Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 2021 Has Begun!

I’m not going to make this a super long post because I’m participating in Blaugust on my Spot of Mummery blog and I’m talking about it much more there! However, I wanted to announce here that the event has begun, and if you’ve been on the fence about joining, it’s not too late!

Hop on over to the Main Info Page for the event, and check out this post for a List of Participants this year. Also, watch the #Blaugust2021 hashtag on social media sites to see posts there, too!

I’m wishing all the blogosphere the best of luck for this year’s event! I’ve got a whole line-up of blogging tips, thoughts and experiences to post about, so I hope you tune in on my other blog or follow on the Spot of Mummery Twitter!

I still have things to talk about here, too. No worries! I’ve gotten kinda use to juggling things on two different blogs now days.

Keep writing!

Posted in Sims 4

Sims 4: The Time I Failed at Sims

A while back, I expressed my disappointment with how the Sims Cottage Living pack would not contain horses. While I’m still disappointed in this (despite the devs answering why), that didn’t stop me from picking up the pack last weekend.

I’d been hearing a lot of very positive things about the pack, including how challenging it can be to use the Simple Living challenge trait. So, having the itch to try something new, I bought it and spent most of the weekend playing it.

This is the first time in all these years playing Sims that I felt like I just completely failed the game.

I’ve been Simming since The Sims 1. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve had a Sim die to something beyond my control. A few of those were thanks to guinea pig bites in The Sims 1, before I realized what was happening and why people were getting sick.

I’ve always been the kind to make sure fire detectors were set in a Sim house. But for some reason, I completely overlooked that. Maybe because for a long time, Sims 4 didn’t have a fire department that responded to house fires like other Sims – not until the May 2020 update!

Anyhow, I found a cheap broken down cottage on the Sims exchange and picked a random Sim to play this pack. This turned out to be an elderly fellow named Lucas. I’d had some interaction with Lucas before with other Sims, it seems. And I recall him being a fun and good-natured fellow.

So I took Lucas to his new home, where he immediately began to make the best of things by splashing around in the nearby pond.

Not that I could blame him. There wasn’t much else to do in the place until I unboarded the door and fixed it up some.

So I was set to explore this new pack’s content on a very small budget – exactly what I hoped to do. I had Lucas buy a coop and some chickens, which he took proper care of every day, earning new eggs and hatchlings over time.

When he had enough money, I invested in a llama. He used the wool to work on his cross stitch skills and started making money selling on Plopsy – the Sims version of Etsy. I also had him work up relationships with all of his animals, including the wild rabbits who were helping him with gardening.

Most of his income he earned busking at the local bar. He had a decent singing skill and he also was already somewhat of a low-level celebrity. So he could go and start his own little one-man concert and bring in enough to get by on the tips.

Luca was living a lovely, simple, pastoral life. Even if he was mostly broke and just managing to make his bills. That was the fun thing about it.

But then, tragedy struck.

Tragic Tale of Lucas

It was a stormy afternoon. But the llama needed feeding, cleaning and shearing. So I sent Lucas out into the storm to do his daily caretaking. Standing right next to the llama, he got struck by lightning.

That was crummy, but nothing I couldn’t come back from. He was a little dazed, but I had him finish up and send the llama back into the barn for safety from the storm. Then, I sent Lucas in to get cleaned up.

Luca was hungry after that, so he went to cook something to eat. I didn’t think much about it. But likely, his dazed state could have led to the fire that took his life.

A fire started and he instantly caught flame. Because this was a fixer-upper cottage, I never thought to install a smoke detector. Lucas was the only one in his family. All these things led to me being able to do nothing but watch Lucas burn to death.

When the grim reaper showed up – he now has a snazzy new tablet – and took poor Lucas away, I was even rewarded with a Sims 4 game over screen. More like a pop-up. I’d never experienced this before and found it all curious.

I could have exited and rolled back to an earlier save then took more care to see that Lucas didn’t befall such tragedy. Instead, I decided to play through it – now the Cottage was haunted!

Haunted Cottage Life

I did a quick search across random single Sims and found Ryder Goth. Thinking it was ironic that a Goth would be the next to move into this tragic cottage, I did so without looking at any Sims details.

