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 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 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.

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Finishing Shadowbringers (Again) and Inferno Jacket!

We’re coming down to the wire in terms of getting things done before Endwalker early access drops – in two weeks! Can you believe it?

Last night, I finished up my latest run through Shadowbringers on Zuri, which was something I was aiming to get done for a while.

This makes the 5th character I’ve progressed through to the end of Shadowbringers. I have a number of other alts who are all in various spots within Shadowbringers as well, but none close enough to be anywhere close to finishing it up.

I also have a couple characters who are paused at the start of Shadowbringers because I want to use Shadowbringers to level Reaper and Sage on them. Given all the other stuff I’ll be doing when the expansion drops, I’m not sure how soon I’ll be able to get to them!

The other thing I’ve been working on finishing up is the Mog Tomes event. This only lasts for two more weeks, so I’m trying to squish everything in that I can. This requires at least two Praetorium runs a night – since I’m doing this on two different characters.

So far, I’ve gotten both the bird and wolf mount for two of my characters. Last night, I got the Inferno Jacket for Amon. He’s a few days ahead of Ben due to lucky Alliance runs that give three extra tomes here or there.

With that out of the way, there’s still five days until the hairstyle and a few days after that for the Bonewicca top. I think I should be able to fit all of that in the timeframe!

Are you working on finishing up loose ends before Endwalker?

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Great Lodestone Redesign – Make a Character Card!

Though I use the Lodestone as a tool all the time, I rarely write a post about it. Let it be known that I have great appreciation that the Lodestone exists – it’s a reference for characters, free companies, collections and much more!

Yesterday, the Lodestone got a neat update to the main page – find the link here (for NA users). You must be logged in to a character to see the redesign.

Not only did this main landing page get a nice redesign with a more helpful layout to all the working parts relevant to your character, but we also got a neat character bar at the top of the page that looks like this:

Similar to a character card, it has information about all your jobs, your FC… and something with circles and rings. I poked around and I’m not quite sure what those mean, but they’re different for me between my characters. If anyone does know, please leave a comment and share the knowledge! (Update: Logan from the Super Dungeon Friends Discord channel clarified that these symbols indicated elemental level for Eurkea and resistance level for Bozja.)

Keep in mind that whatever class you logged out on is what is going to show here. Also keep in mind that the Lodestone takes some time to update information, so if you’re shooting for a particular class/glamour, give it some time to update.

You can easily just print screen the page, drop that in any image program, and crop it into a banner like so:

Just a small thing, but a neat thing if you don’t want to turn to third party tools to make a character banner or card!

Thanks for the update, Lodestone!

Posted in Star Stable Online

Star Stable Online – MMO World of Horses

Today I want to talk about a guilty pleasure of mine as a horse lover – Star Stable Online. I somewhat blame this on the folks over at Massively Overpowered for always covering the game. It was ultimately an article on the 10th Anniversary of Star Stable (and the free anniversary horse they were giving away) that nudged me over the line into trying the game back in September.

Apparently I had created an account already, though I don’t know how long ago that was. I’d already picked a character name and a horse on an account that used my normal login name. I remember way back when that I saw that while there is a F2P option for the game – which is probably fine if all you want to do is ride horses around – if you want to level beyond level 5, see the wide world and have access to all the quests, it requires cash to become a Star Rider. They do run free Star Rider promotion events from time to time, though.

I think I stopped at that point during sign up and never actually downloaded the game. I wasn’t looking to spend money back whenever I first signed up. So by the time I wanted to try it again this time, whatever free trial period I had was long gone. But, I could still log in for free and check it out, so that’s what I did.

It didn’t take long for the game to sway me. While it is aimed towards a much younger female audience, it was done in a way that it wasn’t a turn-off for adult horse-loving me. I find it curious that this is a MMO style game directed towards girls – you can’t create a boy avatar as far as I know. That doesn’t mean boys can’t play – but in a time where there’s a lot of games where you’re restricted to making only male characters, this is interesting to me.

