Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Castrum Lacus Litore Clear

So after yesterday’s post about our terrible time trying to clear Castrum back in November, I saw a number of encouraging things about it – including a nice comment from Murph – thank you! I passed them along to Syn, and to my surprise, she came home from work ready to give Castrum a go on patch night.

This made sense. Folks were likely to be most enthusiastic about it on the first night.

So we headed out to Bozja and after hopping instances, thought our best chance to get in was in a fresh instance. We popped around doing some skirmishes while waiting – had to recoup the lost mettle from the previous Castrum fail.

The instance chat was on fire about Castrum, counting down to a possible pop time. When it came time for the run to go, we had more fear about not getting in than not having enough!

Syn and I kept telling each other: “If you get in and I don’t, you need to run it!”

Thankfully, we both got into the run, though we had to split up because we needed to join existing groups. I was a little nervous about this, and about the fact that my team chose to battle top boss, because I really have very little knowledge of mechanics of the place, even after running it once before. I mostly just followed along after everyone else and generally stayed alive.

When we got to the final boss, I was a tad worried. The boss fight within the boss fight was what wiped our previous attempt over and over before. However, before we even got there, one of the teams spoke up and claimed the Lyon team, and they sounded pretty confident about taking him.

When that part arrived, they absolutely melted Lyon with no trouble at all. I was beside myself at that point! Even though we had a few close calls with massive death on the final boss, the run went smooth. About 7-8 people (including us) were getting our clear for the first time based on the achievement earned.

Afterwards, Syn and I finally got to progress to see the rest of the story that we never had a chance to see last patch. Overall, I think the story is pretty good. I’m actually liking some of these side characters, including Lyon (despite him defeating my first attempt at Castrum).

What I find curious though is the placement of this story within the game overall. I get that FFXIV didn’t want to stick a war story in the middle of the MSQ (we’ve been there, done that) and wanted to give it a focus through a side-story like this.

However, considering how central the Empire’s threat has been to FFXIV from the very beginning, there’s some super important things going down in the Bozja storyline that you don’t see anywhere else. Even through character commentary in skirmishes, you get the idea that things are not going well for the Empire. That it’s actually on the brink of collapsing, in fact.

We know this to be true due to images we’ve seen of 6.0, but the story in Bozja hits it home in a much more interactive way. I’m glad that the fix to Castrum is doing what they intended and bringing folks back to play the content for those of us who hadn’t cleared it before. But it’s also a shame that such an important part of the story and history was locked behind this content.

Let’s be honest… eventually we all know that once this patch cycle is done and people have their relics, this story will be locked away again in the future unless something changes. This very much feels like timed content with an expiration date. I don’t know how many people still run Eureka, but that’s another example of content and story I’ve never done and will probably never do because I don’t think there’s enough folks out there to get things done.

Anytime a game gates story due to raids or instances, I’m not a big fan. FFXIV does this often, especially for someone like me who chooses not to do trials or raids in a timely way. It is what it is, I suppose. I just feel like the story in Bozja is pretty darn relevant to the overall struggle with the Empire and should be reflected elsewhere in the game. It might be later on, who knows.

Anyhow. We got our clear and we’re now working on the current patch story. I guess relic is the next step, though I’m not all that eager to farm raids to get what we need for upgrades. Especially since we’re behind the curve on getting there. I’ll see how it goes.

Posted in FFXIV, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Bad Day in Bozja… No More?

Last year, I wrote about having fun in the open-world sections of Bozja. Sadly, early November, our fun in this area slammed against a hard wall… a wall called “The Battle of Castrum Lacus Litore.” We got one attempt in before the patch rolled out that allowed many rewards from Castrum to be obtained outside of Castrum after you finished the instance once.

What this patch did was reward those who already ran the instance, but left anyone who hadn’t finished it yet floundering to even find a party for it. Because of the massive amounts of mettle lost due to failure, people just didn’t want to run it once they’d beat it. There wasn’t enough reward for the pain.

Needless to say, the one run that we participated in failed to complete the instance. So, we were a part of that group of floundering players who were basically cut off from finishing the original Bozja storyline because people just didn’t want to run Castrum anymore.

