Posted in IRL

Kitten Chronicles – Almost a Month

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written about my adventure with the new kitten, Spriggan. Two days ago, he went in for his neutering surgery and final kitten booster shots. Everything went well, and he’s recovering like a champ. In fact, he had no down time as far as I saw at all.

Due to the surgery, I’m keeping him separated for a few days from Sebastian. When they’re together, they tend to rush around the house like mad cats, and I want Spriggan to take it easy and heal up first. I’ll probably re-introduce them again this weekend. I’ve heard that neutering sometimes makes the kitten smell like a new cat, so I want to make sure I have plenty of time at home during this process.

Before that, I was still keeping Spriggan in his own room at night and while I was at work. I allow the two of them to romp when I’m home and all day on weekends.

Sebastian’s attitude has significantly improved over time. While he still does dominate over Spriggan when he gets in the mood, most of their interactions are chasing and playing. In fact, there’s almost too much cat energy going on around my house! When I have to focus on stuff, like art or raids, I separate them. Usually, Spriggan is pretty patient if I put him in his room for short times… just as long as he gets to romp again later.

Right now, he’s fussy because he wants out, and I’m not letting that happen.

The cats are still working through ownership of things. The cat tree by the window, for example, tends to be Sebastian’s spot all day long. Spriggan instantly took to it, so sometimes Sebastian gets whiney that his spot was taken. I’m going to have to invest in another cat tree, it seems.

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They’re sharing the cat tree for the first time!

I’m also working on catifying the guest bedroom. I’ve made it so that this little cat condo I bought is set up in that window for the kitten to use. This has gone over well.

I have an old, rickety desk that I need to get out of that back room to make more space. I’d also like to change out the curtains in there since the drapery is super old now, and quite enticing for a kitten to climb. Some of this is going to have to wait until tax returns, though! But it’s a project for sure.

Posted in Gaming, Minecraft

Minecraft: The Dune Village

Lately, Minecraft has become my go-to game for chilling out and unwinding. I know I haven’t written about it lately, but I’m actually still playing the same map that I rolled up back when I first started playing.

Somewhere in the course of exploring, I discovered a desert village. This has been the only village I’ve found so far, and it’s not terribly far away from the original spawn spot, so I decided to develop it.

First, I fenced it in and distributed torches to help bolster the defenses.

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In the process, I learned a few things, including:

  • Husks spawn instead of zombies in the Desert biome
  • Husks don’t die in sunlight (!)
  • There’s such a thing as baby Husks (!)
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You’re supposed to burn in the sun! 😦

Revitalizing the Dune Village

Anyhow. This village borders on the savanna biome, and even came with a very small patch of grass near one of the outermost houses. I did some research and discovered that placing dirt blocks next to grass blocks spreads grass. So, for whatever strange reason, I decided that my new building goal is to replace the sand with dirt blocks and make this desert village green!

This is why it’s dubbed the Dune Village. When I mentioned my project to Syn, instead of laughing at my futility, she noted it was similar to the premise of the stories in Dune, where the goal is to ultimately take the desert world of Arrakis and make it green. Thereafter, we had a long discussion about Dune, writing, and other geeky things.

So, what I did was go to a nearby dirt hillside and start hollowing it out for dirt blocks.

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The Dirt Mine

Then, I went back to the village and dug up sand blocks, replacing them with dirt one by one.

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Replacing sand with dirt

I made sure to connect the dirt to the few existing grass blocks, and watched as the grass slowly began to spread through the dirt paths. It was actually quite rewarding and interesting to check back on grass progress each Minecraft day.

In the center of the village, I made a little pasture for animals. It started out looking like this:

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The pasture foundation
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Installing a fence

And then this…

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Watching the grass spread

And now finally this…

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A nice green pasture for animals!

There’s probably a better/faster way of doing this than digging things up block by block, but I’m a noob and the project is chill. I’m actually pretty close to being done with it on the inside of the village. I haven’t decided what I’ll do to expand the village from there, though there are a lot of options.

