[ESO] Time in “One Tamriel”

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My VR2 sorcerer before I re-learned how to turn off the UI. And before I disabled the FTC add-on too.

I finally gave in and popped in to ESO to check out how it all works now that it’s “One Tamriel.”  1st logging in was a little interesting since I really didn’t recall much of how to play or how crafting worked or anything, but it came back to me fairly quickly.  This was helped by the fact that only half of my characters had had background changes to the point that an automatic re-spec was given.  The others still have their old builds in place, so I didn’t have to try to remember which morphs I’d chosen for them and such.

The thing I found most interesting is that while “everything scales” this actually makes it so that in practice “nothing scales.”  I’ve got several characters at level 50.  They used to be “veteran rank” but now are simply shown with the number of champion points that they have.  Which are account wide, so when I created a new character it already had the 66 CP that every other character that I logged in had as well.  But anyway… level 1 character starts with about 16,000 HP, Magicka, and Stamina.  And my (formerly VR6) 66 CP end-game Templar has about 16,000 HP, Magicka, and Stamina.  Mobs I’m fighting at level 1 have about 32K HP, and mobs I’m fighting at (formerly VR2) with my sorcerer have about 34K HP.

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The new Khajit Nightblade I made to finally “go rogue.” Though this shot was more to see the anchor in the sky than to show him off. He was maybe level 6 in this pic, and I’ve got him to level 11 now.

Gear doesn’t really change as you level.  The amount of protection given depends solely on whether it’s light, medium, or heavy, but even there the differences aren’t very large, so it’s mostly “light for magicka, medium for stamina, and heavy for health.”  Alternately, it’s light for magicka damage, medium for weapon damage, and heavy for tanks.

Enchantments scale a little bit as you level, but it’s a very shallow curve.  The procs from crafted sets also changes a little, but again…. shallow curve.  So yeah, other than not having a bunch of skills to pick and choose from, nor weapon swapping unlocked yet… level 1 and endgame “CP 66” really didn’t feel much different when fighting.  So becuz everything scales, nothing scales.  Knowing as I do that eventually you have skill points coming out your ears (I seriously have 20+ unused points on all of my level 50+ characters becuz I just have no place I care to put them) the low-level choices don’t even feel very interesting as a result.

On the other hand, I’m completely hooked again and pretty much played all day on Saturday and Sunday, so there is that…..  and I am used to the control scheme enough that I kept messing myself up in FFXIV’s expert dungeon run this morning and missing dodges.  Gotta love it, no?  I still haven’t even logged in to all of my alts to try to remember all of their concepts.  But I’ll get there eventually.

Happy gaming out there!

[FFXIV] Outside My Comfort Zone

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I did enough with my squadron to get my 1st Lieutenant promotion.  Go me!

I’m not real big on raiding in any MMO anymore.  I did it for a time in EQ2, but now?  Nah.  I still haven’t even done Weeping City.  I’m not fond of Primal fights either.  But with all that said…. FFXIV gates getting weapons behind the 8-man raids.  I got my i230 weapon as a Summoner a while back by running the Alexander 8 Normal the minimum 7 times that were needed and never went back.  Now that we have the new Tomes of Scripture with an i260 weapon….. it’s time to repeat the process, but with Alexander 12 Normal instead.

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This is the last piece I need to complete the Dragoon set, and I rolled a 97! Yay!… Oh wait….. dangit!

This past weekend I began the process.  I’d done Alex 9N within the 1st week or so of the 3.4 patch coming out, but hadn’t bothered to go back and unlock floors 10-12.  But this time I did.  Finished out the time travel story from doing it and…. eh.  I’m really not that into MMO stories.  Never have been.  I know I’ve played FFIV and FFVII all the way through, but I remember absolutely none of their story.  I didn’t care for the story for any of the classes in SWTOR, and even in TSW I skipped most of the cutscenes. /end digression

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My daughter loves to take selfies with her firefox on her shoulder. (Yes, a red panda is called a firefox — look it up! )

So anyway, I watched MrHappy’s guide for floor 10, then queued up for it.  I died at one point from getting knocked back onto a button on the floor which calls down a big mace from the ceiling to smash you.  I thought I’d moved out of the impact area, but….. nope.  I was a little embarrassed, as I was the only death for that whole fight, but we won, so… it worked out.

