Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: When WoW Streamers Playing FFXIV Inspire!

As of late, the FFXIV community has seen a influx of players trying the game (thanks to the FREE TRIAL that includes the entirety of A Realm Reborn AND the award-winning Heavensward expansion up to level 60 with no restrictions on playtime…) specifically, WoW players.

WoW folks who are fed up with the state of their game are moving to FFXIV and becoming part of Eorzea, or are simply curious and trying it out to see what FFXIV has to offer. This has included some big names in streaming and YouTube. You know the ones I’m talking about.

Not really being a WoW player (I have a Panda Monk I got up to level 48 once, but that’s it), I’d never heard of these folks before. But when word got out that Asmondgold was some kind of community tipping point for a WoW streamer trying FFXIV, I got on board for the ride just out of my own curiosity.

There has been some concern on the FFXIV front that the warm and welcoming community is going to be infiltrated by the terrible toxicity of the WoW mentality as these folks come in to play “Our Game.” But so far, I’ve seen quite the opposite happening.

In fact, the video series by Medieval Marty has been about as wholesome as you can get. I highly suggest watching his series as he explores FFXIV and finds a new home.

He’s just one of many that you can find on YouTube if you search. I haven’t had time to watch them all, but there are some really good experiences shared out there!

It’s fascinating for me to watch someone not new to MMOs, but completely new to FFXIV, begin to learn about the world and all the elements that make it special. When they start to vibe with the story (sometimes even if they claimed they don’t play MMOs for story) and become attached to characters, I see a bit of myself in them.

And that’s nothing short of inspiring.

Of course, I can’t write about this topic without mentioning Asmongold. While I don’t agree with everything he does, and I don’t always appreciate the language he uses, Asmon has as of this past weekend (to the surprise of some FFXIV vets) stuck it out through ARR MSQ and made it to level 50+. Not only that, but he’s gone through the story (often reading much of it to his viewers), responded to that story on an emotional level, introduced Eorzea to a group of people who had likely never seen it before, and has made it fun.

For all the people cracking down on ARR story, Asmon seemed to have a really good time. He was able to communicate that, share the experience, and likely inspire others to give FFXIV a try, too. He also had some interesting thoughts on story and community that I thought were insightful.

Infectious Inspiration

The joy of discovery isn’t lost upon me in all of this. Coming this September, I will have been subscribed to FFXIV since 2013 with no breaks. There was some time in the first year where I set the game down a little bit (specifically around level 50, until roulettes made getting tomestones easier), but for the most part, I’ve played very consistently all this time.

I’m a casual FFXIV player overall. While I may log in just about every night, it might not be for long stretches, or it’s just to run one thing and then do some crafting. But that’s how I’ve maintained playing the same MMO for as long as I have.

This new wave of WoW to FFXIV folks, even the ones just trying it out and sharing their experiences, has been quite an inspiration to me as a long-time player. Not only am I going back to see parts of the story I’d forgotten about (since I skip through most MSQ on my 6th time), but I get to see someone else enjoying and exploring the same things that I did 8 years ago.

This has actually motivated me to pick up FFXIV and push through some things I want to do before Endwalker comes out. Namely, I have one more character who needs to finish Shadowbringers.

For all of Asmon’s language, I really do like his “Let’s Do It!” mentality when he approaches quests. Even the cumbersome ones.

I’ve been trying to use that motivational thought for my own approach – the 5th time through Shadowbringers. As much as I love the expansion, and I appreciate that Trusts are there to get me through most of the dungeons, it’s still difficult to repeat it for a 5th time. But I’ve been finding the means to get it done and I’m glad to be doing it.

Personally, I’m excited to see FFXIV getting all this attention from new folks – no matter if they come from WoW or from anywhere else. I feel like the our community can welcome them and will adjust to the influx of gaming culture as it always has.

The future seems bright. I’m excited to see new people joining the game and bringing other new people to our worlds. Thank you for sharing your experiences and providing inspiration to this long-time player – I hope you all continue to have a good time in Eorzea!

Posted in FFXIV, MMORPGs

MMO & Story: So, Story Does Matter!

Not too long ago, I ran across a post that I wrote six years ago – MMOs & Story: Accepting Mediocrity – and re-read it.