Ryder is not too thrilled by the scene that welcomes him. An urn on the floor and several pieces of furniture that need to be replaced due to fire.

It’s only when I start to play him a bit, getting the place cleaned up, that I discover Ryder is a vampire Sim. I would have likely not have chosen him if I’d known that – I’d rather have played this content without the vampire content overlapping.

But it was what it was. I decided to roll with it and see if I could help a ghost and vampire friendship blossom.

I discovered that somehow, Ryder had come with the trait that allowed him to walk in sunlight unharmed. I’m not sure how that happened, but seeing that was a trait I usually went for early for any vampire I played, it helped out significantly.

I picked up with Ryder where I left off with Lucas. Ryder now had to start all over making connections with the animals around the cottage and learn to garden. He actually adjusted to cottage life quite well, to be honest.

In the meantime, the ghost of Lucas would appear from time to time in the night. Because he died to a cooking fire, it seems his ghost is stuck doing nothing but cooking food over and over. Especially white cakes, which he leaves sitting around the counters if he manages to finish them.

The process of cooking gets him riled up and angry. When his spirit turns red, he then starts to engage in all sorts of more violent activity such as knocking over trash cans and possessing items in the house to break them.

At first, it’s hard for Ryder to befriend Lucas. This is because Lucas was a bit of a celebrity in life. The way celebrity levels work makes it almost impossible for a Sims who is also not some sort of celebrity to introduce themselves successfully.

So, I had Ryder break into the Fame system just a little bit. A few posts to Simstagram bolstered his following, and that seems to have been enough to finally let him introduce himself to Lucas.

Now they are well on their way to becoming friends.

Since then, Lucas has been a little more helpful around the house whenever he appears. He even helps the crops to grow, taking care of gardening just like he did in his living years.

In the meantime, Ryder has found a nice girl to settle down with. They got married and well… this is kinda where I left their story for now.

I need to figure out what I want to do with this household as having all this influx of cash is going against what I was aiming for when I wanted a simple living challenge.

Also, I’m considering reversing Ryder’s vampire curse. On one hand, it makes things super easy since he really doesn’t have as many Sims needs – he can stay up all night and all day without needing to rest if he doesn’t use up any of his vampiric energy.

And on the other hand, if Ryder is going to further the Goth legacy with a family, I’d really rather his kids not be vampires. I don’t have anything against playing vampires in Sims 4 – I even have a vamp family – but I’d rather do it as I choose to do it.

So this is where my Sims fail led me. Certainly not the story I expected when I decided to pick up this pack. But you know what? That’s just fine!

Sims 4: The Haunted Cottage & Mysterious Ryder Goth –}

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: How to Win Fashion Report to Earn MGP in the Gold Saucer

Every week, the Gold Saucer hosts the Fashion Report mini game. With this, you can earn up to 60,000 MGP (90,000 MGP during a Make it Rain event), for very little time and effort invested.

Here’s how to get the big payout each week! Keep in mind, the glamour required changes every week – some weeks are easier than others.

Unlocking Fashion Report

First, unlock Fashion Report by taking a quest from Lewena in the Gold Saucer (X:4.8 Y:6.1). The quest name is Passion for Fashion.

This will lead you to Masked Rose. This NPC is the judge of the Fashion Report every week. He’s located in the Gold Saucer at (X: 7.2 Y:7.4). Easiest way to find him is to just warp to Wonder Square East and jump off the balcony to the ground floor. He’s right under the aethernet crystal.

Playing Fashion Report

Every Tuesday, the Fashion Report resets, giving you a hint about what the game will require when judging starts on Friday.

It look something like this (changes every week).

You can try to figure it out on your own if you want, but really, the easiest thing to do is just wait until Friday. You can find the quick answers to the Fashion Report almost every week thanks to dedicated members of the FFXIV community.

On Friday, check the FFXIV Reddit (this links directly to the “Fashion Report” search on the FFXIV Reddit) for the super useful Fashion Report Full Details post created by Kaiyoko. You can also find these posted on her Twitter account here.

Within the post, you’ll find an image such as this:

This gives you all the information you need about the items that are relevant to the Fashion Report. However, the most important box here is the one marked with the heart: Easy 80pts.