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Riding the airship during Floor 10.

Watched the Floor 11 guide.  The off-tank messed this one up and didn’t move away from the group when he got targeted with the big AE, so that was a wipe.  On the 2nd attempt we lost a healer at one point, but since I can battle-rez as a Summoner I got her back up and we pulled out the whole thing.  And I got a lot of commendations for bringing the healer back so the other healer could keep the tank up which overall enabled us to finish.  that was nice.  I actually kinda liked this fight, with needing to jump up on the airship and whatnot.

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From the cutscene prior to floor 12

And finally I watched the Floor 12 video, then queued up.  I think I died twice in this fight.  Once about the 40% mark, and then again right at the end, then he went down, so I got credit, even though I was dead when it happened.  And I got the 1st of the 7 gears I’ll need to trade in for the tomestone in 6 more weeks.

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I won the roll on the Alex minion!

I liked the Alex floors 10-12 enough that I actually went back and did A9N again and managed to score bolt, so that was good for an i250 ring.  I guess leaving my comfort zone can be good for stuff from time to time…

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Alex after it’s all done. Supposedly he will fade away over time now. It will be interesting to see if he actually does as the patches continue to roll out.

I did a little bit more on working on leveling my last 3 crafting jobs.  Well… I’m focused on Alchemist right now, so… worked on that one.  I’m not doing 9 Ixal and 3 Moogles quests each day anymore, just the weekends, but…. progress is still progress.  I just feel a little silly for having bought 3 more pieces of the Ironworks crafting gear for about 1.5 million gil apiece and then finding out that there’s crafted HQ i250 weapons for the combat jobs, but they’re tending to go for about 2.5 million gil right now, but I’d spent myself down to almost nothing on the crafting gear that I’m really only buying to make a cohesive look for the set, not becuz I care about crafting.  Ah well… my i230 book is still sufficient until I can save up enough gil again.

Speaking of gear, my Expert run this morning got me enough tomes to finish off my left side in the new i260 gear.  My overall average is i245 now, so that’s nice too.  Not that you can see it becuz I’ve glamoured it all and you’ve already see what I look like so… no screenie of that.  😉

Happy gaming out there!

 

[FFXIV] The Danger of Alts

ffxiv_10282016_192328This weekend, I ran through the Halloween event with my daughter’s character in order to get her the minion (she loves bats and pumpkins, so a minion that combines the 2?  Yeah, she wanted it…) and while I was in Gridania I saw one of the purple “unlock” quests in the adventurer’s guild.  and it had a name that sounded Halloween-y, so I grabbed it and oh right… the Palace of the Dead unlock.  And since I was already there and haven’t done much PotD on my own character, I did a “Why not?” and queued up.  Ran through to floor 40 in a matched group and we were getting Accursed Hoard drops left and right.

ffxiv_10282016_203715So after getting out at floor 4 I talked to the bishop NPC and turned in the Hoard items and… Red Panda minion!  Way too cute.  And my daughter loves it so much that she spent most of the rest of the weekend running around Mist with it out.

I thought it only dropped from Nidhogg in the Aery, though in all my runs of that dungeon I can’t say I’ve ever seen it even drop to roll on, much less won a roll.  But now I know there’s an alternate way to get it….  I think I’ll be running more PotD on my own character a lot more going forward.  Plus I want that neat looking flying statue mount, so… yeah.  Definitely will have to run it more.

ffxiv_10302016_083649On my own character this weekend I finished up the 3.4 MSQ, the new primal fight, and even started working my way through the latest Alexander series.  I’ve only done A9N so far, but I plan to get up through A12N so I can start working toward getting my i260 weapon.  and maybe I’ll do enough PotD to get my other classes their i235’s, at least.  Most of them are still stuck down at i200.  This shall change!  Eventually…

Happy gaming out there!

[Civ6] Putting it all together

On Sunday evening I started a new game of Civ6.  Now that I know everything from my prior “info-dump” post, I had a plan going in and just needed to execute it.

I chose Germany due to them having their industrial zone be a unique tile, which means it gets a discount when building it.  I got a starting seed with 3 city-states fairly close by.  1 is to my NW, 1 is to the NE, and the last one is to my SE.  This essentially forced me to look at building to the south and west of my starting spot.  There were a lot of rivers in that direction, though, so it all looked good.