The instance itself was frustrating to me. There are many ways for the whole thing to fail if you don’t have anyone guiding you who knows how to succeed. This is especially the case because you kinda just get dumped into the instance without any job checks. You could technically have a group that had no healer or tank, for example.

The first fight is a two-prong push that requires these mis-matched groups to beat two boss encounters at nearly the same time. Or else… fail. The second part has you rushing around trying to save prisoners… or you fail. I was totally lost at this point, and just followed along with what the others were doing. I still have no clue what to do there.

I think I remember another fairly challenging boss fight after that. And then the final boss.

By the time we got here, I was feeling like our team was going to succeed since we pulled through the previous fights, and were doing well facing this boss. Only, it didn’t happen that way.

Bitter Failure

This fight is actually two bosses in one fight. For the most part, you attack the beast, but there’s a specific point in the battle when 8 folks break off from the main fight to attack Lyon. This is what ended up killing our chance at completing this instance.

The team urged 8 folks to form a “Lyon team.” They did this, though, from what I gathered, some of them were new to this instance or had never fought Lyon before.

They failed to take him down. This wiped the entire encounter. They tried again. They failed again. Another wipe.

People started to get antsy because time was ticking down and we had just enough for one more try at the fight. So the team decided to send a different group of people in to fight Lyon.

Guess what? They failed, too. And we ran out of time in the instance.

And so, our first attempt at Castrum was a huge let-down for us as we watched all that mettle just drain away on top of the sting of a failed instance. The next week, the patch dropped that made it so folks who’d already beat Castrum wouldn’t want or need to run it again. If you got very lucky, you might get enough people in a team to run it, but since most of them would have been new to the instance, chances of failure was high.

Our fun with Bozja ended there, and I haven’t been back in since. We couldn’t progress, so there was no point in going back. This really soured our experience with the whole thing. And come this patch, this gated our ability to even start to work on the next phase of relic.

Hotfix To The Rescue?

I’ve been meaning to write about my frustration with how this all turned out. Why the heck would they put in a patch that completely killed participation in an instance that was required to progress through the story as well as the rest of the relic line? This was just bad design!

However, during the last Live Letter, Yoshi-P noted that they were aware of how Castrum had become a bottleneck for content in Bozja. They announced a hotfix coming that would “increase rewards” for Castrum and encourage people to come back to play it again.

I was a little dubious. Maybe adding mettle rewards would help, but I couldn’t imagine what they could do to encourage people to run this thing again.

Last night, this hotfix dropped, and while the difficulty of Castrum wasn’t lowered, the rewards were indeed increased:

・ The number of loathsome memories of the dying obtained upon completion of the critical engagement “The Battle of Castrum Lacus Litore” in the Bozjan southern front has been increased from 1 to 5.

・ The maximum number of Bozjan coins that can be obtained from personal spoils in the critical engagement “The Battle of Castrum Lacus Litore” in the Bozjan southern front has been increased from 26 to 100.

・ Completion of the critical engagement “The Battle of Castrum Lacus Litore” in the Bozjan southern front will now reward mettle and Allagan tomestones of revelation or experience points.

* Characters whose levels are 80 outside of the instance will receive Allagan tomestones of revelation, while characters below level 80 will receive experience points.

The response on Reddit has been overwhelmingly positive, and it sounds as if there are now too many people queuing for the instance. This gives me hope that we might finally get our shot at clearing it, perhaps this week!

So hopefully this story will have a happy ending (if we don’t fail again). I’ll post an update if/when it happens!

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: My Personal Endwalker Expansion Hype

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

Island Sanctuary

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

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

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

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

Thavnair

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

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

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

New Job

I’m not talking about the Sage.

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

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

The one he wore during the Live Letter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Endwalker Expansion & May Fan Fest

Find the official Endwalker Expansion website here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming

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

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

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

Let me just say… Beast Tribe Quests.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Bound by Faith

In order to reach my goal of getting my final two FFXIV jobs to level 80, I’ve been running Trusts with my Gunbreaker this month. I’d already leveled half of my Trust party a long while back, and those who were left required a Tank for team composition. So this made sense to do.

