Posted in MMORPGs

Sailing on the Sea of Thieves

So the Posse’s newest try-it-out game is Sea of Thieves – which has some fun points, as well as things I don’t really care for (open world PvP). Overall, though, the fun stuff – like sailing around with your crew doing missions – has outweighed the PvP troubles.

My sister was the one who wanted to try the game out. I already had a copy due to it being included on my XBox Game Pass (still loving it), so there wasn’t a purchase needed for me. The others picked it up on Steam, and we found that it does just fine when it comes to cross-platform play. In fact, since Sea of Thieves is connected to a Microsoft account, if I chose to eventually pick it up on Steam, everything I’ve done with my character would carry over. So this is pretty nice!

Your crew can have up to four players – you choose a ship size accordingly – and while you can play solo if you know the game well enough, it’s really meant for a group. Aside from one run-in last night that we had, I feel as if the fact that we have 3 or 4 people together is part of what keeps us fairly safe in the PvP waters. Solo sloops will usually avoid the bigger ships if they can, and I have seen a few sloops high-tailing it out of our area at the sight of us (though we have no interest in ganking anyone).

The environments are lovely and the water simulation is quite good!

We also had a run-in with a crew from Canada on our second night that turned out to be friendly. They even gave us a bunch of pointers when we told them we were new, and helped us get a key for a chest that gave us some nice loot.

The one incident where we did fall to skirmish, the guys on the ship were very eager to sink anyone they saw – we could hear their voice chat the whole time they were attacking us (we use Discord so they couldn’t hear us). Despite that, we’re still extremely new, so while we did take out a couple of them who boarded, in the end they sank us and sent us to the Ferryman.

Ironically, we had absolutely zero loot as we’d just come back to port to turn stuff in and were puzzling over our next quest. They saw me carrying an empty chicken coop back to our ship, and I heard someone exclaim, “They’re carrying good shit!” right before I took a sniper shot that nearly killed me.

They still got the enjoyment of PKing us, though once we started to return the favor, voice chat on their ship turned into, “I’m on our ship alone, they’re coming and I need help, dude!” And then disappointment as they realized all we had was a bunch of cannonballs and no loot worth mentioning. That was a minor comfort. 🙂

The night wasn’t a total waste as our ship respawned at port on a random island. We explored it, earned a number of commendations, and found a shipwreck right along side it that we explored for some gems, which we brought back for a bit of gold. And that’s pretty much how a session goes.

The thing with Sea of Thieves is to always expect a mission to take longer than you’d think. There’s so many random things that can happen when you’re out there, that things are rarely cut and dry, even on an easy starter mission. Our very first night we had a ghost ship attack us and it resulted in a mutual sinking since we were absolutely new to it all. We were close enough to port when our ship sank that I was able to swim out to retrieve our loot and turn it in anyhow. No real loss!

We also had the “pleasure” of having an accidental run-in with one of the world events (we didn’t know what it was at the time) – Captain Flameheart.

We found a random quest that sent us into the fray of ghost ships, and while I felt it was a bad idea (as the one captaining the ship), the rest of the crew wanted me to go for it. It was an interesting event that ended in our death and Flameheart taunting us from afar for the rest of the time the event was live.

Unlike some ship-based MMOs, your ship is not a mainstay in Sea of Thieves. This is something I found interesting. As I said earlier, you choose your ship type when you first log into a session, so the size and make varies depending on your crew.

If your ship sinks, it just respawns somewhere else on the map, though you do lose all the cargo and supplies you found. Helpful mermaids appear in the ocean that will port you to your ship wherever it is, should it be sent far away. And if you ever die, you will return back to your ship from the Ferryman.

You can customize the look of the ship – which I haven’t played with much yet due to the fact I don’t have the gold to do so. But I’m going to assume whomever is the captain can accessorize the ship and it looks that way each time you start a play session.

Missions reward gold and renown with the factions. Those are things that carry over between sessions and that you do not lose upon death. So, to be fair, getting ganked is more a frustration and loss of time than it is a loss of property.

There are also seasons to this game, which we’re too new to understand much about.

For the most part, we’re treating this like an exploration and sailing game. There’s much about it to enjoy – such as the visuals, customization, the sailing and exploration elements, and playing music together!

