[TSW] Issue 10 First Impressions

8 Dec
And I feel fine.......

And I feel fine…….

Mobs have larger AEGIS shields in the new area so they take slightly longer to burn off before getting into the “real” hitpoint pool, but otherwise generally seem no harder.

You get your own AEGIS shield, but it doesn’t behave like the mobs’ shields — they appear to do both regular and AEGIS damage simultaneously, and if you have the right shield up then the AEGIS portion goes to your shield instead of your HP pool, but the amount done as AEGIS damage is so small you don’t even notice or care if you have the correct shield up.

Lore is often kinda jump-puzzle-y.

Lore is often kinda jump-puzzle-y.

I don’t see any way to quickly shift the AEGIS shield type without opening the inventory and swapping.  I suppose I could put it in my pinned consumables bag and just right-click from there as needed.  I’ll have to give that a try.

The new CE Kimono outfit looks nice

The new CE Kimono outfit looks nice

Mob density is a lot higher.  It’s hard to move from one point to another without a lot of fighting, although I have found a few shortcuts over roofs or down in sewers here and there.  Mobs seem to see you through the floor you’re walking on though, so this isn’t foolproof.

Love the feel of the trainyards in front of the Orochi Tower.  Never have liked the fungal-type mobs though, so…. not my favorite place to actually go.

The Orochi Disruptor curio from the CE does a decent chunk of AEGIS damage to any mob, so it’s decent, but not a big deal either.

Barely anywhere along the main story as of yet.  So many side missions……. ;-)

This is one creepy kid.

This is one creepy kid.

All in all, a nice challenge, while still being engaging.  looking forward to getting through the story and finding all the side missions!

[FFXIV] A Bard Walks Into a Bar

30 Nov
I'm a bard!

I’m a bard!

So after unlocking the Black Mage job, my intention was to keep following the overall story mission and wok it on up to 50, while also adding in a bit of Arcanist here and there until I eventually get that to 30 and go scholar and/or summoner, but figured that that would be a while since I’d be focusing on BLM.  What’s that you say?  Alt-itis in a game where 1 character can do everything?  No….. that couldn’t affect me….. could it?

I mostly did Grand Company leve quests, so I got a lot of seals and bought some GC gear.

I mostly did Grand Company leve quests, so I got a lot of seals and bought some GC gear.

Well, only sorta, but still after a fashion.  I was reading the forums and saw that level 34 Archer’s “Quelling Strikes” de-taunt skill is considered a “must have” for a BLM, and since the leve quests were helping me level up so quickly, I thought “Sure, I’ll level Archer up to 34 for it.  Won’t take that long, right?”  But then I decided that if I’m going to be 30+ in Archer then I’d need to unlock the Bard and I looked it up and it needs level 15 Pugilist as its secondary, so…..   I remember why I generally don’t care for melee dps now.  Overall I can’t really say that it was bad, but the whole “you will rotate through these 3 skills for your max damage output and they do more damage if you’re behind a mob but when you’re solo you can’t get behind them, so…. sucks to be you!” got old in a hurry.

Waiting for a FATE timer on my chocobo

Waiting for a FATE timer on my chocobo

Still and all, I got Pugilist to 15 and swapped back to Archer.  I actually ran so many leve quests that I’ve used my allotment up completely and it had been at its cap of 100 not so long ago…..  Anyway, something I didn’t expect to happen then happened on the way also — I have come to really enjoy the archer class.  The ability to move while casting is what makes it for me, I think.  And while it doesn’t feel like it does as much damage as the BLM does, I could still pull aggro off the tank in dungeons occasionally if I didn’t watch it, so it appears that it’s still got some decent output.

I thought this portrait turned out pretty well

I thought this portrait turned out pretty well

So anyway, made it to 30, did the Archer class quest and then the Bard unlock and…. 4 levels to go to get Quelling Strikes.  Since I’m out of available leve quests, I think I’ll swap back to BLM and follow the story for a while until I’ve gotten a few stored up and can blast through the levels as the Bard again.  After all… I’m not doing dungeons much, and when I’m solo I don’t need to worry about a de-taunt.  Of course, my alt-itis may kick in and I’ll start working on Arcanist or Conjurer again or something.  Who knows?

[FFXIV] A Black Mage Walks Into a Bar

24 Nov
Newly minted Blagk Mage!

Newly minted Black Mage!

I made it to level 30 as a Thaumaturge over the weekend, and I’d already gotten Archer to 15 quite a while ago in order to open up the Black Mage job.  1st things 1st, though — once I hit 30 I ran and got the companion quest so that my mount will fight alongside me.  I’d already kinda planned to have it be a dps companion, as the game’s balanced that you shouldn’t need a tank pet at all, so when I saw a companion leveling guide that said just that, I was kinda psyched for it.

