Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Tales from the Duty Finder – The Micro-Managing Healer

In a sequel to the story of the “Don’t Care” Healer… today, we have the flip side of the story where the healer cares a bit too much about what everyone else is doing… except for his own healing.

I’ve been slacking on earning tomes lately. I have all the drops needed from Deltascape to get my weapon, but was lacking 300 Creation. So, Syn, Amoon and I decided to do some roulettes last night. The Expert went just fine, and I even got the cool mount drop.

But, then we get the Leveling Roulette. Now, we usually do this with a full FC group, and it’s been a while since I’ve run stuff with randoms. We had to pick up the healer last night… and boy, what a catch!

Because we joked about always getting Sastasha, the game decided to pitch up Gubal Library instead. I haven’t done this dungeon in probably over a year or more, and only a handful of times. But whatever.

So we get started – Me on Bard (which I’m still trying to re-learn), Syn on Ninja (leveling) and Amoon on Dark Knight (leveling). I’m not sure that any of us are at “pro” status on these jobs – we’re mostly there to get some experience, practice and level. I know that I still haven’t figured out all the changes to Bard yet. This is the first above level 50 dungeon I’ve tried on this job since Stormblood, and I felt a bit lost.

Apparently, our Astro healer was a true pro, though! So much of pro that he didn’t want to wait for the tank to get a feel for things. He was racing past the group to the next pull the moment the dungeon started, and started complaining when he didn’t get a wall to wall. I didn’t get a screenshot of it, but it was something along the lines of “Why you not pull more??”

expertThen, when he got the big pull he demanded, the healer started to try to “coach” Amoon to use his cooldowns (wish I had a screenshot of this). Which… Amoon already knew how to use. When Amoon demonstrated this fact, the healer did at least acknowledge this, but the way he said everything came off  like how you praise a pet for doing something you wanted them to do.

If the healer had taken a moment to inspect any of us, he would have realized he was playing with folks who were familiar with the game, but just a little rusty on the dungeon, or re-learning the changes to old alt-jobs. Instead, he decided to “help”… but it came off in a condescending tone. Whether he meant it to sound that way or not, I don’t know, but I suspect he didn’t realize how he sounded.

For all his coaching, he wasn’t that great at healing. He was more focused on speed and DPSing than he was on keeping his teammates alive — he mostly ignored DPS when they needed heals, and let the tank (and even himself) get pretty low before actually doing something about it.

Still, he hadn’t really done anything wrong aside from constantly sprinting ahead of the tank, so we kept rolling.

Then we get to the second boss, where you have to kill the adds and drag the tether through the boss to make him vulnerable again. Syn accidentally pulled the tether too near to the gas clouds, which destroys it, and so we had to do it again (remember, we haven’t run this dungeon in a while).

No big deal.

Except it apparently was enough for the healer to “coach” our team on mechanics yet again. After we downed that boss, he went sprinting off ahead, but Amoon had enough of his “helping,” and decided to let him know. This was when the fireworks began.

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This heated discussion took place in the middle of several pulls – one of which the healer forced himself. I think he intended to run in and suicide himself, but Amoon was not having it, and pulled the mobs off him.

Sometimes during this exchange, he let Amoon get pretty low on life, and I was worried he was going to let the party wipe. We discussed if this warranted a vote-kick, but since we were so close to finishing the dungeon, and he hadn’t actually let anyone die on purpose, we decided just to finish up.

He did try to argue some more…

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But it wasn’t worth our time, so the rest of the dungeon went in silence. He probably thought he “won” the argument. But the fact we didn’t have to hear him “coach” the team further was more a win to us. 😉

The moral of the story? Apparently those micro-managing players see themselves as “helping” and get pretty defensive when you tell them that you’re okay without their help.

What has the world come to????

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Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Dun Scaith Raid – Left Its Mark

Warning: If you don’t want to hear me grumble and discuss my (probably unpopular) opinions about the new brand of alliance raid content in FFXIV, feel free to move along. 

Syn and I attempted the new 24-man raid, Dun Scaith, last night. I have a soapbox for it today. There’s just no other way to respond to this for me. Here’s my impressions on the direction that alliance raids are going in.

The Death of Average-Player Raiding

If you don’t want my soapbox, skip on down to the Impressions part below this. Thanks!

I’ll say time and time again, I’m not a raider. Heck, I’m not even much for dungeon running, much less taking on group content with more than 2 or 3 people. So the fact that FFXIV coaxed me into an alliance raid at all was nothing short of a miracle.

