Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Welcome Back Soken

The end of the digital FanFest brought on a tidal wave of emotion from both developers and fans as the beloved composer/musician Masayoshi Soken tells his story of secretly battling cancer… while still working as part of the FFXIV dev team from his hospital bed!!

I’ll let the video do the talking. Be warned, this is extremely emotional.

When I woke up this morning, I didn’t realize what had happened just a few prior hours. Thankfully, I got news via text from Syn before seeing this video.

This really puts so much into a different perspective for me.

It tells a story of the unsung strength of people who put their lives into making the games that we love to play. It also tells how our love of that work as gamers and our support of the game can help heal and strengthen the resolve of those who put that kind of sacrifice into this creation.

It brings home the meaning of a Game Community, how we’re all connected, and how important each of us are within it. Also, how important it is to view the individuals as people – both those who make and play the game – and understand there’s stories and lives – hopes, pains, fears and joys – all mixed up in this world that we log into every day.

I wish I had better words to describe what I’m feeling. I just don’t.

I met Soken in person during the 2016 FanFest. He’s an absolute charmer – not only an amazing musician and composer, but an extremely fun and upbeat person that loves to entertain other folks from the heart. I just know he’s a blessing to that dev team and everyone who has the joy to know him personally.

I tried to express my thanks for all of his beautiful music when I had the chance to say it to him face-to-face then. Years later, he continues to amaze…

Soken’s autograph (bottom) from the 2016 FanFest

But also, thinking about all this…

It’s a lesson to me to be thankful for these beautiful worlds and creations – all of it. Even the raids I don’t want to do and the content I’m loath to try. I’m guilty for taking things for granted from a mundane gamer perspective (we’ve all been there).

It makes me feel a little rotten that there Soken was composing “To The Edge” – the song that plays during the Warrior of Light trial – tirelessly from his hospital bed. And here all I could do was anxiously grumble that I needed to get past another trial just to move through the MSQ… rather than trying to enjoy the creation for what it was.

I had no clue what kind of sacrifice went into that creation… do we ever stop to think about that kind of thing when we’re playing a game? That just makes me ashamed now. And maybe a lot more aware for the future.

Granted! I do love the song – we played it for a very long time in our FC house! In fact, I think I’ll go and put it on again right after this.

Welcome back, Soken!

Thank you for your courage to share your story and open the hearts and minds of the fans to how fine the line is between real life and our gaming worlds. You’re a true Warrior of Light and an inspiration to us all.

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV Fanfest – Endwalker Release Date & Highlights

Endwalker prepurchases are live at the official SquareEnix store!

Just don’t expect to get your hands on the Limited Edition box because it’s already sold out.

A LOT of exciting information was released in last night’s FFXIV Fanfest Keynote event. So much that I’m just going to give a bulleted list of information confirmed with a bit of commentary after.

Here’s the newest full-length trailer to start you off!

Now, on to Things We Learned about Endwalker:

  • Release date – November 23, 2021
  • Early access starts – November 19, 2021 – Preorder for early access
  • New Melee DPS job – Reaper – Scythe-wielding, channels voidsent (?), shares gear with Dragoon
  • New area: Old Sharlayan
  • Lots of FFIV references such as the Magus Sisters and Hummingways Loporrits
  • Original FFXIV Alliance Raid – Myths of the Realm – Focuses on the Twelve
  • Male Viera – Female Hrothgar confirmed but forthcoming
  • Oceania Data Center Incoming
  • Cross Data Center travel coming before the expansion drops
  • Preorders already for sale – CE already sold out

Though I’d wished we’d heard something more about the Island Sanctuary, the rest of the keynote pretty much checked all the boxes I was hoping for and beyond.

I’m happy about most things about the Reaper (a term that I noted in one of my previous blog posts). It fits everything I needed for an existing character I have to transition into the new job. It looks and moves the way I hoped it to. I’m just not so sure about this voidsent element – I’ll wait and see what that’s all about.

That we’re going to Old Sharlayan didn’t surprise me. Much like Thavnair, this has been a location that we’ve heard about since early on in the MSQ but have never gone to. It feels like we’re getting a bunch of this as the overarching storyline is coming to a close, and that makes sense to me.

