad dungeons. Levels 60-70 is really the slump area for solo leveling jobs. Again, lots and lots of Beast Tribe Quests. And really, that’s about it if you don’t want to farm FATEs (and really, FATEs without a focused party is pretty slow).

At level 70, things speed up quite a bit. First, there’s only one set of battle Beast Tribe Quests this expansion, but it gives just as much experience as quests did when there were two tribes. Essentially, 5-10 mins of time every day earns a pretty significant chunk of experience – probably the most experience-per-minute you can get.

On top of that, you do have the option to run Trusts. However, I didn’t run Trusts all that much – I only leveled two jobs through them, enough to level the Trust teams. I’m just not big on running a bunch of dungeons now days when I don’t have to, even if I have a Trust team.

Quests in Shadowbringers scale to whatever level your job is, and they give a good deal more experience than I expected when you stack them all up. In fact, I failed in my attempt to finish cleaning up quests before I got all my jobs to 80 because I vastly underestimated the XP they gave. I still have two more zones worth of quests to finish. Granted, these are only one-time XP boost, but if you have a job you just don’t want to run in parties, any XP is good XP.

Anyhow, it’s a weird feeling to not have to run Beast Tribe Quests today. But even with this big achievement out of the way, I still have more than enough to keep me busy both on my main and my various alts. First, I’m finally going to focus on all those crafting/gathering relics that I’ve put off!

Oh, and finally leveling Blue Mage on this character. That’s a thing, too. 🙂