I absolutely love Trusts when it comes to going through MSQ on a second or third or fourth character, as I tend to do. However, using them to level alt jobs, while it’s pretty quick to do, is not my method of choice. I’d much rather take my time and just do beast tribe quests every day – that’s a quick 5 mins of work vs. the 40-something mins the Trust party drags out dungeons to be.

That being said, I did much of it for sake of earning the achievement: Bound by Faith.

I don’t often chase titles and achievements in FFXIV, but I decided long ago I wanted my main to have a fully leveled Trust group. I’m not even sure why. I guess I do like the title that comes with it: Trusted Friend.

Speaking of titles, I did decide to take part in the leaderboards for the ongoing Ishgard Restoration on Tad. I realized quickly that he first needed a crafting job leveled to 80 – all of his of any mention were in the 50s. So I speed-leveled his Goldsmith and have been slowly pulling him up the ladder to secure a spot for when the event ends tomorrow.

I’m pretty happy with this spot, just as long as I’m in the top 100 to get the title. I have a stack of materials in his inventory with plans to continue turn-ins for the next few days.

I’ve sadly had NO luck with Kupo O Fortune in earning either the trike or the new casual attire coffers. I’ve kept my eye on them price-wise and they’ve slowly been coming down. But I’m still not keen in plunking down over a million gil for the outfit just yet. I like the outfit, but I don’t know that I’d use it a whole lot, so I’m holding back.

Anyhow, I’m hoping my luck will turn and I know that the Kupo rewards aren’t going anywhere in the long run, either. So hopefully once the new hotness wears off, it’ll become more affordable.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Ishgard Restoration 5.41

It’s that time again! The Ishgard Restoration is underway and the Skybuilder Rankings are open again! I do believe this is the final leg of the Restoration story-wise. I’m not sure if this will be the final leaderboard rankings as well.

While I’ve earned a title for my main and my RP alt, I have yet a third character, Tad, whom I’ve leveled all gatherers to 80 on. He started the Restoration with only three crafting jobs in the 50s (he now has one in the 60s after last night’s efforts), and I’d like to make progress on these as well.

I’d considered working on a title for him, but I quickly realized that you don’t actually get points in the ranking if you’re not crafting the higher level recipes. So everything I did on his level 50-something goldsmith didn’t count yesterday. If I really want to be ambitious, I could push to get this job into the 70s, where I think you start accumulating points(?) It wouldn’t be impossible to get on the leaderboard for my server at this point still.

Because I had to mine up lower level mats to level his crafting jobs, Tad didn’t get much in the way of points for his mining or botany, either. I’m somewhat tempted to just buy the materials (since they’re already cheap) and focus on leveling my crafting job up instead. I just don’t know how much effort I feel up to putting into the title a third time, though I always enjoy gathering in the Diadem when other people are around and active.

The Diadem itself has undergone quite a change, too! Gone are the heatwaves and yellow, thank goodness. Welcome is the gentle snowy weather instead. Much easier on the eyes!

If you’re taking on the rankings this time around, I wish you luck! I still need to catch up on a lot of the quests in Ishgard, but it’s been pretty fun to see content built just for crafters and gatherers, and how much of a crowd it always draws.

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Taking Amazing Screenshots with GShade Filters

Link to the GShade website. Download and see help documentation there.-

Several years back, I wrote about how I’d installed Stormshade as a filter for my FFXIV screenshots. Sadly, over time, I noticed that Stormshade had not updated and was far from using the newest version of ReShade. Neither was it adding any new filter presets that I could see.

It wasn’t causing any technical trouble, but I decided I wanted to explore more maintained and up-to-date options. This meant trying out GShade, which I’d heard so much about.

Not only was GShade extremely simple to install, but it came with so many preset filters (the website notes there are 450+ presets) by default that I simply was beside myself! Installation was as simple as downloading the .exe and running it. No fiddling with folders – it knows where to find a standard FFXIV install.

It gives you the option to install the presets, but I don’t see why you wouldn’t. This was so much simpler than having to download the presets yourself and find proper folders to put them in for use.

