Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Welcome Back Soken

The end of the digital FanFest brought on a tidal wave of emotion from both developers and fans as the beloved composer/musician Masayoshi Soken tells his story of secretly battling cancer… while still working as part of the FFXIV dev team from his hospital bed!!

I’ll let the video do the talking. Be warned, this is extremely emotional.

When I woke up this morning, I didn’t realize what had happened just a few prior hours. Thankfully, I got news via text from Syn before seeing this video.

This really puts so much into a different perspective for me.

It tells a story of the unsung strength of people who put their lives into making the games that we love to play. It also tells how our love of that work as gamers and our support of the game can help heal and strengthen the resolve of those who put that kind of sacrifice into this creation.

It brings home the meaning of a Game Community, how we’re all connected, and how important each of us are within it. Also, how important it is to view the individuals as people – both those who make and play the game – and understand there’s stories and lives – hopes, pains, fears and joys – all mixed up in this world that we log into every day.

I wish I had better words to describe what I’m feeling. I just don’t.

I met Soken in person during the 2016 FanFest. He’s an absolute charmer – not only an amazing musician and composer, but an extremely fun and upbeat person that loves to entertain other folks from the heart. I just know he’s a blessing to that dev team and everyone who has the joy to know him personally.

I tried to express my thanks for all of his beautiful music when I had the chance to say it to him face-to-face then. Years later, he continues to amaze…

Soken’s autograph (bottom) from the 2016 FanFest

But also, thinking about all this…

It’s a lesson to me to be thankful for these beautiful worlds and creations – all of it. Even the raids I don’t want to do and the content I’m loath to try. I’m guilty for taking things for granted from a mundane gamer perspective (we’ve all been there).

It makes me feel a little rotten that there Soken was composing “To The Edge” – the song that plays during the Warrior of Light trial – tirelessly from his hospital bed. And here all I could do was anxiously grumble that I needed to get past another trial just to move through the MSQ… rather than trying to enjoy the creation for what it was.

I had no clue what kind of sacrifice went into that creation… do we ever stop to think about that kind of thing when we’re playing a game? That just makes me ashamed now. And maybe a lot more aware for the future.

Granted! I do love the song – we played it for a very long time in our FC house! In fact, I think I’ll go and put it on again right after this.

Welcome back, Soken!

Thank you for your courage to share your story and open the hearts and minds of the fans to how fine the line is between real life and our gaming worlds. You’re a true Warrior of Light and an inspiration to us all.

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV Fanfest – Endwalker Release Date & Highlights

Endwalker prepurchases are live at the official SquareEnix store!

Just don’t expect to get your hands on the Limited Edition box because it’s already sold out.

A LOT of exciting information was released in last night’s FFXIV Fanfest Keynote event. So much that I’m just going to give a bulleted list of information confirmed with a bit of commentary after.

Here’s the newest full-length trailer to start you off!

Now, on to Things We Learned about Endwalker:

  • Release date – November 23, 2021
  • Early access starts – November 19, 2021 – Preorder for early access
  • New Melee DPS job – Reaper – Scythe-wielding, channels voidsent (?), shares gear with Dragoon
  • New area: Old Sharlayan
  • Lots of FFIV references such as the Magus Sisters and Hummingways Loporrits
  • Original FFXIV Alliance Raid – Myths of the Realm – Focuses on the Twelve
  • Male Viera – Female Hrothgar confirmed but forthcoming
  • Oceania Data Center Incoming
  • Cross Data Center travel coming before the expansion drops
  • Preorders already for sale – CE already sold out

Though I’d wished we’d heard something more about the Island Sanctuary, the rest of the keynote pretty much checked all the boxes I was hoping for and beyond.

I’m happy about most things about the Reaper (a term that I noted in one of my previous blog posts). It fits everything I needed for an existing character I have to transition into the new job. It looks and moves the way I hoped it to. I’m just not so sure about this voidsent element – I’ll wait and see what that’s all about.