In order to earn the highest MGP payout for Fashion Report, you need to score at least 80 points. This box tells you what items you need to be wearing and what color you need to dye them in order to get 80 points.

For example, to earn 80 points from the week above you must wear:

  • Any hat that you can dye, and dye it Gobbiebag Brown
  • Any chest piece that you can dye, and dye it Soot Black
  • Sargeant’s Mitts from any Grand Company

Keep in mind that you must be wearing something in every gear slot to earn the 80. If you have any empty slots, you’ll lose points. So whatever your current gear is right now, that’s fine. Just switch out the slots the Easy 80 box tells you.

If you want to shoot for 100 points, you can. This doesn’t give you more MGP than 80 points, but it will give you an achievement and a title.

Once you have your glamour ready, talk to Masked Rose and he’ll judge you. Don’t worry if it looks less than glamorous… the outfits usually do look a little odd. As long as you’re wearing everything you need, you should get MGP rolling in each week!

Again, some weeks are harder than others. If the Easy 80 doesn’t look so easy, see if there’s something you can switch out from glamour you’ve collected from the other boxes on the Full Details image. You don’t only have to use Easy 80 box – that’s just what’s the cheapest and easiest to get each week.

Have fun at the Gold Saucer!

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: A BLU Weekend

This was certainly not what I’d expected to be doing this weekend. But I’m very glad that I did!

It was somewhat embarrassing to post Ben’s FFXIV card to show that I’ve leveled all my jobs to 80 (with no skips!)… and Blue Mage is sitting there all alone at level 1.

Poor lonely BLU

One of my goals was to level BLU to 70 before Endwalker, which is the max level you can be at this point and time. I didn’t think that it was really going to happen, however.

While BLU is touted a solo job, most of the spells you need to capture require you to go into group instances. I figured no one was out there leveling BLU anymore – that anyone who was interested in it had already captured what they wanted. That ship has already sailed.

Maybe I was wrong.

Most of this is due to in huge part to a member of the FC – Magris – who is probably the most motivated and knowledgeable BLU player that I know. I was talking to Mag, who commented on how many level 80s I had, and mentioned that I was sad that BLU wasn’t leveled as well. And that started this weekend’s adventure.

Mag was more than happy to power level my baby BLU – I went from level 1 to level 62 in the space of a Saturday afternoon. From there, we went and capped some important dungeon skills such as Mimicry and Ram’s Voice.

To take on Cutter’s Cry for Ram’s Voice and Dragon’s Voice, we set up a party finder. I was dubious that anyone would be running for those skills, but to my surprise, we ended up filling the party after a short wait. One BLU was a skilled player, just there to help out (thank you!) while the other BLU was in the same boat as I and needed the skills. This was the first time I’ve done a BLU party finder – this would have been much more difficult without the skilled BLUs helping us through!

Our BLU party in Cutter’s Cry

After that, Mag started taking me through the various ARR primals to earn their skills. The only two that we didn’t manage to cap were the two that required EX – Shiva and Garuda. Aside from that, I came away from this with all the rest of the primal skills, which have proven to be very useful in the long run.

Mog Dancing!

On Sunday, I focused on leveling by soloing overworld critters, and got my BLU to 70!

I then went and took on Dirty Rotten Azulmagia, which you need to complete the level 50 job quest. I remember this being a struggle back in the day, and even wrote about the experience here.

I took me two tries this time, mostly because I was dumb the first time and didn’t realize Ravana’s skill was considered a magical attack and not physical (hey, those are swords!). But once I got that sorted, I finished him pretty easily the second time. I wish I’d taken a screenshot of the win because I had so many bonuses – even the one that noted that I didn’t take any damage at all during the entire fight!

So either I’ve gotten better at this or the levels and gear have really helped. I guess I’ll find out when I go to try the level 60 fight, which I need to do this afternoon to progress further.

I am interested in picking up some of the rewards you can get from Allied Seals from the BLU vendor. I’m also very curious about the level 70 gear and what it looks like.