Crystal Tower was the first time I experienced anything over an 8-man instance. Crystal Tower feels like a raid for folks who have never raided before.

It had mechanics. It had some tricky moments. It focused on teamwork and supporting your alliance. But overall, for even the average player, it was something achievable.

Most of all, it was fun. It’s STILL FUN.

My Free Company still runs Crystal Tower Sundays. And me, who is not a raider, actually spent all of last Sunday teaching FC folks how to run these raids.

Me? Teaching raids. Yeah.

Crystal Tower is content we still run as a FC group while Weeping City is not.

Why?

Because I know I can take new level 50s and regular folks into Crystal Tower, teach them the mechanics, and they walk away feeling like they’ve achieved something. Feeling confident in themselves. They just completed this pretty epic story arch, maybe even their first raid, beat down these pretty epic bosses, and they want to do it again!

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World of Darkness Raid

Why am I talking about Crystal Tower in a post about my experiences with Dun Scaith? Because between Dun Scaith and Weeping City, we’re seeing the death of average-player raiding. FFXIV is legitimately telling the the normal player, the ones who are going to struggle with these instances, that they have no place in alliance raids.

The message is: “Git gud or GTFO.” This makes me sorely disappointed, because FFXIV wasn’t like this in 2.0.

And those players who can handle the mechanics and the demand? They’ve moved on from Weeping City months ago, once they’ve gotten everything they’ve needed out of it.

They’re off to Alex, which are the raids that should be made for this group of players. Of course they cheered to see a set of harder alliance raids, and whined the old were too easy. But now they’re gone, and the people who are struggling through them are the normal players.

Syn noted that the last couple WC runs she’s had have been the worst she’s seen since the raid was new. People used to say “Once the average ilvl gets higher, Weeping City will be easier.” So, now that the average ilvl is higher, why are the runs still so rough?

Because the raid design and mechanics aren’t tuned to the average person, who is grouping with 23 other randoms who have no means of voice communication. And expected to perform fairly intense, sometimes vague, often punishing, mechanical responses very accurately. 

That just doesn’t work well.

We’re seeing this all over again in Dun Scaith. Even more so.

Dun Scaith Impressions

Yes, I understand that these are impressions from Day 1. I understand it will get better as people learn. These impressions were formed, however, going in about 30% blind (I did read some brief explanations that did little to help overall), and I think I can pretty fairly judge the straightforwardness of the raid mechanics having done most other raids in this game.

We were also very lucky to have some level-headed raid leaders there. I will judge to say that our team was probably 90% better than what most randoms will be. We had folks giving suggestions, calling out raises, and overall keeping the salt down. People who wanted to clear. People who were willing to stick it out and learn.

Despite that, we had a terrible time getting through all the bosses and did not earn a clear. We ran out of time on the final boss, which we did get down to halfway at one point. This makes me nervous to see what a poor group will do.

My main issue is some of the mechanics aren’t very clear. Some mechanics, I understood and learned. Most of the boss fights, though, I was sitting there dead saying, “I’m confused. I don’t understand what I needed to do. I’m not sure what killed me. How do we handle this?”

Yes, I know, first run. But, the mechanics were so vague (an issue I had with Weeping City, too), and can kill you so fast, that it was frustrating. Not to mention you often had several of these mechanics stacking in rapid succession, which just led to massive wiping.

So, the bosses.

Deathgaze ended up being the easiest of the bosses to figure out, despite my fear of falling off the edge. This one will take some practice, but once you get it, it’s not horrible. It’s annoying when he randomly drops the iceblock (you have to use as a buffer not to get knocked off) all the way at the other end of the ship’s deck… and you have no hope in reaching it in time.

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Ferdiad… I had no idea what all was going on with this fight for a lot of it. I’ve read through some guides since I ran it, and that helps a bit. But still, there’s lots of mechanics here, and most of them aren’t easy to eyeball and know how to respond. The first fight where I started going, “I’m confused… what’s going on?”

Scathach was another huge pain in the butt. Lots of vague mechanics on top of not so vague mechanics. Everything just piled on everything. We wiped many times and hardly made it through this one — we got a lucky kill at 1%.

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Click for bigger image of death

Another complaint is that she and the final boss do these attacks where you have to know which way they are facing. Most the time, even as ranged, I found it difficult to determine which way they were looking because they weren’t as large as some of our previous bosses were.

Diabolos is the final boss. He has two phases. It was cool to have a pause-for-dramatic-speech effect the first time we fought this boss, but I can see it being an annoyance when wanting to clear it over and over. I also found the “you have to break the shield and do no damage to the boss” phase annoying and unnecessary. It’s just wasted time in the fight… and we did this phase over and over and over and over until we ran out of time.