That we’re going to Old Sharlayan didn’t surprise me. Much like Thavnair, this has been a location that we’ve heard about since early on in the MSQ but have never gone to. It feels like we’re getting a bunch of this as the overarching storyline is coming to a close, and that makes sense to me.

As a major FFIV fan, I’m just basking in all of the FFIV references – something I’ve wanted to see for a very long time in FFXIV! From the minions to some of the remixed music in the trailers… I’m a happy fan. Though I’m pleased at getting Palom and Porom, I remain curious as to where our Paladin Cecil minion is… and I have theories that might be far off base that we might… maybe… even see a form of Cecil as an NPC in the MSQ and that’s where the minion will be?

I can dream, right? But they’ve used NPCs from other FF series games aplenty already!

So, those male Viera. I was not one of those people who were super upset about the lack of male Viera and female Hrothgar – though I understand why some people are. I knew hopes were high for the addition of these two, but I didn’t expect it after the team said they weren’t adding any more new races to the game.

But then, they bust out the male Viera. And boy did Twitter explode!

Way to go above and beyond to make your players over the moon happy – pun intended.

This is why I’ve stuck with this game so long. I totally praise the team for taking in the feedback and tackling the tough job of adding an unexpected feature like this to make people happy. Especially when they were already working double hard to try to get the expansion out due to COVID setbacks.

Nice job, team. You’ve earned my preorder for sure. And that’s not something I’ve been saying about many games as of late.

Oh, and congrats to Oceania for getting a much needed Data Center! The fact that S/E is sinking that much money into a whole new Data Center for the game instills a lot of confidence in me about how long they expect to continue to develop and support FFXIV in the future. Not to mention the current growth and population.

Day two of the FanFest starts tonight for us in the US. I’m looking forward most to the information we’ll get in the Live Letter tonight more than anything else.

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Digital FanFest Incoming! Mog Tomes Event Going!

Click here to watch the FFXIV Digital FanFest – starting Friday May 14 at 8PM PDT.

I’ve been a little out of it the past couple days thanks to my second COVID shot putting me down and out. I’m feeling a little better today, but in the middle of the muddle, I realized I got the days mixed up for the FFXIV FanFest. For some reason I thought it was Saturday and Sunday, when it is actually Friday (tonight) and Saturday.

I’m super excited to hopefully check out the next new job, which I’m hoping to pick up on one of my characters if it’s a cool melee scythe class like many of us are guessing. I’m also hoping to hear more about the Island Sanctuary and the expansion in general.

Aside from that, the digital FanFest goodies are already on sale. They’ll be in the store for a limited time, though they work the same as any other item – so you can gift them.

While they’re no means cheap, S/E already has my money because FFIV is still my favorite non-online Final Fantasy in the series (as those who’ve known me for years know). I’ve hoped and hoped for more FFIV cross-over into FFXIV, so now that we’re getting it, I’m voting with my wallet enthusiastically.

I just hope that we’ll be getting a Cecil minion in the CE of the expansion. He’s the only one of the main cast we don’t have a minion of, and him being the ultimate Paladin, would make sense given the Paladin theme.

I’ve already bought the minions, just waiting for them to be delivered. You know how wonky the Mogstore deliveries get when the system is overworked.

I’ll have to wait until tonight to get the whale though, as Syn wants to gift that to me for my birthday and she won’t be back until later.

Oh, and the new Mog Tomes event is already going. Here’s the official page for that – lots of things I’d like to get this time around! Much Praetorium in my future. 🙂

Posted in FFXIV, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Hopes for the Island Sanctuary

The FFXIV Fanfest is broadcasting this weekend and I have hopes to hear about two things for the next expansion in particular: the new melee class and the Island Sanctuary.

Yesterday, I read an interview with Yoshi-P at MMORPG.com. The most exciting part was what he had to say about the Island Sanctuary vs. housing.

