Catastrophic Rollback

Extra Life is Go!

aofa_banner_trans This morning team alliance of awesome has been streaming for awhile by the time I write this post.  This means the Extra Life marathon has been kicked off and the thunderbirds are go!  So I highly suggest you tune into the Alliance of Awesome team and see how all is streaming.  I personally won’t be coming on until significantly later in the day where I plan on playing a brand new Secret World character named “Belstream” on the Arcadia server.  I’ve gone through the character creation already and am sitting at the very start of the New York zone.  I went Illuminati this time, because with all of the “conspiracy” floating around in the gaming community it seemed rather fitting.  The Secret World is one of those games that I love but don’t end up playing all that often.  I am a lifetime subscriber, and I still consider that money well spent.

One of the interesting challenges today is trying to fit in the recording of a podcast around the various stream times.  Kodra and Hiddenwings stream before our normal recording time, and I stream almost immediately following it.  I will be going from 11pm EST to 3am EST, and then after me is I believe Scarybooster and then finally Cav will be finishing off the entire process.  From what I understand both Stargrace and Braxwolf intend to do the entire 25 hours…  so during a lot of the stream there will be multiple channels on Team AofA that you can be watching.  When I last tuned in, Stargrace was streaming some Divinity Original Sin, so you should see a wide variety of titles today.  I personally am mostly going to stream MMOs.  I had originally planned on streaming some Destiny, but with my current frustration with the game that probably isn’t the best idea.  Maybe going to substitute in some Rift Nightmare Tide if it is behaving.

Catastrophic Rollback

rift 2014-10-24 23-19-33-340 The last few days I have been sick, as I said in my blog my lungs pretty much betrayed me.  As a result I spent a lot of time sitting on the couch poking around in Rift Nightmare Tide.  Over the course of Thursday I watched one and a half seasons of American Horror Story, made it about half way through 60 and made some significant progress on several different tradeskills, finally crafting myself a nice set of blue weapons.  Then something bad happened.  When I was working on my blog post yesterday the Faeblight server was completely offline, and while I thought this was odd I just went on with my business of writing a normal blog post.  Later in the day on twitter I heard that Laethys, Faeblight and Wolfsbane were all offline and that there had been something that happened to the hardware for that server cluster.  When I got home the server was back online, and I logged into my character only to notice that I had lost an entire days worth of play time.  My character was sitting back at 1% experience into 60… pretty much the point at which you normally zone into the zone.

A thread on the forums confirmed the issue, that there had indeed been a rollback.  The goofy thing is it seems to be an uneven rollback.  I have all of my Planar Attunement experience gained, as well as all of my Minion experience.   My character however was completely rolled back, including the fact that I no longer had the spec or macros that I set the day before when I started to level the character.  The biggest problem is… I spent a lot of platinum training various skills… and all of THAT seemed to be missing like I had in fact trained the skills but had nothing to show for it.  As an IT professional I have had things like this happen to me too.  A backup is only as good as the time you need to restore it… and it is often times impossible to tell if a backup is actually going to work correctly.  Having been in the shoes of these folks before myself…  I feel generally horrible for the stress that they are going through.  Supposedly Faeblight is hit the worst and they are having to manually go back through logs to try and figure out what all was actually lost.

rift 2014-10-24 20-43-08-161 I can take this with a grain of salt, knowing that sooner or later Trion is going to make things right for me.  They always have in the past, and I have a feeling they will during this time.  I mean this is probably the most catastrophic rollback I have experienced since the ill fated launch of Horizons back in 2003.  Unfortunately rollbacks were something that happened during those days, so we accepted it at face value and moved on.  Rollbacks these days however are almost unheard of, and as a result the players on the forums are out for blood.  There are some players who had power leveled themselves to 65 and maxed out several of their tradeskills… and all of that effort was completely lost.  I am super thankful I have been playing the expansion extremely casually at this point.  All of this said I am certain that Trion will make things right in the end, the biggest frustration for me was setting back up all of my hotbars and my new spec again.

ArcheAge Update

archeage 2014-10-13 06-17-56-723 I have not been playing much of late, especially with all of the other games on my plate.  However I felt like I needed to post an update.  I have been pretty down on ArcheAge as a game from my pretty horrific experiences with the Alpha/Beta community.  In part I think a lot of those early players were Streamers and did horrific things to other players to entertain their audiences.  I can remember one incident where I had to cross a bay in a rowboat, and folks were lined up trying to capsize and subsequently drown us as all of the little newbies tried to cross the open water.  Coming back and playing on the Naima server at launch…  I have to say I have not experienced any of this non-combat griefing.  I have gone afk in town numerous times, and have not found myself pushed out into a bunch of mobs and dead on the ground…  this was something that happened constantly in alpha.

The game is still compelling, but I have yet to actually make it to the contested zone levels this time around.  I am still in my early 20s, but I hope to make a push at some point to see just how the open pvp areas feel.  If the early game is any indication, maybe the production player base is more reasonable than the barbaric alpha playerbase was.  I can deal with danger, and I can deal with the possibility of death…  what I could not deal with was the constant jackassery that I experienced in the alpha community.  This is still not my primary game, especially with all of the exciting things happening in FFXIV this week, and the launch of Rift Nightmare Tide.  However I still have a large number of friends playing the game, and it has been nice to pop my head in and talk to people I have not seen in years.  Unfortunately the guild I was planning on joining imploded this week, and has been replaced by another one.  So I will have to make the necessary inroads to get invites there.  Also unfortunately it seems they might not be as casual friendly, which would be unfortunate… because for each of the serious players I know playing the game, they have a couple of not so serious friends that are also playing with them.

#ExtraLife #Rift #ArcheAge

Bel Folks Stuff Debut

An Evening With Syl

cropped-belfolksstuff_banner A few weeks back I talked about a new kind of podcast I was planning on doing.  Where I grab one of the very interesting members of our community and chat with them a bit.  Somewhat of an informal interview podcast.  Thankfully everyone I have talked to about this idea thought it was cool and has been willing to volunteer for the process.  Since my friend @Gypsy_Syl and I have notoriously struggled to find time to actually hang out together on voice chat, I figured it would be awesome to start this entire process with her.  Thankfully she graciously accepted and last Sunday at noon my time which was 7 pm her time… we sat down to record a show.  I am really pleased with how it turned out, and while I still feel like I am absolutely “winging it” I can see how this is going to work with other “Folks” as well.

Right now the plan is to do this as a semi-monthly show, because quite honestly with daily blogging and weekly podcasting with AggroChat, I don’t feel like I can really add much more to my schedule.  Naming a thing is always the hardest part, after some time I landed on more of a statement of what the show was… than an actual name.  “Bel Talks To Interesting Folks About Really Important Stuff That They Enjoy Doing”.  This however was way too long to be the title of anything… so I just shortened it to “Bel Folks Stuff”.  It’s quirky I know, but I figure the folks that will be listening won’t care much about the title… but will instead be tuning in to listen to someone from our community talking about stuff that they enjoy.  So please tune in and enjoy “An Evening With Syl” the very first episode.