As a major FFIV fan, I’m just basking in all of the FFIV references – something I’ve wanted to see for a very long time in FFXIV! From the minions to some of the remixed music in the trailers… I’m a happy fan. Though I’m pleased at getting Palom and Porom, I remain curious as to where our Paladin Cecil minion is… and I have theories that might be far off base that we might… maybe… even see a form of Cecil as an NPC in the MSQ and that’s where the minion will be?

I can dream, right? But they’ve used NPCs from other FF series games aplenty already!

So, those male Viera. I was not one of those people who were super upset about the lack of male Viera and female Hrothgar – though I understand why some people are. I knew hopes were high for the addition of these two, but I didn’t expect it after the team said they weren’t adding any more new races to the game.

But then, they bust out the male Viera. And boy did Twitter explode!

Way to go above and beyond to make your players over the moon happy – pun intended.

This is why I’ve stuck with this game so long. I totally praise the team for taking in the feedback and tackling the tough job of adding an unexpected feature like this to make people happy. Especially when they were already working double hard to try to get the expansion out due to COVID setbacks.

Nice job, team. You’ve earned my preorder for sure. And that’s not something I’ve been saying about many games as of late.

Oh, and congrats to Oceania for getting a much needed Data Center! The fact that S/E is sinking that much money into a whole new Data Center for the game instills a lot of confidence in me about how long they expect to continue to develop and support FFXIV in the future. Not to mention the current growth and population.

Day two of the FanFest starts tonight for us in the US. I’m looking forward most to the information we’ll get in the Live Letter tonight more than anything else.

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Digital FanFest Incoming! Mog Tomes Event Going!

Click here to watch the FFXIV Digital FanFest – starting Friday May 14 at 8PM PDT.

I’ve been a little out of it the past couple days thanks to my second COVID shot putting me down and out. I’m feeling a little better today, but in the middle of the muddle, I realized I got the days mixed up for the FFXIV FanFest. For some reason I thought it was Saturday and Sunday, when it is actually Friday (tonight) and Saturday.

I’m super excited to hopefully check out the next new job, which I’m hoping to pick up on one of my characters if it’s a cool melee scythe class like many of us are guessing. I’m also hoping to hear more about the Island Sanctuary and the expansion in general.

Aside from that, the digital FanFest goodies are already on sale. They’ll be in the store for a limited time, though they work the same as any other item – so you can gift them.

While they’re no means cheap, S/E already has my money because FFIV is still my favorite non-online Final Fantasy in the series (as those who’ve known me for years know). I’ve hoped and hoped for more FFIV cross-over into FFXIV, so now that we’re getting it, I’m voting with my wallet enthusiastically.

I just hope that we’ll be getting a Cecil minion in the CE of the expansion. He’s the only one of the main cast we don’t have a minion of, and him being the ultimate Paladin, would make sense given the Paladin theme.

I’ve already bought the minions, just waiting for them to be delivered. You know how wonky the Mogstore deliveries get when the system is overworked.

I’ll have to wait until tonight to get the whale though, as Syn wants to gift that to me for my birthday and she won’t be back until later.

Oh, and the new Mog Tomes event is already going. Here’s the official page for that – lots of things I’d like to get this time around! Much Praetorium in my future. 🙂

Posted in FFXIV, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Hopes for the Island Sanctuary

The FFXIV Fanfest is broadcasting this weekend and I have hopes to hear about two things for the next expansion in particular: the new melee class and the Island Sanctuary.

Yesterday, I read an interview with Yoshi-P at MMORPG.com. The most exciting part was what he had to say about the Island Sanctuary vs. housing.

MMORPG: With Ishgardian housing coming as well as the Island Sanctuary, players are wondering — what will the overlap be, if any, between Housing/Estate activities and Island Sanctuary ones?

Yoshida: I won’t say there is no overlap in the gameplay, but they are fundamentally two separate pieces of content. If anything, we plan to incorporate many things that you can’t do within the housing/estate system into the Island Sanctuary. We’ll have more details down the road, so please stay tuned for further updates on this.

-Interview

I’m trying to be cautiously optimistic about this quote, but as a person who longs for the life skills and fluff in an MMO, this could be hinting that FFXIV could finally be working on providing all the things that I find elsewhere (BDO) that I’d love to see in Eorzea.

