Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Finishing Shadowbringers (Again) and Inferno Jacket!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you working on finishing up loose ends before Endwalker?

Posted in Nintendo Switch

Animal Crossing New Horizons 2.0 Update Comes Early!

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

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

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

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

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

He seems to like gyroids as much as I do!

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

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

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

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Great Lodestone Redesign – Make a Character Card!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for the update, Lodestone!

Posted in Star Stable Online

Star Stable Online – MMO World of Horses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anniversary Horse

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

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

What I Enjoy

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

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

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

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

My Nitpicks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Mogtomes and Dancing to 80

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Sebastian’s Eatery

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Second Life

Second Life: Trick Or Treat!

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s the Great Pumpkin House!

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

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

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

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

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: Firebird Achieved!

I know I’m quite a few expansions behind on getting this mount, but I’m fine with that. Running trials has never been a big thing for me (outside of just seeing the story), so I’ve taken up every opportunity the Mogtome events have offered to collect mounts.

Today I finally got the last of the bird collection from Heavensward, which meant I could get my Firebird for Ben!

It worked much like the Kirin did for the ponies, with a rainbow of mounts congratulating your achievement. For me, it took a lot of Praetorium for those tomes – though I believe I did earn one or two (Ravana or Bismark) from actually unsyncing with FC friends.

Now it’s time to work on the wolves! And that means.. yep… more Praetorium!

Posted in Nintendo Switch

Animal Crossing: A Return to New Horizons

I played Animal Crossing: New Horizons for a pretty solid year before I found myself taking a break from the game. I think it was around Easter of this year when I ended up putting it down, mostly because I felt that there were not a lot of new things in the event or game.

Not that I’m anywhere near being finished with it. I haven’t even really sat down and figured out what I want my island’s design to be. Unlike some of those amazing islands I see out there, mine is pretty bland and unorganized.

When dream visiting released, I thought it was finally a chance to hop around to other islands to obtain inspiration. Only, originally, you had to have codes in order to visit an island. For me, searching for codes and inputting them was more work than I wanted to do just to find inspiration. I’d hoped I could just randomly visit islands in dreams – something they implemented eventually. But by that time, I’d fallen away from logging in.

So now, I’ve heard we’re getting a huge update – the final update – to New Horizons and it sounds fantastic! I won’t go into listing all the new and quality of life content we’ll be getting for free – this site does a great job of rounding up all that information. But it was enough to catch my attention and make me log in to clear the weeds.

On top of that, we’re getting the first Animal Crossing DLC that blends the features of Happy Home Designer (which I do own but never got very far into) with New Horizons.

Again, I won’t go into all the information on this DLC, but I do plan to pick it up. It sounds just the thing for folks who (unlike me) have reached end game with designing their own island.

This DLC comes two ways – a straight out purchase for $25 or as part of an upgrade with Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack. I know that I’m going to straight up buy the DLC because I’m not sure if I’m going to upgrade my Switch Online yet. I like having the service, but I also don’t use what I have as much as I should already. I’m going to wait and see on whether the N64 lineup is worth it to me – there were some games that I loved from that system, but it wasn’t one of the systems I owned a ton of games for.

I don’t want the hassle of not having DLC content should I decide to drop the Switch Online Expansion service in the future. As far as I’m concerned $25 is a fair price for a hefty DLC that I’ll probably put time into and enjoy.

All that to say, I’m going to be squeezing in time to dream hop and see if I can’t make my own island something I’m a bit more proud of going forward. Not to mention the Halloween event actually does seem to have new items this year, so I’m there for that!