Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Foxy Lady of the Blue

I’m kinda in a slump in FFXIV end game lately — the whole Tome acquisition for gear grinding has almost zero incentive for me right now. I’ve been leveling alt jobs and doing stuff on alts, but when it comes to running Expert for Creation Tomes, or even getting drops from the new alliance roulette, my heart is just not in it.

One thing I have been good about keeping up with is the daily Kojin Beast Tribe quests. I had a few days where I almost missed doing them, but I’d always log in before work to queue them up for later that day. Thank goodness they let you run two sets of dailies just in case you missed them the day before.

Yesterday, I logged in to discover I’d hit max rank… or rather, I needed to finish the last Kojin quest to reach max rank with them. I had a good idea that we’d be getting a new mount from that, so I set out for Yanxia, the first place I needed to go in the quest.

Of Foxy Ladies

Just as I was making my way towards the quest spot, I heard someone shout in the zone that the Foxy Lady FATE was up. I quickly dropped everything I was doing and headed to that location!

And through the nasty rainy day, there she was…

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Now, let me tell you, I’d resigned myself to never seeing this FATE, much less completing it. It was very popular among FATE hunters back when Stormblood first launched, and Vix was totally into tracking the time and prerequisites for popping the FATE. But I leveled slowly at Stormblood’s launch, and either was too low leveled to reach the spot this FATE spawned, or whatever the reason. I never got to do it.

I didn’t think other people were still interested in doing this FATE. I figured everyone already had their fox ears and minion. Even as I hovered over the FATE in that picture above, watching the time tick down, I didn’t see other people arriving.

At first.

But, then, I noticed about three people off to the side of the FATE, and I came to join them. Time kept ticking down, and slowly, the number of arrivals increased. Eventually, we decided we needed to pull at 14 mins, or risk failing due to the timer.

So, I jumped into a Party Finder group (I rarely use this, so that was an adventure to me), which was made up of all DPS but one White Mage. Thankfully, most of us were Red Mages, so there was plenty of spot heals and rezzes.

This is a fun FATE! It had a number of mechanics to learn, and was not an easy fight by any means. So I felt that we really did earn our rewards in the end. Here’s what the turnout looked like at her defeat:

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A number of us got this first-time achievement, and we all rushed back to turn in our fragments for the cosmetic, pet and housing items. Seems like there were far more folks than I’d guessed who still needed to finish this, too!

Beast Tribe Goodies

Getting that win under my belt, I continued on with the Kojin quest. I’m not going to say I feel like this was the best Beast Tribe story I’ve ever played through, but it wasn’t bad. I did enjoy parts of it. The quests themselves seem to be even faster to complete than the Heavensward quests, which was fine with me. This was usually a quick 10-15 min thing to do everyday. I still plan on trying to remember to do them for leveling purposes!

I really appreciate that the Kojin reputation items are purchasable using the reputation currency, rather than requiring gil like tribes in the past. And rewards are quite affordable, with even the mount only costing 12.

The striped ray mount I expected to get.

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What I didn’t expect to get was a new emote! In fact, I almost overlooked it because of the mount, and because it was somewhat hidden in the rest of the stuff you can buy.

Seeing its name, Ballroom Etiquette – Heathen Gestures, I was sure that I’d like it. I figured it was the prayer motions the Kojin make before their treasure vault. And I was right. But it has a little something more!

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You get this cool blue flame! Really, a screenshot doesn’t do it justice.

Add to that the title you get “Of the Blue” and I’m a pretty happy camper with these rewards. Though I’m a Red Mage, blue is one favorite color (aside from teal), so I’ll be rocking this new title for a while!

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Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, Guild Wars 2, MMORPGs

October Gaming Goals in Review

Happy Halloween everyone!

It’s that time again… when I look back on the goals I made at the beginning of the month and see how well I did. Overall, I’m pretty pleased, especially since I had a lot of things pulling my attention away from my goals.