We all know that the current housing system is rubbish.

People like me who love the game and are lucky enough to own a house still think it’s rubbish.

Oh, the houses themselves are mostly fine. Though I could do with a lot more outside decoration slots and storage since all I could ever get was a small house… and every year, in game events keep piling more cool outdoor decorations on us.

The trouble comes because housing is extremely limited due to the non-instanced nature of the neighborhoods, that you have to camp for hours and pray you claim a spot when you do find an open lot, and the instanced housing we do have (apartments) are quaint but hardly a replacement for the size and functionality of a house.

While it’s cool to have neighborhoods, I think the FFXIV playerbase now understands the value of instanced housing and would be more than happy to take an instanced house with greater flexibility rather than (in many cases) no house at all.

I know I’m not the only one hoping that this new Island Sanctuary might be the instanced housing solution that we’ve needed for years. However, while the above quote could be taken to mean the Sanctuary is filling that blank, it could mean a lot of other things, too.

Saying “we plan to incorporate many things that you can’t do within the housing/estate system into the Island Sanctuary” could indicate that things like animal raising (which was mentioned already) couldn’t be done with the existing housing system but can be done here. It doesn’t necessarily indicate that Island Sanctuary is going to be additional instanced housing that every character can have, though.

So while I want to be hopeful for this feature, I’m also being cautious to curb my hopes. What I really want is for S/E to blow my mind when they do release information about the Island Sanctuary. And I do hope to hear more about it during Fanfest – I think they know that this particular feature has garnered interest in the community.

But for now, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what we get this weekend!

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Tower at Paradim’s Breach Alliance Raid

-No spoilers, just thoughts.-

I usually don’t run the new Alliance raid the week of release. I’m not sue why I did this time around, and I did it as a healer on the first try to boot – healer was my only job with a high enough ilvl at the time.

I’ve been slacking on gearing up this expansion… just call me a little tired of expert runs every day. Thank goodness for crafted battle gear you can buy off the marketboard! But… that’s neither her nor there.

Not only did I go in as healer but I went in mostly blind. As it was the day after the raid’s release, there weren’t any full guide videos at the time – the first one I saw was released the day after I first cleared it. And thankfully, I could watch that video before I ran it the second time on another character.

Most folks know my stance on Alliance raids by now and are probably tired of hearing it. Gone are the days of encouraging casual folks to do these raids and helping them get through. S/E has proven time and again that after Void Ark, Alliance raids are just not content for truly casual players – I’m talking folks who don’t have a strong grasp on how to pick up mechanics and respond to things quickly.

This raid was no exception. It’s learnable for sure, but a lot of things are not intuitive, no matter how much the raid bosses are designed to “teach” you mechanics through experience. The third boss, especially, left me in a state of “what just killed me?” pretty often until after I watched a video to better understand how the mechanics are put together.

Basically, I tell FC folks to watch a video rather than die a million deaths on this. I’m sure in a few weeks, things will settle down, but this first week has been a doozie.

Glamour… Rather Not

And the gear design this time around? Let’s just say, the main reason I ran Bunker as much as I did was to farm for the glamour. I even admired the gear from Factory enough to push through it several times.

On the flip-side, I find the gear this raid to be either mostly uninspired or just plain something I would never use. Not to mention, the male version of certain sets are just… awful (IMHO).

Example: Here’s the female aiming set – a shot taken from this video.

That top is alright and I could get behind it!

For the males….

What even happened here? Compared to the elegant female gear, this is awful unless you want a military-looking set for a bard or dancer (machinist could pull it off, maybe). And I don’t.

In fact, I got those pants above as my first drop and glamoured over them immediately. Just yuk.

Story? What…?

The main kicker for me, being someone who has not played Nier, is that the story just went down some crazy rabbit hole that I gave up trying to follow. You have a bunch of angry dwarves that are supposed to tie into this alien android plot and… the story just left me far behind in the series of quests between the second and third raids.

I got that there were good androids and bad androids, but we never got to know the good androids for long enough for me to feel anything for them by the end of the storyline. In fact, I don’t recall spending all that much time with them at all outside of the raids. I’m never paying much attention to NPCs and their chatter when mechanics are flying around during fights. Smack dab in the middle of a boss fight is the worst possible time for a game to try to make me connect to characters!

