[FFXIV] Wait, what?

30 Sep
A rather inventive "zeppeling cart" and I think the world itself looks quite nice.

A rather inventive “zeppelin cart” and I think the world itself looks quite nice.

Yes, you read that right.  I’ve decided to give FFXIV a whirl.  I got an Amazon gift card from work for going “above and beyond” during a recent office move (I’m the IT guy, I just did what needed to be done, but hey, if they wanna pay me extra for it. . . . ), and since Belghast’s been doing some interesting sounding write-ups of the game lately, I figured “Why not?” and am now giving it a go.

Nice looking residential districts

Nice looking residential districts

Haven’t really gotten very far, and while I know that any given character can change to any given class or job simply by changing weapons, so you theoretically only need 1 character, I’ve made 3 so far in order to experiment with different racial appearances (though I seem to be on something of a dark elf kick right now for some reason) and also to see the 3 different starting zones.

Elynna the Arcanist

Elynna the Arcanist

Based on Bel’s Class Guide that he posted earlier in the month, I thought that the Arcanist sounded like it was something that I’d like a lot, so I went with that.  He described it as “hard to start” but I’ve not had any trouble up to level 16 so far.  It’s a pet class, which I kinda missed seeing in his description somehow, and I normally don’t really go for those, but I’ve been enjoying it well enough, even if my personal damage numbers seem kinda small.  Thus be it ever with pet classes, after all.  I made this one…. um…. the elf analog race.  And made it a dark elf with white hair.  I thought it turned out pretty well.  This character was also my “learn how this game works” character, being 1st, and so it has leveled slower than I might have otherwise as I’ve learned the ins and outs of the maps and what I can and can’t do.  This one I’ve actually gone and unlocked the Marauder class as well and made it to level 9 with my 2H axe to boot so I could see what melee is like.

Jonna the Conjurer

Jonna the Conjurer

Still and all, I wanted to see what the other mage classes were like, so I started a conjurer.  Its primary damage spell does a lot more than the arcanist, but the “ACN” gets a pet.  I’m only level 10 so far on the CNJ I think, but with its large heal, good defense buff and decent damage, I’m liking this character more than the 1st, I think.  This one I made one of the…. fox people?  Cat people?  Not really sure what they’re supposed to be other than teen-age looking with tails, fangs, and floppy ears.  The appearance on this one I feel is merely “ok” as I’m not really into that young girl look.  It’s why I can’t take the gnome analog race (Lalla-something) seriously.  They look (and the NPC’s act) like little kids with big ears.

Gotter Dammerung the Thaumaturge

Gotter Dammerung the Thaumaturge

Anyway….. Since I still felt like I wasn’t doing as much damage as I wanted to, I made a Thaumaturge.  This one took me a bit to figure out the dance between when to cast Fire vs Ice spells and the “aspect switch” skill and such, but now the skill dance is kinda fun, though it’s easy to lose the train of it if I don’t focus completely.  All that with only 4 buttons. . . .    This one I made from the orc/ogre analog race, but again went with a kind of a dark elf look.  Yes, I know I could look these race names up, but I don’t feel like it right now so :P  Anyway, I made it as tall as I could, so I think some of the screenshots I’ve been taking are kinda funny with her towering over even regular humans, much less the gnomes.

The Thaumaturge is REALLY tall. . . .

The Thaumaturge is REALLY tall!

I’m still getting my feet wet and learning the ropes, but I’m getting there, so hopefully will have more to talk about soon.  In case you wonder about my ESO stuff….. I have fallen out of the habit of playing it now, and the couple of times I’ve logged in recently to get my hireling emails and level up my horses I’ve not felt like actually playing it, so I don’t know if I’ll keep my sub going anymore, but we’ll see.  Right now FFXIV isn’t truly grabbing me either, so this “nomadic” install may not last.  Time will tell.

Happy gaming!

[Various Games] It’s been a while. . .

22 Sep
Fighting sea serpents is fun.  Too bad Daedric light armor always looks like a dress, though.

Fighting sea serpents is fun. Too bad Daedric light armor always looks like a dress, though.

IRL’s been rather nuts for the past month.  Been putting in a lot of hours at work due to an office move, and my significant other’s got new meds so she’s needed some time to adjust to them and that requires my attention as well, so… gaming time has been reduced and “slow time” at work that I’d typically use to post has been non-existent.  Up until now, anyway…..

On the ESO front, my NB tank is now up to level 32, so he’s gotten 9 or 10 levels since I last reported on him.  Mostly running around in light armor and using the 1H + Shield anymore (as you can see in the screenie), since blocking is the only armor that matters and magicka is the only resource pool that matters for damage, so…. light armor is the only one worth wearing.  Man, I hope they balance that better soon.  I wanna play my melee sorcerer again sometime without feeling gimped.

