Dinging 50

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Last Sunday, right as my free time in Final Fantasy 14 was coming to a close, I hit 50 on my white mage. It was a weekend full of running Stone vigil more times than I care to count to hit 49. I wanted to be able to continue and maybe finish the Main Scenario and it’s a long gap between 46 and 49.

I’m actually glad it worked out so well, I didn’t think it would. When I logged back on Thursday my White Mage’s was level 44, a lot lower than I thought I left him. Every time I ran my daily roulette the bonus either leveled me up or nearly leveled me up. Running Stone Vigil so many times showed me the good and the bad of the Duty Finder. I ran into everything from helful chatty groups, to disconnecting tanks, to DPS’s pulling aggro, and of course the bickering between hot headed party members. But it was all good fun. I love healing in this game and didn’t run into too much trouble in the Duty Finder.

After hitting 49 I ran as many of the Main Scenario Quests as I could. The story was just getting good and building up to a climax when I got the dreaded red text saying I couldn’t complete the quest until I was level 50. It was late Sunday night, I was 3/4ths of the way to level 50 and I was tired of running dungeons. So I decided to check out the Yo-Kai Watch event and see how much  experience that would give me. 10 fates and Yo-Kai medals later I dinged 50 and could no longer gain experience.

After this weekend, I see rresubbing and purchasing Heavensward in m near future. I really want to see how the story will end for 2.0. Plus I just discovered the Golden Saucer and that seems like a whole game itself. There’s so much left to see aand do in the game and this weekend reminded me why I played it so much in the first place. But hey, I guess that’s the point of these free even’s right? I

NMS: The Journey Begins

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There was a blinding light as my life support came back online. As my eyes adjusted, the world around me slowly faded into focus. It was lush, green, with towering trees and endless rolling planes. In a galaxy of nearly infinite possibilities, this was not the worst place to find myself stranded. I looked at my surroundings trying to remember how I got here. Behind me a ship sat smoking. Was it mine? It had to be mine. My life exosuit gently reminded me I needed to fix the ship and I needed to leave the planet. Thank god my exosuit has all the information I need to complete the repairs, I’m no ship mechanic.

The first thing I need is Iron which is in abundance here. My mining laser cuts through the rocks with ease extracting the elements I need. With every use the power slowly decreases, the batteries dying I don’t know how to recharge it. I collect my iron and make the part needed to fix the launch thrusters. My multi-tool is out of power but the exosuit tells me it can be charged with an isotope like carbon. The only sources of carbon around were tiny plants, I  broke them up manually by hitting them with my useless multi-tool. Over the course of 15 minutes I managed to scrape up enough carbon to charge the mining beam to 50%. I needed to find a better source of carbon, maybe the strange looking trees in the distance. I started walk.

When I reached the grove I chopped at the tree until I had extracted all of it’s carbon. It was enough to fully charge the beam and i had some still left. I quickly harvested the remaining trees so that I would have extra when I needed it. I harvested some more iron, some zinc, I even found some plutonium. All of this was enough to completely repair my other multi-tool features, a scanner to illuminate points of interest and a bio scanner to identify and discover creatures. It wasn’t long after repairing when I encountered the first life form on this alien world.

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The Scuttle Bug is quick, it’s vicious, and is easily provoked. They appear to be solitary creatures and will attack on sight. I ran into these far more than I would have liked. Each time barely escaping as I tried to scare them off with my mining beam.

My exosuit informed me that I needed another ore to repair the pulse engine. I walked nearly a half hour across the plains and plateaus to find the giant hunk of ore reaching toward the sky. On the return trek back to the ship, the scanner picked up a point of inteest not too far off the beaten path. The need to repair my ship warred with my curiosity of this place. I trudged on across the plains toward the tiny question mark.

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When I arrived I found an abandoned outpost, I could find no signs of life. I raided the containers for materials, a scrap of cloth, some plutonium, and a health station. As I traveled inside the outpost the whir of a functioning trade terminal caught my attention. I offloaded some of the carbon I had as it had grown to excess but I was reluctant to sell anything else for fear that I might need it in the future.  I left the outpost walking quickly to my ship.

Following the instructions I repaired the last malfunctioning pieces of the ship. Luckily all the thermite9 I’d been collecting along the way was used to fuel the thrusters. I was going to leave this planet. I had no inking of where I would go next, but I would listen to the exosuit, it had not lead me astray yet. as I climbed into the cockpit, I hear a rumbling, something was approaching fast and low. I looked up and saw another ship, I was not alone.

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I engaged the launch sequence and took flight hoping to follow the alien ship. It was too quick, and I lost it over a mountain. The exosuit gently reminded me to leave the planet. I pulled the ship up, and left the atmosphere. With the pulse drive functioning, I could explore the vast expanses of space. I didn’t know where to go, where home was, who I was but I knew I had to push forward.