So it really felt as if the story was certainly trying to connect to the folks who already cared about these characters through Neir. And not so much to anyone who had no clue as to why we should be caring about these characters in FFXIV.

I know that I’m not the only one who didn’t “get it.” There was a post on Reddit, which apparently got removed (huh), that discussed disappointment with the raid storyline. Though the original post isn’t in tact, the follow-up comments nail a lot of my feelings on this.

Pretty much this… -source linked-

I knew going into this raid series that the concepts and aesthetics for Neir generally don’t appeal to me (I will say that I do have it free on the Xbox Game Pass, so I might still try it to see if it changes my mind). The one thing that folks who enjoy Neir say is the story is amazing – and I’m all about story.

So maybe that’s why I was disappointed that there really wasn’t anything all that gripping, thoughtful or mind-bending about the raid story itself. The boss designs were meant to make you go “huh,” of course. But I was expecting something deep and engrossing when it came to the plot.

Of course, there’s these follow-up weekly dwarf quests that we’re getting that might help explain some of this(?) I plan on doing them to see what I can learn, but I hope it’s worth the annoyance of the game sending me back into the Factory or Bunker to run around and pick up trashed technology for the fifth or sixth time.

I know this sounds like a relatively negative post and I’m sorry for that – I hope that for whomever this raid is geared toward, you had fun with it. I’ll continue to run it on my healer mostly because this is the most challenging content I’ve attempted during my healer practice, and I have a lot still left to learn. Plus, even if I think the gear is ugly, it’s still an upgrade for my bard and I can always glamour over it.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming

FFXIV: Firmament FĂȘte Guide – Patch 5.5

FĂȘtes are a new type of FATE (some people joke it’s just a misspelling of “fate”) for crafters and gatherers intended to celebrate the completion of the Firmament in Ishgard. FĂȘtes happen in day-long sessions with a day or two cooldown between them.

To see when the next fĂȘte will begin, enter the Firmament and check the timer.

When a fĂȘte begins, you can expect it to last about 30 minutes between all of the events. There’s nothing difficult about the fĂȘtes themselves. What you’ll struggle with most is seeing around the massive number of people who are doing the fĂȘtes with you.

Some Tips on FĂȘtes

  • You must be a crafter or gatherer to take part.
  • You can join a group, but the only thing that really counts is your personal contribution. Group members cannot earn you points, so grouping doesn’t really help or hurt.
  • The number of points per fĂȘte required to earn gold vary. #1 requires 6 points, #2 requires 3 points, #3 requires 4 points, #4 requires 4 points and #5 requires 6 points. It’s best just to shoot for as many points as you can manage.
  • Earning gold will get you 2 boxes per event with a total of 10 boxes by the end.
  • Some fĂȘtes start automatically, some require you to click the Join the FATE button to start – so keep a lookout!
  • Press and hold the X key to hide player names – this is a huge help when it comes to seeing objectives better!
  • Click the zero key on your number pad to target the nearest object – even in the middle of a bunch of other players! Click the zero key a second time to interact with that target.
  • Don’t be too hasty! Keep an eye on your cast bar as you interact and don’t interrupt your own actions by being in a rush.
  • You have more time than you think you do! These fĂȘtes act like turn-in FATES, which means you actually have an extra minute of time even after the first timer counts down.
  • Players only show up right in your immediate area, so you can actually use this to click-target objects far away as you’re running towards them. I’ll give an example of this later in fĂȘte 5.
  • Follow the crowd if you don’t know where to go. They’ll show you where the next event is taking place.

What’s in the Box?

You can get up to 10 gifts per for finishing gold for each event. The contents of the box varies from things like the new Antelope Stag mount and the Peacelover’s Attire Coffer for the new glamour – these seem to drop pretty often – to dyes, balloon decorations, barding and even minions.

Some rewards – minus the Archon egg stand!

FĂȘte 1 – A Twist of FĂȘte

The first event introduces the mascots of the celebration. This one is pretty simple, but has a few things that stumps folks.