MMORPG: With Ishgardian housing coming as well as the Island Sanctuary, players are wondering — what will the overlap be, if any, between Housing/Estate activities and Island Sanctuary ones?

Yoshida: I won’t say there is no overlap in the gameplay, but they are fundamentally two separate pieces of content. If anything, we plan to incorporate many things that you can’t do within the housing/estate system into the Island Sanctuary. We’ll have more details down the road, so please stay tuned for further updates on this.

-Interview

I’m trying to be cautiously optimistic about this quote, but as a person who longs for the life skills and fluff in an MMO, this could be hinting that FFXIV could finally be working on providing all the things that I find elsewhere (BDO) that I’d love to see in Eorzea.

We all know that the current housing system is rubbish.

People like me who love the game and are lucky enough to own a house still think it’s rubbish.

Oh, the houses themselves are mostly fine. Though I could do with a lot more outside decoration slots and storage since all I could ever get was a small house… and every year, in game events keep piling more cool outdoor decorations on us.

The trouble comes because housing is extremely limited due to the non-instanced nature of the neighborhoods, that you have to camp for hours and pray you claim a spot when you do find an open lot, and the instanced housing we do have (apartments) are quaint but hardly a replacement for the size and functionality of a house.

While it’s cool to have neighborhoods, I think the FFXIV playerbase now understands the value of instanced housing and would be more than happy to take an instanced house with greater flexibility rather than (in many cases) no house at all.

I know I’m not the only one hoping that this new Island Sanctuary might be the instanced housing solution that we’ve needed for years. However, while the above quote could be taken to mean the Sanctuary is filling that blank, it could mean a lot of other things, too.

Saying “we plan to incorporate many things that you can’t do within the housing/estate system into the Island Sanctuary” could indicate that things like animal raising (which was mentioned already) couldn’t be done with the existing housing system but can be done here. It doesn’t necessarily indicate that Island Sanctuary is going to be additional instanced housing that every character can have, though.

So while I want to be hopeful for this feature, I’m also being cautious to curb my hopes. What I really want is for S/E to blow my mind when they do release information about the Island Sanctuary. And I do hope to hear more about it during Fanfest – I think they know that this particular feature has garnered interest in the community.

But for now, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what we get this weekend!

Posted in Black Desert Online, Gaming, MMORPGs

Black Desert Online: Forging My Own Way

I’m doing a number of things that I “shouldn’t” be doing in BDO lately. At least, if you were to ask experienced or min-maxing players of the game, I shouldn’t be. I’ve never been a min-maxer and I rarely care about the “right” way of doing things (unless what I’m doing is so far off the track that it’s just making life stupidly difficult for me in a game). I’m more interested in just having fun.

First, I’ve got several small projects going at once, spread across different characters.

For example, I’ve maintained the wagon production in Altinova, which is mostly worker driven. I do need to go mining for rough stones from time to time. I do this on my main because of her gathering level and her ability to easily go to Pilgrim’s Haven on her unicorn. But when I need to gather hides, I do this on my Trainer character since she’s low enough level not to be PKed for picking off a few foxes here and there.

Then, I have one character that’s leveling cooking in Calpheon. This is because it’s in close proximity to the fruit vendor and I have a small group of workers bringing back grain and veggies from nearby nodes. I’ve just started to work on Imperial Cooking turn-ins, but unlike some players, I don’t make this my everyday focus. Yeah, I know I could be making a lot more money every day, but I just hop in to cook a few times a week.

On top of that, I have another character stationed in Grana working on leveling my alchemy. Here’s where I committing a number of “mistakes.”

First, I hear not to invest and live in Grana. The CP for storage there is way too high and it’s too far away from everything else.

This is true… but I personally really like Grana. It’s quieter than most BDO cities, I can fish safely there if I want, my main house (mansion) is located there, and I just like the atmosphere of the Elf city for my Elf fellow, Amon. It’s the city that makes me feel most calm and at home, so I choose to find alternatives to do what I need to do.