And then, once you launch it, GShade gives you a bit of a tutorial walkthrough on how to do stuff. I was so used to my Stormshade settings that I quickly customized GShade to work the same way (which is not GShade default). And now I’m as happy as I can be every time I sit down to take an artistic screenshot with filters.

An example of the same picture with several different filters. Click to see bigger images:

There’s lots, lots more to choose from than that. So, if you’re looking to spice up your /gpose in FFXIV, give this a shot!

Posted in FFXIV, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Noble Barding Win!

I wrote about this over at Spot of Mummery, but this was something I was super excited about last week. From time to time, FFXIV holds screenshot contests that you can enter over at Twitter. If you win, you get to choose from a unique set of glamour items including hair and barding that you can only get through these contests.

I entered the Halloween contest about this time last year, but sadly, wasn’t chosen as a winner. This year, they did a sightseeing screenshot contest.

I knew that what I really wanted was the Noble Barding for Amon. So I thought about places to take screens that were related to Allagans – Crystal Tower was obvious – and chose something I didn’t think too many other people would screenshot.

Azys Lla.

Ironically, in the patch the 5.4 patch, we actually did fulfill my wish – I had no idea it was coming! I’m curious as to if that had any part in winning this contest, though I know the website says the shots are randomly chosen.

ANYHOW.

Last Friday I logged in to an in-game mail.

And sure enough, I had won! I’m pretty excited because this is the first official contest I’ve won. And the barding is a perfect match for Amon!

Now, I might just need to re-color his chocobo. The last time I tried, Mummery ended up chocolate brown rather than a shade of red, and I just left him that way with a “close enough.”

Update: I actually did just that and got the wine red chocobo I wanted!

Posted in Blogging, FFXIV

Spot of Mummery– My “New” FFXIV Blog Project

Summary: I’ve imported two and a half years of micro-blogging content from my character-based FFXIV Tumblog to a WordPress blog – Spot of Mummery – where I’m finally embracing it as a full blogging project focusing on gaming experiences, creative stories, screenshots, character studies, etc.

Over this weekend, I launched a “new” blogging project called Spot of Mummery. Spoiler: It’s not new at all.

In fact, I’ve been blogging Spot of Mummery for years on Tumblr. While most of this focuses on FFXIV content, there’s also a smattering of Minecraft as well as Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

You’ve probably heard me mentioning my role play alts on this blog – certainly in goals and in various experiences I’ve had in FFXIV. It’s not really fair to call them RP alts much anymore because many of them are almost just as geared as my main, have cleared content all the way up to 5.3, have relic weapons and some even do relevant raiding.

But most importantly, the cast of characters over at Spot of Mummery are a deeply needed creative and interactive outlet for a MMO that I’ve been playing for the past seven years. I’m less into the role play aspect (at least in-game role play as you might think of it) as I am into developing storylines and characters and meshing them with the lore and in-game environments. In those aspects, FFXIV offers a wonderful world to work with!

I’ve actually owned this domain for several years and have used it as a place to organize all of the stories I’ve developed in conjunction with my writing partner, Syn.

Last month I decided to bring over the rest of the content to this domain. This led to me spending weeks weeding through over 6000 posts (no lie) to ensure only my content remained (Tumblr has a lot of reblogs and interactive posts), pictures were imported properly, links went where they should… all that fun kind of stuff.

Now that the blog is officially released, I’m expanding connections through social media. Tumblr is obviously still a very strong interactive platform for me, but I’m also exploring Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, etc.

I’m also dedicating myself to blogging here more consistently going forward! I spent a lot of time and creativity on the Spot of Mummery Tumblr over the last couple years, which took away from the energy/time to write here. That’s not something I wanted to happen.

I want to turn that train around and get back to my blogging habits both here and at Spot of Mummery. I know it seems strange to think that adding another blog (rather than a micro blog) would make it more flexible for me to blog more here again but… just trust me on this. 🙂

Anyhow! If you get the notion, please feel free to check out my “new” blog. Give it a follow if you like what you see, and know that there will definitely be lots of gaming content and creativity coming since Patch 5.4 just dropped today!