Gobbie-Boom

ffxiv 2014-10-24 06-14-29-107 Last night I spent most of the night working on my Monk, trying to push him ever higher in level.  I was happy the other night to graduate from Totorak to Haukke Manor as it is a considerably more enjoyable dungeon.  My friend Ashgar likes to refer to Totorak as “The Thousand Yawns of Total-Nap”.  For me, I don’t mind the dungeon that bad but it does definitely seem to drag on, especially in that section where you keep having to bust poison balloons and move through the green sludge.  Last night however I got to move into one of my favorite dungeons…  Brayflox’s Longstop.  The reason why I like Brayflox is simple…  it has some really awesome sets that come out of it.  While tanking the place I had managed to gather up a full set of Cavalry, and while healing I had managed to gather up most of a full set of Battle Mage.  However every time I ran the place, either Infantry did not drop… or someone else was with me that wanted it far more.

As you can see from the above picture, last night I managed to get the Infantry Chest to drop.  So far I only have legs, hat and chest…  but I figure I will be running a lot more Brayflox.  One of the things that I didn’t really cover in my guide is that every night I always do at least one completely random dungeon run.  This is worth a massive amount of xp even if you end up getting one of the primals… that normally rewards next to no experience.  After that I tend to just queue for whatever the highest level dungeon I can run happens to be… especially if I am playing DPS.  Nothing sucks worse than wading through a thirty minute dps queue, only to end up getting Ifrit.  So I expect over the next few days to queue up for Brayflox, and then run FATEs while waiting on the roulette to pop.  The only thing I wish is that you could queue with your chocobo out, because this greatly lowers my survival in FATEs to have to run without him.

Using My Boost

rift 2014-10-23 06-27-53-875 This morning Faeblight appears to be down, so I can’t actually log into the game and take any proper screenshots.  As a result you get a shot of my menagerie of characters.  This is fitting because in reality I was going to talk to the boost to level 60.  As you can see I have a whole slew of characters that I could have used this on.  Mostly I struggled with a choice between boosting Belgrenth my Dwarven Mage, or Belgaroth my Bahmi Cleric.  Belgrenth is still stuck down in his 20s, but overall I enjoy questing on him because the launch content feels better to play than the Storm Legion content.  Belgaroth however I had just started the Storm Legion slog with, and felt like I was making no real progress.  So did I go for maximum number of free levels… or did I go for helping me skip the content I wanted to skip on an otherwise really enjoyable character.

As I am sure you can tell from my lead up… I ended up using it on the cleric because skipping Storm Legion sounded like an awesome deal.  Unfortunately I didn’t really have a good use for the free boost to 375 crafting, so I ended up spending it on survival…  something that I struggled to level on my other characters.  If I had been thinking really I would have used it on fishing… because as time goes that one seems to take significantly longer to level.  The other big news from yesterday is that I think I figured out a pretty decent leveling build for Belghast.  All of the warrior builds I was using when I last played have seemed to have gotten nerfed significantly.  Once upon a time I could farm things with impunity and keep myself at nearly full health.  Those days were long gone as upon starting the Nightmare Tide content it was a struggle just to stay alive.

I landed upon a thread on the official forums by a guy named Inny proposing his leveling spec for 3.0.  You can check out the full magelo build here but essentially it is a 42 Warlord, 34 Champion, 0 Liberator build.  So far it seems to be working pretty well, and the combination of a few minor heals and the combination of Weapon Defense and No Permission to Die allow me to stay alive in most situations.  No Permission to Die need some really specific timing to make it work, as it heals you to 50% if you receive a killing blow in the time that the buff is up.  The biggest boost to my survival was crafting a new set of weapons.  Thankfully it was pretty easy to gather up the materials to do that, but unfortunately I have pretty much burnt through all of my available platinum on tradeskills.  Hopefully that will start to regenerate as I quest, so I can do the same for Armorsmithing as I did for weaponsmithing.  All in all the content is enjoyable, or at least significantly less grindy feeling than the Storm Legion content was.

A Real Monk

Being Sickly Sucks

My life story is pretty simple, and can be pretty much summed up by my body repeatedly betraying me.  I was born with a primary immune system issue, which is far from “boy in the bubble” territory, but mostly means I have a “lazy” immune system.  Essentially all of my antibodies and defense mechanisms hang out saying “these guys aren’t so bad” until finally one of these foreign actors torches the place, and forces them to fight back and repel whatever bad things invaded my body.  Throwing a sucker punch into the works I have some pretty severe asthma and allergies.  More often than not what starts as allergies or an undefended against cold ends up triggering the asthma and locking me down.

Right now my lungs are betraying me and since yesterday afternoon have been struggling to breathe.  I am doing the normal “take breathing treatments every few hours” thing, which is helping but just considerably slower than I would like it to.  By the time I went to bed last night I was actually feeling almost human.  Waking up this morning however my body seems to have rebelled against me once more.  At this point I am uncertain if this is just a cold or something deeper, but in any case the initial treatment is the same, rest and medication.  I am so ready for nanites to exist, I will gladly embrace our robot overlords if they bring with them the ability to fix my dumb malfunctioning body.  Maybe I can have like cool cybernetic parts too…  in the future I will totally be Adam Jensen.

Nightmare Tides

rift 2014-10-23 06-28-58-988 I was reminded yesterday by my friend RowanBlaze that it was the launch day for Nightmare Tides.  I managed to get in for a bit but didn’t stick around terribly long for a number of reasons.  The first was that the servers were really populated, like can’t engage a single mob without having a swarm of players on it with you.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, because it means that the expansion as a whole seems to be pretty well received.  The second was that after spending about thirty minutes doing “bag maintenance” and removing all of the old Storm Legion quests from my log, I honestly just felt drained.  I was afterall not feeling amazing in the first place, and when you combine this with the fact that the once awesome build that Pkudude helped me find in the first place isn’t quite as awesome as it once was…  I just lacked the oomph to go out onto the forums and find whatever it is that the latest leveling build happens to be.

rift 2014-10-23 06-30-17-828 The thing I did mess around with however is the new Minions system.  So far I am a fan, other than I have no clue how to actually earn adventurine.  The idea is that Minions are mini-pets with a purpose.  My biggest disappoint is that not all mini-pets are minions… and not all minions are mini-pets.  This aspect of the system is deeply confusing and they would have been far better serviced if they had simply done what Blizzard did and assign attributes to ALL existing mini-pets.  That aside it is a fun little mini-game where you send your pet out on missions.  The more missions you run the better xp it gains… and I would assume at some point you start to unlock more dangerous missions as a result.  I got a nice jellyfish minion as part of my preorder (that also happens to double as an in game companion) but there are a number of basic mini-pets that you can pick up for 1 plat each.  The other way you can obtain them is either by buying randomized packs… or by spending the Nightmare Tides zone currency on individual ones.

