Because Massively’s Commenting System Borked for Me…

Over on Massively, they recently asked about our favorite fluff items.

This was supposed to be my response:

Well… if you had to ask me about a few of my favorite fluff things…

*music is cued*

 

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on  kittens,
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Pillows with chocobo feathers and string…

These are a few of my favorite fluff things!

Head of Onyxia and jump jet boot thrusters
Gygax Dice, Golems, and Tauren-made mustard
Golden guns, Furniture, Scepters of Kings

These are a few of my favorite fluff things!

When the dogs bite, when the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad…
I simply remember my favorite fluff things,
Then I don’t feel so bad!

Unlikable Aspects of Final Fantasy XIV.. and the Plan Moving Forward

As with any game, there are wonderful and not-so-wonderful things to think about when you’re playing it. The following are some of my issues with Final Fantasy XIV in its current state, as well as the plan the Square Enix Development Team has with that particular aspect of the game moving forward.

1. The same tilesets for the world you’re traversing, all jigsawed up.

Simply put, I dislike how the world was created using a handful of tilesets to represent an entire living, breathing continent of a world.

THE PLAN MOVING FORWARD: DESTROY THE WORLD. BWAHAHAHAHA. Then rebuild using more tilesets, presumably. 😀

2. Levequests are your bread and butter means of gaining experience.

Levequests are essentially repeatable quests people can do to gain experience for their various fighting, gathering, or crafting classes.You gain back 4 levequest allowances every 12 hours, and can stack these allowances to 99 to power through levels as needed.

The game has quests, but those are few and level dependent, and while you can sometimes get a hefty stack of gil from them, as well as some gear, the levequests are the bread and butter means of gaining experience.

THE PLAN MOVING FORWARD: From what I’ve heard, the plan moving forward is to give people more quests and make levequesting a more optional experience for everyone. Options are good, and being able to do quests more for great stories appeals to me immensely.

3. The usable, but annoying-to-use User Interface

To leave your party in the game, you need to open up your menu, click on “Party,” go to “Party Details,” then click on “Leave.” It works if you’re using a controller, but as a keyboard + mouse guy, it’s a bit annoying to have to go through the same hoops.

Now, that same bit of logic runs through some other actions, like changing your gear. It is usable, but it’s not fun.

THE PLAN MOVING FORWARD: DESTROY THE WORLD, then make a newer UI that works with modern sensibilities but doesn’t sacrifice accessibility for console/PC controller gamers.

A Storm is Coming… to Eorzea

Right now, I’m playing Final Fantasy XIV and having quite a bit of fun. The old annoyances I had with the game that made me leave before have been mitigated significantly, and Square Enix’s team for the game is really working hard to show people that the Final Fantasy MMO is a force to be reckoned with.

Things I personally love about this game in its current state:

1. Structured Freeform Progression: This is the term I use to refer to how Final Fantasy’s leveling system allows you to be the kind of fighter, harvester, or crafter you want to be.

Changing the tool in my hands changes my class, and there’s a certain satisfaction in leveling up new crafting classes just to see LEVEL UP flash on the screen. Basically, it melds the structured leveling progression of most MMOs with the freedom to not be pegged as a particular class if you feel like switching.

2. Simplified Crafting

Originally, FFXIV’s crafting system damn near forced you to multilevel crafting classes if you wanted to be self-sufficient. To make something of a low level in a certain crafting field, you had to be a high level in a different field (or know who to talk to) to get his stuff you needed to make your own stuff.

Recipes have been streamlined to require fewer components from other fields or at least need specific items from a different, equally or lesser leveled tradeskill. Old recipes still exist though, and those recipes have a “dated” prefix to refer to them being part of the old echelon. You can still try and make those items for XP if you wanted, actually.

3. There’s finally an explanation for seemingly random shit.

There are two resources that seem to be very useful now, and they are http://ffxiv.mozk-tabetai.com/ and http://mooglebox.com. One is a great item, loot, and recipe compendium, and the other has a gathering tool that explains what you have to do in the gathering minigames to net specific items from gathering more readily.