I built myself a basic house made from granite I dug up and polished, mostly because I wanted a house that stood out from the rest. You can see that the grass has spread on the left side already, while I’m still waiting for it to spread around back of the house to the right side.

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Worth it.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming

FFXIV: Full Free Company Weekend

This weekend was pretty incredible in terms of our Free Company’s activity. Most of what I did in game was tied to someone in the FC, and we all had a really good time.

Meeting Milestones

KoM has never been about competition, numbers, or anything beyond helping each other reach our goals while having casual fun doing it. That doesn’t mean that I don’t watch numbers, considering I’m a data person and I naturally notice these things. I like to celebrate and congratulate our members when we meet milestones, mostly because it feels good to know what you do matters.

Our first big milestone was breaking 100 members this weekend. I’m not sure what was in the water, but we started getting applications in fast and furious.

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Now, granted this number includes a handful of alts. Also, we have a group of inactives we keep on the roster hoping they’ll return in time, though I’m pretty diligent about keeping our roster clean. If I wasn’t, we’d probably have well over 200 members by now! 😄

But still, having over 100 folks, and seeing 20-something people online at peak times this weekend… between patch content… is pretty astounding for our little group. Or not-so-little group.

The influx of people, who are constantly running and making progress through content, has shot our FC rankings up as well. This put us in the top 20 for all FC on our server this week, which is pretty amazing!

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Amazing Meet N Greet

My sister, Vix, hosted our FC’s first major social event on Saturday, which was a FC Meet N Greet. Since we’ve had so many new people come in, we decided to take some time to chat on Discord, break the ice, and get to know each other better. We had so many people turn out for this, even some shy and new people!

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I’m not much of an entertainer myself, so Vix did a bang-up job of keeping up with everyone and making it a fun time. I heard lots of positive feedback from members, so it’s encouraging to look towards more social events in the future.

It also helped to reinforce that we honestly do have a great group of folks… and that there are actual people behind every avatar in our FC.

Chamber 7 Aquapolis

Aside from our social event, we also kicked around some content this weekend. For one, we hit up the Aquapolis, taking a number of new folks in for their first delve.

I always love bringing new people on treasure hunts. I say, “Come with us to the Aquapolis and hunt treasure!” And the response is one of hesitation mixed with concern.

They’ve not heard of the Aquapolis before. They don’t know it’s not some raid or dungeon. That is’t just a fun, casual, gameshow-like RNG romp with a group of friends that actually does net pretty good returns.

And then, once they get in there and realize what it actually is, I hear, “Oh, wow! This is fun! I like this!”

So, this weekend, we knocked out a number of maps, and actually made it all the way down to Chamber 7 (thanks Zeb)!

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Beating Behemoth

So in all the years I’ve been playing FFXIV, I’ve only seen the Behemoth FATE spawn once, quite a long time ago. Of course, I wasn’t in a party, so I didn’t last long.

Yesterday, we were out near Dragonhead trying to assist one of our members with the final FATE they needed to unlock Crystal Tower. Because clearing FATEs help speed that up, I was working on leveling my Paladin some as we romped through the snow.

Sure enough, the Behemoth FATEs started. We pulled in a full FC group to tackle him, and had a few random folks from the zone come to help. Our first try didn’t go so well, but with a bit of job-shuffling, we tried it again, and beat him down!

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Uh oh. Dragoon really shouldn’t be tanking this. I lasted all of three seconds. 😄

In other news, I’m still working on leveling up my Paladin. Now level 44, I’m so close to unlocking the Artifact Armor for her! I find that Paladin looks elegant on my Elezen character, if I only had more confidence in tanking aside from that.

I’m also slowly puttering through my Anima Relic for Dragoon. I’m convinced that the weapon hates me because I never get any bonus sands no matter what. This has made the second half of the process drawn out, when I’d hoped that it would speed up a little. Thankfully, we only have a little longer to deal with this stage unnerfed. At this point, the weapon is the lowest part of my Dragoon’s gearset and the one thing that’s holding my ilvl down. *grumbles*

Ah, well. Have a picture of Vix and XaaLove on a Treasure Hunt.

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Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Tales from the Duty Finder – BWAAAA!

