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.


Fan Festival Was Amazing

Watch live video from finalfantasyxiv on Twitch
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 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.


Pre-Warlords Patch Time

Tis the Season

I have to say I am more than a little bit scared that this crap I have had for the last few weeks is not just “allergies” as I had originally thought.  The last couple of days whatever it is seems to have settled into my lungs, and it is getting a bit harder to actually breathe.  I still would not think anything about it really, apart from the fact that my boss has been out the last few days for a fairly serious case of bronchitis.  I guess in truth it isn’t so much the bronchitis that is serious but more so the fact that he has bronchitis… and only one lung.  In any case something appears to be going around, and considering the close proximity in which we all work together… it is likely if one of us catches something we are all going to catch it.

The positive I guess is the fact that today is my Friday.  Since my wife is off for fall break the next couple of days I decided to take them off as well.  As of yet we don’t really have any solid plans other than a few projects around the house.  In any case even if I feel like shit, at least I don’t have to go into work right?  Thankfully most of the projects are just time intensive rather than labor intensive so I can totally muddle through them with junk in my lungs.  If things get much worse I will either go to the doctor or go to urgent care and hopefully get a steroid course or something to clear it up.  I would probably call in this morning, but since my boss has been out for the last two days… and I have been attending meetings in his place…  we need to actually do a bit of an information dump before I am gone from the office as well.

Pre-Warlords Patch Time

belghast_beforeafter Yesterday twitter was completely abuzz over the release of the 6.0.2 patch in World of Warcraft that brought in all of the major changes that are always the precursor to a major expansion.  One of the biggest of these was the entrance of the brand new player models for all but the Worgen/Goblins.  While I had played quite a bit in Alpha… I had not actually copied most of my characters over to see what they would end up looking like.  I copied my main Belgrave, but since he is a Worgen it really didn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things.  I made a handful of premades, but when I last did that they still had the whole “single face” issue going on so it was really hard to see just how they would match up the appearances.  So when I logged in last night I have to say I was a little shocked at just how strange the transition looked.  Above is an image of Belghast prior to the patch and Belghast after the patch.

belghast_updated Something was just off for some reason in the appearance.  It didn’t feel like “my” character that I had spent so much  time playing and tanking on.  So like everyone the first thing I did was run to the barber shop and try and improve the appearance.  After some tweaking I finally landed on a look that feels “closer” to how I felt Belghast looked in appearance.  What is strange about this entire process is how much I realize that the characters no longer feel like they are “mine”.  I am not sure how to articulate that, because it wasn’t until I saw what my characters looked like that I realized how much the face apparently DID matter to me.  The differences aren’t that massive, but they just don’t feel like they belong to me any more.  They were just these higher fidelity things that happened to have the name and all of the gear of my previous character.

lodin_beforeafter The characters I feel that translated perfectly however were the Dwarves.  This shot is of Lodin my original raiding main from vanilla and his after the patch translation.  I have to say it is perfect, it captures everything I intended for the character and feels just about perfect.  So the handful of characters I have that were dwarves feel the same to me as they did previously.  The big problem I seem to be having is with the Humans and Draenei.  For whatever reason they just seem to be off in ways that I can’t fully articulate.  If I did ever come back, I have a feeling I would be race changing most of my characters to be dwarves, because so far that seems to be the clear winner in this upgrade to me at least.  Granted that could just be my natural affinity to the subterranean folk in the first place.  In any case my curiosity was sated and other than things feeling odd, I didn’t really have much emotion about the translation either way.

Lalafell Badass

ffxiv 2014-10-14 18-28-57-728 The real fun of yesterday was the fact that Tuesdays are reset day in Final Fantasy XIV.  This means I was able to pop back into Syrcus Tower to try for another piece of gear, or one of the tokens needed to upgrade an existing piece of gear to ilvl 110.  In addition this was the week that I finally would have enough tomestones of soldiery to be able to purchase the chest piece.  Granted I already had a level 100 chest, but there is just something about this chest that the moment I saw it… I knew I had to get it.  I have this thing for plate mail skirts in games, that I likely will never fully understand.  In world of Warcraft, my favorite set of gear will always be the Paladin Judgement set, and in FFXIV it seems to be right now the soldiery chest.  The problem with it is that my bunny samurai helmet no longer really went with it.  Thankfully last week I managed to get in on a Behemoth kill which netted me the really badass looking plate helm I am wearing in the above image.