An impressive chasm and ruins.  FFXIV is certainly a beautiful game!

An impressive chasm and ruins. FFXIV is certainly a beautiful game!

According to the guide, the pet only goes to level 10, but its hit points and damage scales with your level and what its own levels do are grant skill points that you can use toward the tank, healer, or dps skill lines that it has.  Level 1 gives 1 sp, level 2 gives 2, and so on.  This makes it such that a level 10 companion can be 9/4 in the skill lines, and the guide suggested going 9/4 dps/healer.  The pet’s not really much of a healer, but every little but helps and the heals it can do are worth more than the final moderate attack that the level 10 dps skill is.  According to the guide writer anyway, but it sounds good to me.  I’ve got the pet almost to level 3 now.  It levels slowly since it only gets kill xp, not quest xp, and even then it’s only about 2/3 of the xp that you gain, so… slow going, but it will get there eventually.

Poor, possessed Cocobusi.  He just wanted to be a thaumaturge like his brothers.

Poor, possessed Cocobusi. He just wanted to be a thaumaturge like his brothers.

After getting the companion, I went and did the level 30 thaumaturge quest to rescue “Busi” from the influence of the demon/primal Mormo — done by assembling the Book of Mormo.  Add an N to the end of that and you’ve got a Broadway play.  Anyway….. after finishing that quest, I immediately had the Black Mage job quest available, so I went and did that as well.  Interestingly enough, thaumaturge can take cross-class skills from Conjurer, so I’d been using the Protect armor buff, but the Black Mage can only take cross-class from Arcanist and Archer, so lost the armor. Not that I really need it, but it was nice to have.

Mormo looks nothing like the Lalafell she was possessing

Mormo looks nothing like the Lalafell she was possessing

I vaguely recall reading a Black Mage guide at some point that suggested getting Arcanist and Archer both up a ways in order to give some good cross-class skills, but I can’t seem to find it anymore.  Even so…. I decided to swap over to Arcanist for a bit for a change of pace.  I was only level 5 when I began, but I’d made sure to leave a lot of low-level quests undone around Limsa Lomsha.  Even with those, it was still a bit grindy to get to level 10, but then I blinked and was level 12 due to the various quests that started giving a lot of xp at that level.  Once those ran out, I started working on the level 10 repeatable leve quests.  Those were nice becuz they only take about 3-5 minutes, teleport you back to the giver once done, and are worth about double whatever a level appropriate quest would be, so grinding those out feels like less of a grind becuz hey, its a quest, and the xp’s so good.  So now I’m a level 17 Arcanist too.

Level 15 arcanist with my tank pet -- distinguishable from my dps pet since it's "Topaz" instead of "Turquoise"

Level 15 arcanist with my tank pet — distinguishable from my dps pet since it’s “Topaz” instead of “Turquoise”

Something I thought was interesting with hitting 15 on Arcanist was that at that level you get a tank pet instead of a dps pet, but it feels like it does about as much damage as the dps pet did.  Maybe that’s a function of also having the companion out, I dunno.  But still, it’s nice to send it out and have it keep the mobs away while my dots and miniscule little nuke whittle away at the health of the mobs.  So anyway… what was interesting to me was that at level 15 Arcanist started to actually feel like a decent dps-ish class, where up until then it really hadn’t, in spite of the (optional) swap from a dps pet to a tank pet.  I’m leaning toward working more on Scholar than Summoner once I eventually get Arcanist to 30, though, so I’m allocating my attribute points to my Mind attribute rather than Intelligence, so that once I hit 30 my heals won’t be gimped.

Dunno why, but I really like this Minfilia NPC.  The quests that she has seem to have a little something "more" than the typical ones.

I really like this NPC. The quests that she has seem to have a little something “more” than the typical ones.

I swapped to my conjuror class and did a few leve quests to get from 7 to 10 as well, since to be a Scholar I’ll need 15 levels of Conjuror.  And I’ll also want to be a White Mage at some point, which needs 30 levels of conjuror.  Yeah…. I’m focusing on magic in this game.  I seem to be leaning toward mages and healers (or at least ranged dps) in any game I play anymore, and FFXIV is no exception.  I used to love to tank, but now…. not so much anymore.  And melee dps always seems such a pain since it’s almost always positional and the mobs throw close range ae’s so you have to joust in and out and… meh.  Too much hassle.  Let me just nuke from the back, or play whack-a-mole with the group’s health bars.