  • Click the Join FATE button – this changes your hotbar and adds three emotes to it.
  • Emotes always correspond with the mascot – #1 is always pig, #2 is always chocobo and #3 is always moogle.
  • When a mascot does their emote, click on them to target them – then click the corresponding emote on your hotbar to imitate them! Making sure you have the mascot targeted is something that seems to throw people off.

Once you’ve got it, this should be one of the easier events to finish.

FĂȘte 2 – Made of Softer Stuff

The giant plush moogle run event!

Four boxes of Stuffed Toy Material appear in the area. There are three steps you have to complete to get a point.

  1. Interact with the Stuffed Toy Material and wait until you’re done sewing the toy.
  2. A toy will appear next to the box, interact with it – wait until you’ve picked it up.
  3. Transport the toy to the wains (wagons) and interact with the wain to send the toy on its way.
  4. Repeat!

This is where hitting the zero key on your number pad is essential!!!

Double tap zero to make the toy. Pause a moment – don’t get too ahead of yourself – and let the toy appear. Then double tap zero to pick it up. When you reach the wain, double tap zero again to drop it off.

That should get it done for you!

FĂȘte 3 – Shear-a-Yak

Next up is shearing the giant ram.

You must click the button to join this FATE. It will put a new shearing skill on your hotbar. Here’s some tips for this one:

  • Target the ram and use the shearing skill.
  • Three pieces of yak wool will appear around the ram on the ground somewhere. Use the X key to hide player names and see them better.
  • The double tap of the zero key can target and interact with the wool to help you pick it up in the middle of the crowd.
  • Once you have all three, take them to the chocobo mascot to get your point. You have to turn in the three you have before you can shear the ram again.
  • Then, just repeat to earn points!

FĂȘte 4 – Toy Hunter

This is Piggy’s toy hunt event. You’ll see three interactive boxes in the area. One of them has a toy and the other two inflict the piggy status on you.

  • Interact with the boxes – double tap the zero key for ease.
  • If you get a toy, run it back to Piggy to turn it in for a point.
  • If you get piggied, try the next box – note that you can’t open a box while you have the piggy status, but it usually wears off fast.
  • Repeat for points!

FĂȘte 5 – Presents of Mind

This event you have to pay mind to a couple things. There are three different colored presents and only one type will be lit up for you at a time. Depending on the name of the present, you must pick it up and deliver it to a corresponding NPC waiting at the other end – either an artisan, merchant or child.

Again, the difficulty comes with so many huge packages in view. But I’ve discovered something nice about this — you can pre-target both the package and the NPC as you’re running towards them since you’ll only see the players that are closest to you.

So make the best of your time running up and down – click the package to target it before you reach it, then tap zero to pick it up.

Click the NPC you want to deliver it to as you’re running towards them, then tap zero to deliver it.

And that should get you through the final fĂȘte!

Best of luck opening your gifts! May RNG be with you!

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Weekend Events – NPC Raid & Art Party

I know I’ve been writing a lot about BDO lately, but I’ve also been playing FFXIV just as much as always. I’ve just not had anything exciting to talk about since we’re all waiting for the patch to drop tonight.

However, over the weekend, I attended a couple of fun community events with my RP alt, Amon.

On Saturday, a FC I’m a part of on Marlboro set up what’s called a Full NPC Raid for Syrcus Tower. This means that we invited the players who have NPC characters or look-alikes to come and create a full pre-made raid party.

Of course, Amon had to be there, along with Syn on her Scylla character. But quite a few showed up! Enough for two full runs, in fact.

On Sunday, we attended a Hatching Tide art party hosted by another FC on the datacenter. The funky thing about this year is that Easter fell so early in April, I thought we wouldn’t be seeing a Hatching Tide event. Well, that was wrong – we’re getting one after the patch drops this week.

So may as well celebrate the new patch and have an art party!

Fun times!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV 5.5 Preliminary Patch Notes Highlights

Another patch is upon us next week, and it’s time for me to take a look at the 5.5 preliminary notes to see what interests me. As usual, this glosses over the stories/dungeons/raids because these are pretty much givens.

Yay!

I’m going to let this be the stand in for all of the housing and decoration updates. There are a LOT of them, and all of them are really good. I like how different this housing exterior is, though I’d likely never use it myself – I only have a small house and this seems to take up quite a bit of yard.