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Again, not all mechanics were clear from the start. Eventually someone told us that a group needed to go inside the middle door to fight an add. But looking at it, it was a targetable door, similar to the others, and I couldn’t tell with all that was going on that that was the intention of the mechanic.

We made a valiant effort, but ended up abandoning when we only had 2 minuets left. Since the only things that dropped were double Casting and Healing gear, no one really got anything out of this run in my group, either.

A Second Opinion

Now, if my casual-biased opinion doesn’t hold sway with anyone, when that was done, Syn said to me, “I really hate that raid. This isn’t going to be fun to run.”

Oh wow! This is from someone who runs alliance raids for no other reason other than she just loves World of Darkness. I have never heard Syn say she’s “hated” a raid as a first impression. Hehe… maybe now she understands how I’ve felt about Weeping City this whole time. Though, I do think this one is going to take the place of most-disliked alliance raid in the end.

Our overall takeaway is to wait until people figure this out better and we can see some guides on mechanics. And it’s not that we can’t read and learn mechanics — shoot, we breezed through the new story dungeon without knowing a thing about it. Right now, it’s just too frustrating to fight through all that again without having a better idea of how to handle things.

The only problem is, in a 24-man instance, just because you know something doesn’t mean anyone else does. I agree… this probably isn’t going to be fun.

The things we do for gear upgrades…

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Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs, Uncategorized

FFXIV: PotD Floor 100+, Relic Progress & FC Funtimes

Today is the day before FFXIV Patch 3.5, which means the game is down for maintenance. But this weekend has been anything but quiet in game. Patch time always ramps up FC participation.

We had a bunch of folks online in our Free Company this week, some who had not been around in a while. We’ve also recruited several new folks this week, and over the past few weeks, mostly returning or new players. We’ve been focused on helping these folks through content on their way up to Heavensward.

Palace of the Dead Floor 100+

Despite my love for PotD, I actually did not complete floor 100 until this weekend. Our Posse had left off at floor 71 months back, and while we’d saved our game progress there, Zeb and I never got beyond. The other half of our Posse has been back in game again, so after a bit of practice in the lower floors, we made the push to floor 100 on Friday.

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We also unlocked the floors beyond 100, and made it all the way to floor 110. There is a marked increase in the number of spawns on the floors, which was the only thing I saw there that increased difficulty. The boss itself really wasn’t so bad.

I don’t know how much further we’ll get into the PotD. Mostly because I see it as something casual to do, and not a thing that’s supposed to be hardcore challenging like the 100+ floors are meant to be.

Also, I’m going to be cashing out for my red weapon on my Bard tomorrow because I still only have the ilvl 230 relic, and I want to use Bard to learn the new alliance raid. I haven’t geared my Bard at all since Weeping City, and she has just enough of an ilvl to squeak into the new raid. Since my Dragoon is set for gear overall, I need the Bard drops from the raid.

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The red Dragoon and Warrior weapons inside PotD

Relic Progress

Speaking of Relic, since we’re not going to get an Umbrite nerf, I threw up my hands and decided to just cash in what I had. I’d forgotten that I could buy items with my Poetics to turn into Sands. So, since I was full-up on Poetics, I did just that, and upgraded my weapon to the halfway point.

I got a cutscene that informed me that my weapon wished to continue this painful process.

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Of course you do. You’re not the one grinding Tomes.

The weapon swore this was in order to protect me. I think it’s just addicted to Sand.

Anyhow, I’m reluctantly not throwing in the towel yet. At least I can say that I finished half the weapon before the hoped-for nerf coming in 3.55.

Free Company Fun

As I noted above, we spent a good deal of time with the FC, mostly running folks through needed content. None of it was all that difficult – mostly things like Void Ark and Crystal Tower. But seeing that some members needed mechanics refreshers, it tends to be exhausting for me.

Being on voice chat for hours is tiring, and I tend to be the default raid leader and mechanics explainer. I’m not sure how that came to be seeing that I’m really not a raider and usually the most quiet person in voice chat.

But when it comes to explaining mechanics, it’s almost as if I can’t not do it. I hope I do it well enough, though! Sometimes things happen really fast in raids, especially ones that we’ve outleveled, and phases are skipped.

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FC Jump Totem in Void Ark. Taken by Bean Baguette (hope she doesn’t mind that I post it).

