Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch, Uncategorized, Zelda Breath of the Wild

Zelda BotW: Shalaka! Hestu and Korok Seeds

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Up until now, I haven’t mentioned the Korok seed gathering that I’d been doing from time to time. Anytime you see something slightly out of the ordinary, or climb to the top of a place that seems interesting, and find a rock to pick up, there’s usually a Korok hiding there. I really like this because it keeps me on the lookout for little mini-puzzles, and it rewards exploration in little ways.

Plus, they’re just dang cute.

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Anyhow, I didn’t know there was a purpose to the seeds until about this point in the game. I was riding out of the village, and the night was settling in. I saw a strange shape waiting along side the road. I approached it carefully… because after meeting with Impa, I’d been getting jumped by disguised assassins from the Yiga clan. And they’re pretty nasty.

It turns out this tree-guy is okay. His name is Hestu, and nearby baddies have stolen his maracas.

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This sounds like a job for Link!

It really wasn’t that difficult to clean out the camp, which was just up over the hill. I took care of that quickly…

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…and returned the instruments back to their grateful owner…

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Only, that’s not where this story ends. The problem was, there was nothing inside the maracas to make sound for some reason. But Hestu cut me an interesting deal because…

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So, as I bring him the seeds I’ve collected for his maracas, he gives me new slots for weapons, shields and bows. I jumped on this opportunity immediately! The more weapons I can carry, the better!

Upgrades cost an increasing amount of seeds the more that you buy. It starts at one seed, then two, then three, and keeps going. This is individually based on type, so your first weapon slot is 1 seed, your first bow slot is 1 seed, etc. After upgrading a certain amount of times, he will move on to his next location in the game.

There are a total of 900 Korok seeds you can find in the game, but you don’t need anywhere that many to unlock all the inventory upgrades. I doubt I’ll be spending that much time and effort to find all of them, myself, though it’s another fun little system in this game.

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Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch, Uncategorized, Zelda Breath of the Wild

Zelda BotW: Paraglider, Please?

botwspoilers

In the previous post, I left Link standing at the top of a tower that burst up from under the ground. After all the magical voices and visions, I was left to find my own way down.

When I say tower, I really mean tower. This thing is tall! At first, I tried to climb down, which led me to my death repeatedly. Yeah, I know, death by falling. But I wasn’t used to the climbing system on my very first day of play.

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After dying more than I had a right to, I took a step back and really looked at the tower. I realized that the little platforms around the tower’s edges were set up in a way that I could easily just hop from one to another all the way down.

Duh. 

BotW Lesson: Always take a good look at what you’re attempting to do before throwing yourself to death over and over again.

Point taken.

When I finally get down on the ground, my victory is short-lived as the Old Man drops in on me. I do mean literally drops in. Seems he has a really cool thing called a paraglider. This allows him to glide down from heights without getting hurt.

Nice!

Even better, he strikes a deal with me. If I can retrieve the treasure from this glowing structure that he calls a Shrine, he’ll give me the paraglider in exchange.

Alright. Seems fair enough. So, off I go!

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Once I arrive at the Shrine, I note a familiar pedestal that indicates I need to interact with it using Link’s Slate. So I do that and the Shrine opens up to me.

Going inside, I’m told this is something called the Magnesis Trial. I’m in a room that’s blocked, not allowing me further entrance. Again, I see a Slate pedestal, so I do the thing, and place it there.

This time, something different happens. The Shrine empowers Link’s Slate and gives it the ability to move metal objects through a magnetic power.

Link is now Magneto! 

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The puzzles in this Shrine were straight forward. Everything here was solved through the use of the magnetic power, as you’d expect. The only thing that stumped me here at first was getting the treasure chest, which was up on a platform, high on the wall.

The answer was simple: The chest is metal, so you can just float it down to Link to open it.

My mind was making it far more complicated than it needed to be… trying to use blocks to build a way up the wall next to it and all kinds of mess. Two lessons were learned, however.

BotW Lesson: Chests are often made of metal. Use it to your advantage.

BotW Lesson: Dropping heavy metal objects on Link’s head will kill him.

When I finally completed the Shrine, creepy monk and all, the Old Man was waiting for me outside. I was eager to get my paraglider, though I wasn’t sure what treasure it was he was looking for.

BotW has some really subtle humor that I appreciate so much. This first started to show itself here in this conversation with the Old Man. Here he is rambling on about how the world works, but deep down, the game knows that you don’t care about any of that, and pokes fun at you.

You, the player, just want that paraglider! Gogogogo! 