At the time of writing, I was frustrated with the poor story logic and plot-points of GW2 writing. The jist of my post was: If gamers don’t stand up and demand better writing from their games, all we’ll ever get is mediocrity in terms of MMO story.

It was a post I thought would get an agreeable response. I was surprised, and still am, at how much push-back it actually got, though!

A few people agreed that better story would be nice. However, some folks told me they didn’t play an MMO expecting a good story, so it didn’t matter if they didn’t get one. Other folks told me story was a moot point because they’d rather make up their own story rather than have the game force a narrative on their character (a very oldskool sandbox idealism that I understand and respect).

Story = something single player games should do well. Not required in an MMO.

I was taken aback in re-reading this. Especially since… well… I feel like the MMO world lately has started to prove that a good story really is important to the foundations of the gaming worlds we inhabit.

Case and point: FFXIV Shadowbringers. FFXIV has earned accolades for having a powerful and moving story, and the game is growing in popularity now that word is really getting out that hey… a story-driven MMO can be done right and is a fantastic experience!

Not only is Shadowbringers held up as an amazingly written MMO expansion, but as one of the best-written Final Fantasy games in the franchise.

During PAX West two years ago, the main scenario writer for Shadowbringers, Natsuko Ishikawa, was given a standing ovation by the crowd for her work on the expansion. She’ll be writing the main scenario for FFXIV upcoming expansion, Endwalker, just for the record. (Woot!)

See the Twitch Clip for this moment here.

In the meantime, Syn and I have long-since quit GW2 years ago. We did try come back for a while during Path of Fire. While I enjoyed the mounts (which was what drew me back), the frustrating, drawn-out and player-battering gameplay during big fight instances was a huge turn off.

Add to that the story spitting on the grave of GW1 lore elements, a story so illogical neither of us could get behind it, and the cash shop becoming the end-all-be-all… we parted ways with Anet. This was a developer who I adored all through GW1 development. It was a sad thing for me, but I accepted Anet is not the same developer as I once supported.

Poor story was a big part of the reason for our departure. I’ve heard bits and pieces of where the story went after PoF and I’m honestly glad I didn’t hang in there. None of it honored the original lore of Tyria and I’m almost cringing in worry to see what they’re going to do to my beloved Cantha. (Please leave Kunnavang alone!)

It seems like the GW2 community also agrees that though the story isn’t absolutely rock-bottom terrible, it’s not great either. It apparently has good moments, but it sounds overall like a game striving to put story up front that’s only delivering mediocrity in the end.

In the meantime, it sounds like World of Warcraft players are starting to stand up against poor storytelling in Azeroth. I know very little about WoW story other than players who care about story haven’t been pleased with it for a good long while. Now, when FFXIV is starting to look like a real contender, the players are asking for something better from WoW.

While I’m not happy that these games have poor story that is – in the words of this WoW player – “making the game less fun to play,” I’m happy to see people demanding a better story experience from MMO games.

I’m writing this as an individual who has made technical writing their profession. I’m a writer. Good story isn’t easy – I get it. However, I also know what expectations my own work requires for something I’ve written to be of releasable quality.

Six years ago, in that post I wrote, I gave the GW2 team a real hard side-eye wondering – where’s their writing QA? Where’s the editors? Where’s the people who are supposed to check the writing and story flow and give feedback on this kind of thing?

Who calls the shots on the dev team when it comes to story?

I know for certain that there’s a dedicated writer team for FFXIV. And even then, Yoshi-P himself walks through the story and the completed product to provide QA feedback and institute changes when things aren’t up to his standards. When the story is that important to the game producer – that has made all the difference.

Does that mean I think FFXIV story can do no wrong? Oh, heck no.

I’ve got a list of story-things I don’t agree with in post-Shadowbringers patches. But I also can overlook small irritations in FFXIV because the overall story experience is great, and I know the things I don’t care for are often due to my personal preferences. Heck, some people like the things I don’t like – would you look at that!

Anyhow, the takeaway is… I think we’re starting to see how good story provides a better overall gaming experience for MMO players. As the MMO genre continues to evolve, players are starting to demand that MMOs that claim to contain story actually focus on making good story

No more of this just tossing out a half-baked experience. Because when story is done right in an MMO, you can definitely see the difference.

