[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!

[TSW] Samhain 2014 and more Tokyo

5 Nov
The Tower Defence quest giver.  He seems to have a bit of a screw loose.....

The Tower Defence quest giver. He seems to have a bit of a screw loose…..

I’d heard previously that the mission called “Tower Defence” (yes, the British spelling) gives you more aegis controllers for your 2nd weapon, so I did that one.  I thought the descriptions I’d read said that I could pick which controller I got at the end, but instead I got a package that randomly awarded me one.  Psychic (purple shield) in my case.  My cooldown expired yesterday so I can run it again and see what I get this time, but I didn’t make it on last night.  Such is life.

I'm pretty sure every Lumie has taken this screenshot after having been completely weirded out by it.  This is a DEMON calling her a goddess, after all....

I’m pretty sure every Lumie has taken this screenshot after having been completely weirded out by it. This is a DEMON calling her a goddess, after all….

As it is, I’ve done quite a few missions and I also plunked down for enough points to buy the 3 mission pack DLC modules.  I’ve got my demonic aegis to level 1.2 now, and a psychic controller ready to upgrade to 1.1, but everything I’ve read says it’s better to get a single controller to 1.4 for maximum enhancers and capacitors, then to work the others up also.  As it was, I got enough of the tokens I needed to get from 1.0 to 1.1 on the demonic aegis, but I ended up shelling out 3 million pax on the auction house to buy the upgrade tool for 1.2.  I should have enough tokens for another tool for 1.3 by the time I have enough xp applied to the controller, though.

Aegis stats at QL2

Aegis stats at QL2

With the upgrades on the aegis, plus some SP spent in the “increase aegis damage” line and QL2 enhancers and capacitors installed now, the base 5% aegis penetration is now up to 21.8%.  I’m using an Assault Rifle/Shotgun build and I use the elite skill Razor Wire as my opener (good range, snares the mobs for a while with a good dot on them so I have longer to whittle them down before they get to me — works nicely) and so I put on a QL2 enhancer that I picked up on a drop that does 115 aegis damage on hinder, so vs any normal mob anymore that opening hit completely strips the aegis shield.  Making all the fights “aegis free.”  Dual-shield boss mobs are a different story, but with the higher aegis damage I do now, their shields fall a lot faster too, so aegis has largely become irrelevant anymore.  On the one hand… good.  It’s kinda of annoying.  On the other hand….. it did add some pretty significant challenge right as I got into Tokyo and so I’m kinda sad to see that challenge go by the wayside so quickly.

I think everyone who's done this mission took this screenshot....

I think everyone who’s done this mission took this screenshot….

I did the Halloween event with “The Broadcast.”  The final area in the bunker in the Besieged Farmlands was quite creepy, but I didn’t find it overly hard.  I’ve seen other bloggers mention struggling a bit with it, though, so I’m glad I’m NM geared, even if I’m not “fully .4.4″ yet.  I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’m not saying much about it, but…. it was definitely fun, and I ran around and found all the radios and the lore in each zone becuz it was fun to find the places and not have to worry about “Grind more SP for the aegis skill lines!  Grind more xp for the aegis module level!”  I just got to run around and enjoy the game world.

Orochi Tower plus a flappy!

Orochi Tower plus a flappy!

I got into an advertised 24′s group from noobmares, though it only ended up being 17.  Even so, it was a good group — we did Polaris with no deaths at all.  in DW we wiped on the ak’ab boss due to it being glitchy and bugged on the 1st attempt, and we lost a dps on the teleporting mage boss but still beat him, so it all worked out well there.  In HR I got left behind on the 1st boss swapping in some health to deal with the random shock damage she throws out, and due to the ground effects got into the fight late, but it was fine.  2nd boss is that easy tank-n-spank guy, 3rd boss went down no problem.  4th boss we lost a dps but still completed.  5th boss went down 1st try — we were rocking it!  And then we ran up to MT and one of the dps disconnected and just never came back, so we called it a night.  I got 27 bullion out of it to add to the 8 I already had, so I spent 30 on a new shotgun and still have 5 left over.  It’s only 10.0 currently but it’s the custom one, so eventually it’ll be better than my 10.2 dropped one.  Eventually……

Bank heist FINALLY completed

Bank heist FINALLY completed

I also finished up the storyline missions for Issue 9.  I have the next quest in my journal already, but it’s pretty specific in the text saying “this mission isn’t available until issue 10,” so there you have it.  Oh and the Bank Heist sabotage mission?  In case anyone cares — watch a video of it being run, but don’t use the TSWDB.com walkthrough.  I tried their method and hit a wall of frustration.  I think 2 or 3 people running it together could do it the way that they suggest, but solo?  Not so much.  OTOH, I watched a video and only failed it 2 more times after that.  And I don’t think I will ever run that mission ever again. . . . . .  Of course, the fact that is was so frustrating that I went to a guide and then felt VERY accomplished after finally finishing it in spite of having used a guide does kinda make me want to try it again for the achievement of never being seen and feeling that much more accomplished, but…. meh.  I’m not really achievement driven.

Anyway, happy gaming out there!

[TSW] Finally Made it to Tokyo

29 Oct
Yeah, yeah.  Everyone's a victim. . . .

Yeah, yeah. Everyone’s a victim. . . .