The Crew in Music Mode

I doubt I’ll ever be super serious about it, and it’s certainly not a game I want to tackle solo – it’s something to play with friends. But it does help scratch the sailing-game itch I get from time to time, which is why I usually volunteer to sail the ship – and if I’m not sailing, I’m navigating.

So I guess we’ll be the friendly crew of pirate explorers whenever it strikes us to sail into the Sea of Thieves.

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Endwalker Delayed & Live Letter Highlights

This title probably comes as a surprise to no one at this point as the Endwalker delay was announced at last night’s Live Letter. But if you haven’t heard the news, now you have!

I admit that I didn’t expect a delay, but I also wasn’t surprised that there was one. Seeing that they were already pushing hard to get everything in place due to Covid throwing off work schedules and everything else that’s going on in these times, a two week delay is really not a bad pushback.

It puts the release at December 3 for early access and December 7 for actual release. Dropping the game right before the Christmas holidays (rather than the week of Thanksgiving) may work out better for a number of people in the end.

For those of us (like myself) who had time off set up to go – I’ll be a little sad that the week I had set aside to play the game (thanks to extra Thanksgiving days off) isn’t going to be. But seeing that poor Yoshi-P was nearly in tears to tell us about the delay, I can’t be mad. He was so worried that we would be disappointed and lose trust in the team, which did not look to be the situation at all based on Twitch chat.

Anyhow, it’s a bummer. But if it makes the game a better and more stable release – especially in the face of the population boom we’ve had lately – I hand it to the team to know what is best for Endwalker.

Live Letter Highlights

We did get a shiny new trailer, however!

A lot of interesting things to see in there.

We also got a bit more information on what they’re doing with various systems in the game, such as big PvP changes, crafting and gathering updates, and the new housing lotteries. Oh, and they said any glamour dresser/plate changes will be looked at probably about 6.1 – but they have heard our cry.

One thing that really caught my interest was the Character Calling Cards (tentative name). Based on descriptions within the Live Letter, these will be customizable profiles that you can create within game for your character. Other players will be able to view your card, and you will be able to unlock new cosmetics and customizations for your card through content in game (not just PVP).

This is so, so, so cool, and will be great for the RP community! Not only that, but it’s another type of reward that players can work towards (decorating your card) that feels like it won’t take all that much effort to continue to build assets for. Or, at least, not the same amount of effort that it does to make, say a piece of 3D armor or a mount.

Other things excited me quite a bit:

  • Being able to Gpose while playing an instrument
  • Spearfishing mini game
  • New female Viera hair (for those who were hoping for it)
  • Achievement UI rework – looks quite nice!
  • And I’m curious about this Immersive Gamepack for 3D sound

Finally, I was quite excited to see the new set of Tomestone gear is based off of Final Fantasy IV designs! Woot! This might be the first time I actually collect several sets of Tomestone gear for glamour purposes.

Sadly, we didn’t get any word on Island Sanctuary. Though Yoshi-P addressed the fact that we were requesting information about it, and said that they would deliver this later.

Also, All Saint’s Wake is pushed back until sometime next year. At that rate, I’m not sure why they don’t just hold it for next Halloween. It’s going to be weird having a spooky event in the middle of March or something. Ah well.

To sum it up – the delay is a bummer, but I’m just as hyped (if not more) for what’s to come! This also gives me more time to finish up all the things I wanted to do before the expansion dropped. Ironically, I just said yesterday that I’d probably not get another character through Shadowbringers, but now that could be a possibility.

NOTE: Make sure you take a good look at all your characters and job levels! Once Endwalker drops, if you are in the middle of leveling, all of your XP for that level will roll back to zero. So, for example, if you are level 50 on an alt, halfway to level 51, you will lose that XP. The best thing to do is just push through that half level to get to the start of 51, and you won’t lose anything.

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Finishing Shadowbringers (Again) and Inferno Jacket!

We’re coming down to the wire in terms of getting things done before Endwalker early access drops – in two weeks! Can you believe it?

Last night, I finished up my latest run through Shadowbringers on Zuri, which was something I was aiming to get done for a while.