Did a bit of Civ5 also.  Not really too much to report on that front other than that it’s still insanely addictive with the whole “1 . . . . more. . . . .turn . . . . ” thing going, so when the “Beyond Earth” version comes out I’m thinking I’m going to be losing a lot of sleep for several days after that.

The “Director’s Cut” of Shadowrun Returns was released last week.  The new UI is wonderful.  The customization/upgrade of your companions is very nice.  The enemy AI makes more informed decisions — they focus fire, if you ever bunch up prepare to see some incoming grenades, and they take advantage of cover and don’t leave it unless forced, so it overall feels a lot more tactical.  Armor’s been changed to be straight damage reduction now also, instead of reduced chance to crit.  Overall, combat feels a lot better, though it can take quite a bit longer now as a result of the changes.

Even so, the only time it got a bit frustrating (so far, anyway) is on the mission to retrieve the “MKVI.”  Where before he’d just spray everything with his minigun and it’d all fall down, now everyone’s hiding behind behind cover so he misses a lot and then what does hit takes half damage due to cover, which is then further reduced by their armor, so……. getting out during that mission is, well….. I haven’t succeeded at it yet.  Failed on my only attempt so far becuz I peeked my main character around the corner and every enemy focused on him.  Only had 2 trauma kits for “rez” and used both but couldn’t pull him back far enough, so he went down a couple more times and well… time to reload last save, but that fight had gotten annoying enough that I didn’t feel like it at the time.  And then a car crashed into a power pole just behind my house and it took 11 hours for the power company to get a new pole in and the lines hooked back up, so. .  . . .

I hope all is well in the gaming world.  I’ll eventually dip my toe into the F2P version of ArcheAge once the initial launch rush dies down, but until then. . . . Happy Gaming!

[Blaugust] [ESO] 2 Toons Enter, 1 Toon Leaves

25 Aug

Welcome to Skyrim: Online Edition!

Welcome to Skyrim: Online Edition!  Graphically anyway. . .  .

Well no — more like 2 toons got played this weekend. . .

I decided that I wanted to get a light horse for my new DK right from the get-go, but I only had about 25K gold in the bank, and it costs 42.7K, so… back to the Templar since in the higher levels you can make a lot more cash off of quests.  I’d done a little bit in Eastmarch with that toon, but not a whole lot, and since I’ve only ever done the zone once on my original DK way back at launch, I barely remembered any of it, so that was nice to have it be “new” again.  Something that surprised me, though, is that when I’d finished the zone (and I did everything in it except for 2 world bosses, but all quests, the dolmens, every nook and cranny, etc) I’d still not quite made it to VR5.  Guess it’s a smaller zone and thus has fewer quests.  I was close.. just not quite there.

The Skyrim game itself has pretty aurorae, but this is still pretty close

The Skyrim game has pretty aurorae (though maybe due to a mod?), but this is still pretty close.

Moved on into The Rift and it only took 3 or 4 quests in there to hit VR5, so it wasn’t bad.  In the interest of getting rid of that hideous Ancient Elf motif look and also to re-do my gear to take advantage of the new set bonuses, I then made myself a new set of gear.  It matches the set I made for the new DK — 2 pieces of Magnus, 3 pieces of Willow’s Path, and another 3 pieces of Twilight’s Embrace.  Seems to me to be the best combo for casters anymore.  I went with Primal for the set since I like how it looks the best of any of the “sets of a single motif” anymore, though I’ll admit to having given some thought to some of the “custom sets” people are submitting to the eso-fashion site.  Some of then look really nice. 

The VR1 Equipment Upgrade -- Daedric Motif staff, and Primal Light Armor.  Other than the open-toed sandals I quite like the look.

The difference between the VR4 and the VR5 gear was less than 1%.  Not joking.  Weapon damage went from 113 to 114.  Armor ratings on the various pieces also only increased by 1 from their prior values either.  Just shows that upgrading your gear every level isn’t worth it.  Of course, I’ve got materials coming out my ears and have been selling off excess, so it’s not like it really “cost me” anything, and I no longer have that hideously ugly armor suit on my logon screen anymore, so it’s very worth it to me.  Of course I forgot to screenie it, but other than that I dyed it completely black (the undyeable parts wreaked havoc with trying to make anything look decent otherwise unless I wanted to make a carbon copy of the new DK’s look) it looks just like the pic to the left anyway, so…. there ya go.

One of the Elder Scroll Temples in Cyrodil.

One of the Elder Scroll Temples in Cyrodil.