I also hear alchemy is a waste of time and effort. Just do cooking for money.

Also probably true. But I found a guide on leveling alchemy, and alchemy fits Amon’s character type. So I decided to explore it some and see what it was about.

But wait… don’t I have a Shai that already has Professional 1 Alchemy and Gathering? Yep.

Did I use that Shai for alchemy? Nope. I decided to do this on Amon.

Another point that players would think I’m crazy for. Why am I not consolidating everything on one life skiller? Why not use the character who already came with things partially leveled?

Well now, Amon has Professional 4 Alchemy, despite starting from the beginning, and Skilled 9 Gathering. So he’s almost caught up there, too. It wasn’t really that painful to do and I’m not in a rush.

Not to mention I have fishing split between two characters… one that’s under level 50 so I’m not afraid of taking her out into the ocean. The other is Amon… because after a day of gathering, he needs to AFK that energy back up somehow. And there’s fishing in Grana.

Adventures in Gathering

Working on alchemy means that I’m out gathering at least one or two of the items needed for potions at any given time. However, BDO is different from games like FFXIV when it comes to gathering and nodes.

For one, if a node is taken by anyone, it’s taken and put on cooldown – I’m not exactly sure how long that cooldown is.

For two, there are things known as “rotations” for gathering, just as there is for battle. These are spots popular for ease of gathering and to butt into someone’s rotation if they’re already there is not just extremely rude, but can possibly get you PKed if someone wants to be nasty about it.

There’s one such places outside of Behr, where wild herbs and deer are plentiful. This is known to be the best spot for speed leveling gathering on wild herbs due to the number of them and how easy they are to spot. But in my case, I actually needed some plants from the herbs for my potions, and that was just the best spot I knew to go to in order to find them.

There’s two issues with Behr for me. One, it’s quite a ride from Grana. Funny enough, wild herbs don’t really grow throughout the Elf forests. You’d think they would, but nope!

The second issue is what happens when someone is already gathering there. This wasn’t an issue when I went to gather in the past because I usually did it earlier in the day. But then, one Saturday night, I decided I wanted to grab some herbs outside of Behr, and this is how the story went.

So I arrived at the herb spot on my normal server and no one else was there. I gathered a bit, and then needed to take care of something IRL (move laundry over or something). I left Amon in town to do that, and by the time I came back, I saw someone ninja-jumping at amazing speed out there gathering the herbs I just came from.

Welp… someone swiped my rotation because I wasn’t out there.

I switch servers.

I head out and start gathering… not knowing someone else was already out there. Not until they come up to me, stand in front of me, and then the chat indicator appears above their head. I didn’t know what to expect, but they weren’t PKing me, so that was a good thing.

They said exactly two words: “Hello, taken.”

This was a gentle warning that these herbs were taken and I needed to move along. It might have been a pre-warning to being dueled or PKed for the spot as well.

I did the polite thing, apologized and left the area. But that means I was twiddling my thumbs for the next 15 minutes as I waited for the server change to be open again… or for that person to leave. That person didn’t leave.

Finally, after 15 minutes, I changed servers again. What do you know. There was someone gathering the rotation on this server, too!

By that point, I was done with Behr. I’d just wasted a lot of time trying to even get close to gathering the herbs I needed, and I wasn’t about to sit around another 15 minutes and wait some more.

It’s been many years since I’ve played a game where gathering nodes were put on cooldown because someone else took them. Part of me was a bit irked that another player can just walk up to you and tell you something like a gathering node is taken and that you need to shove off. On the flip side, if I were there first, I’d be annoyed at someone butting in on my rotation so…

There’s just not a way to win that one… except not deal with Behr at all.

So, I got on the road to Grana, and I did some investigating. After a little bit of exploring, I eventually found a location a bit closer to Grana that had consistent herb spawns. Not as nice or easy to gather as the Behr rotation, but I doubt many people are going out that way for wild herbs.