This makes the 5th character I’ve progressed through to the end of Shadowbringers. I have a number of other alts who are all in various spots within Shadowbringers as well, but none close enough to be anywhere close to finishing it up.

I also have a couple characters who are paused at the start of Shadowbringers because I want to use Shadowbringers to level Reaper and Sage on them. Given all the other stuff I’ll be doing when the expansion drops, I’m not sure how soon I’ll be able to get to them!

The other thing I’ve been working on finishing up is the Mog Tomes event. This only lasts for two more weeks, so I’m trying to squish everything in that I can. This requires at least two Praetorium runs a night – since I’m doing this on two different characters.

So far, I’ve gotten both the bird and wolf mount for two of my characters. Last night, I got the Inferno Jacket for Amon. He’s a few days ahead of Ben due to lucky Alliance runs that give three extra tomes here or there.

With that out of the way, there’s still five days until the hairstyle and a few days after that for the Bonewicca top. I think I should be able to fit all of that in the timeframe!

Are you working on finishing up loose ends before Endwalker?

Posted in Nintendo Switch

Animal Crossing New Horizons 2.0 Update Comes Early!

I’ve been working on getting my island ready for the 2.0 release – which was supposed to drop on Friday – ever since I heard the 2.0 announcement back before Halloween. I’ve been moving around buildings, fixing up the island, and thinking about how I really need to figure out what to do with some of the spaces I have.

Little did anyone know we’d be seeing the patch drop early. Two days early, in fact. I caught wind of it last night on Twitter, whereupon I went and immediately figured out how to get the download going before I went to bed.

For more information on what all is in the update, spoil yourself here! 🙂

The DLC is still yet to release on Friday, and from what I’m hearing, this will be the last of the large updates or DLC that New Horizons will get. However, I’m also hearing that this update has added possibly over 9000 new items (yes, I did that). It’s going take a while to discover all of that, especially since it doesn’t look like a store expansion is in the cards.

I haven’t been able to explore a whole lot just yet – though I have set it up for Brewster to come to my island.

He seems to like gyroids as much as I do!

I have a lot to do on my island such as rearrange my dedicated farming area. I was lucky enough to get wheat starters today from Leif, and I’ve stashed some pumpkin starters away from Halloween. I’ve got a good idea where on my island I want to plant stuff going forward, too.

I’m not really in a rush to get the DLC just yet (I may even hold off until the holidays – it just depends). It seems like I’m going to have a lot to explore already. I haven’t even made it to Harv’s yet! Nor have I looked into anything but unlocking the cooking recipes. I’m pleased that our ovens actually have functionality now!

What’s got you most excited for 2.0 so far?

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Great Lodestone Redesign – Make a Character Card!

Though I use the Lodestone as a tool all the time, I rarely write a post about it. Let it be known that I have great appreciation that the Lodestone exists – it’s a reference for characters, free companies, collections and much more!

Yesterday, the Lodestone got a neat update to the main page – find the link here (for NA users). You must be logged in to a character to see the redesign.

Not only did this main landing page get a nice redesign with a more helpful layout to all the working parts relevant to your character, but we also got a neat character bar at the top of the page that looks like this:

Similar to a character card, it has information about all your jobs, your FC… and something with circles and rings. I poked around and I’m not quite sure what those mean, but they’re different for me between my characters. If anyone does know, please leave a comment and share the knowledge! (Update: Logan from the Super Dungeon Friends Discord channel clarified that these symbols indicated elemental level for Eurkea and resistance level for Bozja.)

Keep in mind that whatever class you logged out on is what is going to show here. Also keep in mind that the Lodestone takes some time to update information, so if you’re shooting for a particular class/glamour, give it some time to update.

You can easily just print screen the page, drop that in any image program, and crop it into a banner like so:

Just a small thing, but a neat thing if you don’t want to turn to third party tools to make a character banner or card!

Thanks for the update, Lodestone!

Posted in Star Stable Online

Star Stable Online – MMO World of Horses

Today I want to talk about a guilty pleasure of mine as a horse lover – Star Stable Online. I somewhat blame this on the folks over at Massively Overpowered for always covering the game. It was ultimately an article on the 10th Anniversary of Star Stable (and the free anniversary horse they were giving away) that nudged me over the line into trying the game back in September.

