I know that a ton of people have picked up Animal Crossing: New Horizons lately, myself being one of them. I’ve played AC through out the years, ever since the original came out on the Game Cube in 2005. So I’m no stranger to the ways of Nook.
But what makes this release so different is the timeliness of it all. Right now, we can use more smiles, a place to chill, and a way to connect with people when it can’t be done IRL. AC:NH has been a way to do that.
My sister and I (pictured above) both preordered the digital game with the intention of playing together before all the work at home started for me. I got the word that we’ll be out of the office until the end of April now. This doesn’t bother me a whole lot as I’m usually a homebody. But I have to admit that it’s nice to have a social outlet.
The two of us hook up over Discord, sometimes including other friends and family, and we explore our islands and all the fun things Animal Crossing offers together, yet separately. Sometimes we visit, but a lot of our time is spent doing our own thing while just being on the other end of voice chat to talk about what changes have happened and what we’ve learned.
Oh, and those fun trips to islands of never-ending spawns of tarantulas. I’ve been there twice now. They’ve helped pay off house loans quite a bit.
I haven’t done anything super fancy with my island, Sojourn, yet. I’ve mostly been moving through the “story” and racking up the Nook Miles. Unlocking things and paying for larger house upgrades. Seeing who moves in, and learning to try to like the personalities, even if none of them are Kid Cat yet.
I’ve never been one to plan out my towns in the past, and don’t really have an idea for what I want to do with my island. I’ve seen a lot of very clever and creative use of space visiting the AC Reddit, so I may come up with something eventually.
The game is everything I loved in older Animal Crossing games, merged with a bit of survival-game crafting and the ability to decorate outside like never before. While the graphics aren’t hyper-realistic (this is AC…) there’s been many times the serene beauty of my island has struck me, especially as the sun gradually sets over the ocean.
This is pretty much all I could have wanted in an AC game, and I’m having a blast!
I have been terribly out of the loop in the blogosphere lately, mostly because work (despite working from home) has super ramped up for me lately. When you write for work, and you’re putting all your energies into that, it’s not as easy to scrape off the left-over energy to write for fun.
That has effected my blogging, sadly, and my creative writing lately. I know this won’t last forever, but for the foreseeable future, I’ve only been posting when I find a topic that I can handle in a smaller scope.
But for those creative souls who have a lot more time on their hands lately, there’s a stirring within the blogosphere. Similar to Blaugust (blogging in August), I’d like to introduce Blapril (blogging in April).
How To Get Involved
Check out the official info post here to sign up for the event. Also, take a gander at the overview of the goals, the how-tos, a suggested schedule, and other fun things there.
If you want to jump in and meet other bloggers, bounce ideas for posts, ask questions, or just be social, you can also join the Blaugust Discord.
In the past, I’ve served as a mentor during Blaugust, and I’ve done my best to drop some informational posts during last year’s event. I’m afraid I can’t commit to it this time around – this one sprang up out of the blue (understandably) to encourage folks who are stuck at home to dust off the blog and find a helpful outlet during these times.
I think it’s a great idea, but as I noted, I’m way in over my head with work right now. I just can’t see myself being able to participate in the event in the capacity I’d like to. I’ll be cheering folks on from the sidelines, however, and I encourage anyone who wants to give blogging a try, or has an existing blog, to check this event out!
Though I haven’t talked about my alt, Tai, very often lately, I haven’t forgotten about him. He’s smack dab in the middle of the Shadowbringers MSQ right now, somewhere in the level 76 quests.
In terms of story, this zone was not one of my favorite (the upper-half of the desert) especially since you have to duke it out with Ran’jit yet again in a role play as Thancred. I haven’t failed this fight yet, but I’m always worried that I will.
The reason I’m talking about Tai is that over the weekend, I finally leveled him to 80 on Dragoon (his main). Yes, he’s not done with MSQ and I’ve leveled him to 80. The power of beast tribe quests is strong!
Because I can now craft the facet gear (at least in normal quality), I’ve been piecing together a set of 480 stuff for him. This should put him in a really good spot to finish up the MSQ and push on into the patches after Shadowbringers. It’s been a long time since I’ve had him relevant and caught up on the story — thank you Trusts for making this much easier in Shadowbringers.
I still have far, far too many alts stuck in Stormblood or even further back that I need to move forward. But I wanted to at least finish up one character before I pushed on with another.
I also finished up leveling my bard to 80 on my main over the weekend. It’s the first non-casting DPS I’ve gotten there. This job was already hanging out at level 78 when I finished leveling my white mage, so a few more days of beast tribe quests got that done.