I know that I generally use Tales from the Duty finder as a place to vent about unpleasant party members… but this will be an exception, because you meet plenty of good folks, too. Three of the Posse queued up for Leveling Roulette, and I being yet a noob tank, was nervous we were picking up a random as a DPS.

We popped Halatali, and got a Ninja as our fourth. She seemed friendly enough, and was even asking for some help with her Ninja on things like skill choice and attribute points. I told her what I could from what I know (not a whole lot), and the dungeon went pretty smooth despite my noob tanking.

So we get to the final boss and it’s so… so… so… hard as a tank who usually plays DPS to resist pounding the Limit Break button when that pops. Up until now, Xaa was handling Limit Breaks, so we had no idea that when the Ninja did it, she would rip out with this macro…

bwaaaa

I’m so glad she waited until the end of the fight to Limit Break because that tickled me so much I’m sure my tanking skill dropped even lower than normal.

For the rest of the night, I referred to Limit Breaks as BWAAAAAA!

Posted in Gaming, Steam Challenge

Steam Challenge: A Bird Story

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Game: A Bird Story
Time Played: 1.2 hours

A Bird Story is an experimental interactive story brought to us by the same folks who did To the Moon. Both are successful games built on the RPG Maker platform, and focus more on telling a story than the RPG elements.

In fact, 100% of A Bird Story is… story. The whole experience unfolds without a single word. The times you do have control over the main character – a young boy who seems more fascinated with nature and art than his day-to-day world – it’s just to move him from one story point to the next.

This is a very short game-story. It was meant to be. But it does what it sets out to do, which is give the player an  emotional, and sometimes trippy, look into this boy’s life and a specific incident that became the center of his existence for a time.

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It’s hard to tell how much of this is real and how much represents the imagination of a child’s fantasy. These elements blend together seamlessly, and the player must just set aside expectations and go with it. This is a good thing, though, as nothing in the story is so unbelievable as to detract from the story’s goal.

My one beef was that pressing the F12 key, which usually produces a screenshot of a game in Steam, instead paused the game. So that kept me from screenshotting my experience along the way. Instead, I’ve provided screens from the promotional materials on the net.

The story itself was solid. It had sad moments. It had funny moments, including a Benny Hill run through the doors scene. And while it was touching and well-crafted, it’s not unlike other stories where a child has to grow and make a hard choice to set something he loves free. It ends pretty much how you’d expect.

It does seem that this story has a connection of sorts for another upcoming story, Finding Paradise. From the screens, it seems to be more along the lines of To The Moon.

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The final screen of A Bird Story, showing the protagonist growing up.

Recommended?

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Depends

So, the big question to ask yourself is… is 1 hour of endearing story worth the price of the game (I admit, I got mine during a sale)? I won’t discount the time and effort that went into making it, but this certainly won’t be a game-story for everyone. And it doesn’t look like it’s a requirement for understanding the story of their next game.

However, if you just want to support Freebird, and you enjoyed their previous game, please do! As someone who has dabbled with RPG Maker, it’s neat to see story experiments like this. I hope they continue to do well!

Posted in Gaming, MMORPGs

ESO: Little Nook in Tamriel

I’m a big fan of housing in MMOs, so when I heard that housing was coming to ESO, and that it was fairly attractive and well-done, I decided to check it out. Or, at least, check out the free house I heard you get.

Now, to give you some context, I have exactly two characters in ESO, level 5 and level 6, both rolled before One Tamriel came out, and both still in Khenarthi’s Roost. So my knowledge of the game and its areas are extremely limited.

I chose the higher level of the two, a kitty Templar whom I still have no idea how to develop as a solo player, and logged in. The first thing I got was a pop-up that looked like it was from within the ESO store, but it was hard to tell. It prompted me to “purchase” a free quest, which I assumed was the start of the housing quest.

Long and Winding Road

This was correct. The quest instructed me to meet Canthion, and the hint said he’s located in Auridon. I had no idea where that was… having only a working knowledge of Khenarthi’s Roost. So I hit up some online maps and discovered I could take a boat to the place I needed to go.