If there’s one thing I’m proud of with FFXIV it’s that they didn’t settle on story mediocrity. FFXIV went above and beyond, embracing the concept of being a story-driven game – even in the face of folks who claim story is not important in an MMO. That has not only paid off for S/E, but it’s creating new expectations for MMO players as a whole while putting pressure for other games to step up their writing, as well.

I couldn’t be happier about this shift. I wish for a great story experience for all MMO worlds!

Posted in MMORPGs

Locked Out! Getting my Glyph Account Back

This is a cautionary tale for folks that have an old Glyph account hanging around. This launcher is for games such as Rift, ArcheAge and Trove.

I’ve only played two of these games – back in 2014-2015 – ArcheAge and Trove. When I first created my account, the Glyph launcher didn’t exist. Before I stopped playing, the Glyph launcher was released and somewhere down the line, I added two-factor authentication to my account.

That’s where my trouble starts.

Fast forward to May 31, 2021.

I heard that Trove was getting a new Bard class. I was interested in rolling a character to play this class when it released. So for the first time in 6 years, I installed the Glyph launcher an attempted to log into my account.

Well, the Glyph authenticator app was still on my phone. But somewhere during that time, it’d got offloaded to make more space for other things. I guess offloading is the same as uninstalling because my account could no recognize the authenticator.

I had my account email address and password, but I was locked out of my account due to the authenticator.

There was a link where you could go to answer some questions in order to claim your account and remove the authenticator. Problem was, these were things I either never attached to my account – because it was created so long ago – or I didn’t remember.

Things like:

  • First Question What was your childhood nickname? Second Question Your Fantasy Name (Movie/Book Character First Name + Childhood Street Name)
  • Account creation date
  • IP address of computer when signing up for account
  • Credit card when signing up for account

This account was created during ArcheAge beta in 2014… I have no idea the exact creation date, my IP, and I’ve had replacement credit cards since then, too! I have no idea what my security question answers were (why make them so complicated?) or if I’ve ever set those up for my account.

Well, not only could I not remove the authenticator, but I couldn’t log in to reach the support site with my account. All I could do at that point was send an email to support.

In the meantime, I did learn that I’d not be able to roll a new character on Trove anyhow – it’s one character per account – so I created a new Glyph account for my new Trove bard. Good thing that I did because…

I sent an email to Glyph support on May 31, 2021.

I did not get a reply from Glyph support until June 14, 2021.

It took half a month just to get to my ticket. And when they did, I had to jump through the same hoops to prove the account belonged to me. Consider that I was writing from the email address that was connected to this account, and I did tell them I have a working password.


Before we can proceed with any changes, we need to verify account ownership.
With this in mind, please provide us with as many of the verification points below as you can remember:

  • Currently registered email address on the account:
  • Account creation date:
  • First Question What was your childhood nickname? Second Question Your Fantasy Name (Movie/Book Character First Name + Childhood Street Name)
  • Character names, levels, and server/region:
  • First and Last name (if any):
  • PayPal email address (if any):
  • Order numbers or Transaction IDs:
  • Details of purchase: please provide us with a screenshot of the payment confirmation which you received via email OR provide us with the info regarding the last three transactions that have been made on the account – we require the type of transactions and the date

Again, there’s a chunk of things here I didn’t know. But I gave them as much as I could.

I sent that information the day I got the email thinking that finally I was getting some support.

Ten days later…


We have successfully removed the mobile authenticator from your account as requested.
Should you need help with anything else, please let us know!


SO.

I got my account back. It only took almost a month. There was a point where I thought my ticket wasn’t even being looked at. But I remember back in the Trion days, if you put a follow-up ticket in, it just pushes your ticket to the back of the line again. So I let it ride and waited.

I already had a second account I could play. While I never put money into my original Trove account, I did put money into that ArcheAge account. However, I wouldn’t touch ArcheAge again with a 50 foot pole after what all they’ve been doing with server merges and pay to win.

But, it would be nice to get my old Trove character back. So, once everything got resolved, I go to log into my original Trove account and this is the first screen I see…

It’s acting as if I don’t have a character.

I stop right there and go to look this up. Apparently, Trove frees up user names if you haven’t played in a while.

Okay, well, I go to type my character name in to claim it again: Aywren

Name is taken.

What?