Next up, I’m working on Machinist with the goal of moving to consolidate all of my aiming gear. I really need to be taking Gunbreaker through Trusts to level my final group through the series, but I just haven’t been motivated to run more dungeons. I know it only takes about a month to get the job done, but I’m meh on the idea.
Anyhow, still making progress on things, even though it just takes some time. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to snag the amaro mount before the next expansion comes out or not. But in my defense, they keep adding new jobs to level! XD
Though most of my weekend was spent in Animal Crossing, one thing did happen in FFXIV that I wanted to note.
As I’ve posted before, I was pretty active around the Diadem and in leveling my final crafting jobs on my alt, Amon, during the release of the new phase of the Ishgard restoration. I wasn’t there for an actual event, but I sure did my part through leveling and farming Kupo of Fortune. I even leveled another alt from nothing to 50+ on a couple of crafting jobs while the Diadem drops were still dirt cheap to buy off the marketboard.
I was active, but only at night when I was home from work. I also was active across several different characters, though most active on Amon.
That’s why it surprised me when I got a message in the in-game mail…
So one of the things they added to the Restoration this time around was a ranking and leaderboard system. I hardly paid much attention to it, though I could hear by the chatter in the Diadem that some folks had farmed hours and hours to earn a top spot.
I considered what I did pretty casual. Again, I spread it across characters, and there were some nights I didn’t even go out in the Diadem! But still, somehow, I managed to rank in the top 100! Go figure!
The title is a little… interesting… but it was a pleasant surprise overall!
Most of this weekend was spent hanging out in the Diadem and working on the Ishgard Restoration. As before, leveling crafters is crazy-fast, though leveling gatherers still takes a bit more time.
My major focus was to get my alt’s final three jobs leveled from 70 to 80. Despite the time spent gathering, and being bottlenecked by tiger leather on two jobs (ugh), I was able to do this pretty quickly over the weekend.
This also gave me all sorts of opportunities to play the new Kupo of Fortune. I had a bit of luck here and there, and ended up with more dhalmel whistles than I could use, so I gave some away to FC members.
I also won the Coffer of Kupos, which gives you that spiffy outfit that Amon is wearing above. Along with the new paissa minion, several parasols, lots of bread emotes, and some orchestrion rolls.
These things are currently not too difficult to come by, so the price has severely tanked on the market board. As has the price of all the materials people have been gathering in the Diadem. This makes for some super cheap and fast leveling of crafters.
I got another alt from level 1 to 50 in the space of a few hours – which included some time gathering in the Diadem. I figured out that it was just faster to buy the mats (and at a lower gathering level, Diadem doesn’t give enough scrips to be worth it).
I also spent much time working on earning scrips on Amon so I could get him the new sheep mount.
I still have a bunch of stuff to earn with scrips, so I don’t foresee myself stopping now that Amon has all his crafters leveled. I also have to go back and do much of this on my main, as well.
That doesn’t mean that I’ve been ignoring other things, though. I finished leveling White Mage to 80 on my main this weekend, which means all of my healers are sorted and I could toss out a lot of leveling gear. I also got to Bloodsworn rank with the Stewards — the new gathering beast tribe. I’ll finish that up on Amon today, too.
I was good and finished up all of 5.2 MSQ on Amon, as well. So that puts me even with both of those characters. I just need to continue to progress on my third character – Tai – through Shadowbringers.
I’ve also been working on crafting the 480 gear for Amon, slowly but surely. Right now, that’s bottlenecked by the items you need to buy with tomes. Eventually, I hope to craft gear for Tai once he hits level 80. But that’s a matter of actually getting him there. 🙂
So FFXIV dropped patch 5.21 last night, and since there’s not any real spoilers, I wanted to talk about it today. The main focus of this patch was the next phase of the crafting-focused content – the Ishgard Restoration.
This time, gatherers are included, and can also earn scrips. All of this gathering takes place in the newly revamped and re-released Diadem.
Yeah… that place.
Previously it was open-field content for gatherers and battle classes, sorta a precursor to Eureka in a way. But it was so group-oriented and so densely packed with monsters, once people came, tried it, got the rewards they wanted… it just didn’t stick. Neither time it released.
As for gatherers, they were often not welcome in parties, so you had to pretty much form your own. Either you went in through a party finder or you could use your free company airship (which required FC seals for fuel) to get you there.
Well, fast forward to now. The Diadem was closed down for reconstruction a while back, and now has opened as a paradise for gatherers. There are monsters who wander around, but they don’t attack. In fact, all they’re there for is to act like a really big resource node.