4. The Future and its Story

The game is gearing up for a reboot called A Realm Reborn. They will pretty much wipe the whole damned planet out and literally shut down the servers prior to launch to move all the characters onto new servers for the reboot.

The best thing about this for me is that they have a freaking story explanation for the entire event, where (if memory serves) someone teleports every person on the planet to the end of time and then throws them back into the future of the world after a meteor crashes onto the world. Something like that. Basically… you get a cool lore entry about the sundering of Eorzea as a private reward for sticking by the game.

Anyway, if you feel like playing the game before the reboot, sign up and join my character Victor Stillwater on the Masamune Server. Cheers!

Get Creative at Green Man Gaming to Win the Skyrim Expansion Dawnguard

Over on the official blog for Digital Content Provider Green Man Gaming, there’s a contest where folks can win a copy of the Dawnguard expansion for Skyrim if they can prove themselves creative enough to earn one.

They’ve set up a scenario that you must face armed with a bunch of random objects, and it’s up to you to creatively get out of a castle or hilariously die trying.

THE SCENARIO!

You are deep within the dark depths of a castle. This castle is inhabited by a Vampire Lord. By sheer dumb luck, mysticism and/or divine intervention (or Daedric if they were bored and wanted to see you squirm). You find yourself cornered in one room, crouched down behind some barrels, with the Vampire Lord nearby. He’s not seen you yet but if you try to sneak or run away he’ll spot you.

Within reach you find the following things (chosen by the workers of GMG with no knowledge of what they’re for) :

A Smurf
A Penrose Triangle
My Beard (it is bristly to the touch, and for the sake of the scenario, assume it’s not attached to my face)
A Flamingo (a living one, not a lawn ornament)
A Star-Nosed Mole
Some Mince Meat
A Batarang Lockpick
A Zombie Tooth
A Flatwhite
A Beach Ball (because Arun is going on holiday)

My submission to the contest:

“I am trapped, and I have all this to aid me?” I asked myself silently while shaking my head. “The Powers that be must truly want me dead.”

Crouched behind a stack of barrels, I know my end is coming near. A Vampire Lord seems to be laughing, as if he can sense life, but is playing with the thought of eating me. The smurf, mole, and flamingo begin to stir from a deep sleep, and so I must reason quickly and risk death in the attempt.

Seeing a bloody beard that appears to have come from a rugged fellow, I slathered the smurf in the blood, blinding him and quieting his protestations by gagging his mouth with the beard. I push him out into view, and watch him nearly trip over himself.

The vampire lord seemed amused at the flailing smurf.. “A bloodied, little blue man,” he mutters, as he picks the smurf up, “is the source of all that life? Amusing…” He spins around, admiring the smurf in light of a fire. “No matter, food is food.”

With his back turned to me, I found myself even luckier than I anticipated. I pushed the flamingo out into the open, and heard it cry as it ran in terror of me to an opposing corner of the room. The Lord turned around at the sound, perplexed at the creature, a miniature leg dangling from its mouth

It was time for the mole.

I stood up and threw the mole at the Vampire Lord’s face. The mole connected, struggling for something to hold on to while scratching the Lord’s face in the process. The Lord was distracted, grabbing the mole and hurling it at a stone wall.

With all my might and speed, I ran to the Lord and tackled it to the ground.

Raising the impossible Triangle of Penrose above my head, I set to work gouging the monster’s eye out with the impossibly swirling, sharp tip of the Triangle. The dead smurf caught in its mouth muffled the screams he made as I mercilessly robbed him of sight. With my would-be attacker incapacitated, I stabbed him in the heart, hoping the legends were true. The monster flails as I rend his undead flesh and sunder bone.

His heart, beating yet unliving all the same, required more force than a triangle could muster. I reached in, ripped it from the creature’s body, and crushed it with the flat end of the Triangle.

The Vampire Lord lay dead in front of me.

I was free to head for the door.

The startled flamingo kept its distance from me as I walked to the door. I grasped the handle and attempted to turn it.

The handle would not budge.

I felt for the lone lockpick in pocket, and took it out. “I wish I knew how to use these blasted things,” I said to myself, putting the lockpick back in my pocket.