rift 2014-10-23 06-30-33-676 Admittedly I have been doing a pretty poor job of keeping track on the progress of this expansion.  An awesome reader of mine hooked me up early on with beta access, and I spent quite a bit of time poking around the first zone.  I did not however delve too deep into the systems because I wanted to spoil the experience as little as possible.  Mostly I was trying to decide if I wanted to pre-order or not, and I enjoyed myself enough to throw some more money Trion’s way.  Now I am trying to figure out all the things I happened to miss.  If nothing else Minions are an interesting diversion to the leveling process as the user interface has made it super simple to hop in and out of the Minion screen, notifying you when your current missions is complete in the same place the dungeon finder tools show up.  Since I am essentially done with Destiny for the time being, I might end up streaming some Nightmare Tides leveling this weekend during the Extra-Life marathon.

A Real Monk

ffxiv 2014-10-23 06-54-15-200 The bulk of my evening I spent watching television and working on leveling my Pugilist in Final Fantasy XIV.  I have this crazy goal of reaching 50 on all combat and crafting classes by the Spring 2015 release of Heavensward, and for some reason of late I have hung on working on the pugilist.  I think in part because this is my last Disciple of War class to level…  at least until next week when the Rogue/Ninja is released.  For the longest time I just could not get into the pugilist, but lately I feel like I have finally gotten into the “rhythm” of playing it… or what everyone refers to as “the dance”.  When I was working up my guide I declared Monk being less positional dependant than the Dragoon… and in a way this is absolutely true.  Monk attacks will still land and qualify for the next step in a combo regardless of where you are in relation to the target.  Dragoons on the other hand, the combo will not continue unless the attack was performed from the right position.

Saying that however leaves out the fact that a monk that is NOT doing positional attacks… is a monk that is completely ineffective and might as well just be auto attacking.  There seems to be a massive damage output difference between keeping up all of your stacks and dancing around the target to just standing there and beating on it from one place.  The thing I like the most about the monk so far is that the position attacks seem to be eaiser to land that for the dragoon.  The Dragoon attacks have a lot of lead up time to the attack, and notoriously your tank is going to twitch the target at exactly the wrong moment… making it so that Heavy Thrust for example doesn’t land.  With a monk this never seems to happen… or at the very least it is not as crippling of an event as you can still continue going to your next attack.  If you miss a Heavy Thrust… you have to Heavy Thrust again… until finally one lands.

So I am happy to finally get what people like about playing the Monk.  Last night I ran a really horrible Halatali for my daily roulette.  If you are a Gladiator tank out there, please for the love of god do not use Riot Blade.  We tried to explain to this tank three for four times exactly what he needed to do to hold aggro.  However he almost willfully ignored us.  At one point I actually voted to abandon the party after one of our dps bailed on us.  Unfortunately the NEW dps didn’t understand why we were trying to abandon party and voted it down.  After that I ran a few instances of Totorak and a few of Haukke after I graduated up into that dungeon.  Finally near the end of the night I dinged 30 and was able to complete my monk quest.  Now I am no longer a pugilist but a proper monk, and finally have some decent AOE capabilities.  Actually looking forward to finishing leveling this job and getting it geared out.

#FFXIV #Rift #NightmareTides

Wish I Was Proud

Fatigued and Forlorn

My wife and I have very different online circles.  She is super hardcore into mathematics, and I pretty much only following gaming folk.  As such we don’t actually follow each other on twitter, since there really is very little overlap between our communities.  The math conference that I helped out with over the summer has lead to a bit of overlap, but it is still super minimal.  The other day she hollered into my office at me “What is your gamers gate shit doing in my feed?”.  Sure enough the madness that has infected what used to be my happy place, had spread over into other communities.  These were not folks choosing sides in the battle…  they were folks shocked and dismayed at the death threats and hatred being directed towards women.  Once again reinforcing a very negative stereotype against our community, one that I feel we have fought really hard to get past.

I’m 38 and have been a gamer my entire life.  There are things that I have done through gaming that I am extremely proud of.  I am proud of the days of trying to make 25 people that have no tangible connection to one another work as a well oiled machine… or at least an oiled enough one to take down a boss.  I am proud of the community that I built from the ground up that over the course of its existence has housed literally thousands of “stalwart” gamers.  I am proud of the blog that I have built, and my two podcasts (one of which has yet to see the light of day).  I am proud of the events like Blaugust and the Newbie Blogger Initiative that I have been involved in.  I am proud to know so many awesome people, some of which have actually transitioned into my day to day life… or that I have hired because of their awesome non-gaming abilities.  All of these things took lots of effort to make happen and were all pretty cool things that I SHOULD feel proud of.

Wish I Was Proud

The problem is I can only feel proud of these within certain “safe” circles because the world as a whole still sees us as basement dwelling troglodytes.  The problem is… as much time as we have spent trying to change this image with really awesome things like Extra-Life…  Gamers Gate is proving them completely right.  It is proving to the world that we are not quite ready to crawl out of the primordial ooze of our basements, not quite ready to exist in normal society yet.  Chris Kluwe spun up a pretty incendiary rant yesterday about how the whole situation pisses him off, and I feel everything that he is saying…  I just wish he had chosen to write the article without the same sort of aggressive language that I expect from the GG folks.  Ultimately that article itself somewhat proves we are not quite ready to pull ourselves up out of the muck.

While I work for one of the coolest bosses in the world, I am still part of a society that seems gaming as an aberration.  I live in flyover country, and here gaming is still viewed as something “kids do”.  We were inching closer and closer to being able to get people to understand that going home and raiding with our friends is no different than going out to a bar with theirs.  We had reached a point where just maybe folks were starting to understand that waiting in line for a video game release is no different than waiting in line for a midnight showing of the latest movie.  Our culture was slowly grafting itself to the mainstream… and this was a good thing for those of us still dependent upon the mainstream for our livelihood.  Every day that Gamers Gate exists, and makes the press about their impotent “movement” and the harassers that freely associate with it…  is a day that chips away at the progress we have made towards being “normal”.

Tried to be Neutral

I honestly did not sit down this morning and intend to write this post.  Sometimes you sit down at the keyboard and and your words develop a life of their own.  I started out this GG madness trying to stay in the middle, and remain supportive to those who needed supporting, but unaligned to either Gamers Gate or the Anti-Gamers Gate camps.  The events pretty much made this an impossibility as the assault on the already under represented sections of our community continued.  The thing is… the longer this went on the more it pushed me into the Anti-GG camp.  So much so that I have systematically pruned my social media of anyone supporting it.  The problem is…  there is just as much negativity going on against it as well.  Over the last year and a half I have worked seriously to limit the amount of negative feedback I keep in my loop.  Its not that I am trying to be a Pollyanna or anything…  I just find it healthier to dwell upon the good things, and avoid the bad ones.

