Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV 6.0 Patch Notes Highlights

So here we are, awaiting the drop of Endwalker. And all we have are some delicious patch notes to tide us over until tomorrow. So, let me take a look at them and talk about what I found interesting.

I’m skipping over the things that are fabulous but expected – such as new story, quests, jobs and locations. As usual, I’m taking a look at QoL and unexpected additions!

YAY!

I know housing isn’t opening until 6.1, and I have no intention of moving my own location, but it’s still a YAY! to get more housing for those who need it!

New furnishings are always welcome and all of these seem really nice. New wall cubbies? New windows? Finally a new shelf? G I A N T X Y L A P H O N E? Yes!

Hats with glasses? What is this black magic? What does it mean?

I’m not as rabid over bunny boys as some folks, but I’m happy they’re coming. I do have a character ready to fantasia to one, just to have one!

Healer LB3 range extension is fantastic! Thank you!

I know not everyone will appreciate the armor designs – and I admit, all of it doesn’t work well on every character type – but the FFIV fan in me delights in this!

Kinda glad I held off working on any more of my Skysteel gathering tools. 🙂

I’m actually happy about this as long as it doesn’t bork crafting HQ stuff.

I love this idea and hope that we’ll be asked to spearfish more!

I like this and aim to get this for my dancer, Zuri!

This isn’t my style, but I think it’s very cool! (Wish we could fly with just wings in this game.)

I love the look and feel of the new UI rework for the achievement log. It feels much more like an adventurer’s journal now. I’m not an achievement chaser, but I might get into it more next expansion.

This is such a good change! I like the idea of not having to tell it not to use a ticket for low-cost porting! Very good!

Excellent! So many times I’ve blown time on a rez on someone that my co-healer is already rezzing.

YAAAAAAY! Honestly, all I want to be able to do is smile and look at the camera when playing violin. Bards look far too serious during violin mode!

Nice!

Reducing the number of aether currents required to fly? Yes, please! Unexpected but good, I think. Not that I have that many characters left that need to go through this content, just a few outside of Shadowbringers. But still!

Gemstones for FATEs returns! I guess this ended up doing what they wanted it to do, so it comes back. I both like this system and don’t like it – it takes a LOT of FATEs to complete each area!

That’s pretty cute! I’m happy with the exteriors I have already, but it’s always nice to see something new.

New hairstyles for Viera are nice! Seeing that Hrothgar are getting new styles, and the styles are connected to the heads, I wonder if that means they’ve found a way to change hairstyles and disconnect them from the heads – that way, you don’t have to use a fantasia just to change Hroth hair? I can hope, right?

Players asked for stubble, they got Derplander stubble. Nice!

Consolidated shopping is always nice!

These two were back to back and both get a nice from me, so I put them together.

I’m still not done with my Anima Weapons, so maybe this will help out on some step if I ever get back around to it.

Adding more items to the Calamity salvager is always welcome!

I’m really very curious about this and would like to try it!

Hm…

Interesting! I tend to like character portraits – it makes it feel more JRPG – as long as they’re done right. It’s nice they give a way to turn them off, too.

We knew this was coming, so sayeth the flood of crafters hitting up the coffee biscuits turn-ins last night before it was nerfed. Too bad I didn’t know this was a good way to make gil. More interestingly, they aren’t adding any new leves that allow for multiple turn-ins in Endwalker, I’m guessing due to this.

I knew this was coming, too. While I admit the relocation system is super unfair to people who don’t have a house yet, and I am glad it is being removed – I will also admit that we wouldn’t have the plots that we do if it wasn’t for relocation. Hopefully the new lotto system will work as well as people need it to.

Hmmm… gone are the days of leveling off of morbol seedlings, I suppose.

Interesting. I wonder if this will be the same weapon as the crafted weapon? I’d guess likely so.

All very, very interesting. I suppose “unrestricted” is more accurate than “undersized” in terms of wording.

What is…. I mean. I have to have it, but what is…?

Hmmm… I’ll have to mess with this to see if I like it. Sounds like a good change, though.

Farewell Belts!

The removal of belts didn’t actually fit under any of my normal reaction modes, so it gets its own. I’m pro removal of belts, but it’s going to be odd. I am ready to turn them all in on Friday though!

Meh

I really don’t like the system of switching jobs on your retainer – that you have to drop them back to level 1 and remain as a class until you hit the level where they could be assigned to the job you like. It should be easier than that.