Except France was there to the south and she took exception to me dropping 2 cities “on her borders” early on.  I don’t think she’s forgiven me for that, becuz she just declared a surprise war on me during my last play session.  After getting those 2 cities down, my scout also found a nice spot close enough to the west to be able to “finish a square” so to speak.  I also found that India was off that direction, so if I wanted to get a city there I’d need to work on that, so I rush-built a settler and tossed it over that way too.  Over time, I was able to build 3 industrial districts in a triangle with commercial districts adjacent for big bonuses, and the 4th industrial zone is 1 hex away from that triangle, so it’s still close enough to everything to spread its bonus to all 4 cities in the square, even if it’s a slightly smaller bonus (+10 instead of the other’s +12 when I checked).  Here’s what it all looks like right now:

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The red square shows all the industrial and commercial zones clustered in the middle so as to mutually bonus each other and all 4 cities.  And yes, I built the Ruhr BValley wonder in there too.  I *am* Germany, after all 😉

 

As you can see, I’ve also built a city off to the north now.  I had to do that to pick up some niter.  And I’ve got a settler headed over to the south of Amsterdam there as well since once I finished researching Steam Power some coal popped up down there.  My only “problem” right now is that I’m still landlocked, but once I get that city up on that coal resource it will be coastal so I’ll be able to build a harbor there, so that will be taken care of soon.  Of course it’ll be right on France’s border again, so that will make her mad too, but she’s using warriors and spearmen against muskets and field cannons.  I’m not worried….

My scouts also found China and Egypt pretty early on and they both declared war jointly almost immediately.  I ‘d put an Archer in each city, and I thought I’d built walls around all of them, but overlooked one (Mainz on the SW corner), so of course that was the one closest to Egypt and the one that got attacked by a bunch of warriors and archers.  Fortunately for me I had already built roads from my other cities so I was able to bring down a swordsman and some more archers to drive her back even without the city being defended by walls.  Though oddly enough after I’d killed off all but one of her warriors she used her archers to take my city HP to nothing, then instead of attacking with the last warrior and taking the city she sued for peace and withdrew.  Whew……  I never even saw China before they sued for peace.

Other than that early scare the game’s been going very well for me.  I’m completely dominating in Tech and Civics.  Although I’ve started to be spied upon and I can’t build spies yet, and I’m not sure what I need to do to get them.  More to look up how to do…  But anyway, I’m a powerhouse this time due to knowing how the bonuses stack now and making sure to build in a way to take maximum advantage of the bonuses.  How well?  Well, check out this screenshot showing the horrible reporting UI and see how much production I have in my capital and the “worst” of the other 3 cities in “the square:”

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Yes, 110 production in my capital, and 81 in another city.  The other 2 cities in “the square” are doing 84, and 85 production.  I wish I could collapse the city view on that report and just show overall totals, but… bad UI is bad.  The 5th city up north that isn’t part of “the square” also has 45 production, which isn’t bad at all, just not quite as insanely good as the 4 central cities.

But yeah… I finally feel like I’ve got a handle on the game.  Time to start branching out and trying other civs and playstyles…

Happy gaming out there!

[Civ6] CivVI Impressions after the Weekend

This is actually an email I sent to a friend today about what I’ve discovered so far:

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The Diplomacy screen UI is terrible.  You do your “work” in the top left corner of the screen.  Then after it’s accepted or rejected, you have to wait a couple of seconds before the button you need to advance the screen comes up – in the bottom left corner.  And then to close out of the screen you have to click a little X button in the top right corner, so you have to travel your mouse to all 3 corners of the screen every time you do Diplomacy.

The Spying UI is even worse  becuz it shows you a list of cities that you can deploy to, but doesn’t actually show which city you’re already in.  You pick your city and then it *displays* a list of your available things you can do in that city, but you can’t click on them, oh no – it’s just a display (and thus confusing and shouldn’t even be there, IMO).  You have to click a small button at the bottom of the list (long mouse travel, since you probably clicked toward the top of the list) to confirm that you wanted to go to that city.  Then after that click the displayed list changes to active and accepts whatever you click on without a confirmation.  If you mis-click, then you have to go find the spy, click him, then click “cancel” on him and he loses his action for the turn, and next turn you can repeat that process, hopefully not mis-clicking this time.