Anyhow, I have a LOOOONG way to go when it comes to capping skills on BLU, but just leveling it to 70 was beyond my expectations going into this weekend. Oh, and my FFXIV character card looks so much better without that sad little level 1!

Also, this was the first major project-type goal I’ve set out to do on this character since I’ve changed my Main to be Ben. I know it’s odd that I’m still not used to Ben being my main, but I’m not. I haven’t spent a whole lot of time, aside from gathering for relic tools, doing things on Ben since the switch.

I caught myself thinking how spiffy he looked in his BLU getup and how cool some of the spells looked when he cast them. This is very good progress!

I know it’s going to take until Endwalker before I really settle in with Ben as my main, though. I need to go through major MSQ with him interacting and being in the cutscenes. For some reason, that helps me connect with my characters more strongly.

Anyhow, still a lot to do before the expansion drops, but at least I can check “Leveling BLU to 70” off the list!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 2021 – Festival of Blogging – Cometh!

To see more information about Blaugust, check out Bel’s post here!

Back when this blog was just an itty bitty side project, the first thing I ever did was participate in a Blaugust event. While I’d participated in this event long before it was adopted under the “Blaugust” name, that year, it was a great way for me to jump-start this new blog with content and connections. As you can see, it eventually became my main gaming blog in the end.

Blaugust continues to be a great way for any blogger to dip their toe into the blogging world with the support of the blogging community behind them. If you:

  • Have a new blog
  • Have thought of starting a blog
  • Haven’t blogged in a while, but want to get back into it
  • Are a blogger who wants to write content and network more…

This is a great way to make connections, ask questions of blogging Mentors, and flex your blogging fingers.

While 2020 was rough for me, and I ended up sitting the events out last year, I plan on going full force this year. I’ve been trying to build up and organize my FFXIV sideblog – Spot of Mummery -this year, so that’s where my focus is going to be.

I also act as a Mentor for Blaugust in the official Discord channel, and I’m always happy to offer thoughts, feedback or suggestions if you need them! Don’t be shy to ask questions. That’s what Mentors are here for!

If you’re interested in joining us, fill out this quickie Sign-Up form. Below, you’ll find the official prompt calendar – though you’re quite welcome to post whatever your heart desires any time during this month.

Hope to see you there!

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: My Alt Characters and Why I Play Them

See that image above? Every character except for the Elezen and the Hyur to the very left belongs to me. These are many of my FFXIV alts… but not all of them.

FFXIV is a game in which alts don’t need to exist. You can do and be everything on one character (and my main is maxed out in everything except Blue Mage). In fact, there’s even a lower priced subscription for people who only roll one character per server.

I’ve chosen to pay the higher price sub for the past 8 years in FFXIV. I choose to have alts. I choose to upkeep these alts, and at this point, am currently running my 5th character through Shadowbringers.

Why would I do that?

Some of it is just the nature of how I play MMOs, especially being a creative person. Some of it is just because in every other MMO, I’ve made numerous alts. That’s just how I play. Some of it is because, to me, the experience feels different depending on the combination of race, glamour and character personality.

So how did all these alts come to be?

My Main

I rolled my first FFXIV character in September 2013, and this has mostly remained “My Main.” The one I collect things on. The one that has all jobs leveled. That sort of thing.

My Main has had a long and troubled past as you can see. FFXIV makes it so easy to change names and fantasia into something different, and that continues to be a sirensong for me.

If I don’t like how a character feels, if I suddenly get the inspiration to do something different with them, or if gameplay is just stale – all it takes is a fantasia (and sometimes a name change) and I’ve repurposed that character to be what inspires me without losing any of the progress I’ve made on them.

Case-in-point my Main.

She started as a weird blue cat named Zuri. She was my first FFXIV character, and coming from GW2 where I had a particular Flame Point Charr that was easy to distinguish from others of her kind, I attempted to make my first character in FFXIV something that was visually unique.

Unfortunately, I think I accomplished that a little too much. As time passed and Zuri became the head of a growing FC, I decided I wanted a more serious character. I also decided that I wanted to use my net name. So she became an Elezen named Aywren.

But then! I decided that I missed my Miqo’te! So back to cat she went. In the meantime, I actually rolled another Zuri Nimat (for a different server and FC) who I changed to AuRa when the race was still new – put a pin on this idea for later.