Don't mess with crystals!  They take you strange places. . . .

Don’t mess with crystals! They take you strange places. . . .

Due to knowing myself and that I’d get sucked back to crafting the whole time, I took the drastic step of selling off all my crafting materials that were clogging up my bags and also all of my crafting gear as well.  I’ve found that any time I’d craft myself an upgrade I’d get the same item via a quest shortly thereafter, so the crafting wasn’t really doing anything for me advancement-wise.  I’m sure I’ll eventually get back to it, but for now, I’m focusing solely on adventuring.  Happy gaming to you all!

[FFXIV] Sucked Back In

17 Nov
A sightseeing "vista"

A sightseeing “vista”

So there I was on a Saturday morning with some time to burn and wanting to MMO it up.  I looked at the various icons in my taskbar and decided that FFXIV looked the most appealing.  I’ve kinda felt bad for not getting to where I at least had my mount, if not my job of Black Mage before leaving off last time, and there it was… just looking at me……  So yeah, I resubbed.  I’d done a bit of research on how to get the mount and it pretty much just boiled down to “follow the story line missions and you’ll get it at about level 20, maybe 21.”

Nice robe I got after finishing the 1st dungeon

Nice robe I got after finishing the 1st dungeon

So… level 18 on login, and the next story mission required doing a dungeon.  I’d joined the queue for it during my prior stint, but after an hour no group had popped, and frankly it was that delay that killed my desire to log in anymore.  Need group to advance, but can’t get group even with their tool.  But this time, the group popped right about at the 20 minute mark as the “average time” indicated.  And I was nearly level 20 by the time we got out.  Dungeons give some pretty mad xp.  And the very next story mission also was a dungeon.  Joy.  But this group popped in only 7 minutes, even though the average again said about 20, so that was a nice surprise.

Level 21 robe upgrade

Level 21 robe upgrade

When we got loaded in, I said I was a noob and to be gentle.  The other dps guy said “No problem” and the healer said “I’m new to healing too” and the tank dropped from group.  Fortunately another tank popped in in less than a minute.  He also said he’s new to the game.  And yeah, that run didn’t go as smoothly as the 1st dungeon, but we still beat it without any trouble.  From there I got sent to a quest hub where I’d already been, so all I had to do there was the story quests since I’d already done the regular ones.  Then I began having to hop back and forth from hubs that were 3 zones apart.  Fortunately the teleports are quite cheap……

The 3 Grand Company reps in the back... and I'm still really tall ;-)

The 3 Grand Company reps in the back… and I’m still really tall ;-)

Long story short, I eventually got to the quest giver that gave the mount quest, but she had a rather long string of quests before then, (including yet another one requiring a trip through the group finder, and this one you’re stuck in a small cavern and have to simply wait — can’t run off and do other things while waiting for it) and then the quest itself required going to all 3 of the main areas and watch some loooooooong cutscenes before making the choice of which “Grand Company” to join.

Kitty Mount

Kitty Mount

And after joining, finally getting the thing that says “Take a certificate to a Chocobo Keeper and you’ll finally get your mount!”  Which of course requires 2000 of a new currency type that I’ve not seen before.  So after dropping off a few items, running a couple of missions that awarded a little of the currency and finally just grinding a lot of FATE, I got enough currency to get the Chocobo and also unlock my cat mount and the “fat chocobo” mount that I have had ever since I 1st logged into the game on purchase.  And I was level 24.9 when it all happened, so I guess I should have simply waited in the queue back in the day for the 1st dungeon mission.  After that goal was completed, it was a hop, skip, and a jump to get to 25 and that finished up my play sessions for the weekend.  7 levels — not bad.  Next goal:  level 30 so I can a) get my Black Mage job and b) unlock my mount as a combat companion.

Chocobo Mount with Behemoth Barding

Chocobo Mount with Behemoth Barding

As it is, I’m still finding myself feeling like I’m playing this game in an opaque box.  Not sure which zones are used for which levels, keep finding places there level 2 and level 40 mobs are next to each other, everything feels like it is level-locked or hiding behind certain quests that you aren’t directed to in-game and have to research out of game.  I’ve been reading a couple of other bloggers talking about FFXIV (and they’re why I started playing in the 1st place — I really didn’t have any interest in the game until reading their experiences in it) and they’re talking about a ton of other things that I apparently won’t see until I’m level 50 and in the “endgame.”  I am enjoying the game well enough (well enough to re-sub, after all), but there’s still something that’s not quite clicking with me.  I guess we’ll see if it ever does.

Anyway, happy gaming out there!