FFXIV Goals

Aywren (Main)

  • Level Bard (to at least to 65… I’m so behind) ✓
  • Level Crafters ✓

Last night, my Bard hit level 70 (pictured above)! That was an unexpected happenstance… mostly due to running the new Alliance Roulette which has really, really sped up the rate at which I can level a job in the 50-70 range. I’ve also been pretty dilligent about doing Beast Tribe dailies… I guess another job is going to have to pick that up next month!

I did level my Carpenter from 60 to 66 all in the space of one night. Mostly to help with building the FC’s Shirogane Walls. I haven’t really concentrated on leveling since then, but I really do need to get on the ball with my crafters.

Tai

  • Get Whisper Mount and Yo-Kai minions ✓
  • Unlock Flying in Ruby Sea

Not much to say about Tai. I got him his Yo-Kai minions, ran him through the Halloween event, but didn’t really level him or get much further in the MSQ. I’ll have to try again next time.

Zemi

  • Level to 50 and switch jobs to Samurai✓
  • Finish 2.0 base MSQ✓

I spent a lot of time and focus on Zemi this month. I’d forgotten how annoying the upper 40s were since the MSQ just drops you without a warning many times in the process. I was stuck at level 48 for a week or so, until Syn and Amoon ran a Leveling Roulette with me.

Last night, with a combination of MSQ, Leves, and one well-placed challenge log completion, I finally got Zemi to level 50 Ninja. I immediately skipped out and unlocked Samurai for him.

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Syn and Amoon were nice enough to unsync a Castrum for me — we blew through it 3 man. While I haven’t finished Praetorium just yet, it’s the only thing blocking me from calling the MSQ a done deal. They might unsync run it tonight for me, so I went ahead and checked that goal off as done.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with Zemi in the future — maybe just unlock Alliance Roulette up to World of Darkness to level him further. That seems to be the way to go. He’s had a long, rocky history as a poor alt of mine, though. I’m glad he’s finally found his job.

GW2 Goals

Zznaf

  • Finish Path of Fire story line ✓
  • Start working on griffon mount ✓
  • Save for griffon mount ✓

Yep, I’ve done all these things in GW2, on top of working through PoF a second time with another character. We’ve also started rebuilding our old GW2 guild, and have recruited a few new friends there!

I already have a lot of things in mind for November’s goals. I might add a few Switch and Steam goals next month, as well.

Did you set any goals this month? If so, how’d you do?

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Alliance Raid Roulette is Great for Leveling!

The title of this article says pretty much all you need to know. The new Alliance Raid Roulette that was added in FFXIV Patch 4.1 not only revitalizes older content, but provides a reliable chunk of experience for characters level 50 to 70. It’s well worth doing!

Make Crystal Tower Great Again

Crystal Tower remains, hands down, my favorite alliance raid content in FFXIV. Labyrinth of the Ancients was the first raid content I experience in any MMO, and those raids went a long way in helping me overcome a lot of group anxiety I had at the time. The CT series was one that we’d take many of our fresh level 50 players through in the FC because it wasn’t traumatizing, but did help teach mechanics and teamwork.

In short, CT is the opposite of the newer brand of alliance raids that we’ve been seeing since Ozma graced us with his presence in Weeping City. I’m not a fan of any of the alliance raids after that point, and I don’t make any attempt to cover up my dislike of this shift to the ‘git gud’ mentality. But that’s a rant for another time.

Anyhow, once the new alliance raids came out in Heavensward, it naturally became harder and harder for new people to see the glory of Crystal Tower. And that was a real shame.

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That’s why the Aether database organized a weekly Crystal Tower Sunday. This was unofficial, but it did seem to work for a while helping in with the very slow CT queue times. But even sometimes then, you’d wait 40-some minutes for one of the raids to pop.

The alliance raid roulette was something we’ve hoped for for a while, and now that it’s here, we can play CT anytime we like again! Not only that, but we’ve been able to introduce folks in our FC who have never unlocked this content to these old raids.

Even better, this roulette is extremely relevant to anyone leveling from 50 to 70.

**Note: There is a chance of getting the Heavensward raids in the roulette if you’ve unlocked them, you’re geared up, and above level 60. So it’s not just about making CT relevant, it’s all alliance raids. Interestingly enough, aside from one Void Ark, I haven’t seen the other two HW raids in this roulette yet. Not that I’m sad about that.