In Shadowbringers, I got burned out on cat girls and cat boys. I decided to go back to Elezen.

And then, a few months later, I was feeling demotivated to do anything on my Main… and finally decided to toss the “Awyren” character out the window all together and turned my main into one of my story characters, Benjamin. I’m still getting used to this change, but I do believe it’s going to stick.

Let’s hope so, at least.

TsuYa Tai

I rolled my first alt in October-ish of 2013 when Syn first began to play. My Main was already halfway through ARR content, and I wanted a character to play alongside of hers from the start. There was no New Game+ back in the day, so my only option was to roll another character.

There was a point in Heavensward (when I was really put out with Bard changes) that Tai became my Main for the expansion. But when Bard was improved and Red Mage came out, I switched back to my Main as my main. (Does that make sense?)

Since then, I’ve kept Tai in relevant content – he’s even cleared up to Factory in Alliance Raids (for the glamour). He’s been a Dragoon from the start, but come Endwalker, he’s going Reaper. He’s always been a character with a scythe, so this is going to be a new start for him!

Zuri Nimat

But wait, wasn’t “Zuri Nimat” the name of my main? It was until it wasn’t.

Remember how I told you that I’d rolled an AuRa – which was a new race at that time – and she eventually became my new Zuri Nimat. Well, this AuRa still exists and persists. In fact, she’s the character I’m running through Shadowbringers right now.

Zuri’s become one of the cast of the Spot of Mummery story that I write. You’ll see that a lot of my alts are based around this story going forward.

She started as a Bard, but since I had way too many Bards on my roster, I switched her to Dancer main when that job was added to the game.

Amon D’Syrcus

This is my troublemaker right here – the “RP alt” who often threatens my Main for main slot due to how dang much I play Amon.

Back in 2017-2018, I was feeling restless in FFXIV. I needed a creative outlet. I wanted to try my hand at storywriting and story-RP. After several failed attempts at writing stories and sorting through my alts for a character that would be my break-out, I settled on Amon for a number of reasons.

If you’ve run the Syrcus Tower raid, you’ve beat up my RP character before (no hard feelings). Probably several times. He’s a (smaller) cloned form of the raid boss Amon, and I’ve had a ball writing for this crazy Allagan Bard.

His stories and adventures are told at my creative/story FFXIV blog – Spot of Mummery.

And because I needed a cast of characters for that story and to take screenshots with, I started to… roll more alts!

Amon currently mains Bard but also does Red Mage and White Mage!

Koh Rabntah

Koh is also an NPC in the game who stands out in Mor Dhona – the one that’s possessed by the Allagan spirit of Noah. She used to be much more relevant back in the day since she gave the quest to run the Crystal Tower trio for what used to be important drops each week.

Now days, I’m not sure too many people remember her story. Her situation with the Allagan possession has not been brought up again. I thought it was an interesting predicament, and since Amon is all about Allagan lore, I brought Koh/Noah on board as a member of Spot of Mummery.

I’m currently leveling her Scholar to see if I like shield healers – I’m hoping to turn her Sage once the expansion drops.

Mocho Mayucho

Mocho is another member of the Spot of Mummery cast. I wanted to include a Lalafell and I needed a tank for their rag-tag group. So, the idea of an older Lalafell (who is Echoblessed) who also has dreams of becoming a Paladin was born.

He’s the one alt that I haven’t kept relevant on content – he’s still just a level 50 Paladin sitting at the end of 2.0 MSQ. Not sure what I’m going to do with him, but seeing he’s one of my few Lalafell, I’m keeping him around.

Ajir Moks (Kha)

I needed a character foil for Amon in Spot of Mummery, so I rolled Ajir. He’s a rough-around-the-edges AuRa who used to main Samurai. I think he’s going Reaper come the expansion, however.

I originally wrote him out of the story after the first story arc because I wasn’t quite sure where his development was going at the time. I have ideas for him now, though, and I hope to introduce him back into Spot of Mummery pretty soon!

Ajir will make an awesome Reaper.