Walking back to the barrels, I took stock of my new possessions. I took a swig of the flat white and lured the flamingo back to my corner with some minced meat. Petting my new friend, I rolled the beach ball at him, and he pushed it towards the wall playfully.

“It is going to be a long wait for an adventurer to come along,” I thought.

The ball, the flamingo and I were going to be fast friends indeed.

The Storm has Passed but the Rain Continues

Those of you who’ve checked out various news outlets may have noticed that portions of the Philippines are in a state of calamity due to rains that simply keep coming and refuse to stop. Flood waters have caused many roads and highways to become impassable, people are stranded on their roofs (or worse) and for the most part, this rainfall we’re having is comparatively worse than the last really bad storm we had three years ago in terms of how much water it’s dumping on us.

To stress how bad this is, one of the most recent tweets for assistance is for a hospital where water is about to reach the third floor; the generators that provide support for people in critical condition could die without warning, and there’s not a lot I can do to help from my location.

Right now, I’m okay, and most of my family’s okay. I’m lucky in that our house is in an elevated place, and that we have running water, electricity, and phone connections. Many of my fellow countrymen, and a good number of my friends are in more dire straits.

If you can afford to send a dollar or two to the Philippine Red Cross I’d definitely appreciate it. The donations would be really helpful for further disaster-preparedness during this extremely trying time.

Missing Out

I’ve been in quite a haze really. The past few days have had me seeing more anxiety about a job application than normal, and it’s led me to not want to play anything, not even The Secret World.

I missed out on a bunch of Funcom points as a result which makes me feel bad because, I mean… hello? Free stuff.

Anyway, it’s also a bit detrimental for me, as I’ve been looking for inspiration for my second MMORPG.com TSW article… and thankfully, Ambermist of Tastes Like Battle Chicken had an excellent post that I wanted to delve into further with some research.

Here’s to hoping my upcoming article turns out well.

My Top 5 Non-MMO Video Games So Far

I have played a ton of games in my life, but rarely do I finish games, and even rarer still does a game grip me so completely that I play it more than once.

Here are my top 5 non-mmo video games.

5. Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga (PS2)

Introduced a most intriguing concept to me (representing a world within a world in a game), and was my formal introduction to the Shin Megami Tensei staple of games.

4. Final Fantasy VII (PS1)

First introduced me to the concept of death of a main character in a storyline. My very first RPG. Also, the first game that made me think critically about games and made me realize that some games are more valuable than others in teaching values and life lessons to people.

3. Front Mission 3 (PS1)

Oh god, this game. I spent nearly 250 hours playing both storylines of this game.

THIS GAME HAS FILIPINOS. FUCK YEAH! Bring about the DAGAT AHAS (Sea Snake)!

2. Azure Dreams (PS1)

Were it not for an unfortunate mishap on the 40th floor of a dungeon, I would have eventually finished this game with my +37 Gold sword and my pet kicking ass and taking names.

Also, first dating sim type game.

1. Parasite EVE II (PS1)

I spent three Christmas seasons repeating this game, sort of like a holiday ritual. I loved this game so much because it was always constantly challenging, and I loved the story… and I had a crush on Aya Brea.

BONUS: Fallout 1

Before I ever finished Baldur’s Gate, my copy of the game came with a free copy of Fallout 1. I repeated that game probably 7 times, all with a similar sort of loadout… trying to explore story paths that seemed likely.

I Dreamed a Dream (An Old Republic Song)

For reference, please sing these lyrics to Susan Boyle’s version.

I dreamed a dream of subs gone by
When hope was high and life worth living
That Old Republic wouldn’t die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving…

I once was young and unafraid
And subs were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
For content done. Now whines are wasted…

But the Earnings Call’s in sight
Investor voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hopes apart
And they turn your dreams to shame!

And I’d still I’d dream of subs, you see
That TOR would live the years in splendor…
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather.

I had a dream TOR’s life would be
So different from this hell it’s living
So different from what it seemed
Bad choices killed a dream I dreamed….