Good updates to Triple Triad! I really need to play this again.

In particular, this is the Rainmaker hairstyle. I’m glad they’re putting it back in there for people who missed it because it was odd how it never returned for any of the Make it Rain Campaigns.

Very very nice and much needed! Thank you!

Also very nice. I really need to get back into fishing one day.

Okay. I REALLY need to get back on that boat. This sounds great!

This sounds like a lot of fun. I hope I can catch one.

These are both really cute mounts! I guess I’ll have to make an effort to get to these fetes!

I wonder if these will have something to do with the Ocean Fishing changes?

This is so so so nice! Thank you! Much needed!

Yes, yes, yes, yes to all of this! Thank you!

Nice!

Nice for those Nier fans. I’ll pick these up, but I doubt I’ll put them to use, myself. Can’t knock the addition of new hairstyles, though.

Never had too much trouble with this before (unless there was a spinning tank), but any help is welcome!

Awesome! Keep going with this! I’ve needed to take screens in Fractal before and this would have come in handy!

Nice retainer changes! I still have some retainers that need leveling up, so this will be handy!

Hmm….

Another set of custom deliveries? I’m not against them, but it seems awful late in the patch cycle, especially one where we’ve already crafted quite a bit. I’m going to assume this is a follow up to the Firmament, which means I need to hurry up and get those quests done on three characters this weekend.

I wonder what this is about? It wouldn’t happen to be super expensive gil mounts, now would it?

Wait… wait.. what is this “Object” option you speak of? If it’s what I think it is, this could be AWESOME!

This is a nice option, but only relevant if you have 4 players already in your party (which we almost never do when I play). I’d love to see it where one day Leveling could understand this automatically when matching players rather than it just being a setting. But it’s a very nice option to have.

Meh

Actually, there was nothing that I saw that made me go meh this time around.

Overall

This patch has a lot of nice QoL stuff that we really need. I also see that it’s going to nudge me back into things like Triple Triad, the Firmament and Ocean Fishing. That’s not a bad thing — I’ve been needing new projects to think about. So this should be enough to keep me going until the expansion, though I know we have another half patch coming out between the two for story at least.

Posted in Gaming

Overload: The Case of Too Many Games

This month, I’ve found myself in a predicament that I normally do not have: There are just too many games on my plate and not enough time to get to them all.

Lately, I’ve been juggling several games: FFXIV, BDO, Valheim, and wanting to dip my toe back into ESO. Not to mention the Switch games and Xbox Game Pass games that are on my to-play list.

BDO has had a huge pull on me due to the current 1000% XP event that lasts until March 31. I learned from Bhagpuss that this experience boost only happens at certain hours of the evening – for me, starting at 7PM each night. I completely overlooked that in the patch notes (probably due to the excitement of seeing such a big boost), but that limitation complicates things for me since I’m usually pulled into playing other games at that time of night.

For one, I try to run at least one FFXIV Alliance Roulette with Syn each night in order to keep leveling my alt’s White Mage bit by bit. This has been an ongoing thing since December of last year, and is the one bit of gameplay I share with my friend for little while each night. So it’s priority for me.

Valheim has been the weekend-night go-to game for my friend group for the most part. We’re really having fun with that, but that nixxes any time for BDO leveling boost on those nights unless I’m up super late.

And then there’s ESO. I just rolled a couple of new characters in the game right before BDO dropped the bonus reward event. I also joined Bel’s ESO guild with every intention to be somewhat social in a game where I’ve never had a guild before – so I felt a little bad when my previous weekend was consumed by BDO and Valheim instead.

I promise I’m going to play you soon!

And then, FFXIV has to come along and announce a Moogle Tome event starting next week, only lasting until patch 5.55, which is mid-April. So unlike other Moogle Tome events, this one doesn’t continue for months. There are about 6 mounts I really want from this event (some duplicates for alts), which means I’m going to have to figure out how to slide tome farming into the mix as well!

This is why I usually don’t play more than one MMO at a time! Things are getting a little crazy as they all vie for my attention and I’m excited for something in each of them!

On the other hand, it’s good to have so many things to be motivated about!