Apparently I had created an account already, though I don’t know how long ago that was. I’d already picked a character name and a horse on an account that used my normal login name. I remember way back when that I saw that while there is a F2P option for the game – which is probably fine if all you want to do is ride horses around – if you want to level beyond level 5, see the wide world and have access to all the quests, it requires cash to become a Star Rider. They do run free Star Rider promotion events from time to time, though.

I think I stopped at that point during sign up and never actually downloaded the game. I wasn’t looking to spend money back whenever I first signed up. So by the time I wanted to try it again this time, whatever free trial period I had was long gone. But, I could still log in for free and check it out, so that’s what I did.

It didn’t take long for the game to sway me. While it is aimed towards a much younger female audience, it was done in a way that it wasn’t a turn-off for adult horse-loving me. I find it curious that this is a MMO style game directed towards girls – you can’t create a boy avatar as far as I know. That doesn’t mean boys can’t play – but in a time where there’s a lot of games where you’re restricted to making only male characters, this is interesting to me.

And don’t think that aiming towards a younger female audience is limiting the number of players. Every time I log in to hub cities or events, the place is usually hopping – especially weekends. I don’t quite understand all the racing and role play groups that are forming in the global chat, but I see it all the time. There’s a healthy population of players and I’ve never felt like I was the only one there.

The Halloween event was pretty fun and is still taking place right now!

Back to the cost of becoming a Star Rider. There’s a few options – a monthly sub, quarterly sub and a lifetime account. All grant you a stipend of 100 Star Coins a week (the cash shop currency).

If you want to buy new horse breeds and special holiday horses as they come out, you’ll need to save up your Star Coins (or buy some). The only way I’ve seen to get new horses is to spend cash shop currency. I didn’t know it at the time, but the devs giving away a free anniversary horse was a big deal. It’s a pretty attractive horse to boot!

Anniversary Horse

New horses can cost quite a bit of Star Coins, not to mention the outfits and cosmetics. So I can see where this game could get expensive. But I could also see where this could be a learning tool for children – you get only so many coins a week and if you want that pretty horse, you need to budget and save up for it over time.

In the end, after trying it out and getting a feel for the game, I ponyed up (heh) for a lifetime Star Rider. I just didn’t want to mess with the subscription and it really wasn’t all that much more expensive than buying a triple A Steam game at launch. I’ve heard there are times they drop the price on the lifetime sub, too, which makes it a much better deal. Still, $8.49 a month for a MMO isn’t a bad sub price overall.

What I Enjoy

So what made me choose to pick up this game? It has a very casual nature to it – you can log in, care for your horse, then ride a couple of trails or jump courses to level your horse each day. If that’s all you want to do, that’s perfectly fine. Or, if you have more time, you can explore and take on quests, which eventually open up more of the world and the game’s characters/lore as you go.

While the writing isn’t the best I’ve ever seen in an MMO, it’s done well enough and with enough spirit that I generally enjoy questing. There’s some fantasy elements blended into the modern day elements, and that gives you the feeling that there’s much more going on in the world than it seems at first glance.

I enjoy seeing other riders around, the many horse breeds, and the tack/accessories on the horses. The Halloween horses are great – I picked up a couple for myself- and I’m looking forward to seeing what Christmas brings in terms of special horses, too!

What can I say? The game just feels chill. And sometimes I need a chill game with lovely horses.

My Nitpicks

While I enjoy the current art style – I know it’s gone through many iterations and the devs are still upgrading some areas of the game – it still might be too cartoony for some people. For me, that just gives horses more of a personality – think of it like the Spirit movies. I feel it’s a good balance of stylized and realism, especially since it’s aimed towards a younger audience.

It’s come a long way from the first generation of horses if you ask me.

Again, no disrespect, but I probably wouldn’t have bought into Star Stable if all I’d seen was the first or second generation horses. I feel like the third generation looks good in comparison. Oh and you can still buy the old generation horses in the game if you’re a fan, which I thought was interesting!

The environments have also gotten a nice overhaul over the years apparently – check out this article on The Mane Quest to see some before and after comparisons!

So. The things that I actually don’t care for in this game.