I also found another spot to gather from deer – again, slower and not as plentiful as Behr. But I’ve never seen anyone out there, so it’s worth it to me just to avoid the annoyance of rotation all together. BDO is a big world, so there’s plenty of other options… just not the quickest or easiest ones. And that’s fine.

Posted in Black Desert Online, Gaming, MMORPGs

Black Desert Online: Wagon Works

See that picture above? That’s my poor exhausted Shai after a day of gathering and processing.

Now that I’ve achieved many of my horse breeding goals, I’ve started to turn my attention towards more hands-on projects in BDO. I’m not much of a grinder, so I’m looking at other ways I can produce for the community and make some money in game when I’m actually playing and not just AFK.

Thus, the crafting projects were borne! This week has been one of learning about setting up workers and workshops for long-term projects.

I have two projects I’m working on. First, I’ve set up wagon production in Altinova. This one has been relying on workers for the most part with my Shai coming in to level processing to create the needed end materials for the wagons.

The second project might be out of my league, but I discovered a daily quest that gives a Design for Epheria Sailboats. Though you need 20 of them (which means 20 days) to make the ship, it’s actually all the wood that you need that’s going to be the huge undertaking.

However, what better way to start leveling gathering than just jumping right in over my head? Since my main is a Shai and she started out with Professional 1 gathering, it made sense to use her as my main gatherer/processor.

I’ve learned a lot about both of these tasks this week, as well as the use of energy points, which hasn’t been an issue for me since my AFK activities don’t take up energy. So, this has sent me on quests to find question marks and talking to unknown individuals across the world in order to expand my knowledge to increase my max energy. I have a long way to go with this… but this has taken me to some interesting locations…

Climbing High!

Last night, my research and work in Altinova paid off as I produced my very first merchant wagon! Though I’ll eventually be making these to supplement my own horse training – being able to make my own wagons will save me millions since I won’t need to plunk down silver to replace my wagons when they break down.

But for now, my wagons are in decent condition, so my first crafted wagon went to the marketplace where it sold in less than an hour for 5 million silver (well, the marketplace took a bit out for taxes but…).

This was my very first crafted profit I’ve made in BDO! And now that I’ve crafted one and I have a good idea how it works, the next wagons shouldn’t be too hard to sustain and keep producing.

Now that ship… that’s a different story. But as I keep leveling my gathering and processing, it might slowly become more and more accessible, though never as easy as the wagons. Not to mention the ships can be repaired and the wagons can’t. So that means wagons will always be in need and ships are generally not going to be a fast seller… so…

Poor Shai, I’m putting her to work!

Posted in Black Desert Online, MMORPGs

Black Desert Online: Tips for Training Horse Skills

I thought I’d used up all of my luck on awakening my Dream Horse on the first try. Seems maybe not. Once I earned all the skills that I really wanted while leveling up my unicorn, I turned to finishing up leveling my line-bred T8 female.

She was just two skills short of a Courser, with 16 skills at level 27. I had about 6 skill change coupons left over, and I knew it was going to be a stretch at this point to try for Courser – just from my experiences with my first Courser.

But what do you know… 6 coupons turned out to be just enough! I now have my second T8 Courser and she’s on the long track towards Dream Horse!

This time around, I really, really doubt it will be as easy as the first. I’m slowly getting the things I need for my first attempt through quests, gathering and Imperial Horse Trade. Since I already have one Dream Horse, I’m not in a huge rush to get a second. It would just be a very nice to have.

The other streak of luck this weekend… I bred Kizmit and her daughter turned out to be my second bred T8 female (pictured above). Then, in exchanging a T6 and T7 after that, I earned my first T8 male!

Anyhow… this isn’t about my luck at breeding. This is about what you have to do when you get a keeper horse – training the horse skills themselves – such as Sprint and Instant Acceleration.