By this point I now had about 45K gold banked, so it was time to hit up the DK again.  I wanted to get him to level 10 and get the 2 free skill points from doing the intro to Cyrodil quests.  It’s kind of odd how by the time you hit level 40-ish you’ve got plenty of skill points, but up until then the game is very much a case of “interesting choices” as to where to put them in order to get the most bang for your buck, so to speak.  Right now on him I’ve got the active skills I want, but I’m still trying to backfill the passives in, and there are quite a few to get as of yet. . . .   But yeah, got him to 10, ran the intro to Cyrodil quests, and then it was midnight before a work day, so I logged out.  Tonight I get to craft him his level 10 upgrade suit and see about finishing up Stonefalls.  Fun fun fun!

Happy gaming, wherever you play!

[Blaugust] [ESO] Gear Makes a Difference Even At Low Levels

22 Aug

Keodan the DK

Keodan the DK

As mentioned below, my alt-itis was working on me and I created a new DK to play.  As is my wont, I ran through the Coldharbour tutorial, since it easily gets you to level 4 in about 15-20 minutes, where skipping it starts you at level 3.  Then after getting to Stonefalls (I went Ebonheart Pact on this character) I ran around collecting the outdoor skyshards and the lorebooks to get my Mage’s Guild skill line to level 2 so I could grab the Mage Light skill.  From there, I went into Deshaan and over to Mournhold in order to respec past some of the crappy 1st-tier skills, specifically Fiery Grip and Spiked Armor.  Fiery Grip is seriously one of the worst skills in the game.  It does very low damage and just annoys everyone around you when you use it on a mob that they were attacking.  It does have some limited use when you’re tanking, but in general there are better skills to use then either.  And since I don’t plan on tanking with this character, I don’t need the Spiked Armor skill either, so there ya go.

Anyway, as I ran around I got the exploration XP, so I dinged to level 5 while still in Stonefalls (and thus also ran the level 5 story mission since it’s just the Prophet talking to you, so free XP, skill point, and blue-quality ring), and dinged 6 about as I got to Mournhold.  While I was level 5, though, I decided to take on a 2-pack of level 5 mobs while I was still “stuck” with just Fiery Grip, Spiked Armor, and Dark Talons as my only 3 active skills.  I could take out single mobs well enough, so I figured that I could take on 2 as well.  Boy was I wrong. . . . . . .  Well no, I did manage to kill the 1, and got the other one down about halfway.  But I was still using the level 1 weapons I’d picked up in Coldharbour with their 11 damage rating, and my armor was only 3 pieces out of 7 and all white quality with no traits or enchantments, so it could definitely have been better.

Who comes up with the base color palettes in this game?  *shudder*

Who comes up with the base color palettes in this game? *shudder*

After dinging level 6, I swapped to my crafting DK and made a full set of gear for myself.  For the lower levels I like to use 5 light, 1 medium, and 1 heavy piece in order to level the heavy and medium armor skills to 22 in case I decide I want to grab the active skills that unlock at that level, so I made a heavy chest and medium helm, and also since I don’t have weapon swapping yet, I just made the single weapon type for myself, though since my current weapon of choice is dual-wielding it was still 2 weapons, just not to swap. ;-)  With the recent crafted set bonus changes, I went with 2 pieces of the Torug’s Pact set for the bonus Magicka, 4 pieces of Twilight’s Embrace for the Spell Crit and Spell Damage, and 3 pieces of Willow’s Path for the Magicka and the Spell Crit.  Armor I upgraded to green quality and I made the daggers blue.  A full set of white-quality magicka glyphs and 2 of the flame glyphs for the weapons rounded out the set.

All this served to take my weapon crit to 5% (from weapons) and spell crit to 20% (weapons, plus Mage Light and the gear set bonuses), more than doubled my magicka pool (which increases class skill damage quite a bit), and added a touch to my health pool too from the Twilight’s Embrace set as well.  Each weapon now has a damage rating of 26, and on my character sheet I was sitting on 29/25 for the weapon damage, so I was well into overcharging.  I went back to Stonefalls and took on that same level 5 2-pack of mobs and finished the fight with 96% health.  So if anyone tells you that gear doesn’t mean much in the low levels of a game — laugh at them!  Okay, not really…. but yeah, quite a difference.

After all that was done, I headed off to Bleakrock Isle since it’s pretty much free XP, and I actually rather like that little zone.  Of course by doing it at level 6 instead of level 4 and in a full gear suit with set bonuses it was very easy and very quick, and I still made it to level 8 by the time I was done.  I’m now in Bal Foyen, but just went into the town of Dhalmora as of yet.  Haven’t picked up any quests or started the zone at all.

And there’s the latest update.  Happy gaming, whatever you’re playing!