ffxiv 2014-10-14 22-22-01-721 Tuesday nights are traditionally our raid night, but over the last several weeks we have been struggling with getting enough people online at the same time.  Last night we sat there with seven for quite a bit, and then two of our newer 50s that are considerably less geared came online.  We opted to get their weekly elite hunt done, which would allow them to get just enough gear to be able to enter something interesting.  As a way of breaking them into what raiding in FFXIV is like, we opted to do Hard Mode Ultima Weapon.  It had been quite some time since we had downed it ourselves, so we were all a bit rusty, but we managed to work through the issues and the massive lag issues our newest charges were having… and defeated the boss.  Hopefully over the next few days we can start knocking out the various hard modes for them so that they can do the Hard and Elite duty roulettes for gear and tokens.  If nothing else going into Ultima allowed me to take this really badass screenshot.  I love my new armor, and while I will miss the bunny samurai hat…  the behemoth helmet just looks amazing.

#WoW #FinalFantasyXIV

Sandboxes and Sheep

Defense of Open World

While I might dip my toes in the water of player versus player every so often just to see if I still don’t enjoy it… at my core I am very much a Carebear.  I’ve always assumed I simply lack the competitive streak needed to make the dance of “you kill me I hunt you down and kill you” enjoyable.  Even in the hallowed days of Doom multiplayer, I greatly preferred playing co-operatively with friends rather than playing a Deathmatch.  Generally speaking this wouldn’t effect me because I never willfully choose to expose myself to a PVP environment or mentality, however for some reason folks keep seeming to get hung up on requiring it to play in their sandbox.  I like the concept of a sandbox world where I can go anywhere and do anything…  but for a certain stripe of player that means that they can also grief and gank anyone as a result.

Yesterday there was a really good article talking about the psychology of a Carebear by Aywren that tries to delve into the reasons for not wanting open world PVP.  This article references several other really good articles, the first of which being “What’s So Bad About Open World PVP” over on Gaming Conjecture.  Later on during the article another post is referenced on Endgame Viable that takes a very similar stance.  Essentially the argument sums up to that in ArcheAge the game in question, there aren’t any real lasting consequences of PVP combat, so why should anyone have a problem with it.  I guess from a certain standpoint that is true, there are no lasting mechanical consequences to my character…  but that standpoint relies on someone actually seeing player versus player as a meaningful experience.

Wasting My Time

When I sit down to play any game, be it online or offline I generally have some broad overarching goals in mind, things that I want to accomplish for that night to feel like I actually did something.  Granted I allow myself to get side tracked all of the time, but that is generally tracing down various shiny bits that I happen across along the way.  These rabbit trails are entirely my choice and I allow myself to indulge them as I move around the world.  My key problem with open player versus player combat is the fact that someone is imposing their enjoyment on my playtime.  I am all about folks enjoying their game play until that enjoyment comes at my expense.  I am never going to be the type of player that attacks first, it is just not in my nature and I have waved and hugged countless “flagged” players during my time in World of Warcraft.  So if I get attacked and killed it will be done and over 90% of the time before I even get a shot in…  because I am not looking to fight other players.

What happens then is a series of things that take me out of the place where I was enjoying the game and force me to deal with the whims of another player.  Either I wait until the player gives up and stops camping my corpse, which could be any length of time.  I could allow myself to get drawn into a conflict and start trying to kill trade with that player until either of us gets bored.  More likely I just log out of the game and go find something else to do, because the groove that I was in is now lost thanks to someone interjecting themselves into my game play session.  Now the fans of PVP will talk about how much it enriches their game play experience, how much they enjoy the constant sense of fear of getting attacked.  For me I just view it as a waste of my time, and I don’t cherish or enjoy it any more than any other waste of time.  I don’t look longingly at waiting in a long line at the super market, nor do I think fondly of waiting in traffic because someone is gawking at an accident.  That thing you enjoy about the game, the pvp aspect…  I consider it about as meaningful as both of those things.

Sandboxes and Sheep

The biggest problem I have with the current generation of Sandbox games is that they attract two completely different types of players.  For me at least I love the intricate systems of the game and the fact that you can craft anything you can imagine and run huge trade cartels if you so choose.  I like that there are housing that are meaningful in the world and give you a physical foothold.  I like the fact that you can choose from a large number of combat classes and each mix and match of them offers meaningful gameplay results.  I like that there are interesting places in the world to explore, bosses to take down and events to conquer.  I am very much there to consume all the PVE goodness that the world can offer and experience the epic journey that it has to offer.  I feel like a lot of players want all of those things and more or less try to ignore the player versus player aspect.  We in essense are the sheep, and the fact that we are plays a necessary role for another type of players enjoyment.