I have, for example, a level 80 Dragoon retainer on Tai. I want to switch Tai to reaper, so my options are to either relevel my retainer completely or level Dragoon so that my retainer can level to 90. I have a feeling I know what I’m going to be doing once I determine reaper is the job I want to main… it just sucks to have to start over on a retainer again. This is a system that really needs to be looked at.


And so that concludes my overall thoughts about what I saw in the 6.0 patch notes. There were other things of smaller note to me, of course, but these were the major highlights.

I’m looking forward to jumping into Endwalker tomorrow, and wish all FFXIV players the best during early access!

Posted in No Man's Sky

No Man’s Sky: The Hunt for Golden Vector

No Man’s Sky has turned out to be one of those unexpected games that have been back on my radar again this year. Especially since folks in the Posse have picked it up, and we’ve been able to exchange information, help and game support.

Syn discovered that Hello Games is re-running all of the previous expeditions back-to-back in the case that you missed them, like we did. Since we were on vacation and waiting for Endwalker anyhow, we turned our eyes to the prize of the first expedition: the Golden Vector ship.

The one catch – instead of having two months to finish the expeditions, you only have two weeks. At first, this seemed a really daunting task, especially once you look at the laundry list of things you needed to do to finish it. I admit, this one took longer than Expedition 4 – I clocked in almost 15 hours on this whereas Expedition 4 only took me 8-ish hours.

My expedition character at the end of it all.

The thing about Expedition 1 is that it basically asked you to play NMS in high-speed to check all the boxes and earn rewards. A new player would likely be completely lost in doing all this. Even having put 66 hours on my main game, there were things the expedition asked me to do that I’d never attempted before.

For someone like me who who just putters around and does the little quest lines, this was a very good learning experience to see what all kinds of content the game provides. I was happy to have gained all the game knowledge that came from this run, if nothing else.

At first glance, it felt like it was going to be difficult to finish up everything that needed to be done in just two weeks. Turns out, somewhat like the previous expedition, finishing certain steps and milestones grants you items that help you to finish other milestones.

For example, one step rewards an S-Rank multi-tool. This completes the requirement for the step that asks for you to have an A-Rank multi-tool.

The quest that asks you to find an A-Rank ship quickly makes that ship obsolete by handing you a nice S-Rank ship, too. Having that ship in your fleet makes warping around to meet other requirements a breeze as it rarely needed fuel and had so much inventory it wasn’t funny.

So, it really pays to look through the rewards you get for each step and decide which order to do them to make your progress easier.

Oh, the places you will go!

Again, the most fun part of the expedition was the fact that everyone else was all gathered around the same systems you were – and there were a lot of folks doing it! I guess they were like me and had missed out on the Golden Vector.

It was great to see bases built around landmarks that could help others out, and all the communication pods leaving messages to those who explored after. This time, I built my base around a technology merchant and labeled it Tech Merchant just in case anyone needed one. It felt much more like I was doing something to contribute to other people that way.

I also had a lot of fun seeing what people named things…

Thanks, Greg. I love you, too.

I think the most time-consuming of the tasks was ranking up with the Explorer’s Guild. This set you out to do small missions which had a lot of back and forth. Things such as “Scan 7 plants” or “Take a picture on a volcanic planet.”

I did that!

But once it was done and all rewards claimed, the Golden Vector ship made it all quite worth it. It’s a nice S-Rank fighter of a style that I really like. It needs a few upgrades added – such as better launch thrusters – but overall, it’s a great ship to have and should be an asset to my main game.

Very shiny!

Though the Expedition 1 character is even better set than my Expedition 4 character, I still plan on playing my main playthrough in general. This has been slow going in terms of upgrades and gear for her. However, I’m also far more attached to that save and all the items I’ve earned there. I feel like I can bring back some of this knowledge and get a lot more out of the game on my main save.

While the other four expeditions will be available, seeing that most of them fall within Endwalker launch, I’m not sure if I’ll be going on to do any of them. The other rewards were nice, but nothing quite as important as the Golden Vector.

Posted in Steam Gaming

FFIV Pixel Remaster & FFXIV Endwalker

When Final Fantasy IV was released on the Super Nintendo back in 1991, it was known as Final Fantasy II to the US audience. While this wasn’t my very first Final Fantasy (I played FFI on the NES), this was a turning point in gaming for me as I suddenly realized games could be just as engaging as a good book or movie.