One of the text options repeatedly reflects that (though I didn’t have the courage to select it and seem rude).

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The Old Man then changes his part of the deal. He won’t give you the paraglider until after you complete three more shrines! This time, the game’s response choice is pretty much on point.

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But it’s these little exchanges that I enjoy. The game is aware of itself and aware of its audience in a very pleasing way.

The old guy told me to meet him up on top of the tower, where he showed me that Link’s Slate can also be used as a long-distance scope. Once in scope mode, you can drop pins on important locations and those appear on your map, helping you track those points.

Man, this game thought of everything.

So, with the locations of the next three Shrines in sight, I set off to earn my paraglider.

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Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs, Uncategorized

FFXIV: Dun Scaith Week 2 & Stormblood Preorder

Pictured above – I got the Bard hat drop from Dun Scaith last night. It’s a pretty neat design, but I instantly glamoured to Amon’s Hat right after taking this shot. 😀

Week 2 Dun Scaith Impressions

We took a mostly-FC group in with us, including several who were brand new to the raid. Overall, people are starting to understand it better. That’s probably in thanks to the Dun Scaith guides that are finally out for it now.

What I wouldn’t have given for Mr. Happy’s guide a week ago!

While I haven’t actually watched the guide (I probably should), I’ve heard about some of the mechanics that were tripping me up, especially on Ferdiad and his Atomos.

I still say that it wasn’t super obvious that he was force-feeding one Atomos a certain color orb only for it to come out of the opposite Atomos, and that you had to respond accordingly. But now that I know what to look for, the biggest piece of that puzzle has been unraveled.

The raid still wiped on Scathach, but only because too many people ignored the add the first time. They learned from that mistake.

The raid also wiped on Diabolos the first time. The second time, we came very close to wiping, but a small handful of people were able to whittle him down at about 5%. This is how we earned the win last week, so overall, the final boss is still tripping up the raid as a whole.

I, myself, have not remained alive for the whole final fight yet. Either I stacked on someone when too few people were stacking (so we all died) or something like that happened. So I’ve not had the chance to actually practice through the final phase of earthshakers and stacks to feel like I have an understanding.

Dun Scaith vs. Weeping City

So my final thoughts on this raid is that it’s more difficult than Weeping City, but for different reasons that Weeping City is difficult. The mechanics come fast and hard. But once you get a group of people in there who know what to do and how to respond, this raid may end up being easier in the long run.

For example, we did a Weeping run right after Dun Scaith (yeah, looking for punishment), and there are still people who are dropping meteors on the party during Ozma. Some new folks coming through at this point seem to think its been out long enough that they don’t need no guide (to get a carry). I watched this happen with the randoms we picked up last night — they didn’t have a clue on how to handle mechanics, and it punished the rest of us hard.

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Now, I’m not one to yell at someone to watch a guide, but in this case, Weeping City places a lot of responsibility on individual players. You can still blow your party up with meteors and bombs!

To Newcomers: Please know the basic mechanics of Ozma if nothing else! You can’t just get through Weeping City without having to perform mechanics!

In contrast, there are a few times that Dun Scaith places this kind of punishment on the party for one person’s mistakes. Maybe a bit on the final boss with stacks and earthshakers… and maybe that’s why teams have so much trouble working through that section. But for the most part, if you screw something up, you die. You usually don’t take out the rest of the party with you.

I still think that Dun Scaith is challenging, but I wonder that if in the long run, I will like it more than Weeping City. One way or another, I’m gearing my Bard up with drops, and my Dragoon through Shire gear upgrades.

Stormblood Pre-order

So pre-orders opened up for Stormblood yesterday. I picked up the digital CE, mostly for the mount and the chicken blade. I’ve never been super partial to FFV, so the CE items were only so-so to me. But that’s mostly because I’ve not actually put time into playing FFV (despite owning it)… probably something I should do one day. I heard it had a fun job system.

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I was actually looking forward to the Red Mage pre-order minion, but they haven’t passed those out yet. It was a little confusing to go and redeem the pre-order code only to have it say “Code Pending.” At first, I thought this was the head-start code they were talking about, but reading over the email again, it seems like all pre-order items won’t be given out until sometime next month.

Overall, I’m trying to feel hyped for Stormblood. But, to be totally honest, I’m not that big on the whole Ala Mhigo conflict as a plot backdrop.

I could get into Ishgard because of the dragons, but Ala Mhigo doesn’t have a whole lot of meaning to me as a player yet. They may charm me somewhere down the line, though — FFXIV has a way of making me care about things I didn’t know I’d care about. So, I’m trying to stay open-minded.

