Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Ishgard Restoration 5.41

It’s that time again! The Ishgard Restoration is underway and the Skybuilder Rankings are open again! I do believe this is the final leg of the Restoration story-wise. I’m not sure if this will be the final leaderboard rankings as well.

While I’ve earned a title for my main and my RP alt, I have yet a third character, Tad, whom I’ve leveled all gatherers to 80 on. He started the Restoration with only three crafting jobs in the 50s (he now has one in the 60s after last night’s efforts), and I’d like to make progress on these as well.

I’d considered working on a title for him, but I quickly realized that you don’t actually get points in the ranking if you’re not crafting the higher level recipes. So everything I did on his level 50-something goldsmith didn’t count yesterday. If I really want to be ambitious, I could push to get this job into the 70s, where I think you start accumulating points(?) It wouldn’t be impossible to get on the leaderboard for my server at this point still.

Because I had to mine up lower level mats to level his crafting jobs, Tad didn’t get much in the way of points for his mining or botany, either. I’m somewhat tempted to just buy the materials (since they’re already cheap) and focus on leveling my crafting job up instead. I just don’t know how much effort I feel up to putting into the title a third time, though I always enjoy gathering in the Diadem when other people are around and active.

The Diadem itself has undergone quite a change, too! Gone are the heatwaves and yellow, thank goodness. Welcome is the gentle snowy weather instead. Much easier on the eyes!

If you’re taking on the rankings this time around, I wish you luck! I still need to catch up on a lot of the quests in Ishgard, but it’s been pretty fun to see content built just for crafters and gatherers, and how much of a crowd it always draws.

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Taking Amazing Screenshots with GShade Filters

Link to the GShade website. Download and see help documentation there.-

Several years back, I wrote about how I’d installed Stormshade as a filter for my FFXIV screenshots. Sadly, over time, I noticed that Stormshade had not updated and was far from using the newest version of ReShade. Neither was it adding any new filter presets that I could see.

It wasn’t causing any technical trouble, but I decided I wanted to explore more maintained and up-to-date options. This meant trying out GShade, which I’d heard so much about.

Not only was GShade extremely simple to install, but it came with so many preset filters (the website notes there are 450+ presets) by default that I simply was beside myself! Installation was as simple as downloading the .exe and running it. No fiddling with folders – it knows where to find a standard FFXIV install.

It gives you the option to install the presets, but I don’t see why you wouldn’t. This was so much simpler than having to download the presets yourself and find proper folders to put them in for use.

And then, once you launch it, GShade gives you a bit of a tutorial walkthrough on how to do stuff. I was so used to my Stormshade settings that I quickly customized GShade to work the same way (which is not GShade default). And now I’m as happy as I can be every time I sit down to take an artistic screenshot with filters.

An example of the same picture with several different filters. Click to see bigger images:

There’s lots, lots more to choose from than that. So, if you’re looking to spice up your /gpose in FFXIV, give this a shot!

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

My Nintendo Switch Review Made Me a Little Sad

Nintendo sent out a year in review for Switch-playing folks a few days back. When I got mine, I was surprised and a bit sad about some of the statistics I saw there.

First, it determined what kind of player I was — turns out, I played Animal Crossing the most of all the games this year. This made sense.

It also turns out that I tallied up this many hours…

Wow, did I really ONLY play 23 hours on my Switch in 2019. That makes me sad, for one. But Animal Crossing certainly got me putting more time in on my Switch this year.

What made me sad was the tally of games that I played this year:

FIVE?

Only FIVE games? I could have sworn… no… well… maybe that WAS all that I played this year! How tragic, especially when I had goals set to spend more time with my Switch!!

What were the five games I played?

Bargain Hunter and Graveyard Keeper were both games that I got for my birthday, so I made an attempt to play a few games I got as gifts this year. But the rest of it was simply dismal.

I have got to do so much better than this in 2021. I have a LOT of fantastic games I want to play on this console. It’s just lack of time and focus that keeps me from doing so.

What a wake up call. 😦

Posted in Gaming

Amazon Adventure: When Your Nintendo eShop Code Was Already Redeemed…

I am no stranger to Nintendo eShop cards or codes. Friends and family alike know that the way to light up my birthday or holiday is to slip me some credit for my Switch. That being said, I rarely purchase a digital code – I unusually get them in the form of physical gift cards.

Here is the story of the time the Nintendo eShop code from Amazon arrived… already redeemed… and how I got the issue resolved. I’m not sure who should have taken the responsibility for this issue. But in the end, Nintendo was pretty quick to resolve it… after I’d jumped through a few procedural hoops.

Sunday, December 13, 2020: My dad buys me a $10 Nintendo eShop code as part of a Christmas gift on his Amazon account.

Hours Later: The code still hasn’t shown up in his game downloads section. I do some research around – some say that the code could take up to 4 hours to process. This went far beyond 4 hours.

Monday, December 14, 2020: I check the download section to see if the code arrived. It finally had. But strangely enough, I also noticed that on the item page, it said that two had been purchased (which I know wasn’t so). This was strange….

Not to mention, there was only one code in the download section… so…. that was weird.

Anyhow, I go to enter the code in the eShop just like I would normally and…

This activation code has already been used.

Say what?

Now, there’s not a chance that someone else with access to this Amazon account used this code. My parents don’t even own a Nintendo, much less know what the games download section of Amazon does. And my dad’s account is protected with OTP so no one else is getting in there except him or me.

I try the code again, and got the same response. So, it was off to Amazon support chat for me.

I explained the situation to the rep on the chat and she had someone from Amazon digital games support call me directly. This happened almost instantly – I do have to say that the response times were very fast in support!