Leveling With Speed

There’s always been a substantial bit of slowdown in leveling alt jobs after 50. I’m the type of player who will not spam dungeons outside of a roulette to level. I’m not familiar enough with a lot of the hard mode level 50 dungeon mechanics to run the 50/60 roulette, so I just don’t. That means my main methods were daily beast tribes, hunts, daily leveling roulette and maybe some PotD.

So, for me, the alliance raid roulette really fills in a gap in leveling activities. I’ve seen the roulette consistently level people up, especially those in the 50s, and DPS classes who have long queues outside of this. Coupled with the squadron dungeons for leveling to 50, this has opened up a lot of new possibilities, and is extremely encouraging for those who want to level numerous jobs on one character.

I’ve got way too much work ahead of me!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, Guild Wars 2, MMORPGs, Secret World Legends

FFXIV & SWL: Halloween Approaches!

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. So I absolutely adore Halloween events in my MMOs.

I haven’t spent time exploring GW2’s Mad King event, despite the fact that the Labyrinth used to be one of my favorite haunts years back. Also note that gem store mount skins have become a thing really quickly, just like I predicted.

I also haven’t started the Samhain event in SWL aside from logging in to get the free rewards — Tin Foil Hats will probably explore some of that this weekend.

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I knew when I saw the cosmetics that FFXIV was giving out this year for All Sants’ Wake that I needed to get these on all of my characters. Thankfully, the outfit is rewarded after a very short quest, and everything beyond that is optional.

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Though I haven’t visited the haunted mansion yet, I’m glad that it’s making a return this year for those who want to try it. I haven’t looked into it, but I think it rewards tokens (?) for the housing items. I do need some of those for my house and the FC house as well!

Though I don’t see myself wearing the whole wolf outfit, I do like the ears. I was pleased to see the color matches my hair fairly well as default (though the whole outfit can be dyed), so I’m using this as glamour on some of my jobs. Just not my Bard, because Amon’s Hat is still the best.

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Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Crazy Fun Weekend

So much happened over this weekend in various games, and I was quite busy, especially in FFXIV. I even managed to knock out a few of my monthly goals.

Shirogane Castle Walls

See that picture up there? That’s what our house looked like after crafting the Large Shirogane Castle Walls. I got the idea from a Reddit thread: Couldn’t get a Shirogane house, so I decided to bring the Shirogane to us instead. I’d tossed out the idea for the FC to undertake the project a few times in chat, but it wasn’t until a kind person made this fantastic spreadsheet that anything actually started.

I thought, oh… we’d just work on this here or there. Just a random FC project.

No. No no no no. I underestimated the will and desire of my FC crafters and gatherers. These lovely people spent their Friday night hauling out hundreds of materials and crafting tons of lumber and ingot. I was up until well after 2 am, but we knocked the whole project out in one night. And you can see the result above.

Speed Leveling Carpenter

I’ve been such a slacker in crafting, and I felt a bit ashamed that I couldn’t contribute a whole lot to the project, aside from some gathering and spending all my GC seals on materials. Though it was a vast project in size, it really doesn’t require anything huge in difficulty from crafters — just some level 66+ recipes and at least one 68 carpenter to apply the lumber to the project in the workshop.

Bound and determined to contribute something, I had sent my retainer out for tons of Beech Logs throughout the week. Friday, I sat down and just spammed the Beech, Please leve and made it to level 66 Carpenter in the matter of hours. That allowed me to help with some of the lumber, though I was slower at it than the level 70 crafters.

It also knocked out one of my monthly goals, which was just to level a crafter in general.

FC Celebration

It’s been a while since we hosted a FC party/event, and in light of successfully upgrading to a mansion, we set a pizza party, raffle and raid night party for Saturday. I was happy that our house had its massive upgrade on the outside, while our decoration team has been hard at making things pretty inside.

We had a nice turn-out for the event, as you can see below.

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Royal City of Rabanastre

While I hadn’t really intended to run the new 24 man raid that night after the celebration, we were just a few shy of a full FC alliance, so we decided to do a party find for a learning run.