The exosuit picked up a beacon on a distant planet. I was instructed to go there and investigate. Pulse drive engages, I set a course for Kokhayskoy Oske, hoping to find something that would jog my memory.

 

No Man’s Hype!

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We are just a few hours away from the release of No Man’s Sky. I haven’t been this excited about a video game since Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Its been a while. With all the buzz about it one question remains, will it live up to the hype*? Maybe,  it’s really hard not to feel like it might when there are day one patch notes like these.

I found out about No Man’s Sky about 2 years ago from a friend. It was around the same time that I was itching for a space game of some sort. I wanted to fly ships and trade things around the galaxy. I ended up buying X: Albion Prelude and it satisfied me for a while. But No Man’s Sky sounded so cool, randomly generated planets and animals…like a 3D Starbound. I couldn’t wait for it to come out…and then he told me it was projected to launch sometime in 2016. Over time I kind of forgot it was coming out, every once and a while a site would have an article about it but nothing we hadn’t already seen before. It wasn’t until this April that I realized it was going to launch in June. I even pre-ordered it and I never pre-order anything, of course it was  the day before it got delayed.

I don’t think hype is all that bad of a thing. It’s fun to be excited about a game release. Often times I’ll see a game trailer or hear about a game and say “ok that looks cool” and then promptly forget about it. But I realize that I have to keep my expectations in check. I bought Destiny on the day of its release. I was expecting a space shooter made by Bungie that might sort of be like and MMO. What I got was well…Destiny. I actually really enjoyed Destiny for what it was and I stuck around through the first two DLC. Probably put a good hundred hours or so into it, I even enjoyed the PVP and I’m not much of a PVPer. But I know a ton of other people who were let down hard by the game. It seemed as if the whole internet was against it after the hype tain fell off the rails.

For No Man’s Sky really all I’m expecting is a resource collecting game with some pretty visuals, upgradable spaceships, and naming animals and planets. I’m not expecting a deep and complex game, I’m expecting to have to grind a bit and to explore a lot and of course become the galaxies best space trucker. It downloaded onto my PS4 this morning where it sits  taunting me with it’s timer. If all goes well I’ll be exploring the stars today/tomorrow at midnight!

*This word was probably used more times than is acceptable in this post…..HYPE!

Pokemon in the Park

I was sitting on my balcony in the warm summer sun reading a book when I heard music coming from down the street. Often times there are little free concerts or festivals of sorts in my town. I sat there for a minute trying to figure out what kind of music it was when I heard the firs few chords of the original Pokemon Theme Song. I immediately got up, put on my shoes, and took the two minute walk to “downtown” to see who was playing.

As I got closer, people were milling around both young and old staring at their phones. I saw a big sign that said “Pokemon in the Park” sponsored by the Senior Center. What I thought was live music turned out to be a DJ with a bunch of speakers set up in the middle of the park who mixed Pokemon noises with top 40 hits. After every song he would announce what kind of Pokemon were near by.  There were food trucks, vendors, some arts and crafts, a full on festival in my book. I’m not sure why the senior center put it on because there wasn’t a senior in sight but it looked like everyone was having a great time. Even though I wasn’t playing Pokemon Go, it was fun to listen to the music and see the booths. And you know, “Dangerous Woman” with expertly placed squirrel noises sprinkled in…not as bad as you’d think

Tomorrow the library is putting on a Pokewalk where a group walks around town finding different Pokemon together.  Are there any Pokemon Go related events popping up around you?

 

Relearning All the Things

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Last night I had the chance to start playing Final Fantasy 14 again. When I logged in things were not quite how I remembered them. My classes were a little lower than I originally thought with my Bard sitting at 47 and my White Mage sitting at 44. I also had a lot more inventory space than I thought. I went ahead with my plan to clean it up still and now I have a whole bag and a half left.

I was feeling like I’d forgotten a lot of the controls and the skills so I took the time to reorient myself with what every thing did. Slowly but surely I got my footing back as I waited for Jay to do his Main Story Quest. I was planning on helping him get through the story dungeons he needed until he caught up t me. I also ran my White Mage class quests which I apparently hadn’t done in a while because I had 3 to do. After finishing them all up I’m now the proud owner of Holy.

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I had forgotten exactly where Jay was in the story, when he said he had hit a dungeon I thought it was going TO be Brayflox’s Longstop. Instead when i hit commence on the queue I found my self in Haukke Manor, oh how I hate Haukke Manor. I don’t know what it is about this dungeon but I’ve never liked running it. It’s not that its hard, it seems to take longer than some of the other dungeons and the bosses aren’t all that interesting. Since it was the first dungeon I ran in a while I was bit rusty. Jay, our tank, died a few times as I was trying to figure out the right balance between Cleric Stance DPSing and healing the tank. Thank goodness for Swift Cast + Res. Surprisingly, neither of the DPS’s we were with left and after our 30 minute struggle we emerged from the dungeon victorious and Jay had some new gear for his Gladiator.