Rider graphics. The horses have gotten some love but my rider’s face is a little… flat looking. I did pick up some new hair to help her look a bit better, and the actual clothes and accessories are nice. But…

The movement system. It’s fine when you’re on your horse. Not so good when your rider is on foot. The camera doesn’t respond well when I try to turn my rider around. Either I end up running into something or I have to manually turn my camera (which isn’t an issue when I’m on horseback at all). That wouldn’t be a big deal except…

Getting off the horse for quests. There’s so many quests that require you to get off your horse to interact with an object. But not every quest requires it. It’s confusing why some let you stay mounted and others force you to get off. And every time I get off, I’m faced with having to deal with the wonky movement system of my rider.

Drag and drop mechanics. It’s somewhat oldskool to have a game that requires you to drag an object out of your inventory to interact with an object in game. For example, to muck the stall in a daily quest, I have to open my inventory, then drag the icon of the shovel to the pile that’s on the ground. I’ve gotten used to it, but it wasn’t intuitive to me at first because I haven’t seen a game that has used that kind of UI in a while.

Yes, there’s quests to clean up poop in this game. It is a true MMO.

Quests don’t stick. This is a weird one. If you pick up a quest and log out, when you log back in the next time, the game doesn’t remember you’ve picked up the quest. You have to ride back and pick it up again to activate it. So don’t grab a bunch of quests and log out. It doesn’t work.

Settings don’t stick. In the same vein, it seems like any settings I mark while logged in don’t persist after I log out. This isn’t a big deal, but it would be nice to mark the “ignore invites” and keep it that way.

Basically, it’s a lot of small things I can overlook that belie an older engine of a smaller, niche MMO. None of this is game breaking to me, and the feel of the horses and the riding (which gets more responsive as your horse levels up) outweighs the small annoyances I have.

These are just things to keep in mind if you’re shopping for a horse MMO. Aside from this, I’ve found my time among the Star Stables to be charming and enjoyable. I’m taking my time – only level 6 at this point – exploring when I have some extra time on my hands, and mostly leveling my horses through trail rides and jump courses.

I do want to eventually get my horses leveled up, at least, before the holidays come. I know there will likely be a winter horse I want to add to my collection. And by then, I should have the Star Coins saved up for it!

So there you have it! I’ve indulged my secret gaming guilty pleasure. Be sure that I’ll be writing more about Star Stables in the future!

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Mogtomes and Dancing to 80

Ever since I moved things around between my WordPress blogs, I have decided that I want to use this blog as more of a catch-all place for what’s going on in FFXIV, even among my non-Main alts. That means that though Amon (as my RP character) still has his own site and social media, that I want to write about some of his bigger achievements and adventures here, too.

This Mogtomes event has been a grueling one for me. There are two mounts (50 tomes each), one hairstyle (50 tomes), and the special jacket (100 tomes) that I want to get for TWO characters. Then, I want to pick up the Bonewicca chest for Amon, which is only 15 more tomes.

So, my way of going about this is to do two Praetoriums each day, one for each character (I spend the cutscene time cleaning up my Animal Crossing island). Amon also was running Alliance raids to level his Dancer, so he had a few tomes from when he did get one of the Crystal Tower trio runs. That put him ahead one day on getting the second mount – Auspicious Kamuy!

Ben will get his wolf after today’s Praetorium run. Then it’s on to the jacket for both of them.

This will be the first time I’ve attempted to get one of the 100 tome cosmetic items. Honestly, if it wasn’t for that, most of my farming would already be done. I’ve passed on the cute earrings featured in the Mogtomes events of the past, but a limited jacket is a different story!

I also finally got Amon’s Dancer to level 80 last night. Dancer is a sorta-kinda good match of a job for his character, but not really at the same time (Thavnairian style is not his thing). I try to only unlock and level jobs that fit my RP characters well, so Amon’s only got Bard, White Mage and Dancer. As of last night, they’re all level 80.

I wasn’t in a big rush to get it done – just an Alliance run here or there. But it is nice that Dancer can now share gear with Bard. That led to some bag cleaning last night. I’ve got a lot of that to do across all of my characters before Endwalker.

