Posted in Gaming, MMORPGs, Secret World Legends

SWL: On To the Savage Coast

Before I start this post in earnest, I just want to repost this interesting tidbit:

So.

On Sunday, the Tin Foil Hats got together to progress a bit more in Secret World Legends. While we still have a few random quests left to do in Kingsmouth, the main story was pointing us to the next zone, the Savage Coast. There was some curiosity about the area, so we decided to go forward.

Pretty much all we got done were the quests around the Overlook Motel. That’s because the one investigation mission, Hell and Bach, took us so very long to finish. I’d forgotten all about the quest that sent you across the world to search out seance circles and decipher runes.

A big chunk of the time was spent just finding the locations in the pictures the quest provided. This did allow the newer folks on the team the chance to explore London and New York, since we’d only kinda had touch and go with these zones when trying to meet up in the beginning.

Dance Floor Experience

It’s been a while since I explored London, myself. I’m not sure if the dance floor on the second floor of the Horned God was always there, or always functioned how it did this weekend… but I had an interesting experience!

I noticed there was a dance floor, but it was dark, and no one was dancing there. So, just to be silly, I jumped on the floor and started doing the Thriller Dance.

To my surprise, the lights came on around the floor, and the music turned up a notch. I have no idea if it was because a player was out there interacting… but all of a sudden, one of the NPCs in the club comes walking across the floor. He stops right in front of me, and starts to dance with me.

I wish I had taken a screenshot! I don’t know if it was just luck that I started dancing randomly where the NPC would normally dance… or if the NPC was programmed to dance with players. But it was really trippy. And other NPCs were suddenly coming out to dance, too!

When I did finally think to take a screenshot, I saw that removing the UI caused me to stop dancing, too. But Xaa was up there dancing with me.

The NPC who was dancing with me stopped (since I was no longer dancing), walked over next to Xaa, and started dancing there instead. This couldn’t be coincidence, could it?

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Even creepier… Last night, I logged in to SWL to get my daily login. I was still in London, and was just jogging around outside of Templar headquarters.

One of the guards there randomly said something along the lines of “Didn’t I see you dancing at the Horned God the other night — wait, no…”

I was really taken aback because, yes, I was dancing at the Horned God the other night! Again, I don’t know if this was just random text at the right time or if this game is just playing with me!!

The Museum

One of the locations we had to visit during the quest was the Museum of the Occult. I don’t remember ever being able to go inside there before… so this must be something new. It reminds me a whole lot of the Hall of Monuments in GW1.

There’s even a giant version of your character in there:

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Zeb and giant Zeb

Anyhow… this team is really looking forward to the Halloween event in SWL. I’ll be writing more as we continue our play through! I’m looking forward to taking them to the Park and the Black House and the Franklin Mansion…!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Crazy Fun Weekend

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

Shirogane Castle Walls

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

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

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

Speed Leveling Carpenter

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

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

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

FC Celebration

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

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

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Royal City of Rabanastre

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

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

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Almost a full FC Alliance run

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

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

Beast Tribes and Alliance Roulettes

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

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

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

Saying Goodbye to Yo-Kai

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

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

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Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

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

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

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

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

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

Interesting.

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

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

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

I Love Squads

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

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

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

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

Tai Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Exploring Dungeons With My Squad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the intended audience of these squads?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: The Great Housing War

So, things didn’t go as planned this morning for the great housing rush in Shirogane. Last time we got new housing wards on Midgardsormr, many of the plots remained open for quite a while. I had no idea that everything would be gone in the first 15 minutes of the servers being up.

I logged in as soon as the servers opened, but got kicked by the data center error. That put me in a queue with 600+ people in front of me. Once I finally did get in game, the loading screen was broken and I sat like this for a while:

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By the time I was fully logged and able to even look at the housing list, all the large plots were gone (in every ward, even the old areas). Five minutes later, all the smalls were also gone in Shirogane.  It was chaos.

I was disappointed because I never had a chance, and so many people in our FC had pitched in Gil to pick up a mansion.

But not all was lost! 

Some FC members — Wry, Bean and Talo — contacted me when I logged in later. Wry told me the other day he had a mansion in the Goblet, that he shared with the other two, that they were willing to offer to the FC. At first, I was loathe to take it from him and the other FC members who were using it for a personal area. But when I saw how fierce housing competition was this morning, I knew if we didn’t make a move now, it was only going to get harder in the future.

So, I took them up on the offer. In return, I gave Wry the money to purchase our old FC house plot, so that he would still have a house and I would know our old plot went to someone who’d care for it.

And this is how our FC got our mansion in the Goblet! It’s located right next to the waterfall with a lovely view of the new pools.

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When it was first announced, the members who were on couldn’t seem to believe what they were seeing. We’d kept all this plotting (pun intended) secret, and so they rushed quickly to the new house.

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Much celebration was had, especially when people went inside and realized how HUGE an upgrade this is!

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I know that this isn’t the Shirogane house or beachfront property in Mist people imagined, but being realistic, this is really more than we could hope for a long time. I’m very grateful to our generous FC members who gave up their lot to give our FC a new home. I think in time, they’ll come to see how great this spot is!

Much love to our old house… it served us well!

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Farewell Ward 2, Plot 2!
Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs, Uncategorized

FFXIV: Shirogane Savage

Update: Here’s the outcome of this story!


Guys! I am so nerve-wracked right now!

So, along with patch 4.1, they are releasing the new housing area – Shirogane. Now, our not-so-little-as-before Free Company has long outgrown our quaint little cottage. They’ve got their eye on a mansion in the new area… and they’ve all donated generously to obtaining and furnishing it.

Check this out!

giil

That’s like the most gil I’ve ever seen… and it’s in my inventory waiting on me to successfully snag a plot to move.

I’ve got the day off from work tomorrow. I’ve got my alarm set. I’ve got my /busy macro. I’ve put my character in the proper log-in spot. I’ve made practice runs and jotted down all the plot numbers and warp points.

I just hope and pray that nothing goes wrong and I don’t accidentally move my private house rather than the FC house or something. Oh, I’m so nervous!

Good luck to everyone on their house hunt! 🙂

Posted in Gaming, Guild Wars 2, MMORPGs

GW2: PoF Story Completion, Impressions

With FFXIV Patch 4.1 releasing tomorrow, I sat down Saturday with the express intention to finish up the GW2 Path of Fire story line. I’m happy to say that I was a lot closer to being done than I thought I was, and that I did, indeed, finish it! (Now I just need to go back and finish HoT and all of Season 3… but that’s another story.)

This is where I plunk down my opinion of the story line as a whole.

Note: There will probably be PoF spoilers.

Continue reading “GW2: PoF Story Completion, Impressions”