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It was getting late so we decided to run the roulette and end the night. Being a tank and healer combo the queue popped immediately. As the loading screen faded we found ourselves in Haukke Manor once again. We both groaned, but this time we were prepared and the other two people in our party were super nice. They gave us some tips and good conversation. We made it out of our second run a lot quicker than our first and no one died, a rousing success.

After all was said and done, we ended the night with Jay starting his Paladin class quest and my White Mage leveling up to 46. I can’t wait to play again tonight.

 

The Sword of Midras

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I was at my local library the other day when I passed the Fantasy/SciFi section and saw The Sword of Midras: a Shroud of The Avatar novel by Tracy Hickman and Richard Garriott. My first thought was “Huh maybe it’s a series that has nothing to do with the game.” Turns out it’s the first book in a trilogy that’s a prequel to Portalarium’s upcoming, there aren’t going to be anymore wipes but we didn’t launch yet, MMO. I’m all ready reading something but it was less than 300 pages so i decided to check it out.

I know books based off video games aren’t by any means a new thing but I was surprised when something as seemingly niche as Shroud of The Avatar had a book published.It made a little more sense when I did a little digging. A shorter version of the book was distributed to backers as Blade of The Avatar. It would make sense that people who pledged their hard earned money to a game would be interested in a book about their game. The book was already written so why not get it traditionally published as well? Turns out the publishers didn’t want to publish something that had already been giving to 50,000 people already for mass market. So a few chapters were added so that they could get their book traditionally published but who’s the target audience for this now?

I know this isn’t the first MMO to have a book out before it launched either. I remember being very excited when the Guild Wars trilogy came out that bridged the gap between Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2. Those have fairly respectable ratings on Goodreads, while they weren’t fantastic and I barely remember what they were about, as a fan at the time they did it for me. I’ve also seen the scores of books

The people who already received most of it from the kick starter obviously aren’t unless they really want to read those extra 4 chapters. Maybe once the game actually launches new players will want to buy it but it hasn’t officially been launched yet. It also seems like they’re hinging on it being so successful that it will sell two more books. I picked it up simply because I have a vague idea of what Shroud of The Avatar is but I wouldn’t have paid for it if I saw it outside of the library.

The only thing I can think of is if the story and writing are actually good enough to compete with other fantasy novels. This I can’t comment on yet as I haven’t read more than a few chapters  but I’m interested to see how it turns out.

I’ll get back to you when I finish it.

 

The Class Dilemma

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It’s always exciting to start a new game no matter what it is. I’ve always enjoyed the first few hours of learning the basics, getting a foundation in the game, and being prepared for bigger and better things. There are 2 things in MMOs that have me sitting in the first few hours over and over again. One is character customization and the other is choosing a class.

I love games with a lot of classes to choose from. I like finding the ones I like by playing the first couple of levels. Unfortunately this means I play the same quests and missions over and over again until I finally find the class that suits me. Once I find the class I might make one more character to perfect how it looks and then continue on in the game.

Over the past 2 weeks I’ve been through 4 characters in Neverwinter. I started with a Great Weapon FIghter, but I didn’t like some of his abilities, especially his charged AoE swing attack. Then I moved on to a Control Wizard, it felt like he was going to be hard to play solo with and I again didn’t like his kit early on. I’ve been reading that classes really come into their own at 70 but I wasn’t enjoying these 2 at all in the extremely early game.

My main right now, and by main I mean character past level 8, is a Tiefling Scourge Warlock. I played it when I tried the game on PC and I loved it then. On the PS4 the starting skills feel powerful enough that I can do things on my own. Also, it has a skill that summons a Soul Puppet, and I really like the name Soul Puppet. I also started a  Dwarf Devoted Cleric with Jay last night, he’ll  be fun to play in a co-op setting.

The problem with Neverwinter is that it only allows you to have 2 character slots at any given time. So those other characters who I ran through the first 8 levels or so are completely gone. It’s somewhat annoying but I understand, free to play games have to make their money somewhere. There are still 4 classes I haven’t tried yet but right now I’m tired of hearing the same quests again and again so I’ll wait a while before I try those.

Despite all the bugs and growing pains, the games not bad on the PS4. The controls are good, everything is mapped to the controller well. It does take a little getting used to targeting with the right analog stick to attack I keep forgetting it’s not tab targeting. The graphics are Ok, it runs pretty well in dungeons but inside cities like  Protector’s Enclave the game starts to chug along. That’s to be expected though. The UI is a little clunky with the controller as well but it’s not a huge inconvenience. I don’t know if it’s a game I’ll play for a long period of time, but I like what I’ve seen so far.