And don’t think that aiming towards a younger female audience is limiting the number of players. Every time I log in to hub cities or events, the place is usually hopping – especially weekends. I don’t quite understand all the racing and role play groups that are forming in the global chat, but I see it all the time. There’s a healthy population of players and I’ve never felt like I was the only one there.

The Halloween event was pretty fun and is still taking place right now!

Back to the cost of becoming a Star Rider. There’s a few options – a monthly sub, quarterly sub and a lifetime account. All grant you a stipend of 100 Star Coins a week (the cash shop currency).

If you want to buy new horse breeds and special holiday horses as they come out, you’ll need to save up your Star Coins (or buy some). The only way I’ve seen to get new horses is to spend cash shop currency. I didn’t know it at the time, but the devs giving away a free anniversary horse was a big deal. It’s a pretty attractive horse to boot!

Anniversary Horse

New horses can cost quite a bit of Star Coins, not to mention the outfits and cosmetics. So I can see where this game could get expensive. But I could also see where this could be a learning tool for children – you get only so many coins a week and if you want that pretty horse, you need to budget and save up for it over time.

In the end, after trying it out and getting a feel for the game, I ponyed up (heh) for a lifetime Star Rider. I just didn’t want to mess with the subscription and it really wasn’t all that much more expensive than buying a triple A Steam game at launch. I’ve heard there are times they drop the price on the lifetime sub, too, which makes it a much better deal. Still, $8.49 a month for a MMO isn’t a bad sub price overall.

What I Enjoy

So what made me choose to pick up this game? It has a very casual nature to it – you can log in, care for your horse, then ride a couple of trails or jump courses to level your horse each day. If that’s all you want to do, that’s perfectly fine. Or, if you have more time, you can explore and take on quests, which eventually open up more of the world and the game’s characters/lore as you go.

While the writing isn’t the best I’ve ever seen in an MMO, it’s done well enough and with enough spirit that I generally enjoy questing. There’s some fantasy elements blended into the modern day elements, and that gives you the feeling that there’s much more going on in the world than it seems at first glance.

I enjoy seeing other riders around, the many horse breeds, and the tack/accessories on the horses. The Halloween horses are great – I picked up a couple for myself- and I’m looking forward to seeing what Christmas brings in terms of special horses, too!

What can I say? The game just feels chill. And sometimes I need a chill game with lovely horses.

My Nitpicks

While I enjoy the current art style – I know it’s gone through many iterations and the devs are still upgrading some areas of the game – it still might be too cartoony for some people. For me, that just gives horses more of a personality – think of it like the Spirit movies. I feel it’s a good balance of stylized and realism, especially since it’s aimed towards a younger audience.

It’s come a long way from the first generation of horses if you ask me.

Again, no disrespect, but I probably wouldn’t have bought into Star Stable if all I’d seen was the first or second generation horses. I feel like the third generation looks good in comparison. Oh and you can still buy the old generation horses in the game if you’re a fan, which I thought was interesting!

The environments have also gotten a nice overhaul over the years apparently – check out this article on The Mane Quest to see some before and after comparisons!

So. The things that I actually don’t care for in this game.

Rider graphics. The horses have gotten some love but my rider’s face is a little… flat looking. I did pick up some new hair to help her look a bit better, and the actual clothes and accessories are nice. But…

The movement system. It’s fine when you’re on your horse. Not so good when your rider is on foot. The camera doesn’t respond well when I try to turn my rider around. Either I end up running into something or I have to manually turn my camera (which isn’t an issue when I’m on horseback at all). That wouldn’t be a big deal except…

Getting off the horse for quests. There’s so many quests that require you to get off your horse to interact with an object. But not every quest requires it. It’s confusing why some let you stay mounted and others force you to get off. And every time I get off, I’m faced with having to deal with the wonky movement system of my rider.