The problem is I don’t feel like I can avoid Gamers Gate, because it has become so attached to every part of this community that I love.  It is like this disease that has spread, and I am uncertain how exactly to cut it from these limbs without sacrificing the things I care about in the process.  Ultimately I just want it to go away, and I want the hatred and the fighting to stop.  I want people to treat each other with basic human decency.  Because really at the end of the day that should be a basic thing.  Since the golden rule of “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself” is woven into every single religion and culture on our planet… you would think that it shouldn’t have to keep being explained.  There is nothing that can be salvaged at this point from Gamers Gate.  The media has spoken, and they have rightly chosen to focus on the real harm to actual lives that is being done with this “movement”.  It is time for it to go away, or it might literally succeed in destroying the games we love.

All Saints Wake

Path of Madness

ffxiv 2014-10-21 06-07-17-337 For the most part I have willfully ignored the crafting systems in Final Fantasy XIV.  By all accounts it is a black hole that is easy to fall hopelessly into.  The reason behind this is that pretty much every craft… relies on every other craft.  Blacksmith might require something from the Goldsmith, or Leatherworking require something produced by Alchemists.  The folks in my guild who have fallen deep into the system, have ultimately ended up leveling every single craft.  As a result we have at least two “Omni-crafters” as they seem to be called in the community.  Over the weekend while watching the live stream I started tiptoeing down this path by working on Mining.  I figured raising Mining to 50 would be a good entry point, and needed to gather materials for pretty much everything else.

As of last night I am closing in on 30, and I figure that now is when it actually starts to become difficult to push forward.  The positive is that  the fruit of my labor actually sells really well.  For a bit I was grinding ore nodes near camp drybone for Alumen, because I could sell it on the Market Board pretty much as soon as I posted it.  This apparently is needed badly in leatherworking, and since it is crazy easy to get I won’t mind gathering it up again later as I actually need it.  I am finding that you can actually level crafting professions pretty quickly using leves, but unfortunately you have a limited number of these available at any given time.  Thankfully I started with a stack of 99, and am slowly depleting them as I push up mining.

Level All The Things

ffxiv 2014-10-21 06-14-08-813ffxiv 2014-10-21 06-19-20-432 When not working on mining, I have been working on my pugilist.  Since they announced that the Rogue and Ninja would be Dexterity based, I have been wanting to level the Monk so that I can get rid of all of the low level strength gear I have clogging up my bank.  This is the last of the Disciple of War jobs I have left to level considering I have a level 50 Paladin, Warrior, Dragoon and Bard.  Granted on the 28th this will no longer be the case with the release of the Rogue/Ninja but I can work on that eventually as well.  I have this goal that I am setting out before me, to try and level all classes to 50 before the expansion hits next spring.  Right now you can see on the little image to the right what I have left to level.  My intent is not only to level the battle classes but also the Disciples of the Hand and of the Land.

Of course this is going to take a lot of effort and a lot of time, but I am just crazy enough to do it.  As such I feel like I am mostly going to focus on this game.  I will of course go off on tangents and play other games like I always have, but this is something I would really like to accomplish, so that I can be ready to push up any class I choose come expansion time since all of them are getting upgraded to level 60.  Not only do I want to level all of my classes but I would like to gear out all of them as well.  Right now I already have the relic starter for my White Mage, but it is my intent to get that started for the others as well.  Not to mention as soon as Syrcus Tower unlocks from its single item per week limit, I expect to be in there a lot soaking up gear for various classes.  Quite honestly the idea of leveling all of the battle classes doesn’t really phase me… I was going to do this anyways.  What worries me is if I will lose my sanity trying to level all of the crafting classes.  Mostly I just want to be self sufficient.  I am tired of buying things off the Market Board… and even more so I am tired of having to inconvenience other players to craft things for me.  In World of Warcraft I had max level crafters of ever type in Mists of Pandaria, and I really liked being able to take care of whatever I happened to need… and I really want to get to that position here.

All Saints’ Wake

ffxiv 2014-10-20 19-00-56-57 Tis the season for Halloween events in games, and generally speaking these are my favorite events.  By far the king of Halloween events is the Nights of the Dead over in Everquest 2.  If you have never experienced that one, you should totally fire up an EQ2 account just to do it.  My intent is to do it over the weekend in honor of the holiday proper.  In Final Fantasy XIV, this will be my second year doing All Saints’ Wake which is their version of this venerable tradition.  One of the cool things I am finding about FFXIV is that each year they change the events completely.  This is both a positive and a negative.  It is positive in that you have a whole new set of rewards to collect and brand new quests to keep you entertained.  This is a negative in that you can no longer get the past years rewards, so players new to the game are at a disadvantage… at least from a nifty cosmetic baubles perspective.

ffxiv 2014-10-20 19-38-06-96 However during the Fan Festival they announced that they planned on offering the previous years items on a limited time cash shop, allowing folks to buy the ones that they had missed.  The two ghost costumes from last years event are among the first two items on the shop, and I believe they listed the price of each as $5 which is reasonable if you actually want that item badly.  I personally missed the Christmas events, so I am more than likely going to use the cash shop to catch up on the previous years goodies.  In any case…  things are still attainable, but the individual quests can only be completed during a specific years event.  This year the All Saints’ Wake runs from Monday, October 20, 2014 at 1:00 a.m. (PDT) to Monday, November 3, 2014 at 6:59 a.m. (PST).  Which should give players plenty of time to get in and do the quest chain that starts in Old Gridania, but ends up winding through all of the cities finally finishing with a FATE that occurs in Uldah.  One of the highlights of the event is that you get illusions cast on you by the NPCs, and among them are all of the various city leaders as well as Minfilia.  You can see me above doing the manderville as the ever adorable Nanamo.

ffxiv 2014-10-21 06-07-02-071 The rewards for doing the entire quest chain is the costume that the NPC is wearing in my first screenshot.  It is a really cool looking traditional witch costume, which works perfectly for casters.  These of course are cosmetic items and can be glamoured over pretty much any item.  To get the other rewards you are going to have to do a little grinding.  The FATE in Uldah is a parade, where you have to cast a seasonal cheer buff on Citizen NPCs that appear along the parade route.  You have to avoid casting the buff on the Thaumaturges, or they will dispell your illusion.  What makes this a little challenging is that the Citizen npcs run around in a specific area, and the buff is a ground targeted AOE.  The purpose of the fate is to collect Demonic Cookies which are then used as currency to buy the last two rewards.  Getting Gold in a fate earns you 6, silver 3, and bronze 1.  The two purchased rewards are the Eerie Barding as pictured above, and the demonic Pumpkin Earrings.  Both of which are really cool so it is worth the time spent doing the fate, to get both items you need a total of 16 cookies which really isn’t all that much “grinding” at least nothing compared to the various grinds for WoW Holiday items.