Tips on Training Horse Skills in BDO

Your horse has a chance to learn a skill every time they level up. Some come pre-learned 100% but the important ones, you have to train.

You can see skills by pressing “P” on the keyboard while mounted.

Skills that aren’t fully leveled

To level skills, you basically just have to use them over and over until they get to 100%. So, to level Sprint, for example, you must have a saddle equipped (and it must not be broken), and you press W when riding to Sprint.

At a low level, the skills have a chance to fail. When this happens, you have to stop everything and play this mini-game where you press W and S to regain control over your horse. If you fail, you’ll get thrown from the horse.

This is a real pain in the tail, and quite time-consuming. So, I did some searching to find some better ways to go about this and found these things…

So the most important takeaway from this video is that you can train a horse against a wall. As long as you are using the skill, you don’t have to be running all around to get this done.

But the bad advice in this video is the keep jumping, especially with the Streak Jump skill enabled (you can go into your skill area and click the lock icon to disable any ability you want). Do not follow the advice about constantly jumping with Streak Jump! You will eat through your horse’s stamina so fast (faster than a carrot cooldown) that you’ll be paying out the nose to restore their stamina every few minutes.

The second video I found has better advice on jumping, especially for Instant Acceleration.

In fact, this would have been perfect if it hadn’t been for all the running around. So here, I combine tips from these two videos!

1- Find a corner inside of a building to train your horse

Find a corner in a building in a safe location (any city/town/settlement), away from other people so you don’t annoy them. Then shove your poor horse’s head in it for a few hours to train. You can expect it to take that long, even when using this method.

Racing into the Corner!

2- Stock up on Oasis Carrots

This was all I needed to regen my horse’s stamina during training. You can pick these up for 1 silver each from the same vendor that sells the Oasis Gear – Ellie – who is usually near the stables in big cities. Hugely cheap!

3- Use the Jump Technique

Check out that second video up there on how to use the jump technique to interrupt the failed skill horse game. If you jump at the right time, you’ll bypass the fail game all together and will save a huge amount of time and sanity. Especially if you need to train Sprint and two forms of Instant Acceleration!

If your horse has Streak Jump, lock it down to turn it off so that you won’t be eating through stamina faster than your carrots can restore.

As you use the skill, even when it fails, you can level it. As you level the skill, it gets to a point where you hardly ever fail up in the higher 90s. But still be ready to jump just in case.

Fail Game Tips

I also learned that if you do end up having to mess around with the fail game, being as hands off as possible is the best way to deal with it. Tap only lightly up or down. In fact, there were some games I removed my hands from the keyboard and won by doing nothing.

I know the jump method works for Sprint and the Instant Accelerations, but for other skills, like Drift, you may have to deal with the fail game. Thankfully, most of those skills I’m not too worried about just yet!

Posted in Black Desert Online

BDO: Saying Farwell to Mystical Ellie’s Water Festival

Though achieving my first dream horse in BDO was the biggest excitement in Black Desert Online, I’ve actually put most of my time towards Mystical Ellie’s Water Festival the past two weeks. This was because of the fishing event at Terrmian Beach – the location of the festival – where you can fish up koi and golden sea perch.

Each koi is worth 500,00 silver and each sea perch is worth 10,000,000 silver. No typos.

Considering top gear and mounts in BDO can be in the billions of silver, this isn’t as much as it seems. But for a player who still hasn’t established a financial foundation just yet, I jumped on the event as quickly as possible.

I got there right after the server came up from maintenance, and actually saw when there were abundant fish at the festival fishing spot. It didn’t take long before people flocked in with horses and camps as far as the eye could see, lending a further festive feeling to the location.

I already really liked the place due to the lovely ocean view, rainbow fountains and capering baby elephants. The music there is pretty nice, too. So it’s been a good place to fish just for location.

It got crowded pretty quickly!