I didn’t play it until the summer of 1992, and when I did, it changed my life – I wrote about it here.

Sadly, FFIV is one of those installations in the series that has been ported to death across just about every console ever. Not all of those ports were good.

It also received an absolutely terrible attempt at a sequel called The After Years. Many consider The After Years the worst “game” in the FF series. It was originally released in a way that screamed “milking the fans for cash,” and it was a subpar rehash of everything that made the original good.

ANYHOW.

FFIV is one of those games that sometimes gets a shrug from oldskool FF players due to the sheer number of remakes and a bad sequel. However, I’m happy to say that the newest remake – the Pixel Remaster – has tasteful updates while remaining true to the original.

FFXIV Players Take Heed!

Why should a game that came out 30 years ago be of interest to folks today?

Are you a FFXIV player who knows nothing about FFIV?

Then you should be interested! Endwalker is FULL of FFIV references – from the minions the SE is giving out, to the Lunar Whale mount, to going to the moon (yes, FFIV did this first, and it blew our mind back then).

For example, the very first dungeon in Endwalker and the bosses within are references to a FFIV dungeon and bosses. I am super, super happy about this because up until now, FFXIV has pulled from a lot of FF games in the series, but only sparingly from FFIV.

And what it did pull from FFIV was… uh…

Yeah, this nightmare fuel came from FFIV.

So… to get back on topic.

While I’m still playing through the Pixel Remaster, my best friend Syn (who is also a long-time FFIV fan) has completed it. She’s given it the overall thumbs up in that the game has been tastefully updated for a newer audience while not deviating in ways that significantly change the story from the original.

They were wise to keep iconic lines like this one unchanged.

Unlike the 3D version (in which there are story parts added that I don’t consider canon) the Pixel Remaster plays very much like the original FFIV Japanese version. Though I have heard some complaints that the game is too easy and doesn’t require the grinding levels that the old versions did – I haven’t run across that issue at all, though, to be honest. Maybe it was a launch bug that got fixed? Who knows.

While the snazzy updated pixel artwork gets the bulk of the attention, there’s actually a lot going for this remake including:

  • Recomposed music – not just remastered, but completely updated arrangements. Some took me time to get used to, but most of the tracks are really, really nice!
  • Updated translation – this might be the best modern translation I’ve seen so far
  • Good controller support – in fact, I suggest you use a controller for the best experience
  • Graphics update – not just the pixels, but there’s a lot of nice background environmental effects that I appreciated in this version (mist, wind, ocean water, etc)
I wouldn’t be surprise if this song ends up in Endwalker, to be honest. It’s also very iconic!

All this to say, if you’ve never played FFIV before, and have nothing to do between now and Endwalker, I happily recommend this version of the game to a first time player. We’ve only seen a handful of FFIV references in Endwalker so far, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see more! I dearly hope we do as it makes the oldskool fan in me very happy!

Posted in FFXI

FFXI: The Mog Patio and Personal Housing

While I haven’t been making much in the way of progress in FFXI, I have been logging in every day for the Repeat Login Campaign. For a period of time set by the game, you can log in each day to earn points. You then spend those points on things like mounts and cosmetics, and the rewards change when campaigns change.

When I logged into my main, I discovered that I had stashed away a LOT of these points from last time I played in 2016. I remember picking up a few mounts back then – there were only two that had been released at the time – so this time I put my points towards a lot more mounts!

Looking through the other reward possibilities, one caught my eye: Mog Patio Designs. Based on the description, this made me imagine putting a nice hanging patio/balcony in my FFXI Mog House.

That’s what you’re reading here, too, right?

For those who haven’t played FFXI, the Mog House is sorta a blend between FFXIV retainers (storage and sales), the inn room and the personal housing apartment. In the early days, you went there to store stuff and check your market sales. But eventually, it expanded into the FFXI form of housing where you could garden and decorate. And yes, you can “Open” your Mog House to allow people to visit it (though I don’t know the details on this).

In order to use the Patio Design, I read that I needed to have unlocked the second story of my Mog House. Already, the FFXI housing has a couple of things over on FFXIV apartments in that:

  1. It’s freely and automatically granted to every character
  2. You can expand it to have a second story

Sure, the overall space is smaller feeling and not quite as robust to decorate, but still. For the time it was developed, this wasn’t a terrible housing system.