The one thing I am hyped about is Red Mage, of course. It’s really the one thing I want out of this expansion, aside from re-worked Bard, and hopefully tweaks to the job system we keep hearing about. Swimming and diving sounds cool, but it’s no where near as exciting as flying mounts were for Heavensward.

One way or another, I plan on taking time off of work for the pre-order head start, mostly to level the job and get used to it.  In the meantime, I’m gearing up jobs, suffering through Relic, and working on leveling Paladin next.

Oh, yeah. And I also finished leveling my Squad last week. Wonder where they’re going to take this feature in the future!

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Posted in Uncategorized

FFXIV: Dun Scaith Cleared!

Last night, a small group of FC folks got together to tackle Dun Scaith one more time this week — including Star Bearer, Bean Baguette, Zeb and myself. I might have taken a break from this run after the previous try, but Bean’s heading out for the rest of the month, and this was her one chance to get it done while it’s still new.

So, seeing I’d not cleared it, other folks were going, and we could all suffer together, I came along, too. I’m glad I did. I understand the raid a lot better going through it a second time.

I still stand on my previous soapbox about how Dun Scaith is not a raid that’s friendly to the average player, even after I’ve beat it. I do think it’s learn-able. I do think it’s clear-able. I think people will get better at it. All that being said, I think the people who will clear it reliably are going to be ones who have a really strong grasp on mechanics and how to play their class. This is no Crystal Tower.

The reason for this team’s success is due to having a fairly stable group of people who had all intentions to learn the raid and succeed in it. Also, our FC pal Star had already completed the raid, done research on what’s known about the mechanics, and patiently explained to all who listened what to watch for.

This was a huge improvement over the previous night where we didn’t even know there was a door to go through to fight an add on the final boss. This group did learn and improve. I wasn’t absolutely clueless this time.

We had a few wipes, especially on Scathach, and we just barely scraped by with three people alive for the last 3% of Diabolos. I honestly had given up and thought it was going to be a wipe at the end, but somehow they pulled through. Over half the people there got the achievement for finishing the raid for the first time, so most of us were totally new.

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Oh yeah. And see that up there? Bard pants dropped and I won the roll! So I even got a pretty significant upgrade out of the struggle. I was worried because I was rolling against another Bard, and had only rolled a 37. Somehow I got them anyhow.

So, now I’m on my way to slowly gearing up my Bard. I then took the raid currency and upgraded my Dragoon’s Scripture ring to 270 so that I could purchase the other Scripture ring and finish my Dragoon set. I’ll be using the rest of my Scripture to start upgrading Bard accessories.

Now that I’m getting my final gear sets sorted out, I’ll also be melding them with materia. I’ve ignored that up until now because I didn’t want to waste it on gear that I knew I was just going to upgrade or toss out.

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I tried to take a cool picture in front of the sunset, but it came out with eyes closed. Go figure.

Onward!

With that cleared and out of the way, I can focus on clearing the other Expert dungeon, checking out the new gathering and crafting achievements to work towards tools, and ranking up with the Ixal. I’m really happy that the new crafting/gathering tools are achievement based, as it scratches that completionist itch for me.

Finally craft and gather everything on my log? Okay! Fish up mostly all the fish? Will try!

I’m holding off on finishing the new Heavensward Beast Tribe alliance quest because I heard there’s a major bug dealing with them that messes up your ranks with the ARR Beast Tribes. I did go back and buy all the mounts and minions from the ARR Beast Tribes last night, and plan on finishing up that quest before the Heavensward quest. Hopefully, by the time I get there, that bug will be worked out.

So, there’s plenty to do without touching a raid, and that’s just fine with me!

Posted in Blogging, Uncategorized

Happy 3rd Blogging Birthday!

Three years ago today, I launched a blog on my other domain, Sygnus.org. That blog has gone through various names and hosts over the past three years.

First it was just a fairly geeky blog at Sygnus.org. Then, I decided to name it Clean Casuals as it took on more of a gaming blog identity. Somewhere in there, I launched a more personal blog, which became this one. I then merged in the content from Clean Casuals into this one, and kept the name Aywren Sojourner.

Sometime last year, I got concerned with the inodes I was using up at my paid host and made a move to hosting at WordPress.com. So far, I’ve been content with this latest move and don’t foresee a reason to make another. Especially since WordPress has expanded the amount of storage we get for images.

So, yeah. Three years and I’m still consistently blogging, mostly on the weekdays. Because I’ve moved this blog so many times, I’ve lost the statistics that went along with it. That’s okay, though. Each year is a new one with more opportunities.