Tad Kouris

Tad was a character that wasn’t created for Spot of Mummery. In fact, he was an accidental character that appeared during some RP writing sessions between myself and Syn. Something about his personality – and the fact that he’s Amon’s younger cousin – hooked me, so I repurposed a character in FFXIV to make Tad a thing.

I’m glad I did because I adore him!

He’s currently a Machinist with a love of red pandas. He’s also my Allagan WoL from the 4th Age, which is a fun bit of stories that I’ve dabbled with on the side. I’m not sure where those stories are going, but I’d love to continue to develop them in the future.

The Everschade Crew

Above are my characters on the Mateus server. On Coeurl, I have a whole nother FC that contains a number of alt characters! In fact, I’ve gone through and deleted many of these alts lately because it’s just getting to be all too crazy!

I won’t go into details on who is who too much because some of these will be repurposed later, I have a feeling.

  • Iva Everschade – Originally rolled to see what Amon’s mom would look like. I might turn her into a Viera character come Endwalker. Haven’t decided.
  • Fljot Radljost – My female Viera character that I haven’t done much with. I’m changing her to male Viera come Endwalker with several ideas for his future.
  • Meecece Meece – She’s been an unused character for so long, originally my attempt at a cute Lalafell. I’ve not done much with her, but I’m holding on to her progress for female Hrothgar if I find their design to my liking.
  • Noah Atlin – Spot of Mummery possible cast member – if I were to ever separate Koh and Noah. We’ll see if that ever happens.
  • Sebastian Kitasch – A Hrothgar I created in honor of my late flame point cat, Sebastian. He’s a Fisher main with a Bard battle job. I’d like to work on progressing him more some day.

Aside from these, I have a few other alts floating around, but are more situational. Some just exist but I’ve not logged into in forever.

Overall, these are my FFXIV characters and the reasons why I created them and continue to play them. I know, I’m crazy. But not being a raider or really a dungeon runner, I get my joy through creative outlets in the game. Alts are just a part of that.

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: When WoW Streamers Playing FFXIV Inspire!

As of late, the FFXIV community has seen a influx of players trying the game (thanks to the FREE TRIAL that includes the entirety of A Realm Reborn AND the award-winning Heavensward expansion up to level 60 with no restrictions on playtime…) specifically, WoW players.

WoW folks who are fed up with the state of their game are moving to FFXIV and becoming part of Eorzea, or are simply curious and trying it out to see what FFXIV has to offer. This has included some big names in streaming and YouTube. You know the ones I’m talking about.

Not really being a WoW player (I have a Panda Monk I got up to level 48 once, but that’s it), I’d never heard of these folks before. But when word got out that Asmongold was some kind of community tipping point for a WoW streamer trying FFXIV, I got on board for the ride just out of my own curiosity.

There has been some concern on the FFXIV front that the warm and welcoming community is going to be infiltrated by the terrible toxicity of the WoW mentality as these folks come in to play “Our Game.” But so far, I’ve seen quite the opposite happening.

In fact, the video series by Medieval Marty has been about as wholesome as you can get. I highly suggest watching his series as he explores FFXIV and finds a new home.

He’s just one of many that you can find on YouTube if you search. I haven’t had time to watch them all, but there are some really good experiences shared out there!

It’s fascinating for me to watch someone not new to MMOs, but completely new to FFXIV, begin to learn about the world and all the elements that make it special. When they start to vibe with the story (sometimes even if they claimed they don’t play MMOs for story) and become attached to characters, I see a bit of myself in them.

And that’s nothing short of inspiring.

Of course, I can’t write about this topic without mentioning Asmongold. While I don’t agree with everything he does, and I don’t always appreciate the language he uses, Asmon has as of this past weekend (to the surprise of some FFXIV vets) stuck it out through ARR MSQ and made it to level 50+. Not only that, but he’s gone through the story (often reading much of it to his viewers), responded to that story on an emotional level, introduced Eorzea to a group of people who had likely never seen it before, and has made it fun.

For all the people cracking down on ARR story, Asmon seemed to have a really good time. He was able to communicate that, share the experience, and likely inspire others to give FFXIV a try, too. He also had some interesting thoughts on story and community that I thought were insightful.