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I’m probably going to have to run it a few more times before I make a solid impression on this raid, but it was pretty tough the first time through. Thankfully, I’d watched a video ahead of time, and we had a few people coaching the team through it.

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Almost a full FC Alliance run

We actually cleared this well, with lots of time to spare. We had one random Bard who dropped after the first boss (dunno if he got his drop and ran or what). So we were actually down a DPS the whole rest of the way (you can’t replenish in a PF group). Despite that, we still beat it with minimal wipes. I also got a pair of pants as an upgrade from it.

The raid is extremely mechanically intensive, and it seems like just surviving the mechanics is the key to successfully beating it. There’s so much that can kill you, though. As I said, I’ll have to run it a bit more before I can make up my mind what I think of it, and write about it.

Beast Tribes and Alliance Roulettes

Aside from all that, I’ve been dutiful in completing the new Beast Tribe quests every day. I’ve gained rank with them twice this week. The experience from the quest isn’t amazing, but every little bit helps in my struggle to level my Bard alt. And I just enjoy the slower paced daily quests.

What is surprisingly good in giving experience is the new Alliance Raid Roulette. Syn has been totally addicted to it (no surprise there), though I’ve only run it a few times for the daily reward. Thankfully, if you take someone who is lower than level 60, you will always get one of the Crystal Tower trio (and avoid Weeping City/Dun Scaith). I’m not sure how much longer I can cheese that system, though. 😀

One of my goals was to level Bard to at least 65 this month. Right now, she’s sitting a little shy of level 66, and will easily get that with Beast Tribe quests tonight.

Saying Goodbye to Yo-Kai

I’ve been working at obtaining the final set of Yo-Kai minions and Whisper mount — this time, for Tai. This will make the 4th character to get all of them. I’ve put about an hour of FATE running a night in, and finally finished that up last night.

Tai looks so goofy in the Whisper mount, but that was totally the point. Now I can concentrate on other things with him… like unlocking flying in the Ruby Sea.

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Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: It’s Official – I Love My Squad!

Yesterday, I wrote about trying a first dungeon with my squad. This was the lowest level dungeon, run with my level 64 Bard. I noted that I wasn’t sure who this feature was aimed at, and said that I’d try another dungeon with a more on-level job.

So, last night, I dusted off my poor, unused Ninja, whom I’d left at level 32 for quite a while. This was exactly on-level to try Brayflox with my squad, so I loaded it up, and headed in. I was a little worried about a few boss fights and how they’d be handled —  especially the final boss.

In the end, the run went great! It took me 18 minutes to complete, and my Ninja even gained a level. I really, really like squad dungeons now.

There was one quirk where when we ignored one of the goblin NPCs who was fighting up on the hill, my squad healer wanted so badly to rush up there and help him… rather than enter the boss fight arena with the rest of us. She got locked out of the boss fight, but only a few seconds later, the game teleported her into the arena with us.

Interesting.

I also found it interesting that all major mechanics seem to be aimed at the player. Such as the boss that encases random party members in a bubble —  you always get the bubble, never any of your squad members.

And the final dragon boss who randomly chooses a party member to spit poison at? Yeah, that was my biggest concern. Players can actually run away from the boss to position the poison puddles so that the boss doesn’t start regenerating from standing in them. But the little squad members don’t know to move out of AOE, much less position AOE.

Well, the boss always spits the poison at the player in a squad team. This made me a happy camper… I know how to position the puddles, and my squad healer kept me in top shape.

I Love Squads

Me being me… this is far better than running with randoms. I know I’ll catch flack for not being social in an MMO. But I still strongly dislike running dungeons with a random party of unknowns – I’ll do it if I have to, but I wouldn’t choose it over running it solo like this.

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I like setting my own pace, being in control of my team, and getting things done. No muss no fuss. No wall to wall pulling. No party member shouting: AFK – My cat is burning down my house!

And if MY cat is burning down my house (which is likely to happen one day), then I can walk away from the computer, and the squad won’t vote kick me.