Thanks, as always, for stopping by and reading! Your visits, thoughts, and comments always mean a lot to me. Hopefully I can continue to write things that keep bringing folks back to read!

 

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs, Uncategorized

FFXIV: PotD Floor 100+, Relic Progress & FC Funtimes

Today is the day before FFXIV Patch 3.5, which means the game is down for maintenance. But this weekend has been anything but quiet in game. Patch time always ramps up FC participation.

We had a bunch of folks online in our Free Company this week, some who had not been around in a while. We’ve also recruited several new folks this week, and over the past few weeks, mostly returning or new players. We’ve been focused on helping these folks through content on their way up to Heavensward.

Palace of the Dead Floor 100+

Despite my love for PotD, I actually did not complete floor 100 until this weekend. Our Posse had left off at floor 71 months back, and while we’d saved our game progress there, Zeb and I never got beyond. The other half of our Posse has been back in game again, so after a bit of practice in the lower floors, we made the push to floor 100 on Friday.

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We also unlocked the floors beyond 100, and made it all the way to floor 110. There is a marked increase in the number of spawns on the floors, which was the only thing I saw there that increased difficulty. The boss itself really wasn’t so bad.

I don’t know how much further we’ll get into the PotD. Mostly because I see it as something casual to do, and not a thing that’s supposed to be hardcore challenging like the 100+ floors are meant to be.

Also, I’m going to be cashing out for my red weapon on my Bard tomorrow because I still only have the ilvl 230 relic, and I want to use Bard to learn the new alliance raid. I haven’t geared my Bard at all since Weeping City, and she has just enough of an ilvl to squeak into the new raid. Since my Dragoon is set for gear overall, I need the Bard drops from the raid.

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The red Dragoon and Warrior weapons inside PotD

Relic Progress

Speaking of Relic, since we’re not going to get an Umbrite nerf, I threw up my hands and decided to just cash in what I had. I’d forgotten that I could buy items with my Poetics to turn into Sands. So, since I was full-up on Poetics, I did just that, and upgraded my weapon to the halfway point.

I got a cutscene that informed me that my weapon wished to continue this painful process.

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Of course you do. You’re not the one grinding Tomes.

The weapon swore this was in order to protect me. I think it’s just addicted to Sand.

Anyhow, I’m reluctantly not throwing in the towel yet. At least I can say that I finished half the weapon before the hoped-for nerf coming in 3.55.

Free Company Fun

As I noted above, we spent a good deal of time with the FC, mostly running folks through needed content. None of it was all that difficult – mostly things like Void Ark and Crystal Tower. But seeing that some members needed mechanics refreshers, it tends to be exhausting for me.

Being on voice chat for hours is tiring, and I tend to be the default raid leader and mechanics explainer. I’m not sure how that came to be seeing that I’m really not a raider and usually the most quiet person in voice chat.

But when it comes to explaining mechanics, it’s almost as if I can’t not do it. I hope I do it well enough, though! Sometimes things happen really fast in raids, especially ones that we’ve outleveled, and phases are skipped.

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FC Jump Totem in Void Ark. Taken by Bean Baguette (hope she doesn’t mind that I post it).

We had a few troublesome-long queues for CT yesterday and one incident with a drunk tank and trolling alliance in World of Darkness. It was really Tales from the Duty Finder worthy, but I didn’t think to get any screens of it. That was the first time I’ve up and left an alliance raid like that… along with our whole party (we had a full FC party of 8, so we left them hurting for their bad behavior). But thankfully we had a tank on another team who left first, so we didn’t eat a penalty for it.

Anyhow… aside from that… things went just fine. All content got cleared, and everyone closed up the weekend with what they needed to do more or less.

Now to face the new content in 3.5 tomorrow. Here’s to hoping I enjoy Dun Scaith more than I did Weeping City. Cuz I need to run it a lot.

Also, still not regretting the race change.

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I come back from AFK and…
Posted in Black Desert Online, Blogging, Gaming, MMORPGs, Uncategorized

Black Desert Online Gaming Blog Banners

I didn’t realize a post about blog header banners would be of interest to so many folks! But because it was, I’m making a short follow-up on a few new banners I added this morning. Yesterday, I didn’t have my BDO screenshots on hand, but now that I do, I’ve whipped up a few more banners from that.

I couldn’t just choose one horse riding screen from the many, though. So I threw in two. I wish I had a good uncropped screen of my favorite dappled horse for this. I might have to hop in game and take some new shots. 🙂

The three new banners are below, all of my character Aywren in BDO:

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