Drag and drop mechanics. It’s somewhat oldskool to have a game that requires you to drag an object out of your inventory to interact with an object in game. For example, to muck the stall in a daily quest, I have to open my inventory, then drag the icon of the shovel to the pile that’s on the ground. I’ve gotten used to it, but it wasn’t intuitive to me at first because I haven’t seen a game that has used that kind of UI in a while.

Yes, there’s quests to clean up poop in this game. It is a true MMO.

Quests don’t stick. This is a weird one. If you pick up a quest and log out, when you log back in the next time, the game doesn’t remember you’ve picked up the quest. You have to ride back and pick it up again to activate it. So don’t grab a bunch of quests and log out. It doesn’t work.

Settings don’t stick. In the same vein, it seems like any settings I mark while logged in don’t persist after I log out. This isn’t a big deal, but it would be nice to mark the “ignore invites” and keep it that way.

Basically, it’s a lot of small things I can overlook that belie an older engine of a smaller, niche MMO. None of this is game breaking to me, and the feel of the horses and the riding (which gets more responsive as your horse levels up) outweighs the small annoyances I have.

These are just things to keep in mind if you’re shopping for a horse MMO. Aside from this, I’ve found my time among the Star Stables to be charming and enjoyable. I’m taking my time – only level 6 at this point – exploring when I have some extra time on my hands, and mostly leveling my horses through trail rides and jump courses.

I do want to eventually get my horses leveled up, at least, before the holidays come. I know there will likely be a winter horse I want to add to my collection. And by then, I should have the Star Coins saved up for it!

So there you have it! I’ve indulged my secret gaming guilty pleasure. Be sure that I’ll be writing more about Star Stables in the future!

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Mogtomes and Dancing to 80

Ever since I moved things around between my WordPress blogs, I have decided that I want to use this blog as more of a catch-all place for what’s going on in FFXIV, even among my non-Main alts. That means that though Amon (as my RP character) still has his own site and social media, that I want to write about some of his bigger achievements and adventures here, too.

This Mogtomes event has been a grueling one for me. There are two mounts (50 tomes each), one hairstyle (50 tomes), and the special jacket (100 tomes) that I want to get for TWO characters. Then, I want to pick up the Bonewicca chest for Amon, which is only 15 more tomes.

So, my way of going about this is to do two Praetoriums each day, one for each character (I spend the cutscene time cleaning up my Animal Crossing island). Amon also was running Alliance raids to level his Dancer, so he had a few tomes from when he did get one of the Crystal Tower trio runs. That put him ahead one day on getting the second mount – Auspicious Kamuy!

Ben will get his wolf after today’s Praetorium run. Then it’s on to the jacket for both of them.

This will be the first time I’ve attempted to get one of the 100 tome cosmetic items. Honestly, if it wasn’t for that, most of my farming would already be done. I’ve passed on the cute earrings featured in the Mogtomes events of the past, but a limited jacket is a different story!

I also finally got Amon’s Dancer to level 80 last night. Dancer is a sorta-kinda good match of a job for his character, but not really at the same time (Thavnairian style is not his thing). I try to only unlock and level jobs that fit my RP characters well, so Amon’s only got Bard, White Mage and Dancer. As of last night, they’re all level 80.

I wasn’t in a big rush to get it done – just an Alliance run here or there. But it is nice that Dancer can now share gear with Bard. That led to some bag cleaning last night. I’ve got a lot of that to do across all of my characters before Endwalker.

Aside from that, I also finally finished the second to the last step on all of Amon’s relic crafting tools. I still need to figure out advanced crafting one day. But seeing that this is the second character that I’ve finished these tools on, it was quite a bit of work.

I’m also slowly pushing Zuri through the final patches of Shadowbringers. I’m mostly just dragging my feet at this point because I could have finished all of that a lot sooner. I keep telling myself I still have time, though reality is, months have turned to weeks. And that’s not a bad thing!

I have a week’s worth of vacation set up around Endwalker and Thanksgiving, and I’m really looking forward to it all!