Needless to say, I had no idea how much of a money maker this would be for me. I went in with about 10 million silver on my character – oh how proud I was of that! – and at a lowly level of fishing.

Thanks to the 100% xp lifeskill boost, my fisher gal is now Artisan 4 and has made over 400 million silver from this event! I honestly don’t know exactly how much she’s made since some of the profit came in terms of crystal shards that went instantly to the warehouse storage – but seeing as that’s also 400 million silver or so, it’s been a good haul!

I did a few of the quest, in particular, the quest to get the elephant statue for my Grana mansion. My poor giant house is so empty that anytime furniture is offered, I’m seeking it out! I don’t even care what it is at this point. 🙂

Cute though!

Anyhow, today is the last day of the water festival, so I’m trying to make what I can of it while it’s still out there. I haven’t been able to keep up with all of the BDO events since so many seem to come and go, but this one was worth the time!

Now I have an artisan 4 fisher in my ranks with a number of new fishing titles I’ve earned, too! Once the event rolls off tomorrow, it’ll be back to training my horses again, which is just as exciting.

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Tower at Paradim’s Breach Alliance Raid

-No spoilers, just thoughts.-

I usually don’t run the new Alliance raid the week of release. I’m not sue why I did this time around, and I did it as a healer on the first try to boot – healer was my only job with a high enough ilvl at the time.

I’ve been slacking on gearing up this expansion… just call me a little tired of expert runs every day. Thank goodness for crafted battle gear you can buy off the marketboard! But… that’s neither her nor there.

Not only did I go in as healer but I went in mostly blind. As it was the day after the raid’s release, there weren’t any full guide videos at the time – the first one I saw was released the day after I first cleared it. And thankfully, I could watch that video before I ran it the second time on another character.

Most folks know my stance on Alliance raids by now and are probably tired of hearing it. Gone are the days of encouraging casual folks to do these raids and helping them get through. S/E has proven time and again that after Void Ark, Alliance raids are just not content for truly casual players – I’m talking folks who don’t have a strong grasp on how to pick up mechanics and respond to things quickly.

This raid was no exception. It’s learnable for sure, but a lot of things are not intuitive, no matter how much the raid bosses are designed to “teach” you mechanics through experience. The third boss, especially, left me in a state of “what just killed me?” pretty often until after I watched a video to better understand how the mechanics are put together.

Basically, I tell FC folks to watch a video rather than die a million deaths on this. I’m sure in a few weeks, things will settle down, but this first week has been a doozie.

Glamour… Rather Not

And the gear design this time around? Let’s just say, the main reason I ran Bunker as much as I did was to farm for the glamour. I even admired the gear from Factory enough to push through it several times.

On the flip-side, I find the gear this raid to be either mostly uninspired or just plain something I would never use. Not to mention, the male version of certain sets are just… awful (IMHO).

Example: Here’s the female aiming set – a shot taken from this video.

That top is alright and I could get behind it!

For the males….

What even happened here? Compared to the elegant female gear, this is awful unless you want a military-looking set for a bard or dancer (machinist could pull it off, maybe). And I don’t.

In fact, I got those pants above as my first drop and glamoured over them immediately. Just yuk.

Story? What…?

The main kicker for me, being someone who has not played Nier, is that the story just went down some crazy rabbit hole that I gave up trying to follow. You have a bunch of angry dwarves that are supposed to tie into this alien android plot and… the story just left me far behind in the series of quests between the second and third raids.

I got that there were good androids and bad androids, but we never got to know the good androids for long enough for me to feel anything for them by the end of the storyline. In fact, I don’t recall spending all that much time with them at all outside of the raids. I’m never paying much attention to NPCs and their chatter when mechanics are flying around during fights. Smack dab in the middle of a boss fight is the worst possible time for a game to try to make me connect to characters!

So it really felt as if the story was certainly trying to connect to the folks who already cared about these characters through Neir. And not so much to anyone who had no clue as to why we should be caring about these characters in FFXIV.