[Blaugust] All the cool kids are doing it

21 Aug

Some are defunct, but since Feedly only shows me new posts normally, I don't even realize how many are on there that I don't see anymore.

Some are defunct, but since Feedly only shows me new posts normally, I don’t even realize how many are on there that I don’t see anymore.

Taking the Gaming Questionnaire, that is. . . .

When did you start playing video games?

My 1st conscious memory of playing a video game was on the new Apple 2+ we got in class in the 1st grade.

What is the first game you remember playing?

Oregon Trail

PC or Console? 

PC

XBox, PlayStation, or Wii? 

I had a PS1 and it was fine until it broke.  I currently have a Wii, but it’s only ever used for my daughter to watch her cartoons on Netflix.  I’ve played on Xbox’s at friends’ homes, but never owned one.

What’s the best game you’ve ever played? 

I don’t know that this is really answerable since tastes change.  My gaming stable and habits change all the time.  If we want to go with sheer number of hours /played, I’d have to say EQ2, but I also haven’t played it in years other than a few attempts to log in, but then logging out an hour or so later in frustration due to not know how anything works anymore, so it’s obviously not the best *now* though it was during the 6 years I played it.

It’d be easy to say “Skyrim” but I’ve only got about 300 hours played on that, and while it’s still installed…. haven’t even thought of launching it in several months.  I’ve loved many games over the years, but eventually they all get stale and less-played.  so…. I think a better question would be “What’s the best game right now?” as opposed to “you’ve ever played.”

For me, the current “best game” is TESO, as its the one sucking up the vast majority of my gaming oxygen.  And in 6 months, who knows?

What’s the worst game you’ve ever played? 

I tend to get games based on word of mouth, so I don’t recall ever really playing one that I didn’t like at least a little.

Name a game that was popular/critically adored that you just didn’t like.

For this one I’d have to go with WoW.  I mean… I can’t say I dislike it, but it also never caught me either.

Name a game that was poorly received that you really like.

I don’t actually play all that many different games, and I also tend to not really look at review either, so … frankly I don’t know if any games that I like to play are considered to be “poorly received.”

What are your favorite game genres?

Turn-based strategy like Heroes of Might and Magic, 4X like Master of Orion 2, whatever genre Civilization 1-5 are called, Fantasy RPG, MMORPG’s span genres, and I’ve enjoyed SWG, EQ2, TSW, EVE, and TESO quite a lot, so… mix of fantasy and sci-fi in there.

Who is your favourite game protagonist?

Myself

Describe your perfect video game.

If TESO was the “multiplayer Skyrim” that everyone wanted it to be (though it couldn’t be, becuz how exactly would that work?), then that would pretty much tick off all the boxes.

What video game character do have you have a crush on?

Can’t say I’ve ever gotten that involved in a game’s story to care enough about any of the characters in order to develop a crush.

What game has the best music? 

The only soundtrack that was good enough that I actually *bought* it is the Guild Wars 1 soundtrack, even though I never really got into that game.  I really enjoyed the music, though.

Most memorable moment in a game:

In EQ2’s early days when you progressed from commoner to archetype to class to sub-class, I had a high elf character that I’d created with the intention of making it into a healer.  At level 3 when it was time to pick an archetype, though, I decided to go against type and went Fighter instead.  At level 10 I went with the Crusader class in order to still take advantage of the race’s high wisdom score (it actually mattered a little bit back then).  Then at about level 15 I thought “Wouldn’t it be fun to really go against type and become a Shadowknight instead of a Paladin?”  So I went through the (at the time) hellacious betrayal quest.  I got to level 19, and decided it’d be fun to surprise people, so I made the (again, at the time) very difficult and dangerous run back through Nektulos Forest and over on into the Antonica zone.  I joined a scarecrow grind group as the tank, and we ground and ground and ground until ding 20!  Initial group reaction was “Gratz!”

2nd reaction was:  “SK?  WTF?!?!?!”

Dunno why, but that’s stuck with me all these years as the funniest thing to ever happen to me in any game I’ve played.

Scariest moment in a game:

The Secret World in the parking garage.  If you’ve played it… you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Most heart-wrenching moment in a game:

Nothing comes to mind.

What are your favorite websites/blogs about games?

Since TESO is my “game of the moment” it’s pretty much Dulfy.net, TamrielSentinel.com, and TamrielFoundry.com.  I’m also on Anook since it’s trying to be the gamer’s Facebook, and I like that idea.  As to the blogs…… my Feedly “Games” section is running down the left of this post.

What’s the last game you finished? 

Skyrim

What future releases are you most excited about? 

EQN

Do you identify as a gamer?

Yes

Why do you play video games? 

They’ve always fascinated me.  Dunno why, just have always loved them.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.