As you gather around the islands, you build up something akin to a limit break. Once you hit a certain point, you can fire off an aether auger and it instantly KOs any monster, rewarding you with a fountain of materials.
There are also special nodes that pop randomly when weather conditions are right.
The one irritation I have with the system is that nodes appear to be randomized. Meaning, if you are trying to focus on leveling a particular crafting job, there’s no promise you’ll get the materials you need for that job even if you’re hitting the right kind of node.
It’s a bit hard to explain… the guide I linked to above says that each type of node (ex. Rocky Outcropping or Lush Vegetation) has several tables to pull from randomly when you go to harvest it.
So, what I really needed last night was some cotton bolls. But Lush Vegitation patches give you 1 in 3 chance of cotton. I got tons of adders and hardly any cotton, which was a bit of a pain.
I suppose that’s where the monsters come in. If you know which monsters drop specifically the materials you’re looking for (also noted in that guide), that’s really your best bet in gathering specific materials.
Each node also provides materials in a variety of levels. So double check that you’re mining for the level of the crafting item you want to make.
When you return to Ishgard, you talk to an NPC to get your materials appraised. This converts materials in stacks of 10 (except for fish – those are 1 per 1) and enables them to be used for crafting or for selling. If you have extras that don’t make up a stack of 10, they just remain unappraised in your inventory.
This also gives you scrips to buy stuff at the Firmament. It was a pretty good chunk of scrips for the time I spent, IMHO. So very much worth doing if grinding crafting for scrips isn’t your thing.
You also earn Skyward points for what you gather. There’s a leaderboard where you can earn titles for being the most active in Skyward gathering. I’m… not too clear on how all that works since it’s not really something I’m too worried about. I doubt with my time restrictions I’ll ever see myself on the leaderboards!
Kupo of Fortune
A new reward system was also added to the crafting section of the reconstruction. As if adding new scrips and scrip rewards wasn’t fun enough!
So when you turn in a level 80 item, or the new expert level 80 items you earn marks towards Kupo of Fortune. I’ve heard the Expert is a much more challenging recipe level and is completely RNG. So even if you’ve got the best gear and melds, you can still fail. Just keep that in mind — good rewards, big risk.
I stuck to doing plain level 80 stuff. Each time you turn in 5 items, you get a stamp on a virtual scratch-off ticket. Once the card is full, you talk to an NPC to try your hand and luck at scratching a spot and getting a reward.
Last night, I won a mog table and one of the new parasols:
You can also win a mount, cosmetics, the Azys Lla orchestrion roll, housing items and lots of other fun stuff. It’s a nice little perk on top of scrips and the ongoing events that already take place in the restoration.
It’s been quite a while coming, but I feel like crafters and gatherers have finally gotten content worthy of their stations. I know I’ll be kept busy by this for a long time. And that’s not thinking that this (might) eventually lead to building a housing ward when all is said and done!
I know that in the scheme of things, I’m way behind on this. But as of last night, all of my crafters on my main are now level 80!
I really should have done this long ago, especially with Ishgard crafting making it so easy to blitz through levels. It’s just a case of me being lazy (and now I’m somewhat paying for it).
I’ve recently decided to put a lot more effort into crafting and gathering for my main. In fact, I picked up a full set of facet gear and plunked down the gil to start melding it up so that I was relevant enough to be able to craft the newest battle gear.
This is actually the first time in the history of playing this game that I’ve been in a place that I could craft the newest stuff. I usually don’t bother with the overmelding, and stick with the scrip gear. But this time around, I really like how the Neo-Ishgardian sets look… and… well… glamour wins all in the end.
So now I need to keep building up my stats so that I can make some of my money back. Part of this was because I’ve been so careless with my scrips in the past, too. I was doing the weekly turn-ins, but using it to level my jobs and blowing the yellow scrips on desynth stuff. I could kick myself now because I should have been using that for materia and melding up a good set of gear.
I’ll get there eventually, and I hope that I’ll be able to maintain gear that makes it possible. The nice thing about being able to craft the 480 gear is that I don’t have to worry about running extra dungeons for tomes on my alts. I can just craft them a set of gear (I don’t care if it’s HQ) and throw it at them so they have the ilvl required for whatever content comes next.
Heck, it’s tempting for me to do it for my main simply because that means I don’t have to run stuff every day. I tell you what… last night’s Dun Scaith for Alliance Roulette almost makes me want to do just that.
In other news… I think I might have some ideas for a backstory to my main. We’ll see. I don’t think I’ll ever RP her, but it would be fun to have a story for her.