Infectious Inspiration

The joy of discovery isn’t lost upon me in all of this. Coming this September, I will have been subscribed to FFXIV since 2013 with no breaks. There was some time in the first year where I set the game down a little bit (specifically around level 50, until roulettes made getting tomestones easier), but for the most part, I’ve played very consistently all this time.

I’m a casual FFXIV player overall. While I may log in just about every night, it might not be for long stretches, or it’s just to run one thing and then do some crafting. But that’s how I’ve maintained playing the same MMO for as long as I have.

This new wave of WoW to FFXIV folks, even the ones just trying it out and sharing their experiences, has been quite an inspiration to me as a long-time player. Not only am I going back to see parts of the story I’d forgotten about (since I skip through most MSQ on my 6th time), but I get to see someone else enjoying and exploring the same things that I did 8 years ago.

This has actually motivated me to pick up FFXIV and push through some things I want to do before Endwalker comes out. Namely, I have one more character who needs to finish Shadowbringers.

For all of Asmon’s language, I really do like his “Let’s Do It!” mentality when he approaches quests. Even the cumbersome ones.

I’ve been trying to use that motivational thought for my own approach – the 5th time through Shadowbringers. As much as I love the expansion, and I appreciate that Trusts are there to get me through most of the dungeons, it’s still difficult to repeat it for a 5th time. But I’ve been finding the means to get it done and I’m glad to be doing it.

Personally, I’m excited to see FFXIV getting all this attention from new folks – no matter if they come from WoW or from anywhere else. I feel like the our community can welcome them and will adjust to the influx of gaming culture as it always has.

The future seems bright. I’m excited to see new people joining the game and bringing other new people to our worlds. Thank you for sharing your experiences and providing inspiration to this long-time player – I hope you all continue to have a good time in Eorzea!

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Endwalker Benchmark Cometh!

-Click to download the Benchmark program here!-

Friday’s Live Letter opened up with a video that I almost instantly knew was the Benchmark for Endwalker. Just like the expansions before it, the Benchmark gives little hints of what’s to come while testing your system’s ability to handle the load.

See the trailer for it here:

The translations from the FFXIV Discord note that:

We changed one thing in this Benchmark, so far we put out the score as a number. The number required to get “Extremely High” is higher now. What was 7000 points before is 15k now. I am not exactly sure if that was the “Extremely High” grade. Yes, you get the male Viera character creator as part of the benchmark.

-Yoshi P

So be ready to jump into the character creator and explore making those shorter-than-the-female male Viera!

Posted in FFXIV, MMORPGs

MMO & Story: So, Story Does Matter!

Not too long ago, I ran across a post that I wrote six years ago – MMOs & Story: Accepting Mediocrity – and re-read it.

At the time of writing, I was frustrated with the poor story logic and plot-points of GW2 writing. The jist of my post was: If gamers don’t stand up and demand better writing from their games, all we’ll ever get is mediocrity in terms of MMO story.

It was a post I thought would get an agreeable response. I was surprised, and still am, at how much push-back it actually got, though!

A few people agreed that better story would be nice. However, some folks told me they didn’t play an MMO expecting a good story, so it didn’t matter if they didn’t get one. Other folks told me story was a moot point because they’d rather make up their own story rather than have the game force a narrative on their character (a very oldskool sandbox idealism that I understand and respect).

Story = something single player games should do well. Not required in an MMO.

I was taken aback in re-reading this. Especially since… well… I feel like the MMO world lately has started to prove that a good story really is important to the foundations of the gaming worlds we inhabit.

Case and point: FFXIV Shadowbringers. FFXIV has earned accolades for having a powerful and moving story, and the game is growing in popularity now that word is really getting out that hey… a story-driven MMO can be done right and is a fantastic experience!

Not only is Shadowbringers held up as an amazingly written MMO expansion, but as one of the best-written Final Fantasy games in the franchise.

During PAX West two years ago, the main scenario writer for Shadowbringers, Natsuko Ishikawa, was given a standing ovation by the crowd for her work on the expansion. She’ll be writing the main scenario for FFXIV upcoming expansion, Endwalker, just for the record. (Woot!)

See the Twitch Clip for this moment here.