Anyhow, in order to add a second story to my Mog House I had to do a series of quests. None of these were difficult – they all required you to bring a specific type of flower to NPCs in each starter town.

The flowers you can buy for next to nothing in Jeuno – granted that you have fast travel unlocked there (oh thank you so much for fast travel!). This is what I did.

The hardest part of this quest was remembering how to interact with NPCs in this game. I forgot there was an oldskool Trade option, and from there, you select the item in your inventory.

I also had to unlock areas of Windurst I’d never been to before on this character, but that just allowed me to attune to different warp points that I probably needed to do anyhow. Once that was all done with, I went back to my Mog House and the moogle within let me know that I now had a second story!

You access the second story by clicking on the house door and selecting it as a travel option. Sorta like you would if you were going into a private chamber or workshop in a FC house in FFXIV. Not the most elegant way, but for the age of this game, I understand why.

And there it was.

A completely empty room, like the lower floor. Just sans Moogle.

So now, the next thing I had to do was save up points to buy the Patio upgrade. This took 1,000 points, which meant 10 days of logging in. This morning, I finally saved up enough and made my purchase.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I went into this thinking I was going to write a post about how FFXI could add patios and second floors to housing and FFXIV needed to take a page out of its predecessor’s book. Only, that’s not quite what happened.

So, I bought the plans and I went to my Mog House expecting my moogle to announce the brand new patio add-on. That didn’t happen.

I then noticed that the patio plans (which had no instructions) were an item in my inventory, so I tried to use it. Couldn’t do that in the housing area.

Alright.

Left the Mog House. Used the item. That seemed to have worked. It gave me the Key Item: Mog Patio design document. But no instructions on how to use it again.

After poking around in the menus of the moogle in my house, I noticed a Remodel option. When I selected that, lo and behold, the option for Mog Patio was there! I clicked it and… nothing seemed to happen.

So I went up stairs to check. That’s when I learned…

Mog Patio is not a patio add on. Instead, it’s the equivalent of changing the wallpaper and floors in a FFXIV house. It did give an open sky (and you could see the skybox changing as time passed), which was kinda cool. But overall, not what I was expecting from the description of the item (come on, translation writers – you could have been a lot more specific with this description!).

Still, it’s a neat change from having the exact same walls as below. So, I left it and decided to move my cherry tree – the one lone decoration I own – from the first floor to the patio.

I then faced the question of… how do I change the layout to put items down on my second floor? On the first floor, I was clicking my moogle and selecting the Layout option. Here, there was no moogle to click.

I then did some research on this, and discovered you can type /layout in chat and it pulls up the layout options. Score!

And…. that’s my adventures so far in FFXI housing.

Posted in Gaming

Game Pass: Unpacking

This is another example of how Game Pass is a winner for me. Unpacking. It’s a new release with a lovely concept. A really enjoyable and relaxing experience. I’m glad I played it.

But the bottom line is, it’s just so short. I suppose if you went out of your way to find all the achievements, it could be a lot longer. But for a single first play-through, HowLongToBeat notes the game clocks in around three and a half hours.

For a $20 price tag, as lovely as the game and the experience is, that’s a big OOF to me. At half the cost, I could play that game and all the games on Game Pass for a month… so…

Anyhow, this isn’t supposed to be a rant about how short a game is. Though it’s very much a stand-out element when I surprisingly found myself done with the game.

What is Unpacking?

It’s more than just a game about taking things out of packing boxes. It’s a puzzle game in that you can’t just haphazardly toss things around the room or on the floor and complete each stage. There has to be a rhyme and reason for where you put things… however, I found myself not always agreeing with how the game organized things vs. how I normally do in my own home!

The game is broken into different dates. You follow the character through stages of her life. Though you never fully get to see what she looks like, you end up knowing her and her life choices through the things that she values and takes with her each step of the way.

You start out in her childhood stage, unpacking her very first room of her own. That process looks something like this:

The game allows you to export gifs of your own unpacking gameplay, which is nifty!

You then follow her to college and into the various lifestyles she leads as an adult. The game doesn’t specifically tell you what’s going on, but you can pretty easily pick up on the highs and lows of her life. This is what makes the experience worth playing through – there’s some good subtle storytelling going on here.

I admit there were a few times I had to go look up answers to where to put a few wayward items in the beginning. This was mostly due to the fact I wasn’t always sure what something was – the game only gives visual representation and doesn’t define anything with words. The mousepad in the second stage, for example, left me puzzled for a while until I saw the answer online. Then I realized “that purple thing” was a mousepad!