We had a few troublesome-long queues for CT yesterday and one incident with a drunk tank and trolling alliance in World of Darkness. It was really Tales from the Duty Finder worthy, but I didn’t think to get any screens of it. That was the first time I’ve up and left an alliance raid like that… along with our whole party (we had a full FC party of 8, so we left them hurting for their bad behavior). But thankfully we had a tank on another team who left first, so we didn’t eat a penalty for it.

Anyhow… aside from that… things went just fine. All content got cleared, and everyone closed up the weekend with what they needed to do more or less.

Now to face the new content in 3.5 tomorrow. Here’s to hoping I enjoy Dun Scaith more than I did Weeping City. Cuz I need to run it a lot.

Also, still not regretting the race change.

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I come back from AFK and…
Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: White Chocobo!

Back when I first dyed this chocobo, I accidentally got a turquoise color rather than a blue. I kept it, though, because I like teal, and it matched my Leviathan barding. That was back when chocobo dying was new and before we had great color calculators, like this one, so I was really stumbling through the process.

However, with the new character change, and the upcoming chocobo changes with 3.5 next week, I decided it was time to change my chocobo, too. I always wanted a white or a black chocobo, so I went for the white one.

Thankfully, the chocobo calculator now includes a section on the suggested order you should feed color fruits. I followed the guide and successfully got a white chocobo on my first try!

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Now I just have to think of a different name for him. I named him Blackjack back when I first earned the Gambler barding. But, nowdays, that doesn’t fit him so well.

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Outside our FC house!
Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: New Year, Character Remake!

I have a pretty big announcement to make today. After playing my moon kitty, Zuri Nimat, as a main for over 3 years in FFXIV, I decided to remake my main character. Not only did she get a full physical change, but I’ve renamed her (Aywren Sojourner) and everything. It’s like having a brand new character while keeping all the leveling, items, pets, mounts and everything I’ve worked on all this time. I really like having the option to do that.

Don’t worry, I re-rolled Zuri because I’m too attached to her. I’m having thoughts about progressing her again as a RP/story character.

Why the Change?

So if I really loved Zuri’s character (and I do), why the change? Well, this all started back over Christmas holiday, when Red Mage was confirmed to be a DPS class.

Red Mage was my first job back when I played FFXI. I’m very much looking forward to the job in Stormblood. I’m hoping it won’t be too convoluted to play because these hybrid jobs are always my favorite. I want it to be fun. I want it to be my next new main job.

However, the traditional Red Mage gear (pictured below on the art of Yoshi-P)…

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…just doesn’t mesh so well in color with a blue kitty (IMHO). See here:

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Red doesn’t look terrible… but the blue fur/hair is meant to go with cooler colors. Yeah, I know that the gear won’t always look like artifact armor and can be dyed. But, it still planted a seed in my mind:

Maybe it’s time to give Zuri a makeover…

I started thinking about this. The more I thought, the more torn I became.

First world MMO cosmetic problems! 

I really love the way Zuri looks for the most part. Sometimes I regret giving her Smurf-Fur, but it’s part of who she is now. Changing that would be hard.

On the other hand, I really just felt like I needed to refresh things to help get me out of the slump I’ve been in. So, I decided over the holidays I’d pick up a fantasia and make some changes.

Over time, another thought began to creep in:

If I’m going to change Zuri’s looks, maybe I can consider changing her race. I mean, I may as well go all out if I’m going to use real money to change her cosmetically. 

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Afterall, there are a TON of catgirls in the game. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kitty. But at the same time, it would be nice to play a race that’s a bit more rare.

But after that thought began to settle, I argued:

Zuri wouldn’t be Zuri if she wasn’t a kitty! I couldn’t imagine her not-blue and not-kitty! 

Ugh! So, now what do I do?

Why not a name change, too? 

Wait, what?

I mean, it’s kinda odd that I use the name “Aywren Sojourner” everywhere else, and Zuri Nimat only here. Half the Free Company already calls me by my nickname, Wren. 

I guess that’s true.

A Little History

Here’s a little history: Zuri was a character I rolled up coming straight out of playing GW2. There, I had a Charr named Nipp Mousetrap who really got into the community back in the day, especially with RP folks on Tumblr. Part of the reason it worked well was that Nipp’s design was pretty unique — I made her to resemble my IRL cat, who is a flame point Siamese.

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Nipp Mousetrap from GW2

So when I picked up and moved to FFXIV, the idea was to design an aesthetically original looking character, like I had with Nipp. I originally wanted to get involved with the community the same way I had in GW2… it just never really worked out since I didn’t roll on the FFXIV RP server. I also found the FFXIV Tumblr community a bit harder to mesh with since the game had already been established for a good amount of time before ARR released.