Usually, I’m the only Aywren in just about any game I’ve ever played. But, it’s not impossible that there’s another Aywren out there, so I choose another name: Aywren_Sojourner

Then I see this:

Choose a STARTING class?

Wait. I had all kinds of classes from back in the day unlocked – some that you have to pay money for now that you didn’t back then. I looked this up, too, and have seen where this has happened to other people who haven’t logged into Trove in a while.

So somewhere out there, my original Trove character might still exist, but it’s not connected to my account anymore for some reason. This… is a bummer.

Update! So, just for kicks, I chose a starter class and went through the new tutorial. Once I got to the other side, it appears that all of the classes and items I unlocked are still here, but my levels have all been reset to 1. My inventory has also been cleared out. So I’ve lost progression but kept basic unlocks. This is much better than losing the character as a whole.

You better believe that I’m logging in a few times a week on my Trove account even if I’m not actively playing.

Support did resolve my account issue, but it took so long just to disconnect the authenticator. If this had been the only account I had and I didn’t have access to it for almost a month, it would have been a truly frustrating situation.

As a side note, even if you don’t have an authenticator set up on a phone, Glyph will still email you an authenticator code if you log in from a new location – sorta like Steam does. But I guess support has to do what it has to do for every player in this situation.

And for those who have a Trove character they want to keep… log in often to preserve your name!

New Trove Bard with Dragon Mount

Posted in Black Desert Online

BDO: Summer Season Begins, Deluge of Corsairs Incoming!

Yesterday marked the beginning of the new summer season and the release of the new class, Corsair, in Black Desert Online. This is my first ever season, and while I’ve only been able to play a couple hours, my Corsair, Petrel, is already level 28. It helps that I’ve already run these quests many times before, and the fact the season server is showering folks in XP and leveling rewards.

In fact, one of the rewards you can get – if your Corsair reaches level 58 – is a free ship! However, it seems like the cog has a lifespan, so I will still likely purchase a second Epheria Sailboat with the seals I’ve stored away. But the cog is still a good little ship to start leveling sailing on this character.

It’s hard for me to determine what I think of the Corsair after just a few hours. She seems very fluid (no pun intended) with all of her water-type magics and moves. It’s neat to see this kind of take on water abilities. Just like the Sage, she’s super flashy with her bigger skills, and seems to put out decent damage.

I haven’t had any trouble taking down anything in my path up to the point I’ve played. That being said, mobs are pretty contested since that was a first day release with a new class. I saw lots and lots of new Corsairs (with a few other classes peppered throughout), but it never got to a point I couldn’t finish the quest I was on… yet.

I’m sure there are folks who have more time and have already leveled theirs far higher than I have. What I really want to do is snag a ship and start to explore sailing while I’m on a server where I can’t be PKed.

So my first goal is to get to 58 for that ship. Then, I want to hit the ocean and explore. There’s a lot out there I’ve not seen and done yet.

I guess I also have to figure out how gearing up works on a season server. They’ve been tossing all sorts of upgrades at me as I’ve leveled, but I don’t know what any of them are for, to be honest. Gearing is one of those things I don’t pay attention to in BDO because I’m not really there for the combat.

They’re also giving away some neat cosmetic rewards as you level, like the eyepatch!

All in all, I like the way my Corsair looks, even in her lower level gear.

As I keep moving up, I’ll let you know if I run into any snags with the new class. But for now, it’s smooth sailing. Pun intended.

Posted in FFXIV

FFXIV: The Great Main Switcheroo

Lately, I’ve had some motivation trouble in FFXIV – but it’s not for the reason you might think.

Let me start this post by putting things in perspective. I began playing FFXIV sometime mid September of 2013. In all these years, I’ve never dropped my sub once. There were a few months in early 2014ish that I didn’t play daily, but I can say that I’ve pretty much played FFXIV since 2013 without a true break.

Granted, I’m a casual. My idea of playing every day is to log in, knock out an Alliance raid, dig up some maps to sell and maybe play with glamour or housing or tunes as a bard. Part of what makes playing a game this long sustainable to someone of my personality type is the casual approach and the creativity that I associate with my characters.

As some folks might know, almost three years ago, I launched a writing/RP project that eventually led to me adopting the RP server as my home. Being able to find a creative outlet within the game that’s tied to my characters increases my fun and immersion manyfold.