In the meantime, Syn and I have long-since quit GW2 years ago. We did try come back for a while during Path of Fire. While I enjoyed the mounts (which was what drew me back), the frustrating, drawn-out and player-battering gameplay during big fight instances was a huge turn off.

Add to that the story spitting on the grave of GW1 lore elements, a story so illogical neither of us could get behind it, and the cash shop becoming the end-all-be-all… we parted ways with Anet. This was a developer who I adored all through GW1 development. It was a sad thing for me, but I accepted Anet is not the same developer as I once supported.

Poor story was a big part of the reason for our departure. I’ve heard bits and pieces of where the story went after PoF and I’m honestly glad I didn’t hang in there. None of it honored the original lore of Tyria and I’m almost cringing in worry to see what they’re going to do to my beloved Cantha. (Please leave Kunnavang alone!)

It seems like the GW2 community also agrees that though the story isn’t absolutely rock-bottom terrible, it’s not great either. It apparently has good moments, but it sounds overall like a game striving to put story up front that’s only delivering mediocrity in the end.

In the meantime, it sounds like World of Warcraft players are starting to stand up against poor storytelling in Azeroth. I know very little about WoW story other than players who care about story haven’t been pleased with it for a good long while. Now, when FFXIV is starting to look like a real contender, the players are asking for something better from WoW.

While I’m not happy that these games have poor story that is – in the words of this WoW player – “making the game less fun to play,” I’m happy to see people demanding a better story experience from MMO games.

I’m writing this as an individual who has made technical writing their profession. I’m a writer. Good story isn’t easy – I get it. However, I also know what expectations my own work requires for something I’ve written to be of releasable quality.

Six years ago, in that post I wrote, I gave the GW2 team a real hard side-eye wondering – where’s their writing QA? Where’s the editors? Where’s the people who are supposed to check the writing and story flow and give feedback on this kind of thing?

Who calls the shots on the dev team when it comes to story?

I know for certain that there’s a dedicated writer team for FFXIV. And even then, Yoshi-P himself walks through the story and the completed product to provide QA feedback and institute changes when things aren’t up to his standards. When the story is that important to the game producer – that has made all the difference.

Does that mean I think FFXIV story can do no wrong? Oh, heck no.

I’ve got a list of story-things I don’t agree with in post-Shadowbringers patches. But I also can overlook small irritations in FFXIV because the overall story experience is great, and I know the things I don’t care for are often due to my personal preferences. Heck, some people like the things I don’t like – would you look at that!

Anyhow, the takeaway is… I think we’re starting to see how good story provides a better overall gaming experience for MMO players. As the MMO genre continues to evolve, players are starting to demand that MMOs that claim to contain story actually focus on making good story

No more of this just tossing out a half-baked experience. Because when story is done right in an MMO, you can definitely see the difference.

If there’s one thing I’m proud of with FFXIV it’s that they didn’t settle on story mediocrity. FFXIV went above and beyond, embracing the concept of being a story-driven game – even in the face of folks who claim story is not important in an MMO. That has not only paid off for S/E, but it’s creating new expectations for MMO players as a whole while putting pressure for other games to step up their writing, as well.

I couldn’t be happier about this shift. I wish for a great story experience for all MMO worlds!

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Announcing Super Dungeon Friends Discord

Have you heard of the critically acclaimed MMORPG, Final Fantasy XIV, with a free trial and a brand new Discord community that’s here to help you find a no-stress group of folks to play those dungeons and instances with?

Well, Bel at Tales of the Aggronaut has you covered – introducing Super Dungeon Friends!

If you’re like me (and a number of folks in this Discord), there’s lots of content you want to see and do, or jobs you want to try in FFXIV, but grouping with PUGs can bring on the anxiety. This is a cross data-center, world-wide Discord built to help you connect with other players and make that experience so much better.

There’s also places to ask for advice, even about non-combat stuff, or just chill and chat.

With Endwalker rolling up on us in a few months, now’s a great time to catch up on all the content you want to do before the expansion drops. So if this Discord interests you, read up on it at the link above, or join with the link below. You can find me there doing my best as a mentor.

Join the Super Dungeon Friends Discord!