The game gets increasingly more complicated as your character moves into bigger multi-roomed houses or gains roommates. The nice thing is that once you finish a stage, which usually doesn’t take that long, you can save and take a break if you’d like. Then come back to play a little more when you’re ready.

As I said above, the brevity of the game took me by surprise. I put the game down after a stage, then picked it back up to play more and found myself looking at the ending credits instead!

I suppose the game did something right for me to want to play it more. My takeaway is to wait for a sale or pick it up on something like Game Pass – which is something I rarely say for a game that I enjoyed this much.

Posted in No Man's Sky

No Man’s Sky: Expedition #4 – Emergence

While I haven’t checked to see if the newest No Man’s Sky Expedition has expired, you might still have a little time to get it done and get the rewards. This is the first time I participated in an Expedition, and apparently, this is the first time they created a small storyline to go with the goals you were meant to accomplish.

Originally dropping right before Halloween, this Expedition had a Dune-like theme that gave a backstory to the giant worms you sometimes run across on some planets. You roll up a new save and choose Expedition to start. This story drops then you on a worm-infested planet with nothing but your ship, and provides a number of goals you need to complete to make your way through the milestones and the story.

Nasty “Little” Worm Spawn

Killing worm spawns (not the official names) is a fantastic way to make a lot of money. Not only that, but as you progress, the game showers this Expedition character with tons of upgrades and nice things. Far nicer than my main save has, at this point.

While you can’t carry over those upgrades or the money you make, the Expedition milestone rewards DO carry over to every save – including existing ones. Just visit the Quicksilver Synthesis Companion on the Space Anomaly. So it’s worth it for the unique rewards and fluff you get!

In this case, it was a Ghastly Trail for a Halloween-themed jetpack, worm-type cosmetics, and a flying worm pet. The official page says that they can grow very large, but the one I got was quite small. I wonder if it’s either a baby still or if you can modify it through genetic breeding to be large.

Either way, it’s a free flying worm mount for every character, which is nice to start with.

Having never done one of these Expeditions, it was really fun to see a populated area in No Man’s Sky. Everywhere you looked, as long as you stayed on the story’s path, you’d see settlements other players had built and comments they’d left. Some comments were simply saying things like “Hello from Texas!” while others congratulated you when you got to the final milestone points. Yet others were actually helpful in marking and locating things like resources you needed to gather for the quest and sometimes even broken ships for upgrades.

That’s not to say that it was an easy expedition to play through. All of the planets you had to explore were pretty rough when it came to environment and storms. There were several times I got turned around (as you tend to when trying to follow directions and instructions in No Man’s Sky), often because side quests started popping up as I went along. I ended up with a freighter on this character and totally ignored the pleas from the settlement sidequests.

I gave this character a different look from my main. What do you think?

I probably won’t keep this character in the long run since you can only have 5 saves. (Note: I have been informed that 5 saves is no longer the cap. Thanks!) Her ship is rather cruddy despite all the great tech – I never upgraded, though I did run across a B Rank under the ocean.

There were also a few places where quests seemed to get a bit muddled and buggy – especially at the end. I had to look things up at that point, and somehow managed to finish the story despite bugging out on the very last step.

I have to say that while the story was short and interesting, the best part of this expedition was exploring the derelict space freighter. This turned out to be rather creepy and some of the best use of atmosphere in No Man’s Sky that I’ve encountered. No screenshots or video can do it justice – it’s just something you had to experience.

Here’s a screenshot anyhow.

Once I finished it all up, I then hopped over to my main save and claimed all the items from the Anomaly. It was a fun, if sometimes frustrating, romp through No Man’s Sky and I can see why all my friends asked me if I was doing Expeditions in the game when I mentioned I was playing. I will certainly be doing some more… and I might even keep this side character’s look for when I do!

I got a worm sticker for my wall back on my main save. How about that?

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: First Relic & Knocking Out Goals for Endwalker

I’m continuing to mark off things on my to-do checklist of things to get done before Endwalker. I did finally finish up all of my Mog Tome runs last week, which I’m grateful to be down with. One thing I managed was to complete my Botanist Skysung Relic, which I did finish this weekend.