Heavensward

Fan Festival Was Amazing


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There have been several community events that I have watched over the years for the various games I have been into.  I’ve watched SOE Live, and Blizzcon… so I guess I was expecting the Fan Festival to feel pretty much the same, but in the end it felt considerably different.  With Blizzcon there is always the feeling that the folks from Blizzard are imposed upon to be up in front of the fans, especially during the question and answer sessions.  SOE Live on the other hand feels more like a gathering of loyal fans to a long running franchise, but even it felt different.  When one of the members of the FFXIV team was on stage, they were practically glowing with excitement at being there.  If you think about it, I guess it makes sense… because this is a game that was so bad during the 1.0 launch that they simply could not charge money for it.  These team members have through a monumental effort turned the listing ship around and not only stopped it from sinking but made it the second most successful subscription MMO on the market.


Watch live video from finalfantasyxiv on Twitch
I think it goes deeper than that however.  Each time a developer of any stripe was on stage, they were almost vibrating with excitement about talking to the fans.  Naoki Yoshida aka “Yoshi P” the producer of Final Fantasy XIV and the man mostly credited for the games resurrection… was only actually scheduled to be on stage a few times.  However he ended up sitting in on damned near every panel because you could just tell that he was having a blast at the festival.  The man however that needs the lions share of the credit for pulling off this event as smoothly as it ran is Michael Christopher “Koji” Fox.  Not only was he a constant bundle of enthusiasm over all matters lore, but he spent the majority of the conference live translating for every dev panel.  This is a pretty monumental feat, and his localization and lore panel is one that everyone should see.  Right now the twitch stream are these two 10 hour blocks of video… but I am hoping that these get broken up into individual panels.

Since the release of the game my friends and I have talked about just how awesome the localization and quest writing is for this game, and come to find out…  that is almost entirely the work of Koji Fox.  The Japanese version of FFXIV apparently lacks almost all of the flavor that the English version of the game has.  During the Lore panel they gave a few examples of a Japanese quest that was extremely utilitarian contrasted against one of ours that is all about amazingly bad puns.  I feel like the game would not have been nearly as successful were it not for all of this diligent work during the localization process.  Apparently it has been noticed, and the Japanese version is going to be much more closely related to style of the English client from this point on.  It almost sounded like things would even start in the English client and get translated to Japanese, but I might have misunderstood that bit.  In any case Koji for me at least is the reason why this game is so damned sticky.

Heavensward

heavensward It is safe to say that I have not been this excited about an expansion in any game since the months leading up to the Burning Crusade.  There is just so much that I am looking forward to in Heavensward, not the least of which is the unlocking of Ishgard.  I am in the minority among my friends but I love Coerthas, and not because I particularly like the elves that inhabit it.  I love snowy climates, and Coerthas is like the king of all snowy climates because it has Dragons and the Dragoons.  I am looking forward to having Ishgard be the fourth city state and am hoping that it has a grand company associated with it.  I am also hoping that the political assholery that is the Coerthas quest chains…  does not represent all of Ishgard as a whole.  The other thing that I am completely pumped about is that we don’t have to wait over a year to see this expansion.  It is currently slotted for Spring of 2015 which could mean as early as March, but potentially as late as May.  This is the way that you announce an expansion…  a few months before release so that your fans have enough time to get excited about it, but not so much time that it feels like it is extremely far away.

I think the thing that excites me the most about Heavensward is the potential for new classes.  It has already been stated that there will be several new classes and jobs to learn with the expansion, and over the course of the Fan Festival there were a few leaks.  During one of the panels Gondai the battle team developer held up a Batman shirt, verifying one of the long held rumors that we would be seeing the Dark Knight.  During another panel it was leaked that Samurai would also be included.  Between those two I am pretty much in heaven.  Both are two of my favorite jobs from the Final Fantasy series, and you can damned well bet I will level both of them… and depending on the particulars will likely switch to Dark Knight as my primary job from that point onwards.  I have loved that job since Final Fantasy IV and always found it so damned disappointing when Cecil changes to being a Paladin.  My theory is that Dark Knight will be the DPS half of Warrior, and likely use Two Handed Swords…  but who knows.

2.4 and Beyond

The most exciting bits for me however had nothing to do with the expansion.  We have been waiting anxiously for the 2.4 patch to launch, and during the Live Letter managed to get a definitive date.  Next weekend will be the London Fan Festival, and a lot of the job related information is being held back to reveal during that event.  However the Tuesday immediately following London, the 28th we are getting the patch that introduces Rogue and Ninja, the Final Coil of bahamut and a bunch of Quality of life tweaks.  What I am really hoping is that since Second Coil of Bahamut is getting uncapped in the amount of loot you can get from it each week… that they might be doing the same for Syrcus Tower.  If nothing else the Soldiery gear should be considerably easier to get since once again they are introducing a brand new Tomestone category “Of Poetics”, which means they will be converting existing tomestones and lowering the price of items.

Triple_Triad What is awesome is that Heavensward is not terribly far away, but they have a whole bunch of stuff that will be going into the game in the meantime.  They confirmed that the Golden Saucer area will be going in during 2.5 and with it Chocobo Racing, various mini-games and the thing I am absolutely amped about…  Triple Triad.  This was a card game that existed as part of the Final Fantasy VIII game where you collected various cards throughout the world and dueled other Triple Triad players.  The game play was extremely simple to pick up, but hard to master.  I am so ready for this to be in game and expect me to duel a lot while hanging in our housing zone.

Community Spirit

There is a massive rundown on Reddit of all of the things mentioned during the Live Letter during the show yesterday.  I highly suggest you check it out if you are wanting more information.  Needless to say it is a super exciting time to be playing Final Fantasy XIV.  If I was not already enamored with the community I would have been after the Fan Festival.  The community spirit was constantly apparent when they dealt with players.  There were a number of events set up for players who were attending the show to compete in.  Among these was a preview of the as yet to be released Odin Primal fight.  Teams of players had 15 minutes to defeat the encounter, which pretty much meant at maximum they had two attempts.  The end result was not only bragging rights, but also an “I Beat Odin” shirt only available during the convention.  What sprung up around it was an atmosphere of folks cheering on other teams as they tried to get their own shirts and the sharing of tips and pointers.  As you talked to players that were defeated by the encounter, all they wanted to do was get back in line and figure out how to tweak their strategy for the next try.