In order for a ganker to have fun, they have to have someone to gank.  The ganker mentality doesn’t seek out a challenge, they seek out  the weakest link in the chain so they can exploit it and get their enjoyment out of making someone else feel weak.  It is going to be us sheep that get drawn into their power games, and us sheep that are inconvenienced by it.  Granted that is not to say that all PVPers are gankers and griefers, because that is very much not the case.  There are noble defenders that are there to engage in epic battles between factions for control of sections of the map.  These players aren’t the ones inconveniencing me, because chances are if I ignore them they will also ignore me.  They too are engaged in goal based play, and their goal is to seek out the competition and conquer it.  The folks that will find me, when I least expect it, when I am getting the most enjoyment out of the game are the folks who just want to ruin my night.

Living Breathing World

Yesterday I posted a very truncated version of this statement over on the Gaming Conjecture website.  I condensed the bulk of everything I wanted to say into two paragraphs, and for the most part folks seem to accept what I said at face value.  There was one response however.

But I’d like to ask whether you feel the gain can outweigh the loss? So for example, I might have my intended plan ruined by a PvP intervention, but does gaining a living breathing world make that a price worth paying?

Once again I think this question comes from a mindset of someone who feels that player versus player combat enriches their experience.  For me at least the fact that I can attack other players does not make it a living breathing world.  The fact that the world is populated with lots of things that I can interact with, harvest, plant, and build makes it a living breathing world.  What would make it MORE of a living world is if players were less focused on trying to kill each other, and somehow screw over each other… and more focused on collaborating on massive scale public works projects.  Once upon a time there was a game called Horizon.. that later on got rebranded as Istaria.  Unfortunately the current version is a mere shadow of what the original was like to play, and has mostly become a game for folks who desperately want to role-play a dragon.

That game was a sandbox environment before I even knew to call it a sandbox.  It had a rich crafting system, and an equally rich multi-classing combat system.  In truth it is everything that ArcheAge is, but a decade earlier.  What make the game so compelling to me is that on Dawn the role-playing server we had massive crafters unions that worked together on big projects.  The  game set these obstacles in our path that could only be solved by devoting both crafting and combat resources to them.  For example in order to access a brand new continent we had to build a bridge, and the construction of it was a month long project of crafters constantly applying materials to its construction.  The problem being that the nearest quarry was a considerable amount of distance away from the bridge, and the entire path was lined with enemies that could easily kill the players wearing their crafting gear.

As a result being primarily combat focused, I along with lots of other players took up the role of guarding players as they applied materials to the construction.  These huge public works projects, and entire player built communities gave the world a living breathing feel… and there was not a single amount of player versus player combat in that game.  I guess what I am saying is I don’t feel it adds anything to my experience, and doesn’t make a world any more real than anything else does.  My world is about collaborating with other players to do interesting things, not tearing down others so I can feel stronger.  That might be a dangerous oversimplification, but that is how I view forced PVP in an otherwise PVE rich setting.  I view it as a few players forcing themselves upon me so they can get their enjoyment at my expense.

#ArcheAge #PVP #Carebear

Tremors in the Force

Glorious Weekend

DoctorWhoTimeHeist The entire weekend was pretty crummy outside here in Oklahoma, so as a result we spent most of it inside.  I curled up on the couch with a brand new fuzzy blanket and spent it gaming on the laptop while watching stuff on television.  It had quite literally been a few months since I had last watched television really.  Granted there was a bit of television each night and each morning while going to sleep and waking up respectively, but I had not actually sat down to watch anything of any importance in a very long time.  As such I had a bunch of shows stacked up that I wanted to catch up on.  The most important of these was this seasons Doctor Who.  I had watched the premiere several weeks back, but had not seen any of the episodes since.

I feel like the jury is still out on how I feel about the new Scottish Doctor.  I guess I am just used to the normal fun loving slightly insane Doctor, and this interpretation just feels strange.  The dynamic between Clara and the Doctor also feels a bit strained.  Granted the companion that survives a regeneration I guess is always a bit odd, but this one seems more so.  It seems in part that the Doctor still has a crush on her, and as he is watching her get on with her life…  it feels a little awkward.  As far as the stories have gone, I think I like the “Time Heist” episode the best.  Trying not to go into much detail for fear of spoilers…  because I am sure there are others out there that have not caught up yet.  In fact public television here in the United States tends to be one full season behind.