I know that I’m not the only one who didn’t “get it.” There was a post on Reddit, which apparently got removed (huh), that discussed disappointment with the raid storyline. Though the original post isn’t in tact, the follow-up comments nail a lot of my feelings on this.

Pretty much this… -source linked-

I knew going into this raid series that the concepts and aesthetics for Neir generally don’t appeal to me (I will say that I do have it free on the Xbox Game Pass, so I might still try it to see if it changes my mind). The one thing that folks who enjoy Neir say is the story is amazing – and I’m all about story.

So maybe that’s why I was disappointed that there really wasn’t anything all that gripping, thoughtful or mind-bending about the raid story itself. The boss designs were meant to make you go “huh,” of course. But I was expecting something deep and engrossing when it came to the plot.

Of course, there’s these follow-up weekly dwarf quests that we’re getting that might help explain some of this(?) I plan on doing them to see what I can learn, but I hope it’s worth the annoyance of the game sending me back into the Factory or Bunker to run around and pick up trashed technology for the fifth or sixth time.

I know this sounds like a relatively negative post and I’m sorry for that – I hope that for whomever this raid is geared toward, you had fun with it. I’ll continue to run it on my healer mostly because this is the most challenging content I’ve attempted during my healer practice, and I have a lot still left to learn. Plus, even if I think the gear is ugly, it’s still an upgrade for my bard and I can always glamour over it.

Posted in Black Desert Online, MMORPGs

BDO: Dream Horse End Game

A few weeks back, I posted about how I’d finally got a T8 Charger and was now tackling awakening it into a T9 dream horse in Black Desert Online. I knew this was going to be a huge undertaking, and was prepared for it to take months, if not even a year for the process to pan out a return.

In fact, I’ve hardly spent much time on courser training since I brought her to Stonetail Ranch. I had a bunch of the materials you need to complete courser training from the handouts at the anniversary and just random boxes I opened over the past couple months. But I was also picking up a conch shell every night with loyalty points, and slowly amassing the items I needed for my first try.

I was really shooting for the pegasus, like just about everyone else, but I also tossed materials in there towards the unicorn, Dine, and a tiny bit towards Doom (who I didn’t want). Last night was the first night I thought to head back to the ranch as I had enough materials to hit the 200% I needed for the first awakening attempt.

Keep in mind, I read the first attempt you make at awakening has a 1% chance of success. When you fail, you earn failstacks that increase your chance of success by 1% each time. You’ll get it… eventually… but the materials you need to awaken the charger, not to mention the stone to facilitate the event, take time and effort to gather.

I was just telling Amoon yesterday that I was in it for the long haul, and quite resigned to the idea that I’d be working on this for months. But something extremely unexpected happened last night when I attempted my first awakening…

No… I thought. No… that didn’t just happen!

But it did! I was absolutely beside myself in shock and excitement!

The bad news: It wasn’t the pegasus. The good news: It wasn’t Doom.

I think I’d probably have sold Doom for an attempt at the 12 billion it’s worth and just buy another courser to start over again. I’m not a fan of Doom, sorry.

Dine, the Unicorn, was my second choice. She can’t glide and she won’t be able to be part of the attempt at a T10 horse whenever that comes out on our servers. But she is supposed to be awesome for desert travel. I will totally take her for my Shai main, which actually fits quite well!

So now I have to train her up again and try to regain the skills she lost. After awakening, the horse returns to level 1 and loses their skills. So, it’s back to training and skill swapping. Thankfully, I still have some skill swap tokens from when I was training her as a charger.

I’m really after getting all of the important skills that she needs – sprint and instant acceleration – to be the best horse that I currently own. It’ll be fun to train her up from scratch, too!

I feel like achieving my final goal came a little too easily… but you know… I guess I could always try it again if I want the challenge of it. Trust me, I’m not complaining!