What I ended up with was this Zuri:

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She was a bit too over the top back then. Over the years, I toned her down. But she was never made to be a character who represented me, or stood at the head of a Free Company, as my character does now.

Look and feel are important to me. Zuri represents a free spirit, and doesn’t reflect the qualities of a FC leader.

She’s a character I rolled to RP with, but never really figured out how to make that happen. You might notice that when I write about Zuri, I always address her by her name, rather than “I” or “my” or “me.” This is part of that – I don’t identify with her as a “me-MMO-character,” but rather as a character I rolled for other reasons.

So, making this change is part of setting things right in my  (strange) mind.

In With The New!

This weekend, I renamed my main character to Aywren Sojourner.

I changed her race to Elezen. This is because Elezen are fairly rare (I thought about FemRoe, but FemRoe just don’t match my personality), and because when I played Red Mage in FFXI, my character there was Elvaan. It just felt right.

It was also interesting to play a taller character after having been a short-as-can-be kitty. I’m almost as tall as Zeb now!

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Zeb and I

I also spent some time working on a new glamour for my Dragoon. After researching the market board, I decided I wanted one of the new ponchos. I had to settle for the Ramie version, since mats for the dyeable Cashmere version were too stupidly expensive. But, it’s okay. The color works well enough.

It’s been a while since I sat down and crafted something, so it felt good to be able to save some gil and make some glamour for myself. I totally didn’t expect the colors on the feathers to match the color of my hair. But there you have it.

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New Glamour!

The only content I’ve had time to run on my new character was a quick FC-grouped Syrcus Tower. I’ll have to say, it feels quite different to do it on a larger character. I know it’s all in my head, but the change in perspective is refreshing.

I was also a little nervous to run a raid using my “real” net name. I don’t know why. It’s not like anyone is going to recognize me from this little blog! But that thought was still there.

With Zuri, my character was disconnected from everything else. With Aywren, it more closely represents my online persona. That made me more aware of what I was doing.

As For Zuri…

I re-rolled Zuri on Midgardsormr and kept her pretty much the same as she used to be. I did change her tail type — she now has a multi-colored tail with a gold tip, like her hair highlights. I also lightened her skin color just a bit.

Then I sent her back to Gridania as a level 1 Conjurer, just as I have every time I rolled her. It’s always useful to start with a class that gives you Cure and Protect for cross-classing other jobs.

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Zuri’s New Beginning

I haven’t really decided which job I want to play with her this time around. It’s not really that important. I want Zuri’s journey to be a slow one of no stress and all creativity.

I’m still torn on which server to RP on. I’m keeping her on Midgardsormr for now as you can’t transfer a new character until after 3 days of making them. Balmung is the official RP server, and I feel a need to be in an RP environment, just for a change. But it’s such a large server, and none of my friends or FC are there… so it’s a toss up.

Also, Midgardsormr pride! 

I’m working on creating a new WordPress and Tumblr blog just for Zuri’s adventures. I’ll be sure to announce them once they’re ready!

Have you ever re-created one of your long-time MMO characters or made a big shift in your mains? How did it feel for you? Did you end up going back to what you had before?

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming

FFXIV: Stormblood Release Date, Preorder Date, Red Mage & Collector’s Edition Extras

Note: Stormblood Preorders are now open here! Wait no longer! 🙂

Source: Reddit FFXIV Japanese Fan Fest Live thread.

So, even though I should be taking a break from blogging for the holidays, some exciting info dropped about the Stormblood expansion, and I just had to gather a post about it.

First:

Stormblood Release Date June 20, 2017

Stormblood Preorder starts January 24, 2017

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Some Collector’s Edition goodies:

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  • Wind-Up Bartz Minion
  • Syldra Mount – Underwater (!) mount
  • Red Mage Main Arm Chicken Knife
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Syldra Mount from Collector’s Edition

That’s right… I said underwater! Because swimming and diving are going to be a thing in Stormblood.

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It looks like even our chocobos can swim!

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But most exciting to me is all the new information on Red Mage, a job I’m very much hyped for now.

 

This is everything I hoped for in the job from what I see so far. If it’s anywhere as cool as it looks here, I’m looking forward to making it my main once the expansion drops.What we do know about it:

  • Role is ranged DPS.
  • Weapon is rapier and crystal pair
  • Attaches crystal to rapier for casting and attacking
  • Starting level is 50
  • Uses red magic, which is a mix of black and white magic.
  • Has chain magic, which is used to power up magic power

You can see a recap of all of the slides here. So what do you think?