Tremors in the Force

StarWarsRebels Other than Doctor Who I finally got around to watching the first two episodes of the new Star Wars animated series “Rebels”.  What amazes me is just how well both of the animated series have managed to get the feeling of the universe, whereas the prequels failed so miserably.  Star Wars Rebels is pretty much the perfect Star Wars show.  You have a scrappy group of fighters, and interesting relationship between reluctant Jedi Master and a force sensitive padawan…  all after the fall of the Republic in a super scary time where being a Jedi means being hunted.  There are just enough call backs to the original series to let you know when exactly this adventure is set.  In the first episode Ezra the main character happens to open a Jedi Holocron with the message Obi Wan Kenobi left for all Jedi during the events of Episode 3 – Revenge of the Sith.  Then in Episode 2, you encounter C-3PO and R2-D2 who are on their way to the Tantive IV.  With those two little vignettes it tells you that the events are sometime in the gulf of time between episodes 3 and 4, which is a super fertile place to base a new series.

The characters are likeable from the start.  They are just “scoundrel” enough to come across as being selfish… but quickly transition into a cell of rebel fighters trying to survive however they can.  The entire series has a very “Firefly” vibe too it, and honestly I am just wishing there was more of the show to watch already.  So far you have Hera Syndulla the Twilek Pilot/Engineer, Sabine Wren the Mandalorian Weapons Expert, Garazeb Orrelios the Lasat Muscle, Ezra Bridger the Street Kid Force Savant and finally Kanan Jarrus the leader of this group and a former Jedi Padawan at the moment Order 66 happened.  The mix of personalities and skill sets makes for a really good viewing experience.  Since Star Wars meant so much to me growing up, I am always happy to watch the fires get reignited for new generations.  I just wish that it was still on Cartoon Network rather than Disney XD, since I seem to be far better in keeping up with Cartoon Network than any other channel.  If you have not watched any of the show and are an old school Star Wars fan I highly suggest you check it out.

Eating some Crow

archeage 2014-10-13 06-17-56-723 I finally decided to start giving ArcheAge a chance this weekend, in part because I have realized that so many people I know happen to be playing all in the same place, and same guild to be more specific.  Other than ventures into Final Fantasy XIV this was the ideal game to sit on the sofa wrapped in my blanket cocoon and watch television while playing.  The game itself is still intriguing and intricate, but the thing that turned me off of the game in beta was just how horrible the community had been.  So far the launch servers seem to be far better than they were before.  I was able to complete the early quests without much attempt at griefing.  The place where I had so much frustration during alpha was when you are asked to take a rowboat across a bay.  In alpha there were tons of high level ships waiting there to capsize players as they attempted to cross.  This time around there was just a single high level ship and they seemed to be loading up for a trade run and completely oblivious to the fact that I was trying to do something.

Similarly I have actually had some decent random grouping experiences.  So while the community is nowhere near as nice as say Cactuar in Final Fantasy XIV…  it is at least up to WoW Standards…  which admittedly isn’t saying much.  I did have a really positive experience in doing an elite quest.  There is this event that happens in a fallen fortress where between the hours of 2am and 2pm in game time hordes of undead spawn with a boss and you are given quests to kill multiple undead.  I noticed that it was nearing the spawn so I wandered up into the hills and decided that I would just kill undead while waiting.  There were numerous people up there waiting, and it was moments later that I was invited to a raid team.  Folks were relatively well organized and the leader made sure that everyone had gotten all 20 kills before we downed the final boss.  Granted this might be an aberration, but it seemed like a pretty reasonable response to the situation.

archeage 2014-10-13 06-13-41-942 At this point I am still not terribly certain how often I will play.  Right now I have a level 16 Doomlord on Naima Western Continent.  This seems to be where most of the people I know are playing, and white honestly I HAD to play Nuian because they were the only race that offered anything even closely resembling proper facial hair.  Additionally the Western faction is supposedly going to get dwarves whenever XL Games decides to give the North American servers the expanded racial options.  I’ve applied to be in the same guild as Liore, Zelibeli, and several others from both the Machiavelli’s Cats and Multiplaying/Alliance of Awesome communities.  I have to say being patron seems to make all the difference in the world because as a true free to play account you have next to no labor points.  I am not declaring this game the “best ever” or anything like that, but it seems to no longer be nearly as toxic as it was in early testing.  I still prefer FFXIV, but right now I just haven’t had the oomph to grind up another character.  So mostly I am working my way through my book quest and doing my daily elite dungeon.  However since my friend Eliyon is now a newly minted 50 I can see myself probably playing a lot more in the evenings there.  It was a fun weekend nonetheless and I look forward to piddling around in it some more.

#DoctorWho #StarWarsRebels #ArcheAge