Aside from that, I also finally finished the second to the last step on all of Amon’s relic crafting tools. I still need to figure out advanced crafting one day. But seeing that this is the second character that I’ve finished these tools on, it was quite a bit of work.

I’m also slowly pushing Zuri through the final patches of Shadowbringers. I’m mostly just dragging my feet at this point because I could have finished all of that a lot sooner. I keep telling myself I still have time, though reality is, months have turned to weeks. And that’s not a bad thing!

I have a week’s worth of vacation set up around Endwalker and Thanksgiving, and I’m really looking forward to it all!

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Sebastian’s Eatery

This is a personal room in our FC house that belongs to my character Sebastian. Over the years, I’ve decorated my characters’ personal rooms as themed locations within the house, such as a rec room, a ballroom, or a guest room. An eatery/dining area was always on my list of to-do.

I hadn’t expected to sit down and work on it this past weekend, but on Friday night, I was looking through Sebastian’s inventory, and just decided I had enough to at least give it a start. Many of the decorations for this room were things that retainers brought back to my various characters. Things like the big wall kegs, the beaver burger, and the chocobo counters I just kept getting over and over again. So, throughout the months, I’d drop them in the FC chest and have Sebastian pick them up and stash them.

This room came together so easily – it’s probably one of the fastest rooms I’ve designed so far. There’s nothing especially unique about it- no floating objects or tricks used for the layout, but I still like it. It was simply just a room that started and finished within a few hours worth of time. The only things I needed to purchase were the country tables. The rest were all objects Sebastian already had. So this was also a pretty cheap room compared to most of the others I’ve worked on, too.

Our FC house is always open for visitors – feel free to stop by and sign our guestbook!

You can find us at: Mateus – Shirogane Ward 14, Lot 14!

Posted in Second Life

Second Life: Trick Or Treat!

I swore that sometime in the years past that I’d written a blog post about the Haunted Ride or the Cornfield in Second Life because that’s a Halloween event that the Posse tries to visit every year about this time. But I can’t find a post about it, and that’s distressing!

Last year, I did post about the new Haunted Neighborhood – which was a lot of fun for us and something that we revisited again this year. Halloween is a big thing in Second Life, and there’s a slew of things to do on the grid for the holiday. This makes me very happy!

Though the Haunted Neighborhood had one new house added to it this year, and the Haunted Ride had those silly animesh alien creatures finally removed (sorry to whomever put them in there, they were just immersion breaking), the one even that’s gotten our attention this year is the Great Trick-or-Treat Event in Bellisseria.

Folks who own a Linden house in Bellisseria can put out a candy bucket (shown above). Anyone else (land owner or not) can get a candy HUD and hunt down these buckets to earn a candy count for prizes. Of course, this led to the community trying to figure out a way to document and find the candy buckets because the area of Bellisseria is simply huge at this point.

I learned how to use Bellipins/Bellifind to mark my bucket and help people find it easier. This also taught me about the Bellibins – which is a fun roleplay in which you put garbage bins out at your Bellisseria house and allow other people to come by to empty them. Basically, it’s a way to help people find your Linden house and interact.

Beyond that, I discovered a new-to-me and very active community group for Bellisseria. So I’m finally starting to discover new fun things to do in Second Life that were already there, but I just didn’t know where to look.

It’s the Great Pumpkin House!

This new group I joined actually has a “Master List” of houses that have a candy bucket outside – which you can add your house to in order to let folks know you have candy. But most importantly (to me) is that folks stop by and maybe visit my home and decorations for a little bit.

It’s been a LOT of fun to see how everyone has decorated their own places and the variety of homes that are out there. I’ve been everywhere from weird traditional houses (like above) to an amazingly decorated beach house turned into a neat beach dance club on a boardwalk (I was so impressed).

So if the goal of this event was to get people out into the neighborhoods searching and visiting, I think it did a good job of it. I’m always excited to log in and check how many people took some candy from my bucket… not to mention, explore the homes and collect candy of my own!

Since my main MMO has more or less skipped Halloween for two years in a row (I know… I know… limited dev resources, Covid and they will have the event, just way after Halloween this year), it’s nice to have an online place to delve into Halloween fun. Second Life never disappoints for this time of year!