As much as I enjoy FFXIV for what it is, I believe it’s my creative projects that have helped keep me in the game for as long as I’ve been.

So what does this have to do with my main?

Everything.

My main started out named Zuri Nimat back in 2013. While I didn’t have a background story for her, she was a separate identity from my own in every way. When I talked about my main during those times, I called her “Zuri” because that was her name.

Obviously, but hang with me on this train of thought.

Fast forward to 2017. This blog was really kicking off and I was identifying with my writing persona far more than the blue kitty I’d originally created. So, for the new year, I decided to recreate my main using my net name Aywren Sojourner.

Makes sense. I often use my net name as my main character in games. And this has been fine more or less.

But I’ve noticed something the past few months. Now that I’ve finished my goals of leveling all jobs on my main and got her to the stage I wanted for crafting relic tools, I really don’t log in with her except to grab a daily map.

In fact, if anything, I’ve felt bored of my main lately. She hasn’t even finished the newest MSQ. And this feeling is not a class issue seeing she has every job leveled – so I could take my pick of what to play, but I still love my Red Mage most.

I’ve started to realize that part of the problem is that I see this character as a representation of myself, which has started to ironically cause a disconnect and lack of interest. For example, when I talk about my main… I never call her by name. I mean, I’m “Aywren,” so it’s really weird to say “Aywren did this” or “Aywren did that” – even when I write blog posts, I just always say “My Main.”

It’s also very difficult to assign a backstory to a representation of myself. I tried. I really did. I spent hours deliberating over where this “Main” could have come from, what her family history was, what her quirks and skills were… I wrote up a character sheet for her and tried to make her as interesting as possible to me.

But in the end, it just felt forced. Like I was filling in the blanks on purpose because there could never be an organically developed story for her.

I once told someone in game: “I don’t RP or write stories with my main. She’s too representative of myself and that just feels weird to me.”

That’s still very true. It’s also where my trouble lies.

As I said, lately, I’ve been increasingly demotivated to play her. There’s still plenty I can do in game, so it’s not a lack of content. I tried a bunch of things to revitalize my interest in her, actually – looked for new glamour, looked at all the new hairstyles, considered another race change, poured back over the character sheet I made for her…

The truth was, I liked the way she looked. But unlike other characters that I’ve created for story purposes, when I logged into her, there just wasn’t the feeling of playing a character. She was just “The Main,” and that was it.

The Main

So…

I thought long and hard about what to do. This was my first and main character, with so many mounts, emotes, jobs leveled and accomplishments – tossing the character itself aside was not an option.

But maybe, I could recreate her as one of my story characters. That could work, I thought, and looked over my alt roster.

I knew I didn’t want to make her Amon, who is my RP main. There’s a lot of reasons for that, even if he’s the most enjoyable-feeling character I’ve created. Amon’s character has many emotes, accomplishments, gear, mounts and… well he rivals my main in terms of what I’ve unlocked and done with him. Plus he has connections to folks through the friends list and link shells, and I didn’t want to break those social ties.

Other possible characters – Tai & Tad – I enjoy playing these characters and Tai was actually a substitute main for me at one point! But they also have their own items and achievements that seem separate and specific to their characters. Not to mention Tai is going to transition into Reaper and Tad is a Machinist. I still want to main Red Mage.

The rest of my RP alts were a straight out no – even the one who inherited my original character’s name, Zuri. I like them, they’re just not main material. Again, none of them mained Red Mage, either.

That left just one option – Ben.

Now Ben is a character who has been in my life since I was a teenager. I consider him the first real character I ever created for my fantasy writing. However, lately, I’ve felt like Ben’s taken a backseat to a lot of my FFXIV interests.

Of course I’ve had a Ben character in FFXIV for years. I’d even leveled him to 72 Red Mage, but have been procrastinating on the brink of the first dungeon of Shadowbringers. I just haven’t had the motivation to push him through the expansion for a fifth time… despite Trusts and despite how much I like Shadowbringers.

Still, I’ve wanted to play him! I’ve wanted to catch him up! I’ve wanted to include him in my Eorzean adventures and somehow connect this character into my long-time MMO love in FFXIV. Especially with all the FFIV references we’re seeing in Endwalker.

And he mains Red Mage.