I did that, and managed to find the guy. However, the key and the deed to the place were in the hands of someone of lesser esteem, whom I then had to track down. To find out where she fled, I had to “talk” to another ruffian, whom I found hiding out in an underground outlaw refuge in the city.

Law enforcement does know about this little manhole hideout, right?

I bribed the guy and he spilled the info I needed. Seems my target fled to Greenshade. Wherever that is.

So I started following the quest icons. I still think this system is fairly confusing without a mini-map. I’m not a huge fan of spinning around and around to try and make sense of quest markers on my compass. But, I figured it out.

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The path lead me through several very large zones(!), and I started to get a sense of roughly how expansive the world of ESO is. At least, from a newcomer’s point of view.

I ignored all the quest markers and unlocked all the Wayshrines I found. That was a lucky thing, since I didn’t realize until in the end of the quest, how useful Wayshrines actually are. I did have one death, when I stuck my head in what seemed to be a nice city called Haven, but turned out to be not-so-haven.

Anyhow, this quest led me on and on and on, until I finally found some sort of hideout. When I got inside, I quickly noted there were aggroing NPCs there. Bummer. I did my best to avoid fights, especially after the experience in Haven. But when I was pressed to attack, that’s when I realized I hadn’t actually put any points into any of my skills yet. Oops. Fixed that, kinda.

Eventually, I survived to locate my target and was given the option to kill her and take what I wanted or let her live, by which she’d peacefully give me what I was looking for. Of course, I let her live, since I wasn’t sure if I’d survive the fight! 😀

All that was left to do was get out of that place, which I did in one piece, and return the stuff to the guy who was several zones away. Ugh. Thankfully, I then realized that Wayshrines offer fast travel for free, and utilized this to complete the quest.

Finally!

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Or… not.

Really? 

Free “House”

Alright. So I had to go find furniture for this house. I’m not a part of any guild, and had never crafted a thing in the game, so naturally, I had to find the housing merchant. Which… wasn’t located anywhere in the town I was in.

Once more, I followed the quest markers, which took me to another city. Seems I’d forgotten to open the Wayshrine there for fast travel earlier. Ah, well.

The housing merchant really didn’t have much of a selection. Not that I had much gold to spend. I picked up a rough little stool and headed back, eager to finally see my new abode.

This pleased my quest giver, and the housing was mine!

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That’s when I discovered the place was a little room in a tavern. Alright. That’s fine…

But, by little, I mean… very little!

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Even my character was a bit surprised.

So, I’m not going to knock it or anything, because the windows are nice and all, but the size of this place makes the starter inn room in EQ2 look like a mansion. Granted, you don’t have to pay upkeep and all, but still. Couldn’t they afford to give you a little bit more space? There’s hardly room for much more than a bed. …If the merchant had a bed for sale.

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At least they gave me a free candle, right?

Housing Features

I placed the stool in my room, taking note of the placement system. It seems pretty in-depth in the way you can rotate and move items. This is good, a lot better than some hook system.

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It also looks like there’s a full permissions system in place already.

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Not to mention, there was a direct window to purchasing furniture from the cash shop. Wink wink, nudge nudge. 

From what I’m reading in comments and feedback around the net, it seems crafting housing items requires a bucket-load of materials to the point it’s just silly. So, while crafting is an option, it’s pretty obvious that ESO would prefer you to spend Crowns in their shop.

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Funny how there’s a much, MUCH wider selection here.

I will hand it to the team, though, I could sit on the stool I put in my house. You might think that should be a given, but in some games, that’s just not so.

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I also like how you can travel to each house and run around in it before choosing to drop cash on it. That’s a nice preview system.

Now, for folks who have a stash of gold and Crowns, I can see this being a nice housing system. It seems functional enough. Getting a tiny, but free, room to mess around with is a nice gesture to us F2P folks, too. So, I can’t really complain. It was just quite the adventure for a little level 6 (now 7) Templar who had never traveled so far before!

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It’s somewhat limited in other ways, too.

Anyone else have any experiences with the new housing system in ESO?