Then, I explained the situation to the new rep over the phone. He proceeded to “gather information” about the situation, including what’s called a Control Number – which was provided along with the code. Then he told me he was sending this information to Nintendo Support and that I would have to call Nintendo and they would sort it out for me.

Okay…

This felt like a lot of to-do for a $10 card and an error I did not make.

But this was a Christmas gift from my dad, so to honor the money he spent, I chose to pursue this to the end.

Email from Amazon Support telling me to contact Nintendo…

So I call Nintendo support.

In all the years that I’ve been a customer of Nintendo (since childhood) I’ve only ever called support once – when my Switch dock got fried by a power surge. So I wondered how this would unfold.

Again, wait time was surprisingly short! The first rep I got was pleasant, quick to respond and helpful. He took the information I provided (I guess Amazon’s information had not arrived?) and was able to confirm that the code had indeed been used (before I got it).

He escalates my issue to a Specialist. And this is where the ball sorta drops.

He was like: Did you contact Amazon?

And I was like: Yes, and they sent me to you.

He remarked that this was “very strange.”

Then he was like: Are you sure you used the correct code?

And I was like: Pretty sure. And it recognized it (1) as a code (2) a code that had already been used. That’s why I’m here.

The fellow was polite enough, but he was so very uncertain that there was anything he could do to help me. In fact, he told me straight up, “I don’t know what to do about this.” and later said “I can’t promise this will get resolved.”

I’m like… what…? This is a $10 card for Heaven’s sake! It’s not like I’m talking about $75 or $100. Just $10…

The main reason he was so uncertain (or so I gathered) was because this was a digital code. Apparently, if you have this issue with a physical card, you can take a picture of the back of the card and send a photocopy of the receipt to prove you bought it.

In this case, all I could do was provide a screenshot of my dad’s digital download section and the invoice from Amazon. I had to tell this fellow repeated times that this was a digital code, not a card, so I didn’t have an actual card or receipt to send.

Still, he got the ball rolling for me, though acting still very unsure that I could get this resolved, and certainly having no clue how to handle it himself. And that’s… just not what you do in support (saying this as someone who worked retail and support for years).

He sends me an email from Nintendo Support, to which I have to respond with the information requested. So I do this as completely and thoroughly as a tech writer can. I typed out my story again, using bulleted lists to describe the steps I’d taken to get this resolved.

I then explained this was a code, not a card. But included a screenshot of the digital download section of Amazon and the invoice from Amazon because that’s all the proof I had.

From there, I could do nothing but sit and wait. After dealing with the uncertain Specialist, I wasn’t too confident that I’d get an answer or a resolution.

BUT. A few hours later, I get this email:

Seeing it was only 7PM EST when I got it, I realized I still had time to do this, so I hopped on the phone that moment. With pretty minimal wait time, I was then forwarded to someone who identified herself as a Supervisor.

Okay!

She looked over the notes in my case, and told me that Supervisor permission was needed to resolve this, and that she would, right then, give that permission. She told me that I’d either get a new code in the mail or that my account would be credited directly (since they did have my Nintendo account info).

I came away pretty pleased by that.

Not even 15 minutes later, I get this email:

Wow! I checked my account, and sure enough, there it was.

Now, I don’t know if it should have been Nintendo or Amazon who rectified this situation. And I’m not going to say this is what everyone else will have to do if they run across this. I honestly don’t know if the fault lay with Amazon’s code distribution or the code itself from Nintendo.

But that was quite an adventure for the $10 eShop credit. And while a little of the Nintendo support was iffy, the first rep and the supervisor who ultimately resolved this were great. I did fill out my customer feedback survey and spoke honestly about my experience – I don’t always do this, but this time, I felt I should.

And there you have it. The story of the already redeemed digital Nintendo eShop code bought from Amazon.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Tales from the Jump Puzzle – With Bennett Foddy

On the first day of the Moonfire Faire, the fact that there is a jump puzzle to the event became a reality. Then, people came to know that there’s an easy version, which is all you need to complete the event, and a much, much harder version. The harder version doesn’t give you anything but bragging rights, and yet, so many people set out to defeat it.

During early afternoon, server shout chat in the zone began to draw connections between the feeling this jump puzzle gave someone and the game Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy.

ffxiv_08132018_113006

Now if you’ve never played the game or watched someone on YouTube play it, please take a moment to watch any normal playthrough (not speed run) of Getting Over It. Doesn’t matter which, they usually all end up the same. Lots and lots of bad language. 🙂

Anyhow, throughout the game, as you fail and lose progress, Bennett Foddy offers “motivational” quotes and commentary in voice overs. Most of these are actually empowering quotes, but in the middle of suffering and failure, they feel more like a passive-aggressive jab at you (which is probably the intention).

So, when Mateus chat turned into Bennett Foddy quotes for the new jump puzzle and various parodies of, I knew I needed to start hitting the screenshot button.

ffxiv_08132018_125949

ffxiv_08132018_125739

ffxiv_08132018_125731

ffxiv_08132018_125725

ffxiv_08132018_125716

In closing, some Bennett Foddy motivation for your Wednesday here:

Posted in Gaming, Second Life

Second Life: Finding Water Horse

I talked about how amazing Bento is when used for a Second Life avatar. I didn’t realize how far Bento could reach… it’s much more than just making more life-like avatar heads.

You guys might already know that I’m a huge lover of horses in any MMO or game… so please excuse me while I fangirl about horses in yet another post.

I was browsing (and cleaning up) pictures on my Second Life Pets Flickr… which somehow still exists after all these years… and I ran across some amazing pictures of people riding horses in Second Life. I was blown away — I’d never seen such a life-like breedable horse in SL!  Continue reading “Second Life: Finding Water Horse”