Watching the crowds and watching folks on twitter talking about the experience… it was like the entire group was this big family.  I was so happy to see that this same spirit that we seem to have on the Cactuar server, apparently exists on all other servers as well.  I feel like each player that has made a home on their server, feels the same way about their own server as being truly “awesome”.  The most interesting thing was listening to the various social channels in game during the event.  It felt like most of the community was tuned into the festival and sharing tidbits of information they just saw.  There was so much cheering over various things, not the least of which was the announcement that the Atma drop rates would be more than doubled starting in 2.4 and the Animus books themselves would be considerably cheaper after the Tomestone conversion.  Folks are amped about what is coming during the next few months, and I feel like there won’t be a single dull moment until we arrive at the launch of Heavensward in the spring.  If you could not already tell… I am extremely excited.

#FFXIV #Heavensward

Extra Life Marathon

AggroChat #27 – Ice and Ishgard

Last night we recorded another episode of the AggroChat podcast.  This week I was joined by the regular lineup of Ashgar, Rae, Kodra and Tam.  Since the Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival is going on right now in Vegas we had lots of news spilling out from it.  The most exciting is the official announcement of the Heavensward expansion that is targeting a Spring 2015 release.  I have to tell you developers, this is the way you announce an expansion, when it is only a few months away.  Final Fantasy XIV has been a model for how to release content in general, with a lot of other exciting news coming out about the 2.4 Dreams of Ice major patch introducing the first new Class/Job combination since the release of the game.  Most everyone I know is really looking forward to playing the Rogue/Ninja and I fully expect that every group that I run after a certain point will be full of nothing but Ninja dps.

We did not ONLY have Final Fantasy XIV news however, and we talked a little bit about the Trove Halloween event going on right now.  Additionally Kodra and Tam talk about their experiences playing Borderlands the Pre-Sequel.  I was pretty hesitant about this game because quite frankly they did a really bad job promoting it.  It was made clear early on that this was the “B Team” working on the game, and the trailers seemed to lack any real effort and did not sell me on why this would be a game I wanted to pick up.  Additionally most of the classes that were playable didn’t really interest me.  However apparently the game is pretty damned good, albeit considerably more buggy than BL1 or BL2.  My biggest complaint about the borderlands series to be honest is that we keep having to get new characters to play.  I kinda wish that each game release would simply ADD more characters to play, without constantly removing the last games set.  At the very least I would love to see DLC that adds back in the other characters released after the launch.

Finally since we did not talk about League at all last week, I let Rae loose to discuss whatever she wanted related to league.  This is generally the point in the podcast where my eyes glaze over and I try desperately to follow the conversation.  I find League and interesting game, but just not as interesting as my other podcastees do.  It is a fun thing to play, but considering it seems to have its own language that is not entirely related to english I struggle to follow it.  Additionally there is my whole problem of not really following e-sports in general.  However if you are into league, and into e-sports I am sure this section of the podcast will make perfect sense to you.  I generally wait patiently until the league storm winds down and we can move on to the next topic.  We ran a bit long last night but I think there was quite a bit of really awesome conversation especially about Final Fantasy XIV and its current direction.

Extra Life Marathon

Another topic we discussed is the upcoming Extra Life marathon.  I wanted to break this out into its own topic this morning because of its importance.  Months ago several of the Alliance of Awesome community started talk about organizing a team for the 25 hour Extra Life marathon.  I personally have always wanted to participate in this event, but doubted if I could actually make all 25 hours.  As such we have formed a Hitbox Team, which allows us to all stream to the same shared page.  So next weekend we will have 25 hours of Alliance of Awesome gaming, and I really hope that you tune in to check some of it out.  Right now the schedule looks a little something like this.  All times are in Eastern Standard Time

  • 8 am – 12 pm – Stargrace
  • 12 pm – 2 pm – Arislyn
  • 2 pm – 4 pm – Ashgar
  • 4 pm – 7 pm – Kodra
  • 7 pm – 9 pm – Zelibeli
  • 9 pm – 11 pm – Scopique
  • 11 pm – 3 am – Belghast
  • 3 am – 6 am – Scarybooster
  • 6 am – 8 am – Cav

As you can see from the list three of the AggroChat hosts are going to be streaming, but more likely than not a large number of us will be hanging out on the Alliance of Awesome teamspeak streaming channel at any given time.  I know I plan on doing this for most of the day, apart from when we end up recording the AggroChat podcast.  I guess that too is still in the air, if we record an episode that day or not.  In any case you should tune in and watch the festivities.  If you want to do more than just watch…  any of the streamers would greatly appreciate your donations.  Right now the team as a whole has raised over $700 but since it is ALL going to an awesome cause we are hoping to get that number a bit higher.  I personally would love to see us hit $1000 but not sure if that is feasible or not yet.  If you are interesting in donating here are the links to the various team members.

AggroChat Hosts

Other Alliance of Awesome Folks

Something of note… Kodra is doing something special with his stream.  Basically he is letting you choose what game he is going to play.  When you donate to his stream, you can vote for him to play ANY game he has in his stream library…  or if you are truly a griefer… you can gift him a game and then donate towards him playing that.  There are certain games like Amnesia: The Dark Descent that he has only played a few minutes of…  and it freaked him out too much to continue.  All of these games… are totally fair game.  In fact I think we should probably make him play something truly disturbing.  In any case I hope you guys tune in next Saturday to watch the festivities.

The Future Is Now

Other Peoples Drama

Yesterday my wife and I went on an adventure to Northwest Arkansas.  We have a deep sense of nostalgia about the Fayetteville area, because I guess it was one of the first towns we knew nothing about and wandered around together in.  This is a thing we like to do, go to a new area without any real warning and see what all we can find.  Combine this with the fact that my wife has a really awesome cousin in the area, and it is a location we try and get to as often as possible.  For whatever reason however it had been a few years since we had managed to make the trek.  I mean its not extremely far, but it still ends up being roughly a two hour journey from our home… so something we don’t exactly undertake lightly.

One of the coolest things about going up there is hanging out at our cousins place of business.  She is a tattoo artist of some renown and the shop is always an interesting place.  It gives us a window into lifestyles that are just somewhat hard to fathom.  I guess I’ve always thought it was important to expose yourself to other ways of thinking, but there are times that I just sit back and cannot quite follow the logic that lead down some of the paths.  I mean  the family is awesome, but the shroud of drama that surrounds it is one part really bad luck and one part less than stellar decisions made in the midst of that bad luck.  But what I love is just how valiantly they fight back against whatever circumstances they are thrown into.  While constantly in struggle mode, you can feel the love and the life that they embrace.

The Future Is Now

6922-walmartpickup-459 Northwest Arkansas is known for a lot of things, but probably the biggest is that Bentonville is the headquarters of the Wal-mart corporation.  As such you see some interesting machinations take root there that will likely filter out into the rest of the country.  Yesterday while roaming around town we saw something interest, a Wal-Mart Pickup Grocery.  In essence it looks like a non-descript warehouse building with a series of bright green drive in stalls similar to a drive in restaurant like Sonic.  The idea apparently is that you order your groceries online, and then pull into the stall and punch in some code letting the folks inside know you are there.  At which point they bring out your groceries and help you load them into your vehicle.