I finally logged in to TSW again the other night and finished up the mission in the Venetian Sewers (how does a below sea-level and sinking city have sewers that aren’t flooded?  Too much Indiana Jones 3?)  Since FFXIV got me back into the “mostly tab-target” playstyle again I actually felt like I could control it again.  After months of ESO’s permanent mouselook action-style controls, the prior time or 2 had been an exercise in frustration with learning how to move in the different style of game again.  Sure, I could hit T and go into mouselook, but then having to pop in and out of it manually in order to loot anything was … less than optimal.

YOU again!

YOU again!

So anyway, did the sewers, learned the maze over time, killed some rogue Phoenicians, confronted what’s-his-bucket, and then headed into the Tokyo subways.    I met Sarah and had the “fun” of pulling mobs over so that she’d attack them to use her aegis on them so that I could actually kill them.  Kited a few bosses around that I couldn’t touch (and didn’t find it fun at all — I want control of what I’m doing when I play — I *hate* having to wait for NPC’s — *especially* in combat) until she eventualy whittled off their aegis shields and then finished them off too.

Poor poor Sarah :(

Poor poor Sarah :(

And in to Tokyo.  Met a few NPC’s, picked up a few quests, and ran out and started playing with aegis myself.  Only purpose it seems to serve is to make the fights take longer, and 1 boss-type quest mob had 2 aegis shields so you had to whittle one off then the other, then the 1st again since it regenerated.  Honestly, I didn’t find the aegis system to add anything to the game except a bit of frustration at being in combat with invulnerable mobs.

Don't recall this NPC's name, but she had panache!  I really liked her.

Don’t recall this NPC’s name, but she had panache! I really liked her.

I’m sure that once I get aegis for my 2nd weapon slot and perhaps the body slots to get my own aegis up it will seem nicer, but for now…. not a fan.  And when the boss-guy with the 2 shields eventually killed me since I couldn’t whittle him down quick enough, I just gave up in frustration for the night and, well…. it’s been Civ:BE since ;-)  But I’ll be back.  TSW’s still got its hooks in me and I like to pop in from time to time… and it feels like it’s time again.

Happy gaming!

[CivBE] Civilization: Beyond Earth — A Review

27 Oct

But it just came out on Friday!  How could you possibly have played it enough to review it?

Well…. it came out Thursday night for me, and I have a bunch of vacation I need to use before the end of the year so I took Friday off.  And played most of the weekend.  I’ve already got over 50 hours in-game according to my Steam front page.  I’ve also completed 6 full games and am on my 7th now. with 46 out of 64 achievements completed.  So yeah, I’ve got the time in.  But this will be short, actually, becuz I found a review that I pretty much could have written, so I’ll just link it at the end after I’ve said my bit.

The good:

1…more….turn….  Yes, it’s just as addictive as the prior installments.  It’s not a misnomer to call it “Civ5 in Space” at all, and I’ve got 1400-ish hours in Civ5 now, so obviously for me, that’s a very good thing.

It’s also far less of a resource hog than Civ5 is.  Loads quicker and doesn’t make my pc beg for death.

The bad:

The various choices that you make really don’t matter.  Your base units that upgrade based on your affinity level are all identical, and the various upgrades that you can choose are really just flavor and fluff, not anything that matters.  Most bonuses you can choose with researched techs or as quest rewards are also quite small and don’t really matter either.  My method of choosing my affinity now relies on how much of the affinity-linked resource I have around my starting area — Floatstone gets Purity, Xenomass gets Harmony, and… um… the yellow crystal get Supremacy.  Becuz other than that, it’s irrelevant.  The units are all the same across affinities, they just have a different look, is all.  Even the “special affinity-only” units that unlock in the mid-to-late game have identical stats — they just look different.  Even Harmony affinity that supposedly is “going native” still terraforms the place.  I’d have thought that the different affinities would have differing tile improvements to reflect their philosophy.

There are also only 2 victory types.  Sure they say there are 5, but……. there’s domination where you capture all the enemy capitals, and then the other 4 can all be summed up as “Research some techs to get affinity level 13, launch a satellite, build a wonder, and wait 20-ish turns for the other factions to try to stop you.”  Except in the Contact “type” you don’t even need affinity level 13, just the right techs, a satellite launch, and wait 20 turns.  Supremacy and Purity do require your active participation in those 20 turns — with Supremacy you sacrifice units to your wonder until you’ve done enough (typical units actually need 21 turns, though if you’ve got a lot of cash you can buy your “special” unit and sacrifice it and reduce this to only 9-11 turns), and with Purity you pull units out of your wonder and then go “settle” them — but the other 2 are literally just “wait 20 turns.”  I think the idea is that other civs can see you’ve built the wonder and then declare war on you and try to destroy it to keep you from winning.  It makes it such that as far as I’m concerned that if you’re just going for the quick win, that Contact is the best one.  No tech requirement other than the 1 for the satellite and the wonder and boom you’re done.

The ugly:

1…more…turn. . . .  — I actually pulled a couple of all nighters this weekend, then slept in the morning on Saturday and Sunday both.  So, for all the frustration listed above and in the linked review below…… it’s still a very compelling game and I can’t wait to get home to play some more tonight.

Here’s that review.  And happy gaming!

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