Trade UI is a bit weird too.  I’ve read that you do have the ability to send a trader to a different city to start trading from there, but I haven’t found it yet.  In the early game internal trade routes can give you a really nice boost to food and production, but if you let that go too long your cities will “overgrow” your natural food production and if you want to do international trade for money, culture, science, etc then your cities will decrease in population if you don’t make the switch early enough.

Why no option to turn off espionage?  Why no option to have no city-states?  Why no option to have double the amount of city-states?

If you lose the game, it doesn’t tell you why, just says “You lost.”  How am I supposed to know what to try to stop from happening in the future if I don’t know what happened?  I mean… I did a duel with Kongo and he asked me to establish an embassy and I said “ok” and boom!  I lost.  And I have absolutely no idea why.  How does establishing diplomatic ties equal a loss?  It was the same when I didn’t know that there was a possible religious victory and the Aztecs sent a wave of Apostles and Missionaries through my lands and suddenly “you lost.”  This was on turn 212 in a Settler-level game.  I had no idea what had happened, or how I’d lost so early on.

The replay is also just a series of graphs – the map is not there yet again.  It wasn’t in Civ5 at the beginning either and got added in later due to player demands.  Since the devs know it will be demanded, why didn’t they have it in from the get-go?

Religious fighting is pretty interesting.  Basically religious units can’t be attacked by normal ones, nor can they attack normal units either.  Missionaries can spread religion and defend themselves, but can’t attack.  Apostles spread religion and can attack or defend.  They also can add beliefs to your religion and open an Inquisition.  Starting an Inquisition allows you to create Inquisitors which can attack Apostles and Missionaries, as well as remove opposing religious views from your cities.  They toss lightning around at each other when they fight, so it’s a little like watching wizards go at it.  When you kill a unit from a different religion any city within 6 tiles will also remove a bunch of that religious influence from it and gain a bunch of your own, so doing religious battle can affect 2-3 cities at a time and might be more effective than simply spreading the religion.

You can cheese wins for achievements really easily.  Choose Russia as your civ, set a custom time limit on the game of 1 turn.  Settle your city, click next turn.  You win!  Watch those achievements roll in!  This is due to Russia getting the Civ5 Shoshone’s power of extra tiles on settlement, which increases their score above any other civ in that 1st turn and thus guarantees the victory.

Another easy win is a duel vs Konga on the Pangaea map.  Set religious victory as the only win condition, then play as you normally would until you establish a religion, then start spamming Missionaries at him.  You get the religious victory very quickly doing that, since he can’t create a religion to fight against you and actively wants you to spread yours to him.  The corollary to this is that if you’re playing as Kongo, you might want to turn off the Religious Victory condition especially on a smaller map since you can’t really defend against it.

Fresh water is critical to your early city development.  City size is limited by your “housing” stat, and a city without fresh water starts with only 2 housing, while with fresh water starts at 6.  The Aqueduct can help if you find a really good spot that’s only 1 space away from a fresh water source (river, lake, oasis, or mountain – yes, the aqueduct turns a mountain into a fresh water source).

The AI tends to be pretty aggressive early on.  I’d meet a civ and they’d declare war on me that instant.  And then after I’d not see them again for 100 turns and finally pick off a unit they’d sure for peace, and then suddenly we’d be best friends, all the way up to alliance.

It’s hard to get a city much above size 20 due to limited food production.  Playing as Rome last night, I made it up to size 24 in Rome and size 22 for 2 other cities by using multiple internal trade routes that gave massive amounts of food, but building districts and wonders completely destroy any production on the tile they’re built on, so expanding your city and building lots of wonders can reduce your food production.  I was pretty haphazard on how I built out, though.  Had I planned ahead better for when you get the “bonus food for clusters of farms” instead of spreading everything out as I did, I might have done better.

Try to cluster your districts together as best you can so that 1 spy can defend many districts at once.  Something else that seems to work nicely is clustering districts from multiple cities in the same area, so if you can build your cities in a circle or triangle and build up an urban core in the middle then they reinforce each other and give big “adjacency bonuses.”  Then you can put your farms to the “outside” of your shape and cluster them also so that they give a bonus to their yield (eventually) also, which might help in getting bigger cities so you can get all the districts.