I have wanted exactly this same concept for years… and I am pumped to see that it even exists in a test market.  For years I have wanted to be able to do my grocery shopping online and simply pull up to the store and load what I just bought.  I really hate everything about grocery shopping, from the journey from cold to humid within each store, to the slow moving shoppers, to the desperate for small talk and validation cashiers.  I mean I try my best to be pleasant through the average shopping trip, and keep from biting anyone’s head off…  but it is a frustration that I would be more than happy to abandon.  The prevalence of self checkout lanes greatly improved my shopping experience, and this is just the next step.  The only thing that would improve it beyond this is maybe if robots delivered my groceries.

Playstation TV

Today I am wrapped up in my fuzzy little cocoon on the sofa, with cats napping beside me.  After two days of heavy activity, I am ready to just be mostly comatose today.  I got home late enough last night that I didn’t really get much chance to do anything.  I did take a bit and hook up my Playstation TV and so far the results are mixed.  I feel like I need to probably hard wire my ps4 into my network, so that only one of the two units is using wireless.  Playing Destiny there was a noticeable lag to the gameplay.  I mean it is probably no worse than when playing on the vita, but playing on a tiny screen with already awkward controls seems to make it less noticeable.  I didn’t experience any of the graphical glitches that Pete Smith on G+.  I am hoping if I hardwire my PS4 that it will help out the latency a bit.

I essentially need another HDMI hub downstairs as essentially I had to unplug my Chromecast to plug in the PSTV.  The other thing that I guess I was not prepared for is that I would need another Vita memory card.  So I have an HDMI hub and another memory stick on order that should arrive tomorrow.  The base unit only has 1 gig of storage so there really was not much that I could even download to play on the unit.  I will likely keep the chromecast hooked up until I get the rest of the bits to connect things up.  Thankfully it recognized my Dual Shock 4 without any issue, and was able to play using that.  The only problem I see there is that the PSTV doesn’t seem to take advantage of the touchpad at all, which makes some of the “Vita” interactions a bit awkward like the motion to “swipe away” a current application to close it is performed by holding down a button as the corner slowly peels away.  I think once I get used to it, I will enjoy it more as it will extend the PS4 to yet another television.

Movies, Roulette and ArcheAge

Little Projects

front_closet I am cheating a bit on this post, and writing it the night before I intend to post it.  The plan is for us to go running around in Fayetteville tomorrow, and as such I really need not to take my normal leisurely “not having to rush to work” amount to time to write a post in the morning.  Today was an insanely busy day.  Right now I am taking a few days off work because it is Fall Break here in Oklahoma, and since my wife is a teacher she is out.  One of the problems with living with a teacher is that you pretty much have to plan your time off around school breaks.  For awhile we had planned on doing a little project, originally the intent was to rip up all of the carpet in the bedroom and paint the floor.

As time got closer to fall break we backed away from that notion, mostly because it would quite literally take all four days of this little break… and since my wife has had an insane semester so far… she really needs to take an actual break, and not a working one.  Instead we opted to do a bunch of little things around the house today.  Our house for starters was in massive need of a deep cleaning.  Additionally we needed to gather up and take another load to Goodwill.  The front closet was our key mission, and for quite some time it had been packed with coats and shoes we weren’t actually wearing any longer.

Instead we took what was useless space and turned it into something useable.  Previously the closet was full with a bunch of coats that were too big for us since the weight loss.  The floor was full of shoes that we longer wore, and the top was full of a bunch of board games that we had not touched since college.  We kept the few things we were actually going to use from all of those categories and the end result left us a bunch of open space.  We moved an 8×2 cube unit into the empty space, allowing us to store our SLR equipment on top of it, and use the other bins for scarves and such, and the lower two bins for storage of our current shoes.  This left a spot on the right side that was perfect for our laptop cases, and just enough room to hang the handful of coats we decided to keep.  One of the nice things is once we end up organizing something…  it tends to stay organized so here is hoping that is the case with this as well.

Movies, Roulette and ArcheAge

ARCHEAGE 2014-10-16 20-28-16-05 When I finally crashed on the sofa after working on the house all day long, I logged into Final Fantasy XIV and ran my daily elite roulette with my good friend Cylladora.  It went pretty smoothly and when it was finished we both logged out of FFXIV for a bit.  I opted to poke my head into ArcheAge for a bit since right now it is pretty much a solo affair for me.  A few days ago I applied for Greymoon the guild that everyone I know is playing the game is in…  and was accepted, but I have zero clue how to actually go about getting an invite.  None of the folks I know have been around since I got accepted, so I figure I will just wait until one of them is on to ask them.  The guild requires folks to log into teamspeak, which seems a little odd to me.  Granted I spend most of my time connected to TS, but it feels strange to require that folks just log in out of course rather than for them doing so with a purpose.

I am still slowly working my way through the content, and I am closing in on 22.  I managed to get a pretty sweet katana to drop earlier which was a massive improvement over the blue sword I had been using for awhile.  I took a handful of deaths because I really was not paying nearly as close of attention as I probably should have been.  Lately I have been hanging out on the sofa and watching television while playing games, but tonight I opted for a movie.  I had yet to see the Amazing Spiderman 2, so I decided to watch it.  All in all I think it was a pretty good comic book movie.  I’ve never been a massive fan of Spiderman, but I think all kids who read comic books at least know a bit of the storyline and a few of the major villains.  It seemed like they did a good enough job at representing both the Green Goblin and Electro.  It was good enough to pull my attention from the game a handful of times leading to deaths.

8 Bit Boy

8bitboy 2014-10-13 17-18-19-378 A few days ago I watched the awesome Missy Mojo playing an interesting game on her stream.  The game reminded me of a mishmash of a bunch of the late 8 bit Nintendo games as sort of a combination of McKids and Super Mario Brothers 3.  8-Bit Boy pays homage to so many different games and is an absolute steal at only $3.99.  I have been playing it off and on, and while I don’t find it in the same league as the various frustration games like Super Meatboy, I find it plenty challenging.  I’ve reached a point where the game has started to feel a bit like the special levels in Super Mario World.  It isn’t the type of game I can play a lot of in one sitting, but I keep returning to it and whittling away at progress.

8bitboy 2014-10-13 17-13-14-757 There is a certain generic character to the game, that would normally turn me off.  The main character is just about as bland as you can get and at the same time looks somewhat like Mario, the character from Adventure Island, and even a little bit Alex Kidd.  I think I would have rather the game actually built a strong character for you to play than something that ends up being his amalgam that never is as strong as any of them.    The level design kinda feels super generic as well, borrowing elements from a ton of different games.  So all of these things would normally turn me off, but I have to say the game play makes up for it in spades.  It controls like pretty much the best version of all of the games it is trying to replicate.  If you are into that sort of thing, you should totally check it out.