[TSW] My Scenario Build that Morphed into my Solo Build

6 Nov

So back in the day Issue #8 released and scenarios came with them.  For the 1st few days the scenarios kicked everyone’s butt since they required a different strategy than your typical solo game play, but over time people came up with new builds for them.  I sued a few of the posted builds and they worked pretty well, but I eventually came up with my own also.

Scenario builds require a sort of jack-of-all-trades thinking — you have to have enough defense to survive, a bit of self-healing for when the defenses aren’t enough or simply fail, and then also enough damage to kill the mobs before they kill your “survivors.” and to be able to kill in AE or Single-target equally well.  Solo builds also require a bit of this, though with perhaps a bit more leeway on how much of any of the 3 roles to incorporate into your build, but it still gives quite a bit of overlap, and this is what enabled my scenario build to become my solo build as well.

So… here’s a screenshot of the skills, and then I’ll go into why I use them and how it all comes together:

TSW Scenario-Solo buildFor those who can recognize the icons, this may seem a bit out of the ordinary.  Typically a solo build will follow the template of

  • 1 ST builder
  • 1 AE builder
  • 1 ST finisher
  • 1 AE finisher
  • 3 Utility (typically a heal, a gap closer or escape skill, and an Elite impair for interrupts)

However, this build uses:

  • 1 AE builder (Suppressing Fire)
  • 2 ST finishers (3-Round Burst, Out for a Kill)
  • 2 AE finishers (Fire at Will, Riot Act)
  • 2 Utility (Turn the Tables, Razor Wire)

Here’s the why — the passives!

The builder is Suppressing Fire from the Assault Rifle weapon line.  This builder is a bit unique in that it’s the only ranged “frenzy” style of attack and it further is a 4-hit channel.  This makes it so that when hitting multiple mobs there’s a very high chance of a penetrating hit simply due to the sheer number of hits the skill puts out each second.  The passives that make use of this are:

  • Shoot ‘Em Up — applies an Afflicted state and put a rather high-damage dot on them
  • Arterial Pulse — on any penetrating hit sends out a small ae damage pulse to all nearby mobs, which chains and thus results in the number of pulses being equal to the number of mobs squared, so it can put out some surprisingly high numbers
  • Sudden Return — on any penetrating hit, does bonus damage to the mob that got pen’d
  • Hit and Run — on any mob death sends out a medium damage pulse to all nearby mobs that have shotgun resources on them which also chains and further goes off again if another mob dies
  • Gross Anatomy — any time an afflicted state finishes or is renewed, does a high damage hit to the afflicted mob
  • Circulation — any time an afflicted state is set, receive a small heal-over time on yourself
  • Leeching Frenzy — any time a frenzy ability is used, set a 2% leeching effect on yourself

The 1st 5 are damage passives, the final 2 are for survival.  Some may note that there’s no Iron Maiden in the passives for the increased penetration chance, which is a staple of dps in nearly every build.  It’s not there in this case since I’ve yet to see any builder shot *not* penetrate, even without Iron Maiden, simply due to all the hits that Suppressing Fire throws out.  And I’ve done testing on the dummies with ACT and found that this actually did better damage, so… there ya go.

How it all ties together is this:

Lead into combat with Razor Wire.  This snares the mob(s) and give you more time to use builders without being hit.  and it does a sizeable hit of its own.  Open up with Suppressing Fire.  The 1st hit sets afflicted, puts your 2 heals on yourself, and likely had a penetrating hit or 2 for a lot of bonus damage from Sudden Return and Arterial Pulse.  All future hits do the same as the 1st and also add in the hits from Gross Anatomy due to the afflicted state being refreshed.

If fighting several mobs, hit the AE finishers (usually only need Fire at Will since something will die and set off the Hit and Run passive and blow up the rest of the group too), otherwise use the ST finishers instead.  Turn the Tables can be used in a pinch, but is rarely necessary.  AE mobs won’t get to you, and while an ST mob probably will at least get to you, it will only get to hit you 1 or 2 times before it dies either, so it doesn’t actually hurt much.  In Tokyo, there are a lot more telegraphs and the mobs hit harder, so there you’ll always want to be circle-strafing, but anywhere else you can stand and take it without trouble.

My “true” solo build is very similar to this, just uses a blade instead of an AR, uses Art of War as the elite instead of Razor Wire, but for scenarios I found that I preferred the AR’s range…. and then found that I prefer the range in general too, so…… this build took over.  And in case you wonder, here’s my solo build, as featured on TSWDB.com, so you can see how the scenario build morphed out from it.

Happy gaming out there!

That's some expensive gas!

That’s some expensive gas!

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