This is my first ever finished Relic in the game. I’ve started plenty of them, but they remain on my retainers in various states of non-completion. Mostly because I get to a step that require a million raids or dungeons and I give up at that point. Likewise, I have all of my crafting Relics at two steps before completion because I just haven’t had the mindset to sit down and try to figure out this advance crafting stuff – part of me hopes next expansion will make those easier to complete.

The gathering Relics are not hard, just very time consuming. There are ways to make it a little faster if you figure out a few tricks, but for the most part, it’s just putting on your favorite music and resigning yourself to hours of gathering. This isn’t so bad if you’re on voice with friends or something (which I was for part of the home stretch this past weekend).

Anyhow, it is done. I’m not so burned out that I won’t attempt the Miner tool. If I really put my mind to it, I can have it done before Endwalker.

The other unexpected thing I finished was the Werlyt series. I kept putting it off and putting it off, though I’d already done it once on an alt. That meant a bunch of cutscene skipping and just pushing through the Weapon trials (which is what held me back from finishing it).

Syn seemed ready to go by helping out the long queue with her tank or healer, so I took her up on the offer and we managed to blaze through all three fights in short measure. I didn’t expect this – though we had a bunch of new folks fighting it (and I hardly remembered mechanics), we still cleared all three without a single party wipe.

I’m glad to have finished this one and marked it off my list! It also gave me some pretty cool housing items to put in Ben’s Curiosity Shoppe!

It’s a story worth doing, and I have a feeling we might be seeing more of Werlyt in the future. Especially given what’s going down in the Empire right now. I just feel like the locations were too well developed for them to use it once for a small series of trials and then cast it aside.

Another thing I was working on this weekend for Ben was Bozja ranking. He’s almost Rank 22 at this point, which I know opens up a new area in Zadnor. I’m mostly doing this to be able to see the story as I’ve really no interest in the grind for weapon Relics this time around. There aren’t that many finished Relic styles that appeal to me visually, so it’s been a hard pass.

The story, however, I’d like to put a pin in. I know that if we don’t get it finished up before Endwalker, the 48 man raid might end up harder to complete than it is now. As of yesterday, it apparently popped and had too many people sign up for it. So, it still has a healthy population.

Zadnor – Lovely Unicorn Mount… Spider War Machine Lurking Behind

And finally, the last thing I finished over this weekend was leveling Zuri’s Fisher to 80. This wasn’t something I set out to do, but when I was logging into various alts to check their level progression, I saw she was at level 74 Fisher. A few ocean fishing expeditions nudged her to 80 pretty quickly. I also got her Dolphin and Seagull minions from the runs, too!

Still plenty to do until Endwalker!

Posted in FFXI

FFXI: A 2003 Time Capsule

I’ve been digging through a lot of old files lately due to restoring my retro websites on Neocities. Yesterday, I ran across a folder which was a treasure trove of time travel for me – FFXI screenshots that date back to 2003!

Seeing that FFXI released in NA for PC on October 28, 2003 – my earliest picture seems to have been taken on November 8, 2003. So I was basically participating in the launch window. I probably played a bit before that because the first picture I took had my character in harness gear which means I’d already gotten through the intro bits, and was finally out in the forest where I was leveling.

My First Character & Screenshot

Ironically, my first character in FFXI was Ben. It just so happens that my current main in FFXIV is also now Ben! I never got Ben beyond level 20-ish if I remember right, and sadly, I don’t think his character exists anymore, either.

Still, here’s a gallery of Ben’s early progress as a Red Mage (which is also his main job in FFXIV now).

I see that I took some pictures of the landscape (it was amazing graphics at the time) and random things. Namely… a summoner with a carbuncle! How exciting!!

Probably the first time I saw a carbuncle and chocobos

And… my first group in the Dunes! Working on drops for that sub job quest!

And then, my sister joined the game. I have pictures of her on her White Mage.

It seems that I rolled an alt character (yes even back then) to level with my sister. This was a Mithra named Aywren. I think I see a pattern there and in FFXIV. 🙂

This character MIGHT still exist. It seems somewhere down the line, I had two service accounts and both have an Aywren on them.

Anyhow… seems I still made more progress on Ben, however.

I was around for the Christmas event that year. Here’s decking the halls in San d’Oria!

And then some final pictures of Ben’s progress into January.

And that was it. I played FFXI at launch for about three months before the inability to solo and just the overall difficulty of the game got to me. I know my sister left before I did, so after that, I was pretty much alone and it just made it impossible to progress in any meaningful way.