I certainly see myself using this to continue leveling what few jobs I have that are under level 50. What I really hope to see are dungeons beyond level 50 in the future. I’d love to use this to supplement beast tribes and hunts to get my jobs up to 60. Give me that and I’ll level all the jobs I’ve never touched. 😉

Tai Update

So, I had all intentions to start the new beast tribe quests on Tai yesterday. Only, when I went to try it, I discovered that Tai didn’t have the diving skill unlocked for the Ruby Sea. He’d never even been down in the ocean at all yet… much less be anywhere near having the ability to fly in that zone. Doing beast tribe quests without being able to fly in that area… is just not a fun prospect.

Plus, I didn’t even see the starter quest available for him, anyhow.

So, it was time for me to get into gear and progress him through the MSQ again. Last night, I unlocked diving for him, got level 63 Dragoon, and now have a mess of small quests littered around the zone. I think I’m actually going to do these quests this time since I want to spend as little time in dungeons as I can on him. Once I unlock the new beast tribe quests, I’m sure that’ll help, too.

If nothing else, I like the new chest piece he got.

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Aside from that, I’m putting about a hour of FATE running in here and there to try and finish up the Yo-Kai minion gathering for Tai. He’s the last one I want to earn the minions and get the Whisper mount. I’ve just been lazy about it after finishing it for two other characters before him.

I’ve got enough time, I just need to be dedicated to getting a little bit done every day.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Exploring Dungeons With My Squad

Once I squared things away with the Great Housing War of 4.1, I was able to spend a little time exploring other things in the patch. Because Syn is out of town, I decided to hold off on doing things like story, dungeons, or raids (though I’m quite concerned about the new raid, as FC folks have called it “brutal”).

Instead, I did things a little more along my line — unlocked the beast tribe dailies and messed around in my first dungeon with my Grand Company Squad. I took them to Halatali, since I know that one fairly well, and wanted to get a feel for the squad mechanics before I did anything more challenging.

And actually, they perform quite well! You can liken them to a group of sprouts, if you will, that you’re training by running them through the dungeon. I’ve heard that if you’re under level 50, the experience isn’t half bad, either.

I’ve seen plenty of Reddit threads, like this and this, that talk about how surprisingly good the AI is on the squads. Of course the AI isn’t perfect. It’s up to you to direct them, using Engage and Disengage commands. So, part of the success is how well you know the mechanics yourself, and whether you can instruct your squad to carry them out.

When it comes to trickier scenarios (like bosses in Halatali who have flame adds that need focused), you only have the option to switch your full team on one target. If there’s multiple adds that need to die at the same time, it’s a little too complex for the current system to handle.

As you level your squad, however, you get new Battle Tactics to choose from. I’ve only earned one set of them, and haven’t went back in to see exactly what that does yet.

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Overall, I really like how the squad plays out. It reminds me so much of Guild Wars 1, where you took teams of henchmen into missions with you (they’re more like henchmen than the heroes that were later introduced in GW1).

For someone like me, it’s nice to have a solo option for this first handful of dungeons. As I said, I heard the experience gained under level 50 was pretty good. But that leads me to my next question…

What is the intended audience of these squads?

To unlock the squads to begin with, chances are, you’re already level 50, or pretty close to it. Then you have to level your squad to rank 2. So, by the time you have your squad in place to run dungeons, your main job is probably already past the point where the experience is going to help much.

So, is this an option for folks who want to level alt jobs to 50? Wasn’t that what PotD was for?

On my main character, I have a couple jobs still hanging around in the 30s — Ninja and Warrior. I’ve never unlocked Dark Knight or Astro. Having the squad as an option does encourage me to want to try to level these to 50. So, I guess it’s helpful up until that point.

But I’m not sure what folks who already have everything past 50 will get from them… unless they start adding level 50+ dungeons next. Which is very possible!

Don’t get me wrong — I love the idea of squads and I understand they have to carefully test and code them to survive dungeon mechanics. I’m just curious what the intended use is for them, and which players are going to see this as a benefit.

All that being said, I think I’m heading back in with my Ninja tonight to see just how much experience you get from running a Brayflox with a squad. 🙂