So that’s why he made the perfect fit. My “new” main is now Ben.

Transforming my main into Ben took some fiddling around, of course. I didn’t delete the original Ben character given all his progression and will repurpose him as another character sometime down the line, I’m sure.

I’ve wanted to consolidate the number of characters I have for quite a while now. And while it’s really, really strange to not have an Aywren anymore, I think this is for the better.

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 Black Desert Online, Gaming, MMORPGs

Black Desert Online: Forging My Own Way

I’m doing a number of things that I “shouldn’t” be doing in BDO lately. At least, if you were to ask experienced or min-maxing players of the game, I shouldn’t be. I’ve never been a min-maxer and I rarely care about the “right” way of doing things (unless what I’m doing is so far off the track that it’s just making life stupidly difficult for me in a game). I’m more interested in just having fun.

First, I’ve got several small projects going at once, spread across different characters.

For example, I’ve maintained the wagon production in Altinova, which is mostly worker driven. I do need to go mining for rough stones from time to time. I do this on my main because of her gathering level and her ability to easily go to Pilgrim’s Haven on her unicorn. But when I need to gather hides, I do this on my Trainer character since she’s low enough level not to be PKed for picking off a few foxes here and there.

Then, I have one character that’s leveling cooking in Calpheon. This is because it’s in close proximity to the fruit vendor and I have a small group of workers bringing back grain and veggies from nearby nodes. I’ve just started to work on Imperial Cooking turn-ins, but unlike some players, I don’t make this my everyday focus. Yeah, I know I could be making a lot more money every day, but I just hop in to cook a few times a week.

On top of that, I have another character stationed in Grana working on leveling my alchemy. Here’s where I committing a number of “mistakes.”

First, I hear not to invest and live in Grana. The CP for storage there is way too high and it’s too far away from everything else.

This is true… but I personally really like Grana. It’s quieter than most BDO cities, I can fish safely there if I want, my main house (mansion) is located there, and I just like the atmosphere of the Elf city for my Elf fellow, Amon. It’s the city that makes me feel most calm and at home, so I choose to find alternatives to do what I need to do.

I also hear alchemy is a waste of time and effort. Just do cooking for money.

Also probably true. But I found a guide on leveling alchemy, and alchemy fits Amon’s character type. So I decided to explore it some and see what it was about.

But wait… don’t I have a Shai that already has Professional 1 Alchemy and Gathering? Yep.

Did I use that Shai for alchemy? Nope. I decided to do this on Amon.

Another point that players would think I’m crazy for. Why am I not consolidating everything on one life skiller? Why not use the character who already came with things partially leveled?

Well now, Amon has Professional 4 Alchemy, despite starting from the beginning, and Skilled 9 Gathering. So he’s almost caught up there, too. It wasn’t really that painful to do and I’m not in a rush.

Not to mention I have fishing split between two characters… one that’s under level 50 so I’m not afraid of taking her out into the ocean. The other is Amon… because after a day of gathering, he needs to AFK that energy back up somehow. And there’s fishing in Grana.

Adventures in Gathering

Working on alchemy means that I’m out gathering at least one or two of the items needed for potions at any given time. However, BDO is different from games like FFXIV when it comes to gathering and nodes.

For one, if a node is taken by anyone, it’s taken and put on cooldown – I’m not exactly sure how long that cooldown is.

For two, there are things known as “rotations” for gathering, just as there is for battle. These are spots popular for ease of gathering and to butt into someone’s rotation if they’re already there is not just extremely rude, but can possibly get you PKed if someone wants to be nasty about it.

There’s one such places outside of Behr, where wild herbs and deer are plentiful. This is known to be the best spot for speed leveling gathering on wild herbs due to the number of them and how easy they are to spot. But in my case, I actually needed some plants from the herbs for my potions, and that was just the best spot I knew to go to in order to find them.

There’s two issues with Behr for me. One, it’s quite a ride from Grana. Funny enough, wild herbs don’t really grow throughout the Elf forests. You’d think they would, but nope!

The second issue is what happens when someone is already gathering there. This wasn’t an issue when I went to gather in the past because I usually did it earlier in the day. But then, one Saturday night, I decided I wanted to grab some herbs outside of Behr, and this is how the story went.