Woods kinda suck in the early game until you can build lumber mills.   Until then, you can spam out builders and cut the all the woods you can find down for big production bonuses in your capital, even when they’re outside your borders.  Some are calling this an exploit, though.

The Oracle is an amazingly overpowered wonder giving Great Person Points for each district you build that other civs won’t get.  Build it ASAP.  This is a big deal becuz Great People are now a competition with the other Civs.  If they gain one 1st, then any contribution you had toward earning that one is lost and you all start fresh to compete for the next one.  Same for you – if you get one, they all lose out.  They don’t have static abilities either, so this Great Scientist might give a boost to 3 random techs, that one might give a boost to 2 specific techs, and that other one might just plain give a flat boost of 250 science per mountain that you expend him next to.  Or this Great Engineer might help build wonders, while that one might give a permanent production bonus to the city.  This Great Artist might paint, that one might do sculpture.  Etc.

Venetian Armory is also wickedly OP if you’re going for a big navy since it give you a double-build on any naval unit built anywhere in your civ, not just in the city where this was built.

Deleting a unit gives a ton of cash, even if it’s outside your borders.  Scythians can abuse this mechanic in the early game by building light cavalry units (especially using builders to boost production by cutting down forests) since their civ-bonus is double builds of any cavalry, so they build 1, get 2, sell both, use the cash to buy something else, etc.  This is thought to be a bug.  Or something in need of a severe nerf.

There aren’t any social policies that will give late-game cities production bonuses like they did in Civ5, so when I had to build some cities halfway across the map to get Niter, Aluminum, and Uranium, I had to make sure to send along several builders and defensive units, and then buy up the tiles I wanted.  They never “caught up” so to speak.  In fact, the more cities and districts you’ve built, the more expensive later ones become, so late-game cities actually have a disadvantage since they will want to build workshops and factories, but that requires building a district and they’re little and don’t have much production so a district takes a long time….  You can’t buy a district, so you can’t rush buildings until after the district is up and running.  The district itself gets built the long way of waiting for “next turn.”  Military Engineer’s Airstrips do NOT count as airports for airlift purposes either.  They have to build an aerodrome district.

Archaeologist have 3 charges like a builder, but I didn’t notice that showing up on their UI.  I didn’t really pay attention to them since I was assuming they’d be single-use like in Civ5, but I cleared 3 spots with one before he went poof.

In the early game, your cities can’t bombard incoming attackers until you build some walls.  After you build walls, most damage goes to them 1st before the city and most units have a damage penalty vs walls, so they’re a quite powerful thing to have.  Siege Towers let you ignore walls.  Battering Rams remove your damage penalty vs walls.  And once you get catapults they do damage bonus vs walls, but they take time to get into position and can’t fire on a turn where they move, so… IMO, build a siege tower for every 3rd melee and link it and then cities are pretty easy to take since they just ignore the walls.  Eventually this stops being a thing in the later game though and once cities are automatically defended you can’t even build walls anymore.  I’m not quite sure when it happened.  You can do classic, medieval, and renaissance walls, so I’m assuming it stopped being a thing once I hit modern or atomic era.

In the late game you can combine units into “formations.”  Basically it powers up the initial unit by a pretty substantial amount.  Another nice bonus is that when you combine 2 units the higher promotion/experience level stays, so your early game units that you managed to keep alive and get promoted and upgraded can get upgraded yet again by combining other freshly built units into them.  You can combine a max of 3 units in this way once you gain the full ability.  You can also build them in the maxed out formation as well, though this obviously takes longer than building a single unit.

When you upgrade a unit it immediately goes to whatever is the current one, without needing intermediate steps if you left off for a long time.  Or if you never got iron and couldn’t upgrade to swordsman, you can still skip to musketman – assuming you have niter 😉

For city-states you pretty much want to try to get 6 envoys to each for maximum bonuses.  And after that if you can be suzerain and thus get their resources, that’s cool too, but it seems like the biggest thing it to have at least 1 envoy with all of them, 6 if possible for max bonus, and suzerain is nice, but not too big a deal.  On a larger map you simply won’t be able to get enough envoys to be suzerain of all of them anyway, unlike in Civ5 where you could just buy their loyalty very easily.

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Happy gaming out there!