I did return to it on and off over the years. I see my last service date on that account is 2006.

The game has changed a LOT since those days – I even wrote a series of posts when I tried it out again back in 2016. I’m not sure why I stopped playing again back then – probably got too busy – but I did purchase all of the expansions on my SE account. Sooooo….

All of this has inspired me to reup my sub, especially given the 20th anniversary is rolling around. While I do currently have an Aywren character, I might just create a new version of Ben to try the game from level 1 again. It’s been 5 years since I’ve touched the game (thankfully, documenting it years ago has helped give me a boost on what I need to do to get it up and running again), so I’m lost in approaching controls and such.

Anyhow. I started with my first ever screenshot. Have my last screenshot from 2004.

Posted in MMORPGs

Sailing on the Sea of Thieves

So the Posse’s newest try-it-out game is Sea of Thieves – which has some fun points, as well as things I don’t really care for (open world PvP). Overall, though, the fun stuff – like sailing around with your crew doing missions – has outweighed the PvP troubles.

My sister was the one who wanted to try the game out. I already had a copy due to it being included on my XBox Game Pass (still loving it), so there wasn’t a purchase needed for me. The others picked it up on Steam, and we found that it does just fine when it comes to cross-platform play. In fact, since Sea of Thieves is connected to a Microsoft account, if I chose to eventually pick it up on Steam, everything I’ve done with my character would carry over. So this is pretty nice!

Your crew can have up to four players – you choose a ship size accordingly – and while you can play solo if you know the game well enough, it’s really meant for a group. Aside from one run-in last night that we had, I feel as if the fact that we have 3 or 4 people together is part of what keeps us fairly safe in the PvP waters. Solo sloops will usually avoid the bigger ships if they can, and I have seen a few sloops high-tailing it out of our area at the sight of us (though we have no interest in ganking anyone).

The environments are lovely and the water simulation is quite good!

We also had a run-in with a crew from Canada on our second night that turned out to be friendly. They even gave us a bunch of pointers when we told them we were new, and helped us get a key for a chest that gave us some nice loot.

The one incident where we did fall to skirmish, the guys on the ship were very eager to sink anyone they saw – we could hear their voice chat the whole time they were attacking us (we use Discord so they couldn’t hear us). Despite that, we’re still extremely new, so while we did take out a couple of them who boarded, in the end they sank us and sent us to the Ferryman.

Ironically, we had absolutely zero loot as we’d just come back to port to turn stuff in and were puzzling over our next quest. They saw me carrying an empty chicken coop back to our ship, and I heard someone exclaim, “They’re carrying good shit!” right before I took a sniper shot that nearly killed me.

They still got the enjoyment of PKing us, though once we started to return the favor, voice chat on their ship turned into, “I’m on our ship alone, they’re coming and I need help, dude!” And then disappointment as they realized all we had was a bunch of cannonballs and no loot worth mentioning. That was a minor comfort. 🙂

The night wasn’t a total waste as our ship respawned at port on a random island. We explored it, earned a number of commendations, and found a shipwreck right along side it that we explored for some gems, which we brought back for a bit of gold. And that’s pretty much how a session goes.

The thing with Sea of Thieves is to always expect a mission to take longer than you’d think. There’s so many random things that can happen when you’re out there, that things are rarely cut and dry, even on an easy starter mission. Our very first night we had a ghost ship attack us and it resulted in a mutual sinking since we were absolutely new to it all. We were close enough to port when our ship sank that I was able to swim out to retrieve our loot and turn it in anyhow. No real loss!

We also had the “pleasure” of having an accidental run-in with one of the world events (we didn’t know what it was at the time) – Captain Flameheart.

We found a random quest that sent us into the fray of ghost ships, and while I felt it was a bad idea (as the one captaining the ship), the rest of the crew wanted me to go for it. It was an interesting event that ended in our death and Flameheart taunting us from afar for the rest of the time the event was live.

Unlike some ship-based MMOs, your ship is not a mainstay in Sea of Thieves. This is something I found interesting. As I said earlier, you choose your ship type when you first log into a session, so the size and make varies depending on your crew.

If your ship sinks, it just respawns somewhere else on the map, though you do lose all the cargo and supplies you found. Helpful mermaids appear in the ocean that will port you to your ship wherever it is, should it be sent far away. And if you ever die, you will return back to your ship from the Ferryman.