So I arrived at the herb spot on my normal server and no one else was there. I gathered a bit, and then needed to take care of something IRL (move laundry over or something). I left Amon in town to do that, and by the time I came back, I saw someone ninja-jumping at amazing speed out there gathering the herbs I just came from.

Welp… someone swiped my rotation because I wasn’t out there.

I switch servers.

I head out and start gathering… not knowing someone else was already out there. Not until they come up to me, stand in front of me, and then the chat indicator appears above their head. I didn’t know what to expect, but they weren’t PKing me, so that was a good thing.

They said exactly two words: “Hello, taken.”

This was a gentle warning that these herbs were taken and I needed to move along. It might have been a pre-warning to being dueled or PKed for the spot as well.

I did the polite thing, apologized and left the area. But that means I was twiddling my thumbs for the next 15 minutes as I waited for the server change to be open again… or for that person to leave. That person didn’t leave.

Finally, after 15 minutes, I changed servers again. What do you know. There was someone gathering the rotation on this server, too!

By that point, I was done with Behr. I’d just wasted a lot of time trying to even get close to gathering the herbs I needed, and I wasn’t about to sit around another 15 minutes and wait some more.

It’s been many years since I’ve played a game where gathering nodes were put on cooldown because someone else took them. Part of me was a bit irked that another player can just walk up to you and tell you something like a gathering node is taken and that you need to shove off. On the flip side, if I were there first, I’d be annoyed at someone butting in on my rotation so…

There’s just not a way to win that one… except not deal with Behr at all.

So, I got on the road to Grana, and I did some investigating. After a little bit of exploring, I eventually found a location a bit closer to Grana that had consistent herb spawns. Not as nice or easy to gather as the Behr rotation, but I doubt many people are going out that way for wild herbs.

I also found another spot to gather from deer – again, slower and not as plentiful as Behr. But I’ve never seen anyone out there, so it’s worth it to me just to avoid the annoyance of rotation all together. BDO is a big world, so there’s plenty of other options… just not the quickest or easiest ones. And that’s fine.

Posted in Black Desert Online, Gaming, MMORPGs

Black Desert Online: Wagon Works

See that picture above? That’s my poor exhausted Shai after a day of gathering and processing.

Now that I’ve achieved many of my horse breeding goals, I’ve started to turn my attention towards more hands-on projects in BDO. I’m not much of a grinder, so I’m looking at other ways I can produce for the community and make some money in game when I’m actually playing and not just AFK.

Thus, the crafting projects were borne! This week has been one of learning about setting up workers and workshops for long-term projects.

I have two projects I’m working on. First, I’ve set up wagon production in Altinova. This one has been relying on workers for the most part with my Shai coming in to level processing to create the needed end materials for the wagons.

The second project might be out of my league, but I discovered a daily quest that gives a Design for Epheria Sailboats. Though you need 20 of them (which means 20 days) to make the ship, it’s actually all the wood that you need that’s going to be the huge undertaking.

However, what better way to start leveling gathering than just jumping right in over my head? Since my main is a Shai and she started out with Professional 1 gathering, it made sense to use her as my main gatherer/processor.

I’ve learned a lot about both of these tasks this week, as well as the use of energy points, which hasn’t been an issue for me since my AFK activities don’t take up energy. So, this has sent me on quests to find question marks and talking to unknown individuals across the world in order to expand my knowledge to increase my max energy. I have a long way to go with this… but this has taken me to some interesting locations…

Climbing High!

Last night, my research and work in Altinova paid off as I produced my very first merchant wagon! Though I’ll eventually be making these to supplement my own horse training – being able to make my own wagons will save me millions since I won’t need to plunk down silver to replace my wagons when they break down.

But for now, my wagons are in decent condition, so my first crafted wagon went to the marketplace where it sold in less than an hour for 5 million silver (well, the marketplace took a bit out for taxes but…).

This was my very first crafted profit I’ve made in BDO! And now that I’ve crafted one and I have a good idea how it works, the next wagons shouldn’t be too hard to sustain and keep producing.

Now that ship… that’s a different story. But as I keep leveling my gathering and processing, it might slowly become more and more accessible, though never as easy as the wagons. Not to mention the ships can be repaired and the wagons can’t. So that means wagons will always be in need and ships are generally not going to be a fast seller… so…

Poor Shai, I’m putting her to work!