#ArcheAge #FFXIV #8BitBoy

Doomlords and Paladins

The Tobold Effect

toboldeffect Yesterday was a strange day because every now and then one of my posts develops a life of its own.  I had gotten an email saying that I had a comment waiting in queue.  I keep my blog set to moderate new comments because for whatever reason I get a truly phenomenal amount of spam.  Every now and then one of them makes it through Akismet and ends up as a real comment.  So instead of letting these just sit out there without noticing them, I have my wordpress set to moderate the first comment from a specific poster, and once I have approved them they can comment from that point on freely.  So while in wordpress I happened to look at my Jetpack statistics page and saw something weird.

For a moment I thought the stats were completely borked or something, but upon closer inspection I was in fact having what looked to be a spike in readership.  When looking through the referrers I saw a name there that I had not seen before.  Apparently Tobold created a post with nothing but a link to my “Sandboxes and Sheep” post on ArcheAge, and then bam we were off to the races.  While I might be occasionally getting lambasted in his comment stream, I guess there is no such thing as bad publicity?  I mean I really did not write that post to be anything than me adding my counter point to the posts that were linked.  I was not trying to condemn pvp, but just present an alternate viewpoint to “there are no consequences”.

In any case on an average day I have around 150 readers, and that day I saw that number up up to be like 750ish.  Here is hoping that some of them might stick around for awhile, and if so welcome to the new folks who are reading me ramble.  I post something new every day, and you get my unfiltered thoughts as on the average morning I start writing around 6 am and write hard and fast for thirty minutes to an hour and produce the post you see each day.  I did not necessarily set out that day to write the post I ended up writing, but instead that is what happened to flow out when I put text to screen.  The only thing I would add to the comment stream, I was an Alpha player of ArcheAge so while my current character is only level 20, I have more experience than that would denote.

Less Toxic Community

ARCHEAGE 2014-10-16 09-59-01-23 I freely admit that most of my opinion of ArcheAge as a whole comes from early testing of the game.  I got into alpha testing back in May when a friend of mine hooked me up with an invite.  Overall I think my first impressions were favorable, but as I played it was the community that ended up grinding me down.  The griefing was prevalent, and most of it did not involve pvp combat at all to be truthful.  I’ve talked about some of my experiences before, but ultimately I detached myself from the game because of the toxic community.  With the games launch this was my number one detractor from giving it another shot, that and the fact that at 35 in Alpha I pretty much stalled out due to the constant pvp ganking while trying to quest.  Both of which were sad because the game still has quite a bit to offer players of all stripes.

Coming back I have been pleasantly surprised I guess is the best way to put it.  While the community is still fairly horrible when compared to say Final Fantasy XIV with their awesome pugging experience…  it is at least as good as say World of Warcraft, which is to say it is pretty much the norm for a massively multiplayer game these days.  While the public channels do sound a bit like /trade or barrens chat most of the time, they can be pretty easily ignored.   I am not sure if simply the worst offenders have moved on to other games, or have at least moved on to bigger content and are no longer in the areas I am in… but in any case I have not actually experienced the non-pvp griefing like I did in alpha.

I think maybe in alpha folks were just like a child testing the limits of their parents will.  So many of the things I think folks were doing just because they “could” do it.  The fact that most of those early invites were youtubers and streamers probably amplified this toxic nature.  There were a few awesome streamers like Kiwi, but also a lot of not so awesome ones whose streams consisted mostly of “watch me abuse these players”.  If you went afk in alpha… you were more than likely going to get pushed out of town by a tractor and find yourself dead in the countryside.  So it is all of these experiences that have so negatively colored my opinion of the game and left me not wanting to really give it a shot at launch.

Doomlords and Paladins

ARCHEAGE 2014-10-16 10-02-51-82 So I have watched this games progress and played the role of the grumpy curmudgeon as various friends decided to give it a shot.  I was fairly happy to ignore it until I realized something.  By some quirk almost all of the people I know and care about playing the game seemed to have ended up in the same location.  Firstly I noticed that most of the players were on the Naima server, and while I figured a lot of folks would end up playing the “catgirl” faction…  it turned out that almost all of them were on West the faction I actually preferred.  To make matters worse, I realized that almost everyone happened to be in the same guild.  This is the point at which I started to contemplate actually playing the game.  What makes it stranger is that several of the groups of friends, don’t actually really know each other.  So they all seemed to arrive there independently.

As such I have been trying to look at the game with somewhat fresh eyes, and give it a fair shake where I had not before.  The game itself is really fun, but at this point I am not really sure why.  I keep flipping back and forth between Paladin and Doomlord, because I am really not sure which one I prefer.  Paladin seems to be considerably better for pure survival, but Doomlord has a lot of fun toys.  Right now I have both a charge and a death grip attack, which makes me extremely happy.  The healing capabilities of Paladin sadly are not terribly useful in combat.  Like I can throw a heal over time on myself, but the amount of health it heals versus my hitpoint pool feels insignificant.

What I would love to find is a version of tank that plays like a Shadowknight or a Deathknight, where my attacks basically proc heals.  Not sure if such a beast exists and is still at the same time “tanky”.  The biggest surprise has been just how willing people are to group up for objectives.  The main difference with this game is that there is the ability to send out a group invite to anyone in the vicinity.  So many players do that by course before starting an encounter.  The negative is that there is no passive tagging system, so the first player to hit anything owns the encounter.  I realize this is an older game, but I find it hard to believe that any game would choose active tagging for mobs at this point.

Chief Concerns

ARCHEAGE 2014-10-16 10-01-24-25 My biggest concern for this game is the fact that Trion does not have any real control over it.  They run the servers, and can fiddle with bits in their databases…  but as far as the client and server code they do not have any access to that at all.  They are essentially a third party reseller of this game to the western markets.  There are a lot of things that players requested in Alpha that have come out as not being functionally possible, or XL Games was completely unwilling to consider them.  There are features that are just requirements for a modern game like the ability to invert the mouse axis, that are missing.  I know of at least one friend that simply cannot play the game because of this.  At the end of the day, while I have warm fuzzies about Trion…  I have to realize this is not their game.

If this changes I might have more hope, and I feel like they are doing their best to accommodate the play style of western gamers.  I have listened to a few discussions on this however, and so many of the things that we are requesting… just don’t make sense to XL Games who is entirely focused on the Korean MMO mindset.  What I would love to see is for the code to be forked in such a way as Trion had the ability to “improve” the game, but the problem there is that we then get cut off from the main trunk of the tree and it becomes extremely hard to obtain all of the expansion content.  The Korean version is considerably further along than the Western version, in that there are even additional races like the Dwarves.  It will be interesting to see how things shake out.

#ArcheAge