You can customize the look of the ship – which I haven’t played with much yet due to the fact I don’t have the gold to do so. But I’m going to assume whomever is the captain can accessorize the ship and it looks that way each time you start a play session.

Missions reward gold and renown with the factions. Those are things that carry over between sessions and that you do not lose upon death. So, to be fair, getting ganked is more a frustration and loss of time than it is a loss of property.

There are also seasons to this game, which we’re too new to understand much about.

For the most part, we’re treating this like an exploration and sailing game. There’s much about it to enjoy – such as the visuals, customization, the sailing and exploration elements, and playing music together!

The Crew in Music Mode

I doubt I’ll ever be super serious about it, and it’s certainly not a game I want to tackle solo – it’s something to play with friends. But it does help scratch the sailing-game itch I get from time to time, which is why I usually volunteer to sail the ship – and if I’m not sailing, I’m navigating.

So I guess we’ll be the friendly crew of pirate explorers whenever it strikes us to sail into the Sea of Thieves.

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Endwalker Delayed & Live Letter Highlights

This title probably comes as a surprise to no one at this point as the Endwalker delay was announced at last night’s Live Letter. But if you haven’t heard the news, now you have!

I admit that I didn’t expect a delay, but I also wasn’t surprised that there was one. Seeing that they were already pushing hard to get everything in place due to Covid throwing off work schedules and everything else that’s going on in these times, a two week delay is really not a bad pushback.

It puts the release at December 3 for early access and December 7 for actual release. Dropping the game right before the Christmas holidays (rather than the week of Thanksgiving) may work out better for a number of people in the end.

For those of us (like myself) who had time off set up to go – I’ll be a little sad that the week I had set aside to play the game (thanks to extra Thanksgiving days off) isn’t going to be. But seeing that poor Yoshi-P was nearly in tears to tell us about the delay, I can’t be mad. He was so worried that we would be disappointed and lose trust in the team, which did not look to be the situation at all based on Twitch chat.

Anyhow, it’s a bummer. But if it makes the game a better and more stable release – especially in the face of the population boom we’ve had lately – I hand it to the team to know what is best for Endwalker.

Live Letter Highlights

We did get a shiny new trailer, however!

A lot of interesting things to see in there.

We also got a bit more information on what they’re doing with various systems in the game, such as big PvP changes, crafting and gathering updates, and the new housing lotteries. Oh, and they said any glamour dresser/plate changes will be looked at probably about 6.1 – but they have heard our cry.

One thing that really caught my interest was the Character Calling Cards (tentative name). Based on descriptions within the Live Letter, these will be customizable profiles that you can create within game for your character. Other players will be able to view your card, and you will be able to unlock new cosmetics and customizations for your card through content in game (not just PVP).

This is so, so, so cool, and will be great for the RP community! Not only that, but it’s another type of reward that players can work towards (decorating your card) that feels like it won’t take all that much effort to continue to build assets for. Or, at least, not the same amount of effort that it does to make, say a piece of 3D armor or a mount.

Other things excited me quite a bit:

  • Being able to Gpose while playing an instrument
  • Spearfishing mini game
  • New female Viera hair (for those who were hoping for it)
  • Achievement UI rework – looks quite nice!
  • And I’m curious about this Immersive Gamepack for 3D sound

Finally, I was quite excited to see the new set of Tomestone gear is based off of Final Fantasy IV designs! Woot! This might be the first time I actually collect several sets of Tomestone gear for glamour purposes.

Sadly, we didn’t get any word on Island Sanctuary. Though Yoshi-P addressed the fact that we were requesting information about it, and said that they would deliver this later.

Also, All Saint’s Wake is pushed back until sometime next year. At that rate, I’m not sure why they don’t just hold it for next Halloween. It’s going to be weird having a spooky event in the middle of March or something. Ah well.

To sum it up – the delay is a bummer, but I’m just as hyped (if not more) for what’s to come! This also gives me more time to finish up all the things I wanted to do before the expansion dropped. Ironically, I just said yesterday that I’d probably not get another character through Shadowbringers, but now that could be a possibility.

NOTE: Make sure you take a good look at all your characters and job levels! Once Endwalker drops, if you are in the middle of leveling, all of your XP for that level will roll back to zero. So, for example, if you are level 50 on an alt, halfway to level 51, you will lose that XP. The best thing to do is just push through that half level to get to the start of 51, and you won’t lose anything.